MY FAVORITE HOMESTAY IN SABTANG, BATANES

Your trip to Batanes will not be complete without visiting Sabtang. Sabtang is an island municipality located in the southern part of Batanes. From Basco, I had to ride a boat at the San Vicente Port and brave the open seas of the Luzon Strait to get to Sabtang Island.

Click here to see where I stayed in Basco, Batanes.

Iconic Batanes Tricycle
Thanks to Safetravel Philippines for arranging my trip to Sabtang. I visited the amazing places of interest on the island on board this iconic Batanes tricycle.

Places of interest that I was able to visit on Sabtang Island in Batanes while on board the iconic Batanes Tricycle Tour included:

  • Savidug Barrio
  • Chavayan Barrio
  • Ahaw (Natural Stone Arch) / Morong Beach
  • Chamantad Tinan Viewpoint

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Catching my breath while climbing this Idjang (a triangular-shaped hilltop fortress made from limestone and wood) in Sabtang. There are a total of 4 Idjangs found throughout Batanes. The Ivatan's ancestors used to live in Idjangs some 4000 years ago. Watch the featured video about how I lost my drone in Batanes. Link available in my bio. Follow my page. Don't be a stranger. You might learn something new. #Batanes #Sabtang #travelbloggers #travelblogger #travelblog #travelph #travelphotography #travelphotos #pinoywanderer #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #asianwanderlust #Philippines #digitalnomads #diginomads #pinasmuna #online #content #creator #island #itsmorefuninthephilippines

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Some visitors opt for just a day tour of Sabtang. According to locals, however, it is best to stay overnight so I could maximize my visit. That boat trip to the island, after all, was no joke. Hence, I booked an overnight stay at Neyala’s Homestay located at 071 P. Abarquez Street, Sinakan, Sabtang, Batanes.

From the Sabtang Port, I rode a tricycle arranged by Safetravel Philippines to bring me to Neyala’s Homestay.

Upon check-in, I met Tita Neyala, the matriarch of the Neyala Family. She then escorted me to the room on the second floor.

Neyala's Homestay, Sabtang, Batanes
Traditional Ivatan Clothing on display at the reception of Neyala’s Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes: the vakul is a traditional headdress worn by women farmers in the fields for protection against the sun and rain while Kanayi and talugong (vest and wide-brimmed farmer’s hat) are worn by men.

My room has a double deck and a queen size bed, good for a group of two or three. It has its own toilet and bath and air-conditioning.

Room rates are as follows:

  • Php 1500 per night for three
  • Php 1200 per night for two
  • Php 800 per night for one

For bookings, contact Safetravel Philippines here.

Neyala's Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes
Queen Size Bed. Neyala’s Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes.
Neyala's Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes
Toilet and Bath. Neyala’s Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes

There is a common area where I met fellow backpackers staying in Neyala’s Homestay who flew all the way from Visayas and Mindanao just to visit breathtaking Batanes.

Photo-op with Tita Neyala and fellow backpackers at the dining area of Neyala's Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes
Photo-op with Tita Neyala and fellow backpackers at the dining area of Neyala’s Homestay in Sabtang, Batanes.

Tita also served us Tubho Tea, a traditional tea of the Ivatans popularized in Sabtang. Tubho Tea is made of dried leaves of a fern that grows in moist rocky areas of Batanes forests and mountainsides.

To prepare, add 3 to 5 stalks of the dried tubho to a liter of water and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for about five minutes or until the water turns dark. Best served with lemon or calamansi.

A pack of Tubho Tea is Php 50. For orders, call or text +63-949-1372813 and look for Tita Neyala or her son Francis Neyala.

With Councilor JB Neyala on top of an Idjang in Sabtang, Batanes.
With Councilor JB Neyala (son of Tita Neyala of Neyala’s Homestay) on top of an Idjang in Sabtang, Batanes.

I enjoyed my stay in Sabtang. Thanks to the warm hospitality of the Neyala Family! I will be back and hope to see you again. Dios Mamajes. Signing out for now. Peace!

HERE’S WHY I MISS MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL

Just a heads up. This is a long post. LOL. If you do not have enough time to read, then scroll down for the two-minute-or-so video that I did for Misamis Occidental or click here.

Otherwise, read on…

Mindanao, the second biggest land mass of the Philippine archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, has always fascinated me. Personally, I think that Mindanao has not been given all these years the amount of attention it rightfully deserves. To many, Mindanao still remains a big mystery. Most of the news we got about Mindanao were about insurgency and war-torn places. But those are all in the past I believe.

It is high time that Mindanao be showcased as a tourist destination. With the current administration’s commitment to drive Mindanao’s tourism to new heights, there is no doubt that more people will begin to understand, appreciate and love this gifted land in the South.

Below is a short video that I prepared featuring the beautiful province of Misamis Occidental. Believe me when I say that this video does not give justice to what Misamis Occidental can offer. There is more to explore and discover in Misamis Occidental.

For high definition, watch this youtube post:

Misamis Occidental

The first time I joined the Department of Tourism’s media-familiarization trip was in January when we visited emerging tourist destinations in Malabon, Las Pinas and Paranaque.

