Another articles of mine has been published in the Tripzilla.ph.
Here’s the link https://www.tripzilla.ph/crossing-malaysia-singapore-border/2893
What is an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker)?
A person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This applies to Filipino who are abroad indefinitely as citizen or as permanent residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract as students (Source: Wikipedia).
Most Filipino dream to work overseas. It is every Filipino dream…to dream of a better life. To give their family a better and comfortable life, to give their children the best education, to build their dream house, to support their siblings education all the way to college, to support their ailing parents and family members. These are just few of the many reasons why many Filipino choose to leave their family and work abroad.
Leaving a family behind is a sacrifice that every Filipino Overseas Workers must face in search of a better opportunities. A bitter pill that no one would swallow if they would be given a choice. Working in a foreign land is very rewarding. They are able to give all the needs of their family back home. However there are also several disadvantages. Some of these are homesickness a feeling of emptiness and longings of being away from their family. Discrimination from foreign employers. Some are lucky to find an employer who treat them with respect and dignity. Some ended to be mistreated by heartless employers.
Living and working abroad is a bittersweet. They face insurmountable challenges with only their faith, courage, hope and determination to carry them through. They even go beyond their call of duty to help their families even to the extend of sacrificing their own needs and even if it means of putting themselves in danger.
Being away from family for a long period of time can turn ones life upside down. It is very depressing. To cope up the loneliness of Filipino overseas worker in Singapore, a group of young and active Filipino volleyball enthusiasts organized an event called SportsatSG. Their aim is to help their fellow Filipino Overseas Workers mostly domestic helpers to stay productive and healthy. They are actively supporting them to be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally fit. They prepare them to adapt and keep up a healthy lifestyle to cope up stress and loneliness. Putting them to stay happy and positive all the times.
Every Sunday the open field and parks in Singapore transformed into a volleyball field. Crowds are cheering and chanting to their favorite team. Some crave for the competition, others enjoy the camaraderie and others are just happy to stay active. They gather together to create a positive experience.
SportsatSG changes strangers into neighbours, bringing them together in settings where friendships and abilities can grow into a positive environment. They believe that sport and recreation can be a vehicle for positive social change in the life of Overseas Filipino Workers in Singapore.
Negros is an Island in the Philippines which is the fourth largest in the country with a land area of 5,137.87 sqmi. Negros is one of the many islands that comprise the Visayas, which forms the central division of the nation ( source Wikipedia).
Negros is a beautiful island surrounded by rugged mountains, pristine beaches, beautiful underwater coral gardens that must be added to your bucket list on your next travel. Travelling and exploring the hidden gems of Negros is fun with friendly locals who are very accommodating and extremely welcoming. An added bonus, it is very cheap to travel in Negros, surely you will have a great value for your money 🙂
I am sharing this travel experience of a friend of mine “Pobreng Lagaan (The Poor Traveller)” around Negros. Check this out!
This restless soul of mine was delighted after our two days of tremendous quest of some Negros’ hidden gems. Those picturesque scenarios at Puncak Tan-awan, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes, Casaroro Falls and Forest Camp are just too few to showcase the real beauty of Negros Oriental but it already convince myself to say “Chada gid ang Negros Bai” ( Negros is Beautiful My Friend).
Getting around Negros was actually one of the most incredible experienced I had so far. It was Saturday when everyone was already set for our Negros adventure except me. Having a second thoughts I decided to go after them. It was almost 12:00 noon when I boarded the bus from Tabunoc going to Liloan Port. After four hours of travel with massive commuters from Baruganay to Show and Tabunok to Oslob) finally I arrived at my destination. From the port I bought a ticket and sailed in a fast craft going to Sibulan. It took me 45 minutes to arrive from Oslob port to Sibulan Port. It was very relaxing to feel the gentle sway of the boat but honestly I was a bit scared. I was anxious a feeling of fear where an emotion that evolved to keep us safe from danger. Good thing the boat did not sink haha.
I sighed in relief when finally I arrived at the drop-off point. I flag down a habal-habal ( a motorcycle modified to seat more than two persons. It is in use in provinces in the Philippines where jeepneys and tricycles cannot stand the rough, steep terrain and narrow roads) to bring me to Puncak Tan-awan. You need to register before you can get to the Peak. They offered to drive me going to the peak since it was already late. It would take me an hour and thirty minutes to reach the top of the peak but I opted to not to. Trekking is a healthy physical exercise that creates a wonderful experience. It provides me an opportunity to slow down and disconnect into the chaotic world. Besides it was fun and I love the stillness and calm of an empty trail. The trek to the peak was easy. It took me an hour to trek the peak but going uphill needed an extra precautions to avoid slipping.
When I finally reached the camp where my friends are I was extremely happy. It was a great feeling.
Silay City my hometown, is a third class city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is often referred to as the “Paris of Negros because of its rich heritage history, well-preserved arts, cultures and Spanish colonial houses.
Aside from heritage houses, Silay has so much to offer both for tourists and locals alike. There are breathtaking sights to see which is perfect to put on your instagram profile!
