Month: September 2018

A Splash of Mountain Water – Beautiful Sunday

A Splash of Mountain Water – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 After going around the town of Paete in the Philippines. It was time to cool down and have a dip in one of the local resorts here in this town. Something that is not extravagant or luxurious to a lot of […]

Meeting Extraordinary People

Meeting Extraordinary People

Sometimes when you travel, you bump into people that makes your visit more fascinating. Usually, I take photos ask around for some background of the place and just leave once done. While roaming around the town of Paete in Laguna Philippines, we stumbled on a […]

Chisels from the Town Near the Bay – Beautiful Sunday

Chisels from the Town Near the Bay – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Located near Laguna de Bay in the Philippines, there is a town that is rich with local artists. The town called Paete is known to be the wood carving capital in the Philippines. It boasts of its skilled locals not only in wood carving but in other forms of art as well. Join me today as we walk along the streets of this town to see the artworks from this amazing place.

Chisels from the Town Near the Bay

It was a gloomy morning on our way to Paete. It was cloudy and you feel that it would rain anytime. It would be a more pleasant trip if the sun was shining. The highway runs along the hills with a lot of coconut trees and other large plants. In roads like this soil erosion and landslides are common. I noticed that the hills were covered with nets and blanketing almost every part of the area. This I found out that those nets are used to counter landslides, keeping the soil compact. This was done to parts of the hill that has no trees. As we know trees hold up the soil that also helps prevent soil erosion.

This highway is a refreshing sight, away from the buildings and industrial areas. It is quite relaxing seeing greenery along the way and I wouldn’t mind passing here everyday. The road is a bit narrow, but I noticed how the vehicles here were running around 80-100. Safety first and always keep your seatbelt on.

A view from the top of the town. This town was established in 1580 during the Spanish era and was not formally entitled to township until 1850. The name of the town itself is refers to a tool used for crafting. Paete has been taken from the word “Paet” and in english is a word for chisel. Not only that as I mentioned in my previous post about the town. From a bird’s eye view the town resembles a flying eagle. As the locals said it is like a symbol how its residents soars high in life and dreams.

We arrived around 10 am and this was our second time to visit the town. This time we specifically came here to take photos of the wood carvings. Last time it was our gateway up to the mountain to see the “Tatlong Krus“.

A small quiet town where a river runs thru it from the mountain and ends up in Laguna de Bay which is that largest lake in the country.

Walking around the town I saw lamp posts that is decorated what seems to be like yellow grapes. I would have loved to see these posts lit up at night.

Trees are everywhere including this calamansi tree which is our local lime. There were a lot of fruits and no one seemed to care about it. If that tree was in our city it probably would have been picked already and sold to the market.

A monument of our national heroes stands near the city hall.

The most popular attraction of Paete is the wood carving. Works from this town has even reached parts of the world mostly religious images. There are carvings that are found in cathedrals in New York, Rome, Mexico namely St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If ever you visit these cathedrals do look around and maybe looking at a carving made from this small town.

Here I stumbled upon  an artist working on a small statue. I asked the man if I could take a couple of photos as he worked. He just gave me a smile and a nod.

Working with wood takes years of experience and practice. What makes the people here different in an artistic way?I asked this question and I was told that the fresh air and water here make the people here more creative.

Careful carving is required as one mistake can mess up a design. There are those carved from one piece of wood but there are also those carved from multiple pieces and connected together later on.

The tools of the trade the “Paet” comes in different shapes and sizes. Just looking at the tools I would not know where to start. Which size of chisel to use?

An artist at work carefully carves each part of this statue. The waves on the robe looks so fluid already and I would love to see the finished work.

The hands are carved separately and will be attached once the body has been completed.

Inside the small workshop are unfinished works. There were also large pieces of wood on the corner to be used in the future. Wood is very precious in this area and you would have a hard time finding charcoal for cooking or roasting. They reserve all the wood for carving as it is more profitable.

Other unfinished works and looks like he is also working on two cannons. Religious works and weapons of war all made in this small work shop.

Now, I am really sure he is working on some weapons. Two bazookas, maybe from a client who will be using it as props. But just looking at the size of it, I know that it would be heavy to carry around.

I wanted to stay longer but we had to move along to see the other works in the area. I thanked the man for letting me take some photos and we went on our way.

This shop specializes in desk signs and desk name plates.

I asked around where we could find the wood carving shops in the area. We were pointed to a street where all the shops where. This is the first shop that we saw and as expected religious images are the most popular ones.

