June 2011

Some cool netizens liked and shared this.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"So, even though we might have the power to be fast [since this mollusk is very slow], if there is patience, we will succeed. That is slowly, but surely."

In nature, we can see that there are actually countless possibilities that is happening. In an ecosystem, every creature shares a helping hand with each other but others are selfish predators. Like in our society, there are selfless organizations that lend a helping hand but there are also powerful people as powerful as lion in the jungle that keeps getting all the resources of the community for personal benefits.



In a very unusual encounter, this millipede has found comfort and safety with this mollusk or gastropod. In ecology, this relationship is called commensalism, a scenario in ecosystem where in an organism benefits from another organism but that other organism is not benefited nor harmed. It remains neutral.

 I was in great awe to see how exciting the nature is to be discovered and explored. But among all, I will stand in awe to God for this very wonderful scenarios in nature wherein creatures that may be unknown to us render a helping hand to different components and organisms in nature.

With this natural encounters that I am having, I am learning a lot. And in that very simple thing that I saw means a lot to me because this world can be a better place if there is unity, trust and sharing. That is the story of this gastropod and the little millipede.

 As I am exploring this ecosystem, I discovered another gastropod trying to climb. And this gastropod's purpose is to climb for safety. The situation this day is rainy because of typhoon Falcon so this mollusk needs to transfer to a higher or an elevated place so that it won't get flushed away by an anticipated flood. Another lesson is learned. So, even though we might have the power to be fast [since this mollusk is very slow], if there is patience, we will succeed. That is slowly, but surely. I am sure, this mollusk will be safe and secure like what the first mollusk has done.

NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.

Some cool netizens liked and shared this.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"I came here under the scorching heat of the sun in the extended summer for June but reaching the place seems like it is already December..."

If you'll give me a chance to describe Bessang Pass in four words, I would choose FOG, CHILL, HISTORY and FOG again. Being here feels like I am with the clouds in the sky. It is such a paradise behind the clouds up high. Imagine, I came here under the scorching heat of the sun in the extended summer for June but reaching the place seems like it is already December because aside from the fog which is everywhere, the place is also chilly to the point that I need to wear jacket not to cover my skin from the harmful rays of the summer sun but to provide heat to my trembling body.
 

Foggy Bessang Pass


Bessang Pass is the highest point to any road/highway system in Ilocos Sur [and probably in Ilocos region as a whole]. Located 260 kilometers away from Manila, Bessang Pass is situated at a strategic point in the town of Cervantes in Ilocos Sur Province, Philippines.

Great Mountains


Vanishing Highway


Maps by Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
In fact, Bessang Pass does not only offer a piece of nature's beauty but it is also a part of the Philippine History.

Maybe you have heard the Battle of Bessang Pass? That event happened here exactly. According to our written history, Bessang Pass was the last stronghold of the Japanese imperial forces under Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, known as the “Tiger of Malaya” and conqueror of Singapore.

It was part of the triangular defense of General Yamashita in the north, namely the Balete Pass, Villaverde Trail and Bessang Pass, guarding the Ifugao-Benguet-Vizcaya borders.

Its fall on the hands of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines (USAFP-NL) on June 14, 1945 paved the way to the entrapment of Yamashita’s forces in the Cordillera until the general’s surrender in September 1945. The battle was the crowning glory of the battle exploits of the all-Filipino USAFP-NL forces. The battle lasted for four months of protracted, fierce, relentless blood hand to hand combat with suicidal enemy.

Mountain top


Because of that history that has been written in books and its rule for shaping the independence of our country Philippines, a marker has been put up in commemoration of the Battle of Bessang Pass where we were sitting with my bro. 30 minutes away from this pass is the Cervantes town center and more hours of travel will lead you to either, Benguet or Mountain Province and soon Abra.

As I was telling, everywhere is fog. In Bessang Pass, there is also a park called Bessang Pass National Park where there are some facilities to have a chilly picnic and behind that park is a cliff and the amazing thing is you can not see that cliff because at your background is all fog.

Before reaching Bessang Pass, a lot of waterfalls just along the highway will welcome you. Some waterfalls even fall just directly to the road making it slippery. So if you're planning to visit Bessang Pass, be sure to fasten your sit belt. You're ultimate fear would be the falling rock, landslide and the fog but don't worry, there is a low and almost no accident record in this highway because it is not a busy highway. Of course, it always helps to be careful and cautious anytime.

Regarding the falling rocks, it is not so common but of course road signs will always remind you as well as the landslide prone areas. It is just a reminder to be careful and not to intimidate travelers.

With my bro at the Battle of Bessang Pass Marker


The mountainous background becomes white!


Battle of Bessang Pass Marker


Beautiful Cervantes Mountains


I have mentioned that Bessang Pass is 260 km away from Manila but we have gone too far, as far as 355 km away from Manila still in the mountains. Well, that would be another story.

NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.

Some cool netizens liked and shared this.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"While having a pony ride, you'll be able to see the life-sized dinosaurs as if you're living in the dinosaur era with friendly monster lizards."

