April 2011

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"...those 437 candles were floated and lighted the darkness of the night with their glorious flame!"

Hello guys! I am excited to share with you this video blog during the Candle lighting ceremony at the Abra River. This is EDMARATION etc's special coverage to this event and I was touched by the unity of the people of Santa in celebrating this event.

The people of Santa town joined hands in celebrating their 437th year as an independent town and 437 candles were floated at the said river.


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To note, it was the 437th year of the foundation of Santa, Ilocos Sur as a town and to begin the celebration, a candlelighting ceremony was done at the Abra River below the New Quirino Bridge in Brgy Banaoang. 

In fact, this is just the the first post I will share to you about this event and later, I will be posting the full written and photo blog that I think will be more exciting because I got the complete details taken in photo.

Anyway, here is my video blog. Please enjoy!

This is the new Quirino Bridge and below this bridge, those 437 candles were floated and lighted the darkness of the night with their glorious flame!






There you have it and I hope you enjoyed it! Later it will be the full article and photo-blog. Greater and more breathtaking photos are coming with my next article still related to this event! So please do check this blog regularly.

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"Starfish may look so cute but actually, they are predators and they eat other live marine organisms. So, some marine species must have the reason to be afraid with this starfish I am handling."

This island is super star-studded! You can see here the most beautiful stars and this stars are so alive! I am referring to the stars of the sea. Guess what? They are the starfish!

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In my previous post "Pinget Island: The Island with No Identity," I promised you that I will be featuring a discovery of mine and this discovery is about the wildlife underwater concerning the starfishes of this island.

Although this has been an old discovery of mine since it's been about 5 years the last time I touched these marine organisms, I still want to share it with you now that I have an opportunity. Let's begin!

The Eastern coast of Pinget Island in the town of Magsingal in Ilocos Sur province, Philippines is facing the pristine Lapog Bay. Lapog Bay is in fact a favorite destination for fishermen because of it's rich marine resources.

This bay supports a diverse form of marine species that has chosen this bay to be their home and one proof of this is the abundance of a starfish species, specifically at Pinget island.

In the world, there are1,800 living species [that's many!] of starfish that occur in all the world's oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian as well as in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean (i.e., Antarctic) region. They are also called "sea stars" or generally called as the echinoderms. According to experts, more species are waiting to be discovered

Did you know that a starfish eats too? Well, of course, but where is the mouth, the esophagus and the stomach or, do they have those organs? The answer is yes. They have those organs. They also have anus to excrete their waste! Their mouth is located underside their body.



Starfish may look so cute but actually, they are predators and they eat other live marine organisms. So, some marine species must have the reason to be afraid with this starfish I am handling.

Any idea about the life span? Well, starfish life span depends upon the species. Some may live about 10 years and some can reach up to more than 30 years.

Do they breathe? Yes of course, they are animals too. If you try to notice them [if ever you've seen one], there are tiny structures [called papullae]  that dot their surfaces and these structures are the gateway for their respiration.

Starfish carries a big role in the balance of the ecosystem. So let's take care of their natural habitat. Sea stars and other echinoderms pump water directly into their bodies, via the water vascular system, as they find it. This makes them vulnerable to all forms of water pollution, as they have little ability to filter the water of toxins and contaminants. Oil spills and similar events often take a toll on echinoderm populations that carry consequences for the ecosystem [Oh no!  Let's don't let that happen]

Now guys I hope you enjoyed this post once again and if it is corny, please forgive me! Hehe. By the way, I need your feedback, comments and suggestions so that I can give you my best shot! Hehe... And you can suggest to me things, events, people or anything under the sun that you want me to feature here and I will try my best to feature it as long as I have the resources and time! You can suggest them below through the comment box or email me at edmaration@gmail.com.
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
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"In fact, Puffer Fish, locally known as "Butete" is popular in Japan but this fish has killed a lot of eaters there. Aside from being a killer fish, it is also very expensive in the restaurants."

It was a Black Saturday and we celebrated the end of the Lent with my cousins, aunts and my bro in Mindoro Beach in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines until my "usisero" eyes saw something.

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 The fishermen of Mindoro are joining hands in unloading the boat from the sea. I tried to approach them and I discovered that they had no plenty of catch. But, two poor fishes were captured - they are the Puffer Fish which is my first time to encounter - a poisonous/killer fish but according to the fishermen, they will eat them!

In fact, Puffer Fish, locally known as "Butete" is popular in Japan but this fish has killed a lot of eaters there. Aside from being a killer fish, it is also very expensive in the restaurants. Now, it was a great opportunity for me to see this kind of fish and because of the overwhelming feelings I experienced, I made my own short film/documentary regarding this fish and please view it below. 

