It might be too late to greet everyone a “Happy New Year”, but hey a happy new year to you! 🙂 How was your new year? Mine was pretty uneventful. I spent it in my hometown in Bicol, waited for the clock to strike 12 on the the 31st of December, then I slept. Even my blog was uneventful. For the first time, I did not write a year-end post.
Anyway, to start this blog’s year and to lessen my travel diary backlogs, I thought of sharing some of the waterfalls I’ve been to in the Philippines. The Philippines is not only blessed with beautiful beaches but with bodies of freshwater such as lakes, waterfalls and rivers. It’s a good idea to check these out and include them in your must-visit list this 2016:
Hagitmit Falls is found in the island of Samal in Davao del Norte. One interesting feature of this body of water is that it actually a series of falls. The falls above is just one of the more gently sloping falls. The one below is more “rugged”.
It’s so hard to blog these days. I don’t know if it’s a matter of my busy schedule or simply because I don’t have the drive. Anyway, for some “I am alive” post, here are some “historical” doors I want to share with your guys. Most of these are doors in old Spanish houses across the Philippines.
I usually try to schedule an out of town trip during summer. In the Philippines, school break falls on the months of April to May so I have come to associate summer = vacation. Now that I am working, I maintain that association by going on vacation trips during summer.
In the summer of 2014, I went to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Guimaras and Iloilo in the Visayas area of the Philippines with my high school friends, Cez, Thomas and Galembs. Our trip lasted for four days. Our entry point was Silay City in Negros Occidental, then our exit point was Iloilo.
The next travel series I will share are what I have to come to call as “BIG trip”. It stands for Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras.
Balay Negrense, one of the famous old houses of Silay.
1st stop: Silay City
Bacolod is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental but its airport is located in the province of Silay, which is about a 30-45 minute ride from Bacolod City. Silay City is one of the two museum cities in the Philippines, the other one being Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. It has been referred to as such due to the number of preserved Spanish houses in the city. In the airport, we were even given a map which detailed where all the Spanish houses were situated.
From the airport, we decided to proceed first to El Ideal Bakery, of the most must try’s in Silay, to eat breakfast. The restaurant-bakery is is also housed inside an old Spanish residence! Continue reading →
I am trying to catch up with my travel diaries but since my work and graduate school activities also involve a lot of writing, I barely have time to write for this blog. My backlog has now totaled to four travels and this does not even include my unfinished Ilocos travel series. So, I thought of a roundabout solution about my dilemma and I realized photo essay is the way to go!
First stop is Baler, a town in the Aurora province of the Philippines. It can be reached through five-six hour bus trip from Manila. I went there around the end of January this year. It was an unplanned trip. A friend called me up to ask if I want to go to Baler on a long weekend. Being the wanderer that I am, I accepted her invitation.
Rocky cliffs of Baler.
It was very cold and a bit rainy when we went there. It was the peak of the northeast monsoon int he Philippines so temperatures were around 12-18 degrees Celsius.
A falls by the highway! Yup! Just beside the highway!
Siquijor is a quaint small island in the Central Visayas, Philippines. The island is perhaps best known for its tales of mambabarangs or sorcerers. I visited Siquijor last month and I was quite surprised that its beauty goes far beyond the mysteries that people have associated it to. Its beaches are untouched by urbanity and its waters are one of the most turquoise I’ve seen in the Philippines. The picture in my previous post was in fact taken in Salagdoong Beach, in the town of Maria, Siquijor.
What caught my attention the most; however, were not the beaches but the Tupalos Marine Sanctuary and Tree Houses. The locals built a walkway and tree houses among the mature mangrove trees. The tree houses were even for rent! My favorite was the walkway that extends beyond the mangrove forest to a cottage in the open sea. The view was outstanding and I thought how nice it would be to live in such place and wake-up to the peaceful view. So dreamy!
August 10 of 2013 ( I know, so late!) which was a Saturday was spent travelling to the northernmost towns of Ilocos Norte. These places are among the most popular tourists destinations and you will see later why. These three towns have some of the most beautiful natural attractions I’ve seen in the Philippines!
We started the day the very early. Before going to Ilocos, I already contacted a tour operator, Kuya Bhoy, to pick us at La Eliana at around 6 AM. We were already up as early as 4:30 AM which allowed us to witness this very beautiful sunrise from our hotel room:
Kuya Bhoy arrived late at around 6:30 AM because he had to drive all the way from Pagudpud which was about two (2) hours away! We were already very hungry by the time he arrived so we dropped by a Jollibee drive thru before embarking on a road trip. Just a little after a hour on the road, we already reached our first destination the Cape Borjeador lighthouse in the town of Burgos.
I love silhouette shots. I love them more especially if they are taken during the golden hours (sunrise or sunset). At such circumstances, one need not be professional photographers to create beautiful shots. I hope I did the silhouette theme some justice. I have accumulated them (again) from my various trips in the Philippines.
