Lakbay Norte VI Part 1: On to the North Through Nueva Ecija

Minalungao River
Minalungao River

The Lumineers blared through my earphones as our bus cruised along the North Luzon Express Way. After a fun breakfast at Jollibee, we were now bound for our next stop.

“O, Ophelia, you’ve been on my mind, girl, since the flood,” crooned Wesley Schultz as we sped by fields of grass.

I was lacking sleep and Nueva Ecija, whose treasures we’ll be exploring for two days, inched on the corners of my listless mind much like Ophelia does to the folk singer’s. This year’s installment of Lakbay Norte will take us across two provinces. And the underrated province of Nueva Ecija will be our gateway – the municipality of General Tinio, to be exact.

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Antique: Bugang River, A Clean River Runs Through Pandan

Bamboo Rafting Bugang River in Pandan, Antique
Bamboo Rafting Bugang River in Pandan, Antique

“Duck!” I heard our boatman up front yell, as our raft headed under a cluster of low-lying bamboo stalks leaning close to the waters of Bugang River. Another boatman was in chest-deep water behind the raft, tugging the rope at the back and fighting the current to somehow steer our fragile bamboo raft to a safer direction. Could this raft hold? I heard they just assemble it when they need it. We cleared the bamboo trees unscathed and found ourselves in tamer waters opening to a surreal landscape of age-old trees standing tall amidst the turquoise waters, strong and defiant of the currents.

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Bolinao: Punta Riviera Resort

Wooden bridge to the beach in Bolinao

Wooden bridge to the beach in Bolinao

It was more than 5 years ago when I first stepped foot at the beach of Patar in Bolinao, Pangasinan. It was the early days when I was starting out on the outdoors. Not too many people knew about this place before and there were only few established resorts at that time. We only stayed in our tents then but were awed by this beautiful stretch of beach which we had for ourselves. Fast forward to present, I never thought that I get to visit this place again. When, two of my sisters secretly plotted to go home without the rest of the kin knowing, they asked me to find a nice vacation place where the whole family could spend a nice weekend. We are not a very rich family so an exotic locale resort is out of the question so I tried to find a nice place only a moderate driving distance from Manila that’s not too popular but scenic and relaxing enough. Something new and something different, and alas, we found ourselves at Punta Riviera Resort.

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Bohol: Loboc! Loboc!

Loboc Church facade

Loboc Church facade

One of the more popular destination in Bohol is the municipality of Loboc. More famous for its musically talented and award winning Loboc Children’s Choir, the place also holds the 2nd oldest church in Bohol, a scenic cruise along its river and another world famous primate, the Tarsiers. Here recounts our brief exploration of Loboc, the oldest town in Bohol.

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Nabaoy river experience

The crystal clear river of Barangay Nabaoy, Malay, Aklan

The crystal clear river of Barangay Nabaoy, Malay, Aklan

Unbeknownst to many, Boracay is part of the municipality of Malay, which is a region of Aklan. Most of the time, tourist who came from the Caticlan airport or the Ro-ro ferries are immidiately whisked away to the famed Boracay Island. Little do they know that the province of Malay has more to offer than its white sands.

Food and Music

Sumptous food from Chicken Inasal and Music courtesy of the local Tambuli group.

Just 30 minutes drive from the airport going to Barangay Nabaoy, and a very very short hike, you’ll reach the crystal clear waters of Nabaoy, the water source of Boracay. Food prepared by The Chicken Inasal Resto of Boracay (located at D’mall) was already waiting and the amazing instrumental performance of a local Tambuli group greeted us. Mayor Cawiling and the organizers really did an amazing job setting up the place. Continue reading…


Of Cancelled Flights, Gay Writers and a supermodel Photographer

Pinacanauan River

Pinacanauan River

Whoah! Been kinda late to update recently. I’ve been quite busy especially with the coming holidays and money just simply slips by so fast and I haven’t even completed buying gifts yet. Anyhow just some brief accounts of my 5 day long trip to Tuguegarao. Continue reading…


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