Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mt. Daguldol | My First Climb

To climb a mountain is one of my biggest dreams ever. You know I have done a lot of long road trips, explored a number of astonishing caves, bathed on many white sand beaches, walked miles of distance just to visit structures of historical importance, but I never had the chance to bring myself on a mountain's peak. And so, December 28, 2011 is the date to be remembered, it is the date that I finally conquered my first mountain.

Mt. Daguldol is the mountain now close to my heart. With the company I was with and the awesome side trips we ventured, it surely was a memorable first climb.

Day 1 - December 28, 2011

It all started early in the morning of the 28th of December 2011, the four of us traveled to San Juan, Batangas aboard the first trip of RRCG Bus (I really have no idea that there's a bus in Buendia-Taft that will travel direct to San Juan, Batangas).
| RRCG Bus Line offers trips direct to San Juan, Batangas via Ibaan. It would only cost P188 (as of 2011) from their terminal at the corner of Buendia and Taft Avenue. Travel time would only take 2 hours.   
At around 8AM, we reached the town of San Juan, alighted somewhere near Puregold, and from there we walked to the jeepney terminal located near the town market. We were after the first trip to Brgy. Hugom but we arrived a few minutes late. We had no choice but to wait for the next jeep to get filled with other passengers - sigh - at least we have some chocolates to nomnom while waiting. Finally, after more than 30 minutes, our jeep left for Brgy. Hugom, yehey.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Post | The Best of 2011

In just a matter of hours, our generation will have to say goodbye again to this outgoing year, a year that for me is full of unforgettable successes, mishaps and adventures. Actually, 2011 is my most traveled year as of now, it is also the year that Batang Lakwatsero have fully grown into a travel blog. In this post, I will summarize all my Firsts, Bests, Achievements and Travels of 2011. 

Trips of 2011

Batang Lakwatsero had 22 successful trips
around Luzon and Visayas on the Year 2011. 

The trip that gave me goosebumps.
The trip that made me love the music.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Food Trip | Mang Larry's Isaw @ UP Diliman

One afternoon, a friend invited us to join a conference/seminar at UP Diliman. Since I don't have any prior commitments and homework that day, I, without thinking twice, said yes to his invitation.

Fast Forward >>>

It was a nice conference/seminar, talking about the undergrad and graduate courses offered by colleges and universities in Japan. However, I am not interested in studying abroad so I'm kinda bored and wanted to get out as soon as possible. After waiting patiently for an hour or so, we all decided to leave the auditorium.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chronicle of My First Flight Experience

The day has finally come, 12th of December 2011. It was the most awaited day of the year, the day that I will finally experience flying (oh yeah, I will fly for the first time in my 19 years of existence). I really don't know what I am feeling that time, a feeling of excitement and nervousness combined. Exactly the same feeling I felt when I tried doing my very first solo travel last April. 

My plan was to spend my whole night at SM Mall of Asia, wait there 'til it closes at around 11 PM then commute to NAIA Terminal 3 by jeep (thanks to Lloyd for the advice). Then at the airport, I'll wait for my travel buddy and plane ride mentor, Brenna of

In fact, I formulated a Mission-First-Plane-Ride:
1.) Get into the airport with less than P100.00
2.) Eat and Sleep at Terminal 3
3.) Flight Check in
4.) Board the plane
5.) Window seat

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready to Conquer the Sky

I have tried various modes of transportation during my travel. I have conquered both the road and the rails, the land and the sea, but not yet the sky. I have not tried riding an airplane yet!!  

I have tried riding the Jeepney, the "King of the Road"
But not an Airplane yet!
jeepney has always been my favorite, it's cheap and it suits well with my kuripot budget

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Philippine Blog Awards 2011

The mere mention of my blog among the finalists for the Philippine Blog Awards - Best Travel Blog for Luzon is something that I can really be proud of. It's a milestone for my 1 year and 15 days old blog. yeeha!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Itinerary | Sagada

Our trip
Date: October 29 - November 2, 2011 (5D/4N)
Destination: Sagada, Mountain Province
Budget: P5000.00
Trippers: 12 (Day 1 to 3) / 7 (Day 3) / 9 (Day 4 to 5) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Foodtrip in Sagada

I would always want to try the local food of the place I am visiting. It is an excellent way of familiarizing a place's rich and dynamic culture.

When we were in Sagada for 5 days, we were able to try 5 of the many restaurants in town. All of them fed our cravings, saved our hungry stomachs with their own specialty (you'll know by the restaurant's name). Now I'm longing for Sagada's food.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Soloing the Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley

I failed to have a glimpse on the famous hanging coffins the first time I went to Echo Valley. I made a promise to myself that I will return and take a few snapshots of this marvelous tradition, even if it means that I have to go on solo.

Day 5 - November 2, 2011

The sound of the wake-up alarm disturbed my light sleep. It was 5:00 in the morning, and it's still dark outside. It's also our last day in Sagada, we're scheduled to leave by 1:00 pm. Good thing I have done packing my things last night before I sleep, now I still have a couple of hours to pursue the hanging coffins of Echo Valley.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Indigenous Flavors of Sagada

The taste of Pinikpikan and Moma (nganga) in the Cordilleras are just two of the many  flavors native to Sagada. Never miss the chance of giving them a try when you're up there in the Cordillera region.

Day 4 - November 1, 2011

The Pinikpikan...

So after inhaling tons of pine-scented smoke at the Panag-apoy ritual, we headed next to Pinikpikan Haus, a restaurant that will serve us Sagada's specialty. Priced for P100 per head, we were able to fill our stomachs with this controversial dish.
| Pinikpikan is a chicken dish native to the Cordillera Region. It is composed of chicken, ginger, some string beans and black pepper. However, the preparation of the chicken for this meal is somewhat controversial as it violates some animal rights.

