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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pagsanjan Falls-Cavinti Eco Park, Laguna

Exploring our country is really fun. Our friends wanted to try something new and just within the outskirt of Metro Manila. We browsed the internet and we found Pagsanjan Falls.
It’s just few hours away from our place, which means we don’t need a lot of money to reach this fasmous, Pagsanjan Falls. It is one of the most famed waterfalls in our country. The falls have grown into a major tourist attraction for the region. Pagsanjan is most famous for these falls in particular. There are two rivers, the Balanac and the Bumbungan, where the name Pagsanjan came. It means pinagsangahan or where the two rivers meet.

Magdapio Falls is the destination of the tour, which the actual location is not in Pagsanjan at all but in the adjacent town of Cavinti. Along the way to Magdapio there are lot of Falls u can see, one of them is Talahib Falls. We were ferried to the famed falls with a traditional Filipino Canoe, manned by skilled Pagsanjeño boatmen (bankeros). The only passable route to it is the Bumbungan River of Pagsanjan. The place is really awesome; you can feel that u r in a different world, a jungle. We saw snakes in rectilinear locomotion, colorful iguana, beautiful butterflies, Monkeys transferring from one tree to another, dragon flies and many more. The rapids are great, as well as the boatmen they know their job very well.
The Pansanjan falls has a natural pool, allowing great swimming and diving. There are some caves to explore around the area which are known for their acoustics. Behind the waterfalls there is also a small cave which you can enter. It is also famous for its massage, where people get 'massaged' under the falls.
The place is superb but you have to talk to the tour agents about the fees before you do the tour because some have hidden fees. Ask for the price of the tour, fix one. You can give tip to the boatmen if you can. It is very much welcome.
Be ready for the communion with nature, really nice place, luscious vegetation, picturesque scenery and don’t forget to bring extra clothes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

White Beach, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro – Perfect Get Away




We left Manila very early (2:00am) so that we can reach Batangas Port early, but the bus was flat tire so we have to wait for another bus. The 8:00 am ferry was the one we rode. As we sailing we were with other tourists, foreigners and locals. We were enjoying because of the fresh air, nice view plus the anticipations of what were store for us. I was with my co-workers and friends. The islets are nice we could see tourist exploring them. When we reached the White Beach, lots of local were offering us hotels and resorts, where we can stay. They were all warm and nice to talk to. We stayed in Delgado Resort and Restaurant; the management allowed us to rent one cottage for 4 persons. They’re very accommodating. We slept and ate, before 3:00 pm we went out and look for tour guides to accompany us to falls. A Mangyan and a Muslim were our tour guides. They were very jolly but shy. We asked them how long will take us to the falls and they said an hour will do. My gosh, it took us for 2 hours, to reach the falls. But you know the trek was rewarding because the luscious vegetations, warm people. Along the way we passed by a mangyan community, an indigenous group. They are fun loving and nice to talk to. Our tour guides’ houses are in that community so when we returned from the falls, they gave us young coconuts, Buko, very refreshing. They accompanied us to the wet market to buy some foods.

At night we did swimming while the tourists were having massage on the shore. The bars were full of people, drinking and singing. Early in the morning we did swimming, snorkeling and wacky picture taking.
In this place you can do island hopping, diving, snorkeling, banana boat riding, kayaking, camping, trekking and a whole lot more. While riding a ferry on our way home, we saw whales doing tricks. It’s the perfect get away very near from the Metropolis, easy to access.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Times Get Tough, the Tough Get Going... Outdoors; Adventure Central Reports Record Increases in Traveler Reservations and Revenue for the Third Q

