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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nomadic Experiences of 2012: From the Halifax Airport Lounge Until a Long December


The year the world is supposed to end is about to end. A year which filled my memory vault almost to a full. Something I will look back in earnest disbelief (and bragging rights) that I've experienced it all in a span of one year. In between the struggles of everyday living, I am proud to sandwich days and nights, in the company of friends and other nameless strangers who've all been a part of my over-all literal and figurative journey. From rushing to pack my backpack, chasing time of departures, hopping from one bus to another, getting starved in the middle of an outstanding scenery, falling in love and then some. 2012 definitely is one for the books.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

[Insert Adjectives Here] at Tinago Falls in Iligan


Like a miracle pill, Tinago waterfalls presents a soothing cure for any hangover, it washes away each unsavory tendencies with its strong current. In the drunkenness of life, how each sways and falls drives anyone to search, find and eventually marvel at a place like this, only to realize that nature at its finest is bullshits' alter ego. As the white water spew out from the river above and cuts through the tiny cracks of the high rise rock formation. The blue colored water surrounded by the lush vegetation, forms an inviting pool. Notwithstanding the embarrassing attempt by men to construct un-necessary infrastructures around, while threatening the waterfalls, one can still describe the place in all favorable adjectives.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Eyeballing Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan


I've already heard about Maria Cristina Falls as early as when I was still focused on toys and playground noise. I'm pretty sure my Sibika and Kultura teacher hasn't seen it up close then. But, the way she described it while reading from the book, sounded like it was a sight to see. It was one of those moments at school when my mind would travel far and wide and beaming with rich imagination, I would paint a picture of the Maria Cristina in my head and wonder if ever matches its real image. I find it fascinating  now that I grew up and had this opportunity to visit the places I once learned in grade school. I finally had my chance of eyeballing Maria Cristina Falls up close. Part of the Agus river in Mindanao, the towering waterfalls standing 321.5 feet, stares back at me with only the blitzkrieg sound enveloping the surrounding. I directed my eyes back in a locked stare-down. Unlike a pair of prize fighters looking at each other with bad intentions, mine was injected with nothing but pure admiration.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post End of the World Travel Plans


If I were to believe the Mayan prophecy then there's no need for me to make travel plans beyond 2012. However, since I'm already penciling out destinations for 2013 - that means the hell with the world crumbling and those end of times murmurs in 2012. I expect my feet to walk over new grounds next year from the far bending corners of the Philippines to Indonesia to Myanmar, Laos, India and to far away Montreal in Canada. There's a satisfying sense just thinking about it all. But, playing the idea in your head is different than making it happen. That's where all the heist-like planning comes into place. This early I've been scouring the world wide web to find budget friendly hotels and booking plane tickets at a bargain price. I already got lucky with a very cheap round-trip ticket I scored to Jakarta later next year, so I must remain like a CIA-trained shadow surveying for more great deals.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Greens and Sierra Madre as Far as the Eyes Can See.


A couple of months back, while me and Lauren was in the midst of what we call as epic moments construction phase as friends, we always find ourselves opting to take an out of town trip as opposed to hanging out on smokey bars. The most recent was our 6-day Mindanao trip which took us to the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Sultan Kudarat. During the early stages of our timeline as best friends, we went to this place situated in Tanay, Rizal. Lauren discovered it about a year ago when she was looking for affordable travel deals online.  Sierra Madre Resorts at first glance looks like the rough and tumble, long forgotten and abandoned resort - protruding in a low-key appearance beside Marcos Hi-Way in Brgy. Mayagay. 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sultan Kudarat: No Danzig, But Us at Kalamansig


After a couple of hours of ragged joyride along the scenic Upi-Lebak National Hi-way, we finally reached the town of Lebak as darkness starts to take a bite of the remaining sunlight. We were there for enough time to stretch our legs, because as quickly after we shook off our cramps we boarded a tricycle for a six kilometer trip to the next municipality of Kalamansig. As the beautiful scenery we encountered on the way to Lebak wasn't enough, we saw the sun as it slowly fades away in the horizon as we passed by the vast green rice fields. Rolling smoothly on the highway I saw the towering trees deeply rooted at both sides with branches extending and touching each other at the center of the road. Looking up I could see the welcoming party already.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chapter 3: The Lightness of Meeting an Old Romantic Tagbanwa Couple



