March 2014

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"I will inspire my future children. I will let them know that passion should not be sacrificed."

This post is more of a reflection from childhood. As a child who studied in a public school with free books from the government having contents printed in black and white, I used to be discontented to see that the beauty of the places on my textbook was a face of loneliness - no colors.

[VIGAN] Children from my hometown

One of my fave subjects is HEKASI. My teacher has always been telling us about the hagdan-hagdang palayan (rice terraces). Although I have always dreamed of seeing such place, it remained as wish. As a child, I felt like I was deprived to see such place highlighted in our lesson that day.


I am a child who grew up in a beautiful country with simple dreams and aspirations. I wanted to read a book in full color to appreciate the beauty of my land. Pictures of beautiful places are my interests.

[VIGAN] My neighbor gave this book to me. It ignited my fire to wander (1998).

Sadly, my childhood has witnessed that the economy is not really in good shape. Because if it was well, my parents should have bought me an Encyclopedia Britannica I have always requested them to buy. My thirst for knowledge was severe. But I breathed the air of reality instead. My parents, if they were rich, should have brought me to those rice terraces upon request.

But as a child, I have already known that the latter request is not emanating from innocence. I was exposed to the reality of life. You know, the burning desire to travel was there but I was aware that visiting such lovely place is close to impossibility those times.


My love of seeing rice terraces was rekindled last 2012 when I saw rice terraces for the first time in the province of ABRA


FAST FACTS: Abra is a landlocked province in the Cordilleras composed of more than a dozen tribes and dialects.

Photo: Banao Tribe of Daguioman
. Although it was not exactly the rice terraces mentioned on that textbook, I realized that the magic of my early love life is coming back. All I know then was, rice terraces are only found in IFUGAO - that is because my HEKASI books are not telling there are many rice terraces in the CORDILLERAS


FAST FACTS: A mountainous region in the Philippines' Luzon island composed of 6 provinces with distinct people and dialects namely Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.

Photo: Mountain Ranges in Banaue, Ifugao

[VIGAN] My manyayagit neighbor picked this book from a trash but I still read it.

You know, my childhood love affair revolved around newspaper and magazine clippings of beautiful places. I remember, the largest clipping I ever cut from a broadsheet was a photo of Catanduanes. The author of the article tagged the destination as the 'Land of the Howling Wind.' I kept those clippings and I made myself contended just seeing those images without personally seeing the place.

I remember I also had my first Philippine map. It was actually a calendar from my father's office. I waited for that year to be finished so that I can get that map. My effort wasn't in vain. I got that map. From there, I memorized all the provinces in the Philippines. That was when I am about to turn 10 years old.

I knew I was a child who has less in life, but my dreams were bigger. I passed the stage of childhood. I studied hard as a government scholar to a State University in our province. I finished college. I landed to a humble job that has allowed me to help children who have less in life too. I have the heart to help them not because it is my job, but because I know how it feels to be like them.

[MANABO] Tribal Children of the Rice Terraces. I traveled here to bring hope.

I am now a nurse. From the fruits of my hard work, I started to augment my travel fund. From there, my life has changed. From a simple dream to see the rice terraces, it evolved. It changed me.

I had the chance to travel to a remote place. The first set of rice terraces I saw was a surprise. I wasn't aware that such wonder is existing in that remote town called Tubo.

[TUBO] Tubo Rice Terraces, the first I have ever seen

That feeling when you think what you are seeing is fiction was insane. It was like seeing Superman in person. You know that. As a child, seeing rice terraces was more of a fantasy than reality (due to the circumstances I mentioned above). Now that I have the chance to see these places, I am now capturing them in full color. It is the simple way I can do to show to the children now and of tomorrow the beauty of the Land of their birth, especially those who have the desire to travel but are not capable to do so.

As a grown-up kid, that reminded me of my childhood dreams. From that day, I knew I am going back to my first love and I don't want to let that magic go away again. The suppressed desire is resurrected from the permafrost. I will travel. I will aim high. I will hit the mark. I will inspire my future children. I will let them know that passion should not be sacrificed.

That first time I saw those rice terraces almost placed tears to my cheeks. It reminded me of my "less" childhood life. I really thank God I experienced having less because I probably won't know how to recognize having "more" if have not experienced having less. Yes, I have more now. More experiences. More friends. More beautiful memories. More opportunities to travel and help children to be healthy and happy.

[BANAUE] I was a child who dreamed to see rice terraces; this child is dreaming with it.

