Escolta – a street rich in history

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, June 1) – Mentioned in Jose Rizal’s famous novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo“, Escolta is truly a street that is steeped in history.

 

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The historic east-west street is located in the old downtown district of Binondo, Manila. During the Spanish era, it was known as calle de la Escolta. The name came from the Spanish word “escoltar“, which means “to escort“.

Established in 1594, Escolta is one of the oldest streets in Manila.

Escolta is the thriving commercial heart of the country during the colonial period. With a high concentration of immigrant merchants, mainly from Fujian, China. These merchants made their fortune off the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.

You can say that Escolta is the precursor of the malls of today. Visitors walk down the street, looking at the many shops and boutiques full of goods from China, Europe and Latin America.

As the centuries pass, Escolta continued to flourish and became a fashionable business district hosting the city’s tallest buildings as well as the Manila Stock Exchange. Soon, modern department stores replaced the shops and an electric tram line, the tranvia, plied the street.

For those who want to immerse themselves in the romance and nostalgia of bygone eras, walking tours of the Escolta is available. The street also gives a perfect glimpse of early skyscraper designs in the Philippines.

 

(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Khryss Leanne Omnes, photos by Landmarks, photos captured by Lovely Manabat))

Pagsanjan Falls – worth the visit

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, June 1) – Every elementary student knows about this tourist spot, the famous Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna.

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The 91-meter falls possesses a rugged beauty. One can take a scenic one-hour boat ride to visit Pagsanjan. Plying the Bumbungan and Balanac rivers on your wooden canoe, you can take in the beauty of native trees, vines and wildlife.

 

The river ride back down is even more exciting as your wooden canoe goes swiftly by, sped along by fourteen rapids.

(ENS, written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Khryss Leanne Omnes, photos by Landmarks, photos captured by Lovely Manabat)

Tagaytay – a cool getaway

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 26) Known as the second Summer Capital of the Philippines due to its cool climate that lasts all year long, Tagaytay City is truly a cool getaway for those who want to go far from the madding crowd.

Because of its proximity to Metro Manila, Tagaytay is a favorite spot for weekend tourists, a quick go-to place for those searching for a whiff of fresh air.

There are many things to do in Tagaytay. For the adventurous types, there are recreational areas that offer zipline, horseback riding as well as ideal spots for picnicking with family and friends.

There are also theme parks and other interesting sites to visit. One that is slowly gaining recognition is the Puzzle Mansion.

Of course, your visit to Tagaytay will not be complete without taking in the spectacular view of the Taal Lake with its famous tiny volcano. The view is truly worth the journey to Tagaytay.

 

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

Rice fields all around – Gapan City

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 27) – Found in the Rice Granary of the Philippines, Nueva Ecija, it is not surprising to find Gapan City surrounded by seemingly endless fields of green, with rice stalks, swaying in the wind.

It is certainly a novel experience to try one’s hand in plowing the fields and planting rice. The same goes for taking care of farm animals like ducks.

There must be something in the fresh provincial air that makes outdoor meals more delicious. Eating the local delicacies in a picnic is a scrumptious treat for visitors to Gapan.

 

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

Cavite – a province of generals and martyrs

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 26) – Neighboring Metro Manila is the southern province of Cavite. A province known for its significant contributions to Philippine history, Cavite is one of the eight provinces that first revolted against Spanish rule and has earned the honor of being one of the eight rays of the sun in the national flag.

 

Many municipalities in Cavite have been a site of some important battle or historical occurrence that is remembered and enshrined. But two towns stand out.

Having the honor of being the “First City in Cavite”, General Trias is re-named after General Mariano Trias, in recognition of his contribution during the revolt against the Spaniards.

Currently, General Trias is a thriving community, popular for its museums, industries and delicious local delicacies.

Once the capital city of Cavite, Trece Martires was named in honor of the Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite – thirteen prominent Caviteños who were convicted of rebellion and executed by the Spanish colonial government.

Found at the heart of Cavite, Trece Martires has many attractions like the memorial for the Thirteen Martyrs as well as several well-known restaurants.

 

Metro Manila’s neighbor, Cavite, is just waiting for us to visit.

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

Camiling, Tarlac – in search of delicious chicharon

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 27) – For a town named after a tree ubiquitous in the area, Camiling, a municipality in the province of Tarlac, has made a name for itself.

 

Found in the Tarlac-Pangasinan border, Camiling straddles a strategic location and served as a center of trade and commerce between the two provinces.