Under gloomy skies and over calm waters, our boat threaded the stillness of the sea unto a place not frequented by tourists. Passing through tiny islands dominated by edgy limestone cliffs, to which our boatman Russell points to, as some of the treacherous path leading to hidden lakes, where the people of the Tagbanua tribe collects their supply for the birds' nest trade. I imagined a scenario of what it feels like being transported back in the 1950's and instead of going to Coron Island, we are heading to the mysterious Asmat region in Papua New Guinea.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid: The Golden Mosque of Cotabato City


Mere minutes from stepping out of an AirPhil Express' flight to Cotabato City, a different kind of smoldering  excitement stuttered up my veins. I've heard a lot about this city, mostly negative ones. The kind that warns you not to go out walking on your own and other paranoia fed by mainstream media. As Lauren and I got out of the small airport terminal, we were greeted by dozens of marines manning their positions, armed with long rifles, standing on guard with an alert set of eyes, hidden behind their dark rip-off Oakley sunglasses - the kind of gaze that makes you feel it at the back of your head. I nodded at one of them and a few of them smiled back. I said to myself, here we are now, in the city most often mis-understood and I wonder if I will go home with a new found understanding of this city, or be just one of those who'll say "I told ya so - the place is dangerous". I remember that moment, as we flagged a tricycle driver to take us to the Golden Mosque, the feeling of fear is in a wait-and-see situation.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Film Pirates & Surfers of Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental


After a hot day under the sun, of breaking rocks proportion and enjoying the ardent mood of Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. I joined a small group of avid film photographers; Lauren, Master Erick and Surfer Kara, right off the bat early the next day, on a journey to the city of Mati - the capital of Davao Oriental. Our mission was to find some waves and shoot some outstanding scenery, either digitally-in my case and on old school film. If there's any indication of what their bag of film cameras suggests, the trio are indeed armed to their teeth. Lomography speaking.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chapter 2: The Pre-Drench Chain Gang on a Hula-Loop of Coron


The alarm clock sounded pass 5:30 am, I saw a tinge of natural lighting accompanied by the sound of rain seeping through the small gap of the curtain inside our room at Coron Eco Lodge. It rained hard the previous day and throughout the night. I've left the thought of a sunny incursion around Coron inside the cold case filing cabinet in my head. Well, how could I complain at how things were shaping up to that point. Although, still unknowingly - we both were at that time. A Lumineer moment was taking place all along and this particular day was just about to get even better.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Kids of Gubat, Sorsogon Decides To Read



“So many books, so little time.” 
― Frank Zappa

In the case of the students of Rizal Elementary School in Gubat, Sorsogon. It used to be the other way around. There were no books because there wasn't a library in the first place. All that has changed now. Remember this Book Sharing Project a couple of months ago? well, people heeded that call and donated large sums of money and used books. The end result is a brand new library with painted walls, newly-constructed bookshelves and more importantly, books that will make any kid beam with delight and whisper to him/herself  "So many books.."

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the new library 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dante Varona Unchained at San Juanico Bridge


I remember when I was a kid - in our old neighborhood in Paranaque, there was this tricycle driver whom everybody calls "King". He has disheveled features, long black beard and mustache, accompanied by a thick hair which hasn't felt the sweep of a comb for years. He doesn't talk much but is known for having a short temper, especially if you pay him a 20 peso bill - for a 1 peso tricycle fare. There were murmurs going around, probably made up by adults to scare off kids like me, that he was the mysterious stuntman named Dante Varona. Urban legend says, after Dante Varona jumped off from the highest point of San Juanico Bridge, blood flowed out of his eyes, ears and nose and was almost feared dead. Afterwards he vanished into a recluse under the guise of a new name and profession. 

