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Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"Every battle I've faced pre-pandemic seemed to be easy-wins; but when the virus started to show its arsenal, the battle—although winnable—seemed to be a challenging one."

► The war isn't over yet, but I have my fortress and my safe haven.

► The foe seemed so hard to defeat; but then again, I needed to study its game and strategize a defense.

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▼ COVER PHOTO▼ YOUTUBE
EDMARATION
| 1 | [VIGAN] ► HARVESTING BANANAS IN MY RURAL DWELLING: WHEN I WAS STILL IN MANILA, I PURCHASED THEM. IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, I CAN HAVE MY BANANA SUPPLY FOR A MONTH FOR FREE. HAVE A GLIMPSE OF MY "RURAL LIFE" AS PART OF MY QUEST FOR SURVIVAL THROUGH THE VIDEO POSTED UNDER THE YOUTUBE TAB.

Dear Survivor Self,

Do you still remember me?

I've written so many dramatic posts on this blog, because my blog is a reflection of my personality: emotional, dramatic, vulnerable, and sentimental. This blog has been a memory vault of my past struggles, victories, and whirlwind of emotions. For this piece I'm writing now, I would like to highlight the little victories I gained during this hard time. That's a swift change of heart. With all the depressing news I hear everyday, I conditioned myself to wake-up everyday with a happy "count-your-blessings" survivor mindset. Here's my story, a highlight of my simple "rural life" in Ilocos in my quest for survival.

I was in Metro Manila when the CoVid-19 virus started to infect people in the Philippines. I was based in Manila since 2017 due to work commitment. Living in the big city changed my lifestyle and health-related habits. Prior to the pandemic, I've seen a doctor about 5 times since 2017. When I was still living in the province, the last hospitalization I remember was about 20 years ago—that was due to dehydration secondary to food poisoning.

With the intention to earn more money for my future and for my family back in the province, I made myself a superhuman—someone who could survive all the plot twists in this real-life movie I'm in—a true-to-life story where I play the role of "captain" of my own ship. I worked hard a lot that I forgot to safeguard my health.

Then the pandemic came. Thousands died. I realized that all of my earnings would turn futile if I would get the virus. Many have survived the virus, but my fear stems from the question of, "what if I'm one of those unlucky ones?" I've read news of people dying due to the virus. Some even went to the ICU, spent a million for expensive life-support system, only to die after spending all their money for their survival.

This phenomenon slapped me on the face, waking up to the reality that I've compromised my health a lot in exchange of money. With the stressful and unhealthy lifestyle I chose for my convenience, I realized I may have prepared my self to lose a future warfare—and it came: the CoVid-19 pandemic, the scary villain in this war for survival. I've started to lose one war arsenal due to wrong decision in life—that's downplaying my health and immune system by being workaholic.

Our survival for this trying time is a daily battle. Everyday is a subtle war. Everyday, we fight for our lives. Everyday is a daily quest for survival, whether we like it or not. Every battle I've faced pre-pandemic seemed to be easy-wins; but when the virus started to show its arsenal, the battle—although winnable—seemed to be a challenging one.

For this pandemic, I've used the metaphor of "war" to describe the events. I remember when I was in college, a professor of mine told me these words of wisdom: "If you enter a war, you should learn the strategy of your enemy for you to counter it, and eventually win the war."

Those words resonated well to me, since I've just faced this challenging war in the game of survival. So what's next? I've studied the strategy of my enemy (the virus). Its strategy is to destroy your mental health, attack your body physiologically, and eventually ruin a society (or a country, or humanity).

The foe seemed so hard to defeat; but then again, I need to study its game and strategize a defense. I studied the greatest weapons of this villain and I have to address its three powerful offenses in its arsenal: attack bodies with poor immune system, take away your survival tools, and fire shots in crowded areas. Being in this war, I have to create my defense by boosting my immune system, countering its effects on my survival, and avoiding the crowded city.

About 8 months of persistently fighting this war for my survival, I have to put my defense into reality. I escaped the war hotspot zone of Metro Manila to go back to my rural roots where most of the people are winning.

