Just at the beginning of July, me and my High School buddies went to the beautiful island of Cebu and visited the southernmost part of the island. Here are a few of my favorite shots taken during our unforgettable adventure:
Earlier this month, my Student Rose Ann Arogante tagged me on a post on Facebook, nominating me to a Seven Days of Nature Photo Challenge. Each Day, you post a photo about Nature, preferably a photo you took, and then nominating another person, one for each day, to do the same challenge.
Here are the Seven Photos I shared during the course of the seven day challenge (March 18-24, 2016) I chose pictures from my old travels here and abroad and made little quotes about the picture with respect to Nature.
The Caru-Caruhan de Malabon is the first ever Caru-Caruhan Procession of the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in the City of General Trias held last Palm Sunday, March 20th. Inspired by the Caru-Caruhan de Regidor, in the town of Binangonan in the province of Rizal, it is a procession of Miniature Holy Week images that lived during the time of Jesus and His passion.
With the help of my Brother, Kuya Wilson, I was blessed to have taken care of the Statue of San Longino or Saint Longinus. He is a Saint who was a Blind Roman Soldier that is said to have pierced the fifth wound of Christ on the side of his waist. When Jesus' blood came out, some of it went to Longinus's eye and he was said to be healed. Right then and then he declared Jesus as God and lived through him until he died a Martyr.
Saint Mary Magdelene, Jesus Christ, and Saint Longinus after the procession
Aside from my Saint Longinus, my Brother also takes care of the images of Saint Mary Magdalene and the Señor dela Paciencia wherein Jesus is depicted as wounded and humiliated. All three of our saints are all part of the very first Caru-Caruhan de Malabon 2016. A big thanks to Kuya E-Jay and his ever amazing team for the beautiful floral arrangements and the clothing of the saints and also to Kuya Louie and Kuya Benson for helping us make the floats of the saints.
My friend Myrcel with Saint Longinus
At 7 pm, the saints are all lined up in front of the church and we are ready to walk around the poblacion area. My Friend Myrcel was the only one who came for me and San Longino on his very first procession and I truly appreciate it so much! Thank you Myrcel! Aside from Myrcel, I also saw my friend Charlotte and his son, my Godson, Charles. And just before the walk started, a young man from Brgy. Corregidor went with us and accompanied me as we pull the float of Saint Longinus. He was very nice and kind and we share the same name, Steven.
My Friend Charlotte and her son Charles
My new friend Steven, we have the same name
So Myrcel, I , and Steven are on the line, fifth of the thirteen the saints who were part of the procession. Before we started walking, people went close to the saints to ask for blessing and also to take pictures of the saints that are beautifully dressed and lit. The procession was led by the musical accompaniment by Santa Cecilia Band, and in order of precedence, here are the Saints that were part of the First Ever Caru-Caruhan de Malabon 2016.
Señor dela Paciencia (Kakapus-kapos) - Bro. Wilson Que
Nuestro Padre Hesus Nazareno - Pinagtipunan Pastoral Council
San Andres Apostol - Rev. Fr. Jun Perez
Santa Veronica - Bro. Jeth Rommel Elca
San Longino - Bro. Stevenson Que
The image of San Longino de Malabon is inspired by Sir Christian Layug's San Longino de Marikina. Aside form Saint Longinus's amazing story of hope and renewal, I really wanted to have my image of Saint Longinus because of the beautiful image of Sir Christian's San Longino. Thank you so much for the inspiration Sir Christian! I really hope I can see Gino one of these days.
Santa Maria de Chipre - Bro. Aeron Daluraya
Santa Mari Jacobe - Bro. Franz Pulido
Santa Marta - Bro. Dennis Victa
San Nicodemo - Bro. Ameer Olimpo
Santa Maria Magdalena - Bro. Wilson Que
San Juan Evangelista - Bro. Ameer Olimpo
Santo Sepulcro - Bro. Erick John Tiglao
Virgen Dolorosa - Bro. Erick John Tiglao
After the procession, the images lined up in front of the church and recieved blessing from our priest Rev. Fr. Gil Villas.
Rev. Fr. Gil Villas blessing San Longino
It was very beautiful to see the images and this was the time I took the individual photos of the images. After I said my goodbyes to Myrcel and Steven and all the people at the procession, we walked our way home together with the three saints.
