> LainCieloDarl: May 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Regina RICA

 Sampaloc Tanay Rizal

April 18, 2014 – Good Friday


As for spending the holy week, I’ve decided to go on a trip to Tanay, Rizal to visit the Regina RICA that became popular nowadays especially during Lenten season.

It has a big statue of Virgin Mary on the top of the hill and I must say that going there is really worth going.

Filipinos has a large percentage of Catholic religion and going to places like this is a very ideal one to strengthen our faith with our Creator. Yes, I am a Catholic and going here is one of the best ideas on how to spend worthwhile my holy week vacation.

Regina RICA is a 13.5 hectare land runs by the Dominican Nuns. It is a very sacred place where in you can deeply pray and communicate with God or even with Mama Mary.

These are the places and things you can do inside Regina RICA:

On top of these activities is climbing the hill up to the Golden Statue of Mama Mary. It’s a    feet tall and has seventy plus angel carvings on the foot/base. There’s also a prayer room or mini chapel inside the statue which they called as Bulod.
The place also has a candle room where you can offer candles.
The Church/ Chapel.
Some function rooms under the Chapel.
A columbarium.
The Labyrinth.
A big dining area.

The Station of the Cross .
The garden going up to the feet of Mama Mary.


As for our activity:

We meet at Shaw Boulevard at 5 a.m. and rode a jeepney going to Tanay Rizal. Fare as of this time is Php.53.00 per head.
Travel time is approximately 1-2 hours including the traffic.

Right after we reached the Tanay Public Market, there were tricycles and jeepneys going to Regina RICA. We decided to hire a tricycle going there. By the way, we were four in the group and it cost us Php. 50.00 per head.

Since it is holiday, tricycles were not allowed to go down at the main entrance so we have to take a short walk.
When we got there, there’s already a lot of people and private vehicles. What can you expect on a Good Friday? This is one of the best days to go here since it is holiday.

We have to line up and wait for our turn for the orientation. Yes, there is an orientation first before you can do the activities here.

After the orientation that lasted for about ten to fifteen minutes, we headed our way to Mama Mary up on the hill.
There are two ways to reach the foot of Mama Mary. First is to take the Station of the Cross and second, go up the garden.
We chose the second option. As we go up, the view is pretty quiet. Aside from the mountains you can see afar, is the garden with sunflowers, calamansi and other plants that will lead your way up the hill.

Okay, today is holiday so took us so long to reach Mama Mary because of large volume of people. We have to line up again and wait for our turn to get inside the statue of Mama Mary plus there’s also an orientation again before climbing up the statue.
We have to take off our shoes/slippers/sandals as we get inside the statue. We offered a short prayer as we reached the top then walked down again.

My two friends offered candles, while we took the labyrinth. The labyrinth is somewhat similar to a maze wherein as you walk towards the center, you can offer a prayer. Most likely, praying the rosary will be a fine activity here and once you reached the center, it feels like you’re already reaching God.

Our next stop is the chapel. But it is looks like a common church already because of its size. The nuns are giving us oil on the palm and forehead. There are also masses going on here but with the schedule. Here’s their website so you can check out the time.

*insert website*


After that, we ate for lunch. There’s a pile of cottages with different sizes that can be used. There’s also a canteen.

I also wanted to share their rules that are being strictly followed.

*insert rules here*

And please, if you will go here, refrain from littering. As I see some places there, there were trashes like empty bottles, candy wrappers and the like. It is a sacred place so we shouldn’t throw garbage on sidewalks.

There are also some souvenir shops inside the place.

We went home at past 1 p.m. and the people were just coming as we see.

I may say that this place is really a good place to go, even if you’re with your family or peers. You can have a picnic right after you did the activities there.

And for me, I think I will enjoy this kind of place if there would be lesser people so I can pray deeply and talked with God peacefully.

The place is really a solemn one and of course you can only feel it’s solemnity with lesser number of people.

There is no entrance fee so I guess it’s one of the reasons why it became a tourist spot.

