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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
“Ang mundo ay isang libro, at ang mga taong hindi marunong maglakbay – isang pahina lang ang kanilang nabasa…” – iyan ang nakaukit na sipi sa utak ko.
Alas-kwatro ng hapon. SM Megamall.
“Isa akong galang guro.” Iyan ang bigla kong nasambit sa isang kaibigang matagal ko ng hindi nakikita, nito lamang nakaraang Martes ng nasa Maynila ako. Kakagaling ko lang mula sa byahe ko sa Coron, Palawan. Bago ako umuwi ng Baguio, naisipan ko munang mag-Megamall – para kumaen at tumingin ng pwedeng mabili. Nasa Goldilocks ako nun, malapit ko ng maubos ang binili kong Lumpiang Hubad ng may biglang nagsalita:
“Wow, long time no see… Kumusta ka na?”
Iginala ko ang paningin ko para hanapin kung saan galing yung boses na sumambit ng mga katagang iyon. Napatitig lang ako sa isang lalaking magara ang suot at mejo may kasosyalan ang dating. Actually, I did not recognize him, he looks familiar pero parang nagrerewind pa ang utak ko kung saang bang bahagi ng buhay ko nakilala itong taong kasalukuyang papalapit sa akin. Inabot niya ang kanan nyang kamay para makipaghand-shake sabay sambit ng pangalan ko at tila tuwang tuwa na nakita ako…
“Lester… Mark Lester Romulo…”
Bago pa niya mabuo ang medyo kahabaan kong pangalan, bigla ko ng naalala kung sino ang kaharap at kakamayan ko… Isa siya sa mga kaklase ko nung nasa high-school at ngayon, isa ng bigtime na empleyado (hindi nya dinisclose ang position nya pero isa daw sya sa mga Upper ups) sa isang malaking company sa Manila.
So ayun, since I was about to finish what I was eating at paalis na rin sana ako, he asked kung pwede kaming magkuwentuhan… (Akalain nyong may taong interesadong alamin kung ano na ang mga pagbabago sa buhay ko??) Since gabi pa yung kinuha kong byahe pabalik ng Baguio at ilang oras pa ang hihintayin ko bago mag-out mula sa trabaho yung kapatid ko, eh napagpasyahan kong paunlakan ang kanyang imbitasyon na magkwentuhan kami at magkape (kahit na hindi naman talaga ako nagkakape).
Bago kami nagpunta sa isang coffeeshop, dumaan muna kami sa Parking Area para ihatid yung mga pinamili nya dahil hinihintay daw ito ng kanyang pinsan. Tinanong pa niya ako kung saan ko daw gustong magkape – syempre pa, since hindi naman talaga ako mahilig sa kape (nasabi ko na ata eto sa itaas na paragraph), sinabi ko na lang na kahit saan. As I have expected, sa isang kilalang coffeeshop na kinalolokohan ng maraming Pinoy kami nagtuloy… Alam nyo na iyun, di ko na babanggitin dito dahil hindi ko nais ipromote yung kapehan na’yun dahil masyadong mahal…
Nagumpisa ang kwentuhan sa tanungan kung saan na si ganito – si ganyan, pinagkwentuhan ang ilan sa mga kaklase namin noon. Andami nyang kwento, noon ko lang narealize na madaldal din pala siya. Hindi kasi sya ganun nung high-school kami. Isa kasi siya sa mga taong napapanis ang laway sa classroom dahil di mo to kakakitaan na dumadaldal. Nagumpisa na rin syang magkwento tungkol sa sarili nya – mula nung college sya hanggang sa kanyang mga experiences sa pakikipagsapalaran sa trabaho at ang mabilis na pag-unlad sa kanyang buhay. From being a plain company worker to a big boss in a large firm in Manila; from someone who rents a cheap apartment into becoming an elite condo-dweller; ipinagmalaki din nya na X00,000.00 ang sweldo nya kada-buwan, at syempre pa, ang bagong bago nyang tsekot na kanina lang ay nakita kong nakaparke. (Medyo nayabangan ako sa kanya nung una pero napagtanto ko na okay lang kasi talaga namang may maipagyayabang sya, kahit na unti-unti na akong nanliliit at na-iinggit sa mga oras na iyon). Gusto ko din kasi iyong mga na-achieve nya. Magandang tirahan, malaking sweldo, magarang kotse, magarang buhay. Pero wala pa ako ng mga iyon.
