Why I love my Philippines

Stuck in day to day heavy traffic, empty promises made by some pompous politicians, little income but high taxes, and  corruption are only few of the things we dislike about this country, but if there are 100 obvious reasons to hate this country I see five big reasons to love my Philippines.

#1 Waters

Philippines an archipelago made up of over 7000 islands, a home for stunning waterfalls, rivers, lakes and beaches. To name a few there is Potipot island known as the little Boracay of Zambales for it has powdery white sand and crystal blue waters. You can reach the island through a small boat in less than 10 minutes from Dawal beach. It doesn’t matter if you are just a curious tourist who wants to drop by and check how beautiful the place is or someone who is in a quest of finding oneself looking for some alone time with nature so decide to try primitive living, set up a tent and stay overnight. Surely, you will enjoy the beauty of this little island with or without accompany the way I did.

Potipot Island_WhyILovePH

Looking for a place beautifully developed; make your way to Puerto Galera white beach in Oriental Mindoro. Recognized for its wonderful diving spots fall in love with the rich life underwater or enjoy the surrounding view of lush green mountains during daytime.  Can’t stand a night without partying?  Have fun watching fire dancers doing flare routines, and enjoy conversing with friends over good drinks. How can I dare say no to this place?

If the beach doesn’t sound interesting maybe a trek to Kabigan (kaibigan = friend) waterfalls is. A 120-foot waterfall with a base forming a natural pool shape hiding deep inside the forest of Brgy. Baloi Pagudpud Ilocos Norte waiting to be discovered. On your way to the falls, you will find a river stream too! Pretty certain that it would be an alluring experience for nature junkies.

Kabigan Falls_WhyILovePH

#2 Histories

Subjugated by foreign countries hundreds of years ago Philippines is also a country rich in stories that needs to be told. Try to go anywhere and I guarantee there is an interesting story behind those big old walls. The Bantay (Bantay meaning guard.) Belfry that sits on top of a hill in Ilocos Sur for example, built in 1590, said it has served as a watchtower and was part of the city’s defense during the Spanish regime. And the grounds around the tower were believed to be the same grounds where Diego Silang with his troops fought the Spaniards centuries ago. If the tower looks familiar, that is because scenes of the movie Panday were shot there. How cool is that?

Bantay Belfry_WhyILovePH

Want to hear a folklore? Here’s the one I find lovely interesting:  The story of the star crossed lovers Marin and Duque. There’s a beautiful Princess named Marin who had many suitors including the Datus (Royal leaders.) of Camarines, Mindoro and Laguna. But Marin is in love with a modest man Duque. Despite the absolute disapproval of her father Datu Batungbakal they continued seeing each other secretly. Until the Princess decided to follow her heart and leave the royal life, she was born with. So, one night they rode a boat heading Tayabas Bay. Unfortunately, her father learned about their plan so Datu Batungbakal together with the Datus of Camarines, Mindoro and Laguna the persistent suitors of Marin sailed after the lovers. When Marin and Duque thought that they would be caught, they decided to drown themselves. Years had passed when a heart shaped land emerged from the spot where the ill-fated lovers drowned. They named the island Marinduque – the heart of the Philippines. See we have our own version of Romeo and Juliet.  

#3 People

Branded as the country of smiles, I bet it’s no news that we Filipinos are naturally… happy people (well, except for those who are having a bad day! 😛 ). Very hopeful and full of sense of humor, Filipinos can find happiness even in the most dire situation. And believe it or not we are honest people, *Laughs* this trait may be hard to see among our politicians but Filipinos are honest. Just look at the Ivantans (Locals of Batanes.) they are regarded as the epitome of honesty that means we can be as honest if we want to. Creative and hard working these are the most obvious traits we Filipinos have. One good example for me is the Burnay jar makers. They manually pedal the potter’s wheel then mold the bantog clay using their skilful hands very determined to make a beautiful piece of Burnay jar. This is hard work and creativity combined. I am honored to be a Filipino. Are you?

Pagburnayan_WhyILovePH

#4 Food

Filipino cuisine is equally rich as our history and talking about being creative earlier, that works for culinary too. Naturally gifted with wide variety of ingredients needed for cooking, Filipino food is very interesting as the flavors vary from island to island. Give your palate a treat of Ulang Ulang a native dish in Marinduque made of grated young coconut, de shelled shrimps and calamansi. It is an original recipe of Aurora Pitero mother of Rose Sotta the owner of Casa de Don Emilio a restaurant at Boac, Marinduque.

