Nighttime At The Plaza

It was more than just any plaza. It was a plaza of my youth. I used to pass by it everyday riding the tricycle on my way to school. In its center which most local folks call a rotunda, sat a water fountain. Through the years, the plaza became the main venue for the town’s yearly much awaited events and holidays. Through the years it heard so many wishes and many lovers sweet promises to one another. At nighttime, when the lights turns on and the traffic slows down, nostalgic memories comes alive and takes you back in time.

IMG_3412-0.JPG

After visiting the Adoration Chapel by the church to thank God for their grandma’s recovery, the twins excitedly showed my son their newly renovated water fountain by the plaza’s rotunda. The water playfully caught the colorful lights as it dropped into the bottom of the fountain. It was beautiful and yes, it made me feel a bit nostalgic.

IMG_3411-0

While enjoying a quick trip down memory lane, my son and his cousins were busy running and goofing around the plaza. Just before we left, they huddled together, whispered something and laughed. Years from now, they will be looking at the same fountain, celebrating their special bond of friendship and have their very own travel back in time. Yes, all these happened and can happen at the plaza when the Sun goes down and nighttime takes over.

 Images taken using iPhone 5S camera enhanced with Backlit Scene effect of Camera+

Posted in family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Love Endures Forever

There will be times in life that we will endure pain, hardship, sickness and suffering. There will be times that our burdens seems to much to bear. There will be times when giving up seems like an easy way out. Despite of the 7 billion people in our planet, there will be times when we will feel all alone.

love

“Sometimes we get so focused with our problems we failed to notice that someone made sure we overcome those problems. Those times we felt so tired to walk one more step further, our loving Father carried us till we are strong and ready to travel the many roads ahead.”

In all these times, someone helped us held on to hope just a bit longer. In all these times, someone gave their heart so we can have ours back. In all these time, someone never let go of our hand and walked us through the end.

love

Love endures forever. When I thought I lost so many of my dreams and my heart-broken into hundred pieces, two familiar hands never let go. Their love and patience helped me to remember what it felt like to dream excitedly. They help me create new dreams that now I don’t have to walk on my own. Love and family, a man’s true treasure. The rest the world is trying to serve in a golden plate, simply a temporary diversion to what is truly real and important. Love and family made me able to stand up and run with a big smile on my face.

God, family, true friends, they help us find our faith back on humanity and to our very own self. They help us endure all, survive all. When we felt our worst, they made us feel our best.

love

Endurance is not all about physically strength but rather of knowing we are loved and capable of loving. There are three things that will endure and last forever. Faith, hope and love. Among these three, the greatest is love. Often, it takes at least one major life changing event to realize how true these words are. Imagine if we have more.

love

My son and his cousins watched this man draw a house on the sand. Building a house is one thing, turning it into a home is a totally different story. Which one will endure the test of time? Which one can we carry with us when it’s time to leave and say goodbye?

So, no matter what, hang on a bit longer. No matter what, don’t let go. No matter what don’t give up on your love ones. No matter what, never lose hope. You will endure. We will endure…together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 71 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 , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments