Bataan, where history and adventure meets

10708712_10153726499692925_1068222789398305026_oQUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 20) – Bataan. A province known for its historical importance during World War II. This fact is commemorated every April during “Araw ng Kagitingan”.

Two of its municipalities bear witness to the courage of Filipino soldiers. Mariveles, which according to local stories is named after the fact that there is so many dilis can be found there (“Maraming Dilis” = Mariveles) has many markers in its roads that trace the steps of Filipino and American soldiers during the infamous Death March.

Pilar, Bataan also has its fair share of memorials dedicated to the bravery and courage of our fallen brethren. The Flaming Sword is a very visible example of this. Also Mount Samat serves as the location of the annual celebration of “Araw ng Kagitingan”.

Historical immersion is not the only attraction that Bataan offers. For the adventurous, Mt. Samat is also the site for a famous zip line!

When visiting Bataan, one should also visit the beautiful beaches. After strenuous activities and historical remembrance, a sunset stroll with the soothing crash of waves is a beautiful way to cap your day.

(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Aimee Mendoza, photos by Landmarks, photos captured by Lovely Manabat)

It only just Vigan! Vigan City hailed as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World

10418454_10153939015897925_7611450117207781365_nQUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 20) – Almost every Filipino is familiar with the image of the cobblestone streets, horse-drawn kalesas and old houses. This image is the first to come to mind at the mere mention of Vigan.

The fact that the city was able to preserve this piece of 16th century intact is so incredible that the effort was rewarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which declared Vigan as a World Heritage Site.

Vigan once again wowed the world when it joined the roster of the Seven New Wonder Cities of the World. Truly, this city is something that we Pinoys should be truly proud of.

But Vigan is not just a historical site, it is also a city alive in the present.

Touring the city, don’t forget to visit the eateries and like establishments and partake of the local delicacies. Don’t forget Vigan’s famous, or should we say, notorious and criminally delicious bagnet.


Another popular stop is the Baluarte, known for its zoo. Wildlife interaction provides a nice contrast after a visit back in time at the city proper.


(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Aimee Mendoza, photos by Landmarks, photos captured by Lovely Manabat)

World’s loudest purr

MAY 18 — The Guinness Book of World Records named “Merlin” as the cat with the loudest purr in the world, stating that its purr is comparable to a dishwasher. (London, England)

(Eagle News Service Jay Paul Carlos, Dexter Magno, MRFaith Bonalos)

Mountain-climbing as a metaphor for life, universe and everything… (Warning: Melodrama)

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 4) – It was still dark when the group decided to go up the mountain on our second day in Nagsasa.

We trekked the long, sandy beach on our way to the foot of the mountain, and once we reached it, the climbing – with its accompanying epiphany -started.

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As I negotiated the steep path, the first thing that flashed in my mind is regret – regret that I decided to join this trek. As my body started to ache and scream protests from going up such an incline, I remembered that at the start of every venture, one would encounter obstacles and hardships and the will to go on is important if you want to complete your journey.

As I continued to climb, I realized that what I am doing is dangerous. Alongside the narrow trail is a sheer cliff face showing that I’m only a single misstep from falling on the other side. To compare it to my metaphorical journey, we also face dangers daily as we go through our life and we should be wary and careful in dealing with them. Sometimes, we are tempted to avoid them completely but we will gain nothing worthwhile if we refuse to leave our comfort zones.

Midway through my climb, I was tempted to surrender, to give up. But by that time, it’s no longer a choice. To stop moving is to be stuck in a dangerous place. Likewise, in our life’s journey, we may be tempted to give up in such an important juncture. To give up is to put all prior efforts to waste. You must convince yourself to move on.

Facing such obstacles, dangers and temptations gave me the will to carry on until I reached the summit of the mountain and saw the breathtaking view as the sun rises. This is the moment of truth, and you will realize that if you had surrendered early on in your journey then you may not have achieved such triumph. And that moment is absolutely worth it.

I may have finished my mountain trek in Nagsasa but my journey in life still continues. I am still far from the peak but I can see it and it spurs my efforts. I will strive to do my best to attain that peak, that moment of triumph.

 

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Another lesson learned from my early morning trek is the importance of true friends. They helped me, guided me, waited for me, laugh with me to take my mind of the dangers and hardships. If you find such true friends, keep them and treasure them for together you will help each other attain your goals while enjoying the trek.

