Family is Everything

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Our greatest inspiration in life is our family—parents, siblings, wife, husband, niece and nephews even our grandparents. Not only the biological family but also true More »

Flower Pattern and Mandala in Sweet Potato

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Few days ago I crave to eat sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk with sugar and jackfruit meat. While chopping the sweet potatoes (Camote in More »

Understanding People

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   When looking at people is like trying to look at a pair of slipper with hundred varieties of style and of color. All look similar More »

Forgive Others for not Being Kind

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon    To understand people of how they act and misbehave is the kindest thing we do to ourselves. I repeat, it is the kindest and most beautiful More »

Continue that Dream! Happy 2017!

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon     Life without a dream is nothing! It is the fire that keep us going. It gives life to the soul. It is the breath of More »

Small Note

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   While going to the vet clinic to pick-up my rescued cat after his neuter, a man approached us with his small note written “Apology for More »

Smile Don’t Cost a Thing

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon “Good morning ma’am,” the lady security guard says to the staffs of women who pass by at the x-ray security machine at the entrance of a More »

“Seeking for an Answer”-Personal Experiences about Religion

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   It is not a surprise to me if some people hate me for what I am writing about religion and cannot accept some ideas that More »

Usual Unusual

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   It was 12th of February, Friday after office during rushed hour where traffic is so heavy and commuting is such a burden.  It is so More »

Real, True, and Pure

Written and posted by: Margie Babon   Be blessed when you are able to find real, true, honest, and pure people. They are very seldom to find and rare to come into More »

Category Archives: Travel and adventure

Eight Years After

Written By: Margie Babon

 

Twin rainbow I captured in Dibut, Aurora Province.

In my younger life, I was captivated by a paradise. Beautiful mountains with eagle soaring high, rain forest, waterfalls and the fresh scent of the forest ground, colorful birds, frogs and insects makes a rhythm sound. Large indigenous trees almost as high as fifteen feet tall, wide trunk surrounded by ferns, moss and other endemic plants. Different sun birds playing at the canopy, tree top flowers in yellow, red, purple and orange. What more, the blue-green waters of ocean and clear blue sky that lighten my emotions and thoughts. We play kayak in the clear river where lots of school of fish jumping and running over the water. Day time after work, we enjoy ocean waves playing with our surfing board. At night, lots of stars covering the whole beach while having bonfire and fish barbecue freshly caught from the sea.

 

Charlies Point_Aurora

Sunrise at Charlie’s Point, the location shot for the film Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola in 1977 where surfing in Baler has began.

In this beautiful paradise, I experience seeing a huge red-orange moon rising from the ocean, it was breath taking! We even try surfing at night over a bright full moon, and when something hits our feet, we scream and feel frightened. Then we sleep in a shack, made of indigenous materials of cogon grass and wood that is so cozy. I miss those days where it seems life is easy.

Rice and vegetables are locally grown; hectares of green rice field supply the whole town, even fresh harvest young ferns are abundant. It was also my first time to see indigenous people called Dumagat which is a descendant of first nomadic people from Africa, way back when land and the continents of the world are compacted. I even witness the abundant of the ocean where the Dumagat are catching fish, small octopus and shrimp. They even harvest “kibit,”  a mollusk, family of shells and snails that can be found at the reef.

 

River at Reserva which meets the Pacific Ocean to the right.

The number of lodging at the beach front is so few. You can easily count the tourist who are surfers and boogie boarders that visit the place. Beach is safe that you can leave your slipper, coin purse, towel or any valuable items on the sand by covering it with leaves or small branches when you go out for surf.

But when I get back to visit the place to celebrate this New Year’s eve, I was shocked by the development.

According to research and studies, 75% of the world will be highly urbanized by 2050. Meaning, three-fourth of the world’s population will live in the cities.  No wonder, the place that once a paradise to me is no longer the same, eight years after I came back to Baler, I was a total stranger.

 

 

The Place I called Paradise

Beautiful beach break at Charlie’s Point.

Baler is situated in the Northeast part of Luzon where the longest mountain range called Sierra Madre stretches the whole land. Famous for surfing adventure, Baler has good beach and reef break as it is facing Pacific Ocean.  Not only for surfing, there are other adventures that you can find such as kayaking clear wide rivers, exploring white beach in the remote areas from the town and trekking Sierra Madre mountain range where good native flora and fauna can be found like Philippine eagle.

