I am so fortunate to witness the unspoiled and undisturbed beauty of Batanes, if not for the Ivatan’s (True Insulares) uniformed goal to preserve mother nature, this will not be achieved. Thanks to my soul buddy, for this once in a lifetime experience. =)
Batanes is one of those few provinces, the smallest one in the Philippines, yet, with the most unique way of living and not to forget highlighting the breathtaking natural beauty of the whole island. Setting your foot there is awe-inspiring and truly unforgettable. A laid-back province yet is very rich in culture and natural resources.
The Architecture is unique too since they are situated along the typhoon belt. They created roofs made of cogon grass that are sturdy enough to weather storms especially during the rainy season. Because the islands are surrounded by the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, they are oftentimes exposed to very strong winds.
Here is a collection of doors and windows I’ve witnessed in the stone houses of Savitug in Sabtang island.
There are endless ways to enjoy your visit to Batanes. For me, this is just one of those.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature, and it will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright~
I am home by now, but my mind is still in Caleruega, all Flora and Fauna (fishes, birds and a dog!), complete with a magnificent chapel, rooms if you want to stay overnight, serves food too, and a very kind dog, yes a kind dog! And lastly, any corner can be a place to commune with the Creator. When you go to Caleruega, you will be closer to God and be reminded of all His creations that we sometimes think as already ordinary. When in truth, they are not.
I once said, to be very lucky being near Tagaytay. It is an “Everything Beautiful Zone”! There are lots of hotels to choose from, restaurants, inns, parks, resorts, all sorts, farms, monasteries where you can have ube yams (one of my favorites), markets where you can find the freshest fruits and vegetables (I once bought a purple cabbage from there – which isn’t always available in the lowlands), there’s a mini zoo, there is also an area where you can purchase unique pieces of wooden (carved by local artisans) furniture, and famous for the famous smallest volcano in the world. Did I miss something?
A trip to Tagaytay is like a stress – buster. Cold weather, friendly people and everything nice! Just a few minutes after Tagaytay is Batangas.
Caleruega is just one among the endless list of spots in that area where you can relax and just be who you wanna be for a time. As if smelling the flowers and being one with nature is something you can not exchange with anything. For a time! (–,)
Please take a look! (–,)
You would not want to leave believe me. And because you need to, you know you are coming back.
Caleruega church is in Brgy. Kaylaway, Nasugbu, Batangas. You can contact them at: 0921 270 9890
Years ago, not only 2 close friends of mine asked me to visit Sagada. I am not that interested. I am perplexed by the thought of no more trips after dark? Why? I used to ask what’s with Sagada? I’ve been to Baguio anyway.
I’ve read several blogs about it, heard about the many interesting activities you could do there, spelunking, there are distinct falls, historical sites, sightseeing, breathtaking views, hospitality in all sense of the word, good weather, (you will hear an impetuous sound thinking that it’ll rain in a while only to find out, it was just a strong wind coming), and the rain itself will without any warning.
Their local cuisine, not to forget their own locally grown coffee, the list might be endless. Honestly, I am awed with those blogs. I thought I would try writing mine…
Sagada as they say were meant only for the adventurers as it is almost too difficult to reach it or to get there, you will count hours (by land), you can’t avoid crossing deep valleys, bumpy rides, ravines, creeks and cloud forests. It isn’t for those like me who got used to traveling by air than by land with those swelling buttocks and suffer from dizzy spells due to too much sights and sounds (and varying smells from the aircon bus with a cubicle where you can pee while the bus is running).
Trip schedules are actually limited due to the not so safe trail to reach Sagada. But after the loooong trip, Sagada is for everyone to enjoy the very essence of rural life in the highlands especially for us who’s accustomed (or maybe at times tired of the city life), the place exhibits the wonder of a rich culture and simple life.
I wonder how it feels like being based in such a famous and well – visited place yet simplicity can be seen in all their eyes. Not only simplicity, but bliss and an enduring hospitality which Filipinos are known for. I noticed that half of the passengers in our bus were foreigners. I then again got mystified with the common trait of travelers to discover something beautiful and be changed by it instantly. It was funny to find myself nibbling on Yogurt cake in Sagada.
There’s this one foreigner who owns an Inn/ Resto – Masferre who was tagged to be the Father of Philippine Photography. I am astonished what took the likes of these foreigners to hold such love for a country other than their own (which reminds me of another photographer during People Power Revolution who was weeping while taking pictures of that event and claimed that most of them (Americans) were complacent of the freedom that they always have while these people (Filipinos) were defiantly willing to die fighting for their freedom.
How I wish we can see our country through these foreigner’s eyes… Masferre boasts goodies (all kinds of fruit jams) which we bought some for our loved ones. I wistfully yearned to describe Sagada like repercussions of my past experiences, good and bad.
I dropped the other activities and treated the “Hanging Coffins” as the highlight of this trip.
Instead of being aghast with the sight of coffins literally hanging in the mountains, of course I am scared, I felt admiration to their strong belief of an undying love when one has physically died already. The unyielding belief of being one with your loved ones and your Creator at the same time. An adulterated love.
As I sauntered to these valleys…heart-stopping long walk…
to the unknown (we didn’t hire a tourist guide/ the fact that we can hear the other tourists voices killed our fears and made us continue trekking until finally we were inches away from the coffins), running out of words to describe Sagada, let me end this to claim that this is an adventure like no other…
Casa San Pablo is actually the first on my list to visit with the help (and enticement) of Viaje del Sol. http://www.viajedelsol.ph/
It was always dancing and prancing in my mind. And finally, I got there. I’ve first fallen in love with it when I saw it in a local magazine. It featured their Casitas, with those murals, and paintings of some famous Filipino painter, individually themed (very distinct from one another), decorated with hard to find antique stuff, and those clippings from magazine mounted in their walls boasting good reviews about this quaint B&B place. It is found at the heart of San Pablo, Laguna.
San Pablo is a jewel though a little city. It offers a lot of interesting places. It brings you closer to nature, closer to God. Casa San Pablo is in sync with that. It speaks of Summer. Some local artists assemble here maybe because they are anticipating that the beauty of Casa San Pablo will instantly bring out the best in them.
It is homey, and the inn-keeper as expected is so friendly, he has a way of connecting the guests with each other. Or if a guest would want privacy, he will know it instantly.
Everyone from this place (including myself), the whole time I was there, are all smiling.
Casa San Pablo is located at Colago Avenue, Barrio San Roque, San Pablo City. You can contact them at: 0917 812 6687 and 211 2132. You can also check the place at: http://www.casasanpablo.com/