Akala ko hindi na siya matatapos sa kanyang talumpati tungkol sa sarili niya ng bigla siyang magtanong. “Ikaw naman Lester, kuwento ka naman… Anong bago bukod sa medyo pagkadagdag mo ng konting laman?” Pangiti nitong sabi.
Halos pagpawisan ako sa kinauupuan ko. Hindi dahil sa mainit yung kapeng iniinom ko, kundi dahil sa nakakatakot nyang tanong. Isang lagok ko pa sa mapait na kape tsaka taas-noo kong sinabi na “ako ay isang galang guro” — isang accidental educator (kung tawagin ng ilang propesyonal) sa isang unibersidad sa Baguio na nahuhumaling sa paglalakbay.
Mukha syang puzzled at parang napapailing sa narinig nya mula sa akin. Naisip nya siguro na ang weird ko naman. Iyon kasi yung mababasa mo sa noo nya. Kaya ayun, ako naman ang nag-umpisang magkwento.
Isa ako sa mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa isa sa mga private academic institutions na lumalagare ng ikabubuhay 6 days in a week at sinuswelduhan ng sakto lamang para sa pansariling gastos. No car, no condo unit o apartment man lang. May mga savings din naman ako, but then, most of the time, napupunta ito sa one and only na bisyo ko – ang gumala o maglakbay sa mas magandang salita. Nakahiligan kong pumunta kung saan saan. Ibinahagi ko sa kanya ang pagbisita ko sa iba’t ibang lugar dito sa Pilipinas. Buong galak kong kinwento ang mga bundok na naakyat ko at yung mga di malilimutang moments sa mga lugar na ito. Dahil sa pambihirang talent ko sa paggagala, nararating ko ang mga nakakamanghang lugar na dati rati eh sa mga libro ko lang nakikita o kaya sa mga Travelogue magazines ko langnasisilayan.
Mas naging madaldal din ako sa pagkwento ko, naibahagi ko sa kanya kung paano ako nagumpisang mawili sa ganitong klaseng bisyo at kung ano iyong mga dahilan kung bakit ninanais kong pagkagastusan ang ganitong bagay. Sinabi ko sa kanya na masaya sa pakiramdam kung may bagong kakilala, o angmakakita ng magandang tanawin, ang malaman ang kultura ng iba at syempre pa – yung exhilarating feeling na hindi mo alam kung ano ang susunod na mangyayari… Wika ko nga, travelling has been a great teacher… Andami kong natutunan sa paglalakbay ko… Para bang nagbabasa ka ng isang libro na punong puno ng kwento…
At times, napapansin ko na napapakagat na lang siya ng labi at napapakunot ng noo. Pakiwari ko nga O.A na ako sa paningin nya. I was not so certain if naintindihan ba nya o naabsorb pa ba nya mga sinasabi ko tungkol sa sarili ko; o baka napipilitan na lang siyang makinig para lang hindi ako mapahiya.
Paglaon, nabanggit din nya na gusto nya rin daw magtravel kung saan-saan. Gusto niya daw makita ang mga vinta ng Zamboanga o kaya eh makatungtung ng ruruk ng isang bundok gaya ng mga nakwento ko na sa kanya. Muli nyang ipinagmalaki na marami siyang pwedeng gastusin na pera pero dahil nga sa mataas nyang posisyon sa company kung saan sya nagtatrabaho, eh wala daw siyang oras para sa sarili nya at sa ganitong klaseng bisyo.
Biglang nawala lahat ng panliliit at pagkainggit na naramdaman ko. Naisip ko na lang sa sarili ko – marami nga siyang pera, hindi naman niya nakukuhang maenjoy yung sinasabi nyang desire to travel kung saan saan.
Sabi pa nya – noon daw, nung naguumpisa pa lang siyang magtrabaho, naisip na nyang maglakbay. Eh ang kaso, wala daw siyang pera. Pero ngayon namang marami na siyang pera, wala naman daw siyang oras. Pagkarinig ko pa lang sa mga sinabi nya, sobrang nalungkot ako para sa kanya.
