Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Untouched Paradise of Jomalig Island

The beaches of Jomalig Island are stunning and many have a hint of pinkness to them, especially at sunset
Jomalig Island lies in the Lamon Bay off the coast of Quezon Province. The island is the last in a series of islands which jut out into the Pacific Ocean. The island is a haven for those who love nature, the beauty of silence and the prospect of pure solitude. 

The word Jomalig is pronounced “humalig” for the Visayan word “to kiss”. Legend to the naming of this island is that the ancient leader of the island had a beautiful daughter. A young man from a neighboring island wanted to marry the girl but her father commanded the boy to a challenge. The boy was to spear 3 fish from all the ponds on the entire land mass. The young man took the challenge in defeat. Hopeless, he requested the beautiful girl to kiss him. The people of the island shouted “humalig” and the beautiful girl kissed the young man. This historic event is still noted today by many elders who call Jomalig Island their home. The variation of the name is due to the American variation of the word that is known today. 

Jomalig Island is located 180 kilometers east of Manila but getting there creates a bit of a challenge. Accessible by air and sea the main port and airport are in close proximity of one another near the northwestern edge of the island. The airport is meant for small private crafts and as the strip is small and short. It has only been since the 1950’s that Jomalig has been developed into plots for development. This action however did not spur any real development and the island retains no actual resorts or modern structures. 

A ferry trip to Jomalig takes a few hours as everyone must take the boat to Patnanongan Island first. From Patnanongan the connecting ferry will put you on the island of Jomalig. In all, the entire trip by boat takes around 5 hours if nothing delays you. Once on the island you can easily see why so many nature lovers come to this quaint and peaceful land. There are less than 10,000 inhabitants on Jomalig and those that come there are greeted with big smiles and friendly service. 

The beaches of Jomalig Island are stunning and many have a hint of pinkness to them, especially at sunset. Two beaches are noted as popular destinations, Kanaway and Salibungot. The pinkness on these beaches is due to a stunning corals that hug the sea floors around Jomalig and are special to this island. Those that love their time on the beach will also love snorkeling, diving and even surfing. This hidden little treasure of an island is fun for all and unique in ways that are untold to the world. Many photographs have been taken on Kanaway beach as the sands are naturally sculpted in ripples which make for a beautiful photo opportunity for anyone. 

The island of Jomalig is not for everyone as most will have to sleep in tents along the shorelines as there are very few places to stay. Those that come to the island should find a local guide to take them to the stunning waters of Bigwangan Lake. Electric is only available from 5pm to 1am as it is generated by diesel power

Talisoy is the most populated of towns throughout the island. Here a wet market selling fresh fish and vegetables will give anyone a good supply on their stay in Jomalig Island. Those camping out on Jomalig beaches should speak with the local government before doing so. This island is very friendly and no issues are noted other than those by juveniles. 

Fine your way to Jomalig Island and venture throughout the entire archipelago to see the beauty of a land that is barely touched. This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone vacationing in the Philippine Islands.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The stunning beauty of Bantayan Islands

The stunning beauty of Bantayan Islands does not stop at just one land mass as theislands that surround the larger island of Bantayan are just as majestic. Several of the islands are accessible by foot during low tide and the many others make for an enjoyable island hopping adventure.

The islands of Bantayan rest in the Visayan Sea at the very northern tip of Cebu Island. It is located just 137 kilometers from Cebu City and 39 kilometers west of Bogo City. Accessible by sea and air the nearest small airport is on the main island of Bantayan in the area of Santa Fe. The largest airport which supports larger aircraft is in the Mactan International Airport in Cebu City, though the ride from Mactan to the port is 3 hours long. Ferry boat service is attainable at Hagnaya which is the port area just west of Bogo City and takes approximately 2 hours to reach the main island.  

The Bantayan Islands got their name from the 18 fortress towers which were built to protect the region from Moro pirate attacks. These towers had been installed during the 16th and 17th centuries and today little remains of their original construction. The early inhabitants of Bantayan Island call the towering fortresses “Bantayan sa Hari” meaning “Watchtowers of the King”. In later times the outcry for incoming attacks was to yell “Bantayan, Bantayan” meaning “Keep Watch, Keep Watch”. Over centuries this outcry became the very reason how these islands got their name today.

