My Island-hopping with a Banca

Adventure is worthwhile.” ―  Aesop

 

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“Every man should pull a boat over a mountain once in his life..”.{ Werner Herzog}

I grew up in the second largest archipelago in the world, and with 7,107 islands with 36,289 kilometers of coastline,the sight of Banca ( Banka in Tagalog , pumpboat or  canoe ) is as common as hundreds of  typhoon-visits I’ve seen in my whole life! Although, we didn’t live near the sea, my childhood is filled with family swimming trips and beach getaways with friends. A country with tropical climate and abundance of water sports, it is very easy to indulge in the beach and explore nature through a tiny fishermen’s boat. The banca, also known as ‘pumpboat‘, which has 2 large outriggers which are usually made of ‘Bamboo‘to give the necessary stability.

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Accidentally we found another beautiful island…

Just like any firsts,  my first Island hopping experience was unforgettable, at the same time, liberating.  I said this because when you ride a banca, you will lost all your inhibitions, your sea & motion sickness , tensions, and fear of the waters will be gone. ( At least it works for me! )  Thoughts like ; ‘Is it strong enough? Will I reach alive in my destination?  or what if it suddenly sinks? ‘. Totally morbid thoughts!

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Sitting at the dock of the Bay { Soundtrack of my Life}

When you go on an adventure boat ride, it seems that the boat absorbs all your worries and transport you into another world, literally. Every move, the roaring motor sound it makes, the way that the boatman pull and start the engine, every push of the paddle and waves creates a magical nostalgia. This is how every island trip becomes special to me.Imagine owning an island for a day? Or sleeping under the stars, endless bonfires and the beach as your backdrop!

As each banca has its own personality, so as the journey. There is something so raw, exciting, and at the same time exhilarating about sitting in a wooden rugged ,slim boat where you can see the  fishes swimming, your face get wet from the splashes of the tides, and the open view of the sea that makes your horizon like  blue infinity.

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Our rental Banca during  Island hopping 

The banca is as typical as the colorful Jeepney, but  only 20 % of about a million bancas are registered. Uniquely, all of them have a name. Yes,you can recognize them in their flamboyant writing such as ‘Princess of Coron‘, Poseidon, Madonna or Seahawk. Most bancas are normally named after their owners, like the name of the hotel and resort, their son, or daughter. Isn’t nice to have a boat named after you?

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Waiting for the next destination…

I have boarded the largest sailing ‘Dhow’, the Al-Hashemi in Kuwait and explored nearby islands through a modern Catamaran, but my excitement can never surpass  the time when the wind blew over my face when I am on board in the little,skimpy, noisy, and colorful Banca. Have you ever wondered how a banca is made? If you watch the Secret Life of a Banca then you will realize how special it is.

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Unique cone-shaped bancas we used to explore the craters of a volcano

After the devastating  typhoon Haiyan, around 30, 000 bancas were destroyed, debilitating  the poor fisherman’s source of income in the Philippines. The old Banca  is being honed and re-engineered from the old model with the new through the use of fiberglass boat technology.Aside from its touristic usage, the Philippine bancas are now being built better, to empower the local livelihood and to weather the storms of the future. They are not just for photo shoots and having some fun in the islands, for the locals in the coastal areas, the banca  is the way of life and a way to live.

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Our rental banca in the midst of limestone rock mountains

If you’ve never ridden a boat, maybe the sight of a banca might intimidate you. But trust me, they are the  most reliable mode of transport to cross the sea, river, and lakes and wander through the mountains into the best-kept hidden paradise. Bancas are relatively robust if they run to ground since they have no deep-set keel or a centre board (sailing boat). But their maneuverability is relatively limited due to the flow resistance of the outriggers and the small oar blade. They are only partially ocean-going. Bancas can differ in degree of motorization, forms, sizes and colors.

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Bancas in front of the houses in the local neighborhood in Negros Oriental

I have seen smaller paddle-bancas. Children who lives along the coast  uses these boats as their playground. At an early age, they are taught to swim and  join their parents to go fishing.Poorer fishermen have only a paddle-banca but at night, they join the bigger motorized boats to catch more fish. The sailing-banca are seldom used but can only be seen in the southern regions of Sulu, especially used by Badjeros. They are famous for their colorful sails. In Boracay island, I saw bancas with blue sails docked on a bay during sunset. They look spectacular in summer!