Sa lahat ng mga mambabasang Pinoy, gumamit ako ng English Carabao at please, walang kokontra, hehe.


There you have my own short documentary film. Although not so serious because its hard to speak an American accent English, at least I survived the nosebleed! LOL!

There you have it! Nature is really diverse that you would not expect these kind of creatures are actually existing!

If you like this article, maybe you could click share  button or like it for others to see also. Thanks for that. I'll be posting more interesting articles next time.
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
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"Sta Catalina Beach offers beach goers with features such as gray sand. It also has wide beach line and some beach vegetation that truly bring the beauty of the beach."

Black Saturday is a beach day for the people of Metro Vigan. It is a tradition in this metro that people go to the beaches to end the Lenten season.

Sta Catalina Beach offers beach goers with features such as gray sand. It also has wide beach line and some beach vegetations that truly bring the beauty of the beach. Sta Catalina Beach is gaining popularity in Metro Vigan area and this beach has attracted several resort-hotel investors.

In Ilocos, there are a lot of beaches considering the long coastline of the region facing the South China Sea. Ilocos beaches can offer white sand to dark sand beaches, cove to open seas, calm to surfing waves and coral to sandy to rocky beaches. 


Beach creepers

Beach Grass


But if you want a gray-sand beach with sparkling sand and wide beachline without going outside Metro Vigan for a long drive hastle, why hastle yourself for that long drive if what you are looking for is actually in Sta. Catalina beach of Sta Catalina, Ilocos Sur.

Sta Catalina Beach can be reached about 11-15 minutes from Vigan depending on the situation of the traffic. 

Now what are you waiting for? Sta Catalina Beach is waiting for you!
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.

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"Just walk. Take a deep breathe then feel the ambiance of Vigan's glorious past that is joining the present and will surely meet the future!"

It is Holy Week this moment and this week is a very dramatic week for Vigan City, the only world heritage city in the Philippines. Recently this week, Department of Tourism undersecretary Enerio declared that Vigan is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines along with Boracay, Camarines Sur, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin & Palawan. Well that declaration actually reflected the present Holy Week situation I am going to feature this time. The whole city is crowded by tourists, traffic and a lot more making the city so lively and... stressful. LOL!.

Vigan is undoubtedly the most visited city for tourists north of Manila other than Baguio this time. 

Plaza Burgos has been transformed as an exclusive pedestrian zone this summer season due to inevitable influx of tourists and visitors coming to the city of Vigan.

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I am going to scrutinize the Holy Week Status of Vigan at this point of time and there are things that I hate and things that I love. Let's start folks!

#1 Street Traffic Jam

Traffic jam during Holy Week in Vigan City is an expected scenario and a common sight. I believe at this moment, the streets of Manila are drained of vehicles and these vehicles come and create traffic jams in the tourist destinations in Luzon including Vigan. This is the thing I hate the most in Vigan during the long Holy Week vacation because it gives me a lot of stress! Anyway, there are three types of Traffic jam in Vigan and these traffic jams make me wanna eat strawberry jam yeah! LOL!

First is the traffic jam for motorized vehicles which includes tricycles, jeepneys, buses, and all those private cars brought by the tourists.

Second, the calesa traffic jam. In Vigan, it is not only the motorized vehicles that tangle along the road, calesas too. Calesa is a traditional horse-drawn carriage in Vigan and these calesas have stolen the crown of the jeepneys as the king of the road. In Vigan, calesas are the kings of the road and there are streets in Vigan on which only calesas can enter exclusively. So royal!

Next is the human trafficking. LOL! I mean, traffic for human. People are everywhere and they are not just everywhere, they are in every corner of Vigan! A big crowd of people makes me paranoid. I am not accustomed to this kind of scenario.

Thousands of people are flocking to the usually peaceful and "quiet" streets of Vigan this Holy Week.

#2 Street Shopping

In Vigan it has been an old tradition that every Holy Week, some of the major streets of Vigan are closed to give space for goods sold to buyers and shoppers.

"Bargeynan Ditoy Vigan" is an annual trade fair that offers Divisoria-price goods for all the tourists and local buyers.

Holy Week street shopping in Vigan has been so much fun and exciting because it offers you a wide array of items to choose from in an affordable price.

#3 Street Dining

Vigan has been known to be one of the best culinary destinations in the Philippines because of the many Ilocano dishes and other more cuisines that can only be found in Vigan and in Ilocos such as the Vigan empanada, Vigan Longaniza, Pipian, miki, bagnet, poqui-poqui, pinakbet and sinanglao among others. 

