Saturday, October 30, 2010

By the Sea

The Philippine Archipelago is also the home of many beaches. They are among the many riches of our nature-blessed country.

This is a beach found in Sabang, Puetto Princesa, Palawan. Sabang is known as the gateway to one of the greates treasures of the world, the Underground River.

Batangas also hosts a great deal of beaches. This beach is found within the parameters of the Laiya Coco Grove Resort. It is a privately owned resort that attracts many tourists, local or foreign.

Oh yes, this is one of my favorites. One of the emerging hotspots in the Philippines. This is a beach in one of the islands that comprise the Busuanga group of islands in Palawan. Busaunga (also known as Coron because of its neigbouring town) is known for its many beaches and islands.

(Photo of this beach in Busaunga was taken by Michael Trias)
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City Scapes

I was blessed to see two great cities in South East Asia in the past year, TWICE! I will be blogging the details about the great experience soon.

A shot from the steps of the Batu Caves found in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. It is a tourist spot for the common visitor but a holy place for the Hindu faithful who offer prayers.

A shot from the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Commercial Complex) grounds is this breath-taking image of one of the tallest man made buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers. An elegant structure that crowns the skyline of the Kuala Lumpur business district.

The skyline of one of the bussiest and most progressive cities in SE Asia, Singapore. Singapore has become a great tourist attraction because of the many things it can offer - from great food to fun-filled attractions.

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Holy Places

The Philippines distinguishes itself as the only Christian nation in South East Asia. Together with this self-acclaimed distinction are living proofs found in structures around the country. Here are some of them which I was blessed to see.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Penafrancia, Naga City, Bicol. A flock of devotees come to Naga to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin every third Sunday of September. Many faithful find refuge in times of hopelessness in this sanctuary. Local townsfolk also give accounts of miraculous stories that they encounter.

Batulao is a place for finding space and time with the Divine. It is a "hub" for retreat places. This is the Chapel found in the Caleruega compound in Batulao. Caleruega is a retreat house with many function places for religious activities. It is named after the birthplace of St. Dominic De Guzman. It is owned and operated by the Dominicans (Order of Preachers).

When I went to Bicol in 2008, I was fortunate to see the Cagsaua Ruins. The Cagsaua Ruins is known as the church which was swallowed by the flowing lava when Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814. All 1,200 people who sought refuge in the church during the said eruption perished. The bell tower of the church is what remains and is a silent reminder of the devastations brought about by the disaster.

In the background you can see the sleeping Mayon Volcano. It is such a pity that I was unable to see the perfect cone-shaped vocano because of the clouds.

Another historical marker in Pilippine history. The Barosoain Church in Malolos Bulacan. It is where the First Philippine Government, headed by President Emilio Euinaldo, convened Congress to draft the very first constitution of the Philippines, and ultimately the first constitution in South East Asia.

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High Places

I just wish to share with you images of the places that I have been to... here's the first batch!

Many people find solace on the beach. Some find it in quietly secluded places. For me, it would be the mountains. In withdrawing from the hussle and bustle of the highly urbanized metropolis, I would find myself seated on a betch or strolling the city of a "kingdom" far on top of the mountains. Yes, I am very much fascinated by highlands.

In many of my trips outside of Manila, I would go to this place. It is a place of reflection for me. I find serenity whenever I go here. This is taken from the Chpael on the Hill found in Batulao, Batangas.

Baguio City is a place to see because of its many attractions. A city on the mountains. Taking a bus ride there is simply breath-taking. This is a shot of the Bell Church.

The Tagaytay Highlands. A must see place and also a sanctuary for the elite. I was privileged to be there twice. It offers a great deal of relaxation and other activities that would soothe the senses.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Baguio Chronicles - Chapter 5: Baguio Cathedral, "A Historical Marker"

(taken from my Multiply Blog dated May 6, 2009)

The Baguio Cathedral was something to see. Visible from many parts of Baguio City, stood this pink structure that tower the skyline of the commercial business district of the city. During my first visit to the Cathedral two years ago, I found out something more. More than a structure that housed the seat of authority of the diocese, it also served as a tomb.

"Well, so what?" as many of you would say. Yes most churches nowadays have facilities as such, but for me this was different. As a teacher of history, there were certain points in my life where I would stand still to appreciate some of the markers that history places before us.

