Saturday, October 20, 2007

Enigmata Treehouse, Camiguin Island


WHERE: Enigmata Treehouse, Maubog, Balbagon, Mambajao, Camiguin Island 9100
DATE OF TRAVEL: October 16-17, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1. It is an environmental friendly accommodation! Because of its advocacy to make life productive with doable ecological solutions and to make everything beautiful and useful, this treehouse is not only a place to stay, but a place that has ART and HEART written all over it!:)
2. Staying here makes you feel at one with nature and it inspires you to come up with your own creative thoughts.
3. It makes you feel very much "at home". There are numerous CDs (ethnic music collection for the win!) and books you can borrow while you laze around in their hammocks or banigs (woven mats).
4. They serve GOOD FOOD!

FEES:
P950 for two per night (Eagle Nest Suite and Shell Garden Suite)
P200 additional person for the suites
P500 for two per night (Backpacker's Dorm)
P250 extra person for Backpacker's Dorm
P400 for two for Bartender's Dorm
P200 extra person for Bartender's Dorm

NOTE:
Since this is an ecolodge, do not expect airconditioning anywhere here. Trust us, you won't be needing it!:P

DESCRIPTION:
Enigmata Treehouse is located atop the mountains of Camiguin. It is an ecolodge for travellers, artists and environmentalists. It is also an art camp and resource center and it even has a house artist! Using recycled materials and donated books, Enigmata continuously creates a magical space that surely enchants everyone. Sculptures, paintings and other art projects decorate the whole place that one couldn't help but feel the artsy feel that it imbibes. Even the smallest things are very detailed and obviously a work of both art and heart.

This is how Enigmata artists describe their place:

Art Camp Ecolodge… A Social Enterprise

Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge is naturally ventilated, aircon is of no use. Water is fresh from the mountain spring which refills water tanks by gravity. Waste is strictly segregated and recycled. The house is an ARTchitecture in itself which has its own pillars to avoid stress on the Acacia or rain tree which breathes through right at the center of the canopy.

Enigmata Creative Circle, Inc. is a voluntary collective of multi-disciplinary artists and service family which started the initiative on eco-peace biodiversity art education through popular media in the island grassroots community.

Enigmata as a social enterprise maintains a low-impact eco-friendly treehouse ecolodge cum training venue to help in the sustainability of the projects in Camiguin. We encourage minimal use of electricity and water. We invite our guests to adhere to principles of responsible tourism and experience our community as a living culture.

We prefer to be micro, organic and personalize service with low-impact on environment. Waste management is the biggest concern in the island.

We are starting with an initiative of carbon tax campaign to local and foreign travelers (to off set their energy consumptions) to raise funds for the schools in planting more trees. Look for the donation box in the community area.

Recycle and segregate.

Respect the smoke-free camp, cigarette buts thrown on the ground is subject to fines.

Bucket bath is always economical water-saver. Enjoy our herbal baths.

Use the stairs for there are no other options unless you are born a ninja.

Enjoy the blackouts and quiet (free from karaoke)

Drinking and bathing in mineral water is for free.

Watch the stars outside or find your way to the labyrinth.

Dry clothes in the sun, or you have the option not to wear any in private.

Keep the fresh green diet, it conserves a lot of energy.

Walk if you can… enjoy the island walk without stop lights…

Diving is dangerous, pool has no water, no need for it. The pool is deliberately deserted under reconstruction to conserve spring water and electricity. The pool needs four hours purification with silver ionizer which needs repair. So we decided to use the pool as outdoor swing garden and water garden in the future. Swim in the nearest beach or spring.

Home grown organic policy:

There are no useless things, only useless minds… (Kuya Ed)

Creative re-use, segragation and recycling is the code of ethics for creative enterprise…

The fifth year project in partnership with the Department of Education is an offshoot of environmental education Earth Camps held every year for the children and youth and mostly women teachers. Its on-going project is GAME for Children (Grassroots Advancing Multi-media Eco-education) sponsored by Arts Network Asia, Singapore which focuses on creative community enterprise as voice of children, production of Kinamiguin Children’s Biodiversity Pictionary and environmental animation plugs made by Camiguin Children. “Islakwatsa” New Media Playground for Children is co-sponsored by National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippines.

Enigmata organized pioneering works such as contemporary theater road show in schools as a story telling strategy on biodiversity conservation, conducts Earth Camps, short film and slides production, biodiversity concerts, and other creative workshops. The latest experiments include functional installation art using recycled materials such as bottle glass walls mosaic, wall tapestry, and contemporary okkil art revival in product development for local creative enterprise, use “super bayong” campaign for “plastic-free Camiguin,”.

In culture and the arts, Enigmata coordinated “Tell me a story Mr. Cloud Project” a short film production sponsored by Patrimoine Sans Frontieres, Paris, France with the help of our collaborator film maker Soni Kum. Enigmata served as overall facilitator/organizer on its second year “Pathways to Peace” and “Peace Fair Travel” in partnership with Ghandi Peace School, South Korea. It is also its second year as implementor in the province of the “Ani Ng Sining; Philippines Arts Festival 2007-2008 as Feabruary Arts Month Celebration.

Enigmata initiated pioneering cultural events. In partnership with local schools, Enigmata organized eco-cultural tours for ecotourism students ecotourguiding practicum, green forum, cultural shows, eco workshops for ecotourism frontliners.


