Earlier this month, I was able to experience one of the well-kept secrets of Zambales... Nagsasa Cove!
Have you heard about Nagsasa Cove? Not yet? Well, let me tell you...
Few weeks ago, I went on a 3-day escape to Occidental Mindoro with my good friend Benj. It was an unplanned trip, so we don't have any prepared itinerary. We just relied on what we know about the province.
We took the RORO boat in Batangas Port bound for Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro. Various shipping lines offer the Batangas-Abra de Ilog route, we chose Montenegro shipping lines and boarded their MV Maria Zenaida ship. Fare is Php 208 pesos, travel time is about 2.5 hours.
Upon reaching Abra de Ilog, we took a bus bound for San Jose. We got off at the town of Sta. Cruz because Benj has to do some errands there. The fare from Abra de Ilog to Sta. Cruz is 120 pesos, travel time is about an hour.
If you think that you've seen it all in Anawangin, think again. Have you heard about Nagsasa Cove? Not yet? Let me tell you...
Nagsasa Cove is a beach that was created by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the early 1990's when volcanic materials landed to this beautiful cove. For me, Nagsasa Cove is definitely better than Anawangin. Just 20 minutes farther down from Anawangin Cove, it is one amazing beach perfect for camping! The beauty of this secluded paradise is that it doesn't get too crowded. There are only few campers and sometimes you’ll see no one but your group. It's a perfect place to spend a weekend getaway and commune with yourself and with nature.
It is home to some Aeta community who transferred there and took care of the area. The sand is just the same as Anawangin but it has longer and wider beach front. It also has an incredibly awesome backdrop of sprawling hills and mountains, a lake that reflects the amazing landscape of the surroundings and a small waterfall in the mountain side, just a few meters away from the beach.
The Panagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival is an annual event in celebration of the "season of blooming" in Baguio City. Held during the month of February, it showcases floats decorated with flowers and street dancing presented by dancers in flower-inspired costumes. This is truly one Filipino festival that you shouldn't miss.
This year's theme is “The Environment and Community in Harmony".
Daraitan is a trekking destination nestled within the Sierra Madre mountain range in Tanay Rizal. Last June 2010, my mountaineering group, the Sosyal Klaymers and our friends from the other group enjoyed 2-days of camping, river trekking, rock climbing, swimming, cam whore-ing and spelunking. (click here for the related blog post)
If you're up for this kind of adventure, here's how you can get there.
1. From Shaw Boulevard, take a jeepney bound for Tanay Rizal. Travel time is around 1.5 to 2 hours, fare is approximately Php 50 pesos.
2. Get off at Tanay Public Market and proceed to the jeepney terminal located at the back. Take the jeepney going to Brgy. Daraitan, fare is around Php 60 pesos. Travel time is about an hour. You can also rent the whole jeepney for Php 1,500 pesos.
Beach camping in Nagsasa Cove is one great way to enjoy exquisite and pristine silence of nature away from the metropolis. My mountaineering group, the Sosyal Klaymers conquered this remote beach in Zambales last January 8-9, 2011. What a great way to start the new year! Ayt?!!!
Known as the “Paris of Negros”, Silay city is famous for its ancestral houses built on a wide range of architectural designs. The city boasts to have the most ancestral houses declared by the National Historical Institute as National Treasures, a total of 29 well-preserved houses. It is the second Philippine city to have been declared a museum city, next to Vigan in Ilocos Sur. This makes the city one of the top 25 tourist destinations in the country.
The houses are very easy to locate as they are standing proud very near the town hall, the plaza and the church. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter one house - the Manuel Severino Hofilena Ancestral House. I was welcomed by one of the descendants of the owner of the house and then assisted for a tour by their tour guide Gilbert Nemecio. Please note that you can only enter this house "strictly by appointment", I was just lucky enough that I was allowed for a tour even without any appointment.
1. Take a bus bound for Lucena and get off at the Grand Terminal. There are bus companies that has regular trips to Lucena. We took Jac Liner in Buendia, fare is around 220 pesos and travel time is about 3-4 hours.
2. From the grand terminal, take a mini-bus bound for Unisan and get off at Brgy. Marao in the town of Padre Burgos. Fare is about 40 pesos and travel time is around 45 minutes.
