Homeward Bound

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We’re leaving in four hours for our annual 12-hour drive to our hometown for Lent. I’ve been busy preparing for the trip because unlike in the past, this is going to be such a major production — the dogs are coming with us.

It’s both ‘Yey, we’re bringing them to the beach!’ and ‘There’s going to be chaos inside the car! For 12 hours!’. Because I can’t share in the driving duties, I’m in charge of the little savages and I probably won’t have time for much else, including snapping photos along the way.

These are pictures I took this time last year of the usual roadside scenery just before we reach Sorsogon. It’s harvest time so the rice fields are green and gold and calming and, though not as majestic as other landscapes, really beautiful. 🙂

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I hope you all have a calm and peaceful week ahead. 🙂

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Hot Air

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Last weekend, we drove to Clark Field in Pampanga (a province north of Manila) for the 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. We arrived early enough but there was already a huge crowd milling about. As I fiddled with the camera, I enviously eyed the ones who were able to secure a good spot for the expected photo ops and complained to the husband that everyone around me seemed too tall! 😀

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To signal the start of the festival, skydivers jumped from a light plane, one of them with the Philippine flag. We then spent the rest of the morning  with our eyes glued to the sky, enjoying the sight of colorful balloons and paragliders and getting mightily impressed with the daring of aeronautical acrobats. Like everyone else who had a gadget (or two) in hand, I just clicked and clicked away.

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I’ll post pictures of the cute balloons next time. 🙂

My Mini-Guide to Summer Fun in the Philippines

Since it is already summer over here and everyone is raring to go on weekend vacations, I’ve compiled my posts on a few domestic destinations and activities I tried during the past year. I hope it’ll help you plan your summer activities, whether you’re a fellow Pinoy or someone planning to visit my country.

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Christmas Shopping at the ‘Tiangge’

Weeks before Christmas, bazaars (locally known as tiangge — pronounced “chang-ge”) become one of the more ubiquitous sights in the urban and town centers in the Philippines. A tiangge  is a group of stalls that are set up temporarily in open spaces or  sometimes permanently (and more conveniently) inside large, air-conditioned buildings. They are especially popular at this time of the year and during fiestas and festivals.

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Pasasalamat

There is no such thing as a thanksgiving day in the Philippines. What we have are separate fiestas that celebrate the bountiful harvest and produce of various towns. There’s also Eidul Fitr, a day of thanksgiving for our Muslim countrymen. But no national thanksgiving day.

And that’s too bad because we’d do well to have one. Most of us for most of the year are unforgiving of ourselves and of others, cynical about systems and what-have-yous, and suspicious of our government and that traffic light that turns red every time we’re almost at the intersection. Some even make a daily living out of being snarky (morning AM radio, anyone?).  A day to break away from all that will be a blessed relief.

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Food Tripping in Mindanao

Travel planning for me is never complete without some serious research on the must-eats in our destination. (What can I say, I love food. 🙂 ) So before we set out on our tour of the Mindanao adventure corridor, I asked fellow readers of one of my favorite food blogs for tips on what to eat and what foodstuff to bring home from Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Bukidnon. They generously helped me put together a short checklist.

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A Day in Camiguin (Part 1)

Mantigue boat

After ‘braving’ the beginner rapids in Cagayan de Oro City, we left early the next day for the island province of Camiguin.

Camiguin (pronounced ka-mi-GIN), is the second smallest province in the Philippines (after Batanes). It is famous for its islets with white sand beaches and the sweetest lanzones in the world.

From Cagayan de Oro, it’s a two-hour drive to the coastal town of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental where one can take a ferry to Camiguin. On board, we saw these boys calling out to us to throw coins at them which they would catch or dive after.

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The ferry left port at around 8:00 AM.

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