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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Windmills in Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Sunset in Bangui
On the fourth day in Calayan happened to be my last day in the island. At 5 a.m. (May 20, 2014) I was fetched by Jomar who drove his tricycle to the shore where M/B Morning Star docks.  There is no port in Calayan Island.  Just before getting to lampitaw, I took some sunrise photos.
My shot of windmills just before the sunset
The boat left the shore at 6:45 a.m.  It was a 5-hour boat ride back to Claveria.  I had lunch first in a small restaurant and rested for about an hour just before proceeding to the bus station going to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.  I was advised by Ariel, someone I met from the homestay in Calayan to take Laoag going to Manila, if I wanted to see the windmills in Bangui.  He said that Bangui is just only an hour drive from Claveria.
Sunrise, my shot before the lampitaw left from Calayan to Claveria
I went to the bus station but it only seemed that the bus won’t leave immediately, and I asked the tricycle driver to take me to the place where vans are going to Laoag.  When I was at the van terminal I asked the driver to drop me off to the windmills in Bangui and he said that going to Bangui will take 1.5 hours.

It was around 3:30 p.m. when the van dropped me off in Bangui with my 2 heavy bags on my shoulder.  It was 2-kilometer walk to the shore from the main high way as the person who was in charge for the traffic told me.

Upon reaching the Bangui windmills, I took a snack in the restaurant and took some rests after a tiring walk from the main road.  I waited for the sunset so I could take some pictures of the windmills.

I left the windmills at 6:15 p.m. and just before that, the folks there said that the restaurants and souvenir stores will close at 6 p.m.  There’s no transportation that would take you back to the main road.  I asked for a favor to the one who operate the restaurant to take me to the main high way with their motorbike.  I was lucky enough for that favor and gave a tip to someone who drove me to the high way where the buses going to Manila pass by. 

Unfortunately the bus won’t stop till I waited long in the dark.  The traffic crew advised me to take Laoag.  I had to ride the bus going back to the main town of Bangui and the driver dropped me off to the checkpoint so that the police will stop and let me ride the bus.  I waited for the bus at the checkpoint where the police officer helped me and stop the bus taking me to Laoag City.

After 1.5 hours, the bus finally reached Laoag City.  I had some companies who are going back to Manila from Pagudpod and we took the Partas bus going to Manila at 10 p.m.

My Calayan adventure was finally over, taking me from the island to Laoag until I reached home.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Calayan Island Adventure: Getting to Magsidel

Day 3 in Calayan Island.
Monday (May 19) was a rest day for me, after some exhausting activities from the previous days.  I was thinking of a place that I should go few hours before sunset and I asked Tessie, the owner of TPS Homestay about the best location of sunset aside from poblacion.  She said I should go to Magsidel and I need to ride a tricycle.  But I prefer to walk, haha, it’s just that when you do a photo walk and collect some photos, for me it is best to walk.  I got used to it and it just reminds me when I was in California, when I go places I preferred to walk.

Magsidel Church
At the cliff is a 180 degree scenic view of the shore
So I did the walking tour stretching the main road to Magsidel starting from TPS Homestay 2 hours before sunset.  The sun was still high and I asked some people where Magsidel was.  The small church serves as the landmark that you have reached the spot.  I took a rest to the store and had some chats with the folks there asking them if there were still tricycles going back to poblacion.  They said that it wasn’t too much that day.  A few walks later I have reached the church and took some photos.  It was a small church that you won’t notice it as a church because there was no sign and you can find the cross on the ground at the back of the church.  The church was standing on a cliff,  where you can see 180 degree view of the shore.  They said this is the best spot to photograph the sunset and use the picture for t-shirts production.

A house in the main road to Magsidel
Cows in a ranch
Getting to Magsidel was more than an hour walk.