Anniversary Post | Batang Lakwatsero Turns One

Tignan mo nga naman, isang taon na pala ang lumipas. Ambilis ng oras, parang hindi ko namalayan. Ngayon ang unang anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag ng blog na Batang Lakwatsero. Kailanma'y hindi ko naisip na aabot ang blog na ito ng isang taon, akala ko noon matutulad lang ito sa alaga kong tamagochi noon na matapos kong pagsawaan laruin ay napabayaan na lang sa lalagyan ng mga martilyo at pako.

Viaje Sagada | Blazing Rituals of Panag-apoy

We were dazzled by the fires of Panag-apoy. The heat, blaze and smoke produced by the fires of Panag-apoy created an inferno-like ambiance at Sagada's cemetery.

Day 4 - November 1, 2011

We just came from a tiring trek from Bomod-ok falls and we were now filling our stomach at Kimchi Restaurant. By the way, the food at Kimchi Restaurant was so great especially their chicken adobo, yum yum. I'll make a separate post regarding our food trip in Sagada.

It was around 5 before evening and it was raining in Sagada. We were eating our superduper late lunch very fast because we know that the rituals of Panag-apoy would start any minute soon. And just a few seconds after we finished eating, we saw black smoke rising from the cemetery. The Panag-apoy has started.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Viaje Sagada | The Might of Bomod-ok Falls

I've never seen in my entire life a falls that is as strong as Bomod-ok. 

Day 4 - November 1, 2011

After witnessing one of Sagada's unique traditions, we proceeded next to the northern part of Sagada to see the might of Bomod-ok Falls. However, along the way, we again had an encounter with the local tour guides of the Big Falls. They will never allow any tourist to pass through the gates unless you get a guide from them which costs P500 (its different from the P600 we paid for the SaGGAs tour guide). Nevertheless, we still paid for the extra charge just for us the see the beauty of Bomod-ok Falls.

the tour guide house that blocks the way to Bomod-ok Falls

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Witnessing the Begnas Ritual

We were in the right place at the right time.

"LUCKY are those tourists who witness this kind of festival for there are no SET exact dates as to when will this happen." - SaGGAs

Day 4 - November 1, 2011

We were having our breakfast at George Guesthouse and about to leave for Bomod-ok Falls when the owner of the house told us that there will be a Begnas Ritual (Rice Ritual) by 9:00 am. First time to hear such ritual, we became curious about it. So we told our guide that we wanted to join this ritual before proceeding to the Big Falls.
| Begnas Ritual or the Rice Ritual is celebrated 3 to 4 times every year, depending on the agricultural cycle of the Sagadians. There's no definite date for this event so the tourists who will witness this kind of ritual are lucky indeed.
The site of the ritual is not too far from our place, so we again walked along the sidewalks of the rice terraces located at the back of George Guesthouse. Halfway, we saw from afar a cluster of Igorot men in their traditional bahag, they were about to start the ritual.

us on the way to the ritual site

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Pongas Falls and the Death-defying Trek

This is probably the best part of the whole Sagada Adventure. Pongas Falls is certainly my most favorite destination in Sagada, it is a hidden wonder. But of course, getting into this hidden wonder is not just a piece of cake.

Day 3 - October 31, 2011

The adventure has not yet halted for us who remained in Sagada. Our next destination would've been the long trek to Bomod-ok falls. But thanks to the newly assembled toll gate along the way to Bomod-ok, our dream of reaching the big falls was delayed for 20 hours (Bomod-ok Falls adventure moved to day 4's activity) .

The sudden change of plan was not really a big deal for us. Instead of taking Bomod-ok Falls, we just decided to take Pongas Falls which is found on the southern part of Sagada.
| Pongas Falls is the newest adventure being offered by SaGGAs. The Pongas Falls adventure was only 3 months old when we visited.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Viaje Sagada | Lost in Echo Valley

The right trail is the right way. Sometimes, getting lost is the most exciting part of the adventure.

Day 3 - October 31, 2011

Yesterday's cave connection adventure drained all our reserved ATP's in our bodies. All of us got dirty, some got sick, some got injured, but we all enjoyed it. It surely does own the crown of being the most difficult part of Sagada Adventure. By night, we had Robbie's birthday celebrated early, Byron of made him a cake and Josh of was our bartender. It was a fun celebration until an unexpected visitor joined our party (waaah, tumatayo na naman balahibo ko).

We woke up at around 7:30 am. No one wants to talk about last night's spooky happenings (sobra ako kinilabutan, nanigas, nanginig sa mga kaganapang iyon). From bed to breakfast and from breakfast to Echo Valley to see their infamous hanging coffins. The distance of the Echo Valley from our place won't make your leg muscles to sore. In fact, we just walked it all the way. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Viaje Sagada | I Survived Cave Connection

Sagada's cave connection is my very first true spelunking experience. It's tiring but definitely enjoyable. All photos on this post are from Darwin of and Smarla of, my batteries have gone dead upon entering the cave.

Day 2 - October 30, 2011

Even though our eyes failed to witness the famous sunrise at Kiltepan peak, our tummies still won the prize. Located at the foot of Kiltepan Peak is a cafe called Cafe Bodega (popularly known as the Rock Inn Cafe). We had our scrumptious breakfast there which I truly enjoyed. It's quite pricey though.

We told our guide, Kuya Hansen, that we'll do the cave connection as soon as we finished our breakfast. So by 8:40 am, after finishing our meal,  we went back to our inn. Our guide gave us 30 minutes to change our clothes into light and comfortable preferably shirt, shorts and slippers.

When everyone was ready, our jeep brought us to the opening of Lumiang Cave. From the road we still walked for about 5 minutes to reach the mouth of Lumiang cave.
| Cave connection is composed of 2 cave systems, namely: the Lumiang Cave and Sumaguing Cave. Both caves offer different cave experience. 

us BEFORE the cave connection
into the mouth of Lumiang Cave

Viaje Sagada | No Sun at Kiltepan

First on our list.. the Sunrise at Kiltepan Peak. But sunrise viewing turned photo shooting.