HOW TO GET THERE:
1. Fly to Cagayan de Oro City (CDO), Misamis Oriental (Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express and Cebu Pacific fly to CDO) before 7:30 am if you want to commute.
2. From CDO, take a jeep or taxi to the CDO pier. You can also rent a car. (about an hour)
3. Take 8:30 am fast craft Paras Sea Cat daily trip from CDO to Camiguin (two hours).
4. When you land, hire a jeep for a day (around P1,400) or take any public jeep going to Mambajao town and get off at Maubog bridge junction with Enigman sculpture as landmark. Walk around 500 meters to the ecolodge.

For other ways to get to Enigmata, click here.


CONTACTS: +6388 3870273/ +63918 2304148/ enigmatatreehouse@gmail.com

HELPFUL LINKS: http://camiguinecolodge.com/

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
Being the water lovers that we are, we had a hard time deciding whether we should stay at this treehouse or not because of course, that would mean we would be so far away from the sound of water. But the name ENIGMATA TREEHOUSE coupled with a few pictures on the internet got us excited to check out the place for ourselves.

We decided to stay in Camiguin for three days and stay at two accommodations. We stayed here for the first night and rented a jeepney for P1,400 to take us around Camiguin and bring us back here (since this is located in area that is not directly accessible by jeep).

It's a good thing we decided to push through with this plan because Enigmata Treehouse was really a charming place and a destination on its own. It's a haven for art lovers and just plain travellers like us! The rooms were so pretty and everything was decorated in detail. Even their bathrooms were very artsy! If you're environmental friendly, you would be pleased with how creative this place is and how environmental-friendly they really are. No aircons because they're not needed, and everything is recyclable or recycled!

They have vegetarian food, too! We especially loved the pizza and the oatmeal with fruits we had for breakfast! At night, after eating downstairs and browsing through their numerous books, we borrowed CDs of Joey Ayala and played his songs all throughout the night. We actually appreciated him more during this trip because his songs really fit the concept and the feel of Enigmata!

The next morning, we woke up feeling refreshed and energized. We loved the feeling of being inside a kulambo (mosquito net)! We thought it was so Filipino! Before checking out, we went around the whole place and took pictures. Please do not forget to check out the whole place before leaving.

Looking at these pictures again make us want to go back (like, right now!). Enigmata does that to you -- you get a heavy feeling when you're about to leave, and you get so excited about the idea of going back there again.

Enigmata, we shall see each other again!

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Enchanted Kingdom, Laguna


WHERE: San Lorenzo South Village, Santa Rosa, Laguna
DATE OF TRAVEL: October 15, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. It's probably the "best" amusement/ theme park in the Philippines!
2. Whether you go with children or not, this place will make you feel a child all over again!
3. Of course it's no Disneyland or Magic Mountain, but it has a charm of its own that one will surely enjoy!

FEES:
P500 (Saturdays and Sundays)
P400 (Thursdays and Fridays)
CLOSED from Monday to Wednesday


FAVORITE RIDES: Log Jam, Ferris Wheel and Anchors Away! :)
FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Fortune Teller, Bump Car and Exodus: ATV Ride :)
FAVORITE TIME-OUT ACTIVITY: Fireworks Watching & Massage!


DESCRIPTION:

Enchanted Kingdom is the ultimate theme park of the Philippines. Although a lot smaller than its American counterparts, the park does not disappoint. From Victorian to jungle to Flinstones to New York to the future, the park's themes are anything but boring. Rides like carousels, roller skaters and small ferris wheels to playgrounds and treehouses surely attract the children. Teenagers frequent the arcades and try out the newest activities like ATV rides and paintball. Adults enjoy paddling in the Swan Lake or watching 4D short films in the Rialto. Thrill seekers definitely hop on to the the Log Jam, Space Shuttle, Anchors Away and Rio Grande.

Enchanted Kingdom offers a lot more than just rides. There are also photo booths, karaoke stalls, arcades, souvenir shops and food courts. During weekends, expect to see different shows, gimmicks and of course, fireworks.

There is something for everyone in Enchanted Kingdom. Even adults and old people will have fun and definitely unleash the child in their hearts!

HOW TO GET THERE:
If you'll commute from Manila, click this.

By Private Vehicle: From Manila, go to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit at Sta. Rosa (after Mamplasan exit). Turn left on the toll booth and turn right at the intersection. It's near Waltermart!

CONTACTS:
Sta. Rosa Main Office: +632 5843535 / +632 5844326-29
Makati Office: +632 8303535 / +632 8302112-16
Sales Direct Line: +632 8127291

HELPFUL LINKS: http://www.enchantedkingdom.ph/

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Santa Maria Church (Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church), Ilocos Sur



WHERE: Santa Maria Church (Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church), Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) The Santa Maria Church is an architectural marvel.
2) It is one of the four churches in the Philippines that is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:
The Santa Maria Church was built on 1769 in the town of Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur. The church was built for Our Lady Of The Assumption and it was built on top of a hill. They say that they built the church there because a long time ago a statue of the Virgin Mary from another place would disappear and find itself perched on a guava tree which was on top of this hill.

To get to the church you must climb 85 steps of piedra china, but the short climb is worth the sweat. On top of the hill you will see the church, the convent and the bell tower. The church with its thick buttresses for reinforcement is considered as an earthquake baroque church. The bell tower which was built on 1810 is pagoda-like in appearance and is built distance away from the main church to protect it in case the tower falls during an earthquake.

All in all, this is a must see, not only for its religious significance but also its architectural beauty. It is one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


HOW TO GET THERE:
There are buses from both Manila or Vigan that you can take to reach Santa Maria. The town of Santa Maria is on the way from Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur.


TIP: Walk around the church including the other side where you'll see steps going down to what seems to be an endless path leading to "The Secret Garden". If you have time, go down the steps and explore the nature that sits just next to this wonderful church!