But then, donate some if you have extra money for the maintenance of the place. In that way, you already helped God. As I watched a movie about the life of Jesus, He once said that we can give what we have (riches, money) to other people or to church so we can be welcomed to the Kingdom of our Father.















Baler, Aurora




Discovering the Simple and Peaceful town of Baler
One fine weekend, my friend and new found friends decided to go a place called Baler.
This place became famous because of its huge waves which is good for sea surfing.




Enjoy Reading. 

This blog post is more on the experience we had than being a guide to those people who wants to go here. Haha. Just to remind you in advance.



Genesis Transport

The date is March 14, 2014 for the Day 0.
We met at the Genesis Transport Bus terminal at 9 p.m.
According to our sources, there is no reservation for the regular bus. You must go at the terminal personally to ask from the guard a “number” which is handwritten on a piece of number and that would be your reserve slot.
Take note, you can’t walk out of the terminal because someone may took your slot (chance passenger it is, hehe.)




Second to the last trip is 10 p.m. and last trip is 11 p.m.
The first trip for the following day would be 3 a.m. We got a “reservation” slots for the last trip but then a big thanks to my friend, Rhozie because we had the chance to ride on the 10 p.m. bus.
How? Just ask her. Hehe.

FYI, there’s also a Joy Bus that you can ride. This is much cozier but then you’ll be comfortable during the trip, there’s a portalet and travel time would only be less than five hours.

Not unlike riding on a regular air-conditioned bus where in I slept like a fetus, sometimes like a worm or whatever.

After six hours of not so good sleep while travelling, hello Baler!
Welcome to us!

The Lodge/ Homestay
We reached Baler at 5 a.m. and it feels like we were in Baguio because of the cold weather there. We took a tricycle and brought us to the lodge where we will stay.
Thank you Ms. Thess Cunanan for accommodating us! Here’s her number if you want to visit Baler and there’s no place to stay.  (+63) 0999-9926355
While this is the number of her daughter who posted on FB about their place to stay;  (+63)09157910612  ,
Hello there, Miss Tala Cunanan! :)




Breakfast / Where to Eat
At six a.m., we took our breakfast on what they used to call as rolling stores.
Good thing about these rolling stores is that they are just beside Museo De Baler and near to other tourist spots at Baler.
So we had the chance to take a sneak peak on some of these places like Museo De Baler, Quezon Park, Dona Aragon House, Baler Church and Baler Municipal Hall.

The Tour Around Baler
Ms. Thess Cunanan is also offering a travel  tour around Baler. Since we were four in the group, we took their Picanto Car as our vehicle.
They also have vans and tricycles.

As per them, tricycle fee costs Php. 800.00 for the whole day.
Van is Php. 2, 500.00
And their car is Php. 1,500.00

Being budget wise, I much preferred the tricycle one but then my companions want the car.
I agree to them with this subdivision of fee:
I will pay 300
Rhozie will also pay 300
Myra will pay 400
And Kaye will pay 500.
So, okay. Deal!
Hahah!


Our Service . The Driver cum Tour Guide
He’s kuya that we haven’t got the chance to know his name.
He became our driver, our tourist guide and our photographer. All in one, huh.
Anyway, he’s a nephew of Ms. Thess.
He thought that we were only college students. Thanks for the compliment, Kuya (Big Brother)!
As per our conversation, he’s a Marketing graduate (like me. Ehem.) He tried to apply in Manila but then he finally decided to stay at Baler.
While touring, he told us some facts about Baler. Kuya Kim?

ASCOT
ASCOT stands for Aurora State College of Technology. I think, this is their UP here at Aurora Province.
And this is our first stop.
We were quiet amaze by this school since it is located just at the foot of a mountain and when you look further, you will see that there’s a building located on a higher heel.



Ermita Hill
There is no registration fee on going here. Just registration of your name only.
As we reached the top, there we saw the very beautiful scenic view of Baler Bay. And we just love it so much!
Visitors can also take a picnic here since there are picnic huts around the area.

