This is it and it is going to be Cebu City's Sinulog Festival!
Much have been said about the festival - the city buzzing in excitement, the endless parties, and the colorful and vibrant streetdancing. They call it the festival of all festivals in the Philippines
After last year's Dinagyang Festival, I already had my eye on Sinulog. I was impressed with Iloilo's festival of music and dance that it made me want to experience the different festivals in the Visayas. I get the impression that it is more vibrant in terms of musicality.
And I guess Cebu's Pit Senyor is the way to go for this year!
Cebu City is the Queen City of the South. It has developed into a bustling economic center, much like Metro Manila, while retaining its provincial charm. The bustling metropolis has remarkable mix of both the old and new. It has managed to keep a tab on keeping its history alive amidst modern development. It is one city where you get to see the past, taste the present, and see the future.
The city comes alive every third Sunday of January as the city breaks into a joyous celebration of drumbeats, dance, and colors in honor of its patron saint – the Santo Nino.The celebration takes its roots from earlier years when the Spaniards arrived in the country. The dance is a ritual, believed to be pagan in origin, to honor the miraculous image of the child Jesus. The celebration is also said to be a revelry that links pagan past to that of Christianity.
At present, Sinulog attracts thousands of visitors each year with most of them eager to witness and to participate in the revelry of the Grand Parade held on the Sunday. The Sinulog Grand Parade is the culminating activity of the celebration. Going by the theme “One Beat. One Dance. One Vision”, the Sinulog Festival gathers various groups frrom Cebu and nearby provinces for a grand showdown of dance and music that snakes around the city’s main thoroughfares with a finale performance at the Cebu Sports Complex.
Walking our way through the city center from Plaza Independencia, one could really the feel the pulsating vibe of Sinulog. The people, their smiles, and the excitement is like electricity passing through everybody and you really get to feel it.From the street peddlers to the ear-busting Sinulog theme being played in almost every corner of the city, it was hard not to get to excited. I was so excited that as early as 8am, I already had my hair colored with green and purple temporary paint. First tip for those wanting to experience Sinulog, dress up for the occasion. Get ready to get paint-smudged and get ready to get dirty.
Our first stop was to go for a quick prayer at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, the center of all the celebrations. It is in this church where the miraculous image of the Santo Nino resides. It is amazing how devotees profess their faith and you would see dozens of people holding their own image of the Santo Nino. Well, the celebration’s focal point is the Santo Nino so that should really not come out as a surprise. In the same way that getting inside the church maybe a challenge as it is filled to the rim. In fact, devotees attending the mass already spilled out to the street during the time that we were there.
After offering a short prayer, we then started working our way to the parade route.
Now, most of the roads at the city center are closed to traffic so expect to walk a lot and to weave your way through a mad crowd. At some choke points, you really get to brush up on other people’s shoulder… LITERALLY! Of course, you cannot miss out on the peddlers on the street so you still have got the chance to complete your Sinulog get-up before the actual party.
So what do you need to prepare to join the beat?
You have got to have a whistle for that shrill sound that you need to make at any time that you wish to. You need to dress up comfortably with comfy shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. Prepare to get painted at and it would be nice if you can get yourself face painted with that fierce fighter look. Make sure that you waterproof your camera or your phones. Remember, anything can happen in the street. And last but not the least, just bring on the fun.
As we weaved through the crowd, we headed up to Pantaleon del Rosario Street where the action begins for the street dance participants. We knew that we were near because you can actually hear the drumbeats rolling and crowds cheering to the rhythmic movements of dancers. From the starting point, the participants would strut their way straight to Imus Avenue then left to Gen. Maxilom Avenue. They will then head straight to Fuente Osmena Circle, go around the rotunda, and head back to the Cebu City Sports Center for their final performance. Strategically located along the parade route are judging stations where participants drum up the crowd’s excitement with their street dance routine.
This year had 32 contigents participating in the street dancing competition and a couple of amazing puppeteers dancing to the same tune. Participating groups come in different themes – from tribal-inspired costumes to the glamorous terno. One thing that is common to all groups is the pretty lass that leads the group in dancing, holding the image of the Santo Nino. You can opt to watch it from the sidelines or get passes that will allow you to get a bit closer to the performers. One thing is for sure, whether you are on the spot or on the sidelines, it was a display of colors from start to finish and it was the most festive atmosphere among all the festivals that I have attended so far.