But there are also shops with depictions of culture. The one in the middle is called Bayanihan which is the spirit of community in our country.

A local folk dance called the tinikling, two bamboo poles smacked together as a maiden dances in the rhythm of the bamboo. The fish carving on the right looks amazing and would look good a home. I recognize the fish which is called Tilapia, a local fish that is very abundant in this province.

Walking the streets I felt I was going thru an art gallery. Artworks on display just outside the shops and every art lover would definitely enjoy visiting this place.

You could only imagine the work and time spent just to finish one piece of art. These works should be on exhibit and now I truly know why this town is called the wood carving capital of the country.

A lot of these would end up in churches all over the country and parts of the world.

Now this piece truly blew my away. I was very impressed with the intricate detail on the work done. Scenes from our local culture and I’m pretty sure this is very expensive. If ever Steem rises I would come back here and take this home or better yet have something custom made for me.

Aside from wood carvings, other forms of art are also sold here. Like this shop called “Ang Buhay at Hugis sa Paete (The Life and Shape in Paete)”.

From the entrance you would see masks of different sorts.

I think this is the only wood carving that they had on display. I do not recognize the scene depicted in this work, with a bladed weapon on hand that looks like he has vanquished his enemies.

Masks made from paper and looks like the ones used in one of our local mask festivals. Different colors, styles and designs, masks that has different meanings and  expression.

We all wear different masks and sometimes some of us invisible masks to hide our sadness or frustrations.

The masks on the other side was very unique and reminds me of C3PO with a touch of steam punk. Pieces of discarded pieces of metal has been fused together to make up this art form. I am not sure if someone could actually wear it.

All those pieces of wire, metal sheets and cogs were combined together to make each piece unique. If you love sci-fi you would definitely fall in love with these art pieces.

The facial frame seems to be made from a different material. I didn’t touch it to check if it was heavy as I felt I was visiting an art gallery.

Like a storage room of robot parts, there were more masks inside and would take you a few minutes to check each one. In this town know for carving, sometimes it is good to go against the wave and take a different path. In spite of using a different materials it still showcases the talent of the artist from this town. I would have loved to meet the artist, but was not available at this time.

Inside there were more interesting stuff inside and I definitely needed to check it out.

Colored carabao or water buffalo made from paper.

A jumbo chess board and you would spend a lot of time playing chess with your buddies.

More animal figures made from paper. They even had different colored unicorns on display.

There were also images of the president of the Philippines in different outfits.

Native Philippines costumes also made from paper.

One of the biggest shops in this street and it had life sized wood carvings outside on display.

The lighting inside made a mood feel like a church and looks like this is a one stop shop for church needs. The one in the center is used during religious processions decorated with lights and flowers during a procession.

These images are dressed up, decorated and the placed inside a church as depiction of Saints. I recall visiting a museum with very similar frames on display. It is possible that they have been producing these, based on the old ways of wood crafting.

With those movable parts and joints, I wonder if clients ever requested for life sized action figures.

I wonder how each work costs as the craftsmanship is very beautiful. The facial structure and the completed image would be much more majestic in what I am imagining. Now whenever I visit churches, I would always think where the religious come from. I would not be surprised if they all came from this town.

Just near the corner of the street there were different wooden kitchen tools for sale.

The one at the bottom is a back scratcher and is very useful reaching that itch on your back.

They have wooden gun toys and this is the one that has a rotary handle. Rotating the handle makes a sound simulating a gun sound. I remember having one of these when I was young.

In front of the the store with a lot of religious carvings, Christmas is early. They have Christmas decorations already on sale. I’m just not sure if they have them all year round.

The Nativity Scene, a very popular image during the holiday.

More Santas on display and these looks like the ones the we see in large malls. From the build, the shades of color, and the design, these creations are spectacular. I am sure they export these all over the world due to it’s quality.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Christmas is fast approaching and don’t tell anyone Santa is coming to town.

Visiting this town has been an amazing experience to see the art of the locals. Although I learned from the people here that the younger generation are slowing shifting to a different trace. Most of them are going abroad to work on luxury cruise lines. Most of them work as food and ice sculptors, which still showcases the art from this town. I hope some of them still stay in town to continue the legacy of the place. It would be saddening the see the craft fade away.

Again I thank you for joining me in this tour. It was an amazing experience sharing the talent from Paete. Just one of the amazing places to visit in our country and there is still so much more to see in this province. Hope to see you again soon and do visit my other content from this province if you want to see more. Until then enjoy the rest of your weekend.

