By Mer Irene & Richelle Ann Boton
Pillar Publication

In pursuit of surmounting the ordeals Philippines has faced caused by some pertinent happenings bulleting its tourism unit, one of which this country is famous of. The battle of how to strengthen the campaign of our very own tourist destinations challenged our department of Tourism as to what actions must set to bring back our status of being one of the most sought-after A list-escapades.

Richelle Ann Boton in Panglao Island

The Pillar trekkers have once again envisioned taking another trip on a place in the country to support what we have preserved and of what we are distinctive of. And this time, we have traversed Luzon and set foot at one of the most beautiful spot in Visayas, the Island of Bohol.

City of Tagbilaran.
With almost an hour in the plane, we finally rose on our seats and stepped out. Softly warm weather greeted us that made us more excited to enjoy the summer adventure in one of the popular tourist destinations in the country, Bohol

Peek at Sagbayan Peak.
Sagbayan Peak Entry Point

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Our first stop, the famous mountain resort, park and recreation center in the town of Sagbayan. Situated in a mountain top, this place popularly known as “Sagbayan Peak” offers a breathtaking perspective of the luscious Chocolate hills and the distant blue sea separating the islands of Bohol and Cebu. A short trip to its picturesque landscapes led us to mini- Tarsier sanctuary where we met the smallest primates in the world.

Beyond the Chocolate hills
Carmen is one of the towns in Bohol where most of the renowned Chocolate hills are precisely located. Approximately 1,247 in number, these natural wonders can be best viewed at the Chocolate Hill Complex located in brgy. Buenos Aires in the same town.
 Viewing the Chocolate hills from the top allowed us to realize how blessed our beloved Philippines

Dine while floating: Loboc River
On our way in search of a place for lunch, we passed through the man-made rainforest in t6he town of Loboc. The place was very cool and green. Fresh air going to our body gave us a really great feeling. From the zigzag adventure of the rainforest, the road led us to the fine dining place, Loboc Rivers’s Restaurant.

Church at all time; Baclayon
 Church is said to be the second oldest church in the Philippines. Coral stones, cut and piled atop each other, generally make up this century old house of worship. The exterior of the church really looks plain but its interior is very lavish, with its gold-plated altars, ancient paintings, timeworn tiled floors and stained glass windows.

Refine Sand at Panglao Beach.
Situated at the southeastern part of mainland Bohol, Panglao Island has the escapades any tourist would want to spot. Outlined by naturally refined white sand, Bohol Beach Club in Panglao can give a relaxing holiday hands down with its friendly waves and Go-given sea creatures like sea urchins and star fishes.

Truly this group of islands perfectly shaped by god’s hand in Asia’s southeastern part is a splendid spectacle for aliens and invaders, allure that attracts tourists towards its serene and authentic landscapes. And should catastrophic dumb it off the Philippines, with its strong-hearted and faithful people will always rise and show the world the beauty it cradles within its territory. For this Chosen Land is a true epitome of splendor, from Luzon to Visayas to Mindanao                                  

Breathless Biking within Baler Proper.

For an amount of PHP100, you can rent now your way of transportation that can access easily to the entire Baler.

Biking is fun activity and I really it. Actually, I also do biking in Bay walk Puerto Princesa City during my Palawan visit. It’s more fun to include biking on your itinerary because it is very stress relieving especially if you are doing it with your friends.

Moreover, the said biking was headed by Ehm , our tour guide. It was not just a simple biking yet a very exciting activity because we also tour the entire Baler that showcases spots.

• From our origin/ start line was at Costa Pacifica.
First Stop is  Manuel L. Quezon’s Monument
• We went ahead to Museo de Baler which is located at the back of Manuel L. Quezon’s Monument
Next on the line is Dona Aurora’s Ancestral House
And infront of the house is the Baler Church.
And we bike the Zabali road to get experience the Hanging Bridge.
• We passed through at Baler’s Municipal Hall at the same time some Old houses
• We went back to the camping site.

