Batangas - The Heritage Houses of Taal


My fascination on heritage houses started when I visited Silay City in Negros Occidental last December 2010. From then on, I begun to love seeing heritage houses which makes me curious to know the story behind every house.

Taal has the ancestral houses of prominent Taaleños who took key roles in our struggle for Independence from the Spaniards. Two important houses are the Marcela Agoncillo (which we missed) and the Leon Apacible Ancestral Houses.

Batangas - The Well-preserved Spanish Colonial Town of Taal

After touring around the city of Batangas last January 17, 2011, we decided to visit the nearby heritage town of Taal. Roughly 1 hour away from Batangas City, a Lemery bound van took us to this well preserved Spanish colonial town.

Taal reigns as one of the most culturally preserved sites of the Spanish colonial era in our country. The town conforms to the common old town layout of having the town plaza surrounded by the municipal hall, the church, schools and houses of renowned residents.

We got off at the town proper and started our walking tour. We went first to the public market and had our lunch. You can find here Taal's famous tapa, panutsa, piña fabric and embroideries perfect for gowns and barongs.

Batangas - Ala Eh! Batangas City-eh!


Being half Batangueño, my family would often visit the province of Batangas whenever we have time. I can vividly recall that when I was younger, I spend most of my summer vacations in Lipa as my father is from there. I can also remember when I was in college, my friend invited us to spend a holy week in their house in Batangas City, but that was about 13 years ago, I could barely remember the places we visited around the city. In recent years, I just go to the city just as an exit point to my travels to Puerto Galera or just passing by during my travels to Mabini, Bauan or San Pascual.

Batangas City is the largest and capital city of the Province of Batangas, Philippines. Known as the "Industrial Port City of CALABARZON", Batangas City is currently classified as one of the fastest urbanizing cities of the Philippines. According to the latest census, the city has an approximate population of 295,231 people in 50,223 households. (source)

My trip to Batangas City is just a side trip, this is after Promding Lagalag and I spent a "3-day escape in Occidental Mindoro" last month. It is the first time I really had the chance to spend more time around city. We enjoyed kapeng barako, tamales and biscocho, visited the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Plaza Mabini and the imposing capitol building of the province.

Here are some of the photos:

Mindoro Occidental - The Capital Municipality of Mamburao

Where is Mamburao? (Photo from wikipilipinas.org)

Mamburao is the capital municipality of Occidental Mindoro, a 2nd class municipality with a population of 34,487 people (2007 census) and has 20,344 registered voters (2010). It has a land area of approximately 33,950 hectares. It is located on the northern part of Occidental Mindoro, on its west is the town of Paluan, on the north is Abra de Ilog and on the southeast id the municipality of Sta. Cruz.

From our overnight stay in Pandan Island, we decided to spend the last day of our "3-day escape" in this town. A 3-hour bus ride from Sablayan brought us in this quiet town. Tough it is the capital of the province, there's nothing much to see here.

Pinoy Festivals : The 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition


The 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition, the premier pyrotechnic event in the country held its first show last Saturday with Spain and South Korea showcasing great firework displays. The event will run every Saturday until March 12, 2011 from 7:00 - 8:00 PM at Seaside Boulevard in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Mindoro Occidental - Pandan Island, a Simple yet Comfortable Hideaway

Beach in Pandan Island

Pandan Island is Occidental Mindoro’s west side diving attraction. It is unassuming but very welcoming resort. Surrounded with nice stretch of white sand beaches with lush tropical forests, it is a perfect island getaway for beach lovers like us.

A 15-minute boat ride from Sablayan mainland will bring you to this island paradise. It offers great accommodations, different amenities and activities. If you want a place where there's not too much of a comfort living, Pandan island is the best for you!

Pinoy Festivals : The 36th International Bamboo Organ Festival in Las Piñas City


Dubbed as the "Philippine Historic Music Festival", the International Bamboo Organ Festival of Las Piñas is now on its 36th year. The festivities will highlight exceptional performances from award winning local and international artists. As it helps promote our rich musical culture and tradition, it was declared as Philippine National Treasure by The National Museum of the Philippines on November 24, 2003.