But the party lives on as the city bursts into a full blown street party just right after the street dancing parade. Everyone greets you a “Pit Senyor!” and, if you are lucky enough, you would probably get your face smudged by face paint or get yourself powdered with colored powder. For the even luckier ones, you would probably get offered a shot of beer or liquor. Just gulp it and keep the fun rolling, never mind the thought as to how many already drank from the cup. It’s Sinulog so keep dancing!
Sinulog aims to unite the locals and their community through a celebration of creativity and ingenuity with music, movement, and colors as their medium. The effective blend of these three elements can spell out a win for a particular delegation and a delight to the thousands who flock to the city to witness the revelry. For this year, hats off to the winning contingent from the Municipality of Tuburan who won the Best in Street Dancing.
The pulsating rhythm still lingers in my mind and, admittedly, I am still going through separation anxiety after experiencing the Sinulog 2016 weekend. I am still in deep contemplation whether to go for another round of Sinulog next year or check out another festival running parallel to it. For the meantime, I would have to contend with listening to the Sinulog theme and enjoy the memories and the rhythm of Sinulog 2016.
Prititit! Prititit! Pit Senyor!
One of the great things that happened last year was that I got to discover off-beat destinations with fellow viajeros. Our Instagram travel hub, @viajerongpinoy, gave me the opportunity to travel beyond the usual tourist spots. It had us traveling to towns and destinations with the goal of discovering a new spot to unwind.
Ibaan derived its name from the tree “Iba” – a medium sized tree that has round fruits that are used for soup and wine. Early settlers called the place Ibaan because of the abundance of Iba trees in the area. The town is known for two of its main produce – Tamales and Kulambo. Tamales is a local delicacy made from glutinous rice that was powdered and made into a dough and then stuffed with meat. It is a complete meal rolled like a sandwich.
On the other hand, “Kulambo” is a local term for mosquito net used in rural areas like a tent to ward off mosquitoes. There was a time that Ibaan was the main supplier of Kulambo in the country, covering 90% of the market, earning the monicker “Kulambo Capital of the Country”.
I had the chance to join my fellow viajeros, together with our hometown boy Jernel (IG name: @jernelpatena), in exploring Jernel’s hometown and uncovering its hidden destination and its rural charm.
As we stepped off the bus, I was immediately captivated by the rural charm of Ibaan. It has the same rural set-up like other old towns of the country where the community’s core activity center is focused on the church, the government office, and the public market.
Ibaan was a quiet town even on a Sunday where we expect more activities happening. During our visit, most of the activities were really concentrated in the church. Fronting the church was the municipal hall on the right and the market on the right.
Ibaan was a cool and laid-back town and I really loved the atmosphere. I guess this is the kind of place that I would like to retire to in the future. One where I can enjoy the day as it slowly drifts by.
Simbahan ng Ibaan
Completed in 1854, the Saint James the Greater Parish Church is Ibaan’s main central piece. It is located at the heart of the town and the church is a dominant figure in the town’s skyline.
The simple exterior of the church is highlighted by six columns and two belfries. The façade looks simple and yet commanding. What made the church stand out for me was the images of saints that stood alongside each other along the perimeters of the church. It was as if the saints were guarding the church.
The grand interiors of the church was very remarkable. The cream colored ceilings gave the church a bigger feel in terms of its size. It is as if the church opened up inside. The highlight was the altar with its gold colored retablo highlighted by the image of Saint James.
Just a couple of minutes of walk from the church is a small store where you can get to taste the famous Ibaan Tamales. The town has a lot of stores that sell Tamales but our host, Jernel, recommends getting it from Rhemar. Tamales is a native delicacy where glutinous rice is molded into a cake and then stuffed with meat. It is a complete meal to boot and I found it really tasty and yummy. It tasted like pork stewed in peanut butter sauce or “kare-kare” in Filipino terms.
I recommend that you place your orders ahead of time if you intend to bring it home with you.
Lomian sa Barrio
You know what is also great with discovery trips? You also get to indulge yourself with gastronomic treats during the trip. As it was also breakfast time for our group, we boarded a jeep bound for Rosario and we asked to be dropped off from Lomian sa Barrio. From the drop-off point along the highway, Lomian sa Barrio is just a couple of meters.
Batangas is also known for its Lomi and Lomian sa Barrio is one establishment that can stand by that claim. Lomi is a thick soup that has noodles, meat, and spices that can really feel your tummy. In our case, the Lomi had ground meat, liver, and kikiam. It was really good and was enough for my breakfast serving. The good thing about the Lomi is that you get to add spices and condiments to suit your taste.
I guess all of us had our fill during breakfast as seen on the empty bowls after the meal.
