With Holy Week just around the corner, it’s time once again to consult a map and contemplate on doing the rounds of churches for the annual Visita Iglesia. While you’re at it, it might be worthwhile exploring Rizal Province which is renowned for beautiful, mostly centuries-old churches with some dating back to the Spanish colonial period. This year, why not hop on your bike instead of walking so you can cover more ground? After all, you’d still be using your legs as some sort of sacrifice for the Lenten season while pedaling your way to municipality after municipality of quaint, old churches steeped in history. Let’s start our Siklista Iglesia.
I learned about Buhi, Camarines Sur through Bidibidi when we visited her workshop in Baao. BD would often joke that her art style is Buhi-mian (a play on the word “bohemian”) because Buhi is one of the sources for up-cycled materials used for her handicraft. Before this, Buhi was under the radar for me when we talk about Bicol. My inquisitive self was glad to get invited recently by Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to Buhi. It was one of TPB’s recipient areas for their project to boost the livelihood of local communities by lending some resources and training them in marketing their products. While holding their Sustainable Community-Based Tourism (SCBT) workshop, the media team was also able to learn and discover more about Buhi and its surroundings.
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.
Leprosy has been eradicated in Culion since the 1980s but the stigma still remains. It didn’t help that World Health Organization (WHO) only declared Culion leprosy-free in 2006. So why not embrace this history of healing of this infectious disease? The structures, the research, the tools and the story of the people who lived while it was a leper colony still remains. Culion town is a witness on how a community persevered and healed.
An Afternoon Drive Through Capiz
After enjoying a day at Isla de Gigantes, our third day in our Panay island loop is spent in transit to Antique. On the way, we’ll stop by Capiz first for an afternoon of sightseeing. Quite excited as it was my first time visiting this province. Known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”, I was looking forward to try to some delicious seafood dishes. Capiz also home to some fascinating heritage. From Carles, Iloilo, it’s roughly 1.5-2 hours drive to Roxas city, the provincial capitol. With the various conditions on the road it would be handy to have an auto insurance while traveling, get an advice from insurancenavy.com for that peace of mind while on a road-trip.
George Town’s Street of Harmony
For those who had been reading this blog for quiet a while now knows that I love to walk around when I’m new to a place. It’s my way of orienting myself with a destination. Getting a feel and really going up close to the locals. George Town is such a pleasantly walkable city. Charming old streets adorned with street art against the beautifully aged walls. I was able to rest that afternoon when I got back from my Historical George Town tour. Revitalized after a few hours rest for my walk at this city’s Street of Harmony. I’m glad to be accompanied this time by Cebuano travel blogger Brennan of Weekend Dispatch who is now based in George Town for work. After his office duties he was glad enough to show me around.
Coming from Baybay, Leyte, our route was all the way down to Southern Leyte. Looking at the map, both provinces combined looks like hips and dangling legs. We visited a few dive resorts for our travel agency companions to inspect. The day ended checking in at Kuting Reef and Resort Spa. The beautiful seaside resort with plenty of towering coconut trees at the garden and a pool became the venue for the fam tour welcome dinner. The next day, it was a jump-off to our adventure.