Nagflashback tuloy sa utak ko yung nabasa kong article sa isang magazine about a man who have been dreaming to travel before he dies. Actually, nasa bucket list ng taong ito na makita ang pag-labas ng araw sa Mount Pulag at ang paglubog ng araw sa mala-paraisong dagat ng Palawan. This man was so pre-occupied with his work, and most of the time, ended up doing more work kaya hindi niya magawa-gawa yung matagal nya ng nais gawin – ang maglakbay. He would usually reason out that “money is more important than anything else”. Hindi nya narealize na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon eh aayon sa kanya ang panahon. Kaya ayun, namatay siya na di man lang nakakamit yung matagal nya ng ninanais.
Ika nga ng isa sa mga nakasama ko sa climb — “I think if you love doing something, you’ll find the time and place for it…”
Most of the time, there are a lot of things that we like postponing because we don’t have much time for these things. And it is sad to note na madalas, itong mga bagay na lagi nating ipinagpapaliban ay iyong mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin. Things that we instantly trade for bigger opportunities that involves more money. Most of the time nga, pera ang nagiging basis natin to gauge success. More money, the more successful a person is.
But I beg to disagree… hindi kasi ganun ang pananaw ko sa buhay. Hindi ako naniniwala na pera ang batayan ng tagumpay. If that’s the case, then, masaya sana lahat ng mga mayayamang tao dahil sila yung may maraming pera. Pero hindi eh. They may have all the riches in this world, but they don’t have the time to enjoy it –they don’t know how to enjoy their lives.
Bago ko tapusin itong medyo napahabang blog na ito, bakit di nyo pagisipan tong mga iiwan kong tanong?
Bakit ka ba nag-iipon ng pera? Para saan ba ang mga iniipon mong pera sa bangko?
Well I am not saying that saving our money is bad. Pero para saan ba at nag-iipon tayo? Future. Oo naman. Para sa future. Pero sana, wag din nating kalimutan yung present – yung mga gusto mong gawin ngayon na tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo. Baka naman, uugod-ugod ka na eh yung pangarap mong magbunjee jumping eh nabaon na sa limot dahil nga hindi mo na kaya kahit na marami ka pang pera…
Sa mahigit 2 oras na nakaupo ako sa bangkang patungong Banana Island, napagtanto ko na every person isn’t given the chance to do the things I am capable of doing. So, kung may pwede kang gawin na sa tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo, aba! Don’t wait too long.. Do what makes you happy. Travel. Explore the World. Tandaan – Lahat ng tao, gustong maging masaya, eh ano pa ba ang silbi ng buhay kung hindi mo rin lang ito ma-achieve.
When an opportunity to do a speaking engagement in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental came about, I gladly accepted the invitation. For one, I haven’t been to Misamis Occidental and two – of course, I always love talking in front of people.
And so I immediately searched the net as to what I could possibly visit in the city dubbed as The City of Good Governance. One specific place that popped through my search is Cotta Fort – known to be Ozamiz version of Fort Santiago/Intramuros (only that it is way smaller).
So during my last day, I woke up pretty early to catch the sunrise at the port which is beside the fort. I did some brisk walking while waiting for the sun to hover over Panguilo Bay. It’s great to see a lot of locals jogging along the baywalk. Some even go inside the Cotta Shrine and Cotta Fort to run around. I, myself went up where the lighthouse is found and captured the morning’s first glow.
After satisfying myself with the sun’s glorious rising, I walked around the fort which is officially named Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo. Upon entering its impressive gate, I noticed already the square shape of the fort to which as there were bastions in each of the four corners. There is a small outdoor chapel and a museum inside. It is smaill so a few minutes of walking will do.
After taking some photos, I walked my way to the nearby shrine where I was greeted by vendors selling prayer candles. The candle area is pretty unique as tin cans were used to place the lit candles. Adjacent to it are benches painted in the Marian colors of blue and white that faces an altar with a shrine. I spent sometime to pray in the area before I headed back to my hotel and pack my things.
How To Reach Ozamiz Cotta Fort and Shrine
From Manila, fly your way to Ozamiz City (Labo Airport). Once at the airport, ride a tricycle and inform the driver to take you to “The Fort or port” (as these to or just beside each other). There is an entrance fee of Php5.00. It is open as early as 5:30am.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri”juan”…
“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations.