Day 2 - October 30, 2011

Everyone was tired of the long road trip yesterday. After we arrived and checked in at George's Guesthouse, we had our sumptuous dinner at Yoghurt House (ansarap ng food doon). Tired and full, we soon fell asleep at our inn.

When I woke up (alarmed my phone at 4:00 am), I felt nothing but excitement. Finally I will encounter the famous Kiltepan Sunrise.
By the way, Robbie already went to SaGGAs Office on our way to Yoghurt House last night to get our guide for today's Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing.
| When you're in Sagada, getting a guide is really not a problem. Just walk into SaGGAs' Office near the Yoghurt House and make reservations. For Kiltepan Sunrise Viewing, make your reservation the night before your wanted date. They'll give you your guide's contact number and they'll fetch you around 4-5am. Your tour guide will also get a rented vehicle for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Viaje Sagada | The "Topload" Way to Sagada

My road trip to Sagada last Halloween still haunts me every night, it seems that I left my soul in Sagada. My fingers were really itching to put this series up on my blog. And so, after 4 nights of rough sleep due to post-travel syndrome, finally, here comes my Sagada series (at nagbukas ang telon).

Months turned weeks, weeks turned days, and days turned hours. For the past 4 months (yup, this trip was cooked 4 months ago), I've been drooling for this ultimate Sagada experience while doing my countdown in my FB status.

My Facebook statuses since August

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learn History Inside the Museum of the Filipino People

I've been walking my way from my school in Intramuros to San Sebastian in Quiapo for 2 weeks already (I was preparing my body for the extreme Sagada Halloween adventure). That's roughly 2 kilometers everyday.

Then one afternoon of Tuesday, I decided to walk the other way along the Finance Road. On my way, I came across the old finance building.
| The Old Finance Building is one of the few buildings that were built according to Burnham's development plan of Manila during the American Colonial Period. The building which now houses the archeological and anthropological collections of the National Museum is now the Museum of the Filipino People.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tanauan | The Premiere City of CALABARZON

It was a gloomy Wednesday when I decided to go out and ride a bus to Tanauan City, Batangas. With me is my old friend who's also bored and wanted a quick escape from the busy life in Manila.
| Tanauan City is the third city of Batangas Province. Just an hour away from the city of Manila, it is the hometown of two of our great heroes. History buffs would find this city a great place for walk tours.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inside the Malacañan Palace

Whenever I hear or read the word Malacañan, the first thing that pops out of my mind is its image on the back of the P20 bill. That image became one of my goals in life, to enter the Malacañan Palace. I've been always wanting to walk on its halls, touch its Tampingco wood carved muebles, and feel the executive ambiance inside. Well, thanks to Nicely of for making this dream come into reality.

Joined by some of the PTB Bagets, we visited the palace last October 21. It was originally just a fun tour but turned educational field trip after we joined Ivan Man Dy's Old Manila Walks in Malacañang Palace. We were in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Return to Cagabalete | A Seagrass Haven

I never expected that I will be back to Cagbalete Island too soon, my last visit was just last summer. I came back not as a tourist, but as a graduating student who's eager to finish his undergrad thesis about seagrasses.

Species Composition, Abundance and Distribution of Seagrasses in the Intertidal Zone of Brgy. Cagbalete I, Mauban, Quezon

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Viaje Sagada-Baguio | Preview to my Sagada-Baguio Series

Originally, our itinerary for our Halloween trip involves a week long backpacking trip from Manila to Banaue, Batad, Sagada and then to Baguio. But things had changed a month before the trip due to some catastrophic events (tropical storms) that came and ravaged the road to Banaue and the Rice Terraces of Batad.

We slashed Banaue-Batad from our itinerary and decided to spend our 5 days in Sagada and 2 days in Baguio. This is my longest trip so far, yet.

no more Banaue-Batad

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Walk Tour in Manila | 7 Churches of Intramuros

| “Maybe a revival of piety (using the term in its Latin sense) will in the future inspire the return to Intramuros of all its former churches, chapels, convents and beaterios. Only then will Intramuros be really “restored” - Nick Joaquin

The Old Manila that was Intramuros was not only the economic and military center of the Spanish Empire in the far east. It was also the bastion of its strong Christian Faith. There used to stand, within the walls of Intramuros, seven houses of God, all built with architectural magnificence. 

I've been always dreaming that one day, all the other 5 churches of Intramuros would rise again from the rubble. If you will visit the walled city right now, you'll notice that only 2 of the original 7 churches managed to endure the test of time. Ask me what happened to the other 5 and I will answer you with a deep regretful sigh. What happened after the war was that our government focused on building new establishments over the rubble of the past glorious city, a mistake that put Manila's former beauty into a chaotic bustling city. Forever I will be unhappy that our post-war government chose development rather than restoration.
| To repeat, Intramuros was the conjunto, of all its traditional temples; without its other colleagues, even the Cathedral and San Agustín are merely crown jewels without a crown. - Nick Joaquin
What remained from the Seven Churches of Intramuros are the San Agustin Church (the only building left standing after the Liberation of Manila in 1945; listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Manila Cathedral (rebuilt from 1953-1958). The other five no longer exist within the walls of Intramuros, the San Ignacio Church was left in ruins until now and the other 4 have new establishments built on their site.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Misplaced Landmarks in Manila

Modernization and Destruction. Both the events of American Colonization and World War 2  have caused so much changes in Manila. It goes with the saying, "there is nothing constant except change". The following are a few landmarks that were MISPLACED in Manila due to the modernization and destruction of the early and the mid 20th century.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where Presidents Rest in Peace

The death of Tita Cory last 2009 was an event that marked my heart. For the first time, I saw a grieving nation. I was able to witness a president's death, wake and burial. After seeing the death march of Tita Cory from Manila Cathedral to Manila Memorial Park, I became curious. Question started to play on my mind, where do the other past presidents rest in peace? how grand are the graves of our past leaders? do I still know them? And so my quest of searching for these graves has started.