Banao Tribe: Daguioman, Abra

[DAGUIOMAN] Young generation of the Banao Tribe: a tribe owning rice terraces

Banao Tribe: Malibcong, Abra

[MALIBCONG] Little angles of the Banao Tribe of Gacab Village

Banao Tribe: Malibcong, Abra

[MALIBCONG] A kid of the Banao Tribe of Dulao Village

Banao Tribe: Licuan-Baay, Abra

[LICUAN-BAAY] Giving slippers-of-hope to the mountain kids of Bulbulala Village

Maeng Tribe: Tubo, Abra

[TUBO] Maeng Tribe Children of Tubo, Abra: a gift-giving mission

Batad Rice Terraces: Banaue, Ifugao

[BANAUE] From a black & white textbook image to a colorful reality

Maeng Tribe: Tubo, Abra

[TUBO] Maeng Kids of Tubo: Children of the Rice Terraces

It is not about material wealth. I consider fulfilling a childhood dream priceless. All these things happened because of turning a childhood dream into reality, through hard work - that is to travel and see the rice terraces, it went beyond...

From a childhood dream to see rice terraces, it turned out to be a mission. It's about the children living therein. Seeing the children of the mountain tribes living near the rice terraces has become a passion. When I see them happy, that's something words can not explain. And whenever I see them reach their dreams, hopefully in the future, that would be priceless! It's more than the worth of gold. It fulfills me. I found the place where my heart belongs...

...and it is life-changing to find the purpose of your existence: travel, help and also change other people's lives, for the better! /end

#TownExplorations You Might Like

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[PERSONAL] Why You Should Date a Backpacker?

TEASER: "Hey girl. Are you looking for him? Don't stay there. Drop off your hairbrush and make-up kit and just go on! Break Free! Meet your man on that road."

[PERSONAL] Where do Broken Hearts Go?

TEASER: "Being crazy and being broken-hearted has a thin margin. Don't make yourself crazy."

[PERSONAL] The Travel Blog that Started with a Motobike Joyride

TEASER: "I invested with a motorbike because it is my ultimate dream to travel and do backpacking all over Luzon (and hopefully the whole Philippines) with a motorbike!"

[PERSONAL] When a Nurse Travels | The Life-Changing Moments

TEASER: "I learned that I can also be the other nurse of me, 'nursing the tourism industry' applying the same method I learned in my work place. Indeed, life-changing to discover the other part of you without sacrificing a job."

[PERSONAL] Reasons Why I Love Traveling with a Motorbike

TEASER: "As I drive along the road, I can clearly see the road ahead, and appreciate the scene at my left and at my right - a thing I can never do while inside a jeep or a bus."

[PERSONAL] Edmaration is Turning 1-year Old, Quite Emotional

TEASER: "My only target when I started blogging is to have 100 readers as maximum. Beyond that, it would be more than enough and if it goes more, that would be a bonus and if I reach million readers, I promise I will be online 24 hours (Just give me 8-hour break)."

[PERSONAL] Date a Traveler, So Date Me - First Things FIRST

TEASER: "Why date a traveler like me? Well, I am as romantic as the sunset. I am as gentle as the mountain breeze. I am as fresh as the spring. Please accept me, I just love traveling.""

[PERSONAL] 112 in 2012 Travel Challenge: Explore 112 towns/cities in 2012

TEASER: "The reason for this is not to highlight myself or my blog because at the end of the day, I am still an ordinary person. However, I am doing this to awaken my spirit in exploring places that I have never seen before and to motivate me in going somewhere else."

Some cool netizens liked, commented, and shared this.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"This is my story about the Buscalan Rice Terraces. At first there is a foreplay with the clouds but it always ends up with a satisfactory finish."

That was so sweet. You don't need to taste it. You can actually feel it. That romantic moment for a solo backpacker when I let my bones shiver to the tune of a freezing zephyr made me fall in love. Yes, I fell in love with nature although that natural morning compelled me to execute random artificial robotic moves. I don't have excess fats in my body to insulate me from the cold. You know, I have to contract my muscles like a passive-active exercise training scheme.

[TINGLAYAN] So the clouds (uh, fog) went down

And there, out there, who am I not to entertain this temptation? Anyway this temptation isn't against the law, public policy, good customs & traditions and morals.

In simple words, I am just exercising the right explicitly (yet malleable provision) granted by the Philippine Constitution for me as a Filipino citizen to have this freedom. In simpler words, I have the right to liberty. In simplest word (and don't you ever twist this fact), I have the right to be free. But here is the real twist, the right to liberty is not absolute. But this is not a political law blog. So I hope you can give me a chance to prove that my topic for this post is the rice terraces kissing the clouds. Ready?


I am not an early bird. And should the coastal city where I live has this view, I wouldn't dare fall to the trap of this temptation and wake up early (except if Jessie Mendiola will personally meet me in-which-case I can even not sleep the whole night if that is the effortless requirement).

[TINGLAYAN] This early bird is about to kiss the ground, you think it's romantic? Duh!

I'm nocturnal and voluntarily waking up early is against my bucket list. But as I said, I rarely witness this kind of view where these ancient rice terraces become seemingly a giant stairway to the clouds. For that, it was a natural affair and I have a good reason to discontinue my sleep.

The earth (represented by the mountains with rice terraces therein) kissed the heavens (the clouds volunteered to be the official representative without the consent of the ionosphere).

