iDiscover Quiapo: Heritage and Culture You May Have Not Seen

The Ocampo Pagoda Mansion
The Ocampo Pagoda Mansion

I remember spending a lot of time in the streets of Quiapo when I was still in college. There are familiar streets and landmarks but my wanderings remains to what is required from school. Deovir art supplies, Hidalgo camera shops and bookstores nearby. Venturing through the bustling streets of Quiapo can be challenging and intimidating. Not to mention its seedy reputation as home of pickpockets. But thread carefully and guided properly, a trip to Quiapo can be an enriching experience. Behind the many shops, dvd stalls and buzzing transpos are heritage gems, foodie finds and culture

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Hippie Ipoh: A Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur

Old Town Ipoh seal
Old Town Ipoh seal

We took a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur to visit the capital of neighboring Perak state, Ipoh. Known as the “town built by tin”, Ipoh rapidly grew in prominence as a booming tin mining industry in the 1880s. By 1895, Ipoh became the second largest town in the Federal Malay State. But as soon as the tin deposits started to deplete and tin prices declined, Ipoh’s economy went stagnant by 1970s. For a while it was a town momentarily forgotten. Recently, Ipoh began its resurgence. Livening up the British colonial architecture of the old town, highlighting the historical and natural wonders and the hard free flowing water which the town claims makes the food tastier.

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Malaysia Pewter Heritage at Royal Selangor

Giant cauldrons hanging to mine tin used for pewter
Giant cauldrons hanging to mine tin used for pewter

Why would I want to visit a pewter museum? And what’s a pewter again? Those who are not really familiar what a ‘pewter’ is may find this of no interest. But really, give it a chance, as a visit to a pewter museum factory gives an insightful journey to one of Malaysia’s industrial heritage. Pewters are malleable metal allow handcrafted into everyday objects we use, aware or not. Royal Selangor in Malaysia is one of the key companies spearheading quality pewtersmithing and distributing this finely crafted objects around the world. The museum highlights the science and the journey of pewtersmithing development.

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Batu Caves: A Psychedelic Makeover

The cave cavity on the main temple of Murugan
The cave cavity on the main temple of Murugan

The Batu Caves is one of the most popular attractions to visit when in Kuala Lumpur. It is only 11km away from the city center and easily accessible by commuter train from KL Sentral. It requires only half a day to get a good exploration of this popular Hindu temple out of India. And if you have been here before like I do, it would be interesting to see the recent psychedelic makeover done on this heritage site just a few months ago.

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Malolos Historic Town Center: A Walk Through Kamistesuhan District

The Barasoain Church
The Barasoain Church

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.

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Virginia | Cedar Hill Cemetery: Stroll Through 200 Years of Suffolk History

On the road up to Mt Samat
On the road up to Mt Samat

And I found myself running around, apparently lost in this 32-acre hilly terrain dotted with massive cedar trees located inside the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia. I was supposed to accompany my aunt at the grocery in town but I found a map of the cemetery when we visited the nearby Riddick’s Folly House Museum. From the old train station, the famed public cemetery listed in USA’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) was just beyond the fence. I’m such a sucker for maps and finding places like solving a mystery case. I asked my aunt to squeeze in a little time before our chore and she gladly obliged. Even for a moment, I was excited to explore the grounds by Nansemond River where Suffolk community began.

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Batanes | Savidug Idjang: Exploring the Ancient Dwellings of the Ivatans

Mael and his daughter going up the Savidug Idjang
Mael and his daughter going up the Savidug Idjang

I hopped in the #44 tricycle side-car owned by Mael, my driver who’s a native of Sabtang Island, born and raised in Savidug, a village at the central coast of the island. As with any tricycle in Sabtang, they have modified the look to add cogon roof making it look more native and offers shade on the ride. Mael’s young daughter of 8, who’s obviously clingy of her father joined us as we head to Savidug Idjang, just 1.2km south of the village. Idjangs are stone fortresses found in Batanes and the Savidug Idjang is considered the most impressive among the four found throughout Batanes. I’ve always admired the drum-like rock outcrop from afar, wondering what it is like to be on top of it and see first hand the ancient dwelling place of the Ivatans. This time I stayed overnight in Savidug village to climb it. Mael said he could take me there as his family has a patch of land near the idjang where he takes care of his goats and often go up the place as part of his daily morning chores.

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