Category Archives: Travel

Calapan: Philippines’ Most Business Friendly City

It was an amazing experience in Calapan City, now  the place is tagged as the Most Business-friendly City of the Philippines. Such recognition is remarkable.

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People in Calapan are nice and indeed friendly.
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Port of Calapan City

How to go?

From Manila, the capital of Philippines, you have to  take  a bus going to Batangas Port. From the port, it is just one hour ride thru a ferry going to Calapan. I strongly suggest,  ride with Fast Cat. it is fast, very convenient and clean.

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Fast cast offers relaxing travel.

Where to stay?

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Looking for practical place to stay in Calapan City? The Hotel Achimie offers good accommodation in a reasonable price.
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The frames shows the Calapan’s pride and wonders.\

Where to eat?

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Calapan’s morning coffee ❤
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Risoto ko Restaurant answers your hungry needs for snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s Eat all you can for a very practical price.

 

Port of Calapan City.

Marinduque: Heart of the Philippines

Who can forget the best memories I have in  Marinduque, Philippines? Of course not me. So let me share some amazing facts of Marinduque Province where I think few people only knew. By the way, Marinduque is labeled as the Heart of the Philippine archipelago.  Just I learned from them.

Moreover, the province is composed of  six beautiful municipalities, Mogpog, Buenavista, Torrijos, Sta. Cruz, Gasan and Boac as the center of commercialization and industry.

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The image of Virgin Mary in Binacalan Port in Mogpog shows the rich Catholic faith of town.

The Traditional Putong

It’s only in Marinduque where you can experience the very famous “Putong” (crowning). It is a traditional and unique  way of welcoming   visitors. The Marinduqueno (locals) will sing  their native song while dancing. The dancers  brought with them  bouquet of flowers and native crowns. When the  music stopped, they will offer  the flowers and then, you will be crowned. The whole Putong ceremony  seems to be crowing a royalty. By the way, I felt that time like a Queen.

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The Putong Crown
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People of Marinduque show enthusiasm during the Putong rites.

Where to eat?

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This simple food corner in Boac, Marinduque offers the traditional “ihaw-ihaw”. You must check it out when you get there.
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One of the prides in Marinduque, the Kusina is located at the second floor of the old house in town which is considered as one of the historical houses in the country. Kusina Plaza offers fine dining as well.

What to expect?

The best time to visit Marinduque is during the Holy Week, where the whole community celebrates the Moriones , an annual festival. The “Moriones” are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks.

BTW, people in Marinduque are early sleepers.  You can expect the roads in tranquil even at early night. ####

Reaching Magsaysay, OcciMin

Magsaysay, one of the eleven  municipalities in the Province of Occidental Mindoro. It  lies on the southernmost part of Mindoro Island. It is characterized by vast plains, valleys and  rugged terrain with plain areas.

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This rice field shows the abundant agriculture business  in the entire municipality.
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While travelling, I saw this farmer. I  appreciate his perseverance about his daily works.

Where to stay?

The Hill Side Farm  Resort offers the best accommodation in town. Aside from amazing and tasteful  “lutong-bahay”  food, the resort has  its best Videoke you can imagine.

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The welcome sign of the resort is indeed enticing.
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The swimming pool is just of of the amenities of the resort.

The people

Magsaysaynons are very welcoming and hospitable people. Just a simple observation, the whole community maybe has low crime reported. The place is an ideal if you are looking for physical and inner peace.

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A peaceful nap. This kid sleeps serenely while his parents is away.

Best Food

Magsasay is absolutely not the  least town when it comes to food. Below are few delicacies best offered.

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This delicious crabs known in town as ‘talangka’ will satisfy your food desire.
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Fried fish for lunch.

Though I have stayed in Magsaysay, Occidental  Mindoro only  for two days but the experience was great. Knowing the potential and beauty of this small town. For sure I will be back to explore and enjoy more. ###

Living the Mangyan way

I am posing a question: “What do you think it will look like if we’re not colonized by the Spaniards?”

Thinking all possible answers, I would assume that I don’t have the concept of a computer, internet, and blogging. Maybe, I am not able to understand nor write English.

Giving satisfaction to this query, then I am giving scenarios to help you imagine how it will look like if we are not once colonized. Definitely,  my experiences with these Indigenous People will provide with you answers to the above-mentioned question. I hope I can describe it justly.

