Tag Archives: Arts

12 best places I visited in 2011

5 Jan

Capping my 2011’s wonderful and worth-reliving moments won’t be complete without giving them justice through photos.

Being an innate adventure-quencher that I am, I have been to several places around the Philippines as well as outside the country. While most of the places I have been in 2011 were more of a duty,( as part of my job so I can gather stories), I always took time to capture the beauty being offered in every place I set my feet to and immortalized them in photos.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The incredible Taj Mahal! I failed to visit Taj the first time I went to India and how sad I was. So the second time around, I was very lucky to finally get so close with this majestic, one-of-its kind world's wonder. To my amazement, I even touched every wall I passed through!

2. Bangkok, Thailand

What first caught my attention during my trip in Bangkok was the emanating bright colors of taxis and 'tuktuk' all over its street. These, for me, are simple treats for the eye. They are... lovely!

One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. 🙂

3. Enchanted Kingom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the 'magic' enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

4. Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park , Kawit, Cavite

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you'd love to keep your body dipped for hours!

5. People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay City

People's Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It's a sure eye-treat!

6. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort (Border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo City, Laguna)

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

7. Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon. Being one of the most-awaited summer festivals in the Philippines, Pahiyas never fail, not even once, its spectators as select houses are grandiosely decorated with multitude of colors using 'kiping', a famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. This century-old festival showcases the unequaled creativity of its townspeople as it brings out a lively and colorful festive mood during this prestigious gaiety.

8. Katigbawan festival in Catigbian, Bohol

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! 🙂

9. Blood Compact Site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

Blood Compact Site

10. Streets of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

Marawi City street. And oh, this cute little boy. He is so angelic, isn't he? 🙂

11. Davao City

Durian fruit in Davao City. This city offers unlimited list of things to do and places to visit. But, for me, one's Davao adventure won't be complete without trying this exotic durian fruit. a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. But for the second time around, you'll praise this fruit for it's exotic but mouth-watering goodness. Try it! 🙂

12. Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Chocolate Hill, Bohol. And lastly, my top favorite place--Chocolate hills. This has been one of the world's eight wonders. As to why it has named as "Chocolate hills" is because its lush green mountains magically turns into chocolate brown during the dry season.

And there you go—the best 12 places ever that has completed my 2011 and made it even better. Plus, this is my 70th post. Hooray!

My Christmas is back

1 Dec

Years ago, which I could hardly remember now, I could already feel the coming of the Christmas season upon opening my window. A cold breeze lands on my face, caresses my cheek and whispers the melody of the yuletide season.

As I stride through the neighborhood, lanterns and Christmas lights were already grandiosely decorated on each house as well as the trees mightily standing on the streets. As the night comes in, the whole stretch of the place, as far as my eyes can see, was vividly lighted. Its glowing colors illuminates to every corner making the night come to fuller life as it signals the arrival of the Christmas season.

Years fast forward, this fleeting moment never came back to the picture again. Not until last night.

While I was still recovering from lack of sleep for nine consecutive days and regenerating from bone-breaking legworks, I still dragged myself to work over the holiday with the hope to finish my proposal and assigned articles. With the long to-do-list I have in front of my computer, I felt ill all the more. For the whole day yesterday, I was shaking inside and out. But I still tried to get my focus and my will won over my exhaustion.

Feeling already wearing out from the day’s toil, I wished for a breath of fresh air. I was itching to get out from my succumbing office. As if the heavens heard my little prayer, a friend asked me out.

As we freely sat on the grounds outside the university, my weariness and fatigue came tumbling all over my nerves. But as I caught that cold breeze again, those monsters of stress fade out all at once.

Having with us a very kind teacher-turned-businessman who is an excellent singer and guitarist all in one package, the bustling night turned into a calm, peaceful mood as he serenaded us with songs from the 80’s and 90’s. While I and my friend were listening to his music, I thought to myself: This is wonderful. This is life. At first, I didn’t know if it’s because of the song echoing through the park or is it because of the presence of that dear friend who sways like a li’l child as the guitar kept on being strummed. Or is it simply the company that is bringing me a momentary relief? Or is it because it was already too long ago that Christmas season passes without me noticing it?

