Tibiao Adventure

Today, let me take you to Tibiao, a hidden exotic paradise where the best part of the adventure starts from the beginning of the journey till the very end of the much-awaited final destination.

IMG_0711.JPG

Our trip begins braving the muddy, narrow slippery road of Barangay Tuno. To your left on the driver’s side are the mountains of Antique.

Tibiao

Several inches from our car is a ravine. It just rained and more likely our vehicle will be swerving a bit towards the edge of that ravine. Yes, seat belts are a must.

IMG_0409.JPG

All that rough road driving made me hungry. How about you? Let’s try some homemade peanut brittle. No need to line up. We’ll use the drive-thru.

IMG_0394.JPG

Our first adventure, zip lining. Surprise!

Tibiao

Everyone should try this, atleast once in their lifetime. Scared? Don’t worry, you are not alone. I have some fear of heights too but I’ll gladly volunteer to be your zip line buddy. I will hold your hand and won’t let go. And yes, I will be screaming like crazy with you!

Tibiao

From above, the panoramic view of the Tibiao river in between mountains and hills is just spectacular. If the zip line experience doesn’t take our breathe away, the view will. Guaranteed!

Tibiao

While my son was having an amazing time zooming down the zipline, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Yahoo,” I was silently praying, “Please, don’t let this wire snap.”

Tbiao

Time to lower the adrenaline level. Let’s take a fun walk by the hanging bridge. It’s best to hang on to the side rails tightly. The bridge will shake and sway wildly.

IMG_3279.JPG

This boy saw me taking the picture of the mountain behind him. He waved at me and gave a signal that he’s about to jump into the water. As he took a leap, he smiled, raised his arms and gave a two thumbs up. He looked so happy and free, just like all the other children we saw swimming in the river.

In Tibiao, we are reminded that "a simple life is a happy life."

In Tibiao, we are reminded that “a simple life is a happy life.”

After all the walking, gliding and screaming, I owe everyone a relaxing, warm, soothing Spa treatment inside a big cast iron “Kawa,” otherwise known as a sugar cane cooking pot used in sugar plantations in the province of Bacolod.

IMG_0643.JPG

While waiting for the rest to finish their water Spa, how about resting those tired legs and feet. Now, let our thoughts drift away. Let’s throw to the wind of Tibiao all our stressors and heartaches. Feels good, right?

Tibiao

Who wants to get close and personal with the rumbling waters of Tibiao? How does river kayaking sounds. Never done it before? No worries, each one will get their own personal kayaking guide.

Tibiao

It’s okay to fall into the water. Our kayak guides are the best rescuers/swimmers in the area.

Tibiao

I fell twice. Grrr…the water was so cold.

Tibiao

Saving the best for last, we are trekking for 30 minutes towards the seven water falls of Bugtong Bato.

Tibiao

Never a dull moment. So much tropical plants and flowers along our path such as these Birds of Paradise.

Tibiao

Local folks are very friendly. Everyone greets with a smile.

IMG_0712.JPG

I can hear the sound of cascading water. Can you hear it too? Close your eyes, imagine, hear the sounds of nature calling you.

Now open your eyes. We’re here. Welcome to Bugtong Bato Falls.

Tibioa

As we move closer to the falls, invigorating sprays of cool mist touches our skin. Refreshingly good after that long, tiring walk.

Tibiao

Climbing about 50 feet of bamboo stairs will lead us to the second water fall.

Tibiao

Now, look down. This is what the first waterfall looks like from the top. Just be careful not to move so close to the edge.

Tibiao

Now time to take a dip and swim. Caution: “No” diving from the top of the falls please.

Tibiao

It’s close to sunset and much as we want to stay longer, it’s time to head back home. And yes, we have to walk again another 30 minutes towards the car. We better move fast, it is getting dark.

IMG_0761.JPG

Before we leave, let us take one last look at the Bugtong Bato Falls and breathe its fragrant misty air. Now, close our eyes and create a permanent mental picture of every adventure we all experienced today. When we want to relive the adventure, all we have to do is remember.

Tibiao

Thanks for accompanying me to our adventure in Tibiao. Hope it reminds all of us that “Life is full of adventures. That life in itself is an adventure.” Each new day, we are given a chance to find our heart’s adventure. May we never let those chances slip away.

What adventure do you wish to make today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Dialogue Between A Boy And The Brain Coral

While making a quiet dialogue with Nature, my son called me, “Hey, dad. Look, it’s a brain.” As he pushed the dead coral away from the water, he started to talk to it.