Mangyan: A native tribe

The mountains of Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro are inhabited by the  Mangyans. Extensive tribal settlements of Mangyan in the municipality belong to sub-group known  Iraya. The Mangyans are simple people. They have dark skin and curly hairs but some of them have straight hairs.  History revealed that they were once coastal dwellers driven into the mountains to avoid religious conversion by the Spaniards, raids by Moro pirates, and the influx of recent migrants.

Municipal Hall
The Municipal Hall of Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro

The travel

It is our goal to reach the native community. Maybe you are wondering what’s with this travel? Well, I am part of that government project which advocates the right of these  Indigenous People.

So let’s start then.

At early dawn, I think that was 4:00 in the morning when we started the journey. Tiring and sweaty, these two words are just a few to describe our travel to Sitio Lagnas, Lumangbayan Abra de Ilog,  where a community of Iraya exists.

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Our team climbing this mountain at early dawn. Extreme.

On the way, there are hills after hills, mountain after mountain. Walking and hiking is something new we have to endure.  After hours of travel, the sun had started to climb to its zenith and we felt terribly hot and totally exhausted. We are craving cold water and of course for a rest. To add the agony, the heat of the sun is burning our skin. But we have to move on, there’s no room of turning back.

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Though the travel is tough, yet we have that chance to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the whole town of Abra de Ilog.
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Of course, you can see how terrible travel is. But if you are looking for an extreme activity like this, then better climb the mountains of Abra de Ilog.

The place called Hasaan

Around 3:00 in the afternoon,  we have arrived Hasaan. We can now see the fog and sort of clouds going down the mountains.

“Hasaan” is a local term for whetstone. The place is located between the two mountains with stream and brook with different sizes of sort of black marble rocks. The rock formation is another fascinating feature of the place.

Hasaan is derived from the word ‘Hasa’ which means to sharpen. According to locals, during World War II, the Japanese army used the place to sharpen their bayonets.

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These are the sample of the rocks that were scattered in Hasaan.

Our team has decided to build tents in Hasaan. The availability of water supply is what we considered.

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The parallel view of Hasaan.
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This little tent shelters us from rain and cold for almost 5 days during our stay.

Exciting challenges

During our stay, here are some remarkable things hard to forget. First,  coping with food and water. The sardines, noodles, dried fried, Fish Paste “Bagoong” and edible fern (paco)  saved us from extreme hunger.

 The water we drink came from the spring with an unusual size of tadpoles (measuring head-size of 1-2 inches diameter ) swimming in it. Safe or not? We don’t mind what is important is to quench our thirst and to survive.

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Have you seen cooked rice put inside a sack? There you go, in the absence of kitchen utensils, we have to maximize what’s available. Note: it is still delicious.
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The noodles played a vital role in our existence in Hasaan.
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Imagine without dried fish (tuyo), then we have no protein at all. I am thinking, I’ll be malnourished for once.

Second, the Alimatik or leech (Hirudina medicinalis)  attack. This little pest is sucking our blood. And the problem is, we have no clue it’s there because we feel nothing. Gross.

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This little pest is now full of blood. And “Alimatik” loves to suck the soft part of a human foot. Ewwww.

Third, the place gave us no choice but to use open defecation for our sanitation. Fourth, the very cold place that could kill us. Shocks, we are almost chilling to our bones.

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This bonfire warms our bodies and helps ease the cold evening.

Knowing Iraya

Irayanons look very primitive though their culture of wearing ‘bahags’ has faded. They are chewing the mixture of buyo locally known as ‘nga-nga’. Their lifestyle has been modified with technology. Few of them are already using cell phones for entertainment.

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An Iraya man looks very prominent in his community.
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A simple way of caring- this father has to carry his son.

We can observe that they live in simplicity and now they value the importance of education. Though most of their tribe members have no grade completed.

Irayanons are all farmers in occupation. Vegetables like , squash also sweet potatoes are their main productions.  They are also engaging in making grass brooms.

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These Iraya men have to walk for two days from their community before reaching the Abra de Ilog town proper to sell their products.
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Sweet potatoes- the fruit of the native’s labor.

This experience made me realized that I am lucky enough to live in the urban center and experiencing the fruit of civilization compare to these native people.

So these are the answers to the question: What do you think it will look like if we’re not colonized by the Spaniards?”

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At a young age, this woman has already kids. And I learned from them that there are incest cases. Unfortunately.
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If still we are not civilized, maybe we all look like him.

