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Monday, April 24, 2017

Revisiting Liliw, Laguna

I have been looking for a cheap getaway online and I have been eyeing Sta Cruz and Liliw, Laguna for the past few weeks.  I remember, the last time that I was in Liliw was almost 20 years ago,and  it was my friend Benjie who took me to this spot and I can still recall that we ate at the carinderia which Sta. Cruz  has to offer a famous Binalot -A rice, a viand of adobo or fish and a red egg wrapped in banana leaf.  That was before we proceeded to Liliw, Laguna.  I can’t remember all the details since the stint was just short for us to stay in both towns.  But one thing I couldn’t forget was the red church in Liliw, The St. John the Baptist church.

Front view of St. John the Baptist Church

Few days ago I read about the Tsinelas Festival and saw some photos where colorful umbrellas were hang-stringed on the posts which made me more attracted to visit Liliw.
Yesterday, April 23, 2017 was a perfect day to go to Sta Cruz knowing that Sunday is the only day without traffic and I left home around 8 in the morning.  There are buses along Edsa in Ortigas going to Sta. Cruz.  It was a two and a half ride to this town and from there, and approximately 30 minutes to Liliw via jeepney ride.

Umbrellas and footwear stringed atop for Tsinelas Festival

On the side where tsinelas boutique can be found

Liliw was a laid back town, and if you want a quiet and a relaxing place, I think this town is simply perfect and beautiful.

I walk at the streets and surprisingly and I saw a lot of visitors having some photo opt including some bike riders, there were also some people which they wore the same shirt designs which indicate they are indeed in one group.  I saw some posters that Tsinelas Festival starts April 26.

Hanged footwears as part of the festivity

White House Restaurant

One thing I noticed is the vendor selling fruits on a bike and I met Mang Romeo who sells a wild berry it is called Liputi or Lipote.  I tasted both the fruit and the wine and that was really an experience to reckon in this place.  In some corner were vendors selling some pasalubong and I happened to buy a binuro na santol.

Liputi or Lipote Wildberry

Me testing the lipote wine

Romeo the fruit vendor

Lipote Wine

Binuro na Satol

But along the streets were some boutiques which they sell slippers or “tsinelas” and footwear and this was the place that was famous of.

And who can forget the red church, St. John the Baptist which is the landmark of Liliw.  So I took some photos of the church outside but I couldn’t go inside because there was a funeral mass service.
Liliw is situated at the foot of Mt. Banahaw and it is one of the highland town forming the southern extremity of the province.

Well as for my experience, Liliw is one of the places that is worth visiting for when you love the road trip and my travel one so timely since we are celebrating the “Earth Day.” It remains unspoiled, unpolluted and very simple living.  It is closed to Nagcarlan, and it’s just 2 kilometers away travel distance.

I will definitely come back in this place and would recommend to my friends about its serenity,  and the simplicity of this town.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Bataan: Mt Samat and Dambana ng Kagitingan

When I see a big cross on top of the mountain, it reminds me of Holy Week and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, because the cross reminds us our faith and Christianity. I have some travel in the past that I see shrines in the mountains and that reminds me of my meaningful experiences.  Maybe because Holy Week is just few days away and going to the big cross which involves hiking has significance too.  First, the cross reminds us about Jesus and second, the Araw ng Kagitingan or Araw ng Kagitingan is April 9.

Yesterday has no exemption not to see a big cross especially that Mt. Samat in Bataan was my first getaway for this year.  I've read a lot of blogs about Mt Samat National Shrine and Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor as this gives me insights about the historical significance during the World War 2.  So I won't discuss further about the Dambana ng Kagitingan but I'll just share my experience in going to this historical place.

During the past few days, me and my friend Jake planned to have a getaway and originally we were suppose to go to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan but unfortunately for some reasons the plan did not push through so we proceeded with our Plan B with some researches about this destination, Mt Samat and Dambana ng Kagitingan.

Jake and I met at Coffee Bean in Gateway as early as 7 a.m. and first we had breakfast at KFC.  From there we walk to Aurora Boulevard until we reached Bataan Transit located in Edsa which is just few walks away from Gateway where buses are available going to Balanga, Bataan which is just approximately a 2-hour ride.

Balanga terminal was the jump off point going to Mt. Samat in the town of Pilar.  It was almost lunch when we arrived Balanga and from there, we decided to have lunch in Mcdonald's

We went to the terminal and ride Cabog-Cabog and along way, you will see a big cross on top of the mountain and this reminds us that we are close at the intersection to Mt. Samat in Diwa, Pilar,

You'll see the ark sign "Dambana ng Kagitingan" when you reach your destination.  At first we are suppose to hike the mountain but in the tricycle terminal, we given an advice that going to the museum is an 8-kilometer walk that will take you around 8 hours to reach the shrine.  So we decided to ride a tricycle as walking is time consuming.

Upon reaching the gate, we paid the entrance fee to the museum that cost 30 pesos per head and we climbed the ladder till we reached the top of Mt. Samat which the big cross is located.  There is a kiosk there where you can buy some snacks and souvenir items. When you're in the shrine, there's a 180 degree view where you can see the seas and the mountains.

We went inside the museum and saw some memorabilia like photos and arms used during the World War 2.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to go up of the museum to see the wall writings as they were painting it in preparation for the Araw ng Kagitingan on April Night.  At the stage, we saw that President Duterte would be the speaker during the celebration and that's why the closed some points because of the preparation for the upcoming event.

At past 2 we decided to go back as the tricycle driver we hired was waiting for us at the gate entrance.

We reached gateway at around 5 p.m. and we decided to to get some coffees at Mcdonald's in Kia Theater (formerly New Frontier Cineme), Araneta Center.

How much does it cost you to go to Mt. Samat-Dambana ng Kagitingan?

Bus - 200 pesos one way.
Tricycle to the terminal is 10 pesos but you have the choice to walk to the terminal which will take around 5-10 minutes.
Cabog Cabog Jeepney ride to Pilar - 19 pesos
Tricycle - 200 pesos 2- way.
Tricycle to drop off going to the terminal is 20 pesos plus tricycle to the terminal is 10 pesos.

Please take note that going back to the terminal in Balanga from Diwa, Pilar will take you quite long to wait for the jeepney ride, so you can take a tricycle and haggle the price.  Normally for 2 people, going to the bus terminal would take around 80 pesos, but we were able to haggle the price to 40 pesos for 2 people because we were 3 in one tricycle.

I hope this helps to those who are planning to go to Mt. Samat and Dambana ng Kagitingan in Bataan.