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Sampaguita Beach

Batangas, Philippines

Whenever I visited the Philippines, I would always visit its beaches. There was one particular beach located South of Luzon in Batangas, that was simple yet beautiful. They called this the Sampaguita Beach, with its letters painted on wood..something you would normally see in sari-sari stores, a term coined by Filipinos which referred to a small convenience store.

I will always remember the Nipa Huts (native houses constructed out of bamboo tied together wih a thatched roof using Nipa leaves), the long tables made of long bamboo trunks under it were you can eat or sleep on, and the clear waters. The place is ideal for snorkeling since corals are already visible just a few meters from the shore. When I go snorkeling, I wear protective diving boots since there are lots of sea urchins sitting on the corals.

Just like my other excursions in the Philippines, the end of the day would be spent just drinking and chilling with the gentle sounds of the ocean. I will always treasure Sampaguita Beach.

permalink written by  On Foot on February 19, 2007 from Batangas, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Beach, Batangas, Sampaguita, Philippines and SeaUrchins

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Pahiyas Festival

Quezon, Philippines

It was May when I discovered a very merry festival that is celebrated in the Quezon province, which was south of Luzon. The people celebrate the Pahiyas Festival which is a tribute to San Isidro Labrador. It is one of the merriest happenings in the country during the summer.

Because of heavy traffic, we were forced to park our van in a vacant space a few meters away from the streets. I switched into a wifebeater or sleeveless shirt because of the blistering heat. We walked the narrow streets and were surprised to find very colorful decorations that hung on the walls, doors and windows of each house. The specialty of the town is the pancit habhab and longanisa (local sausage) which were sold at the sidewalks. There were also processions of the San Isidro.

The best part of it was having a beer in the middle of the crowd during the hottest part of the day.

permalink written by  On Foot on February 23, 2007 from Quezon, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Tropical, Philippines, QuezonProvince, PancitHabhab, Longanisa and Sausage

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Blue Lagoon

Bangui, Philippines

I can not think of the perfect words to describe this very beautiful place. If you have been to Ilocos Norte in the Philippines before, then you probably know what I am talking about. It is this very enchanting place that drew me closer to the Philippines. It is in the Blue Lagoon that I felt very peaceful.

I have been here a couple of times already and I can say that I am glad to come back. The Blue Lagoon is located in Pagudpud. The road trip going to the beach alone was already enough excitement for me. The long and winding bridge that peeks to the sea is just very laid back. The trees and houses best describe the province life in the country. The best part for me is the Blue Lagoon. This beach is an ideal family vacation spot. From the cottages, you can see the crystal blue waters glitter under the sun. The sand is white and fine. My favorite part is watching the sunset with all solemnity.

permalink written by  On Foot on March 15, 2007 from Bangui, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Beach, Philippines, BlueLagoon, Secluded, Pagudpud and IlocosNorte

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Mount Pulag

Benguet, Philippines

It was at the peak of Mount Pulag where I saw the best Sunrise in my entire life. The peak provided a very great view of the horizon and clouds.

Mount Pulag is the second highest mountain in the Philippines at 2,922 meters above sea level. The mountain is very temperate with rain showers throughout the year. The four trails that you can pass are the Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan and the Ambaguio. As you trek the man paths of the mountain, the endemic dwarf bamboo and Benguet pine trees cover you with cool shades and wind. I just loved trekking the mountain forests, and the grassland summit. The weather brings very shivering winds and fog. The experience is very refreshing, and I would like to think of it as a pilgrimage. And by pilgrimage, and the best part...standing at the peak while staring at the sun blessing its rays on a sea of clouds.

permalink written by  On Foot on March 17, 2007 from Benguet, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Philippines, North, Forests, Summit, Cold and SecondHighestPeak

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Pug-os Beach

Pug-os, Philippines

There is a beach in Ilocos Sur that is located in Pug-os, Cabugao. It is not really the great beach that I expected, such as having nice amenities. But the resort is perfectly solemn place at the far north of the Philippines.

Visit Pug-os beach if you want to escape from the noise and pollution of the metro. The beach has fine winds that calm your senses. The resort even has convenient rooms equipped with air conditioning, bed, and bath. The rooms are really just simple as they do not have television sets, yet it would be perfectly fine if you are there for the solemnity. The simplicity of the beach is what makes it very beautiful. You can enjoy walking on the white sand, or swimming with the waves hitting the shores. Alternately, you can also go to the resort swimming pool which is located in front of the beach. Just relax and enjoy simplicity at its finest.

permalink written by  On Foot on March 27, 2007 from Pug-os, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Beach, Tropical, Philippines and North

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Bangui Windmills

Bangui, Philippines

If you visit Ilocos Norte, it is a must to see the Bangui Windmills which is located in Bangui. These windmills are actually a project called the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project which is created by the NorthWind Development Corporation.