Truly, cycling of biking is best recreational activity other than sport and transportation purposes.   Bicycles are used for recreation at all ages and it is fun especially if it involves touring and exploration or sightseeing for leisure. It is also good to our health. The physical exercise gained from cycling is generally linked with increased health and well-being.

Biking in Baler with friends is one of my memorable events in year 2013

World Class Wake Skater versus the 8 Wonder of the World in the Philippines.

American wakeboarder Brian Grubb tests his wakeboarding skills at the iconic Banaue Rice Terraces.
(Photo by Daniel Deak Bardos and Sophia Langner)
The Wake Skating and Wake Boarding Extreme Sport are currently famous in the Philippines.  In fact innumerable Wake Boarding Sites were established in Laguna, Batangas, Clark, Camsur and Davao. Rapid increase of number are become an Aficionado of the said extreme Sport. In addition to that, lot of World Championship and International Wake Boarding and Skating were conducted in the Philippines in Camarines Sur where-in famous athletes who came from different countries in the whole world t compete.

Moreover, one of these athletes is Brian Grubb. During his seventh come back in the country, a distinctive wake boarding was his planned; TO DO THE WAKE BOARDING STUNT IN EIGHT WONDER OF THE WORLD the Banaue Rice Terraces. “This Wonder, I’ve never seen this before, obviously the rice terraces is very scenic to see, and seeing from a different perspective its very different way of living here.” Grubb said.
Join us in Banaue Rice Terraces to Witness a Different Wake Boarding.
(Photo by Daniel Deak Bardos and Sophia Langner)
Brian Grubb is popular on doing wake boarding stunts in various iconic locations in the whole World. This time “The Engineering Wonder of the world which the rice terraces “(together with his team) is their next spot to show the World how beautiful it is. “We came over here (Philippines to be specific), going to Cam Sur and we saw small terraces, and we were looking for a natural environment with water and anytime there’s a drop (like a skate board stair case) where-in we can jump, that’s what we are looking for” Grubb narrated on how they come up with the idea of choosing the Banaue Rice terraces. He also added the he saw the PHP1000 bill that shows the Rice panoramic terraces and he was curious about it, if is it real or it’s just a picture. “We ended up doing some research and found out that the place is real, the picture in PHP1000 bill is the exactly same the way it is” as he continued narrating.

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Meanwhile, the harvesting season in Banaue was already done and it was perfect for their plan to execute the stunt. “Kung mapropromote ang Banaue , dadami ang turista therefore we can get the benefits. But before they conduct it, they make sure about the location by doing an ocular inspection. I find out that it will not damage and for me, there is no negative effect about it towards the terraces. “Mayor Jerry Dalipog said.
Before Grubb conduct the stunt, he personally involves himself towards the cultures of the IFUGAO (inhabitants of the Place.) In fact he joined in a ritual headed by MUMBAKI or tribal Priest. “The tradition was old and I’ve seen some ceremonial dances, and when we got here, we asked their permission to do the stunt on the rice terraces; to do some modern things in such an old place. It’s an Honor to be here” Grubb proudly said.

The Locals were very entertained when Grubb do the stunt.
Truly, Grubb is not just showing his skills but he is also shows the World how Beautiful the Philippines is.

Watch The Video (Red Bull)

Intrepid Surfing in the Large Waves in Sabang Beach, Baler Aurora.

As I finished the Challenge ( Thanks JOJO for Capturing) 

Truly if you experienced one thing and you enjoyed it the most on the first attempt, surely the next thing you will do is to experience it again. Yes, I admit it especially Surfing. The first time I was able to balance myself on the waves was during my Zambales Tour. It was my memorable and glorifying involvement with the waves. So I promised myself to Surf again due to the fact that I enjoyed it a lot.