San Longino de Malabon
My brother Kuya Wilson with Santa Maria Magdalena
Me and San Longino de Malabon
My Father and the Saints
It was a beautiful event and truly historical for this is the very first time the Caru-Caruhan de Malabon was held not just the first in our City but the First in our Province. Thank you so much to all the organizers led by Bro. Erick John Tiglao and also to my brother Wilson Que for if not for him, I would not have had San Longino and I will not be part of this memorable event.
Now we are all excited and looking forward for the bigger and brighter Caru-Caruhan de Malabon 2017 next year. But of course, before that comes, the Holy week has officially begun as of now that Palm Sunday is over.
Summer is officially on (PAG-ASA said Summer hasn't really entered BUT IT DAMN FEELS DOES!) and what better way to kill the heat than hitting the beach! I was never the beach type until I started to travel to the most beautiful shores around the country. I used to fear swimming on beaches because the thought of the open sea as the waves try to swallow you is just scary, for me.
But now, the thought of having the sand on your toes, saltwater on your skin, and just rising up through the sea with the spectacular view right in front of you just makes me so excited! Before I hit my next beach for this season, let me count down some of the top beaches I have been to! Ranked in order to the best, here are my favourite beaches:
7.) Puerto Princesa, Palawan, PHILIPPINES
Dubbed as the Philippines' last frontier, the island province of Palawan is definitely rich not just in natural resources but also on places that will just make you fall in love with Nature. Last 2009, me and my dad visited the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River which is an hour or two drive from the City proper and an awesome boat trip away. Right after the caving adventure, our boat brought us straight to this beautiful beach where we had a hearty lunch and of course swimming!
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, PHILIPPINES (2009)
Honestly, I just strolled along the beach that time because those were the times, as stated above, that I was still afraid of beaches and shores. Now I regret those times that I did not stripped to my shorts and just swam over those white sandy waters!
6.) White Island, Camiguin, PHILIPPINES
Camiguin is another island province at the navel of the Archipelago. Situated at the Northern Mindanao Region, Camiguin nestles at the Bohol Sea. Truly a gem, this volcanic island boasts of its mighty mountains and pristine beaches, one of the famous ones was the White Island.
White Island, Camiguin, PHILIPPINES (2015)
White Island is actually a Sandbar where there are no trees or vegetation living on it because when the tide is high, the whole isle sleeps underwater. Best way to visit this is on the earliest of the morning for you can actually have the island to yourself, just like our experience, and it's just picturesque. We didn't have the chance to take a swim though because our itinerary for that day is just jam packed! Truly worth the photoshoots though.
5.) Bantayan Island, Cebu, PHILIPPINES
Miles away from mainland Cebu, Bantayan Island can be reached from Mactan International Airport by a four-hour bus ride up north and another couple of hours through the sea via ferry. It was so tiring but yes, it was all worth it! The white sand beach mates with the blue sapphire waters all day long and springs up beautiful sights you can ever imagine!
I will never forget when we arrive, the beautiful colours of the sea port, it reminded me of pictures I see of the Polynesian Islands in the pacific with its striking Emerald hues of the sea. completely different from other beaches across the country.
Bantayan Island, Cebu, PHILIPPINES (2011)
The best thing I can say about Bantayan Island is that even if we visited in the middle of Summer 2011, there were very few tourists and you can have a big chunk of the beach all for your own group of family or friends.
We stayed at the Kota Beach Resort at Santa Fe. their rooms are nicely cooled by the A/C even in the middle of a hot summer afternoon and their food is something to be remembered. There are also men who can chop coconuts fresh from the tree, right in front of you. Freshest Coconut I had as far as I could remember.
4.) Baler, Aurora, PHILIPPINES
Filipinos are very addicted to White Sandy beaches but Baler has its own charm. Dubbed as the Birthplace of Philippine Surfing, Sabang Beach of Baler boasts of its beautiful waves, perfect for surfing. I was never the extreme and active traveller but I really did not miss the chance all thanks to my cousin Ate Carmeline Viniegra (Hello Ate Meh!)
Baler, Aurora, PHILIPPINES (2015)
There are several Surfing Schools that can offer you one on one lessons and we availed an hour of surfing at Charlie Does Surfing School. For just Php300 you can have an hour session of surfing and free use of their surf boards and rash-guards. That yellow one I was wearing are theirs, Yellow really suits me huh? My surf teacher was a guy my age, his name is Byron and he is very patient with me even if the whole hour, I never got to stand on the board!
3.) Marine Base, Cavite, PHILIPPINES
Ranking third on my list is Marine Base Camp in the town of Ternate. the first time I visited here with my friends, I couldn't believe that I was still in my own province of Cavite. the sand is white and the sea is clean and clear! Closest to home, you can get the feeling of having flown miles away to an island in the Visayas, without getting that far.
