Tuesday, July 22

Wander Photo: At a Glance

Yearning to live in the past at present?  Then head on to Sulyap Bed & Breakfast located at San Pablo City, Laguna.  One of the charming bed & breakfast's lodges is an old house from Obando, Bulacan converted to a hotel.  It also houses a restaurant, an antiques museum and is near other attractions of San Pablo.  





Tuesday, July 15

The Heritage Towns I Have Visited

In lieu to the National Heritage Month we celebrated last May, I have made this list which will make all old house-lovers like me jump for joy.

For some unknown reason, old houses have that nostalgic, old world charm which contemporary houses don't seem to have.  It isn't so obvious that I truly admire places with remarkably preserved ancestral homes. Look back with me as I walk through time by visiting these amazing heritage towns.


VIGAN


Ilocos Sur
Please vote for Vigan to be included in the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World
Please Click Here

Vigan tops my list as the ancestral homes of Vigan are gargantuan, supreme, magnificent and everything else in between.  I still remember the first moment when I stepped foot on the famous Calle Crisologo - wide-eyed and all.

Wednesday, July 9

I Can't Wait to Make a Connection With You

My curiosity is beckoning me.  Making me imagine stepping on your doorstep on one cold foggy morning.  The mist is so thick that I could hardly see a few steps ahead of me.  But not so far I could already feel the sun's rays slowly peaking behind the lazy clouds. Its numerous hands are slowly stretching out to welcome me with wide open arms.

I wonder how you look up close.  How will I kill time just roaming around in your quiet streets.  Will someone be asking for my name? Or will I be asking somebody else's name instead?

I want to see how you greet each sunrise.  And how you welcome those who call you their home for the first time. I'd like to think that they would be thinking of going back again and again to you, happy in the thought that they can find a solemn place amidst their busy lives.


Taken from gmanetwork.com

I am not much of a foodie, but of course my tummy would also love to have its own adventure after spending a day trekking with you.  I have tasted apple pies and gobbled down numerous mango pies.  But I hear that lemon pie calling my name!  Now, my mouth is beginning to water.

I ponder on how you let tired souls rest and lead them back to the heavens.  Do you let them sleep under the world or they are literally staring up in the heavens?

I couldn't wait to dip my tired muscles in the rushing water falls of yours!  Just thinking about it makes me want to pack my bag now and just go.

Will that valley reverberate back my words?  When I shout I love you, will you echo back the sweet words...I love you too?


I can't wait to be with you.
I can't wait to see you.
I can't wait to feel you.

I can't wait to make a connection with you.

Monday, July 7

Calaguas Islands, I Love You Three

It was the end of a long summer.  For eight weekends, I have found myself traveling to different places starting off with a relaxing stay in Zambawood.  April was a witness to my discovering of my eternal love for Vigan, paid a surprise visit to Bangued in Abra and had a short four-day affair with Camiguin.  May has dawned. Though I have not gone to far-off places, my calendar was packed with me practicing my mermaiding and had endless meet-ups with friends who literally make my world go around.


Calaguas shore
 by Escape Manila

I signed up a couple months before to join another Calaguas trip.  It would be my third time.  The first one was in 2012 and the second just last year. Yes, you can say that I couldn't get enough of the breath-snatching Calaguas islands.


Before we depart for Calaguas!
 by Escape Manila

What should be a group of about five people ballooned to a rowdy group of nine.  We were supposed to be ten but one backed out the last minute.  But I guess nine was just our lucky number.  

We did a little shopping at the local market in Paracale for the things that we will need. We waited for our guide and after sometime, our little boat was racing against the bigger ones to reach the islands in record time.  

It was scorching hot as what can be expected at this time of the year.  My new friends, Beng, Raul, Kaiye, Glen and Jazz were Calagusas first-timers.  I was no longer surprised that some of them literally marveled at the beauty they saw.  

The lead male band member, Jherson, tasked himself in finding us a good camping spot. However, most of the ideal ones were already taken.  We ended up setting up camp just a few meters where we landed.  It turned out to be the perfect spot as trees provided us the needed shade on this hot summer day.  

