Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Four Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Four churches we have here are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS). These are the Church of San Agustín in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Sta Maria, Ilocos Sur; The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin in Intramuros; and Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Miagao, Iloilo.

These churches have been selected taking into consideration the style of the building and design that was adapted to the physical condition in our country.

According to UNESCO WHS, "the four churches are outstanding examples of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style, and represent the fusion of European church design and construction with local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition."

Their common attributes are their massive appearance which shows a fortress/protective-like character in response to invading forces/pirates or protection from earthquakes.

Since these churches are in-scripted, they are covered and protected  through Republic Act 10066 (National Heritage Law) and Republic Act 10086 (National Historical Commission of the Philippines Law). Through these legislations,  these churches are secured of funding for its conservation, protection and regular maintenance.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion
Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur

Sitting atop a hill surrounded by a defensive wall, this massive church is unlike many other Philippine churches that's always located near the town plaza. Some of its unique features also include the convento that lies parallel to its facade and its bell tower that stand a few meters away from the church building. The walls are without ornaments or designs but the buttresses are massive enough designed to withstand an earthquake. The interiors are endowed with a pulpit, lectern, and huge altar. It also boasts of a simple fresco on its ceiling near the altar.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Notes, Lyrics, and the Road: My Travel Playlist

In a race to tick off six provinces from my 80 before 30 list, I'll be on a five-day adventure around Northern Luzon in a few days. It's going to be a long road trip, and I know exactly what my friend and I would need as the countryside beauty up north seduces our very eyes -- a lot of cotton candies for our ears!

These two are buddies -- travel and music.

Music is one thing that I couldn't travel without. It goes where ever I go. It puts me to sleep while trying to bay out boredom in a slow boat ride, or calms me down while waiting for a delayed flight, or keeps me up while on a long bus ride.

I'm sharing with you some of my favorite travel songs. These are the songs that make me want to run away at least for a little while, make me imagine speeding off on a long highway on a beautiful sunset, inspire me to live in the moment and catch the breathtaking views of each place I go, or cast the spell of good vibes of an otherwise gloomy day, and songs that simply make me look forward to going back to a familiar place -- that which I call my home.

Hit the play button! Hit the road!

Enjoy! :)

(Disclaimer: I do not own any of the videos used in this blog. Credit goes to the owners.)

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

"And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I'm safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Apo Reef Series: A Love Affair with Diving and Snorkeling

I grew up in a beautiful island where we live 10 minutes bike-ride away from the beach. But truth be told, I don't know how to swim.  I've developed a certain animosity towards swimming after an unfortunate pool incident back when I was taking my swimming class in college. (For some mind-boggling reason, though, I passed the subject.)

When I started traveling and got the chance to see the best beaches in the Philippines, I've been handicapped not to cross the borderline of the shore and the sea unless a life-jacket is strapped around me. And since swimming and I aren't exactly friends, I've always thought that I couldn't enjoy surfing, snorkeling,  diving and some other water activities.

Despite this, I feel so drawn to the sea that it has become my refuge each time I feel high or low (emotionally). And just recently, I have fallen in love with diving and snorkeling.

Here's what I learned: You don't need to be a pro swimmer to be able to dive and snorkel. You only need the proper gears, do proper breathing, and get a full sense of adventurous spirit. :)

Magnificent dawn at Apo Reef Island with the calm sea and the changing hues of the sky

I've been to some amazing diving and snorkeling spots in the country, but the underwater treasures of Apo Reef and Pandan Island are two of the best that I've seen so far. I found myself frolicking in its massive and diverse underwater garden when I went there. Everything down here awed me. 

Apo Reef Natural Park is the largest atoll-like reef in Asia. Some of its dwellers include colorful fishes, schools of jacks, snappers, stingrays, manta rays, sharks, barracudas, crevice-dwelling moray eels and gobies amid gardens of soft and hard corals. Also, the 29-hectare Apo Island is a nesting ground for hawksbill and green sea turtles while the other two islets near it are home to migrating birds and some resident birds like the endangered Nicobar Pigeon. *Information from Sablayan Municipal Tourism Office*

The crystalline blue-green waters greeted us as we pushed towards the island

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013: Go Somewhere You've Never Been and Do Something You've Never Done

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
 I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, 
and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. 
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." 
-Neil Gaiman-

Neil got it all in. Well almost. He left out something important to me -- to travel. I hope to travel massive this year. I hope to do more crazy and adventure-filled travels, to meet more interesting people, to chase more sunsets, to surf and dive more, to visit other Philippine churches and mosques, to have more bus and RORO rides, to be able to swim well, to ride a bike, to fly a kite (again), to score a mountain or two, to eat more exotic local dishes, and to have more relaxing beach bumming experiences.  And maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the roads of 2013 I’ll be able to find the love that will travel with me for a lifetime! (yihhaa! confetti and wine!!)

In terms of travel, 2013 is a big one for me. Hopefully this year I’d be able complete my 80 before 30. This is my personal challenge to travel to all 80 provinces of the Philippines before I turn 30 years old. As of now, I've been to 52 provinces, and still have 28 to visit. I’m ecstatic with this year’s roster of provinces because I'll be visiting less touristy and some off-the-beaten track destinations like Abra, Apayao, Quirino, Marinduque, Romblon, Biliran, Tawi-Tawi, Sarangani, and Dinagat Islands.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...