Monday, April 27, 2015

Misamis Occidental Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona
Tourist Attractions
Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago (Cotta) in Ozamis City. This fort is an officially declared historical landmark. It was built in 1756 by Jesuit Fr. Jose Ducos as defense against marauding Muslim pirates.

Bukagan Hill
Bukagan Hill in Malaubang, Ozamis City. Atop this 92-meter hill are four massive bells named “St. Peter”, “St. Marien”, “St. Joseph” and “St. Michael.” The bells were intended for the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. However, the bells were too heavy at 7 tons for the cathedral's belfry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Misamis Oriental Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
Sagpulon Falls
Sagpulon Falls
Sagpulon Falls. Located in Barangay San Isidro, Jasaan. Although the business interest that once operated here has left and the gazebos and pools are in desrepair, the falls itself is very majestic and worth the motorcycle ride and short hike. 

Divine Mercy Shrine
Divine Mercy Shrine is a Catholic monument in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. It features a 15.24 metre statue of Jesus as the Divine Mercy as the focal point of the Divine Mercy Hills, a tract of land overlooking Macajalar Bay on the large southern island of Mindanao.

The nine-hectare land for the Shrine was purchased for a nominal amount and the complex was paid for by donations. The shrine was completed in 2008 and serves as a pilgrimage site for Divine Mercy devotees
Divine Mercy Shrine

Migtugsok Falls
Migtugsok Falls is located at barangay Cugman and it is composed of five beautiful cascading waters, where the beauty of nature could be experienced, unexploited by the carelessness of human search for progress and development.
Abaga Falls

Abaga Falls is one of the waterfalls located in Barangay San Francisco de Asis.

Misamis Occidental is a province of the Philippines located in the Northern Mindanao region. Shaped like a collapsible fan, it is bounded on the northeast by the Mindanao Sea, on the east by the Iligan Bay, on the southeast by the Panguil Bay, and on the west by the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. The province consists 14 municipalities and 3 component cities with Oroquieta City as the provincial capital.

The province of Misamis was originally inhabited by Subanons who were an easy target by the sea pirates from Lanao. The name “Misamis” is believed to have been derived from the Subano word “Kuyamis” which is a variety of sweet coconut – the staple food of the early settlers of the place. Upon the arrival of the Spanish settlers, the word “Kuyamis” easily gave way to the more conviently pronounced but corrupted word “Misamis”.

The dense population along the coast of the province consists mainly of migrants from Cebu and Bohol, thus the major dialects are Cebuano and Boholano. Subanon, pronounced “Subanen”, is the dialect used mostly by the members of the Subanon Tribe. Most residents can also speak Tagalog and English.

The fact that three of Misamis Occidental’s boundaries are bodies of water makes fishing as one of its main industries. It has 169 kilometers of coastline fronting the rich fishing grounds of Panguil and Iligan Bays. The province also has the biggest area of brackish-water fishponds in the region. Tangub City is a fishing port in Panguil Bay famous for seafoods. Misamis Occidental’s chief crops are coconut and rice. Coconuts are processed into oil, desiccated coconut and coir, most of which are shipped to Cebu.

The most visible tourist spot in Misamis Occidental is without doubt the Dolphin Island or the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). Dolphin Island is an offshore man-made island inhabited by dolphins of various species. Visitors don’t just enjoy feeding the dolphins but are also allowed to swim with the dolphins.

Of course, there’s more to Misamis Occidental than Dolphin Island. Tangub City is home to the best Christmas lights decoration every yuletide season earning the title as the “Christmas Capital of Mindanao.” Cultural attractions in the province include the Pipe Organ from Germany, housed at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, which is the biggest of its kind in Mindanao and the second biggest in the Philippines.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Masbate Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
Ticao Island
Ticao Island is one of the three major islands of Masbate province in the Philippines. The other two major islands are Masbate Island (3,290 km²) and Burias Island (424 km²).

The island is divided into the municipalities of Batuan, Monreal, San Fernando and its mother-town, San Jacinto.

