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Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

“Pasalubong” – What Makes this Filipino Word Very Special?

Probably next to the beauty of a tourism spot, if it’s about the real reasons for traveling there, is our search for the best “pasalubong”. It’s the tagalog word for “gift” or “souvenir” and it can be anything from foods, toys, clothes, handicraft, furniture, soaps, wearables, or household items. It’s practically anything, big or small, cheap or expensive, edible or not. And for as long as that special item was bought somewhere else and then given to someone as an act of love and kindness – the true purpose has been served.


A simple gesture of “Salamat po” (Thank you) for sharing that pasalubong is enough to make you feel the love and kindness back. There is the best pasalubong for kids, for grandmas and grandpas, for a favorite grandson, for a close neighbor or friend, for the workmates, for the boss, for a former enemy, for a religious brother, and even for a complete stranger. Yes, indeed!

Well, “pasalubong” is actually different from a gift for birthday, wedding, or special gatherin…

MONTEMARIA

Catholicism from another perspective – this is how I understand the pilgrimage site of MonteMaria in Batangas City, Philippines. It was a huge site development project with the 96-meter tall Mary, Mother of All Asia statue as the centerpiece. You have to see it for yourself to believe!

What (not Who) is MONTEMARIA? Just for clarity, MONTEMARIA is the name of the 130-hectare township or development site project. Also, Montemaria is a place in Batangas City to which the site more likely is named after. The statue or monument or tower is called "Mother of All Asia - Tower of Peace". You may simply call it Tower of Mary or Statue of Mary. The surrounding place meanwhile is known as the Mother of All Asia Shrine.

Holy Week in the Philippines
We visited this place during the Holy Week of 2018. During this week, many Filipino Catholics are visiting religious places which is part of what they call "Visita Iglesia". It is not uncommon for a pilgrimage site like the MonteMaria…

Sidewalk Vendors

You’ll often see them. You’ll buy from them. But when they become part of the news, you’ll get to hate them – some of you. They are people like us who simply wants to earn a living. They have a family to feed. This is the business they call “marangal” (dignified). And we call them…
Sidewalk Vendors

Let me define what (or should I say “who”) a sidewalk vendor is.

Here in the Philippines, there is a notion that if you’re a sidewalk vendor, you mostly likely belong to the lower class of the society. For one reason, why sell on the sidewalks or streets of Metro Manila and other cities if you can sell on approved places particularly the market. For another, selling in the street on a daily basis is a risky activity – you’re prone to illnesses, effects of air pollution, dangers from vehicles passing by, and unsafe condition of your store or shop.

In a third-world country where job opportunities are scarce for people with lower educational attainment, there is no reason to doubt that poor people…

A Walk to Divisoria - Filipinos Love this Place!

“Divisoria” - almost every Filipino knows this word. The millennials even call it “Divi”.



We paid another visit to Divisoria. Same as usual, it is so crowded that more than half of your energy will be spent on bumping people, spinning round and round to find a better direction, and on walking back and forth, up and down. Of course, finding that product and bargaining for its price is where the remaining energy will be spent.



We arrived there at around nine in the morning and streets are still not too busy. But you will notice that shoppers are on their feet rushing towards the popular 168, 999, Tutuban Center, Divisoria Mall and 11/88 shopping malls. (Any idea why the malls' names are numbers? Chinese thing? I’m not sure. That’s a trivia.) You can see the excitement on them. With a few bags, themselves and that money on the pocket, it is like going into a shopping war. Meanwhile, sellers are all set up with their products too. Their energy is always on top, some are shouting while…

Filipinos Very Own Jeepney is in Manila and Everywhere in the Philippines

Jeepney symbolizes the culture of the Philippines. This is the primary means of transportation of the Filipino people. This vehicle can be seen anywhere in the country. There is no city, town or barangay that has no jeepneys to represent them. Jeepney is the life of the people in the Philippines.

On the Photo: Jeepney Blessing Ceremony
Children and adults in this photo are excited about the blessing of this new jeepney. Coins were thrown on top of the jeepney and they scrambled for it. For the jeepney owner, this is the start of a new day, a new business venture. Jeepney like this one, which has a stainless body costs around P300,000 to Php400,000 and is mainly used as a passenger utility vehicle.


How many jeepneys can you see here?


How about here?

Riding a Jeepney - How it Feels to be in It
Riding on the jeepney might not be that comfortable and convenient to all. If you are tall, you have no other choice but to bend your neck a little. If you are fat, worst case that the driver will charg…

My Red Owner-Type Jeep Driving Adventures in Cavite, Philippines

About a year ago, I was really fortunate for having this second-hand owner-type jeep. Since then, I was given the chance to drive on nearby places here in Cavite I always wish I had been into before. I am also happy to say that my low-cost camera now has a good companion in blogging, a low-cost red jeep. I could say that telling good stories is now a bit better for I can capture the right views at the right angle, at the right point (not when I used to commute and take photos from the passenger’s window, just like when I travel to Baguio City years back). Now, I can pull over and take the best shots I can, though not at all times.


My Red Owner-Type Jeep 
And so I have this great experiences in exploring the inner side (places not often talked about) of the province of Cavite where I had been living for almost a decade. Places like Pala-Pala, Trece Martires, Aguinaldo Shrine, Indang and Tagaytay are now within reach, of course with some money for the gasoline and eating. The previous blo…

Lobo, Batangas – a Place of Wonder and Simplicity

Simple life? In the beach or mountain side? Lobo is the place to be.

This Holy Week 2018, me, my wife, two of our friends, and their parents, visited Lobo in the province of Batangas.

There are three passages going here. One is thru the main town of Taysan, Batangas via barangay Dagatan. The other one is via Gov. Antonio Carpio Road, stretching from Batangas City to barangay Mapulo also in the town of Taysan. Both passages will merge into barangay Bacao in Taysan. The road from here are zigzag that the local people have called it “bitukang manok” (chicken intestine – like). Green mountains and narrow roads will make your travel more exciting in going here.


The third one is thru Batangas City entering barangay Libjo. This path is quite longer than the first two. Also a bit zigzag but as you are traversing roads mostly on the beachside, the driving experience would be full of wonders. Aside from the ocean view, there are landmarks here that will make you say to the driver to stop for …

The 100 Million Filipinos and Our Basic Rights in the Philippines

We have the right to education, healthcare, security, good services and affordable quality products, among others. But do we understand really the extent of our rights to these things as a Filipino citizen? And our duty to abide by the laws of the land and to promote democracy, are we aware of that? Our privilege or special right to something, do we care about it?




It was Abraham Lincoln, former president of the United States of America, who in one of his speeches said this:


“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


I remember these same words quoted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in one of his speeches. That was long time ago, during his first-year term I believe. While I cannot remember what the event was, what is clear to my mind until today is that he’s fulfilling at his capacity and political will the meaning of that statement.


The Philippine Government of the People, by the People, for the People
Let me translate th…

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