After having our lunch and a short nap, we wasted no time and frolicked in the clear waters of Mahabang Buhangin beach.  I slipped on my red tail and joined my friends as they cheered on for me.  It was exhilirating to finally swim in the seas and realize my dreams for the first time. I had become a real mermaid.



We stared at the skies.  How lovely it was as we witnessed the sea pull the sun below before giving birth to the warm luminous night.  
Photo by Budget Biyahera
Our endless night was filled with laughter.  Cherished memories were created and lasting friendships were formed.  Some of them I only met at that time but I felt like I have known them for a long while.  


The following day, we had our own activities.  I found myself spending time with new-found twin sister Kaiye as we spent hours talking about Sweet Valley, Sociology and the never-ending exchange of the famous lines which goes something like this:  'Sir, sabi nila give love on Christmas Day.  So give me love sir. Pero kung wala talaga, just tell me. How do I unlove you?'

Time was so slow that we already packed our things even if the others were still yet to arrive (sorry guys!).  I can already see Jollibee and was imagining kissing his mascot all throughout.



All in all, it was one of the funniest weekends I had this year.  Truly, it's who you travel with that makes the roller coaster ride more worthwhile. I miss you guys!

Till the next #TeamRedTail's adventure!

#LabLablab #MoonMoonMoon #TeamRedTail #TeamBff
I ken ze the statoo o'liberty. Beri smawl op korz!




Wednesday, July 2

Realizations of a Pondering Mermaid

The past three years have been successful for me.  I am privileged to have traveled with different kinds of people who are all cool and fun to be with.  I feel good every time I go home from each of these travels.  

But then, it seems that there is still something missing. As hard as I try to remember a solitary memory, the picture would always come up as blurred or faded in the edges.  

In three decades of existence, I still have the time and strength to take on the road less traveled. To go out of my comfort zone and to fully spread my wings. 


I am contemplating on dropping my planned getaways and just go with the flow.  You see, just thinking about it causes me to grin foolishly.  #hahaha.

Looking back, I terribly miss my Camiguin adventure as I went to Mindanao for the first time there and it was all on my own.  I yearn for that feeling once more.  This time the longing is so strong it's as if I am waiting for the sun to rise at twelve midnight.

I have become a mermaid. But nobody can say that a mermaid can't have wings. I will fly above the seas. And I will soar up high.


Tuesday, July 1

Camiguin's Ancestral Houses

I grew up in tiny houses, though livable, doing so made me dream to have my own someday.  Grand, spacious and airy - similar to a Disney castle, quite like in the article I read (click here). Or at least close to those types.  

However, my love of old houses only deepened when I visited the Island Born of Fire last summer.  I found myself once again mesmerized as I stared open-mouthed at each old home I passed by. 







Monday, June 23

Camiguin: The Island of Fire

It has been a long, humid day. Boarding time took three and a half hours and another thirty minutes before we sailed away.  I could not believe what I was seeing in front of me as our vessel slowly approached the shores of Camiguin island. The sun was at its mightiest.  But the scorching heat did not hinder me in appreciating the splendor of what was looming ahead.  Camiguin greeted me with a silent flying kiss.

Mang Ronald Rabile, my tour guide of the day, was very kind to monitor my arrival the moment my plane landed in Laguindingan airport at a little past six that morning.  It was Holy Thursday, a holiday here in the Philippines, when Catholics spend time in the provinces for worship or vacationing. 

It was my first time to travel during this peak season.  I did not regret going on this solo trip as it a very new experience for me.  It's been years since I last traveled solo.  My recent trip to the south reignited my wanderlust and my curiosity of traveling alone.

I checked in at Enigmata Eco-lodge.  A backpackers' haven located in a hilly part of of Mambajao.  After a quick shower (a no-no), we hopped on Kuya Ronald's motorbike to beat the sunset.  After a quick meal on a roadside carinderia, we admired the old houses (worthy of a separate post), the breathtaking sunset and ended my first day at Sunken Cemetery. 


