Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PAST REVISITED: A WOW PHILIPPINES EXTRAVAGANZA

I was browsing at some of my pictures in my multiply account when I saw some travel photos that I had back in 2007 and in 2008 in the Philippines. My travels back then were sponsored by Asian Center for Foreign Languages as part of the cultural immersions which is required among foreigners who want to learn the Filipino language and get a better understanding of Filipino culture and traditions. I was a lecturer in Filipino in Asian Center for Foreign Languages in 2007.

Apart from travels with Asian Center for Foreign Language, our family had our share of tours in Palawan and Baguio.  Interestingly, it was in 2007 and 2008 that I wore a slender or a minimal-fat packed body.

Join me as we travel back in time and lay our eyes on the beauty of Philippines' sights!


Our first stop is the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio. In December 2007, I was in Baguio with the staff and student of Asian Center for Foreign Languages. We were there for an immersion activity for the student to be able to understand the culture of Philippines.

Since I was the part-time instructor then, I had the privilege to come and teach. The only thing that was requested for me during the immersion was my teaching skills and my pocket money.

Two of the many highlights were the visit at Sumaging Cave (Sagada) and at the Hanging Coffins. Despite the spine-chilling experiences I got from having my picture taken with the Hanging Coffins as the background and the death-defying tour inside the Sumaging cave, I enjoyed the experience for it was truly liberating. It's as if I toppled down all my fears, especially in dark and eerie places. The only thing that was on my mind then: "Mga kaluluwa, spare me!"

The Hanging Coffins
More coffins!

As I walked inside the knee deep and sometimes chest deep water of the Sumaging Cave, I didn't think of my fears and anxieties in life. All I wanted was to survive and come out in the cave, ALIVE and KICKING.

Despite the darkness that embraced us and the silence that sometimes haunted me during the immersion, I enjoyed the bone-breaking trip. From climbing to going under some big stones, I mastered the art of overcoming fear by simply going with the flow and having my picture taken. believe it or not, the tour guide was trained to take pictures. He knew what places and poses blend well! Even his composition in photographs was marvelous!

At Sumaging Cave
Our only guide!

The Team
The next day after the Sumaging tour, I also had the chance to visit Tam-awan Village. It was a cozy village, which is festooned with local artists. The artists in the place were mostly gifted with talent on sketching. Of course, yours truly gave in to the call of an artists who's really offering me a gift of a lifetime: a portrait of my ka-cute-an!

At Tam-awan Village. Bakit parang ayaw kong ngumiti!

Interesting toilet signage!

Apart from my adventures in Sagada, I got an opportunity to take an overnight stay at Banaue. Although we didn't stay in the traditional Ifugao houses, the cultural immersion activity took place through sight seeing and fun talks on basic Filipino words such as bundok, bangin, etc.

A Glimpse of Banaue
 Seriously, as we were checking on the Ifugao houses, I got anxious, especially if we're to stay on it. As a toilet-dependent person, the cleanliness and space of the toilet are my basis on judging if the accommodation is worthy to avail. Unfortunately, the Ifugao houses were just provided with small toilet. There's not even a heater for the water. Thank God, we stayed in a nice and cozy cosmopolitan unit. Perhaps, for an spanking experience, I'll opt to stay in one of the houses, next time!

Traditional Ifugao House

Luckily, I was back (again) in Baguio in 2008, days before I left the Philippines for a work in Brunei. I was with my family then.  Fortunately, we were in Baguio when the much-awaited Panagbenga Festival took place. Up to now, I couldn't forget how terrible the road traffic back during the Panagbenga feast! I never expected that Baguio would be that jammmmmmed!


Apart from enjoying the festival, my family and I enjoyed touring Baguio from the PMA Camp up to buying souvenirs at Mines View.
Feeling Haciendero

Zigzag!


Cool tree house!

PMA!

Some eerie-looking and big house along the road!


Bear in Flowers!

Hotdog (made of flowers) on stick!

I miss ube jam and choco crinkles!
Souvenirs!

Second stop is in Palawan. As part of my Dad's birthday gift to my brothers Jeff and Kuya Eamon, we went to Palawan in a tour package. Apart from visiting an animal farm and an island tour, we enjoyed the mind-boggling tour inside the underground river! It was a mind f*ck moment for me because I don't how to swim and I kept on imagining that the water can rise anytime (baliw lang!).

On the side, the tour was a bit funny. For almost half an hour, drops of water continuously poured on my face. Apparently, as the tour guide said, "Pag titingala, isarado ang bibig. Ang mga nahuhulog po kasi ay hindi lang tubig sa kuweba. Madalas, tae ito ng paniki!" Thank God, I was obedient and attentive during the underground activity.

Ready for the underground battle!

Star Fish during the Island Tour

Baby Crocs!

Third, in 2007, I went, together with a staff and student of Asian Center for Foreign Languages, to revisit Manila. We found ourselves in Intramuros and Luneta Park.

While the student was able to immersed himself in our mobile lessons, I also immersed myself with the richness of the Philippines through a revisit in historical places in Manila. Apart from riding the Calesa, the views of Intramuros and Luneta were just relaxing.

Historic Walls!
A site of battles!

Calesa!

Luneta Park

Fourth, I had the chance to get a glimpse of Villa Escudero. It's there where I ate, together with a staff and student of ACFL, barefoot on a man-made water falls.  And what's more interesting was the cultural show where I witnessed a wide-array of Philippine Folk Dance. 

Simply regal!
Me and "Madonna," the name of the kalabaw
Falls!

Cultural Show
Lastly, I was able to visit Corregidor in 2007. Again, it was part of a cultural immersion class. In Corregidor, apart from feasting my eyes on a stretch of ruins and war tanks, I also learned a lot from the tour guide, especially on understanding Philippine history.

The transportation for the tour!


The tour guide!



The ruins!


With all of these travels, I kinda miss touring the Philippines. Hopefully, as a treat to myself on my upcoming graduation in May 2012, I will be able to once again visit and revisit the wonders of my home country.


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