Masbate Rodeo Festival

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After attending most festivals in the country (Sinulog, Masskara, Dinagyang, Panagbenga, Kadayawan etc) I can say without fear of contradiction that the Rodeo Festival is the single most exciting, most action-packed festival in the Philippines. Which festival does one go to where sometimes the animals are in control of men?

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CATTLE DRIVE

I arrived on the morning when the most exciting of the rodeo events was going to happen – – the Cattle Drive. I liken it to a FUN RUN except that it is cattle that will be running from the city center to the Rodeo Arena about 2 kilometers away. Some have likened it to RUNNING OF THE BULLS, thinking of Pamplona, Spain.

nearly a hundred cattle at the city center, ready for the cattle drive

nearly a hundred cattle at the city center, ready for the cattle drive

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It is the most exciting because of its unpredictability. Imagine some of the nearly 100 cattle going wayward. In the past, the promoters told me that there have been motorbikes parked on the roadside that were damaged. learning form the past, the organizers have sealed off intersections, barricading them with pick-up trucks or other material.

The organizers have cowboys mounted on horses to herd the flock. There are also cowhands (cowboys and cowgirls) stationed in many points to handle cattle that may stray.

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UNPREDICTABILITY: STRAY CATTLE
Still, there were at least 3 that went astray. I captured two of them in sequences as I was moving around to cover the event.
The first was about a cow that strayed and went to a SMART loading station, moving on to the BEAUTIFICATION project signage. The cowboys handled the stray cow efficiently.

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The second stray cattle I was able to photograph from a moving Red Cross van which I hitched on (I was at the bed).

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RODEO ARENA

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Masbate is proud to have the only permanent structure in the country built purposely for rodeo. It has bull pens, sturdy metal fences to separate the players and the bull from the gallery, a platform for the organizers and the barkers (announcers are called barkers in rodeo shows), and a full stage from where distinguished visitors watch the games.

Arena: bleachers on three sides

Arena: bleachers on three sides

There are also paramedics from the Red Cross around the arena, ever alert if and when a player gets hurt, ready with their stretchers. A clinic is manned right in the complex. well done.

Medical Clinic at the arena

Medical Clinic at the arena

NATIONWIDE PARTICIPATION

The National Rodeo Finals is participated in by professionals and Agriculture students from all over the country – – as far north as Benguet and as far down south as Buiodnon and Cagayan de Oro.

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While there are regional competitions, Masbate is the default venue for the national finals. The National Rodeo Director, rancher Leo Gozum, also hails from Masbate.

rightmost is Leo Goizum of Masbate, also the National Rodeo Director

rightmost is Leo Gozum of Masbate, also the National Rodeo Director

Judge Sese, president of the Masbate Ranchers' Assn (on leave)

Judge Sese, president of the Masbate Ranchers’ Assn (on leave)

THE EVENTS

The events are heart stopping, action packed, so unpredictable, and just so different from what one sees – – – the nearest thing to it is watching a Western-style movie. And oh, the organizers left no stone unturned – – – the music from the sound system is 100% Western-style. Imagine – – – bulls, cows, and cowboys on a dusty arena, with western-style music, with organizers also in full cowboy costume, with whips and lassoes, boots and checkered shirts, cowboy hats – – – the works. There were 2-person carambolas, lassoing, 4-person carambolas, bull-riding, bull whipping, load carrying etc.

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Hats off !

Hats off !

grab the cattle by the legs and by the tail to get it down

grab the cattle by the legs and by the tail to get it down

bull riding

bull riding

rider falls and it has not been 8 seconds

rider falls and it has not been 8 seconds

AWARDING CEREMONIES OVER BONFIRE

after summoning the spirits from the 4 corners of the earth, viola, the bonfire was lit

after summoning the spirits from the 4 corners of the earth, viola, the bonfire was lit

The  even ended with a cowboy-style bonfire in the awards ceremonies where trophies designed from bull bells were awarded to the winners. And the main fare was roast calves- –  two of them.

one of two roast calves before dinner was served

one of two roast calves before dinner was served

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Acting President of the Ranchers’ Assn, Mr Abelita

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one set of winners pose with the organizers

RODEO SCHEDULE 2014: Mark your calendars !

I shall return next year. The rodeo schedule in 2014, as provided by National Rodeo Director Leo Gozum is “the national finals is April 8 to 12, 2014. Grand parade of the rodeo national finals April 8. Cattle Drive April 9. Three (3) major barn parties April 8, April 9, and April 12.”

How to get there:

PAL Express flies propeller planes daily to Masbate. Flights leave at 5:05 am, just in time to arrive in the morning to catch the Day 1 event. Zest Air flies at about the same schedule as PAL Express, with the 2 flights leaving just 5 minutes apart.