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Chapter 1: Pre-Lumineers' Arrival in Coron


This has been my third time in Coron, Palawan. If any, I should be writing this in a routine manner with eyes closed and using only one hand, while the other one makes a salami sandwich. Narrating the 'I did this, we did that, went there and ate at this place, stayed at Coron Eco Lodge'. However, this trip wasn't anywhere near average. It was in fact, a 'some kind of wonderful happened' kind of trip. We agreed to be better of as friends post Palaui trip. It culminated when Lauren and I finally realized we'd be living our life more amazingly by traveling with friends. And a song by the Lumineers, listened on a pair of earphones shared between us two, while waiting for our plane back to Manila, has opened our eyes to this wonderful awakening.

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 Farting wont make the water any less hotter

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lake Bulusan: Where Bad Folks Don’t Go


According to the Meat Puppets, bad folks end up in a lake of fire. The good folks, though end up in some scenic lake elsewhere. I have reasons to feel like we were a bunch of good folks heading to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park that day. Accompanied by the humble Mayor Ronel Lim of Gubat, Sorsogon and a day removed from kick starting the book sharing project. We set foot and gazed our eyes at this body of water covered by a lush forest. The calm presence of this lake presents a stunning contrast to a force of nature situated beside it. Lake Bulusan is located at the foot of Mount Bulusan, a still active volcano which stands 5,135 feet and last erupted in February 2011.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

In Pursuit of Biliran’s Waterfalls



On the first sight of light, I disembarked from my plane resting on the tarmac of Daniel Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City. My mission were loud and clear, like a shimmery disco ball, circling at the every beat of a Bee Gees song "Staying Alive". If I wanna come back alive, I've to fulfill the top secret orders bestowed upon me. One by one, every single one of em, I must hunt them down. The most wanted waterfalls of Biliran Island province. Lock and loaded with a 4 gig memory card I walked past airport security and into a waiting jeepney into downtown Tacloban. From there, I rode a van-van for a two and a half hour journey into the land of fast flowing waters.

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Tinago Falls (There's also a Tinago Falls in Iligan)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spyder Surge: Biking Around Marikina Semi - Gangnam Style


I always wanted to buy another bike since my last one was stolen at our then home in Pasig, by a member of the "Spiderman Club" a few years ago. (sings Queen's "Bicycle Race") One of my best friend, Don is an avid biker and I am itching to join him on one of his biking jaunt around the Metro and nearby provinces such as Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales. While my stamina is 500 miles away from being back to tip top shape, I tried going around the island of Siquijor on a bicycle in February of this year. I lasted a few miles before my legs gave up on me. That experience though, reminded me of the joy of riding a bike en route to anywhere, whether its in a bustling city like Marikina and Makati or a scenic countryside like in Siquijor. For good or ill, I will save up for a bicycle in the neccesarily near- future. As the lady from the office of the Marikina Bikeways aptly says "A bicycle on the road is one less car off the road". You can't get any eco-friendly transporting from one place to another than that.

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Photo credit: Jun Reynales of  http://photographedbyjunreynales.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Go Hotels Dumaguete


During my first trip to Dumaguete early this year, I stayed at a budget hostel - the kind of place a traveler would just sleep on, take a shower and that's it. That's why my second trip to Dumaguete, also of this year was like Mr. Chow and an average Joe apart. I got the chance to stay at GoHotels Dumaguete, it is advertised as 'a place for every Juan' but without the torturous state of accommodation, because in actuality, the place can really compete among the priciest hotels all over the country. It is best described as a boutique hotel - fancy looking, neat, stylish and most of all very affordable. 

