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“Ending the Adventure in Marikaban” – Beautiful Sunday

“Ending the Adventure in Marikaban” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 All adventures come to an end but not before I share with you an unexpected encounter in this journey. During our boating tour, three locations were part of it. We went out snorkeling in Sombrero Island, we visited the caves […]

“The Lagoon of Marikaban” – Beautiful Sunday

“The Lagoon of Marikaban” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Hello again for another part of our adventure on the beautiful Island of Marikaban only here in the Philippines. We have seen the beautiful beach of Masasa, the highest peak Mag Asawang Bato and the enchanting coral reefs of Sombrero Island. […]

The Hidden Treasure of the Island “Sepoc Beach” – Beautiful Sunday

The Hidden Treasure of the Island “Sepoc Beach” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

After that magical experience at Sombrero Island, we headed out next to Sepoc Beach. The beach is popular because of its caves located along its rocky shoreline. It seems that adventure and exploration on this island never ends. The places that we have visited so far are just a few of what this island has to offer. So come with me again today as we explore the caves on this amazing beach site.

 

The Hidden Treasure of the Island “Sepoc Beach”

 

 

Visit our previous adventures on the beautiful Marikaban Island:

A Getaway to Marikaban Island

Masasa Beach

The Difficult Trail to “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock)

Kissing the Sky “Mag Asawang Bato”

Underwater Love “Sombrero Island”

You could also watch and subscribe to our video episodes on the links below:

Masasa Adventure Episode: 1 “Gateway to Marikaban Island
Masasa Adventure Episode: 2 “The Beach”

Masasa Adventure Episode: 3 “Mag Asawang Bato (Couple Rock)”

Masasa Adventure Episode: 4 “Sombrero Island”

 

Just located on the northwestern part of the island is Sepoc Beach. One of the many beach resorts located on this island can only reached via boat unless you would like to go through the thick jungles of the island.

Coming from Sombrero island you will pass by this amazing rock formation which is just one of the many surrounding the island.

Still thinking about the fishes during our snorkeling  activity, our boatman said that our next stop is the caves. I have seen a couple of them along the way but didn’t realize that we could go inside the cave.

As we came closer to the shore we felt like explorers on uncharted land. Seeking for a fortune hidden away inside one of the caves. My imagination was disrupted  when I saw a lot of tourists and boats near the caves. I guess they might have taken all the treasure already.

When we arrived we overheard a group of tourists haggling with the boatman. One of them saying, ” 5 islands, please, we go to 5 islands”, the boatman was just scratching his head. I guess they were demanding more than what is included in the tour package. I’d understand if they paid more but I wouldn’t know what their agreement was. Anyway, I didn’t mean to snoop but their conversation was too loud as you could hear it even as the motor from the boat was running.

The water is very clear which is what I love so much about this island. The area is clean and I didn’t see any rubbish around. Places like these fascinate me as in my home town the beaches are filled with garbage and the water is not clear which is very sad. If they can do it here why can’t people back home do it? Maybe we should just move out here instead.

The color of the sand appears to look a bit golden yellow and there are a lot of rocks and pieces of coral on the shore. Since the area is rich with lush coral reefs, these might have been then ones that died through time and washed ashore.

On our way to the caves I saw two people taking photos along the rocks and I said to myself, ” maybe there aren’t too many people as I thought”. I slowly navigated myself towards the rocks. Carefully watching my every step as the rocks are slippery and taking a slip would be a tragedy. I would get all my gear wet and since my camera and lens are not weather-sealed  for sure it will be damaged by seawater.

When I reached the curve I was overwhelmed seeing, there they were explorers also searching for that imaginary treasure that I am looking for. Some have found them through selfies and posts on their social media platforms. I never really got into that selfie thing and striking poses on the camera. I prefer hiding behind the lens and looking for that perfect shot if it even exists.

Here we are the twin caves that everyone was talking about and to my surprise, it wasn’t big. I thought the cave coursed through the mountain but still, it looked amazing as I haven’t been to a lot of caves or caverns.

