Thursday, May 29, 2014

Coming Home Now: A Story of Passion for Surfing and Love for Catanduanes

The news spread like wildfire over the internet last night. I was in total disbelief. Probably like many people, I couldn't grasp the idea that a man who seemed to be in a perfect physical form and someone living a life most of us could only dream of, could be gone too soon.

But your online profile confirmed the unthinkable. The ocean is now forever yours, Ezra.

One of Ezra's last posts (Photo Credit: Ezra Efondo)
I remember one of our conversations during the BookSail event in Palumbanes Island, you shared how you left the corporate world and chose to go back to our home province. I remember how your eyes lit while you talked about Jack Johnson, sunsets, and surfing in Puraran.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 favorite memories in Masbate

A college friend introduced me to the sweet carmelado from Masbate, a local version of pastillas de leche which is made from carabao milk and sugar. This delicacy, wrapped in a thin white paper, got me at first bite, and I promised myself to horde as much carmelados I could afford if given the chance to visit Masbate someday.

Fast forward to a few years after, I visited Masbate’s capital, Masbate City, as I was completing my 80 before 30 challenge. Of course, carmelado was included in the order of business.

Masbate is a first-class province located in Bicol Region. It is composed of three major islands– Masbate, Ticao, Burias—and the capital is the City of Masbate. As an island province, it’s endowed with rich marine life in which many people in the coastal areas engage in fishing as their main source of income. Agriculture, such as livestock, raising cattle, and farming also contribute to the local coffer.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

GMA 7 Summer Break: Travel to Cagayan Province

Two years ago, I challenged myself to do my first solo trip to two provinces I haven't been to -- Cagayan and Kalinga. What I thought was just a short simple trip turned out to be one for the books.Recounting the exciting road trips, beautiful sunrises, and meeting kind people in these provinces left a mark that I will recall for a long time.

But in every trip, there's at least one episode that stands out among the smorgasbord of experiences. For my adventure in is Palaui Island in the town of Sta. Ana. 

Whenever I'm asked about my favorite destinations around the country, Palaui Island always makes it on the list. So when I got an email asking if I could share my Palaui Island experiences for GMA's Summer Break series, I didn't hesitate and jumped in immediately. 

The remote island of Palaui is definitely worth sharing. But somehow there's a part of me guilty of the possibility that if I keep promoting unspoiled beaches and islands like Palaui, what are the chances that these may also fall into the ugly trap of commercial tourism? I could only hope that stories like mine will create awareness and promote a sustainable eco-tourism that will benefit the local community without damaging the environment.

Here's the video courtesy of GMA 7. 

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