Although many jobs were lost, the people in my rural community are natural survivors. We may have lost our monthly salary to sustain our daily battles, but our cannons of hope and arsenal of ingenuity have made us survive the hardest wars that attempted to destroy our community.

As a rural dweller, I realized that this is a strong defense itself. The villain virus has taken our jobs in the city, but it will never defeat the greatest fortress we have in our rural community—that is our ingenuity. My monthly pay checks in the big crowded city was an easy victim/casualty of the war, but my inherent daily survival skills I learned in my province was a strong weapon—powerful enough that it is CoVid-19 resistant.

EDMARATION
| 2 | [VIGAN] ► FLEXING MY SAFE HAVEN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE OF LOWLAND ILOCOS.
Part of our survival is to sustain our daily needs. With my survival skills being dormant for years, I re-activated them as defense for this global pandemic and recession. I was confident that my weapons of ingenuity would help me survive this. In terms of our daily fuel for survival (food to eat), the rural community where I live could sustain life.

For the longest time, I've never visited our river in our barrio until this pandemic came. With our ingenuity of traditional fishing through "mud pools" in the river, we can catch dozens of mudfish and tilapia for our alternative protein needs, shrimps, and even unlimited supply of "kangkong" for our daily fiber needs in our diet.

EDMARATION
| 3 | [VIGAN] ► THIS WAS A GREAT CATCH USING TRADITIONAL FISHING TECHNIQUE!.
EDMARATION
| 4 | [VIGAN] ► DON'T JUST DEMAND FOR FISH. TO SURVIVE THIS PANDEMIC, LEARN HOW TO CATCH FISH. IN MY COUNTRYSIDE DWELLING, I EMPLOYED A TRADITIONAL FISHING TECHNIQUE TO GATHER THE FISH FROM THIS RIVERSIDE MUD POOL.
Our backyard is also blessed with bananas, cassava, papaya tree, and other vegetables suitable for our green-leafy rural Ilocano diet.

By re-activating our ingenuity and utilizing the resources in my community, the battle was an easy win for our survival. Not everyone is living in a rural community that is equipped naturally with survival resources and skills, so I consider myself lucky.

EDMARATION
| 5 | [VIGAN] ► OUR BANANA SHRUB/TREE IS BEARING FRUITS!
EDMARATION
| 6 | [VIGAN] ► OUR VEGETABLE GARDEN WAS ESSENTIAL FOR OUR SURVIVAL THIS TRYING TIME.
EDMARATION
| 7 | [VIGAN] ► WE COOKED THE EGGPLANT THIS WAY
FOR OUR ILOCANO DISH CALLED "POQUI-POQUI.".
The second defense is to boost my immune system. Pivoting to my old traditional rural life was actually a redirection to my "healthier" life. I've started to eat organic food again and working "manually" was equivalent to my gym work-out in the big city. The fresh air in my province was also therapeutic. The calmness and beauty of my countryside life were instant mental health therapies.

