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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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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Travel Throwback: The Pahiyas Festival Experience 2015

Lucban is a town nestled in the foothills of Mount Banahaw. It is noted for its colorful festival during May 15 called the Pahiyas Festival. This festival is dedicated to Saint Isidore the Laborer (San Isidro de Labrador), the patron saint of farmers. It is noted for its colorful decorated houses made of fruits, vegetables and even grains, especially the vibrant leaf-shaped chandeliers made up of rice paste called kiping. The festival serves as a thanksgiving to their patron saint for the bountiful harvest of crops in their town.

This year, my friends and I decided to visit Lucban for the annual Pahiyas Festival. We rode a bus going to Lucena City from Calamba. After one hour, we decided to go down in a diversion road going to Tayabas City via riding a tricycle to our first stop - Kamay ni Hesus. We spend our time here by climbing the hill and praying at the hilltop for blessings and guidance. We took our lunch in the eateries in the area,

After our lunch, we went to the town proper for the Pahiyas Festival. As usual, several local and foreign tourists flocked for the celebration of festival and to see the vibrant decorated houses in the town proper. I had the chance to visit houses and took photos with my friends in order to appreciate the creativity and hard work of the Lucbanins for the preparation of this colorful festival.

Tourists are roaming around the town to see the beautiful and vibrant houses decorated with vegetables, fruits and grains.
Welcome to Lucban! 
A house made up of palay grains and kiping which proves that the town has a lot of rice fields.
A colorful house with decorations made up of coconut shells and a sunflower made up of bananas.
This house represents the bountiful harvest and the rich agriculture industry of Lucban, Quezon.

The decorated houses and exciting sights and sounds of the streets proved that Pahiyas Festival is an event that you cannot miss especially if you are traveling around the Philippines. The houses are decorated with tons of effort and it was a sign that the agricultural town has a bountiful harvest every year. There are different decorations such as chandeliers made up of fruits and kiping,characters made up of vegetables and colorful ceilings, fences and walls made up of  leaves, hay and grains. The lively music, street dance and the lights of the houses in the evening are also interesting to see in the festival.
A colorful chandelier made up of pineapples and kiping.
A windows with raddish as borders served with green bananas, papaya and tomatoes.

The images of Lucban Church, Ascending Christ in Kamay ni Hesus, Saint Isidore the Laborer and the natives of Lucban with the different agricultural products.
Higantes in Pahiyas. It is very amusing that this house expressed the concept of Higantes in Pahiyas.
The kids and parents are having a photo opp with Stuart the Minion and Spongebob Squarepants.
Animals made up of hay with bread.
Lively street music
These cute veggies are looking to somewhere which expressed that they are thankful to the bountiful harvest.
One veggie was hanging on the tree, getting some coconuts while a line of veggies doing the bayanihan where they are bringing cocnuts hung in the bamboo pole. 
Another line of veggies bringing coconuts hanging in the pole and the other one was climbing on the coconut tree.
In the heat of the sun, these veggies are grating coconuts.
A mother veggie showing love to her child in a nipa hut.
This festival is truly Filipino. It shows that Lucbanins are truly creative in terms of decorating houses and improvising stuff to make the tourists enjoy the festival. In addition, it is a way for some Filipinos to give thanks to the Lord for the great economic activity which is agriculture that serves as a source of income to the natives of Lucban. They are also grateful to the patron saint of farmers, Saint Isidore the Laborer and the natural resources in the small town of Lucban. Nowadays, Lucban is known for its Pahiyas Festival, the healing shrine Kamay ni Hesus and the peaceful ambiance and the clean and green nature of the town as well with the warm-hearted hospitality of the Lucbanins.

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Date of Travel: May 15, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Travel Throwback: A Visit to the Puzzle Mansion

Have you experienced to visit a house full of jigsaw puzzles? If you experienced that, do you want to have your own collection of jigsaw puzzles? Can you collect and solve thousand of jigsaw puzzles? 

Last summer, I visited the Puzzle Mansion, the house which holds the record of world's largest puzzle collection by the Guiness Book of World Records. It is  located at Barangay Asisan, Tagaytay City. which can be found in a hilly terrain the midst of pineapple fields.

The Puzzle Mansion has a puzzle museum, a puzzle store, an infinity pool, a ten room Bed & Breakfast, a function room with capacity for 400 guests and a garden.

The mansion is somewhat hidden and you can enjoy the view in the midst of pineapple fields.
If you are traveling with groups, you may ride the customized Puzzle Mansion jeep where the fare is worth P10.00
In order to get there, you need to take a bus going to Tagaytay City. After that, you will stop on the arch of Barangay Asisan where you can ride a tricycle going to Puzzle Mansion. The curved roads going to the mansion are thrilling and when you get there, it is your choice to ride on their customized jeep created by Sarao Motors, one of the leading jeepney makers in the country.

When I get there, I decided to try their shuttle service to the mansion and it feels good, but it is better to have my friends in riding their customized jeepney. Then, when I get there to the mansion. it was very overwhelming to see a collection of puzzles. There are approximately one thousand jigsaw puzzles which are collected by Gina Gil Lacuna. She was awarded in 2012 by the Guiness World of Records with her 1,028 puzzles.