 

Islet in Diguisit

 

Beautiful waves of Baler.

 

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Dikalayungan falls that took us 3 hours of trek going to this three- layer water falls.

 

Agta-Dumagat of Aurora are relying on nature for food and shelter. This woman caught the octopus with the use of spear and goggles that they have made.

 

Fresh water orange crab at the top of the mountain in Maria Aurora.

 

Enjoying blue sea at Anyao Islet during coral restoration project.

 

Pretty cobra wave at Cemento reef.

 

Mother falls at San Luis which is one of the tourist attractions that will take you 2 hours of long walk.

 

The whole land of Aurora is part of Sierra Madre mountain range.

 

Beautiful mountains of Sierra Madre at early morning.

 

 

 

Well-developed Place after Eight Years

Simple concrete sea wall in 2005

Expat in 2005 are so so few in Baler like Julia (appears on the picture) who works for Cooperacion Espanyol for marine sanctuary project in Dibut. Foreigners are either a surfer or working for a project in Baler.

 

Still, the old sea wall in 2010

Though not yet fully developed, 2010 was the start of surfing school in Sabang beach.

 

Now, sea wall is replaced by a concrete bay walk  along the whole stretch of Sabang beach.

Bay walk at Sabang

The concrete bay walk made a huge difference that I did not recognize the whole place.

 

Full-packed restaurant located right in front of this long bay walk.

 

According to Carl Pope, executive director of Sierra Club, “Economic growth has become the prerogative of most people in the planet.”

Tourism truly brings economic growth in Baler, it gives thousands of job to local and streams of income. Different establishments have been developed.  The plain beach front eight years ago has a simple sea wall, now it is a long concrete bay walk.  Hotel, restaurant and lodging are crowding the beach front like Boracay. Roads are all concrete esp. the place where pristine beach in north of Baler which takes 4 hours can be reached by the bus in less than 2 hours.  Beach is full-packed with surfer enthusiast and tourist where you cannot leave your things safely unlike before.  The exchange of the development is over population, crowded beach, accumulating trash and higher use of resources and the needs for security. To preserve and conserve nature is a long-term challenge, as human deplete natural resources every minute.

Too crowded beach compare in 2005 that only few surfers are walking along and you can leave your things while going out for a surf.

 

From the book Hot, Flat and Crowded written by Thomas Friedman, “The energy, food, and natural resource implications of so many people becoming “Americans” are simply staggering. Development is what people in the whole world are aiming for. The more we seek for improvement, the more resources must supply for the growing number of demands. Sadly, distinctive culture also changes as the land and people are heading for improvement. People, establishments and whole land become western in language, culture and tradition.

 

Newly built 5-star hotel facing Sabang beach.

 

According to the data of Baler tourism, showed that 2013 tourist arrivals jumped to 272,182 from 215,095 in the previous year. The number of tourist climbed 21% from the last year’s total tally. Where most tourist visits Ermita Hills, Museo de Baler, Sabang Beach, Baler Church, ‘balete’ tree in the town of Maria Aurora and mother falls in San Luis.

 

Crowded as well in getting waves.

 

The well-developed Baler has advantages and disadvantages, but as always, it is the nature that will suffer.

Local surfer gives surfing lessons as means of income.

 

Surfing school and surfing lessons are now being offered in Baler.

Charlie Does surfing school beside Costa Pacifica.

 

Mahdox surfing school is owned by a champion local surfer.

 

When you walk along concrete bay walk, you will see booth of surfing school and display of soft top boards that attract tourist to try surfing.

 

 

 

More Developed Lodging

Package tours are also incorporated in lodging hotel, a proof that tourism provides stream of income.

Costa Pacifica, the most luxurious and expensive lodging in Baler.

 

Pool amenities at Costa Pacifica. As what Thomas Friedman stated in his book Hot, Flat and Crowded, “people are becoming Americans which is so staggering.”

 

Costa Pacifica draws attention from a lot of tourist to stay here for its perfect location facing the beautiful Sierra Madre mountain and the Pacific Ocean.

 

From 5-star hotel to simple lodging amenities, there are a lot of accommodations to choose now in Baler. Even locals who live close at the bay (situated behind the first class lodging) and even 20-minutes far from the beach front, convert their own backyard into lodging spaces.

 

Jamjen’s lodging is beside the house of the landlord where food can be served by the owner as an option.