Last February, I joined yet again the Department of Tourism and we flew all the way to Mindanao to discover and explore emerging tourist destinations in Misamis Occidental. With me were fellow travel bloggers, Josh Tanador of www.mgalaagnijosh.com and Sonya Sison and Carmela Nery of www.seekertravels.com.

Misamis Occidental is a province in Northern Mindanao. Oroquieta is the capital city. The two other component cities are Ozamiz and Tangub. In this three-day trip, I was able to quickly visit all cities and only four out of the fourteen municipalities, Clarin, Jimenez, Plaridel and Sapang Dalaga. I must say that it was such a short visit. There were so many places to see with so little time.

How to get there:

  • By Air: Daily flights to and from Cebu and Manila Ozamiz are available via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
  • By Land: Air conditioned buses to and from Dipolog, Pagadian and Cagayan De Oro
  • By Sea: Regular trips to and from Cebu, Manila, Dipolog, Dumaguete and Tagbiliran

Ozamiz City

Ozamis City is nestled at the entrance of Pangil Bay. Behind Ozamiz City stands the 7,956 feet Mount Malindang and Mt. Malindang Range National Park, declared as an ASEAN National Park.

On February 27, 2018, we landed in Ozamiz City Airport at six thirty in the morning via Philippine Airlines. We were welcomed by the indefatigable Marketing and Promotions Manager of the Department of Tourism Region 10 Mr. Carlston Barcenella Maglangit.

February 27, 2018 Arrival in Ozamiz City
Ohzahmeez — with Joyce Rocamora, Josh Tanador,Carmela Nery and Josh Aguilo at Ozamiz City National Airport.

What made this trip extra special was meeting a good old friend, Bro. Arianwen Lopez. We were on board the same flight to Ozamiz. Bro. Arwee came from Manila to visit his family. He is with the De La Salle Brothers.

Me and Bro Arwee on board the same flight to Ozamiz City
Me and Bro Arwee on board the same flight to Ozamiz City
La Salle University in Ozamiz City
La Salle University in Ozamiz City

After retrieving our checked-in luggage, the group proceeded to the Royal Garden Hotel to check-in and freshen up.

Royal Garden Hotel in Ozamiz City
Royal Garden Hotel in Ozamiz City

Royal Garden Hotel is located on Burgos Street corner Zamora Street, Ozamiz City. Call +63-88-521-2888 or 2889 for booking and inquiries.

The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan met us at the hotel. In no time, we were on our way and ready for a fun-filled day of touring Ozamiz City.

The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan at the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo or Cotta Fort
The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan at the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo or Cotta Fort

 

We also met the Ozamiz City Tourism Officer, Jaime Tomada. The tourist spots we visited in Ozamiz City were:

Cotta Fort & Shrine

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Also known as Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo, the Cotta Fort and Shrine was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates. It is one of the oldest historical structures in the province.

Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort
Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
Me in my all-out effort to take a photo of the The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
Me in my all-out effort to take a photo of the Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates.
The Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates.

The Cotta Fort houses the engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross which is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.

The engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross at the Cotta Shrine is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.
The engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross at the Cotta Shrine is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.

Get a glimpse of the city’s rich history at the Ozamiz City Museum situated inside the Cotta Fort.

The Ozamiz City Museum is located inside Cotta Fort.
The Ozamiz City Museum is located inside Cotta Fort.
Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, giving us the city's brief history in the Ozamiz Museum.
Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, giving us the city’s brief history in the Ozamiz Museum.

Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, gave us a brief history of the city. He also showed the future plans for Cotta Shrine’s renovation.

Rodriguez Ancestral House

One of the ancestral houses located in Ozamiz City is the Rodriguez Residence, believed to have been visited by Dr. Jose Rizal, the National Hero of the Philippines, during his exile in Dapitan. We were welcomed by the house’s caretaker, Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy.

The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
Me with Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House
Me with Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House
The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House posing for a photo-opportunity.

Pipe Organ and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

After visiting the Rodriguez Ancestral Residence, we proceeded to The Immaculate Conception Cathedral where the second biggest pipe organ in the Philippines and the biggest in Mindanao is found.

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, completed in 1960, was originally designed by Filipino architect Leandro Locsin and renovated in 1997. It houses the Philippine's second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, completed in 1960, was originally designed by Filipino architect Leandro Locsin and renovated in 1997. It houses the Philippine’s second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao.
Philippine's second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao can be seen at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz City
Philippine’s second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao can be seen at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz City

Mon’s Grill

We then had a quick refreshing stop at Mon’s Grill to taste their version of Halo-Halo (Mix-mix) dubbed as the World’s Best Halo-Halo. Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert made of shaved ice, evaporated milk and a variety of ingredients such as sweet beans, coconut, jelly, banana, sago pearls, sweet camote sometimes best topped with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of leche flan.

