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Top 10 things to do this summer, part 2 of 2

Tayabas Church in Quezon during a feast

Tayabas Church in Quezon during a feast

Performers during a Senakulo presentation in Makati City

Performers during a Senakulo presentation in Makati City

It’s already March and one thing is for sure: SUMMER IS HERE! It surely is a hot time and other than indulging oneself with cold halo halo or hitting the malls for the nth time, what better way to make these awaited vacation months worthwhile than follow a list that I’ve drawn up of top 10 things to do.

This is Part 2. Check Part 1 out.

6 Soak in to some heritage and culture
The imposing red brick wonder of Tumauini Church in Isabela just takes one’s breath away. And so does the interior of San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the oldest religious structure in the country. In many old towns, there are still many examples of bahay-na-bato houses, witnesses to the history of the place of which the ones in Vigan and to some extent, Taal in Batangas are prime example. However, those in San Miguel and Malolos, Bulacan are unique in how the exterior is embellished. In Manila, art deco edifices can still be found like the Metropolitan Theater and the Far Eastern University.

As Holy Week is near, why not join in singing the age old pasion during a pabasa? Complete the seven churches for the Visita Iglesia and witness flagellants as they do their panata or contemplate and reflect on the significance of Lent. When it comes to heritage and culture, there are just too many things to do and visit. Every town has its own history and best kept food secret as well as fiestas to attend of which the Pahiyas of Quezon comes to mind.

Know your heritage and culture, and you will know yourself.

Female dragon boat athletes practicing in Manila Bay

Female dragon boat athletes pause during a practice in Manila Bay

7 Learn a sport or a craft
The best time to learn something is now! Head to the CCP grounds in Manila and sign up for a chance to work those arms and upper body rowing on a dragon boat. Try your hand at lace making in Lumban, Laguna or if you’re feeling adventurous, the vertical cliffs of Atimonan in Quezon, Wawa in Rodriguez (Montalban) and Cantabaco in Cebu offers several rock climbing opportunities from starters to pros.

A gastronome? Join several cooking/food tours that explore the cuisine of Pampanga and other provinces. And if you want to know some kickass chops and manuevers, the escrima (stick combat) clubs in Cebu are the best places to learn.

A coconut grove near a field in Baganga, Davao Oriental

A coconut grove near a field in Baganga, Davao Oriental

8 Go back to the barrios
Learn more about your roots by spending time back at the ancestral home at the barrios in the province. Get familiar again with unvisited grandparents, cousins and relatives. Know how to climb that coconut tree, drive that kuliglig, hunt for kamaru or frogs in the fields or just have a lazy afternoon bathing at the river or sea.

If you’re still young, have that summer fling for memories that you can cherish when you get back to the city or reminisce a few years after. If it’s fiesta time, don that traditional dress and participate in the Santa Cruzan. Life in the provinces is just slow paced and unhurried and where you are wonderfully pampered.

The colorful colonial era buildings in Little India, Singapore

The colorful colonial era buildings in Little India, Singapore

The familiar double decker buses of Hong Kong

The familiar double decker buses of Hong Kong

9 Travel abroad, it broadens the mind
Nothing beats a good vacation than learning about new cultures, languages, customs and cuisines. And most of the times, you will realize that what you think is unique to the Philippines can also be found in other countries.

Southeast Asia and Hongkong are good springboards for trips and tours. No, don’t go to Disneyland. Instead, linger in the old markets and hawker stalls, marvel at the Grand Palace complex and temples in Bangkok and befriend a Thai. Try eating fried chili just like the locals do without crying a few minutes later.

When in Singapore, try not to have another shopping binge at the malls. Just walk around and be amazed that at 7 PM in the evening, it’s like late afternoon in the Philippines. If you’re being adventurous, go backpacking, solo. Take the train from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur and when there, try not to be fooled by taxi drivers who charge exorbitant fares for a long ride to a near hotel.

A volunteer putting a paint finish at a Gawad Kalinga project site in North Metro Manila

A volunteer putting a paint finish at a Gawad Kalinga project site in North Metro Manila

Now, grab the e-magazine

Now, grab the e-magazine

10 Offer your time, volunteer
It’s not all about merrymaking and pampering yourself. Give your time to a worthy cause. Help people and change lives. Volunteer! Give a hand in making one of the “benetton” houses of Gawad Kalinga, so called because of the pastel, multihued colors of the abodes. Teach young minds in rural areas or if you’re religious, May is a good opportunity for catechism classes around the country. Join outreach activities be it medical or disasters of which fires are rather common in March.

Go green and help survey whales offshore. The World Wildlife Fund can be a good starting point. Releasing turtle hatchlings can also be an enriching experience.

That’s it. Top 10 things to do this summer!

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

18 Comments

  1. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 21:54

    bai,wala man nimo gipakita ang picture sa imong uyab…..unsa man diay imong uyab?babe?lalake?

  2. estan
    March 16, 2009 @ 21:58

    bai, nahimuot ko :))

    the picture is not important. it’s about places 🙂

  3. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:03

    salamt kay nitubag ka…abi nako naglaaglaag ka…

  4. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:04

    🙂

  5. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:07

    pare….hinaot unta nga makita nimo imong gipangita nga kalipay niining kalibutan natong adunay katapusan…pero ako, mura ko ug langgam nga nibalik sa iyang karaan nga sanga sa dakong kahoy

  6. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:10

    ingon si julius caesar montano>>>i came,i saw, i conquered,and i went home…good night pare..regards lang ko ni harold labidez….remember him????

  7. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:17

    ive been to places too,but i cant make a blog about it….too traumatic…it seems like i have bad karma…always one inch away from death

  8. caesarmontano
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:19

    im not mistaken dude….dont u remember rodney ortiz????

  9. estan
    March 16, 2009 @ 22:26

    ortiz ni? ataka pud. musta na bai? maayo gani na nga naa ka mga traumatic travel experiences para exciting basahon. pero, mas importante, it can be cathartic

  10. Top 10 things to do this summer, part 1 of 2 | langyaw
    March 18, 2009 @ 16:59

    […] is Part 1. Part 2 […]

  11. The Islander
    March 18, 2009 @ 17:17

    gusto nako magvolunteer karong summer. ako pang gipangita asa ang local gawad kalinga diri.

    thanks sa tip.

  12. estan
    March 20, 2009 @ 20:41

    bai, that would be a worthwhile activity.

  13. GK
    July 27, 2009 @ 18:18

    It’s a good thing that you have included joining Gawad Kalinga. And I thought that you should know that the 1st GK Global Summit held at Boston last June 12-14 is a big and a historic success! I’m not able to be there but according to their website, there are almost almost 700 delegates from the US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Columbia and the Philippines who joined the event. This is a very good news to everyone!

  14. Chris @ nomad4ever
    November 17, 2009 @ 21:54

    I wonder why ‘traveling abroad’ is listed here. Should be common sense, no? 😉

    Cheers from Bali,

    Chris
    http://www.nomad4ever.com
    Life is what you make it!

  15. estan
    November 17, 2009 @ 22:38

    chris, well, its one of the possible things to do 😉

  16. Sealand
    January 20, 2010 @ 13:06

    Stunning photography. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Outrigger
    January 23, 2010 @ 2:32

    This is a great post. Thanks for the advice.

  18. dlorah
    December 17, 2010 @ 22:13

    oiss stan,, asa naman to caesar montano? si ortiz gyud to?
    murag di katoohan da.. btw asa nmna sad ka nasaag ron?

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