EDMARATION
| 8 | [VIGAN] ► THESE FIREWOODS WERE GATHERED BY US FOR COOKING.
EDMARATION
| 9 | [VIGAN] ► I'M LIVING A BASIC, SIMPLE LIFE IN RURAL ILOCOS. I'M PROUD OF MY SIMPLE LIFE. I'M PROUD OF MY SAFE HAVEN.
EDMARATION
| 10 | [VIGAN] ► WE CALL THIS "KATUDAY." WE PREPARED THIS AS SALAD..
EDMARATION
| 11 | [VIGAN] ► THIS IS MY YEAR-ROUND SUPPLY OF PAPAYA.
EDMARATION
| 12 | [VIGAN] ► CLIMBING A TREE WAS ESSENTIAL FOR MY SURVIVAL TRAINING THAT STARTED SINCE CHILDHOOD.
EDMARATION
| 13 | [VIGAN] ► MORINGA LEAVES ARE PRETTY BASIC IN ILOCOS. YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS IN YOUR BACKYARD. DURING CRISIS, JUST PICK A STEM; GET THE LEAVES, MIX IT WITH BAGOONG, AND YOU'LL HAVE A DAILY SUPPLY OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS FOR FREE.
EDMARATION
| 14 | [VIGAN] ► I DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR LAUNDRY, MY MOM WOULD VOLUNTEER TO DO IT.
EDMARATION
| 15 | [VIGAN] ► NO VIRUS CAN STOP THE FISH TO REPRODUCE. ALL YOU NEED IS THE SURVIVAL SKILL TO CATCH THEM IN TIMES OF NEED OR CRISIS.
EDMARATION
| 16 | [VIGAN] ► TO SURVIVE A CRISIS THAT TOOK AWAY OUR LIVELIHOOD, WE MUST LEARN HOW TO EAT KANGKONG, LOL. HERE ARE MY TWO AUNTS HARVESTING A GREEN-LEAFY INGREDIENT FOR OUR NEXT MENU.
EDMARATION
| 17 | [VIGAN] ► HEALTHY, FRESH, AND ORGANIC FOOD OPTION DURING THE PANDEMIC.
EDMARATION
| 18 | [VIGAN] ► MY LIFE DURING THIS CHALLENGING TIME MAY NOT BE THE MOST CONVENIENT LIFE, BUT I'M PROUD OF MY SIMPLE LIFE.
EDMARATION
| 19 | [VIGAN] ► WE ARE A BIG FAMILY EQUIPPED WITH SKILLS TO SURVIVE WHEN LIFE GETS ROUGH. THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT BOTHERED LIVING A "ROUGH" LIFE AND STILL FIND JOY IN IT IS ALREADY A SURVIVAL ESSENTIAL YOU WISH YOU HAVE. ๐Ÿ˜†
EDMARATION
| 20 | [VIGAN] ► LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: FLEXING OUR COUNTRYSIDE COMMUNITY. THIS IS HOME TO RESILIENT SURVIVORS.
EDMARATION
| 21 | [VIGAN] ► MENTAL FORTITUDE IS A FOUNDATION FOR SURVIVAL. THIS RELAXING VIEW OF OUR COUNTRYSIDE COMMUNITY NOURISHES MY SOUL AND SPIRIT, BEARING HEALTHY FRUITS OF PEACE OF MIND.
EDMARATION
| 21 | [VIGAN] ► WITH BROKEN CHAIRS AND RECYCLED TABLE, REAL SURVIVORS CAN STILL PULL-OFF AN AL FRESCO SUNRISE-VIEW BREAKFAST.
When I was still in the big city thinking daily how to survive the war, I was stressed and seemed to lose the battle with empty hands. Now that I went back to my home in the countryside, I went back to basic with productive hands.

I couldn't believe that living simply was the greatest weapon I could ever use to defeat the enemy. The war isn't over yet, but I have my fortress and my safe haven. It may sound strange, but I survived this war by going back to the basic. I'm winning this battle daily by going back to my old, humble, and simple life.

This is my story of survival. In this pandemic that left millions of casualties, redeeming my simple and basic way of life was a survival victory that's so small yet so big. Real survivors celebrate their every victory; and finding my armour to shield my self from the effects of our battle against an unseen enemy, I call this a celebration. We will not allow the virus to cripple us mentally, economically, and physically. I am a survivor, because I should. Flex your weapon. Win this war.

Love,
Edmar | end |

EDMARATION
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation.
The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
The sunset that pulled off a great sky show left the Ilocano netizens in awe as they posted their sunset photos on social media.

► An astounding sunset got the attention of Ilocano netizens.

► The phenomenon became a trending topic in the Ilocandia cyberspace.

[Ilocos Sur Province, Philippines]
▼ COVER PHOTO
EDMARATION
| COVER | [SANTA CATALNA] ► LOOK! A NETIZEN CAPTURES THIS SUNSET—ONE OF THE HUNDREDS OF SUNSET PHOTOS TAKEN BY ILOCANO NETIZENS ON 07-26-2020 THAT BECAME A TRENDING TOPIC IN THE ILOCANO CYBERSPACE. PHOTO BY EMERSON MELTZ GUQUIB.

