Sunday, January 31, 2010

the big binondo food wok map - an invitation

here comes February signifying the celebration of the Chinese New Year! i think it's just so good to know that finally a map for a Binondo food trip is out. we've been going to Manila's China town for quite some time now just to get to eat some of our favorite Chinese food.this time, Old Manila Walks releases its own guide for us to even explore the many other food shops around Binondo. they made it in such a way that we have all the options to try it out. with some stubs that offers discounts on some shops.haven't tried exploring the other food shops in this map guide, so i'm inviting five eskapo readers to join me and explore some of the food shops in the list. i won't be treating though but instead i'll give you a copy of this map and join me get around Binondo.rule is simple, let me know why you deserve this map and join this food trip on the comment page. you need to make sure that you'll be available for the food trip which will be on Feb 14 from 10:00am until 4:00pm.

it's a day of food trip and a bit of an experience of the Chinese way of welcoming the new year. contest starts now until Feb 2 11:49pm. special thanks to Ivan Man Dy and
Old Manila Walks for the copy of this map.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Backpack Photography: Banaue

to end the Banaue-Batad series, i'm inviting you to a one great chance to see it and at the same time learn from photographer and travel blogger ironwulf. join him in his "Backpack Photography: Banaue" on March 19-21, 2010. i always learn something new from ironwulf whether it's just a half day food trip in Binondo, a walk around the heritage town of Taal or even just when we're hanging out at lagalog's place. what more when one gets to join him in a photography session at one of the most loved place in the country. he's actually giving discounts to those making an early confirmation (check out the links). grab this chance or you might as well be interested with his other backpack photography sessions. photo above was taken during the ocular of the photography sessions for Banaue.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

banaue rice terraces

upon meeting the tricycle driver who will be bringing us to the different viewing sites, i immediately asked if doing a topload ride on his tricycle is possible. a straight yes made me jumped over the tricycle. i grew up just looking at the world famous Banaue Rice Terraces on books and on the one thousand peso bill. always in awe of seeing it there and to discover it myself why it's still considered by the Filipinos as the eight great wonder of the world. we arrived at the town center about an hour and went around to look for an inn for the group, though i was already going back to Manila that night. after the siesta, we took two tricycle to go to the viewpoints of rice terraces of Banaue.
unlike the rice terraces of Batad, Banaue's rice terraces are located just beside the highway that goes to Bontoc and Sagada. so it has several view points along the highway thus naming the area can also notice that the rice terraces of Banaue has slanted walls compared to the ones in Batad which has vertical walls of piled stones. yet both are majestic and picturesque. one that i recommend every Filipino should see.
the fogs that cover the topmost part of the terraces made me realize why most travel books would sometimes described it as the stairway to heaven.
and yes don't be surprised when you see a free running vehicle coming along the highway. it's a wooden bicycle that is quite popular in Ifugao. i had my chance to ride one too, and maybe someday i'll bring home one.
the culture, the people, the climate, the place, definitely made our Banaue trip one my best trip in 2009. special thanks to ironwulf, lagalog and erick for this tandem trip. photo above was taken by ironwulf.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

batad village - trekking down

the night after our trek down Tappia falls, we didn't resisted the locals' offer for a whole body massage. just perfect for the tired knees and sleepy eyes. yet after a chat with the other backpackers from different countries, we thought we would just end the night that way. we were already in our beds when we noticed that a night sky shot might be great. we did and even ended late night.
the next day though still tired, i decided to go down the small village located at the center of the terracing paddies. i thought it was easy but it seemed that the way down to the falls was as high as going to this village.
determination and the rare chance to see the village upclose gave me enough confidence to push through. i went down following an unclear path as some paths actually led me to houses. passed by several Ifugao house and empty rice paddies.
after almost thirty minutes, i finally reached the last walkway to the village, it was a great experience to see Ifugao houses where people are still residing in it. unlike most of the ones which are displayed in museums.
some were already made of metal roofs and most of the houses used rocks as its tiles. it was quite usual to find baskets and other agricultural materials below their elevated houses.i saw how they started their day and everyone welcomed me with a smile. went around the village saw kids playing around while the elders were busy starting their day working.
i noticed that i didn't brought my watch and cellphone with me and that i have very limited time in this village. so i started asking the locals, yet not one of the people i encountered has a watch. i realized that they base the time of the day on the sun's position.
a cellular phone is as useless as there's no signal in the area. i walked few more steps down the main walkway that led to one of the simplest church i've seen. or might as well call it a chapel. yet i never knew that this chapel can bring as great awe as seeing the big Spanish colonial churches in the country.
a few more shots, left a smile to the people around and started my way back. this village is indeed one of the most beautiful village in the country. simple living, happy people and great view defines an ideal village to me. it was worth the walk down and the almost endless and tiring steps up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tappia falls - batad

