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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Sea Lion Caves; - A Must See Adventure!

While traveling the Oregon coast, don't miss dropping by at the Sea Lion Caves in Florence, OR along Highway 101.
It is here where you can witness the natural and wild habitat of the sea lions where not only you can enjoy but for your little tots as well!




These sea lions (also called Stella sea lions) are warm-blooded mammals and are wild, so their manners are often unpredictable when it comes to choosing their place to stay. They can make their homes either inside the cave and/or outside on top of rocks. If you will be lucky enough to get the chance to see them hanging out inside the cave, then you are allowed to join the tour going to elevator which carries you down more than 200 feet into the world's largest cave!
These caves are formed over 25 million years ago, soaring as high as a 12-story building and as wide as a football field. It has been taken with great care and undisturbed for these magnificent creatures to enjoy their habitat!

courtesy photo of sealioncaves.com

So, if you are both a nature and animal lover, this place is a "must-see" as you will be seeing the sea lions in their natural home!
The Sea Lion Caves is also open year round and is considered to be the "treasure of the Oregon Coast", and America's largest sea cave!

Don't forget to bring your camera and don't miss taking your photos with the sea lion sculpture, or perhaps some "neighbors" that sometimes hang out close to the caves such as the Cormorants or Guillemot pigeons; - or perhaps take lots of scenic vistas, including the Heceta Head Lighthouse from the north of the caves.




There are still many ways to see various things and wonderful views, as well as hearing delightful sounds as you slowly walk along a gently-sloping walkways! 😊👌😉🌸

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Astoria Column

If you are on a road trip to Oregon Coast, don't forget to visit the Astoria Column in Astoria, Oregon. It is located at Coxcomb Hill off 16th St.


The Column towers all above Astoria and is the most ideal spot to get a panoramic view of the ocean, rivers and mountains.
As part of our road trip, we dropped by there as our first stop during our Oregon Coast road trip going to our final destination; - SFO! 😊
An important note though, - don't dare going there on a foggy day (as we did, - actually we didn't know it was foggy on the area). We were not so fortunate enough to see the views, and the column was not even open for going up to the observation deck.


If the column is open to the public, visitors can go inside through a spiral staircase of 164 steps going up the observation deck. It has an elevation of 600 ft. with a depth foundation of 12 feet. It was dedicated on July 22, 1926, and further had undergone repairs, restorations and upgrades from 1936-2016 including its plaza.
The murals on the column are images of events between 1792-1818 reflecting historical milestones during the pivotal years in Astoria's history.

Astoria Column is rich in history you wouldn't want to miss! Discover more of it as you visit! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

"Summer of Spectacle" at Longwood Gardens

The late spring of 2017 was a great time for Longwood Gardens, the fact that the Main Fountain Garden has made its grand return to the public for a more and better spectacular presentations and performances when it comes to colorful fountains and fireworks that light up the sky up to the summer months!



It now has a revitalized garden, including the Grotto which features a cascading water, surrounded by natural stones and plants, - making it a cool, quiet place to relax for guests who enjoy tranquil environment in the garden.


Behind the Scenes Tour schedules are posted on their website 4 days a week. It's interesting knowing all about the fountain garden above ground to the huge tunnel system underneath. (i haven't done this yet as of this writing)....a good reason to always go back! 😉👌

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Xzootic Animal Park & Butterfly Garden - Bohol, Philippines

One of the tour packages included usually for Bohol tours would be a quick visit to a butterfly garden and an exotic animal park where you can see and touch an albino python!
This is located in Agape, Loay, Bohol.
The photo (below) shows the original dead remains of a Burmese python that used to be the first python being displayed at the zoo before the albino pythons.

My family with a mummified Burmese python!

                               

The park also includes a butterfly garden with a separate entrance. (there is a fee if you would rather go visit on your own, but free if you sign up for a tour package).
The lady greeter and/or tour guide was glad enough to take our photos with butterfly wings on our back as a "photo effect"...cool how she was doing it! 😁



It is just a small park to see some exotic animals including ostrich, civet cat, bear cats, monkeys, owls, etc...although, it seemed some of them are not that many, since there weren't much to see. But it was worth the experience to see, touch and take photos up close and personal with the pythons. 😉

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Visit to Bohol's Blood Compact Site



The blood compact site is located in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines. It is a sculpture depicting the blood compact between Miguel Lopez de Legaspi from Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol as a sign of friendship based on respect and equality.

The sculpture comprises of 5 life-sized images of men surrounding a table made on an open raised platform by Napoleon Abueva, a native of Bohol himself.

Today, this monument is commonly visited by both locals and tourists alike because of its rich history which happened in March 1565, making it a landmark of the site of the first international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Loboc River Cruise (with Buffet Lunch) Tour - Bohol, Philippines

This lunch cruise is always a tour favorite by many tourists in Bohol. There are dinner cruises as well for those who prefer to enjoy the night which is cooler.
The river is impressively clean.
While onboard a small village ferry, which also is converted as a floating restaurant, you can as well enjoy your lunch (or dinner) while cruising along the river, along with live music and entertainment.