Sombrero Island
Sombrero Island is the place for those who want to beat the crowds, relax and have an amazing experience in a true paradise. During your stay at Sombrero Island you will be able to relax on a white sand beach, and swim in crystal clear waters. In the evening you can stargaze, have a few drinks and even observe seas turtles. As you will see in the video on this page, Sombrero Island has been featured on national news. It is known as a nature lovers paradise, and it’s here for your enjoyment.
Tinalisayan Islets

Tinalisayan Islets is a islands and is located in Province of Masbate, Bicol, Philippines. The estimate terrain elevation above seal level is -9999 metres. Variant forms of spelling for Tinalisayan Islets or in other languages: Tinalisayan Island, Tinalisayan Islets, Tinalisayan Island, Tinalisayan Islets.

Catandayagan Falls
Catandayagan Falls. It is a picturesque tourist destination where you have to rent a boat from nearby Donsol, Sorsogon or Monreal, Masbate. You can swim underneath the waterfalls itself and legends state that there is a Huge Sea Monster living beneath the waterfall but it is not proven. The legend has been created to scare off kids on a nearby village so that they won’t swim near Catandayagan Falls.

The Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary in Masbate is definitely a huge part of the region’s allure.

Buntod Sandbar and Reef
Marine Sanctuary
Between the seawaters of Barangay Nursery and Barangay Tugbo lies the Buntod Sandbar and Marine Sanctuary. It is a 250-hectare white sandbar that was first established in 2001 to protect it and the adjacent coral reefs from the illegal fishing that used to be rampant in the area. Now the site is recognized as one of the top marine sanctuaries in the country.

The Buntod Marine Sanctuary is home to unique marine life forms and beautiful coral gardens, making it an ideal diving spot. The sand bar has nipa huts on stilts that serve as cottages that are perfect for guests who want to have picnics. The cooking and dining areas have grills, and also provide a gorgeous view of the sea.

Masbate is an island province located in the Bicol Region and lies at the center of the Philippine archipelago. It consists of three major islands: Masbate, Ticao and Burias. The province is subdivided into 20 municipalities and 1 city which is Masbate City, the provincial capital. Masbate is bounded on the north by Burias and Ticao Pass, on the east by San Bernardino Strait, on the south by the Visayan Sea and on the west by the Sibuyan Sea.

The people of Masbate predominantly speak Bisakol and Masbateño or Minasbate, a dialect unique to the province. Some Visayan languages with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Hiligaynon are also spoken in the province. In Burias Island, the people speak Bicol similar to that of the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s proximity to Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Filipino.

About 85% of Masbate’s populations are Catholics. Devotional practices such as the rosary, novenas to saints, and other religious manifestations such as processions, the misa de gallo and Holy Week traditional activities are still very much part of the way of life of most parishioners of the province.

Masbate is classified as a first class province. It is endowed with rich natural resources. In line with its agriculture are industries such as large farming, livestock and poultry raising. Fishing predominates along its coastal areas where all kinds of commercial species of fish swarm in great abundance. Copra is the leading product, followed by rice, corn and rootcrops. Cottage industry, such as furniture and cabinet making, ceramics, garments, handicrafts and metalcrafts, is likewise another source of livelihood for the people.

The province is one of the richest in the country in terms of mineral resources. It is described by geologists as a province sitting on a “pot of gold.” Mineral resources found in the area include copper, silver, iron, manganese, chromite, limestone, guano and carbon.

Masbate is one of the hidden treasures of the Philippines with its undisturbed natural reefs and resorts. Many tourists visit the province and experience the hidden beauty of the natural white sand beaches and clear blue water. There are many beach resorts near Masbate City and Ticao Island. It is truly a tropical paradise for tourist looking for scenic sunsets and tropical gardens and waterfalls.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marinduque Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
White Beach is located in Barangay Poctoy in the municipality of Torrijos. 

This is one of the finest beaches in the Marinduque Island. It is surrounded by crystal clear blue waters and fine sand. Local fish caught are often sold along the beachfront.

Tres Reyes Islands is also known as the “Three Kings” – a chain of three islands off Gasan coast where the main island is named “Gaspar Island”. 

It is famous for its pure white sand and clear blue waters perfect for diving. Gaspar Island can be reached only by boat.

The Bathala Caves are one of the popular tourist sites of Marinduque Island. This massive cave system can be found in the mountains of Santa Cruz on private property. 

To get to the caves, you must ask the property owner for permission and they usually charge a small fee. It is best to visit the caves with a tour guide as there are rugged landscapes and terrain that needed to be hurdled. 