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Halo-halo (Mix-mix) is a popular Filipino dessert made of shaved ice, evaporated milk and a variety of ingredients such as sweet beans, coconut, jelly, banana, sago pearls, sweet camote sometimes best topped with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of leche flan. When I visited Misamis Occidental, I got to taste @monsgrillozamiz 's version of halo-halo dubbed as the World's Best Halo-Halo. Drooling yet? In this scorching heat, chill! Get yourself a halo-halo! #travelfood #traveltip #travelph #travelphotography #misamisoccidental #mindanao #itsmorefuninthephilippines #choosephilippines #wowphilippines #diginomads #wanderer #wanderlust #followforfollow #follow4follow #pinasmuna #pinoy #pilipinas #philippines

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Other places of interest in Ozamiz City that we missed to visit are:

  • Naomi’s Botanical Garden- a 9-hectare fruit and ornamental garden
  • Malindang Country Golf Course- located at the foot of Malindang Mountain
  • Bukagan Hill- located in Barangay Malaubang, 92 meters above sea level, where one can view the city of Ozamiz, Panguil Bay and Lanao del Norte Province
  • Regina Swimming Pool- a natural cold spring located 3 kilometers away from the city

I hope to visit Ozamiz City again when they celebrate the following festivals:

  • Subayan Keg Subanen Festival- July 15
  • Pilgrimage to the Cotta Shrine- July 16
  • Feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception- December 8
  • Sr. Sto. Nino Fluvial Parade- 4th of Sunday of January

Where to stay:

  • Royal Garden Hotel- Burgos corner Zamora Street, +63-88-521-2888/2889
  • Executive Hotel- Cebedo corner Gallardo Street- +63-88-521-0360
  • Asia Novotel- Rizal Avenue corner Valconcha Street, +63-88-564-2496
  • The Mu Manor- Circumferential Road, Aguada, +63-88-521-2552
  • Bethany Gardens- Bitoon, Bangkal, +63-88-521-0472
  • Naomis Tourist Inn- Banadero, +63-88-521-2441
  • Palace Hotel- Valconcha Street, +63-88-521-3239
  • GV Hotel- Port Road, +63-88-521-1353
  • Plaza Beatriz Hotel- Rizal Avenue, +63-88-521-1394
  • Goldern Horizon Pension House- Bernad Subdivision, +63-88-564-0331
  • Adriana’s Pensionne House- Juan Luna corner Parojinog Street, +63-88-545-0924
  • 67th Boulevard Pension House- Cebedo Street, +63-88-521-5893

Tangub City

Tangub City, formerly known us Regidor, is the Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines. Last February 28, the city celebrated its 50th charter anniversary. Indeed, it was the perfect time for us to visit.

Tangub City is an hour-drive from Ozamiz City. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Tourism Officer Ms. Baby Paller with a welcome lei and a passport to the Christmas Symbols Festival.

Belvedere

Before visiting the Christmas Symbols Festival, we went to the Belvedere (French for view deck) in Fertig Hills of Mt. Malindang. Situated at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, we got a 360-degree view of the virgin forests of Mt. Malindang and the whole Panguil Bay.

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When things do not go my way, I stop and think… okay, maybe complain a little… and ask myself "Will this even matter 5 years from now?" More often than not, my answer would be "No, it won't matter at all!" And then, I get up, chin up, move on and move forward and say NEXT! Me enjoying the scenic view of The Belvedere, Fertig Hills, Tangub City, Misamis Occidental #itsmorefuninthephilippines #choosephilippines #wowphilippines #asian #pinoy #pinoywanderer #travelblog #travelblogger #bloggerlife #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #pilipinas #pinasmuna #misamisoccidental #mindanao #tangubcity #tangub #belvedere #nature #travelphotography #travelph #baliktangub #hills #mountain #joelandrada #joeljawsandrada #theskincareaddict

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The picturesque view of the Panguil Bay which can be seen on the way up the Fertig Hills.
The picturesque view of the Panguil Bay which can be seen on the way up the Fertig Hills.
Candid shot of Josh Aguilo of the Department of Tourism while enjoying the cool breeze and wonderful scenery of the Fertig Hills.
Candid shot of Josh Aguilo of the Department of Tourism while enjoying the cool breeze and wonderful scenery of the Fertig Hills.

 

From left to right: May Salvana- Unchuan, Department of Tourism Region 10 Regional Director; Hon. Henry Oaminal, District Representative Misamis Occidental 2nd District; Hon. Harry Roque, Jr., Appointed Presidential Spokesperson; Dr. Jenifer Tan and Mayor Philip Tan, Tangub City.
From left to right: May Salvana- Unchuan, Department of Tourism Region 10 Regional Director; Hon. Henry Oaminal, District Representative Misamis Occidental 2nd District; Hon. Harry Roque, Jr., Appointed Presidential Spokesperson; Dr. Jenifer Tan and Mayor Philip Tan, Tangub City.

The Presidential Spokesperson, the Honorable Secretary Harry Roque, was also at the Belvedere when we visited. Roque was invited to be Tangub’s Honored Golden Anniversary Guest Speaker during the Stadium Lights Show happening that night.

Christmas Symbols Festival

After spending a chill afternoon at the Belvedere, we headed back to the city proper for a quick visit to the Christmas Symbols Festival. Annually, Tangubanons take pride in showing off their creativity through the various Christmas Symbols that light up the plaza starting in the first week of December until the last week of January the following year. Although it was already February, most of the Christmas Symbols were still lit up.

Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival

Stadium Lights Parade Festival

After dinner, we headed to the Tangub City Stadium to witness The Stadium Lights Parade Festival. This festival is a show that is participated in by schools and local and national government agencies all over Tangub City in celebration of the city’s charter anniversary celebration. When we arrived, the stadium was jam-packed. I was told that there must be about 50,000 people crowding the stadium. I also felt the excitement and high energy in the air. Of course, I came prepared. I brought my drone and got a go-signal from the organizers and the Department of Tourism to take some aerial footage.