When we say Baler, it has something to do with Surfing. For surfers and surf wannabes this place is best and nearest among the surfing spots in the Philippines. Baler is famous for Cemento beach, Sabang Beach, and Baler Bay that offers its large sizes and tunnel-like waves which is perfect for practicing.

Moreover, Surfing is one of the itineraries of the said Baler Tour. When we arrived in the morning at the camp, the first activity I joined was the surfing lesson. I have my surf instructor named Philip who patiently taught me. “Do you know how to swim?” he asked. “I’m sorry Buddy, I don’t know how to swim but don’t worry this is now my second time do surfing”, I answered.

When I looked at the sea, I was scared because of the large waves; it was really larger compared to waves in Zambales. It was also raining, the sky is darker and Philip told me it’s because of low pressure. “Buddy, Don’t get scared, if you fall down, don’t get panic and just look for the cord , grab it and just ride back to the deck of the board.” He gave the instruction.

Philip and I
We went ahead going deeper, my heart started to beat faster when I noticed that I can’t feel anymore the sand on my feet. The waves are getting stronger as I tried to go deeper.  But Philip was still behind me pushing the surfboard. The experience was totally different, in Zambales. The Surfer can easily go to the deep part of the sea to wait for the incoming waves but in Baler it’s totally different, you need to struggle facing the large wave just to reach the deep part. However, the advantage in Baler, there’s no need for you to wait the waves because it is continuously coming every now and then. In addition, due to the strong current, you can stand up easily and balance right away unlike to the small waves in Zambales. Therefore I must say that in Zambales that’s advisable for the first timer and in Baler for advance surfer. No wonder many celebrities and professional surfer visits this place just to surf.

In just one hour surfing lesson, I learned to adjust myself from large and strong waves. But the best lesson I learned is to face you fear, regardless if I am not a good swimmer.
The Surf Instructors
After the lesson I got a chance to meet my instructor to personally thank him. I was able to have a short conversation also with his co- instructor. Until today, Phillip and I are still connected through Facebook and he invited me to visit back in Baler to surf for a discounted amount. Nice to hear right? That’s the advantage if you will have local friends in a place where you used to travel.

Blue board Set Up of Roar Music Video Includes Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano in Tagatay as features in Katty Perry's Roar Music Video (Image by Jomar Hilario)
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Have you watched Roar's Music Video? with sexy Katty Perry in the jungle? I am pretty sure that you are familiar one of the picturesque views feature on the said video.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez was so proud of Katty Perry's Roar Music Video because it it features the panoramic view of Tagaytay, Taal Volcano to be specific.“Yes, [it is] a picture of the Philippines in what is obviously paradise. I am very happy,” Jimenez said. "It's no secret that, when Katy Perry went to the country, she fell in love with Philippines. I would not be surprised if she made the choice [of including Taal in the video] the herself. [But] I do not know that for a fact," he said.

Moreover, the said music video was taped indoor in a studio set up with blue board.   Blue Board is a blue wall where-in the computer can add a variety of background so that  the artist's background during shooting looks very pleasant. It is famous in weather reporting and MTV.

The production choose Taal Volcano as one of the background because Perry must have been blown away and was amazed by the sight when she visited the country in 2012.  Same year when she performed in Arena   Pasay , January 22, 2012.

Truly, Philippine is a country wherein foreign artist loves to visit because of its distinctive beauty . A beauty that can surely compete worldwide.

Here is the Music Video

Top 10 best Photos of 2013

I mentioned already in my previous articles that Photos are very important in Travel Blogs. Photos will show your article visually to your readers. 
In this year 2013, I will be posting my top 10 best shots. No story, no words, no explanations and no articles .Just purely images that I captured within this year with caption on it. Hope you will like it. 
This is part of remembering my past travels .

On the top of the mountain you will see a large picture that others can't do ( Tayuman, Binagonan Rizal)

No room to comfort  ( Baler, Aurora)

In the darkness, you will see more things clearly, open and easy to interpret. ( Sabang Beach, Baler)

In taking pictures, you will be able to stop time to be perished ( Quezon City Circle)
Breaking up is just a new start of beggining (Ermita hill)

A real paradise will only be visible during at night ( Boracay Island)

Love is like travelling in an Island, you keep on moving from one point to another ( Baler Aurora)

Urban living is good but you have to play it ( SM Moa)
A real friend will always be there in times of loneliness ( Aurora)

Nais kung ipagtanggol ( Luneta Park )

Saying Farewell to Year 2013 by Remembering it.

Looking back at the past is the best way to remember those events happened to us. I’ve been blogging for almost half year and 2013 is about to say goodbye to me. But that Good bye doesn’t mean that I will also forget those blessings that I received this year. By that, I will post my Top ten events happened to me since the day I started doing this travel blog. It was not that easy but the entire span of time I’m doing this blog; it was very therapeutic to me. I was able to express my feeling in every post that I published. These top 10 Photos that I captured is the reflection of mine. It is also a way for me to give thanks to GOD in giving me a chance to rove.  Hello 2014! But today lemme post my 2013 life through these photos.

Learned to Surf – Just this year 2013 I was able to learn how to balance myself (not towards the schedule, problem, work and personal). Balancing on the water with those challenging waves is one of my achievements in this year. My first Surfing experience was in Zambales and followed by Baler Aurora.

Rizal Adventure with PHP500- I thought at first that PHP500 pesos is now worthless. But when I travelled Rizal Province with this amount I was able to realize that travelling doesn’t need to be luxurious so that we can enjoy it the most. Rizal Province is large province but together with my friends we were able to tour Rizal the cheapest way.
Work Hard and Party Harder- This year also I was able to party in Republiq, Resorts World. As an ordinary office guy, spending resources in such luxurious bar is ever my plan. But then again, I was able to experience it for free. I consider it as one of my blessings in this year.

Health Conscious- January 2013 to March 2013, I was able to achieve the body that I want. I am having hard time to get it, with all those whey protein, amino acids, spending time at the gym and sacrifice the tasteless diet. But in just a short span of time, I was able to get it.

Shockwave with my Kidney Stone- With the same year of 2013. I was hospitalized due to my kidney stone. I was confined for five days and got shockwave procedure to pulverize the stone. The Pain I experienced was beyond description. I remember the doctor asked me 1-10 scale of the pain and I shouted 11. It was very painful but then it was one of my unforgettable events in 2013

Embracing Puerto Princesa City- with the amount of PHP4500 all in. Who thought that I can survive in six days in Puerto Princesa City. It was really my unforgettable experience: from air fare, foods, tours and accommodation PHP4500 is enough in fact it includes the pasalubong. Because of Puerto Princesa City Adventure  I learned  to be tactful in every travel  to save resources.

Adventure in Baler Aurora- This adventure is very memorable to me. From planning up until the date of the tour it was very challenging. I am not physically prepared that date because I was suffering from my pneumonia at that time one week prior the tour. But due to my eagerness to join the adventure, I still pushed it.
Moreover, I was able to do my second time to surf the large waves in Sabang Beach, Biking the whole Town Proper, Trekking to the falls and taking glance at the historical sites of Baler.

Meeting new friends with same interest- From the day I started blogging about travel, my dream is to meet some travel bloggers also. And I am very thankful by this year 2013 I was able to meet numbers of travelers when I joined Journeying James Anniversary in Liw-Liwa Zambales.  It was very memorable because it was my first time to do solo travel and meet new individuals. The challenge was how to socialize others.
My Boracay Experience – Actually my Boracay Experience was happened 2012 but since started blogging this year 2013 Im considered it as a blessing in this year. My Boracay Experience is a medium for me to experience the paradise of the Island during daytime and experience the rave darkness at night time.