A few minutes later I walked to the main road and went down until I reach the sandy shore at the left side of the road.  This is where I waited for the sunset for my photo shoot.  Sunset was gone from the horizon at 6:30 p.m.  Then I had a little problem that it was quite dark already and I started walking to the main road.  Only few motorbikes run, after some few walks a folk who was driving the motorcycle passed by so I asked him if I could take a hitch.  On his back was the other guy, but he won’t reach the poblacion.  I took a ride after all it lessens my burden of walking back to the homestay.  The guy dropped us off after reaching his place to the main road and we started walking down the main road.

The folk brought the carabao down the shore.
Just before the sunrise
A few minutes later, a lady driving her motorcycle offered me a ride and she dropped me off to the bakeshop where I bought some bread for my dinner.

When I reached homestay, Tessie was there having a meeting with some fellas.  When the meeting was through, we had a conversation about my departure the following day and she called Jomar, the head of the tricycle association to pick me up at 5 a.m. as lampitaw M/B Morning Star leaves at 6 a.m.  She gave me a dinner with fish sinigang as viand. 

Related Links:

A Guide When Getting to Calayan Island
Calayan Island Adventure: Getting to Magsidel
Calayan Island Adventure: Sibang Beach
Calayan Island Adventure: The Lampitaw Boat Ride
Cagayan Valley: A Glimpse of Claveria

Friday, May 23, 2014

Calayan Island Adventure: Sibang Beach

I was born with a sign of water and I love beaches.  I love to walk to the shore as the wind blows and as it touches my skin makes me quite shiver.  And the best time to walk is during sunrise and sunset.  It creates gradient to the sky and it creates moods.  You can create a piece of art work out of the composition of this scenic view with your own perspective. 
The grandeur of Sibang Beach
Sibang can create a unique masterpiece during sunrise
Combined with green grass and golden sand makes the scene perfect for tourists
My footsteps as I walk barefooted
Getting to Sibang without hiring a tricycle that will take you to this spot is quite challenging.  Just like in my case.  A slight trekking can be experienced and the main road serves as the trail to reach Sibang.  Once you hit the end of the road that means that you have already arrive the beach.  It took me 1.5 hours to walk from the time I left at 4:00 a.m.  It was sunrise and hearing the roaring sea was the sign that I have indeed reached the seashore. The streaks of the rising sun covered partially by the shade of green trees to my right serve as a lookout that I have arrived to the spot that I’ve wanted to see.  From the path that I was walking I turned left and went down immediately to catch the sunrise with my camera.
The stone can serve as landmark in Sibang
The beach is unexplored and unspoiled
Sunrise in Sibang
The scenic view of Sibang is a perfect masterpiece.  I would describe the sand as color gold; it was refined as sugar with its emerald water indicates that the beach was unexplored and unspoiled.  There are numerous rock formations that add beauty to the beach of Sibang.
You can find the abandoned cottage just a few walk from the beach

I seldom take photos during sunrise.  And the shore is always my subject.  Now was the opportunity to see the rising sun on the shore and take some shots with my camera.

There were no visitors in the beach even if it was Sunday presuming that most travelers come from the main land of Luzon.
My footprints

After I was done with my few shots, I walked through a sand barefooted to see a house-like structure that I saw upon getting to the beach.  It serves as cottage house considered as abandoned and maybe this structure is being used if there are visitors.   Out of my thirst, my purpose was to get water to drink and I was lucky enough that there was water running from a hose to a pale. 
You take some walks and you will pass by a farm
On my way back to Poblacion you will pass some sari-sari stores
The sun was already high and at 9 a.m.  I decided to leave the shore.   I was supposed to go to the lighthouse that was closed to the spot but unfortunately I was so tired and ready to leave the shore.   After half an hour walking I saw some folks and I asked them if there is a house that I could drink a water.  They told me to just walk a little because there’s a house I could pass by while walking along on my way closed to where I was.  On the first house one folk offered me to drink water and rest for a while in their nipa house.  A few minutes later I left and walk to the main road.
Good thing while I was in the middle of walking the road, a tricycle passed by and took me to poblacion and I bought some bread from the bakery for my breakfast.
Sunset shot at Poblacion
Kids posing at the stone

After a tiring walk I took a nap in the afternoon and just before the sunset I went to the beach at poblacion and this is where I took my sunset shots.

