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Siquijor Hotspots: Siquijor Church & Bell Tower, Lazi Church & Convent, Salagdoong Beach, Enchanted Balete & Cambugahay Falls

Posted on May 16, 2012

Salagdoong Beach in Maria is the most popular choice, complete with water slides and cliff-diving platforms For an island its size, Siquijor – the third smallest province in Philippines after Batanes and Camiguin – packs a punch with its surprising variety of attractions. During the Spanish period, the island was called Isla de Fuego or “Island of Fire”, because of the massive colonies of fireflies that lit up its coastline at night. Today, like moths drawn to a flame, touristsRead More

Currimao, Ilocos Norte: Pangil Coral Rock Gardens, Tabacalera Ruins & Spanish Watchtower Ruins

Posted on May 8, 2012

Pangil Coral Rock Gardens – a series of tidal pools and coralline rock formations stretching for more than two kilometers. Despite its exotic name, Currimao remains to be one of Ilocos Norte’s less-visited towns, just like neighboring Badoc. Actually, the town’s name carries a lot of history. During the Spanish period, when Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade was still flourishing, Muslim pirates frequented the coast of the West Philippine Sea. Watchtowers were built at two strategic points, one at Arboledan Point and theRead More

Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts 2012

Posted on May 8, 2012

Binatbatan street dancing along Crisologo Street  On a regular day, the UNESCO-listed heritage city of Vigan possesses an effortless charm of its own which never fades every time I visit. This quality, however, is heightened every first week of May during the Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts, established in 1993 by the Save Vigan Ancestral Homes Association, Inc. (SVAHAI) to showcase the historic city’s artistic and cultural values. There are several activities lined up during the festival period,Read More

Badoc, Ilocos Norte: Juan Luna Shrine, La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc & Saud Sand Dunes

Posted on May 5, 2012

The Badoc Church houses a 400-year-old miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc Upon the spontaneous invitation of a friend who saw my Vigan posts on Facebook, I hopped on a bus to her hometown of Badoc, a little over an hour north of the World Heritage city. Being the southernmost town of Ilocos Norte, Badoc is the gateway to the province; however, most travelers bypass it and head straight to the tourist hotspots further north, suchRead More

Pathways to the Past: Taal Town’s Heritage Trail

Posted on May 2, 2012

Colonial houses lining Agoncillo Street at Taal, Batangas Taal is often associated to the popular caldera lake and volcano, admired by most tourists from the city of Tagaytay in Cavite. A lesser known destination is the town of same name in Batangas, home to heritage structures and special handicrafts like handmade embroidery and the balisong (butterfly knife). Established in 1572 in the present-day town of San Nicolas, Taal moved to its present-day location after the 1754 eruption of Taal Volcano. ItRead More

Camalaniugan, Cagayan – Home of the Oldest Church Bell in the Far East

Posted on April 21, 2012

Sancta Maria Bell, forged in 1595 From the Spanish church ruins of Pudtol, Apayao, we continued northeast of Cagayan province. Just off the national highway en route to the busy trading town of Aparri is the riverside municipality of Camalaniugan, which – as proudly heralded on the town’s welcome arch – is the home of the oldest Catholic church bell in the Far East. After having seen the largest church bell in Asia at Pan-ay, Capiz, I was looking forwardRead More