In Search of Fried Duck

A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus”

“Tatlong Krus” at the Summit of Mt. Humarap

Paete Church

A Resting Place at the Foot of a Mountain

[//]:# (!steemitworldmap 14.364401 lat 121.482307 long Paete Laguna d3scr)



Map Image source



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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm kit lens

A Resting Place at the Foot of a Mountain

A Resting Place at the Foot of a Mountain

Whenever we visit an unfamiliar town, we love to walk around and look for interesting subjects. Whatever or wherever it may be. Walking by the road in this provincial town, this old cemetery caught my attention. A cemetery below the mountain, a bit hesitant to […]

Take Me to Church “Paete Church” – Beautiful Sunday

Take Me to Church “Paete Church” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 On our previous trip in the Province of Laguna, I have shared with you a taste of fried duck and a rewarding hike to the summit of Mt. Humarap. In Search of Fried Duck A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus” “Tatlong […]

“Tatlong Krus” at the Summit of Mt. Humarap

“Tatlong Krus” at the Summit of Mt. Humarap

On my previous post you joined me on a trek. Taking 1,000 steps to reach a pilgrimage site called “Tatlong Krus (Three Crosses). After multiple stops, sweat, aching legs and a lot of motivation. With the stairs that seemed endless, we finally reach the top. Join me again today for the second part of our adventure. If you missed the first part, feel free to have a look at our exhausting climb.

A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus”


“Tatlong Krus” at the Summit of Mt. Humarap

Seeing that light at the end of the trail gave us a burst of energy and excitement. Hearing the words from my wife “We have reached the top!” was so rewarding. We never gave up although the thought of going back down came to mind halfway on our journey. We pushed forward on our crusade and strengthened our will to conquer the mountain. I can no longer recall what it looks like up here and the second time around maybe sweeter. Reaching the top with my family is an amazing bonding experience and it opened up possibilities for us to conquer another mountain sometime in the future. This climb may look easy for experienced climbers, but for us it was a challenge.

At the top huts made from bamboo are erected. The residents probably helps in maintaining the place as the place is clean. Didn’t see any plastic garbage on the ground and only dried fallen leaves from the trees.

They also had a rest room for the hikers to relive themselves and you just need to leave a small donation for the maintenance.

The fresh mountain breeze welcomed us and along with the view provincial scenery. Time feels to move slower as I always say whenever we visit a province. Up in the mountain, here it is very calm, relaxing and the silence almost hums you to sleep.

Here I found out that there is another way up here. There is a road where vehicles are allowed to reach this point. Still it is very much rewarding in taking the hard trek climbing up. The experience is priceless and fulfilling rather than just taking the easy road. You could proudly say that you conquered the challenge.

The area is like a picnic ground with cottages around. I wish they sold home cooked meals here as it would be very satisfying for tired and hungry hikers.

A lot of trees are left to thrive in the area. This one has some sort of fruits that is unknown to me.

The site that has been the purpose of this journey, “The Talong Krus”. Not much information is known about this site, but according to one of the locals. The crosses used to be made of wood and was replaced with cement later on. I was also told that there are three priests that has been buried here. The three crosses was erected to remember them.

I am very proud of my daughter who never gave up. At this time we are still waiting for my son, my father and father in-law to join us up here. While waiting, we took the time to examine the crosses.

Looks like a mass is held here, possibly during the Holy Week.

From here the view is magnificent as it faces the Laguna de Bay which is the largest lake in our country.

Overlooking the town of Paete, you could see how far we traveled on foot. As I was told looking from above the shape of this town is like a flying eagle. Coincidence or a careful design? It is known that Paete is the woodcarving capital of the Philippines and the residents are gifted with artistry.

After a couple of minutes waiting, my son finally emerged from the trail. Tired and thirsty he said that the rest of our group is on their way. They had to take a long time to rest as my father in-law was getting dizzy.

It was a good thing that he stayed with them and even helped to carry his grandpa’s bag. He said that his bag was heavy and filled with unnecessary stuff inside. But I’m glad he stayed with them.

Here you could refresh and reward yourself with fresh coconut. There is a vendor here that sells them for 20 pesos or about $.37 each.

By the looks of it seems like he sells a lot of coconuts a day. Each hiker bought one coconut and from the looks of it he does not have any competition in this area.

Opening up a coconut looks easy, but imagine holding the coconut on one hand and striking it with the bolo on the other. It is a scary thought that you might slip and cut off a limb. Better let the experts do it, I’ll just stick with taking photos.

