Archive for May, 2009

capitol gains

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by mijodo

the capitol's aviary

Who would have thought that the premises of  a certain  provincial capitol  could dust off its stodgy and prim attributes in exchange for being the hippest and coolest government territory?

Just hie off to the Camarines Sur’s sprawling 151 hectare Kapitolyo at Pili, and you get the sense of youthful enthusiasm and vigor what with the several important projects involving  high technology and some paradigm shifting  in providing jobs, education, and tourism activity.

The CWC ( is the big kahuna in its arsenal of offerings inside the government dominion. Some would characterize the project as juvenile, but it is a significant project in line with province’s top of mind positioning as an action packed and adventure laden travel destination. The idea of CWC converges with images of other spots inside and a little beyond Camarines Sur – the beaches of Caramoan, the butandings of Donsol, and the mountains of Mayon, Isarog, and Bulusan.

Within the compound, the provincial goverment goes into computer animation and informaton technology, allowing two separate buildings to provide education in cartoon making, and jobs in call center accounts for the youth.  Unquestionably, the Governor L-Ray Villafuerte’s young energy and mindset that direct  the whole system in providing innovative and yet effective methods in showing what the province can do.

But one should be aware that the past governers of the province have also made substantial physical inputs inside the governor’s executive expanse during their terms. One could enjoy the aviary, the deer farm, and the pigeon feeding area at the Ecovillage.  There is also the manmade cave and lake to explore and to take respite in respectively. And aside from what CWC’s accommodations, there are a number of other hotel rooms for the visitors to stay in – the Governor’s Mansion and in the campsite area.

The whole Capitol grounds is really impressive, considering the meager resources perhaps. But it is in the way this administration thinks and acts that is most riveting and exciting  – with so much aplomb, and outside the usual box.

the making of a town fiesta queen

Posted in culture, lifestyle, locales, people, tradition with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by mijodo

queen ginger of dumangas

One of the highlights of a fiesta whether it is on a provincial, city, municipal or barangay level, is the coronation of a designated queen, usually on the eve of feast day itself.  Many times the queen or relatives of the queen reside on the place where she is anointed as one.

There is much pomp and glory in presenting the muse for that particular occasion. The queen is expected to wear the refinery and elegance that only the best designers and dressmakers can offer. She parades her outfit, and displays her grace throughout the plaza or auditorium to the cheering onlookers, and the admiring audience. This is the queen’s night when profuse words of praise from an orator or a local politican are uttered about her.  And the queen will have no say but to blush and smile in shyness and embarrassment.

There will be musicmakers, usually hired orchestra players to regale and entertain the guests, but most specially the lady of the night. There will be special performers, again usually from the realm of showbusiness that will be invited to sing or dance to make the night more memorable, particularly for the attending masses. And at the exact time when the crown is placed on her head by the past year’s queen, firecrakers and fireworks display will create that radiance of glamour and excitement which the new young queen will never forget throughout her life.

There is quite a high demand for the privilege of being a queen of a certain place’s fiesta despite the expenses significantly paid by the family and the sponsors.  Afterall, there can only be one for each year. And if a certain lady just could not get the premier status, she might just settle to be one of the many princesses or dames. Thus many of the relatives will need to reserve for the “queenship” of a certain year, perhaps even 10 years or more after the time of request. Hence, somehow there is an elite circle of ladies, lucky enough to be queens for a given year. 

It is just hoped that the lady upon the moment she becomes queen, not only will she possess the exquisite beauty and charm very much expected of her, but she becomes an inspiration and delight to the community that she “reigns” in.

In this regard, let this post introduce to you, tall and dusky, Ms. Ginger Carmela Diamante Orais, the Town Fiesta Queen of Dumangas, Iloilo for (May 5) 2009. She is the daughter of Captain Leovigildo Orais and Dr. Roslyn Derla Diamante. At 19, she is taking up Nursing at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo.  Ginger says that she will utilize her reign in supporting the various programs of the local government of Dumangas, particularly in the protection and conservation of the natural resources, and the feeding program of malnourished children.

Then let Her Majesty Queen Ginger rule!

tanay idyll

Posted in food, history, locales, nature, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by mijodo

daranak falls calls on you

From Antipolo (, one can slowly descend through a circuitous pass along the other municipalities of Rizal, like Baras, Teresa and Morong and take pleasure looking at the number of scenic views of the boondocks and hills of the province. And then one can make a fullstop and explore the charming old town of Tanay.

