Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zamboanga City: Fort Pilar

This fort was originally constructed as an outpost of the Spanish armed forces to drive away pirates. Presently, Fort Pilar is more of a worship place for Roman Catholics, specifically devotees of the Virgin Mary.

I would say that Zamboanga City is really a melting pot of different cultures as you can visit this Marian shrine which is just a stone throw's away from a very popular Muslim Village called Rio Hondo and this fort is also near to a Muslim mosque so even when there's a mass being celebrated here you can hear a Muslim call for prayers coming from the loudspeakers of the mosque.

Aside from those ubiquitous tricycles, jeepneys go directly or end their routes in Fort Pilar so going there is not a problem wherever you are in the city. Outside the fort you will see many vendors selling religious article, souvenirs and snacks.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Silay City: Balay Negrense

This museum/ancestral house is in the same city as with the airport so this is the nearest tourist spot that you can visit from the Silay-Bacolod Airport. It is interesting to see and feel how the hacienderos (sugar barons) lives during the early 20th century. The owner of this house is the pioneer of sugarcane cultivation in the province so it only shows that they live very comfortably. You will see the house's original furniture and decorations so even there is no cordon separating visitors from the different parts of the house you should not touch any of the antique items on display.

It is good to know that despite this house seeing the rising and setting of the sun for three different centuries it is still well maintained and it looks like it will last for another hundred years. Well I guess you can't put a sturdy stone-house down.

From the city center of Silay you could find tricycles which can take you to this museum. You should only pay the minimum fare as regulated by the local government.

At the lower level of the house you will find an art gallery displaying the craft and works of the local artists which some works are available for sale.


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Butuan City: Balangay Shrine Museum

Photos of Balangay Shrine Museum, Butuan

Photos of Balangay Shrine Museum, Butuan
The real thing: Balangay boat

This small museum is several kilometers east of downtown Butuan City where lies the resting ground of the 320 A.D.-dated Balangay boat. The wooden boats measured an average of 15 meters in length which said carried the first settlers of Butuan. To date, 9 Balangays have already been discovered in the town of Libertad. The museum is just like a small house so you could be out in that building in just 15 minutes. Aside from the remains of the Balangay, you would also find the remains of the early settlers found in coffin burials so if you are squeamish about skeletons just don't go there.
Photos of Balangay Shrine Museum, Butuan
wooden nails used to fasten the boat

The Balangay is a cultural heritage that establishes the maritime activities of Butuan long before the Chinese came to the shores of the Philippines. Butuan is protected against any form of intrusion, illegal excavation or vandalism because of a Presidential Order.

I hope the local and national government would pay close attention on the needs of this national treasure. Aside from that, the building really needs a good renovation.

Photos of Balangay Shrine Museum, Butuan

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Iloilo City: Roberto's famous siopao

Photos of Roberto's, Iloilo City

When we first enter this restaurant we know that good food is being served on that establishment as evident of a long queue for takeaway of their siopao (steamed buns with meat filling) and almost all of the seats were taken while the restaurant besides Roberto's is almost empty despite it is only 2PM on a weekday. Their most famous food there is the Queen siopao (steamed bun with chicken, pork adobo, bacon, Chinese sausage and egg). The Queen siopao is only available on certain days of the week so we are lucky that it is being served on the day we dined there.

Their different types of pancit (noodle dish) are also worth trying. We also had the fried chicken and lomi (noodle soup) which are just average. The interior of the restaurant is really old, it looks like it didn't had any renovations since its opening date but the ambiance will add the authentic feeling that you are dining in one of the institutions in Iloilo's must place to eat.

Photos of Roberto's, Iloilo City

There is more to Iloilo than La Paz batchoy and pancit molo.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Biodiversity Conservation Center

This is the nearest thing that you could get if you want to go to a zoo when visiting Bacolod City in the province of Negros Occidental. The Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation rescues wild animals from poachers and this is where they end up. You will see that the animals are really well taken care of because they are all in perfect shape unlike the malnourished animals at Manila Zoo.

Many of the animals on display are endemic to the Philippines and most of them are on the critically endangered list. We might be the last generation to see these animals breathing so I really salute the men and women behind this foundation for a job well done. This center is a popular venue for field trips and employees there are very much accommodating as they are used to have children as guests.

You just need to pay PHP20 to enter and donations are highly encouraged. You will be given an official receipt for your donations so you will be rest assured that it will be put in good use. Many companies are regular donors to the foundation and you will see their names in signposts (as a form of advertisement I suppose). I hope many others would contribute to this foundation.

This rescue center is located just besides the Negros Capitol which every resident knows.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bacolod City: Mambukal Mountain Resort

If you want to see 7 waterfalls in just 2 hours worth of hiking then this is the place that you should go whenever you visit Bacolod City. Mambukal is only an hour away from the city and it is a very popular summer getaway for city dwellers because of its cool climate. The hike from the 1st to 6th falls is tolerable even for beginners but the real challenge begins when you started to hike to the waterfalls #7. You can only take a dip on the 6th and 7th falls and it is best to go there with a guide. The guide asked for PHP200 pesos to accompany us up to the 7th falls and back to the resort. He carried my backpack so I gave him additional PHP100.

The mountain resort also has a sulfur pool which is too hot to take a dip in and the stench could be unbearable as we all know that sulfur smells like rotten eggs. There's also a hot spring and its quite popular to visitors. Other activities being offered at Mambukal are canopy walk, zip line, wall climbing and boating.

I highly recommend this place for nature lovers who don't want to go far from Bacolod.

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