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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.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Yap-San Diego Old Ancestral House

If you're visiting in Cebu, Philippines, you shouldn't miss visiting this old ancestral home in one of the districts of Cebu. It is one of the oldest residential houses in the Philippines which was built between 1675 and 1700.
It was originally owned by Don Juan Yap, a Chinese merchant and Doña Maria Florido who had 3 children; - Maria, Eleuterio & Consolacion Yap.
The oldest daughter Maria, married Don Mariano San Diego in 1880 who was a district head in Parian, Cebu that time.
Then in 2008, the home was passed on to Doña Maria's great, great grandson Val San Diego who was also famous in Cebu as an art collector and heritage icon.
Several restorations were made on the home by Val to continue to stand as a historical house.

Inside the house are priceless antiques and other old treasures full of historical secrets. As you discover these secrets, they will make you understand there's more to its historical past.
There are also old and new artwork exhibits. Most of the old items are preserved.

Did you know that the construction materials of this old house were made of coral stones that were glued with egg whites? The roof was made of clay weighing at 1 kg. each, and the wooden parts were made of "balayong" and "tugas" (molave), considered to be the hardest woods of all time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sto. NiÑo Basilica & Magellan's Cross (Cebu, Philippines)

The church was founded in 1565 and considered to be the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. In 1965, Paul VI made the church a basilica and named it as the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines.
Several renovations were done beginning in 1735, retaining the church's original features. Today, the basilica is still under the care of Augustinian friars.

In 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake caused damages on the church's belfry and facade, and walls had cracks. The damages were restored immediately and later re-opened for the public once again.
The church holds the Christ child statue dating to Magellan's time and becomes crowded especially in the weekends as worshippers (including street sellers) join pilgrim processions.

Close from the basilica is a walking distance towards the Magellan's Cross. The Magellan's cross is inside a Spanish-styled pavilion which is a wooden cross. You will notice that the cross you will see is not the original (as the plaque says in the photo) but instead, is a replica used to cover the original cross.

According to the historical facts, the original cross was set up by Magellan and his fellow explorers upon arriving in the Philippines exactly as where the cross is standing today!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Story of Mactan Shrine (Cebu, Philippines)

The shrine was constructed in memory of the Battle of Mactan in 1521 between the Spaniards and the natives, in which Lapu-Lapu was the native chieftain who resisted the leadership of Magellan to subdue and convert the natives to Christianity, as well as resisted the idea of subjecting themselves to Spain's throne. The shrine is in a covered structure that houses it.

Few meters away from the Mactan Shrine includes two more shrines; - the Lapu-Lapu shrine and the Magellan monument.

  1. Lapu-lapu Shrine - is a historical bronze statue which is 65.5 feet high. He was a native leader (chieftain) who killed Ferdinand Magellan during the battle of Mactan in 1521. As you continue to look up close on the statue, you will notice that on his left hand is a shield and on his right  is a large jungle knife called "kampilan", - his only weapons that killed Magellan.

Me and family ;)

       2. Few distances nearby Lapu-lapu shrine is the Magellan monument also known as Magellan's marker or Magellan shrine which was also erected as a memorial tower for Magellan, - a portuguese explorer. The monument is overlooking the Magellan Bay and is believed to be the exact place where he was killed by Lapu-lapu.
The tower is approximately 30 meters high, with an obelisk shape on top and consists of marble. You would notice that the monument is less-maintained looking moldy and dark.
The monument has four sides, where the obelisk top is standing. On one side is the name of Magellan written in Portuguese. The 2nd side is a dedication to "Spanish Glory"; The 3rd side is the name of the Spanish governor of the Philippines; the 4th side is the name of the Spanish monarch under the rule of Queen Ysabel II.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Majestic Pyramids of Chichen Itza (Chichen Itza Tour)

Chichen Itza is considered to be one of the most famous attraction visited by tourists in Mexico Yucatan Peninsula. It is a huge pyramid with steps and is originally known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan that existed as early as 600AD to the 1200's.

It is considered as an ancient Mayan ruin that reflects soaring, rugged pyramids and carved columns which was dedicated to Kukulcan, - the feathered serpent.
The Mayans were considered to have a great level of architectural and astronomical knowledge due to the ruins' play of light and shadow during certain equinox. At each equinox, as the sun rises over the horizon, it illuminates the west balcony of the base, which creates triangles of light and shadow that looked like a serpent in the ruffle of the arch on the stairway of the pyramidal basement known as El Castillo.

Chichen Itza today is now considered a major national park in Mexico due to its proximity and easy accessibility to Cancun.
Me and Chichen Itza at the background! ;)

The ruins were used to be opened for tourists to climb all the way high up the steps going down inside to see some rooms for religious sites, but unfortunately closed its doors due to concerns for safety due to a tourist's accidental death in 2006. It was also further decided by Mexico's management that in order to prolong the life span of the ruins, they have to control heavy foot traffic getting in and out of the ruins, thus the closure!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Malibu Dude Ranch New Year 2017 Experience

We traveled 4.5 hours with couple of friends to spend our New Year's Eve there. Our friend did the checking about the resort, their offers, activities that can be done, deals and the reviews of customers. It sounded positive, so we were inspired to go.

