Well, there’s a place in Antipolo City, Philippines called CASA SANTA – a museum of 3,700 Santa’s collected around the world and it is open all year round. There’s a minimum of 5 persons to open the place and each has to pay 180 Php or if you are willing to pay 900 Php even your group is less than five, they will still open it for you. And if you opted just to hang around the place, its free! Garden de Miramar is a three hectare garden event venue.
You can find the smallest to biggest Santa in this place, impressive! You can also see his bedroom, dining room and even his bathroom 🙂 Though I must say that the place is dusty and creepy, it should be more festive. Maybe on Christmas, it is a different scenario.(hope so! )
Ladies…ho..ho..ho..ho..seven months to go..
Location: 276 San Jose Ext. Bgy. San Isidro Antipolo City
Telephone No.: 584-3199
When my nephew told me, we will be going early morning (4 am) to Binurong point, I said..”yes” happily not knowing, were going to ride a motorcycle and trek a mountain. Wow! exciting! at age 56 here I am 🙂 riding a motorbike and trekking.
It was a cool morning and suddenly the rain poured, instead of protecting myself, I wrapped my jacket around my camera 🙂 there was no shelter to stop so we just went on. It’s about an hour of joy riding with a group of health workers. Yep! It was like a medical mission, our group consist of a surgeon, anesthesiologist, doctors and nurses 🙂
Binurong point is located in Brgy. Guinsaanan, Baras Catanduanes, Philippines
It’s an amazing sight of beautiful cliff and hill, so clean and green.
flowers, the green grass, the trees…
Beware of bushes and low trees, I bumped my head not once but twice 🙂
and of course, my signature jump and pose!
at the end of the trip, it was refreshing to find out a make shift store selling cold drinks and chips and a hammock to just sit for awhile before heading back to Virac town proper.
and what more can you ask, after having “nilagang baboy” (pork stew) as lunch 🙂 Yummy!
We arrived Viga at 8:30 in the morning, we asked our family friend to find “kinis” (crab)for us, back then when we were young, the crabs were sold in a bag made of nipa palm leaves.Unfortunately, it was not available on that time of the day, so we decided to continue our road trip to Panganiban (payo) and Bagamanoc.
According to my research, when the 2nd world war broke out, Viga became the centre of Guerrilla movement in the province.The battle between the Guerrillas and escaping Japanese forces were simultaneously fought at Banquerohan bridge. (source: Catanduanes.gov.ph)
The abundance of swampy area and palms leads to mud crabs harvest but I didn’t see any one selling “Kinis” (crabs)!
We went around until we reached Bagamanoc, still “Kinis” (crab) is nowhere to be found, huh! not my day 🙁 and yet so happy to be here, so refreshing!
For so many years, this our first time to travel to the north, It was fun to have this two bodyguards 🙂 psst… did I mentioned we are all beyond fifties? hehehe peace !
With “kinis” or no “Kinis” the scenery was just too much to take in…a real beauty of simplicity!
Buto ni Kurakog
The famous ” Buto ni Kurakog” -a phallic – shaped land formation off the coast of Ilihan point. O la la! what’s behind this shape?
My apology to those who have virgin mind 🙂 Buto means “Penis” and Kurakog according to the legend is the name of the Giant who was madly in love with a local barrio lass who committed suicide because her parents disapproved her relationship to Kurakog. Kurakog got depressed and died eventually leaving his “penis” as a memory to the locals. Either your jaw dropped or you’re smiling aha! please read the rest of my road trip story, get some tea if you may or take a deep breath to recover hahaha , just kidding.
Well so much for the legend, let’s move back to the main road, what I noticed about Catanduanes, there are public schools at every district we passed by, it doesn’t matter if the population are small, I am so proud to conclude that ‘Education” is given a priority even into the remote area.
It was almost lunch time and we haven’t found “Kinis” yet, we went back to Viga and had lunch with our family friend. Thank you so much Manal itoy, I was starving and forgot to take a picture of “laing” (taro leaves with coconut milk).
Viga District hospital where it all started…my father popularly known as “Dr. Mariano” worked in this hospital,the reason why we became bicolanos 🙂 . Few meters away from this place, we had a farm, my father and my siblings planted rice, corn and peanuts…me? well, the only girl in the family, I played around, I helped in harvesting peanuts and sneaked out few fresh peanuts in my mouth, so crunchy and sweet 😉 I love the weekends, eating lunch under the coconut trees. Oh, those moments …it’s unforgettable!
From Viga, we went to Buenavista (Hitis) , at one point we got out of the car and savour the fresh air and marvel at the sight of the pacific ocean. A marvellous day for all of us!
From the top we saw the shoreline of Soboc beach.
and here it is… Soboc, Catanduanes…so simple and yet so beautiful!
On our way back , we passed by a small store to buy coca-cola, I knew there’s no cola in a can, so I was expecting it will be in a plastic bag with a plastic straw, wow! exciting authentic… but to my dismay, my brother handed me a disposable glass, huh! way to go Soboc! improving ;-
Going back to Virac, we passed by Cockpit (sabungan). I stayed inside the car, though I wanted to get pictures of the cock-fighting but I hesitated, It will be odd to see a woman inside the arena of men.
and so that’s the end of our road trip…oh wait. did I got KINIS? nope! nothing in Viga -Panganiban-Bagamanoc -Soboc .
not even here at the fish stall…
The following day, we went to Virac Plaza, there was demonstration or maybe a labor strike, I am not sure.
then.. at the bazaar where they showcase products of Catanduanes…
pili nut candies
and kinis! 😉
ah! there KINIS big ones…O lalala! only here at the plaza.. 🙂 😉 🙂
Ladies, I shall end here, hoping you enjoy my photos and happy that I found my “KINIS” lol!