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Enchanted River: Unearthly Basin of the Deep Blue


"♫♪♫ I belong with you, you belong with me you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me you're my sweet (Ho!) ♫♪♫"

Sings the fairy as he moves his wings in rapid flipping, unseen by the object of his desire, a beautiful girl staring, jaw dropped in fascination at the blue colored waters of what everyone now calls "Enchanted River". The male love-stuck fairy dishes a magical spell but everytime he points his wand towards the girl, a sound of "pfffft" is created. The other fairies laughed at him in jest unison. The earthly woman took off her outer clothing revealing a two piece suit that further outlines her vivacious curves. The Romeo wannabe fairy meanwhile, all resigned to the fact that his world can never become one with that of the woman, sat idle on a little stone, tears flowing down his eyes wondering how it feels like to be a human of the Earthly world.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

For Whom the Tinuy-an Falls


I am no drifter recruited to blow up a bridge in a Hemmingway novel. I am though, stunned at the massive force of the rampaging waters of Tinuy-an. It spans 95 meters wide, like fronting an aircraft on the runway about to ran you over, the sound of the water falling from its 180 feet top mimics a roaring engine. Moving slowly towards it, cutting distance in slow and careful strides, the more enthralling it becomes. Soon you feel splashes of water being drooped over you as if a dog was shaking its dripping wet coat. Just when I thought I've seen it at a none better perspective from where I was standing, I noticed a rainbow planted near the foot of the waterfalls. Wow, it must be how the hippies felt when they saw Hendrix performing at Woodstock in 1969. Alright, enough of pop-culture references.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

A Woodstock of Pebble Rocks in Mabua


In the not so far outskirts of Surigao City, a throng of edgy, colliding rockers lies unusually subdued, well rested and only head bangs against each other when stepped upon. These are the pebble rockers of barangay Mabua, simply known as "Pebble Beach". The place defies the popular belief, same way as this madame defies the logic that thin women are the only sexy vixens on Earth - that a beautiful beach, to be considered as such, should constitute only fine granule of sands. As this shingle beach shows, these smooth, oval shaped sedimentary rocks are making a strong case against the prevailing concept that only sandy beaches are worth visiting.

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view from a nearby Hill

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Romblon: Looting Scenery on a Day Hike to Gomot Falls


Still reeling like a junkie who just smoked a bundle of weed from the previous night's "Bikini Open", I woke up from a dream where I found myself trapped in an island along with the eleven other bikini clad contestants. Only to find later on that "number 3" was really an alien from outer space intent of killing me while I elope with "number 2" and "number 4". To understand what I'm talking about, you can read the background story here. The sun was up early and birds were chirping by the window of the guest room of Barangay Kapitan Bibo Porras' home. I stood up from my bed half wishing my dream was real, I went outside and saw our two guides Inggo and his cousin Wladimir already waiting for us at the porch.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Postcard Series: Pebble N' Rolla


My feet aren't planted over fine white sands, rather it labored walking over multi-sizes of pebble rocks. West of Surigao City in the seaside town of Mabua, a different kind of beach awaits travelers used to drawing stick figures on beach shores. A friction factory of banging rocks, many of which bigger than the human hand, of various shapes but equally lethal when thrown at ya. It's rock n' rolla, its breaking rocks under the hot sun indeed.  Keep on rocking in the free world, this time, in this place. It's Pebbles and roll!.


You don't make sand castles on this beach, rather you build stone houses.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nomadic Video 6: Romblon


The music of the Clash's "Police on my Back" provides the necessary beat to this random video footage I shot during our trip to Romblon last May. There were no police chasing us, just us hot on the trail of new places to see and experience. From the long 10-hour sea journey, toploading and island hopping from Romblon, Romblon to Sibuyan and back to Tablas island, eye popping scenery were the normal things to be seen. Judging a bikini open contest, festival food coma and spelunking in the beautiful island of Cobrador, meeting the friendly locals and some members of the indigenous tribe, made it a lock in maximizing my five day trip to this wonderful province - also the hometown of my friend Dazzle, who continued to incursion around the province for the next 20 days together with another travel blogger and photographer Josiah Strong

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cinema Leonardo: A Silent Hill Retreat in Baguio



It was nearing midnight of a Friday and as I sat at Victory Liner's Cubao terminal, a man being chased by a cop ran beside the post near from where I was sitting. He embraced the post like his life depended on it, to avoid being cuffed by the policeman. With all the reports of summary execution by cops, he might have a reason to hug for dear life. The cop's reasoning was, the tattooed bum was suspected of an attempted bag snatching. My friend, the hipster mum Gaye arrived to witness the end of the low key stand-off, and as the cop dragged the uncooperative suspected thief to the police headquarters, I kind of wish him a day in court and a smooth journey into the usual process of our justice system. 