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A beautiful day to sail

During island-hopping, the banca is usually provided and arranged by the hotel we are staying. They have their own boatman, with a guide and they are all experienced in sailing. They provide life jackets and are very flexible to our needs.While exploring the island, snorkeling, and swimming, our rented banca is just there, waiting  patiently . Everytime we hop on back to the banca, I know that the next adventure awaits.

“The sea is the same as it has been,since before men ever went on it in boats”

{ Ernest Hemingway}

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Until then…we shall sail together again.

 

Have you ever ride a small boat like the banca?

How was your experience?

If you love reading this post, share it with your friends and leave your comments. Thank you once again for stopping by and see you in my next island hopping adventure!

 

 

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Solitary crystal clear waters

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Solitary crystal clear waters

I am a self- confessed nature and beach lover, and I find true solitude in island hopping and discovering rugged virgin lakes and beaches. I just find natural beauty of bodies of water to be totally de-stressing. I am not a savvy traveler, I am just a normal girl who wants to be refreshed, away from the busy-ness of the city, and going to place like this, leaves me both satisfaction and awe without blowing a budget.

Solitude” for me is a personal business.

It takes your whole being to be in tune with yourself. It is not the absence of noise, it’s actually the absence of distraction, and when you found yourself floating in the clear waters of the claimed ‘ cleanest lake in Asia’, it is guaranteed that you’ll find zen and calmness, naturally. Your mind gets clear. Your senses becomes alive. Literally unplugging from all negative vibes. Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan is a picture of no filters, and crystal clear waters seemed to washed away all  the toxins in my mind. When you can actually see the bottom of the lake especially when the sun is up,you can feel the good aura of the place vibrating. Visiting this place is one of the most memorable holidays I have in my life.

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Revisiting the same spot, even in a bit gloomy weather, the waters still as clear as it can be.

I have enjoyed swimming in this lake, exploring the cool, azure waters as far as I can. There is so much serenity in this place that you might think you are in another dimension. Surrounded with limestone mountains, you don’t have the right  to be ungrateful about life. I have tried snorkeling as well and seeing colorful marine life, it was a dream to see the world down there. I explored the whole surroundings by  boating,cruising through the native tribe’s area,the Tagbanuas, in between of the tiny islands and looking into their culture. There is an adjacent lake, the Barracuda,which is less commercialized in the sense that only a few visit the lake and most are armed with tanks and diving suits, making it a haven for professional divers.  Locals nearly discourage visitors to visit the place as the depth of the lake is unknown and is recommended only for professional divers.

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A fantasy island that actually exists

The surrounding mountains will leave you in awe. Everything is so calm and I felt  so secure.There’s an old tale I’ve heard that they are growing an inch every year. I haven’t tried climbing these mountains yet, but its on my list.  Large area is composed of Karst formations where swiftlets  or the Philippine Cockatoo, dwell and build their nest (edible birds nest). There are vertical limestone cliffs that reach up to 600 meters above sea level and eight (8) brackish lakes and three (3) smaller one’s that have underground connections to the sea.This place is on Tentative list in Unesco World Heritage List.

When you are in a place where there is a deafening silence, it’s  so uncomfortable and yet you never get tired of it. I still can’t believe that this fantasy island really exists. Claiming that it’s the cleanest lake in Asia or not–just look at the waters and you’ll know what I mean.

Do you love water-fun activities?

What is your ideal place of relaxation?

You might want to check out these posts if you want some inspiration from the tropical beaches and destinations I personally love. There are still so many beautiful beaches that I have been to but I haven’t made a post for them.

Coron, a fantasy island that actually exists.

What real summer looks like in Coco Beach.

Malcapuya Island : Accidentally in-love!

This post is in response to this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge |Solitude

Whole lotta Fish

 

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Whole Lotta Fish!

I can’t get enough of these Fishes in frenzy chaos…they come in herds, almost like a catastrophe ready to scare you or amuse you. Koi fishes are particularly beautiful fishes, I love them. But if you see them in volume like these, I bet you will spend quite sometime staring at them.

