August 2011
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"Some old houses were demolished and now their real color is popping out. The color of greed is now slowly glowing in the old houses transforming them as attractive it could be for business."

NOTE: This article is a personal opinion and insight of the author. The author has no sole intention to defame or in any other means destroy the image and credibility of a group, corporation, person or any entity whatsoever.

The sounds of the past is echoing. The old houses bring an unusual connection to what is not considered as contemporary. The Vigan old houses stand still amidst the span of time, storms and politics. They remain to be an emblem of Vigan's glorious past. But hey, where are those houses with exposed bricks gone? I can not see the old charm. What I see are new houses painted in different colors mimicking the architectural grandeur of the Vigan ancestral houses.


Maps by Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
Suddenly, I realized, I am at the heritage district of Vigan and what I saw was totally different. The houses are all charming and gorgeous but the touch of the past is starting to break the connection I once felt while seeing the old houses. Some houses are now colored with green. There are also some with orange, light blue, pink and yellow.

As you look at those houses for the first time, they really look so fancy and attractive with the colors. However at the back of my mind, being a person who frequently sees these old structures, I always long for the harmony of the houses. Their architectural uniformity, unity and similarity should be preserved and with this, the color of every house should also be in line with the harmony.

Vigan's flourishing industry has grown dramatically - thanks to the the ancestral houses which serve as the main attraction of this World UNESCO Heritage City, the only one in the Philippines and truly a pride.

As a product of high tourists arrival, industries and commerce also flare up in this old city. The houses which are the main attractions are now turned in to shops, restaurants, hotels, and even fully-enclosed shopping center and disco bars. Commercialization is taking place. The solemnity of the old streets are now disturbed by the sounds of modern world and even the color is trying to cope up with the flow.

There's nothing bluer than blue while scrutinizing the renovation of the old houses. Some houses have been renovated improperly because the original context of the old houses weren't preserved and worse, some  re-builders of the ancestral houses have almost demolished the original walls and bricks just to give way for a better location for business to deal with the growing urge for commercialization.

The old streets are now disturbed by annoying sounds, live wires or powerlines, traffic jams and people on the rush. Business establishments open at every old house and the noise and activity just get worse.

I know, this is a part of a growing economy and I am happy for it. Vigan is now becoming a commercial hub secondary to the vibrant tourism industry - thanks again to the old houses. But I am really afraid that the real tourists especially those returning ones will come to be disappointed with the changes and see another face of Vigan they never expected. I am not concluding a fact, I am just thinking about the possibility that will happen and worse, Vigan might turn less attractive to them because of the massive changes and alteration of the real Vigan essence.

Honestly, I am not affected with the colors of the old houses which might be contrary to my commentary and stand in this article but what is annoying is the glaring color of greed and politics that people of personal interest sacrificed the living and existing heritage they have just to benefit them. Some old houses were demolished and now their real color is popping out. The color of greed is now slowly glowing in the old houses transforming them as attractive it could be for business.

The colors of the house are not bad at all if done with caution. But the question that lingers at the back of my mind is the reason behind the colors and why? Why demolish and why alter the living treasures that has put the Philippines at heritage map of the world? As I roam Vigan's streets, the answer is now clear. It is part of development and it is a reality. However, I still believe, progress and heritage conservation can still go hand in hand.

Note: The city government of Vigan has now passed an ordinance regulating the alteration, reconstruction and building of any houses within the heritage area so as to conserve and preserve these world heritage structures.

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

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"The flowers around the Burnham Lake seemed like smiling and cheering as they too witness this precious moment in their life time as me personally, is also cheering deep inside my heart as a witness how successful they are in managing a long distance relationship."

This is their moment and not mine but it is my idea to blog this. Being separated from about 2 years, their love story has gone far not only through distance but also through the challenges they have encountered and to encounter yet. At this time, my next blog feature will be another post of real people with real stories.  I know, with my CCC and TGIT Batchmates circle of friends, we've been almost all starting a marriage life. I can see that Tots and Honey will go through this level. This post will be my tribute to them.

I can say they could be my inspiration because of all the things that they have gone through. They started a relationship full of ups and downs, rejections and social taboo. But in the end, they made God as the center of their relationship which made them survive these challenges.

Maps Courtesy of Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
In an unexpected time, more than a year after their relationship started, Tots was ordered to go to Canada to migrate. It was not easy for both parties to depart considering what they have gone through to survive. They managed to get through a long distance relationship although it does not actually work for most. This time, after about two years, Tots came back with flying colors. He is actually a boy back then in the Philippines that is seen by his friends as happy go lucky with no concrete goals in life and seen not to be above the others because he is just a simple person with simple happiness - the guitar.