DENVER, CO, Oct 16, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- While industry insiders point to a slowdown in mainstream travel, reports also conclude that consumers are still looking to escape -- frequently closer to home, by taking advantage of the natural resources around them. Recent industry research indicates a significant increase in travelers visiting national parks, hiking, and engaging in adventure activities. Adventure Central, the leading provider of distribution and online booking services for the adventure and experiential travel industry, supports these findings. Adventure Central has powered more than 60,000 reservations representing more than 260,000 travelers so far this year, with supplier revenues increasing nearly 50% compared with the same period in 2007. Nearly half of that volume was transacted in the third quarter.
The majority of growth resulted directly from increased supplier and affiliate distribution relationships that have enabled the company to better serve the continued needs of travelers looking to find and securely book affordable, unique things to do.
"Even during a challenging economy, we found that demand for our activities in 2008 remained strong," says Dick Schulte, CEO of Adventure Central. "It seems when consumer budgets are stretched, people still want to connect authentically with nature, family and friends."
Hundreds of experiences are available for less than $100 on AdventureCentral.com, from skiing and snowshoeing in Massachusetts to guided bike tours in California, from zip lining in Mexico to kayaking tours in Florida. These are just a small sample of the thousands of activities across the globe and in their own backyard that travelers can find, research and securely buy on AdventureCentral.com, or through dozens of affiliate and distribution partner sites powered by Adventure Central.
Tour operators and suppliers who are looking to profitably reach more travelers in today's market can get started online at AdventureCentral.com. It takes just a few minutes to sign up. More than two-dozen tour suppliers joined Adventure Central's distribution network in the third quarter, including San Diego Bike & Kayak, Alaska Mountain Guides, Shearwater Sailing and many more.
About Adventure Central
Denver-based Adventure Central is an online adventure travel distribution company. Adventure Central connects the world to great adventures by automating the distribution of trip inventory from supplier partners such as A Day Away Kayak Tours and eBoatCharters and bringing new cost and time efficiencies to the market. Adventure Central's private-label offerings distributed through AdventureCentral.com and leading third-party Internet partners like Orbitz (OWW) and CheapTickets give consumers access to one of the largest selection of adventure and experiential inventory at competitive rates available online. For more information on Adventure Central, call 303.292.5522 or visit www.adventurecentral.com.


I love this article, it seems that travelling and nature adventuring
are still the best way to unwind even on economic meltdown.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Manunugtog Kawayan – Las Piñas National High School (1966), Las Piñas City




I am always fascinated with indigenous materials used as musical instruments. They make me proud of my heritage. We Filipinos are really inclined to music. I, myself really love to sing although I am not a good singer.


One Saturday afternoon, Oct. 4, I was off from work so I decided to do malling in SM City Sucat, which is a walking distance from my place. As I was going to the ladies’ room I heard ethnic and very nice music and when I looked, where it was coming from I saw the group of teenagers from Las Piñas National High, school performing. Their group is called Manunugtog Kawayan. Basically their musical instruments are made from Bamboos (kawayan). They’re using a xylophone and anklongs made of bamboos. As they play the instruments they have dance choreography, very entertaining. If only Joey de Leon, who sang and composed the song, Itaktak mo, could hear them perform their own version. I bet he would be fascinated how they perform it. The repertoire of songs varies from folk songs to contemporary. Hope more Filipinos could preserve this kind of musical instruments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Caramoan Peninsula – the Hidden Paradise




