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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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Friday, June 14, 2013

Independence Day at SM Dasmarinas: Celebrating Pinoy Talents

Filipinos are considered as one of the very talented people in the world. We all know that there are Filipinos who stand out in dancing, singing, acting, magic, acrobatics, gymnastics, flair tending and other variety acts. That is why, talent shows are aired on TV in order to discover the best talents in our country. In addition, there are acts who stand out and having a lot of gigs and shows because they have the raw talent.
SM City Dasmarinas
The participants raising their Filipino flags as commemoration of Independence Day.
Last June 12, SM Dasmarinas celebrated Independence Day by showing the world-class Filipino acts. It was started with a simultaneous flag raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m. The opening program was attended by Congressman Elpidio "Pidi" Barzaga, Mayor Jenny Barzaga, SM Dasmarinas executives and employees, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, police officers, students from National College of Science and Technology, teachers and visitors. The highlight of the program was the Butterfly Release with Mayor Jenny Barzaga and Congressman Pidi Barzaga of Dasmarinas. In addition, a chorale group from Dasmarinas City presented a medley of classic OPM love songs to serenade the viewers as well with the singing of national anthem during the flag raising ceremony. 
The lively cultural presentation of Bughaw Folkloric Dance Group. #ProudCavitenoTalents

Bughaw Folkloric Dance Group, a cultural dance troupe and semi-finalist from Pilipinas Got Talent Season 4 presented different folk dances from Paso Doble, Curacha and Tinikling. In addition, they closed the flag raising program with their quarter finals piece. I really appreciated their performance because of the colorful costumes and props, lively choreography, happy facial expressions, harmonious and classic accompaniment from rondalla and the amazing and remarkable dance routine. All of them did a fantastic job in presenting their quarter finals piece in the show. Truly, they represent genuine Filipino talent plus they prove that "It's More Fun in the Philippines" because of the variety of folk dances they show in just one cultural presentation.
Buildex Pagales with acoustic OPM mellow songs.
Buildex serenading a young lady while performing Shamrock's "Alipin"
In the afternoon, two acoustic acts from different seasons of Pilipinas Got Talent geared up the stage and gave their electrifying jamming session. First, Buildex Pagales from second season serenaded the audience with his rendition of Pinoy hits such as "Magasin" by Eraserheads, "Alipin" by Shamrock and "Nasa Iyo na ang Lahat" by Daniel Padilla. His voice truly resembles to Bruno Mars plus he got the stage presence plus the song choices are very good for his vocal range.
They also had their own style of checking the sound system by performing the "Soundcheck Song". 
MP3 Band performing classic OPM ballads and rock hits with an acoustic twist.
After Buildex, the acoustic trio MP3 Band rendered an electrifying acoustic session with OPM rock and classic love songs. They performed a mash-up of "Come Together" by The Beatles, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson and "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 plus their audition piece "Yugyugan Na" by P.O.T. They have the raw talent where three acts composed of Aries Sales (singer), Mckoy (beatboxer) and guitarist  (LJ Manzano) combined in one great act. They also performed OPM classics including "Si Aida, Si Lorna o Si Fe" by Marco Sison, "Ipagpatawad Mo" by VST & Co., "Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba" by APO Hiking Society (quarter finals piece), "Di Bale Na Lang" by Gary Valenciano (semi-finals piece) and "Elisi" by Rivermaya. Therefore, the show closed with an energetic beatboxing number done by Mckoy.

Therefore, SM Dasmarinas presented a great show from morning till afternoon. They did a wonderful cultural show to commemorate our heritage and giving a show which is current nowadays by Original Pilipino Music acoustic revivals. Truly, Filipinos are rich in talent which is part of our cultural legacy.

Date of Travel: June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remembering History at the Cradle of Philippine Independence: Kawit, Cavite

June 12, 1898. A date when a remarkable event in Philippine history was happened - the Declaration of Independence from Spain. It was held at the house of the first Philippine president, General Emilio Aguinaldo. It is also the first time where the official Philippine flag was hoisted in the balcony of Aguinaldo's house as well with the fact that that people witnessed the playing of the national anthem for the first time. It was held in Kawit, Cavite, the historical town located in the province of the brave and prominent heroes.