My quest brought me from as far as Batac, Ilocos Norte in the north to Tanauan Batangas down south. It took me 2 years to finally reach all the tombs of our past presidents. From the grandest to simplest, all are indeed noble.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Appreciating Art Inside the National Art Gallery

I've been inside this Old Legislative Building a numerous times already, but never did I look beyond the mixes of pigments and shapes of the art works inside. Normally I would just stroll inside, look at a painting, read its label then move on to the next piece of art. I really don't know how to appreciate an artwork, how to interpret its symbolism and allegory.

Good thing I have learned something from my Humanities class. And that something helped me to look beyond the strokes of paint brush, mixes of pigments and combinations of shapes. Thanks to my professor, Ms Peña, for waking the artist in me.

Our final exam in Humanities involves art appreciation inside the National Art Gallery of the National Museum. And so we went there last Tuesday (10/04/2011). 

| The National Museum has two major galleries: 1) the National Art Gallery which occupies the Old Legislative Building, and the 2) Museum of the Filipino People which occupies the Old Finance Building. The National Art Gallery has the collection of the works of the National Artists as well as the works of the Masters Luna and Hidalgo. The other gallery, the Museum of the Filipino People, contains priceless artifacts and archaeological findings including the famous Manunggul Jar. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Month Before Banaue-Batad-Sagada + Baguio Trip

Exactly 30 days from now, I will be on the road again. One month to go before my Great "Banaue-Batad-Sagada + Baguio" Lakwatsa. I can't wait to finally explore the land of the Ifugaos and Sagadians (wooot!!! I'm really excited with this trip, been doing a countdown since August).

I actually formulated a checklist for this trip...
• Rice Terraces of Banaue, Batad and Sagada
• Tappia Falls
• Bomod-ok Falls
• Sumaguing and Lumiang cave
• Hanging coffins of Echo Valley
• Kiltepan sunrise
• Panag-apoy rituals
• wear a native Ifugao costume
• chew a nga-nga
• photo of rice terraces with P20 bill
• topload on the road
• touch a giant earthworm
• eat a pinikpikan
• eat at Yogurt House
• buy a weaved cloth

This will happen on Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 plus one day extension for Baguio city tour. Grabe, 1 week pala ako gagala.

UPDATE (10/3/11): Batad-Banaue leg of this trip is cancelled due to the destruction of the road and bridges to Banaue brought by the two recent strong tropical storms. nakakalungkot! Sagada-Baguio na lang ang trip na ito.


Friday, September 2, 2011

An Unforgettable Strange Encounter

"You Filipinos are very 'rocky' people, because you have a president who 'robs' you and a first lady who 'robs' you more"  - Ninoy Aquino
I never considered the Marcos regime a great one. A dictatorship filled with human rights suppression and immoral plunder of the nation's wealth is a big no no to me. For some, Marcos brought greatness to the country. But for me, he was a president who did dirty tricks just to attain his disciplined and progressive nation, the end simply does not justify the means.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Aesthetic Experience - A Project in Humanities Class

"The aesthetic experience is often experienced as a pleasurable and desirable experience, an experience which gives life worth and meaning." - C. Leath

Just a few days ago, we were tasked to present a proposal for our project in humanities class. It is about our Aesthetic Experience - any pleasurable or memorable experience that gives fulfillment to our lives. I thought of nothing but my travel experiences, it's pleasurable, memorable and very much fulfilling.

So for the sake of sharing here is my Proposal Paper on Aesthetic Experience Project about my experience as a Traveler.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Manila Then and Now

Manila, tagged as the "Pearl of the Orient", was the finest in the east before the second world war. Mixed cultures of Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, and American gave rise to this great city. However, this city that took centuries to rise would only take a few days to fall. After the Liberation of Manila in 1945, the city was never again as great as before - a sad reality.  

Through the preservation and reconstruction efforts of the government and some concerned individuals in the private sector, remnants of the great past can somehow still be seen at present times. The following (inspired by the are photos of pre-war and present day Manila. The old (pre-war) photos, taken from this site, are juxtaposed to its present day photo which I took yesterday.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Pieces of Something in Manila

Tourists from other parts of the world often skip the City of Manila. Little do they know that there's a piece of something in this forgotten city.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Viaje Pagbilao | Attack of the Jellies

...they shouted in pain. I rushed towards them and saw their arms marked with jellyfish stings.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Viaje Pagbilao | Puting Buhangin and Kuwebang Lampas

Our boat dropped us in a privately owned beach known as the Marquez Beach. Located somewhere in the coast of Isla Grande, this white sand beach is just a few meters from our sampling site, the Pagbilao Fish Sanctuary.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Viaje Pagbilao | The Way to the Beaches

It's good to be back on the road, I totally need a break. My life as a student is pulling my brain out of me. This senior college year, as it goes deeper, drains every ATP I have in my body (talagang nakaka-stress). Part of the requirement before graduating (naks konting tiis na lang, ga-graduate na ako) is a thesis paper. For the sake of sharing, my thesis topic is all about the seagrass of Pagbilao, Quezon. (Enough with this nerdy stuff!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 | Calamba and Antipolo Complete

Three Lakbay Rizal stamps are located at Region IV-A

13.) RIZAL SHRINE - J.P. Rizal St., Calamba City, Laguna
A National Shrine, this is the birthplace of our national hero, born on June 19, 1861. Today, a replica of the Rizal House by Juan Nakpil is built on the site. Restored by Executive Order No. 145 of President Elpidio Quirino, it was inaugurated on June 19, 1950.
Stamp Area: On Site
Operating hours: 8:00am to 4:00pm daily except Mondays

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My 7 Links | Blogposts Reloaded

My 7 Links craze now came knocking at my door, Renevic of Mandaragat-Mamumundok-Lagalag nominated me to do this 7 links of my bests, mosts and favorite blogposts. My 7 Links Project is an awesome project created by Tripbase, with a goal of uniting the bloggers from all sectors in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

As I browsed my 8 months old blog archive of mostly travel posts, I found the following links of my not-so-old posts that fit well the given 7 categories. It's now my turn to reload My 7 Links:

Pateros | Journeying the Balut Capital

Yey! I finally reached Pateros, the Balut Capital of the Philippines.