A total of three municipalities make up the main island of Bantayan, they are Santa Fe, Bantayan and Madrilejos. The main attraction to the island consists of the resorts and stop over’s of Santa Fe. Santa Fe holds all the main white sand resorts and most of the upscale places that make up this stunning little area. Because of Santa Fe the people often call this region and the entire island “The Tranquil Version of Boracay”. This unique and fitting title is given due to the beauty of the beaches and the crystal clear open ocean but without all the influx of tourists and party going people. 

The west side of Bantayan Island holds the stunning mangroves where the beauty of bird watching and the up close look at nature is at hand. Find your way to Sulangan where you not only can see the great Striated Heron but also the Chinese Egret and the Pied Harrier among many other rare and exotic birds. Sulangan is also a good spot to venture to other islands during low tide as anyone can just simply walk across the sand bars and venture through the beauty of other islets that rest just offshore. 

Bantayan Island and the outer islands make for a stunning place for snorkeling. From the exotic marine animals to the beauty of the corals the aquatic life here is abundant. For those not into diving into the waters only need to scout the outer rims of the sea to find the unique starfish that call home to this area. The starfish that live here are a multitude of colors and the rare blue starfish can be seen along with yellow, red and orange as other unique examples that call home to Bantayan.

On your next vacation get away put Bantayan Island on your ‘must see’ destination. These islands hold a beauty like no other and the calm, tranquil setting that lures so many here will be the main reason why you come back here time and time again.

Kalibo City in the Philippines

Kalibo City is located 154 kilometers northwest of Iloilo city and 67 kilometers east of Boracay Island. Often referred to as the “International Gateway” of the Visayas Kalibo City serves as a center point for all the major ports and locals of Pinay Island. Accessible by land, sea and air the city of Kalibo retains a regional airport which supports those heading to Boracay.

The name Kalibo City is derived from the Spanish era word of “Sanga-libo” which means “one thousand”. This Aklanon dialect word was used to describe the first Catholic Church mass in the city as this was how many people were said to have attended. The Ati-atihan Festival is in celebration of the event and the city comes alive every 3rd week of August. 

A main attraction to the city of Kalibo is the Sampaguita Gardens. This stunning resort consists of multiple gardens, a working carousel, a great hotel and a stunning storybook house gift shop. The resort is owned by Sam Butcher, the artist and creator of the Precious Moments line of products. The resort has its own museum and gift shop filled with everything Precious Moments along with a stunning array of Christmas decorations throughout. The full service hotel is well kept and retains a beautiful piano bar, restaurant and swimming pool. The entire grounds is perfect for those who are looking to spend the day or better if staying overnight in an upscale hotel. 

Not far out of town everyone should take a walk through the Bakhawan Eco-Park Mangrove forest. This unique forest was started in the late 20th century on reclaimed ground and has gone from 50 hectares to 220 hectares today. The wooden deck plank walk through the forest is a true testament to nature and has been compared to some of the best Eco-parks in the Philippines.
Lezo a small town just on the outskirts of Kalibo City is home to some beautiful potters. Lezo is a unique pottery village with many stalls throughout the region. The pottery industry is a livelihood for the town and those who want to see live demonstrations can simply walk through the streets everywhere.

Like most cities in the Philippines the city of Kalibo retains many Spanish era structures from homes, commercial buildings and churches. A city favorite is the St. John’s Cathedral which is a simplistic white church with bell tower. The church interior is adorned with an oversized gilded alter which is the highlight of this stunning structure.

For those who love to see beautiful waterfalls be sure to find your way to Jawili Falls. This unique tumbeling falls has 7 basins which is beautifully set in nature. The basin pools will call you in so be sure to bring along a swimming suit. Pack a bag and a lunch cause the picnic pavilions are a great way to spend an entire day. For those who love beaches over waterfalls then head out to the Tangalan Beach. This peacefully set beach is a nice get away from the heavy crowds of other local destinations. The entire area of Kalibo is lined with beaches and though many are not white sand they are very inviting with crystal clear waters with the beauty of the sea. 