Get ready for the grandest display of Hot Air Balloons in Clark field Pampanga this year. The 16th Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta will be held on February 10-13, 2011. Be sure to be there to witness this colorful event.
Mt. Tagapo can be found at Talim Island in Binangonan, Rizal. There are passenger boats that ply the routes to different barangays in the island, connecting them to mainland Rizal.
Together with my mountaineering group - the Sosyal Klaymers, we celebrated our 1st Anniversary climbing up this moutain last August 21-22, 2010. (Click here for the related blog post)
How to get to Mt. Tagapo
1. At Edsa Crossing, take a jeepney bound for Binangonan Rizal. The jeepney terminal is in the Edsa Central Terminal. Fare is about 40 pesos.
2. Get off at Binangonan Port and take the passenger boats going to Brgy. Janosa, Talim Island. You can also charter a boat for about 1,500 pesos.
How to get to Kwebang Lampas
1. Take a bus bound for Lucena City and get off at Lucena Grand Terminal.
There are several bus companies that has regular trips to Lucena. We took Jac Liner in Buendia, fare is around 220 pesos and travel time is about 3-4 hours.
2. From the grand terminal, take a mini-bus bound for Unisan and get off at Brgy. Polo Crossing. Travel time is around 20-30 minutes, fare is around 30 pesos.
Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival 2011
Calendar of Activities
SPIRITUAL STREET DANCING
January 1 to 16, 2011, Major Streets
The true spirit of Ati-atihan. An act of piety to ensure miracle for barren women to bear children, heal the body from maladies beyond medical remedy, prosperity in business or simply for fun and excitement.
January 7-16, 2011, Kalibo Cathedral
A unique age-old faith healing rite of the miraculous Santo Niño of Kalibo that attracts devotees worldwide for curing diseases.
January 7-15, 2011, Kalibo Cathedral
A traditional religious activity in reverence to the Santo Niño where believers pledge vows in exchange of blessings and supplications.
January 10, 2011, Pastrana Park
Opening of the weeklong Kalibo Santo Niño Niño Ati-atihan Festival 2011.
KAEAN-AN SA PLAZA
January 10-16, 2011, 9:00 A.M.-12:00 M.N., Pastrana Park
The Food Festival presents fast foods and different culinary specialties from Aklanon, Filipino to international culinary cuisines.
SEARCH FOR MUTYA IT KALIBO ATI-ATIHAN 2011
January 10, 2011, ABL Sports Complex
A pageant of beautiful and talented women vying for the Mutya it Kalibo Ati-atihan 2011 title.
HALA BIRA ATI-ATIHAN NIGHTS
January 10-16, 2011, Magsaysay Park
A never-ending excitement of “snake-dancing” and partying with the rumbling and energetic music of live bands and appetizing food and drinks served at surrounding kiosks.
It was in 2009 when we had our beach-bumming weekend in Anawangin Cove, Pundaquit San Antonio Zambales. I want to share to you how we were able to get there.
How to get to Anawangin Cove
1. Take a Victory Liner bus going to Iba Zambales and get off at the town of San Antonio. Or you may take a bus bound for Olongapo then transfer to a bus going to Iba Zambales. Fare is around 250 pesos. Check out Victory Liner website for the trip schedules.
2. From the town proper of San Antonio, take a tricyle going to Pundaquit Beach. Fare is 25 pesos per person.
1. Take the ferry boat at SM MOA Jetty Port. Fare is around 250 pesos (one-way), travel time is about 1 hour. For the schedules, you may check Super Ferry website.
2. From Orion Port, you may rent a van (around 800 pesos) that will bring you to Brgy. Alas-asin or take a tricyle going to the hi-way and take a bus bound for Mariveles. Travel time is around 30-45 minutes.
3. Get off at Brgy. Alas-asin and register at the Barangay Hall. Registration fee is 40 pesos.
4. Walking distance from the hall is the jump-off point of Tarak Ridge.
Click here for the story of our climb to Tarak Ridge last year.
