February 2014 | Lakad Pilipinas

The Half-Buried Bacolor Church of Pampanga

Almost twenty years after Mount Pinatubo’s devastating lahar flow ravaged the province of Pampanga, the San Guillermo Church still stands proud, albeit half-sizedly, along Bacolor’s town plaza. It was the second stop of Culture Shock PH’s Pampanga Food and Heritage Tour and I was excited to explore a church quite different from what I normally see around the Philippines.

Window Entrance at Pampanga's Bacolor Church

Originally standing at twelve meters high, the lahar flow from Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption reduced Bacolor Church’s façade into half its original height. The original door, which has been buried by mud and ash materials, can no longer be seen. What were formerly church windows are now used as main entrances to this house of worship.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Sunday, February 23, 2014

Food Ingredients at the Kusina ni Atching Lillian

Steam rose as Atching Lillian Borromeo opened the cover of a kawali simmering with fresh ingredients. The delectable aroma of what was to be our lunch wafted through the open-air kitchen. It was almost nine in the morning and together with the crew of Culture Shock PH, we watched with rapt attention as the Kapampangan culinary guru does her magic in her famous kusina.

Ancestral House at the Kusina ni Atching Lillian

We were in Mexico, Pampanga. I only heard about this small town was during the eruption days of Mount Pinatubo. Little did I know that this is also one of the culinary capitals of the province.

Our group alighted at one of the ancestral house in Barangay Parian, ready to discover the secrets behind the legendary Kapampangan food, Pampanga being known for being the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Saturday, February 22, 2014

Georgetown Street Art in Penang

I didn’t have any expectations when I booked a flight to Penang in Malaysia. The only reason I scheduled a flight was due to my buddy’s aunt who lives there. 

Honestly, I thought Penang was too quiet for my taste. But that was before I found out about George Town.

It’s an 18th century district in Penang, a UNESCO World Heritage certified site, that houses beautiful old shops and houses. Think Vigan City, only instead of only having a single preserved street; it has a whole city filled with it.

It totally blew me away.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Friday, February 21, 2014

Makati City's Caracol Festival

It was almost a year ago to this date that I attended Makati City’s Caracol Festival. I’ve been hearing about this event for quite a while now, but have always been out of the metro due to some trips or whatever. This time around, with nothing better to do one Sunday afternoon, I decided to head out to Makati City to see what the fuss was all about.

Makati City's Caracol Festival

Since the festival was going to be held to a place familiar to me, I didn’t bother researching about it. I simply boarded a bus and waited at the Ayala Triangle where I thought the Caracol Festival would commence. It was a surprise then that the city seemed too dead for a festival to be happening.

There was absolutely nobody around. Was I in the wrong place?

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Thursday, February 20, 2014

Iligan City Itinerary and Travel Guide

Iligan City is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. It’s not a claim based on air. This city south of the Philippines boasts a total of 23 waterfalls in its vicinity, making it one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Mindanao, both for backpackers and tourists alike.

Located in the province of Lanao del Norte, it is the industrial center of the south. Its name is derived from the Higaonon word Ilijan. The name of the city originally means fortress of defense, being the site of frequent pirate and Muslim attacks during bygone eras. The area was initially settled by sea dwellers before being invaded by Visayan migrants from the island of Panglao in the 16th century, making Iligan one of the earliest Christian settlements in Mindanao.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Batanes on Instagram

I’ve always wanted to own a lomo film camera. I love both its characteristic lo-fi quality and quirky effects. Sadyly such camera carries with it a hefty price tag, especially since one has to pay for its film and developing fees. With the advent of Instagram, my wish to produce lomo-like quality photographs has come to fruition without the fees associated with it.

I love taking Instagrams while on the road. It’s like giving a direct updates on my travels to my readers. And while on Batanes, I was able to bring my readers with me on the road, taking them from the airport all the way to Batan, the Sabtang Island and back again.

I have only a few simple self-imposed rules when taking Instagrams. It has to be taken by a phone, it has to be filtered, it has to be square and it has to be posted as closely to the time it was taken as possible.

Armed with the new Nokia Lumia 1020, allow me take you back to Batanes through filtered photographs.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Traveling to Cabangan, Zambales

Travelers all over the world abide by a single mantra; travel light.

While I try to follow these two words most of the time, it’s not always possible. Consider my case; I’m already a camera enthusiast even before being hooked to traveling. Bringing one compact camera on a trip is like diving without gear.

