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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bataan: One Fine Day At Sisiman Bay, Mariveles

I love to take some pictures of a sunset on a sandy shore, and Sisiman Bay in Mariveles was just a perfect destination being a photo hobbyist.

This is my second time around in Mariveles, Bataan.  The first one was in 2011. I read a few blogs about the Sisiman Bay and that made me thought to visit the place once more.  Mariveles is a first class municipality in the province of Bataan.  Sisiman Bay, where the lighthouse is erected has been one of the landscape photographers’ delights.  With a view of a sunset makes the scene a picture-perfect.

abandoned structure
I call this the Rocky Mountain
At first the boy was shy to pose
Going to Mariveles is a 3-4 hour bus ride from Cubao, Quezon City via Bataan Transit.  The bus left around 9:30 a.m.  The bus had its stop-over in Lubao, Pampanga and we arrived Mariveles at 1:30p.m.  The first thing that came into my mind was to eat. I had some few walks around the town and found an eatery near the market.
on my way to the lightouse where a couple just through with their picture taking
overlooking spot for 180 degree view of the scenery

Expect it to be hot and I decided to take some few walks until I reached Jollibee.  I took an order of choco sundae while waiting for 4 p.m. I had an opportunity to ask the crew where I could get to Sisiman Bay and the crew instructed me to take the blue tricycle which costs 50 pesos one way.
When I was at Sisiman, the scene was familiar realizing that I had an overnight stay in one of the inns at Sisiman 3 years ago.

The beach in Sisiman where you could see the lighthouse uphill was just walking distance and once you saw the abandoned structure is an indication that you have reached the bay.  There was a huge rock for climbing but I did not attempt to climb being alone of my adventure.

 At last I saw the newly reconstructed lighthouse and I had to wait for the sunset to take some shots.  The experience in Sisiman Bay was just amazing and I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the lighthouse.  And finally I have reached the destination where the locales of Mariveles are proud of.

I started packing up past 6 p.m. and unfortunately I was not able to catch up for the bus to Cubao since it has a last trip at 6:30 p.m.  I took the bus going to Balanga since the bus in this town has a last trip at 9 p.m.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Planning A Short Trip

I love taking some short trips especially when you don’t have to stay overnight in your destination.  As long as you know exactly what you plan to do for your destination, you can maximize your stay by spending quality time and with some few hours you can go home already.  The advantage of the short trip is you minimize your expense because you don’t have to pay for the hotels and inns.  This is true when you live in the nearby towns close to some of the tourist spots and I think this is one of the advantages of those people who live in the province where some of the tourist attractions are just few hours away.

Short trips are one of the methods I made recently; after all it helps me save money in preparation for my big trip wherein I have to stay for few days in my destination.  It also let me get a glimpse how the people live in the town, because I love to observe the way people live in the town.

Foods are just irresistible when it comes to your trips.  I’m sure you want to taste some of their goodies to complete your travel experience, whether you eat in a fancy restaurant or in carinderias that caters food to the mass.  Whatever your choice is, you experience part of their traditions.

I want to share my experience in planning some short trips and I hope this helps:

  1. 1.       Planning ahead of time is still important.  If you plan a short trip, make sure you get some researches first about your destination.  Reading some blogs can help you plan and prepare a trip.
  2. 2.       Bring a map, your travel planner, and the things you have taken notes from your researches.
  3. 3.       Always bring extra cash even if it is a short trip.  You can use extra cash when you get short of your budget.
  4. 4.       Bring a bottled-water and extra shirts.  It’s also best to bring some medicines and toiletries with you.
  5. 5.       When you plan for a short trip, make sure you have to go early in the morning as much as possible, especially when traveling takes 4-5 hours to reach your destination.
  6. 6.       If you have already reached the town closed to your destination.  Always ask some locales how much it would cost you to take your destination.  Some destinations require you to take a tricycle where some of the drivers may over-charge you.
  7. 7.   When you are already in your destination, maximize your time to learn about the place, and this gives you a chance to share your experience to your friends that they might also be interested.
  8. 8.       Be careful where to eat and what you eat and I’m sure you don’t want to get a stomach ache or experience diarrhea within your trip.
  9. 9.       When riding a bus, don’t drink a lot of water and I’m sure you don’t want to experience the call of the nature.
  10. 10.   Make sure that you know the last trip of the bus as this will prevent you to miss out the bus when going home so to avoid an overnight stay in the place.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tanay, Rizal's Calinawan Cave

I have never been to any caves at all since I started blogging about my travel experience and what made me to become interested about the caves because I have read a blog about Calinawan Cave.  This cave is situated at Tanay, Rizal, a nearby town from where I live -  Cainta.  Tanay is just one hour and a half jeepney ride from our place.  The province of Rizal was the easiest way to jaunt as it didn't require me to take a long trip because it's just a nearby town.

The Grotto just before heading up to Calinawan Cave

This 200-step stair gives you 180 degree view

Entrance of Calinawan Cave
The trip to Calinawan Cave had not required me to make plans for my itinerary ahead of time, unlike from my previous travel,  because Rizal was ideal for me as it doesn't involve spending too much budget nor it calls me to stay overnight.