Amidst the green fields of Ibaan is a waterfall that we were set to discover – Dumakaya Falls. I have seen the pictures and have read that the local government is working on making as the municipality’s iconic image for tourism.
Dumakaya Falls is located in the midst of the agricultural fields of Barangay Colait 1. It was originally called “Badong Falls” but was later changed to Dumakaya Falls because of the abundance of Dumakaya trees in the area which locals use in making broom sticks. The water that cascades on its walls come from various water springs.
Getting to Dumakaya Falls entails a 30-minute travel by tricycle and a 20-minute hike downhill. Since the falls is not that commercialized, you won’t find throngs of people or ample signs to lead you to the falls. We had to ask locals to find our way to the falls.
Unfortunately, Dumakaya Falls was not that impressive when we visited it compared to the pictures that we saw because there was not enough water cascading on its walls. My further exploration upstream saw that the stream bed was a bit dried up as there was not sufficient water running from its source. We visited at the tail-end of the summer and with El Nino hitting our country, spring water was not abundant. In fact, a makeshift irrigation system was made by locals just to control water flow. We just came in at the wrong time.
Nevertheless, the rich vegetation in the area and the rock faces where water should cascade was good enough for a couple of photography shots. It was the forest cover that we enjoyed and the cool climate that it offered. The walls that was molded by running waters can be seen up close and it was amazing. It was like steps or terraces from afar.
Although we were not able to see the beauty of Dumakaya’s cascading waters, it did show us nature’s artwork through its walls that was molded by water running on it. Maybe in another opportunity, we will be able to see how these gushing waters do their touch.
One of Ibaan’s hidden attraction is the Himamawo Spring – a fresh water spring that is found within the rain forest of Malainin. This natural spring has been a source of potable water and irrigation water for locals since 1908. The water flows into two outlets – the small and big spring that provides the steady flow of spring water from the nearby hills.
We did enjoy the cool waters of Himamawo Spring. Breakwaters were built along the sides to collect the flowing waters and, once filled, forms a pool where one can take a relaxing dip. The sound of flowing waters and the lush vegetation complete the experience.
Further downstream is a small waterfall. Its waters gush from a nearby stream running adjacent to the makeshift pools. Its height was almost similar to that of Dumakaya Falls and the only difference is the amount of water flowing on its walls.
Along the banks of the stream are campers and locals who were also enjoying the forest canopy and the cool waters against the summer heat. I guess, the spot is a popular spot for locals and off-beat travelers for their quick weekend escape.
Post Travel Notes
Our hometown trip to Ibaan was an amazing experience. It gave us a look of the simple life of a small Philippine town while discovering its interesting spots. Travel is not about great destinations but it is about discovering what makes the destination interesting.
Sadly, we have also seen a first-hand experience on how climate change has affected the landscape of Ibaan with the trickling waters of Dumakaya Falls. The community and the local government of Ibaan needs to work on how to address this issue and preserving their natural attractions. As travelers, we also have the same obligation.
Let me start my 2016 by sharing with you one of my travel goals last year – the town of Taal in Batangas.
It really feels good to walk the streets of Taal. The town has been on my list for some time and 2015 gave me the opportunity to finally walk the streets and explore the old town. This was not my first time in Taal because I remember driving down Tagaytay and visiting the town when I was still in college. However, I did not have that same interest before than what I have now.
I guess, as a traveller, I have matured to just visiting a destination because I find it hip to that of actual discovery and exploration. My travels now go beyond pictures to show off or just to say that I have been there to that of actually understanding local culture, history, and the value of these sites to the community.
The town of Taal has a lot of history that go with it and it is also the home of a number of prominent heroes and personalities. Taal was founded by Agustinian friars in 1572 and was originally situated along the edge of Taal Lake, the current location of San Nicholas. However, a destructive eruption of Taal Volcano forced the community to transfer to the higher and safer grounds of its current location.
What makes the town of Taal interesting are the old heritage houses that line its streets. These well-preserved houses, most of them are open to the public, are windows on how Filipinos lived during earlier times. It gives you a glimpse of their culture and lavish way of life. The town is so well-preserved that it was already designated as a National Historical Landmark.
Casa Real / Taal Municipal Town
At the center of Taal is the Taal Municipal Hall. It bears the historical marker for the town that outlines the history of the town. The town hall design is one that is similar to the bahay na bato and serves as the seat of local government of Taal and it is also one of the attractions of this quaint town.