 

I was surprised that even 15-20 minutes walk from the bay, a lot of lodging houses can be found.

 

Newly construct lodging amenities though not yet fully finish, this two-storey house which is 15 minutes walk from the beach is already reserved for how many days.

 

For tourists  on a tight budget and group of back packer, Baler Nipa Hut is perfect. A Filipino house of indigenous style in which walls and flooring are made of wood and bamboo and the roof is made of cogon grass.

Located in Sitio Buton, Brgy. Sabang, it has 2 budget rooms for 2 pax while the bigger hut/shack is good for family and group that can accommodate 8pax.

Simple and cute Baler Nipa Hut in Sitio Buton, Brgy. Sabang. Contact Gladis at 09276130556 or make reservation thru’ facebook Villareal’s Bahay Kubo.

 

Very cozy interior of Villareal’s Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut), no need for aircon, the palm leaves wall and bamboo flooring provides breeze and cool air esp. at night.

 

The beauty of  Pacific ocean waves are still the same.  Even eight years have been passed, beautiful mountains and oceans are still the same.

Local surfer enjoying a ride on a small wave.

 

 

Though the development has really shocked me, I am happy for the local surfers who have descent income from giving surfing lessons to tourist since year 2010.  Danny Garcia (wearing shades in the photo below) enjoys being a surfing instructor for more than three years.  He said, “Handling beginners and teach them how to surf is tough, you have to push the board so that they can enjoy the ride. Sometimes if your student is too big and quite fat, pushing the board is heavy and difficult. We cannot teach them during high tide, it is not safe and will be tiring for the instructor, we have to swim unlike low tide that our feet can touch the sand which is easier to pull the board and safe for the students.” 

I am surrounded by champion and legendary local surfers working under Costa Pacifica, each instructor has 2-5 students per day, seven days a week.

 

Of course, after eight years of no surfing practice at all, my shoulder and arms are so tired after my first day of paddling but I catch waves and enjoy two rides  even white water keeps on eating me.

No idea when I will be back to a place once a heaven to me, a paradise that is now becoming like a city with more lodging houses being built not only along the coast but also at the town. With the proposed shopping mall nearly to build, what will be the impact of the development to the environment. It was lucky that I have witnessed the full beauty of the place before concrete roads completed. The growing population of local and tourist extinct the kibit, people do not harvest that kind of mollusk anymore, it has gone to extinction. What about the other remaining biodiversity, what will be their future in the threaten paradise in the coming eight years and more.

 

Photo courtesy of Jeff Ferreras Ramos, Gladis Villareal, Daniel Garcia, Jukka Holopainen, Center for Environmental Awarened and Education (CEAE), Margie Babon and  Mark Darwin Dimzon.

 

About the Author

Margie Babon was given a privilege to be a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to become a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom  which is far beyond the teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts in Manila.

 

 

 

22 Million Years and Counting,The Beauty of Puerto Princesa- Part 1

Posted By: Margie Babon

 

The most beautiful beach in the Philippines and one of the top destinations in the world is Palawan located at western part of the Luzon.

 

Blue ocean, white and pristine sand, lush green mountains, stalactite caves, colorful marine life, thousands of fireflies at night…these are the few of  wonderful enchanting scenery of Puerto Princesa.

Voted as one of the 7 wonders of Nature in 2011, Puerto Princesa Underground River draws a lot of local and international tourist that results to more jobs, more profit and more benefits to the community and to the development of becoming a city.

Day tour for island hopping, boat has certain location where to dock.

 

Amazing, first time to see coral plants that is nearly to decay. So soft and like a white sand when it powder.

 

Starfish is abundant in Starfish Island, one of the tourist attraction islands within Honda Bay.

 

To protect old growth forest, flora and fauna, impressive caves and clean beaches, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was established as a National Park in 1971. The Park contains a long stretch mountain to sea ecosystem and habitat of numerous endangered, endemic and rare wildlife species. Under the vigorous leadership of Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River or famously known as St. Paul River has become the role model for sustainable tourism in the Philippines.

 

Fresh water river from the cave that meets the open ocean of South China sea going to the left.

 

Ocean going to South China sea where water from underground river flows through.

 

Puerto Princesa Underground River is the world’s longest underground river with its 24km stretch or 15 miles long of limestone Karst Mountain, out of 24kms, only 4 kms. is navigable by boat. The river winds through the cave before flowing directly to the South China sea. The cave includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites with several large chambers.

