Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Batam is a city in the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia known for its free trade zone located 20km of Singapore’s south coast. It has various resorts, night clubs and karaoke bars.
Upon reaching its port, I went straight to the malls looking for some stuff and they were really of cheap prices. I ate bakso, a local soup as recommended by Aya Mansuri. I rented a motorcycle with a driver to tour me around the island and it was fun.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This was inscribed into the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on June 28, 2007. This is the landmark of Sydney or Australia in general that captivates everyone just like me. It was awesome. I went around it and simply amazed me. Just imagine the design where the roof was outstanding. It’s a pre-cast concrete ribbed roof. The construction of this building was completed in 1973.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This is surely another interesting tourist attraction since Paoay town will soon be named as one of the important bird’s sites or areas of the Philippines.
Friday, November 21, 2008
My first encounter with them was at the mall where a group of them performed a cultural presentation wearing G-string and with body paints. They were so warm and love to pose for photo ops. However, I have seen some of them just walk around on barefoot on the streets. There are already Aboriginals who are mixed race. Some of them are prominent personalities who became member of the Senate, rugby and basketball players, artists, actors, singers, musicians and in many different fields.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I flew to Singapore via Tiger Airways from Clark airport where I had a stopover. I was fetched by my good friend Raja at the Changi Airport. I stayed at his place with his family for overnight. I met again Ibu Intan and the rest of the family. The next day, I had a half day tour around the city.
20-Hour Sojourn in Darwin
Later in the evening, Raja and wife Linda sent me off to the airport. I was a bit anxious for it was my first trip to Australia. I looked around and saw the queue at the check in counter. Neither an Asian nor a Filipino was there. All of them were Caucasians. Luckily, I’ve seen and met at the passengers’ lounge two Filipinos, Fr. Gilbert of Cavite and Loida of Bulacan who just met each other a few minutes before I approached them. They were both flying to Darwin.
Loida lives in Darwin. She shared to us her Aussie life and identified what to see and expect from the city. The city was named after Charles Darwin, a renowned naturalist and thinker associated with the theory of evolution by natural selection. Fr. Gilbert was going on a personal trip much like of my trip and itinerary. He had a trip a little longer of a day than mine.
We flew out at around 11PM and arrived 5 hours later. Darwin’s time is an hour and a half ahead of Singapore. It was already dawn when we touched down at the Darwin International Airport. The moment we disembarked from the plane, it was an unbelievable feeling to set foot on another strange country, an outback which is one of the wealthiest and developed nations. It is an enormously huge country. I was informed by Loida that the immigration was strict with regards to dairy and poultry products so she advised us to declare if we have any. This made me worried since I had cheese, chocolate powder and other food snacks on my backpack. I was held at the immigration, they checked my bags and its contents. They sequestered the cheese and chocolate powder drink. Besides that, the immigration officer even asked me several questions about my personal details and my purpose in visiting Australia. He was surprised to find out that I’m visiting for only four days which was unusual for Filipinos since most stay either for a month or even longer.
After the interrogation, the officer concluded that I’m consistent and confided to me that he has a Filipino wife. I was the second to the last passenger to go out of the immigration area. The incident pressured me for I thought they would not let me in. Loida’s group became stressed of waiting for me to come out so Doraieh came to see me. Loida introduced me to Doraieh, also a Filipino, who fetched us.
We first stopped at Ofelia’s house. She was one of their close friends. Her house being a military shelter is highly elevated. She is married to military man and got one child. We went up the house, freshened up and rested. After relating our travel stories, we were then taken to Skycity Casino for our buffet breakfast. It was Loida who treated us. We took photos around and went to a nice site on a bayview. We were being told that nobody swims in that area since it was infested by crocs.
After dropping off Loida to her house, Doraieh drove us to her home and cooked lunch for us. We talked about ourselves and discussed about charitable works.
