Filipi-Know: Pinoy Words I Love.

Words are exceptionally the most commanding force presented to people. The use of such is something we do every single day whenever we talk to people, and even to ourselves. We either have the freedom to utilize this power beneficially through words of inspiration, or damagingly using words of desolation.

Words have authority. It can either make or break a person. It has the ability to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to harass, to humiliate and to humble a human being.

So I am sharing some Filipino words I love to here, and say. Which one is your favorite? Can you use them in a sentence? Take it away.

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Take it easy everyJuan.

Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Pinsal Falls (Ilocos Sur, PH)

Pinsal Falls is one of Ilocos Sur’s surprisingly best-kept nature secret. This 85-foot waterfall is located in the town of Santa Maria, which is also the home of the UNESCO-inscribed Santa Maria Church.

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Pinsal Falls is considered as the entire Ilocandia’s largest waterfalls. Its flowing blanket of water runs into natural pools that forage the rivers of Sta. Maria. According to local myths, the biggest from among these pools is said to be the footprint of a giant named Angalo, who was in search of his wife. If one climbs to the top of the waterfalls, a spring with warm water can be found.

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Sometimes, the waterfalls look like a twin falls. There is also a secreted cave behind the main waterfall. And in order to appreciate more of its beauty, you can go and trek your way to the top where more natural pools can be found. There are carved steps on the hillside although one has to be extra careful as the trail can be quite challenging still. Indeed, Pinsal Falls has a charm that is difficult to resist for a swim or an afternoon picnic with family and friends.

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When I went on a solo trip to Pinsal Falls wayback 2011, the waterfall’s flow wasn’t strong due to the summer season. Nonetheless, it is still a beauty to behold.

How to Get to Pinsal Falls:

From Manila, local bus operators like as Partas, Philippine Rabbit and Viron have daily trips to Abra, Vigan and Laoag. All of which will pass by the town of Santa Maria. Inform the driver to drop you off at the town center.

Hire a tricycle that will take you to the waterfall which lies among the hills and mountains of Brgy. Balbalasioan. It is said that the waterfalls may also be reached on foot from the town of Pilar, Abra.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebriwan.

Luna’s Leaning Baluarte & Pebble Beach (La Union, PH)

Whenever I tell someone that I spent my childhood years in the laidback province of La Union, most of the time I’ll be ask what is more to La Union besides surfing. I used to just shrug off my shoulders years back. But if you’ll ask me now, La Union is definitely more than a surfing hub.

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While it is true that the smallest province of the Ilocandia has accurately established itself as a surfing destination in the tourism industry, it also boasts off other visit-worthy places. One of which is the town of Luna, named after the Luna brothers.

Luna, a seaside town formerly called Namacpacan, is slowly creeping its way up the tourism board. I have been to Luna on 3 occasions and in all instances, I always visit its Pebble Beach and the beautifully ruined Luna Watchtower called by the locals as Baluarte.

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Built by the Spaniards during their halcyon days, the monumental Baluarte was designed as an observatory post for forthcoming danger from the sea. Like a sentinel guarding its subjects, this antique construction had functioned well its use for many years in the past.

Nowadays, the watch tower still erects but is ruined because of worn out base and foundation. It is being supported by concrete posts on its sides. Despite the derelict and seemingly crumbling state, it remains to be beautiful and admired.

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What makes its location more worthy of a visit is the fact that it sits in the pebble beaches of Luna. The stone dotted shoreline is a beauty to behold in itself with the azure wavy water as its backdrop. Also, diligent local stone pickers usually spend most of their time quarrying stones despite the heat of the unforgiving sun. I am pretty afraid though that if the rambling collection of the stones continues, it would further cause the erosion of the watchtowers base that could eventually lead to its destruction. I wish that the local government and the people would do something about this and maybe shift to eco-tourism activities as a means of preserving the place.

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To cap off your day in Luna, wait for the magical sundown that most of the time happens at this side of the Philippines. Experience La Union sunset as it drifts into the West Philippine Sea. This is truly one of the most mesmerizing and relaxing things to do here.

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How to Go to Luna:
From Manila, ride a bus that is Ilocos-bound. Inform the driver that you be dropped at the town of Balaoan. Once in Balaoan center, there are tricycles in front and across the church that is Luna-bound. From Luna town proper, go to Valdez Street near St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish. There’s another road there going to the Pebble Beach.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebr’juan’…

Playa Tropical (Ilocos Norte, PH)

If you are in search for a relaxing beachfront resort in Ilocos, this Balinese-inspired resort in Currimao just might amuse your taste.
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Created in traditional Balinese architecture, Playa Tropical Resort’s picturesque villas, private pools, distinctive garden bathrooms and delicate interiors with Balinese art, is certainly a relaxing abode for you and your family.

