Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mountain and Hill Views from Calamba City

A recently established shopping mall in Calamba City enables one to have a commanding view of Mount Maquiling found in Los Baños and Lecheria Hill in the nearby barangay of Lecheria in Calamba. Height definitely has its advantages.

Christmas Decorations in Tanauan City, Batangas

 * sentinel lantern: one of the many Christmas lanterns
put up in the city near the makeshift stores
 * Tanauan Christmas tree put up near the old city hall

Our next stop was the city of Tanauan in Batangas. After some banking matters, it seemed only fit to pass by for a while in this city. The road leading to the church and the old city hall was occupied by many recideras selling goods ranging from clothes to food to toys to household materials.

 * old city hall lights

 * up close: Christmas tree anatomy – lights and lights and lights

I like the liveliness of the people of Tanauan. The place of what could be the city plaza was crowded with young people, families with their children, and practicing dancers. Too bad there were no local delicacies to be bought except for the usual Christmas rice snacks.

Belen Festival 2012 in Sariaya, Quezon

* Sariaya Belen Festival 2012: Sariaya, Bayang Kaaya-aya,
Pasko’y Maligaya, Pamilya’y Nagkakaisa

* this Mother Belen was sponsored by Computer Systems Technological College, Inc.

Without denying my non-participatory stance with regards to this holiday they call Christmas, I nevertheless came out to roam nearby towns and cities just to see the varied Christmas decoration that Filipinos prepared for this traditional holiday. It is amazing to see how Filipinos have come to improve their decors every year. Bigger is the keyword. And that is especially true for the decors we saw in Sariaya, Quezon.


The Belen Festival is an annual activity (as far as recent years are concerned) in the town of Sariaya in Quezon Province which features different belen or Nativity scene (the moment when the baby Jesus Christ was supposedly visited by the infamous Three Kings from the east). This year’s festival carries the theme/slogan: “Sariaya, Bayang Kaaya-aya, Pasko’y Maligaya, Pamilya’y Nagkakaisa.”

 * posing as part of the Nativity scene

Our visit was motivated by a news item I saw in TV which showed a giant belen in Sariaya. The others feature the same nativity scene but employed the use of Christmas lights, sounds, makeshift fountains, native materials, recyclable materials, among others. I think they can make good use of lights in the coming years. There were some belen which were made elegant because of their lightings.

 * a Christmas tree found in the town plaza

 * up close: lanterns and lanterns and lanterns
 * an angel under the moon

* Christmas lights decking the town hall

* statues in the park; I like the way the lights were placed in the hands

 * some of the old houses we saw as we did the usual walk-through

One can still visit the said belen displays. Although the festival is focused on Christmas, the displays will be retained until January 6, 2013.

Arsenio H. Lacson Monument in Manila

As I hustle to beat my self-imposed deadline of reporting all my travels during the year, I found this file on the Arsenio H. Lacson Monument in Manila which I took during the early days of summer. It is a good time to recall this former mayor of Manila as he was was on December 26, 1912.

He was, as the Manileños saw, an accomplished newspaperman, actor, athlete, and congressman. He was the first elected mayor of Manila in 1952 and earned the title Manila’s Fightingest Mayor (I have no idea what the term fightingest mean but that was what I have read in his monument). He was awarded as the Man of the Year by the Manila Rotary Club, Manila Lions Club, and Manila Chamber of Commerce. He died on April 15, 1962.

The transfer of Plaza Lacson, now found near Santa Cruz Church, was done on December 15, 2003.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Back Trails at 3: A Belated Celebration

Before crunching all my pending posts in the few remaining days of the year, let me mention first an event which I have unfortunately missed out – the third year anniversary of Back Trails Blog. Three years in a row and the drive to see more of the country is still here in me. The more I realize that I still have a lot places to tour, the more my resolve strengthens to continue the travels.

Looking back now, through BT I have:
- gained more friends
- upset a few
- helped promote a town
- assume the role of a communicator/mediator
among others.

My original vision for this blog still holds, that is, to see it as a platform for lively discussions of literally anything about the Philippines, its history, and its places. I think I just need to allot more time in making this little spot on the internet more dynamic and engaging.