Boracay Philippines

He was a bit far from me and I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Looking at him and the coral, it looked as if the coral was trying to tell him a story. May be it was telling him how he died and lost his home. How from the years of unchecked, careless, insensitive greed and tourism, he and his community were slowly driven to near extinction. A sad tale that is still happening this very second around the world.

Boracay Philippines

The next words I heard my son spoke was, “Dad, I’m making him a house,” as he covered the coral with sand.”

Boracay Philippines

Then he said, “Now, I’m making a home,” as he carefully added more sand details around and above the coral. He also used his hands to make a wall and shield the coral from the approaching waves.

Boracay Philippines

Nature gives so much without holding back. When we feel tired and lost, it opened its home countless times so we can heal and rest. Now, Nature is asking, “Can you help me save and rebuild my home?”

Boracay Philippines

Sometimes, it takes an innocent child at play for us adults to realize the things we had done or others had done. It also takes a child to remind us that no matter how small, we can do something to help, reverse and rebuild.

Boracay Philippines

If we love Nature, then it’s time to make a serious dialogue with it.

Boracay Philippines

Early morning, on my last day in the island, I walked by the beach from our hotel towards the hospital. Every few feet, I was greeted with empty plastic bottles and wrappers, beer glass bottles, even a light bulb and a medicine ampule. I felt a mixture of shock, concern, anger and annoyance. 11 years ago, when there was less tourism and development, the shoreline was cleaner. I picked up a few and throw them in the garbage can. A lot of people treat nature like one big garbage can and expect it to clean itself and always be beautiful for their amusement. A lot of people use nature like its inexhaustible but it’s not. If we want our children and the future generation to enjoy nature the way we did, then today is that day to start caring for it.

All images captured by my iPhone 5S in Boracay, Philippines. An island where if I search hard enough and begin the day when most tourist and locals are still asleep, bits of paradise still reveals itself. And yes, me and this island made so much dialogue to each other for so many years that I already considered it as one of my many homes that I need to go back and protect. I hope those who live in it, visit it and those who make tons of profit from it will find in their hearts to listen to its cry. If an 8-year old heard it, so can we.

Thank you for island hopping with me. Hope it brought you back to places and memories of island paradise.

Posted in nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Frayed Rays Of Hometown Sunsets

In time, the edges of what’s left of the many things that has worn out will help us see and appreciate the beauty of having a simple life.

sunset

I have so much to tell you. I got tons of new memories to share. For now, let me begin with a simple sunset by my hometown. A sunset I thought no longer exist as pretty much everything around my birth place has changed.

sunset

As I watched my son and his cousins laugh, play and take a swim on its warm tropical waters, the golden sunset seemed to be saying, “Not everything has changed and yes, I do remember you.”

sunset

“I remember you more than the many sunsets you could ever count.”

sunset

God has his reasons for calling us back and allowing us to set another journey.

sunset

In less than 12 hours of reaching my parent’s place, he showed me why I needed to be there.

sunset

At 04:30 in the morning, I found my mom on the floor with my dad, confused, unable to speak, flapping her arms like she’s about to have a seizure. I prayed hard as I tried to stay calm for everyone else that it’s just severe hypoglycemia and not a stroke. Twenty minutes after drinking a can of juice, she slowly regained consciousness and strength. We had to watch her the whole day and see a specialist.

In my home town 911 does not exist and the nearest emergency brain C.T. scan involves a two-hour drive to the nearest medical center. Where I came from medical common sense, family support and prayers are the first emergency responders. She did okay after that but the event scared me like never before. In a way, I felt blessed to be there. What if they were all by themselves? My mom is 70 years old and my dad, 73. Out of 6 children, only one fate allowed to grow old by their side.

sunset

The incident had me ask so many questions I long been trying to evade. The incident opened my eyes to what’s truly important in my life and that of my family. The frayed pieces of reality beckons me to reconsider the goals and dreams I made so many years ago.

sunset

It’s true that when we get older, we get wiser as our priorities change and evolve to something more meaningful. Time becomes a luxury we can no longer afford to waste. Time is knocking at my door, so loud I can no longer ignore it or pretend it’s not happening.

sunset

Sometimes, our journey lead us back to where we started of. Sometimes moving forward means going back to the source of all things we longed for.

sunset

Love, faith, inner peace, family, friendship, happiness, contentment, good health, these are treasures we discover when we begin to truly listen and see. These are the frayed rays of hometown sunsets we can’t afford to lose or forget. On a clear day, life reminds us that not everything has changed. That when we needed them the most, hometown sunsets will find us.

sunset

Captured in these iPhone images are the daily sunsets by the beach in Roxas City, Capiz Philippines. When I took these images, its coastal skyline was bursting in explosive colors of orange, yellow, red and purple. For several minutes, a glimpse of paradise revealed itself. For several minutes, I was reminded that I will always have another home waiting patiently when I do decide to return.

