It used to be that the towering wind turbines of Bangui in Ilocos Norte was the sole site where people can marvel at these slender sentinels watching over the sea. Now, in barangay Halayhayin in Pililia, Rizal, these megastructures were erected on the undulating hills sloping along the scenic Laguna Lake. With only a couple of hours away from Metro Manila, where the country’s leading demand for electricity is at its highest, not only would the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm be able to supply renewable energy in a close proximity, but people like me who marvels such machinery in a beautiful nature backdrop would be ecstatic not to travel more than 500 km just to see them.
The soothing comfort of Hale Manna in Moalboal may tempt us to just lounge around its garden in solitude but Tañon Strait, just over the cliffs, is calling to explore its depths. We’re on our fourth day into our Oceana Photosafari in Tañon Strait and it’s the day we get to become water creatures by being on the ocean the whole day visiting the denizens below. I was excited for this part of the trip that I made sure to bring my own snorkelling gear set. Some of our companion would be diving which I’m sure they’ll get the front seat in seeing the underwater spectacle. Some of us though would just content ourselves to explore near the surface and free dive once in a while.
About 2–3 hours away, north of Manila, is the province of Bataan. A place commonly known for the historic Death March, where Filipino and American soldiers stood their ground in World War II and was eventually led by the Japanese to a torturous 130km march to Capas, Tarlac. The Memorial Cross at the Shrine of Valor is a towering reminder of the war and to honor these soldiers. Osprey Packs Philippines, recently led an adventurous bunch of explorers from traditional media and travel bloggers to discover Bataan, the historic attractions and beyond. Each of us were equipped with our very own Osprey Packs for the tour. My Osprey Momentum 32, a 32 liter technical pack ideal for active traveler sporting a pocket-full design along with its two major compartments, a rain-cover tucked underneath the bag and an AirScape back panel making it easy and comfortable wearing the bag as we go out and about in Bataan. For me who was last here in 2011, it was a surprise to see the development happening in this province in the realm of tourism.
And I found myself running around, apparently lost in this 32-acre hilly terrain dotted with massive cedar trees located inside the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia. I was supposed to accompany my aunt at the grocery in town but I found a map of the cemetery when we visited the nearby Riddick’s Folly House Museum. From the old train station, the famed public cemetery listed in USA’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) was just beyond the fence. I’m such a sucker for maps and finding places like solving a mystery case. I asked my aunt to squeeze in a little time before our chore and she gladly obliged. Even for a moment, I was excited to explore the grounds by Nansemond River where Suffolk community began.
Death and dying is an inevitable subject in conversations when All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day approaches. Like an evening conversation over a warm fire one cold and rainy night in Maligcong, from the talks of somewhat paranormal encounters in the rice fields we ended up talking about Igorot culture and the commonality of their beliefs within tribes in Cordilleras. It was interesting to talk to a native i-Maligcong and hear from them their traditions in wakes and still observed but slightly modified in the modern times for practicality. My thoughts immediately shifted to their neighboring town of Sagada only an hour away. The town has seen tremendous visits year long for its unique burial tradition of Hanging Coffins. Much so during All Saints day for its fiery spectacle during the Festival of Lights. But these popular display is just a small part of their traditions.