During my 1st visit in the island province of Basilan wayback 2005, I was very afraid to roam around. With news about insurgents thriving in the province, I was just satiated by the thought that, at least, I was able to set my feet in one of the country’s less traveled places.
Fastforward some 10 years after the 1st encounter: The thought of going back to Basilan and see the splendor it can offer came about after a friend invited me to go to Tawi-Tawi. We thought of squeezing in a Basilan side trip. And so during the last day of our Western Mindanao sojourn, we went to experience Basilan’s best kept secret – Malamawi Island.
We took the earliest ferry ride to Isabela City (Basilan’s capital) from Zamboanga City port and arrived after an hour. The feeling is pretty much different compared to my 1st visit. This time, it is much more peaceful and I , myself is more confident to walk around (unlike before that I was too afraid of bringing out my camera to take a snap)..
From mainland Basilan, we rode an outrigger boat that took us only around 5-10 minutes to reach Malamawi Island. Upon docking, our group (together with a tourism officer, Ate YanYan) chartered 3 motorcycles for us to reach Malamawi’s white sand beaches.
The trip to the other side of Malamawi had us passing through a dirt path and some bucolic rural scenes. After 15 minutes or so, the sight of aquamarine, inviting waters flashed before our very eyes. I remember running towards the beach excitingly like a kid.
Before I started taking photos of the place, I had to spend a few minutes marveling at its beauty. At the back of my head, I was silently uttering – “how could anyone think there is something soooooo spectacular in a terror-laiden place like Basilan?” Somehow, the bad image of the province has suffered through the years somewhat helped in the preservation of its tourist destinations like that of Malamawi.
The cove like beach dotted with fine white sand, hugged by crystal clear waters, empty wooden cottages and few visitors, was beyond perfect. And as soon as the sun came out of the clouds, the beach and its water further glimmered in its beauty. The vista made my sense of sight more than satiated. It was just so peaceful and serene and really captivating!
We only spent a few hours in the island, and I felt kinda sad when we were leaving. All the negative things thrown on Basilan started to fade. It made me further realize that the Philippines is really a place so much endowed with immense natural splendor. As a travel enthusiast, I think we should learn how to appreciate the beauty of every place we have and should stop from tainting its reputation.
How to Get to Malamawi:
From Manila, fly to Zamboanga City. Once in Zamboanga City, ride a tricycle to the Zamboanga City port. There are several ferries bound for Isabela City in Basilan. Once in Isabela City, walk towards the right side of Isabela Port. Boats to Malamawi are found just before you reach the fish market. Once in Malamawi mainland, ride a motorcycle to its white beach.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…
The Chocolate Hills are unique geological formation spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers in Carmen, Bohol, Philippines. It is said that there are around 1200 (or more) hills which are covered with grass that eventually turns into brown during the dry season looking like undulating chocolate kisses. To date, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.
The rolling terrain of this spectacular mounds in conical and surprisingly in an almost symmetrical shape has drawn the attention of both local and foreign tourists. These karst hills are said to be made of limestone, each with a range of 98 to 164 feet in height.
This Philippine attraction can be visited anytime of the year as they will be just as spectacular during the rainy season as during the dry one. The thought if standing atop one of the hills maybe pretty delightful however, no one is allowed to climb the hills. Nonetheless, a great way to marvel at these natural beauties is through a viewing deck put up by the local authorities. I believe that this is also a great means of preserving these wonders. The viewing deck is accessible by stairs so one should be patient enough to walk their way to the area.
How to Reach Carmen, Bohol:
From Manila, fly your way to Tagbilaran City, Bohol’s capital. If by boat, access points are in ports around Bohol like Tagbilaran, Tubigon, Jagna, Ubay, Talibon, and Jetafe which are connected to Cebu, Manila, Leyte, Siquijor, Negros and even some Mindanao provinces. The most popular option is to get to Cebu city via the airport and from there to take a 90 minute ferry to Tagbilaran.
Once in Tagbilaran City, take a ride to the central part of the island, to the town of Carmen. Most common way tourists do is to rent a car or a jeepney in Tagbilaran. If you want to ride a scooter or a small motorbike you will be able to rent one for a day for 400 pesos.
Considered as one of the emerging treasures of Bontoc, the Maligcong Rice Terraces is known for its stone walls which make the terraces more steady in withstanding erosion. Although often overshadowed by the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, a visit to this place would be an awesome experience.
