December 2011

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"Currimao is not a single beach. It is actually a town with collection of beautiful beaches and the beach featured in this article is just a "usual" beach in Currimao, Ilocos Norte - yet already excellent."

The day was very beautiful and with a friend and a photo buddy, we had a road trip up north. The South China Sea (now West Philippine Sea) is actually a golden blessing to the coastal areas of Western Luzon coast because of the long stretch of beautiful beaches from rocky, coral, black-sand, golden-sand to white-sand beaches.

Bright-colored blooming flowers add value to summer in this white Currimao beach
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It was a day where Charice Pempengco is at the peak of her popularity as a new singing sensation and with the song "Pyramid" playing at my friend's sound set inside the car, we were traversing the scenic highway up north.

Along the highway, we just can't keep ourselves to stay on the road because of the very beautiful coastal scene we are seeing this very moment. We really had to make a stop over and enjoy the view - the creations of God! Being a Filipino living in the Philippines which is an archipelago blessed with beautiful and priceless beaches, my standards are high to rate a beach.

Currimao is not a single beach. It is actually a town with collection of beautiful beaches and the beach featured in this article is just a "usual" beach in Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

In fact, this beach is just along the road leading to a classy resort called Playa Tropical which means, expect a better experience to the "better" beaches in Currimao. I reiterate, this beach is just the "usual" beach and it doesn't attract resorts and visitors yet. However, already beautiful.



Aside from the charming beauty of this beach, I was also got interested with the beach vegetations from flattering flowering plants to creepy flowering beach vines.

At the shoreline and at the shallow parts, there are coral formations and I was just very thankful to God that He has blessed the Philippines with beautiful beaches and some of those was accepted by the town of Currimao.


The beach I was able to see that time is situated in a cove. The waters are calm and peaceful. There are little waves yet the air moves to cool-up the summer heat.

In fact at the shoreline, there are no resorts and hotels but personalized cottages owned by the residents that live near the beach.

Self-captured photo: My camera hates my face, hehe.
Ok, we were on our way to a classy resort called Playa Tropical and the road going to the resort was just extraordinary.

At the resort, you'll be able to see more stunning coastline from the infinity pool with wider beach.


Well, just another Philippine beach experience with memorable and special things to tell.

Currimao, Ilocos Norte never disappointed me and the road trip up north was just worth while.

Tags: Beaches in Currimao | Beaches in Ilocos Norte | Beaches in Currimao, Ilocos Norte | Beach in Currimao, Ilocos Norte | White Beach in Currimao, Ilocos Norte | Tourist spots in Currimao | Where to Go in Currimao | Places to Visit in Currimao
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"How I love the experience of getting familiar to a place while riding at the back of a pick-up. I was able to see the left and the right side of the road and smile at the driver of the vehicle coming next to us."

It was my first time to visit this destination and I slept at the house of  a person who in the same way, my first time to meet. Luckily the wife of that person is my friend's cousin and I was with my friend traveling this time. 

The charming countryside appeal of San Manuel, Pangasinan as seen
while I am riding at the back of a pick-up
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The house owner was so accommodating that he toured me in San Manuel, Pangasinan using his pick-up - where I stayed at the back in an open air and the speed of the vehicle seemed like separating my head from my neck because of the force. I am grasping all the forceful wind created by the acceleration of the vehicle as I am sitting in an open air to an open highway at the back of the vehicle.

The experience was again very memorable. I was doing a hop into a town and of course my camera needed to be very ready all the way to every site that I will see while riding at the back with a friend.

San Manuel, Pangasinan is also the home of a large power-generator that supplies current to most of Northern Luzon so expect power-lines everywhere. The power-lines cross the wide farms of the town.

San Manuel, Pangasinan is an agricultural town and expect to see huge, wide and never ending rice fields. The owner of the house where I stayed also owns a huge parcel of land that could be the area of a sitio.


In fact, I am brave to say that there are no attractive spots in the town but  that should not stop me in discovering the less seen spots of less traveled destinations.

It was a golden harvest when I visited the town. The rice fields have turned to golden brown ready to be harvested while some parcel of lands have been harvested already.

