Archive for cebu

(lg2a) way to go

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, food, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, technology, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by mijodo

 

It all started with a passion for photography, and some skill in writing.  Then I started to create a blog that should document all my travels , and probably show off a portfolio of pictures and articles which have been published not only in the world wide web but also in some of the more prestigious inflight and travel magazines that have literally crossed not only the shores within the Philippines, but across the whole globe.
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For many of the travel articles on this blog, Lets Go Pinas, the writing and photography are brought about not only by my interest and skills, but because of the circumstances that have brought me to many sections of the Philippines, and lately, to the vast areas of North America.
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Several weeks ago, I was invited by my cousin Barbara, and her husband, Eliot, to check on an idyllic community, west of Detroit, Michigan, using their Recreational Vehicle or RV. Basically an RV is a motorhome which can bring all the residential trappings as you go from one place to another inside a vehicle as large as a bus.  Our RV can accommodate probably about 4 people to sleep on its beds, even while the the RV is moving.  In  our vehicle, there is a full functioning kitchen and a restroom that can even supply heated water for showers.  Of course, there are amenities like the television, a comfortable couch, and table and chairs for dining. To travel the roads using such behemoth is truly a luxurious experience.
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Just recently, another posh mode of transportation that gives that high and exhilirating feel would be gondola lifts that are propelled by cable lines usually on steep areas such as atop the mountains. This kind of vehicle provides the riders stunning scenic vistas of verdant mountains during summers or ice-capped mountain areas during winter times.
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However obviously, it is not always that I get to ride such deluxe transportation.  Many times, while travelling alone to create articles and photos for magazine publication, I get to employ lowly vehicles, such as tricycles which I usually get to rent for the whole day, at very minimal cost, to take me into the hinterlands. For me, these trikes -not the jeepneys – are the real kings of the road in the provinces since there are more of them that take you directly to the exact places, even if they are quite remote.
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But for sheer excitement, the habal-habal of many island provinces in the Philippines takes the cake.  Again for some small fare, one can lease on such services of a motorcycle, and hop on at the back of the driver, and explore outlying destinations whether in the beaches or in the hills and mountains.  It may be a little dangerous as there is no gear provided just in case accidents occur. However definitely, using such motor bikes while my face is against the wind is already an adventure in itself.
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Many times, the proverbial line – the journey may be even more interesting than the destination itself – is quite true. I personally have collected some anecdotes and stories that have wiggled out during such trips.  One time, in Ilocos Norte, I had to ask my trike driver where La Paz Ilocos Dunes was.  But the driver seemed not to know where it was, or if there even was one around Laoag. So I had to describe it through another way – where Action King FPJ had done his epic movie classics: Ang Panday (series).  In a jiffy, he was able to bring me where I had wanted.
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By just constantly hiring tricycles throughout my trip to Ilocos, I was able to gather some quaint observation about the differences in tricycle sizes from one province to another,  The ones in Ilocos Sur are a lot roomier whereas the ones in Ilocos Norte may only fit one person inside their cabs, and one may even have some difficulty in getting out from the space as their trikes are short and squatlike. 
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I have met some interesting and even familiar faces just by waiting out at the airports or bus terminals, boarding on boats and ships, talking with cab drivers and fellow bus passengers, and hanging on to dangerous habal- habal and speeding jeepneys for dear life.
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However, it is most meaningful to share transport space with family and friends – from my great parents, Lita and Glicerio, constant, travel partner, Ate Mae in the Philippines to the people here in the United States and Canada, such as my sisters, Jane and Christie, brothers in law, Edgar and Rashid, beautiful niece, Ernestine, Uncle Isdoc and Auntie Lelita, Uncle Nary and Auntie Gaying, and cousins Al and Gisela,  Baby Liz, and of course RV owners, Barbara and her husband Eliot.  Thank you very much. Till our next trip together, guys. Happy New Year, and way to go, for Year 2011!
 
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get crazy and high

Posted in architecture, events, health, interior design, lifestyle, locales, news, people, sports, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by mijodo

 If New York has the Empire State Building, and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, then Cebu may just have Crown Regency Hotel. Afterall, in these tall landmarks, it is not unusual for many tourists and locals to come up, and take in all the panoramic views the eyes can afford to see from such edifices. People in the city of New York clamber up to the 86th floor of the famed Art-deco office building to set eyes on the uniformed street blocks of Manhattan and its countless skyscrapers. In Paris, all try to move up into the observation platform of the iron tower of Eiffel, and gush at the lush garden sceneries down below, particularly the Trocadero Fountains. But once in Cebu, visitors go to the highest floors of the hotel edifice, and try to admire the vast aerial views of the metropolis, but possibly, even quite literally, with a twist.

