Why Travel?

On October 15, 2008 – I made my very first blog about why I got hooked with travelling. It was a Taglish write-up. And today, to celebrate the 1st year anniversary of my travel blog here in wordpress, I am sharing several paragraphs of that writing about why I travel. Going over my reasons then, it seems to me that they are still the answers to why I continue to travel. Read along 🙂

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I like to travel because of the following reasons:

Una sa lahat, exciting bumyahe. Some people term it as stepping out of their comfort zone. Iyong iba naman, naniniwala na its a way of pushing boundaries and exploring; but it all boils down to the same thing — to take a trip is EXCITING! EXHILIRATING! ELECTRIFYING! (isipin niyo na lahat ng naguumpisa sa letter E). Hindi ba at nakakaexcite na you get to see new things, experience new sensation, o kaya eh makatikim ng pagkain na bago sa panlasa mo. Isipin mo, kapag naglalakbay ka — every step you take is something you’ve never taken before, especially on places less traveled. Sometimes, you don’t even know what to expect. And that, makes it more exciting…

Ikalawa, travelling (especially kung mag-isa ka) is something ENLIGHTENING. Kung bumibiyahe ka, mag-isa man o may kasama eh paniguradong marami kang malalaman tungkol sa sarili mo (at pati na rin sa mga kasama mo). Ika nga ng isang quote — “The best way to know somebody is to travel with them”. Totoo ito. Naniniwala ako dito. To travel is to learn about your limits, your strengths, your weakness and even discover things you have never imagined that you can actually do. WE LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE CAN BE, BUT HAVEN’T BEEN THUS FAR. We learn about emotional stress one can deal with, what we dare, what we don’t. Ngayon, mas masasabi ko na mas naging flexible ako sa maraming bagay…. Narealize ko na mabubuhay ako kahit walang mga luho… na marami akong kayang gawin na mga bagay-bagay na once I would not dare do or thought I can do.

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Ikatlo, EXPERIENCE. Bukod sa masayang isipin na may bago kang lugar na mapupuntahan o bagong taong makikilala — doing all that new stuff is something extremely educational. Experiential learning sabi nga sa Pschology. The places, the people, the things you do are not those things that one will be forgetting soon. Hindi gaya ng mga inaral mo sa exam na pagkatapos ng pagsusulit, kinakalimutan na. Ung mga naeexperience sa mga ganitong lakad, usually stays forever or would leave a certain mark to you. An experience may change the way we think about things – again from people to culture to places. In some cases, some will even change our own life. It usually brings things into perspective.

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The fourth reason is something very different for all of us who like to travel. It is because, the third reason is considered to be something VERY PERSONAL. May kanya kanya tayong espesyal na dahilan kung bakit gustong gusto nating maglakbay. Yung iba, they love how simple life is on the road, iyong iba naman eh dahil sa gusto nilang matuto ng iba’t ibang bagay tungkol sa isang lugar (ie history, culture)… Others do it to capture their stolen youth, or to make up for some precious time… For some, it is a must because if they don’t travel, they wouldn’t feel satisfied or complete. Yung iba siguro, its a form of escape, a form of searching for something missing…  Well, I share most of these reasons most of the time. But if there is one thing I have come to realize after several years of traveling around my beautiful Philippines eh heto iyon. I like travelling because i wish that others traveled more. Totoo iyan. Proud ako na panay ang hikayat ko sa mga kakilala ko na sumama sa akin… I feel extremely happy everytime I get the chance to share my experiences and stories. It feels good pag may nakoconvince ako to travel and see places — malayo man o malapit.

Lastly, traveling is LIVING. Lahat tayo gusto natin yung pakiramdam na WE ARE FREE, that WE ARE ALIVE. We want to live life to its fullest. My travels made me realize that communities are boundaries. Boundaries, somehow, have invisible walls. I want to break these walls, I want to break these boundaries. Sabi ko nga sa 4th reason ko, I like the idea that everyone gets to travel. Bukod sa masaya ung pakiramdam na may nahikayat ka, it feels even better to see them appreciate also the things that captured your heart. Most importantly, they to are able to break boundaries.  Gusto ko ‘to dahil naniniwala ako na mas magkakaintindihan tayo kung nakita mo rin ant naranasan mo rin ang mga nakita ko at naranasan ko.

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Ikaw, ano mga dahilan mo? Bakit gusto mong naglalakbay? Kung hindi ka mahilig, bakit hindi mo subukan? You will never know, it might unlock something new in you.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. But one thing is certain, I will continue going to places. Kahit saan pa yan. Meron o walang pera. Marami pa akong gustong mapuntahan. Marami pa akong gustong malaman. At sana, sa susunod, kasama ko pa rin kayo… kasama ko na kayo…

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

Yay! Happy 1st anniversary to my travel blog, No Juan is an Island!!!

