20 Dec 2010: My entry to SEAir’s Batanes Winter Blogger’s Contest

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights;  it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

This is especially true of travel to Batanes.

The awesome beauty of the place will surely satisfy even the most jaded traveller.  Take a moment to look at these photos.  Remember though that they do not really look like this;  they look much-much better!

San Carlos Borrromeo Church, Mahatao

Naidi Lighthouse, Batanes

Sitio Chamantad, Chavayan

It is the Ivatans, however, and their way of life that I admire the most.  Each time I visit, I get more opportunities to interact with them.  I can only hope that with each interaction, I also get to be more like them: simple, kind and caring.

I have just returned from my stint as logistics manager for KayakAsia’s Edge of Region Expedition to Batanes.  In the course of my work, I witnessed and experienced firsthand the extra-ordinary hospitality of the Ivatans.  When an Ivatan welcomes you into his or her home, you cease being a visitor and become a part of their family.

I have been to Batanes thrice.  Why will I be joining the SEAir Batanes Winter Bloggers’ Tour?

I will be joining the SEAir Batanes Winter Bloggers’ Tour as its tour manager.  It is my duty to ensure that my fellow bloggers will experience the awesome beauty of Batanes and the extra-ordinary hospitality of the Ivatans.

At present, I have multiple itineraries prepared.  I also made reservations for the group at an inn with good amenities for bloggers.  All I need are SEAir’s and my fellow bloggers’ votes of confidence.

I look forward to being of service to them.


Test Post

Naidi Lighthouse, Batanes

May 2010: Canon PowerShot Kayak Explore 2010: Anvaya Cove-Subic Bay

Canon PowerShot Kayak Explore 2010: Anvaya Cove-Subic Bay

Thank you to Canon Marketing Philippines, Inc for making this event possible.

07 Mar 2010: Zoobic Safari

Blonde and Blue-eyed

For years, I have heard of Zoobic Safari in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.  However, the relative difficulty of visiting Subic led me to put off visiting the place.

Last weekend, however, I found myself in Subic with ten other photographers looking for something to do to make the most of our trip.  We agreed to visit Zoobic Safari because one of us has not seen live tigers yet (?!).

Costs per person were PhP449 for the entrance and PhP50 for the Zoo Train (optional).  If you have your own transport, you may opt to use that instead of availing of the Zoo Train.

Tour guide fee is included in the entrance fee, unlike other private zoos in the Philippines.  Touring the facility took about three hours.  Climate in the facility is modified by mist sprayers hidden in the trees (take note of this to avoid wetting your cameras).

The tour includes a jeep ride through a large enclosure wherein the tigers are free to walk about.  If you so choose, you can purchase some raw chicken to feed to the tigers.

Tiger Taking a Bath

06-08 Jan 2010: Family Trip to Baguio City

Hectic week!  After spending one day in Manila to celebrate an aunt’s birthday, we went on a road trip to Baguio City.  What a way to start the year: two trips in a week!

We stayed 3D/2N at Bloomfield Hotel.  Their Executive Suite was a perfect fit for us (6 adults + 1 toddler).  We encountered some problems with the water supply on our last morning there (the pressure pump for our floor malfunctioned).  The staff was considerate and resourceful in addressing the issue, allowing us to use an unoccupied room’s bathroom to freshen up before our trip back to Manila.  For seasoned travelers to Baguio, I highly recommend this hotel.  However, given its location (i.e. on top of Session Road, near SM Baguio and Baguio Cathedral), this is not the place for communing with nature.

We ticked of all the normal Baguio activities:

  1. Buy food items (strawberry jam and peanut butter) for pasalubong from Benguet State University’s shop
  2. Buy strawberries from Baguio City market for immediate consumption
  3. Picture-taking at Mines View Park
  4. Buy ube jam and other items at the Mountain Maid Training Center, Good Shepherd Convent (still the best ube jam)
  5. Eat lots and lots of vegetables

Mines View Park


04 Jan 2010: Ilocos Norte Panoramas

My sister and her family came home to the Philippines for Christmas and New Year.  I accompanied them to Laoag, Ilocos Norte where my brother-in-law was born.

These panorama images were taken when we toured Ilocos Norte before heading back to Manila.

There are advantages to traveling on weekdays (yesterday, Monday, was the first working day of 2010).

  1. As you can see in the picture of Pagudpud, we shared the beach with very few other people.
  2. If traveling outside city limits, there is less traffic on the roads, thus leading to shorter transit time.

Bangui Bay Wind Power Project

Saud Beach, Pagudpud

02..04 Jan 2010: Family Trip to Ilocos Norte

The first trip of the year: 3D/2N Laoag, Ilocos Norte with my sisters, brother-in-law and nephew.

In addition to visiting my brother-in-laws relatives, we also toured the usual spots in Ilocos Norte:

  1. Batac
  2. Paoay
  3. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
  4. Bangui Bay
  5. Saud Beach

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