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Features:

Playa Tropical resort comes with 5 two-storey Casas. Each casa has a private pool. The smaller (and cheaper ones) called Casitas house standard rooms that are as good and tidy as the Casas. In between the Casas and the Casitas is a pond that adds beauty to the place.

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At the ground floor is the resort’s inhouse restaurant-slash-cafe called Café Amarra. Some of the food they serve include Ilocano delicacies like poque-poque and longganisa. Although they are good, they are quite expensive.

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Near the seashore is the resort’s large Infinity Pool. There is also a playground for kids and a spa at one side.  One can also stroll along the beach area as it is just a stone’s throw away from the poolside. The sand may be grayish to black but it has to be one of the finest beach sand I have set foot on. One can wait til late afternoon as the sundown is really stunning at this side of Ilocos.

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Other amenities include the following: Wifi access, housekeeping service, Room service, car wash. They also have function rooms and game room. You may also ask them to arrange a tour around Ilocos Norte.

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Fo your reference, here are the room rates:

Deluxe Double (2 double beds, cable television, air-conditioning, hot and cold water, toiletry set, standing shower or bathtub combo) – Php 3,800 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 4,180 (Peak)

Deluxe King (1 king-sized bed, cable television, air-conditioning, hot and cold water, toiletry set, standing shower or bathtub combo) – Php 3,800 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 4,180 (Peak)

Premier Room (1 king-sized bed with couch, cable television, air-conditioning, hot and cold water, toiletry set, standing shower or bathtub combo) – Php 4,000 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 4,400 (Peak)

Royal Suite with Bathtub (1 canopy bed, cable television, air-conditioning, hot and cold water, toiletry set, bathtub) –  Php 5,800 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 6,380 (Peak)

Royal Suite with Jacuzzi (1 canopy bed, cable television, air-conditioning, hot and cold water, toiletry set, Jacuzzi) – Php 6,500 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 7,150 (Peak)

Casa Room (1 queen Sized bed and 3 single beds, 18 sqm private pool,cable television, mini-fridge, in-room safe, individually controlled air-conditioning, hot and cold water, separate toilet and bath) – Php 12,500 nett (Regular) good for single/double occupancies with breakfast; PHP 13,750 (Peak)

Please take note that prices maybe subject to change without prior notice. Also, rooms that are single or twin sharing have complementary breakfast.

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*Maximum of four adults in a room, 2 excess adults without breakfast

*Extra person: PhP 600 per person per night, PhP 800 (for Casa Room)

*Children 8 years old and below sharing bed with their parents are considered free of charge but without breakfast. 9 years old and above are considered adult with full charge rate.

*Check in time: 2 pm; Check out time: 12 noon. Early check in and late check out is subject to room availability on the day itself.

**If one opts for a day tour, the entrance and pool use is at 200Php/ person.

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Playa Tropical Resort Hotel, Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Contact us through (+63) 917 570 0223 or (+63) 670 1211 or email us at stay@playatropical.com.ph

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So the next time you are feeling tired and you want an escape some where north, stay at Playa Tropical Resort. Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust.

Sulvec Beach & the Grotto by the Sea (Ilocos Sur, PH)

The province of Ilocos Sur is primarily known for its capital city – Vigan. Hence, most people would spend their time in this famous Spanish-inspired “ciudad” (city). While it is true that the Heritage City of Vigan offers a lot to see and experience, the towns one gets to pass by on the way to Ilocos are also worthy of being visited.

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The coastal town of Narvacan (one of the largest in terms of land area and population in the entire Ilocos Sur) would actually capture a traveller’s attention as it imposes a stunning seascape. One particular spot is a rocky beach and a grotto by the sea called Paraiso ni Juan at Sulvec Point. The striking beauty of these vistas would often prompt a traveller to drop by the area. I suggest though that you stay until sundown because the sunset view is just stunning at this side of Ilocos.

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The grotto built by the sea was named after Captain Juan de Salcedo, whose fleet was shipwrecked in this area. Besides the sand dunes of Laoag and Paoay, this spot is also famed for being one of the places where the late Fernando Poe Jr shot his movie “Ang Panday”. TGoing to the grotto may require wading into the water and crossing some coralline rocksduring low tide as it is located several meters away from the beach line. The beach area (Sulvec Beach) is lined with some rock formations, and brown rocky sand. A few huts can be found making it an ideal place for picnic with friends and family.