 

 

No Juan Is An Island

Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage. – Amy Jo Martin

Hi, friends! To those who have been asking what my social media accounts are (and to those who are interested in following me), check the photos and links below: Thank you, guise for being awesome/spectacular viewers/readers/followers of my blog.

INSTAGRAM:

NJIAI-IG

https://instagram.com/no_juan_is_an_island/

FACEBOOK:

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https://www.facebook.com/roamulofied

TWITTER:

NJIAI-Tw

Attending this year’s Blogapalooza Event at One Esplanade in Pasay City,

Camera 360
Camera 360

And as i always say, “Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…”

Kayangan Bay & Lake (Coron, Palawan, Philippines)

I’m an old-fashioned guy… I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch, looking at a lake or something. — Johnny Depp

You haven’t experienced Coron, if you haven’t been to its karst swathed lakes.

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According to a tourism officer we have talked to during my 2nd time in Coron, there are more than 10 lakes along the Coron loop, only 2 of which have been opened to the public – Kayangan Lake and Barracuda Lake. These lakes are regarded hallowed places for the Tagbanuas (indigenous group of Coron) and are believed to be where spirits dwell.

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Kayangan Lake is an admirable testimony as to how paradisiacal our country is. A seemingly endless sighting of limestone karts surround cerulean and sea green waters that unify delightfully. Upon docking at the entrance of the lake, an uphill trek leads to a spot with the very iconic view of Kayangan Cove (this is the one usually seen in most Coron/Palawan tourism ads). From here, an easy trek downhill takes one to clean emerald water of Kayangan Lake draped by limestone hills.

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Kayangan Lake is said to be the cleanest in the country and among the cleanest in Asia. It is a mixture of salt and fresh or brackish water it is indeed a sight to behold with its crystal-clear waters offering up to ten meters visibility. One can snorkel or freed dive or just take a dip and be amazed with it’s under water beauty. There is also a wooden platform surrounding the banks of the lake, this also serves as a launching and resting pad for swimmers and divers.

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Kayangan Lake’s utter splendour is really awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping that is why a lot of visitors frolic here to relax.

Where To Stay:

Apartelle de Gabrielle  –  #231 National Highway Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: 02-7882468 / 0921-4520473 / 0921-4521009 / 0905-3640753; Website:apartelledegabrielle.webs.com

Balay Majika Lodge – Real Street, Poblacio 3, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: +63 919 3169030 / +63 9178563187 / +639087316543; Website: www.facebook.com/MajikaTours

Busuanga Island paradise – Km. 12 ,Hi-way, Brgy. Guadalupe, Busuanga Island, Coron – Busuanga Road, Coron, Palawan; Contact No. (02) 911 9180; Website: www.busuangaislandparadise.com

Coron Backpacker Gusethouse- Coron-Busuanga Road, Coron; Contact No: 0916 400 4871; Website: http://www.palawan-coron-backpacker.com

Coron Ecolodge – Calle Real Poblacion 2, Coron, Palawan; Contact Number: 0919 204 8824; Website: www.coronecolodge-palawan.com

Coron Gateway Hotel – Barangay Poblacion 1 , Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: (+632) 887-7107 / 887-2420. Website: www.corongateway.com

Centro Coron Bed & Breakfast – National Highway, Barangay 4, Coron, Palawan: Contact Nos: 09277454625 | 09491414177; Website: www.centrocoron.com

Coron Village Lodge ­– Brgy. Poblacio 1, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: +639081089772 / 4252231; Website: www.coronvillagelodge.com

Princess of Coron Resort – Nueva Street, No.6 Barangay Poblacion, Coron, Palawan; Contact No. 0916 540 0288; Website: http://www.princessofcoron.com

How To Get There

From Manila, tourists who wants to visit Kayangan Lake can take a flight going to Busuanga. Upon reaching Busuanga, tourists should take a 40-minute land trip (usually a van) bound for Coron town proper. There are also various passenger ships that ply the Manila-Coron route. Once in Coron, hire boat for rental.

Natal Day!

Today is my natal day. I am vocal about not being a fan of birthdays. As I have gotten older, birthdays have become for me a time of intense self-reflection rather than celebration. Every year, it makes me reflect — where am I in my life, where do I want to be, what could I improve? Though it doesn’t really depress me, but it does make me think.

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I have 5 wishes:

– good health for me and my family
– a successful career
– more (happy and safe) travels
– uhmmm, pwede pong love life na matino? (hahaha)
– one delicious meal at Maginhawa Street.

‪#‎Bertday‬ Take it easy ebriwan.