Enigmata Eco-lodge
Camiguin's gorgeous rugged coastline

As I was staring at the first sunset I experienced in Camiguin, I found myself closing my eyes for a while, my lips curling for a tiny smile. I felt the sweet wind touching my face ever so softly. The last of the sun's rays tingling my inner being. 


The most breathtaking sunset I have seen next to the one I have seen in El Nido

This inscrutable feeling, ever so encompassing. Belief in a love so true, so rare. My heart is ballooning, a love like no other. My heart has been captured by you, my southern poet.  


Visitors were taking their time taking photographs with the yellow sunset as their backdrop.  I was not able to capture mine at this other spot but I was able to catch a much better, if not the best sunset I have seen, at this sexy curve on the road.  It was the moment when the sun's rays are already fighting to keep their eyes open.  A time when dusk would cover everything in a manner of seconds.  It was such a lovely sight.


This cross is erected to serve as a reminder for the lives lost in the volcanic eruption that wiped out the town that used to lie here

The sunken cemetery was the next and the last spot we visited on our list on my first day.  This is one of the more popular spots and it did not surprise me that a lot of people are still waiting by the shore, waiting for their turn to set foot on the cross planted meters away from the shore. Diving enthusiasts would have a field day since the underwater boasts of unnatural attractions - tombstones. The cross serves as a reminder of the tragic volcanic incident which happened in 1870.  It wiped the town which used to stand here.  

I had dinner at La Cocina on my first night at the island.  A quaint old house-turned restaurant.  Kuya Ronald said that the owner of the house is a DOT (Department of Touris) Regional Director.  To my delight, they made a great effort in preserving this fabulous time pieces - stored in glass cases for visitors to admire.


Dining at La Cocina is very relaxing.
Though the price is not for those on a tight budget.

My first day in Camiguin, though spent mostly on the road, was just the start of my love affair with her.  I slept early, determined to explore most of the island paradise in the next two days.

My second day started with a trip to one of the tallest falls I have seen at 70 meters in height.  Katibawasan Falls was neck-breaking.  I had to squint a bit in order for me to see where the waters were actually coming from. The waters were cool but not too much.  A dip here in at high morning is recommended.  The falls was blessed to have been surrounded by high mountain walls and lush canopies.  


The tall (really tall!) Katibawasan Falls


I visited the Old Church Ruins the night before but I knew I had to pay it another visit since it was already dark when we did so.  The ruins reminded of the old churches of Bohol. The ruins are in perfect condition.  The bell tower even resembles an old castle ruins somewhere in Europe.  This site is special for me because it screams history.





Be happy! Hug a tree.

I found a gargantuan tree just right to the old convent.  My guide, Kuya Dodong, said it is a century tree.  I remembered a quote that if you want to be happy, you should hug a tree. And so I did. 




Between our next destination, I asked my guide to stop at this sexy curve so I could take my signature pose - that is laying down on the middle of the road.  I did this too in my recent trip to Abra.  We had to time it perfectly though.  I think I made my companion nervous as he heard a car revving down the road.  I quickly got up, laughing.  It was so much fun!


Laying on a deserted road is one of my favorite past times lately

We then visited Bura Soda Water Spring.  From its name, they say it tastes like soda but when I drank a sample, I find nothing really different.  I took a quick dip here too.  


Bura Soda Water Spring


Tres Marias



The moment I laid my eyes on these cute mountain triplets, I knew I had to take a photo with them.  Obviously, these peaks are so much alike that they are literally called tres marias.  Tuasan Falls is located at the foot of these peaks.  The roads leading to the falls is still under construction at the time I visited so going up was a bit of challenge.  It was not a hindrance to the tourists though.  


And my visit to the island was profoundly highlighted by my visit to While and Mantique Islands.


White Island









Camiguin became popular because of White Island.  This is according to my guide, Kuya Dodong, on my second day in the land of seven volcanoes. Truly, a visit here is a must and not paying this gorgeous sandbar is definitely a regrettable decision.


