Sunday, November 30, 2008

Marinduque: Braving the weather in Poctoy

Looking back to our first day in Marinduque, we were greeted by brewing rainclouds.I t can be disheartening for any photographer but like on this long weekend, one just have to brave it and wish for good weather. Barring none, one must just grin and make do with what's there. Having said that, Lagalog is off to another out of town trip. see you all in a few days.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Marinduque: Looking for Paadjao Falls but finding Kawa Kawa instead

My buddy, Ironwulf, was here in marinduque years ago and tells us about this beautiful falls called paadjao. Lantaw and I were only eager to see this spectacle and having a hired jeep at our disposal, we thought we would be able to do so. Tough luck as our driver and the locals in Sta. Cruz weren't able to tell us exactly how to find it. Later on, we found out it was located merely 15-20 minutes away from Boac, in Mogpog. Oh well, seems like a nice incentive for us to go back for.

It's not the first time it happened to me anyway. When i was in Camiguin years back, none of the locals I approached was able to tell me where the old Moro watchtower was in Guinsiliban. In Roxas this last summer, the locals led us to the Smart tower instead of the Moro watch tower. It certainly seems a case of lack of coordination between the local tourism group and the locals. but I digress.
I'm happy to share this very tranquil scenes from Kawa Kawa falls in Brgy. Bangkuangan in Sta. Cruz. The falls are approximately an hour's drive away from Gasan where we found our homebase and is accessible via tricycle or jeepney from the main road. The main basin is called Kawa-Kawa, after the vernacular for wok or deep frying pan.T here are several dramatic cascades surrounding the falls although personally, I wish the people left the falls in its most natural states as the development detracted from the look of the falls. An entrance fee of P5.00 is charged for the upkeep of the place which can benefit from less trash from its visitors.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marinduque: Churches old and beautiful

People who know me know I have this penchant for churches. specifically old churches. Maybe it's because it's an earthly connection to the Divine. Maybe it's because the stones, the glass, the wood all have been witness to decades, nay, centuries of history. We found some in our very short trip to Marinduque but some are relatively new or renovated not quite to their old glory. So I'm choosing three from several we encountered along the way.
The church in Boac, according to Wikipilipinas, was built in 1792. Its patron is the Holy Mother of Mercy. The church has historical significance; for one, the locals believed their patron saint rescued them from the Moro attack in the 18th century. The Katipunan flag was also blessed in this church in 1899.

The church is beautifully detailed, from the intricately-carved doors... the massive buttresses that call to mind those of another historical church, the one in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.The overcast conditions on our first day only gave me little impetus to shoot two of the churches we passed on our circuitous route from Torrijos to Gasan.The church in Santa Cruz is massive and magnificent. built in 1714, we find it impressive even in the very overcast conditions.t he brickwork looked solid and ready to withstand another century. incidentally, the locals look forward to celebrating 400 years of the town's Christianization this coming summer.

The other church that caught our eyes was the church of St. Ignatius in Torrijos. It wasn't the old church i really love to hang around in but we found the architecture different and interesting with a brick middle structure that sharply contrasts with the rest of the facade.We weren't able to take shots of the churches' respective altars as we came on a weekend and curiously, there were a succession of funeral rites in every church we went to. As humble photographers, we said our prayers, quickly exited and left the locals to their peace.  If you're looking to travel for cheaper, try looking at these coupons and discounts for Expedia!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marinduque: Island hopping to Gaspar

We set off to Gaspar Island, the only one inhabited among the Tres Reyes islands off Buenavista in Marinduque.T hough a mere 30-minute outrigger boat ride from our base of Gasan, Diego, the boatman we contracted for the trip may have found it hard to believe why any visitor would like to go there at 4am.T hough he arrived a bit late, we were able to catch the sunrise on the island.
Gaspar has a small fishing village community.E lectricity is fed via generator so there are only appointed times of the day when power is available. Drinking water is imported from the main island and the locals bring their clothes for laundering over to the mainland. The sandy bays are popular for swimming. During low tide, a long sandbar is exposed on the eastern side. the waters around this island are considered a marine sanctuary. 