If you try to visit Vigan on a Holy Week, all of these grastronomic offerings are present in the streets of Vigan and the funny thing here is that, the high-end street dining restaurants and the "toro-toro" in the streets of Vigan both offer these foods and the only difference is the price! The taste? Almost the same!

Of course, for "sosyal" tourists, I mean for those tourists who love high-end dining and luxury, some restaurants in Vigan also offer high-end street dining for tourists to enjoy! They might be expensive but why not if you have the guts and penny.

There are a lot of restaurants in Vigan offering a street dining experience and those 3 I have featured are among those who have set in the best locations.

#4 Street Hopping

In Vigan, walking at the streets alone is already a bonus for everyone giving you the chance to see and touch the most treasured Vigan heritage structures that you can never see and touch anywhere else in the world but please, avoid vandalism. Let's be a responsible citizen of the world because these Vigan structures have been inscribed in the UNESCO lists of world heritage sites which means, it has a "universal" worth and importance. So, it is not just a Philippine treasure, it is also a universal treasure.

Just walk. Take a deep breathe then feel the ambiance of Vigan's glorious past that is joining the present and will surely meet the future!
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
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 "A pool with a garden surrounded by Makati's skyscrapers and business establishments is I think an unusual way to make your summer a fun in the metropolis."

Let's redefine your summer vacation by swimming in a pool while viewing the skyscrapers of Makati instead of the islands, sea and farms in the province. 

I discovered something in Makati City that I think would alleviate your summer thirst for water fun! It is a summer fun with the tall buildings of this city as the financial and business center of the Philippines. Why not enjoy your summer within the metropolis? Aside from the beaches and resorts in the provinces, why not discover a summer fun within the city? 
A pool with a garden surrounded by Makati's skyscrapers and business establishments is I think an unusual way to make your summer a fun in the metropolis. Contrary to what is usual where you are in the beach in the province viewing the vast sea, the forests, the lush green islands and the farm, this one is different because you are viewing the skyscrapers of Makati while enjoying the pool!

To note, this pool is owned and operated by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel of Makati City. It is a high-end swimming pool with gardens and palm trees all around to create a virtual ambiance that you are in a resort in a beach setting or in a province setting. 


Garden Landscape


What is so interesting is the fact that while enjoying the pool, you can also view the skyscrapers that surround the pool creating a feeling that you are escaping the reality.

I said a escape from the reality based on the fact that the metropolis is a place for busy people, business, stress and crowd but with this setting, you are within the city but you're just enjoying the virtual reality that you are in a resort with "province" ambiance yet, you are viewing the tall buildings around.

You can simply say "Goodbye city living" yet in fact, you are just within the busy and crowded Makati City. So, you are escaping the reality. 


Breathtaking Makati Skyscrapers

Mandarin Oriental Hotel


Tags: Skyscrapers of Makati | Makati Skyline | Mandarin Oriental Hotel
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"It is also popular as the home of smuggled motor vehicles, electronic gadgets, bicycles and other electronic items making it's residents a home-grown businessmen..."

As an aspiring investigative/travel journalist and a TV Documentary Host "wanna be," it makes me so insomniac every night without searching for the reason why this place is called an island which in fact, I didn't see any island when I first visited this place. I need to taper down the anxiety of curiosity. It's weird because when I visited this island the first time,I never crossed a bridge spanning the sea or ride in a boat to reach this so called island. Meaning, this land mass is not detached, so it is not an island.





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Thanks to the residents of this island I have interviewed including the media on which I gathered an analysis. Now, I have discovered the reason why! Let's begin...

During low tide and most of the time, this island is not actually an island. It turns to be a peninsula geographically speaking. But when the high tide and when the rain comes, the sea at East and the West coasts of the island meet together, thus, submerging the narrow strip of land that connects it to the mainland making it technically an island. Interesting isn't it?

With this interesting feature, it makes Pinget Island a unique island and a peninsula in one. It has two geographical classifications, an island and a peninsula which is a very rare scenario in the world!

Please do try to analyze the map below so that you can appreciate the interesting feature of this island and then read my explanation below.


There you have the map of Pinget island. Please take note that this island tend not to be totally detached from the mainland. 

As you can see at the map, there is a narrow strip of sand that connects it to the mainland.

Pinget Island aerial view (courtesy of Philskies.net)


Spot Pinget Island: taken from travelpod.


So, technically it is not totally detached. Now, as you can see, the sea is just around the two sides and when it is high tide and when there is a heavy rain, the two coasts meet together submerging this narrow strip of sand making this place totally detached from the mainland thus an island is created.  