We went around the city and it was very hot, having a temperature of 40C. Darwin City is the capital of the Northern Territory, a huge slice of outback. I saw some aborigines walking and running around in barefoot. I noticed some establishments to have industrial fans which emit a spray of water to cool you down. Afterwards, we went to the mall and we luckily saw an ethnic dance performance by the aborigines. Their bodies and faces were painted with white art designs, wore red g-strings and headbands. While dancing they made some chants. They displayed long arrows. It was so indigenously entertaining.
We went to shop some souvenirs. I bought Darwin T-shirts and boomerangs. I saw didgeridoo or didjeridu, a wind musical instrument of the indigenous Australians. This is sometimes called a wooden trumpet or “drone pipe.” It comes usually in cylindrical or conical shape and has a measurement anywhere from 1 to 3 meters in length with most instruments measuring around 1.2 meters. Then, we went to the port and saw the marine vessels and luxury cruise ships docked in the area.
Later in the day, we went to the popular Fisherman’s warf wherein you can watch school of fish of different variety especially the moon fish rumble as you throw and feed them with fries. All of them rushed against each other to catch. With enjoyment of the sound of water, fresh air and the sunset at the port, coupled with an order of some fish and fries especially popular barramundi fish meat with few bottles of beer capped my day in Darwin.
We touched down at the Sydney International airport at 9:30am. The time here is half an hour ahead of Darwin or 2 hours ahead that of Singapore. I bought at once a three-day pass ticket at the MRT station which costs AUD100. This was good for unlimited bus rides, MRT, and ferry or cruise valid for 3 days. I took MRT using the ticket then rode the Sydney Explorer bus in the morning.
I made my first stop at the Circular Quay, location of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. These were the popular landmarks of the city. I was awed by the beauty of these structures especially the Opera House which has a unique architecture, an expressionist modern design created by a Danish architect Jorn Utzon. It is one of the most distinctive 20th century buildings of the world and has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
I took a city map and hopped from one point to the next. The sights were just amazing. I even had a photo taken with the person dressed like Captain Cook at the port. I rode the Bondi Explorer for beach tour. I dropped by to the world famous Bondi Beach. There were lots of people coming to this place in their swimsuits and surfboards. Wow it’s indeed an incredible sight.
Later, I went for a romantic harbour night cruise where the sight was just spectacular, so romantic with all the night lights glowing everywhere especially on the bridge and opera house. I met foreign tourists in the ferry particularly an old Danish couple who went to see Australia before they expire in this world.
After a long day tour, I went to Blacktown at 11pm and searched my way to my host’s place at Newton Road. It was indeed an adventure to go around, search for the house at uncertain time. I was blessed that I traced it easily following the house numbers. I knocked the door then, someone opened it and I was welcomed by Jessie, my friend’s friend. He received me cordially and led me to my room.
The next day, after a breakfast with Jessie, I went back to the city. I went for another round of cruise but it was on a daytime. The sight was totally different at night. I saw birds hovered above the water and the ferry. I saw a moveable bridge that automatically lifted up as we passed by underneath.
I went back to the Sydney Opera House for a close scrutiny. You would really be amazed to see it up close. Its incredibly outstanding as the asymmetrical designs of the roof were put up together. Numerous people flock to visit this structure. Later, I went to the Royal Botanic Gardens, to Queen Victoria Bldg and museum, the Market City, Sydney Town Hall, Darling Harbour, Sydney Olympic Park, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and to the Sydney Chinatown. I ate and enjoyed Chinese noodles here. Proceeded later to the Circular Quay and stood by at one of the corner as I enjoyed my ice cream. I listened to an acoustic singer who performs in a corner where passersby drop few coins in appreciation of his music. I went home late at 12 Midnight.
Packed my things and had breakfast. I bade Jessie goodbye then met up with my friend Hilda’s mother, Tita Vicky. She toured me to the Blue Mountains. It is a popular tourist destination approximately 48km west of Sydney with the Three Sisters as its main attraction. I rode skyway, the cable car and the train where I spent AUD 29 for the scenic world rides. I had seen the coal mine exhibition. We had a bus ride down to the Katoomba Scenic Highway where the driver served likewise as our tour guide. It was humid in the area.
