Tuesday, June 30, 2009

roam magazine second issue - contest

i remember buying six copies of the first issue of ROAM magazine, giving out to some bloggers who i met in Iloilo and Bacolod. now comes the second issue and this time i'm giving three magazines courtesy of ROAM Magazine.the second issue highlights the best of roadtrips on the Northern part of the island of Luzon entitled the Northern Spin. from the surfing spots of La Union, the raging waters of Cagayan, to the awesome Cordilleras. this magazine captured each moment of the trip based on the travelers personal experience. i finished this part in one read.plus a jam-packed travel stories of Bicol's not-so-hidden secrets, the mysteries of Indochina's culture, and the ever thrilling sights of Batanes. i like the Hit the Road Jack portion, as i usually experience it on my own travel experience.you'll have the chance to have it for free by simply sharing your most memorable roadtrip experience. the place won't matter much because we will base it on the experience. so just post your entries in the comment section. this time, i requested ROAM magazine's staff to do the judging. we will be giving out three magazines of this issue to the three best roadtrip experience. it is open to all and each blogger is only entitled to one entry. we will limit this to those who are in the Philippines but if you're outside the country, you can still submit your entry. if in case you win, you can choose who to give it to, who's in the Philippines. deadline of submission for this contest will be on July 2, 2009 11:59pm.

thanks to ROAM magazine! visit www.roammag.multiply.com and www.octobereighty.com

Sunday, June 28, 2009

voyage of balanghai

the Philippine archipelago was conquered by the Spaniards many years back but trading already begun even before their arrival. among the proof are the balanghai or the old wooden boat used by our ancestors.it was in 2006 in Butuan, North of Mindanao island, when i first saw the balanghai at the National Museum and Balanghai Shrine. it was excavated on what used to be a lake dried through the years. a total of nine of these boats were found and some of which were still unearthed due to the cost needed for the excavation. this day, the site is already declared a national cultural treasure of the country. today, through the initiative of Philippine Department of Tourism Undersecretary Art Valdez, they rebuilt a balanghai. this time to journey around the archipelago. the team is composed of the Philippine Mt. Everest team, tourism officials, and experienced sailors. it was yesterday when it was already set to test-sail the balanghai that i had the chance to see it. through the invitation of ironwulf, lagalog and roadworthyman, though we still didn't meet there.according to the officials, they will start testing it and hopefully to set out by mid-July. stopover points includes Cavite, Mindoro, Boracay, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Butuan, Zamboanga, Davao, Sulu islands and other cities and islands around the Philippines. in the coming years, they will circumnavigate around the world. i was privileged enough to have seen it before it started its journey. eskapo blog supports the Philippine team on this new challenge. you can still visit the balanghai at the Harbour area of CCP in Manila Bay before it sets out. here's a video posted by balanghayvoyage in youtube as presented by the Probe Team.

Friday, June 26, 2009

you're invited - banaue escape

eskapo officially invites you to dong ho's next destination. the towering and world renowned rice terraces of Banaue. July 4-5, 2009 (correction: previously posted 5-6). experience and explore the culture of the Ifugaos.if you're interested send an email to i.dongho@gmail.com for the details. photo courtesy of travel buddy lawstude. wanna see more of Banaue? check lawstude's adventure to this gigantic and beautiful terraces.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

eleven reasons why i love sagada

of our three day stay in Sagada, i seem to have maximized my stay along with Nadz and Kit that i ended up with eleven reasons why i love this highland town.
[11] Cheap Accommodations. it can be as cheap as those homestay rates of Baguio city but still with a touch of a rustic yet beautiful rooms. some giving you a really nice view of the central town of Sagada.
Sagada's charming countryside
[10] Church. the presence of the St. Mary Episcopal church in Sagada is very significant as it both symbolizes the town's development and the spread of Christianity. development in the sense that through the missionaries, education and health support was provided to the people of Sagada.
St. Mary's Episcopal church - Sagada
[9] Sagada Weaving. it is just so good know that somebody has kept the tradition of weaving. from the very thread, completely coming from raw materials produced within the province, to the artistic designs of its clothing form, one will definitely love it. though now made with the use of modern wooden mechanical looms, still it's a favorite souvenir.
sagada weaving - intricately made
[8] Rice Terraces. there are a number of rice terraces found around Sagada. the road serves as a nice view deck to the expanse rice terraces. they say the ones that can be seen from Kiltepan peak are really impressive. i recommend you seeing the ones near Sumaguing cave. [7] People. the people of Sagada may not look as friendly as they may not approach you but when you start opening a conversation they can be so charming. among the really nice experience is when you get to talk to the Sagada kids as experienced by Nadz and Kit. what's great is despite the many tourists walking around, they don't beg for anything. they just enjoy being with visitors. [6] Climate. Sagada's location if seen through the map can be considered as the center of the Northern portion of the island of Luzon. pine trees fill the huge unoccupied lands, a variety of vegetations and a really nice climate makes Sagada a good retreat place for a busy soul. the foggy mornings and the usual rainy afternoon tells you what to bring when you go there. [5] Mountainscape. the limestones found around Sagada are really impressive. the mountains that forms a silhouette when seen from afar seems to be a good reason why many people would go to Sagada. they just look for a good place,for their feet to be placed on top and relax.
sagada's echo valley - repercussion of our voices [4] Food. everyone who visits Sagada won't deny that one of the reasons that makes Sagada very special are the food that it offers. with natural home made yoghurt, lemon pies, coffee, tea and the food influenced by the foreign tourists, who decided to make Sagada their home. food may be expensive there but a food trip around Sagada's small central town is highly recommended. [3] Hanging Coffins and Burial Coffins. this culture which is quite unique to the Cordillera region are as good as gems. the way they bury and hang the dead can be one of the country's most important historical ritual. the reason behind placing the dead in fetal position somehow has a strong value.
sagada hangin coffins - suspended caskets
sagada burial coffins - on cave entrances
[2] Roadtrip. whether you went to Sagada via Baguio or Banaue, one can just be awed by the beauty of the Cordillera mountain range. i believe that the country's highest most accessible mountain range can also be considered as the country's finest. i personally believe that the long travel to these mountains will always capture a traveler's soul.
halsema highway - cordillera mountain range
[1] Sagada Cave System. the country's deepest cave and the fifth longest cave system is comprised of the caves of Lumiang, Sumaguing, Crystal and Latipan is must-see. though only Lumiang and Sumaguing are accessible these days, the beauty of the many chambers that it has, tells me that there's more to just exploring the country's beaches and best diving sites. the caves of Sagada are as enchanting.
lumiang cave - cave connection entrance
sumaguing cave - cave connection exit
i'd like to thank Nadz and Kit for contributing much on the Sagada series through the photos and write ups. to the people of Sagada, we will see you again.thank you to all of you who consistently followed Eskapo through the Sagada series.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sagada hanging coffins - suspended caskets