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More and more fishes..

If you have a time to kill, you can try counting them by their colors, if you got bored,better  just feed them..

This photo was taken from my last vacation in Philippines. These Koi fishes are the main attraction in a Nature Wildlife park called Nuvali.

 

via Daily Prompt: Fish

2,500 Feet Underground : Enigma of the Sumaguing Cave

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Underground wonders inside the Cave of Sumaguing

When I saw today’s Daily Prompt : Underground, my nostalgic memory brings me back to one of my unforgettable Backpacking adventures, my first Cave Spelunking. I can only think of the time when we explored the Underground caves of Sumaguing in Sagada in Philippines and it still brings me back the chills.

What I discovered inside the cave was beyond my expectation. When I looked at the photos I took with my old  phone, I just didn’t do any justice to it.All we have is a kerosene lamp to guide us through the darkness. All I have is determination to get through the loops and the challenging cave connection.

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Cave Spelunking in Sagada

Cave Spelunking is something that calls for an adventurous spirit. It is something for someone who is willing to explore the unknown and unveil the enigma of the destination.

I still couldn’t believe that up there in the mountains of Sagada lies an underground mystery, buried thousand of years ago, under 2,500 feet underground.Just imagine a sight of burial graves of about 500 years old before entering this. When I touched the glistening and golden formations inside Sumaguing cave, I felt for a while the cave’s mysterious aura is hovering all the visitors who dare to explore it.Everywhere you see, it’s unexplainable, how could nature be so profound, yet so beautiful.

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Feeling the enigma of the underground beauty of Sumaguing Cave

Beauty underground is rare, It is found by those who seek it.

 

Have you ever been 2,500 feet under and explored something beautiful?

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Underground

The Spider games | Nostalgia

I was going in our garden shed to get some tools then I noticed something in the bush beside it. For a moment I thought it was just a ball of cobweb but looking closely enough I noticed something. It’s a spider caught up in its webbings or something that I am not familiar with. I’ve heard that these creepers are on sight especially in Autumn here in Germany . The color of the spider itself is new to me, a light yellow with tints of black and the size is almost as big as my thumb. Not the kind of spiders I want to mess up with.

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Spider games

When I told my husband about this, He was shocked.Spider fighting is your worst nightmare come true. This ghastly sport takes place in the Philippines and is popular among children although it has attracted a large adult audience as well. The rules are pretty simple. The arachnids are placed on a stick and shoved toward each other until they start fighting. If a spider falls off the stick three times, it loses. If a spider gets wrapped up in its opponent’s webbing, it loses. And of course, a spider match can always result in death. This is one of those situations where winning really is everything.Pretty  simple but exciting,right?

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Spider in the bush 

Looking at this spider brings me back to the distant past of my childhood. At one moment I felt the nostalgic feeling of being a child again. In the place where I grew up, Spider games is a part of any childhood , especially for little boys. Yes, you heard that right, playing with spiders, it’s like a cock fight, a boxing match of spiders. Having a bet on which one would knock-out the other. These spiders are normally house spiders that crept on ceiling, or in the plants. They are trained to fight. Sounds crazy but this is true. If you’re afraid of spiders then you can’t even watch how they murder each other.They are not the poisonous ones like Tarantulas etc. It’s the kind of game I used to watch my cousins,( mostly boys) are playing. We used to keep the spiders in a small box of an empty matchboxes. I remember that one of my cousin has 5-6 boxes with his ‘pet’and always waiting for a suitable opponent.There’s an art to catching the right spider. Kids wake up early in the morning to hunt for future champions, and the best fighters are said to be the ones living on electric power lines

Such nostalgia from my childhood.

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Only in the Philippines : Playing with spiders ( Image source: Google)

I grew up in a place where the only high-tech game on hand is the brick game, with few Super Mario and Nintendo. We don’t have the money to buy Lego, walking Dolls, PSP or Xbox yet, the Apps  for Candy Crush or Clash of Clans (COC), or even a computer which we can play PacmanWarcraft or Starcraft. We don’t have these luxury yet during those times. As children, we contend ourselves by playing outdoors, climbing trees, running through the rice fields, playing ‘Patintero’ which we draw lines using water during full moon, playing ‘Piko’  & ‘ Chinese Garter ‘right after school in the playground, and if its raining, we just slouch on the floor and play ‘Jackstones‘. These are my favorite traditional games.

