Sunday, May 31, 2009

Batanes: Summer in Batanes is from June to August

While the rains begin pouring down on the rest of the Philippines, spring is giving way to summer in Batanes. Yes, it's summer in Batanes. In fact, locals say that summer in Batanes is from June to August.

While there may be some occasional rains, one must not forget that Batanes has four seasons due to its close proximity to the temperate region. In fact, it's closer to Taiwan than it is to the rest of the Philippines.

Don't be discouraged by rainy Manila because now is the best time to visit Batanes! We were just there last week. And I'll be talking about it in the next few days. Rich in heritage, scenic views and beautiful beaches, Batanes is a must visit for anyone. Book your trip now at or call SEAIR Reservations at (02) 8490100. For packages call SEAIR Leisure Escape Packages at (02) 8437308.

Related entries
Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north
Marlboro Country, Mahatao Church and more from Batan Island
Batanes stone houses in Savidug and Chavayan, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang Island
Batanes hotels and restaurants plus exploring Batanes by bike

Friday, May 29, 2009

Issue 2 of Northbound Magazine is out!

Issue 2 of Northbound Magazine, a free quarterly travel guide to North Philippines (Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras and Central Luzon), will be available in hotels, restaurants and information centers around the region beginning next week. This magazine is a publication of the North Philippines Visitors Bureau. You can download the online version from

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bring out your Philippine flags! It's National Flag Day 2009!

Hunyo 12 by Claude Tayag (1989 Fiestas Serigraph Series)
It's National Flag Day 2009 today! After reminding Filipinos about the proper way to sing the Philippine National Anthem, it's time to talk about our foremost national symbol, the Philippine flag, and the proper way of displaying it. When was the last time you displayed the Philippine flag outside your home? According to Section 7 of RA 8491 - An Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat-of-Arms and other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines:

"SECTION 7. The flag shall also be displayed in private buildings and residences or raised in the open on flag-staffs in front of said buildings every April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan); May 1 (Labor Day); May 28 (National Flag Day) to June 12 (Independence Day); last Sunday of August (National Heroes Day); November 30 (Bonifacio Day); and December 30 (Rizal Day); and on such other days as may be declared by the President and/or local chief executives."

May 28, 1898 was the day the Philippine flag was first unfurled near the port of Cavite Nuevo after the victory at the Battle of Alapan, where the Philippine Revolutionary Army lead by Aguinaldo defeated the Spanish Army. This day is recognized today as National Flag Day.

As one Filipino nation, let us display the Philippine flag outside our homes and offices from May 28 (National Flag Day) to June 12 (Independence Day)! For the proper display of the flag, please read RA 8491.

The painting above is one of my favorites from Claude Tayag's Fiestas serigraph series. It's called Hunyo 12. In fact, I have one displayed in my room.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ilocos Sur: Viva Vigan! Binatbatan Festival, Tres de Mayo and more Vigan festivities

Vigan, Ilocos Sur is one of the grandest showcases of Philippine architectural heritage. And we what made it extra special was that Vigan was celebrating Tres de Mayo, an annual festival of thanksgiving, plus the Viva Vigan! Binatbatan Festival of the Arts.

We made our way down to Vigan from Pagudpud. But stopped over at Saramsam Cafe in Laoag for more Ilocano pizza. We were delayed a bit because of a minor road mishap. But we arrived in Vigan just in time for the street dance parade that was making its way through this UNESCO World Heritage City.

The Viva Vigan! Binatbatan Festival of the Arts is a cultural showcase of the city that was first organized in 1993 to coincide with the Tres de Mayo festivities. The centuries-old structures along Crisologo Street were all decorated with abel iloko cloth or inabel to mark the celebrations. The binatbatan street dancing started in 2002, with dancing mimicking the traditional Ilocano way of beating the cotton pods with two bamboo sticks, the first process in making inabel. This beating was done to separate the seeds from the fluff.

Anyway, the parade went on until evening after which we proceed to an old house for dinner. I'll tell you more about dinner in another posts dedicated to the food we feasted on in Vigan.

The next day was Tres de Mayo, a centuries-old fiesta of Vigan citizens to honor the Santo Cristo Milagroso or Apo Lakay. There is actually an early morning Mass at the Simbaan a Bassit or Vigan's Cemetery Chapel to open Tres de Mayo.

We walked around Vigan in the morning and got to appreciate the decorations along Crisologo Street. Lunch was at Hidden Garden and just like dinner, I'll talk about it in another post.

Before proceeding back to the poblacion, we stopped by the pagburnayan or the pottery area of Vigan. We were lucky because it was Fidel Antiporda Go, named a National Folk Artist by the NCCA in 1990, who did a demonstration for us.

The burnay was actually introduced to Vigan by early Chinese traders even before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. In fact, Go still speaks fluent Hokkien. It served as an all-weather container for local products for shipment ot China and other areas. It's also used for the fermentation of fish sauce, vinegar and basi wine.

Back in the heritage district, we visited the Syquia Mansion, the home of Pres. Elpidio Quirino's wife and repository of a good number of his memorabilia. It's declared by the National Historical Institute as a Heritage House.

While our group was in the house, I walked around to check out the ramadas or makeshift canopies decorated with produce that were constructed around the city as part of Tres de Mayo. The ramadas become focal points for each neighborhood during the afternoon since traditional Filipino games are organized for kids and kids at heart under these canopies.

Vigan's Chinese roots became evident in Crisologo Street as a lion dance troupe made its way around the various shops owned by Chinese-Filipinos. But there were no fire crackers though which always accompanies this practice.

Late in the afternoon, a calesa parade made its way around the city. Each calesa was decorated with everything Vigan and is one event of the festival you should not miss. What was lacking though was a marching band. And San Miguel, being the sponsor of this parade, should have made sure there was a marching band to make the parade even more festive. Were they cutting on costs like most corporates do when they beg organizers for exposure during these festivals? Oh well!

Before we left for Manila, we made one last stopover at Abuelita's Restaurant for a taste of traditional Vigan street food. There was a santacruzan and procession later in the afternoon but we had to rush back home. That was one long drive!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ilocos Norte: Mairaira Cove (Blue Lagoon) in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Mairaira Cove or Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte is one of the best beaches in Luzon. A little further north from touristy Saud Beach, its immaculate blue waters entice visitors for a swim. We arrived in Mairara Cove just in time for dinner at the Kapuluan Vista Resort where we were staying for the night.

On the buffet menu was a bevy of grilled dishes. But the highlight of dinner was kalua pig (pork roasted the traditional Hawaiian in a makeshift underground oven).

The next morning, we walked over to Blue Lagoon which was five-minutes from the resort. The sand was soft and the waves were a bit strong. Being a holiday, there were a good number of visitors. There were also some surfers riding the swells further away from the beach.

Mairaira Cove is a popular haunt for surfers. In fact, the resort offered surfing lessons. If we weren't leaving early, I would have taken surfing lessons for an hour or two. At least we were blessed this weekend with sunshine amidst this weird summer weather.

After packing our bags, we went back on the road and drove further north to the Patapat Viaduct for a photo opportunity. From there, it was back south to Laoag City.

Kapuluan Vista Resort
(0920) 9522528
Related Posts with Thumbnails