The main reason this project was created was to be able to renew energy sources and help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This project is the first Wind Farm project in the Philippines which consists of wind turbines facing the South China Sea. These wind turbines are also the largest in southeast Asia. The project produces around 74,482 Mwh of electricity every year. The expected life of the wind turbines is 21 years. This place is accessible through Laoag – Cagayan route towards Burgos. The directional marker on the left side of the road leads to a dirt road heading to Bangui Bay. Be ready for another educational and fun tour in Ilocos Norte.

permalink written by  On Foot on March 30, 2007 from Bangui, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Windmills, Philippines, IlocosNorte, NorthwindBanguiBayProject and NorthwindDevelopmentCorporation

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Laoag City

Laoag, Philippines

If you are looking to travel to one of the first class cities in the Philippines, you should go to Laoag City. It is located at midwest of Ilocos Norte, and it is the capital of the province. It is also the political, commercial, and industrial hub of the province.

Laoag has many historic scenic spots, highly competitive accommodations and facilities, and supportive national government agencies that make Laoag an ecotourism center. Tourism is a major success in the city as it draws many foreigners including Chinese and Taiwanese tourists. Tourism gives way to the development of commercial and infrastructure investments. When in the city, must-see sites including the following: The Sinking Bell Tower, the Bangui Windmills, the Ilocos Lighhouse, St William Cathedral, the Ilocos Museum, the Tobacco Monopoly Monument, and the Marcos Mansion. Laoag City is among the best cities that has offers great history, economy, and tourism.

permalink written by  On Foot on April 1, 2007 from Laoag, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Philippines, IlocosNorte, SinkingBellTower, BanguiWindmills, IlocosNorteLighthouse, StWilliamCathedral, IlocosMuseum, TobaccoMonopolyMonument and MarcosMansion

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Subic Bay

Olongapo, Philippines

Having gone to Subic Bay, I realize that it is more than just a vacation spot. It is actually a historical place which was built into a naval base. It was known as a deep safe Harbor for many centuries.

The Spaniards first discovered this place and considered it as a strategic area of defense in order to maintain the Philippines as one of its empires. Then, the Americans arrived and defeated the Spaniards in 1898. They established a naval repair and supply base. During the Japanese invasion, the Japanese airplanes bombed the site in 1941 and took over. The Americans regained the site in 1945. The Battle between the Americans and the Japanese resulted in many bombed naval ships in the bay. As a result, Subic Bay is also famous for its dive sites, which include many shipwrecks. Though the Philippines has achieved independence, the Americans still controlled the base. Subic Bay turned into a strategic site for the Americans during the Vietnam War.

permalink written by  On Foot on April 5, 2007 from Olongapo, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Philippines, SubicBay, Olongapo and Base

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Banaue, Philippines

I wonder why the averaged Filipino would rather cruise around the metro rather than take an exciting escape to the provinces, and nature. Having around 7,000 islands, the Philippines offers people 7,000 reasons to explore the wonderful country.

I am talking about Sagada. This peaceful place is situated in Banaue which is a 10 hour bus ride from the city of Manila. Sagada has many economical lodging houses and hotels where you can stay for the night. You can easily avail a bedroom for two for as low as 200 pesos. Do not expect to always find urban amenities especially in the remote areas. Yet, this does not mean that Sagada is not favorble. The best things in Sagada are the great mountain views, wonderful natural resources, and the exposure to the mountain community, which brings a uniqe and refreshing experience. Bored with the usual city life? Come to Sagada!

permalink written by  On Foot on April 9, 2007 from Banaue, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Philippines, North, Sagada, Banaue and MountainProvince

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Sorsogon, Philippines

In older times, Donsol used to be a simple coastal town in the province of Sorsogon. If you ask almost anyone in the country where Donsol is, they probably would not know. Not until foreigners began to flock and visit the place for one reason: to view the largest fish in the world which is the Whale Shark.

Fishermen back in the days used to hunt and slaughter these enormous creatures, and sell them to Japanese traders. These whale sharks or butandings used to be spotted south of Donsol in the Visayan seas. They were believed to have migrated to the waters of Donsol due to massive slaughtering by fishermen. Today, Donsol has become a popular whale-watching spot for foreigners and Filipinos alike. These animals can grow as much as 50 feet in length. They are either gray or greenish brown in color, with hundreds of pointed teeth. Whale Sharks are absolutely harmless, which makes Donsol an exciting excursion.

permalink written by  On Foot on April 11, 2007 from Sorsogon, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Philippines, WhaleShark and Sorsogon

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