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Plaza Salcedo and Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur



WHERE: Plaza Salcedo and Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21 & 23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1. The old houses built in cobblestones you see in pictures of Vigan is actually just in one street called CALLE CRISOLOGO. You can say that is IS the epitome of Vigan!

2. Plaza Salcedo is the largest plaza in town surrounded by Vigan Cathedral, the City Hall and the Provincial Capitol. This plaza is a perfect example of how the Spaniards set up their towns during their colonization in the Philippines. Right on this plaza is Jose Rizal's statue and a large relief of the Philippines on water.


FEES: Free (Calle Crisologo is home to antique shops, souvenir stores, inns, food kiosks and several restos so make sure to bring cash)


NOTE:
Calle Crisologo does not allow modern vehicles. Only kalesas are allowed to roam along this long road.

DESCRIPTION:
Calle Crisologo (Calle is the Spanish term for Kalye which is the Filipino word for street so Calle Crisologo simply means Crisologo Street) is the most famous street of Vigan. It is a long stretch of cobblestone (about half a kilometer) that displays 18th century Filipino-Spanish houses. As our friend slash mentor Professor Felipe de Leon Jr. would say, it is wrong to call the houses in Vigan "Spanish" houses. "Go to Spain and see if the houses are like the ones we have!", he would say, and true enough, they are way different. Undoubtedly, there is a Spanish influence as seen in the lower levels where the houses are built with stone. It is the Spaniards after all, who taught Filipinos to use stone in building structures. However, a lot of the designs are very Filipino most especially seen in the upper levels where there are big windows to make up for the humid weather and the use of capiz shells for design (Capiz Shells were then only found in the Philippines and not in Spain).

Today, Calle Crisologo still has that old, rustic charm but with a modern twist. While the houses are relatively preserved, most of them double as souvenir and antique shops, pension houses, inns, cafes, etc. According to one local we talked to, the outer parts of the houses are preserved because there is a law that prohibits house owners to destroy the structure of their houses. However, there is no law that protects the interior of the houses thus a lot of the interiors have been destroyed and sold to collectors/ sellers. There is also word that the cobblestones of this street are no longer original because a powerful politician sold the original ones long ago.

Moreover, to our dismay, a branch of a local food chain called Max's Restaurant is already here, too. From what we know, food chains and anything very "commercial" are not supposed to be built on this street hence the non-existence of Mcdonald's and Jollibee.

The other thing one should watch out for are the "tourist" prices. Since the influx of tourists are fairly high, the prices of items on sale have gone up, too. Antique collectors should also watch out for replicas that are passed as authentic antiques or antique items with ridiculous price tags. Make sure to haggle and ask for a discount. If you like antiques, make sure to do a lot of research on antiques before buying here.

Plaza Salcedo is the largest plaza in town and is surrounded by the main Cathedral which is the Vigan Cathedral (built in 1541) and the City Hall. Back then and until today for most provinces, the plaza IS the most important place in the city or town. A plaza, a structure built by Spaniards, is always composed of the most important structures of the town -- Church and City Hall. Today, banks, parks, concert halls, statues, etc are also found in the plaza. This is also where the most prominent people of the town lived and built their houses and today, this is where their descendants live. Plaza Salcedo takes pride in its relief map of the Philippines near Jose Rizal's structure. Around the plaza are several restaurants - both commercial and local as well as stores, museums and numerous kalesas.


HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.

On our second trip, we traveled from Baguio to Vigan and got there in 4 hours via a private vehicle. Partas Bus Lines also ply the Baguio-Vigan route for about P230 per head.

Once in Vigan, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Plaza Salcedo or Calle Crisologo. You can walk from Plaza Salcedo to Calle Crisologo or vice versa.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
Airconditioned Buses leave from Manila to Vigan daily. The trip takes about 8-9 hours. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways. From Laoag, you can take a bus to Vigan City. The trip takes about 1.5-2 hours.



HELPFUL LINKS:
http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/Destinations/vigan.htm
http://www.ayeenonline.com/travel/vigan.html

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Padre Burgos Museum, Vigan, Ilocos Sur



WHERE: Padre Burgos Museum, Vigan, Ilocos Sur
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) The Padre Burgos Museum, built in 1788, is the ancestral home of the Philippines' martyr-priest Father Jose Burgos.
2) It is one of the last few remaining Spanish-era houses in the country with most of its' original furniture still intact.
3) It contains a collection of Burgos family photographs, jewelries, antiques and memorabilia which includes a copy of Noli Me Tangere, written by a student of Father Burgos - Jose Rizal, which was given to Father Burgos as a gift.
4) The museum also contains dioramas of local history and displays of Ilocano and Tinggian archeological artifacts.
5) There are 14 paintings by Esteban Villanueva depicting the events during the 1807 Basi Revolt.


FEES: P10 entrance fee

DESCRIPTION: Built in 1788 by the grandparents of Father Jose Burgos, Don Juan Gonzales and Dona Florentina Gascon, the ancestral house still stands intact with most of of its original furniture.

Father Burgos was born in this house in 1837, he started his studies in Vigan and then continued in Manila in San Juan de Letran and the University of Santo Tomas. During his priesthood, he exemplified courage by fighting the Spanish friars for equal rights for the Filipino clergy. Because of this he was marked by the Spanish and he was later tried and executed along with two other martyr priests, Father Gomez and Father Zamora. The three were known as the GOMBURZA martyrs, they served as an inspiration to the Filipino revolutionaries. Jose Rizal's second novel, El Filibusterismo, was dedicated to Father Jose Burgos. The novel was written after the execution of the GOMBURZA.