I will update this blog as soon as I finish some quick edits on the aerial footage of some of the performances.

Tangub City's Stadium Lights Parade Festival
Tangub City’s Stadium Lights Parade Festival

The Lights Festival and Parade was a total feast for the eyes. The people’s effort and passion to participate in this annual event is truly admirable. Kudos to Tangub City and Happy 50th Anniversary!

We got back to the hotel close to midnight. What a fun-filled day for Day One. Oh, haven’t I told you? This was only Day One! LOL.

Other Festivals in Tangub City:

  • SobreMesa Summer Fair Festival- from 2nd week of April until end of May
  • Dalit Festival aka mother of festivals in Mindanao- September 29

I hope to be back in Tangub City when these places of interest open:

  • Panguil Bay Bridge- longest bridge in the Philippines after its completion
  • Migcanaway River Esplanade- longest river walk (5 km) in the country after its completion
  • Gardens of the World- only world-class garden in the Philippines within Mt. Malindang Range National Park, declared as an ASEAN National Park, will be opened by 2019.

For accommodation and reservations, contact the Tangub City Tourism Office at +63-88-545-0141.

Clarin

We started Day Two by having breakfast in Clarin. Clarin is a municipality just above Ozamiz City.

Clarin House of Suman

Ms. Novie Grace Reponte, the Tourism Officer of Clarin, brought us to Clarin House of Suman for breakfast and to know more about Clarin’s specialty, i.e., Suman.

Clarin House of Suman
Clarin House of Suman is a popular stop over for pasalubong (souvenir of gift) located along the highway.

Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.

Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.
Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.

The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties:

  1. Suman Latik
  2. Suman Moron
  3. Suman Balintawak
  4. Suman Plain
  5. Suman Pinya
  6. Suman Nangka
  7. Suman Cheese
  8. Suman Choco
  9. Suman Ube
  10. Suman Ibus
  11. Suman Buko
  12. Suman Peanut
  13. Suman Mango
The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties of suman
The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties of suman

The Clarin House of Suman is a popular stop-over for pasalubong (gift or souvenir). It is located along the highway, hard to miss with its green exterior and a giant suman as a front pillar.

Clarin House of Suman
Clarin House of Suman

The Suman Production House is located just across the street. According to Ms. Rita Cajeta, Local Government Unit (LGU) Coordinator, they produce and sell an average of 2500 pieces of suman per day.

Now that was a lot of suman for me!

Me with my suman. Opo... mahangin sa labas. LOL.
Me with my suman. Opo… mahangin sa labas. LOL.

For orders, you may contact +63-946-9658222 or +63-917-440-7615.

Jimenez

After breakfast, we were back on the road for a thirty-minute drive to the municipality of Jimenez to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, a National Cultural Treasure.

St. John The Baptist Church

The St. John The Baptist Church was declared a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines in 2001. It is located at the Brgy. Poblacion, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental.

The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental is a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.
The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental is a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.

The church was completed in the late 1880s. It has a Baroque architecture, and built mostly from coral stone.

The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
St; John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
St; John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental also has a pipe organ.

St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental also has a pipe organ.

The Pipe Organ of the St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
The Pipe Organ of the St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental

The church also houses a pipe organ.

The St. John the Baptist Church has a clock and bell tower. I am glad I went up the tower to see the bells up close and personal. The bells have inscriptions in Spanish! I was standing before objects of historical significance!

We then went to the Jimenez Municipal Hall, adjacent to the church, to have snacks.

Jimenez Municipal Hall
Jimenez Municipal Hall

We were served Jimenez’s version of Suman Luya or Suman flavored with ginger (see photos below from Cindy LaRosa). Yummy!

Quick stop for a snack at the Jimenez Municipal Hall
From left to right: Carlston Maglangit, Joyce Rocamora, Cindy LaRosa and May Salvana-Unchuan enjoying Suman flavored with ginger at the Jimenez Municipal Hall

 

RD May Salavana-Unchuan with her surprise birthday cake
RD May Salavana-Unchuan with her surprise birthday cake

The Mayor’s office and Tourism Officer Mr. Bong Abelidas, also had a surprise birthday cake for RD (Regional Director) May Salvana-Unchuan who celebrated her birthday on February 26, 2018.

Ancestral Houses

The heritage Municipality of Jimenez is also one of the best preserved colonial towns in the entire Philippines. That is why the local government is pushing it to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List just like the historic city of Vigan.

Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence

We were able to visit one of the ancestral houses, the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence, built in 1914. The ground floor used to be the Bacarro Printing Press where the emergency money or Mickey Mouse money was printed during the Japanese Occupation.

Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence, built in 1914
Me with Ruth Sapalleda Garingo, cousin of the owner and caretaker of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Ancestral House
Me with Ruth Sapalleda Garingo, cousin of the owner and caretaker of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Ancestral House
Mickey Mouse Money on display inside the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Family Residence
Mickey Mouse Money on display inside the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Family Residence
The third floor of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
The third floor of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence

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The municipality of Jimenez holds a rich and long history of the Philippines. This is the 3rd floor of Aldren Tac-An Nacion family residence built in 1914, just one of the many heritage houses in Jimenez. Notice the detail on top of each window? The sunrise symbolizes the house's warm welcome to the Japanese regime. On the ground floor was The Old Bacarro Printing Press where emergency money or Mickey Mouse money was printed during the Japanese occupation. Some of this money are still available for viewing at the second floor. More on my blog in my bio soon #itsmorefuninthephilippines #history #culture #heritage #jimenez #misamisoccidental #travelblog #travelph #choosephilippines #wowphilippines …. ….. ……. ……… ………. #travelblogger #joelandrada #joeljawsandrada #theskincareaddict #pinasmuna #wanderer #pinoy #wanderlust #natgeo #followforfollow

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Bong Abelidas, Tourism Officer for Jimenez, posing for a photo-opportunity.
Bong Abelidas, Tourism Officer for Jimenez, posing for a photo-opportunity at the Aldren

Camel Tree

Standing on the bank of the Jimenez River is what the town folks call the Enchanted Camel Tree. The people of Jimenez say that this tree bears different fruits depending on the season. There is a lot more going around town about this superstitious tree such as people hearing voices emanating from it. It is also believed that beautiful fair-skinned people live inside it.

Beside it is an instagrammable hanging bridge.

Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

Not far from the Camel Tree is the ancestral Jimenez Catholic Cemetery. This cemetery gave me the creeps when we visited. It has a stonewall partially covered with moss and other wild plants. Moreover, towering in the middle of this graveyard is a huge Balete Tree.

Jimenez Catholic Cemetery
Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

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The huge Balete Tree in the middle of the Jimenez Catholic Cemetery
The huge Balete Tree in the middle of the Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

Plaridel

From Jimenez, we drove for an hour and a half to the Municipality of Plaridel to visit Bawbawon (The Hidden Island).

Bawbawon Beach

To get to the island, we rode a boat for about ten (10) minutes from a dock that was near the legislative building of Plaridel… I think… I can’t remember… I was sleepwalking. I fell asleep during the road trip. LOL. I just found myself in the boat. LOL.

Bawbawon, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental

Anyway, it was a scenic route getting to Bawbawon Beach. So I took out my camera and started clicking away. It was the first time for me to see mangrove growing on white sand! Well, I am saying on white sand because how can mangrove grow in sand? I guess it must be growing in regular soil underneath all that white sand, right? Anyway, I hope you got my point. LOL. Just the same… How cool is that? I was totally mesmerized by the island’s raw and pure beauty. I got a lot of footage so I might just post a vlog soon about Bawbawon Beach– one of my favorite places in the Philippines.

Bawbawon, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental
Mangrove growing on (or in?) white sand

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Thanks to the Dept of Tourism @tourism_phl for tagging me along to visit emerging tourist destinations in the #Philippines so that I may share these to my family, friends and blog readers. This is me enjoying the sun, sand and sea of the Hidden Island of Plaridel, Misamis Occidental -the Bawbawon Island. It is still closed to the public as it undergoes preparations and "renovations" for its "grand opening" soon. Part of its preparation is community-education so it does not follow the tragedy that happened to Boracay. It also has mangroves growing on white sand. How cool is that? More on my blog soon #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelblogger #travelphotography #travelph #pinasmuna #wanderer #wanderlust #pinoywanderer #joelandrada #theskincareaddict #nature #beach #sun #sand #sea #beachcomber #destinations #vacation #summer #tourist #tourism #pilipinas #ofw

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Bawbawon Beach is a protected area and is currently closed as they prepare the island for its grand opening soon. I hope I get to visit the island again when it opens.

After a sumptuous lunch in Bawbawon Beach, we headed back to the mainland to catch the sunset and have dinner in Sapang Dalaga. Thanks to Mercy Rentuza, the Tourism Officer of Plaridel for making sure we had a grand time on the island.

Sapang Dalaga

After thirty minutes, we arrived at the foot of the Caluya Shrine. We were welcomed by the Tourism Officer of Sapang Dalaga, Ms Melchoniza “Chin” Calago.

We rushed to catch the sunset. We climbed 198 steps more or less. Let me know when you visit how many steps it really is. LOL. When I got to the top, I was almost out of breath. Whew… me with my mini-production house on my back. But all the climbing was worth it. The view was breathtaking and the 45-foot-tall statue on a 10-foot-high pedestal with its open arms seemed to welcome me. The Caluya Shrine is a replica of Rio De Janeiro’s Christ The Redeemer. It stunningly stands on top of a hill at an elevation of 120 meters above sea level overlooking the Murcielagos Bay, Naputhas Island, Mount Malindang and Dioyo River.

Christ the Redeemer, Caluya Shrine, Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental
Christ the Redeemer, Caluya Shrine, Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental

Every second mattered. I prepared my drone for take-off while there was still daylight. The colors in this place was simply majestic!

Me in awe of the scenic view at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga with Cindy LaRosa and RD May Salvana-Unchuan
Me in awe of the scenic view at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga with Cindy LaRosa and RD May Salvana-Unchuan
Bloggers at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga
Me with fellow bloggers Carmela Nery, Sonya Sison, Josh Tanador and Jay Valmonte
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Murcielagos Bay, Sapang Dalaga
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Murcielagos Bay, Sapang Dalaga

We had dinner in one of the floating cottages in the middle of Murcielagos Bay. No electricity and all but we had rechargeable lamps, cellphone flashlights, great food and company.

