Events/ Holidays/ Special Occasions | My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Restaurant Review | Travel and Adventure

My Birthplace, My Hometown Piat Cagayan

By on December 3, 2018

It’s been a long time since I went back to my hometown, I haven’t visited my birthplace for almost 5 years. My hometown is just a small but peaceful town where my ancestors were born. I never forget the place where I came from, the place where I grew up and it will always remain as my 2nd home. Piat is a 4th class municipality in the province of Cagayan and I can firmly describe my own hometown as the ”land of the religious and hospitable people. Basílica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Piat is one of the 12 Basilicas in the Philippines, a catholic pilgrimage site considered as holy and spiritual land of devotion because of great number of devotees visiting Piat.

Once again, I’m back to my roots, Piat Cagayan. What a warm welcome surrounded by relatives recalling sweet moments of my childhood and the non-stop get together invitations to join my cousins for lunch and dinner. Feeling grateful, Thank you cousins for the sumptuous lunch and wonderful dinner, that was a very delightful bonding. The people of Piat and that includes me, they have this kind of special breed, the desirable two, they are notable for their exceptional generosity and hospitality.

Getting new updates after sometime. Piat Cagayan is now in full bloom, I was pleasantly surprised to see new developments; Welcome landmarks, Piat hill, Black Water lagoon, Road widening and Sidewalks improvement, Aquib Dugayong bridge, Basilica diversion bridge and many more… Fascinated and has turned my attention towards here resulting into a good blog feature, good enough to be published in details.

I am really Blessed here in Piat

Basílica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Piat

A Glance Back to the Hey-day of Piat
In those days early 70’s, since its first settlement, Piat has prided itself on just remaining as a simple town by the hills and mountains. Houses has few stores, few retail signs, no street names, no electricity, no parks and other recreational facilities, poor transportation and rivers and lakes have been used as a source of water temporarily. Years after, pumping water station essentially set up but to make matters worse, the pump has stopped losing suction standing idle for months causing the delay of water supply. It makes life miserable for the great bulk of people. Life was hard, I was only 14 years old that time and in the midst of loneliness, bad thought occurred to me that future in Piat is uncertain however, my wishful thinking in the mood of optimism giving myself a better impression holding on to hope that someone would come up with something that would improve quality of life as we all know, a successful town is providing people what they need and we all have needs in common. After a year revealed a continuing improvement, so big hope is coming over.. One beautiful attraction to adore around, an old housing types during the Spanish era. The only yearly event is the Feast of our Lady of Piat which is now the ‘’Sambali Festival’’ I can still remember the crowded sidewalks with tiangges (bazaars) side by side as they sell everything you would reasonably need , shopping is good once a year is the only consolation. Kiddie-sized carnival, temporary movie tent, live magic shows, clown performances and temporary amusement parks. Another beautiful event is the ‘’Garden day’’ (as far as I can still remember those good old days…) native products and artworks beautifully displayed, native baskets and bountiful harvest. Thousands of people flock to Basilica church for a miracle prayer. At least today, gave more insight into a much better life. Piat now is completely opposite from before, oldies aren’t the lucky ones, the new generation are luckier than us…

If you haven’t been to Piat recently, you’re in for a surprise! Piat now is a blossoming mélange of beauty.Today, Piat seems to have outgrown from a simple town to a stunning one! You can see the changing scene. Piat is now a fast growing town and there is always new to discover. One recreational highlight in Piat is the beautiful Black Water Lagoon, you’ll enjoy a leisurely walk around, boating, biking, fishing and Zip Line biking. You’ll be reinvigorated by the freshness of the atmosphere around. The Zip line is a must try for every visitor to experience the thrill and excitement.The Black Water Lagoon name probably derived from the old ground, it was once an idle land filled with black stagnant water, (muddy and dirty) ground used as rubbish receptacle.

The Black Water Lagoon is a part of People’s Integrated Agri Tourism Center.(Piat Center) An easy to follow, An easily visible landmark frequented by locals for picture taking it’s just 1o mins walk from Basilica Minore Nuestra Senora De Piat.

Part of the fun going to Piat Center is the way to get there. The wideroad is somewhat clean and spacious, you can enjoy driving without encountering a single stop and there’s a large parking area nearby.

Cheers to Piat! (me with my sis Elvie) Jumping with joy

The Black Water Lagoon invites leisurely exploration.

If you are a trill seeker, brave the Bike Zipline. Here’s EJ riding a bike zipline over the Black Water Lagoon.

The Black Water Lagoon is now a favorite park for both residents and visitors and a favorite Sunday venue of the pilgrims who would picnic around and relax in a peaceful setting.