Boat fetching visitors for a 15-minute boat ride going to underground river. The mountain at the back is another option going to the cave. Either trek the monkey trail or the jungle trail.

 

There are two ways to reach the underground river, either by boat or by hiking the Monkey trail that will take you 2-3 hours of hiking from the Sabang Beach.  Near the opening of the cave are gigantic tree tops, when you analyze it, you are actually standing on the top of the mountain.

Amazing tree top still alive and so huge. Imagine how big it is under, knowing the golden rule, “the size of the crown is the size of the roots.”

 

This tree top is the continuation of the crown in the previous picture. You are really standing at the top of 22 million years mountain.

 

Take a tour inside the 22 million years beauty of Underground River and set your attention to some rock formations that are so mysterious!

The chamber at the right is the entrance going to the cave.

 

Like a a huge ship awaiting for you to see.

 

Some formation in a dinosaur head.

 

A horse or a bison taking rest.

 

A lot of tourist are enjoying the amazing interior rock formation of St. Paul river.

 

Sketches of lines are still a mystery how it forms inside a cave so dark.

 

A bridge, part of the ship or a sleeping pharaoh?

 

Head of a dinosaur again…a lot of different formations like huge mushroom, carrots, broccoli, etc. inside the underground river. There is also the famous “Holy Family” and some in Buddha rock formations. I just did not have the chance to take photos because the only light supply is a small flashlight.

 

Really white stalactite.

 

Another group touring the river. You will not feel and get bored inside. The boatman sitting at the end of the boat is also your tourist guide. They speak fluent English and trained to accommodate visitors. They inject humor while touring around. I remember our tour guide saying, “there is a rule here, never ever touch the brackish water or else your hands will get wet!” and everybody laugh!

 

Like a huge salamander at the left or a huge bat? Cave formations are one of the mysteries in the world.

 

Oh yeah, you are looking at the head of a giraffe! Another amazing rock formation that mimics animal world .

 

The brown mark like a tiger skin or a fur is from small bats’ feces or also known as guano that are stuck in the rock that forms an interesting pattern.

 

In this part of the underground river near the exit is where thousands of cave bats can be found.

 

The exit chamber of St. Paul underground river.

 

A lot of monkeys can be found in St. Paul river, they can grab your things especially when they see a plastic bag, they think there is a food inside. Community tourist guide discourage visitors to eat at the area to avoid monkeys getting close.

 

Boat area to fetch visitors and tourist going back at the Saband beach.

 

The Karst Mountain of the Puerto Princesa National Park has a lot of caves waiting to be discovered. Will feature in part 2 the continuation of a cave connected to Underground River which is 45 minutes travel from St. Paul–the famous Ugong Rock.

 

 

About the Author

Margie Babon was given a privilege to become a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to be a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the 2005 Mark Haslam Awardee  in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in photography, drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom which is beyond academic teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts.

 

 

 

 

Tacloban Post Card

Written  By: Margie Babon

 

The Provincial Capitol Building built in 1907.

 

In a busy street

Full of concrete

I found a treasure

Written in the history

 

Corinthian column at The Capitol

 

Old American buildings

Some are Spanish

Others in an Indonesian motif

It was lovely if only preserved

Amazing,  if only conserved.

 

Part of the Hotel and Convention center at the Leyte Park.

 

The downtown,

Quite disappointing..

Giving up?

Not an option,

I want to see

A charming potion.

 

6:30 morning light at Leyte Park

 

Mangrove area under the famous San Juanico Bridge

 

So I follow the light

at six-thirty

Thank God,

I was lucky

Exquisite scenery

Awaits me!

 

6:30 morning light at Leyte Park

 

Hotel and Convention Center at Leyte Park

 

Pool amenities at Leyte Park Hotel and Convention Center

 

Thank you Tacloban,

For a short moment.

It was wonderful!

 

Open ocean in front of Leyte Park

 

What a perfect shot

That the nature has cast.

 

The Astrodome

 

In a cloudy late afternoon, the famous San Juanico bridge that connects Leyte and Samar Island in its 2km. span built in 1969-1972, still the longest bridge in the Philippines.

 

Lucky for me to see a Philippine flag being raised during the flag ceremony with the government employee of Leyte.