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(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, photos by Vince Alvin Villarin and Daryl Marqueta)

Sun, surf and sand… Adventures in Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 4) – The first of May usually sees crowds of people taking advantage of the holiday to go to the nearest beach and have fun in the sand, soak up the sun’s rays while listening to the sound of the surf.

Boracay, Puerto Galera, Caramoan… these are just some of the popular tourist destinations during Labor Day, but if you want to traverse the road less traveled, just a few hours drive away from Manila is a relatively unexplored stretch of sand, sheltered by mountains and covered by pine trees.

From San Antonio, Zambales, it is an hour-long boat ride going to Nagsasa Cove, which is a bit further compared to the more well-known Anawangin Cove.

The boat ride itself is already a feast for the senses, with wondrous views like isolated rocks looming over the blue waters. If you are lucky, you may see some of the local marine life like a turtle or two.

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Once you’ve arrived, you will instantly realized that Nagsasa is truly the place to be when you want to escape the stress of the metro. First thing that you’ll notice is the lack of phone signal… meaning no internet, no text message, no communication to the outside world. A blessed sense of isolation engulfs one’s being and allows for the contemplation of nature’s beauty.

You can set up camp amidst the pine trees, and enjoy the rustic lifestyle, with your friends and companions.

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The waters of the cove is refreshingly calm as the mountains shelter the beach from strong winds coming from the ocean. The calm, clear water allows one to see the bottom of the beach and wonder at the small fishes and jellyfishes darting around the swimmers. The water is warm and has a relaxing effect.

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Exploring the cove allows one to discover scenes that is becoming exceedingly rare as development overtakes many of the more popular tourist attractions. One such beautiful spot is the place where the river meets the sea. One can sit on the spot and allow the water’s flow wash away all your troubles.

Another relaxing activity is swimming by the light of the full moon. The water of the cove does not lose its clarity under the moon’s rays and remains warm as you float over it, gazing at the stars unfiltered by the city’s garish lights.

An early-morning mountain trek is just the perfect way to round off your adventure in Nagsasa Cove. The climb may be tough but once you arrived at the peak, the view is exhilarating. Nothing can describe the feeling of seeing the sun rise from the mountains and light up the sleepy cove.

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Alas, one cannot stay forever in this little bit of paradise, but still that one day of serenity and contemplation leaves one recharged and ready to face the world once more.

(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, photos by Vince Alvin Villarin and Daryl Marqueta)

Summer vacation do’s and don’ts

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 4) – Just spent a weekend at Nagsasa Cove in Zambales. The serene isolation combined with pristine beauty made it one of the highlights of my vacation.

Of course, my little summer experience left me with little lessons that I will now share to ensure that you have your own perfect summer vacation. These are in no particular order.

1. Do contact someone regarding parking space, boat rental and tent space. It’s all fun and spontaneous when the barkada decides to go to a summer trip without prior planning, but you’ll find out that things will be more relaxing if you pre-arranged this little details.

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2. Don’t wear shoes when going to the beach! Unless you want your footwear to get wet and be filled with sand, be my guest!

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3. Do wear a comfortable ensemble! Going to the beach is not a personal fashion show. Flip flops and shorts will do!

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4. Don’t over-selfie! In other words, avoid selfie-overload! Sure everyone wants to have a remembrance of their great summer vacation but still, you should take time to enjoy the view!

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5. Do be open about new experiences like mountain-climbing! It’s better to try everything that the place has to offer than go home and regret that you should have done it! Trust me the body pains and wounds are worth it!

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6. Don’t be a kill-joy! Enough said!

7. Do enjoy the time spent in a place without communication to the outside world. Take the time to re-connect with your friends!

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8. Don’t forget to bring sunblock, anti-mosquito lotion, pillows and blankets. It’s good to commune with nature but sometimes over-exposure can be bad for your health!

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9. Do be a good neighbor! This your time to unwind but you should be considerate to the others who are also trying to relax. Be mindful of your actions and make sure that you are not too loud!

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10. Don’t leave you’re trash! Do your part to preserve the beauty of the place!

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There are still many days left for you to enjoy your summer vacation! I hope that these tips will help you maximize your enjoyment!

(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin )