Our Lady of Atocha in Alicia, Isabela

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“Atocha is Madrid’s royal shrine: there is not a Spaniard of public importance for a thousand years who would not kneel to ask her help. Her gowns are made from the bridal gowns of queens; yet no shrine better demonstrates how little it matters where we rank in the world or what we do for a living. One of her supplicants asks her for victory for his armies, one for rain for his thirsty fields; Our Lady of Atocha answers all, impartially and lovingly. “( lifted from http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-atocha.html)

The Our Lady of Atocha Church sits in the town of Alicia known for its Pagay festival, a first class municipality in the province of Isabela. It was completed in 1849 and has been declared by the Department of Tourism as one of the country’s religious tourist destinations.

As Atocha is Madrid’s royal shrine, Our Lady of Atocha in Isabela looks every inch a Spanish church.

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Pillar Cauayan, Isabela

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Dominican missionaries declared Cauayan a full-fledged parish in 1741, dedicating it to  Our Lady of the Pillar commonly known as the NUESTRA SEÑORA DEL PILLAR.

The church was first constructed using bricks and galvanized roofing. This was later damaged by an earthquake.

It’s a beautiful combination of old and modern architecture. The exterior part of the church is well preserved while the interior was renovated and glorified with a beautiful painting on the ceiling showing the coronation of Virgin Mary.

 

 

 

I also took a look at the church from inside looking out into the entrance.

Today, it is a very well-preserved architecture of red bricks, with its imposing facade.

 

Church in Ilagan, Isabela

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Saint Ferdinand Parish Church

Tracing the history of this modern-looking church, I found out that around 1696 and 1700 Fr. Miguel Matos, OP, built the Ilagan church made of stone and bricks. A typhoon in 1866 destroyed the roof of the church. Desiring to make the church bigger, Fr. Pablo Almazan, OP, demolished the solid walls of the church, which, unfortunately, was never built. The walls of the church today are of modern make. It is known to house one of the oldest bells in the region. The church is dedicated to the patron saint, San Fernando.

The facade is impressive and spacious. This is the only time where I wanted very much to photograph a church that is not centuries-old. I went inside, and the church interiors looked spectacular and grand.

 

 

 

 

Palani Beaches in Balud, Masbate

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kilometers of white sandy beaches

I first visited this stretch of long, powdery white sand beaches in 2013. On a recent vist, I was not surprised that this paradise is developing quite fast, and I think that by sheer distance it will never go the way of Boracay or Puerto Galera. SoPpalani will forever be beautiful.

Palani is the crown jewel of the town of Balud, 68 kilometers from Masbate City, the capital of this island province. From the town proper, the beaches are 2.5 kilometers away. Habal habal (back-riding on a single motorbike) is the mode of transport for travelers without their own transport from Balud to Palani.

Today, I would rate Paraiso de Palani as the top resort in this long stretch. Right beside it is Palani Beach Park.

PARAISO DE PALANI

Paraiso de Palani lives up to its name. I like the thoughtful design that blends the facilities with nature. There are huts and shades with white curtains that dance to the wind. The accommodations are well appointed and inexpensive. The staff hospitable, as well as the dogs “Negro” and Negra”, And the amazing turkey that seems to have appointed himself as the official “one-man” welcome committee.

 

Accommodations, all airconditioned, are as low as P1,200 for a room with a bed for two. Two rooms, slightly bigger, rent out for P1,800 for 2 pax. Then there are the pricier “presidential” rooms with wider floor areas and queen sized beds at P2,500, also  for 2 pax. They have rooms for 6 that go for P3,000, with TV and ref. There is a dorm good for 24, with 2 toilets and bath in the room, for only P6,000. There are smaller dorms for 8 or for 10 persons at lower rates.

Room for 6, aircon, with toilet and bath, TV, ref, for P3,000

 

veranda of the room for 6

 

Room for 2, aircom, with T&B for P1,800

 

“Casita” room for 2, aircon, with T&B for P1,200

“Presidential”, a bigger room for 2 for P2,500

Dorm for 24pax at P6,000, with aircon plus 2 T&B

Three of us had lunch consisting of 3 big fried samaral, 4 legs of chicken inasal, rice and bottled water. The bill came up to only P730.

Pity that we were not ready for an overnight stay because our bags were still in the hotel in the city where we checked in. Paraiso de Palani is an “I must return and stay” destination.

Contact Grace Dalida for reservations at

0917 517 6998

0998 577 6818

email : paraisodepalani@yahoo.com

or check out their facebook        https://web.facebook.com/paraisodepalanibeachvillas/

 

 

OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Bocala Beach Resort

 

My Q

And then there is HORIZON at the far end on the right. I didn’t take photos –  personally I wasn’t impressed and I thought the huge colorful HORIZON sign, meant for groufies, was a turn off.