The town hall was built in 1845 and its main feature is its tiled roofs which stands as the main feature. The building was previously called Casa Real, Tribunal, and Casa Consistorial.
Established during the 17th century, the Escuela Pia is one of the oldest educational institution in the country. It was initially built as a convent and was later converted to school for the underprivileged kids of Taal.
The current structure was built in 1885 and served as the center for education during the American regime.
Basilika ng Taal
The “Basilika ng Taal”, also known as the Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, is the pop image of Taal’s tourism. The façade of the church is what we frequently see in the tourism ads of the town and the country.
The present church was inaugurated in 1865 but was completed in 1878. It is considered to be the biggest church in the country and in Asia. The church stands majestically atop the center’s highest spot and it faces the town proper as if silently watching the town. The façade was designed like a retablo and one could see the age of the church on its walls.
The church’s interior is one that can be defined as magnificent. The interiors glow in gold color with the its altar as its main attraction. The altar is highlighted by a crucifix, a symbol of the town’s faith. Once inside the church, one could really feel how big the church is. The church have small pockets where they have also installed small altars in reverence to other saints.
Going up to the belfry of the church will offer you a spectacular view of the town and its surrounding areas. On a clear day, you could view the waters of Balayan Bay. If you are lucky enough, the belfry can also give you a good view of Taal Volcano.
Goco Ancestral House
The best way to enjoy the town of Taal is to walk its streets and admire the ancestral houses and its old towb charm.
One of the ancestral houses is the Goco Ancestral House. Built in 1876, the house was initially owned by the humble couple Juan Cabrera Goco and Lorenza Deomampo. Anto Kukoy, the community’s term of endearment to the beloved land owner, was known for his honesty and integrity. The couple was blessed with 7 children.
The house was restored to its former glory in 1999 after Taal was declared a National Heritage Town.
Just right across the Goco House is the Villavicencio House. The house is considered to be one of the oldest ancestral houses in the Philippines that has well-preserved decorations. The house was originally owned by Don Eulalio Villavicencio and Dona Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio, a patriotic couple who was active in the revolutionary movement during the Spanish period. The house was used for meetings by the revolutionaries. The couple was active in the revolution that they helped in financing the publishing of Jose Rizal’s novel.
The house looked massive from the outside. Unfortunately, the house was closed and was not accessible to visitors.
Wedding Gift House
Standing beside the Villavicencio House is the Casa Regalo de Boda, more popularly known as the Wedding House. The house was built in 1872 as a wedding gift to the bride hence the name of the house.
Standing beautifully with its yellow and light blue façade, the Wedding Gift House was one of the four ancestral houses that we were allowed to explore for a minimal fee. The first floor of the “bahay-na-bato” have two rooms – one that houses some memorabilia from the old family while the other was one was converted into a bedroom for overnight stays. Interestingly, the tiled flooring of the first floor was preserved by the family. Originally, the first floor did not contain rooms as it was used as a storage for the family’s “caruaje”.
The second floor welcomes its visitors with the receiving area with a family picture of the first family who owned the house. The owners were able to preserve the old furniture of the family and was also able to preserve the look and feel of the old house. The rooms on the second floor can also be rented out for those who want to stay overnight.
We did enjoy the atmosphere of the house and it gave us a sneak peek as to how early affluent Taalenos lived. It was good to see that with the concerted efforts of the owners and the local government, the Wedding Gift House was preserved in its original state.
San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps
Walking further down the Calle del Castillo Street, you would end up on top of a stairs leading to the Our Lady of Casaysay Church. The steps are now referred to as the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps in honor of the first Filipino Saint.
It was originally known as “hagdan-hagdan” with 125 steps that leads down to the church. The steps connect the Our Lady of Casaysay Church to the poblacion.
Sta. Lucia Sacred Wells
Locals claim that the image of the Our Lady of Casaysay was fished out from the waters of Taal. The image was then handed over for safekeeping but it is said to venture out at night to where it was first found and returning to its place just before daybeak. This was a regular occurrence until the image never returned to its place and was thought to be lost.
The ruins of a shrine, atop the wells, is worth a visit when you are in Taal. It is in the same place where the image of the Our Lady of Casaysay was found in 1611. A small chapel was built in the area which was later destroyed by the eruption of Taal in 1754.
At present, devotees visit the ruins of the shrine to seek for the divine intervention from the Our Lady of Casysay. They also bath or drink water from the well which is believed to have miraculous healing powers.
