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Showing posts with label CouchSurfing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CouchSurfing. Show all posts

Philippine World Heritage Sites: How Do We Conserve These?

“Heritage is a legacy from our past, what we live today and what we pass to the future generations.” says Boj, speaking in front of a community of travelers under Couchsurfing Manila. He is a fellow Filipino doing an internship with UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and taking up his Masters degree in Urban Planning – National Park Planning & World Heritage Site Management in Peking University, China. The purpose of his talk is to raise awareness of our cultural and natural heritage. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized branch of UN (United Nations) with 3 major programs: conservation of world heritage sites, safeguarding of intangible culture and promotion of cultural industries and expression.

How the Heck I Spent My Birthday in Cebu

This is the weirdest birthday I've ever spent in my life so far! I went to another place, did not take a single photo and spent with 2 other people whom each of us just met for the first time and had only 24 hours to spend as the next day I have to go back to Manila to work.To escape the pressures of my 28th birthday, I decided to spend it away so I booked a flight to Cebu and thinking to go to  Bohol as well. ALONE. Yes Alone. Well, I was dreaming of spending this especial day with somebody but I have no courage to take that first move to invite nor not even sure if I will be granted. "You crazy Rona! You'll spend only 24 hrs there and get back here?" says my friends. "Yeah, why not?" I answered. This is the first time I went to Cebu/Bohol without friends and no knowledge of where to go, I used Couchsurfing - a travel website and sent a group message in a forum for Cebu and asked what to do where to stay yadda yadda! I got decent answers and one sent me a message and offered me to show around the place. 

Cool! His name is Mike to my surprise, he isn't a local but an American who's been living here in the Philippines for 8 years. Ok, I will be toured around my own country by a foreigner!  "So any ideas where I can have a nice and affordable hotel?" I asked. "You can stay at my place". He quickly replied. I freezed for a while.  "There is another American girl who will be staying in my place as well. So there is nothing to worry about."  

6PM FEB 20 Landed in Cebu and we first met at Jo's Chicken Inato. They have very affordable steaks and the buko - halo. It is like a halo-halo inside a buko. I was kinda shy when I first met them but after a few minutes we're like starting to chat non-stop! Mike's place is in Mountain View, Busay which is like halfway to the hill and the view is MESMERIZING either daytime or night time. Promise. I swear. So we went up using his motorcycle in Cebu since the place has more terrains, people use motorcycle they call as habal-habal. 

12MN FEB 21 I was in tears but I try not to show to them. Was wondering who was thinking of me by that time and remembering it is my birthday. They knew it was my birthday so they brought me out for some drinks. We went to Mango Square street where there are some decent bars we tried. They ordered Red horse - a strong beer, me I choose something light - like San Mig light! Cristin has been to 43 countries while Mike has been to a lot as well. He knows how to speak Tagalog and Cebuano dialect but his accent remains very slang. He knows the customs and traditions and some What-to-tell-and-rather-not-tell about our culture. I feel like I am being hosted by a local!  He said that Manila and Cebu are like two countries very much alike but competing to each other. We danced. We got lost. Cristin disappeared. We looked for her. Then they couldn't find me. I couldn't find them either... we got lost inside a small dance floor!

4AM FEB 21 We went back or should I say up to Mike's house. Everyone is tipsy. We slept in one room like there is no tomorrow.

9AM FEB 21 Thank you to the light beers, I was able to wake up this early. I knew it. Had I chose the strong one, I would have been like Cristin still sleeping and snoring. Ooops sorry Cristin. Peace :) Mike is awake. He told me I am wasting my time If I stay in his place I should go out and see Cebu. So I went down the hill and ride in habal-habal. I will have another post of what are the places I've been. I was running out of time and decided not  to go to Bohol. Will be a different trip.

5PM FEB 21 Mike is texting me where am I. He said he wanted to show me around in his bike but cannot leave Cristin who is yeah still sleeping. He said he can't leave her that way. She's got a hang over. 

6PM FEB 21 Cristin is awake. Yehey! I waited for them to go down and we ate at this Italian Restaurant near Ayala IT Park. 

8PM FEB 21 We went up to Mike's house. They talked about travelling. I have nothing much to share never been to a foreign country. They are talking each holding a world map as long as an arm length. Cristin will be going to Bohol the next day for a few days and will explore Philippines in two months!

9PM, 10PM... 11PM FEB 21 My heart is starting to feel heavy. As I know I have to start packing my things up for my flight in a few hours. 

12MN FEB 22 "I HATE SAYING GOODBYE" I said to them. Time is too short! I catched a habal-habal ride again to go down. We parted and hugged each other lightly.