Now, that's a clear answer!!!


Thanks to Khamzy for capturing the photo at the left where I was sitting facing the Lapog Bay of San Juan, Ilocos Sur. For travelers don't worry because this is reachable by land but as I was telling, it becomes isolated when there is a typhoon or heavy rain making it an island totally detached from the mainland. Another interesting fact I discovered in this place is that this island is actually a home for thousand individuals making it one of the most populated barangays in Magsingal town. 

Yes, Pinget island is an island barangay more popularly known as "Puro" or "Puro Pinget." It is also popular as the home of smuggled motor vehicles, electronic gadgets, bicycles and other electronic items making it's residents a home-grown businessmen because they are selling these goods [Needs citation please]. Puro is much visited not because of fun and leisure but because of commerce and trade. 

As I was telling, there are a lot of goods here unloaded by cargo ships being sold by the residents. Senator Panfilo Lacson, when he was still the the PNP chief personally came here to inspect and terminate this illegal trade making it a headline in the national news media. The other thing is that, this island is a fish sanctuary and it is where the first line of fish market exists then being sold to the public markets of several towns in Ilocos Sur province.

The business activity here is so vibrant to the extent that it has it's own gasoline station, grocery store, food manufacturing and some satellite government agencies serving this population-rich and commercially busy island. 


The moment I came here, I used to forget all the things that make the lives of the people in this island go round and round. After a thorough research, I see to it that I must and should enjoy my visit to this island and enjoy the beautiful "side" of it. So, we went to the East coast where a resort is located and where the Lapog Bay is located.

At the middle of the bay just near the coast of this island is a historical landmark and this landmark I am referring to is a World War II ship sunk and left unrescued. Right now, the people in this island are collecting the remains of the ship, I mean, it includes the metals, the accessories, and all the contents of this ship to sell to buyers. So, the ship is gradually disappearing. 

Aside from these historical landmarks, and it's rich fish sanctuary, it also supports some forms of marine life like starfish which thrive in this island in big numbers. I personally encountered and touched these starfishes and with my upcoming blog posts, one of the features will be these starfishes I ever encountered. 

Well, to end up, I can now see the real identity of this island. And I must say it's identity is simply "unidentified" being so unique, full of twists, with issues and politics with a beautiful seaside and natural treasures and marine ecosystem plus a bit of historical events. It's so complicated. Surely, an unidentified island! It has a lot of identity!
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"Together with the Vigan traditional horse-drawn carriages [calesa] and the century-old belfry, the orange bloom colors the atmosphere of Plaza Burgos making way for a great summer ambiance and cultural escapade experience!"

Plaza Burgos is the most popular park in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. The residents and tourists usually come here to play and to eat empanada, sinanglao and other Vigan specials. But I just don't know if the people going here has ever noticed the orange bloom of Plaza Burgos. The empanadas and the monuments at Plaza Burgos have always been seen and featured in many travel blogs and websites.

Plaza Burgos ViganAt this time, I just want to be different. I noticed something that in my own outlook, is also an asset of Plaza Burgos because  it adds to the beauty of the park. I am referring to the fire trees blooming and the flowers are falling in bright orange around the park to the ground.

Plaza Burgos Vigan
Together with the Vigan traditional horse-drawn carriages [calesa] and the century-old belfry, the orange bloom colors the atmosphere of Plaza Burgos making way for a great summer ambiance and cultural escapade experience! 

In fact, these fire trees actually bloom into an optimum level during summer and that's great! Summer is the peak season for tourist arrival in Vigan City and surely they will be able to notice this one.

Plaza Burgos Vigan
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During tourist peak season and weekend, a city ordinance is regulating vehicles to enter Plaza Burgos making it an exclusive pedestrian-friendly zone. 

With this, the falling orange flowers are left untouched by the passing vehicles thus coloring the ground brightly.

Ok, I am just done promoting this personal encounter of mine and what do I want to happen now? Yes, the orange colors of Plaza Burgos might not be the main attraction of this park but admit it or not, it adds beauty to the park and can you tell me a city center which can offer this kind of view like here in Vigan? 

I think it's hard to point out being city centers are usually concreted and have left trees dying, usually but not all. Luckily, Vigan has also preserved not just it's cultural heritage but also it's natural heritage.

Plaza Burgos ViganWith this point, the orange flowers might be simple and an ordinary thing but hey! Look at the view! Beautiful isn't it? Together with me, let's exaggerate this fact!

