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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Travel Throwback: Discovering the History and Natural Beauty of Maragondon

Five years ago... I experienced to have a getaway in the largest town in Cavite - Maragondon. Located in the western part of the province, Maragondon is bordered by Ternate in the north, Naic and Indang in the east, and Magallanes and Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo (Bailen) in the south. In the west, it is surrounded by the town of Nasugbu, Batangas and South China Sea.

Maragondon is known for its historic importance in the Philippine Revolution particularly in the life of Andres Bonifacio. It is the town where the Bonifacio Brothers faced the court and they were sentenced to death penalty. 
The Bonifacio Trial House in Maragondon, Cavite.  It is also the ancestral house of Teodorico Reyes built in 1889. (c) 2013
Life-sized dioramas of the incident where the Bonifacio Brothers in trial. (c) 2013
Maragondon also is a place where the Bonifacio brothers were executed on May 10, 1897 in the mountains of Cavite. Today, the Bonifacio Execution Site is located in the foothills of Brgy. Pinagsanhan nestled within the mountains of the area.
The KKK which also depicts the battles of Andres Bonifacio during the Philippine Revolution. (c) 2013
The Tagalog word "Bayani" symbolizes the heroism of Andres Bonifacio. (c) 2013
Historical marker of Bonifacio Execution Site. (c) 2013
In addition, you may visit the historical Baroque church in Maragondon, the Our Lady of Assumption Church. It was built in 1611 and it is one of the National Historical Treasures in our country. 
The Our Lady of Assumption Church in Maragondon, Cavite. (c) 2013
Aside from its historical significance, the town also features the natural, rural beauty of the countryside. There are many mountains for hiking, beach resorts for excursion and wide rivers and dashing waterfalls. Maragondon got its name from the Tagalog word "madagundong" meaning too much sound because of the big rivers located within the town.
A mountain located near the Bonifacio Execution Site. Others said that it is Mt. Buntis. (c) 2013
The view of Maragondon River from a hanging bridge. (c) 2013
The verdant view of the mountains. (c) 2013
Enjoying the rural scenario with this dried rice plains. (c) 2013
A hanging bridge in Maragondon. (c) 2013
Therefore, my visit in Maragondon is one of the most memorable visits I've ever had five years ago. Aside from exploring the history, I also had the chance to discover my roots as a Caviteno and exploring the natural beauty of Cavite by preserving its rural ambiance and appreciating the historic roots of our province. 

Date of Travel: April - May 2013

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Sweet, Childhood Feeling at the Gingerbread House

One of the most unforgettable fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm was "Hansel and Gretel." It tells about a story of two siblings who were abandoned by their father and they lost in the middle of the forest where they found a gingerbread house made up of sweets which was built by a witch. 
If you want to have a sweet escape from the busy life in the Metro, you may visit the Gingerbread House.
In fact, there is a cafe in Alfonso, Cavite which has a fairy tale setting - the Gingerbread House. Few minutes away from Tagaytay City and located in the forest-like area in the rural town, this cafe also serves as venue for parties and events. The place also resembles in a fairy tale setting of "Hansel and Gretel" where in the gate, you can see a marker which looks like a cookie because of its chocolate-brown color topped with white cream and the pastel colors of the signage. You will pay P 50.00 entrance fee and once you entered the cafe, you will go on a mini-forest trail where you can see a wishing well. After that, you will see a light brown gingerbread house with a snowy, white roof, candy cane post, and colorful candy dots in in the window. 
A closer look of the Gingerbread House
The interior of the cafe.
Candies and sweets are available. 
Their breads and pastries which are the specialties of Gingerbread House. 
Life-sized teddy bears are seated on the sofa and you may take a selfie with them.
My family and I decided to visit this cafe because my younger niece would like to create her own gingerbread house which was featured recently in a magazine show. So, we decided to make a gingerbread made up of biscuit, whipped cream and colorful candy toppings. While preparing, we also tried their pastries especially the cinnamon bread and chocolate crinkles. Therefore, with the help of my sisters and her father, they finished their personalized gingerbread house.
Left: The gingerbread house made by Korina Sanchez in her magazine show "Rated K."
Right: An example of a gingerbread house topped with candies. 
The finish product accomplished by my niece together with our family.
Visiting this cafe makes me feel that I was on a sweet escape and the childhood feeling that I visited a house made up of sweets and bread where I can eat a lot of candies, cakes and pastries. The perfect time to go there is during the summer and Christmas season. Definitely, I will come back to this place and enjoy more time in the Gingerbread House.
Have a sweet and sumptuous stay in the Gingerbread House. 
From Olivarez Plaza, you may ride a bus going to Nasugbu and then you will go to Barangay Upli. From there, you may ride a tricycle going to Gingerbread House. The fare is worth P60.00. It is located along Matagbak - Palumlum Road, Alfonso, Cavite. 

