Tuesday, October 28

The Varied Old Homes of Boljoon

But of course, a visit to a lovely heritage town like Boljoon would not be complete without discovering its pot of gold: its ancestral homes.

The old homes of Boljoon seems more on the mix of American-influence and of traditional architecture. I truly enjoyed walking along its oldest street (Patrocinio St.) and in the adjacent ones.  

Tuesday, October 21

Beauteous Boljoon

I knew I would be stepping foot on this tamed, religious town the moment I saw a picture of it over the internet. Boljoon (read as Bol-ho-on) came first to my knowledge in dear friend Ephraim's blog post over two years ago.  My mind did not need a long time to ponder, I knew I loved Boljoon even before going there.

Elevated view of Boljoon town proper with Ili Rock 

Nestled in a secluded cove protected by a natural rock formation called Ili Rock, it is no wonder as to why Boljoanon's forebears chose to settle here permanently.  A small strip of flat land is bounded by azure waters and thickly-forested curving hills.  Boljoon, in anybody's view, can be described as nothing but picturesque.  

Tuesday, October 14

Claveria's Remaining Ancestral Homes

This coastal town only has a few remaining ancestral homes which either have been turned to business establishments or remained the families' humble abode. 

Either way, I was still happy to see a few old homes that withstood the test of time.

Monday, October 6

The Mermaid in Moalboal

It was my first time in the province of Cebu.  I wonder how come I have skipped visiting this comely queen for many years now.  I guess because of the fact that Cebu has always been on the top of the list among Philippine destinations.

A recently cancelled trip abroad opened several windows of local travel for me.  After a three-day sojourn in the provinces of Ilocos SurIlocos Norte, Cagayan and Apayao, a hiatus was not in the horizon for I was headed to this island soon after.

Wednesday, October 1

I Stepped Foot in Apayao

I smiled a genuine smile as the scenes from a painting of a Philippine National Artist came to life before my eyes. Mountains as the backdrop, farms on the sides, two carabaos lounging in the river, the blue skies, a gentle river snaking from the mountains to the plains below and a gentle lady dreaming of a love from above.  

Yes, I stepped foot in Apayao.

Thursday, September 25

I Love Claveria

I was wedged in between rowdy teenagers and an elderly woman with lots of baggage.  The jeepney we were riding in was having a hard time maintaining its steady momentum as it wound its way up to the hill towards Sentinela.  The small sliding window behind me gave me a glimpse of a view worthy of a loud wow and solicited from me several omgs.  I think of the poor kid now who might have to deal with a hearing problem after that brief encounter with an excited traveler.

The view was magnificent.  The sea lapping around the gray sands of a long quiet beach.  The intricate rock formations jutting out from end to end.  Nothing but the solemn sea. A few kids litter the beach front, playing in their own private world.

Sentinela Beach, Claveria

Claveria has long been a dream destination for me. Located at the northernmost tip of Luzon Island, it is a quiet town worthy of my love.  Where everyone knows almost everybody.  A curious glance at you would cement their suspicion that you are either probably a first-time visitor or a recurring vacationer.  

My mermaid tail in Taggat Lagoon

The beach babe in me longed to immerse in the clean calm waters of Taggat Lagoon when it was low-tide.  Sentinela Cove's charm brought out the mermaid in me while the main beach fronting Pasaleng Bay caused quite a stir.  Locals were eager to watch as a red-tailed mermaid swam happily on their sleepy shores.

Someday I'll be Part Of Your World

Truly, I love Claveria.


How To Get Here
Florida (Sampaloc, Manila) air-con buses plies the Manila-Claveria route at P 800 per person

Monday, September 22

Finally, Ilocos Norte

So my good friend Journeying Pinay convincingly convinced me to tag along with here when she went home over the long weekend last August.  I was headed for Cebu the following week so I was contemplating if I will decide to join her.  Budget was the main concern but the power of finally seeing the unseen won me over.

From Vigan, we hopped on a jeepney going to Magsingal (P 20), then hopped on another bus to Paoay.  The Church of St. Augustine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the Baroque Churches in the Philippines.  

I paused a bit by its side and admired its massive fortress. Breath-taking that church was.  Another old beautiful church off my list.  

The Church of St. Augustine of Paoay.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thursday, September 18

Adams is The Garden of Eden

So somewhere up north I was able to cross a hanging bridge above a free-flowing river from the jungles.  I vividly remember the slightly swaying steel rods as it groaned under me and Hazel's weight.  Rusty and worn-out, the bridge could use a new smudge of re-painting but I think it's better left at its state (given no one would use it again).  It blends perfectly with its rural surroundings: towering trees with over sized leaves.  Yes, I was really in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, September 9

Sta. Maria Church and Pinsal Falls

My first venture in Ilocandia was back in April of this year when I visited the UNESCO Heritage Site of Vigan City. Little did I know that I would step foot on its vast lands again just after a few months.

I am glad to share two of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur's treasures:  Our Lady of the Assumption Church or more known as Sta. Maria Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Pinsal Falls, a lovely waterfall tucked in the hills of Brgy. Baballasioan.

Thursday, September 4

Under The Sea

Aug 16, 2014.  This was the date that I have scratched off another thing off my bucket list.  I was unaware that I would be able to do this very soon!  I convinced my college friend, and now my dive buddy, Chie, to take introductory dive classes with me out of the blue.  At first I thought we were just making conversation but I realized that we were actually going to jump in once we were on our way to Anilao, Batanggas.

We met our instructor, Jeroen at Bagalangit Dive Resort. We started our class as soon as we have settled in since we were his only students.  He showed us the different scuba gears we will be using and the proper way to take care of each. The classroom session lasted no more than 30 minutes. Soon after we were walking towards the sea.  Yes, the sea.

We were expecting a confined dive but we had no choice but to wade in the waters after Jeroen.  Heck, I thought.  I guessed the difference would not be that big as he made sure we got used to our surroundings first before diving into deeper waters.

The seabed where we first dived was not that colorful compared to ones I have seen online.  Nonetheless, the marine life that greeted us were more than enough to make me squeal under! I almost forgot that I had my mask on. 

This is the okay sign for scuba divers

Jeroen signaled that we will be going into the deeper parts. After our dive, he said that we went as deep at 12 meters or roughly 39 feet.  We swam up to the edge of an undersea cliff.  I knew that bottomless seas lay beyond as I could only see dark blue colors around me.  Seeing those fishes up close was the most enthralling experience I have in my traveling years.  Truly, the underworld is a different universe.  Sadly, it is being neglected by many and does not realize its unique role in our ecosystem.

We stopped in one area and watched in complete awe as the school of fishes swam in front of our eyes.  They were wearing vibrant colors like yellow and blue which made me almost chase them!  Of course I know that I can only appreciate their beauty from a distance.  

After 40 minutes it was time to go up. We were running out of air.  It was unbelievable. As I am writing this post, I can still feel the calmness and serenity of being underwater. The silence of the seas came back with me.  I can safely say that I have found a second home, a second world under the seas.  

I know that from now on I will keep yearning for more dives to be reunited with my brothers and sisters.

After all, I am a mermaid. :))