 

Mc Arthur wall sculpture at The Capitol

 

If Mc Arthur says,

“I shall return.”

No idea

When

I will return.

 

Photography: Margie Babon, 2013. All Rights Reserved

 

 

About the Author

Margie Babon has given a privilege to become a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to be a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the 2005 Mark Haslam Awardee  in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in photography, drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express wisdom  which is far beyond teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts.

 

The Isolated Island of Calayan

Posted by: Margie Babon

Imagine yourself living in an island where the supply of electricity is limited only for 2 hours a day every night starting at 6 in the evening until 8.  No signal of mobile phone, no ice cream, no cinema, no mall, no television, rough road, no traffic. Can you survive?

The travel to Calayan Island happened in May 2006 that is almost 7 years ago but the experience of meeting the local and seeing the nature is very extra ordinary. Aside from conducting a teacher’s workshop for Water Education and Water shed Training program, we travel with ornithologist and wildlife biologist to document the newly discovered Calayan rail in 2003 that is a flightless bird which is almost similar to Okinawa rail in Japan except of its red feet and beak.

Calayan Island is situated in the upper northern part of Luzon and southern part of Batanes Island.  To reach the Calayan is not easy. From Manila, you have to take 12-15 hrs. bus ride to Aparri, then from Aparri you have to spend overnight to catch the boat that leaves  at  6 in the morning. The bus ride can be tolerated but the boat ride was not a happy journey. We didn’t expect how tough it is to travel in the open ocean that you cannot see anything except for water, no islets and trees. Lessons that make us realize that it is not easy to live in a water world.

The videographer and I decided to sit o top of the captain’s cabin because of the camera and other equipment with us. While the group that will conduct the training and the porter seated on the open bench side of the boat. The adult passengers are around 50-60 while the kids that are being placed inside the captain’s cabin numbered 20-30. Since the boat is quite big, it cuts the water to pass through that causes a huge white water splash to the passengers sitting on the two sides of the boat. They are so wet and  yelling while holding on to the rope,  as what the porter told us, he do not know if the passenger beside him is still there, the water is covering everyone.  The kids inside the cabin are crying as the boat is sailing up and down in a 28 ft. huge wave. If you are one of the passengers, you will ask yourself, “am I ready to die?”  While I and the videographer is almost being fry in the heat of the sun for 2 hours, I can’t stop to vomit in a zip lock bag, lucky that I smell a citrus in the cargo box I am leaning with. Paolo who is a photographer sitting in the open bench side of the boat cannot forget the orange color vomit of a kid that is so contrast to the blue-green color of the water.  Everyone is asking, “Is the island near?”

The continuation of the story is in every photograph.

Welcome to Calayan Island!

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People are busy unloading the boat as we reached Calayan Island.

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Imagine how heavy the boat is, aside from almost 90 passengers, it carry cases soft drink, beer, grocery supplies, kerosene container, etc.

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Cases of soft drink is covered by a wide plank of wood where passengers are being seated.

 

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We receive endless smile from these kids and teens playing on the beach.

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Holding a ball of sand, this kid knows how to enjoy life in the island.

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We enjoy the sunset on the first day.

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The councilor who offer our stay in Calayan Island.

 

We explore the whole town of Calayan the next day after a series of interview in the morning .  All we can see are kids playing in the afternoon, some locals are pounding rice, creating a basket, weaving a mat, cleaning the yard and feeding the chicken. There is no market in this island. Locals from far rural areas are selling vegetables and fruits, fish and meat directly to every house.

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This shot is from the bell tower of a Catholic Church showing the town of Calayan.

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I was mesmerized by a sweet smile of this girl playing in the indigenous pine tree of Calayan.

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A different sunset on the 2nd day.

 

Taking a walk at night after dinner, we are looking for desserts, lucky for us that we found home-made fruit ice-crushed in one of the convenience stores. We were surprised that even the island is isolated, locals are staying late at 10 or 11 in the evening  drinking beer.

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Electricity is limited only for 2 hours. Some houses use car batteries for bulbs and fluorescent at night.

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Only a motorbike supplies a quite sufficient light when you stroll the town at night.

 

On the third day before catching the Calayan rail, we went to a white sand beach that takes us  1 hr.  ride and 45 minutes walk.

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Undeveloped trail going to the beach area.

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Small rock formations welcome us at the entrance.

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Undeveloped beach of Calayan.

