Masbate, Once Again

4 Comments

My third Rodeo trip to Masbate. This is addicting. Masbate, I mean – – – not just the rodeo.

Event: Carambola

Event: Carambola

For starters, I have become a member of VROoM, the Volunteer Rodeo Officers of Masbate, the implementing arm of Rodeo Masbateno, Inc. VROoM men and women are on the ground, at the arena, running the events as jusges, timers, stockyard managers, tabulators, etc. I have been designated as timer for Rodeo 2015, a duty I failed to perform due to a doctor’s order for me to stay out of the sun for hours.

A cowboy must stay on top of the bull for 8 seconds to qualify. Very vew do. And all of them eventually fall off the bull.

A cowboy must stay on top of the bull for 8 seconds to qualify. Very vew do. And all of them eventually fall off the bull.

 

And sometimes the bull gets to ride the cowboy

And sometimes the bull gets to ride the cowboy

 

action can start right on the streets, when  a cow decides to be "pasawy" on the cattle drive

action can start right on the streets, when a cow decides to be “pasawy” on the cattle drive

Secondly, every trip to Masbate is a discovery of some new place. And a return to familiar places that one would not want to miss when in town. Like the Buntod Marine Sanctuary and SUTUKIL, that restaurant I blogged about for having delicious food at unbelievably low prices.

the reef staff

the reef staff house

 

the reef is also a mangrove preserve

the reef is also a mangrove preserve

 

We also visited majaba, an island southwest of Masbate City, and never been visited by probably 99% of Masbatenos

We also visited majaba, an island southwest of Masbate City, and never been visited by probably 99% of Masbatenos

the Majaba island is sizeable, and boys use the paragos to transport stuff

the Majaba island is sizeable, and boys use the paragos to transport stuff

close to Majaba is Nabuktut, an island that is essentially a sandbar

close to Majaba is Nabuktut, an island that is essentially a sandbar

Bugui Point lighthouse revisited. In Aroroy, Masbate

Bugui Point lighthouse revisited. In Aroroy, Masbate

Bugui

Mandaon

The Masbatenos have become friends. I am invited to the brainstorm for Rodeo 2015. And as I write this, cowboys from Masbate are on the road, coming to my Tagaytay home to wish me happy birthday. And participate in a canao I planned for tomorrow.

Nabuktut

Masbate will make you want to visit, again and again.

San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City

Leave a comment

Image

The San Sebastian Cathedral is the single most imposing structure in Lipa City if one does not count the huge malls within the city center. Our travel-photography group FUNtastic Philippines visited Lipa last Saturday and made the cathedral grounds our base for exploring this city.

Image

HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL

Villa de Lipa was once the most affluent town in the Philippines mainly due to its most famous produce, coffee. From the City of Lipa website, one reads that  Don Galo de los Reyes, then the  governadorcillo of Lipa, introduced coffee of the  Arabica species brought in from Mexico.

The church was first constructed with light materials and a series of constructions and deconstructions happened under he administration of the Augustinians until Fr. Benito Baras, who was Parish Priest of Lipa for from 1865 to 1894 finally completed the construction of this  parish church which would later become the cathedral, known to the locals as Katedral.

Image

From the webpage Batangas Hub (http://www.batangashub.com/4/category/san%20sebastian%20cathedral%20in%20lipa%20city/1.html), “Lipeños visit this place often without knowing that this church,The  San Sebastian Cathedral, is the product of the townsmen’s motivation to build astonishing huge churches to compete with other cities nearby for the seat of the archdiocese in 1910.On that same year, Lipa was chosen by Most Reverend Jospeh Petrelli, D.D, to be the Diocese covering the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon Marinduque and Mindoro and later made the seat of the Archdiocese. It was constructed simple and bare without the murals and paintings until the 19th century when the colorful and extravagant images were drawn on the walls and ceilings. San Sebastian Cathedral is raised from rough-hewn, rectangular stone and has a six-storey octagonal bell tower that rests on a rectangular base of the small dome on top. It also features a grand baroque designed pipe organ which is the only one in Batangas Province and one of only 59 units in the Philippines.”

Indeed, the Lipa Cathedral is easily one of the most beautiful places of worship in the country. Here are more photos I took on our visit.

Image

Paschal Mystery

Paschal Mystery

The Cathedral attracts devotees

The Cathedral attracts devotees

 

the left-side corridor

the left-side corridor

 

the church interiors featuring the magnificent altar

the church interiors featuring the magnificent altar

 

from the inside looking out

from the inside looking out

the dome

the dome

 

this cathedral is grand, befitting the seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa

this cathedral is grand, befitting the seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundred Islands

Leave a comment

LAKWATSA

The Hundred Islands is easily the most popular tourist destination in the province of Pangasinan. Well, other than the beaches of San Fabian, the Bolinao Peninsula, and the Manaoag Church.

 

It is easy to understand why one would want to go the the Hundred Islands. A visit there will mean you are now only looking at 7, 006 islands to visit from our 7,107 islands (101 islands including Luzon mainland where the visitor is presumably coming from). Guess what? There are fewer islands to go to after, because Hundred Islands is actually a total of 123 islands, but it is of course easier to just say Hundred.