For bookings and reservations, contact the Sapang Dalaga Municipal Tourism Office at +63-938-295-8093 or their Facebook Page here.

Cottage Rates:

  • Php 500.00 – good for 15-20 persons
  • Php 1,000.00 – good for 50 persons
  • Php 2,000.00 – good for 75 persons

Other Charges:

  • Pump boat fare (back and forth) with life vests- Php 30.00 per person
  • Lifeguard fee- Php 100.00
  • Garbage bag- Php 20.00 with a deposit fee of Php 180.00

Notes:

  • You may bring your own trash bags. Be responsible of your food wastes and trash.
  • Cooking in the cottage is not allowed.

I hope to be back soon to see the 60-ft high Sapang Dalaga Falls. I also want to experience the Dioyo River Cruise.

Oroquieta

We spent our last night in Misamis Occidental in Costa Del Sol in Oroquieta City.

Costa Del Sol, Oroguieta City
Costa Del Sol, Oroguieta City

We did not have time to go around Oroquieta anymore. We were set to depart early morning the next day for Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte to visit Ma. Cristina Falls and have lunch the Pagana Maranao way before catching our flight back to Manila via Laguindingan International Airport in Cagayan De Oro, Misamis Oriental. I will be publishing another article soon about our quick but memorable trip to Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte.

And that is why I miss Misamis Occidental. We all cannot wait to be back. For more information about Misamis Occidental, click here for their website. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to Manila with our big bags of Clarin's Fish Crackers and lots of happy memories about Misamis Occidental.
Back to Manila with our big bags of Clarin’s Fish Crackers and lots of happy memories about Misamis Occidental.

Signing out for now. Peace!

TRAVELBOOK.PH LAUNCHES FIRST TRAVEL FAIR ENTITLED DESTINATION: PH

By Hyacinth Uri

Your best trip ever starts with TravelBook.ph’s Destination: PH!

TravelBook.ph, one of the country’s leading online travel agencies, will be having its first travel fair entitled “Destination: PH” from March 16 to 18, 2018, at the 4th Floor, Activity Center, Century City Mall in Makati.

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As part of TravelBook.ph’s objective to promote the country’s most beautiful destinations, this event will be an avenue for customers to get amazing and exciting offers from its hotel and tour partners as well as flight loyalty program partners. Lots of prizes and freebies will also be given away.

Each event attendee will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket with numerous stubs that will entitle them to discounts on the following hotels when they book through TravelBook.ph: 40% off in Circle Inn Iloilo, Circle Inn Bacolod, Azalea Resorts and Residences Baguio, and Azalea Resorts and Residences Boracay; 30% off in The District Boracay; and PHP 1,000.00 off in all hotel partners for a minimum booking amount of PHP 4,000. In addition to these fabulous discounts at the event, over 100 hotels and tour activities from TravelBook.ph will also be on sale!

Tourism industry professionals will also be gracing and conducting talks at the three-day event. Among these are Senior Tourism Operations Officer Ms. Azucena Pallugna from the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Office of the Undersecretary for Tourism Development; travel blogger Mr. Arjay Abellara of RJ D Explorer blog; illustrator, designer, travel blogger, and contributing writer for ABS-CBN and Travel Now magazine Ms. Sheena Gonzales; lifestyle and travel blogger Ms. Arnie Villanueva of ArnieVillanueva blog; and travel blogger Mr. Rogelio Gabiano, Jr. of the Pinoy Travel Freak blog.

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Actor and model Daniel Matsunaga will also be present in the event to share stories of his travel experiences and to participate in a meet-and-greet. Plus, Japanese comedy trio HPN3 from It’s Showtime’s The Funny One will entertain the attendees with their hilarious skits.

TravelBook.ph made it even more exciting as attendees will get a chance to win prizes from the following sponsors: Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay, Midori Hotel and Casino, Subic Bay Yacht Club, Siglo Suites by Century Properties, The Dessert Museum, Enchanted Kingdom, Zoomanity Group, Inflatable Island, World Traveller Bags and Luggage, AirAsia BIG, GetGo, and Mabuhay Miles. Everyone will also be bringing home some cool freebies!

Interested attendees can pre-register for the event by visiting TravelBook.ph’s event page for Destination: PH on Facebook and clicking the pre-registration link under the details section. Each visitor who pre-registers through this link automatically earns a raffle entry for a chance to win an overnight accommodation at Midori Clark Hotel and Casino in Pampanga or Subic Bay Yacht Club with breakfast for two!

Start your summer adventure with TravelBook.ph and have the best travel experience ever! See you there!

TRAVEL | Experience an exclusive paradise vacation like no other with GetGo’s promo

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Winning GetGo members can relax in the fresh ocean breeze while enjoying a stunning view of the clear blue waters surrounding the island.

Have you ever imagined staying in an island exclusively for you and your loved ones? Do you want to experience the luxury of having your own paradise for free? Well, GetGo members are up for the grandest reward of their lives yet with GetGo’s Exclusive Island Escape promo.

