Marinduque, with its heart-shaped allure, has always held a special place in my early travel adventures. I’ve been lucky to visit this enchanting island three times before, savoring its scenic coastal roads, captivating falls, lush hills, and vibrant cultural tapestry. But on this recent trip, thanks to the wonderful support of DOT MIMAROPA, I had the opportunity to experience Marinduque in an entirely new way – exploring its wonders on two wheels. Biking through this picturesque paradise allowed me to connect more intimately with its beauty, embracing the slower pace that enriched my appreciation of the island’s charm.
They say seven is a lucky number. If it is, I consider myself lucky to be part of the 7th edition of Lakbay Norte. The annual familiarization tour of the north Luzon is made possible by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) under Convention and Visitors Bureau. If you have been following Ironwulf for quite sometime, I had participated in several Lakbay Norte tours including the first one which set the foundation of the succeeding tours. Lakbay Norte 7 continues the tradition of a fun whirlwind sightseeing, gustatory and adventure filled trip of the north. We didn’t have to go far from Manila to jump-start the tour. Our first stop in Bulacan has us stretching our legs to walk through the Malolos Historic Town Center and marvel at the ancestral homes, age-old churches and its history.
Having one of the oldest monuments in the Philippines in the form of the impressive San Juan Bautista Church, I wasn’t surprised that there were more to discover in this predominantly Catholic municipality of Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. We met with our local guide from the DOT office to give us a tour of the town. Visiting the church, it was a good idea the tourism installed a few boards showcasing the other attractions in town. Particularly noticeable were the heritage houses, a cemetery and a mysterious tree by the river.
Five years after my first visit to Laperal White House in Baguio City, there was a movie (which I haven’t seen), an iWitness Documentary and thousands of searches referred to my old post. There were even several invites to guest or talk about the house and a number of inquiries from researchers. I guess Filipino love horror stories. Something to scare themselves sometimes. It was only five years after when I got to revisit the place again. Now open to the public as a Bamboo Art Exhibit, visitors can now indulge themselves and unravel the mystery of this famous White House.
Mid-day in Iligan City. The sun was blaring, the wind feels humid and after walking around the city streets to chase the Dyandi festival performers, it was a day begging for some nice cool dip. I guess the people at Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS) had foresight of what participants want for that day as we were scheduled to visit the Timoga Cold Springs in Buru-un. Iliganons seem so enthusiastic whenever I mention we’re going there. They said it’s a place of “flowing swimming pools”.
“This is one of the cities I could probably live in” were my first thoughts exploring the streets of Dapitan City. A city found in Zamboanga del Norte, declared a city not because of its population nor its economic stature but because of its rich heritage. The country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal, lived in this region after his exile in 1892. The mark he left with the place and the people was like an eternal echo surviving through the times. I was in Zamboanga del Norte initially for work teaching a group about photography, but I had time to retrace Rizal’s footsteps and discovered some wonderful places in the process.
When it comes to colonial or ancestral houses in the Philippines, the Luzon areas first comes to mind, particularly Vigan in Ilocos Sur then there’s also the Taal Town down south of Luzon. So I was pleasantly surprised to know there are few ancestral houses that can be found around the main town of Glan municipality in Mindanao. The group decided to do a mid-day visit to Glan from Gumasa White Beach and have our lunch there as well. Coco Beach was kind enough to drive us up to Glan with their pick-up truck.