There are also some “unbranded” smaller resorts that visitors may check out, and maybe find even more bargain.

 

How to go to Palani

We went to Palani on our own vehicle. But there are vans that go to Balud from Masbate City, at the transport terminal in the market which locals call the mercado. The fare I think is around P200 per person, on a 1 1/2 to 2 hours ride over beautiful sceneries of hills and mountains that will remind visitors this is cattle country. There are ranches along the way and grazing cows on grassy hills are a common sight. The roads look immaculate while seemingly endless. From Balud it will be easy to arrange for transport to Palani – – – a solo traveler can take habal habal (on a single motorbike, as the passenger, for P30-50 per person).

 

How to go to Masbate City

 

Masbate City is beautiful. Check out the city before you go out of town. You may even want to prep yourself up for a Masbate beach experience by taking a short boat ride from the city center to Buntod Reef, a sand bar that is the center of a marine sanctuary.

so beautiful, so accessible

 

PAL and Cebu Pacific fly direct from Manila to Masbate daily. Fares on PAL average P5,000 one way, depending on the season

There are also roro buses from Cubao. Check out Isarog Bus, Raymond, and RORO. A regular aircon bus from Cubao to Masbate is around P1,200 one-way. Isarog includes some buses on its fleet where there are fewer seats and the seats recline like airline seats, with a toilet in the bus, for a higher fare.

You can drive your car to Masbate. Travel to Pio Duran Port past Ligao town in Albay and pay P2,500 per 4-wheeled vehicle to transport your car via roro. This will include the boat ticket for 1 passenger. Extra passengers pay the boat fare. Roro ships leave Pio Duran at 8pm, 3 am and 5 pm. Be there at least 2 hours before to arrange your transport.

Alternatively, drive on to the port at Pilar in Sorsogon. The roro fare for your vehicle will be P3,000. There are roro vehicles from 10pm, 2 am and 5am.

Palani, you’re for me

 

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN MASBATE:
I have visited Masbate so many times and have marveled at the sights, moving me to write about how beautiful and how underrated this province is.

https://boyplakwatsa.com/2016/01/10/masbate-so-beautiful-so-underrated-2/
https://boyplakwatsa.com/2014/05/03/masbate-so-beautiful-so-underrated/

 

Church of San Matias – – Tumauini, Isabela

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Tumauini is a first class town located at the northern portion of the province of Isabela, 68 kilometers from Tuguegarao, past the town of Cabagan.

The Tumauini Church  was built in the 1780s by the Dominicans, in the Baroque style, and is considered to be the best preserved church in the province. Made entirely of red  bricks, the  4-storey bell tower which was subsequently added was also done in bricks that some have described to look like a wedding cake.

 

The Church of Tumauini was declared a National Historical Landmark on February 24, 1989, and is on the Tentative List of Unesco World Heritage.

 

 

San Pablo Church – the most beautiful in Isabela

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nothing but a facade

 

Went to all churches in Isabela on a recent tour. I could say all of the churches were interesting. But one stood out.

 

San Pablo is a second class municipality 21 kilometers south of Tuguegarao via the Maharlika Highway. Travel time is 26 minutes.

This church is the oldest in Isabela and stands out because the whole facade and the belltower, the tallest in the whole Cgayan Valley, are what really remain of what was probably one of the biggest churches in the region. Behind the facade, and actually way behind is a re-built church that still uses the walls of the old church. To think that between the old facade and the new church is a wide area that looks like a patio. Then one would know that the whole church then included the re-built church and this wide front space !

the rebuilt church behind the facade. Note the huge front yard, part of the original church

 

inside the rebuilt church. Note that walls are those of the original structure, and these walls flow into the empty space in front

 

the walls from inside the rebuilt church continue into this, now the facade of the smaller rebuilt church. One concludes this space was part of the original structure

 

the stairway to the bell tower

 

HOW MUST IT HAVE LOOKED THEN?
In front of the facade is what one will conclude to be the original church frontyard. It is marvelous and eerie at the same time.

When other photographers finally find this church, they will agree – – it is the most photographable church in Isabela.

the oldest, and most photographable

 

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The Tuguegarao Cathedral

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The Tuguegarao Cathedral is officially known as  the  Saint Peter Metropolitan Cathedral. The historical marker tells the full story, more than I can ever attempt to do.

 

Architecture is baroque, typical of churches built in the 18th century. The details on the main door are impressive that one can not resist taking photos.

 

 

 

It is one of the largest churches in Cagayan Valley and, Tuguegarao being the nerve center of the province, the cathedral is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuguegarao.

Waze brought me from Piat 42 kilometers away to Tuguegaro Cathedral in 30 minutes.