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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Volunteering for Humanity Works

housing projects
For the past few weeks I promised myself to take part in the humanitarian work by signing up as one of the volunteers with Smug and Habitat for Humanity. While I'm finding myself in the midst of emotional roller-coaster,  I had to feed my soul that is wanting to give service to others the best way I can. It's not about my predicament why I was doing this. It's time to give back and be thankful to the blessings that I received from God.

I coordinated with Tracey Heppner who initiated the project between Smug and Habitat for Humanity and she picked me up using her car in Mega Mall at six in the morning. So we went to Navotas where the housing projects are located.

We started the project with the help of the site engineer by the name of Jun who gave us the direction where to start the work.

Tracey trying to convince the kids for the photo shots
From there we were moving the hollow blocks by using a cart to the humanity site we were volunteering this morning. As we found the activity exhausting, we stopped at around eight in the morning and went to see the site engineer in his office to give us the direction where the family recipients of the house are located.

My camera loves this teenager

The second part of the activity was to go to the houses to take some photo shots among the families visited.
I gave some candies to the children

We went from house to house and took some shots of the family and crowds so we would have some photo print outs to give out through the Habitat for Humanity. I bought some candies for children in that small village so one by one I gave them these candies.
One of the families at the site

To volunteer for humanity works was fulfilling and fun in spite of the heat of the sun scorching our bodies.
construction worker

Tracey dropped me off in Cubao. It was nice working with her and I'm looking forward to be involved in some of the humanitarian projects.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Riding A Ferry from Balanacan Port in Mogpog, Marinduque

I had to go early to Balanacan port in Mogpog, Marinduque to catch up for the 4p.m. ferry boat ride going to Lucena, Quezon. This was an alternative port if you can't make it in an early ride from Kawit port in Boac.

From Boac, it takes approximately 30 minutes travel time to reach Balanacan port via jeepney ride.

In Balancan port, outside the terminal were awaiting passengers piled up patiently to pay their terminal fee so they can go inside the waiting lounge as the ferry had still to arrive yet.

The ferry was ready for embarkation as soon as it arrived to the port. The gangway was open to accommodate the passengers as some of the vehicles line up outside waiting for their turn to park inside the ferry.

As thousand of passengers came, all seats have been taken and I decided to go upstair and stay at the top of the ship.

One of those people I met on board are a group of young people who stayed in Marinduque for 8 days. They called themselves as "Malabon Tugs." Some of them are not really from Malabon, but they wanted to label themselves as the Malabon Tugs. Interesting though, as they were very energetic during the entire ride from the ferry.

So here are some of the photos of my interesting experiences of riding a ferry boat from Balanacan port, Mogpog, Marinduque to Dalahican, Lucena.

The Malabon Tugs 

The Malabon Tugs relaxing in a life raft

Malabon Tugs posing at the rear, port side of the Ferry

One of the Malabon tugs standing at the life raft
Some of the passengers standing at the portside of the ferry
Love Boat??
All seats are taken
Biglang Awa Shrine in Balanacan port before the ferry left the port

The child in a ferry

Monday, April 9, 2012

Holy Week in Marinduque

I must say that my trip in Marinduque was more on reflection and I was renewed after celebrating the Moriones Festival in Boac.

From Dalahican port in Lucena, Quezon, I took the 12:15 trip via Sta Cruz port as the next ship to Kawit leaves by 4p.m. Kawit is a nearby town in Boac and is an accessible path going to the town proper. I arrived Boac at 6p.m. Thurday after a one and a half Jeepney drive from the Port of Santa Cruz, Marinduque.

ferry ride from Dalahican port to Sta Cruz, Marinduque

Good Friday

I've waited the Senakulo to pass by the streets in Boac and few hours later my waiting time paid off in spite of the heat of the sun as I was able to capture the scene with my camera successfully.

My activity did not stop there. I went to a procession in the night of Good Friday.


Parade in the streets of Boac

Procession on Good Friday
Black Saturday

Saturday was a visit to a town of Buenavista, an hour jeepney ride from Boac. Late in the afternoon I went to Gasan and took a sunset shot as part of my photo safari. The activity was done after six that I was not able to catch the last jeepney ride back to Boac. I took the colorum tricycle with some of the passengers till we've reached Kawit where there were more tricycles available going to the town of Boac.

One of my sunset shots in Gasan, Marinduque

Reyes Park in Gasan
The hanging bridge in Gasan
Then I left Boac by Sunday afternoon to Balanacan Port as I was going home back to Manila.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Biri Island, Northern Samar

This is a continuation of my previous blog about my trip in Northern Samar, starting from the day I left Cubao till my arrival to Allen, Northern Samar.

Once you are in the town of Allen, it is best to leave the place early in the morning going to Lavazares so you can catch up an early motorboat ride. It may take an hour to reach Biri Island from Lavazares.

Motorboat rental from Lavazares to Biri island

Villa Amor Beach Resort
I rented a motorboat to get into Biri Island with a fee of 500 pesos. Biri is a remote place and once you get there, you can't find cars or jeepneys but only motorbikes are available as mode of transportation. The roads are small enough only to accommodate the motorbikes.

motorbike as the only mode of transportation in Biri Island
Kevin as my tour escort in going to the "rock formation".
after walking through a water we passed to a little jungle first before reaching the rock formation
My tour escort with his motorbike guided me to a resort called Villa Amor owned by Mang Domeng and Aling Oning. It's one of the cheapest resort that you can find in Biri Island.

