Tacloban is a charming city with a long and colorful history, warm and welcoming people, a rich culture, and a fast-growing economy. Located at the northeastern tip of the Island of Leyte, it is famously surrounded by lots of natural attractions, including numerous falls and nature reserves.
After more than two years of the pandemic and its seesawing mandates on lockdowns, it’s literally a fresh idea to literally go out once again in the open to the freedom of your nearest park. Imagine how we all coped staying put and working (studying for those still in school) at home, going out only on the most exigent errands.
“A hill without a hilltop” sounds intriguing ain’t it? I wondered myself how the summit looked like. Albay have always been known for Mt Mayon. For an area with high volcanic activity, it would be natural that the surrounding landscape would have dramatic land forms too. Kawa-kawa Hill and Natural Park in Ligao, Albay, stands just 236-meters above sea level and is just around 5.8 km away from the foothills of Mt Mayon. Aside from its intriguing hilltop, it is a famous site for pilgrimage flocked by thousands especially during holy week.
The scattered rains and gloomy skies continue to loom that Sunday afternoon as we head to Lucban, Quezon coming from our stay at slopes Mt Banahaw. It was May 15, 2022, the day of feast of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers and animals. A day celebrated by many towns in Quezon province like Tiaong, Sariaya, Gumaca, Lucena and Tayabas. Each town has their own way of celebrating but Lucban’s Pahiyas Festival though has adored many due to its colorfully decorated houses and festive atmosphere. For the past two years, the pandemic has halted the celebration. This time, no amount of rain can dampen the festivity.
It took more than a decade but I finally found my way back to the northwestern tip of Cagayan Valley. So much has happened the last decade or so in Palaui island. Admittedly, it’s the biggest tourist draw in Santa Ana, Cagayan. It has hosted 2 seasons of America’s Survivor series back in 2013. There are other Survivors from other countries that followed. But the most significant development for me is the designation of the island as a “National Park” due to the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) act signed by President Duterte in June 22, 2018.
Often times the more challenging path yields to richer rewards. In Sta Ana, Cagayan, we ventured to the foothills of Sierra Madre mountains to explore one of the recently developed and opened tourism site in the municipality – the Buwacag Falls. This multi-tiered falls have a fun and challenging trail amidst lush forest leading to several wonderful cascades.
If you plan to visit the recently inaugurated and redeveloped Arroceros Urban Forest Park by bike, I would advise to defer for a later time. The park doesn’t allow bikes in the area, let alone, on the pavement going to the park. Since it is still in development (despite being inaugurated already) there are no bike racks in the area. I asked the guards where I can leave my bike securely and they can’t give a definite answer. I was excited to check out the re-opened “last lung of Manila” and do a little birding so I decided to ride all the way from Pasig.