On a beautiful day, benches lined with people relaxing. By the afternoon, elders gather for bonding and good conversation while youngsters romp in the playground.

The beautiful Black Water Lagoon on a clear day, it’s a gathering and strolling park of all ages. Around the lagoon area, some residential area, the Dragon Fruit Farm from the left.

Hike around the lagoon to see the cool and green Dragon Fruit Farm.

The Black Water Lagoon at night.

If the Black Water Lagoon is beautiful daytime, it is more spectacular at night, it is a lively center for night stroll.The view of the whole center looks like a magical town, the artificial outdoor led cherry blossom lights illuminates the whole area, it was a magnificent night glow.

Note: More photos of Black Water Lagoon next posts, don’t miss it!

The Piat hill is an Itawis landmark, an easily visible landmark uphill, it is one of the most photogenic attractions in Piat. To explore the main trail, climb up high the Piat hill.

Other Attractions to Visit

Beside the Basilica is Mary’s Garden, a gated entrance with a life-sized image display of the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. It is a place of prayer and meditation.

Rizal-Piat Cooperation Bridge, Basilica diversion road from Piat to Baung

Aquib-Dugayong Bridge. All 2 bridges to cut travel time for the pilgrims.

The Chico River

Super Jumbo Special Pancit Cabagan. Carmela’s Panciteria serves a Super special Pancit Cabagan for only 50.00, Super Jumbo Special for only 70.00 php and Overload for 100.00 php. It’s Super Jumbo delicious!

Piat is a hill town but the mountainside provide exceptional views of the surroundings.

Piat to me, the town where I was born has given me proud identity as one of its citizens. For thousands who come to Piat, Our Lady of Piat is the big reason to go. You can reach Piat by land, 3o to 4o mins from Tuguegarao which is 32.6 Km and from Tuguegarao airport to Piat is 42 Km. Visit our peaceful town.The feast day of Our Lady of Piat is celebrated on July 2 at the Basilica Minore in Piat. Come and be with Our Lady of Piat. Most people consider Piat to be of paramount importance as well more information about this place. The people of Piat celebrates the Sambali festival from June 23rd to July 2nd, a week long festival that reflects the culture, tradition and history of Piat. This blog is a complete guide planning your next destination or if you plan to travel to Piat in the near future.

For more information
Department of Tourism
Regional Office No.02
29-A Rizal street, Tuguegarao city, Cagayan

I would like to thank our beloved Mayor of Piat Atty. Carmelo Villacete, Councillors, Engineers, volunteers for your consistent efforts, hard work and the beginnings of a Modern Piat. Loudly applauded! Mabbalat kan ikayu ngammin cha Piat. Thank you so much!

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Gardening/Greenery/Garden Insects | My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

Feather White Pampass Grass Farm / Piat Cagayan

By on November 19, 2018

We passed by Feather White Pampass Grass Farm on our way back to Piat from Tuguegarao. I was amazed to see the feathery grasses, I can’t pass without taking a few shots, it’s just so great not to miss these gorgeous shots for a simple souvenir.

From the attractive edge on a bright sunny day, what a dramatic backdrop by the view of the orange-purple glow of the sun above, I’m enjoying hiking trails into the areas set amidst a roadside under laid with beds of ornamental grasses.
Gorgeous photos taken on a bright sunny day, it’s particularly unique and full of life. I don’t see the same kind of ornamental grasses everyday.

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My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

The Scenic Piat Hill

By on November 9, 2018

Piat sign is now a prominent Itawes landmark that offers a scenic view of the town. The awe-inspiring scenery above the hill attracts many visitors, the view on top is spectacular!

For a dramatic setting, go during twilight hours, the skyline is quiet colorful and vibrant overlooking the Basilica Minore Nuestra Senora De Piat belfry, Chico river and the towering mountains down to the beautiful Black water Lagoon.

The arrival of new development in Piat, you’ll be energized by its variety of offerings and new attractions. Piat Cagayan is the land of the religious and hospitable people.

Thank you mayor for your consistent efforts and hard work. Municipal Mayor of Piat Atty. Carmelo Villacete

Stairs and trails leading to the hilltop

Aerial view from the top of Piat hill

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My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

Kabigan Falls Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

By on September 6, 2018

The hiking trail goes up Kabigan falls would take 45 mins, a tour guide will lead you all the way from the entrance to the waterfall and back. Taking the easier route, we passed by a long stretch of large  plantations and vegetation. The hiking path crosses a river, 2 streams and small hanging bridges along the stony land and climbing above mountains of evergreen forest, a rugged stairs will lead you up to the waterfall.

Kabigan Falls (Barangay Balaoi Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte) a cascade of water flowing down a steep rocky slope and situated inside an evergreen forest on top of the mountain. The refreshing pool at the bottom of the falls is quiet perfect for swimming, you’ll enjoy not only swimming but climbing Kabigan mountains with river flows in to the embrace of the plains.

Crossing out rivers and streams with big stones, a mountain surrounded by tropical trees, small waterfalls right in the middle of the jungle but Kabigan falls offers a spectacular view over the entire mountains and farmlands.

Thanks to our tour guide for the first 30 mins.  Manang ( friendly tourist guide) who accompanied us all the way to the first station and from there, another one will take over.

Despite the rugged trail on this route goes through… 11:00 am is an unfavorable time to hike. I’m carrying 2 bottles of water and cookies, the extreme heat of the sun as the hot temperature hovering underneath, this is the reason why not to forget to bring all your travel essentials like sunblock, umbrellas, hat, friendly shoes and sunglasses, you’ll really need it as the sun causes problems.

An eagle appeared out of nowhere diving and gliding around in circular flight. What a scenic view but I’ve missed to shoot.

Breathtaking! This would be an ideal place where people could get together in harmony with nature.

 

A few minutes stop to give time for the animals, seems I’m welcomed. So nice to bond with the cows and other cattle around.

The rugged trek is just a part of mountaineering.

Deep into the forest is quiet dark and bit cold but I feel excited and comfortable over rugged terrain, it is an exciting experience with mother nature.

Exhausting!. Considered as strenuous trek.

Trekking up and down the mountain, A climb upwards is difficult.

We finally reached our destination Kabigan Falls.

It’s a beautiful mother nature. Inside the forest you can hear not only the birds but also the hissing, whistling noise of the bugs, crickets and cicadas in chorus, just like an ultrasonic sound with a full volume.

It’s really worth the effort to visit. It was a rewarding hike!

Photos taken along the way. What a beautiful experience to see the beauty of nature. Hope to be back again soon…

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My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

Ilocos Tour Guide 2018

By on July 16, 2018

Going to the northern part of the country is basically a long drive that takes 7-8 hours to get there. There’s much more to explore and lot more notable features to catch your attention aside from the scenic routes in between stops. To those who are willing to explore the fun and exciting adventure, nothing can give you more pleasure and surprises than a great tour to Ilocos. Gaining more popularity, it offers everything one would expect of a beautiful destination.

For those seeking to just refresh for a few days to cool down from the noise of the city or for those adventure seekers looking for all points of interests with a full swing of thrilling escapades to experience sandboarding and the amazing 4×4 ride then, Ilocos is the best place to go! They are bound to thrill adventurers. Another important feature, there are other tourists spots where people visit to take picturesque photos of Vigan, Laoag, and Pagudpud.

This would be your reliable guide if you are interested to join a group tour, this blog will help you plan for your next destination. I joined this tour, Ilocos Tour package for only 3,300 PHP (except meals, sport/personal activity fees) 3 days and 2 nights where trips leave at 10:00 pm, it’s a group tour with other 8 participants. I’ve been to Ilocos many times but it’s over 3 years since my last visit, I didn’t have that many expectations until this scheduled group tour with complete itineraries. Ilocos today, they have completed so much more of it.

Ilocos Tour Package Itinerary

Day 00

We all meet at Centris station parking lot at around 9 pm, that’s the scheduled assembly place and pick-up time. We were a group of nine and my group was the last to arrive so we occupied the back seat. Traveled by van, we left Manila at around 9:30 pm. It was a worry-free tour, we just sit back and relax listening to music, it was a very peaceful moment inside the van. Everyone else was sleeping, others were snoring, I can hear different tunes but it’s still music to my ears,  it’s ok as they are now my family. When you are on a tour away from home, people and friends become your family members, a home!

We had several stops at least 5 x  for necessity and hot coffee. I can just recall the last stop-over we had at Marsha’s Delicacies, I bought a box of Sweet Royal Bibingka. I can’t wait but to take a few morning bites, it’s so sweet and delicious!  Our driver was rushing to catch up Calle Crisologo before the sun shines, the best time to take photos there when it’s still dark. We arrived in Vigan at exactly 4:30 in the morning.