We again encountered the group that we saw earlier that were arguing with the boatman. This time we were waiting for them to finish taking photos and they were taking too long as if they didn’t care that someone else was waiting. One of them noticed that I was getting  impatient he said, “two minutes, two minutes we finish”. I just gave him a nod and a smile.

Finally it was our turn and we had the whole cave to ourselves.

Fortunately, there was was no one else waiting for their turn inside so we had more time to spare here. Patience is a virtue and rewards those who wait.

The sand here is white which is different from the shore. I don’t think that the cave gets drowned by the ocean during high tide as the walls are dry along with some parts of the sand inside. I think you could practically live inside this cave and build a decent fire to warm you up during cold nights. A fun idea but seriously it is not allowed.

 

Aside from this cave, there are two more on the other side of this rock. Since the rocks are slippery I didn’t attempt to see them. I really felt that I would slip even if I was careful and I wouldn’t risk getting my camera wet. Let’s just enjoy this cave that we claimed and head back.

Time to head back as we still have another place to go to and unfortunately we didn’t find any hidden treasure in the cave.

The trail is very rocky and you must always be careful when going to places like these. One slip and you could easily get hurt and could ruin the entire trip. I think aqua shoes is a must when exploring islands and coastal areas. I think it has a good grip when it comes to slippery rocks which is much better than the regular beach sandals that we wore.

Back on the beach, our boatman said that we should take more photos before we leave. It seems that he wasn’t in a rush to go to our next destination. Well, I often forget to take family photos of us during our trips and my wife hates me for it. I just tell her to always remind me as I always get too absorbed by the surroundings.

 

As we were getting ready to leave I realized that indeed there is a treasure not only in this place. A treasure can be found in every moment you spend with the people that you love.

The treasure may not be in the form of gold coins or precious gems but every adventure with the family is priceless. Exploring, having fun, learning things together is worth more than any hidden treasure. The smiles on their faces is rewarding and knowing that these memories will remain for the rest of our lives.

Time for us to go and head out to our next destination. Taking nothing from the beach but memories and photos to remind us of this beautiful experience.

Again I thank you for joining us on this episode. I hope you enjoyed the tour and if ever you plan to visit one day, do let me know as I can point you in the right direction.

Hope to see you again soon for our next adventure. Until then keep on exploring and find that treasure.

 

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Visit and follow @steemitbloggers AKA #powerhousecreatives. A community that is exceptional, talented and engaging.

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All photos are original and taken with

Panasonic Lumix GX85 with 12-32 mm kit lens

 

 

 

Underwater Love “Sombrero Island” – Beautiful Sunday

Underwater Love “Sombrero Island” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Welcome back to our series of adventure in Marikaban island, Philippines. Here we only planned to visit Masasa Beach but instead, we discovered a lot of activities that you could do on the island.  After that tiring climb to the Mag […]

Kissing the Sky “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock) – Beautiful Sunday

Kissing the Sky “Mag Asawang Bato” (Couple Rock) – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Last time we left off we were about to reach to top of the mountain. It was a very long and tiring hike to Mag Asawang Bato located in Marikaban island, Philippines. Everyone was very exhausted but complete the trek we […]

Take Me to Church “Daraga Church” – Beautiful Sunday

Take Me to Church “Daraga Church” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

You have joined the tour across this region in the Philippines. Driving to reach a coastal village, exploring a local market, a close encounter with a deer herd and visiting a ruin destroyed by a volcano.  All journeys come to an end and today’s episode will be closing our Bicol series adventure. The best way to close this series is by giving thanks and visiting an ancient church in Daraga, Albay. Join me on this final episode of our adventure in this region.

Daraga Church

 

 

Join in the tour and see our previous adventures in the region.