Vigan Exploration Series >>

McDonald's Vigan | An Issue Behind the CharmVigan City | Dinosaurs Reborn in Baluarte ni ChavitVigan City | Boklan Arts: A Festival for Seeds and GrainsVigan City | Vigan's Night Life is All About FoodVigan City | It is Always New at Vigan's Oldest Barber ShopVigan City | Carabao Painting: Karbo Festival 2011Vigan City | Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival 2011Vigan City | Bankathon at Mindoro BeachVigan City | Viva Vigan Festival's Calesa ParadeMindoro Beach, Vigan City | My First Puffer Fish Actual EncounterVigan City | Mga Kuwentong Kalye, a Vigan Holy WeekVigan City | Plaza Burgos in Orange Bloom

Tags: Tags: Vigan City | Ilocos Sur | Tourist Spot in Vigan | Historical landmark in Vigan | Plaza Burgos | park in Vigan | Parks in Vigan
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"Some other people regard the dredging of the River run by an alleged political figure for business purposes. This allegation needs a verification. But it has been a strong rumor in the locality that this business activity is injuring the people of Puro a lot in terms of livelihood and land shrinkage."

A very beautiful island barangay situated at the mouth of Abra River to the South China Sea in the town of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Poro [or Puro Island, or simply called Puro] is literally shrinking. It's total land mass is decreasing. The previous typhoons have initiated the shrinkage of this small island as home for several hundred Ilocanos. 

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Some other people regard the dredging of the River run by an alleged political figure for business purposes. This allegation needs a verification. But it has been a strong rumor in the locality that this business activity is injuring the people of Puro a lot in terms of livelihood and land shrinkage. The residents here are mostly fishermen. Some are engaged in farming with the small parcel of land they own. Sadly, the small parcel becomes smaller each day as the waves erode the shore together with the alleged business activity run by a powerful political figure [according to rumors] situated in this part of Puro which continues to operate.

Pantay Tamurong

To reach Puro, you have to stop over at Brgy. Pantay Tamurong in the same town of Coayan and ride with a boat as illustrated by the photo above. The last time I went here, the fare was 10 pesos per head. So these boats aren't only used for fishing, they are also used as carriers for passengers going to Poro. With the beautiful view of the Cordillera mountain ranges as seen while taking this branch of Abra River, you can not feel the scorching heat of the sun as you traverse the river because the air is cool and you will forget every worry because of the wonderful view!

Last September 2008, I was here in Pantay Tamurong, the gateway to Puro Island standing in the newly made river control facility. At my background is the Cordillera mountain range comprising the provinces of Abra and Ilocos Sur with the passenger boats waiting for passengers. 


This river is a branch of the great Abra River that undeniably creates a wonderful view as it blends with a perfect silhouette with the mountain. Many facebook users have been amazed by this view as it was shown in these photos posted here. Personally, I am sharing this stuff  because I was also amazed by the wonders Ilocos Sur may offer to us but presently under rated and out of promotions. 



This river waters Metro Vigan area. Originating from the Cordillera, specifically one of them is the province of Abra, it provides and serves as a river highway for people going to the detached areas of Caoayan town. The boats in here are passenger boats, not for fishing per se. At the East are the mountains seen called the Cordillera mountains. 


These mountains are literally rich in gold mines. In fact, gold dusts are being carried by this river down to the coasts of Metro Vigan towns. At the beaches of these towns are literally sparkling due to the gold dusts!!! If you try to go in Mindoro Beach in Vigan, there are strands of sand that sparkle. They might be the gold dusts. I am not really sure if this is true but a lot of people has been telling this to me. And in the history, Mindoro Beach was actually a place where people used to collect gold dusts. 


In fact, Mindoro came from "Mina de Oro" which means, mines of gold. Anyway, whether you believe it or not, I personally believe it because I have personally encountered those sparkling sands. But at present, I barely encounter those sparkling gems in the sand.

By the way, I just want to share to you some of the photos I captured along the coastline of Poro or Puro and these photos are not edited.








Anyway, my highlight in this photo is this Kandaroma shrubs at my background. [Please focus on the background, not on the person]. These shrubs grow at the coastline which naturally cushions the waves from totally eroding this island. But in an unexpected manner, the typhoon 

Peria which hit the Northern part of the Philippines has transformed the waves so forcefully to the extent that these highly enduring shrubs were uprooted as they served as a natural defense! The defense was defeated by the offensive waves. The nature is awesome but can be dangerous too, right? With this, it has literally reduced the total land mass of this island eroding the farms and even reaching the households and has submerged the island that moment. Let's pray it won't happen again.

There you have my Puro Island experience. I would suggest, better come to this endangered island sooner before it'll be erased in the map. I just hope it won't happen. But with the present situation as I discussed above, it may probably come to that point.
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.