Withdrawing from our comfort zones is helpful in many different ways. This makes us grow, motivate, inspired, and sometimes experience the freedom that we are dreaming of. As said by Brian Tracy, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ###

Exploring Romblon, Philippines

Have you been to Romblon? If you answer ‘yes’ maybe you can relate to me but if not, then allow me to share with you my amazing experiences with the place. Romblon, is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region.  Its capital is also named Romblon. 

Hopefully, I can convince you to travel and allow yourself to explore Romblon the best way you can. I’ll be describing the place in my own words based on what I have seen and felt.

Man in Looc

After the 2 – hours of boat travel from Caticlan, Aklan, I have reached Looc, the first municipality I’ve touched in the entire province. It was 10 AM when I arrived. So, I was really excited to unveil what’s lie ahead in that simple and peaceful town. Hungry on the other hand, I satisfied myself at the Maxvirs Restaurant located in the center of town.

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Fresh crabs helped restoring my energy. Yummy!

After that one-day exploration of  Looc, I realized that town whose economy strives for growth. It still seeks for modernization. A place that offers less opportunities. Nothing unusual,  I was disappointed a little bit. But the dull moment was saved by a guy whom I met. He was cute and has that typical ‘probinsyano’ looks. Just to shortcut things, we did the deed.

Fortunately, until today we have communication. We are constant text mates in fact.  Maybe if I’ll travel back, then we could meet and have more fun with this man in Looc. Looking forward.

A quick glance of San Fernando

After the less exciting moment in Looc, I immediately moved to San Fernando, Romblon. In my travel, I have passed by  the municipalities  Odiongan and Calatarva.

We're soaring high. LOL. The highway road of Romblon is more on mountainous.
We’re hiking high. LOL. The highway road of Romblon is more mountainous.
During our travel, we came in to this view. And this amazed me  so much- the light house and the shore.
We came into this view. And this amazed me so much, the lighthouse, the shore, and the blue sky.
The view of the mini-boulevard in Magdiwang where it is a place for lovers and group to enjoy the sunset and relax as the sea breeze touches the skin.
The view of the mini-boulevard in San Fernando,  a place for all locals to enjoy the sunset and relax as the sea breeze touches their skin.

The nightlife of San Fernando is somewhat less exciting.  They have these small videoke houses which cater drinks and songs near the port. I hate the chastity of the daily evening life there but since I had no choice I  stayed and spent the night singing out loud. The good thing is, the neighborhoods did not complain.

Magdiwang Port.
San Fernando Port- Cannot help to have my first Montenegro ride.

The next morning, I packed my things and then catch my ship trip. At the sea, I have savored the relaxing mood. The calm and blue ocean depicts a peaceful place. The wind gave me that freshness I cant have in the big city. At the back of my mind, I wish I could stay like that forever. And what added the excitement was the view of migrating flock of dolphins.

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The ship’s tail creating a water trail.

Stop-Over at Romblon, Romblon

It’s not really redundant.  To clarify things, the name of the municipality is Romblon and the name of the province is also Romblon. The two Romblon’s are very different.

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The classy port of the municipality of Romblon. the Montenegro Lines just landed at the port and decided for a quick stop-over (maybe waiting for more passengers). So we had that time to discover and wander Romblon, Romblon. And see what we got- amazing marbles!
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The welcome sign of Romblon made from pure marbles. The structure of the man shows their rich marble industry.

Creativity without limits- that’s how I described the amazing creations of Romblonanons. If you are really looking for base plates, tiles, bricks in different sizes, and colors out from the blocks of marble. As well, small pendants with dolphins, manta rays, hearts, crosses and mortar, ashtrays and vases in various shapes, and many more. Visit Romblon and customize your choice according to your design.

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These are the sample of products and designs made by the local artists.
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Have marble balls.
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These mini-headstones are just for fun. Don’t take this seriously. You can buy this as a gift.

Finally, Magdiwang

After that quick stop-over in Romblon, the Montenegro ship started sailing to our final destination. It was noontime when we arrived in Magdiwang, Romblon.

I was welcomed by the quietude of the place.  Compared to other municipalities, the people of Magdiwang are funnier and nicer. It’s like I am connected with the place. Such a weird feeling.

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The Magdiwang port that entice me more.

In my effort of walking, I have come to the town’s Catholic church. The people of Magdiwang perhaps are devoted Christians.

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The Magdiwang Church, the symbol of the people’s strong catholic faith.

