I just received the Lonely Planet Travel Journal, a 2008 Australian calendar and a beautiful rubber keychain from Nina as prize for her recently concluded contest. She also included a beautiful postcard of four landmarks of Melbourne, Australia. Nina, again, thank you very much for the opportunity of winning as well as picking my entry.

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map_laoag.gif Laoag City in Ilocos Norte is all aglow during December. The plaza in front of the Provincial Capitol is all decked out in lights and Christmas decorations featuring native as well as recycled materials.

But more than that, the province’s well known landmark, the massive belfry of St. William’s Cathedral, lording it all, is lit up.

What an imposing sight!

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Continue Reading "Laoag City is aglow on Christmas"

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map_mati.gif Mati, being the capital of Davao Oriental is the main economic hub of this southeastern province. I know this place as more of a transit point for trips going up to the coastal municipalities than as a tourist destination. Being stuck and with nothing much to do here, what better way to kill time and enjoy than to go for a swim?

Located a few kilometers south is Masao Beach with floating kiosks. The water is clean and shallow, white sand bottom and with patches of sea grass. Its far from the main road and will guarantee a quite time. You can either bring your food or have it cooked.

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Continue Reading "Nothing to do in Mati? Go for a swim!"

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map_mati.gif On an ordinary day, the highway leading to the municipality of Gov. Generoso in the middle of the western side of the long and narrow peninsula of Davao Oriental is lonely. Except perhaps for the occasional bus or private vehicle traveling to Mati, the province’s capital or to Tagum in Davao del Norte. Sometimes, a habalhabal, a motorized public transport, passes filled with passengers. And on other times, local people going about their way walking on foot along the roadsides.

Fishermen going about their business casting their nets or cruising at sea provides a welcome respite to the roadside scenery monotony. Just a few minutes after the sun has set behind Samal Is. and stopping at an elevated area with a clearing overlooking the sea, you can find folks wading in the still and shallow waters. At the background, the lofty mountains of Compostela Valley loom.

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Gov. Generoso is a small sleepy town. Lazy afternoons are spent at the coast. Atop docked boats, these two women are busy preening.

Continue Reading "The lonely road to Gov. Generoso"