Though dwarfed by the surrounding cities of Taguig, Makati and Pasig, Pateros is actually a highly urbanized town, a 1st class municipality. It's not new to many that this little town is the only one left non-city (Pateros is a municipality) in the National Capital Region. Being the Balut Capital, my wandering feet brought me to this small friendly town.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Best Bibingka Vs. The Strangest Bibingka

Bibingka, as we all know, is a puto-like Filipino pastry that has a burnt sweet eggy taste. Along with Puto Bungbong, they are the most popular tummy fillers during the Christmas season. Its primary ingredients are egg, rice flour and coconut milk traditionally cooked between two coal furnaces.

In my travels I can say that I've encountered the best and the strangest of this food.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blogs that Inspire Batang Lakwatsero

My realization:
to share your travel experience on your blog is fulfilling,
to receive positive comments and feedback is flattering,
but to inspire others to follow your travels is something different, inexplicable.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Itinerary | Bolinao and Alaminos

Our trip
Date: June 2-4, 2011 (3D/2N)
Destinations: Bolinao and Hundred Islands
Budget: P3500
Trippers: 5 persons

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Buy Your Pasalubong

Day 3 - June 4, 2011 | Souvenirs and Pasalubong

Our bodies were aching badly from the snorkeling activity we did yesterday. However, we can't let these body pains conquer us, it's our last day in Pangasinan and we still have to buy souvenirs and pasalubong.

the lighthouse at Lucap Wharf

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Seven Caves in Hundred Islands

The Hundred Islands National Park attracts tourist for its beaches, diving spots and of course its amazingly shaped islands. But not everyone knows that HINP has a lot of dark, guano-scented caves that will capture the interest of the spelunking addicts.

Now here's a rundown of the 7 caves we visited during our HINP island hopping.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Meet the Islands of HINP

Anyone who loves traveling must not put Pangasinan's Hundred Islands National Park on the last of his list. Experience a difference when you visit its 123 islands and islets, every island offers a unique and remarkable experience.

Map of Hundred Islands National Park
Here's a rundown of some of the islands we met during our island hopping at HINP. We were able to land only on 8 of these islands.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Hundred Islands National Park

Day 2 - June 3, 2011 | Alaminos City's Hundred Islands

The trip from Bolinao to Alaminos lasted an hour and a half. We alighted around 11:30 am just near the City Hall where we again took a trike ride to Brgy. Lucap (P80.00).

Alaminos City Hall

Monday, June 27, 2011

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Whole Day in Bolinao

The long bus trip was over, we finally reached our destination for the day.

Day 1 - June 2, 2011 | The Town of Bolinao

We were very excited to start our day trip in Bolinao, though no one from our group knows this town, all were first timers. I only based our directions from the blogs I read from the previous days of preparation (I am the "punong abala" for this trip - meaning, it was I who made the IT's and the reservations).
| Bolinao Town is a 3rd class municipality found in the western most tip of the Luzon Islands. Part of the province of Pangasinan in Region I - Ilocos Region. People speak Ilocano, Pangasinense and Bolinao.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 | The Dark Side of the Project

Doing the Lakbay Rizal @ 150 is fun and very fulfilling so far. I've learned a lot and enjoyed the trail in Calamba, Manila and Antipolo. As of now, I had my passport stamped with 12 sites already (but BULLSH*T, it should've been 14 already).

I just came from Malolos and Pampanga just a few hours ago. I was hoping to get my 13th and 14th stamp there, unfortunately both the Malolos City Hall and Pampanga Provincial Capitol know nothing about this DOT/NHI project.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Not So Ordinary Six Hour Trip

It was a chilling morning in the middle of a long road trip to Bolinao, Pangasinan. Seated beside the window of a Five Star Ordinary Bus, the gusts of wind (constantly striking my face) kept me awake for the past 4 hours. Ecstatic and excited, I together with my BFF's from high school were about to experience Bolinao and Alaminos. 

Day 1 - June 2, 2011 | Ordinary bus to Bolinao

It all started in Cubao Five Star Terminal, midnight. We were expecting an airconditioned bus that would ply directly to Bolinao, Pangasinan. We did not reserve our trip because they're not catering any reservations, everyone in the terminal was a walk-in passenger. We patiently waited but there's still no bus going to Bolinao, Five Star's buses that ply directly to Bolinao do not go well with the schedule.

at the bus terminal in Cubao

Viaje Western Pangasinan | Trip to Bolinao and Alaminos

I had my last minute trip at Bolinao-Alaminos, Pangasinan last June 2-4. It was a dream come true, I finally reached the Hundred Islands National Park, yahoo! This is the preview post of my Viaje Western Pangasinan Series, a three-day trip full of adventures.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Binondo Food Trip | Shutter Clicks, Long Walks and Lots of Eating

It's a success, 13 flavors from 7 food stops, all in 7 hours, the Binondo food trip experience was great, extremely satisfying, a must-do in Manila.

It was I who planned this one day food trip in Binondo held a few weeks ago. Actually, I've been planning to do this ever since I've read The Creative Dork's Ultimate Binondo Food Trip, but the lack time and company hinders me from doing it, not until the 5th of June of this year. Joined by 5 bloggers including the Creative Dork himself, we really had a superb Binondo food experience.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Walktour in Manila | Awesome Binondo Experience

If you want to experience China in the Philippines, then Binondo is the place to be. With the Chinese establishments (restos, chinese remedies, red stores) that line this old district's streets plus its significant number of Chinese and Filipino-Chinese population, Binondo is indeed the "Chinatown of Manila".