The pathway to the cave appears a formation of an optical illusion of the face on the left

me as I look up on the hole of the cave where the light streaks down the cave

going up, another passage in the cave

The jump-off starts from Tanay market where jeepneys and tricycle terminal is located and it begins after we took our late lunch to the market by asking the carinderia owner where we could take a ride going to Calinawan.  But beforehand I had an idea already based from what I have read from the blog as this could avoid us from overcharging the fare by some the drivers.  For a reasonable fee of 300 pesos the trike driver explained that the fee is good for two-way trip, and he had to wait for the entire journey because there’s no available trip going back to the town proper of Tanay.

my company during the exploration
look up..lol

First we stopped to the nearby Grotto before the journey to Calinawan cave went on to the uphills and rough road until we reached Baranggay Katyo where the cave is located.  Daranak falls belongs to the same barangay and is not far away from Calinawan cave.

our guide giving us direction

According to the tour guide Senz, Calinawan cave is a hub for some movies like Third Eye, Dyesebel which stars Alice Dixson, Jackie Chan which I forgot the movies he mentioned to me.

The cave has 7 layers as our tour guide explained; the first and the second layer is easy to explore which is approximately 150 meters walk between the entrance and exit point.  The third to fifth layer is hard as it involves crawling; the sixth and the seventh layer connects to Montalban, Rizal and it takes approximately 9 days to explore.  This was an interesting story from our guide as someone made it to have reached the Montalban exit.  Calinawan cave once served as stronghold for the revolutionaries during the Spanish, American and Japanese occupation.

Exit of the Cave
It will take around 30-45 minutes to explore the cold cave.  Steps have to be watched carefully and it has a low ceiling through the passages.

My experiencing for exploring Calinawan cave gave me an opportunity to educate myself that some of the caves that have historical relevance aside from being part of the tourist attraction.  It was good to know that this openned my eyes to get to know more about some of the caves in the Philippines.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baras, Rizal: Saint Joseph Parish Church

Facade of Baras Church
I am always fascinated by the mysticism of the church the moment I set my feet off to some of the captivating places I have visited in the past.  The church always appeals me because some of them have a historical relevance attached to a place as the church exists for more than hundred years old.  As landmark to every town, the church also serves as a sign that you have gotten the place.  The gritty look of the old church reminds us that we were colonized by Spain and it was of the different orders who brought Christianity to our country.

Internal design of the church

I had a short trip yesterday and made a visit to St. Joseph Parish church in Baras, Rizal.  Known as Baras church by the locals, the structure was built 300 years ago.  The Franciscan built the original church in 1595.  The dimly-lit cold interior is more interesting as the hall is accented by the large golden altar of the images of saints, and the rough timber beams gave most of the rustic feel of the church.  It is vintage plain and simple, and the look has a strong character that conveys its historical background.

There was a graduation event going on at the vicinity of Baras Church and what I had to do is to leave the place as early as I can.  There were vendors outside selling some foods and what caught my attention was the ice scramble as it was very hot due to summer season.
Bell Tower
Upstari to Bell Tower
Ice Scramble Vendor
A taste of iced scramble after the visit

Going to Baras Church is easy and you can take jeepneys bound for Tanay, Rizal.  Ask the driver to drop you off to the Municipal Hall and a 5-minute walk uphill to the church.  Travel time depends on where you came from.  From Cainta, Ortigas extension, it’s more or less one and a half travel time if you are taking a jeepney ride.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Silangan Gardens’ Pinto Art Museum

I have a huge appreciation for the arts and basically I have an eye for it although I have a little skill that is below par compared to the children’s art work.   There is a burning passion waiting to be tapped and in hope that one day I will have time to do draw my own art work.  This reminds me when I was just a kid because as a kid I always love to draw a picturesque of the nature like mountains, the sun and the seas.  And I remember during my elementary years in school I won twice in the drawing contests.  My interest vanished because being a kid I realized that I could sing that later in my life my talent molded me to become an occasional singer/entertainer.  And I felt that seeing these art works have an instant connection in me that words cannot describe.

The chapel in the garden

There's also a cafe lounge at the museum

But how did I find out about this art museum at Antipolo?  I google some tourist spots in Rizal province and later on in one of the blogs it featured Silangan Gardens. I was quite curious as few years back I visited Balaw Balaw in Angono where some art works are displayed in the said exotic restaurant.  I never thought that aside from Angono, Rizal, the arts capital of the Philippines, you can find some art works and sculptures in this town.

In my impression, Silangan Gardens' Pinto Art Museum houses local artists with their respective masterpiece into the Mexican inspired garden.  Since the place rises at Antipolo, you can also see the view of the city skyscrapers of Ortigas Center.

It’s not hard to find Pinto Art Museum of Antipolo, Rizal.  If you are coming from Cubao, you can take the FX and tell the driver to drop you off at Ynares.   And from Ynares you can ride the tricycle going to the Grand Heights Subdivision and let the driver know that you are heading up the Pinto Art Musem.  The tricycle ride is 40 pesos one way and the fare is not per head. You can reach your destination in less than 10 minutes.  The entrance fee of the Pinto Art Museum is 150 pesos.

Silangan Gardens has a size of one hectare.  There’s a lot of art work at Silangan Gardens made by different artists like Jim Orencio and Antonio Leano.  Honestly because there were so many masterpiece in the garden, I can’t mention them one by one. The arts were overwhelming as you can see the beauty in every masterpiece at the core of the garden.  But one of the masterpiece that I like most is "Oblivious" by Stephanie Lopez.  There were so many great masterpiece displayed at the Silangan Gardens and big as it is, an hour tour in the garden will not be enough to get through of the tour.  There were so many rooms that display all the art works.


I stayed at the museum for more than 2 hours and could not help myself but to sit down and relax a little because there were so many things to see in the garden aside from the masterpiece in every room.  As a Rizalian resident, it makes me feel proud to see a hub that houses some of the local artist as big as Pinto Art Museum.