 

The Tourism Office, I must say, is doing a good job in managing visits to the islands. It is well organized. Banca hires and other fees are regulated, and visitors know exactly what to pay for.

 

 

 

 

 

View original post 531 more words

Las Pinas Bamboo Organ

Leave a comment

FUNtastic Philippines Fun Group goes to Las Pinas Church (and to the nearby Sarao Jeepney Factory on July 27, 2013.

LAKWATSA

Image

Image

Unless you live in the area, you will only refer to this church as Bamboo Organ. I remember vacationing friends asking me to join them for “simbang gabi” at the Bamboo Organ. The church is also the venue of the International Bamboo Organ Festival, the longest running music festival in the Philippines. But the church is neither made of bamboo, nor is it dominated by an organ. Of course no church will ever be named after a musical instrument. Ever heard of a Trombone Church?

Image

The church is actually the St Joseph Parish Church. A school also called St Joseph is within the church yard. The church as it stands now and the structures around it were restored in 1975 by Architect Francisco Manosa and his partner Ludwig Alvarez. The church was built by a Spanish priest named Father Diego Cera.

Image

From WIKIPEDIA : “Fr. Cera began work on the…

View original post 219 more words

San Miguel, Bulacan. Home of the Biak na Bato.

1 Comment

San Miguel is the last town in Bulacan on the way to Nueva Ecija. I remember 35 years ago, when I was a young lad, being in a friend’s house in a San Miguel barangay that was at a point where a step away was Candaba, Pampanga, and another step sideways is Nueva Ecija. While we were actually in Bulacan.

The town is famous for Sevilla’s Sweets and it is almost criminal to pass by this town and not buy some to bring home. I bought a box of pastillas and other delicacies from the last of the three Sevilla’s outlets, and the bill came to only P190 I even wondered if there was a mistake, but I was assured there was none.

The day I went there was probably leading to the town fiesta, and there were tiendas at the poblacion, near the church. I walked around this section of town and saw a couple of beautiful old homes.

Other than Sevilla’s, the town is also home to the Biak na Bato National Park. (photos to be posted when I edit tomorrow)

It is a forest park under the supervision of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources. I paid the P30 entrance fee and engaged the services of a local guide to explore the forest. At the gate, all visitors are briefed about the park attractions – – – the many caves and the picnic areas around the river where most visitors bathe. It is made clear that guests would do well to engage the services of the local guides or they may not find their way thru the forest park. The fee for the guide is P100 per cave, or P600 on a normal tour covering a little over 4 hours. I figured that the park makes good money from these tour guide services. As it turns out, the park does not earn a cent from this, and all the fees go to the guides themselves. Hmmm.

After sweating it out on the up-and-down trails and changing my dripping shirt, we made way for the exit. I got myself a glass of P20 halo-halo on he stalls on the roadside.

Tired but refreshed, we headed to the parking area to head home to Metro Manila. The parking attendant was insistent that our Volvo SUV was a van, not a car, and was charged P50 instead of P40 for cars. Apparently, they classify all SUVs as vans. Oh well. I asked for a receipt and was issued one that was not registered with the Bureau of Internal revenue. Rather, they are the type available in public markets. No record of fees collected as the “receipt” doesn’t even have duplicate copies. Concerned that the government/DENR/Biak na Bato National Park was being cheated of revenues, I went down and reported the matter to the person manning the entrance gate. And he nonchalantly said that the parking area was not controlled by them, and was private property. Hmmmmmmmm. Clear signs indicating “Parking Area” when anyone goes to the park, and fees collected by a barangay tanod who is a government employee, receiving stipends from his barangay, and the parking area is private? How lucky can this landowner get. Or is it really private? Or public land with revenues going to private coffers? Just asking.

In the end, I figured that  visitors from Manila who would go to Biak na Bato, unaware of its state of neglect, will be thoroughly disappointed. As I was. And even more disappointed thinking that either the park is so mismanaged that they have not thought about deriving revenue from the tour guide services and the parking fees, or that corruption has seeped in and that some officials might be the ones deriving good money from a government asset. Either way, there will be no funds to improve the condition of the park. And only the most serious trekkers will enjoy going deep into the woods. It is said that one will need to stay for 2 weeks, camping where night finds them, to fully explore this forest. And spend a king’s ransom for local guide fees.

HOW TO GET THERE:

On a private car, take NLEX and exit at Sta Rita. Follow the road to Baliwag, and on to San Miguel, passing maybe 6 or so towns.  Many provincial buses service this route, too.

2010 in review

4 Comments

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 3 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 46 new posts, not bad for the first year!

The busiest day of the year was December 1st with 153 views. The most popular post that day was The Windmills of Bangui.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, ph.answers.yahoo.com, answers.yahoo.com, mail.yahoo.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bohol, tejeros convention, siquijor, camiguin via cruizes pictures, and moon garden tagaytay.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The Windmills of Bangui December 2010
1 comment

2

Subic: Ocean Adventure & Zoobic Safari April 2010
3 comments

3

Camiguin, come again June 2010
18 comments

4

Bohol and Panglao July 2010
22 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

5

Laiya, San Juan, Batangas: best beach south of Manila April 2010
3 comments