There’s a pleasant scent lingering in the air when you pass by Anao in Tarlac. The line of ylang-ylang trees (cananga odorata) along the national highway are a giveaway. Their blossom emits a natural aroma that’s both delicate and calming. Lakbay Norte 7 begins the day at the small town of Anao, Tarlac considered as the ylang-ylang capital of the country. Anao started extracting oil from fresh ylang-ylang flowers since 1994. They are dreaming big this year and hope to export more Ylang-ylang essential oil around the globe.
It was a long first day for Lakbay Norte 7. From an early call time of 4AM, we rushed to Malolos in the morning for the heritage walk. In the afternoon we rolled to San Rafael for some river adventure. Evening finds us in Tarlac for a brief museum walk at the Aquino Center. Shortly we found ourselves at Kart City Tarlac. Even with my head heavy and eyelids starting to shut by itself while having dinner, who wouldn’t pass up the chance to go karting? I know I still have enough fuel to last a few more hours and channel a bit more adrenaline for the night.
Bulacan continues to unfold as we continue our Lakbay Norte 7 trip from Malolos Historic Town Center. Riding up about one and a half hour north, we reached the banks of the snaking Angat River also knows as the Bulacan River for the San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA). This lush resort by the river resort has a tranquil laid back atmosphere with facilities. The breeze was cool and comforting, the surrounding still and quiet. Yet those who want some adrenaline rush can choose a slew of activities the resort offers.
I’m one of those travelers who’s not easily affected by motion sickness. I don’t get sea-sick nor road sick as easily. But still, I have my limits. There was a time my friends and I had to travel from Batan Island to Itbayat over turbulent waves. Swells reaching up at least a story high that even local Ivatans get wary. Just to make sure, I popped in a Bonamine chewable an hour before our boat ride just to keep my dizziness in check throughout the journey. I don’t do it often but it gave me peace-of-mind (and tummy) as I travel across seas this time.
They say seven is a lucky number. If it is, I consider myself lucky to be part of the 7th edition of Lakbay Norte. The annual familiarization tour of the north Luzon is made possible by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) under Convention and Visitors Bureau. If you have been following Ironwulf for quite sometime, I had participated in several Lakbay Norte tours including the first one which set the foundation of the succeeding tours. Lakbay Norte 7 continues the tradition of a fun whirlwind sightseeing, gustatory and adventure filled trip of the north. We didn’t have to go far from Manila to jump-start the tour. Our first stop in Bulacan has us stretching our legs to walk through the Malolos Historic Town Center and marvel at the ancestral homes, age-old churches and its history.
Iceland: the name alone conjures a landscape far removed from the tropics. It sounds paradoxical but a destination named Iceland has become one of the hottest destinations on the planet. Sparsely populated, hauntingly beautiful if not otherworldly, Iceland has captured the imagination of travelers from across the globe, including Filipinos who have been increasingly curious as to why local places such as Batanes have invited comparisons with the landscapes of faraway places such as Iceland and Ireland. It’s not exactly cheap or easy to go to, but there is flight information about Iceland available. Keflavik International Airport which is 30 minutes away from Reykjavik, the country’s capital, is the landing site for all international flights. From here, tourists can take a domestic connection to any of the incredible sights and sites that await including these 10 stunning stopovers you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Iceland.
I’m a long time fan of the TV game show Wipeout. It’s one of those shows that simply makes you laugh when contestants get wiped out off the obstacle course. The harsher the better. I’ve always imagined what’s its like to run that course. When I’ve heard of the Inflatable Island in Subic, I thought this would be a cool playground. It’s not Wipeout levels but there are obstacle course that would be a fun challenge for key attractions on the largest floating playground in Asia.