Faro de Punta Malabrigo: Perched between Man and Elements

Faro de Punta Malabrigo

It was very unexpected that I’ll be going to the town of Lobó in Batangas province with my dad for his routine trip for his work. It was my first time there, and it was the Barangay Elections Day all throughout the country. However, that old Spanish lighthouse is the ultimate destination that I like to go — Malabrigo Lighthouse or Faro de Punta Malabrigo. Since I haven’t been to Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Ilocos or even Malabrigo’s sister in Calatagan, Batangas, this was my opportunity to see that lonely sentinel perched on a hill overlooking Verde Island Passage. After convincing my dad, I’m off to Malabrigo!

Situated some seven kilometers away southeast of Lobó’s town proper, Malabrigo is a barangay that seemingly being edged by the mountains to the sea. Yes, it reminds me of Cebú or even Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City. The faro is situated on top of the hill. A steep climb for vehicles and for the tricycles that serve town proper-Malabrigo route. If you’re commuting, better disembark at the Malabrigo Resort gate and ascend towards the lighthouse on top of the hill. Malabrigo is one isolated community in Batangas-seemingly defying the notion that the province is easily accessible from the great metropolis of Manila!

Continue reading Faro de Punta Malabrigo: Perched between Man and Elements

Finally! I Have My Bowl of Deco’s La Paz Batchoy!

Deco's La Paz Bathoy

I haven’t eaten La Paz Batchoy since…I don’t remember. Heck, I haven’t eaten Batchoy when I went home in Iloilo just a couple of weeks ago! Although there are batchoyans here in Metro Manila, but I wanted to taste something different from the usual batchoy (yes, Lucky Me! therapy! Haha!)

I just found out that Deco’s La Paz Batchoy has opened up its first branch here in Manila…even though if the outlet has been open since last year pa! It’s located in the newly-opened Southgate Mall near Magallanes Interchange in  Makati (for commuters, its the big blue building with a television on top…and its on “EDSA-Mantrade”…sabihin nyo lang sa konduktor na “Mantrade”). Continue reading Finally! I Have My Bowl of Deco’s La Paz Batchoy!

Simbang Gabi the Kapampangan Way: Bacolor Pampanga

Bacolor Church at Simbang Gabi, Pampanga, Philippines

It was a surprise visit, really. I never knew that we would go back to Bagong Pag-asa! It was just last Palm Sunday when we visited Bacolor, Pampanga for my visita iglesia. It’s the usual sightseeing and appreciation of our ancestor’s legacy to our country. This was no ordinary visita iglesia this time. For the longest time, I would like to see and listen to different misas del gallo in different provinces of the country…and Bro heard my prayers. For the first time, I’ve heard mass in vernacular…Kapampangan!

Continue reading Simbang Gabi the Kapampangan Way: Bacolor Pampanga

An Ode to Filipino’s Resilience (part 1)

Malamang, ito na ang unang Filipino at English post ko ito sa blog na ito. Pero marahil, isa na rin itong paraan para sa aking pagbibigay pugay sa bayaning Pilipino. This is just some compilations of my past blog posts in my older blogs dedicated to the Filipino spirit of resilience and bayanihan. This is just the first part. Bangon Pilipino!

Pilipinas: Sa Delubyo at Ligaya

(mula sa The Bamboo Bayou ng berniemack.i.ph - published November 12, 2021)

Filipinos smiling despite the catastrophe (Photo from  Felixberto Baguyo Jr.s Blog http://www.bleuken.com/)

Filipinos smiling despite the catastrophe (Photo from Felixberto Baguyo Jr.'s Blog http://www.bleuken.com/)

Ang Pilipinas ay itinuturing na isa sa mga pinadelikadong lugar pagdating sa mga sakuna na dulot ng lindol, pagputok ng bulkan, bagyo at iba’t ibang delubyo na dala ng inang kalikasan. Kung tutuusin, binibisita tayo ng humigit-kumulang na 18 o 20 na bagyo kada taon, may habagat na nagdadala ng malakas na bugso ng ulan tuwing Hunyo hanggang Oktubre. Mga lindol na aakalain mong katapusan na ng mundo tulad ng nangyari noong 1990 na sumira sa mga lungsod ng Baguio, Cabanatuan at Dagupan. Akala mo ang dagat dito hindi lumalamon ng lupa, noong 1976 ang Moro Gulf Tsunami ay kumitil ng libo-libong buhay sa baybayin ng Mindanao. Ang pagputok ng Pinatubo ay maituturing isa sa mga pagputok ng ika-20 siglo. Ayoko nang isa-isahin at baka maubos oras ko sa blog. Continue reading An Ode to Filipino’s Resilience (part 1)

The Road Less Traveled: Passing by Maguindanao

Originally posted at Habagat.i.ph on 21 May 2022

Ampatuan Residence, Sharrif Aguak, Maguindanao

Ampatuan Residence, Sharrif Aguak, Maguindanao

Two years ago, I couldn’t believe that I crossed for what they say, one of the most treacherous highways in the country. Only a few years ago, during the Estrada Administration, the only thing that you see here are bombshells, mortars, evacuating people and guns, guns and more guns. Crossfire was everywhere, and media blows it all up in Manila.

That was several years ago. The waring factions agreed upon a ceasefire while two bodies of negotiators tried to resolve this centuries-old conflict. Me, I’m busy with my thesis, and will trace the path that most of my thesis respondents’ took to the Land of Promise, and it was through that path that they took the road, or maybe a way less traveled.

And now, on the headlines again, this side of this tropical state in the Philippines has a lot of potential when it comes to resources and tourism. A lot of things that are still untapped because of unreliable peace and order and poltical suitation in Maguindanao.

I believe that this highway is one of the most well-paved in the country. The shuttle van zoomed effortlessly through the fields and the hills of Sultan Kudarat, then to Maguindanao all the way to Cotabato City within just less than 2 hours.

One October morning, it was Ramadan for our Muslim brethen. I’ve been wanting to see the entrepot of my subjects in my thesis: Cotabato City, almost a hundred kilometers away from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat Province. And boy the van in Tacurong terminal was waiting to be filled up. I have to be there early, or else I’ll be stranded in Cotabato City without any idea where to sleep over. So, I went up to Isulan, the capital of the province, passing through palm oil plantations that are owned by Negrense hacienderos. Isulan is where most of Cotabato bound buses and vans pass by. One of the largest Christian settlements in Central Cotabato.

Continue reading The Road Less Traveled: Passing by Maguindanao

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