These sinosaurs have been reborn and have found their place in our modern world. In Baluarte, a vast developed land with rolling hills affording the view of the Cordilleras owned by Ilocos Sur Governor (as of this writing)Luis Chavit Singson, these Dinosaurs are very present.

They are here not to frighten the visitors but to attract them. They are life-sized man-made sculpture of dinosaurs that are truly eye-catchy. Baluarte, a zoo and a skeet range, has attracted a lot of visitors. Each visitor can experience seeing strange animals from elsewhere in the world.


Maps by Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
A very vast land in the boundary of the three barangays of Bulala, Salindeg and Tamag, Baluarte has found its place. 

A private land acquired by the said governor, now transformed to a premier tourist attraction in the north, is accessible for free. Gov Chavit, a collector of wild animals has been able to acquire an enormous count prompting him to up a zoo, hence, the Baluarte zoo.

But Baluarte is not just a zoo, it is a place for quality leisure time for the whole family. There are also animal shows daily. You are lucky if you'll be witnessing the tigers and the lions performing in public during your visit. You'll also have the chance to eat here and experience the Vigan delicacies just at the entrance of the park.



If you have noticed the wide grassy green plains in the photo above, you could ride on a pony and roam that area for free. That is how generous and hospitable Gov. Singson is to the visitors. While having a pony ride, you'll be able to see the life-sized dinosaurs as if you're living in the dinosaur era with friendly monster lizards. There is no entrance fee in Baluarte. All you need are your feet to lead you here and your camera for remembrance.




Baluarte and the big dinosaurs are here to entertain and make your leisure time worth it. Imagine that's for free. Now you'll get a chance to see Chavit's submarine, different wild animals, witness animal shows, ride on a pony etc. all for free.


Above is the view of Baluarte as seen from a hilltop in Brgy Tamag.
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.

Some cool netizens liked and shared this.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"To create the Boklan Art, the artists need four main elements: the seeds, the plywood, the glue and their talent. "Boklan" comes from the word "Bukel" which means seed."

Rice, monggo, ipil-ipil, corn and everything are seeds and grains! And who would expect at first glance that these arts are products of seeds and grains joined together for one purpose? Some of these seeds and grains are very useful for daily living since we eat them but some are not so useful for everyone like the ipil-ipil seeds which just drop down the ground.

Maps by Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
But in this event, all the seeds are useful because the more seeds you have, the better the result of the art. 

To create a colorful and lovely end-product, the artists need many combination of different seeds with different colors and different appearances to achieve a perfect blend and shades of color. 

Last May 2011, I was able to witness the Boklan Arts Festival 2011 showcasing the artistic capabilities of the Ilocanos in turning seeds into a wonderful piece of an art. 

Students, children, adults, professionals, amateurs and the like all gathered at Vigan's Nueva Segovia Street to transform the seeds with them into an awesome craft.



Just in front of the Arzopispado de Nueva Segovia, the only surviving colonial archbishop palace in the Philippines (and probably in Southeast Asia), all the artists sitted on a place while a piece of plywood is laid down then surrounded by themselves to join hands in creating a Boklan Art out of those seeds and the square plywood. To create the Boklan Art, the artists need four main elements: the seeds, the plywood, the glue and their talent. "Boklan" comes from the word "Bukel" which means seed.
 



Did you see the transformation of these seeds? Isn't it so great that out from these seeds is a hidden beauty and appeal? Truly, art does not choose a medium, anything can be. It just depends on how the hands of the artist can craft them.




Everyone was all busy doing their own craft. The Boklan Art Contest started around 8am and it was finished after 8 hours. Well, it wasn't easy to paste the seeds, design and furnish them. No wonder why 8 hours of making was the time frame. In fact, in the first ever Boklan Arts Festival, I was also an artist (slight, lol) who joined that competition. I was in first year college back then and I was one of the representatives of the VCSO (Vigan City Scholars' Organization) where I belong.

Yes, I was a scholar of the city government and all of us were required to support and join every cultural activity that is happening in our city in return of the favor. So, incidentally, our main artist needed some help to do the art. He is from Manila. Luckily I was endorsed to help him together with one of my scholar-mates. We did the art and fortunately, we won the competition. Our prize was 15, 000 pesos. So, we were the first ever winner of the Boklan art festival and that's already carved in the history of Vigan. Our Boklan art was then displayed at the Vigan Culture and Trade Center where it was viewed by a lot of people as an exhibit. It was a great experience! Now, it's time for the newer generation to bring out the best from them.






There you have some of the finished Boklan Arts which were held into a parade around the old Plaza Salcedo. Hundreds of crowd and tourists as well flocked around Plaza Salcedo to witness the parade of this Boklan Arts.

After the contest has finished, all the finished Boklan Arts were held into a parade around Plaza Salcedo.

Boklan Arts Festival happens annually in Vigan every first week of May which coincides with the Karbo Festival.

NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.