Date of Travel: April 1, 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Going Oishi in Cavite: Kojiro Snack and Food House in Silang

Located in the poblacion or town center of Silang, Cavite, there is a new attraction for your gastronomic trip especially if you are searching for something "Oishi!" (Japanese term for delicious or tasty). Definitely, there is a Japanese food house which can be found within the town proper. 
Japanese Ramen, Coffee Jelly and Kafe Latte are some specialties offered in Kojiro.
Some of my friends and colleagues always say that they are going to Kojiro for some food trip and it was interesting to experience to eat Japanese cuisine. Usually, I've done that after I went to Tagaytay and I've got the chance to go to this Japanese Snack and Food House. 
Looks like an ordinary canteen, but this is a typical look of a Japanese snack house depicted in the facade of Kojiro.
There are only few chairs but you will enjoy the Japanese food in Kojiro Snack and Food House.
Kojiro Snack and Food House is located few walks away from Silang Church and Silang Municipal Hall. It looks like an ordinary snack house but this is a typical look of a Japanese food stall with ornaments and wooden walls and ceilings. There are many best sellers and specialties in this restaurant. First, the Nabe Yaki Ramen, their authentic Japanese noodles. You may pick between the Original Flavor or Spicy Flavor and this specialty is worth P130.00. It is made up of Japanese noodles teemed up with spicy, red-orange broth, carrots, spicy green herbs, corn, butter and egg. You will experience the true Japanese experience when they serve their Ramen with their boiling broth as well with the hot and spicy noodles together with other ingredients. 
Nabe Yaki Ramen (P130.00)
Their creamy Coffee Jelly worth P15.00
The most famous delicacy of Kojiro, the Koroke (P12.00 per piece).
Aside from Ramen, don't forget to try other side dishes such as the Koroke, a round mashed potato that is deep fried and garnished with seasonings and sauce. You may also try their Coffee Jelly which is also topped with milk and chocolate powder and their Kafe Latte or their ice-cold coffee drink. Definitely, if I will come back, I will try their Napolitan Spaghetti, Okonomiyaki or their Japanese vegetable pizza, Crispy Shawarma and Tako Pops (simply known as Takoyaki).

The dishes there are quite sumptuous and mouth-watering and definitely, the food are authentically Japanese because of the delicious taste, and the prizes are just affordable. Cars are not allowed in front of Kojiro, so you need to find a parking area nearby. The place is not cozy that you will expect but for sure, you will enjoy the experience of eating authentic Japanese food and  the ambiance is very similar to Japan which is very clean and organized. 

 #87 B. Reyes St. Poblacion II (PUTOL), Silang, Cavite

Open from Sunday to Friday, 12:00-7:30 PM 
Last orders for the day will be taken at 7:00 PM

Date of Travel: May 6 & 24, 2018

Visita Iglesia: Contemporary Churches from Laguna to Batangas

It is a yearly devotion to have a Visita Iglesia or a visit to seven to fourteen churches in order to reflect on the sacrifices done by our Lord and to pray in order to ask for forgiveness, thanksgiving and supplication. It is also an opportunity to visit churches which reflected on the history of a town. For the past eight years, it's always been a tradition for me to go on this religious activity and had a chance to go around in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas, as well with Metro Manila.