Related Links:

A Guide When Getting to Calayan Island
Calayan Island Adventure: Getting to Magsidel
Calayan Island Adventure: Sibang Beach
Calayan Island Adventure: The Lampitaw Boat Ride
Cagayan Valley: A Glimpse of Claveria

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Calayan Island Adventure: The Lampitaw Boat Ride

There are two ways of getting to Calayan Island. Lampitaw boats sail from the town of Aparri and Claveria.  M/V Eagle is the only ferry that sails to Calayan Island from Aparri.  In my case, I was scheduled to ride M/V Eagle Thursday morning, but I was not able to make it because my contact person from Calayan who made a booking for me, at the last minute said that the Eagle Ferry leaves Thursday instead of Friday.  I took the bus going to Tuguegarao and arrived Thursday night and the following day I the van took to Claveria.  Lampitaw boat leaves Saturday and my contact person from Calayan made another booking for me via M/B Jason in Claveria on Saturday. 

A lampitaw boat ride M/B Jason
The crew takes the goods to the ship and a small wood serves as the bridge to go up the boat
Tagat Lagoon at sunrise

From Agri-based lodge in Claveria, the tricycle driver fetched me at 4:30 a.m. and took me toTagat Lagoon where M/B Jason berthed.
Some of the passengers on board M/B Jason
Some of the crew having siesta at the bow of the boat
crew members caught a pantranco fish
Lampitaw boat is a vessel originally designed to transport goods and only few passengers are allowed to ride this boat.  Going to Calayan Island from Tuguegarao, and vice versa take 5-6 hour ride and sometimes it’s more than that depending on the weather condition and during rough sea, lampitaw sails slowly.  There’s a possibility that you will get wet so make sure that you cover your things with plastics.

you can get wet through a water while on your way to the island
There is no seats on lampitaw boat and you can find some few spaces where you can sit down. 
While the boat was in the middle of the sea,  the “tripulante” was able to catch a fish and they call it “Pantranco”, a yellow greenish-color fish with a scientific name “Coryphaena Hippurus”.  Its size is nearly 20 pounds.  According to one of the crew, they usually are able to catch this kind of fish and make it as sinigang and kinilaw.

During arrival

Panoramic view of lampitaw boat as it docks in Calayan island
After a 5-hour lampitaw ride, finally the boat arrived in the island.  A small-size wood serves as the bridge for passengers from getting on and off the boat and that means your feet will get wet into the water. 
I took the tricycle going to poblacion, where TPS Homestay is located.  I was met by the owner of the homestay, Tessie and showed me the sleeping quarter for the visitors.  I took a rest for a few hours.

TPS Homestay front view

Tessie's TPS Homestay
Tessie's fruit wine

Before the sunset I went out and find a grocery store and bakery where I had my merienda and I took the walk and saw the municipal hall, the gymnasium and these are just beside the sea.  M/V Eagle ferry docks just in front of the municipal hall.
My first sunset experience in Calayan
My ultimate sunset shot for the day

I waited for the sunset and finally took a sunset shot.  I took my dinner with the noodle cups and bread I bought from the grocery store.

Related Links:

A Guide When Getting to Calayan Island
Calayan Island Adventure: Getting to Magsidel 
Calayan Island Adventure: Sibang Beach
Calayan Island Adventure: The Lampitaw Boat Ride
Cagayan Valley: A Glimpse of Claveria

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cagayan Valley: A Glimpse of Claveria

A scenic sunset view of Claveria beach
Claveria is a one of the municipalities in the province of Cagayan Valley.  It is said to be one of the cleanest towns in the Philippines.  It offers some scenic spots of sand beaches, the Lakay-lakay Lagoon, Ubing-Ubing, Mabnang and Kikiling falls.  I never had the chance to visit one of these places except for the Claveria beaches due to time constraints as I was scheduled to depart the port off to Calayan Island via Lampitaw boat ride. 