Part 1 The Long and Winding Road to Bicol

Part 2 Balatan Public Market

Part 3 Baresbisan Beach Resort

Part 4 Discovering Life by the Road

Part 5 Embraced by Nature “Hibiscus Camp”

Part 6 A Tranquil Afternoon “Hibiscus Camp”

Part 7 A Charming Mountainside Food Shack

Part 8 The Antlers of Ocampo

Part 9 Nabua Church

Part 10 Divine Mercy Monastery

Part 11 Road to the Ruins

Part 12 The Cagsawa Ruins

Part 13 The Japanese Tunnel of Ligñon Hill

 

From the nature park that we visited in Lignon Hills, it would take you around 10 minutes to reach the church.

As we reached the site, I was astounded by the ancient church. A structure painted in white and has been fading in some parts. This has given the church a character worthy to be declared as a National Treasure.

 

The original name of the church is Nuestra Senora de la Porteria Parish Church also known as Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church. It was built in 1772 by the Franciscans and completed in 1773.

When we arrived there was a wedding being held and I was worried I won’t be able to get some shots inside. Fortunately, the wedding was over and they were just getting ready to leave.

The style of architecture of the church is Baroque and is constructed  with volcanic rocks. The white color is because of the lime that was coated as protection from the elements.

The spiral columns are also unique as only a few churches have them in our country.

 

The lime coating has heavily faded on the side of the church.

From this view, it looks like a church scarred by the elements and almost seems to look abandoned.

 

A statue of a Saint guards on top of the entrance on the side of the church.

The four-level bell tower has an octagonal shape. This tower also features carved images of Saints.

 

Every part of the church is like an artwork. This is one of the reasons why I very much love church architecture. It may not have elaborate stained glass windows but the walls and columns are magnificent.

 

It’s time to come inside and see what beauty awaits.

The interior is simply painted in white and humbly welcomes everyone. Sometimes beauty is found in simplicity.

 

The confession box is found on the right side upon entering the church.

The baptismal room looks like not much changes have been done. If feels very ancient in all its glory.

During WW2 in 1945, the church was damaged during military bombardment. It was renovated that evolved the design to Gothic and Mexican Baroque.

This is the original position of the altar which was returned in 1991. Until now renovations are still made to preserve the structure.

 

From the side door of the church, you could see the towering Mayon volcano. With the summit hidden by the clouds still, it echoes its rage that threatened the region in the past centuries.

 

At this time there were a few people silently praying and I had to be extra quiet to not disturb them.

 

Next, I checked the left side of the church. Here is where statues of Saints are being displayed.

With the statues being lined up,  this area almost looks like a museum.

Our country is heavily influenced by the Spanish and you could see the dominance of Catholicism in our country.

Among these are various representations of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

Statues appear to be Franciscan missionary saints. There are no names on the statues to determine the stories behind their sainthood.

Jesus sitting on a throne is a representation that I do not often see in the churches that I have visited.

A wooden statue of the crucified Christ. Could be a relic that survived through the years.

There are also paintings displayed in the hallway and were created by local artists. This reminded me of San Agustin Church that has an impressive collection of religious artwork.

If you love religious art feel free to visit the museum on the links below

Art of Religion

Art of Religion – Act II

The artwork below represents history and religion. Created by local artists in 2013 by Santiago, Alavrin op, Rudy Olaso and J Delos Santos.

 

The local villagers fleeing to safety as Mayon volcano erupts, spewing lava and ash.

You can see below how the locals help build the church. Building the church using volcanic rocks without modern-day equipment and all manual labor.

In this section, the restoration process is displayed along with old photos of the church.

Near the exit of the long hallway where the statues are displayed, candles and souvenirs are sold. The candles are color-coded depending upon your need.

Green – The color of life and pray for a better life.

Violet – The color atonement. Prayer for our sins

Pink – The color of happiness. Pray for the good health and happiness of others.

Blue – The color of majesty. Pray for those who have passed and in remembrance.

Red – The color of love. Pray to offer our love

Orange – Prayer to live a long life

Yellow – The color of peace. Prayer for peace and harmony.