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Spacious ground

Monday, July 16, 2012

Romblon: The Island of Dr. Cobrador


Five-six or even seven hundred years ago when sea explorers approach a strange island, meeting a bloody resistance is a foregone conclusion. Drum rolls of war beat will accompany the sounds of shrieking bayonet and spear armed warriors running across the shore to meet the men aboard the incoming ship. The brutal battle that often ensues transforms the crystal clear blue waters into a sea of red. To the victors, a hell-raising cheer fills the air. To the vanquished, their decapitated bodies and pieces of flesh, reduced to an offering of feast for the lucky sea creatures. Fortunately, for myself, Dazzle, Josiah and voluptuous Pam, we were aboard a little passenger boat in the present day and the only drum roll we heard upon arriving at Cobrador island, was the one that accompanied a festive welcoming party composed of dancing kids in "Ati-Atihan" costumes.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Sharing Project in Gubat, Sorsogon



The room the kids call as their own "library" is a 40 square meter of empty space. The walls are untidy and dark, the windows are almost broken to shards. The lone table lies almost deserted by time, unused and nevermore. The only reminder that the room is the school's library was the two small bookcases, that is almost rotten to the core and on the verge of collapse. Dusty and dog eared copy books, about a couple of dozens are placed almost glued together on the two shelves. It wont take a rocket scientist to know, that these books are of no use anymore. That the library itself, in its sad current state is incapable of becoming a room of knowledge for the kids of Rizal Elementary School in Gubat, Sorsogon.

This is it! We're the library! - With your help, this is about to change 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Romblon: The Bombs of Bikini Atoll



I was sitting there at the judges table with a pencil and a bunch of papers in front of me. What am I doing here? I ask myself. I've never scored anyone wearing a bikini before, In my eyes, anyone who sports a bikini automatically gets a perfect 10 from me (yes, even the singer Adele). I was worried the hometown crowd might not like our "scoring" and might shower us with a resounding "boos" like what the three blind judges of the recent Pacquiao - Bradley bout got. Whatever doubts I had were quickly shattered to smithereens, when contestant number 1 walked above the platform. I ended up staring at her with my 20/20 eyesight and all of a sudden thanking heavens for this gig of staring at these bikini clad women for the rest of the night without having to blush. Things reach fever pitch when Contestant 2 came out and I melted briefly when she made eye contact with me. 

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The stage is set..by the beach in Brgy Marigondon

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Piece of C in El Nido, Palawan


Like a porn star working on a scene (this time with Sasha Grey) for the third day in a row. Wait, let me rephrase that. Like an experience, equalling a porn star reporting for duty at the tail end of a three day shoot, we took another boat ride early morning of our fourth day in El Nido, still dazed and hang-over from the drinking game with Inah and the three crazy Dutch guys the previous night.

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view from the Matinloc Shrine

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gulag-like Coldness of Mount Pulag


I woke up in the middle of the night shivering from the cold. I can see my feet covered with my gray socks, but I could not feel it, but its shaking like a live turd out of water. I ask myself what I am doing here, as thoughts of sleeping soundly on my warm bed at home buzzed my head. As the temperature hovers around from 10 to 6 degrees Celsius, every minute becomes colder. It was a moment which I questioned my desire to be there, which expectedly lasted for only a minute. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

El Nido, Palawan: Tour B-Hop a Dope


It's already our third day in El Nido and it seems I am getting a good grasp of the place. I'm getting used to the vibe of the town. Who wouldn't be? you walk a little bit further and you'll end up in rows of bars and restaurants fronting the sea. The place itself seems like a stone encapsulated by the towering edges of limestone peaks. It is crawling with tourists who seem to always be in a friendly demeanor, that striking up a conversation is expected for everyone. The locals picks up the hospitality to another level by greeting everyone with a smile, while tour proprietors offers island hopping packages to everyone who walks around town, ready to hit the beach, but never in an imposing manner.  