We've planned to visit the "rock formation" which is popular destination in Biri island among the tourists. As explained to me by my tour escort, Kevin, he said that there were two places that we can visit and both formations are must see once you are in the island. So we decided to go first at Bil-at in the morning, and  Magasang in the afternoon. Both are part of Baranggay Talisay.

The Rock Formation in Bil-at

after passing the little jungle, you will be surprised to see the hidden treasure of Biri at Bil-at
Visiting Bil-at was done in the morning after my arrival in Biri Island. We decided to take this course while the owner of Villa Amor was still busy preparing for my room. Going to Baranggay Talisay should go a ride with a motorbike.

at the top of the rock formation

one of my favorite spots in Bil-at
To see the rock formation in Bil-at, you need to walk into the water for about 30 minutes to reach the edge where the formation of the rocks are located. Chances are, the right timing should commence because once it is high tide, the level of water reaches into your chest which makes it hard to go to the rock formation. It's a bliss once you've gotten into this place. It's taciturnity makes the place become magical and blissful, especially if you climb the top of the rock.

The Rock Formation in Magasang

passing through a water to reach the rock in Magasang
We have gone back to Villa Amor resort and took lunch as my bedroom was ready to be occupied so I placed my bags in the room and took a nap. We resumed the next destination in the after as I directed my tour escort to fetch me up by 1 p.m..

Magasang is not as far as Bil-at but with comparison how easy it was to cruise the place, Going to Magasang is easier as the rock formation would only take a few minutes compared to my trip in Bel-at. You only have to walk by water in just a few minutes but on its path are stones which keeps the pace slow because it is slippery and need to have careful steps. My escort guided me all the way to the isolated rock island and as I was fast approaching it made my heart beat so faster because anytime if not being careful with my step I might injured myself once I slide down.
A magical experience once you've reached the top of the rock

We've completed our tour by 3p.m. and decided to go back to the villa to have some snack and my tour escort left the place after taking his snack.

The tour in Biri was truly enchanting and magical and made me wonder the lessons I have learned during my entire trip in the island. God was truly perfect with his creation and learning to appreciate the beauty of nature is learning to love His creation.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting to Allen, Northern Samar

Pili, Camarines Sur bus stop-over

I left Cubao by Friday night March 29, 2012 with Alps as the bus carrier to Sorsogon City, Sorsogon. I had no choice but to go with Alps while the driver advised me to take Sorsogon City as there would be no more bus available going to Matnog in that period. The 40-seater bus was not bad at all, it's clean, cool and spacious and I learned from the driver that they started their pilot trip by Thursday only and soon enough this bus line will have some available trips going to Matnog.

coffee break
Getting to Sorsogon City is a 14 hour ride and along its path were 2 stop-overs. The first one was in Candelaria, Quezon where we had dinner and the second one was in Pili, Camarines Sur for an early morning coffee break.

Sorsogon Cathedral
As the bus dropped the passengers in the city, I went to the center with the tricycle mobile dropped me off to the cathedral where nearby fast food chain like Jollibee was available for breakfast, haha... this was the only option I had for breakfast just before withdrawing cash from Banco de Oro.
At the Port in Matnog

The jeepney terminal going to Matnog was a walking distance from the bank. The trip to Matnog was one and a half drive from the city where the port going to Allen, Northern Samar was the last stop.

Getting Allen, Samar with a Ferry Boat Ride

at the rear of the ship


I got lucky when I arrived Matnog because the ship was about to leave in just a few minutes. Going to Allen from the port of Matnog took another hour travel time. The ferry was operated by Penafrancia Shipping Corporation. They said that ferries are always available as soon as as one ferry left from its port. The ferry has a canteen where you can buy some snacks, a television so passengers can watch some movies and upstair was a videoke machine so they can sing along by dropping a 5 peso coin.

Wayang-Wayang Beach Resort

accommodation at Wayang Wayang Beach Resort
When I arrived the port, I had lunch in one of the canteens located in the area. Tricycle terminal was also available in the port and I requested the driver to bring me to the nearest resort where I had an overnight stay before proceeding to Biri island.

cottage at Wayang Wayang Beach Resort
Wayang Wang is the most popular resort in Allen and they also said it is also one of the cheapest beach resort in town. True to their words, the
rooms were clean, the cottages have a cable television, toilet and air-conditon. I checked in to relax after spending a long trip from Manila; but only to learn that once you are inside the room, no cellular phone signal and internet connection were available.  I was so disappointed and the staff told me that I need to go outside in order to get the connection. I tested outside but the signal was not good at all. Both Globe and Smart internet were not responding. The staff said that this was also the complaint of some of the photographers who checked in at the resort. If I should have known, another option was to check in the hotel nearest to the port. So I had no choice but to go back to the port as this was the only shop that I saw in town. Allen is quite remote, as there was only two ATM machines available and unfortunately it could not accommodate my card that have a sign of mastercard. They said that you have to go to Catarman which is an hour drive via jeepney where banks are available in the city.

Wayang Wayang
The day was cloudy with some rain showers from time to time.

Sunset at Wayang Wayang Resort, Allen, Norther Samar
Around 3 a.m. there was a brownout in the town which the resort never had a standby generator. The staff said that the electricity restores by 12 noon.

I left the resort by 7 a.m. to catch up the motor boat in the town of Lavezares. One of the staffs of Wayang Wayang took me to the town by driving his motorbike.