 

 

As I headed out the entrance, I sighed as I knew that it was time to go. I barely spent around 30 minutes in the church and felt it was not enough. I feel very fortunate to have a chance to visit one of the country’s National Cultural Treasure. The church is one of the best churches I have visited in our country. The walls and columns outside is like a canvass made from volcanic rocks. Artwork intricately carved on the walls that emanates memories from the past. These walls I will never forget, the walls that witnessed an eruption and survived throughout the years.

This concludes our Bicol region series only here in the Philippines. To all those who joined the tour. Thank you very much and I appreciate the support. If ever you plan to visit the region do consider the places we have visited as the trip will be worth it.

Hope to see you again and as the holiday season approaches. I will try to share with you the spirit of the holiday in our country. Have a very #beautifulsunday everyone and enjoy life.

 

See the churches we have visited during our travels in the Philippines.

Nabua Church

San Jose Church

Majayjay Church

Lilio Church

Calamba Church
St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church

Paete Church

Manila Cathedral

San Agustin Church

Immaculate Heart Convent

Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral

St. Mary Magdalene Church

Divine Mercy Monastery

 

Resources

Daraga Church

[//]:# (!steemitworldmap 13.149873 lat 123.712116 long Daraga Church d3scr)

 

Visit and follow @steemitbloggers AKA #powerhousecreatives. A community that is exceptional, talented and engaging.

Discovering exceptional content in the community follow @curie and vote as witness
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All photos are original and taken with

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and Sigma 50 mm

The Japanese Tunnel of Ligñon Hill – Beautiful Sunday

The Japanese Tunnel of Ligñon Hill – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Hello again as we continue with the tour in the Bicol region in the Philippines. Last time we visited the Ruins of Cagsawa in which we had a chance to explore the ruins of the old church. For our next destination […]

The Cagsawa Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

The Cagsawa Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 In our last episode, we reached the ruins that are very popular in the Bicol region. We first had lunch before exploring the place and had a very interesting dessert that is hot and cold. We had very good feedback from […]

Road to the Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

Road to the Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Hello again for another part of our adventure here in Bicol Philippines. After our side trip from the monastery, we continued on to our journey to or main destination. We are headed out to see the ruins in Daraga Albay which is one of the most iconic sites in this region. Your visit to Bicol is not complete unless you get to see the ruins. So take a ride again with me today as we head out to visit an iconic site and also surprise you with an unusual treat.

Road to the Ruins

 

Catch up with the previous parts of our Bicol adventure series

Part 1 The Long and Winding Road to Bicol

Part 2 Balatan Public Market

Part 3 Baresbisan Beach Resort

Part 4 Discovering Life by the Road

Part 5 Embraced by Nature “Hibiscus Camp”

Part 6 A Tranquil Afternoon “Hibiscus Camp”

Part 7 A Charming Mountainside Food Shack

Part 8 The Antlers of Ocampo

Part 9 Nabua Church

Part 10 Divine Mercy Monastery

Coming from the Divine Mercy Monastery travel time by car will take you around 30-40 minutes to reach the site. Quite a short ride but still you would enjoy the provincial ambiance along the way. Stress-free driving as you could see that there are not many vehicles on the roads here.

From here could see the symbol of the region which is the Mayon volcano. Known to be the world’s most perfect shaped cone volcano it is one of the main reasons to visit Bicol. The ruins that we will be visiting is also a great spot to view the majestic volcano. Unfortunately at this time, the summit is hidden away by clouds and I am not sure if it would clear up once we get there.

As I mentioned in the previous parts of our travel, Bicol is known for their spicy dishes. The chili called Siling Labuyo is a common plant that almost every household has a plant  in their backyard. No meal is complete without the chili. Whether infused into dishes, used as a condiment or just eaten as it is. The Siling Labuyo is loved by many and has been a part of our culture, not only in this region but in the whole country as well. So loved that they even made a bus waiting shed in the form of the chili.

As we were getting closer we were greeted by people who offered ATV rides. If you love outdoors adventure this is an experience that should not be missed.