I just love the appeal of the view - the farmlands and mountains blend to allure my feelings being a fan of the countrysides.



What was so nice riding at the back of a pick-up or any vehicle in an open air is the feeling of absolute freedom. You don't have to peep at the window or do a stop over to go out the car just to enjoy the views of the place on which it is your first time to see.

I have to be camera-alert this time to capture the view but the expectation I was thinking that it was easy to capture photos was actually wrong. The speedy pick-up was just taking the not so well-paved road and of course it was too fast that it was hard to capture the best angle. Once you have already set the right angle, the vehicle is rushing to get away from the site so it wasn't easy. However, I just love the challenge of it. I was enjoying a lot!

I also had no idea where the "kuya" (the owner of the house and pick-up) was leading me until we turned to a narrow road leading to a resort.


Oh well, I learned that the family of "kuya" owned the resort and it is called the A&E spring resort located in a place called Butao, also in San Manuel, Pangasinan.

I was given the chance to swim for free but I had no other clothes and underwear since I just came here in an accident. Without any plans, I am already here. I just didn't hesitate nor say "no" the time my friend invited me although I know I have no clothes to wear, no bathroom kit and so on.

The resort was newly-opened that time and I was glad I was among the firsts to visit A&E Spring resort in Butao.

It was fun! How I love the experience of getting familiar to a place while riding at the back of a pick-up. I was able to see the left and the right side of the road and smile at the driver of the vehicle coming next to us. Yes I know, the town wasn't as attractive as other tourist destinations but I think the best thing about discovering the less known path is the experience that can not be compared to traveling into more famous destination.

Tags: San Manuel, Pangasinan | Resort in San Manuel, Pangasinan | Road Trip in San Manuel, Pangasinan | Backride Tour | Backriding | Swimming Pool in San Manuel, Pangasinan
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"There are also other entities worth to be recognized because those are the things that make the town complete - the people, the culture, the daily living, the heritage, the simple scenes and the warm smile at the face of the people and these are the things that make tourists happy even in the absence of butanding."

Donsol, Sorsogon has been known to be a world class tourist destination because of the whale sharks known locally as butanding. But behind the success is a lovely story I have known. The butanding or whale sharks, the largest fish in the world has been seen by the residents for the last 100 years but it was only in 1998 when it was discovered.

The calm warm waters of Sorsogon on which the whale sharks love to swim.

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As I entered the town, there is peace in my heart because I know this will be another typical town with friendly people yet aloft to strangers.

I love the simplicity of living, the warm smiles from the faces of the residents, the common unpaved countryside roads, the old houses of the town, the array of coconut plantations, and the great clear blue sky. The people just live in their own ways and seemed like not expecting a good life in the future but I must say the luck is in this town. The sleeping town has arisen and will soon flourish to feed the hungry.


During my visit to this town, I can see the children going to school throwing us back with sweet innocent smile. As of my visit, I am not seeing any abuse of the natural resources and natural wonders (I just hope my eyes were right) of Donsol town but I asked myself, how far will they get there? 

I have heard many tourist destinations that decades ago were paradise but due to tourism boom, the once beautiful paradise just turned to be a commercial hub with no beautiful seen to see but the commercial scene. 

That is my point, so these children, do they know the potential of their town? They must be innocent but the future of Donsol, Sorsogon is in their hands. As early as now, they must be equipped and be educated about the upcoming big break the town will soon experience and how they are going to handle it without destroying the beauty and wonders of their town.

Seeing the center of the town, it is not so modern. There are only a few modern buildings the highest I have seen is only two-storey.

Most government agencies are housed on old houses such as the photo above but of course I see no concrete issues to raise from this. The town is just getting its momentum and will boom soon!


As you roam around the town, you can see the face of Sen. Fancis "Chiz" Escudero who comes from Sorsogon. Sen. Chiz has been starting the campaign to promote the town to tourists and I think his campaign wasn't in vain. 

People really did go to the town to see the whale sharks with their own eyes.






