April 2016
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"Some expectations were actually the reality giving them the right to settle in my brain's trivia section."

[BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES] ► As a fan of traveling, I fantasize traveling to every town and every nook in the world. As a result, I tend to read travel articles, search for photos of places and based on what I have read and seen online, I create a picture in mind of my expectations of a certain place.

TAAL BASILICA

[BATANGAS] ► HELLO! WELCOME TO BATANGAS!


When I am about to write my travel stories covering Batangas, this idea suddenly popped out from nowhere. Kling! It's expectation versus reality. This is a new category on my blog where I'm gonna share my expectations of a place based on what I read and seen online (and on what I heard from the news) then share the reality (my real experience) of the place—and if the expectation was met or not. For the first edition of this series, I'm sharing to you my expectation vs reality moments in Batangas.

It's my first time to explore Batangas and like many fellow travelers, it is the first time travels where we have a lot of expectations for a certain place. Take note that I didn't visit all the towns in Batangas just yet. I only covered four (4) so the answers to my expectations were based on what I encountered from these four towns: Santo Tomas, Balete, Lipa City and Taal. So Let's Begin!

GOTO BATANGUEÑO

[LIPA] ► EXPECTATION: BATANGAS HAS NO FOOD THEY CAN CALL AS THEIR OWN IDENTITY.

#1 Reality: No, Batangas has local cuisines too! They are just less popular in PH.

When we say bangus or pigar-pigar, it's # D A G U P A N

#DAGUPAN


. When we say bagnet, it's # V I G A N

#VIGAN


. When we say sundot kulangot, it's # B A G U I O

#BAGUIO


. When we say pancit batil patong, it's Tuguegarao. When we say sisig, it's Pampanga. When we say batchoy, it's Iloilo. When we say durian, it's Davao (durian isn't a cuisine but it's still a food that's often associated with Davao). But for Batangas? I can't think of any dish/cuisine that when you mention it, you'll automatically think Batangas as the rightful owner.

So my expectation was Batangas has no food which they can associate themselves with. When I visited Lipa City, I discovered a food they call goto Batangueño. In fact, it was my first time to learn that such food exists.

It's a beef soup dish that is very popular in Batangas as said by a local kiosk owner. The locals around also claimed that the best goto Batagueño is found in Lipa. So my expectation was wrong. I'm pretty sure there are other food that can be associated with Batangas but I still have to meet/taste them. I think their local cuisines are not popular in the Philippines compared to the foods I mentioned above. Should they've been popular, being a travel blogger, I should have known them well the way I've known the foods I mentioned above even without traveling to Batangas.

Apparently, it's the balisong that is often associated with Batangas. It is not a food though. It's a deadly weapon if you don't use it properly. Batangas is known for bravery partly because of this. #

TAAL HERITAGE TOWN

[TAAL] ► EXPECTATION: BATANGAS DOWNTOWNS HAVE MANY OLD HOUSES.

#2 Reality: Batangas downtowns have many old/ancestral houses.

The province of Batangas is often mentioned in our history textbooks. In fact, I can still remember Gen Miguel Malvar, a son of Batangas. He is the last Filipino general who surrendered to the Americans during the Philippine-American War.

Since Batangas is a historical province with a great role in Philippine history, I was thinking that its towns were among the earliest to flourish, hence, those early establishment that survived until now. When I visited Taal, my expectation was met. I did see many old houses lining Taal's narrow streets. No need to argue. (PHOTO AT LEFT COURTESY OF CLAIRE BLAXLAND / WWW.LAKWATSERADEPRIMERA.COM) #

TAAL HERITAGE TOWN

[LIPA] ► EXPECTATION: THE URBAN CENTER OF BATANGAS CITIES LOOK LIKE METRO MANILA CITIES.

#3 Reality: No, it's the same provincial feel.

I thought the poblacion areas of cities in Batangas look like those in # M A N I L A

#MANILA


—wide yet traffic-jammed streets, malls are everywhere and with high-rise buildings.

These expectations I had in mind are based on the fact that Calabarzon (Region 4-A) is an industrial region and its proximity to Metro Manila is an advantage. I had this thinking before that because Calabarzon (Batangas included) is an industrial region connected to Metro Manila with expressways that aren't found elsewhere in the Philippines, its cities must be Manilaesque. I was wrong with my expectations.

The reality appeared before me and saw for myself that some cities in Batangas have this familiar provincial feel based on what I saw in Lipa City and while passing through Tanauan City. Yes, there are malls but the setting still lacks the Manila characters. Lastly, no high-rise buildings yet. I haven't visited Batangas city (capital) as of this writing but what I saw in Lipa and Tanauan cities are already enough to conclude that not all cities in Batangas look like what I was expecting. #

TAAL BASILICA

[TAAL] ► EXPECTATION: I CAN SELFIE AT TAAL CHURCH ALL BY MYSELF.

#4 Reality: No, it was crowded when I went there.

Photos of Taal Church I see online and even from the Facebook feed of some of my travel blogger friends show a majestic Taal Basilica devoid of crowd. 