The Caves offer a fantastic view, especially during sunset and sunrise when one of the caves in the system named “Cathedral Cave” lights up entirely, showing off its amazing lines. Another must-see is the “Python Cave” known to house a multitude of snakes.

Red Mountain is the site of the Battle of Pulang Lupa during the Philippine-American War. It takes a long hike to reach the top, and once you’re there, a full 360 degree view of the surrounding Marinduque Area and valleys await you. 

The mountain got its name “Red Mountain” as attributed to the amount of bloodshed in the fierce battle involving Filipino and American forces during the War.

Bellarocca Island is situated off the south west coast of the Marinduque province. 

Bellarocca is the newest first class resort and spa in the island and its structure was honed from the famous Santorini, Greece. 

You can reach the resort by renting a private van which takes approximately 40-minute travel from Lipata town to Buenavista. From Buenavista, a 5-minute boat ride will take you to the resort proper.

Marinduque is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region in Luzon. It is a heart-shaped island between Tayabas Bay in the north and Sibuyan Sea to the south. The province is located southwest of Quezon, east of Mindoro, and north of Romblon. Some of the smaller islands to the northeast which belong to Marinduque are Polo Island, Maniwaya Island, and Mompong Island. Marinduque is subdivided into 6 municipalities and 218 barangays with the municipality of Boac as the provincial capital.

The highest peak in Marinduque is Mt. Malindig, a potentially active volcano with an elevation of 1,157 meters. The island has two major seasons – dry season from November through February and the rainy season from June through October, with a transitional period in between.

Marinduqueños are of Tagalog origin and speak Tagalog. But the Tagalog spoken in the province is an old variation of the language that is very close to the way Tagalog was spoken before the Spanish colonization. According to language experts, the Tagalog dialects of Marinduque are the most divergent, especially the Eastern Marinduque dialect, perhaps due to the relative isolation from the Tagalogs of Luzon and also perhaps due to the influence of the Visayan and Bicol migrants.

Marinduqueños are said to be very hospitable in nature and are very welcoming. One such custom reflecting this is the putong or tubong, which is a custom of welcoming and honoring friends and visitors. The honorees are seated and crowned with flowers while local women dance and sing for them. Other well-wishers throw coins and flower petals for long life.

Marinduque is an agricultural province, primarily growing rice and coconuts. Fishing is also an important part of the economy. The province is also a place for handicrafts that are now being exported to different parts of the world. Mining was once an important industry until a mining accident, the Marcopper Mining Disaster, occurred which brought the industry to decline in the island and causing countless amounts of damage to the people and the island.

Tourism also plays a major role in the economy of the province especially during Lenten season. Marinduque prides itself in being the “Lenten Capital of the Philippines.” During the seven days of the Holy Week, the people of the island take part in the age-old ritual of the “Moriones.” Colorful warrior costumes are worn topped with finely carved masks depicting the fierce Roman soldiers of Christ’s time.

Maguindanao Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
A marine sanctuary in Parang, it is spending for swimming, recreation and scuba diving. 

Swim with exotic and colorful fishes and discover the beauty and importance of the coral reefs. Delightfully breathtaking and educating experiences that will surely make you appreciate nature’s bount.

One of the manifestations of our nature’s wonder, the hot spring, can be found in Datu Odin Sinsuat. 

The warm water that gushes forth from the spring provide the wholesome pleasure and relaxation.

Beneath the vast forest that covers the mountain of Maguindanao Province, numerous waterfalls and caves will astound you. Discover and explore those wondrous nature’s bounty. KIGA, RUMAGUNRONG, BUSAY AND TABUAN FALLS in Upi, Maguindanao; BANGANAN FALLS in Barira, Maguindanao; ABAGA, BUBULUDTUWA AND BUCAL FALLS in Matanog, Maguindanao; BUNGCOG, TINUNGKAAN AND KINDAL CAVES in Upi, Maguindanao. 

Maguindanao is a province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It is composed of 36 municipalities, which are further subdivided into 492 barangays with Shariff Aguak as the provincial capital. Maguindanao is bounded on the north by Lanao del Sur, on the west by Ilana Bay, on the east by Cotabato and on the south by Sultan Kudarat.