At the last part of the tour will be an entertainment from the Loboc Children's choir with their dancers while the choir members play their ukeleles. Cool! They encourage you to join the dancing, so don't reject them when they invite you. They are always willing to teach and guide your steps! 😉

Here's a clip below just to give you an idea: 



The tour lasts 2 hours, round trip.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Bohol's Man-Made Forest




One popular tourist stop while on your way to and/or from Chocolate Hills in Bohol is the one and only man-made forest in the Philippines...only in Bohol! 
When you love nature, you can surely appreciate the beauty of a 2-kilometer road stretch that is densely planted with Mahogany trees along both sides of the road. They also call it the man-made Bilar forest and is situated on the border of Loboc and Bilar towns.

The mahogany trees have branches shooting up high that are also curved overhead, giving the area a shade. They create a breezy atmosphere making it feel cooler even during summer.

Taking a worthy photo can be challenging. Just be extra cautious about cars passing by as they mostly are driving fast in the area since it is part of a highway and busy road. Be sure the road is clear from any impending traffic before you take that memorable photo of yours! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Magnificent Chocolate Hills of Bohol



The chocolate hills in Bohol (Philippines) are famous attractions to many tourists. They are group of cone-shaped hills which are grass-covered limestones, and form as a rolling terrain of haycock hills. There are at least 1,268-1,776 estimated individual mounds in the area of approximately 50 square kilometers.

Many visitors would wonder why they are called "chocolate hills" when in fact, they are covered in green grass!


It is because these green grass covered mounds turns brown during the dry season, hence, they become like chocolate scattered mounds...also popularly called chocolate hills.
When we visited the site, it wasn't during the dry season...we were more on the early season of wet/rainy months. Fortunately, it was not raining when we got there! 😁
The hills cannot be climbed and is strictly prohibited to preserve their natural formations. Although, there are some tours that can take you to the hills to view them up closer. Most of the tours usually offer rented ATV's (just like what we did) which was at least 10-20 minutes drive going to the hills for photo ops. Time would still depends whether your ATV would break down at the middle of the road or not! LOL! (only in the Philippines).😂


However, the best view that you can get is to go up the viewing deck and capture the scenery! The viewing deck is only accessible by stairs and is not wheelchair accessible. So, heads up for handicapped people, they can't go up the viewing deck unless they are willing to climb the stairs by foot! 😏
The view appears to be endless from the viewing deck as you get to see a 360-degree view of the hills as far as your eyes can see!

Chocolate Hills is located in Carmen, Bohol, Philippines!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Tarsier Conservation Area

When in Bohol, tarsiers are commonly popular to see at the tarsier sanctuary as well as at the conservation area. They are mostly part of tour packages for tourists visiting Bohol.

There are two areas as to where to see the tarsiers. The Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol and the Tarsier Conservation area in Loboc, Bohol.

We visited the one in Loboc.


I have learned that the tarsier sanctuary in Corella is much better than the one in Loboc, due to the fact that it has a bigger space area for them to roam around. I couldn't speak for myself though about the differences between the two since I only went to the one in Loboc.

For those who are not familiar with the tarsiers, I will enumerate some few facts about them. Hope they help! ;)



Tarsiers are tiny primates that belong to Tarsiidae family. They can only be found in Southeast Asia including Philippines, specifically in Bohol and some parts of Mindanao. They are nocturnal species, and very sensitive to noise that can easily stress them.
They are lemur-like leaping primates with big eyes as the most striking feature, which are considered to be heavier than their brain.
They look cute, right? But take note, that touching or handling them are strictly prohibited because of their sensitivity.
Too much sensitivity can stress them and can die easily as a result, the reason why they are considered endangered species, although other factors are also included why their species are drastically declining.











Sunday, January 6, 2019

The (Nova) Shell Museum

Are you fond of shells? If you're a collector, or just simply love shells and fascinated by them, the Nova Shell Museum in Pangalo Island, Bohol, Philippines is a one-stop tourist attraction and gift shop displaying and selling wide variety of shell collections.
It houses thousand of shells and other marine life specimens. The museum is owned by Mr. Quirino Hora, a passionate shell collector who devoted half of his life collecting them.




One interesting among his collections is the rarest and the smallest shell found down the waters of Balicasag Island which was named after Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It's so minute, that you have to use a microscope to clearly see it!