Along with my travel, I have seen this house. I stopped. I couldn’t help the urge to check it out. Why? Because it looks like our house in Samar.  The plants that surround and of course the cellar are the same features. I reminisced my childhood days when I was playing ‘bahay-bahayan’ in that cellar. So cute and funny. LOL.

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This house amazed me. It shows the simple yet strong and healthy foundation of a home.

Of course, I am not going to miss the experience with the famous Lambingan Falls.  The falls is a beautiful series of cascades in the foothills of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. The crystal clear water is a perfect venue for swimming. And the rock formations intensify the breathtaking view.

Lambingan

This water collector is designed for tourists and locals who want to shower. The water is cold and can be used also for drinking.

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This water collector was made for showering.
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That water running down is a mystery- where does it come from?

Love to swim and picnic? Then,  visit Lambingan Falls and be amazed.

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The crystal clear water in Lambingan Falls. That’s not me FYI.

Lastly, I have that grilling moment. See that fish, Oh I am dying having it because  I am too tired from swimming. Anyway, Lambingan is also a perfect place for family and friends outing.  For sure you will enjoy the moment just like I did.

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Well, that ended my Romblon exploration. Knowing the best and entertaining experiences, I am sure I’ll be back soon or later. Bye-bye Romblon. ###

Cagayancillo: A hidden paradise

I have been into different places, but my experience with Cagayancillo, one of the farthest island municipalities in the  Province of Palawan is far different. The travel is indeed nerve-wracking. Oh, the big waves flavor more the adventure. By the way, it’s a 6-hour trip from Anini-y, Antique by boat, if the weather is favorable but if not prepare to be devastated. #JK.

Just typical waves.
Just typical waves.
The happy passengers.
The happy passengers.

 

Upon reaching the place, the locals are known as Cagayanen, and is considered as an Indigenous People (IP) are very hospitable and nice. The community shows the simplicity of the Cagayanens lifestyle.

The simple yet proud Municipal Hall of Cagayancillo, Palawan
The simple yet proud Municipal Hall of Cagayancillo, Palawan
The daily living of  most Cagayanens owe their survival to the gift of the sea and the fruit of the land.
The daily living of most Cagayanens owe their survival to the gift of the sea and the fruit of the land.

 

Apart from the serenity of the place, Cagayancillo is abundant with the wonders of nature. The marine life is just a piece of the amazing features of the town.

Big big fish.
Big big fish.

 

Luckily, I have spotted the farthest island sitio of Cagayancillo, Cawili. Again, Cawili is a 6-hour journey from the town proper thru a boat. Still, I am not used to big waves and long sun exposure.

The tranquility of the sea shore in Sitio Cawili is indeed relaxing.
The tranquility of the seashore in Sitio Cawili is indeed relaxing.
The clean  shore of Sitio Cawili, Cagayancillo, Palawan.
The clean shore of Sitio Cawili, Cagayancillo, Palawan.

 

Aside from the perfect view of the sitio, it is also gifted with local birds called ‘Ku-ok’.

More birds, locally called as Ku-ok can be seen in Sitio Cawili.
More and more birds soaring can be seen in Sitio Cawili.
These birds nested in the wild trees.
These birds nested in the wild trees.

Cagayanens Food

Cagayanens love to cook and eat. So here are their best delicacies I have tasted.

Kinapayas, a local food delicacy: from a papaya cooked into semi-Adobo. Hmp, the taste is very distinctive but if you are really looking for peculiar taste, then you must try this.
Kinapayas, a local food delicacy: from a papaya cooked into semi-Adobo. Hmp, the taste is very distinctive but if you are really looking for peculiar taste, then you must try this.
Whoah. This fish looks very big and delicious. Slurrp.
Whoah. This fish looks very big and delicious. Slurrp.
I forget the name of this, but this is like an octopus cooked in Adobo.
I forget the name of this, but this is like an octopus cooked in Adobo.
The yummy Coconut crab.
The yummy Coconut crab.

Strong Faith

Cagayancillo is rich in Catholic faith history and the town’s Church stood evidently.

These  shells  serve as a decoartion and was made since 1800's when the
The shells in the Church ceiling are preserved. The said shells were used as designs when the church was built in the 1800’s.
The newly renovated Cagayancillo church.
The newly renovated Cagayancillo church.

The 5-day stay in Cagayancillo is remarkable. Well, the long sun exposure totally burnt my skin but definitely, the experiences were all at its best. If I have that chance, for sure “I shall return”. I know Cagayanens adhere to this: Melled Kaw or Welcome. And they will be happy to accommodate me once again. ###