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012 Globe Tatt Awards Finalist for "The Visualizer"


About a month ago, a former workmate of mine Tess Roldan asked permission if she could nominate me for the upcoming Globe Tatt Awards. Of course I said 'yes' she can, not expecting that it would produce a stunning result like it did when I opened my email a week ago. The email I got informed me that this travel blog has been shortlisted as among the five finalists for the "Visualizer Category

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Slow Motion Incursion to Basey, Samar


I woke up with runny nose and a slight chill brought upon by a night lacking in oxygen, reduced to inhaling the cold fake vapor of the air conditioner inside the small room I rented. I thought about sleeping till early afternoon, I felt weakened by a virus I caught somewhere. The urge to cross San Juanico Bridge into the province of Samar seems like a decision that has already been decided. For good or for ill, I must make the crossing, as I have planned it many times, walking back along the whole 2 kilometer stretch of the bridge from Samar and back again to Leyte.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

El Nido, Palawan: 25th - 48th Hour


If our first day in Palawan was spent on overdrive en route to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, that has us sapped and left with only enough energy to meet new people that night, while a cover band plays live Pink Floyd and Sublime songs at "Sea Slugs". The second day, energized by a six hour sleep, was spent in a more affable manner while sharing a boat with the same people we met the previous night. This time a couple of French and German students from Hong Kong and a Chinese couple joined our group making us a party of ten about to have a slice of paradise in the "Tour A" island hopping package which costs us only 700 pesos each. (fixed rate)

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

El Nido, Palawan: Paradise Momentarily Disturbed


On our second day in El Nido, Palawan something happened that has me thinking whether I should write it here or not. I realized that I need to take the bad ones along the good ones, knowing the ripe fruits far outweighs the rotten ones. This is one of those moments one hopes will never happen again, a short burst of terror that disrupted paradise. Momentarily.

Me and my friend Pam has just finished our "Tour A" island hopping along with the new friends we met the night before. On our way back to El Nido Plaza Inn, I stopped by a store to buy a pair of slippers. It was then that we heard a loud thud. We shrugged it thinking it was a sound of thunder coming from the direction of the towering limestone cliff covering this scenic town. Unknown to us that time, it was in fact an explosion that happened in front of Entaula Resort, which is located just across the place we're staying for the duration of our trip.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Exploring Khao Phanom Bencha National Park in Krabi, Thailand


Yes, southwest Thailand is known for its gorgeous coastline, and I’ll admit that the vast majority of my time in the town of Krabi was spent relaxing on the sand. However, my most memorable experience of my holiday in Krabi was exploring Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. Lush and beautiful, the park showed me an entirely different side of Thailand, taking me beyond the beautiful beaches and deep into a truly wild jungle ecosystem.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

El Nido, Palawan: 0-24 Hours



Our first day in Palawan can be described as a rough patch for many people in terms of traveling. Not in my case though, part of the joy of traveling are the in-between going from point A to B to C and so on. I was eagerly anticipating the seven-hour bus trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. As driven as I am to be a road warrior, I never expected the cruel stretch of dirt road at the last 50 or more kilometers of the trip. It's the part of the journey made tougher by being aboard an ordinary bus. Looking back though, it was one of the best bus moments of my life. The awesome scenery, grinding bumps and near defecating dust made it all memorable and in a crazy way, fun experience.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nomadic Video 5: Mount Pulag, Benguet


