Friday, May 29, 2009

sagada - a charming countryside

it remains secluded in the middle of the Cordilera region at a height of 1480meters above sea level. a town where the hills meets the clouds.Sagada is a mountain town that is roughly ten to twelve hours away from the urban Manila. it is known for its tranquility and great adventure walks.this town has evolved from an untouched tribal village to a charming countryside town. it has kept intact some of the hanging coffins and burial caves.
we arrived around 12:30noon time with the sun out and perfect for a daywalk around Sagada's central town area. the bus trip was a great experience, it was not torturous as it was years back.
in the coming posts, we will bring you to some of its famous sites. my camera was damaged during the trip but lucky enough to have with me Kit and Nadz whose photos will be featured on eskapo's Sagada series.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

halsema highway - cordillera mountain range

six hours of stunningly beautiful mountain range. the most beautiful and the largest range in the country. the Cordillera of the Philippines.if you've been to Baguio, you have just seen a bit of the Cordillera mountain range. travel buddy Kit and i took noon time bus to Baguio and met Nadz after our meet with Lingkod Baguio. had coffee with Binx, Meann and ended up going home around 2:00am. up by 5:12am the next day to take one of the earliest trip to Sagada.we arrived at the Dangwa terminal of Baguio just in time for the second trip. the bus left 6:34am it passing by Upper Tomay in La Trinidad. we entered the Halsema Highway which begins at the outskirts of La Trinidad.this mountain highway connects two of Cordillera's province, which are the province of Benguet and the great Mountain Province. the 180kilometer-highway connects the two capital towns of these two provinces.our first stop was at the bus terminal of Atok. this was the longest stopover from the whole trip to Sagada. we were given 15minutes to take our breakfast and for some to go to the comfort rooms. the time was good enough.Halsema highway is also considered as the highest highway in the country with its highest point somewhere in Atok. the highest point is about 2,255meters above see level. that makes it higher than Mount Banahaw's peak.this highway was opened in 1930 as led by Engineer Euseibus Julius Halsema of whom this highway was named after. he was also Baguio city's mayor during that time.
the whole trip, i was awed by the beauty of the mountains. but through the fogs, the trail can be blurry and grayish. making this highway a dangerous trail during the rainy season.but from a person, who stayed for most of his life in a flat and plain town, the fogs over mountains definitely are a great view. this makes me love the Cordillera region so much.rice terraces and green paddies is a usual sight along this highway. sometimes you will pass over the side of it and sometimes it comes over the hills along the highway. farming is the most common way of life here and majority of the vegetables distributed in Manila today comes from the Cordilleras. this highway has greatly contributed to the ease of transporting these goods. but there were times when this region was hit by frost causing great damages on its crops.today, parts of the highway are still unpaved but are continuously being rehabilitated. rough roads are now very minimal in this highway. what used to be a torturous road is now a highway that can soon be compared to that of the Marcos highway.you will pass by boulders of huge mountain rocks carved to give way to the road's widened path. those rocks rises high giving great scenic views similar to the roads going to Kapangan.when the bus reached the intersection that separates the way to Bontoc and Sagada, the trip was now going uphill with a rough and steeper road. it signifies that we were now approaching the town of Sagada.despite the lack of sleep, i was awake the whole trip looking in awe how beautiful the Cordillera region is.i would like to dedicate this post to my travel friend Kit who is celebrating his birthday today. he and Nadz will be my guest photographer and writer for the Sagada series.

trip rate:

road trip: 5.0
road quality: 4.0
mountain view: 5.0

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

third where is this winner

whoa! i thought no one would guess it. but we have a sole winner. the right answer is St. William Cathedral in San Fernando La Union. this was taken during my trip during the early part of the year when we went to Baguio. instead of taking the usual road back to Manila, we took the Naguilian highway down to La Union and made a stopover at San Fernando. San Fernando city is the capital of the province of La Union. it is known to be a surfing haven.the winner gets the book Extra Rice. congratulations to photo cache! please email me for the details. thank you to all those who participated.

Monday, May 25, 2009

where is this? - just guess

before i proceed with the next series, i'm giving out another contest. this is the third time i'm doing this. you can check out the first here and the second one here. it's simple, just guess where this church is. again just guess.clue is it's just within the island of Luzon somewhere along its coast. just give me the name of the city or the town. if in case no one gets it correctly, i'll consider the province. and if in case a number of people gets it right, i'll raffle the names who guessed it correctly. only one answer per user and if in case you gave more than one answer, the first from your list will be the valid entry.

just like the previous contests, it will be just for one day. contest begins 12:01am that's right now and ends by 11:59pm tonight. the price is a book entitled Extra Rice. enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

nine reasons why i love marinduque

ending the Marinduque and the Moriones series is not easy for me as we had an awesome experience there. to end, here are my nine reasons why i love the island of Marinduque with some links that leads to the previous posts.