while following the main walking trail of the terraces, one would walk over walls of rocks that holds the rice paddies. i cannot imagine how strong its foundation endured two thousand years or even longer.

when we almost reached the edge of the ampitheater terraces, we were now going down to a house on top of a hill that leads to Batad's most famous waterfalls. Tappia falls.took a short rest while we were now in the other end, another great perspective of the empty terraces. climate was just good, not so hot as it was cloudy during that time. we then farther moved down and finally saw our next was a steep and deep walkway that leads to a river in between hills. at first thought i said i won't push through as i was thinking how i can make it back to the top. with my camera hanged on my neck, it can swing and add to the weight down. ironwulf suggested to place the camera on my back and it worked. it was easier this time. so we went down this dangerous path. we reached the bottom area and continued our way this time walking beside the hills following the river.i learned that this particular area is very sacred to the people of Batad. before, not everyone is allowed to take this route. so it was very important that we as much as possible made a respect of the place by making unnecessary noise.made our last turn and then came the great view of the waterfalls of Batad. majestic and beautiful even from the view deck. i decided to stay in the hut while the rest took a closer look of the falls.took enough time to rest to gather enough energy for our way back. remember that steep hills down? now we have to go back up. but it was worth seeing. worth trekking down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


you might have noticed that i have no post lately or haven't visited your blog during the past days, simply because we don't have internet connection in our area. technical problems with the telco's new hardware. i felt like i was in Batad during the past few days. still hoping that the connection will resume the soonest time but here's to announcing the winners of the eskapo contest.
[1] When our Mt. Pinatubo group asked me "Where would I want to go next?" I answered Slide for Life in Davao. Gusto ko din dun ka pumunta this year.I want to see pictures of you while sliding for life, so I will recommend Camp Zabros, Davao del Sur. - nicely
[2] You should go to Batanes because: 1. it will surely be different from all the places you've been to in the Philippines 2. it's only a matter of time (God forbid) before it gets congested with tourists 3. it will make you a proud Filipino, upon discovering how honest, kind, and generous they can be. - pam
[3] Camotes Island--be there in March for the Soli-Soli Festival, plus Camotes has a beautiful lake, spectacular beaches, rock formations and caves to explore. Guimaras--Nueva Valencia, they say, is the next Boracay. Manggahan fesival around mid-April and Layag and Pagdayao festivals in May.Polilio Island for adventure. it's a bird sanctuary, the island has unspoiled forest, beaches are pristine. -luna miranda

i might not be able to visit in all these places but you sure gave me one great season to be one those places. the rest didn't just made it the cutoff time of the contest. winners, please email me on how to claim your prize and hopefully i'll be able to check my email within the week when the connection resumes. thanls for all those who participated.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

el segunda eskapo - contest

it's time to give out some prize surprise to the readers of eskapo and this time let me know where i should go and why i shouldn't miss it this year.
contest runs from Jan 6 (12:01am) until Jan 7 (11:59pm). the three winners will get something from Singapore as i'll be there from today until tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

eskapo turns two

this week beginning yesterday will be eskapo's second anniversary and can't help but thank all those who followed since 2008. started as a personal blog and ended to be a travel blog. through this blog i gained new friends, valued our culture and loved our country. during this time, i make sure i'll be able to thank the people who followed this blog, journeyed with me on some of my trips, people who influence me on travel photography and the people behind each trip that i make. i dedicate this post to the following:

lawstude - now a long time travel buddy and remains to be a really great friend. thanks for keeping up the zeal in traveling and bringing home great photos.
travel tandems: cagbalete, pagbilao, ilocos norte and taal

