Road Trippin: Bataan’s Mt. Samat and Dambana ng Kagitingan and Side Trip Bataan Pawikan Conservatory

Last year in August, the team’s guide in Taiwan DB race, Ho-Chi Lin or Jean visited Philippines. I was lucky to join them in visiting some places around the Metro. One of my favorite part of the road trip is going up Mt. Samat and checking out Dambana ng Kagitingan. This historical site is in Pilar, Bataan. This memorial shine complex was commissioned in 1966 by war veteran himself, then President Ferdinand Marcos for the 25th anniversary of the 2nd world war.

Dambana ng Kagitingan’s distinct feature is the 92 meter high cross with a base that depicts the heroism of the Filipino and American Soldiers who fought the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942.

The complex is like an open museum which displays some of the works of our National artists. There is a fee for visitors to the complex, it’s P30.00 for foreigners and P20.00 for Filipinos. Students pay discounted fee of only P10.00. Parking fees range from P20.00 to P30.00.

Places such as this should always be considered for road trips especially when you are with visitors from other countries. You can learn a lot from what you see and observe from such historical and cultural places.

a view from the top

SIDE TRIP: Pawikan Conservatory, Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan

Pawikans (Turtles) have special place in my heart. A good friend of mine was called “pawikan” and he seemed to have lived up to his name when he died saving his nephew from drowning. One of the places we visited while in Bataan was this Pawikan Conservatory.

It is a common knowledge that turtles are considered as endangered species – with threats mostly from human activities such as poaching, slaughter, egg gathering, illegal fishing and others.

The Bataan coasts of Morong and Bagac are nestling grounds of 3 turtle species in the country – Hawksbill, Olive Ridley and Green Turtle. A community organization in Morong, Bataan named Bantay Pawican Inc. started the community based conservation program Marine Turtles with the help of the Provincial Government and UNDP-GEF-SGP-PRRM in 1999.

The collective efforts and growing involvement of different organizations and people in Bataan is a reassuring move to make the beaches of Bataan a safe and protected nestling area for different turtle species.

(*pictures courtesy of Jean)

Travel Albay: View of The Magnificent Mayon from an Albayano

I was born and raised in Albay Province – the city of smiles, the heart of Bicolandia and the home of the Magnificent Mayon Volcano.  For the 23 or so years of my stay in Daraga, Albay, i would wake up seeing Mt. Mayon through my open windows. I would walk downtown with the mystic Mayon always in my peripheral vision. My elementary school located in Daraga have Mt. Mayon in plain sight. And so is my high school in Sagpon and my college back in Daraga, Albay. Everywhere I go in the province of Albay, I have Mt. Mayon as a beautiful landmark.

Spectacular Mt. Mayon taken at Lignon Hill after an early morning run (Dec 2010)

I can say that know every side of the volcano, I even hiked up to Camp 1 back in 2004. I know how it looks like when you travel to the first or third district. From Daraga or Legazpi – Mt Mayon looks bold and beautiful on your left and the clear crystal waters of the Albay Gulf on your right when you travel to Tabaco or Tiwi. When you go travel to Guinobatan, Ligao or Polangui from Daraga or Legazpi, Mt Mayon would appear nearer and you’ll have rolling green fields and hills on your left.

Despite the fiery eruptions that happens once in every 10 years, Mt. Mayon remains a steadfast symbol of Albayanos’ pride and resiliency. When I left Albay to work here in Manila, I was always ecstatic to see Mt. Mayon every time I travel back home. Even when I’m still on a bus or aboard a plane, the first sight of Mt. Mayon when I we enter the province always feels like seeing it for the first time but at all the same, it gives me the comforting feeling of being at home. Yes, despite the dangers of living a few kilometers off the danger zone, I am home and I am safe in the same land I share with the Magnificent Mayon.

But just lately, some tourism sham have claimed that Mt Mayon is in Camarines Sur? What?! Where again?! Nueva Camarines? How the heck can that happen? Since when?Camarines Sur is 2-hours drive away from Albay and you can’t even see the tip of Mt. Mayon when you are in Camarines Sur!

Where is??

I have much love for the entire Bikolandia, and when you talk about the region I’d proudly say that there are so many wonders in BICOL Region including Mt. Mayon. But as an Albayano, growing up under the proudly beautiful Mt. Mayon is my pride. Wherever life takes me, I’d never lose my way back home – where Mt. Mayon is, that’s where my home is.

So for those who wants a glimpse of this wonder – the perfectly cone shaped Mt Mayon is located in Albay, about 460km south of Metro Manila. There are two easy ways to commute to Albay.

  • By Bus. There are a long line of commuter buses going to Albay and you can find most of them at the Araneta Terminal Station in Cubao. Fare ranges from 350 to 900 depending on the kind of bus you want. One of the best commuter bus servicing Manila-Albay (Legazpi/Tabaco) is Cagsawa Travel and Tours, Inc

So don’t get lost and let tourism shams lead you on as they probably aim to rip you off with pricey tourism packages. Mt. Mayon is a symbol associated with the province of Albay. It’s nowhere in the Camarines. Take it from a local.