[9] bibingka.
several types of bibingkas, a type of rice cake, can be found around the Philippines. but the ones in Marinduque are bigger in size and it has a taste different from the variety that i've tasted. it can't easily be found there, you really have to search for those sidewalks because to the locals it is ordinary.[8] walk around boac. the simplicity of this rustic town is so obvious. with some old houses just around the town central. a walk in the morning sometimes makes me feel that it's therapeutic. even at noon time, the city remains unbusy, despite being the province's capital town. rustic town of boac

[7] roadtrip. in just a day, one can actually go around the island. but with interesting sights on each of the six municipalities, it isn't best to do that. with good chance, one can actually experience topload ride and the best place to do this is the trip from Balanacan port to the town of Boac. beautiful exhilirating views of the hills and coastline is awesome.roadtrip to sta cruz

[6] the churches. most of the churches here are now 400years old. unique from one another some were built as fortress. we visited three of these churches mostly located uphill.church of boac
church of gasan
church of sta cruz

[5] the traditions. if one wants to spend a time with the feel of a solemn Holy week, i recommend Marinduque. with different traditions like the senakulo or the reenactment of Christ' death until his resurrection. flagellantes are very much alive in this island. each town celebrates simultaneously these traditions that signifies the importance of the ultimate sacrifice.procession of hope

[4] creativity. until now, everytime i see the Morion masks on my photo storage, i'm still amazed with the details that they put in it. at first i thought it was made of something else but soon learned that it's actually made of carved wood, painted and polished. it has evolved thru the years. the Moriones costumes today is from the masks down to the sandals. Marinduquenos creativity is excellent.moriones festival 2009 - ethnic and recycled

[3] island boat trip. the islands of Tres Reyes are islands so accessible from the coastal villages of Marinduque. a nice, though now occupied by a small village, island of Gaspar has a pebble bar beach. with small hidden white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. explored caves and beautiful rock formations. but these are not the only islands that you can visit, there are other beautiful islands around Marinduque. go explore.gaspar island - pebble beach
gaspar island - hidden beach

[2] the festival. definitely one of the best, most colorful and authentic festival in the Philippines. rooted from almost two hundred years of tradition and devotion being passed from generation to generation. behind the story of the converted Roman soldier, are the people's devotion to God. the festival covers the whole week from Christ journey to his death until resurrection.moriones festival 2009
moriones festival - a brief history
moriones festival - battle of the morions

[1] the friendly people. sit down, order a coffee on an ordinary shop and you'll end up in a conversation that can get to as far as being offered for a visit to their home. if it's your first time there, no worries. almost everyone seems to be a friendly guide. genuine hospitality is what i love the most in this island.to prove how much i love this island, i'll be there next year again and by that time with you.

to all the frequent readers, thank you for joining me with the Marinduque series. to travel friend Nadz thank you. special thanks to the Jordan family and the people of Marinduque for the genuine hospitality. to the provincial government of Marinduque for posting my photo in their blog site.

related post:
ten reasons why i love boracay

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the philippine churches - coconuter

check out dong ho's contribution to the coconuter community.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

sta cruz church - marinduque

the jeepney coming from our long trip to Sta. Cruz dropped us on a small walkway leading to one side of the church.like the church of Gasan in the Western side of Marinduque, this church is reaching its 400th year of its foundation. built by the Spanish conquistadors.it has an unusual stone wall design as others are usually made of bricks or blocks of corals. churches in the Philippines usually differ in its materials basing on what is abundant in that area. the bell tower rises to four to five floors high with a cross on its roof. we didn't had the chance to see the bell.what is unusual with this church are the pillars in its facade. two pointed vertical foundation and a cone tip stands on both sides of the church entrance. in contrast to its outer wall, its interior is composed of bricks slightly shiny in nature. the altar ceiling is composed of paintings of the stations of the cross while angels occupies the higher portion.the 400years of its foundation also represents the faith of the many people who prayed and has been part of the Christian community in this island.this was our last stop in the island of Marinduque. we were supposed to to go to the town of Torrijos but with an energy not enough for another hot roadtrip. we decided to stay in Sta Cruz instead.trip rate:
church facade: 3.5
church interior: 3.5
church plaza: 3.0
church location: 4.0
historical background: 4.0

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