Imagine the trip I took to reach the island of Catanduanes,… brace yourself with a cup of tea while reading my tour, this is the longest blog I ever written, I hope I can tickle your mind to a place of simplicity, a nature of beauty and serenity…
Catanduanes – the “Land of the Howling Winds” , commonly named because of its geographical proximity to the pacific ocean,making it directly open to the path of tropical cyclones, typhoons are normally occurring any month of the year. Good luck to our trip, rain or shine, here we go! 🙂
The island has 11 municipalities : Virac, San Andres(Calolbon), Caramoran, Pandan, Bato, Gigmoto, Baras, Panganiban (Payo), Bagamanoc, Viga and San Miguel. We only have few days holiday so we thought, It would be nice to re-traced our memory lane to the place where we grew up ..in search for the famous “kinis” (king of crab) and who would not crave for the sweet taste of newly harvest parto (small shrimp) and “balisongsong” a native sweet glutinous rice/coconut wrapped in banana leaves! Hmmm so tasty that I was drooling (literally) in my dreams hahaha 🙂
Though I was not born in Catanduanes,l considered this as my home.I studied elementary in Viga and High School in Virac ,hence, I can speak both southern (Virac) and northern (Viga) bicolano dialect. Neither any one of my parents are natives of Catanduanes nor our ancestors. I was born in Lupon, Davao, where my father worked as Hospital Dentist. He was inadvertently assigned to Viga when I was only 6 years old. To make the story short, I considered myself as Bicolana.
Let’s move on…at 6:30 in the morning, we left Virac, the capital town of Catanduanes, passing through Cabugao to Bato.
Bato Bridge, the longest bridge I have seen in Catanduanes. Year 1980, I was a fresh graduate and worked at Bato Maternity Hospital, there was no concrete bridge then, I have to ride a small boat to cross the river and tricycle by land so I can go to work everyday.
We didn’t cross the bridge at this time but we did it the following day, we had a quick stop at Buenavista to see the DOST Weather Radar Station.
From Bato, we went to Baras to see the white beach of Puraran.
Well, lets go back to the main road, passing through the Bato bridge, we passed the mountainous and hills side of going to the North.
Here are some of the scenery along the road..It is common to see Abaca on the road, after all, Catanduanes remained the biggest producer of Abaca in the Philippines.
curve and narrow
rain started to pour
passing through the rain forest
pile of fire woods used in cooking
The ride was not bumpy at all, it was a good day for all of us 🙂
At the middle of our road trip, we found ” Cathy’s Spring Resort” at Sagrada, a well-kept resort , good for travellers to stop and dine or maybe take a deep breath, smell the freshness of flowers, the green mountains, sit down and relax…if I only knew, I could have brought my swimming gear and swim the whole morning! 🙂 but…it’s only road trip remember?
From Sagrada to Oco and when I saw the summit bridge, I knew were so near to Viga town proper, my heart was pounding so hard that I can’t concentrate which scenery I should took a photo. My childhood memories were coming back, this is it! 🙂 beautybeyondfifty…life is not all about work…life is looking back where I came from…
Hurray! finally were here…
My brother reminded me that our old house backyard was in proximity to the river.
Do you remember the day you went out of the school and didn’t come home on time? he asked. Rolling my eyes, who would not forget that day! I guess the town was in fiesta…like finding nemo..Where is mimi? hahaha, I can laugh it off now, but memories were still vivid, I can still clearly draw in my mind the face of my father, so furious to find out, I was not at school but where?… your guess is right! I was swimming, jumping freely with my classmates and the carabaos (water buffalo) lol!.
Suddenly, a group of adult and children were rushing to the river and in the middle of them all, my father stands tall, red face, his hand pulling out his belt .. hurriedly I came off the river, grabbed my clothes and in seconds. PAK! PAK! I felt the pain on my butt, there was no time to cry, I knew it was my fault 🙁
Stop.. this is road trip, not a story of my life ..let’s move on (again) 😉
It was overwhelming to see the skeleton of our old house. I can’t get off my feet out of the car, it was the biggest house on that street and now? nothing left! ;-( so sad but don’t get me wrong, a lot of happy memories out there 🙂 for one, reminiscing the fun moment when there was no electricity and my father bought a live crab (kinis) for dinner. The crab was all bundled in a bucket and was placed at the corner of the kitchen. After awhile, I heard our helper screaming! Apparently one of the crab got out from the bucket .. crawled and bit her toe. It seemed, the crab had better eyesight at dark.Oh well, she survived( helper )and the crab didn’t! hahaha yummy Kinis (crab).
Parish Church at Viga town proper.
Viga Municipality Hall
Viga Central Elementary School
Balisongsong (glutinous rice)
Hopi (taro leaves)
Not done yet? alright…have some more tea because were moving to Panganiban (payo) and Bagamanoc 🙂
Oh well, I changed my mind …let’s do a part 2 of this Road trip…shall we?