from afar we could almost see coffins hanging by the cliff at the left side and the small town of Sagada to our right. groups of people took pictures as it gives a background so strategically placed that almost everyone lined up for a particular shot.

we trek further down along with the Batang Sagadans, whom, together with us were chanting our names and chatted while trekking. it was one of the best ways to experience the local culture.

the hanging coffins itself was a enchanting scenery. only in Sagada you can find such in the Philippines along with similar traditions found around China. several other hanging coffin sites can be found around Sagada.

i thought while my eyes were fixed on them, why would someone hang coffins when you can lay them down flat at the grounds? why would someone punch holes at the hard limestone 30 feet from the ground?

well, as i was not certain to why, it just ceased my mind to wander but wonder knowing that different culture and place breeds different thinking and thus a different way of life.

it made me at awed that Sagadans have such a special way of looking things up. making Sagada more beautiful and a unique treasure and sight to behold.

thanks to Nadz for being a guest writer for the two posts feature on Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins. here's a video i found in youtube as posted by crystalthread that will show you a wider perspective of its location. this is from another site still around Sagada.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sagada echo valley - repercussion of our voices

with my ankle sprained from the cave connection, i decided not to join the walk in the afternoon of that day. Nadz and Kit proceeded to one of the most significant part of the trip. this is a special post as written by guest writer Nadz.

after a much needed rest from the Lumiang-Sumaging spelunking. we proceeded to our next adventure, the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins.

the trek going to the cemetery took only a few minutes from the St. Mary's Episcopal Church which serves as the gate to the spooky yet thrilling walk.

the fork at the end of the road was a bit confusing to us since the green map we bought revealed nothing but a dashed line. thankfully, we were fortunate enough to have an encounter with five local children, Batang Sagadans as we fondly called them. we invited them to go with us and instantly became our cheerful guides.

we passed by a Christian cemetery and with a sloping hill of it depicted a common cemetery setup which can be seen in every part of our country. the steep hills proved to be a challenge to traverse especially for us who have watched our dumbbells turned into rust. trees lined up and so with the limestones beautifully parched the scene and gave us a magnificent view at the Echo Point. our voices reverberated for at least twice when we shouted out our exhausted breathe.

proving to us its name, Echo Valley. it was a different experience and we gladly took the exercise but did not further to becoming Andrea Bocelli.

up next the way down to the Hanging Coffins of Sagada.

Monday, June 15, 2009

sumaguing cave - sagada

after crossing the cave's big dance hall, we heard sounds coming from the path ahead of us. we knew that Sumaguing cave trail was not far from where we were.this is Sagada's renowned big cave because of its big chamber that goes deep down its rocky hills. it is also the busiest cave among Sagada's gigantic cave system.as we went on, we already saw the light from both ways, one coming from where we came and one down to where we were about to go. when we reached the chamber's end, we saw the way down to Sumaguing's deepest reachable point.later on, we met two foreign tourists with their guide now going ahead of us. we enjoyed taking photos on some of the chambers that we've entered, which made us stay longer.we then reached the Sumaguing trail where more and more people coming from the top can be seen. it was at this point when i decided not to force myself down as the pain on my left ankle caused by an injury along the way was already uncomfortable.so Nadz and Kit instead went on with our guide. i stayed on one portion midway down Sumaguing cave. seeing very beautiful rock formations in this cave made spelunking very exciting.the guides would point at some of the rock formations giving them names based on its form. mostly shaped by the hundreds of years of flowing water inside this cave.among the most beautiful formation is the curtain wall forming like a hanging long piece of cloth. when down there, the experience was like one is inside a museum that featured many valuable historical items naturally displayed.there were pools of water where one can swim alongside really amazing walls. down there, no other light source except the one from the guide's lamp. so a display of each rock formation are only revealed when the guide's lamp make way to those wonderful rock forms.after a swim, Nadz and Kit made their way back this time climbing on ropes on an almost vertical wall. the way down is different from the way up on this portion of the cave's trail.more people were still going down when we started climbing back up out of the cave. there was a part where one will pass over the bats stinky manures and slippery rocks.the way up out of Sumaguing cave was way easier than the Lumiang trail. some steps were already fixed to provide ease when caving down. when we reached our exit, which is the entrance for those doing the Sumaguing caving only, we felt fulfilled.it was at this point when all i can say was "to be inside Sagada's cave system for four hours was one of the best experience i had in my life". now i believe, that you've never been to Sagada if you haven't done caving on one of its beautiful caves. it's a must see.

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