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Showing posts with the label itsmorefuninthephilippines

Island State-of-Mind

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When your visit to a tropical island is extended, you develop an island state-of-mind. You wear flip flops from morn till bedtime, your shades are comfortably resting on your head on the ready, lunch of seafood on the beach is frequent and your hat is in the bag. But the hat has now been replaced with an umbrella as monsoon season is upon us bringing afternoon showers with it.
This is my view while eating lunch. My favorite here is the grilled tanigue fish and the Hawaiian pizza. When it rains, the island is shrouded in mist. So I go again to the Wayfarer when the forecast calls for a clear and sunny day.
The sweetest mangoes are from the island of Guimaras. And I was lucky to have received a few during the month of June when the market was flooded with mangoes.
Driving around the coastal towns is my favorite pastime. The coves of Ivisan are  so picturesque. And there’s dried fish to buy along the road.
Basiao Beach Everyday is beach day!
*****
Images by TravelswithCharie

The School on the Hill

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It was after lunch when we decided to go and give school supplies to the children at an elementary school in the hills of Mararison Island. The climb was difficult under the sweltering heat but this view of the Antique coastline was well worth it. We hired an enthusiastic guide who made sure we saw as much of the natural beauty of the hills as we possibly could and in the safest manner. She also helped us carry some of the school supplies we prepared for the children.  The elementary school used to be by the beach until a typhoon devastated the island and destroyed the classrooms. The school was then rebuilt on top of the hill. There are concrete stairs to get there which are easy on young legs. We opted to take the unpaved trail lined with roots of overhanging trees because it was an easier climb but treacherous when wet. The trees provided shade from the heat.

There are less than a hundred students at the school. Only a few kids were at school on the day we visited as some of the chil…

When to go to Malumpati Cold Spring

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There are so many exceptional beaches and swimming holes in and around Panay Island but I had never been to Malumpati Cold Spring in Antique. After checking out the attractions of Jawili in Aklan, we drove to Pandan which is a short distance from the border of Aklan province.
Everyone had the same idea as we did. Malumpati was insanely crowded. Summer break was well on its way and families were in the know where to cool down. Who can resist turquoise waters on a sweltering day?
I was naive to expect tranquil surroundings. I did find a little piece of heaven on the other side of the bridge that is enveloped by overgrown trees with hints of caves and my mind's idea of an idyllic day by the water. But it is not accessible to the public. Summer is not the best time to visit Malumpati nor weekends. I'll go back another day. Make that a weekday.

There's a minimal entrance fee to Malumpati Cold Spring. We paid 50 pesos for parking. There are people at the parking lot who say they…

Historical Churches of Iloilo

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The Miag-ao Church is a Unesco World Heritage Site together with three other colonial Baroque churches under the collective title, Baroque Churches of the Philippines. Please follow this link for my article on Miagao Church: 
https://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2014/03/miag-ao-church.html

The two belltowers are of unequal height and served as watchtowers following Islamic invasions in 1741 and 1754.
The gold-plated retablo is the original altar used in the late 1700s and was found during excavations in 1982. A fire had ravaged the church in 1910 and it was believed the retablo had been razed as well. 
Guimbal Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was built in 1774 and restored twice, once after World War II and after the earthquake of 1948 which also destroyed the Jaro Cathedral.
The Romanesque inspired walls of Guimbal Church have withstood the ravages of time.
The Molo Church is called the "feminist" church for the 16 statues of female saints on each sid…

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Philippines

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Far away from California and longing to celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to invite a few close friends and family to my Thanksgiving luncheon. I had never had a boodle fight meal and had wanted to experience it so I decided to have a boodle fight on the beach at Bitoy's. It was so nice of them to accommodate my group with less than 24 hours’ notice before the event. And the result was everything I could have hoped for.

I had reserved for 10 people and this is how much food we got.  It sure was a table of plenty. We had oysters, shrimp, milkfish, chicken, eggplant, okra, fried banana, green mango, tomatoes, shrimp paste and rice. I had also brought with me the alimasag (baby crab) we bought at the beach in Ivisan the day before. Guests brought several kinds of dessert including guinataan*, brazo de Mercedes and various kinds of Philippine kakanin (delicacies). Needless to say, we lingered over lunch and slowly savored what was on the table before us.
The simple protocol of boodle fi…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Pan-ay

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Christmas arrives early in the Philippines. When the months end in ber, Christmas songs are heard at malls and over the radio. In October, the TV stations start the countdown to Christmas and stores start displaying Christmas trees. And in November, the Christmas decorations are installed in town plazas such as this one in Pan-ay, Capiz. 
Santa Monica Church is a National Historical Landmark.
When the temperatures dip a couple degrees, Christmas has truly arrived. Pan-ay, a 20-minute ride by car or public transportation from Roxas, is ready to usher in one of the biggest celebrations in the country. 
There is a famous Pilipino Christmas carol that you'll hear a lot, Ang Pasko ay sumapit. It goes,
Ang pasko ay sumapit Tayo ay mangagsi-awit Ng magagandang himig Dahil sa Diyos ay pag-ibig Christmas is here Let us sing Beautiful melodies Because Christ is love.
This bell is a replica of one of the biggest bells in Southeast Asia. Many visitors visit Pan-ay to see its huge bell in the campanile wh…

See Sicogon Now

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It was summer in the Philippines and we really wanted to go to the Gigantes group of islands. But we had no desire to join the throng of beach pilgrims who wanted to take the iconic selfie from the hill above the white sand beach of Cabugao Gamay. So here we were on Buaya (crocodile) beach in Sicogon, waiting for our lunch to be served, enjoying a cool drink under the shade of this old Talisay tree and looking at the Gigantes islands from our comfortable roost.
We could also see our motorized outrigger bobbing in the water and behind it, Tumaquin Island. You can swim to Tumaquin or wait until low tide and walk to it. There was a group of students learning to scuba dive in the clear waters offshore. The sun was mercilessly hot so we opted to stay put. We were happy campers under the tree.
And just about the time we were running out of snacks (which we picked up from the market in the town of President Roxas), Melinda brought our lunch to the table! I had ordered two platters of scallops …

It's a beautiful evening

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It's a beauteous evening, calm and free
The holy time is quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration, the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquility
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er sea Excerpt from It's a beauteous evening by William Wordsworth

Let's go to Mantalinga Island

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Mantalinga Island or Good Luck Island beckons from across the sea. Just under 20 minutes from Baybay beach in Roxas City, it's rocky shores, tidal pools and sweeping view of Baybay are enough reasons to make the short crossing. 
   Mantalinga Island