The sunset shore

Some of the folks I met at the hall as they relax

After 4-hour ride Victory Liner bus from Cubao at 7:30 a.m. on May 15, 2014, I arrived Tuguegarao at 9:30 p.m. and decided to check in at Neto’s Lodge, a few walk from the bus station.  I checked out at 6 a.m. and I took the van outside for a 4-hour ride to Claveria.  After my arrival to Claveria, I took my breakfast in a small restaurant.  I went to the beach with my 2 bags and met some folks there at the hall.  They suggested me to check in to the lodge and they call it Agri-based Lodge because that’s the cheapest lodge in the town.

Ice scramble vendor I gave the folks a treat

Late in the afternoon I had some few walks to the beach as I watched for the sunset for my photography.  I was supposed to go to Ubing-Ubing but some locals there told me it was quite far and it is another barangay.
The following day I was scheduled to ride the Lampitaw boat M/B Jason in Tagat Lagoon for my Calayan Island trip.  I received a text from my contact person from Calayan who provided me the booking for lampitaw to leave at 6 a.m.

Some kids playing in the sand

My shoes

I left the lodge at 4:45 a.m. as the guard called a tricycle going to Tagat Lagoon where the M/B Jason berthed.
The boat left at 6:45 a.m. after the loading of the goods was done.

Related Links:

A Guide When Getting to Calayan Island
Calayan Island Adventure: Getting to Magsidel 
Calayan Island Adventure: Sibang Beach
Calayan Island Adventure: The Lampitaw Boat Ride
Cagayan Valley: A Glimpse of Claveria

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ligao, Albay: Kawa-Kawa Natural Park and Sunflower Farm

I’ve heard about the Sunflower Farm in Ligao, Albay featured from one of the television shows over a year ago.  From then I thought about visiting the farm to see the sunflowers.  I love flowers though, and see them bloom in the field on summer.  When I was in California, I tried to go to see some wild flowers but unfortunately it was wrong timing because they bloom in the field on April.  That was the thought I had after it was featured on the television about the sunflowers in Ligao City.
The church on the way to sunflower farm

Thestart of the trail going to the park
Souvernir items sold by the vendors
The last summer image
Image of Jesus Christ as part of the Station of the Cross in the Park
The trail going to the farm

When I was in Bicol during Holy Week, my relative mentioned to me about visiting the sunflower farm in Ligao.  That’s when I remember about the farm and how I love to go in that place but I was never serious about it until I decided to go to Legazpi, Albay on Maundy Thursday to see some old churches and a spot to shoot Mount Mayon.  While on my way to Legazpi, we passed to Ligao and saw the sign of Kawa-Kawa along the road.  Upon reaching Legazpi while inside thePacific Mall, I took my tab and googled sunflower in Ligao and Kawa-Kawa.

One of the images of Station of the Cross
Sunflower farm where people take pictures
This is what you see uphill
After some visits to the old churches in Legazpi and Daraga, I took the jeepney going to Ligao.  Ligao is approximately 30 minutes ride when you commute and you can ask the driver to drop you off to Kawi-Kawi.  And from Kawa-Kawa you can take the tricycle  going up to the Kawa-Kawa Natural Park.  Since it was Holy Week, a lot of tourists visited the park because the park itself is where you can some images of Station of the Cross which serves as religious destination too.  You walk to the trail and the trekking takes around 20-30 minutes to reach sunflower farm.  Along way you can find a small coffee shop as stop-over.
the sunflower experience

At the hilltop is where you can see people sitting at the green grass and it also served as a picnic ground. 
By past 5 p.m. I decided to go down and walk till I reached the high way and take the bus going back to Naga City.