Saturday, March 26, 2011

Black Nazarene of Quiapo

I am not a Catholic but I got curious about the Black Nazarene of Quiapo when I found out that it would be visiting the town church here at Pililla, Rizal.

Yearly, I would watch the feast of the Black Nazarene on tube and how big of a deal it is to a lot of devoted Catholics. It is said to be one of the most spectacular religious event in the Philippine history and culture. Thousands of devotees would go to Quiapo, Manila every January to take part of the procession to strengthen their faith and as part of their vow to the Lord. The statue is said to be brought in the Philippines by the Spaniards around 1607 but it got caught in a fire, reason for it being black. They decided to preserve it and since then it was said to have been bringing miracles to the people. It's amazing to watch these people how they look up to this statue. I'm not going to share my beliefs here as I'm blogging this to share my experience. 

I wasn't expecting it to be as chaotic as what I've seen on TV since our place is a province. Thank God, it was a bit pleasant. Huge crowd came to welcome the statue. It wasn't all male on the crowd but a mix. A little pushing I saw and felt too but nothing major. I was 5 ft. away from it and my eyes and camera were busy observing the event. I did not feel anything as I am not a believer of it. I just watched towels and handkerchiefs being thrown at the men protecting the Black Nazarene. They would wipe it on the statue and would throw it back. It's part of that miracle they believe in. Then the Black Nazarene went inside the church and the people started shouting "Viva Senor" then there was music and fireworks. There were too many people so I did not bother to go inside. Good thing the weather was perfect. Sunny and windy.   

Church in Pililla, Rizal


Pililla church

The Mary Magdalene statue


waiting for his white handkerfchief while it's being wiped on the statue


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bais, Negros Oriental

I have been here twice for only one reason. To see the dolphins. first it was the dolphins and the whales then they'll tell you it's just not that time of the no whales!

To go here, we came from Dumaguete and rented a van to bring us there in 1 hour. You have to be here really early as it would be another hour boat ride going to where the gentle, friendly and intelligent creatures swim which is in between the waters of Negros and Cebu.

the waters between Negros and Cebu. That's Cebu.

We have spotters to guide the captain where to go. This is where I learned that dolphins are naturally friendly and intelligent. As our boat got closer to them, they swam right beside us and even on the front of the boat as if to say that we should follow them. They  were not as big as the ones we see in Ocean's Adventure. We saw bottlenose and long snouted dolphins. A spinner even surprised me as I was sitting at the front of the boat (see video 2) I did not know where to look. They were everywhere.

long snout dolphins
our spotter

As part of the tour, they brought us to the sandbar. My first visit was high tide and I got lucky on my second visit. When it's low tide, it's your regular beach where you can swim, play on the sand and snorkel.     
Behind me is the sandbar at high first visit

you can stay here over night but no electricity. this is in the middle of nowhere.

Sandbar at low second visit
 We visited the mangrove too.
walkway to the mangrove

my videos of the dolphins in Bais

video 1

Video 2 - a dolphin spinned in front of me but was not able to catch it right away as it surprised me

It was just a wonderful experience that these wild dolphins were swimming beside us.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dauin, Negros Oriental

Way back 2005, we got a chance to visit Dauin which is found at the North East of Negros Oriental. We visited the cousin of our boss who has a beach front house right beside several popular beach resorts. They boast that the coast of Dauin offers excellent scuba dive sites. This is what we noticed when we were on they way as we saw signages of diving services from the resorts. We could see Siquijor Island from where we were.

We've only spent a couple of hours in Dauin but that was the time I remember that we planned to go back one day. There was also a conversation of wanting to have a beach front house in the future. We liked the place because it was very peaceful. It's not your white sand, crowded and party beach but... for sure it's a place you would want to relax.

The beach front house that we visited

Inside the house
Pura Vida Resort
Pura Vida Resort
Pura Vida Resort
El Dorado Resort
Relaxin' at El Dorado Resort

That's Siquijor Island

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mount Pinatubo

Who knew that the one thing that caused a disaster to thousands could turn out to be a breath taking view. Seriously, this is the most beautiful view I have ever seen. EVER.

My NatGeo experience :)

From Manila, we travelled by car going to Capas, Tarlac where we stayed at an inn owned by our contact, Kuya Wendell Mercado.  He is also the president and champion of the 4x4 wheeler's club. He and his dad and mom are the nicest ever.  We had to stay there over night because our meet up was 6AM and there's no way we can make it if we would be coming from Manila. We also stayed after the trek as we were too tired to drive home.

An hour drive to Mt. Pinatubo

The skyway was damaged by the strong and continuous rain we've been experiencing for the past months. So we had to take the long route. Our 4x4 driver (I forgot his name but he rocks in driving) took us to the Spa Town where we had to pay and register then off to the starting point of the trek which was an hour drive. The ride was fun. Bumpy but fun. The road is covered with lahar ( a type of mudflow or landslide of volcanic debris mixed with water down the sides of the volcano) I strongly suggest to cover your hair during the ride as the lahar will make your hair really hard.   


Our 4x4

Our guide, Kuya Mario, helped us cross the streams 

The Trek was 2 hours and a half. We were walking on rocks, lahar and water. It is important we follow our guide as he knows where it is safe to walk and faster. He even carried all our bags so we can be faster. The weather was cool and it drizzled on and off. It was just lovely.  

water break

Helping each other. It is important that we wear the right sandals.

This is a huge rock which is the mark that we were halfway
Near to the crater
After a long trek, this is the reward.

There will always be a jumpshot

On the way down, we were expecting to be faster but I think I pushed myself too hard that I may have stepped on the rocks and placed my weight that I had a knee injury. It was really painful but I tried very hard not to show how painful it was as I did not want to slow them down. Instead of an hour and a half, we still had the same time that we went up.

I had a knee injury. The stick helped a lot plus our guide was ready with his first aid kit.

The 4x4s were waiting for us
The food was great after the long trek (even with a knee injury)

Should you need a contact to work on your trip for this, 
Kuya Wendell Mercado is the man. You may reach him at 09196084313

watch our video on our 4x4 ride

watch our video on the crater