Malibu Dude Ranch is located in Milford, PA situated in the scenic Pocono Mountains, northeast of Pennsylvania. The resort proudly offers ranch activities such as horseback-riding rodeo, volleyball, basketball, indoor pool, etc...for an all-inclusive package price, meals included. The package amount we paid was $250 per person per night with a minimum stay of at least 2 nights.
Their website proudly says they have luxurious cabins.

Fast forward.....

We checked in to our so-called rustic, luxurious cabin room that was not! The room's carpet floor looked old, faded and dirty with a moldy smell. NO TV, with only just a dim light. Bath and shower rooms are decent and clean though, but tight.
A luxurious room, no matter how rustic the style, is NOT luxurious without a TV, don't you think?

The meals were all free of course, including horseback riding, skiing and snow tubing. Remember, it's winter season! ;)

What was confusing was that about them saying that amenities of the resort are all free with the package was NOT! The pool (billiard) and game room were not free! Snowmobile and ATV we believed were part of the resort's amenities  but they would ask you to pay $100 extra of your stay per activity. There is an additional fee for every activity except horseback riding, skiing, snow tubing and use of indoor pool. We were not sure about the ball games since they only offer them in warmer months.

We managed to at least enjoy the indoor pool and it was a good thing there was nobody there except us. :)

It was a good New Year's Eve party experience though! Hors d' oeuvres were complimentary, with good music and dancing during the party!
Overall, the fun and experience was just okay, but I don't agree with the idea of the price package deal which was too expensive for the activities and the room was not worth it!

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Tacky Lights Tour - An Experience

When it comes to the best tacky Christmas light displays that can be seen in homes and some business areas, try signing up for a Tacky Lights Tour located in Richmond, Virginia.
There are no specific routes to go to, as they are located in different locations in various neighborhoods.

So, if you are visiting, it is recommended to sign up for one online, or you can perhaps find a visitor center in the area for any info.

Experience wise, we did a bus tour, so there was no hassle when it comes to the places or homes we should go.

The tacky lights tradition in Richmond has been around for 30 years! There should be at least 40,000 lights minimum requirement in order to be nominated and included on the list of approved houses to join the tacky lights contest.

The year 2016's grand price was $50,000.

Take note: - it's more convenient to take the tour aboard a tour bus, or trolley (depending on the weather), limos or vans.
There are professional tour companies that offer services to do it for you, so you don't need to risk driving on your own, and get! You'll enjoy it better!

backyard lights at 9215 Venetian Way
The Christmas house by "Mr. Christmas" Frank Hudak.

Some homes we visited were located at Marbury Terrace, Glen Allen, Virginia and some at Henrico, VA.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

If you want yourself surrounded by a half-a-million twinkling lights during the holidays, visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia, as you stroll along pathways filled with flowers aglow or pass under archways of lights decked out in sparkling streamers, bells, baskets, etc...

One of the highlights would be seeing the 14-ft. tree fully decorated with Victorian decorations!

As you enter in the central garden, you will be amused to see some colorful orbs as you pass through the elegant courtyard. You'll then see all kinds of colorful designs in various shapes and sizes all throughout the garden.

The garden's festival of lights is a tradition that's being celebrated every year with different theme each year. It usually starts late November to early January of the next year.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Guided Tour To Colonial Williamsburg - Christmas Tour

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia is popularly known as America's largest interactive history museum, located south of Washington D.C.

Your visit will bring you back in time during the American Revolution period. You will hear beating of drums, trilling rifles and meet and greet interpretive characters in their costumes as you stroll around. 

There are other more activities being done as well, especially for the kids too!

Our tour included a visit to a church and learned about the Historic Triangle as one of the highlights for an interesting narration and historical facts.

Also, see and enjoy some homes and lots of shops along Duke of Gloucester Street which are decorated for the Colonial Christmas.

If you enjoy shopping and dining, proceed to Merchant's Square.

Sent from my iPad Pro:
"Greatly blessed, highly favored...imperfect but forgiven child of God!"😇🙏

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Agecroft Hall Visit - A Guided Tour

Age Croft Hall is a Tudor home built in Lancashire, England during the late 15th century. It was considered to be a distinguished home of the Langley & Dauntesey families in England for hundreds of years. 
By the end of 19th century, it fell into disrepair and eventually sold in auction in 1925.

Thomas Williams, a resident from Richmond, Virginia bought the structure, then dismantled the home estate, shipped it to Richmond, Virginia and then re-assembled it in the neighborhood of Richmond in Windsor Farms.
Today, it still stands on the rolling banks of the James River beautifully recreated, just like in its original site in Lancashire, England along Irwell River.

Take note: photos are not allowed inside the estate during the tour, but are allowed outside the home and in the gardens.

During our tour, a visit to the gardens was allowed, but bothing can be seen due to the season. (Winter) Ideal times to visit this estate would be late spring to early fall if you want to visit the gardens too!

Taking the tour inside (even if photos are not allowed) will be all worth it. The tour guide will bring you back to the lifestyle of the Langleys & Daunteseys during their period, as explained from room to room.

Sent from my iPad Pro:
"Greatly blessed, highly favored...imperfect but forgiven child of God!"😇🙏