We went back to the city to catch my flight to Darwin. We flew out at 7pm. There was scanty passenger on board Virgin Blue so I was able to find empty seats to lie down to. I had to get up every now and then since we experienced frequent turbulences during the flight. We arrived in Darwin at around 1am and had to wait for my flight at 5:35am bound to Singapore.
I arrived past 9am in Singapore and just took the MRT to Raja’s place in Kembangan. I had a side trip to Batam Indonesia on the following day and then next day, Aya Mansuri sent me off to the airport for my flight back to Philippines.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This song was composed by Aaron Paul del Rosario and interpreted by various recording artists.This was performed based on the arrangement of Arnold E. Zamora by the Manila Concert Choir at Northern Christian College Auditorium in Laoag City. The lyrics is as follows:
Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin
Mahal pangako sa iyo hindi magbabago
Ikaw lang ang iibigin ko
Kahit ikaw ay lumayo at masaktan ako
Asahan na di maglalaho
Ang pag-ibig ko’y tanging sa iyo lamang
Kung kaya’t giliw dapat mong malaman
Minsan lang kitang iibigin
Minsan lang kitang mamahalin
Ang pagmamahal sa yo
Dahil ang minsan ay magpakailanman
Minsan lamang sa buhay ko
Ang ‘sang katulad mo
Ako rin ba’y iniibig mo
Dinggin puso’y sumasamo
Sinusumpa sa iyo ikaw ang tanging
Monday, November 17, 2008
Toy umas asog, agrayo ita sadiam
Panunutem man di ka pagitutulngan
Toy agayat agrayo ita sadiam
Issem adiak kalipatan
Ti nasudi unay anagan
Uray sadin ti ayan, lugar sa dinoman
No malagip ka, pusok timabang-a ran!
Manang Biday, Ilukat mo man
Ta bentana ikalumbabam
Ta kitaem toy kinayawam
Ay matayacon no dinacasian
Siasino ca nga aglabas-labas, ditoy
Jardin co pagay-ay-mac
Ammon ngarud nga balasang ac
Sabong ni Lirio dipay nag-ucrad
Denggem, adding tabilinenca ta incanto
Agala canto bunga’t mannga, lanzones
Ken adunga kita
No nababa di mo gawaten,
No nangato di ca sukdalen
No naregreg di ca piduten ngem
Labas labas am topay laeng
No naregreg- basam topay laeng
Iliili tulog anay, wala diri mo nanay
Kadto tienda bakal papay,
Iliili tulog anay.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tsu run tsu run run, tsu run tsu run run,
Ti ayat ti maysa nga ubing
Nasamsam it ngem jasmine
Kasla sabung nga a pag-ukrad,
Iti bulan ti Abril
Ti ayat ti maysa a lakay,
Aglalo no agkabao
Napait, napait, napait nga makasugkar
Tarong, pakbetek ton parbangon,
Idiubingak a bassit, ina lan na ken pipit
Inak idamdarumgis, iti rawis ti kamantiris.
Pm pm pm pm p p pm. Pm pm pm pm p p pm. Pm!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Their repertoire was a melange of spiritual, classical, Tagalog and Ilocano favorites. Their voices were so powerful and mesmerizing. I had the chance to enjoy their rendition particularly of the Ilocano songs and captured it on video.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Duhat wine and basi with cornick were served at the corridor. Dr. Jovencio Cuanang and some other VIPs were around chit chatting. Almost everyone was in his or her elegant Filipinia and abel suits.
Governor Michael Marcos Keon gave a speech opening up the affair. He greeted the guests such as Congressman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and wife Atty. Liza Marcos, Ms. Irene Marcos Araneta and the officials of the province. He talked about his projects and accomplishments.
The highlight of the event was the awarding of the Gameng Lifetime Achievement Awards to three selected individuals who excelled in their craft, which contributed to the enrichment of the Ilocano cultural heritage.