In the museum, you will also find 14 paintings by Esteban Villanueva depicting the Basi Revolt. In 1786, the Spanish colonial government took over the manufacturing and sale of the Ilocanos beloved basi, sugarcane wine. The private manufacturing of the wine was banned by the Spanish which forced the Ilocanos to purchase the wine that they make from government stores. On September 16, 1807, the Ilocanos rose up in revolt which lasted for weeks. Eventually, the Spanish government was able to subdue the revolution with much casualties.


HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.

On our second trip, we traveled from Baguio to Vigan and got there in 4 hours via a private vehicle. Partas Bus Lines also ply the Baguio-Vigan route for about P230 per head.

Once in Vigan, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the Padre Burgos Museum. It is also just walking distance from Plaza Salcedo and Calle Crisologo.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
Airconditioned Buses leave from Manila to Vigan daily. The trip takes about 8-9 hours. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways. From Laoag, you can take a bus to Vigan City. The trip takes about 1.5-2 hours.

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Sarrat Church (Santa Monica Church), Sarrat, Ilocos Norte


WHERE: Sarrat Church (Santa Monica Church), Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1) It is the largest church in the Ilocos region.
2) It is the church with the longest center aisle in the Philippines (137 meters).
3) It is a beautiful baroque church made from baked brick.
4) It still has ruins of a torture chamber used by the Spanish to hang and torture Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period (and right above it was a terrace where the Spanish priests would watch the "torture").

FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:
Santa Monica Church or Sarrat Church is the largest church in the Ilocos Region, it can be found in the town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte (7 kilometers from Laoag City). This church was built in 1669 along with its bell tower and a convent by Augustinian friars and named it after the mother of Saint Augustine; Saint Monica. The church, the convent and the bell tower are all made from baked bricked thus making the color of the church red. It has buttressed walls, a staircase and bridge that connects the church and convent. The bell tower is built at a distance from the main church to protect the main church from damage in case an earthquake would topple the bell tower down. The church also has the longest center aisle amongst all the churches in the Philippines, it is 137 meters long.

Furthermore, the church has ruins of a torture chamber where you will find two brick pillars. This is where Filipinos, who were against the Spanish, were hanged and tortured by the Spanish during their colonization of the Philippines. During the Japanese time, the Japanese used this also to torture Filipino guerillas. Other memorabilia and photographs can be found displayed in the convent.

Sarrat was the hometown of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. It was in this church, last June 1983, where his daughter Irene Marcos was wed to Gregorio Araneta. The wedding brought about the reconstruction of the church since it was damaged through time, wars and two major fires. Unfortunately, after two months, an earthquake struck (intensity 7.6) and the altar and bell tower was damaged.

HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways.

Once in Laoag, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the Sarrat Church or Santa Monica Church. You can also take a jeepney to the church.

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Santa Monica Park, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte



WHERE: Santa Monica Park, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
It is a nice serene place near the Sarrat Church or also known as the Santa Monica Church

FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:
The Santa Monica Park by the Santa Monica Church is a very serene and quiet place. It is a place where you can relax and enjoy the fresh provincial breeze.


HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways.

Once in Laoag, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the Park by the Sarrat Church or also known as the Santa Monica Church. You can also take a jeepney to the church.

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Paoay Church (San Agustin Church), Paoay, Ilocos Norte



WHERE: Paoay Church (San Agustin Church), Paoay, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) It is one of the four churches included in the Unesco World Heritage list
2) It is beautiful and impressive, you can get a great photo especially in front of the church


FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:
Paoay Church or also known as San Agustin Church took 90 years (from 1704) to build and is made from lumber, coral stones, baked brick and limestone mortar with sugar cane juice. It is an architectural marvel influenced by gothic, baroque and oriental styles. It is the best known "earthquake baroque" church in the Philippines with 24 immense side buttresses to support the structure and 1.67 meter thick walls. It is said that this is the most photographed church in the Philippines.

The Paoay Church is also a historical site since its bell tower (built 1793) served as an observation post for Filipinos during the wars against the Spaniards and the Japanese.


HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways.

Once in Laoag, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the Paoay Church.

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Museo Iloco, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte



WHERE: Museo Iloco, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) The museum provides a window into the culture of the people in the Ilocos region.
2) It showcases an ancestral house that you can enter inside the museum.
3) The museum has a section to house featured exhibits. For the latest featured exhibit, visit http://www.museoilocosnorte.com.


DESCRIPTION:
The Museo Iloco structure used to be a Tabacalera tobacco building built in 1878. The structure was converted into a museum in 1999 with the aim to become a repository of GAMENG (meaning treasure), the vast cultural heritage of the people of Ilocos Norte. It is to provide a sense of pride and awareness to the people of Ilocos Norte by showcasing their legacy and ancestry.

The Museum houses various exhibits on the Ilocos region including a life size furnished ancestral home that visitors can enter and roam around in. Other exhibits showcase the Abel Iloco (Ilocos Textile and Weaving), Baskets, Farms, Markets and Commerce, Musical Instruments, Theater and more.

All in all, I think this is a good museum to visit. You will definitely learn a lot about the people (Ilocanos, Yapayaos, Isnegs and Igorots) in Ilocos Norte and have some fun at the same time.


HOW TO GET THERE:
You can fly from Manila-Laoag via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily.

You can also take a bus to Laoag (Ilocos Norte). Fariñas Transit, Partas, RCJ, Philippine Rabbit, Maria de Leon and Florida ply Manila-Ilocos Norte and vice versa regularly. There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.