Although a significant portion of the area is hilly terrain, Tanay is largely about plains and fields where you can appreciate the acres of rice plantings.  Here, the slight breeze coming from the wide expanse circulates evenly thus making Tanay an ideal short trip to enjoy some pasteural landscapes.

But the temperature goes down significantly, as one proceeds to its famous Daranak Falls, passing by some family owned orchards and farms. Many of Tanay’s residents and guests sample the refreshing gushing waters. The aquamarine color of the pool invites everyone to take a dip and cavort in its pristine coolness. It is an ideal family picnic setting, rustic style.

 One can romp around in Tanay’s small plaza and have some cola drinks and chips at several neighborhood stores, and then admire the antiquity of the Catholic church right across. It is a fine specimen of early renaissance architecture built in the 17th century utilizing local quarried stones. At the podium niche of the edifice, an image of the town’s patron saint, San Ildefonso de Toledo stands.

 Then go straightaway to the bay area, where the  small white parola (lighthouse) welcomes you to the rich resource of Laguna de Bay. Old fisherman’s bancas float idly, waiting for the respective owners to employ them amidst a smattering of waterlilies.  Then witness a farmer working with his carabao in the shallow and muddy section of the bay.  One can just sit and feel the wind in the newly established azotea right beside the lighthouse, probably just two lengths of the usual electric lamp post. As you admire the scenery, rekindle the feeling and maybe remember the past of your bucolic days in your own respective provinces.

Then cap off a visit at the nearby Kainan sa Tabing Lawa (Restaurant beside the Lake). The restaurant sits just beside the bay thus one can get a glimpse of the idyllic views from inside. Feast on different ways of cooked freshwater catch such as kanduli (catfish), dalag (mudfish), and pla-pla (big sized tilapia) with extra heapings of steaming rice and hot shrimp sinigang broth.  

 Escape the powerful heat of the summer, and cruise through some of the interesting points of Rizal where one can get comforted with its airiness and nippy temperature.


Posted in artifacts, culture, food, lifestyle, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2009 by mijodo

mais con yelo supreme

Since the Philippines is in the tropics, aside from halo-halo, Filipinos have readily come up with other native popular chillers and coolers.  They may not have reached the stature of the great halo-halo (, yet they are still effective to cool down the body heat.

1. Guinumis – A coconut milk drink with  sago (tapioca balls) and gulaman (jelly). and pinipig (pounded immature glutinous rice) or cron cereals on top. Flavorful cocodrink which origin is supposedly from Nueva Ecija. Best to have guinumis at Ponciana’s and Via Mare.

2. Sago and Gulaman – A mixture of tapioca and jelly, with a hint of banana extract and vanilla. The arnibal (caramelized sugar syrup) creates the burnt/rust color of the cooler which started humble in the streets and has now been elevated in many restaurants using tall glasses and large straws. Goldilocks has good sago and gulaman preparation. But I wish they were served in tall glasses, and not in plastic cups.

3, Buko Juice – Athough halo-halo may be the king of Filipino coolers, it is the image of the buko (young coconut) that represents the Philippines more, particularly to the Westerners. Buko juice together with the shredded meat can be served in a tall glass, sometimes with sugar and even evaporated milk. But it is more fun, if you sip the juice, and scoop the meat from the the nut.

4. Buko-Pandan – The craze for anything buko pandan (salad, shake and juice) started only in the 90s thus it buko pandan juice is relatively new. The pandan leaves gives an aromatic flavor to the buko juice, and voila -another innovative quencher is born!   Fruit Magic kiosks inside malls could serve up one nicely.

5. Mais con Yelo – Somehow this chiller’s popularity has waned probably because of the addition of new coolers such as buko pandan. Yet it is still refreshing taste cornbits and evaporated milk together, served with shaved ice. Iceberg’s has a mean mais con yelo with ice cream on top.

6. Kalamansi Juice – Others prefer drinking it hot, particularly for colds and fever. But cold kalamansi (calamondin) juice can be an answer to the cool lemonade of other countries. Others serve this citrusy flavored juice with honey. Good for the heat, and good for the health too. One could have it inside your home.

7. Other Fruit Juices – Since the Philippines is host to lots of  fruit bearing trees and plants, then obviously there are fruit juices to experience and explore – from the common mango or melon juice to the more exotic dalandan or guyabano juice. Drink it fresh or take it from extracts coming from the bottles. All refreshing, all reinvirgorating, all thirst quenching, all good.