On November 22, 1972, the province of Maguindanao was created when North Cotabato was divided into three provinces (Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato) by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 341. In 1989, Maguindanao joined the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by virtue of Republic Act No. 6734.

On November 23, 2009, the Maguindanao Massacre, also known as the Ampatuan Massacre after the town where the mass graves were found, occurred. While the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu for 2010 gubernatorial election, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Fifty-eight people were killed including Mangundadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the caravan. The massacre was considered as the single deadliest event for journalists in history because at least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre. 

The Maguindanaos, which literally means “People of the Flood Plain”, comprise 60% of the population. They are mostly rice farmers and they produce fine brassware, malongs and mats. They practice “kaingin” or slash and burn farming, do some hunting and weave attractive baskets and handbags made of “nito” and rattan. They are divided into coastal, river and mountain groups who live in communal households and practice polygamy and have an effective indigenous legal system. 

Maguindanao and Cebuano are the major dialects spoken in the province. Subdialects include T’boli, Manobo and Tiruray. The province has evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. The hottest months are April to June.

Maguindanao grow a variety of crops, trap fish, and obtain wild foods and other materials from the marshes for their subsistence. Wet rice is grown in the lowlands, and dry rice and corn are farmed in the upland areas. Tubers, including yams and sweet potatoes, are among the staple crops of the province. Vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, and beans are also harvested in abundance. Many kinds of fruits are common in the province, including bananas, mangoes, guavas and durians.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Leyte Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
San Juanico Bridge
Location: Crossing over San Juanico Strait, connects Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City (Leyte side) and Sta. Rita town (Samar side) approximately 10 minutes from Tacloban City; accessible by passenger jeepneys, buses, motorcabs and private vehicles.

Attraction: Longest and most beautifully designed bridge in the Philippines; picturesque San Juanico Strait with a thousand whirlpools; lovely islets; picturesque views.

Lake Danao
Location: Ormoc City, 125 kms. from Tacloban City

Attraction: A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 kms. long; hemmed by cloud-capped mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter's paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas 
Location: Towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pump boat ride.

Attraction: Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground. breathtakingly beautiful sunset on summer evenings; museum for specimen on wildlife. 

Leyte is a province of the Philippines and is the largest and oldest among the provinces in the Eastern Visayas Region. It is bounded on the north by the Province of Biliran, on the east by the San Juanico Strait and the island of Samar, on the west by the Visayas and Ormoc Sea and Southern Leyte to its south. The province is subdivided into 40 municipalities and three cities. Tacloban City is the provincial capital.

Leyte has a colorful history. It is one of the provinces where the early seeds of nationalism were planted. Their ancestors were among the first to welcome the Spaniards but they were also among the first to resist the invaders. But it was the World War II which placed Leyte on the world map. On October 20, 1944, General Mac Arthur, at the head of the largest US fleet of transport and warships, and accompanied by Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña and General Carlos P. Romulo, landed on Palo, Leyte to regain the Philippines from the Japanese. 

The people of Leyte are divided into two main groups, primarily by language: the Waray-Waray on the north and east, and the Cebuanos who live on the western side. The province has two types of climate. The climate on the eastern part is characterized by very pronounced rainfall from November to January. The western portion, on the other hand, has rainfall that is more or less distributed throughout the year. 

The economy of Leyte depends on agriculture. The lower flatter areas especially those around Tacloban produce rice, hemp, copra, corn, sugarcane and tobacco, while the more mountainous areas yield rattan and timber. The province is also the site of the largest geothermal plant in Asia, making it one of the resources rich provinces of the Philippines. 

Leyte is a showcase of rich history and culture. The provincial government has organized cultural festivals for tourism promotion. Among these is the Leyte Kasadya-an Festival which showcases the unique culture and colorful history of the province thru a colorful and vibrant dance-drama parade and ritual dance. Kasadya-an means merrymaking and gaiety. Another festival in the province is the Pinatados Festival of Tacloban held every June 30 in honor of the miraculous Señor Sto Nino de Leyte. The festival showcases their ancestors’ ancient practice of body painting and how they became Christians. 

The presence of natural allures, rich culture and rare historical landmarks makes Leyte an ideal travel destination for local and foreign tourists, and a possible site for tourism-related investments.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lanao del Sur, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
Torogans and Sambitory old Building
The feeling of the unique natural setting of the Maranao in Marawi City is manifested by the presence of many large "Torogans", antique, royal, high roofed, houses of Maranao with carving designs.