Join me as I travel around Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, my adventure starts here

Day 1

The first stop on our tour is the Casual landmark of Vigan where visitors can roam around the fountain area to take a few photos around Plaza Salcedo. A few walks away from here is Calle Crisologo, a street filled with Spanish inspired structures, they have maintained and fully restored the historical point of interest. Around Vigan, you can see here the earliest example of Spanish Architecture, the impressive remains carefully preserved antique culture up to the present. After Calle Crisologo we head to St Augustine church widely known as Paoay church and commonly known as ‘’earthquake Baroque’’ a roman catholic church in the Philippines. Beside the Paoay church is a bell tower dating from 1793, you can go upstairs to see the aerial view of the whole ground but first, look for the caretaker to assist you. Just beside St Augustine church and behind the Belltower is a beautiful San Augustine garden. I’m enjoying the views of the surrounding appreciating everything.

It’s almost 6:00 am, I need hot coffee! All restaurants and outlets are still closed at this time, no other options but a nearby nipa hut carinderia ‘’Park and Shop Resto’’ that serves Ilocano foods, we had our first meal of the day here. We ordered a few varieties of our chosen favorites; Pancit Canton, Vigan Longganisa with egg and fried rice, Beef tapa among others.. We did enjoy our first breakfast, it’s simple but tasty.

Following breakfast as it was already planned earlier, proceed directly to Culili Point- the extreme 4×4 ride and Sandboarding at Culili Point Sand Dunes, two of the most popular activities here in Ilocos.  After the desert adventure, we stopped for a quick lunch along the way at Ilocano restaurant and again, it was simple and delicious. After lunch, we head to Malacanang of the North named after the presidential palace in Manila and the last place visited is the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

We arrived at the hotel before five in the afternoon. We were all exhausted after a long day, ending the day with a relaxing warm bath. We spent our first night at 3’s Place Resort. The first day was full of energy and excitement, lots of surprises throughout the day, the first day was truly remarkable.

Day 2

After our breakfast, we head to the spectacular Kapurpurawan Rock Formation followed by Pagudpud Windmills. Chasing more excitement to the forest above mountains of Kabigan Falls. Around 4.6 km and 6 mins drive to reach Paraiso ni Anton. Nearby, 6 mins to reach the beautiful Patapat Viaduct and the enchanting Bantay-Abot Cave. We spent the whole afternoon swimming at Blue Lagoon beach. We had dinner at Fine Dining Resto around Saud, given the opportunity to drop by Saud beach to chase the sunset.

Tonight would be our last, hopefully, we can get on the road earlier tomorrow, we would be leaving in the afternoon. We’ve seen 10 beautiful attractions today, we were never in one place for a day. For 2 days, we found ways to genuinely bond with my tour mates and trying the best we could for the last day. Going on tour can be grueling, there’s not much time except for sightseeing, walking, sleeping, and eating. This is what tour is all about…

Day 3

It was an early wake-up call, 5:30 am. We head directly to the first and oldest Bangui Windmill followed by the impressive Sinking Bell tower of Laoag. After the close encounter with the animals at Baluarte ni Chavit and Safari Gallery. We had timely breakfast at Hidden Garden Lilong and Lilang restaurant in Vigan. From there, a chance to witness a part of history to visit the Bantay Belltower, Pagburnayan Jar Factory, and National Museum. We had a quick lunch at a food chain around Plaza Salcedo. Departing Vigan at 3:00 pm and we arrived Manila 9:30 pm. I had a great time as the tour was well-planned and organized. Everything’s fine to surpass all my expectations. We have visited more than 25 beautiful sites, more places to go, so little time…

It’s more exciting to join Ilocos tour, Ilocos is generally safe and package tour relatively affordable. When my Ilocos tour was about to end, I was reluctant to bid goodbye but I cannot go beyond as some responsibilities waiting for me back home. I’ve seen over 25 beautiful attractions, I’ve experienced a bit of Ilocano life and a chance to bond with the locals and tour mates with no language barrier.

Just after my Ilocos tour, I’ve been singing praises after my adventure. Ilocos allows you to explore a variety of historical and architectural attractions, it is only among many destinations options here in Northern Luzon. It was easy for me to communicate with the locals here, I can speak Ilocano. I’m from the Northern part of the country, ”Cagayan Valley” which is only a few hours drive to Ilocos but I’m now based here in Manila and that makes a journey of 7 hours going there. It’s not a hassle considering the new development of wide expressways that cut across. It’s now easier than before, the good navigation system to guide motorist to all routes, it helps spur economic development, tourists is greatly increased in the north.

The hotel ”3’s Place Hotel” where we stayed in during our Ilocos Tour.