So I witnessed how the nature do the kissing before the sun appeared. But in the event [that] that scene did not appear that day, I would just make myself believe that when that rooster kisses the ground, that's so romantic and I won't consider it awkward.

[TINGLAYAN] The rice terraces, covered by thick fog. Please, consider this as clouds.

[TINGLAYAN] Buscalan Rice Terraces before the sun appeared

But the nature knew how to tempt me really. Thank God still, that rooster kissing the ground served as my alarm clock and I think that's less awkward than when Jessie Mendiola stares at me eye to eye for a minute.

Seeing the view made me want to exclaim numerous adjectives and flowery words but I pretended I was speechless like under the state of shock to make it extra intense!


And I really considered that wondrous view to be a kissing scene of the elements of nature. After the clouds caressed the bumps of the earth, the latter effortlessly unleashed its beauty that is really a good background for kissing in a photo bomb.

[TINGLAYAN] Buscalan Rice Terraces after a contact with the clouds

So this view became independent. There was no need for cockcrowing post covert sunrise to reveal the beauty of the earth. This was like a picture of single blessedness (without the clouds' caress to make it double).

I realized this spectacular view is worth a missed kiss from Jessie Mendiola in my dreams. The bottom element (earth) surely outperformed the top (clouds). But since such collision produces an astounding natural breathtaking display, I'll give the heavens the benefit of the doubt.

[TINGLAYAN] Oh my! This color is so #TownExplorer and I love it!

[TINGLAYAN] This is really a pleasure for the eyes. Perfect stimulus!

[TINGLAYAN] I own this photo, but I don't own those rice terraces (how. i. wish.)

The beautiful mountains turned to be like my real property. Green is everywhere and that is so #TownExplorer. Being green-minded, I call this home.

This is my story about the Buscalan Rice Terraces. At first there is a foreplay with the clouds but it always ends up with a satisfactory finish. Who would not consider this view satisfactory before the naked eye? So if you want to witness the kissing foreplay of nature, then I would suggest wait for the ending, that's the best part. Everything is revealed and released. Like this cool beautiful rice terraces now uncovered by the thick fog, and maybe the clouds. So now that's sweet. See it. Feel it. Don't taste.

And for the last installment of this series, I witnessed a local industry that's beyond the ink and the blood. This is about fire, and on how this fire can defeat this extra hard cold stone (Teaser: This is not Stone Cold the wrestler, at least you'll have an idea this is not a WWF show review). /to be continued...

P.S. I can't believe I'm about to finish this looong sub-series. Clap! Clap! Clap!


[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."
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[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..."
| 3

[TINGLAYAN] Fang-Od (Whang-Od): The Last Tribal Tattoo Artist of Kalinga

TEASER: "She is unwittingly ending a tradition she is not supposed to end. She's ending the tradition not by her choice but by the call of our ever changing society."
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[TINGLAYAN] 17 Great Memories + First Time Encounters in Buscalan, Kalinga

TEASER: "Buscalan rose to fame because of Fang-od. But Buscalan is more than Fang-od. It is more than the tribal tattoo."
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[TINGLAYAN] Chewed, Swallowed Frogs in Buscalan, Kalinga

TEASER: "We talked with joy behind the darkness. That dinner unleashed the real us. The candlelight was a silent witness of our fears, happiness and life's perspectives."
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[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."
| 7 | 8

[TINGLAYAN] Blacksmith Kingdom of Kalinga: Turning Stones into Fire

TEASER: "If there is no concept of poverty, there shall be no poverty. But poverty has been introduced by greedy kingdoms while the little kingdom dwellers of the mountains recognized it's presence."

Tinglayan #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Tinglayan

Click map to view latest articles covering Kalinga


[TINGLAYAN] Bugnay Rice Terraces and that Lucky Village in Kalinga

TEASER: "The Kalinga prima facie evidence in terms of beauty should not be a subject for debate because if I were to be the judge, the evidence is too strong to put the case to rest."

[SADANGA] Mt Province: Bekigan Rice Terraces, A Cultural Heritage

TEASER: "...not every beautiful beach should be crowded, not every mountain should be hiked and for the case of Bekigan Rice Terraces, not every rice terraces should be flocked by visitors."

[BONTOC] Palali Rice Terraces: Of First-time Penetration, Pain and Pleasure

TEASER: "As I reach the peak, which is the climax of everything, my eyes bulged in pleasure brought by a feast-to-the-eye-destination with a little bit of brain clouding. I have just reached the point of no return."

[BONTOC] Bayyo Rice Terraces and Waterfalls - Highland Paradise Living

TEASER: "The presence of the rice terraces is an evidence of an engineering expertise of the Igorot ancestors..."

[CERVANTES] Rice Terraces: Turning to Vegetable Terraces Too

TEASER: " time is wasted, their limited farming fields at the slope of the mountain become productive all year round."