Our Lady of Casaysay Church
At the bottom of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps is a small and humble church that is the home of the image of the Our Lady of Casaysay Church. The church is one of the oldest churches in the province. The façade of the church is simple and void of any fancy that one could probably pass it on as the usual community church.
But do not be deceived by its simple façade as the interiors of the church can mesmerize you with its ceiling and wall artworks.
The main highlight of the church is the image of the Our Lady of Casaysay that is perched atop the altar. The image is accessible from the back where devotees can touch the image or offer flowers.
Also known as the Ilagan-Barrion Ancestral House, Galleria Taal is now a venue for photography and art exhibits. The house was built in the 1870s and has been the home of succeeding generations until the death of Candida Barrion in 1975. It was then neglected for years until efforts to restore the house in 2004.
For a minimal fee, one can have a better understanding on how the modern day camera evolved. The exhibit includes hundreds of cameras, both big and compact, that are said to still be functional to this day. It also has a selection of old photographs of the Philippines.
Leon Apacible Ancestral House
Just right across the Galleria Taal is the home of another Filipino hero – Leon Apacible. Leon Apacible was a prominent personality during the revolution, having assisted General Malvar during the Philippine Revolution. The house also served as a meeting place of Katipuneros and was frequented by Jose Rizal.
The house was still in the process of reorganization during our visit. It was being developed as a museum with the personal belongings of the hero and his family being prominently displayed in the house. The goal was to give visitors a look into the way of life of the Leon Apacible and his family.
One thing that I found impressive though was that the kitchen has a very good view of the rural landscape and they have also managed to preserve an old style doorbell used during earlier times.
Marcela Agoncillo Ancestral House
Tucked within the poblacion is another ancestral house that is associated with another Katipunan heroine – Marcela Agoncillo. Our heroine in better known as the one responsible in the sewing of the Philippine flag which was unfurled in the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite.
Marcela Agoncillo is a native of Taal and the white-washed ancestral house was a mute witness to the undying love of their guests to our country. We were not able to explore the house’s interiors as it either closed at the time of our visit or it does not accept guests.
Great to see that a small area of the lawn was allotted to honor the great hero.
Felipe Agoncillo Ancestral House
On the other side of town is another Agoncillo house – the Felipe Agoncillo Ancestral House. Felipe Agoncillo was a Taal native and a distinguished lawyer who took also took the forefront in the fight for Philippine Independence. He also had strong relations with the first Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo.
The house sits silently along a main thoroughfare of Taal. It is impossible to miss out on the house as a simple monument was erected at the front lawn bearing the memoriam from the National Historical Institute.
The house was able to preserve the private collections and belongings of the Agoncillo family including some old photographs that show their affiliations. The house was relatively large and the designs and antique furniture clearly showed how affluent the Agoncillos were. Interestingly, the caretaker was also quick to share some amazing stories about the family including how strict the patriarch was with his daughters.
Ylagan-de la Rosa Ancestral House
Definitely the most impressive ancestral house that I have been to, not because of its design but because of the owner who not only welcomed us into his abode but was also kind enough to show us around and share the story of how the house came about.
Constructed in the 1800, the original owners of the house was Don Julian Ylagan, a political figure during his time, and Dona Dionisia Agoncillo-Ylagan. The house ownership was later transferred to the de la Rosa Clan hence the name of the ancestral house. The house was later abandoned in the 1950s and it came to a point where the house was almost sold to an entrepreneur who was planning to convert it into a funeral home.
But thanks to the loving wife of Dr. Martin Ylagan - de la Rosa who convinced the good doctor to gain ownership of the house and the lot where it stands. The tedious process of re-constructing the house took three years with the help of their daughter. Now the house stands beautifully just a few meters from the Felipe Agoncillo Ancestral House.
What was amazing was that we were given a personal tour of the house by none other than Dr. Martin himself who took the liberty to also share the story of the house. He admits that initially when he acquired the property, he really asked himself whether it was a good decision and only after clearing up the lawn did he realize that the lot was actually bigger than he thought it was.
The reconstruction of the house took three years with the help of her daughter, Anna de la Rosa Hortaleza. The main foundation of the house was from the original house while some of the materials used in the refurbishing of the house came from other ancestral houses in Taal that were being demolished at that time. Some of the adobe walls were used as pathways in the garden. The house was given a different feel without sacrificing its original charm like the “balon” or water tank of the original house was now converted into a kitchen to give it a more modern feel.
