I no longer know how many times I’ve visited Cagayan province ever since I first set foot on June 2005. For more than a decade, there’s always something to experience and learn everytime I’m there despite the long bus rides. I’ve marveled at its religious heritage, was in awe of its natural wonders and always delighted in partaking its culinary offerings. And always, in my mind, I ask myself, when I should go back, especially if I’m craving for pansit batil patung. A rich religious…Continue Reading “Why I visit Cagayan province, again and again”

Bambanti Festival

It was nice to be back in Ilagan City, Isabela’s capital, up in North Luzon as we visited to witness one of the grandest celebrations in this part of the Philippines: the Bambanti Festival. I first witnessed this unique festival back in 2017, paying homage to the bambanti, or scarecrow. I was amazed at the pomp and pageantry, including the big budget productions being mounted. Being an agricultural province, the scarecrow has been an important part of the vast lands devoted to corn, tobacco and…Continue Reading “Bambanti Festival, Ilagan’s biggest celebration”

Things to do in Cotabato City

I have visited Cotabato City for a few times only, either as a transit point on my way to other places. A few hours, or overnight, but last month, I was able to go around the city, albeit briefly, again. This post is a brief introduction, though not exhaustive, of things to do in Cotabato City. A large ‘Cotabato City’ sign in white letters greets visitors passing the intersection of Sinsuat and Notre Dame Avenues. On a bright sunny day, the colorful houses and buildings…Continue Reading “Things to do in Cotabato City, a revisit”

Pakarajaan 2018

I was in awe as I entered the second floor of the wooden building. A room richly furnished and draped with yellow cloth, the Maguindanao royal color, with splashes of red, green and blue details covering the ceiling and the walls. Banig, native mats with diamond designs spread on every inch of the flooring. Brass trays crowned with colorful woven dome covers with geometric designs neatly arranged in rows. These fill the central space of a Maguindanao Sultanate throne room. Except that this is inside…Continue Reading “Experiencing ARMM thru Pakarajaan 2018”

Sebucal, Oroquieta City

The invitation from Councilor Ruvy Alay was tempting. Visit the village of Sebucal, the last barangay of Oroquieta City, during their patron’s feast day with clergymen, lay ministers and city officers.  There will be a mass, distribution of food and supplies and activities done by locals. Although I was a bit concerned about the initial brief: 8 hours walk to the village, being more concerned about my knee, Councilor Alay’s assurance that there are seniors who will also be doing the trip assuaged me a…Continue Reading “A journey to Sebucal, Oroquieta’s farthest and remote barangay”