I used to do a lot of hiking way back during College years, when my knee joints and legs muscles are still in top notch condition. Lately, all the climbing I do are on the LRT and MRT stairs, I even curse everytime I come across a busted escalator. But that's about to change since I now have my own tent, cookset, an ever improving stamina and a desire to chill in ultra cold peaks. I was re-introduced again to hiking when Christine, an avid climber and runner pitched the idea of a weekend atop Mount Pulag. I hurriedly said yes, since I missed out an opportunity to climb Mt. Pulag at least thrice during my hiking days, for reasons varying from lack of allowance money, conflict with university class schedule and other factors. It was an awesome weekend spent together with fellow travelers Gay, her husband Sherv, Izah, her boyfriend Joseph, master photographer Erick and Olay, with special mention to our pretty guide, Ditas - who will be wrapping up her education course at the University of Baguio in the coming university year. Here is a music video I created from the limited material I shot around Mount Pulag. The song is "Umagang Kay Ganda", which was covered by the band Bamboo. (click the wheel button to set the resolution to 480 for better viewing)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Liliw, Laguna: “Mang Kulas Pabili nga ng Tsinelas”


After our crypt incursion in Nagcarlan we proceeded to the "Tsinelas" town of Liliw, Laguna. The place is filled with stores selling the weapon of choice against cockroaches and other bugs, shopaholics like my friend Cathy will have a grand day choosing from the thousands of pair of shoes and slippers here. She was like "I'll end up buying three pairs a day here". Okay, from that rate, she'll become the next Imelda Marcos in 3 years. 

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Notes from the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan, Laguna


It was raining when we woke up and the skies remained gloomy when it ceased spilling left-over fresh spit. The drizzle left the numerous plants and trees around Villa Sylvia resort dripping and the grass slippery and muddy. We left Abigail's unopened Tanduay rum and Fundador to one of the caretakers as token of niceties. Abigail left the previous day after concluding our lake hopping trip in San Pablo to attend a family gathering. That left me and Cathy to finish off the weekend by checking out the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Best of Travel Photos: My 7 Super Shots


Like a virus swept by the reckless winds in all four directions of our world, this blog tagging game originated from HostelBookers has reached me through a few people whom I shared the same passion of traveling and photography. I was first tagged by Paul of WALK FLY PINOY - an avid backpacker who just concluded a long term backpacking trip in Asia. Then, the world-blogosphere famous writer of "Date a Girl Who Travels" Aleah of Solitary Wanderer tagged me again just to make sure I join in on this awesome way, of telling readers how a photograph can relive memories of travels long after the trip itself. These photographs lingers on in our memories and eventually plays a part in how we see the world, think back and reflect from the places, people, traditions and varying cultures we've experienced. Still, after sitting on this post for quite a while, having difficulty choosing my own photographs I decided to let it linger, until another two kindred souls Catherine of Seeking Felicity and Ding of The Pinoy Explorer double tagged me with finality. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Take a Lake at San Pablo City, Laguna



At the dawn of Saturday me and Cathy were already at the JAC liner terminal in Buendia in Taft, waiting for our another traveling companion Abigail - who unknown to us that time was spent on a drinking spree a few hours before. Still, Abigail managed to be late only a few minutes after six am. It was my first time to meet her and soon awkwardness became like a familiarity, like we've known each other for quite some time, especially after she took out the Tanduay Rum from her bag when we're having breakfast at Cafe Lago.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Looking at the World Through a Firmoo Eyeglass


Sometimes too much sun exposure can cause your eyes to tear or redden, like I do when I find myself in prolonged staredown with the bright blue skies. As a traveler, I've grown fond of just looking outside the bus window and amaze myself at the wonderful scenery. By a beach, a mountain or at the side of the road, looking at the Earth's colors sometimes takes a beating on my eyes. While, I am not really comfortable with wearing tinted eyeglasses. I decided to try out a non-tinted eyeglass from Firmoo to at least put some kind of protection on my eyes from nature's elements.