Kalibo City is often passed over by millions on their way to Boracay Island. For those who like more peaceful vacations with some unique out of the way settings then Kalibo should be on your list of vacation destinations.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Balabac Island; the Western Most Island of the Philippines

The island of Balabac is a stunning region filled full of history and a hoard of untouched places to adventure through. Known in the Philippines for its rare plants and animal species, Balabac Island is a unique vacationer’s haven for anyone looking to find those out of the way places in the Philippines.
Located 792 kilometers west of Cebu City and 291 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa the island is accessible by sea only. The nearest airport to Balabac is in Kudat, Malaysia. For those inside the Philippines without accessing another country then the airport in Puerto Princesa would be the best to use. Those who island hop and would enjoy an additional adventure in the Sulu Sea often fly into the island of Cagayan (often referred to as the Cagayan Sulu Island). 

Those going to Balabec by way of Palawan can catch a ferry at Riotuba which ends at the wharf in the town known as Balabec in the northern side of the island.

An iconic destination and the pride of Balabac Island is the Cape Mellville lighthouse. This towering octagonal beauty has withstood the test of time and helped ships light the way to their destinations. First lit in 1892 the lighthouse was built by the Spanish Government to assist those who sailed through the Balabac Straight, a treacherous body of water between Palawan and Malaysia. The Lighthouse has been declared a National Historical Landmark and stands tall and proud over the beautiful waters that it keeps watch over.

Though parts of Balabec Island have mountains which rise almost 2,000 feet high the northwestern coast is bogged in swamps. This same swamp region is a stunning area for divers to explore the coral reefs and the aquatic wonderland that calls home to the open sea.  Those that love shells can find what is known as the glory-of-the-sea cone shells which are home to the entire island of Balabec. 

Balabec Island is not your normal vacation spot due in part to the locality nearing the surrounding Muslim islands. Those that love true adventure and unique untouched regions around the Philippines need to see this entire archipelago in southern Palawan. The stunning white sand beaches on many of the islands and islets are worth a trip to see and adventure through. Some tribes on these islands have never left or have never seen modern civilization. These tribes live off the land and offer assistance to outsiders and are very friendly in nature.
Finding your way to Balabec Island is an adventure in itself. From Puerto Princesa the bus trip will take an entire day but the ride itself will be sightseeing tour all its own.  Since tourism is not a major thing in the southern end of Palawan the prices for rooms are very minimal.
Balabec Island and the southern tip of Palawan are transforming in the 21st century. Find your way to these islands and see for yourself why so many who have been here still talk about them years after. Balabec Island is without a doubt a unique and a once in a lifetime adventure in the Philippines.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Businesses Are Online


Australian lifestyle is easy and no hassle at all. In terms of businesses in the country, based on my daily encounters, most of the shops and anything you want to look for you can search it online. Even from very small local shop has its own website, though it is a very thing for businesses to give ease  access to customers. Not only businesses but also government and non government agencies. Online studies also are available if you want to study from home, if you need directions you can go online, if you want to go for a holiday you can look up online to check out the place you want to go. If you want to buy a plane ticket and cannot be bothered going out for a drive then you can do it online too. How easy life could be? I would say almost everything that Google will answer and look it up for you. In other way, I would say it is really an advantage and one of the assets of a well developed country. I cant help but think about my home country Philippines. Though some institutions in the Philippines have their own website, maybe some cannot be bothered putting up a website because usually not all customers have access to internet. Some are used to buy and shop personally itself at the same time strolling around the city, in addition not all Filipino citizens uses card as mode of payment but cash and change. I have an experienced before, I tried to look for a furniture shop online in the Philippines, you can hardly find some. There are some that are on Facebook but
the modes of payment is not trustworthy enough to transact online in the Philippines. Good thing about it is that, the bank I am saving in had its website so I can still track my account through their website even if I am not there, which is a good thing. I heard of some expats building websites on Philippine businesses which is good, at least upgrades online market in the Philippines. I am just hoping that one day some of the business institutions and especially  government agencies will give a way so people can have an ease of access too.