Honoring one’s dead is an age old tradition among Asians. In the Philippines, it is the deep reverence and respect for ancestors that define one of Catholicism’s celebrations, All Souls’ Day marked every 2 November. Like Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) sans the pageantry, it’s a very festive occassion. Flower markets are also very active as people descend to buy bundles of blooms to be offered to their departed.

I’ve been thinking about doing this series for quite a time and so, with the end of the Cuyo Loop and as a fitting segue from my short sojourn in Masbate, I might as well feature my home province as seen from the perspective of a native son. Ahem. That might be a tall order but I’ll try. I promise, no dried fish market in Taboan. No guitars. No mangoes. No Malapascua and other known beaches that have been hogging other blogs and websites. And most of all, no cliched Taoist Temple hackneyed to death with images.

After five hours at sea and with my senses barraged with stunning seascapes off Ticao, I finally arrived in Masbate City from Pilar, Sorsogon. Its terra firma and its the first time that I’ve been here. What can I expect? Are there old churches or houses that I can visit? Colonial era fortifications and other tourist spots? With just nine hours before I leave for Cebu, I cannot really go beyond the city limits.

Soaring and sharp ridges dotted with vegetation clinging on the sheer rockface can give a sense of awe. A pale yellow limestone cliff rising up from the waters is a wonder. There are several cracks on these rock walls and many caves can be seen, its gaping maw sending a spine tingling sensation of the hidden creatures, real or imagined, that it might harbor.