If you want to have a Visita Iglesia in two provinces - Laguna and Batangas, then you may go for it. The route begins in Binan, Laguna where you may visit the San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church located near the Binan PNR Station. It is one of the contemporary churches built in the city.
Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.
Chair of Saint Peter Parish in Balibago, Santa Rosa City, Laguna.
Afterwards, you may go to the progressive city of Santa Rosa to visit the Saint Rose of Lima Parish Church. Located in the town center, it was built on 1796 and blessed in 1812. This church is made up of solid adobe stones with lime and mortar mixed with albimin. After a few minutes, you will go to another church in the city which is the Chair of Saint Peter Parish located in Balibago.  
Saint Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City, Laguna.
Afterwards,  the neighboring city of Cabuyao where the Saint Polycarp Parish is located in the town center. It is one of the old churches in Laguna built in 1771. The church became part of its city's history during the Revolutionary Period where the friars abscond the convent secretly to escape the wrath of the town’s people. In 1935, the church has become silent witness in a bloody combat between the group of Filipino peasants called Sakdalista and the constabulary. During the Japanese Occupation, the church became shelter of wounded soldiers. 
Saint John the Evangelist Church in Tanauan City, Batangas, known for its combination of High Renaissance
and Romanesque style.
You may proceed to Tanauan City, Batangas via riding a jeep going to Lipa from Calamba. In the town center, you can visit the Saint John the Evangelist Church. It was built on 1584 where the town was established in the banks of Taal Lake. It was originally made up of wood and the final church was completed in 1732. However due to the catastrophic explosion of Taal Volcano in 1754, the community of Tanauan was totally destroyed. The church was relocated in its current site known before as Barrio Sala and the church wa rebuilt in 1881.
The National Shrine of Padre Pio established on 2006.
The church is open for everyone and the structure is similar to a stadium.
Lastly, the municipality of Santo Tomas in Batangas has Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish Church located in the town proper and the National Shrine and Parish of Saint Padre Pio, known as Padre Pio Shrine. The structure of the main church is made mostly of indigenous materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, sasa or nipa leaves and sawali or woven bamboo strips. The shape of its roof resembles a salakot, a traditional Filipino hat used by farmers and fishermen in their respective agricultural activities and at the top of the roof is the image of Our Lady of Mercy.

You may also try to visit Saint John the Baptist in Calamba City, Laguna the christening site of Dr. Jose Rizal and the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian in Lipa City, Batangas which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa. 

Therefore, it is another year of Visita Iglesia, but the most important thing there is to pray and reflect in our daily lives and be thankful for all the blessings that you received. 

Date of Travel: March 24, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Vitamin Sea Travels: First Ship Ride to Puerto Galera and Vacation at the White Beach

After Boracay declared its six-month shutdown, local and foreign tourists are searching for substitutes for summer getaway. If they are searching for Vitamin Sea, most of them are going to Puerto Galera, one of the summer destinations accessible to Manila.
The pristine, blue waters of Puerto Galera.
From Manila, you may take a bus ride going to Batangas Port in Batangas City. From there, you may ride a ferry going to Puerto Galera. Actually, the feeling of riding in a ferry is exciting yet thrilling because of the waves, but you may enjoy the view of islands, the neighboring towns of Batangas and the Verde Passage, the body of water that you will pass from the port. After the two hours water travel, we made it to our destination. Puerto Galera was founded by the Augustinians in 1574 with Minolo as the earliest cabizera, a former provincial capital and a bustling trade port. The town's name Puerto Galera came from Spanish word meaning "port of galleon."
The ferry going to Puerto Galera from Batangas City.
The view of the ships from Batangas Port.
The view of Tingloy, an island municipality which is part of Batangas.
Puerto Galera is the northernmost town in Oriental Mindoro. It is a popular tourist destination in the province which is known for its white sand beach resorts, blue waters and rich marine biodiversity. In 1974,  the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program selected Puerto Galera as a nature research center and its reefs were declared marine sanctuary around that time as well. In 2005, the town was also named as the Most Beautiful Bay by Paris-based Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. The town is focused on tourism as a major economic activity where there are several local and foreign tourists visited the place for a vacation or escapade. You may enjoy swimming, island hopping, fish feeding, snorkeling, and doing outdoor activities. You may also savor the night life there in bars and enjoy watching the fire dancers in a sizzling dance number.

3D 2N at the White Beach
Sand castle in Puerto Galera which is very similar to Boracay.
The tourists are enjoying their stay on the White Beach by walking on the seashore and swimming.
The cool and blue waters of Puerto Galera.
A crowded afternoon at the White Beach. 
The fire dancers are ready to make this evening hot and sizzling.
Beach and Island Hopping in Puerto Galera
The natural beauty of Puerto Galera.
The view of Minolo Bay.
The island and beach hopping activity is the most memorable part of this journey. There are many events happened during that time such as riding in a boat dealing with swirling waves, snorkeling in order to see the colorful marine creatures such as fish and coral reefs, trekking to the Underwater Cave, and fish feeding. The natives of Puerto Galera are taking care of their nature and beaches because tourism is the main source of their income. They are maintaining the cleanliness of the beaches and tourists are not allowed to take home some souvenirs such as shells and stones from the sea shore. Even though Puerto Galera is a place where there are many visitors who come to this town, the locals here are assuring that they are maintaining the natural beauty and preserving the resources in the place. Soon, it is a place that tourists should come back and maintain its natural beauty. 