As soon as I stepped on its soft, white sands, I remember my reaction was similar when I first stepped on Calaguas Islands.  I couldn't take my eyes off my surroundings and as such, I walked on all corners and took countless photos.  I am sure it would have been more beautiful if I were alone there.  I would be able to truly capture the place's serenity.

Mantique Island








Mantique Island is also a must-visit when you to go Camiguin. This is farther from the main land compared to White Island.  Larger at about 7 hectares, a small community still thrives on the island.  I learned though the government is pushing this to be a free zone and developed soon for tourism purposes. 

We trekked a bit and followed the signs and forest trail.  The sand is also powdery white and the waters are very clear too.  It also offers a breathtaking view of the island. 

We also dropped by at the other towns.  The ambience here is so laid-back that time seemed to stopped. Here I witnessed the authentic buhay-probinsiya which made me smile.  

Sagay


A public park with swimming pool


The church and the park at Sagay
A pebble stone beach

Guinsilban


A charming school in Guinsilban

The watchtower ruins is located just at the back of the elementary school





I also ventured into Camiguin's underwater world. Though I only explored the surface, it made me more conscious on my actions towards the environment.  


Underwater Camiguin


Did you see Nemo?
And that lone starfish reminds me of someone :-)
Rows of giant clams 





'It is rare for me to leave a place with a heavy heart (the last time was when I left Vigan). Turning my back to you makes me see the promise of returning, of kissing the seas again with you, of chasing magnificent sunsets with you. Our love affair has not yet culminated. It's like someone has left a hole in my heart, but I'm not heartbroken. It's more of this rushing feeling, much like when I knew who I have fallen in love with. I love you Camiguin.'

________

Other Parts in this Series

Part 1  You Are On It! 
Part 2  Camiguin's Ancestral Houses


Monday, June 16

Continue Voting for Vigan | New7Wonders (Cities)

Remarkably, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur is one of 28 finalists in the search for the New7Wonders.  However, on July 7, 2014, the number will be trimmed down to 21 then further cut to a tight number of 14 come October 7, 2014.  The winning 7 will be formally announced later on Dec. 7, 2014.

Lucy Chan's Antique Shop | Calle Crisologo

Dear readers, let's show our support and our love for our country by continuously voting for Vigan City.  Help spread the word to your families, friends and colleagues!  Click here to know how to undergo the voting process.

Long Live Vigan!  Long Live the Philippines!  



Saturday, June 14

SEAIR Partners with Muranglipad.com

SEAIR International (SEAIR) announces its partnership with Muranglipad.com to offer airfare comparison to passengers.

SEAIR, the brand that pioneered commercial flights to Boracay in 2005, is back to offer premium services with fast and stress-free travel to passengers. Part of its thrust to offer innovative services to clients, is the belief to offer the best value-for-money fares to passengers.



Muranglipad.com, a division of Triplestar Travel and Tours Inc, provides airfare comparison to all domestic and international destinations, across all airlines. SEAIR clients can now enjoy expert travel advise from Muranglipad.com’s pool of Travel Specialists. To avail of specialized travel assistance, passengers may call the reservations hotline at 849-0100 or visit www.muranglipad.com. Office hours are from8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Mondays to Fridays and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturdays and Sundays, to accommodate consultations, bookings and reservations.

Triplestar has 11 ticketing offices nationwide, particularly in Makati, Manila Domestic Airport, Quezon City, SM Clark, Cebu City, Cebu International Airport, Davao City, Davao International Airport, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban and Bacolod. All are strategically located to cater to passengers’ immediate travel requirements.  To find out more about the new and exciting service, please like SEAIR

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Tuesday, June 10

The Jaw-Dropping Calasiao Church

The moment I learned we were to attend a friend's wedding in Lingayen, Pangasinan, I knew I couldn't pass visiting this church just two rides away from the capitol.  I insisted, constantly reminded, basically reprimanded my companions to include this in our bucket list.  I am glad I did because we had the best time here.