Nowadays,childhood games have evolved into something else. My daughter’s favorite is playing with her Papa’s old toys like the wooden Bike, Duplo blocks & Legos or just playing in the sand and pebbles. I find them quite special too because they are old toys where my husband used to play with when he was at her age. But kids nowadays have access to more modern toys and entertainment like the smartphones & iPad.

Yes, time has changed our generation. But Nostalgia keeps us coming back to the past. To the old place and old toys that we had that brought joy and happiness in its simplest form. Nostalgia is sweet page to flip on, just like the spiders in the boxes, but let it be there, just a memory to cherish on.

 

This post is in response to this week’s Photo Challenge |Nostalgia.

 

Giant White Buddha

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Giant White Buddha 

If your passion does not include yourself, it is incomplete { Siddhartha Gautama Buddha)

Trekking the craters of Taal Volcano

One of my Bucket lists is to explore the crater of Taal Volcano and during our recent trip  last month in Philippines I managed to get some extra time to explore it with my backpacking friends.

While my daughter was still past asleep, I woke up around 4:30am and started our trip to Talisay, Batangas to explore the craters of Taal Volcano.

This beautiful, small & yet mysterious Volacano is  among the world’s 16 Decade Volcanoes as classified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. Decade Volcanoes bring the attention of the scientific community due to their large, catastrophic, and frequent eruptions and their proximity to large populated areas.

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Majestic view of Taal Volcano and its dreamy crater-lake waters.
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Binintiang-Malaki viewed from Picnic Grove.

The photo above of the view of Taal volcano  where Binintiang Malaki is seen is my fondest memory of the frequent trips to Tagaytay. We always go here because it has a very nice cool weather compared to other places in Ph. It’s the summer getaway in the Southern Tagalog region. I have always thought that it was the crater, but I was mistaken. I have learned that its only one of the 47 Craters that this volcano have.Yes, 47 craters!And I thought that the crater lake is the only attraction but I was wrong.It’s so much more.

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The crater lake of Taal

A closer look at the Crater Lake 

The crater lake on Volcano island is the largest lake on an island in the world.Moreover, this lake contains Vulcan Point, a small rocky island that projects from the surface of the crater lake, which was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is often cited as the largest third-order island (island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island) in the world, though this is also claimed to be an unnamed Canadian island located within Victoria island.

We set off to drive to Talisay to meet our tour guide-Bryan .He gave us a very warm welcome in his place and did the orientation. We were given Buri Hats, orientation and briefing on how the tour will be done. Then He brought us to his boats and we have a nice, quiet boat ride to the Crater lake.The boat were colorful , unique and is of typical of this place.

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Blue-Boats

I could see seaweeds from the clear waters of the lake and I knew from the boatman that Taal Lake is home to the only known species of sea snake that inhabits fresh water, Hydrophis semperi. The lake itself has a sulfur content that is higher than normal, and it is good for swimming.The weather is not that 100% clear when we go and I frequently hoped that It won’t rain.

As we neared Volcano Island, we had a clear view of Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg, in English). This is a large parasitic cone that erupted violently in 1707 and 1715. Today, it is dormant; but Mother Nature is unpredictable.

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After we arrived at Barangay Look,we registered to the local municipality and Tourist registration office and immediately our horses arrived with our Guides are waiting for us. It was a very nice and one-of a kind experience to horseback riding in the coarse terrain going up to the steep and hilly path going to the crater. Some people prefer to walk but it was so dusty & hot and we have elderly persons with us so we chose to take the horse with us.