The town got its name from Tagalog word "kawit" meaning "hook" because of its geographical shape which covers the town up to Cavite City within Manila Bay. According to a folk story, there was a Spaniard who asked a question to a blacksmith, who is accomplishing a metal work which looked like a hook during that time, about the name of the town. The blacksmith answered "kawite" and later on, the town was called Cavite. The town was called "Cavite del Viejo" which is different from "Cavite del Puerto" known as the present location of Cavite City. Kawit is also the founding place of Aglipayan Church in 1902 which was located in Binakayan.
Fish pond and rivers are very common in Kawit.
I had a chance to travel this town last year. It is already urbanized and populated but there are plenty of fish ponds and rivers in the town. It is also one of the coastal towns in Cavite which is located beside the Manila Bay.
Battle of Binakayan Shrine
The first site that I visited is the Battle of Binakayan Shrine located near the Island Cove Resort where Filipinos won the battle against Spaniards. Binakayan was defended by Magdalo leader Emilio Aguinaldo aided by other generals which was held in November 9-11, 1896 along with Battle of Dalahican which is a barrio in Noveleta.
Kawit Church
It is also the place where Emilio Aguinaldo was born and he was baptized in Saint Mary Magdalene Church or Kawit Church in 1869. The church was first built by Jesuit missionaries in 1624 which was made of wood and the present structure was built in 1737.

The balcony of Aguinaldo Shrine.
The interior of the house.
The Philippine Map in the ceiling of Aguinaldo's house.
Aguinaldo's portrait.
Then, I went to Aguinaldo Shrine in order to commemorate the history in this town. The house was built in 1849 where Aguinaldo spent his childhood days until he grew up. In the balcony of this historical house held the Proclamation of Independence in 1898. He passed away in 1964 and he was buried at the backyard of his house.

Today, the Aguinaldo Shrine is one of the most visited tourist spots in Cavite because it is rich in history as well with the fact that we can commemorate the glorious past of the Filipino people in achieving their sovereignty from the colonizers. It is proven that Kawit is an urban town but strengthen by history.

How to get there:

From Manila, you may take a bus going to Cavite City, passing through CAVITEX and then Kawit is one of the exits in the expressway where the bus will pass in the town proper.

You may also ride a mini-bus from SM Bacoor and then the driver will take you to the town proper of Kawit.

Date of Travel: May 31, 2012 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Pahiyas Festival Experience: Lucban Town Tour Plus Sidetrip in Lake Caliraya

Pahiyas Festival in Lucban
The panoramic view of Lucban
A sleepy town in the foothills of a mystic mountain where the people wear their big smiles and greet with one another. You can visit this town with its lively festival which catches the attention of thousand tourists who flock every year because of colorful and decorated houses as well with their sumptuous and unique local delicacies. These are the popular descriptions that people can remember about Lucban, Quezon.

It is the first town in Quezon if you came from the towns of Luisiana and Majayjay in Laguna where it is situated in the foothills of Mount Banahaw. It is also known as "The Summer Capital of Quezon Province"  because the town is situated in the highlands. The town got its name from "lucban" or pomelo tree. There is a story where three hunters from the neighboring town of Majayjay lost their way following the trail of wild animals in the foot of volcanic Mt. Banahaw. The hunters took a rest under the pomelo tree where they saw a crow (uwak in Tagalog) which is a sign of bad omen. However, they were attracted with the kingfishers (salacsac) which they believed as a sign of good fortune. The superstitious hunters settled in this place and they named the place Lucban.
A house made up of fan and mats with a flower made up of kiping.
In addition, Lucban is known for Pahiyas Festival, a festival in honor of patron saint of the farmers San Isidro de Labrador (Saint Isidore the Laborer). The festival displays decorated and colorful houses which are adorned with fruits, vegetables, root crops, grains, handicrafts and kiping. Pahiyas Festival came from the vernacular word in Lucban, "payas" meaning decorations. During the early Christianization of the natives of Lucban (which is known as "Maluban" or "Columban") they commemorated a feast of thanksgiving to anitos for the good harvest of farm products such as fruits and vegetables.