If you're coming from Manila by private vehicle, head to NLEX and SCTEX, exit at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac and follow the National Highway all the way to Ilocos. Once in Laoag, ask around where Museo Iloco is.


CONTACTS:
Museo Iloco
Gen. Luna corner Llanes Streets, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines 2900
(+63-77) 770-4587
(+63-77) 770-3836

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Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Batac, Ilocos Norte




WHERE: Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Batac, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Java Hotel, Laoag City


WHERE: Java Hotel, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. It's a nice place to stay at when you're in Laoag City. It has a homey ambience and comfortable rooms.
2. While it may have Balinese-Moroccan atmosphere, there is still an Ilocano touch. Check out the roofs and the intricate spiral architecture! And check out the fields at the back, too.


NOTE: It's easy to get to the heart of Laoag City from this hotel.

DESCRIPTION:
Java Hotel is a 50-bedroom accommodation in the heart of Laoag City. Aside from rooms, it also has a swimming pool, a tennis court, a gym, a function hall, a souvenir shop and restaurant. It offers tours around Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur and there is free WiFi at the lobby. Because of the hotel's theme, it is also a great place for photo or video shoots.


HOW TO GET THERE:
You can fly from Manila-Laoag and arrange pick-ups with the hotel. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily. You can also take a bus to Laoag (Ilocos Norte). Fariñas Transit, Partas, RCJ, Philippine Rabbit, Maria de Leon and Florida ply Manila-Ilocos Norte and vice versa regularly. From the bus terminals, you can take a tricycle (around P10/ head) going to the hotel. If you are riding Fariñas Transit, their bus terminal is right beside the hotel. Apparently, the owner of the bus and the hotel is the same.

If you're coming from Manila by private vehicle, head to NLEX and SCTEX, exit at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac and follow the National Highway all the way to Ilocos Sur. Once in Laoag, ask around where Java Hotel is (or ask where the Fariñas Bus Terminal/ Caltex Station is)


CONTACTS:
Java Hotel - +632 2461010 (Manila office)/ +6377 7705996-97 (Ilocos office)/ +63910 877 6849/ +63921 6109910/ +63906 383 8838/ frontdesk@javahotel.com.ph/ javahotel@gmail.com/ java_hotel@yahoo.com.ph


HELPFUL LINKS:
http://javahotel.com.ph/java/

Bus Companies & Contact Numbers

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Itinerary: Ilocos Trip


ITINERARY: Ilocos Cultural Trip
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007

*This trip was a field trip organized by Professor Felipe de Leon Jr. (University of the Philippines Diliman - Asian Institute of Tourism) with the help of Kuya "A" Navida, our tour operator and guide.
* We moved from one place to another via our tour bus.
* We paid P3,500 per head for the whole trip inclusive of food except for our "side trips" to Museo Iloko and Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte (trike from our hotel).

You may contact Kuya "A" Navida at +632 4336366/ +63919 5111610/ aantours1997@yahoo.com

DAY 1: September 21, 2007

9:00 pm University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD)
10:00 pm Leave UPD for Ilocos

DAY 2: September 22, 2007

1. Sta. Maria Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
2. Vigan Cathedral
3. Plaza Salcedo, Vigan
4. Burgos Museum, Vigan
5. Crisologo Museum, Vigan
6. Laoag Plaza: Provincial Capitol
7. Museo sa Ilocos Norte, Laoag
8. Dap-ayan sa Ilocos Norte, Laoag

our hotel: JAVA HOTEL, LAOAG CITY :)

DAY 3: September 23, 2007

1. Sarrat Church, Sarrat
2. Santa Monica Park, Sarrat
3. St. William's Church (Sinking Bell Tower), Laoag
4. Cape Bojeador/ Burgos Lighthouse, Burgos
5. Aglipayan Church (Batac)
6. Marcos Resthouse/Mausoleum (Batac)
7. Batac Church (Batac)
9. Malacanang of the North (Paoay) and Paoay Lake
10. Paoay Church (Paoay)
11. Vigan Heritage Village (Crisologo Street- World Heritage Site)
12. Shopping around Vigan City
13. Go back to Manila

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Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte, Laoag City


WHERE: Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte, J.P. Rizal Street, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 22-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. It is a favorite hangout of the locals!
2. Ilocano's famous food, EMPANADA (deep fried meat pie that can be "vegetarian") among many others, is available here!

FEES: less than P30 for an Empanada

DESCRIPTION:
Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte is a food court in Laoag City that houses the different Ilocano food as well as souvenirs like abel iloko (woven cloth), pottery, rattan, metal craft, garlic, cornik and more!

ADDRESS: JP Rizal Street, Laoag City (near Museo Iloko and the Ilocos Provincial Capitol)

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Crisologo Museum, Vigan


WHERE: Crisologo Museum, Vigan, Ilocos Sur
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 22-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
The ancestral house of the Crisologo family is about a century old and is very well preserved by the family. An antique kalesa, library and other furniture and artifacts are displayed in this mansion.


FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:

The Crisologo ancestral house and museum used to be the residence of Floro Crisologo. He was a congressman who worked toward the establishment of the Social Security System, abolishing the death penalty and more. It was on October 18, 1970 that Floro Crisologo was shot while standing on a communion line in the Vigan Cathedral. To this day, his murder remains unsolved. It was in Floro Crisologo's memory that his family converted their ancestral home into a museum housing the memorabilia of the Crisologo's.

HOW WE GOT THERE:
By private bus: From Manila, we joined a field trip and headed up north via a hired bus.