I also had the opportunity to go the Donsol Tourist Center to ask for assistance but unlucky, we were here for the off season so there's no butanding to expect. So of course, no whaleshark was seen by us.

However, I was of course happy to see the town, it's simplicity, its beauty. At the back of the Donsol Tourist center is the calm and warm waters of Donsol, Sorsogon and no wonder why the Butanding loves going here.

As I have said, the presence of butanding in this town has been known by the locales over 100 years ago but they believed that these gentle giants are dangerous.

The wrong notion was erased when a group of scuba divers led by Romir Aglugub, a PADI diving instructor discovered the presence of the gentle sea giants in January 1998.

When it was discovered, even the members of the diving group led by Romir Aglugub also had second thoughts thinking that the sea giants are dangerous. Aglugub led the way into the water and came in contact with the whale shark and the copy of the video footage has been forwarded to the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines. By 1998, the sleeping town has arisen and became a world class tourist destination and dubbed as the "Whale Shark Capital of the World."

I also had chance to see some of the public structures of Donsol like the Donsol Municipal Hall, their West Central School and a couple of beautiful sceneries.
I saw this beach resort, just one of the several beach resorts that popped in the town. This was truly a signal that the town is now ready to embrace a tourist-oriented economy, well expected.

This is the prize of tourism, it helps the economy a lot. Tourism is the largest industry in the world. But as I have said, the children should be educated so that they will come to know more about the potential of their town and be able to manage it in the future without destroying the habitat of the whale sharks and sacrificing the beauty of their promised land.

I also saw some old structures and aside from the whale sharks that is making their town famous and wealthy, these old stuctures are also a wealth to the town that is priceless. it is a heritage that can never be bought by money.

Well I was really glad seeing the less seen and less known part of the town because Donsol, Sorsogon isn't the original town we know if we are just thinking about the butanding alone. There are also other entities worth to be recognized because those are the things that make the town complete - the people, the culture, the daily living, the heritage, the simple scenes and the warm smile at the face of the people and these are the things that make tourists happy even in the absence of butanding.

Tags: Tourist Spots in Donsol | Tourist Spots in Sorsogon | Tourist Spots in Donsol, Sorsogon | What to see in Donsol, Sorsogon | Places to Visit in Donsol, Sorsogon | Season of Butanding | When Do Butanding Appears? | Donsol Municipal Hall | Beach in Donsol, Sorsoon | Beaches in Donsol, Sorsogon
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"Christmas decorations at the Vigan Heritage Village need not to be overdone.

Vigan's Heritage Village is a discipline zone. It is a regulated place. If one will go here, one can notice that there are no dangling wires seen at the street and also, no motorized vehicles and only the calesas are allowed. The city wants to just maintain the architectural and cultural harmony of the place, thus regulations. For this Christmas, I think there must be a rule too.

A simple decoration is hanging on a street lamp giving a Christmas touch 
to the place as simple as it can be.

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Christmas decorations at the Vigan Heritage Village need not to be overdone. Everyone must be aware that what is too much can lead to imbalance. 

For the Heritage Village, the highlight is always the ancestral houses. Overdoing Christmas decorations could overshadow the optimum beauty of the city which can be seen in its simplest setting. As I went to this area on a high noon, I have this smile in my heart and somehow very glad that it is Christmas everywhere and I am seeing it at the heritage village.

Many people prefer to have the grandest Christmas decorations given that they have the means but for this case, the simplicity of the decorations is itself enough to feel the touch of the Christmas spirit.

The white Christmas decorations that are hanging at the old houses were just perfect to maintain the simplicity and the beauty of the place. Too much of them with different colors could be an eye sore to the place.

I have tried imagining putting a lot of colorful decorations at this street and it doesn't really look good even at the pictures of my imagination.

What is simple could be the best. I would always prefer the white decorations and adding more of it could already alter the beauty of the place which comes from the very simple concepts.

At the Vigan Heritage Village, simplicity is a virtue and the simple decorations can already speak a lot that the old street is enjoying the spirit of Christmas. Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone! 