Or so I thought.
Dusk at Cabangan, Zambales

Lights trail right outside my bus window as it sped towards Zambales. It was the last few days of the year and I was visiting a good friend in the town of Cabangan, spending some days in her hometown before ending the year back in Manila.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Monday, February 17, 2014

Loft Space at Manila's Red Carabao Hostel

Sunday time is mooching time after a weekend of mischief and debauchery takes its toll.

I was nodding my head, agreeing with the handwritten note posted on one of Red Carabao’s wall. It cannot be more true, I said to myself as I lay sprawled on the hostel’s bean bag, chugging a cold bottle of Red Horse while swapping travel tales and opinions with kindred souls from around the globe.

At Manila's Red Carabao Hostel

What I was doing inside a hostel in the heart of Manila was beyond me.

I live in Malabon City, which is just three jeepney rides away from the Red Carabao. I mean, a hostel isn’t even something one will consider for a staycation; but there I was with a couple of other travel bloggers, mingling with an international crowd of backpackers.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Sunday, February 16, 2014

Backpacker’s Accommodation at Kalibo’s La Esperanza Hotel

Coming from a five-day tour of the Capiz province, I had to find an accommodation in Kalibo for my mini-side trip to Aklan before going back home to Manila. I asked around and everyone seemed to be pointing to a single lodging, the La Esperanza Hotel along the town’s main avenue.

The Lobby at Kalibo’s La Esperanza Hotel

Located at Osmena Avenue, it’s literally a stone throw’s away from the bus terminal that plies the provinces around the island of Panay. It took not a minute for me to get up from my seat, alight the bus and enter La Esperanza’s homey lobby. The only thing in locating this inn is that it is a bit hidden from view, its street front being blocked from view by a Landbank branch.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Saturday, February 8, 2014

Beautiful Day at the Kalibo Cathedral

I was weighing my options during my last few hours in Kalibo in the province of Aklan. The past day has me scrambling at the town of Tangalan to view its seven-tiered Jawili Falls, its neighboring Jawili Beach and its old St. John Nepomucene Church.

Earlier in the day, I strolled through Kalibo’s very own Bakhawan Eco-Park. I was tired, but still have enough energy not to waste my stay in the town famous for its Ati-Atihan Festival.

The Belfry at the Kalibo Cathedral

I walked along aimlessly around town. Just letting my two slow feet lead me to anywhere it might. I chanced upon Kalibo’s town plaza and found a cream-colored belfry complete with a weathervane jutting out from the trees just above the horizon.

Aha! A church! I’m not sure if it’s an old one, but I decided to check it out nonetheless.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Friday, February 7, 2014

Lush Mangroves at Kalibo's Bakhawan Eco Park

The rickety bamboo pathway creaked under my weight as my foot descended in stride. I was walking along at the massive Mangrove Forest in Kalibo, spending a day before my flight back to Manila at one of the most peaceful sanctuary in the province of Aklan.

Zigzag Pathway at Kalibo's Bakhawan Eco Park

The Bakhawan Eco-Park, as it is officially called, is a sprawling 220-hectare mud flat that has been transformed into a mangrove haven by the Aklanons, NGOs (particularly Kalibo Save the Mangroves) and the local government.

Bakhawan is a local Visayan term for mangroves.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Thursday, February 6, 2014

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Soaring 1,482 feet above sea level, Malaysia’s Petronas Towers blazed like a cool beacon in the sultry Kuala Lumpur evening.

I have little expectations from this city, having heard not a few good things about it from a friend. But impressions can be very personal. Kuala Lumpur took me by surprise as soon as I stepped off the bus that fetched us from the airport. The city is clean, the street food are delicious and the people are very warm and friendly.

The moral of the story, don’t judge a place until you’ve actually set foot on it.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Monday, February 3, 2014

Mornings at Angkor Wat

I’ve read all about the famous Angkor Wat during my time as an Architecture student back in the day. I was amazed at how grand it was and how intricate its details were.

After more than a decade, here I was, getting lost along its beautiful corridors with sunlight filtering through its intricate arcade. It is beautiful and grand, I can give it that; but it’s not as super awesome as I pictured it on my mind.

So while everybody’s going crazy about Angkor Wat, we were going gaga over Angkor Thom.

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Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Sunday, February 2, 2014