On our second trip, we traveled from Baguio to Vigan and got there in 4 hours via a private vehicle. Partas Bus Lines also ply the Baguio-Vigan route for about P230 per head.

Once in Vigan, just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the Crisologo Museum.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:
Airconditioned Buses leave from Manila to Vigan daily. The trip takes about 8-9 hours. For a list of buses, click this.

You can also fly for an hour from Manila to Laoag City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or Zest Airways. From Laoag, you can take a bus to Vigan City. The trip takes about 1.5-2 hours.



HELPFUL LINKS:
http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/Destinations/vigan.htm
http://www.ayeenonline.com/travel/vigan.html

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Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos


WHERE: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 22-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Malacañang of the North, Paoay


WHERE: Malacañang of the North, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Laoag Church (St. Williams Cathedral) and Sinking Tower, Laoag City


WHERE: Laoag Church (Saint William's Cathedral) and Sinking Tower, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) It is known to be the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia.
2) It has a sinking bell tower.


FEES: Free

DESCRIPTION:
St. William's Cathedral or also known as the Laoag Church is the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia. It is older than the Paoay Church since it was built in 1590. Originally, the church's walls and posts were built using stone, lime and molasses. It's roofing was made out of wood and dried grass. The church also experienced a lot of damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes and a major fire in 1843. It was restored in 1880.

Another must see in the church, well actually it is not inside the church but 85 meters away from the church, is its belfry. It is known as the Sinking Belfry or Bell Tower. It is a 45 meter high tower that looks massive and heavy and it sinks at a rate of an inch each year due to its weight and the sandy foundation it sits on. Currently, the tower has sunk so much that the entrance is already half buried whereas a man riding on a horse could enter its doors before. Despite all this, the belfry is still functional and is still being used today.

The sinking bell tower is currently the tallest in the Philippines, I wonder how long will it still keep this record... :)


HOW TO GET THERE:
You can fly from Manila-Laoag via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily.

You can also take a bus to Laoag (Ilocos Norte). Fariñas Transit, Partas, RCJ, Philippine Rabbit, Maria de Leon and Florida ply Manila-Ilocos Norte and vice versa regularly. There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.

If you're coming from Manila by private vehicle, head to NLEX and SCTEX, exit at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac and follow the National Highway all the way to Ilocos.

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Batac Church, Ilocos Norte


WHERE: Batac, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 22-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mount Banahaw, Quezon


WHERE: Mount Banahaw, Quezon
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 1-2, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1. This is considered a spiritual mountain by many hence the different spiritual beliefs everywhere - from the waters to the caves to the mountains! Mt. Banahaw is full of "holy sites". Some actually believe that if you get out of Husgado (judgment) cave with bruises and scratches, you ARE sinful!
2. It's very interesting to meet Rizalistas (people who have so much belief in the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal and at some point believe that he is a divine being!) who actually reside in this area.
3. Even though you are not religious, this site proves to be a destination for the adventurous! The caves are actually challenging, and the hike to Kalbaryo is anything but easy.

FEES: For this trip, we paid around P1,500 for the whole overnight trip inclusive of the public bus line that brought us to Quezon and the 3-hour jeepney ride from Quezon all the way back to UP Diliman!

NOTE: We joined our friend JP's field trip for PI 100: Rizal. It's probably cheaper to do this on your own but we're not sure how the do-it-youself (DIY) groups plan their itinerary. ;) There is an eco lodge here called Kinabuhayan Bed and Breakfast and homestays are also available.

DESCRIPTION:
Mt. Banahaw is located in Dolores, Quezon. This trip was actually done at the foot of Mt. Banahaw because a lot of things can be done on this religious site. Called "holy mountain", hundreds of people flock here during the lenten season. Banahaw supposedly got its name from the Tagalog words "banal" which means sacred and "daw" which is a term to suggest doubt in something that is supposed to be a fact. Put together, "banal daw" means "supposedly sacred".

In 2004, Mt. Banahaw's hiking trails were closed for restoration and is scheduled to open again in 2010.

There are a lot of things to do in Mount Banahaw. Whether you're religious, adventurous or simply curious, there is something exciting and new to learn here. Even just at the foot of the mountain, adventurers would surely be delighted. From challenging mini-caves to cold rivers to waterfalls to steep boulders on the way to Kalbaryo, Mount Banahaw will not disappoint you. A trip to the residences of the Rizalistas is also interesting and enlightening. We do not want to spoil more details because it would ruin your experience. You will find out later on that no words can describe the experience of Banahaw, and you will begin to finally understand why a lot of field trips are done there.

Overall, there's something about this place that is magical. Whether it's the beliefs or the environs that does that to you, it surely succeeds in doing so. This place is a wonderful weekday or even weekend getaway, especially if you're looking for an adventurous connection with nature.


TRIVIA:
Legend has it that Banahaw was the headquarter of a group headed by the famous local hero, Apolinario de la Cruz or Hermano Pule sometime in 1840-43. He was the person who named places in Banahaw such as Jacob and Kalbaryo. In an offensive against Pule, he and his wife was killed wherein his head, stuck to a pole, was displayed at the road to Tayabas to warn all rebels. Pule promised to return as the Santong Boses. (trivia from this site)
SITES IN BANAHAW YOU SHOULDN'T MISS:
Holy Water Falls & River, Husgado Cave, Sto. Jacob, San Pedro and San Pablo, San Isidro, Kalbaryo, Rizalista House (at least one)
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. Ride a bus from Manila (JAM Liner) to San Pablo, Laguna (P135 aircon bus).
2. Ride a jeepney to the palengke and ask for directions going to Mount Banahaw.