The easiest way to reach the core of Volcano Island is via Daang Kastila, The trek up the crater can be a hot and dusty one via Daang Kastila which takes 45mins to 1.5 hours. Hiking on foot is relatively easy, yet there are options to get to the crater on a horseback. Pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, hat or umbrella, snack and enough water for the hike.  Be aware that although this is the easiest route to the crater, recent volcanic activity has been noted in this area

I had seen the volcanic fumes coming out from the rocks and smell the sulfur. We need to pass the 14 station in order to get into the summit and reach the crater. There are other route/treks that can be accessed by tourists . It all depends on your choices and experience. I recommend to always go with a guide for safety reasons .

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We managed to get into the crater in time and was overwhelmed by the scenic views we passed through our horseback riding.It is worth all the dust, heat , sweat, and bumpy ride to be able to see this majestic view.The skies were a bit cloudy and yet we managed to see foaming bubbles that said to be burning sulfur.

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I highly recommend to explore this place. You’ll never regret it.It is a small and yet a big nature wonder hidden.

When you visit Taal Volcano, make sure to bring water, hats and plenty of sun screen lotion. Wear light clothes for it can get very hot, it being located in a tropical country. It is most recommended you get a head start early in the morning. You can either take a hike or ride on horseback to go up the ridge and see the beautiful Crater Lake.

Our guide was very helpful,and informative and If ever I would visit Taal once again and bring friends, I would definitely go with Bryan once again and for sure I would love to bring along some eggs to boil in the boiling waters of the crater!

What’s the off the beaten path thing you have done lately?

 

 

 

What real Summer looks like in Coco Beach

What’s your summer looks like?

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Our room cottage overlooking the beach in Coco Beach.. Going primitive and yet very close to nature. In here, I don’t mind not having a Wi-Fi.. .

I frequented many times the beaches of Puerto Galera, but this is my first time to set my foot in Coco Beach.Puerto Galera is one of the most diverse and abundant marine life in Philippines. Tucked away in a luscious greenery and beautiful landscape, this is indeed one of my tropical paradise.This exclusive private resort themed with Coconut materials and various cabanas,  huts and gazebos with quaint decor has a unique charm,  yet very Filipino ambiance.Coco beach is also famous for romantic beach weddings.

Coco Beach lies in the shores of Oriental Mindoro. If there’s any place that I would like to spend some peace and tranquility, then it must be in an island with just a few meters away from the beach.There is really something about the pristine clear waters against the powder sand that brought healing to my soul.When I am in the beach, there I feel pure Bliss.Although the beach is a bit rocky compared to Boracay or Palawan, still, the beach, the sunset and all of it is beautiful.

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As we arrived to the resort from our boat trip ,we were warmly greeted with welcome drinks of coconut juices & iced tea and  hand-made shell necklaces with matching music . You can really feel the warm hospitality. And as we gazed through the reception, I had a glimpse of this beautiful main pool with turquoise waters.It’s so enticing!

What I liked about this place is that its very private and yet it has all the amenities you need for a short or long stay in this island.

Coco beach has the lagoon-shaped main pool which is located at the center of the resort and only a few feet away from the beach.We swam & sunbathe and enjoyed lounging here. Guests can enjoy  all sorts of activities at the pool like pillow fights, pool volleyball, scuba and swimming lessons! Beside the main pool is the small Children’s Pool with a slide.

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As the ocean is never full of water, so is the heart never full of love.

We had our Boat trip the following day , we passed by through the neighborhood of the small village where the fisherman and their family are busy tidying up their fishing nets while their kids hopping aboard the fishing boats. That is the simple life.The childhood of these children revolves from playing in the boats and swimming in the sea. The place we were brought to snorkel and swim is our  in our very own island for a day. It’s so secluded.This is one of the spots were guests can explore the island, and do water sports as they wish. Unfortunately,the weather was not so good during this time and the waves are strong but it didn’t spoil our island hopping.One can never be bored here as they have so many activities line up to maximize your stay. You can explore the nearby water falls, trek, learn to scuba and so on.DSCN0364

I want to run the beach’s length, because it never ends… {Deborah Ager}

I feel nostalgic watching these boats coming by and leaving the shores of Coco Beach. Each one has bunch of tourists and all of them wearing the smile that I also wear. Each one has packed memories and wishing to stay longer to recreate some beautiful moments of staying close to the beach & nature.

