July 2015
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"The beautiful landscape just let me think of positive things... I was blinded by the beauty of the village—blinded to see the not-so-good side."

[KABAYAN, BENGUET, PHILIPPINES] ▬ The people wear thick clothes. You know, it's cold in here. Children have pinkish cheeks maybe because of the low temperature. I am not sure. But they have lighter complexion and their eyes are relatively narrower. This is a high village engaged in farming and tourism as their primary industries inhabited by a tribe called Kalanguya.

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ SITIO BABALAK: A HIGHLAND FARMING VILLAGE


▬ A Short Introduction for an Upcoming Series ▬


#KABAYAN


I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO say on this post really. I can't conceptualize how will I write this. I'm just writing here whatever thoughts running inside my head now. I'm thinking of writing several articles for this destination from my habal-habal experience up to that time I left the village with separation anxiety; so many stories to share actually. This post serves as introduction. If you're an avid follower of this blog, you probably know my style. I write a lot that I have to divide my stories into series of posts to accommodate all the thoughts in my head.

As of this post, I haven't finished the current blog series I am writing (the trip organized by AZALEA RESIDENCES

[BAGUIO] ▬ VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way


TEASER ► Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

where I was invited) and I do not know when will I finish my Sitio Babalak series too. But at least, I've started now. I visited the village on 22nd and 23rd of May this year with my kababatas (friends I grew up with).

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ RAINY AFTERNOON: FOG COVERED THE VILLAGE

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ HARVESTING CARROTS


▬ Change of Plans, Misadventures Happen ▬


OUR ORIGINAL PLAN IS TO climb Mt Pulag, Luzon's highest mountain. But due to some circumstances we weren't able to anticipate, we ditched the climb and just enjoyed the village while reminiscing our childhood.

It rained prior to the planned climb. We prioritized our safety. Mt Pulag can wait. Accidents can't—they come instantly and unexpected.

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ PICTURESQUE FARMING FIELDS OF SITIO BABALAK


▬ A Farming Village ▬


WHAT ELSE? THE VILLAGE IS a village of farmers. Most of them depend on farming for a living. Some benefit from the tourism industry though by becoming guides for visitors wanting to climb Mt Pulag.

They have terraced fields—not really rice terraces at all. Most of them plant root crops like potatoes and carrots. Some grow vegetables. So it's more like vegetable terraces. They practice kaingin—that process where they cut and burn the trees in the mountains to clear the area so that they can utilize the soil for farming.

The terraced fields are changing the landscape. It's remarkable, undeniably beautiful. Some lands are communal but they still use the land for farming. The trees are gone but keeping the trees can't give them money for now unless they can think of ways on how to turn the forests into moola. I'm not sure if they are aware of the possible consequences of kaingin like landslides. Maybe they've known the drill. I really don't know. I never asked. The beautiful landscape just let me think of positive things and it is only now that I realize that cutting the trees can be a threat. I was blinded by the beauty of the village—blinded to see the not-so-good side.


▬ Mornings and Sunsets ▬


KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ MY FRIEND MITCH ON AN EARLY MORNING JOGGING

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ WITH THE KALANGUYA KIDS OF BABALAK

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[KABAYAN] ▬ GREAT SUNSET IN SITIO BABALAK, BASHOY, KABAYAN, BENGUET


NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE TEMPERATURE HERE. Mornings are very cold. Temperature below 10°C is common. What we did was to climb a mountain near the village. It was not as high as Mt Pulag but just enough to keep our adventure spirit high. It was a great activity to fight the numbing cold.

Actually, it is cold 24 hours a day. But mornings and dawns register as trough in the temperature graph.

Sunset here is spectacular. It has quality. Pine trees on top of the mountains create a beautiful silhouette. As the sun leaves the day, the biting cold arrives. 

The village is inspiring. The people can survive without the convenience we have in the city. They have a beautiful village how I wish I can visit often. They live simply. The mountains are their asset. Their way of life is very different from how I am living my life. I can learn something from them. The resiliency is there. This is the true wealth: fresh air, fresh food, beautiful abode, less expenses, less risks for lifestyle diseases, healthy community, happy children.

This is a short introductory post for an upcoming Sitio Babalak blog series. I do not know when will I finish all as I've mentioned above. But it's now on queue. More stories are to be told. For now, it's end of the story. No 'to be continued...' ending words yet. ▬ end

KABAYAN, BENGUET

[END] ▬ HELLO AND GOOD MORNING FROM SITIO BABALAK, KABAYAN, BENGUET!


► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This is a personal leisure trip with my childhood friends on May 22-23, 2015. The descriptions written herein are based on my observations and experiences on the day of my visit.

[2] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2

More Stories from #Kabayan

Map Showing the Location of #Kabayan


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MORE POSTS FROM THIS CATEGORY: *EXPERIENCES*

[BAGUIO] ► VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way

_________________
TEASER ▬ Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

[DAGUPAN] ► 8-Ride Diary of How I Went Home After Eating Street Food

_________________
TEASER ▬ Travel bloggers usually write articles describing how they enjoyed the place, the food, the people and the experience but not so many write about the not-so-comfy...

[TINGLAYAN] ► There was No Sunrise in Buscalan, Kalinga

_________________
TEASER ▬ So the sun didn't shine that morning. However, I was able to understand the other side of the story.

[TINGLAYAN] ► The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 2/2

_________________
TEASER ▬ So I thought the hike is over, but as I took a turn on that road, I saw the other side of the mountain and it doesn't look like I am getting any closer. It goes farther, and farther...

[TINGLAYAN] ► The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 1/2

_________________
TEASER ▬ I am soliloquizing under the scorching strike of the sun that is adding more agony to my weary self. I hope I am not yet lost. But if ever I'm lost, at least I'm lost in a paradise.

[CORDILLERA] ► Bontoc-Tabuk Road: Mt. Province-Kalinga Border Crossing

_________________
TEASER ▬ My blunt brain due to being deprived of sleep was instantly reset to sight-seeing mode after it hibernated for a while when I started seeing this...

[LICUAN-BAAY] ► Challengingly Sweet Journey to Licuan-Baay, Abra

_________________
TEASER ▬ No complaints. I am loving it not that I want to do it so that I have something to write but because it activates my brain cells to think...

[LICUAN-BAAY] ► An Introduction to the Town of Gold

_________________
TEASER ► The scope of Licuan-Baay is extensive and expansive. You need to get a guide beforehand who is familiar enough of the town...

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LA TRINIDADBAGUIOBANGUEDLA PAZ, ABRATINGLAYANBONTOC

Thank you for visiting my travel blog!

EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"Say anything you want to say and this cool restaurant along the main road in La Trinidad will still find its way to become superior."

[LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET, PHILIPPINES]Its name proudly represents an identity. This restaurant is just badass that it is setting an extra cool standard in its circle so intimidating to beat. The Igorot culture and heritage are here. Non-Igorots should also experience this not just to satisfy the hungry tummy but also to feed the hungry brain on the brink of knowledge prostration. This place is a restaurant, museum and a piece of inspiration in one! How cool is that?


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ STARTING THIS POST WITH A CUP OF LEMON GRASS TEA


▬ A Dense Introduction ▬


#LATRINIDAD


THE LA TRINIDAD VALLEY WHERE the downtown and the famous STRAWBERRY FARM

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ 5 Interdependent Worlds in Strawberry Farm


TEASERI know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes.

are located is relatively denser in population and in concrete structures. The weather is slightly hotter too compared with the lower temperature of the villages outside the poblacion. But in these densities, there's this thing that stands out; probably by destiny and not by density.


One of the concrete structures I've seen here contains a world of arts, food, culture and inspiration. The concept of density is also here, mind you. Inside this structure generally called as the Jewel Igorot Building is densely equipped with fantastic things to enjoy and learn!


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ FAÇADE OF THE STRUCTURE I'M REFERRING HERE


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ DOWNTOWN LA TRINIDAD: SHOWING THE MAIN ROAD


The exterior itself is already noticeable. It is a big building compared to others around. It is designed with stones plastered to appear stylish. The other unique feature of this building is the hut accentuated with light-greenish ferns which makes the façade look like a fusion of the past and the contemporary.

A portion of this building is a restaurant called Jewel Igorot Restaurant and here is where I've been.


▬ The Entrance Brought Me Somewhere Else ▬


SO I ENTERED THIS BUILDING, left side. Then how come the interior has bamboos? Hah. No it's not really funny. It's affirmatively great actually. It looks like the owner is someone who wants to try new things, adorable things.

Then you have the stones, not really pebbles, so shiny and smooth plastered altogether on the walls inside. The benches made of wood made the place to appear like a park inside a building.