The Twin Beach of El Nido — Nacpan & Calitang

The beach is definitely where I feel most at home. It’s my oxygen. I forget how much I need it sometimes when I’m away working. — Behati Prinsloo

It was our first day in El Nido, Palawan. And instead of going for the usual island-hopping activity, we opt to go bumming in one of the off-the-beaten destinations of this laidback town of Northern Palawan.

What will greet you - ivory sand and turqoise water!
What will greet you – ivory sand and turqoise water!

This is perhaps one of El Nido’s best kept secret. The pristine, untainted and utterly awesome serene twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. (Okay, I may sound unreal but hey, you have to see it first hand)! The undisturbed ambiance of the desolate shores of these beaches is attributed to the fact that it is remote.

So, after a 45minute van ride from the town center, we were greeted by swaying coconut trees and the gentle waves of the beach, as if they were saying – “Welcome to Paradise!” I was literally lost for words for a moment… I had to scan my brain for the most appropriate word to say, but I end up saying “wow” (which wasn’t enough to describe the place when you are there standing).

The view atop the hill.
The view atop the hill.

We immediately explored the very lengthy shoreline of the beach. We immediately noticed that the area is not frequently visited by tourists; I think we were the only group of Filipino visitors that time. The rest were foreigners who were already basking under the sun and azure sky.

The twin beaches appear to come from a two dissimilar bend that are tangent to each other. Walking on foot, one could feel how fine the white sand is. After a few minutes of  walking along the shore, my friends and I decided to climb to a nearby hill, which provides an admirable view of the twin beaches. The trek up the grass-covered hill at the end of Nacpan was a pretty short and easy one. The magnificent 360-degree view atop is just awe-inspiring!! A scenery as such is definitely a photographer’s dream coming into a reality. The eye-gasmic view made me tick my camera endlessly!

Other side of the hill...
Other side of the hill…

After spending a few minutes on top, my friends and I went down to try the waters of Nacpan-Calitang. The beach felt like it belonged to us, and that’s invaluable. This, to date has to be one of my favorite beaches in my country.

How to get to Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches:

One may hire a tricycle or a van to get to Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches. The standard price when hiring a tricycle through a tour agency in El Nido is Php1,500 per tricycle. Travel time is approximately 1 hour, one-way. Van rental, on the other hand, costs around Php2,500. Travel time is approximately 40 minutes, one-way.

Just paradisiacal!
Just paradisiacal!

We hired our van from Northern Hope Tours. We actually got a discounted price J

Contact Numbers: 0939-902-2216 (Smart), 0927-735-3221 (Globe) – Ate Neriz

Taraw Cliff (El Nido, Palawan)

When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them. – Edmund Hillary

When I was planning our El Nido trip last year, I stumbled upon an itinerary that included a trek to El Nido’s highest point. I was pretty surprised since I wasn’t expecting that there is such a thing in this quaint coastal town which is more famous for its beaches. And so I did a little more research and lol! El Nido also boasts off limestone (mountain) cliffs that line up the town and its many islands.

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“Taraw Cliff” (or Mt. Taraw) is the highest point in El Nido, and is actually a monolith made of limestone – sharp, jagged, treacherous ones. And so, during our 3rd day in El Nido (after doing island hopping for 2-days) off we went to do some trekking because my friends and I love mountains. Most blogs described it as ‘seriously not for the faint of heart.’ True enough, the hike would welcome you a steep assault and a lot of rock climbing. Good thing our guides were very generous in helping us with what to do.

I could say that the highlights of this escapade were climbing vertical cliffs along the trail. Ninety degrees of heart-thumping, adrenaline-inducing climb! Although one may find it frightening, my friends (who are also adrenaline junkie like me) found the boulder-filled terrain to be fun-filled and exciting.

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spectacular view of Bacuit Bay!

It took us around an hour to to reach the peak. And the view atop? It was surreal! It was picturesque! We were literally lost for words. And it evoked a joyful feeling sharing this spectacular view with your friends. From the summit is overlooking the azure waters of Bacuit Bay with some of El Nido’s island floating like emerald gems. We spent about an hour at the summit – it was peaceful, satisfying and made me appreciate how wonderful life is.

After almost an hour of staying at the monolith’s peak, we started our descent. The descent was faster however it remains to be quite treacherous (so one has to be as careful as during the ascend).

Happy to be sharing this view with my friends!
Happy to be sharing this view with my friends!

For those who want to squeeze in a different activity when you are in El Nido, besides the usual beachneering and island-hopping, brave your way to Taraw’s summit and feast your eyes with El Nido’s unending charm through a bird’s eyeview.

Things To Consider:

  • Wear the right footwear.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Pack light.
  • Bring energy drink/water.
  • There is no fixed guide fee. We paid ours 400/pax.
  • It is best to trek during daytime (preferably early morning).