ironwulf - for influencing me in blogging and travel and even shared his own experience of travel and photography through some of the trips. has brought the country pride through his photos and travel. thank you for bringing us along.
travel tandems: taal and banaue

lagalog - also one of the first to inspire me to blog and one of the first blogger friend. he as a person and his photos never fail to amaze me. like ferdz, thank you for sharing those great photo ideas and the photography books.
travel tandems: taal and banaue

erick - you're one of the new emerging photographer. i'm sure you'll achieve more in this field. we'll look forward to that. thank you for the friendship daming humahanga sa galing mo. tugsh!
travel tandems: gutsy roamer trip, taal and banaue

lantaw - the programmer, biker, adventurer and outdoor photographer. an islander who explores some of the hidden beaches of which i was strongly influenced. thank you for inspiring us bai.
travel tandems: pinatubo, ilocos norte and taal
scud - a friend since college who also enjoys traveling. keep traveling. looking forward to see your new camera and our trip down south.
travel tandems: pinatubo and ilocos norte

nadz - returned from Amsterdam and now is back exploring the country. i'll never forget the topload ride in marinduque and the shaky boat trip back. soon you'll be influencing a lot to travel. thank you for the brotherhood.
travel tandems: sagada, marinduque, and dasol

kit - one of the coolest travel buddy, whose enthusiasm can really boost out. one who just enjoy whatever comes. the cave connection with nadz is one of the best. sana marami pang tandem trips.
travel tandems: pinatubo, cagbalete and sagada

claire - my cousin who also became my first model in travel. so witty and enjoys almost anything. our baguio trip is one of the most memorable.
travel tandem: manila and around, baguio
manny and vicky - keep up the bond and it's so great meeting you during the early trips of the year and now seeing you together.
travel tandem: pinatubo, cagbalete and pagbilao

jonee - friend since the high school days and also a travel buddy. despite those busy schedules, you managed to join two trips this year. take charge!
travel tandem: pinatubo and ilocos norte

dyanie and nicely - though you just joined one of the last trips of 2009, it was fun traveling with you. looking forward to travel with you. t
ravel tandem: pinatubo

mel, bryan, earvin and dang - first to join me on my first open group trip to pinatubo. i miss those trips together.
travel tandem: pinatubo

sidney - for making time for the meet up and the friendship. looking forward for a tandem trip next year.

byahilo, nina and melo - for promoting the philippines and the friendship. thank you! travel tandem: malacanang and awesome philippines

reena, attyjurita, redlan, nuts, sheng, witsandnuts, jeanny- online blogger friends who are also witty plurk buddies. you know the stories behind the blog posts. salamat sa kakulitan araw araw.

luna miranda, rebecca, docgelo, xprosaic, gillboard, chyng, raft3r, nomadic pinoy, dennis, cyndirellaz, bw, photo cache, blogusvox, aquamarine, pusang kalye, kris jasper, ailee, eds, nanay belen, aline, hilda, carlota, lionheart, rachely, halfcrazy, and the rest who i missed out in the list. for making significant stops at eskapo, whose blogs i also visit. keep blogging. maraming maraming salamat.

eunice, alicesg, bengbeng, fufu, borneo falcon,sandy, victor, pietro and awang - blogger friends from outside the country. thank you for taking time to drop by eskapo.

azrael and jonel - for the invites and updates on blog events. salamat!

to the new followers of eskapo, hoping that we'll keep in touch this year.

special thanks to

kankan and cherry - for including me on the list of bloggers featured in awesome philippines. thank you! thank you!

sir ace durano - for allowing us to be part of the awesome philippines project.

ang lingkod ng panginoon alabang - my community who also loves traveling. we will be traveling to Sagada this year. thank you for being an inspiration in all aspects in life.

my family - my first travel companions and my support. thank you very much.

my God - without You, i won't find a reason to live a good life. thank you!

for almost two years of traveling and blogging i was using a Sony DSC P150 and this time allow me to introduce Fang, my new camera, which i've been using for the past two months now.
special thanks to lagalog for taking this shot and conceptualizing it. anniversary contest comes up next.


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