 Of course at the very top of the building which is said to be the  tallest in Cebu, and probably in the whole Philippines, there are the usual coin operated binoculars and telescopes to zoom in on specific areas of Cebu City, but one can be most appreciative of the commanding and extensive views of the city without the necessity of such peering device. But alas, still that would be a little unexciting as there are more atypical ways to get a 360 degree views of this historic and economically robust southern city destination through the Sky Experience Adventure, at the very top of the Crown Regency, along President Osmena Boulevard.

Take the Plunge.  One can even get out of the comfort zone by checking the vista a little outside the perimeter of the building through its Edge Coaster. At the 39th floor, one can take on the ride, similar to the cabs of a rollercoaster, that takes you around the building, yet facing full frontally the views. But then the seat tilts down 55 degrees giving one the impression of plunging 430 feet towards the ground. In fact, if both parties (the cab can only seat two at a time) decide to increase the slant more, the seat can even go to an extreme 90 degree down slope. But then one gets to realize that one is strapped safely at the coaster. Still the experience is intense and may not be advisable for those who have the fear of falling.

 The ride starts with the gracious staff giving all pointers for safety. And not like the usual rollercoaster where cabs move together, each cab in the Edge Coaster moves independently. Then the cab slowly tips over and gives one that feeling of falling down. One just prays that one does not actually fall off from the seat. Expectedly, people just hold on to the to the seat’s handlebars for dear life. But as the cab moves slowly around, then the safety features of the ride are guaranteed ok. During the ride, it is a little straining and awkward for some because of the position they are in. But then the ride is not very long, it just goes around for a minute or so.

 Look Ma, No Railings. If the Edge Coaster gives one a sensation of dropping toward land, another feature of the Sky Experience Adventure, the Sky Walk provides an impression of flying – or at least walking on air. At the 38th floor of the building, there is a four foot wide ramp around the building to walk on, without the supposed security of the railings or barrier. At the ramp there is only the harness which is securely tied from the ceiling to the suit worn by person that provides some sense of protection.  The harness’s length is short enough to make the person stay only on at the ramp, making it difficult for one to fall off from the ledge. Again, one gets to see the whole scenic vistas of Cebu. But of course, somehow there is just more mind thrill when one is romping around on the tallest building in the city, and without supposedly the safety net of the guardrails.

 But indeed, the Sky Experience Adventure team does all the precautionary procedures to avoid all untoward incidents. The team of ladies and gentlemen who have mostly mountaineering experience briefs everyone on the safety measures provided for the Skywalk Experience and how everyone should conduct himself during the walk. One must don on the blue and yellow suit specifically for such walk. And if there are those who are in slippers or highheeled shoes, the team can lend rubbershoes to provide them sole traction while on the ramp. The team also says that harnesses which can carry a weight of 5000 pounds are there for the utmost safety of the people. The ramp is strong enough and can accommodate a number of people at a given moment.

Then people are instructed to get out of the building premises, and go out and step on the actual walkway. Together with some members of the team crew, people are instructed to start walking guided by the harnesses that dangle from ceiling top. With some trepidation, one walks, and in due time, he or she enjoys a seeming moment of freedom. Then somehow, one is even emboldened to perch and sit at the very rim of the pathway. Or he can show off  a one foot standing trick at the glass edge as well, directed by the team leader. Everything can be documented by an official photographer that goes along with group for the romp.

Everything to see and feel. During the day time, you get the whole arresting vista of Cebu’s Metropolis, with the Cebu Harbor at the Southeast, and the other neighboring cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Naga and Talisay.  There might be some challenge to find famous landmarks of Cebu such as Tops at the hills of Busay. But definitely, one can easily find the iconic memorial plaza – the Fuente Osmena Circle, and of course, further up – the beautiful and majestic Capitol building of Cebu Province.

And since the Sky Experience Adventure opens until past midnight, particularly during weekends, it is very worthy to visit and participate in both rides during the evenings as well to see the luminous lights of the Capitol and Fuente Osmena Circle, and experience another enthralling aspect of the whole Cebu City. One must do the rides then twice – during the day and during the night.