As a person who loves sunsets, waiting for the sun as it immerses into the horizon at the end of the day, is the one thing I enjoyed the most. Just heart-melting!

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How to Reach Sulvec Beach (Point) and Paraiso ni Juan:

From Manila ride an Ilocos bound bus from Cubao (some in Pasay) Terminal. Bus lines like Genesis, Partas, Viron and Florida have regular trips to the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union. Ride a bus that is Vigan or Laoag-bound then inform the conductor to drop you off at Sulvec point. Just cross the national highway and you will immediately spot the grotto.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Pangil Coral Rock Garden (Ilocos Norte, PH)

Most people visiting Ilocos in Northern Philippines, would most of the time, make their way to the established tourist destinations of the region (ie Vigan, Laoag, Paoay, Pagudpud to name a few). What most travellers do not know are the countless equally stunning vistas dotting the Ilocandia coastline that are visit-worthy.

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Case in point is the town of Currimao – an often ignored destination in Ilocos Norte. This town facing the West Philippine Sea boasts off a series of shallow tidal pools and serrated, coral-like rock formations that extend to about two kilometres along the Pangil Bay. Pangil Coral Rock Gardens as it is called, is an impressive work of nature where people can swim in the concealed rock pools with cobalt to jade color.

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These coral rocks looks like they were intentionally slashed at almost the same height (around 10-12 feet). It is said that these calcified masses, were at one point, used as materials in building the imposing baroque churches across Ilocos region.

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As an enthusiast of landscape photography (and a fondness for rock formations), I immediately fell in adoration with this masterpiece. My visit to this place was part of my short stint in Currimao. I wish to be back and wait for the sundown the next time I am at this part of Ilocos. Knowing that this side of the country almost, always shows off some of the best sunset view, I can only envision a sure fire picture-perfect view.

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How to Get to Pangil Rock Gardens:

From Manila ride an Ilocos bound bus from Cubao (some in Pasay) Terminal. Bus lines like Genesis, Partas, Viron and Florida have regular trips to the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilcos Sur and La Union. Ride a bus that is Laoag-bound then get off in the Currimao – Paoay junction. From the junction, ride a tricycle to Pangil.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formations (Ilocos Norte, PH)

Every rock they throw, I use it as a stepping stone.

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A big percentage of the earth is said to be made out of rocks. Rain, wind and other geophysical factors have worn down the Earth’s land surface through the years. Interestingly, these forces of nature have shaped inimitable and striking rock formations across the world,

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The Philippines does not only boats off some of the world’s most stunning beaches. We fortunately also have some outstanding geological features that have amazed visitors. One particular rock formation that has graced several various travel magazines in the Philippines is the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation,

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Kapurpurawan is located along the rocky coastline of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Its name was derived from the Ilocano word “puraw” which means white. True enough from its etymology; this geological formation is creamy white in hue making it standout from where it perched. The stunning limestone formations are believed to have been sculpted by various oceanic and weather forces.

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Today, this natural wonder stands proud of its rugged beauty. The grand scenery of the West Philippine Sea and the windmills built around the undulating area has added charm to the entire place.It is definitely one of the must-see destinations in the province and in the Philippines.

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When we were kids, our grandparents used to bring us to this place. I could hardly remember those memories. My most vivid encounters were my visit in 2010 and 2014. I was fortunate to have experienced Kapurpurwan up-close and personal since visitors were still allowed to climb the rock. In recent years (like my 2014 visit), clambering to the area is no longer allowed due to some irresponsible visitors who would vandal the place. But don’t worry; one can still admire its beauty from a distance where a viewing deck was constructed.

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This is just one of the numerous tourist attractions if you decide to pay Ilocos Norte a visit. Great thing about visiting Kapurpurawan is that, it is free. An ethereal place to marvel at natures gifts to mankind indeed!

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How to go to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation”

Ilocos Norte is a 10- to 12-hour drive or bus ride from Manila. Visitors may also take a one-hour flight from Manila to Laoag, and rent a van (or even a tricycle tour) to reach Burgos. If you’re using a private car, just drive along the main highway of Pan Philippine Highway in Burgos Ilocos Norte. Once you reach Bangui and Cape Bojeador, it’s easy already as there are signboards going to the place.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Palpalokada (Burgos, Ilocos Norte, PH)

“A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer

I was in Bacolod when I’ve heard of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’s feature about Ilocos’ best kept secrets. Since I was on a backpacking that time, I wasn’t able to watch it. When I got back in Baguio, my housemate messaged a link of that episode of Jessica Soho. And LO! I was right there and then eager to go and see for myself this 5-syllable name of a place that thuds totally enthralling to my ears – PAL-PA-LO-KA-DA.