I decided to visit the town of Lucban in order to witness the Pahiyas Festival along with my friends. We left Cavite at 4:00 a.m. We decided to take the National Road from South Luzon Expressway, passing the towns of Los Banos to Pagsanjan. Then we made it to the town proper of Pagsanjan, the road was closed during that time due to road construction. So we took the highway going to Lumban and Caliraya Lake which leads to a one-hour travel leading passing the towns of Cavinti and Luisiana going to Lucban. It was such a hard travel because we passed the zigzag road and the mountainous terrain. However, the route we chose offered a spectacular view of the Caliraya Lake during sunrise plus the panoramic view of Laguna Lake and its lakeshore towns in the foothills of Sierra Madre.

After three hours of traveling, we made it to Lucban. The first attraction that I noticed is the mystic Mount Banahaw. It was always covered with clouds at seven o'clock in the morning that teemed with the sparkling sunlight and blue skies. As the day goes by, we saw the stunning view of Mount Banahaw filled with lush vegetation and verdant forests.

Then, we proceed to our first stop, Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center (Read the full article entitled A Healing Journey in Kamay ni Hesus). There are tourists especially the religious devotees came here every year to commemorate the Stations of the Cross as well with the Healing Mass and prayers for hopes and healing. The main attraction in this site is the hilltop shrine which composed of approximately 300 steps to the Ascending Christ statue where you can pass different religious images depicted from the events in the Bible as well with the Last Supper, Stations of the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ .
Mount Banahaw was covered with thick clouds at 7:00 a.m.
The verdant and stunning Mount Banahaw , 9:00 a.m.
The Kamay ni Hesus Hill
After the visit in Kamay ni Hesus, we went to Lucban town proper to witness the colorful Pahiyas Festival. The houses are beautiful because of colorful decorations such as fruits, vegetables, agricultural products, handicrafts and kiping as I roamed around the town. Every year, Pahiyas Festival held its contest to the most beautiful and creative house filled with decorations. The houses had different themes and concepts in putting their ornaments. Some examples including fences and walls made up of grasses and leaves; chandeliers, flowers and lanterns made up of kiping; different vegetables which turn into animals such as butterflies and insects; and different fruits and vegetables combined in one huge basket to symbolize a bountiful harvest. That is why, Lucbanins gave their 100% best effort in putting decorations in their home as well with their creativity and hardwork in putting agricultural ornaments. We took pictures of different houses as well with experiencing to visit the houses. We felt the hospitality of the residents as we enter the house, that is why I considered the Lucbanins as one of the most friendly Pinoy groups in our country.
A house made up of leaves, grains and kiping.
Children are looking from the vegetable balcony.
Green house

A ginger house
Kiping can be decorated as sunflowers and butterflies. 
House filled with colors using art materials.
Fruits and vegetables as a sign of good harvest.
An aquarium filled with gold fish and carp surrounded by agricultural products and grains.
Kiping as chandeliers
Flying insects.
A gourd with a spicy smile.
The tourists enjoy a pose while taking pictures at decorated houses. 
A cart made up of wheat, vegetables, kiping and grains which contained pansit habhab.
Higantes Festival in Lucban.
There are many tourists who crowded in the town during the Pahiyas Festival.
 During the town tour, I decided to take different local delicacies which is originated from Lucban. I tried to chum the savory Pansit Habhab in rectangular banana plate, taste the grilled Lucban Longganisa dipped with vinegar and chewing over colorful kiping or fried leaf-shaped rice crispies. (Read the article The Pahiyas Festival Experience: Food Hopping in the Streets of Lucban).
Lucban's delicacies: pansit habhab, Lucban longganisa, kiping and budin.
After food hopping, we proceeded to Saint Louis Bishop of Toulouse Church to attend the mass and to give our prayers. The first church was built in 1595 and the present church was completed in 1738. It is one of the Baroque churches in Quezon Province which was built during the Spanish era.
Lucban Church
People are gathering around the church in order to attend the mass.
After that, I decided to go on shopping and buy their local delicacies in order to have a pasalubong to my parents just to taste the local delicacies of Lucban and taking a glimpse of the decorated houses in the town.