Ilocos is situated at the west coast of Luzon Island. For this location, the region is blessed with daily gorgeous sunsets adorning the horizon. Ilocano netizens don't usually post sunset photos simultaneously in a day, not until the other day.

An astounding sunset got the attention of Ilocano netizens. The sunset that pulled off a great sky show left the Ilocano netizens in awe as they posted their sunset photos on social media. The phenomenon became a trending topic in the Ilocandia cyberspace.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 1 | [VIGAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY BULALA, VIGAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN (MY COUSIN)
KENNETH DEL CASTILLO TABIL.
The following photos are some of the sunset photos I spotted on social media—taken by random Ilocano netizens from different barangays/towns of Ilocos Sur.

All photos taken on 26-July-2020 from different parts of Ilocos Sur.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 2 | [SAN JUAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY CAMINDOROAN, SAN JUAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN AERONNE JOSEPH DELOS SANTOS.
I think this is one of the most beautiful beach sunset photos I've seen on social media the other day. It was captured by a netizen from Camindoroan, San Juan, Ilocos Sur. San Juan is known for its calm waters. The beautiful sunset was well-reflected by San Juan's pristine coves and bays.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 3 | [BANAYOYO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BANAYOYO TOWN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
AHMIE JHOY MANGIBAT.
Banayoyo has no beach. It's an upland town in the second district of Ilocos Sur, but look! The Ilocos Sur-wide sunset phenomenon also created a spark in the quaint interior town of Banayoyo. Netizen Ahmie Jhoy captured the sunset, painting the sky over the rolling hills of Banayoyo.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 4 | [SANTA] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY MABILBILA SUR BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
ANGELA AMOR FEBRE.
Let's check out the sky in Santa! Ilocano Netizen Angela Amor Febre shared her photo of the fiery sunset at Brgy Mabilbila Sur of Santa town with a remarkable silhouette.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 5 | [SANTIAGO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY AMBUCAO OF SANTIAGO TOWN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
ANNALIZA MOLINA DOLLENTE.
The Ilocano netizens of Santiago also witnessed this sunset phenomenon in the province. Annaliza shares her sunset photo taken at Brgy Ambucao in the town of Santiago. The gentle waters of Santiago mirrored the spectacular sky so well!

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 6 | [SINAIT] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY CABANGTALAN OF SINAIT TOWN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN ELHYSSE REYES.
I wonder what the jellyfishes of Cabangtalan were doing when this sky appeared over the Cabangtalan waters that they inhabit? While we avoid the jellyfish stings of Cabangtalan, fret not. I would say that Cabangtalan cove is still one of the best places to watch sunset in Ilocos Sur.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 7 | [VIGAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BRGY TAMAG OF VIGAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
ERWIN ROSARIO.
So the netizens in the residential-commercial barangay of Tamag also have their share. Look at this gorgeous photo of a house in Tamag with the beautiful rays by Erwin Rosario.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 8 | [SANTIAGO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SANTIAGO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
FLORO MAMACLAY.
I don't mind concentrating this collection with Santiago sunsets. I mean, who would ditch the popular and "sosyal" cove of Sabangan? If you are an Ilocos Surian, you know these beaches are somehow part of our memories and our lives. This Santiago sunset photo of netizen Floro Mamaclay is another dope!

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 9 | [SANTA] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SANTA BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
GEMART FRANZ CARDENAS.
Wait. Is this in Pasungol or Rancho? It's been a while since I visited the island barangays of Santa situated at the mouth of Abra River. Regardless of its location, this photo of Ilocano Netizen Gemart Franz Cardenas was so creatively captured as he mixed three elements: sunset, bridge, delta waters—also the three things that Santa is also for (aside from 'ipon' of course).