We stayed in Lahuy Island the whole night, and when the morning came we were a little bit apprehended to do island hopping for the weather was still bad. It was Good Friday, but the weather was not in consonance with what the day should be. But still we prepared because Jun and his companion told us that the weather will be nice later on. We were praying silently that may the Good Lord give us the weather that we need. We left the rest house half-hearted, because the day was gloomy plus the rain was still pouring. Our boat men told us that we would explore the beautiful islands of Caramoan, the exotic ones which barely reach by tourists. While we were on our first stop, Manlaui Island, we saw group of tourist on top of Daraga Hill still part of Lahuy Island. They stayed the whole night there and they seem to be wet and soaking. Their things were hanging on the trees. The heavy rain really poured. Before we reached our first stop the sun rose.
Manlaui Island is a white beach no residents with lots of coconut trees. The sand is fine, and of course the water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. On its right side u can see the Guinhaoan Island, our next stop. We were lucky because one of the owners of the Island, Manuel Lara was there so we accompanied by him to let us see the beauty of the island. It’s a private property. Part of the Island is the Abba, rocky beach, black rocks and rock formation. The scenery is a really breathtaking. I felt I was really very lucky and privilege to see this wonderful God’s creation. At the top of the island, is really once of the best part. It is a ranch with wonderful, awesome, breathtaking view of Pacific Ocean, Catanduanes Province, Taiwan. Liwan beach can be seen from there, it has a white long shoreline, perfect for swimming. We wanted to stay longer but we couldn’t.
Nippa Beach is still part of Lahuy Island. It has a long and wide white shoreline, nice blue crystal water and warm people. Adjacent to this beach is the Bugtong beach, which has speckled black rock formation. This beach has a hidden islet; it comes out whenever there is a low tide. Beautiful white and fine sand islet. We had our lunch here.
Before three o’clock in the afternoon we reached Brgy. Tagbon. In this place we had more or less 600 steps before we reached the Our Lady of Peace Shrine. The view from the hilltop of this Shrine is really amazing. We could hear the seven last words while we were feeding our eyes of that wonderful scenery. We learned that there is a cave in this place but since we were running of time maybe next time we could. Our tour guide let us got near to Gota Beach, where there were lots of military men guarding the island, to see the rock formation. Good enough the local government opened Sabitang Laya Island for the tourists although still guarded by the military men because it is near the Gota Beach where the French Survivor was held. Sabitang Laya Island is perfect for snorkeling, swimming, camping and bird watching.
Next time we explore Caramoan Peninsula we will allot ample time to really explore the other islands. While we were boating we saw an island, which has black sand. There were group of scuba divers. It is the National Park, where u can find really exotic beaches. If you are looking for a total nature adventure Caramoan is the place for you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Journey to Caramoan National Park




The first time I fell in love with the place when I saw it featured in GMA’s magazine show, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. From then on I read and browsed about that place. It took a year before we got the chance to visit this exotic place.
Last Holy Week, we spent our vacation there. We rode a bus from Manila to Naga, from Naga to Sabang Port. Sabang Port is not a usual port; it is more a public beach. Men would carry you and your baggage in their shoulders in order for you to board to a motorized boat. It was uncomfortable for girls but no choice. The trip from Sabang Port to Guialo Port was really amazing; there is islet white sand some tourist can visit and explore. The mountains are like chocolate hills and rock formations are really awesome.

Arriving in Guialo Port we had to ride a boat just to reach the platform of the port, then Jeep to Caramoan town proper. From there, we looked for lodging houses, hotel or even transient houses but there were no available. Some locals told us we could spend our vacation in an island because some tourists were already camping there too. We were saddened by the news that Gota Beach, Matukad Island and other islands were closed for tourists because the French Survivor was there. So we feel embittered because the local government should have the heart to give advisory that these islands were closed. Although we read an advisory at the Sabang Port that Gota beach was under renovation but we thought the other islands near Gota Beach were open.
But we were already there so no choice we have to enjoy while we were thinking what we should do we ate in Camalig Restaurant. We had laing, which Bicolanos crave for. The good thing was that one of the tricycle drivers we spoke with was from our province and he knew someone, whose family owns islands but far from Caramoan proper. The driver assured us that the islands are really beautiful and worth of the time. We were lucky because this man, Jun Ramos, has a boat rental for tourists. He served us our tour guide and one of the boat men. He offered us the rest house of his Uncle in Lahuy Island. We had tents so we set them up although the mother and grandmother of Jun wanted us to stay inside the rest house. Swimming at night was fun in this island because the water was warm plus the moon, it was an enchanting night. I brought two sets of rechargeable batteries but they were low-bat when the night came. The problem was this island has no electricity but the good thing was there was a generator in one of the houses so the batteries were charged till midnight only. While we were sleeping the rain poured and we transferred to the rest house. Staying in this island was really an experience that can’t be trade. Thanks Riason and Ramos family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Manila Ocean Park