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GetGo’s Exclusive Island Escape promo will take lucky members to Palawan’s beautiful tropical heaven for a vacation like no other.

Three lucky GetGo members can have a piece of heaven on Earth with round-trip tickets to Coron, Palawan and a 3-day all-expense-paid stay at Bamboo Private Islands.

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Bamboo Private Islands lies hidden in the middle of trendy Calamianes but travelers can easily access it with a banca or speedboat ride from Coron. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with white sands and crystalline waters surrounding the beautiful island.

Individuals, couples, barkadas, and families can enjoy a peaceful escape and soulful getaway with the island’s promise of exclusivity and privacy. Uniquely-designed bamboo huts await guests who want to experience a simple and humble island living. Bamboo Private Islands also boasts of its true farm-to-kitchen dining where everyone can delight in authentic, delicious everyday meals using the best and safest local ingredients from the island’s organic farm.

Likewise, adventure seekers can make the most out of their island stay by indulging in exciting activities where they can see and appreciate the beauty of Calamianes. From snorkeling, diving, kite boarding, paddle boarding, and island hopping, travelers can enjoy breath-taking views of the island’s waters and mountainscapes. Guests can even dine while basking in the picturesque sight of the sunset at the open-air pavilion.

To join and experience the perks of living in the ultimate dream island in the country, members simply have to earn and/or redeem GetGo points from January 31 to March 31, 2018. Each GetGo point earned and redeemed is equivalent to one (1) raffle entry.

More entries, more chances of winning! GetGo members who use their Cebu Pacific GetGo Debit Cards by Unionbank and GetGo Peso+ Prepaid cards get 2 raffle entries for every point earned. Members who use their Cebu Pacific GetGo Gold and Platinum Credit Cards by UnionBank get 3 raffle entries for every 1 GetGo point earned.

So, what are you waiting for? Live the GetGo lifestyle with its wide network of partners to earn and fly your way to Palawan’s Bamboo Private Islands.

For more information on memberships and partners, visit www.getgo.com.ph. Stay updated on the latest promos by liking GetGoPH’s official pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TRAVEL | MALABON’S FAITH, FOOD, FILIPINO HERITAGE & TRICYCLE TOURS

What comes to mind when you hear the word Malabon? Quite honestly, aside from the famous Pancit Malabon, to me and I think to most people I know, Malabon is that city sandwiched between Navotas and Caloocan. I forget that Malabon holds a rich history… that it is a city where there is so much to see, learn and taste.

Thanks to the Department of Tourism for tagging me along to explore Malabon in this media familiarization tour and help promote emerging tourist destinations in Metro Manila. The tour was led by the Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Malabon Mayor Antolin “Len Len” Oreta and wife Chef Melissa Oreta no less.

Because of the narrow streets, touring Malabon in a four-wheeled vehicle is impractical, almost impossible even. So we mazed through Malabon using tricycles to conveniently reach earmarked destinations. Yes, you read it right! The Malabon Tricycle Tours.

Malabon Tricycle Tour

The Malabon Tricycle Tours does not only help promote local tourism but more importantly it serves as a livelihood for the local community.

The tour includes ancestral structures, old churches and Filipino Food places. They offer the following tour packages:

Package A- Heritage Tour P 250 per person
Destinations:
San Bartolome Parish
Sy Juco Mansion
Nepomuceno Ancestral House
Concepcion Market and Plaza
Artes de Paseo Art Gallery
El Casa Katipunero
Ibaviosa Ancestral House
Angel Cacnio Art Gallery
Rivera Ancestral House
Raymundo Ancestral House

Package B- Food Trip Special P 750 per person
Destinations:
San Bartolome Parish
Lugaw Experience
Hazel’s Puto
Jamico’s Restaurant
Dolor’s Kakanin
Concepcion Market and Plaza
Nanay’s Pancit Malabon
Betsy’s Cake Center

Package C- Food and Heritage Tour P 900 per person
Destinations:
San Bartolome Parish
Sy Juco Mansion
Lugaw Experience
Ibaviosa Ancestral House
Hazel’s Puto and Puto Pao
Jamico’s Restaurant
Nepomuceno Ancestral House
Concepcion Market and Plaza
Dolor’s Kakanin
El Casa Katipunero
Nanay’s Pancit Malabon
Angel Cacnio Art Gallery
Rivera House
Raymundo Ancestral House
Betsy’s Cake Center

San Bartolome Parish

At half-past nine in the morning, we started the tour and our first stop was the San Bartolome Church. Built in 1564, the San Bartolome Church’s unique Baroque architecture has been stunningly maintained over the years.

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The San Bartolome Church was built in 1564 and declared an independent parish from Tondo on May 17, 1614
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San Bartolome Parish
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San Bartolome Parish Arc
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San Bartolome Parish facade
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The meticulously carved doors of the San Bartolome Parish welcome all devotees and visitors.
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Two rows of chandeliers light up the interior of the San Bartolome Parish.
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The inside walls showcase paintings of San Bartolome Church over the years.
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Paintings on the inside walls depict biblical characters and events.
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The San Barlolome Parish Altar.
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The San Bartolome Parish dome looks like heaven’s gates.
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All drivers of the Malabon Tricycle Tour have proper identification.