We decided to go home but before that, we made a stop over in Lake Caliraya. The lake was built in 1939 in order to supply hydroelectric energy in the province. We felt the fresh air of the mountains and the lake and the serene ambiance which is refreshing from the busy scenario of the festival. As we passed the roads going to Caliraya Lake, there are beautiful sceneries including lush forests, verdant and towering mountain chains, and calm lakes that offer a spectacular view during sunrise or sunset that reflected the sunlight.
Lake Caliraya

Verdant and lush forests plus the towering mountain range.
Laguna de Bay and the lakeshore towns from the top of Sierra Madre mountains.
Therefore, this experience in Pahiyas Festival is one of the best travels I've ever had because of the colorful culture of Lucban from natural wonders, lively festivals and delicious delicacies. I want to come back next time in Lucban to discover more of its culture. Truly, It's More Fun in Lucban. "Yanung Rikit, Baling Ganda."

How to Get There:
From South Luzon Expressway, you can take the National Highway via Calamba Exit going to Santa Cruz. From there, you will pass the towns of Pagsanjan, Cavinti and Luisiana then you will make it to Lucban, Quezon. In addition, you can take the route passing the towns of Magdalena, Liliw and Majayjay then it will lead you to the town proper.

Other alternative route is from South Luzon Expressway going to Lucena City, passing the towns of San Pablo City, Tiaong, and Lucena. From Lucena, you can pass the town of Tayabas going to Lucban.

However, the road was closed in Pagsanjan during that time so we took the Lumban-Lake Caliraya route which leads to Cavinti and Luisiana going to Lucban, Quezon.

Check their website: http://www.pahiyasfestival.com

Date of Travel: May 15, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Pahiyas Festival Experience: Food Hopping on the Streets of Lucban

Food hopping is one of the best activities that I experienced in the Pahiyas Festival. Here, I tried to taste their local specialties and it is delicious. 
Pansit Habhab placed in a rectangular banana leaf mixed with vegetables.
Pancit habhab teemed up with soft drink. Pancit habhab can be tasted better with vinegar
First, I tried to taste the Pancit Habhab or Lucban's version of pancit or stir fried noodles. It looks like the traditional Pancit Canton but Pancit Habhab uses dried flour noodles which is known as Miki Lucban. It is very thin and very soft and at the same time, it is fresh and easy to chew. Pancit Habhab usually put in banana leaves which serve as a plate. You can eat it by grabbing the banana leaf with noodles and put it directly to your mouth. Do not eat the banana leaf. In a typical pancit, it is always mixed with calamansi while Pancit Habhab is best eaten with vinegar. When I experienced to eat this pancit habhab, I got two rounds plus I put a lot of vinegar which tasted so good.
Longganisang Lucban
Longganisang Lucban skewered in barbecue stick.
Lucban Longganisa Barbecue, grilled on fire.
After the savory Pancit Habhab, Longganisang Lucban (Lucban sausage) is another mouth-watering delicacy in the town. It is made up of ground pork mixed with black pepper and garlic in order to form a sausage. We experienced to try the grilled Longganisang Lucban and dipped it on a vinegar. I felt the sour and spicy flavor of the pork with garlic and pepper. It is a perfect combination with fried rice and egg.
Colorful yet crispy house decorations.
Spectrum of colors in a kiping which can be sprinkled with sugar or salt.
Colorful kiping placed on a small plate.
Lastly, we tried to eat the colorful, crispy and edible house decorations called kiping. It is a leaf-shaped rice crispies with different colors and it is usually sprinkled with sugar or salt. For P10.00, we tried the kiping sprinkled with sugar and it tasted like cassava chips. While eating these chips, it made my stomach full because of the food hopping experience.
Budin, the cassava cake of Lucban
You can also try other delicacies in Lucban such as the budin, Lucban's version of cassava cake, pilipit, a donut shaped snack made up of sugar, sticky rice and squash and native sweets exported from neighboring towns including Liliw and Nagcarlan.

Therefore, Lucban is a place where you can find plenty of local products and native delicacies which is savory and mouth-watering. That is why, there are many food lovers and tourists go to Lucban every Pahiyas Festival for their specialties. 

Date of Travel: May 15, 2013
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