Beautiful Rolling Hills and Mountains
They are found in Marawi City. Signal hill, Arumpac hill and Mt. Mupo are considered beautiful but mysterious places. 

Angoyao hills served as a natural watch over tower over the waters of the Lake Lanao. Mt. Mupo is known for its perfect cone shape as well as its virgin forests.

Lake Lanao in Marawi lies in the rolling terrain commanding majestic view of the fascinating Lake Lanao. 

The 2nd largest and deepest lake in the Philippines.

Agus River. Located in between Saduc and Lilod, Marawi City. It is considered as the swiftest river in the country. 

Its famous cataract is the Maria Cristina Falls, outlet of Lake Lanao to Illana Bay.

Lanao del Sur is one of the provinces of the Philippines and is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It forms the western portion of Northern Mindanao and is bounded on the north by Lanao del Norte, on the east by Bukidnon, on the west by Illana Bay, and on the south by Maguindanao and Cotabato. The province is subdivided into 39 municipalities and 1 city, Marawi which the capital. Marawi City is now the only chartered city in the country with predominantly Muslim population.

Lanao del Sur has a cool and pleasant climate characterized by even distribution of rainfall throughout the year, without a distinct summer season. It is relatively dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. It is outside the typhoon belt of the country. Mt. Butig is the highest peak which is located in the southern part of the province.

Lanao comes from the word ranao which means “lake” because the life of its people centers on Lake Lanao, the second largest and deepest lake in the Philippines which is found at the center of the province. Thus, Lanao is the land of the Maranaos, the “people of the lake.” Lake Lanao is one of the breathtakingly beautiful spots in the province. It is surrounded with myths and legends. Marawi City offers a magnificent view of the lake.

Because of its fertile agricultural lands and good typhoon-free climate, the province is ideal for high value commercial crops such as rubber, cacao, coffee, sweet corn and other fruits and vegetables. Goat and cattle raising have great potential not only for domestic consumption but also for export.

The native Maranaos of Lanao del Sur have fascinating culture which is best manifested in Marawi City by the presence of many large torogans, the Maranao houses, which are characterized by an antique royal high roof with curved designs. The Aga Khan Museum located within Mindanao State University stores Maranao and other Moro artifacts. It prides itself for its huge collection of indigenous art and cultural materials, ethnic music, native tools and weapons used by the Muslims.

The native wear of Maranao women is the malong which is worn as a shirt or dress, used to cover the head or as a blanket. It can be geometric, floral, violet, purple, green, red or yellow in color.

Lanao del Norte Province, Philippines

Tourist Attractions
Timoga Springs is a group of springs located at Timoga-Buru-un, in Iligan City, Philippines. It is well known for icy-cool, crystal-clear springs that flow freely to swimming pools of different sizes. There are approximately five spring resorts along the highway, which is easily accessible by land to all locals and tourists.

The source of water of Timoga Springs comes from Lake Lanao in the only Islamic city in the Philippines--Marawi City, Lanao del Sur—which is 37 kilometers away. Lake Lanao waters come from a volcanic source, the lake being the crater of an extinct volcano. These waters are filtered subterraneally in the Timoga, Buru-un area of Iligan, making it one of the richest source of fresh, high pH, alkaline mineral water.

Maria Cristina Falls is a waterfall of the Agus River on the island of Mindanao. It is sometimes called the "twin falls" as the flow is separated by a rock at the brink of the waterfall. It is a landmark of Iligan City, nicknamed the City of Majestic Waterfalls, because of the presence of more than 20 waterfalls in the city. It is located 9.3 kilometers away southwest of the city proper at the boundaries of Barangays Maria Cristina, Ditucalan, and Buru-un. Well known for its natural beauty and grandeur, the 320 - feet (98 meters) high waterfall is also the primary source of electric power for the city's industries, being harnessed by the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.

Cathedral Falls is located in Barangay Waterfalls, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.  It is well-known of its unique and captivating rock formations.

Limunsudan Falls is a two-tiered waterfall located in Sitio Limunsudan Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City, in the province of Lanao del Norte, Philippines, 55 kilometers away from the City proper. It is said to be the Philippines' highest waterfall with the height of 870 feet, with the lower part cascading alone higher than the Maria Cristina Falls.