Bill Killgore, General Manager of Sky Experience Adventure, devised ways to make the rides affordable, even offering two rides for the price of one promotion, many times. The patrons even get a certificate after each ride – detailing the exact date, time and even the condition of the weather. Then of course, one can purchase a picture of himself enjoying the rides, and if hungry, then he may have some food at the Sky Lounge or Sky Resto Bar.

And if there is some more money to spend, one can go several floors down to watch and experience a movie of a 4D kind! In other words, not only will he view movie scenes almost realistically through state of the art magic, he also experiences and definitely feels everything almost authentically what is shown on the screen. It is not good to spoil a film by spilling out the details, but it is recommended that one brings a hanky or small towel at the theater.

Bill Killgore, recollects that Cebu locals had some hesitations when the Sky Experience Adventure started late 2008, and it was people outside Cebu who were more adventurous and enthusiastic to partake in such rides. But it has changed through the months. In fact one local Cebuano guy, through the help of the Sky Adventure Experience team and its manager, surprised his girlfriend and popped the ultimate question – “Will you marry me?” – at the 38th Floor during their promenade at the Sky Walk. “I am just waiting that a marriage ceremony will be done here one of these days,” Killgore says a matter of factly. Well, that surely is another way of taking the plunge – 30 plus floors above the ground in Cebu.

two tall

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, history, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by mijodo

Lapulapu of Luneta Park. David of Davao City.

Two behemoth structures that call attention from their territory’s populace and guests. Two gigantic personas that awed and inspired their respective people at their respective time and place. One is from the pages of Philippine history; the other is  from the books of the Bible.

There is a replica of Michaelangelo’s statue of King David at the beachfront of Davao City. As written in the Old Testament, King David was the one who slung a rock at the forehead of the taller and much heavier Goliath who had been a menace  to Israelites.

And this tall structure made a commotion, a few years back among the politicians and the citizens of this economically progressive city of Davao. As the reproduction has David, nude and looming above the reflecting pool, some quarters wanted it removed; some, as a compromise, just required it to have some pants.

Apparently until now, the statue still depcits David in its naked glory, perhaps, just cooling his heels for the another round of fight, against censorship and prohibition, after the local elections this year.

Another controversial behemoth statue is the one at Rizal Park in Manila. Supposedly, this park should only honor, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’s national hero, and no one else as the park’s name implies, but apparently there is the great bronze figure of Lapu-Lapu, lording it over between the Department of Tourism and Department of Finance Buildings at the then known, Agrifina Circle of Luneta Park.

Some knowledgeable people of history and even landscape architecture raised voices against Lapulapu’s monument inside the national park. Some historians and chroniclers cited that Lapulapu had lead against the foreign invasion of the Spanish conquistadors, when the Philippines as a nation was not even created yet, hence Lapulapu should not be exactly called a Philippine hero yet. 

And some just didn’t like how the sculpture blends in with the aesthetics of the park, itself.  Lapulapu’s figure was too tall, and just did not create the balance and proportion with Rizal’s monument.

Apparently, regionalism deepened the controversy as some Cebuanos have taken the opposition to the marker as an insult to Visayans since Lapulapu had been a datu from Mactan, Cebu.

Whether such monolithic statues of King David or Datu Lapulapu have served well, in terms of beautifying and enhancing their respective places or not, there is no doubt such great people have affected other men and women to be wilfull and assertive against supposed enemies and antagonists.

the vanguard island: madridejos

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, history, locales, nature, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by mijodo

(preceding story: https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/the-vanguard-island-bantayan-proper/)

Island gatekeeper. You then haggle with your guide to bring you to your final destination – Madridejos, specifically at the Kota Park. This is where you get to see vestiges of fortifications that had been all around the island during the Spanish Era.

The island during the 17th century had several mortal and coral watchtowers and two fort settlements which were protecting other neighboring islands such as the whole Cebu Island, Leyte, Masbate and even other islands in Mindanao from seaborne Moros hence the appellation  “Bantayan” (to guard).

But you need to wait for the sunset at its coastal line to appreciate the incredible beauty of the area. There you get to make out silhouettes of people as they pick some crablets for dinner from rockstones where the seawater has receded. It can be a powerful picture of the quintessential coastal life. And the long newly constructed way to its viewdeck just enhances the drama of the beach.