Tags: Vigan Heritage Village | Christmas in Vigan City | Christmas in Calle Crisologo
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"It was just like a love story in movies and television drama series. That story makes Vigan so romantic not just per ambiance but its history as well."

Vigan is a city saved from the damages of war because of a romantic love story between a Japanese and a Bigueña (term for a Vigan woman). A Japanese military commander fell in love to a Bigueña and because that Japanese commander didn't want his loved one left struggling and experiencing a bad life because of the damages of a war, he betrayed the Japanese command for the sake of love. Romantic isn't it? That's why the old houses of Vigan are standing still and it was saved a romance.

Calle Crisologo is Vigan's famed street because of its old charm and romantic scene even after midnight that blend with drama of the neon lamps attached at the old houses.
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The Vigan history tells that bombs and other explosive materials are already prepared at Plaza Burgos and the Japanese officers are just waiting for the signal of the commander to ignite it with fire to devastate the city but the commander chose to just leave the city quietly for the very last minute.

Awwww! It was just like a love story in movies and television drama series. That story makes Vigan so romantic not just per ambiance but its history as well.

Visiting Calle Crisologo at night, I tend to have goosebumps, not because of ghosts from the old houses which are considered to be fictional but because of the romance clinging at the back of my mind.

Yes, of course, the beauty of the place is always exceptional and I think it is safe to say that it is one of the most romantic places in the Philippines during the night and I can be brave to claim that it is the most romantic city during midnight in the Philippines.

The street from 10 pm onwards becomes very quiet and peaceful. The lights along the street resembles a lamp shade that are attached to the walls of the old houses.



The romance of the old street lined with century-old ancestral houses is truly soul penetrating. I can always feel the Japanese-Bigueña love story everytime I visit this part of Vigan during the night

All the shops that line the daylight-busy street are all closed. The street is clear and there are no significant obstructions. You'll be able to see the beauty of the street clearly.

When the midnight comes, the place is almost silent and the only nocturnal sounds you can hear are the sounds created by insects. Sometimes you may hear the sound of house lizards we call in Ilocano as saltek. Sometimes there are also sounds from occasional vehicles that take the nearby road that turn to be an annoying noise amidst the silence of the night.



There is peace and serenity. As I look up the clear midnight sky, I can see the harmony of the stars that look like singing a love song for me.

I was hear alone and my purpose why I went here during midnight was not to have a midnight date with a girl but to re-examine and scrutinize what I can see, feel and perceive in this place with that time.

However, as I also look to the moon, it seems like it is igniting a romantic light that will enlighten every lover under it. I closed my eyes and I can feel the dew to the skin and the gradually cooling air. I must accept that I am just feeling so in love thinking about my girl. 

Oh no, I just turned this way and I just want to blame it with the romantic setting of Vigan's Calle Crisologo together with the stars and the moon who became accomplices in bringing out the love affair within me.


I looked at my clock and it is already passing the midnight time but I can still feel the romance it brings. I am falling in love again although I tend to become in love 3X a day, this is the 4th time for this day, lol!

The moment I left this place after midnight, I remember the love story that saved the city from total destruction and huh, it just inspires me a lot. It was just such a great love!

The romantic ambiance of the place is truly very alive in spite of the silence.

There is peace, love, joy and harmony as I look to the old houses while thinking about the romantic history of the city.

I have no idea how the Japanes-Bigueña love story ended up since there were no facebook, email and cellular phones those days. However, I am sure wherever these two people now, they might be smiling how their love story helped this city to grow and survive.

The bonus here is that, the city was also discovered to be a premiere tourist destination because their love story also saved the old houses that are standing until now.

Well, the old houses are the witnesses of this love story if only they can speak. Like the Japanese commander did, I also left the place peacefully and untouched, hehe.  

However, seriously, I also want that my love story will also create a vibrant city that will be included in their history in the future and would also jump in joyful tears if my love story will also save a city nearing it's downfall.

Tags: History of Vigan | Night at Vigan City | Night in Calle Crisologo | Romance in Vigan City | Romantic City in Asia | Romantic City in the Philippines |Calle Crisologo at Night | Vigan City at Night | Love Story that Saved Vigan
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