Maniwaya Revisited

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This is how Boracay was 20 years ago. Once you go to Maniwaya, you will keep coming back.

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invisible vollevball net?

invisible vollevball net?

I first went to this island when there were probably less than 50 residents, back in the early 80s. On my two visits last year, I saw some resorts being built, and I was not surprised that someone will think of building accommodations for visitors wanting a piece of paradise.

I started blogging about Maniwaya then.

https://boyplakwatsa.com/2012/05/05/maniwaya-island-camping-is-still-allowed/

I went back to Maniwaya last Maundy Thursday (2013) and the resorts were fully booked – – – yet one can still contrast the density of people on the water versus the elbow-to-elbow density in  famous Boracay. Somehow, Maniwaya visitors still feel they own the beach, even during the peak travel season. I can see it is not going to be the case for very long.

On a Maundy Thursday, still not elbow-to-elbow

On a Maundy Thursday, still not elbow-to-elbow

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Today, a Maniwaya vacation is still restful. Pitching a tent is still enjoyable as you will not have to be in a spot with 200 tents side by side. There are open cottages for picnics, like the one we rented for a day tour. We paid only P500 for a huge table with many benches, shaded under a tree.

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The owner of the THREE BROTHERS store is so enterprising they built the open cottage we rented. And they also have 3 units of bamboo huts for rent, at only P750 for the day or P1,500 overnight. This is a good enough place to stay – – –  there is a bed, a small veranda, a bathroom, and even a kitchen.

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At the property’s fence, there was this info on contact details:

The cottages can accommodate 5-6 people sardines-style, but chap for P1,500 overnight (24 hours)

The cottages can accommodate 5-6 people sardines-style, but cheap for P1,500 overnight (24 hours)

THE CONGRESSMAN’S BEACH PROPERTY

The congressman that represents Marinduque has also built a vacation place in Maniwaya. He probably believes, too, that the island is paradise that he would like to have a part of. On one visit, I saw him jet-skiing. On a visit last year (or was it two years ago?), I chanced upon the congressman with whom I had a couple of beers over lively chat on how Maniwaya may be more popular and more accessible, to spur Marinduque tourism.

a bit of Bali in the congressman's property

a bit of Bali in the congressman’s property

RESIDENCIA DE PALO MARIA

A new resort hotel is Residencia de Palo Maria. First of all I was confused and thought this might be the high-end extension of the first-ever resort accommodation in Maniwaya, also called Palo Maria. As it turns out, Palo Maria is the name of the barangay where both are located. Residencia de Palo Maria has air-conditioned rooms, and a swimming pool. They also operate ATVs,   watersports facilities like jet skis, banana boat rides, kayaks, speed boats, snorkeling, etc.

the newest resort with swimming pool and aircon rooms (photo taken by my friend Bob Gan Ferrere)

the newest resort with swimming pool and aircon rooms (photo taken by my friend Bob Gan Ferrer)

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A family room at La Residencia is at P3,500 for overnight stay (24 hours), with aircon, cable TV and ref. The room is good for up to 5 persons although there is an extra charge of P200 per bed/person. A twin bungalow room rents out for P3,000. A bamboo hut/kubo with fan and TV rents out for P1.500, for 2-3 persons.

Contact Details: 09192375633, 09228670312,09179540495, landline (046)5172189. Email residenciadepalomaria@yahoo.com. Facebook : residencia de palomaria

OTHER DAYTOUR PICNIC OPTIONS

On the stretch where the congressman’s property is located, there are many open-cottages that may be rented by day excursion visitors. In fact, I imagine that some would even rent these as accommodations, sleeping on the built-in benches, enjoying the sea breeze while resting at night. This stretch, in my opinion, offers the best spot for visitors to the island.

an open cottage beside the old Palo Maria

an open cottage beside the old Palo Maria

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FROM THE MAIN ISLAND OF MARINDUQUE

Maniwaya is best accessed from Buyabod Pier in the town of Sta Cruz. Fares are very reasonable. Enjoy Maniwaya. But I appeal to one and all to keep the place the paradise that it is. Be responsible and do not throw around plastics and other wastes.

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the view from where we took off in Buyabod

the view from where we took off in Buyabod

approaching Maniwaya

approaching Maniwaya

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HOW TO GET THERE FROM MANILA

To go to Marinduque, take a bus to Lucena and head to Dalahican pier. From there there are many ro-ro trips to Marinduque.

roro from Dalahican to Marinduque (photo taken by my friend Jun Bucao)

roro from Dalahican to Marinduque (photo taken by my friend Jun Bucao)

Whether the roro is going to Cawit or to Balanacan, visitors can easily take a jeepney ride to Sta Cruz. There are boats that ferry passengers to Maniwaya or to the other islands at reasonable fares. If you are traveling as a group, you may even consider renting out the whole boat. A boat for 25 people can be rented for P3,500 on a whole day excursion to the island, the rental cost covering travel to and from the island. Prepare to pay a landing fee, charged  per person. The take off point is the Buyabod pier in the town of Sta Cruz, less than an hour by jeepney from the Balanacan pier in Mogpog.