The Big White Cross
Yes, we climbed it. It’s tiring but yet fulfilling. You will reach the big white cross then when you finish climbing that very loonnnngggg stairs.
I suggest that maintenance of cleanliness is a must here. There are too many dried leaves, twigs and other trashes as we go up.


The Tromba Marina
Just below Ermita Hill is the statue of seven people who according to our historian slash tour guide, there are the people who surpassed or survived that big tidal wave that hit Baler way back December 1735. And these seven people with each different surname served as the ancestors of the modern people here in Baler. Their surnames are quiet popular or common here. Just like Angara. Sounds familiar right?





Baler Fish Port
Kuya didn’t elaborate this place.
All he said that this place has a nice view and very good for picture taking which I think he’s really right!

Mt. Carmel Shrine
Just across the street of Baler Fish Port is this Mt. Carmel Shrine. I guess, she is the patron saint here.



Diguisit Falls
They (means not including me) trek that not so high mountain side to reach that not so big falls.
I didn’t trek because I’m an accident prone queen when it comes to going down a steep hill especially when it’s muddy. Learn from my past experiences though. Hahaha! (See my Puerto Galera and Baguio Travel posts.)


Diguisit Islets/ Baler Rock Formations
And this place I fell in loved the most.  We were lucky enough because it was still on low tide when we got here so we had the chance to step down on the islets that according again to Kuya, this place were filled with seawater up to our waist or even higher when it’s high tide.
Hello there starfishes and little fishes that swim on the shallow water!




Lunch at the Ihaw-ihaw resto
It was already lunch time and we were starving so we went back to Poblacion (means Bayan or the Urban side) to have our lunch.
We ate on a Ihaw-ihaw resto.

Roasted Squid and Roasted Pork is love!


Balete Tree at Maria Aurora
After our mouthwatering lunch, we went outside Baler, Aurora.

Our destination is the Balete Tree located at Maria Aurora, Aurora which is 10 kilometers from Baler.
This Balete Tree became famous because as per them, this a Centennial old tree plus its extraordinary size and its hollow place inside it where in we can actually enter.

Wait. There’s an entrance fee here which is Php. 10 pesos per person. This is for the maintenance (daw) of the place. I heard that this place grew up on a private own land. Maybe that’s why there has a fee here.
Personnel here are quiet entertaining to all the tourists. Aside from assisting us inside the Balete Tree, they even have their “camera trick shots” being offered for free. Future photographer wannabes. Which later we found out that it was just Panorama. Haha. They are also funny and kind. So I think, entrance fee is worth the pay.


Back to Poblacion

Baler Church
This time, we had the chance to enter the church. We offered a prayer and toured around inside.

Museo De Baler
We also entered this place and upon entry, they were asking for donations only for the maintenance of the place.
This museum has a bird’s eye view 3d map of Baler Aurora, some artifacts, paintings and of course some illustrations of the history of Baler.


Dona Aragon House
Just across the Museo De Baler is the House of Dona Aragon. And it’s now also a museum.
Dona Aragon was the wife of former President Manuel Quezon.
Their home is pretty nice with some artifacts and old furniture inside it.
It feels like you are living on their era. Like time travelling. Hehe.
Donation is also for accepting here.


Souvenir Shop/ Pasalubong Buying
Of course, this shouldn’t be out of the list.

Alam na! (You already know it!) We’re Filipino, right?

Baler’s Hanging Bridge
The hanging bridge is located at Barangay Zabali, Baler Aurora.
Actually, this is not considered as a tourist spot but a general usage of locals here. 
Even though it is, we took a time to go here and we weren’t disappointed.  The scenic view  is awesome, as in totally wonderful!
With the river below and mountain on the other side, adventure it is! As the bridge sways when the strong wind blows and when other people is passing, if it’s your first time (like us) crossing it, it feels like your gonna fall anytime.
Kaye was a bit scared. Hehe.
And so am I. But then as I watched the kids playing around, running up to the middle of the bridge then jump off to the river, I envy them that I also wanted to try it! Haha.