The Philippines is such a good subject for photography. One can get every imaginable texture because we have every landscape imaginable…volcanoes, waterfalls, limestone cliffs, etc. Who knows there is also a distinct advantage in being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and in being in the path of typhoons? The only thing we probably don’t have is glaciers because obviously we are a tropical country. Here are some interesting “textures” I have come across for the past 2.5 years since I have started exploring the Philippines:
(Clockwise from L: (1) The rocky beach in Diguisit, Baler, (2) rocky cliff in Caramoan, Camrines Sur, (3) smooth limestone structure in Kapurpurawan, Ilocos Norte, and (4) punctured cliffs in Talicud Island, Samal.
The summer is over in the Philippines. In fact, it’s been rainy for two months now! We even had a very strong typhoon last week. 😦 BUT in honor of this week’s theme, here’s some summer lovin’ photographs which I took last May when I went to a vacation in the provinces of Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras:
My friend, Cez, and our turtle friend.
In front of Jaro Church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
Braving the heat just to take advantage of this beautiful cemetery.
Is still sunny in you part of the world? More “summer lovin” pics at Daily Post.
There’s a very interesting cave in Guimaras Island cave the Baras Cave. It is situated separate from the main island so can it only be reached via boat. The island cave is full of contrasts…from the sharp and smooth stones inside, to the shallow and deep parts of the lagoon inside it, up to the light and dark contrasts created by several small entrances in the cave.
I already talked about my adventures in the Ilocos provinces in previous posts. I haven’t come to sharing about Kapurpurawan Rock Formations yet though I will do so in my next travel post… hopefully. The way to the rock formations are surrounded by shallow bodies of water. I don’t know how they come about but they form some of the most beautiful natural attractions I have seen in the Philippines.
As seen in photo above, the scenery provide such an amazing backdrop. I have one qualm though…the locals decided to put a stature/monument of a crocodile! When I saw it, I almost shouted, “WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYY?”. I think the status is totally and unnecessary and just destroys the whole feel of the place. Sorry Ilocos Norte government. I just feel that some natural attractions are better off untouched.
Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge “Extra, Extra” at Daily Post.
In the first part of Ilocos Adventure post, I shared about the places I visited in the towns of Batac and Paoay, Ilocos Norte. For this part, I will share about my quick stop in Laoag City. I and my co-workers just stayed in the city for a half a day but I can say every second we spent in Laoag was worthwhile. The city proper was smaller and less urbanized then I expected but I was surprised that it was this fact that made me love it even more. So onto my Laoag hullabaloos…
Seat of power in Ilocos Norte
On August 9, during the last day of the conference, most of officemates went back to Manila already while I and four co-workers (Ate Kate, Shei, Sab and Io) decided stay to visit the rest of the Ilocos provinces. We were also later joined by Ate Kate’s husband, Kuya Vince who flew all the way from Manila.
La Preciosa Restaurant
After checking out of Plaza Del Norte, we proceeded to the city proper of Laoag. We then checked in at La Eliana Hotel, a budget accommodation. We agreed to just stay there for the night since we will be leaving for early in the morning anyway. After resting for a bit, we went out to start to our half day tour of Laoag. Our first stop was the the La Preciosa Restaurant, which was situated just across La Eliana Hotel. They are famous for their cakes and a poqui-poqui, an eggplant dish. La Preciosa seems to be an old Spanish house converted to a restaurant. The interior is reminiscent of old antique houses and is very homey.
La Preciosa Restaurant.
Since it was just around 2 PM, we decided to try the cakes and reserve poqui-poqui for dinner. We ordered three flavors: carrot cake, toblerone cake, and blueberry cheesecake. All the cakes were good but my personal favorite would have to be the carrot cake!
It’s not unusual to see old Spanish houses in the Philippines after being a colony of Spain for more than 300 years. The best preserved Spanish houses are usually located in heritage cities like Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and Silay in Negros Occidental. I had the chance to visit one of the most famous heritage house in Silay City last May, the Balay Negrense. The museum is also known as the 117-year old ancestral house of Victor Gaston. The room that caught my attention the most from that house is the girl’s room:
According to the tour guide, the things in the room used to be property of the Gaston daughters. I remember being spooked out particularly by the dolls. They remind me of horror movies involving Chucky. I cant’ help but wonder, what were their stories? And if these dolls can project scenes, what stories would they tell?
Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge entitled Room.
I thought being on school break means more free time. I guess not. I am loaded with work more then even so I am hardly alive these days. Anyway, for a breather I am sharing these two photos for this week’s challenge with the theme “On Top”. These actually do not exude the “on top” perspective discussed by the challenge, but rather a “to the top” and “at the top” feeling. Nonetheless, hope you like them!
The way to the top of the hill.
The view from the top of the hill!
Belated Happy Easter everyone and I hope I have the time to post something tomorrow for my special day. 🙂