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!