Our coconut man making it look easy with a cigarette in his mouth.

Fresh coconut from the mountain. I always love cool coconut water. It is very good in cleaning up your kidneys and has a lot of minerals that is beneficial to the body. After drinking the water, we had the coconut cut in half and using a makeshift spoon from the coconut. We used it to scoop out the sweet tender coconut meat.

After finishing up the coconut, I went around a bit to take a couple of shots around the area.

How would you like to live in a quiet place like this. Sweeping dried leaves in the morning and setting it on fire. Burning dried leaves is very common here in our country, it is said that the smoke coming from it allows the surrounding trees to bear more fruit. It is also one of the distinct scents in places in the province. It is hard to explain, but the smell of burning leaves in the morning or afternoon seems relaxing. You mind drifts away somehow making you forget about the stressful city life.

One thing that you would always see in provincial areas are chickens. Some raise them for eggs, but a lot raise them for cock fighting, which is a part of our culture.

I found these religious statues and I think they might have constructed it here.

These looks like the molds that were used in creating the statues. As I mentioned earlier Paete is filled with artistry and something I will share with you very soon.

I went back to the overlooking as everyone was there. It was time to take some family photos to remind us of this journey that we had.

My daughter @bearkid could not contain herself from such a a beautiful scenery. Feeling the breeze and just looking at this landscape is very liberating for the mind and soul. No worries or troubles to think about even for just this span of time.

I just wish they placed these power cables somewhere else to give us a better clear view of the area.

Another angle of Laguna de Bay. I recall there was a time when janitor fish became so abundant in this lake and was devastating the fishing industry. You could not eat it and has become a threat to other species. The local government worked to abolish the threat. They gave the fishermen a new source of income catching janitor fish that was turned into fertilizer. A brilliant way in controlling the population and at the same time earning from it.

Before anything else I took out my Olympus 40- 150 mm to zoom into the town.

Looking from up here I was trying to trace back the roads that we passed on our way here.

I could even see the back of the old church in this town on the lower middle part of this photo. Paete church which is a historical place that has a painting inside made from natural pigments. A place that I will also be sharing in the next couple of days.

From up here we can see that we are all just a tiny speck in this world. Although, we are all unique and each one has our own destiny in this world. The forks in our lives are the choices that we make. Either it will break us or make us, but with our mistakes we learn from it. We are visitors in this world and it is up to us how we stamp our names and spend our stay here. But we should always remember to live our lives in the best way that we can.

Now it is time to take some family photos.

My father with my two kids and I’m sure they’ll be seeing more or each other soon. I felt that they had a very good time together in this bonding moment. Priceless moments that I captured thru the lens and memories that will remain forever in our hears.

My wife and his dad. I never imagined that he could reach the top with us. He never gave up and gave his best. I could not stop him from taking this trek with us. I was worried because he had issues with his blood pressure and just found out that he had to take medication along the way. I’m glad he turned out ok.

It has been awhile since I had a serious conversation with my father. I’m glad we finally had a chance to talk, up here where we could see the world below.

My father is still a strong man at his age and he even helped my father in-law along the way.

Here they are, comrades in this journey. A bond that has become stronger.

More photos to remind us of this exciting adventure.

We had to have a photo of all of us together so we asked someone to take our photo.

It is great to have bonding moments with the family although a bit extreme. We hope to spend more time together and create more memories.

Time passes and we can no longer turn back the time that has been lost. But each time we open our eyes is a brand new day to make things right, learn, love and enjoy the company of those whom we love.

All journeys always leads back home. It is time to go back and again the trek down will be long, but I guess it will be easier on our way down. It was an amazing experience reaching the summit.

Thank you once again for joining our adventure. Join me again next time for the final part of our journey. You might think that you have seen it all, but there are still some pretty interesting stuff to share thru our journey back.

For the meantime have a good evening everyone.




Follow @surpassinggoogle to witness an extraordinary person in this platform and vote for @steemgigs as witness

Discovering exceptional content in the community follow @curie and vote as witness

To have a glimpse of awesome content from the Philippines check out @bayanihan

All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85

12-32 mm kit lens

Olympus 40-150 mm

Sigma 50 mm

A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus” – Beautiful Sunday

A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Join me again today as we continue our journey to the province of Laguna. Last time we were on the road “In Search of Fried Duck” feel free to visit my last post to see how it turned out. Our destination […]