Info on transport: Boats can be hired either from Gasan or Buenavista. We were charged P1,000 for the trip covering Gaspar Island.B oating around the other islands of Melchor and Balthazar would cost extra.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Marinduque: Night falls over Gasan

The weather was alternating between sunny and overcast on our first day in Marinduque. Tired and craving for sleep, I was sluggish on the jeep we hired to go across the island in clockwise fashion, from Torrijos in the east down to Poctoy down south back to Pinggan in Gasan where we found our homebase in Club Marinduque. My shooting mood patterned itself after the fickle weather and thinking about it now, I could've shot more but well, Lagalog was moody and a bit brooding about the flat lighting and overcast conditions.

I wasn't really expecting much of the sunrise considering the weather and time of the year but the cloudy conditions turned out to be a blessing. The sunset and especially the night sky were to say the least, very dramatic. Having weathered the long trip going here as well as zipping through several towns in between naps in the hired jeepney, I wasn't really in the mood to shoot but these scenes are much too good to pass up. Even with the prospect of getting an hour less sleep since we were going island hopping to Gaspar at 4 the next morning.
Some notes: Jeepneys ply the route of Balanacan-Buenavista. • Jeeps can also be hired to go around the island, approx. P2,000/whole day • Tricycles can also be hired to go from town to town on special rates (haggle with the driver).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

48 hours in Marinduque, 24 hours on the road

"There goes my everything" wailed Engelbert Hmperdinck followed by "Woman in love" by Anne Murray.  A succession of country-pop ditties followed each other as we rode the Jac Liner bus to Lucena. But not after waiting for 3 1/2 hours at the terminal on Buendia. ironwulf and I called Jac Liner a couple of times to verify the departure sked but got varying responses each time. Last time we called, the kind lady on the other end of the line replied we need to be there by at least 5.30pm so we can get listed as the bus originates from Kamias, Quezon City, and they will only allot 10 seats at the Buendia station when the bus passes by at 8pm. 

LIST? WHAT LIST? Chatting with a lady patiently waiting at the terminal, she told us to our chagrin that the list was practically useless and we have to jockey for position to get into the bus on a first-come, first-served basis.G ood thing we had the presence of mind to eat dinner at the nearby KFC and load up on supplies at the 7-Eleven earlier. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time.
At a little past 12, we were in Dalahican, Lucena, for our Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) trip via Montenegro Lines. It's my first time to ply the so-called Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) and it was an eyeopener. Eager to grab some sleep, we thought of going to the "airconditioned" lounge only to find out that the airconditioning wasn't working. so we opted to go to the outer deck and get acquainted with the monobloc-type benches. Good thing we brought malongs as the night temperatures really drop when the wind blows hard. We got to Cawit port in Marinduque around 5am. Too pooped to resist the temptation to fall asleep, we woke up and found ourselves way past Boac so we ended up in Gasan, over 7 kilometers away (actually, a stroke of serendipity).
THE LONG WAIT HOME. On the way back, the trip was even longer.W e were packed by 2.30pm for the bus that was supposed to pass by at 3pm.B ut the Jac Liner passed by at 4.I t lingered in Boac for an hour before proceeding to Cawit port by 8-8.15pm. We found ourselves back in the same Montenegro Ro-Ro ferry we rode on our way going here but we've happily adapted fast so we were able to grab more sleep.T he real delay happened in our disembarkation at Dalahican as the tide was high and the bus will not make the clearance unless we move to higher port. This took an unbelievable 1.5-2 hours so were able to move out of Dalahican only by 2am.T o make up for lost time, the bus didn't make any bathroom or food stops. It was well and good that we ate dinner and stocked up on arrowroot cookies at the Cawit port or else we would've gone to fitful sleep on growling tummies.

Don't get me wrong. I love long trips and i find Marinduque very interesting enough to go back to. But certainly, something can be done about the transport/commute. We spent only about 48 hours in Marinduque and roughly 24 hours for the commute which says a lot about the situation. And we're just talking about the off-season.I  can't imagine what it's like during the Holy Week when tourists flock in droves for the Moriones Festival. 

