Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feast of Mother of Perpetual Help

Last June 27, I was invited by Mai and Edwin of the Redemptorist Missionaries for a celebration of the Feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help held at Roieng in Laoag where the Little Chapel of the image is located. The icon is original copy which came all the way from Rome.

A mass was celebrated by Fr. Dennis and Fr. Melchor. We recited a novena. We sang Immaculate Mother and Mary Immaculate, Star of the Morning which I did not sing for a long time. Bro. Joel gave a speech regarding their mission to introduce the Lady of Perpetual Help to the people. He cited that every time they celebrate the feast, its always raining.

He also described the origin of the image. According to him, the image originated from the island of Crete. It was stolen and hid to his belongings by a merchant and sailed to Rome. They met a life-threatening storm at sea where they thought it was their end but they cried for help to Our Lady and safely arrived. The merchant fell ill and he requested second merchant to return the icon and confided it to his wife but refused to do so. The Virgin Mary appeared to the merchant’s daughter and requested that the icon be turned into a parish between St. Mary Major Basilica and St John Lateran. The wife turned it over to the Augustinian friars and transferred to San Matteo Church in Rome where it was venerated in the year 1499. I have seen and passed by San Matteo Church when I went to Rome in 2007 but I failed to enter since I only visited the two former churches.

A dinner followed after the mass. The celebration was attended by the people of Isi-isik and Cabayo of Vintar and the members of the clergy including Bishop Utleg who dropped by.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Round of Empanada Festival

The second Empanada Festival was held last week as a tribute to their famous food product empanada. I went to cover the event with friends Engr Neil and Wilbert from The Ilocandia Photographic Society (TIPS).

The different stages of preparation and cooking empanada were depicted at the street pageantry. It started from planting and harvesting rice and mongo, grating papaya, sausage making, catching eggs, rice dough making to cooking empanada. They all danced to the uniform music of Empanada adopting dance steps from cooking empanada.

This part of the program was participated in by college students, youth groups and adults alike. Not much difference was seen from last year’s celebration. The only thing I noticed was that there were many floats paraded around this time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mayan Backstrap Loom Weaving

When I visited the National Museum of American Indians in Washington DC, I chanced upon a native art demonstration. The museum showcased the Mayan backstrap loom weaving. It is being held Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am -12:30pm and 2-4pm. Its free admission.

Juanita Velasco, a native Guatemalan specifically called Mayan who came from a small village of Nebaj was the weaver in charge who makes intricate and colorful Mayan textiles worn by the people in her village for everyday and ceremonial use. She even introduced herself as Sheba, her nickname. She was so kind and accommodating. I saw her without the headdress but she talked about it and later donned it for me to see. There were several steps of twirling and folding of the fabric until she fitted it on to her head.

Weaving is a procedure where two distinct sets of yarns called the warp and the filling or weft are being interlaced to form a beautiful fabric. This is done with the use of a loom, a device or machine that ranges from hand-held frames to large mechanical device. In this case, Sheba used the backstrap loom in which she used a rigid heddle. The long warp threads were tied to a post and the other end was tied at a strap around her back. She also used a wide array of colors of threads for a much colorful designs. It was so educational to attend an activity like this.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Asian Cooking at Julius Maggi Kitchen

The Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine had a special weekend activity at Nestle in Rockwell Center in Makati. This was the cooking demonstration at the Julius Maggi Kitchen. I joined Drs Isaias Alipio, Jr, Karen Deleon, Melissa Mercado and other physiatrists from different hospitals.

Chef Imelda Go featured in her cooking demonstration Asian recipes. She prepared and cooked Vietnamese spring rolls with nuoc cham dipping sauce, Thai pomelo salad with coconut-lime vinaigrette, sticky rice with mangoes, Thai green curry beef and Indonesian chili pork with string bean ribbons. I questioned the last recipe since Indonesians never eat pork because of religion. Chef Go apologized. She was not able to buy chicken for the recipe which is supposed to be the primary ingredient. She had to innovate.

After the quick cooking of five recipes in less than an hour, everyone in the audience were sampled the good Asian foods. These were simple recipes yet great tasting. I have to acknowledge Lei Asuque, PARM secretary for the photos. More holiday cooking demo will be showcased in the nutrition month of July. These are free demonstrations which require early reservation of slots at Julius Maggi Kitchen at 02 896-2166.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Glimpse of Camsur Watersports Complex

After coming from our trip to Caramoan, Krisma took us to show the newest attraction in the Bicol region that is the Camsur Watersports Complex. It is popularly known as CWC and it is situated in the Provincial Capitol Complex in Cadlan, Pili Camarines Sur. This is a watersports park designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating, and waterskiing.

Camarines Sur is slowly gaining its claim as the wakeboarding capital of the world since the park is being visited by foreign tourists from across the world. International tournaments especially world championships are also being held in this park. There were so many people when we dropped by because there was a local tournament being held in time for the Kaogma Festival.

Cable pass for hourly rate is P185, P370 for half day rate, P610 for whole day, while night rate is P500. These rates are inclusive of beginner wakeboard, skis, kneeboards and basic instruction.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Caramoan: Home of Reality Show Survivor

I heard many good feedbacks and reviews from various people and magazines about Caramoan. They call it a paradise because of its amazing natural beauty. The island is not explored by much people. I was lucky to have visited this site. When we reached the village of Oroc-osoc, we saw the set of Survivor Bulgaria.