In the late 1940s when the American's came back to "redeem" the Filipino people from its Japanese captors, they targeted to claim their air force bases located in Baguio. In order to succeed in this plot, they decided to defeat the enemy through a "carpet bombing." It claimed hundreds if not thousands of lives. The Baguio Cathedral was the structure that was spared from this bombing. The lot in front of the church building was used as a mass graveyard. A marker still stands there to remind us of the effects of the Second World War on the Filipino people.

History teaches us many valuable lessons. As Sir Issac Newton puts it, "for every action is an equal and opposite reaction." The acts done by a person can pose great and catastrophic effects on others. Great thought should be given before a person acts especially if lives of others are involved. During those times the Japanese wanted glory. They wanted dominion. They wanted to conquer the world. They wanted to do this, but at whose and at what expense? Lives were lost. Wake up!!! how long will you play dumb. History repeats itself. The Japanese may no longer be here, but we have stupid and senseless people running the Nation. How does that sound for a starter?!?!

The Baguio Chronicles - Chapter 4: Minesview Park

(taken from my Multiply Blog dated May 6, 2009)

The first time I've been to Minesview Park was in 1994 or 1995, I really can't recall the year. Anyway, during that time there were Igorot children who hung by the cliff or on the steep slopes of the park. They would fetch the coins (one and five peso ones) that the visitors tossed. They were really skilfull, they had their ways and means of getting the coins that they would get. It was really amazing because they were able to see where the coins landed. It would be on trees, on brances that stuck out from the mountain-side or in small holes, regardless where it landed they still got it.

During this recently concluded Baguio trip, I was anticipating with a lot of
excitement that I would encounter the same scenario once more. Unfortunately, I was unlucky. I didn't find any Igorot child hanging by the cliff or on the steep slopes. All I found was this signage and a statue of an Igorot boy holding a basket. The signage was a Memoriam of the Igorot children who once became a tourist attraction within the 1950's and 1990's. The practice was later banned by the City Government because of the risks it posed on the children and the lives lost because of the practice. The Memoriam was placed there to commemorate the children who once brought life to the park and for those who were no longer with us.

After seeing the signage I was filled with mixed emotions. First, I felt sorry
for the boys whose lives were lost. Second, I felt sorry for the loss of this attraction which gave life to the park for about five decades. Two contrasting emotions. However contrasting my feelings would be, I still believe that at every loss there is a gain. The tourist attraction may no longer be there to animate the life of the park but I know it is for the better. Better things are in store for those children than to fetch coins tossed by tourists.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Baguio Chronicles - Chapter 3: Food and Dining

(taken from my Multiply Blog dated May 6, 2010)

I love to eat... well I love to experiment with food. My time in Baguio led to different places... food particularly.

O'Mai Khan is a Mongolian inspired resto... it is located near the Rizal Monument right next to Burnham Park. My first encounter with O'Mai Khan was way back in 2002. They have an eat-all-you-can Mongolian Bowl which starts off at 195.00 per person. hehe... it was really satisfying and you get to put flavor to your food according to how you want it to be... (pics of O'Mai Khan downloaded from the blog of "TANYA SPEAKS." I wasn't able to get pics of the place... sorry...)

It was in Baguio that I got to taste something unique..."Strawberry Taho." In Manila the syrup used to give this soy delicacy was caramelized sugar together with mini-tapioca (arnibal and sago). Anyway, in Wright Park, when we were taking our stroll we saw taho vendors around. We joked around and asked each other if ever there was such thing as "strawberry taho," suddenly a vendor spoke out "Straberry taho po?" we suddenly laughed since it was unexpected. Buyers had an option of either having "arnibal and sago" or "strawberry in syrup" to go with the taho. All of us tried it. I found it very unique. Natuwa ako masyado. (I was very thrilled.)

Another remarkable discovery was this place called
"50's Diner." This is where we had lunch
on our second day. It is located near Teacher's Camp and can be found along Brent Road. It is a 50's inspired diner. It's also cool because the owner who was called "tatay or lolo" by the resto employees also serves the customers. The food can be compared to servings of TGI Fridays or Chilli's but the price is way way lower. We actually thought that the food was served in small portions by using the price as basis, but we were wrong check out these pics to testify. We ended up bringing portions of the food home because we were unable to finish them.