Sabang Beach
Just very good timing, the sun is already settling down. And it’s time for a good swim though!
We had a great time playing with those huge waves. And the experience is priceless.


Back to Lodge
At past six p.m. we were back to our lodge.
After cleaning ourselves and fixing our things, we all took a short nap. It is very explainable since it has been a very tiring yet enjoyable long day for us.


Dinner
At nine p.m., I woke them up for our dinner. We ate again at one of the restaurants there.

Then back to lodge for a good night sleep.


Day 2
Good morning world!
Rhozie woke us up at 7 a.m. because we’re gonna hear a mass in Baler Church at 8 a.m.


Baler Church Mass vs Victory Fort
We reached Baler Church just in time. The mass is about to begin.
I can’t stop myself from comparing the mass or rather the homily to the Christian Fellowship I am attending at Every Nation Victory Fort.
As the priest is speaking, there were also pictures flashing on th LCD screens and the homily of the priest I think it is already written and he was just reading it.

Anyway, it’s a bit nice because people will not get bored listening to Father.


Breakfast
We had our breakfast on the same restaurant that we had our dinner last night.

Pasalubong Buying Part 2
I just can’t stop our self from buying again. Hohoho!


Leaving Baler
At 11 a.m., we were already at the Bus  Terminal ready to go home.


Conclusion
Baler is a peaceful and wonderful place so take time to visit this. Aside from that, if you are a budget conscious traveler like me, Baler would be just fine.




I will post later on the budget and itinerary that we had.









Thursday, May 1, 2014

Manila Zoo



Manila, Philippines

Date Visited: Oct. 30, 2013

It is supposed to be a wedding day of our dear friend. But since the party or reception ended early which is in Tramway Buffet, along Roxas Boulevard, my two young at heart friends decided to have a tour at the Manila Zoo.
I’ve been here for several times since I was a child.
At first, I was hesitant to go with them, since I’ve been there already for many times. But my two friends insisted that we should go because they haven’t been there yet.
My Gahd! Where are your childhood days, my dear friends?!!!
Hehe.

Some Facts and Infos about Manila Zoo:

It opened since 1959.
It has more than 800 animals.
The most popular animal there is Mali which was donated by Sri Lanka.
The zoo has been also a home to those animals which were rescued due to illegal catching and domestic petting.



The Trip:

The current entrance fee is Php. 40.00.
If you’re a resident of Manila, it has a discount and if you’re a senior citizen, it’s for free.

The very first creature that we saw and always see is the elephant named Mali. As I remember and seen on my old photos, there were two elephants there but I guessed the other one died already. *sad face*

Oh, well.
The next place we went is the aquariums for reptiles such as snakes and BIG Lizards. Hehe.
Followed by the turtles then alligators.

Then the zebras,  the sheeps, the deers, the tigers, the different kind of primates (our relatives. Harhar!), some fishes and the birds.

Sad thing, the giraffes were not there. *Sad face again* I was wondering where did they go?

The different kind of birds was everywhere pooping in the air. You’re lucky if you were able to catch its poops. Hahahah!


The hippopotamus which I never saw its face because it’s always at the pond drowning itself was still there.
We passed through a river with boats then we decided to experience it. Hehe!

My two friends were such a good boat driver, huh?!
They called me Madame while we were in there. Hehe.

I tried to paddle but for me it was hard so I gave them the throne of being the best boat drivers in town! Hahaha!

We also took a picture with an albino snake.
Good thing, we weren’t looked scared on our pictures. Hehe.

Every time I stare at an ostrich, I always get scared. Maybe because it looks so scary, that’s why. It feels like anytime, they will chase and bite you.

It was indeed a fun day for all of us!

We were tired but we were happy.

It was so much fun being a child again, discovering and entering the life and habitat of different animals.