Sun, Sea and Sky: Company Outing at White Corals, Morong, Bataan

so im taking this opportunity to make some updates on my misplaced (almost forgotten)  blog.

well, we had this sort of a pagc team building seminar at the white corals beach resort in bataan last aug 16-18. said activity was facilitated by the lay force movement, went well naman. the excitement actually wore off already since originally this team building was scheduled may pa!

and it really seemed that a lot of events happened, and were happening to ruin the team building. the venue was finalized 2 days before our scheduled trip, we were lost many (as in many) times before we got there. the resort was in morong, bataan. jokingly some already said that it should be more wrong – more wrong turns, more wrong ways…

the place (white corals) was just a small piece of property, the amenities were nice, stayed on the salt-water pool most of the time because the beach was rocky and the surf’s quite wild during high tide. over all, it was quite enjoyable din naman.

Only in Metro Manila: Buses and Jeeps at the Kings of the Road and the Unfair Fares

after like almost 2 years i’d be religiously taking the bus from cubao to my office again. i was inconveniently asked to add P1.50 making my fare from cubao to my office P14.50 when it should only be P13.00. I had to argue with the driver and finally let him have that P1.50 instead of ruining my day.

i started taking the jeepney from seattle st. to my office here in commonwealth ave. almost two years ago. i was close to 8 months pregnant with teloy then making the short walk from arayat market, climbing the footbridge across EDSA to Farmers Plaza where i would take a bus going to fairview very much cumbersome. I take two jeepney rides from san juan to my office and with a baby bump, it was easier taking another jeepney ride than the bus. Though it was cheaper to take a jeepney then a bus ride to the office, i was more concerned about my comfort and ease so the choice is jepneey from san juan to seattle st then another jeepney ride from seattle st in cubao to my office.

now, after that P1.50 experience this morning, i’ve decided i should take the bus ride again from cubao to my office. the short walk would do me some good as my morning exercise. the bus trip is way shorter than the jeepney route so the trip will be easier. and i’m no longer pregnant so i don’t have any excuses on comfort and ease. and finally the P3 savings (ordinary bus charge me only P10.00 from cubao to my office) is a big amount already.

For the Love of Flying: My First Flight Ever – 17 July 2008

my flight to legazpi last july 17 was my very first time to board a plane and experience being airborne. i was able to avail a cebu pacific plane ticket for 1,200. too bad my flight schedule was days earlier from their promo of P699 manila-legazpi and vice versa trips which would start on july 22 up to october 15 2008.

it was a smooth flight, with a real fine weather as we took of the old terminal 1 in airport road, pasay. lucky i was never really prone to motion sickness and i got a window seat so i was able to enjoy the view from up there. legazpi had bit of a cloudy weather when we got there so i wasn’t able to take picture of the magnificent mayon volcano as the plane passed on its side. the flight took only 40 mins, we departed at 11:55 or so and arrived at 12:35 in legazpi airport making our arrival 15 minutes early.

i was also very lucky to personally see Noemz (Cebu Pacific Flight Attendant) whom my katropa Pampz was so crazy about. but we weren’t personally introduced so she doesn’t know me.

Lenten Vacation: Soulful Reflections

Haven’t posted much here lately coz I’m racing to meet my max hours on Odesk so I’d have a worry-free vacation on the holy week. Holy week as it is a week long reflection and recollection of Christ’s Love and Sacrifice for us.

Even though there are also people with different religion in the Philippines, everyone seem to join this one week tradition. We had a very inspiring and faith renewing Lenten recollection in our office yesterday, not discriminating other religion that are also present. It was fun, really inspiring stories of simple people’s relationship – function or friend. The speakers were great, no dull moments, I was laughing behind my tears with stories that most of us can relate to. It gave me a sense of peace and serenity-looking back in my life and seeing things that made me as I am. I am learning to prepare for my future and my eternity.

Tonight, I’m leaving for Bicol. The moment that I’ve been looking forward to since January. Its been two long months that I haven’s seen a glimpse of my son. What would he look like now? Has he grown taller? healthier? I wish. Tomorrow I’d be seeing him again, my son. The part of my past that is in my present. I have found my joy in him.

Best Summer Destinations in the Philippines

one more month and summer is already on! even this early in the year, some people are starting to plan their summer outings, vacations and escapades. i am also one of them, though not really planning yet, i am dreaming and imaging a totally stress-free and laid back summer days.

work has been hell this past few weeks and i can feel it taking toll on my back. i am somewhere near being burnt out and it is really stressing me out. thinking about lazy summer days though seems to lessen that burnt out feeling.

there is of course the beaches. i am lucky to be living in the philippines where you can find one of the greatest beach in the world. though its only within the country, i still haven’t really been there. and that’s where i wanna be this summer! i hope! haha… imagine pure powdery white sand, bluest crystal sea water, …. i think the waves are calling out to me. boracay.. one of these days, i’ll be there. =)

what else could beat this!

up next in my destination list.. well actually a second choice if i don’t make it to boracay this summer…. puerto galera. though not as good as boracay, puerto galera would be more accessible from manila and of course lesser the expenses. said to have great dive sites resorts and also great beach!

of course there are also the ones in palawan and in bohol (i have been hearing great great praises for beaches here in and great places to visit). it makes me real proud when tourist name these places paraside beaches. what it could we call it but that. thus my urge to go and visit these places any time soon! i live here but i havent seen these places yet! makes me think i’m really missing half of my life!

panglao beach, bohol…..

so they say… nothing beats philippine beaches, agree! agree!! need i say more? =)