Ternate, Cavite, PHILIPPINES (2014)
Since it is a Base Camp for the Marines, this beach is not always available, especially if the soldiers have their exercises and practices. So better call if you know anyone from there to confirm if the base is open to the public to save up travel time because still, it is a good two hour drive from our place in General Trias. For an entrance fee of Php100 per person and another Php100 for every vehicle, it's actually a very good bargain for a quick summer getaway!
2.) Carlsbad, California, UNITED STATES of AMERICA
Right after my beautiful niece Vanessa fetched me from the AMTRAK Station at Oceanside, she drove me all the way to Carlsbad beach where we went for an afternoon swim! Lined in front of beautiful (and expensive) beach houses, the place is crowded with a lot of locals and tourists.
But what made Carlsbad gain my Number 2 slot on this list is that I felts so free to be there! It was the very first time for me to go swimming on a beach out of my country and it's just so cool to strip out all your clothes and change to your swim shorts without the eyes that I usually get on Philippine Beaches. Even if I'm fat and big, everyone just don;t care all and just focused on having their own fun whether it's swimming, tanning, or sun-bathing!
Carlsbad, California, USA (2016)
I'll never forget this moment I took the photo because I was so happy and my nieces Vanessa and Ghianna are waiting for me by the beach with the big slab of Burrito they got for me! Oh I miss those girls a lot! Wish I can go swimming with them again sometime soon!
*** And for my Number 1 slot, DRUMROLL PLEASE***
1.) Boracay, Aklan, PHILIPPINES
BORACAY! I know it's very overrated especially if you have been living in the Philippines for all your life, I know because I used to think that way! But the time you arrive at this World Famous Beach, it's just amazing! The powder white sand (Never an exaggeration) just feels so good on your skin, I don't think it could ever exfoliate my skin well because it's just floury fine!
The people are so friendly especially the foreigners enjoying the island. You'd be so happy to pass by them and I will never forget the feeling that if I could just make a public announcement to all the people from around the world how thankful I am for visiting the Philippines! Well, of course, I don't need to do that, I just let the beauty of Boracay speak up for themselves.
Boracay, Aklan, PHILIPPINES (2012)
Yes, the biggest problem I can see about this island is the CROWD! The term Labor-acay was actually coined because every summer time, especially on holidays like the Labor Day of May 1st, people just flock like ants around the island. I know this because of the pictures I see online and not by my own experience because I would never even dare try going there with all those people!
The solution of course is to choose the time when you will visit Boracay. I guess the best time is on January when it's not the monsoon season nor summer so you can have it much for your self. Also a big thanks to my cousins Kuya Jonjon and Ate Ardel for taking me to Boracay on my very first visit there last 2012.
There you have it, my seven favourite beaches across the country and beyond. I just wish i can visit more beaches and experience more amazing memories along the shores of the world.
Did your favourite beach made it to my list? Tell us about it and I might just get inspired to visit your favourite beach on my next adventure!
Last February 26-28, Me and 7 of my friends hit the road as we clim up the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon to visit the famous Town of Sagada. Sagada has been a haven for tourists local and foreigns alike but have gained much popularity since a box-office Indie Film hit was shot on location here starring Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman last 2014.
Located thousands of meters above sea level, it boasts of its cool climate, friendly people, and out of this world landscape, sights, and even phenomenon that you can only see in Sagada. Nested on top of Limestone formations, the town is a portal to a Magical Kingdom on itself.
Here are a few memorable images from our trip to the Shangri-La of the North.
Me, Ate Judy, and Dianne happily welcoming the Sun at Sagada, Philippines
Cutout Steve enjoying his morning sunshine at Kiltepan Peak, Sagada, Philippines
20 years of Friendship and Beyond - Sagada, Philippines
Trekking through the Rice Terraces - Sagada, Philippines
Worth the Trek! - Bomod-Ok Falls, Sagada, Philippines
With the Cute Little Kids - Sagada, Philippines
Reading an Email about my Job Offer - Sagada, Philippines
Back to the 60's (By R-Jay Miranda) - Sagada, Philippines
Now this little guy sure is cute! - Sagada, Philippines
Always a Space for Ivy - Sagada, Philippines
Special Thanks to my dearest friends for 20 years who I surely will be with me for another 20 and another and another! Shots here are mostly from my friends Dianne, Faith, and R-Jay who aside from having killer iPhones, have definitely eyes for photography!