Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bantay Church and Belfry

I guess majority of the places you will visit in the Philippines, somewhere out there, you will see an old church with a history behind it. I'm not a fan of churches but there are a few interesting story in some. Just a few kilometers away from Vigan, is the town of Bantay in Ilocos Sur. There we visited San Augustine Parish Church that was built in 15th century. I noticed a lot of the churches in Ilocos are built/founded by Augustinian friars. Though damaged during the World War II, it was reconstructed on 1950 with a restored facade of neo-gothic design mixed with pseudo-Romanesque materials and elements (by the way, the last sentence was copied from a research as I can never produce words like that. Architecturally ignorant)  
That's me checking out the facade. I rarely go inside a church.

Entrance to the church

Legend says that fishermen found the image of Our Lady of Charity inside a wooden box floating in Bantaoay River. People from other towns and provinces attempted to move the image but failed to and can only be moved by the people of Bantay miraculously. Hmmm . . . .

At the top of a hill, the Belfry is a few meters away from the church as the Spaniards designed it this way in case of calamities that may damage the church. The belfry also served as a look-out point for any approaching enemies. As we reached the top, we saw a great view of Ilocos Sur. It has one big bell in the middle and surrounded by smaller ones. I am not a Catholic so i discovered that each bell is rang with a different sound depending on the occasion. Also, during the WWII, this was also used to alarm the people and the nearby towns to escape and to seek shelter at the nearby mountains from invading enemies.  
The bell tower

Taken by the care taker who was so nice and always volunteers to get our camera  for  picture taking

Going up the tower

I found the stairs kinda creepy

I feel like Kuya caretaker's dream is to be a photographer. He would take our camera and would make us pose.
In this photo, I can't make my pose because of him he he he but he's the nicest. 

The big bell

One of the small bells. It sucks how people had written on  it.

One of the views . . .  .

 . . . . cemetery

An ice cream vendor takes an afternoon nap just outside the church

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sui-slide and the Plunge at Danao

This was my second time to visit Bohol and every time, they have something new in store for their visitors. From Panglao, our driver/tour guide, Kuya Jun picked us up and we reached Danao Adventure Park or Extreme/Eco/Educational Adventure Tour in 2 hours. Since we were scheduled to do a city tour on the same day, we decided to only do the Sui-slide which is their version of zipline and the Plunge. I can say that this is far better experience than my Bukidnon adventure. The view is just wonderful and you can feel the height as you are way above the trees. A perfect panoramic view. But one thing about the Bukidnon (Dahilayan) zipline is that you'll feel more secure with their gears. The Sui-slide gears was a bit light and I felt the difference from the one I wore in Bukidnon. I just don't know how to explain it. Though it did not scare me but I bet it would for some of my friends. This was also a realization how I love this activity as I was all smiles all throughout. I did Sui-slide alone (take note it was drizzling) and I still had fun. I would go back here again and experience it one more time and at the same time explore the other activities E.A.T Danao has to offer.     

Sui-slide is PhP350/person
(rate as of October 2011)

I'm a sucker for ziplines so I cannot miss the Sui-slide. I was the only one who did this.

The first zip is 480m and the second zip is 460m going back. It was drizzling when I did the first zip and the view was just beautiful.

Our second activity was The Plunge which is PhP700/person
(rate as of October 2011)

Kuya giving me instructions while he works on my safety gears

He tells me to sit down

Slowly, the floor folds and let me hang  on the air  for a few seconds

Then a split second they released me & I  couldn't feel anything supporting me. This is a 45meter free fall.

Then I felt my support but my heart was beating faster for a minute  from the fall

And then I was happy just swinging up in the air

I was busy taking a video that I missed the rope that I had to catch. Yes .  .  .  that's the rope.

As i wait for my rope, I enjoyed the moment left.

I got it the second time hee hee

They pulled me up


How true!

my certificate

You can do a lot more in Danao 
My video of the PLUNGE taken by Marlene, my travel buddy

The PLUNGE taken by me while I dangle up in the air

You can visit their website for updated rates and more info:

Some photos are courtesy of one of my travel buddies, Roberto Chando

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Batac, Ilocos Norte

I've never heard of this place until we visited it as part of our Laoag tour. One of the things I've learned from our Ilocos tour is that we visit a lot of nearby towns not familiar to the ears of many but should be acknowledged for its wonders and history. Batac is one of them. It is in the mid-southwestern of Ilocos Norte which is 472km north of Metro Manila and will take you around 8 - 9hours drive. From Laoag City, it will only be 15 - 20minutes drive.   

It is known as "Home of Great Leaders" This is the birthplace of Gregorio Aglipay who is the founder of the Aglipayan Church, General Artemio Ricarte who is the Father of Philippine Army, Rodolfo Biazon who is a current senator of the Republic and this is where the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos' body lies in a mausoleum open for public viewing.

The place is also known for the original and best empanada. It's like a mexican taco of the Ilocanos. It is a half-moon orange snack made of rice flour filled with mongo, egg, grated green papaya, salt and pepper and cooked deep fried. The empanada stalls are found at the side of the Imelda Cultural Center.  

They will make the empanadas where you can see them and
you can even make them  on your own as they guide you on what to do

Best eaten right off the pan when it's hot and partnered it with Ilocos' vinegar

You cannot take a photo of Marcos' body but a friend was able to do this secretly. His family demands a burial with honors in a cemetery reserved for presidents and other prominent figures. Died at the age of 72 in the year 1989, his widow Imelda refuses to bury him elsewhere

Ferdinand Marcos' bodies lies in a glass viewing case inside a refrigerated crypt