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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sleepy Morion in a Familiar Town in Marinduque


I spent this year’s holyweek at the hometown of my friend Jacob in Mogpog, Marinduque. It was my fifth time in this wonderful province, a place of beautiful beaches, scenic towns, of rum and the world famed Moriones festival.

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It was almost a yearly tradition for me and my friends Jacob and Don to just sit down and while the time for 4 or 5 days enjoying the company and the spiritual boost the place has to offer. But the past couple of years with Jacob working at Dubai and rest of us having conflicting work schedules we kind of taken a few years off from our annual tradition that dates back to 1998 when we were all a bunch of skinnies, punks and totoys during our UST Mountaineering days.

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We always visit during the holy week when the Moriones Festival is held throughout the island of Marinduque. Every year the million peso question is always “who will be the Cristo this year” – each year though, someone steps up to the plate and volunteers to play the Cristo. Amid whips to the back, walking barefoot under the sun and dragging a heavy cross – pain is experienced by these brave men who played the part.
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Things we do in Mogpog usually includes; island hopping, exploring caves, camping at a nearby peak and of course chasing women, which most of the time we meet at the beach on Saturdays, a day after black Friday where people converge to enjoy the sun. Those were the days of fun under the blistering sun, a friendly town with a festive mood, a locale where you could do exciting things and not worry about a thing or two from the place you came from.
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a bottle of Gran Matador is a friend in Mogpog
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This time, its different though Jakob himself is a newly proud parent of a 6 month old Fiona and is married to a lovely wife, Gigi. Don is almost engage to his girlfriend and I am committed to someone as well, so there wont be no skirt chasing happening. Those days are behind us already. But, Mogpog will always be home to me.
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I always envy friends and classmates who have a far-away home province of their own, every summer they can escape the harshness of city life and just chill down and enjoy the simple life in their own respective hometowns.
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I am glad that through my friend Jakob, I somehow feel that I have become an adopted one and a part of a place far away from Manila, thanks to the hospitality of his family and friends there, the people in general with its own traditions intact (albeit a bit of change through the years) , a wonderful setting and a simple life that derives from its own sense of community and relevance to each other, truly creates that “bayanihan” culture among us that has long been forgotten in the big city.

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We spend our time there with a bit of roadtrip to nearby Boac enjoying the calm countryside and the majestic harbor that greets ships with a delightful view worthy of a background to some movie that tells a story about a bunch of travelers on the search for new beginnings in an anonymous place unmindful of the past that betrays their old self in the bustling city etc etc.
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It was a nice escape albeit short from work, the pressure of life on the go, the corporate ladder and all that shit, to just spend time with your friends whom you’ve seen grow and become someone you’re proud of and at the same time makes you think about what’s really important in life. Friends, a few booze, a wonderful setting of a place, lively traditions, simple life, family and a swim at the nearby beach.
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It is also a wonderful excuse to travel, as we all know that life shifts quickly in paradigms that if spent in a forlorn and idle time rummaging trash of yester-years in one place, we might lose our focus and fall asleep b ehind a wheel only to meet a 16 wheeler truck head on.
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It also washes all the frustrations away, just like J.C., it’ll be enough to keep you alive again and unmindful of all the sorrows, challenges and battering rams along the way. For it gives you something to always look forward too without resorting to ask the help of a rope.
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The sun sets in for those always on the lookout, those searching and not just merely spending days and nights under a roof and trivializing the importance of setting forth on different journeys. We MUST not be contented in just digging earth below our feet and calling it as our territory as the world God gave us is almost an infinity for one man to thread and toil and walk and walk and gulp a cold 7/11 slurpee (extra large size).

Till next time Marinduque.
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 This is my second entry to the "Pinoy Travel Blogger's Blog Carnival" with the theme "Quaint Town In The Philippines" posted on RV Escatron's blog.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nomadic Photograph: Caleruega Church


I took this photograph last November 2008. It’s in Caleruega Church in Batangas near Tagaytay. It reminds me of the scene in the movie “Platoon”, where the character of Willem Dafoe’s is raising his arms towards the heaven while being chased in the field by scores of Vietcongs and eventually dying in a hail of bullets. It was a classic scene and the turning point of the movie, because after witnessing the carnage on the field from a helicopter the character of Charlie Sheen realized that even in their own ranks the battle of good and evil persists.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Tagaytay

Tagaytay is about three hours drive from Manila and It’s a favorite place to go unwind to during weekends because of its proximity to Manila and it’s cool climate as it is situated at “many feet” above sea level (bit lower than Baguio) and the highways around Tagaytay offers breathtaking view of nearby Taal Volcano and it’s surrounding lake.

I went there two times in the past year, the first was when we took some photographs around and the later was after the beach outing with some office mates.

Places we went were Sonya’ Garden, a place surrounded by a lush garden with flowers you don’t normally see in the big city and for about 500 per plate you get to dine their menu for the day, what we had that day was pasta accompanied by different sauce (don’t ask me what kinds),vegetable and fruit salad.

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Along the way you get a wonderful view of the countryside, It was raining that time, that plus the normally cool climate of Tagaytay really makes having coffee sounds like a nice idea.

Taken from inside the car, large aperture, focused on the raindrops
Taken from inside the car, large aperture, focused on the raindrops

What’s great about Tagaytay is you never ran out of places to stop for coffee and a decent meal, rows of establishments can be found along the roadside, “Bulalo” being one of my favorites.

We stopped for Starbucks here
We stopped for Starbucks here
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Next stop, we dropped by Caleruega Church, which is actually already within Nasugbu, Batangas if i’m not mistaken. A popular choice for couples getting married because of its simple yet fascinating location which offers a tranquil view of the nearby mountains and atop a small hill and a stair leading up to it all creates a dreamlike setting.

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If i win the lottery, I’d have my wedding here lol.
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reminds me of "Platoon" Willem Dafoe's character
reminds me of "Platoon" Willem Dafoe's character

Taal Volcano and the lake is also visible during clear un-foggy days.

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Other photos from another “passing through” Tagaytay.
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