In my case, my expectation was not met. Taal Basilica was crowded and never ran out of people so I can't have a Taal Basilica selfie all by myself. Take note that this was my situation and it can be different in some ways in other people's case. Anyway, it was just so paasa. I've really waited for this opportunity to have a solo selfie but sadly, the reality has spoken. (EXPECTATION PHOTO COURTESY OF TAAL.PH) #

LIPA CITY

[LIPA] ► EXPECTATION: I WOULD HEAR PEOPLE SPEAK ALA EH AND WITH BATAGUEÑO ACCENT.

#5 Reality: No, I never heard anyone say "ala eh!"

Batangas is uniquely popular for their expression "Ala eh!" One of the things included on my bucketlist is to hear Batangueño people speaking (with their intonation of course). Unfortunately, I never heard anyone say "ala eh!" and for that, I'm feeling unaccomplished. I think I was just in a wrong place and in a wrong time. In Santo Tomas, Balete and Lipa, not all spoke with the intonation I was expecting.

The case in Taal is different though. How I loved the town of Taal, it's really a town rich in culture that its populace speaks so purely Batagueño. I felt like I'm in a balagtasan event. The people here speak so lovely and poetic. But still, I haven't heard anyone say the "ala eh!". #
___________________________________________________

Alright, all of the foregoing are my initial taste of Batangas. Some may sound silly, naive expectations but those expectations have been informally residing in my brain for a long time now. Those will be granted a permanent residency privilege once their status is verified. Some expectations were actually the reality giving them the right to settle in my brain's trivia section. | end |

04 APRIL 2016: BATANGAS PROVINCE
SELFIES TAKEN FROM EACH OF THE FOUR TOWNS MENTIONED HEREIN. FROM UPPER LEFT CLOCKWISE: SANTO TOMAS, LIPA CITY, BALETE, TAAL.

BATANGAS

[BATANGAS] ► HELLO! WELCOME TO BATANGAS!


► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Expectation vs Reality." This is a category here on my blog where I write a comparison or contrast of my expectation on a certain destination and its reality. This is the first post for this category so hang on for more.

[2] The maps I used below are from Wikipedia and Wikimedia. Source: 1 | 2


[3] The insights, conditions and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you visit Batangas. Names of places and properties may also change by time.

More Stories from Batangas

Map Showing the Location of Batangas


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EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
You may not believe this but I felt so ignorant about this. There's no train station in our province so encountering a self-service machine like this in actual setting was new to me.

[Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory, Peninsular Malaysia, West Malaysia, Malaysia]
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KL SENTRAL MONORAIL STATION
KL SENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
KL SENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
KL SENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
KL SENTRAL MONORAIL STATION

So this was KL Sentral. I only see (and read) about this place when I was planning this trip and finally, I was here. The so cliché first-time-travel-encounter moment strikes again—that feeling when you're like stoned in the middle of a sea of strangers and you just stay still looking around while saying to yourself, "OMG. I can't believe I'm here."

KL Sentral is Kuala Lumpur's central hub for trains. All trains from Kuala Lumpur's systematic railway system stop here and you can reach all the major destinations in KL (Kuala Lumpur) from KL Sentral. It's officially known as the Kuala Lumpur Central Railway Station.
Entering KL Sentral for the First Time
After alighting from the bus, I searched the way to the KL Sentral train station only to find out that there were many train stations within KL Sentral that service different destinations in Kuala Lumpur. The KL Sentral is I think attached to a mall. There are restaurants, banks, business centers and boutiques around.

This is a pleasant looking transportation hub that's so conveniently accessible from the airport and other popular tourist attractions in ▼ MALAYSIA. So well-planned.

Anyway, for a first timer, I was finding it hard to look for the monorail station (where I would ride). Basically, KL has several train systems. They have the LRT with different lines (service routes). They also have BRT and the Monorail. Ulkk! I found this stressing. At home, I only ride a tricycle or a motorbike then in a few minutes I'm already in my destination. But here, I still had to choose where to. So, where to?

My small city with less complicated transportation system is my comfort zone. Big cities like Kuala Lumpur with complicated transportation system for a first-timer like me resurrected the fear in me of roaming in a highly-populated urban jungle. Getting lost was my main concern here and I didn't want that to happen.

My back was already aching in carrying my backpack while I was still figuring out how to exit this place called KL Sentral. Uh. Taxing. I actually packed light for this trip but I couldn't let my backpack hanging there for long—it would mean backache if I insist so I needed to get out of here quick.

Finally, I saw a guard (Malay-looking) who was shorter than me with dark brown skin wearing a cap that signified he's part of the security team. "Where is the way to the Monorail Station?" I asked.

He answered me quick in English with his Malaysian accent. His accent was strange that it was hard for me to understand at first. He was able to help me find the direction though. Ahhh... The search for the Monorail station didn't stop here. OMG. Am I getting dumb for this? There were signs both written in Bahasa Melayu and English, but these signs disappeared when I reached another fork inside the KL Sentral Station + mall in one. I decided not to rely from these signage and I opted to ask random people along the way until I found the right place. Yes! I've reached the monorail station. This would become my first train ride outside my country ▼ PHILIPPINES (if I pursued this).
I'm Confused
I approached a counter to buy a ticket but no personnel was there. I was surprised that in spite of the busy rail stations in KL, I wondered why there was no long line at this counter. In fact, I was the only one waiting. I'm so confused!