Inside the Puzzle Museum, you can see solved jigsaw puzzles of different artworks, famous personalities, landmarks and tourist attractions. In addition, you can also see wooden puzzles, spherical puzzles, and 3D puzzles in the museum.
One of the largest jigsaw puzzles in the mansion.
The section for Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles.
Different landmarks around the world are featured in 3D Puzzles.
Spherical puzzles from cartoon characters, underwater life and fruits.
Aerial views of the cities such as London, Tokyo, New York City and Paris in a 3D Puzzle. 
Putting Puppies
The jigsaw puzzle of "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most favorite attractions in the museum.
Coca Cola Puzzle from collected small leaflets
The portrait of Pope John Paul II in a jigsaw puzzle.
The forty-four presidents of the United States.
Wooden dinosaur puzzles
"The Watchers"
In the second floor of the museum, you can see the largest jigsaw puzzle with 32,000 pieces created by Keith Harring. This puzzle has vibrant colors but it is gigantic and a massive challenge for puzzle lovers. In addition, there's a puzzle shop where you can buy jigsaw puzzles or even spherical, wooden or crystal puzzles in which you can assemble in your home. You can also enjoy assembling puzzles in the Puzzle Station.
The largest jigsaw puzzle in the world with more than 32,000 pieces with its pastel colors.
Puzzle Mansion Store
In 2016, I want to come back in the Puzzle Mansion to get to know more about the Puzzles as well with different artworks. I realized that Puzzles are considered as a big help in improving your intellect and academic performance. It will serve as an aid in Geography and to enhance assembling and logical skills. Before I left the place, I bought a  Jigsaw Puzzle with 300 pieces featuring a Kitten on a picture. One of these days, I will come back again in the Puzzle Mansion and I will try to visit more than three times next year or if possible, to have an overnight stay with the family or friends.
My Instamag collage of the Jigsaw Puzzle that I bought in Puzzle Mansion.
Puzzle Mansion is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday) and 7:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). They are located at Purok 4, Cuadra St., Brgy. Asisan, Tagaytay City. Entrance fee is worth P100.00 including kids.

Date of Travel: April 11, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Travel Throwback: The Climb to Callao Cave

One of the most memorable experiences in our vacation in Cagayan Valley was the trek to Callao Cave. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in the town of Penablanca. I can tell that I need to treasure this moment because it is the first time that I visit a cave and seeing limestone formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. 

Penablanca is a town located in the eastern boundary, a long stretch of the Pacific Ocean. The town got its name from a Spanish friar because of its white rocks. The first settlers of this town were a group of hunters from Tuguegarao. They adopted the kaingin method of farming and they occupied the part of the town which is now called as the poblacion. Penablanca was considered by the Spaniards as a hunter's paradise because of the abundance of wildlife such as wild pigs, deer and wild birds of various kinds are found there. In addition, it is rich in verdant forests, vast agricultural lands and the abundant marine life in lakes and rivers.

Penablanca is nestled in the foothills of Sierra Madre mountain range and it is the home of caves particularly the Callao Cave. It is a seven chamber show cave and one of the three hundred caves that dot the area. It was visited by Governor-General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. in 1932 and it is one of the earliest national parks in the country which was established in 1935. 

Callao Caves is one of the ecotourism zones in the province of Cagayan.
Today, Callao Cave is an ecotourism spot in the town of Penablanca and one of the popular tourist spots in Cagayan Province which visited by several local and foreign tourists. It is located in Barangay Magdalo and it features more than 300 caves in the area.
The Pinacanauan River, river system flowing along the Penablanca Protected Area,
There are 184 concrete steps before you reached the Callao Cave.
Parents should teach the young people to explore local places to appreciate our country.
Before you reach the cave, you need to take the one hundred eighty-four concrete steps. While climbing, you can also see the Pinacanauan River, the river system flowing along the area where you can do river rafting, boating and kayaking. The Callao Cave system is composed of seven chambers each with natural crevices above where the light illuminates the dark areas of the cave. There were nine chambers before but an earthquake in the 1980's cutoff the last two chambers.

The first chamber of a show cave  is the largest room with a width of about 50 m (160 ft) and a height of 36 m (1188 ft).
The chapel inside the Callao Cave.
The rock formation where you can see magnificent images are formed inside the cave and it can be used as an altar. 
Stream of light from the rooftop opening of the cave.
The cathedral-like room was turned into a chapel by the local people. The rock formation served as an altar lit by a stream of light came from the rooftop opening. Several, magnificent images are formed because of the stalactites, stalagmites and speleothems are also added as attractions inside the cave.
Sketches on the limestone walls outside the caves.

While roaming around the area, I also read that this cave was the home of the pre-historic Callao Man which is considered as a remains of the Homo sapiens. I also noticed some sketches in the walls outside the cave where I hope that the residents should avoid vandalism in the place.

Therefore, Callao Cave is one of the best places to visit in Cagayan. I've also had a chance to see the indigenous people of Penablanca (Gaddangs or Ibanags, but somewhat related to the Aetas) where they sold tourist T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and brooms. After that, we are going to Tuguegarao City for a sort of city tour and explore more the beauty of Cagayan Valley.

Watch out for the third part of my Cagayan Valley series - Tuguegarao and Piat.

Date of Travel: December 28, 2014
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