Survivor is a very popular reality game show produced in many countries where contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete with each other. Several challenges are played through the various hurdles being set up. Elimination process is being implemented by allowing members to vote off other tribe members until the last man standing becomes the Sole Survivor.

The shoot was just finished. There were vehicles bombarding the street so we waited for a while to clear. Someone shouted that a finalist of the game show died of a heart attack after doing the obstacle course challenge. It was a Bulgarian man aged 53 years old who is a mayor and singer. He just felt tired after performing the drill, lied down then passed away according to reports. Doctors of the the team tried to save him. We saw the corpse covered. It was so unfortunate and sad to have seen this situation.

However, we had the chance to meet some of the casts and crew at Ate Angge’s store. They were so warm and kind. We have seen some of their obstacle courses at the Matukad Beach and Lahos. We even played with them. I visited the production room where the crew were busy producing the materials needed for the show.

All of them exclusively stayed at Gota Beach resort. This is the third batch of Survivor to shoot in Caramoan. The first one was the Survivor France last year followed by Survivor Israel just last March to May. Survivor Bulgaria is staying up to August. It usually takes them three months to shoot in the peninsula.

I was even informed that Survivor Serbia and Sweden are scheduled to shoot also on this island. Survivor France is planning to come back for another round of shoot here. This is just a proof that they indeed love this place and being enticed by its natural charm.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Paradise Called Caramoan

My flight to Manila was a little bit delayed and arrived 9pm at the airport. I was told that the last trip to Naga City was 9pm at Philtranco Pasay terminal. I thought that there was really no more chance making it to Naga. I just dropped by anyway at the terminal and I was called by barkers that there were ordinary buses available bound for Legaspi so I thought of it for a while. I took the trip because I didn’t have anymore choice.

I was invited by my buddy Pamela to go with her to Caramoan. I could not resist the charm of Bicol to explore especially a paradise called Caramoan. It is a small municipality located in the tip of Caramoan peninsula in the province of Camarines Sur. The name was taken from the word “Carahan” which means sea turtle which was endemic to the place during the Spanish times. But the former name of the place was Guta de Leche as coined by Dutch traders. It may be attributed to the milkdrop stalagmites found at the Guta Port.

It was so hot in the ordinary bus I rode and paid a fare of P400. Despite that I was able to get sleep along the way. There was traffic I felt along SLEX and Quirino highway so it took us nine hours to travel. This was my second time to visit Camarines Sur after ten years when I visited my interns from Naga City on their graduation day. I took a bus trip from Laoag to Manila then to Naga. It took me one full day of travel and it was long and ardous trip that can even burn a butt.

When I alighted at the central terminal I rushed to Jollibee to see Pam since she told me that she was there waiting for me but she finally chose to go to Dunkin Donuts. I just took my breakfast here and freshened up. I was impressed that Naga has changed a lot. There were so many improvements. SM City has just opened on May 1 to cater to the people of Bicol.

Then I went to Dunkin Donuts and met up with Pam, our good friend Ancie and her boyfriend RJ, with Krisma and Tin, all of them arrived from Legaspi. We did not waste time so we rode a van bound for Sabang. We paid a fare of P120 and took us an hour and a half. Then we catched the last trip of 11am boat ride to Caramoan. It was two hours trip. We disembarked at Guijalo Port where we took a multicab which we paid P800. I think this was so expensive. Alternatives are tricyle for P150 and habal-habal or single motor for P25 per individual.

We passed by the villages of Caputatan, Salvacion, Oroc-osoc before we reached Paniman where we stayed at a villa of Laguerta Resort owned by Krisma’s family. We took our lunch of grilled sweet blue marlin with chili, calamansi, soysauce dip, laing, and lechon manok wrapped in banana leaves. It was a mouthwatering lunch.

Then we rented a boat for our island hopping. We were so amazed by the beauty of the islands we saw. We first saw the Gota Beach where reality show Survivor casts and crew stay exclusively. We were not able to go to this site. We visited another exclusive Hunongan Beach and we were lucky to have been permitted to land in this site and we had swimming. We came close to the nice cottages here. Then we proceeded to our favorite Matukad Beach. It has very fine white powdery sand and rocks. It rained so hard when we arrived here and we enjoyed swimming under the rain.

We had a delectable dinner of sinigang na sugpo, buttered shrimps, calamares and ginataang malunggay prepared by Ate Angge. We had restful night of sleep.

On the following day, after taking breakfast of daing, longganisa and fried rice, we went to another very interesting Lahos Beach. We swam here as we took many photos including some jump shots over white powdery sand and clear blue skies.

We stopped again at Matukad Beach and I was able to see the lagoon found at the center of the rocks in the island. It was an amazing find that I have to climb the rocks and I was accompanied by a guard of the island. He told me that I was lucky that the fish showed up and we even saw an iguana.

This was such an exciting weekend visit to Caramoan. This is like Boracay Beach in the 1990s when only few people visit this place. It was so tranquil and unspoilt. Only few people visit this place but slowly gaining popularity since the shooting of reality show Survivor France. Its worth the trip indeed to a paradise.