Mindoro Occidental - Amazing Sablayan!

We're going to Sablayan

After finishing all the things we need to do in Sta. Cruz, we took an ordinary bus bound for San Jose. It took us around 2 hours before we reached the town of Sablayan. One of the biggest towns of Occidental Mindoro and boasts to be the top "tourist destination" in the province.

Bus ride to Sablayan

Seated at the heart of Occidental Mindoro, Sablayan is a town gifted with nature's blessings. It is home to Apo reef - the largest atoll-like reef in the country and probably in Asia. They are also proud to have fine beaches and shorelines ideal for swimming, kayaking and snorkelling; they also offer activities such as picnicking, bird-watching, trekking, camping, tamaraw herd-watching and more.

Where is Sablayan?

The 2-hour bus ride from Sta. Cruz is bumpy but fun! You'll get to see beautiful landscape of mountains, hills and rice fields.

Mindoro Occidental - The Quaint Town of Sta. Cruz


I never heard of this quaint town not until "Promding Lagalag" invited me for a trip to Occidental Mindoro last month. My life is kinda messed up during that time, so when he asked me to accompany him, I quickly said "yes!". It is somehow my way to "escape" from the metropolis even just for a while.

Municipal Building

The town of Sta. Cruz is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Occidental Mindoro. Composed of 11 barangays, it has a population of 26,887 people in 5,407 households (2000 census). Approximately 170 km south of Manila, it would take you around 6 hours to reach this town via a RORO ship from Batangas City.

The main reason why we're here is for my friend to do some errands in the municipal hall. So, while we're waiting for the offices to open, we took some time to rest in the nipa huts located in the municipal grounds. I even slept in here while waiting him to finish the documents he needs to process.

Pinoy Transpo : Montenegro Shipping Lines' MV Maria Zenaida, My First RORO Experience

@ 2:00 AM, aboard MV Maria Zenaida

Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc. is a domestic shipping company established on September 16, 1978 by Vicente Leyco Montenegro, Sr. who was the pioneer service provider of commercial and public transportation by sea via the route Batangas City - Abra de Ilog and back. (www.montenegrolines.com.ph)
My first experience riding a RORO boat happened on my trip to Occidental Mindoro last month. Promding Lagalag and I took Montenegro Shipping Line's MV Maria Zenaida on our trip to and from Abra de Ilog - the gateway to Occidental Mindoro.
Here are some of the photos.

Travel Tip : Php99 Musical Fountain Promo only at Manila Ocean Park!

Planning a trip to Manila Ocean Park? Today is the right time to enjoy the country's first and grandest musical fountain - the Manila Ocean Park's Musical Fountain Show for only Php 99.00 pesos!

Be enticed with the magical water screen that showcases a spectacular display of fire, music, and laser lights, backed by animated marine characters. Experience a special treat for the whole family and friends only with the Manila Ocean Park 's Musical Fountain Show!

Simply register at Manila Ocean Park's website to receive SMS confirmation and fill up the details; or pay it online using your credit card. For more information, click on the flyer below.

Travel Guide : The 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta - How to get there


The 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is from February 10 to 13, 2011 at Clark Special Economic Zone, Angeles City Pampanga.

How to get there from Manila:

1. Ride a bus going north and get off at Dau, Pampanga. Check out www.victoryliner.com for the trip schedules. Fare is around Php 200.00 pesos.

2. From the bus station, walk to the Caltex station and cross on the other side.

Metro Manila - Celebrating Chinese New Year @ Temple of Taoism


Kung Hei Fat Choi!!!

We were able to take some photos when we got a chance to pass by a Taoist Temple in Malate Manila last night. It was the eve of Chinese New Year, Dragon and Lion dancers added to the festive mood in the temple.