Top 25 Attractions we visited in Ilocos Region

Vigan Ilocos Sur Landmark

Calle Crisologo Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Calle Crisologo Vigan, Ilocos Sur

St. Augustine Church  Paoay, Ilocos Norte

St. Augustine Garden, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Sandboarding Culili Point Paoay Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte

4×4 Ride Culili Point Paoay Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse  Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Saud Sunset Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

  Kapurpurawan Rock Formation Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Bangui Windmills Ilocos Norte

Kabigan Falls Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Bantay Abot Cave Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Patapat Bridge Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Paraiso Ni Anton Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Blue Lagoon Beach Resort Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Malacañang of the North Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Sinking Bell Tower Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Bantay Abot Cave Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

 Bantay Watchtower Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Vigan Cathedral Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Hidden Garden Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Baluarte Zoo Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Saint Augustine Parish Church or Bantay Church Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Elpidio Quirino National Museum  Burgos St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Pagburnayan Jar Factory Vigan, Ilocos Sur

In addition, Food Offerings, Pasalubong counter and Restaurants

Park and Shop Resto Vigan, Ilocos Sur

The birthplace of Pinakbet Pizza Herencia Restaurant Vigan, Ilocos Sur

My Favorite cold drinks in Ilocos ”Ice Crumble”

Fruits in Ilocos; Mangoes, siniguelas and duhat

Four Stars Native Delicacies counter;  Ilocos native Tinubong, Bagnet, Vigan longganisa, Bagoong and many more…

Ilocos Tour  Package

Interested to Join? Anyone can join as long as you are willing to be together with other groups to fill the desired number of 10 participants in the van. The van will leave earlier if all participants are already complete. For more Ilocos Tour Package details Rates/ Package Inclusions/ Accommodations/ Itinerary/ Terms and Conditions/Transport Unit with Driver /Different rate applies during Holidays and Peak season > Click this Link> Contact> Wayph Tour

Tour package without entrance fees/Not included in the Package are the following; 

Meals, Entrance fee of Bojeador Lighthouse, Blue Lagoon Hut is 1K, Horse riding going Bantay Bell Tower, Shuttle Ride Baluarte, Animal Feeding/Rides, Zip Line, 4 x 4 Ride/Sandboarding 2,500 for 5 persons

Package Inclusions:

  • Accommodations
  • Van Transfers [Manila-Ilocos-Manila][Tour Around Ilocos]
  • Driver’s Meals and Accommodation
  • Government Taxes and Surcharges
  • Guide and Entrance Fees
  • Tour Coordinator

Assembly Time  /Place: Centris Walk Parking Lot Quezon Avenue, MRT Station

Departure Every Thursday Night

Expected Time of Departure Manila to Ilocos 10: 00 pm

Expected Time of Arrival 6:00 am

Reliable and Safe driver

Note: You need to come early to choose the best seats

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My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

White Beach Sunset Puerto Galera

By on May 17, 2018

White Beach Resort Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Another favorite island destination because of its flawless white sand with a crystal blue water, an outstanding dive spot, a gorgeous sunset, beautiful underwater delights and a haven for snorkelers and divers. Sunset attracting too many crowds, a truly memorable sunset scene of White Sand Beach Resort aim to bring everyone closer to his/her loved ones.

GGG standing in front of the beautiful sunset

The overhead cloudiness which is thick and low partly covered the right side of the sky, it’s partly cloudy at this moment but the sunset still remain gorgeous.

Romantic Love Scene

Sunset at dusk turns differently as it fades in the evening, we often see lovers holding hands together as the sun about to disappear in the horizon, details shows in black shadows that will create a warm glow. The location tends to convey a gentle mood in a very romantic setting. This is the best way to end the day…

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Gardening/Greenery/Garden Insects | My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Travel and Adventure

Beautiful Flowers of Baguio

By on January 24, 2018

Just a small area beside the living room is the balcony, how can I resist to capture all these attractive flowers beside me? It seems it’s the right daylight to capture the nearest subject of photography;  the  dahlias, hybrid roses and the splendid blooming lavender flowers. Appreciating these December beauties, it’s just like springtime in Baguio.

Not a clearer dawn but I’m in the right mood to capture them. It’s interesting to include the landscape behind, with the low light camera adjustment, the background gives light and breathtaking effect. How tempting. Let me show you a few… Let’s get started!

Hybrid tea roses on sunrise and pine forest background. Constantly, you can see the good result in seasonal colors.

It looks darker red when the sun shines through it.

Another good choice are the Lavender flowers in individual containers on the balcony.

Early morning sun for the red Daisies.

Other aspects of photography and the best way to reconnect you with nature is to see these landscape photos I’ve captured around. You may also want to view Baguio landscapes and the tall pine trees.

Pine forest landscape

The natural beauty of the pine forest.

 

Other landscape nearby covered by brilliant mass of flowers. I took this photo up there when I was still in the highlands. More to come next post.. Thanks for viewing and reading my blog!

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