I must admit that this ancestral house was effective in deploying the adaptive re-use of heritage sites which local governments should be pushing to owners of these cultural treasures. It was also nice that Dr. Martin was very accommodating in sharing his story and his time with us. He quips that the re-construction of the house was not an easy task as it involved their time and their finances with very little support from the government. Good thing that Dr. Martin saw the value in keeping the heritage of his family to which he gladly shares now with us.
Quick note though, the house is also available for those who want to spend the night in Taal. Although we did not have the chance to sleep over in Taal, I strongly recommend the place for its ambiance and warm hospitality of the owners.
Post Travel Notes:
I am glad that I have finally had the chance to walk around the town of Taal in Batangas. Walking its streets is like walking through history as every turn brings you to an old house, whether in a good state or a dilapidated one. It was like the pages of history jumping out of the books.
Too bad though that a couple of these houses has remained in a state of disarray despite the attention Taal is getting as a historical town. It is very important that the local government and the community work hand in hand in the preservation of these structure that highlights the town’s culture and heritage.
I am also glad to have met Dr. Martin, a private individual, who took the initiative to preserve and develop their ancestral home that will give people a glimpse of how amazing and rich our culture as Filipinos. I just hope that more and more Filipinos will be enlightened to the importance of these heritage structures and its preservation. I hope that we will have more Filipinos taking their investments towards the rehabilitation and re-use of heritage sites rather than breaking it down and leaving its memories in history books.
Hmm… now this makes me want to go back to one of my long term goals – to own and rehabilitate an ancestral house.
Getting there: One can take a bus from Manila bound for Lemery. You can ask the driver to drop you off near the Taal town proper. From the drop-off point, you can take a jeepney to get to the town proper of Taal. The best way to go around the town is by foot. Tricycles are also available to get you around town.
My A2E of 2016
Another year means another year of discovery and exploration for me and, as I have been accustomed for the past years (I think I am on my 7th year now), I always start my year by writing done 50 things that I want to accomplish for the year. These things range from stuff that I want to buy, things that I want to accomplish, things that I want to do, and destinations that I want to put my feet onto.
I have always made it a point to start my year of travel blogging by sharing my destination goals for the year and this year would not be different. In fact, it took me quite a while to decide on my travel theme for 2016 and deciding on which destinations to put on my list. You need to understand that there is so much to see and discover in the Philippines so narrowing down my travel list is a difficult task every year.
This year my travels will revolve around A2E:
A is all about adventure.
I would like to go on a weekend backpack adventure along the Pagsanjan, Laguna area. Our recent #iV7 #Road7rip piqued my interest with its old town charm mixed with its laid back atmosphere. I would like to go around and explore that particular area of Laguna with a backpack.
B is about the Blast from the past.
I have a couple of places that I have included in my previous bucketlists that I have not yet crossed out and this year I have selected two destinations that I would like to include on my list.
Burot Beach was on my list last year and my plans to go camping last 2015 was marred because of work so I am including it on my list this year. I would like to watch the sunset by the beach and enjoy its colors. I would also like to explore its pristine beachfront before it is further developed.
Potipot Island, on the other hand, has been on my list a few years back and, after going through the destinations that I missed out previously, I decided to include this island on this year’s list. I want to see its beauty up close and enjoy its cool waters this summer. I guess, it is going to be another road trip coming up soon.
C is about the Celebration.
After the Dinagyang experience, I am now taking on the invitation of my Cebuano friends to finally check out the mother of all festivals – the Sinulog of Cebu City. I have read and seen a number of blogs about the event and nothing gets more exciting that having to experience the festival first hand.
D is about Discovery.
I would like to put Mindanao’s tourist destinations on the spot and I plan to do at least one destination per year. This year I would like to face the fear and discover a hidden destination – Sulu. I think that by understanding the situation, people will understand how we can help improve the lives of our Muslim brothers and sisters.
E is Encourage.
This year I am wrapping up the “Explore Manila!” project. I would like to encourage fellow viajeros to walk the streets of Metro Manila and discover its hidden tourist gems. I also hope that with this project I am able to raise the awareness among local governments to also focus on developing their city’s local tourist spots.
I am also excited to start exploring destinations close to Metro Manila with a new project that I will be launching soon. These are quick trips that are worth taking and I hope that you can also join us during these trips. I will be posting details of the projects soon.
2016 is going to be an exciting year for me. I am looking forward to discovering places and experiencing the local culture. These are my travel goals for 2016 and there are a couple of destinations still to be lined up since I always take on the opportunity to travel when I am given the chance. It is all about discovering, re-discovering, and immersing. I hope that you will continue to join me as I show you the beauty of the Philippines through this blog.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.