Oh My Bohol- Same thing with my Boracay experience, it was not part of my 2013 events but then again this year i started blogging at it is part of my posts. Actaully I grew up in Bohol, it is my home province and yet this year who will forget this province who experience the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Wood Products in Brgy Jabuyo , Baler , Aurora .

In my previous visit in Rizal Province, in Municipality of Taytay to be specific, I was able to witness on how local wood product was made by the inhabitants of the said town. They made it using a lumber. But I found out during my Baler Travel that aside from the raw lumber, furniture can be made also from the remains of the dead trees.

Yes dead trees, the locals look for dead trees in the forest or those remains from logging. “Root parts” are the main materials being used to configure such as Sala sets, dining tables and etc. “The Roots are more durable than the lumber.”the local said . They excavate and dig the roots of those big dead trees and they are going to clean it. “It is more difficult to get it compare to the lumber wherein you can buy it” the local added. The final outputs are displayed outside just along the highway on the said Barangay.

Truly that you need to be creative in creating those furniture because you need to figure out on how to configure a set of chairs using uneven forms of the woods from the roots.  But the imagination of the locals is really excellent while staring those finished products. It was amazing form of art. “Some tourist bought here and they bring it by their own vehicles”, the owner narrated. Since Brgy Jabuyo is a remote place, delivery is the number one problem. Buyers tend to choose this kind of artworks because of the artistic look and the materials are very indigenous. Narra and Kamagong are some of the wood being used; those trees nowadays are endangered variety due to the fact that loggers love this kind of trees because of its durability and permanence

Moreover, products are perfect for outdoor set up like garden and landscapes because of its durability, in fact it can sustain even during rainy days. The set is also advisable for resorts’ owner due its exotic approach and it can add a distinct detail. This is recommendable as well to those exotic restaurants because the designs are very pleasant visually in proportion to the motif of the business (like Balaw-Balaw Restaurant in Angono Rizal).

Personally, I really appreciate these things because it reflects the skills of the Filipino on how to create an innovative thing from out of nothing. Imagine, from the roots to quality furniture. Amazing

Curious to taste Paco or simply Edible Fern?

Our first lunch during our Baler Adventure was very unforgettable to me because it was my first time to taste this vegetable which has a scientific name of Athyrium esculentum . It is an edible fern found throughout in Asia and Oceania. Paco which is commonly known as Vegetable fern or edible fern are the most commonly consumed fern.

In Baler, it is being sold by street vendors as one of those ordinary vegetables in the market. I saw it personally and I was able to compare it from the usual ornamental fern that I saw in Bohol. A vegetable fern is very different from the house plant. When I was in Bohol, the only fern that I am aware are merely plants that grow on the mountains and are usually for landscapes and flower arrangement. I thought that it is a poisonous plant but I discovered during my Baler Tour that there is a specific variety of Fern that Filipinos love to eat.

Moreover, this is an indigenous vegetable with a distinctive taste. Maybe because it was my first time to taste it. “Journeying James Tour” cooked for us during our first lunch in Baler.

Just a heads up, Ferns may have mild amounts of fern toxin but so far there is no major toxic effect are recorded. In fact, Paco consists with nutritional value and it is beneficial due to Minerals also that you can get it. One of the Top mineral content is the calcium which is very helpful for our bones. Second is phosphorus that will assist our bodies to burn carbohydrates and fats to convert is into energy and creating protein. Third mineral is Iron which helps in distributing oxygen in the body via our blood. Finally, it is abundant with Thiamine or simply Vitamin B which is important for our nervous system.

The fern is perfect for salad or ginataan. It is also best if you are going to steam it and serve it with Bagoong. There are lots of recipes wherein you can experiment to capture the best taste using Paco as main ingredient. But in our lunch, it was steamed and served as a side dish with fried fish and Bagoong (salted fish). At first, I was hesitant to eat it because it tastes a bit of bitter taste but when you eat it with Binagoong then that’s the time you can appreciate it.  Maybe next time, I gonna taste another Fern menu.


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