I waited for several minutes until an Indian woman with long black curly hair arrived. She entered the office, sat in the counter and asked me what do I need. I told her I need to buy a ticket for Imbi station but she didn't give me a ticket. She instead instructed me to go somewhere where I could get a ticket but I couldn't understand her English. After a moment of clarifying things, I finally got it. There's a self-service machine at the other side that brings out token, not ticket.

Before this trip, I booked a ▼ HOSTEL

I stayed in a dormitory-type room with bunk beds. There were other guests when I entered the room. They were all white travelers. I was the only Asian inside our room.

that is near the Imbi monorail station so that I can easily find it. I had a screenshot of the Google map where the hostel is located to guide me on my search for this hostel. Since my hostel was near the Imbi station, I purchased a token for Imbi using the self-service machine that drops a token including your change.

Dang! You may not believe this but I felt so ignorant about this. There's no train station in our province so encountering a self-service machine like this in actual setting is new to me. Because I didn't know how to operate it, I opted to let the other people do it first so that I could observe them how they do it. Yes, there were instructions but I didn't want other people to laugh at me whenever they see me doing the stupid thing so I have to study first how do they do it.

Almost everyone was in rush and they were able to get a token in less than a minute while I was still figuring out the step-by-step procedure of purchasing a token. When it was already my turn on the machine, I instructed the people at my back to just do it first. Some were hesitant to overtake me since I came there first and waited patiently but I insisted they'll do it first. They laughed and spewed words I couldn't understand to the person beside and behind them. Well, I didn't care if they're saying things against me or whatever but at least they didn't know who I am. So I targeted the monorail station. Interestingly, "mono" in my native language means "dumb."

After a couple of observations, I was able to operate the machine correctly like a pro! Now, I went to the waiting area and I'm ready for my first ever train ride outside the Philippines! | to be continued... |

CHAPTER 01CHAPTER 02
CHAPTER 01 SUMMARY: ▼ Five (5) Tourist Stops (Not Spots) to Spice Your DIY Itinerary Below 24 Hours in KL

If you loaded this page expecting for tourist attractions to see in less than 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur, I'm sorry to disappoint you but this is not a story of tourist spots but tourist stops. Yeah, stop here, stop there, stop everywhere.



This Chapter 01 is all about first-time stories. Will this boy from the province with relative fear in roaming a big city survive his first day in a big metropolis for the first time outside PH?

✈ EPISODE 01: ▼ Flying from Metro Manila to Kuala Lumpur with Drama in Between

I was shaking, quite speechless for outspoken words but the voice within me is speaking too much that it's so hard to handle...



✈ EPISODE 02: ▼ Travel Drama in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2)

My anxiety as a first-timer almost escalated to panic level. So there's no such thing as overacting because sticking to reality is the name of the game here.



✈ EPISODE 03: ▼ KLIA2 to KL Sentral by Bus: My First Land Travel Outside PH

I was showing physical awestruck signs overtly while inside the bus because I was seeing different races. There are Malays, Indians, Chinese, black and white men. This country is so multicultural! This is my first bus ride in Malaysia!



✈ EPISODE 04: Reaching KL Sentral and How I Acted Dumb Stupid

✈ EPISODE 05: ▼ KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang: My First Train Ride Outside PH

The monorail runs overground. I saw the city of Kuala Lumpur in a general perspective up close—the modern skyline, the lush parks, the mosques, the busy roads and the residential areas. I enjoyed it.



✈ EPISODE 06: ▼ Lorong 1/77a: of Endings and First Times

This street was where I ended my first day in Malaysia but it served as the rendezvous of my many first-time experiences and encounters so it meant so much for me.


Coming Soon!

BLOGSERYE 03 SUMMARY: ▼ MALAYSIA-THAILAND BACKPACKING + MOTORBIKE RIDING FOR THE FIRST TIME OUTSIDE PHINDOCHINA

As a millennial, this is not conforming to the 'trend'—doing it because your friend do it. For me traveling is a form of continuous education. No masteral and doctoral degree could ever teach you the way traveling does.



Blogserye 03 is a blog series narrating my fist backpacking outside the Philippines.

Map Showing the Location of #KualaLumpur

MAP OF KUALA LUMPUR
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] The above story is the Episode 04 of Blogserye 03.

[2] This post was filed under the category "Train Stations and Railways" See more posts related to this below.


[3] The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

[4] All photos are mine. All rights reserved.

[5] The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try or see the properties or places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time so it's not my responsibility to update all the information on this blog because once published, I already consider it an archive and I won't update my narratives because I want them to become my references of what have happened in the past. I'm very particular of the dates because I want my amazing readers to understand that I am writing stories based on my perspective and insights on the day of my visit. You can see dates almost everywhere on this blog. Exempted from this rule are my travel guide posts that need to be updated.

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