The John Paul II Tower stands at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. reclaimed area where the Pope held a Mass in February 20, 1981. It was built to commemorate the event that happened twenty-nine years ago when the late Pope John Paul II visited Bacolod City. At the entrance of the tower stands an eight-foot sculpture of John Paul made of synthetic bronze and fiberglass created by Brother Tagoy Jakosalem. On top of the tower is a 12-foot stainless steel lighted cross made and donated by Architect Ramiro Garcia, former vice mayor of Bacolod.
This eight-story glass tower was inaugurated on February 18, 2010 with the holy presence of Archbishop Joseph Edward Adams, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, assisted by the Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod, his Excellency, Msgr. Vicente Navarra.
The donor of the 700 square-meter lot at the reclamation area and the eight-story building just a few steps away from SM City Bacolod is lawyer Simplicio Palanca.
It is covered in glass panels and houses personal possessions of John Paul.
The San Sebastian Cathedral is located in downtown Bacolod City. It was originally a small chapel and was declared as a cathedral when Bacolod was raised to the status of a diocese with a jurisdiction comprising the island of Negros in 1933. It was used to be under the Diocese of Cebu until 1860 and Diocese of Jaro until that year. Since then, the church became a cathedral and the convento beside it became the Palacio Episcopal or Bishop’s Palace.
The coral stone church, now covered with a thin layer of cement, is classical in temper. The slender bell towers flanking the façade give an eastern European look to the church. The entrance to the church is through a portico composed of three arches of equal dimensions. Flanking the main door is a statue of the church builder Fr. Ferrero.
The church interior is simple and chaste, its pleasing appearance comes about because of the pleasing modulation of arches and pillars rather than ornamentation. This feeling is accentuated by the unadorned gray faux vault, minus the figures painted by Lago.
In the church yard is a bell donated by Fr. Julian Gonzaga which was removed from the belfry in 1976 during the centennial celebration of the church.
My trip to Negros Occidental will never be complete without a visit to the Provincial Capitol Park and Lagoon Complex. So, after checking-out from the pension house where I stayed for a night, I went to the park to see things around.
It is a park located along Lacson St. in the heart of Bacolod City. This is also where Kilometer Zero marker or the point of distance reference of the city is located. The provincial capitol complex is consisted of the capitol building and an artificial lagoon in front of it.
One of the most distinctive landmarks of the park are the carabao (water buffalo) statues painted in gold. One with a woman standing alongside a water buffalo and other is being pulled by a man. These sculptures are located at the northern and southern ends of the lagoon.
Manual for Climbing Mountains
By Paulo Coelho
A. Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.
B. Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.
C. Learn from someone who has already been up there: no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.
D. When seen up close, dangers are controllable: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.
E. The landscape changes, so enjoy it: of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.
F. Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.
G. Respect your soul: don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.
H. Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.
I. Be happy when you reach the top: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!
J. Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.
K. Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.
Copyright by Paulo Coelho
Palawan was hand-picked by National Geographic Traveler editors as one of the best travel destinations for 2011. So if you're planning for a summer get-away this year, don't forget to include this island paradise in your list.
Please see the article below as lifted from their website.
Palawan’s limestone karst cliffs, coral atolls, mangrove forests, sugar-white sandy beaches, and extensive fringing reefs create one of the Philippines' most biodiverse terrestrial and marine environments. Designated as a fish and wildlife sanctuary in 1967, the Philippines' largest (in total land area) province encompasses nearly 1,240 miles (1,995 kilometers) of coastline stretching across 1,768 islands.
On the main island (also named Palawan) near Sabang, hike the three-mile (five-kilometer) Monkey Trail to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park's navigable underground river. The five-mile (eight-kilometer) coastal rain forest route is home to long-tailed macaques, blue-naped parrots, and other indigenous wildlife. In the province’s northern Calamianes islands, Coron Island is considered one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations, offering World War II-vintage wreck diving and snorkeling in calm, crystalline waters. Nearby Culion Island, a former leper colony surrounded by sea grass beds and coral reefs, is an emerging ecotourism destination worth a day trip.
Set a goal for yourself and do it!
After a thorough research, I found out that we actually have 79 provinces, not 71 which I previously mentioned. Here are the provinces I've been to (in no particular order) and plans to visit in the coming months.