Ulang Ulang_WhyILovePH

Craving for the best Bulalo soup? Drive straight to Mahogany market in Tagaytay. You don’t have to be disappointed for not getting the view of Taal volcano from this side because eateries at Mahogany market are famous for serving the best sinful bone marrow soup that will just make other Bulalo you’ve tasted seem bland. Did this stimulate your taste buds?

Bulalo_WhyILovePH

# 5 Thrilling Adventures

Philippines do have a big room for thrill seekers too! It depends how dauntless you are but there are activities that would shake the hell out of yourselves. If cliff diving is your thing then you must have heard Imelda cave at Marcos island in Pangasinan. A twin chambered cathedral shaped cave with a natural pool said to be 70 feet deep. Climb up to the cave wearing your life vest then jump for as high as 20 feet.

Imelda Cave_WhyILovePH

Like Morroco and Dubai, we also have natural sand dunes in the country. You don’t need to travel so far for an exhilarating voyage just visit Paoay sand dunes in Ilocos Norte. Ride a 4×4 jeep, hold on tight at the steel bars, then enjoy trailing the small, medium (seems like a 45 degree) to high (what seems like a 90 degree) slope sands that would make your knees feel like jelly.

Paoay Sand Dunes_WhyILovePH

How can I not choose to love the country that has so much beautiful things to offer? It wouldn’t be called Pearl of the Orient Seas for no reason, right?

Chia

More of Ilocos

I know I know. This has been long overdue, so here it is. On our second day, we visited first the old Burgos light house. It was actually my first time to see a light house up close and I was astounded by the beautiful view from the top.

Read More »

Exploring Ilocos Norte

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As I continue my story about our journey to Ilocos, we travelled further north to visit the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac City. Ferdinand Marcos was known to have ruled the Philippines with an iron fist, who declared martial law, a dictator, a memory whiz, and for some a great leader. I see him as the most brilliant, famous and yet controversial president of the Philippines.

Here, they exhibit the memorabilia of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his spouse Imelda Marcos. Entering the museum does not only feel like travelling back in time. It gives me the vibe that I’ll finally meet this great person and tyrant whom I only know from history books, someone I only see on television.

Next to the museum is the mausoleum of Ferdinand Marcos. They said that it was Marcos wish to be buried at the heroes cemetery however, the succeeding administrations did not allow it. So the family kept his body preserved in a glass coffin that is open for public viewing. According to the family’s mortician the remains inside the coffin is real but the rumours have said it is a wax replica and the body was secretly buried.

Taking photos inside the mausoleum is not allowed but I’ll share to you how I felt inside.

While I was looking for my friends, I accidentally entered this black cold room filled with white flowers around the sides. Walking slowly, enchanted by the scent of the flowers, and hoping to my find my friends. Little did I know it was the mausoleum that I entered until I saw a man lying inside a glass tube. My initial reaction? I skittishly rushed to the exit. Mortified (I am not prepared to see his body yet reaction), and looked for someone or anyone I know to calm myself. Imagining how scared I was that time makes me chuckle. HAHA. Forgive my cowardliness. 

 

Then we visited another historical church. The Parroquia de San Agustine or known as the Church of Paoay. I admire the love of Filipino people in preserving the Catholic churches not only in Ilocos but in many parts of the Philippines and hopefully this will continue forever. Looking on its outer physical appearance you could say it is history.

ChiaChinR/Church of Paoay
Photo by Gerson Gonzales

 

 

Our next stop. The Malacañang of the North. Ever since, I fancied how it is like living in the old times when houses were made of good wood and filled with sophisticated interiors just like this one.

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This house served as the official residence of the first family during Marcos administration whenever they are in Ilocos.

And the last stop on our first day, the Paoay sand dunes! This was the most exciting part of our tour! If you are adventurous enough and looking for some thrill I recommend that you try this one.

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♥Chia♥

 

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Journey to Ilocos

Who is up for fun?

Land travel for about 8 to 10 hours straight could really be exhausting. But if the destination is a real beauty it will be worth the wait.

So, yeah.. This time we head up to Ilocos to relax, and discover something new.

Our first stop, the historical Quirino bridge also known as Banaoang bridge which said to have survived the bombings during World War II.  The bridge was named after the 6th President of the Philippines Pres. Elpidio Quirino, who was born in Vigan Ilocos Sur on 16 November 1890. It spans the Abra river connecting the town of Santa and Bantay Ilocos Sur.Read More »