Some offer an ATV experience for 99 pesos which is around $2.00 USD. They charge by the minute and I am not sure if their offer is good for 15 minutes or 10.

You will be following a trail going up to the foot of the volcano and would cost a lot if you want the full experience. As much as I would like to try it we decided not to as it was almost noontime and was very hot that day.

This would have been an exciting experience if only we came in earlier in the morning and had more time to spend. Maybe next time we visit, we will surely try out the ATV experience. To those who are planning to visit I suggest to come in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is not that hot. How would you like to take an ATV ride to the volcano?

We reached the entrance of Cagsawa ruins and everything looks the same in my recollection. Last time I visited was around 7 years ago and the sight of the ruins made me feel like revisiting an old friend. The bell tower if the first thing that you would see and would get you excited if it is your first visit.

Entrance fee is posted by the gate.

8 years old and above – 20 pesos ($.39 USD)

7 years old and below – 10 pesos ($.20 USD)

Parking Fee

Cars – 30 pesos ($.59 USD)

Motorcycle and Tricycle – 20 pesos ($.39 USD)

They also have offers for ATV rides that has two trails that you could follow. There are two trails which are the Green Lava and Black Lava trail, each has its own unique attraction. It would be up to you which adventure trail you would choose.

Before we proceed with the exploration of the ruins it was time to eat first. There are tables available if you choose to bring your food but there are a lot of stalls that offers various local dishes.

If you are looking for souvenirs there are t-shirts for sale and other trinkets to remind you of your visit.

To cool down in this hot weather, a stall offers fresh fruit shakes. Take your pick to enjoy a cool shake made from guyabano, ripe mango, avocado, banana or chocolate shake if you don’t like fruits.

We chose a covered spot to have our lunch, my mother in law brought some food with her. To add some more food she bought two other dishes from the stalls. It skipped my mind to take some photos of our lunch as I was starving but I could say that it was a good one.

After that meal, I asked who was up for dessert and of course, everyone wants dessert. As for desert, something unusual caught my eye, “Chili Ice Cream”! I think their passion for the chili has gone overboard here but curiosity was telling me to give it a try. I have never heard of Chili Ice Cream and there is always something inside me that always convinces me to try something new.

They had three levels of hotness for the ice cream and I am not sure if I am willing to try the Level 3. To be on the safe side I chose level 2 and now I just need to find the flavor that I like.

I wanted a level 2 strawberry chili ice cream but this stall only had level 3. So I decided to check out the other stalls to see if they have what I was looking for.

It wasn’t hard to look for it as there are a lot of stalls lined up selling the ice cream.

I removed the cover and it just looked like a normal ice cream. I had mixed emotions and imagining how something hot and cold would taste like. It must be the notion that we have that chili is only used for dishes and normally not for desserts.

I took a spoonful and as I placed it in my mouth. I tasted the sweet strawberry flavor of the ice cream and I said to myself, “Seems normal to me”. After a few seconds the chili flavor kicked in and I felt the hot chili flavor on my tongue. You know that you are eating something cold but the hot chili tells you otherwise. It was a weird experience but I could say that it was not bad, actually I liked it. Maybe I could handle Level 3 the next time around. Are you willing to give the chili ice cream a shot?

After that hot and cold dessert, I am now ready to explore the ruins. Unfortunately, this ends the first part of the tour and I hope you join me again next time as we explore Cagsawa ruins. Come again with me for the next part to see what is left of this church that was covered by lava during the eruption of Mayon volcano.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you join me again for the second part of the tour in Cagsawa Ruins.

 

 

Visit and follow @steemitbloggers AKA #powerhousecreatives. A community that is exceptional, talented and engaging.

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

All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 12-32 mm kit lens

 

 

 

Take Me to Church “Divine Mercy Monastery” – Beautiful Sunday

Take Me to Church “Divine Mercy Monastery” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Welcome back to another episode of our travel here in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Last time we visited one of the oldest church in the region which is said to be 400 years old. As we were headed to […]