Hope you enjoyed the preview of my Summer travel of 2014. When I watched these sunsets, I saved you a seat with the best view next to where I was. Yes, I did remember each one of you during my island trip.

 

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Summer Lovin’ Philippines, I Do Remember

Philippines, I may be thousand of miles away but I do remember.

PhilippinesHow can I forget you when you gave me so many Summers to love and remember.

PhilippinesSummers that you built with me. Summers that I carried with me, lived with me.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI have not forgotten our many walks by the beach and the many moments of soul searching. I have not forgotten our stories, our dreams and the many promises we made. Have you? I you did, let me help you remember.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our laughter.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember the many beautiful sunsets.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our island travels…

Summer Lovin' Philippines…the unexpected adventures and exciting surprises.

Summer Lovin' Philippines Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our childhood innocence and many simple happy plays?

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember how thrilling  it was playing in the rain. Do you remember that time we chased a rabbit in our front yard? We had a lot of fun didn’t we?

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember the boat rides with its many breathtaking views both above…

Summer Lovin' Philippines…and below the water.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our faith, culture and traditions. Call me nostalgic. Call me sentimental. Call me sensitive. Hey, ain’t my fault. You blessed me with all these, they rooted so deep.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember smiling and being happy with the little I have. I remember the same smile among the people I met who barely had anything to go by. You showed me so many ways to be happy without having to buy anything. I remember because when there are times I felt I have nothing, you inspired me to feel that I have everything.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember with fondness, families who gave so much more than I deserve. They gave me their heart without asking for anything in return. They gave me a home whose doors never closed even long after I was gone.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesDon’t ever think for a minute that I have forgotten about you. In times of triumph I celebrated with you. In time of storms, I worried and prayed with you. When you needed help, I remembered with utmost concern. It ain’t much, but I hope it was something that helped you rise up and begin a brand new start.

This Summer, a friend set sail the many boats of Operation Baroto or Boat for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Through the many generous contributions by friends and family, hundreds of boats were given to fishermen who lost their means of livelihood. Fishermen who the government has failed to reach despite of the million of dollars donated kind hearted people from all over the world. These fishermen only received several days worth of canned sardines, rice and water. They days after, nothing else came.

This Summer, a friend set sail the many boats of Operation Baroto or Boat for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Through the many generous contributions by friends and family, hundreds of boats were given to fishermen who lost their means of livelihood. Fishermen who the government has failed to reach despite of the million of dollars of donation received from kind-hearted people from all over the world. These fishermen only received several days to a few weeks worth of canned sardines, rice and water. The days after, nothing else came.

I remember the many love you gave. A mother’s love, a father’s love, a sibling’s love, my very first love, all kinds of friendship and family’s love. Love that inspired me through the years. Love that gave me courage and strength. Love that nurtures when days are grey and weeps for much-needed comforting.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

 

 

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember more than you think. I remember more than what others think. So, when I step foot on your soil once more, may you remember me and all that I have become. So much have changed for both you and me the long years we’d been apart. Change that scares me sometimes. Change that motivates me to hang on to what’s still left of the many precious memories and connections of the past and the present. I won’t let go. Please don’t let go.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesIn the next few weeks, embrace me once more with a Summer Lovin’ that will have me forever grooving.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer of sharing, giving, reminiscing, reconnecting.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer of creating new stories, plays, laughter and adventures.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesAn island seaside Summer of many happy laid-back days with lots of room to dream and fill my bucket list.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA treasured Summer among family and closest of friends.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer that will remind me that I will always have a second home whose doors will never close because it waits patiently, excitingly for my return.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

We always go back to places that meant more than just memories. It is part of who we were and what we hope to become. When I brought my son to the Philippines, he knew immediately that he will always have a second home with even a bigger family other than what he already has. That alone is why we always try to go back. Back to where it all began.

 

Yes, I do remember you. I hope you do to.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

 

 

There are so many of us who had to leave our homeland of birth in the hope for a better future. Some for a dream others for adventure. Whatever our reasons were, part of us will always long for love ones we left behind. Remembering somehow brings us closer to them and the home we used to know.

This post I offer as a tribute to all the travelers, migrants, overseas workers and their families. We are not alone in this journey.

 

Posted in Summer, Travels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 93 Comments