The Maligcong Rice Terraces, an upland barangay in the uplands of Bontoc, is situated 18 Kilometers away from the capital town of Mountain Province. This wonder is best viewed by scaling the Ang Tong Faw mountains (specifically Mt. Kofafei). Two of its sitios, Favarey and Fang-orao primarily make up the Maligcong Rice Terraces.
The name Maligcong was derived from the word “ligcong” which means to level land for a rice field. True to its name, and through the locals hardwork, years of labor paved way for whittling the mountains into stunning terraces.
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.
Where To Stay:
Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay: 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.
For your reference, jeepney schedules are as follows:
Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc
Schedule of jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc
Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…
Travel, it leaves you speechless. Then, it turns you into a storyteller.
Zambales, a Philippine province that once endured the wrath of Mount Pinatubo’s explosion in 1990, has risen to popularity for its secluded and seamless coves. One of these sheltered bay-like features is Nagsasa Cove – an ashen gray beach dotted with whistling pine (locally called “agoho” trees).
The once rocky coast is now believed to have been topped by the ashes once spewed out by Pinatubo. A compact group of mountains serves as a backdrop and crystal clear sea water completes the charm of this place. Nagsasa Cove would surely summon wanderlusts for it emanates everything a nature-lover is looking for.
There are actually 3 coves in the area – Anawangin (being the most frequented), Nagsasa, and Silanguin – the last 2 being more secluded and relaxing as claimed by most. Nagsasa Cove (which by the way is not part of any island) is said to be a bigger, farther and more peaceful version of Anawangin.
Things To See, Things To Do:
Exploring the cove, you’ll be surprised that there is a lake-like body of water where the jagged, grassy mountains (that appears golden during the summer) at the backdrop are notably reflected when the sun comes out. A little trekking and you will find a waterfall. One can go further atop the mountains of Mount Nagsasa and have an awesome view of the entire cove.
One may also engage in various water activities from swimming to snorkelling to surfing to skimming. Just recently, I’ve learned that they are now offering kayaking and paddle boating. And after a day bumming around, one will be rewarded with a magnificent display of colors as the sun sets at this side of the Philippines.
There are no commercial accommodations at the cove. So if you intend to stay overnight, you might as well bring your own tent. If you don’t have tent, there are tents and other facilities for rent. Here is a summary of those that maybe rented:
Boat Rental to Nagsasa: P1,500 or P600 per head including a side trip to Anawangin Cove and Capones Island
How To Get to Nagsasa Cove:
From Manila to Zambales: Go to a Victory Liner station and ride a bus bound for Iba, Zambales or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Inform the conductor to drop you off the San Antonio town public market.
From the market ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Pundakit. It will be around 25 to 30 minutes tricycle ride. Then, ride a boat to Nagsasa Cove that will take an hour or so depending on how rough the waves are.
Vigan City, the only Heritage City in the Philippines, now officially one of the the Seven New Wonder Cities.
Vigan is one of the oldest towns in the Philippines and during the Spanish rule, was a very important political and military center. The old town is regarded a World Heritage Site. It is a unique place with streets blocked off from traffic, horse and carriage roaming around the cobblestone streets with old Spanish and Chinese colonial architecture that adds romance to this city . The bloodline that the people of Vigan are known for is called Biguenos…a mix of Chinese and Filipino blood.
The following are the must things to see,do and or experience while in this city.
These were the things I did and what made them so memorable for me.
1. Walk down the Cobblestone street of Calle Crisologo – In my opinion, if one does not see Calle Crisologo, then one has not truly experienced the heart of Vigan. This is what makes Vigan well-known. The preserved ancestral homes that line the quaint tiny alley is just picture perfect in every angle.
2. Take a stroll to Plaza Salcedo, and you may want to take pictures of all the structures around this plaza. The provincial capitol is there, St. Paul’s cathedral, a beautiful fountain has also been constructed, and even the commercial buildings are interesting as well.
3. Go to near-by Bantay Belfry and St. Augustine Church. It’s a very picturesque bell tower. You may also visit the Chapel by the Ruins which is beside the church. You can even go to the top and have a scenic view of the rural areas near Vigan and Bantay’s surprisingly picture-perfect cemetery view
4. Chavit Singson’s Baluarte – This place is not just like any ordinary zoo, it is an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility where children (and even adults) have the opportunity to learn about so many different kinds of wildlife, exotic and local. More of Baluarte at the link below.