4AM FEB 22 Plane takes off. Me in a dramatic mood. Wondering If  I was ever remembered by that somebody at this very special day of my life. I lost my phone. Only a few knows my new number. No 
greeting on my Facebook wall as well. I got a hundred plus greetings already but I was only looking for that one greeting. Sigh! 

7AM FEB 22 I am back in my place. I slept and woke up at 2PM. Mike texted reminded me he left a reference in Couchsurfing. It is a courteous act after you met through that website that you share the experiences and what you learned etc. I replied to him and said I will do the same as soon as I am online. Since I have no photos in Cebu,  all I can show is our references to each other we left. I am back in Manila, back to reality. Just like nothing happened...

Come With Me to Laoag and Vigan! Jan. 23 - 26

Me and Annie from Canada I met in Couchsurfing in Intramuros
Vigan is one of the few Hispanic towns in the Philippines well-known for its cobblestone streets and a World Heritage site. So having said that and me being an "old-fashioned" or I rather call it as classic (para sosyal!) and loves seeing capiz window shells and heritage and stuff I decided to backpack to Vigan.  "You sure you are going there? There is no night life there. And I'm sure there is no chance of meeting hunks with flashy abs there. " says my friends. "That is why I wanna go there to get out of Manila's noise and pollution for a while!"   It is a pity that I haven't explored my own country before and I was inspired by strangers I met in Couchsurfing: Annie & Nathan - Canada, Jose - Spain, Mike - Switzerland, Mike - US, couples Carsten - Germany & Zorah - Taiwan, Andreas and his girlfriend - Denmark and locals too many to mention  but they've been to a lot so might as well start to scour and promote my own "neighborhood" through this blog and then after go out Asia then see the world. One trip at a time...

So here is the itinerary of my travel with the help of my friend Lyn and Couchsurfers Nathan  and certain TURTLETUNNEL.                                                                                                                                                    

Jan 23 day 1 - Laoag and Paoay tour
Breakfast (malunggay pandesal / jollibee)
Lunch at Dap-ayan (empanada/pakbet/bagnet)
Batac marcos mansion and mausoleum
(waxed figure of marcos in a glass coffin)
UNESCO Heritage site Paoay church
Snack at Herencia (pinakbet pizza)
Tryke tour of Paoay lake, Malacanang of the North, 
Sand dunes, Fort Ilocandia, Tobacco field
Back to Laoag, Ride mini bus to Pagudpud/Pudian (2hrs)
Dinner (poque-poque) and  back to the Inn

Jan 24 day 2 - Pagudpud and South tour
Beach bumming at Saud beach
Tryke tour Blue Lagoon (Boracay of the north),
Bangui windmills
Cape Bojeador lighthouse
Kapurpurawan white rock formation
Back to Laoag Inn

Jan 25 day 3 - Vigan
Ride bus to Vigan (2hrs)
Kalesa tour of Pagburnayan and Ruby potteries (hands-on)
Rowilda Abel Iloko weaving factory and shop (hands-on)
Heritage village Crisologo St.
Old house/museum of Padre Burgos, 
Syquia mansion (house of former pres elpidio quirino)
Back to Laoag rest at  this Inn

Jan 26 day 4 - Market
Ilocos Museum (built by bongbong marcos)
St. williams cathedral
Laoag market for food pasalubong (korniks, bagnet, 
longganisa, sukang iloko, jmb bagoong, empanada)
Marsha's deli shop (cassava cake or brownies)
Airport depart for manila

Lyn will join me until the third day but I will be all alone the last day until I go back to Laoag airport. This itinerary can change, this is just a guide it depends on the weather or some divine intervention or any matters that could happen. This trip would be more fun if more will join :) Next month is Cebu & Bohol. So there you go anyone who wants to tag along, come along or pop along the road let me know! [Photo credited from Annie Taillon]

CouchSurfing Manila presents CouchSurfing Manila Summer Scramble 2011

Couchsurfing Manila's one of the most awaited annual event, the CS Summer Manila Scramble 2011 happened in Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park in Quezon City. At first I thought this Amazing-Race-like event will just be held within the park but I was wrong it was done all over Manila!

Twelve teams each consisting of four people and a total of 48 people walked, ran and commuted to different historical places in Manila to get clues and answers. The team that is first to finish to reach the last place by using the clues given in a paper is the winner.

Trust me but all were dead serious running and finding answers of their clues though most of them just met for the first time through that event. That's how I realized, "OMG! I'm in a real race!" We took, LRTs trains, jeepnes, buses, trikes and really lots, lot of walking and running. I have to admit the clues were really well thought of that it is not something one can guess in a matter of seconds and it is also time-bound.