In a very surprising manner, he came back with flying colors being able to succeed in Canada through the help of God and I am inspired by this person on how he remains so humble in spite of all his achievements in life as a product of his hard work. The interesting thing here is that he can now be considered as a person who is now more successful than the persons he left in the Philippines who used to be above him. That's how God favored Tots and in spite of those favors, he stayed humble and as it is. He never changed.

The flowers around the Burnham Lake seemed like smiling and cheering as they too witness this precious moment in their life time as me personally, is also cheering deep inside my heart as a witness how successful they are in managing a long distance relationship.

It was already time to have quality moments by them and I was so glad that I was invited to be with them this time. I have known Tots since our childhood days and I am also well-acquainted with his family, some friends and relatives. So it was not hard to deal with him because of the strong foundation of friendship.

I also know Honey well because she happens to be my cousin. I know her good and "not so good" sides. Having a working relationship, I was surprised how they two have succeeded with this. I know the childishness of Honey. I also know her strengths, weaknesses and assets. I know how she cares for someone and I also know how she hates a person in deep fry. So, they were able to adjust to these things.


This moment in Baguio City's Burnham Park is only such a short period of time and I was glad I was part of it. We reminisced all our childhood memories, had talks, promenaded, walked through Baguio's cool streets and with the chilly breeze, ate, laughed, and bonded like it was in our childhood days. But at this time, change is a constant thing. Our foundation is friendship since childhood but Honey and Tots leveled up.

The time changes so fast that when we were just children, we used to cry when one of us is bullied. Now it is a different thing. No one of our circle of friends really expected this. That's how the mystery of love works, very surprising. And of course, with the intervention of God, we really can never predict the future.

I enjoyed this day with my childhood friends and I am praying that alll of my batchmates at CCC and TGIT will end up a love story with happy ending. Of course we will. God is our guide!
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.

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 "It was a child with an extra large 'thing.' Too large for his age and he is voiding. It was funny, it was no malice for me because it was an art. And yes, it was really funny."

There is a favorite bus stop in Pagbilao, Quezon for buses and vehicles traversing the Manila-Bicol route. The name of this bus-stop-restaurant is intriguing for me called the "Kamayan sa Kubo." If we translate it in English, we might call it eating with bare hands in a hut.

Map Courtesy of Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
The success of this bus stop or a restaurant (whatever we might call it) lies in its location. Located along the Maharlika Highway going down south, the main road that every vehicle usually takes when going to southern Luzon, anyone with hungry tummy can afford to obtain satisfaction in this restaurant with accessibility.

I said the name is intriguing because the name and the present set-up of the restaurant does not reflect with each other. In the first place, this is not a kubo, it is a concrete structure. The other thing is that, people eating here use spoon and fork.

However, the ambiance at night is winner for everyone who is hungry. There is a nice lighting, spacious premises, and eye friendly interior. But it still clings at the back of my mind why it is called Kamayan sa Kubo. My theory is that, it might have started as a kubo with customers eating with bare hands. Because of the success of this bus stop, the owner might have expanded and developed this business. Why not? Nice hypothesis to try.

In front of the restaurant is a sculpture that caught my sight. It was a child with an extra large "thing." Too large for his age and he is voiding. It was funny, it was no malice for me because it was an art. And yes, it was really funny. It is a part of the artificial landscape. The voiding kid serves as the fountain.

I might say the girls enjoyed the live show.... I mean the sculpture... I mean the Food! Yes the food! That's it! The food!

But hey wait! I didn't see those girls with me eating... Hehe... Where have they been? So I will only share to you what I have eaten here.

I tried their Fish Fillet. Of course it was boneless so that was hassle-free to eat. That is an additional score. Next thing, the fish meat is tender. The syrup is SSS (Sweet, Sour and Spicy) which is at an optimum taste and blend. My score for the food is 8 out of 10. It is I think 65 pesos per order.


As we go on our way, another set of buses are coming. I am sure, people unloading from these buses will surely notice what we have noticed and laugh how we laughed, or smile how we smiled. Every time I hear about Pagbilao, Quezon, it always reminds me one thing. Huh, Pagbilao, Quezon has left me unforgettable memories, encounter and experience. It really occupied a disk space in my mind.

Of course, if one will ask me about Pagbilao, Quezon, I will always remember and say... "Kamayan sa Kubo." This restaurant is where every memory stuck in my mind, everything funny, delicious [food] and malicious in this part of Quezon province.. But it's all in the mind! Might this boy be their secret key to success? A lucky charm?

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