Sy Juco Heritage House, Brgy. Tanong

I boarded Kuya (Brother) Merlin’s tricycle and we proceeded to visiting the ancestral Sy Juco House built in 1869. Over the years, this heritage house once served as a school and then as a tobacco factory before it became a private residence of a Swiss Filipino Family. I was not able to take a lot of photos but was able to take a lot of videos here. I will upload a vlog soon so stay tuned.

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From left to right: Ms. Concepcion Sy Juco showing the Secretary of the Department of Tourism Wanda Teo around the Sy Juco Ancestral House
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One of the many religious artifacts displayed in the Sy Juco Ancestral House
Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo going on a Malabon Tricycle Tour
The Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo boarding a tricycle in front of the Sy Juco Ancestral House in Malabon City.

Ibaviosa House and Patis Factory, Brgy. Flores

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Ibaviosa House and Patis Factory

Then, we visited the Ibaviosa House and Patis Factory. Built in the 1940’s, this heritage house endured the Filipino- Japanese War and is still standing up to now. It also served as a set location of one of the films of the comedian Ai Ai Delas Alas entitled “Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo” where Ai Ai played the role of a Filipina patis (fish sauce) manufacturer.

angcute

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Ibaviosa Residence

Lugaw Experience, Brgy. Flores

Adjacent to the Ibaviosa Heritage House is Lugaw Experience where we got to taste the famous Malabon lugaw (porridge). The 1984 original recipe was by Narcisa Domondon Pangan and the same recipe has been passed on from generation to generation.

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Lugaw Experience in Brgy. Flores
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Lugaw Experience with Chef Melissa Oreta, Secretary Wanda Teo and Mayor Len Len Oreta

Angel Cacnio’s House and Art Gallery

With our tummies full, we boarded our tricycles and went to the art gallery of Mr. Angel Cacnio who is famous for his paintings and for designing the Philippine 100 and 20 peso bills. The gallery also showcased some of his sons’ paintings and his wife’s art collection.

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Angel Cacnio’s House and Art Gallery
Art Pieces displayed in Mr. Angel Cacnio's Art Gallery
Art pieces displayed in Mr. Angel Cacnio’s Art Gallery
More Art Pieces displayed in Mr. Angel Cacnio's Art Gallery
More art pieces displayed in Mr. Angel Cacnio’s Art Gallery
Some of Mr. Angel Cacnio's Masterpieces
Some of Mr. Angel Cacnio’s Masterpieces

We were lucky that day because Mr. Angel Cacnio was around to welcome us. In the photo below, he was vividly recalling and sharing to us the beautiful and rich history of Malabon.

Angel Cacnio
Born in Malabon on June 6, 1931, Angel Cacnio is famous for designing the P 100 and P 20 bills.

He even more than willingly signed a hundred peso bill of one of our companions.

Angel Cacnio signing one of the 100 peso bills
Cacnio signing a P 100 bill
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This version of the 100 peso bill was designed and signed by Mr. Angel Cacnio.

Dra. Gonzales’ Heritage House, General Luna Avenue

The next stop was Dra. Gonzales’ Heritage House for lunch. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by two talented young people gracefully swaying to the music of a folk dance song.

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Two kids welcomed us at Dra. Gonzales’ Heritage House through a folk dance

We were served some of the best flavors of Malabon City: Pancit Malabon, Crispy Pata, and Kikiam. Aside from Mommy Dolor’s Kakanin (native cakes) for dessert, we were served Valencia Trianggulo, Malabon’s version of turon (fritters in lumpiya wrapper). Valencia Trianggulo is a Malabon delicacy and instead of the usual turon stuffed with just banana and langka, Valencia Trianggulo is stuffed bananas, langka and pinipig in a lumpiya wrapper formed into a triangle and deep-fried.

Dolor’s Kakanin, Escanilla Street

After lunch, the food trip was not yet over. It just went on and on. LOL. Truly #eatsmorefuninMalabon. From Dra. Gonzales’ Heritage House, we walked for around five minutes to visit Dolor’s Kakanin Shop along Escanilla Street and have some more dessert! We were told that they have been using the same secret recipe since 1930. They showed us how their famous sapin-sapin is made. Sapin-sapin is a Filipino dessert made of glutinous rice and coconut.

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Sapin-sapin is a Filipino dessert made of glutinous rice and coconut.

One of my blogger friends, Maddie, even got the chance to plate one.

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Maddie showing off the sapin-sapin that she helped prepare with fellow bloggers Richard, Erica and Carmela all smiles in the background.

Dolors Kakanin

Aside from sapin-sapin, they have other offerings that are just as good.

Immaculate Conception Parish, General Luna Avenue

The last stop was the Immaculate Conception Parish right across Dra. Gonzales’ Heritage House. The ceiling has paintings of biblical characters and events.

The tour took about four hours. Short and sweet (literally with all the kakanin and Valencia Trianggulo that I ate). At about half past one in the afternoon, we left Malabon not just with full tummies but more importantly with better appreciation of our Filipino culture which revolves around our Faith, food and families. We only got to visit a few of the destinations but it was enough to make me excited to come back and visit the ones we missed.

The next time you plan your staycation, get up and book that Malabon Tricycle Tour with your loved ones. You will surely be pleasantly surprised that there is so much to see, learn and taste in a city sandwiched between Navotas and Caloocan.

Signing out for now. Peace!