The Baguio Chronicles - Chapter 2: The Baguio Itinerary

(taken from my Multiply Blog dated May 6, 2009)

To summarize the 2days/ 1night Baguio Trip... here's the itinerary of what actrually transpired within the two days...

April 30

10:30pm-- Meeting place Chowking Maysilo
11:45pm-- Arrival at Dagupan BusLines

Day 1 - May 1

1:00am Departure for Manaoag
5:20am-- Arrival at Manaoag
6:00am-- Mass at the Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag
7:00am-- Departure for Baguio
8:40am-- Arrival at Baguio City, Victory Liner Terminal
9:30am-- Drop off things at the transient home (Montecillo Rd., Camp 7... along
Kenon Rd)
10:00am-- SM Baguio for a little bit of shopping of the essentials.
11:00am-- O'Mai Khan
1:00pm-- Burnham Park, Boating
2:00pm-- Bell Church
3:30pm-- Strawberry Farm
4:30pm-- Baguio City Market for shopping dinner and breakfast stuff
5:00pm-- Back to the house. Cooked dinner, stayed in the house the entire night.
Ellene arrives at around 9:45pm.

Day 2 - May 2

6:00am-- Rise and Shine, Breakfast, Bath, etc...
8:00am-- Burnham Park, Ibay's Silver Shop, Good Shepherd Convent, Wright Park, The
Mansion, Camp John Hay
11:30am-- Lunch at 50's Diner
1:30pm-- Back at house to drop off stuff that we bought from kung saan-saan.
2:30pm-- Session Road and Baguio City Market to buy pasalubong.
5:00pm-- Back to house to drop off pasalubong.
6:00pm-- Mass at Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral), we met a
priest from Malolos, Bulacan who was promoting his book.
7:00pm-- Dinner at Steaks and Toppings right next to the Cathedral
7:30pm-- Back to house to pack up and fix ourselves.
9:20pm-- Departure from house to the Victory Liner Terminal
10:00pm-- Departure for Manila

May 3

3:30am-- Arrival at Victory Liner Terminal, Cubao.

The Baguio Chronicles - Chapter 1: Getting to Baguio

(taken from my Multiply Blog dated May 6, 2009)

For several months if not years I wanted to go to Baguio badly. So I had to make arrangements to go. I got some friends to tag along.

In going to Baguio, I decided to take the Manaoag route through Dagupan BusLines. It was April 30. I underestimated the crowd that would be flocking the terminal. It was the eve of Labor Day and many flocked the terminal for the long weekend.

We left the Cubao terminal at around 1:00am. The travel time was between 4 to 4.5 hrs. We got to Manaoag at around past five in the morning. We freshened up a bit and were ready to go for the 6:00am mass.

After the mass, we headed off to baguio. Lucky us, a van was on its way back to Baguio and caught our eye. The van service going to Baguio cost PhP70.00 per head.

Travel Advisory: If you wish to go to Manaoag first before heading to Baguio City, it is cheaper compared to going to Baguio directly from Cubao. A trip from Cubao to Baguio would cost roughly PhP 440.00. If you would go to Manaoag first the trip would cost PhP250.00 + PhP70.00 (for the van) so that would only be PhP320.00. You get to have a chance to go on a Pilgrimage to Manaoag at the same time save P120.00. ;)

Anyways, the trip was an Express Trip... ambilis ni manong mag drive, it took us about an hour and a half only to get to Baguio City... hehehe.

Readers' Advisory

This blog site shares the travels and journeys that I have enjoyed. I wish to share them with my readers so that they too can learn from my adventures.

Happy Reading. :)

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Love to Travel

I am a traveler by choice and I would say that I have been blessed to have been able to travel to many places from my younger years up to this moment.

As a gesture to immortalize my experiences and realizations on these travels, I decided to blog about them.

I remember the time when I first went on a plane to Saudi Arabia, I was 5 years old then. The experience was different and from that time, I've always wanted to get on a plane. Then came the times when I watched movies and news of planes crashing, and it scared the living daylights from me to get on a plane. Then again, I came to outgrow that and here I am now always wanting to get on a plane that would take me to other places. I have become a jet-setter and have wanted to see so many new places.

This is my story.