Last December 2007, I read that Manila Ocean Park would have a soft opening. So we planned to visit it. But when we went there it was still under construction. And last July we had time to visit it, this time it is already open.
The plan of this park is to make this as the first world-class marine themed park to adopt a fusion concept-bringing together in one complex an Oceanarium, a mall, a restaurant row, boutique hotel, open water marine habitats and multi-purpose function facilities. As of today the only open are the Oceanarium and restaurants. The Oceanarium is the first and largest aquarium facility in the Philippines. U can experience a wide variety of species, such as sharks, fishes and invertebrates indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The journey in the Oceanarium begins in the “Agos” (Flow), where u will learn about the natural flow of water from the land to the sea. In this zone u can found the giant arapaima, alligator gar and various types of African cichlids. There is a touch pool, where u can experience a hands-on experience awaits those who want to interact with some of our friendly residents such as the starfish and sea cucumber.
The next part is the “Bahura” (Reef), which features some of the most fascinating creatures in the Philippine coral reefs.
“Laot” (Fishing Ground), u will find a wide array of fish in the deeper waters of the sea. There are giant grouper, which can weigh up to 660 pounds, making ti one of the largest coral reel-dwelling bony fish.
The area that I enjoyed most is the “Buhay ng Karagatan”, where u can walk through the 25-meter long underwater tunnel, surrounded by awesome creatures. This tunnel showcases various marine animals and how they interact with each other.
“Ang Kalaliman” (The Deep) features different kinds of schooling fish like the barracuda.
Stingray (Pagi) area is the overhang tank offers a unique top and bottom view of stingrays.
“Pating” (Shark), the shark tank, where u can observe how sharks behave and interact with one another.
There is a multi-media facility, where fun, interactive activities for all ages await the Oceanarium visitors. In this area u can find out how can help save the ocean and its inhabitants; or learn more about marine ecosystems, life cycles of coral reefs, and other interesting facts and trivia through the use of thrilling hi-tech devices. Listen, watch, experience and learn.
In the second floor is the exit area, there are fish spa, boat ride, shark viewing area, restaurants and souvenir store.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Bamboo Organ-A National Treasure




My sister and I are really wanted to attend and watch the concert of The Bamboo Organ but sad to say the concert tickets were very dear. We could not afford to buy although we are hoping someday we can watch the concert. Instead we chose to visit it in the Church, where it is in housed. The entrance is 35.00 for adults and 20.00 for children.
One Sunday morning we decided to visit the St. Joseph Parish Church at P. Diego Cera Ave., Poblacion, Las Piñas, where the Bamboo Organ housed. It is two rides away from our place. We were feeling blessed because it was a gloomy day and few tourists were there. So we had ample time to explore the place. The church is made of adobe stones, which was constructed between 1797 to 1819. Its architectural design is Baroque; I felt I was in another era.
The only pipe organ in the world which pipes are made of bamboo is The Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas City. It took Fr. Diego Cera dela Virgen del Carmen, the first parish priest, 8 years to finish the bamboo organ (1816-1824). It was destroyed in the 1880’s by typhoon and earthquake, which made it unplayable for several years. The pipes were kept till 1917 in the old sacristy when tourists discovered it. The total restoration contract was awarded to Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, Germany in 1972 and the organ was shipped to Germany in 1973. In March 1975, the restored Bamboo Organ returned home. Since then, every February the yearly International Bamboo Organ Festival is held attracting both local and foreign music enthusiast. After a panel of evaluation of this famous Bamboo Organ on November 24, 2003, the National Museum of the Philippines declared the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ as National Cultural treasure because it is the only 19th century bamboo organ in the Philippines that has survived and is still functioning.”
The Antillan House, which is adjacent to the church, is where the entrance for those who want to have a clearer view of the Bamboo Organ. In this house u can see the gift shop as well as the Museum.
Have fun in visiting this National Treasure, very nice one.