Before setting a schedule, I googled this place and check out what else has been said about it. And there, only a few have been and only a number of blogs or posts were written. I guess its because the place is pretty new and people haven’t heard much of it until that Saturday night when it was first featured on national television.

A week ago, I contacted the Tourism officer of the town of Burgos (Sir Jonas Tesoro), and inquired about Palpalokada. He was very nice and really enthusiastic talking about the place. A few days from the time we talked over the phone, I found myself traveling on an almost 8 hours bus ride from Baguio to Laoag then to the laidback town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte.

This isn’t my first time to visit Ilocos Norte since my dad’s roots are traced in this idyllic province. But every time I come back, I always find myself enamored by its beauty. This province never fails to surprise me with its seemingly endless nature secrets. I was so in awe when I first saw Kapurpurawan a few years ago; and I could still remember how amazed I was when I reached the topmost part of Cape Bojeador.

From Laoag City, its only about an hour to an hour and 30 minutes by bus to reach Burgos town proper. (Depending on how many stops would the bus do to pick up a seemingly endless number of passengers with loads of stuff, wahehehehe… I’m not really complaining… Forgive me if I sound like one but I am just so excited to see Palpalokada). I met Sir Jonas at the municipal hall, and I was right, he was as enthusiastic as he was over the phone as he is in person. Having conversed with him, I must say that the town is very fortunate to have a goal-directed tourism officer like him.

From the town proper, off we went o Palpalokada with some of the Mayor’s visitors all the way from Malabon. We took a dirt path to the left (from the National Highway going to Pagudpud). There were no signposts (yet – the tourism officer have some brilliant ideas on how the post would look like later). It was about a 10-minute ride on a PUV, or if one is keen on walking, I guess that’s possible too but will take you perhaps half an hour to one hour depending on how excruciating the sun’s heat is.

Upon arrival, I was lost for words for a few moments. I was trying to scan my brain for the most appropriate adjective that would describe the place. I ended up saying “wow, it’s beautiful”. It was an understatement. I knew I could utter better words than that but I guess I was too star-struck to have thought of more  apt description like “cinematic”, “amazing” or “spectacular”. It was a cloudy day inspite of the sweltering heat of the sun. But more than the sweat coming out of my forehead, I had gooseflesh…

After it has sank in me that I was really in Palpalokada, I hurriedly set up my tripod and camera. It was yet another dilemma. I didn’t know where to start. With such vast a beauty, I was confused as to which fraction of the place to capture first. I may sound exaggerated but you’ll understand that when you get to see it firsthand. Palpalokada is definitely a photographer’s paradise. Everything is really praiseworthy. At that moment, I’ve seen the most thought-provoking panorama – it was like the coast of Ireland, or a bit of the Grand Canyon and thebeaches of Maui in Hawaii (though I’ve never been to these places, only saw it in pictures)… really mystical, but authentic… as one of my twitter friends would always say – LEGITIMATE beauty!

Sir Jonas told me that it was quite unfortunate that the kabalyeros of the Pasto Communal of Burgos (an association of farmers/horse owners which) are having an important meeting that’s why the horses aren’t available too. It was proposed that a horse-back riding activity is one great pastime to do and enjoy in Palpalokada. But the absence of horses for faster and easier way of moving around didn’t hinder me from exploring the place.

Palpalokada, according to Sir Jonas, was coined from an Ilocano word “paloka” – a term given to handmade slippers out of used rubber tire for the soles and rope for the uppers, and were once used during the olden times. So Palpalokada may translate in to “their slippers”. Once in Palpalokada, one gets to see a 360-degree view of God’s and one of man’s greatest creations. To the north are the humongous Bangui Wind Turbines, the West Philippine Sea, of course on the west, large rocks on the southern part with a view of Kapurpurawan; and jagged mountains at the eastern side. It was a complete package – from stunning landscapes to incredible seascapes.

It was indeed an adventure-filled and quixotic weekend in a surprisingly impressive milieu. Nature aficionados and kibitzers will definitely feel enamored by this place. And so, with the remaining number of days this summer – try to squeeze in and consider Palpalokada a part of your summer getaway. But remember, always always always be a conscientious tourist. Just like what the mountaineer’s creed says – “take nothing but picture”!

For inquiries, contact the Burgos tourism office at +63-77-7861408. Or call Mayor Cris Garcia: 0928-5510452, 0917-5190665  and Jonas Tesoro: 0928-5510381, 0905-3520633, 0915-5211885.) – Believe me when I say they are the nicest!!!

Romulo out —

Take it easy ebrwian.