The bamboos' presence with the stone walls made me think I am somewhere else like in a riverbank or those hills I used to see as a child now owned by a powerful politician. Darn wealthy politicians owning everything they can afford to buy—even the hills/land of my heritage!


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THIS IS THE ENTRANCE LOBBY.


▬ The Interior ▬

THE INTERIOR IS NEVER INFERIOR. Say anything you want to say and this cool restaurant along the main road in La Trinidad will still find its way to become superior. My eyes turned to the left side but the stylish interior never left me; never left my interest at least. I was right in my first impressions. I walked straight ahead after.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THE WOODEN STAIRWAY IS DECORATED WITH TRUE GREEN PLANTS.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ HERE COMES THE RED PLANTS OF THE SPIRAL STAIR.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THESE DWARF BAMBOOS TURNED THE DULL STAIR REFRESHING.


So the restaurant where I'm going to dine is located at the third floorjust perfectly fine to let visitors step onto the spiral wooden stairs done so carefully creative.

The stairway is a showcase. Beside every other step are sculptures made from wood and clay. From here, the museum character of this restaurant is starting to appear. Well, as I've said, this restaurant is also a museum. I will write about the museum side of this restaurant on the next post.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ IF YOU NEED FRESH AIR....


The restaurant is not really fully enclosed to allow the cool breeze from the mountains to enter. However, should you wish to go al fresco, you got the choice.


▬ The Food ▬


The first food they served was a platter of brown rice. This brown rice is grown in the CORDILLERAS

CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

. Igorots eat this kind of rice and it is believed that it's much healthier compared with the white rice. Unlike its white counterpart, this brown rice is more organic.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THE BROWN RICE OF THE IGOROTS ARE HERE TO STAY.


So these fellow bloggers started to bring out their gadgets and the brown rice became the star of the day. It was surrounded instantly by bloggers-turned-paparazzi capturing a photo for their instagram updates.

Anyway, damnit! How come this champorado-like rice is not a mainstream in the lowlands where lifestyle-related diseases are common? Dumb-ass commercialism. The oily meats and pesticide-grown white rice is making the pockets of the managers of the money economy healthy and bulging, not the consumers. I know a farmer who uses pesticide to grow rice in commercial farming. But they never eat what they sell. They instead plant another pesticide-free rice for their consumption; not of good quality but healthier. It's not for sale anyway. It's for their personal consumption. Also blame some consumers. They think that the whiter, the better. Hence, the demand for whiter pesticide-preserved unhealthier rice.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ FRUITS ARE PLENTY.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ WATERMELONS, LOVELY.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ CHOP SUEY NEVER GONE WRONG.


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ I ALMOST ATE ALL THE GRAPES HERE!


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THIS PINAKBET + BAGNET IS PROFOUNDLY GOOD!


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ BARANIW (LEMON GRASS) TEA


[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ ENDING THIS WITH A HOT CUP OF BARANIW TEA.


They served mostly fruits but their chop suey, pinakbet and sinigang were all stellar. I can't say any single stupid word against the food. I know where to go the next time I'll visit La Trinidad.

I have described this restaurant the way I saw it. But the most interesting part is yet to be told. The owner of this building is a former domestic helper in Hong Kong. How come she now owned a 4-story building? No, she never married a wealthy guy. Her inspiring story is not the get-rich-quick scheme done in MLMs. This is a rugs-to-millionaire story. ▬ to be continued...

INDEX: INSIDE THIS BLOG SERIES

AZALEA RESIDENCES HOTEL BAGUIO

[UP NEXT] ▬ A DOMESTIC HELPER BECAME A MILLIONAIRE. INSPIRING STORY.


► BLOG SERIES: AZALEA SUMMER GETAWAY

Up Next: I said, this restaurant is also a world of inspiration and fascinating stories of ordinary people who became extraordinary. She is a proud Igorota and her key to becoming a millionaire is by becoming a domestic helper first.

Part 1

[BAGUIO] ▬ VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way


TEASER ► Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

| Part 2

[BAGUIO] ▬ Ilocano Food Reigns at Kalapaw Restaurant


TEASER ► This restaurant highlights the Ilocos heritage and culture in spite of the fact that it's located in Baguio City.

| Part 3

[BAGUIO] ▬ Night Market at Harrison Road: What to See and Expect?