CONTACTS:
JAM Liner - +632 9251758 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +632 9251758      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (terminals: Cubao (EDSA), Buendia LRT)
TIPS:

1. Prepare to get "wet" and "dirty". Bring extra clothes, water and towels to dry you up.
2. If you can, bring a waterproof camera.
3. Respect the beliefs of the people. Insulting any of their beliefs is a big no-no!
4. Prepare yourself for some physical activity. You cannot just sit down and see the beauty of Banahaw. You have to feel the waters, explore the caves and trek all the way up for a scenic view!


HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP: (Dedicated most especially to our group: The Filubusteros
--Forgetting to bring our usual digital camera FOR THE FIRST (and so far, only time). Forgive our pics cause we just took them using our phones (Nokia N70 and N92! We stole some pics from Em's Ericson phone cam, too. Thanks dear!) This part was really a sad one...Wish we could've taken pics of every activity we did. Hmp!!
--The interview with "Tya Pasing!", a Rizalista.
--The super small and very challenging caves (not advisable for claustrophobics, haha!)
--The cave that made us feel how it is to be a worm, and the pitch-black cave!
--The hike up to Kalbaryo (if only because of the singing, the laughing and our groupmate, Clarence:p)
--The falls, the rivers, the clear waters!
--The uber cold water!!! And the uber cold floor where we all slept!
--The race to be the first in line in the shower area!
--JP's (our friend) caving experience!
--Jericho (our groupmate) the almanac!
--JP threatening Jericho!
--"3 and a half lang ang sampung utos ng Diyos!"
--The question "Sino po ba talaga si Rizal para sa inyo?" by JP at "Ano po ang ibig sabihin ng Kristong Tagalog?" by Paula
--"So what kung uno ka? Eng'g ka ba?!" vs "So what kung Eng'g ka? Other colleges ka naman!!!" (probably, only UPD students will get this!)
--The song "Man in the Mirror!"
--JP calling Ina "Tin" and Paula asking "Sino si tin?" then JP asking back "Ano na nga ba pangalan niya?" (referring to Ina who was right in front of him!)
--The FILIBUSTEROS namely Ina, JP, Em, Aya, Clarence, Paula and Charlie :D
--The rollercoaster ride on the jeepney roof
--The conversation about posers with Ina. (Ya know, we're climbers already kasi we climbed once eh!!!! Bwahahahaha!!!)
--The jeepney ride from Dolores, Quezon all the way to UP Diliman!:)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Philippine Military Academy, Baguio City


WHERE: Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Baguio City
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 30-31, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1. To see where our future Philippine ARMY, NAVY or AIRFORCE train and come from.
2. To take a closer look at the war memorabilia.
3. To pay respect to the people who sacrificed their lives for this country by visiting the cenotaphs around the camp.
FEES: None
NOTE: Although PMA is not really considered a tourist destination, it has become a popular sidetrip for Filipinos and foreigners who are interested in war stuff and anything "military". Military souvenirs like shirts, camouflage clothing, etc may be bought inside the camp.

DESCRIPTION:
PMA is the training ground of Philippine men and women for military service. Students who train here have the chance to work for the Philippine Army, Navy or Airforce. Its curriculum is patterned from the United States of America's Military Academy West Point.

The Philippine Military Academy began on October 25, 1898 with the establishment of the Academia Militar in Malolos, Bulacan. Its graduates were awarded regular commission in the Armed Forces. However, its existence was short-lived due to the Filipino-American hostilites that erupted months after its establishment. On February 17, 1905, an Officer's School of the Philippine Constabulary was established in Intramuros, Manila. It was relocated in Baguio City 3 years later, first in Teacher's Camp then moved to its present location in 1947. In Baguio, PMA was first referred to as Camp Henry T. Allen before it became Fort General Gregorio H. Del Pilar (who is famous for the heroic Battle of Tirad Pass).

TRIVIA:
* In accordance with Republic Act 7192, the first female cadets were admitted in the PMA in 1993.

* The outbreak of World War II disrupted the training in the PMA in late 1941. Classes 1942 and 1943 were graduated ahead of schedule and were assigned to combat units around the country. Many perished during the war.

BEST TIME TO GO:
There are drills and exhibitions on weekends, alumni homecoming, celebrations in February and graduation ceremonies at the end of the school year. Call PMA for their schedule.

HOW TO GET THERE:
By Car - Pass through Loakan Road and go past the fork in the road (going to Loakan Airport on your right side). Keep going straight until you see the gate on your right.

By Jeepney - take the Plaza-Loakan-PMA route from the Central Business District.

You can also hire a taxi cab.

CONTACT DETAILS:
Philippine Military Academy
Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City 2600
(074) 4468002/ (074) 4473690

HELPFUL LINKS: http://www.pma.ph and http://gobaguio.com
WHAT TO SEE/ LOOK FOR:
-Cadets in training
-The
Sun Dial
-Relief Map of the Philippines
-War Memorabilia (cannons, tanks, aircrafts, military weapons, etc)
-Cenotaphs
-Headquarters
-PMA Museum
-Souvenir Shops

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Bell House, Camp John Hay, Baguio City


WHERE: Bell House, Camp John Hay, Baguio City
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 27-31, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: An vacation house used by the American Commanding General of the Philippines. This house has a lot of stories including one that is paranormal in nature.
NOTE: Ask the tour guide to tell you about the ghosts of the house... :)

DESCRIPTION: The Bell House was named after General J. Franklin Bell who made Camp John Hay into a military resort. The house was originally the vacation quarters of the Commanding General of the Philippines.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can get to Baguio by taking a private vehicle and driving for about 5 hours from Manila. Buses like Victory Liner are likewise available from Manila.