Consuelo Castillo or fondly called Nana O’o is 94 years old who is revered as spiritual guru. She is an expert in offering prayers for the deceased at the time of death to its 9th day, 1st month, 6th month and first year anniversary. At her age she still has the sharp memory to recite the litany.
Raymundo Gaspar, 83 years old, builds calesas since 1960. He designs and creates the wheels to the body of the calesa. The third awardee was Gloria Cocson who is an expert in the field of emapanada making. She may even be called the empanada queen since she is in the business for so long. These are people who contributed in the Ilocos heritage. It is their wish to pass on the legacy to their children so that they continue what they have started.
Dinner was served with roast beef, barbecued spare ribs, assorted cold cuts, fresh garden salad, steamed rice, carbonara pasta, potato salad, poached fish in ginger and onion sleeks, desert of maja blanca and fresh fruits. I was surprised to see on the table mamaen composed of the boa and gawed placed on top of a miniature ulnas. Likewise the decorations on the stage and the entrance door caught my attention since it was palms with eggplants, tomatoes, okra, string beans to represent as flowers. It was creative.
Ballroom dancing was the last part of the program as enjoyed by most guests.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Just to make a documentation out of it, Alaric and I braved the sharp coral rocks to walk through and the splashing waves that made our shorts wet . I was even apprehensive that my camera might drop or get wet. Fortunately, it did not. I had the chance to interact with these fishermen. One of them caught a couple of fish called ap-apukol. He told me that he can instantly catch and sometimes it takes a while.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This virgin paradise of the North does not only offer beaches but also caves such as the Bantay Abot cave, the Dos Hermanos Island which is eye catching, and the hills.
We had our lunch of Ilocano dishes consisted of igado, chicken adobo, steamed rice, ensalada and inabraw at Hannah’s place. It is an accommodation facility with a number of villas to occupy. These are concrete buildings with galvanized roofings. They offer amenities such as swimming pool, bar and restaurant.
The term “kabigan” was derived from the word “kaibigan” or “magkaibigan” to which has its own story to tell about the origin of the place. Kabigan Falls has an approximate height of 87 feet with a concave basin underneath to catch the water perfect for the guests and tourists to swim at and enjoy its water. The water was totally very cold when I took a dip. I never wasted time to savor the beauty and wonder of this site.
We trekked for about 30 minutes starting from the highway which has a distance of 1.8km. It has an easy trail to follow, a thick foliage to keep you shaded and you have to cross a couple of streams originating from the waterfalls. Along the way, you can view panorama of the mountain ranges, the rice fields, some carabaos, exotic plants and fruits. The said waterfalls is located in Baranggay Balaoi in the Pagudpud town of Ilocos Norte.This is exactly an amazing treasure of Ilocandia. A sight to behold. It is our prayer that it can be conserved for the future’s generation to enjoy.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This tradition is usually observed during the first month, seventh month and first year death anniversary and also on All Saint’s Day (Defunturung). The market in Laoag City is full of these items on sale on halloween. Based on my interviews with the elders, there are different components of the umras which comprises the dudul, pilais or pinais, sinuman, baduya, busi or pop rice, balisongsong or patopat, linapet, linga (black sesame seeds), binuelos, gawed, apog, muscada, basi, softdrinks, mamaen or boa, uncooked rice set on a crucifixion form with itlog (fresh egg placed on its top), tabako where the leader of the praying team takes home this rice after the session.
The table where they place the atang is half covered by manto or the black and the other half with white linen. There are 12 plates offered usually filled up with the food. Some would arrange the food in the plate in a tower form. For practicality nowadays, six plates would do. These are arranged in the said table in front of the altar. The prayer is then begun. Some people believe that the atang should not be eaten whereas others enjoy eating it. They vigil the atang or it is being watched or monitored by a person overnight. They remove the atang before sunrise. Some eat a part of the atang and burry in the ground some portions of it. Usually the one who recites litany or leads the prayer is an old woman preferrably a widower.