Buyabod pier used to be a port of entry from Lucena. Now it exclusively handles Sta Cruz-Maniwaya and other small islands

Buyabod pier used to be a port of entry from Lucena. Now it exclusively handles Sta Cruz-Maniwaya and other small islands

cheap fares to paradise

cheap fares to paradise

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Cavite Day Tour : Amadeo and Maragondon

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Our travel group FUNtastic Philippines visited interesting sites within the province of Cavite for one whole day. The itinerary covered the Balite Falls in Amadeo, the Bonifacio Trial House and the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, both in Maragondon, Ternate Beach Resort, Aguinaldo Shrine and the chirch of St Mary Magdalene, both in Kawit. Last stop was a sunset shoot at Lido Beach resort in Noveleta.

First Stop: BALITE FALLS, AMADEO

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Picnic tables can be found before visitors descend to the falls.

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Next stop: OUR LADY OF THE ASSUMPTION, MARAGONDON

Maragondon Church is one of the oldest in the country. It was built by the Jesuits. The church is said to be the main inspiration behind the chapel at De La Salle in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
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The climb up the belltower is a bit frightening as the wooden steps, after two flights of concrete but rather mossy steps,  seem ready to give up. Yet the reward for the effort is a fantastic view of the town.Image

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Cavite Day Tour Part 3: Ternate Beach Resort

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No smoking. No drinking. This resort wants the experience to be 100% wholesome. If one wants to bring his/her family to a wholesome resort, this is it. And if you crave for a smoke or a dash of alcohol, the other resort past the bamboo fence is the answer. It is a short walk from the rooms or open cottages you may want to rent for the day, or for longer stays.

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Cavite Day Tour Part 2: Bonifacio Trial House

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This is the second installment of the one day tour made by our travel group, FUNtastic Philippines that started from Balite Falls in Amadeo, to Maragondon, Ternate, Kawit, and Noveleta.

Maragondon Church was featured in Part 1.

Maragondon: BONIFACIO TRIAL HOUSE

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Cavite FUNmeet 250 (960x640)

As lifted (100%) from the pages of the National Historical Commission website:

When the Revolution broke out on August 23,1896, the Katipunan ceased to be a secret society. Later in the year, it was proposed that a new government be established to unite the Katipuneros under a single leadership. The Magdalo faction nominated Emilio Aguinaldo, a young Katipunan leader from Kawit. The Magdiwang faction maintained that Bonifacio, the Katipunan’s Supremo, should settle the leadership issue. Bonifacio was invited to an assembly in Tejeros, Cavite, on March 22, 1897.

The Trial of the Father of the Revolution

At the Tejeros Convention, a Revolutionary Government was established with Aguinaldo as president and Bonifacio as minister of the interior While Bonifacio was being proclaimed, Daniel Tirona, a Magdalo, stood up and questioned his qualifications. A lawyer, he said, should fill that position. Gravely insulted, Bonifacio, invoking his authority as presiding officer, declared the proceedings null and void and went on to establish his own government in Naic, Cavite.

On Aguinaldo’s orders Bonifacio was arrested in Barrio Limbon in Indang, Cavite, for refusing to recognize the revolutionary government. Also arrested were his wife Gregoria and brother Procopio. In the brief but intense struggle, Bonifacio was stabbed in the throat and grazed by a bullet on the shoulder. His brother Ciriaco was killed. The wounded Bonifacio was placed in a hammock and brought back to Naic, along with Gregoria and Procopio, for a pre-trial hearing.

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Based on sufficient cause, a military court was quickly convened in Maragondon, Cavite, on May 4. The following day, the court charged the Bonifacio brothers with treason and sedition. On May 6, they were sentenced to death.

On the morning of May 10,1897 the Bonifacio brothers were taken by Major Lazaro Makapagal to Mount Tala. When they reached Hulog, a barrio in the vicinity of Mount Nagpatong, Makapagal, upon Bonifacio’s insistence, opened his sealed orders. The order was for the execution of the two brothers, with a warning of severe punishment should he fail to execute the order. To this day, the death of the Father of the Revolution remains a controversial issue in the nation’s history.

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The house in Maragondon, Cavite, where a military court tried Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio, has been turned into a museum commemorating a significant, if dark, episode in our history. Its centerpiece is a life-size diorama recreating the trial scene.

The Bonifacio Trial House is located in Maragondon, a town of Cavite. The house is open from Tuesday to Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

(Here is the link where I copied all of the above information : http://www.nhcp.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44 )

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