Rizal | Masungi Georeserve: A Rock Garden Playground for Nature Lovers

The stunning limestone karst formations at the Masungi Georeserve
The stunning limestone karst formations at the Masungi Georeserve

5:25 AM. Our car was parked in front of the Masungi Georeserve gate waiting for them to open. The wind howled and sent chills down to our bones making us seek warmth inside the car. I have long been interested on visiting the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal but booking a tour was a challenge as slots are often filled. DIY or walk-ins are also not allowed as booking should be done in groups of 6–10. Fortunately, our friend Lea, whom I met in Batanes Asus event called for joiners to complete a group of her friends with her father. We chose the earliest schedule to somehow catch a good light on the trail.

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Bataan | Aroma Beach Hideaway: Your Semi-Private Cove for a Night or Two

Approaching Aroma Beach Hideaway
Approaching Aroma Beach Hideaway

Weekend escapes usually entails some planning – from where to go, how to get there, what food to bring and where to stay. The choice for weekend trips from Manila are usually at the popular beaches of Batangas, Zambales and Quezon. What if I tell you there’s a tranquil and secluded cove only 3–4 hours away from Manila that you just have to conveniently bring yourself and not think about the food or the place to stay? Aroma Beach Hideaway is tucked in between Morong and Bagac at underrated Bataan. Managed by Bataan Nature Adventure, they emphasize on just enjoying your time at their beautiful cove and let them handle the rest.

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Bambanti Festival 2017: Isabela to the World and Awardees

The municipality of Cauayan in their Dance Showdown performance
The municipality of Cauayan in their Dance Showdown performance

Isabela consist of 34 municipalities and 3 cities in a province. It is the second largest province in the country. The vast area consist of agricultural plains, forested areas of the Sierra Madres and coastal towns. As one of the top corn producers in the country, Isabela found the bambanti, an Ilocano term for scarecrow, as a significant icon, symbolizing Isabela farmer’s diligence and resoluteness to earn his keep, feed his family and produce for the community. Hence the Bambanti Festival was born in January 2013. It aims to unite the municipalities, showcase their creativity, unique products and increase tourism.

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Biliran | Sambawan Island: Scenic Hills and Rustic Beach

View from the hill at Sambawan Island
View from the hill at Sambawan Island

Purple hues enveloped the sky as I watch over the ocean greeting the sun good morning at Sambawan Island. I am mindful of the tide’s ebb and flow at the beach below, the grass swaying from the breeze, the cool air touching my skin and gently the warm light creeping in the hut where I’m seated. Such a calm morning up the highest point of the island where I have a full panoramic view of the surrounding area. The volcanic Maripipi island looms over like a big brother.

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Pangasinan | Zipline, ATV and more at Balungao Hilltop Adventure

Zipline with Mt Balungao at the background
Zipline with Mt Balungao at the background

I think there was a time in Philippine tourism when we had a “Zipline Craze”. After a few successful ziplines in Davao, Bukidnon and my favorite, Lake Sebu, suddenly, a lot of province I had visited to wants to add a zipline as their attraction. In my head I was screaming “Not another zipline!” as a tourism officer enthusiastically shares their plan on site. In Pangasinan, there’s Balungao Hilltop Adventure view that claims to have the longest zipline in the country at 1.4km long. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of the municipality of Balungao. If not for Lakbay Norte 5, this would remain out of my radar. And guess what? We get to try their zipline and more.

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Benguet | Buguias Bountiful Beauty

Lettuce and Potato fields in Buguias
Lettuce and Potato fields in Buguias

“I know what you are doing!” exclaimed an old man I crossed paths on the narrow paved road amidst a vegetable field in Buguias. “I’m taking pictures!” I replied with a smile. “No! You are looking for gold!” he answered with a grin on his face. He walked away slowly as I was a bit surprised by the conversation. What I do know is I have long been fascinated by Buguias that I finally had the chance to stop by this municipality where the marvelous Halsema Highway cuts through.

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Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden: More than a Breath of Fresh Air

In a sea of green at Canaan Hill Farms
In a sea of green at Canaan Hill Farms

Leviticus 20:24 in the Bible refers to a promise land called Canaan where milk and honey flows. In Biliran province, Eastern Visayas, a six-hectare uphill organic farm named Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden hopes to recreate this promise land on Earth. Found at the southeast side of Biliran Island, we paid a visit to this promising attraction that promotes wellness by going back to natural way of farming and simplicity of life.

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