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 10 | [SINAIT] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SALLACAPO, SINAIT BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
IYANA JOYY.
Look at those huge and powerful light rays! What a grand display of art over Brgy Sallacapo! I'm speechless for this immense and thick fiery light.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 11 | [SANTIAGO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SABANGAN, SANTIAGO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
JACKIE AGBULOS.
Look! Ilocano netizen Jackie Agbulos captured the trending sunset at the most expensive beach cove in Ilocos Sur—the Santiago Cove, home to the Vitalis Villas. As usual, Santiago Cove doesn't disappoint.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 12 | [CABUGAO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BACLIG, CABUGAO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
JASMINE LUISA VENTURA NAVAL-CASTILLO.
Another inspiring 07-26-2020 sunset phenomenon was captured by a netizen from Baclig, Cabugao! The remarkable rays illuminated the rich neighborhood of Baclig.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 13 | [SANTA CATALINA] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT PARATONG, SANTA CATALINA BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
JOANA RAGSAG RAFANAN
This photo captured by Joana was very similar to the cover photo I featured. The two photos were probably taken at the same time since both were taken at Santa Catalina's beach.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 14 | [VIGAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SAN PEDRO, VIGAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
JULIUS CESAR CUARESMA
Barangay San Pedro in Vigan belongs to the same line of black sand beach that extends up to Santa Catalina, so I expected that this photo would look the same compared to the cover photo (Santa Catalina beach sunset). They were taken from different places but with the same features. This sunset is omnipresent!

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 15 | [CAOAYAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT PANTAY TAMORONG, CAOAYAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
MARK ALLEN DEL PILAR
Let's go to Caoayan! In the fertile plains of Pantay Tamorong, netizen Mark Allen Del Pilar captures the trending sunset with this model on his motorbike. What a great opportunity to save great memories with the great trending sunset!

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 16 | [SINAIT] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT TEPPENG, SINAIT BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
RAINE MERYLL BRYNEE YADAO
The beauty of Teppeng, home to the beautiful Teppeng Cove of Sinait, also has its share for this sunset phenomenon that happened in Ilocos Sur the other day.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 17 | [CABUGAO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT SALAPASAP, CABUGAO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
GRACE SEGUI SOMERIN
Here's another entry from Salapasap captured by Ilocano netizen Grace Segui Somerin. She framed the photo in a creative and magical way! Look at that amazing sunset rays! See you soon Salapasap!

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 18 | [SANTO DOMINGO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT PUSSUAC, SANTO DOMINGO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
CHEVETTE MACALMA
I'm not yet done. Check out this photo by Chevette Macalma taken at Brgy Pussuac in Sto Domingo. I also picked this photo to give you a perspective on how Ilocano netizens saw the trending sunset from the comfort of their home. This photo shows as the subtle beauty of the sunset as Chevette watches it decorate the sky while chilling at home.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 19 | [CABUGAO] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT BACLIG, CABUGAO BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
CHRISTIAN BRYLE FRIALA
Here's another one from Baclig, Cabugao captured by my friend and college classmate Bryle. He was also able to document the amazing sunset that amazed the Ilocano netizenry. Here's his version of the sunset taken in their home at Baclig, Cabugao.

ILOCOS SUR SUNSET
| 20 | [VIGAN] ► ILOCOS SUR SUNSET TAKEN AT AMIANANCE, VIGAN BY ILOCANO NETIZEN
SALVADOR SANCHEZ
To end this listicle, let's go back to the laid back Vigan! During the pandemic, Vigan reclaimed a long rest from the tourist crowd. Devoid of tourist crowd, netizen Salvador Sanchez shared his photo of Brgy Amiance in Vigan. Brgy Amianance is home to several dozens of ancestral houses in Vigan outside the popular Calle Crisologo. What's amazing in Amianance is that the ancestral houses are occupied by real residents, not by commercial stores. The beautiful sunset made this barangay in Vigan even more nostalgic and meaningful.

How about you? Were you able to document the sunset in your town? ๐Ÿ’š | end of story |



Maps Showing the Location of ILOCOS SUR

If on mobile, tap map to reveal the color.
MAP OF ILOCOS SUR
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the categories "Sunsets" and "Natural Wonders". See more posts related to this below.

✈ All photos taken by Ilocano Netizens on 26-July-2020.
UPDATE HISTORY FOR THIS BLOG POST
► 29-July-2020: This post was published.

LATEST STORIES COVERING [ILOCOS SUR] | SEE ALL IN A SEPARATE WINDOW

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