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Luscious greens surrounding the whole resort

The whole resort is surrounded with so many different types of plants. Some even I haven’t seen in my entire life. This is the shot I took while I was climbing uphill and I just love how these greens blend with the native cottages. It’s like one wild forest.

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The Main Pool
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Silent Pool in Coco beach

While enjoying our drink, we just watch the time goes by, not a care in the world.This resort has a Spa, a Main swimming pool and one Silent Pool located on the upper location of the resort.My favorite pool is the Silent pool,It is more secluded and private which is a few uphill steps  on the top of the hill. It has a great view of the sea, a jacuzzi and a bar. It is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. This pool is more exclusive and as the name suggests, they highly encourage you to keep silent.

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While being here, you can even learn soap-making! Coco beach offers workshop on how to make soap.The soap used in their rooms are 100% made by hand  with real virgin coco oil where in they were pressed themselves by the staffs. Beside the many variation of soaps, they have other products for sale at the Shopping Arcade which includes Shampoo, After-sun Lotion, Insect Repellent.Really interesting. This is such a great bring home gifts!

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The theme of this resort is all about Cocos Nucifera or simply the coconut!Everything is designed to complement each facility and its natural surroundings. All made of natural materials like wood and bamboo for that tropical feel and decorated with native artifacts, Coco Beach’s accommodation definitely gives the of being feeling at home while away from it all.

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One Hazy  dawn in the islands..

To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.                                                          {Jeanne Moreau}

 

I adore exploring Coco Beach, and wished I could stayed on longer. I wanted to go Dolphin-watching and learn to scuba dive. I wanted to go on a trek and visit Tamaraw Falls & Takuran Lagoon. I managed to take snaps of the plants that i liked. I even got a henna tattoo on my legs! This is one of the things I’d like to do in every beach trip, to get a souvenir henna. I designed this myself and just let the artist copy it. I stayed in one of the rooms in the hilltop so we have a spectacular view of the beach every morning. I just ordered breakfast to be brought to our cottage and we have an amazing morning gazing at the sea.

I hope to visit Coco Beach once again, when my daughter is old enough to go on an adventure trip with us there. I’m looking forward for more real Summers like this..

What’s your favorite Summer getaway? How well did you spent your time for solitude & relaxation?

 

 

Bangui Windmills in Ilocos

 

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Another highlight of my Backpacking series is the visit to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, the Northern part of the Philippines. With only a backpack and full spirit, I explored the Ilocandia region with my friend  hopping from Pagudpod ,Laoag, then finally head to Vigan.One thing that is so fascinating about this trip is how the location are close to each other that you can literally explore it within 3 days!

It was early summer and yet the heat was already intense. This region is also known for its sunny and hot temps. I have always been curious how does a windmill look like, I know for a fact that they are big , at least from what I have seen from the photos in internet, but I did not expect that Its  gigantic as these. It takes 11 average adults to hug its body together! A visit to the Windmills Farm is indeed an exhilarating and yet wonderful! These Wind Turbine system stretches a whole length of 9 km along the shores of Bangui Bay. There are 20 of them-70 meters (230ft)V82 1.65 MW  high Vestas Wind Systems,all lined up along the shoreline…standing proud, beautiful & powerful against the strong winds facing from South China Sea.

One can never miss its extremely enormous blades waving in the sky.  They are tall, white,and silhouetted against the blue sky and sea and green mountains. I remember my astonishment when I first saw these giants stood firmly like giant electric blades protecting the Ilocandia shoreline. I have seen some windmills on our recent trip to Germany but seeing the Bangui windmills up close is totally different experience. The Bangui Wind Farm was quite a sight to behold. The trivalent sea as backdrop  adds to the nostalgic charm of this place. No wonder tourists flocked on this region constantly.

In Europe, people are tired of seeing windmills because they see them everywhere. It’s so common sight out there. Nobody bothers seeing them as if they are invisible. But in Philippines,  they talk about (them) with so much pride. It becomes a bucket list for every traveler to see them.Such national pride.

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 This region is most prone to power shortages because Ilocos Norte is situated at the end of the power grid line coming from Bauang, La Union, another province away from Ilocos.

