Playtime Starts at the SandBox Alviera and a Mini-Raffle!

Let's play at the Sandbox at Alviera Porac Pampanga
Let’s play at the Sandbox at Alviera Porac Pampanga

Summer is definitely here! Time to put on some cool comfortable clothes, splash in some sunblock and let’s get active at the outdoors. A new attraction has popped up in Porac, Pampanga. The SandBox Alviera, within the 1.125 hectare property of Alviera, is a giant playground for both the young and the young at heart. It got some unique rides and activities geared for group of friends, families or even corporations. We recently get to try these rides just before its public opening this April 12, 2014. And I got a treat for you guys. Read on!

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Pampanga: Giant Lanterns Bedazzle Again at Ligligan Parul 2011

Last year's Chamption and crowd favorite Sta Lucia
Last year's Chamption and crowd favorite Sta Lucia

I try not to travel around during the holiday seasons as the vehicular and human traffic is horrendous at this time of the year. But I decided to make an exception on the 17th of December 2011 to witness this year’s Ligligan Parul 2011 or the Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, Pampanga. It’s a grand annual lights and music spectacle featuring the Filipino’s traditional Parol (Christmas Lantern) showcased in a gigantic scale. This year, 10 baranggays (villages) take turns to display their sophisticated light design display on their Giant Lanterns in-sync with their choice of music to give us audiences a feast to our senses.

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Of Flagellants, Carozzas and Good Friday in Angeles City

A flagellant on the floor
A flagellant on the floor

The Siete Palabras was our main reason for visiting Angeles City in Central Luzon on a Good Friday, but of course there is more to observe on the city’s lenten rites. We got there before noon and actually liked the festive mood the crowd seems to have and the number of stalls and vendors around the area. That is until a parade of flagellants came marching through with with their blood soaked backs yet incessantly self-whipping, seemed numb from the self-inflicted pain. It’s actually a first for me to witness such practice up close  and didn’t expect I would enter a melancholy world of self flagellation.

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The Siete Palabras of Angeles City

Siete Palabras Crucifixion
Siete Palabras Crucifixion at Angeles City

I could hear the hoofs of horses among the ambient noise from the gathering crowd as we approach the stage where the performance would start. A few people garbed in Roman Soldier Armors on horses and a few more in clothes in the time of Jesus were already at the venue. Under the scorching heat of the noon time sun, the spectators were already eager to get the program started. It’s the Siete Palabras at Barangay Lourdes North West (LNW), Angeles City Pampanga. A street theater re-enactment of the Seven Last Words by 70 volunteer performers in the barangay.

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Pampanga: Candaba Wetlands and the Vanishing Bird Sanctuary

Candaba Birds in Flight
Candaba Wetlands Birds in Flight

There’s what we call the Great Migration, in which living beings move from one place to another to survive and we humans are no exception to this chain. When our habitat condition is deemed unliveable we move to a new location. A perfect example of this of course is the migratory birds that fly endlessly around the world and live temporarily on environments favourable to them. The Philippines, particularly the Candaba Wetlands in Pampanga has been an annual host to these birds

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Lakbay Norte North Luzon Tour Chronicles Summary

Lakbay Norte Sand Prints

Sand Trails at Paoay San Dunes Ilocos Norte

It was 7 days, 1798 kilometers, 9 Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVBs), 8 provinces in 4 regions, 26 people on one bus on a trip around Northern Luzon. This is the Lakbay Norte Familiarization tour held January 24-31, 2010. I’ve always wanted to do a horseshoe loop of north Luzon and I was glad I was able to do it with the help of North Philippines Visitors Bureau. It was packed, tiring but also fun and exciting. For those who would like to try the similar route, this would be a great reference on what to expect.

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Lakbay Norte: El Kabayo, Paradise Ranch, and Lakeshore

The Lakeshore

Mt Arayat viewed from the Lakeshore

It is Sunday, the last day of our 7-day Lakbay Norte tour. It seems most of us have exhausted our wardrobes that we started wearing some of the shirt giveaways we got throughout the trip. I get to curl up more on Holiday Inn’s comfy beds longer as our call time isn’t that early. We still have a few activities for the day and as soon as we finished breakfast. The group was once again split into half to do some horseback riding and a jeepney tour.

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