Can you see it well?
The museum's gift shop offers souvenir items aside from shell products such as necklaces, handicrafts, wind chimes and other gift items.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Hinagdanan Cave - (Preserved Nature) - Bohol, Philippines

Hinagdanan Cave is a small cave in Dauis, in Panglao Island, Bohol. The entrance is a little bit steep and dark once you go down. Take note, it is not a handicap-accessible area.
Once inside, you would notice that the cave is naturally lighted cavern with a deep lagoon which is 10-12 meters deep. Swimming is allowed in the lagoon, but you have to pay extra if you are on a package tour. In our case, swimming was not included in our package tour which we did understand due to time constraints.




The cave has beautiful rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites surrounding the underground lake. It is considered as a wondrous cave in the province of Bohol. 
Its name Hinagdanan means "laddered" which got its name when the cave was discovered by a farmer while clearing his land property through a hole. He became curious, so he built a ladder to go down and access the cave and discovered it is a hidden beauty!

During the WWII, the cave was once a hideout by the locals from the Japanese, but they still were found.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bohol Bee Farm is Bee-autiful!

One of the most commonly visited place when in Panglao Island, Bohol is the Bohol Bee Farm. I can say it is an environment-friendly farm-resort because food come from organically-grown veggies, plus, of course, they have bees!...(they offer bee tours ;)) that produce honey and sell them to the public.





They also promote organic farming and healthy food. (I agree with that!) The food was great when we had a sumptuous lunch there!


Bohol Bee farm is both a resort and a restaurant where you can relax with a homey experience. If you love the beach, it is also one of the place to stay for sun bathing, snorkeling or go swimming at the indoor pool.

Tour can be arranged if you are interested about the livelihood programs they do and getting up close with the bees! (this is a fun tour)!


By the way, they have the best-yummiest ice cream so far, while I was in Panglao Island!  ;) - this is not a paid promotion, just sharing my experience. :))




Sunday, November 25, 2018

Admiring The Tranquility of Cebu Taoist Temple/Chinese Temple - Cebu, Philippines

When visiting Cebu, the Taoist Temple (Chinese Temple) is always one of the frequently visited tourist destination due to its attractive structure designs and artistry. The temple is located in Beverly Hills subdivision in Lahug, Cebu city, Philippines.
The main entrance reveals the replica of the Great Wall of China, with the eye-catching views of some dragon sculptures displayed as you enter the site.





It was built in 1972 by the Chinese community, 980 feet above sea level, giving tourists a magnificent view of the city.


One distinguishing characteristic that you can experience is the peaceful ambience around the temple. You can actually relax and take a nap on the upper part of the temple while feeling the breeze and at the same time overlooking the view of the city ;).

The temple is the center of worship for Taoism, but both worshippers and non-worshippers are free to visit.

There are 3 winding routes of the temple, and has 81 steps of stairways going up, which represents the 81 chapters of Taoism scriptures.
You can also see some rituals (or experience it if you want to) being performed by some devotees such as praying to the gods for a wish and more. Rituals are usually done every Wednesdays and Sundays.

But as a visitor like me, (I am a Christian) the visit is for the experience of witnessing the unique structural designs, colors, symbols and the culture instilled as reflected on the temple from the Chinese.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fort San Pedro - Cebu (Tour Visit)

This old piece of place was established by the Spanish during the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, which functions as a military defense against Muslim raiders in the 17th century.



The fort has 3 sides because of its triangular shape, where 2 sides face the sea with artillery defenses and one side fronting the city. At present, it is now in the area of Plaza Independencia at the pier of Cebu City.

In the late 19th century, it was successfully replaced by the Filipino revolutionaries during the Philippine revolution and used it as their defense. It is built of stone mortar where guns can be seen mounted. It was also used as a prison camp during the Philippine revolution, then became and American Warwick barracks during the American regime and eventually turned over to the Cebuanos by Commodore George Dewey.
Between 1937 - 1941, it became as classrooms where the locals (Cebuanos) first received their formal education, then went back to becoming as a prison camp during WWII from 1941-1945. The fort also functioned as a hospital during the battle of liberation.

At present, it is now a museum filled with historical facts, sculpture, paintings and most of its parts can still be seen including old cannons that are still on their original places.


A private tour can also be done if you prefer to know the complete historical facts of the fort!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Cebu Heritage Monument/Park

The Cebu Heritage Park/Monument is easy to locate when you're in Cebu and is a very close distance to the Yap-San Diego ancestral house which is also a historical attraction.
It depicts series of historical events during the Spanish era until the most recent beatification of a Cebuano martyr, Pedro Calungsod who is also included among the sculptures in the monument. You will be able to pick up what the monument is all about as you will find a mounted plaque on the area explaining about what the monument represents.



The monument was built by Eduardo Castrillo beginning in 1997 with the help of former senator Marcelo Fernan who funded the construction with Castrillo which includes private donations by some organizations and some individuals. It was done in 2000.


The sculptures were built with concrete, brass, steel and bronze. The monument also includes churches which had an important role during Raha Humabon's leadership, when he was converted to Christianity during the Spanish regime in the 15th century, and the statue of the late Philippine president Sergio Osmeña, Sr.