Based on the findings on the study conducted, it concluded that there are various areas in the Philippines that are amenable for wind power and that include Bangui and Burgos. Thus, this leads to the establishment of wind farm project. A Danish power firm, the NorthWind Power Development Corporation had supplied the power wind turbines which is similar to what has been in Denmark.

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Expect to be harnessed with strong winds when you visit this place. Your face would literally feel like there’s a hairdryer and electric fan in front of you for hours. This place is surrounded with low,dusty dunes, with a quaint sea views.Its a perfect place to feast your eyes with something that is not so common in other urban areas. Just like here in Kuwait, if you like to take a look at different and interesting power lines & electrical towers, you just need to have a drive along the desert.There’s a bunch of power lines with herds of camels in the background.

Remember, these windmills are not for decorative purposes for the town of Bangui.They actually provide as much as 40 percent of the power needed by the entire province of Ilocos Norte, which has a population of 600,000. So that’s an iconic one.

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One interesting fact I have learned from these windmills is that it came from worldwide effort & partnership. Bangui’s windmills are an indicator of how small the world has become. The towers were assembled in Vietnam, the rotors in the United Kingdom, the nacelles — the part that holds the blades — in Denmark. Local workers constructed the bases. The first in the Philippines & all throughout South East Asia.

If you wanna marvel on these windmills, this place can easily be reached through :

By Air Laoag International Airport serves as the main gateway to Ilocos Norte. Laoag is just a 45-minute flight from Manila; 55 minutes from Kaoshiung; 80 minutes from Guangzhou, Hongkong and Taipe; 2.5 hours from Shanghai.

By Land Various bus lines serve the Manila-Laoag route for an 8 hour drive. Ilocos Norte is just 477 kilometers north of Manila. 4 hours from Baguio.

If you wanna know more of the beauty of the North of Philippines, you can read more on my Ilocandia Backpacking adventures .

Safe travels!

Feels like Home…

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My perfect landscape..a view of Mayon Volcano

What’s the picture now in your mind whenever you think or look back from your hometown?

When was the last time you were back into your old home, or even the place you were born?

No matter where I go, I always look back to where I came from. Suddenly, thinking about the place  where I spent most of my childhood create a nostalgic feeling inside me. I remember my fondest childhood memories spent gazing at this beauty…everyday! From the time I open the window I see her. She’s our ever-present backdrop. Our ever beautiful wallpaper. She is so alluring that many have tried to climb her, some have succeed, but some have been unfortunate. Many are enamored by her mysterious perfect cone.From dusk til dawn she’s constantly changing. One day she is clothed with fluffy clouds and only her cone is shown, other times, she is totally hidden, like a shy maiden covered in veil.

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Mayon Volcano with Cagsawa ruins

I have seen her fierce eruptions. I tell you, She is one fierce ,active volcano. Despite her enigma, which has left a trail of death and destruction brought about by almost 49 eruptions in the past 400 years, her tantrums has become spectacular fireworks displays to behold.We spent the night looking at her cone tip with visible lava flowing. It was a sight I could never forget. Until now I remember those times I saw it as something exciting & yet terrifying. I would always asked my Grandmother what if the lava reaches our house? Where shall we do? But then on, I got used to this.I have heard of the tragic stories when she became so furious and left a disastrous eruption and devastation that I couldn’t even imagine. Just picture a church tower was the only visible ruins that  remained from the eruption, the ruins of Cagsawa church.

The  Cagsawa Ruins (the church tower up above in the photo )  was a lavish Spanish church before it was buried by the 1814 eruption of Mayon Volcano, the worst in history. For almost two centuries the Cagsawa Ruins has stood as a symbol of Bicol region’s impressive landscape, rich history and the people’s strength and resiliency to face and to rise from the ravages of Mother Nature. I love to visit this park whenever I have the chance to go . It has been a long time, and now I am longing to see it once again.

And yet, even though I have seen beautiful castles, and wonderful nature from other parts of the world, Mayon Volcano is still my  Muse. She was & will ever be.

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Quitinday Hills

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.~Lin Yutang

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The view from Sumlang Lake

Never forget where you came from…Never lose sight of where you want to go.

If you have the chance, would you like to visit once again your birth place?

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