Travel info: Two bus lines ply the Manila-Marinduque direct route - Jac and Jam Liners. the Jac Liner terminal in Buendia picks up passengers at 8pm on a first-come, first-served basis. fare is P692 plus P25 for terminal fee. Tip: bring food and drinks for the long wait, as well as a lot of patience and a very flexible schedule.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Magandang morning Marinduque!

We left on a Friday afternoon for Marinduque, an island group at the fringe of Luzon, taking a bus trip I would remember more for the waiting than the actual length of hours on the road and on the sea (but more on that in a future post). I'm only feeling the deep-seated fatigue settling only now having spent 11 hours alternately idling and moving but i'm only too happy to have gone out of town again after almost two months of staying put here in the city (blame it on the weather and the skeds). This is true specially considering that time and again, Ive bypassed Marinduque since it seems to be just nearby and the opportunity to explore it never came by until ironwulf broached the idea.S o here's a opener for my Marinduque posts, a picture of dawn breaking at Gaspar island off the southwestern coast. I hope to be able to paint a good picture of how our 48 hours in Marinduque went.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


One would think that the Philippines, being an archipelagic country with a coastline longer than the continental United States, would not have problems with its potable water supply. But this isn't the case. In a study done by the Asian Development Bank in 2005, Manila's poor spent up to 20% of their income on water peddled by private companies. I really have no idea if this is the case elsewhere in the country but traveling around, it is sometimes exasperating to not trust the tap water for drinking. I'm not normally cautious with drinking tap water but having experienced severe diarrhea (or was it poisoning?) after drinking water in Silay taught me to be more wary.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Letting the dawg out

I haven't gone out of town since my Borongan trip and in all honesty, I've sort of ran out of images to share save for the Borongan pics which i'm not yet authorized to post for my readers.I 've also been busy seeing off our new project,, which I and fellow foodie/best buddy, ironwulf, launched last week. Also did a food shoot for a friend which is why i can only post now, albeit briefly. Here's one of my favorite subject, Peanut, smiling for the camera. I'm letting the dog out for the moment until I can catch my breath and plan for another out-of-towner.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So why another food blog?

The quickest way to a traveler's heart is the stomach.A t least that's what I believe.I  found a kindred spirit in Ironwulf especially on this topic and we knew the time was ripe for a collaborative project on this subject. And so is born. With so many food blogs out there, we wanted to bring in something fresh to the table, so to speak. Allow me to share the first post on this space. 

Ironwulf said: Food is very much part of travel and each destination offer its distinct food fares. As part of our contribution to a growing food community and as a means to share the rich food culture of different places we visited, we thought of creating a separate blog dedicated to food we stumbled upon which we found worth sharing.

We are neither culinary experts nor food gourmands. We are ordinary people who appreciate good food that simply makes our tummies happy. It doesn't matter whether it's from an upscale restaurant or a street vendor as long as it tastes good.
Lagal[og] said: As a Pinoy, food is part and parcel of our travel experience. Apart from the wonderful scenery, the spirit of the place, its unique culture and people are defined and revealed by the food it offers.

As travelers, we feel it's our obligation to share not just the wonderful landscapes but also the foodscapes. Much as we appreciate the beautiful sceneries, we also derive great happiness in stumbling upon good food. What will make us even happier is to share these finds with others so they, too, can explore the foodscape on their own. I think this is what happyfoodies is all about. 

We hope you'll support us in this new endeavor. So please pass the condiments as we bid you happy eating!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kulay Pasko

The headlines are maybe foreboding but whatever happens, Christmas will always come like a beacon shining bright. Now, as the very westernized jack-o-lanterns give way to the very Pinoy Parols, I figure that even though I have a lot of things I want to have and do, with the times, i just have to roll with it and be thankful for things I may have taken for granted. Blessings like friends, family, health. I guess I have to add my travels, photo assignments and photography milestones in the mix and i really have a lot to be grateful for. Let me thank all the readers of this blog as well for i'm a month away from celebrating 5 years of Lagalog. Without your support, I don't really know if i'd reach this milestone.


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