Binondo Fast Facts with a Kick of History

• Binondo is the world's "Oldest China Town".
• Binondo is the home of Tomas Pinpin, the first Filipino printer. 
• Binondo is one of the most mentioned places in Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo"
• Binondo is also the home of Roman Ongpin, a Chinese businessman who helped the revolucionarios through financial support in the Philippine Revolution and Filipino-American War.
• Binondo, in Escolta street, is the country's center of commerce before Makati.
• Binondo is the home of our first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kalayaan 2011 | A Visit to Kawit

A great way to celebrate the Philippine Independence is to pay a visit at Kawit, a first class urban municipality in the province of Cavite. Previously known as Cavite del Viejo, this was the site of the first proclamation of Independence.

Last June 12, as we celebrate our 113th Independence Day, I did a trip to this old Cavite town.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rizal @ 150 | Happy Birthday Lolo Jose

Who would not know Lolo Jose? Every Filipino knows him for sure. He is the man whose head is placed on our 1 peso coin. He is the man whose name is now the name of a province, a lot of parks , a lot of streets, avenues and boulevards, a lot of schools, and hospitals. He's the man whose body is immortalized in almost every plaza of town halls and churches in the Philippines. He's the man whose works are giving headaches to third and fourth years high school students. He's the man who fought the cancers of society in his time. He's the man, a great man, who died for our nation's freedom. He is José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, Dr. Jose Rizal for short and today, we are celebrating his 150th Birthday Anniversary.

On his special day (a rainy day), a lot of events/parties are celebrated all over the country. One is the unveiling of the tallest Rizal Monument in Calamba, Laguna, wherein PNoy is their honorable guest. Another is in Zamboanga, particularly Dapitan City, where they are holding street parties and concerts. And in Manila, the officials of NPDC together with Intramuros Administration will not let this special day pass without taking part of this day's celebration.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 | Manila Sites Complete

Yey, I have stamped my passport with all the 10 Manila Sites of the Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150. All of them are situated close to each other (I started at 2:30 PM, finished stamping by 5:00 PM).

1.) PRISON CELL AND RIZAL SHRINE - Fort Santiago, Intramuros Manila
This was where Rizal was incarcerated during his trial from November 3 to December 29, 1896
Stamp Area:
On site

stamp # 1

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 | Huling Yapak Tungo sa Kalayaan

Ilang araw na nga ba ang lumilipas
mula nang buhay mo'y binigyang wakas
Wakas na nagbigay daan sa kalayaan
kalayaan na matagal nang ipinaglalaban.

Rizal's Chapel Cell

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 | It All Starts at Room 106

Just ten days before the 150th birthday of my idol, Jose Rizal, I finally got my own Lakbay Rizal@150 Passport. Yey!
| Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 is a project launched by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with other agencies like National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Heritage Conservation Society, Intramuros Administration, Cebu Pacific and the National Parks Development Committee. It encourages people to travel to the various Rizal sites all over the country, it’s like a pilgrimage or site visit to actually see and experience the sites.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Itinerary | Mauban and Cagbalete

Our trip
Date: May 20-22, 2011 (3D/2N)
Destinations: Cagbalete Island and Mauban Town
Budget: P1200
Trippers: 4 persons

Viaje Mauban | Mauban Town

Day 2 - May 21, 2011 | Explore the Town of Mauban

It was around 5 before evening when we reached again the town of Mauban. We were still tired from the long trek we just had so we headed straight to our lodging. We stayed at Fiesta Royale Apartelle (our stay there was sponsored by Jonas' father).
| Fiesta Royale Apartelle is a very nice place, perfect for budget travelers. Located several meters from the Maapon bridge, 1km from the town center. They have airconditioned rooms and a suite too. 
this is the Fiesta Royale Apartelle

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Viaje Mauban | Dahoyhoy Falls

The chillax part is over, we're now entering the part of my Mauban trip that is full of adventure.

Day 2 - May 21, 2011 | Long Walk for Dahoyhoy

As soon as we arrived at the Port of Mauban, we took a tricycle to the town market. Our top priority was to buy new pairs of slippers (kelangan nila ibalik ang Havaianas kila doctors Fe and Cristy the next day).

at the port of Mauban

Jonas buying the tsinelas

We proceeded next to the Tourism Center (located beside the Municipal hall) to ask for directions to our next goal, the Dahoyhoy falls.

the Tourism Center

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Viaje Mauban | Cagbalete Island Camping Day 2

Day 2 - May 21, 2011 | The Island of Cagbalete

Everyone was still sleeping when I woke up. It was 5 in the morning and the sun hasn't showed up yet. I quickly grabbed my camera and started my early morning beach photo walk.

Cagbalete by 5 in the morning

Monday, May 30, 2011

Viaje Mauban | Cagbalete Island Camping Day 1

As I've said in my previous post, Mauban Town can offer you both relaxation and adventure. This post consist entirely the chillax part of my Viaje Mauban at the Island of Cagbalete.

Day 1 - May 20, 2011 | The Island of Cagbalete

We were dropped by the mini-bus somewhere near the town's Municipal building and from there we walked several meters until we reached the town's seawall, the jumping-off point to the Island of Cagbalete.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Viaje Mauban | On The Road To Mauban

Mauban, a 1st class municipality not so familiar to my senses, all I know is that it's a town somewhere in the large province of Quezon.

Not until May 20-22 when my college friends invited me to join their camping trip at Mauban. Right there and then, I discovered the great things this place could offer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Viaje Mauban | A Place for Chillax and Adventure

Not too far from the city of Manila, Mauban, a port town in the large province Quezon, can be your unforgettable weekend summer getaway. Chillax or adventure, experience both as you visit the town of Mauban.