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No other visitor or locals are with us. The Calayan beach is very different, we stay in the shallow part; at first, the water will form into a huge wave then as it hits the coast, it will push you so hard and slide to the sand then will pull you back to the waters.

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The team of teachers from Manila.

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Carabao carrying goods from rural areas going to town.

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Porter Amboy strike a pose, who is working as a tour guide for more than 8 years. Mountains in Calayan are made of corals, and Papay (another old man porter who is a long-time fisherman) told us that if the mountain is made of coral stone, the island rose from the deep part of the ocean.

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In this triangular rock formation, a lot of fish can be seen in the shallow part near us.

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No comfort room, no restaurant, no anything. We bring our empty pack lunch and walk 45 minutes to catch a ride going back to town.

 

During our fourth day, we separated from the other group who will give teacher training, while us, we will document the Calayan rail.

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“Kuliglig” is the common transportation in the provinces of Philipines. I am wearing a red cap, with me are videographer Adrian and researcher Mabel.

The battle begins after unloading our equipment from the end of the road that can be reached by Kuliglig. We hike up and down the hills of a carabao path. It was so lucky that we didn’t expect that heavy rain is coming. We are all wet and cold, sliding on the dark and muddy path at seven in the evening. The hike to reach the shack where we stay takes us 4 hours. To see a Calayan rail is really not easy.

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The only light we use at night that keeps us warm after a long walk in the muddy forest.

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The shack where we we stay. The first house from the far left is the house of the old couple who owns the land, the middle is the guest house and the kitchen. While on the right side is the toilet.

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Raising chicken for source of eggs and food is a typical livelihood of locals.

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Raising native pigs are still a culture in the island.

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The old man who owns the shack.

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“Tatang” (old man) has his own rice barn on the left side. In the province, rice is very important staple food.

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The indoor kitchen that is well ventilated is made of wood and cogon grass roof.

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Capturing a photo of Calayan rail is difficult, it moves in speed. We have waited 2-3 hours for this bird to show up in two different locations we have been to. Calayan rail is being hunt for food consumption, locals doesn’t care if the bird is endangered or not.

 

Going back to town,  since there is no mobile phone or any means of communication, we are waiting for luck that a Kuliglig will drop by to fetch us. But it did not..we walk again for how many hours after a long hike from Tatang’s place  going to the road proper.

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Locals are carrying loads of dried branches of wood as a source of fire for cooking.

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Shy at first, these 2 girls are laughing and talking in their own dialect while staying away from us. We are wondering where does the wood came from?

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We are totally shocked of this. This is only 1/4 of the whole mountain of being slashed and burn. Locals said, the land will be used for cow grazing.

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We are happy to see the local vendors selling fruits, veggies and fish. Walking 4-5 hours is nothing for them just to reach the town and earn a small amount of money.

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After school, the son comes home for lunch then go back. With him is his father carrying load of can goods and grocery for his family.

 

Our second to the last day, we were trapped in the island by a heavy storm.

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Morning shot of the ocean in front of the town.

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Kids are happily playing with the huge waves.

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At five in the afternoon, the weather makes us worry how to get to Aparri the next day.

 

Due to the heavy storm, our stay was extended. We just go around the town, taking pictures while waiting for the storm to passed.

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Fishermen can still catch fish in the rivers.

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The fish was caught in the brackish water as seen in the picture.

 

One of the scene that touches our hearts, we have witnessed how the family is doing the coffin of their loved ones.

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The coffin is not yet ready, the dead man is lying on the bed while the wife is sharing her story with us.

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These men are working at 9 in the evening to finish the coffin.

 

The isolated Calayan island teaches us simplicity of living and life in the island is difficult. If you re a person who longs for  a complete silence, to connect within your inner spirit and to God,  Calayan Island is perfect place for life’s reflection  and meditation. Even though job opportunities are limited, we cannot blame the local hunter to eat animals in the forest because earning money from farming and selling bananas of 4 hrs. walk to earn 100 pesos  a day is very tough. A realization that urban development can give them opportunities to improve the way of living.

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A last glimpse of Calayan Island.