A Change of Face

I am yet to find a semi-permanent template for the actual blog site, not to mention the plan to give it a domain of its own. For now I content myself with a change in the label for the photos which I have sampled in the picture above. But then I will be using that one by 2013. Susulitin ko muna ‘yung isa!

Wishes and Wishes and Wishes

Well, what do I wish for BT? I hope that I will be able to come up now with an effective way to pool resources to fund more trips, meet fellow travel bloggers (laziness has always gotten in the way), and make a thorough revisit and polishing of my old blog posts.

Cheers to Back Trails!

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012 Back Trails Wrapping Up

Trailer Pransis keeping his balance as he tours part of Laguna de Bay

The year ends faster that I thought. And I find myself now faced with a legion of poker-faced photos, waiting to be reshaped and to be posted in my ever-beloved Back Trails. So December will be my wrapping up period, starting from my immersion activities of early 2012, to random tours during the summer, to Gawad San Luis 2012 trips, and to our recent eastern Laguna tour.

Back Trails wrapping up!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Night Breather In Nuvali


The end of a semester of work can be celebrated with a respite. We found it in Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna. It's not really about the structures and establishments or about all the branded food found there. It's more on the sceneries - seeing the sun set on the west and the expanse of the night sky which reminds me of UPLB grounds. It's a fond recollection, that Nuvali visit. Good foos. Coll night wind. And a recent work accomplishment. A cheers to ends.

Free Admission to the National Museum for the Whole Month of October

As part of its celebration of the Museums and Galleries Month, the National Museum has declared free admission to its various galleries for the whole month of October 2012. I will be sharing here soon my experience of the National Museum since my elementary school days.

Food for the Trails: Chef Mau Restaurant in Liliw, Laguna

  * Chef Mau Restaurant, Liliw, Laguna

* plates at the ready!

A fine eat in a fine town. There were just few cases when I was so starving that my next eat proved to be more than satisfying. That was the case when we visited Chef Mau Restaurant and Catering Services in Liliw, Laguna, famished after two days of work in Magdalena, Laguna.

 * designs inside Chef Mau Restaurant

Chef Mau Restaurant may be situated in a rural place but their menu is superb. No rural scene can hide that. The place is conducive for small or larger groups. But for a big company, one may opt to make reservation first (see contact details below). The restaurant itself is native in style, built mainly from of wood and decorated with native arts and designs. Cozy I may say.

  * dishes to look forward to in Chef Mau

Their menu includes specialties on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, cakes for the common stomach. For those who are in for finer eats you’ll have seafood selection, chicken and fowl, salad and vegetable dishes, pork and beef, among others. But as have been suggested to us, we requested for the stuffed eggplant with pork sausage. Man, it was terrific to taste. I just hope I got the name right as I have missed taking note of it. In any case, you’ll see the photo of the dish accompanying this post.
 * the gang after an hour (or more) of feasting

[How to go to Chef Mau Restaurant: For this who are now interested to try it out, Chef Mau Restaurant and Catering Services is found along the road leading to the town of Magdalena, Laguna. If you board a jeep in Liliw town proper bound to Santa Cruz via Magdalena, just ask the driver to drop you off at Chef Mau. For inquiries you may call and/or text these numbers: (049) 573-6290, 0915-9267824, 0917-5071798, 0921-4948226.]

An Afternoon Walk in Liliw, Laguna

* the Liliw Coliseum; where cocks go to fight
* a statue of San Sebastian (was he being executed in this scene? I wonder),
one of the many statues of saints found along the streets of Liliw and Magdalena
* the street leading to Liliw town proper

After the weekly activities we once had in Magdalena, Laguna (will post about them soon) the neighboring town of Liliw was our usual stopover to take a breather and replenish our bodies lacking in sleep. 
* the (once?) building of the Rural Bank of Liliw (or Lilio), Inc.
 * the seal of the rural bank: Rural Bank of Lilio, Inc. 1953

 * capiz and more capiz windows

* a statue inside a gazebo-like structure inside the ground of Liliw Church

But, as always been the case, walks enable longer time to see most of a place which could not have been possible when one is inside a vehicle. It also helped me to know that there are still more old houses and structures I am yet to document in this town. I have seen most of them, particularly along the more prominent Gat Tayaw Street, but I learned that there are others, tucked in narrow streets that form most of the town proper. The result of our walk is not in any way exhaustive. A revisit is in order. But when is yet to be determined.