This is the preview post of my Viaje Mauban Series, my three-day trip to Mauban, Quezon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Obando Fiesta 2011

 "umakyat sa Antipolo, nagsayaw sa Obando..." - Lea Salonga

Sorry Lea, but I just danced and joined the festivities of Obando.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Pahiyas 2011 Experience

Sunday, May 15, 2011 - Pahiyas Fiesta in Lucban

It was 3:00 AM, I was waiting for fellow travel bloggers at HM Bus Terminal in EDSA, Cubao. We decided to take the backdoor route (Manila-Pagsanjan-Lucban) to Lucban - it's shorter, cheaper and a great escape from the heavy traffic on the day of Pahiyas.

By 4:00 am, we're finally complete so we boarded the bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It was a 2 hour commute from Cubao to the jeep terminal, the fare was only P148.50.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pahiyas sa Lucban

Held every 15th of May, the feast of San Isidro de Labrador (patron of the farmers) is celebrated on many parts of the country, particularly the farming towns in Laguna, Quezon and Nueva Ecija. Different festivals from different towns, but the Pahiyas of Lucban stands tall above the rest. Lucban, Quezon was again the center of tourism in the Philippines last May 15. 

San Isidro de Labrador, patron of the farmers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Experience Los Baños for P500

You know James Betia? He's a travel blogger who has been backpacking the Philippines the cheapest way possible. His usual budget is P500 per destination which already includes his food, fare and accommodation. I know what you're thinking now, it sounds impossible, but hey, he's been doing this for months already. In fact, he's planning to backpack Mindanao for P400/day.

I am still a student, so traveling on cheap budget is my thing too.

Last May 8, sir James invited us to try his P500 budget day tour at Los Baños, Laguna. I've been into LB a lot of times (back in grade school field trips) but I still know very little about this town, just the UP campus and IRRI. His day tour includes a Laguna Lake boat tour, Paciano Rizal's house, Agua Santa Spanish bath ruins, UPLB campus, and Mt. Makiling Flat rocks.

Rizal @ 150 | Luneta Reborn

Just in time with our national hero's 150th birthday, the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) is doing all the major make over around Manila's Rizal Park.

"Despite the lack of funds and related challenges, there have been many changes and additions to the Park." - NPDC

Last May 7, 2011, NPDC invited us in a press release of their current development of the renewed and revived Rizal Park. We had a tour around the park, and I was really surprised with the BIG changes.

Thomas, our tram ride for the day.
Mr. Fred Edos of NPDC, explaining to us their plan on the relief map

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Manila My Home

There's no other place like home...   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Suman, Taktak and Prayers | A Visit to Antipolo City

I felt a sudden itch at my feet this morning, and I couldn't help it. So I browsed my "BL♥PH" page and saw Lea Salonga's line, "umakyat sa Antipolo, magsayaw sa Obando..."

Hello Antipolo City
Oh yes, I've never been to Antipolo yet. A fast day tour at Antipolo City will ease my itch since it's just a few kilometers away from my beloved city of Manila.

Then I did a quick research about Antipolo City, formulated my IT in just an hour.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Viaje Marinduque | Easter Sunday, Resurrection of the Thursday Madness

Who would not love viewing the sunrise?

As early as 5 in the morning, I was already out in the shores waiting for the rise of the majestic sun. The morning breeze was chilling indeed and the tides had already swallowed my balanced rocks from last night.

My point and shoot however, don't do well in dark shooting. The only remedy for its weakness is a stabilizer, a tripod perhaps. Sadly I don't have one, and my shaky hands can't provide the needed support. Lucky me, I found an empty noodles' cup (made it an improvised tripod). Set my camera facing the east and waited until the sky's color started to change. I was very excited to witness the Poctoy beach sunrise. In 3... 2...1.... the sun has has finally showed up.

Viaje Marinduque | Blacker Black Saturday

April 23, 2011 - Black Saturday

It was still dark outside, probably 5 in the morning, everyone was awakened by a pig's loud cry. The Teodoros were tying the pig's feet, preparing it for it's meaningful and stomach-filling end. We all went outside to witness the slaughter. It was my second time to see a pig being slaughtered, so I was not reallly shocked that much by its strong kicks and cries.

the pig being tied, super ingay niyan, nagising ang buong bahay.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Viaje Marinduque | Being Good on Good Friday

April 22, 2011 - Good Friday

Stiff neck - I woke up with this painful feeling.

I saw the Teodoros busy making suman outside their house. I approached them. They asked me where I want to go on my Friday stay. I told them that watching the Moriones Festival is my priority, then perhaps a waterfalls and caves hopping. Then they said, "mamaya sa bayan meron Moriones at senaculo, pero yung cave at waterfalls hopping mahirap yun gawin kasi patay si Hesus"

A highly religious belief that Jesus' death on Good Friday makes the caves and waterfalls adventure unsafe. So rather than committing a faux pas, I crossed out the caves and waterfalls hopping on my itinerary.

But then again they told me that if I really want to see a waterfalls there is one not too far from their house, the Kawa Kawa Falls.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Viaje Marinduque | Maundy Thursday Madness

It actually all began at the night of 20th of April 2011 (Holy Wednesday) when I headed to JAC Liner's Buendia Terminal. The people were pouring, zigzagging line of passengers covered most of the terminal. I was there at 7:00 PM, and boarded the bus at 8:10 PM. Finally, the bus left for Lucena immediately after 5 minutes. From Buendia to Dalahican, the ticket costs P219.50. I texted my friend on Marinduque that I'm on my way to their house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Viaje Marinduque | The Heart of the Philippines

Marinduque is an island province, south of Luzon, part of Region IV-B (MIMAROPA). It is famously known as the heart of the Philippines not just because of its strategical location at the center of the country but also the island's shape itself is similar to that of a heart (anatomical).

