I got this penchant for exploring new things whenever I’m travelling, especially when it is something that is deeply etched in the psyche of the locals. As for the Kankanaey-Igorots of Sagada, chewing betel nut or momma is a tradition that has been in their culture for generations. And for the loco like me, I wanted to try one!
Classes have ended and the long hot summer days are here in the Philippines. While a lot has been thinking of Boracay, we have 7,107 islands to explore…most of the beaches are relatively unknown to mainstream tourists. Recently however, Gumasa Beach in Sarangani Province has been making head waves being the venue of Mindanao’s largest beach party. Yet despite it being the center of this fiesta, during ordinary days (or even weekdays), Gumasa is one laidback paradise in this side of the country.
Barely several months after the opening of the new Iloilo Airport in June 2007, the City of Smiles has also opened the newest gateway to Sugarlandia of the Philippines itself–Bacolod Silay Airport. In January 2008, the old Singcang Airport in Bacolod City has ceased operations and transfered to the new facility about 20 kilometers away from the Bacolod, located in Hacienda Bagtic in the City of Silay. In line with the upcoming Masskaracelebrations this October, here are some tips on how to get in and out of the new airport.
While December and Holy Week is considered as peak season for Philippine air travel, January is the month of the big festivities: The Black Nazarene of Manila, Ati-Atihan of Kalibo and the rest of Aklan Province, Sinulog Festival of Cebu and Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo. As expected, thousands of festival lovers, tourists, devotees and the curious take their pilgrimage in the annual revelries all throughout the archipelago. If you like to dance with the crowd and be merry this January without the pain in your wallet for the airfare, here are some alternatives that you may seek in hunting the cheapest fares for your next fiesta. I’ll be particular with the three big Visayan festivities since going here really requires some effort.
“Even most MSU students don’t dare to go to ‘town,’” a Maranao friend of mine once said.
Marawi City has been hampered with so much negative publicity in the Philippine mainstream that for the people of the lowlands, the only thing that makes them go there would be enrolling or visiting at Mindanao State University—never mind the rest of the city! People are too scared to venture out to the streets of the Maranao city.
It was a much unexpected outing. Our boss from Los Angeles came into town and of course, would like to get a taste of the Philippine sun and sand. After browsing and inquiring several beach resorts near Manila, we finally decided to head for Laiya, the last beach frontier in Batangas. I read and heard rave reviews about this new fun place under the sun, and I was simply curious about it. In fact, I haven’t been here! ‘Twas my opportunity to conquer this Batangueño treasure, even if it hurts my budget for July.
Laiya is located some 20 kilometers away from the heritage town proper of San Juan de Bolbok in southeastern Batangas, bordering already the province of Quezon in the east. It was an outdoor campers’ secret. Its relative isolation and inaccessibility has preserved many of its laidback assets. It was only recently when the government has constructed good roads from the town proper that made this several kilometer long cream-white sand beach more accessible to tourists.
Well, I guess I was excited back then. It was my first time going to Lucban for Pahiyas Festival. The feast that I could only see on telly or on books. I’ve seen Sinulog, Dinagyang and Masskara for countless times already but this crowning jewel of Quezon Province’s feasts is something that I would look forward into. Such colourful and attractive feast has made me like a bee, attracted to the colour of the kipings and revelry. It was my first time going there and I’ll be commuting. May 15 is a notorious date to any commuter or motorist going south, as horrific stories of traffic jams linger. But I dared!
Which is which?
I called in the Quezon Provincial Tourism Office and sought advise on what’s the best route going to Lucban. My friends from Quezon and the tourism people have a unanimous answer: Go Laguna-Pagsanjan instead!
Saturday, 28 February 2010. 5:45PM Manila Time. Ayala MRT Station – It was rush hour (on a Saturday ha!) and the northbound MRT was late for more than 5 minutes. Obviously, if the train is late, passengers-in-waiting increase. I was running out of time, so I forced myself to get into a jam-packed MRT and went to Ortigas. A lot of foul words are hurling inside the MRT as people still struggle to push themselves in already full MRT. Kulang na lang sarsa, we are packed and smelled like sardines!
6PM Manila Time, Shaw MRT Station – I thought there would be many passengers that would go out of Shaw Boulevard Station. I was wrong. Instead, it went towards the extreme of kissing your fellow passenger beside you or the door. The driver may have lost patience because of so many people forcing themselves to come in. He then said in a firm tone, “sa susunod na lang po na tren ang iba. Next train na lang po ang iba!” But his plea fell on deaf (and stupid) ears. The train closed its door and moved towards Ortigas. Bueno, viva sardinas!
Monumento, one of the few places in Metro Manila that earned its name as a hub and a bustling commercial center. Lagi nating dinadaanan ang Monumento ni Gat Andres Bonifacio pero di natin napapansin na isa ito sa mga pinakadakilang monumento sa ating republika. For most of us, Monumento in the northern Metro Manila city of Caloocan serves as a landmark for shopping and for those who would like to go up in Central and Northern Luzon since buses and jeepneys pass by this busy thoroughfare at the intersection of Rizal Avenue Extension, MacArthur Highway, Letre and the historical EDSA. This is Caloocan’s most famous landmark.