Photo credits: Apocalypse Point Productions, Paolo Picones and Margie Babon

 

 

About the Author

 Margie Babon is an architect by profession, a vegetarian and a yogi by culture. A painter, photographer, creative writer and  an entrepreneur by hobby. Her working experience as a wildlife photographer in 2006 let her choose to become a vegetarian for six years now. Has background in film making and work as a researcher for the award winning documentary film,Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada.  She has teaching experience as a part-time faculty  in school of Fine Arts and college of Architecture for more than 5 years. Currently living in Manila and excited for her experiment on veggie patties while dreaming to go back in Sabang Beach to surf the glassy blue wave of the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoyment as a Common Ground

Posted By: Margie Babon

There are millions of ways to bring happiness, joy and excitement in our lives. Some are simple things like eating ice cream, drinking wine, buying 18k gold jewelry or rewarding yourself with a grand vacation or a dream car.   Whatever ways we indulge ourselves into, it is more fun if we share our moment with people who are close in our hearts–our family and friends. Yes, it is the relationship that matter in our lives that brings true joy. But how can we nurture more of our relationship with them? It is by staying together and enjoying each and every moment with the people we care about, we love and we like to be with.

One way to make the relationship even better and stronger is a short getaway or a vacation that fits the budget.

Let me share to you  two different vacation places that are truly opposite but the enjoyment makes them common.

A. Rosalinda Garden Resort- Antipolo, Rizal

  • Overlooking Metro Manila
  • Private pool with 2 bedroom, room can accommodate 20 guest.
  • Amenities: 2 toilet, kitchen with fridge and a videoke room
  • Location is within residential area and other private vacation houses
  • 10-15  mins. from Antipolo Church
  • Pool- 20mts. x 25mts
  • 3-4 parking area
  • Rate: 7k (7pm-6am)/ day rate: 6k
  • Can accommodate 30-40 guest
  • Rent is for the whole private house,  no snack bar or restaurant available

Approximately 20 x 25 mts. pool overlooking Metro Manila.

Morning shot of the view overlooking barren hills. Lucky to capture a rainbow using mobile phone.

 

Boys just wanna have fun in this simple rectangular pool.

 

B. Residencia de Riego- Alitagtag Lipa, Batangas

  • 1 ½ – 2 hrs. from Manila
  • Amenities- with indoor sports such as billiard hall, table tennis and dart aside from the outdoor of  a basketball court.
  • Restaurant- affordable food with outdoor bar for cocktails
  • Fountain is surrounding the edge of the pool during night time aside from warm colorful lights.
  • Wi-fi access
  • De Luxe Room for 4, Family room for 6-8 guest with private toilet
  • Has Nipa hut lodging type- rate is 900PhP  overnight with common toilet.
  • Surrounding the resort is residential area
  • Silence haven for people who enjoy nature,  reflection, meditation and silence.
  • Overnight stay is 2pm-12nn

Very serene pool surrounded by coconut trees, not in Bahamas but in the Philippines.

 

Outdoor seats curved in drift wood.

Tropical lodging houses in cogon grass roof.

 

Guest house accommodate 3-4 people.

Lodging in a hobbit house style.

 

Indoor sports at the 2nd level, restaurant at the ground while the outdoor cocktail bar is at the left side.

 

Billiard hall in a Spanish colonial house.

 

Very inviting cocktail bar at night.

 

Fountain makes the pool at night special.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the contributor Paul, Ayrish and Gina for sharing their travel and adventure.

 

The Mt. Makiling will greet you on your way to Lipa, Batangas.

 

Info and Photo Credits:

Rosalinda Garden Resort by Christian Bederico and Gina Malelang.

Group picture at the Rosalinda Garden Resort: Aldwin Famini, Gerald Volante, Dennis Ocena, Brian Mabatan, Lyn Galvan and JC.

 

Much thanks for:

Residencia de Riego and Resort  by Gina Malelang, Paul Malapote and Ayrish Anne Marciano

Collage photos ofr Residencia de Riego  by Gina Malelang.

Residencia de Riego website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Residencia-de-Riego-and-Resort

 

About the Author

 Margie Babon is an architect by profession, a vegetarian and a yogi by culture, a painter, photographer, creative writer and      an entrepreneur by hobby. Her working experience as a wildlife photographer in 2006 let her choose to become a vegetarian for six years now. Has background in film making and work as a researcher for the award winning documentary film,Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada.  She has teaching experience as a part-time faculty  in school of Fine Arts and college of Architecture for more than 5 years. Currently living in Manila and excited for her experiment on Vegatty while dreaming to go back in Sabang Beach to surf the glassy blue wave of the Pacific Ocean.

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