Call me a nomad.
Since birth, I have been roaming around the Philippines and was perhaps destined to roam the country and perhaps the world–how I wish. There was no event in my life that didn’t involve traveling. It is part of me and my family. It wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for those frequent “family-work oriented excursions” that we had back in my childhood days or my adventures into the unknown.
Traveling is part of my system, and the way that defines Berniemack and HabagatCentral.
It was Christmas Day, well a lot of urban-dwellers of Manila and its suburbs like to spend some time with the company of family and friends. My family though decided that we go to Tagaytay and pass by Pink Sisters then head on to one of the last “shack cottages” overlooking Taal Volcano and Batangas Province. It was cold and was drizzling when we went there. Tagaytay as expected would be crowded on a long weekend, but we never expected such mass exodus that would unfold later that day. …continue reading
It was one of those unplanned trips again that ended up great—and as a history student, a place something to look forward to. It was my first time conquering “The Rock of the Orient.” It is the tadpole-shaped sentinel island that guards Manila Bay from invaders—and indeed it held steadfast in Philippine history. The English name, “Corrector’s Island.” En español, “La Isla de Corregidor.”
Thanks to Ivan Henares and Sun Cruises, I, together with bloggers Joel, Cedrick, James, Estan, Claire, Rob, Patricia, Ivan Mandy, and Sir Bobby Aquino of Magsaysay Shipping, we embarked on a 1 hour and 15 minute fast cruise towards the mouth of Manila Bay as the sun is just reaching its rays over the skyline of Manila.
After scaling the mountains of Lobó, we head our way back to Manila. However, instead of passing by the main road going there from Manila, we went on the road less traveled—the coastal road between the town of Lobó and Batangas City, right along the busy Verde Island Passage. As for us, it is retracing back memories of one particular barangay along the lonely road—Ilijan…
The route was more than a 40 kilometer sojourn from Lobó poblacion to Batangas City, about 10 kilometers longer than the main mountain pass road where most jeepneys and cars pass. The route traverses the rugged and isolated barangays of the two localities, notably Barangay Banalo of Lobó and Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City.
With paved roads, it is easier to travel now from Ilijan unlike the by-gone days. However, there is one particular part of the road where I remember it has a very dangerous incline towards the cliff and the sea. It is where my dad’s personnel had an accident when their truck fell off the road. Beautiful, it is reminiscent to that of Batanes. Moreover, it has become a place of controversial pilgrimage. They call it Montemaria or Mountain of Mary. From this point, you could see the busy ships passing by and a magnificent panoramic view of Verde Island, Mindoro, Batangas Bay and even Batangas City from afar (hey, we’re still 20 kilometers away from the city center). Wow! This place is such a sight to behold (minus the cow dung everywhere).
My family and I went back to Lobó in Batangas province to have a break from the urban jungle and my dad’s inspection on the project site at one of the mountain barangays of the town. We went on to one of the most isolated towns in this part of Southern Tagalog region. Protected by rugged mountains and bordered by the Verde Island Passage, it seems that the town has been encapsulated in time by nature herself! When before, I had a brief visit to Malabrigo Lighthouse, this time I went off the beaten track and return to the placed I was enamored when I was in Grade 6 and a realization of an uphill countryside struggle for survival.
It was one Monday rainy afternoon. I was in a mission: To drop by at a Congressman’s office for an official endorsement. I have been to Malacañang, the Senate and the Supreme Court, but I haven’t been to The House of Representatives or locally known as Batasang Pambansa–that’s the legislative center of the Philippine Republic.
Yup. The area I guess most of us know as the center stage of the State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) of Philippine presidents, and as some critics would say, “The Crocodile Pit.” The Batasang Pambansa is where the Philippine assembly of legislative representatives from all over the archipelago, converge and make laws for the republic. Given the bicameral nature of our government, The House of the Representatives is the “lower house” while the Senate (which is in Pasay City) is the “upper house.” However, the said lower house is composed of influential people coming from the local governments.
The first is, have you tried combat commuting? I think if you live in Manila, it is essential to know combat commuting. Its a war waged every single weekday in the Philippine capital. The climax of the war at Hell’s Gate? Rush hour madness. Everyday, people try to cram themselves in buses, jeepneys and metros. Well, asi es la vida en Manila! Can’t deal with it? Might as well leave for the provincias.
Now, for a Cavite resident like me, traveling from home to work is a fact of life. Manila has become crowded and the urban expansion reached the doorsteps of its neighboring provinces, one of which is Cavite. There may be 12 million residents in Metro Manila but including the Greater Manila Area (encompassing Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan), we may even be comparable with the population of that of Mexico City, Tokyo or Mumbai! Cavite has the largest share of GMA residents–3 million people, tw0-thirds of it lives in towns near Metro Manila and along Aguinaldo Highway–the sole main artery of the province. Three million, the most populous province in the country–and with real estate blooming like lumot in the pond, its like a heart chocked with cholesterol! After all, Cavite IS a bedroom of Metro Manila.
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!