When I hear "Quezon Province", I think about the colorful Pahiyas Festival and the Pancit Lucban (to which you pour one of my favorite condiments - vinegar haha). Now, my head is filled with ice-cold Organic Raspberry Shake... partly because I could probably never forget my first time in Quezon just last month! :D We had a wonderful time walking around an isolated valley, checking out oyster mushrooms and picking raspberries (then putting 'em directly into our mouths) at the Bangkong Kahoy Nature Retreat & Field Study Center in Dolores, Quezon with environmentalist Mr. Dion Pullan. I've never had fresh raspberries before and I never knew there are local raspberries called sapinit - which were tested to have higher anti-oxidants than their foreign counterparts.
Here, you'll find some samples of Guiltless Getaways. This is where my love for travel, adventure, culture, language, music, food, arts and having fun come together.
I am inviting you to see the world and its people in a different light. I am not the expert but the people I come across are. My goal is to share my experience and what I saw. Soon, you'll get to know the beauty of Manila, the Philippines and the World.
Mastermind of Guiltless Getaways =)
Mountain Farm Retreat near Manila, Visiting The BK Mountain Lodge and Finding Oyster Mushrooms at the Bangkong Kahoy Valley in Dolores,Quezon!
I'm having an unbelievable streak this year of going to places (in the Philippines) that I've never been to and heard of before! Haha. Folks, this is about a protected area, an isolated valley, a retreat place and mountain lodge at the BK Valley in Barangay Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon! As we are nearing Holy Week, would you want to consider an alternative to climbing Mt. Banahaw or Mt. Cristobal - like sitting on a wooden bench with the view of the holy mountains, getting close to nature and learning about the sustainable efforts of the community who live around it? Say hi to environmentalist Dionisio Pullan - a descendant of Agripino Lontok (known as the first hermit of Mt. Banahaw) who found his way back to the Bangkong Kahoy Valley and pushed for eco-tourism. Spend some time in this 21-hectare private property (also bird-watching haven) and don't forget to eat organic food (think raspberries and mushrooms...) to your heart's content! More importantly, this is a field study center and a big classroom - where we can immerse ourselves fully and learn about the land, the community, the environment, our ecosystem and the important role that certain species play.
I bumped my head hard today and I saw blood trickling down non-stop from a person's face. I can't sleep and I'm still thinking about it - I'd gotten someone hurt and I zombied my way to a clinic in Boracay, a number of drugstores and finally back to our hostel in Boracay. What do you do in these situations - if you're on a trip far away from home?
The Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival, What to Bring, Discovering Artworks and Low Leaf Music in Puerto Galera, Mindoro!
A girl who loves music and travel can have her wish come true, right? Read about how I've dreamed of attending this for 3 years and how I got to Puerto Galera on my previous post! Hehe. I couldn't believe there's such a place in the Philippines like the Malasimbo Festival event grounds! Haha. It's located in the highlands (Mt. Malasimbo) and reachable via a jeepney ride. Well, my jaw dropped and I finally understood that this yearly Malasimbo thing in Puerto Galera is an arts and music fest close (and in a location known for going) to the beach (they might have yacht parties on the main days). There's a full-blown stage, an ampitheater (carved and somewhat like the rice terraces hehe), musicians and mind-boggling outdoor art installations. The wind was blowing strong (thicker jacket recommended) but the music was all that mattered. I found the music of L.A.-based Low Leaf in Malasimbo and I will not ever forget this experience anytime soon...
How to Go from Manila to Puerto Galera: My JAM Liner, Manolo Shipping, White Beach Resort Overnight & Korean Food Experience in Oriental Mindoro!
Whenever I want to go to the beach without boarding a plane from Manila, I automatically think of going North (especially that time in Nagsasa...). Fortunately for me this year, things changed when I got passes to the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in the South:) I wanted to see it for myself for 3 years now (ever since I heard about it) and the timing was always off. I loved how I only found out about the passes less than a week before, packed my bags and zoomed my way to somewhere I've never been before. Haha. Let me tell you now how I got to the Batangas Pier via bus from Cubao (since driving could be tiring) for the first time, where I stayed and what I did before going to the Malasimbo event grounds. I would definitely need this too for my next trip to Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro) :D
Renato Catiempo's Organic Farm at Bago City, Negros Occidental - Rice Farming, Plant Container Ideas, Cute Piggy and the Best Merienda Ever! Corn with Coconut, Homemade Cassava Cake and Purple Kamote Brew, Anyone?
Here we were during our last day in Negros - looking out into the sunset. This first trip to Bacolod was very unusual because I went with ATI (the Agricultural Training Institute of the Philippine Department of Agriculture). Who knew that I would get to experience Negros Occidental (not just Bacolod) as a thriving province when it comes to organic agriculture? My previous thoughts of Bacolod (if I were to plan on my own) only consisted of food trips involving chicken inasals and pastries, as well as a shattered image of The Ruins. Who knew that I would get as far as Bago City (different from Baguio City)? I first heard of Bago City from a missionary friend while we were working on a project on water treatment several years ago... This daytrip to Bago City was one of my favorite parts - being welcomed into Mr. Catiempo's small organic farm, eating an unforgettable slice of homemade organic cassava cake and drinking their own brew of purple kamote juice. We have to make time for moments like this - embracing simple joys, slowing down and marvelling at how wonderful things unexpectedly turn out.
My Raw Food Experience, Wellness Lessons and Farm Tour with Dr. Albert Jo at the Rapha Valley Organic Farm in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental
When I got back home from my Negros trip, I was amazed with the diversity of the experiences I had. I've been to quite a number of organic farms so far (the most this year thanks to the ATI-DAR, Agricultural Training Institute of the Philippine Department of Agriculture) and you would think that I'd get tired of all of it already. I learned something new though each time and got to see a different side of having or visiting a farm per location... A very good example below is our visit to the Rapha Valley Organic Farm of Dr. Albert Jo. I tasted the best asparagus of all time and started to think about the things I put in my mouth all these years. I think this was a turning point for me - that there could be another alternative to eating beef and steak only every day and it may be about time already. Haha.