The Limunsudan Falls, bounded on the east by Barangay Dagonalan; on the south by Barangay Bago-ah Ingud; on the west by Sitio Tamboacar, southwest by Sitio Lumbac-ah Ingud, and south by Angadun (Dar Al-Raaha), all of Barangay Bayog, all of the Municipality of Tagoloan II, Province of Lanao del Sur.

Sta. Cruz Falls of Kapatagan is said to be mysteriously enthralling as it is located about 4-5 kilometers away from the highway where one must be brave enough to trek for almost two hours of unpaved terrains, natural up and down slopes, climbing on a mossy and slippery hill, rocky grounds, and even wrestle to several river flows just to reach the waterfall of fascination.

It is one grand spot that molded by Mother Nature and untouched by human modernization is the waterfall located in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.

Lanao del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Northern Mindanao region. The province is composed of 22 municipalities and 1 independent city which is Iligan City. The provincial capital is the municipality of Tubod. Lanao del Norte is a rugged province that ranges from the coastal shorelines in the north to the high plateaus and mountains in the south. It has also diverse flora and fauna.

The term Lanao is derived from a Maranao word “Ranao” meaning a body of water. “Maranao” means lake dweller. They are the natives of the place and they occupy the area around Lake Lanao, which is situated at the central part of Lanao del Sur. Lanao applies to the entire area before its division through Republic Act No. 2228. This Act divided Lanao into two provinces giving birth to Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. The new province was inaugurated on July 4, 1959 making Iligan City as the capital. In 1977, however, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Resolution No. 805 into Presidential Decree 181 transferring the province’s capital from Iligan City to the municipality of Tubod. 

The economy of Lanao del Norte is predominantly based on agriculture and fishing. Factories are mostly based in Iligan City. The province is the home of Agus Power Plants which supply the power needs of some parts of Mindanao. Tourism is also a growing economy in the province.

The people of Lanao del Norte are a mixture of Maranaos and Cebuanos. Historically, immigrants who came from the Christian provinces of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon tend to settle in the Northern part of Lanao while the Maranaos inhabited the south. 

The Maranao is an ethnic group of Malay descent. They settled in the area long before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines. They possess their own culture and civilization which makes them quite unique. Their language, customs, traditions, religion, social system, costumes, music and other features are factors that make Lanao peculiar and distinct from other Philippine provinces. 

The province is home to many majestic falls. Iligan City alone has over 20 waterfalls – no wonder, it is nicknamed the City of Majestic Waterfalls. The province of Lanao del Norte beat with cultural diversity of gentle and proud people. Truly, the province is a window into the soul of the often misunderstood Mindanao.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Laguna Province, Philippines

Tourist Attractions
Pagsanjan Falls (indigenous name: Magdapio Falls) is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. Located in the province of Laguna, the falls is one of the major tourist attractions of the region. The three-drop waterfall is reached by a river trip on dugout canoe, known locally as Shooting the rapids, originating from the municipality of Pagsanjan. The falls can also be reached from the top by a short hike from Cavinti.

The boat ride has been an attraction since the Spanish Colonial Era with the oldest written account in 1894. The town of Pagsanjan lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Balanac River and the Bumbungan River (also known as the Pagsanjan River).

The main falls of Pagsanjan are actually located within the boundaries of Cavinti, Laguna, but the more popular access by canoes originates from the town of Pagsanjan. An unsuccessful move by the ruling body of the town of Cavinti was submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan (legislature of municipalities in the Philippines) on February 10, 2009 proposing the renaming of the falls to Cavinti Falls.

Taytay Falls is a two-story high waterfall which others call it as the Majayjay Falls and even the Imelda Falls. The reason why it has so many names is because of its rich background. Its famous name is actually Taytay Falls but since it is located at Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna, people has started calling it Majayjay Falls. Another story is, it got its other name (which is Imelda Falls) from the First Lady of the late Ferdinand Marcos named Imelda Marcos, as she financed the promotion of tourism in this place and because of this, there was a time where the World Bank has sponsored the promotion of tourism in Taytay Falls.

Hidden Valley Spring has more that a hundred natural spring of varying temperatures surfaced and are composed of pure mineral waters.

