Saturday, August 29, 2009

Banaue Rice Terraces

The Banaue rice terraces is one of the world's greatest wonders.  My first visit to Banaue was actually not part of my itinerary.  I was on a series of speaking engagement in the revenue region of Tuguegarao in Cagayan Valley that covered the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.  The last leg of my activity was Nueva Vizcaya, which is just about 2 hours away from Banawe.   The head of the Nueva Vizcaya district office, invited us for a side trip to Banawe as a treat.
The trip alone to Banaue was already an experience.  The road was good and the scenery was even better.  We sometimes have to stop to take pictures along the way.  One of the experience not to miss when you are on top of the cordilleras is the endless sea of mountaintops, imagine that.
My first ever glimpse of the terraces was really a mesmerizing experience.  The first thing that comes to mind is how the hell were they able to build it.  This is definitely a MUST SEE place in your lifetime.
How to get there:
There are daily trips from Manila to Banaue that takes about 10-12 hrs or from Baguio about 5-6  hrs.
Where to Stay:
There are a number of inns and even home stays, but the best place to stay is at the Banaue Hotel

Friday, August 28, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Death of Cory Aquino

The death of Cory Aquino in the early hours of August 1, 2009 dealt a blow to democracy not only in the Philippines but the world. She was one credible champion of democracy with unsullied integrity. Her sincerity to help the poor and the country as a whole is beyond question. In a maternal Philippine society she was a clear symbol of a mother ready to protect her offspring from danger, real or imagined.

Her recent politics though confused the people. She asked the resignation of Gloria Arroyo, thinking perhaps that it would collapse from the series of unfortunate events hounding her. She was ready to support breakaway groups that tried to topple the administration Mrs. Arroyo, and as if to spite the President, she even apologized to Erap Estrada who was actually convicted by the courts of a crime.

The scenario being painted by the opposition on the Philippines was very grim. However, a very different and positive color was being put forward by big business and foreign rating agencies This further confused the people, that whatever resignation calls for the president to step down or calls to rally the people, the opposition, just wasn't able to get the numbers, and it gave Mrs Arroyo the needed time to regain her composure.

With the death of Mrs. Aquino, the opposition is leaderless. They are left with the likes of Erap, Binay, Villar and Mar who have neither the integrity or capability to mount a respectable challenge to Mrs. Arroyo.

Good for Cory Aquino, the people perceived her sincerity and her uprightness while she was still in office. The shortcomings of her presidency was overlooked and considered the restoration of democracy as her biggest legacy and that was enough.

Fort Santiago and The Museum of the Filipino People

Have you noticed lately? Fort Santiago is cleaner and well maintained. How did i know this? We visited the place last Saturday, me and my youngest daughter. There were quiet a number of foreign tourists that day. Most of them were Koreans, is there a Korean invasion of the Philippines? you see them everywhere, in malls, grocery stores, in QC, Baguio and SBMA, i think they have already taken over SBMA. Well, at least this validates the claim of DOT people that tourists arrivals are up. One thing that bothered me in Fort Santiago was the parking space. Although the parking space fronting the entrance was vacant, we were directed to a parking lot that charges P40 per 2hrs and with no official receipt. That was expensive, more expensive than that charged by SM or Ayala Malls. I felt that my pocket was raped.

Entrance Fee

Adult P50
Child 25

Museum Hours

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Open Tuesday-Sunday
Close Monday

After Fort Santiago, we went to The Museum of the Filipino People (Old Finance Bldg.) It was quiet a surprise for me. The Ifugao House in the courtyard was clean and lighted,that you could actually go inside and have your pic taken and the interactive electronic thingies were actually working. Although the audio-visaul room that shows the recent history of the Filipino People was closed. Most probably they are trying to save on electricity. One thing though again bothered me. The reception area was manned by a guard and they charge the museum fee without issuing an official receipt unless you asked for it and there were no flyers or anything.

Museum Fees

Adult P100
Student P30

Museum Hours

9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Open Tueday-Sunday
Close Monday