Daing for pasalubong. As you end your travel, with very inexpensive daing na danggit (dried fish) just bought from the market at Bantayan Proper as homecoming treat, and as the sea changes its hue from aquamarine of the shallow waters to blue cobalt of the deep ocean while taking a ferry out of the island, then you realize that Bantayan is only a memory that will linger for many months to come.

the vanguard island: bantayan proper

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2009 by mijodo

 

ppppp  bantayan 139

(preceding story http://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-vanguard-island-sta-fe-beach/)

Against the usual tradition.  If you just want to roam around Sta. Fe, then the padyak (foot pedalled cab) will suffice enough. But if you want to visit the two other towns,  like Bantayan Proper, then you need to hop on to a motorbike, and hold on to the driver for an easy ride. In Bantayan Proper, this is where you get extra cash when needed. There is an Allied Bank Branch which dispenses money at its ATM (automated teller machine).  Of course, even in the resort hotels of Sta. Fe, there are credit card facilities as well so pretty much, money may not be a problem in the island once it becomes depleted.

But in Bantayan Island, people don’t run out of being spiritual and being religious. It is manifested in its coral-stone edifice of the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. At 430 years old, it is the oldest church not only in Cebu but in the whole of Visayas and Mindanao.  It is a magnificent architectural and heritage piece constructed by the Augustinian friars. Inside, stone statues abound which depict saints and their lives. More often, the wood carved statuary are used as decorations in the interiors of other Philippine Churches. There you get to see old ladies sell candles, and young men play basketball at its four quadrant plaza.

 If its church is inspiring, you may a little bewildered by its atypical Holy Week ritual. People of Bantayan Island are exempted to abstain from eating meat. In fact it is said that there is a Papal approval by LeoXII during the 19th century allowing the people to feast on chicken, beef and even Lechon even on Good Friday. Apparently, people during the Spanish colonial period had to ask the Pope for such immunity from the usual Lenten practice, as the fisherfolk  during Holy Week would skip going out to the seas to catch fish to observe Lenten Season. Although the reason may be a little convoluted, you will be just in awe at how piously people observe Good Friday as life-like statues which illustrate the passion of Christ’s crucifixion parade through the streets.

(continuation – https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/vanguard-island-madridejos/)

 

menu for living the life at bantayan island

Posted in artifacts, food, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by mijodo

deliciously grilled fresh scallops

Puso (4 pcs) – P8.00

Petso (2) – P50.00

Chorizo (2) – P30.00

80z Pepsi (3) – 30.00

Total – P118.00

Yups, that’s what the  total bill is  for a late lunch at the dining area of Aling Maribel near the market at Bantayan proper.  And that is good for two people. Amazingly, not bad.

The food stalls there serve different grilled seafood and rice packed inside coconut palm leaves (puso).

Bantayan is the northern most island of Cebu. And there are three municipalities which qualities are different from each other. Sta. Fe has the powdery white sand beaches to boast about.  Bantayan proper has its 430 year old church that truly impresses. And Madridejos has the magnificent sunset view to wow its guests. 

Bantayan Island is a three hour trip from the Metropolis of Cebu. Take a Ceres bus at the North Bus Terminal or even the faster van for hire at SM Cebu to the wharf of Hagnaya. Then ride a ferry towards the port of Sta. Fe. Then you may need some help for you to explore Bantayan’s three towns. Just look for Don-don and Danny to assist you as they have their padyaks (foot pedalled cab) and motorcycle. Just call them at this number 0907-6445218. 

And since Bantayan Island has access to the freshest, mouthwatering seafood – crustaceans, shells and fish alike, particularly in this unassuming grillery, Arjaymay near the beaches of Sta. Fe. The owners can even cook up the famous rock lobster at P160 pesos per serving.

And of course, don’t forget to buy your pasalubong afterall, this is where a significant portion of dried seafood of Cebu come from. There is danggit, and there is danggit unsalted for those health conscious. Just get such just before you go on board the ferry back to Cebu city.

There is much more in living life at Bantayan. And definitely there is much more to talk about in the coming posting as well about the three towns of the island of Bantayan.

whirl, twirl, swirl

Posted in events with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2008 by mijodo

 

At the Aliwan Festival 2008, there was no stopping the stomping despite the heavy downpour. Members of each contingent just had to show us their moves in the street dance competion from Luneta Granstand  and which was capped with a field demonstration at the Aliwan Theater Grounds.

Proclaimed winners were Lumad Basakananon of Cebu (a threepeat!), Tribu Paghidaet of Iloilo (crowd favorite) and the Carmen contingent of Cebu for first, second and third places respectively.