Laguna is notable for being the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero. The province is subdivided into 26 municipalities and 4 cities. Santa Cruz is the provincial capital. Laguna lies in the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. In the southern border of Laguna are Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw, both are long dormant volcanoes but are still sources of geothermal energy.

Laguna got its name from the Spanish word lago, which means lake or lagoon because the province completely surrounds Laguna de Bay. In 1571, Spanish-Mexican soldiers and many Visayan allies conquered the province and its surrounding regions for Spain. In 1578, Franciscan missionaries started evangelizing Laguna.

The natives of the province proved loyal to the Spanish crown but their loyalty gradually deteriorated into bitter hostility because of the grave abuses by the colonizers especially those of the clergy. Towards the end of the century, the persecution of Jose Rizal and his family aggravated the situation and caused thousands of inhabitants to join the revolutionary Katipunan. Laguna was one of the eight provinces to first revolt against Spanish misrule. The province was cleared of Spaniards when the last Spanish garrison surrendered to the victorious patriots in Santa Cruz on August 31, 1898.

Laguna is endowed with abundant natural resources. Their forests are filled with bamboo, rattan and hardwood. Its vast fields are ideal for growing rice, coconuts, vegetables, tropical fruits, orchids, and other ornamental flowers and exotic plants. The province is also rich in mineral resources such as clay, jasper and basalt glass. In the forests of Mount Makiling and in the waters of Laguna de Bay exists an abundance of flora and fauna.

Laguna’s greatest natural resource is water. There are about forty rivers in Laguna and an estimated 300 million US gallons of underground water, capable of generating energy for Laguna’s expanding power needs.

Laguna is famous among tourists for the Pagsanjan Falls, the University of the Philippines Campus and the hot spring resorts in Los Baños in the slopes of Mount Makiling. Other famous attractions in the province are the Pila Town Plaza, Taytay Falls, Majayjay, the wood carvings and papier mache created by the people of Paete, the turumba of Pakil, the Seven Lakes of San Pablo City and the Hidden Valley Springs in Calauan.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

La Union Province, Philippines

Tourist Attractions 
The Surfing Capital of Northern 
La Union is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. It is subdivided into 19 municipalities and 1 city. San Fernando City is the administrative, educational, and financial center of the province and region. The province is bounded by Ilocos Sur on the north and northeast, Benguet on the east, Pangasinan on the south, and the China Sea on the west. La Union has a predominantly hilly terrain which gradually rises eastward from the shore.

La Union was carved from the 9 towns of Pangasinan, 3 of Ilocos Sur and villages of Cordilleras. It was formally created by a Royal Decree issued by Queen Isabela of Spain on April 18, 1854. The name La Union indicates the union of towns from different provinces.

Bauang, La Union Surfing
Ninety-three percent of the population of La Union is Ilocano and is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. There are also communities of Pangasinense in the south and Igorots in the Cordillera foothills. A substantial part of Chinese-Filipinos can be found in the province’s commercial center. La Union has two pronounced seasons – dry from November to April, and wet from May to October.

The main sources of livelihood in La Union are farming and fishing. The principal products are rice, corn, tobacco, garlic, sugarcane and cassava. Grapes are also grown extensively in the province. Cottage industries include blanket-weaving, basketry, shellcraft, pottery and furniture-making. La Union is also known for its “basi”, the native wine made from fermented sugarcane juice.
Macho Temple

La Union is rising as an important surfing destination next to Siargao and thus, appropriately nicknamed “The Surfing Capital of Northern Philippines”. Stretches of white and gray-sand beaches can be seen along the towns. Among these are the Bauang Beach, the San Juan Beach, the San Francisco-Canaoay-Pagudpud Beach and the Agoo-Damortis National Seashore Park.

Aside from surfing and beautiful beaches, La Union is also known for its Botanical Gardens in San Fernando City which showcases different pavilions in its ten-hectare facility with flora and fauna that are indigenous only to the Philippines.
La Union Botanical Garden
and Science Museum

La Union also celebrates its annual festivals like the Agoo Semana Santa which depicts the Stations of the Cross thru life-sized statues that are pulled by devotees along the processional roads during the Good Friday procession. Other events in the province are the Rambak Festival, the Feast of Our Lady of Caysasay and the San Fernando Fiesta.