Date of Travel: May 12 - 14, 2018

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Vitamin Sea Travels: Summer Escapade at Laiya

Batangas is a province known for its summer destinations especially if you are living in Metro Manila, it takes a few hours away to visit the vacation spots in the said province. Therefore, Batangas is very popular for stunning, verdant mountains if you want to experience mountain climbing, but it is more popular for its beaches and resorts due to its location which is surrounded by bodies of water. There are towns known for its resorts and beaches such as Nasugbu, Lian, Calatagan, Balayan, Lemery, Lobo and Tingloy. Don't also forget to visit San Juan, Batangas, the home of the famous Laiya Beach. 
Lush vegetation and coconut trees surrounded the coast of Laiya.
A relaxing view of the beach from the cottage and ideal place for walking.
The landscapes of Laiya Beach showing its pure beauty due to its turquoise waters, white sand and limestone rock formations.
San Juan, Batangas is the easternmost town in the province known for its historical sites such as the Baroque church and the Pinagbayanan excavation, an archaeological site in the town. The municipality is also facing the Tayabas Bay. In fact, the town is very popular because of its powdery white-sand beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, and sedimentary rock formations hit by the strong waves. It is also one of the famous tourist destinations in Batangas and it is also a setting for some movies and television series.

We had a chance to visit a developing beach resort in Laiya where we are the only people who occupied the beach on that day. We enjoyed a lot in swimming, discovered sea creatures near the coast such as jelly fish, star fish, small crabs and sea cucumber and enjoying the company. Therefore during my spare time, I was able to take pictures of the seascape and interesting sights in the beach.

The Coast when the Sun is High...
The coast featured not only powdery white sand but also limestones and pebbles teemed in the shore.
It is also interesting to see fragmented corals and shells in the sand as well with small crabs running along the shore. 
The resort that we stayed in is rich in lush vegetation and tall coconut trees. 
There are only five cottages there and a rest room where you can take a bath before going to the sea.
The powdery white sand matched with its turquoise waters with a single log in a shore.
The Rock Formations
The huge and rough limestones in the beach.
The Waves Hitting the Rocks in the Shore
Just an experiment on how the waves hit the rocks through a collage.

Clarity of the Blue Sea 
The clear waters in the shore 
The swirling waves hitting the sandy shore.
It is interesting to see transparent water very close from the vast, blue sea.
The fascinating blue water from the rocks with a view of another beach and green mountain.
The Coast in Low Tide and Before Sunset
The spectacular view of the sea from the coast during the afternoon.
Low tide is evident during this time where the rocks which are underwater earlier are now seen.
Laiya Beach during low tide. It is exciting to see sea creatures in this rocky shores such as star fish,
sea weeds and even sea cucumbers.
There are many beautiful sights in this place. On the other hand, tourists should also take care of this place because there are pieces of trash such as plastic bottles and plastic bags are found in the shoreline or inserted within the rocks. It is also one of the reasons why the town set P20.00 Ecological Fee in order to take care of the nature. Therefore, we need to become responsible enough in taking care of our beaches or else, the government will declare a shut down just what happened to Boracay to maintain the cleanliness and improve the place. So, we need to start taking care of our beaches and maintain the pristine beauty of it just like in San Juan, Batangas. 

The travel experience in Laiya is an amazing journey. I noticed that I experienced to take the Vitamin Sea after 8 to 9 years (the last time was in Palawan way back 2011). Going to the beaches is not only having fun and recreation as well with bonding with family and friends, but we need to take care of our nature and maintain the natural beauty of it. 

How to Get There?
From Manila, you may ride a bus going to San Juan, Batangas. You may enjoy a 3-4 hours travel passing South Luzon Expressway and STAR Tollway and you may take either Lipa or Ibaan Exit, passing the towns of Lipa, Ibaan and Rosario. From the municipal hall, you may also ride a Laiya-Hugom jeepney. Remember, the last jeepney departing to Laiya leaves at 5:00 PM. There are also tricycles that are willing to take you to Laiya. Also, you may ride a bus going to Lipa. From there, you may ride a jeepney or van to San Juan. 

Date of Travel: April 16, 2018
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