Like many municipalities in Central Luzon, Camiling is mostly an agricultural town, surrounded by numerous green fields. It is also very popular for its “chicharon Camiling” which resembles “bagnet”. This local delicacy is widely recognized for being very delicious and tasty.

Camiling is an old town and serving as tourist attractions are several ruins that gives a nostalgic air to the town.

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

A city on the mountain top – Baguio

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 25) – What a started as a summer vacation spot for the Americans during their 40-year rule over the Philippines, Baguio City has grown into one of the most popular metropolises in the Philippines.

There’s much to do in the summer capital of the Philippines. Visit the usual tourist spots of Burnham Park, Camp John Hay and Mines View Park and hang-out and take in the city’s vibe.

 

Another must-visit site in Baguio is the BenCab Gallery and Museum. Established by National Artist Ben Cabrera, the museum draws many visitors every year. View the thought-provoking artworks with the incredible Baguio panorama serving as the backdrop

 

Although Baguio has embraced the 21st century, it has managed to preserve its unique cultural heritage. In Baguio, one can interact with members of the native Cordillera tribes and learn a thing or two about the indigenous culture. You can also buy the perfect souvenir from many stores selling local arts and crafts.

Of course, a day is not enough to spend in this town, so be sure to keep your schedule open once you visit Baguio City.

 

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

Bulacan – a province steeped in history

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 25) – Steeped in history, Bulacan is proud of its varied contributions to the Philippines. Many are the historical events that occurred within the confines of this province.

Bulacan is one of the first provinces to revolt against Spanish rule. As such it was given an honor as one of the eight rays of the sun in the Philippine flag.

The province also served as the home of the home of the first Philippine republic.

Serving as the capital city of Bulacan, Malolos hosted the 1898 constitutional convention that gave birth to the First Philippine Republic – the first constitutional republic in Asia.

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The National Historical Institute had a field day in Bulacan, naming and recognizing various sites as historical landmarks.

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Of course, Bulacan, ever-proud of its heritage, has many museums dedicated to preserving their multiple contributions to the history of the Philippines.

Bulacan is also the home of many well-known cottage industries like making colorful straw hats and delicious sun dried-fish.

So next time you want to have journey through history, Bulacan is just minutes away from the metro!

 

 

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

 

The Candaba Wetlands – a bird watcher’s paradise

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 22) – Who would have thought that the quiet, sleepy town of Candaba will soon become famous?

The wetlands or “latian” came about as the town served as the catch-basin for the overflowing rivers of Pampanga.

Measuring 32, 000 hectares, the Candaba swamps is teeming of wildlife. Hearing of the various kinds of ducks and other migratory birds making the place their resting point, bird enthusiasts flock in the quiet, sleepy town and placed Candaba in the tourist maps.

The ideal time to visit is during the months of October to April. During this period, various migratory birds can be found like Seven Purple Swamp Hen and the Chinese Pond Heron to name a few.

Candaba, capitalizing on the pull of the migratory birds, began to develop eco-friendly industries like making crafts out of water hyacinth. Also, many farmers offer an immersive activities to tourists, allowing them to partake in harvest activities like duck egg harvesting and watermelon harvesting.

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

Nature-tripping, war memorabilia and of course the food! Puerto Princesa is the place to go!

QUEZON City, Philippines (Eagle News Service, May 22) – Undoubtedly the crown city of Palawan, Puerto Princesa is the place to be if you are looking for multiple doses of adventure.

The World War II museum gives us a glimpse on this significant, albeit terrifying, part of our history. Carefully preserved war memorabilia invokes the tenor of the times.

Puerto Princesa is also known as one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the Philippines. A part of their efforts include the Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center where you can find a wide array of animals like crocodiles and eagles.

You can also visit and meet the people that live in the city.

You can choose to immerse yourself in the culture of the native tribes or in the foreign culture of the Vietnamese community.

You can also look at the various artistic pieces created by inmates in the Iwahig Penal Farm.

For those looking for a gastronomical high, Puerto Princesa has so much to offer. Various popular establishments offer lots of choices. For those who are not afraid to try out new things, the city offers the “tamilok” – a kind of worm found in the mangroves, eaten fresh.

Of course, no visit to Puerto Princesa would be complete without sojourning the longest navigable underground river in the world. This is the pride of Puerto Princesa, named as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as well as one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature.

As your boat glides slowly amongst the beautiful rock formations, ponder at the blessings showered by nature to our island-nation.

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