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Boating at Burnham Park, Baguio City


WHERE: Burnham Park, Baguio City
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 27-31, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Burnham Park is a good place to relax and appreciate the nice cool weather of Baguio. There are lots of activities that can be done in the Park, boating is just one of them.

DESCRIPTION: Named after Baguio City's planner, Daniel Burnham, this park is centered around a man made lake where you can go boating in. You can also take leisurely strolls, go biking and play sports in the park. Don't forget to bring your camera because this place is also a good place to take photographs in.

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Tam-awan Village, Baguio City


WHERE: Tam-awan Village, Baguio City
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 27-31, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: This place is a replica of a Cordillera Village that highlights various art and culture.

DESCRIPTION: The Tam-awan Village in Pinsao Proper, is a model Cordillera Village made more accessible to visitors. It has Ifugao huts and Kalinga houses that people can stay in. Apart from these, a lot of art exhibits, workshops and cultural shows are held here. This place is a good place to relax in and watch the sunset.

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Baguio City, Benguet


WHERE: Baguio City, Benguet

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Baguio is of course known for it's cool high altitude weather and this is one of the major reasons why people go and visit this mountain city.

DESCRIPTION: Situated in Nothern Luzon, Baguio City, Benguet boasts of beautiful cool weather where on can truly relax in. Though, visitors from all over the country go to the City of Pines mainly for the weather, there are also a lot of activities that can be done here. Taking leisurely strolls, playing golf, going horseback riding, immersing in the northern indigenous culture, going boating, shopping, ghost hunting and museum hopping are just some of the activities that you can do in Baguio.

HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, it takes about 5 hours to get to Baguio via a private vehicle. Buses like Victory Liner will also take you Baguio from Manila.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Anvaya Cove, Bataan


WHERE: Anvaya Cove, Bataan
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 18-20, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: A great beach resort just 20 minutes away from Subic Bay. Definitely, this is a great place to relax in.
NOTE: This resort is open to members only, so if you know a member, they can endorse you and you can go and visit and enjoy the sun and the sand!

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dive: Coron, Palawan


WHERE: Coron, Palawan
DATE OF TRAVEL: May 11-14, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Snorkeling With The Whalesharks In Donsol, Sorsogon




WHERE: Donsol, Sorsogon

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 17, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. Because not all countries are lucky to have whalesharks visit their waters. So many foreigners are DYING to get upclose to these gentle creatures.
2. Because it's a a humbling experience -- a great opportunity for you to appreciate the world and the creatures we so often forget about.
3. To swim with a bus-long creature and see it gently pass right before you is a thrilling experience!
4. By doing this, you are in your own little way, contributing to the long term survival of these animals. The locals, instead of killing them for their meat and hide, begin to see them in a different light.
5. No words can captivate the feeling of being there. You have to GO and EXPERIENCE it yourself!:)

FEES:
Registration Fee: P100 for locals / P300 for visitors
Boat: P3,500 - good for 7 people. In the summer, you are given 3 hours for the boat. On lean months, the boatman said that for the same fee, they allow you to stay longer since whalesharks are not as visible.

NOTE:

Before you ride the boat and search for whalesharks, you will be asked by the Donsol Tourism Office to watch a video about whalesharks. Kindly make sure you listen and follow the guidelines.



DESCRIPTION:
Donsol, Sorsogon is host to one of the highest concentration of whalesharks in the world. Many foreigners and locals alike visit the waters of Donsol to meet these gentle giants also known as the butanding. Although butandings arehuge in size, they only eat plankton are are harmless as long as you keep your distance.

Donsol, Sorsogon is about 1.5 hours from Legaspi City, Albay. There are other activities in Donsol that you can participate in such as the river cruise and firefly watching, enjoying the beach and the mangroves.


HOW TO GET THERE:
Fly or take a bus to Legaspi City, Albay. In Legaspi City, get a tricycle to take you to the transport terminal (Pacific Mall) for vans going to Donsol. Once in the terminal, just look for the vans marked Donsol and ask the dispatcher to save you a seat (P60 per seat). Note that the van will not leave until all seats are sold. So if you want to leave already, you can purchase the remaining seats. The ride will take about an hour and a half and once you get to Donsol, ask the driver to drop you off at your resort, and he will do so for an extra fee.

You can also hire a private van (12 seats) for P1,440 per way. From Donsol, vans leave daily for Legaspi from the Donsol town center. Last van leaves at 3:00pm.


CONTACTS:
Amor Farm Beach Resort - Agnes +63917-694-1687 / +63917-968-2733 / +63910-458-6140 / +63910-476-2176 / rasyl_r_amor@yahoo.com

Vitton Beach Resort - Nora +63927-912-6313

HELPFUL LINKS:
http://tourism.albay.gov.ph/whale_sharks.html




TIPS:
1. If you can, bring your own snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel and fins) so you don't have to pay extra P300 for equipment rental.
2. If you can, stay at Vitton Resort (P1,800 to P2,000 per night) or Amor Resort (P600 to P1,800) because they are the nearest resorts to the Donsol Tourism Office which is the jump off point of the whaleshark experience.
3. Although whaleshark season begins in November and ends in May, the best time to go is from February to April.
4. Make sure to leave early in the morning when the water is clear and makes it easier to spot the whalesharks.
5. Bring CASH to Donsol since credit cards are not accepted and the nearest ATM is in Legaspi City.
6. Bring an insect or mosquito repellent since there are lots of mosquitoes there.

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