Because I wanted to cherish every split second of this wonderful moment, I lied down on the grasses, not minding anyone else around the park. As I gazed up the sky, I can’t contain how happy I was feeling at the moment because finally I am star gazing again, which is a simple thing that never fails to bring enormous happiness to my heart. Just by looking at the stars and locating the small and big dippers (which are the only constellations I am most familiar with), I feel peace and serenity. The universe is extremely huge and full of exquisite wonders, I thought again to myself.

As I tossed to my left side, where my friend R is, I asked him: Is Santa Claus real?  I know I was kind of stupid in asking that question but maybe I was just under the spell of the magical night that made me ask a question that is somewhat not quite too fitting to a 22-year old woman like me. But to be honest, I still want to believe Santa Claus is real even If my friend gave me a quizzical look upon throwing such question.

I was further bewitched by the moment as I noticed children play around the park, hugging the 6feet tall Santa Claus figurine and taking pictures with it. Oh how wonderful is it to be like a child again… carefree and believing in Santa Claus without ever getting that quizzical stares from anyone.

The park was also surrounded by Christmas lights and several lanterns ready to be lit up tonight as December 1 takes off. And oh… those bold, whimsical letters saying Merry Christmas. And the Christmas carols ringing all over the place. And… I was snapped back to Kuya Nine, the singer, and my friend R who are already tapping their pants to shun off the tiny grasses that were stuck to it. As they rose, I knew it’s time to leave and call it a night.

As I and R headed home, I felt how that night, how that one hour moment magically turned my heart at peace once again stoking that little flame of hope that Christmas, the old Christmas way I used to have, is back again.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Pahiyas Festival 2011

18 Nov

Okay, so this may be out of date by now. I, however, am still compelled to make a blog about this as I first planned six months ago. Six months ago?! Wow. That’s way too aged now really. So before the calendar turns its leaf from 2011 to 2012, I am fulfilling my promise to one day make a blog about the various carabao (buffalo) festivals here in the Philippines that I was able to experience myself.

But before peeping through the photos, here is a brief description of what Pahiyas Festival is all about. The following photos will describe further.

Pahiyas Festival is one of the biggest, most tourist-studded festivals in the Philippines. As the month of May approaches, the townspeople in Lucban, Quezon are already on their feet for the big feast as it is thronged with thousands of people, tourists and residents alike.

Every single house passed by the chosen route of the year is draped with colorful, must-see chandeliers and other art decorations out of vegetable fruits and mainly with “kiping”. Kiping, on the other hand, is the famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. When the grandiose showcasing of the arts that only Lucbanin’s can expertly handle starts on the 15th of May, the streets can be barely passed by a vehicle either big or small. Not even people at times.

And of course, the star of the festival kneeling upon the onlookers’ request, the carabao.

Plus the cute, little children who made the festival more charming as it has always been.

I have to have a photo here too. At my back is the Church of Lucban which was first built in 1595 and was ruined in 1629. The second church, according to accounts, was constructed between 1630 and 1640 but was seriously damaged in 1733. In 1738, this church was finally rebuilt and completed in 1738. So you can guess how old this church is. Pretty interesting.

And when I said that this festival is thronged with thousands of people, I was serious.

These people, like me, just don’t want to miss every single detail of the big affair. The displays and art works are simply stunning and jaw-dropping. And as the sun comes down, the displays just got even brighter as lights transcended and illuminated from each house delicately decorated.

These are just some of the photos about the festival but there are a lot more than the displays like the Lucban’s longganisa and pancit habhab which are really sought-after dishes. I promise to make a blog on this. Promise.

After a winding day taking photographs, running here and there, I and my boss finally took some rest. We were exhausted and drained snaking through the crowd to get some good shots. Nonetheless, the efforts were worth it. In fact, when you experience this yourself, you will surely tell yourself, just like my boss put it: I’ll keep coming back.

(Thanks to my boss Weng for some of the photos here.)