Sampe Itinerary

6:30am – Meet up with your guide (got ours from the owner of the inn we stayed at).

7:00am – Start trek

8:00am – Summit

09:00am – Start descent

10:00am – back at the jump off point

that's me atop the monolith!
that’s me atop the monolith!

During our stay in El Nido, we did stay at the Northern Hope Inn. You may contact them at http://www.northernhopetours.com/accommodations/el-nido/northern-hope-inn/

Mount Kofafei (Mountain Province, PH)

I was on my 2nd day  in Sagada (last October 2014) when the spur-of –themoment decision to go to Bontoc and see the Maligcong Rice Terraces came about. A friend of mine, Aljen, asked if she could tag along wherever I may be. I told her that I was going somewhere in Bontoc and that if she is interested, we will just meet there. The next thing I know, we were already atop a jeepney, making our way to see one of those places in the Philippines not known to many – the Maligcong Rice Terraces.

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Upon reaching Suzette’s Homestay (a place I have googled), we were immediately welcomed by Ate Suzette and her kids. She was delighted to see some locals coming to see Maligcong. She said that most of the time, those who visit are foreigners. So we asked about Maligcong, and she gamely and  delightfully shared stories about their place. You can easily sense how proud she is.

We were surprised to know that inorder to see the best of Maligcong, we are to hike a mountain range called Ang Tong Faw specifically a mountain they call Kupapey/Kofafei/Kopapey.

Well, I have to admit I wasn’t ready for a mountain climbing that time but then again, who cares. I love spontaneity anyway. So the following day, we woke up at 4 am and our guide. Ezra, came to fetch us. Together with the resident charmer, a dog named Kunig, we started our trek to Mount Kofafei.

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Everything was almost pitch black, except for some pretty decent light from our flashlights, we walked through narrow trails that include muddy rice paddies that eventually lead us to some quite steep terrain dotted with pine trees. Add up the seemingly cold weather. As we near the summit, our bodies start to sweat despite the increasing arctic temperature. Until finally, Ezra said we were already at the peak.

Kunig is so adorable by the way, he makes sure we are always on the right path. He even started posing when we got there. Ezra, on the other hand, prepared us some coffee atop (isn’t that amazing?) while waiting for the sunrise. So, I groggily waited.  A few more minutes and an unbelievable man-made wonder flashed before our eyes. I had t scan  my brain quickly for the most appropriate adjective to describe what I was looking at that moment. I end up saying wow, without knowing how many times I have uttered it.

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We spent the next hour taking endless photos, hoping we were able to capture exactly its beauty. (more of Maligcong Rice Terraces here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/maligcong-kofafei/

We then continued our trek through Mount Kofafei. This time, we were on our way to the rice terraces for a closer look. But we have to pass through some pine forest before reaching the site. The trail in Kofafei is pretty easy, reminiscent of the Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay. I enjoyed taking various flora and fauna . From time to time, we had to stop to marvel the view of some villages seen along the trail. There were several camping grounds we passed by that seem perfect for those who wish to cam out. It took us an hour or so until we finally set foot on the rice terraces. We spent a few minutes taking photos along the rice paddies before we decided to go back to Ate Suzette’s homestay.

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How To Reach Mount Kofafei:

From Manila take a bus bound for Banaue. (Ohayami Bus) The terminal is located at Lacson/ Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila with the fare of Php 450.00 each.

From Banaue, take the jeepney bound for Bontoc.They can be found across the tourism office near the People’s Lodge, fare is Php 150.00 each. One may also opt to take the van bound for Sagada and just inform the driver to drop you in Bontoc near the Municipal Hall.

Once in Bontoc, go to  the municipal hall of Bontoc and there you will find  jumbo jeepneys bound for Maligcong. It has a specific schedule of departure until 4pm. Fare is Php 25.00 each. Tell your driver to drop you off at Suzette’s Homestay.

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Where to Stay:

Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay: Contact #: (+63) 915.546.3557. It is located 8.5 km north of Barangay Caluttit. It is accessible through a seven km road that ends at sub-sitio Fabuyan. Any type of vehicle can travel this 30 minutes – 40 minutes. Jeepney travels from its jeepney station located at the market compound in front of Pines Kitchenette and Inn beside the municipal plaza, passing by Upper Caluttit, Sac-angan, and Tala. The jeepney fare is 20 pesos. Guide: Ezra Carlos : (+63) 907.314.2912

For your reference, jeepney schedules are as follows:

Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc

8:00 am
12:00 noon
2:30 pm
4:30 pm
5:30 pm

Schedule of  Jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc
6:30 am
8:00 am
9:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…

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.