I spent my holy week vacation on this island, my very first solo travel, and for four days I called it my home. Nervous at first indeed but extremely overwhelmed by excitement and the experience that awaits me. And I'm telling you, a 4 Holy Week days stay at Marinduque is worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last Post Before I Leave for Marinduque

Tomorrow night at 8:00 PM, I will be leaving for the Island of Marinduque, the heart of this beloved archipelago. For 4 days (Apr. 21-24), this island will be my home.

Expectations. Well, I do expect a lot from this trip:
  • Moriones Festival
  • Cave and water falls hopping
  • Jeepney topload ride
  • White sand beach of Poctoy
  • Old churches of Boac and Sta. Cruz
  • Heritage houses of Boac

My budget - P3000 only. 

Oh by the way, this is my very first solo travel, so I am really excited and very much kinakabahan... pero ayon nga sa post ni ms. Chyng, once you overcome this fear- the fear of first time solo travel - you will start to explore more, discover more and travel more. Good luck to me :)

my legendary backpack (been using it for 1 and a half year), my Pilipinas body bag, and my balabal na kakabili ko lang sa divisoria.
my printed Marinduque map and travel guide
for the first time in history, I'll be bringing a sunscreen with me.

Plan B
There is no Plan B, if ever this trip failed, I will follow the bahala-na-system, I will go to wherever my itchy feet will bring me.

*I will share to you my Marinduque trip on my next blog post, probably next week.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mabuhay Aliwan Fiesta 2011

The drums were beating and the colors were dancing, the Aliwan Fiesta once again brought to Manila the dazzling performances and incredible beats of different festivities from all over the Philippines. The Aliwan festival showcases the best of Filipino fiestas, hence it known as the "Mother of All Fiestas." It is grand, it is colorful, it is so alive. It was my first time to watch the street dance, so talagang amazed na amazed ako.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dinner Cruise at Manila Bay

Once again, Mr. Ivan Henares and Mr. Bobby Aquino invited the bloggers to this magnificent dinner cruise experience over Manila Bay. This is again sponsored by Sun Cruises.

Isla Corregidor

(This is the detailed post of the previous entry)

Situated at the opening of Manila Bay, this tadpole-shaped island of Corregidor was the destination of 15 Pinoy Travel Bloggers yesterday (Apr 13). Mr. Ivan Henares arranged this event and was sponsored by the Sun Cruises, the only ferry service that offers great tours at the historic island.

My Firsts

This is my first meet-up with fellow travel bloggers, nervous but excited. (you guys rock)
This island tour is my very first out-of-Luzon-Island trip.
This is my first ferry ride.
This is where I first entered a lighthouse.
Also my first zipline experience.

The Experience

Early morning at 6:30, Chinchan and I met at UST before heading to Sun Cruises Dock Area together. When we got there, we realized that we're the first PTB to arrive. We saw sir Ivan Henares, starstuck mode, we signed in and got our tickets, yahoo!

got my ticket!
So it includes the ferry ride plus a buffet lunch.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Conquered the Corregidor Adventour Challenge

Sun Cruises now offers the Corregidor Adventour Challenge, a different, a not-the-usual trip in the Island of Corregidor. Adventour because you'll get to know the island while doing the challenging activities that will test your endurance, mental skills and teamwork. Traveling while learning and being challenged at the same time is really awesome. I am one of the few lucky bloggers to give it a try (this is a sponsored trip by Sun Cruises with the help of Mr. Ivan Henares and Mr. Bobby Aquino).

The Terrible Meets The Great

Ivan the Terrible (Ivan Cultura) meets Ivan the Great (Ivan Henares).... Huwat??!! Yup, I just met this great man, my travel-around-the-Philippines idol.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Walktour in Manila | Intramuros For Free

Medyo nagbabasa ako ng mga tweet kanina, then I saw Carlos Celdran's. "#HelpDOT. Go to Intramuros today. All entrance fees waived! Go to Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, Baluarte San Diego and get horse rides! FREE FREE FREE till 5pm." 

Hoorah, mahilig ako sa mga libre kaya hindi ko ito pinalampas. At dahil ako ay isang hamak na mag-aaral sa Intramuros, proud ako na ipangalandakan ang kagandahang taglay ng lugar na ito. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Simple White Tombs in Manila Memorial Park Cemetery

This afternoon, I was at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque, the last cemetery I visited in Metro Manila where a Philippine President rest in peace. Yep, our beloved President Cory was laid here beside her husband (my idol) Sen. Ninoy Aquino.

The last time I cried, up to now, was during Tita Cory's wake. I was really moved by Kris' words, talagang hindi ko napigilan ang umiyak noong time na yun. I wanted to join sana Tita Cory's funeral march, but I was only 17 at that time (hindi pa ako masyadong lakwatsero, slight pa lang).

So now, I finally paid my final respects to these humble great beings.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting Ready For Piyestang Obando

On May 17-19, the famous Obando Fertility Rites or simply Obando Festival will again be the center of attention. Obando?! Where exactly in Bulacan? I am not familiar with its exact location really or how to reach it by commute. So before the main event takes place, I did a little familiarization tour.

I asked some fellow bloggers on how to get there, and they really are of great help.

From Manila, I went first to Victory Mall at Monumento, Caloocan via LRT Line1 (P15). At the back of the mall, there's a terminal of jeep bound to Paco, and these jeeps will pass by the Obando Church. It was like a 20 minute ride from Victory Mall to Obando Church (P15).

However, the church is closed when I got there at around 2:30 PM so I was not able to check the inside.

Across the street is the plaza and beside it is the Colegio de San Pascual Baylon. I can't imagine how many visitors will fill the area on the day of the feast.

After eating the banana-q I bought on the food stand at the plaza, I hopped into the jeep (bound to LRT-Victory Mall) going back to Manila. Yey, I'm ready for the fiesta na.

Here's my Obando Fiesta (2011) Experience.



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