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Quickly transforms a terrorist looking man into a bespectacled University Professor

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nomadic Video 4: Laguna Lakers (San Pablo, Liliw, Nagcarlan)


Since I started traveling around the Philippines three or four years ago, I've been to Mindanao, Visayas and the edge of Northern Luzon, doing so I was able to overlook nearby provinces like Laguna. Because of that  realization, along with a couple of cool friends, Cathy and Abigail, we set out on a trip to a menage a trois of cities and municipalities in Laguna. Our first stop was San Pablo, it is known for its seven crater lakes found around the city. We started our day by having breakfast at Cafe Lago which is located beside Lake Sampaloc, it was here where Abigail first brought out her Tanduay rum. After which, we took a swim at the scenic Lake Pandin and had lunch aboard a floating bamboo raft before heading out to Nagcarlan for some church hopping and going on a creepy tour of the "underground cemetery", after which, we dropped by the "tsinelas" capital of the Philippines in Liliw and had a feast at Arabel. Here is a music video of our trip, as compiled from the very few video footage I took accompanied by the music of Sneaker Pimps' "6 Underground". I will soon write separate posts about the places we visited on that trip. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Patrocinio de Maria Church in Boljoon, Cebu


Right off the bat of our whale shark experience in Oslob and after a night spent in the quaint town of Santander, we made a quick stop at the scenic municipality of Boljoon. We got off the bus just in front of the Patrocinio de Maria Church, the oldest remaining stone church in Cebu. The church was originally founded in 1599 by the Augustinians. Subsequent attacks by Muslim raiders destroyed most of the original structures and the rest of the town. The jurisdiction over the church was then relinquished to the Jesuits in 1737. Due to lack of resources and manpower, the Church was again put under Augustinian's administration in 1747. In 1783, Father Ambrosio Otero spearheaded the construction of  new church highlighted by a stone fence, which adds to its fortress-like appearance.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Postcard Series: Green Tinted City

The view of Intramuros and nearby parts of Manila as seen from the Presidential Suite of Manila Hotel, conjures a green tinted image, where trees, old buildings, the walled city, the fine golf course and small man-made lake blends well altogether to provide an attractive cityscape. It's the city I've learned to love and hate. One that I'm forever proud regardless of the batterings of daily living and the urban challenges that awaits each day I pass by. Sure, there are 100 things to hate about Manila, but more things to love about it in return.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Santander Dubs and No Lightning


It won't be called as such if I didn't ended up at the southernmost tip of Cebu. Santander was the furthest destination I had on my southern Cebu trip last month. Right after my quick dip at the fine white sand beach in Tingko, Alcoy, I waited at the side of the road, with my shorts dripping wet, I motioned to an incoming ordinary bus bound for Barangay Liloan in Santander, it halted with semi-screeching tires and the conductor let me climbed the bus and I sat down on a seat by the window at the back, with pure intention of taking a nap. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quickie Dip Stop at Tingko Beach in Alcoy, Cebu



After the habal-habal ride and a very short hike to Osmeña Peak, I took a quick brunch by the side of the highway. I envelop each bite of the "torta bread" I bought with gradual images running in my head of the places I've yet to cover that day. It consists of Boljoon, Oslob and Santander. My friend Gael then texted me that they won't be able to make it that day, thus we will be meeting up at Oslob the next day. I proceeded with a plan to go straight to Santander when my friend Kissy told me through SMS about a spectacular white beach in the town of Alcoy. 

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Habal-Habal Express to Osmeña Peak



My hiking days are long gone now. My legs will be the first one to stage a protest at the Tiananmen Square if I took em to another long ass hike, like I did during my UST Mountaineering Days. However, I'm working on getting back in fine shape as I've yet to climb Mt. Apo and Kanlaon. On this day though, I reckoned hiking to the highest point of Cebu, the Osmeña Peak - a relatively easy hike when started at the Mantalongon Market, and a bit more difficult if traversed into Badian and climaxing at Kawasan Falls, should be the easiest way possible. So I cheated my way by hiring a habal-habal driver to take me directly to the foot of the 1,100+ feet  Osmeña Peak. 

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