Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon: Opening the Biniray Festival in Romblon

The Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon
The Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon

The idyll coastal poblacion in Romblon Island, Romblon becomes festive beginning the 2nd Friday of January as revelers flock at the 400-year old St Joseph Cathedral. Devotees gather in front of the church to observe the spiritual practice of the Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon. The Tonton, a Romblomanon word meaning to lower the image of the Sto Niño down the pedestal. This practice usher’s the official opening of Biniray Festival which last for a week.

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Gunung Mulu National Park: Deer Cave, 2nd Largest Cave Chamber in the World

Entering the massive Deer Cave
Entering the massive Deer Cave

Just adjacent to Lang Cave is Deer Cave. Used to be the largest cave passage in the world before Hang Dong Soon in Vietnam was discovered in 2009. Though facts are still being disputed at this time, Deer Cave is still ostentatious due to its massive size. Deer Cave extends 2 kilometers in length. The southern passage rises 125 meters high passage and has a width of 169 meters. The partially lit entrance chamber is 146 meters high. Capacious enough for 40 Boeing 747 aircraft to fit in. Just the thought of it is mind-blowing enough.

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Gunung Mulu National Park: Lang Cave and its Jellyfish Cave Formations

Lang Cave jellyfish formations
Lang Cave jellyfish formations

Suddenly there was a startling sound from above the trees. It’s like trees breaking apart or boulders cracking. Then our guide, Jangin yelled “Run!!!”. From the mouth of Lang Cave, we tracked back a few meters towards the plank walk junction where the other path leads to Deer Cave. “What the hell is that?!” I asked Jangin as I was catching my breath. “Maybe wild monkeys!” he said looking up. For a moment there I thought I was in an adventure game or movie, running on plank walks while being chased by rolling boulders. I’m not sure if our young guide was jesting us. But what a start in our exploration of Gunung Mulu National Park.

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Penang Hill: Sunrise and Nature Walk

Penang HIll sunrise view at the Sky Deck

I wanted to end my last day in Penang with something breathtaking and worthwhile. I didn’t get my desired sunset at Kek Lok Si temple so I made sure to wake up early for the sunrise this time at Penang Hill. Hoping the odds for good light would be better. Also known as Bukit Bendera, the distinguishing peaks seen from the city of George Town is easily accessible. With only around 6km from the city center to its jump-off at Air Itam, it’s one of the favorite cool escapes for the locals and tourists alike.

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Kek Lok Si Temple: Impressive Temple of Supreme Bliss

The Ban Pho Thar pagod at Kek Lok Si Temple

I was looking for a place to take night photos in Penang when an image of a beautifully lit Kek Lok Si Temple popped up on my searches. The fantasy-land like lights of the temple would offer plenty of photo opportunities especially after sunset. Reading more, I learned that there’s a lot of superlatives going for this temple. Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. It has the tallest Buddhist pagoda, tallest granite pillars and the tallest statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. My interest deepened that I made sure to hop a bus at KOMTAR to Air Itam one afternoon in Penang.

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3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival: A Gathering of Regional Talents and Array of Styles

Saxx in the city performs
Saxx in the city performs

The 3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival held last September 27-28, 2019 finally concluded. It was not without challenges as the haze coming from Indonesia forced the organisers to move the event to an indoor venue. It may have lost its “waterfront” feel but the coming together of jazz artist from different parts of the world and sharing their expression of this eclectic genre of music remains. The heart of jazz still brims loudly at the humble MBKS Community Hall. Ironwulf.net was fortunate enough to witness this revelry and what could be a milestone for the annual event as the Philippines participate in this annual musical gathering in this lively city in Borneo.

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Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival celebrates its 3rd year

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019
Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019

I grew up with jazz music as one of my soundtracks of my youth. I can clearly remember beach trips with family with smooth jazz setting the mood in the air while lounging by the sand and sharing stories with siblings and parents. Kenny G, Swing Out Sisters, Style Council where blaring through cassette tape players then. Then came modern jazz artist that accompanied travels like Norah Jones, Michael Bubble and some Everything But the Girl. I may not listen to them as often lately but memories associated with them are always pleasant and strong. Music somehow makes our lives more sweeter. Memories of road trips more vivid with songs. And with much excitement I’ll be visiting Kuching, Malaysia next week for the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. Now on its third year this 2019, this festival brings together a round of talented jazz art from Asia and beyond on a 2 day musical festival this 27-28th of September, 2019. It would be a good opportunity to get familiar with other talents from our neighbouring countries.

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