5. Feast on Vigan delicacies – Hmmm, where do I start? OK, you would see so many signs advertising the famous Vigan longganisa, so sample a few before hoarding on your “pasalubongs” (gifts to take back home). Check out the Vigan empanada and also, the royal bibingka.
6. Take a Calesa tour – This is an awesome way of seeing the major sights in Vigan. The pace was leisurely and there was enough to photograph, linger and shop in between stops. Better start early in the morning, so you would be done by noon, and ready for lunch. (plus of course it wouldnt be that scorching hot yet).
7. Try your hands on Pottery (pinagburnayan) – If you decide to take the Calesa tour, ask your guide to take you to the pottery makers. Once there, you may be able to witness a piece of pottery being made or try it yourself!!
8. Hidden Gardens -having a fascination about plants, I did appreciate how this garden was created and maintained. If you do have enough time, there is a nice cozy cafe inside, where you could sip on some juice and enjoy some home made empanadas. (Even there comfort room is uniquely made).
Vigan may be reached via 12-hour bus ride from Manila or take an airplane ride from Manila to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. From Laoag, take an hour bus ride to Vigan City.
“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!!!
The really great thing about traveling is that every destination carries its own tune, its own innate experiences, and its own vibe. I think one will find what they’re looking for, but then again, make sure that you visit places that will mean something to you.
One time, one acquaintance told me that maybe, the reason why I keep on traveling is that I am trying to find myself. That thought left hanging at one part of my mind. From time to time I would go back to that thought. But at the end of each travel I make, I realize that searching for life’s meaning and finding one’s self is a lifelong process. The things I learn about myself along the way can be quite rewarding and give much insight into the world around me.
I have started traveling several years ago, most of the time just tagging along with other people who has this wanderlust attitude; on several occasions I would travel alone. And I learned that traveling solo, without friends, could actually be rewarding too since it gives me a chance to be alone and do what I want to do. Or, if you have friends you can travel with who are on a similar journey, all the better!
Traveling has become a passion. But I would not want to call it an itch, but more of a coop up of livid balls of fire shelling against every corner in the chasm of my soul. When I think of traveling, this cage inside me grows smaller, and these fireballs are ignited–I feel that I am on edge.
I know I have made several blogs about why I travel. But then again, whenever I travel, I keep on gaining more reasons why I should travel. Why WE should travel. In a seemingly fast changing world like ours today, where stressors has been a part of our daily life encounters — to travel is a way of liberating our mind of tangles and worries. And so I dare yourself to ignite sparks you never knew you had in your taste buds, and live off a backpack’s worth of contents. Traveling offers that natural ecstatic high, which is a million times more enhancing than any doping substance you have in mind.
School and work are certainly essential, but I have come to ascertain that they are not the most important things in life (and I am not saying this just because I feel like I’ m so stressed with my thesis). I mean, escalating your horizons can have more influence on you as a person than spending time sitting in a classroom. I understand Zamboanga and its people better when I had the chance to see the place and mingle with the locals than if I were just reading about them in a book. I have come to appreciate Siquijor and got away from the negative notions (like witches and sorcerers) about the place when I spent a day around the island.
Furthermore, all these places we dream of visiting will be gone eventually from swiftly changing cultures, environmental quandary and endangered places. Travel, not only before they are gone, but before you are gone. Remember, we aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time. Get rid of those possible “What ifs” later in the future. My 7th visit to Sagada has proven me one thing, a lot of things could change over time. Some things you once saw may not be the very same thing you would see again; and there are those things one “might” be seeing for the last time.
Life is short. In the now generation, I have become more guarded of current events and nonstop yet tangible boundaries. I have developed this thirst of achievable stories to tell to my family members and friends. I am part of that seed of a budding vine of wanderlusts.
At the end of the day, it will always boil down to one’s most personal and passionate thought. As for me, pursuing what I really love, that is traveling, is therapeutic. As I am at it, my views on life will change as I get to decide what to do every single day. Traveling is a way of searching one’s core, of finding one’s self. To travel is to let go of my hang-ups and to liberate my soul. And I need it.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.