TEASER ► The foot traffic is huge. Merchants shout to encourage passersby to purchase their products. But some are just hawkers.

| Part 4

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ 5 Interdependent Worlds in Strawberry Farm


TEASERI know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes.

| Part 5

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Bahong Flower Farm: Rose Capital of the Philippines


TEASER ► ...they will transform into beautiful, fully-bloomed flowers and that will be the end of their life because they will be cut and head straight to the flower shop.

| Part 6 | Part 7

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Museum and the Maid-to-Millionaire Story


TEASER ► Greatness does not only come from huge quantities and fat funds. My conviction is something is already great when you are able to put up that something from scratch with a purpose to educate and inspire.

| Part 8

[BAGUIO] ▬ Discovering More of Baguio the Amazing Race Way


TEASER ► We've explored the city under time pressure yet we were awed by these destinations that are truly timeless.

| Part 9

[BAGUIO] ▬ 2600 Gastropub: When Zip Code Turns Into Night Life


TEASER ► Then, the playlist went on and it made me wild, almost shedding tears, remembering the good old days in favor of nostalgia.

| Part 10

[TUBA] ▬ BenCab Museum: History, Arts and Culture


TEASER ► ...everywhere is a learning realm. Everywhere is an answer if you have questions. Everywhere is a definition if you look for meanings.

| Part 11

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tam-awan Village: Old-School Igorot Living of Today


TEASER ► The present has almost erased all the things of the past but some individuals have always been interested in bringing the old back to present.

| Part 12

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tree Top Adventure: What to Expect? + Things You Must Know


TEASER ► The facilities are well-engineered—truly a work of the experts. Pine trees are part of the activities and they claim that no tree was harmed.

| Part 13

[BAGUIO] ► Azalea Residences Hotel Review: My Experiences in Details


TEASER ▬ The room where I stayed is even bigger than our house—complete with a kitchen, a dining area, a sala (with a couch and a twin bed) and another two rooms within the room. Swanky!



► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] Some important details about the Jewel Restaurant:
  • ADDRESS: KM 4, Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet
  • CONTACT INFO: (O74) 422-3258/(O74)422-9101
  • MENU: They serve breakfast meals, rice toppings, pork, goat, chicken and fish dishes. Solo orders start at 70 pesos up t0 110 pesos. Group dishes start from 210 up to 700 depending on the size of serving and type of dish.

[2] This experience was made possible through Azalea Residences Hotel in Baguio City. I was invited to experience the Azalea hospitality. My big gratitude to Azalea management.

[3] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2

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[DAGUPAN] ► Golden Mami House: Chinese Restaurant in Dagupan

_________________
TEASER ▬ ...this is the first serving for the blog menu I'll be offering soon covering food and restaurants in Dagupan City.

[KUALA LUMPUR] ► Kafeteria Ikhwan: Stories of My First Restaurant Dining Abroad

_________________
TEASER ▬ ...I enjoyed the food, but more than the food are these countless first time travel experiences that taught me to believe that the world, though getting smaller, is complex.

[BAGUIO] ► Ilocano Food Reigns at Kalapaw Restaurant


_________________
TEASER ▬ This restaurant highlights the Ilocos heritage and culture in spite of the fact that it's located in Baguio City.

[VIGAN] ► Chula Saloon Bar: a Museum-Feel Restaurant Bar


_________________
TEASER ▬ Restobars like this one make Vigan a more interesting place to visit.

[SAN FERNANDO] ► Halo-Halo de Iloko Balay - Refreshed in La Union

_________________
TEASER ▬ ...this blue-colored old house-turned-restaurant has many surprises to keep that can only be experienced if you try to visit this restaurant

[BANTAY] ► The Commissary at One Vittoria Hotel, Upscale Dining in Ilocos

_________________
TEASER ▬ It's nice to see Metro Vigan evolving so fast on the right path. There are more options coming. For 'The Commissary,' it's setting a new genre for Ilocos...

[TANAY] ► Handong: Vegetarianism, Nature and Religion Intertwined

_________________
TEASER ▬ It's vegetarianism on its face. No killing of animal life—it's primarily based on sustainable farming.

[VIGAN] ► Bigueños Café: A Cozy Place to Chillax and Eat in Vigan

_________________
TEASER ▬ Its trade name, Bigueños cafe.net, came from 'Bigueño', a term used to refer to the people of Vigan.

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Thank you for visiting my travel blog!

EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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