So here are some of Silay City most-instagram-worthy spot. All you have to do is grab your phone or camera to capture the moment.
SILAY SPANISH COLONIAL HOUSES
Silay Spanish colonial houses located along Cinco de Noviembre Street that have been long a sightseeing attractions for tourists. 29 of these ancestral houses considered heritage treasures by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
SILAY CITY MINI PARK IN FRONT OF CITY HALL
This is one of the underrated spot in Silay. This spot is located right in front of Silay City Hall beside the San Diego Parish church. Wear your OOTD and snap a picture at this iconic statues.
SAN DIEGO PARISH CHURCH
You don’t have to go to Rome to post for a picture of their famous churches. The San Diego Parish Church proves to have those structures comparable to Rome churches. This church is unique in Negros Occidental for being the only church in the province featuring a cupola or dome.
MANGROVE ECO PARK
Mangrove eco park is located in Balaring. The park consists of a long bamboo walkways that winds through a forest of Mangrove trees which the local government and residents have constructed for easier access. This is one of Silay tourist attractions.
Inside the mangrove eco park is so cool and calm, the shades will sparing you from the sun’s glare. The view is relaxing and admiring. It is a little sanctuary where you can feel serenity, tranquility, and a gateway, out into the open seas.
Mangroves play a vital role in establishing the slightest ecological imbalance. Mangroves not only help in preventing soil erosion but also act as catalyst in reclaiming land from seas.
BALARING THE SEAFOOD CAPITAL OF SILAY
Balaring is a small barangay or village located kilometres away from the city proper, with panoramic sea view, stunning sunset and an array of seafood restaurants.
Each one of us loves a good sunset. Balaring is an amazing place to sit back, relax and enjoy as the sun slowly bids goodbye to the day that is just flown by.
LANTAWAN VIEW SILAY
The place is surrounded by greenery and fresh air. The scenery is so beautiful. You felt you are being transported into a paradise realm where the Earth is still pure and fresh and nourishing.
LANTAWAN ZIGZAG ROAD
The zigzag drive going to Lantawan view and Patag is very scenic. The landscape is very picturesque and the drive is definitely worth it. People stop here to take photos. I would say this is a dream destination for every photographers. So don’t forget to bring your camera.
PATAG THE SUMMER GATEWAY
Patag is a small village that is popularly known as the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Forces during the second world war. It is also known as the pre-war site of a hospital for recuperating patients suffering from tuberculosis.
Patag is know the favorite destinations of locals and tourists. Due to its altitude the cool weather has remained a perfectly good reason for people to hike to the cool mountains of Patag.
PUNONG GARY’S PLACE
The place is not far from the centre of Silay City but secluded enough for relaxing surrounded by nature. The place is a blissful sanctuary which reminds me of Bali Indonesia. The place is absolutely lovely surrounded with big towering old trees.
So the next time you visit Silay City, check out theses places and don’t forget to bring your camera to take nice photos and post away 🙂
Local and tourists alike flocked to the street of Silay City, Negros Occidental to witness the most grandeurs street dance competition in celebration of the city’s charter day. The Hugyaw Silay Kansilay Festival is the main highlight of the week-long celebration of Silay 60th anniversary which runs from June 6 – 12, 2017. The festival was derived from the story of Kansilay which also the etymology of the city’s name.
The festival is an annual street dance competition wherein participants from 16 barangays or villages wear a colorful costumes made from indigenous materials while they performed gracefully and lively in the tune of Asenso Silay. The streets filled with a festive atmosphere as the crowd cheer for their own bet.
After showing the dance steps in the streets, the contingents compete in the dance show down at the Silay City plaza covered court wherein they can showcase their creativity and artistry as they swinged and moved energetically to the rhythm of the music.
TRIVIA: KANSILAY a local legend tells of how Silay got it name. It is said that in the days of the datus and rajahs, there once lived a princess named Kansilay. An attack on the settlement by pirates thwarted when princess bravely led the people in the village’s defense. The fight was furious and the princess fought like a seasoned warrior. Murals that used to grace some of the city’s building depict her as a fierce fighter wielding a huge talibong, a short native single-edged sword. The pirates routed, but the cost of the princess’ life. Her paramour arrived in time to see her die. In grief, the people lovingly buried her. To their surprise, a tree grew over her grave, the first Kansilay tree, a final gift from the brave princess. (source Wikipedia)
TRIVIA: Silay became a chartered city on June 12, 1957 by virtue of Republic Act 1621.
The increasing popularity of the Hugyaw Kansilay Festival year after year is a testimony of Silay’s strength as one key player in the tourism industry.
KAON TA LIWAT Food Festival is part of the week-long celebration of Silay City 60th anniversary which runs from June 6-12, 2017. The food festival was launched in November 5, 2016 during the Cinco de Noviembre Commemoration. The said food festival showcasing the local homemade cuisines and food delicacies of the town help boost the tourism industry of Silay.
Aside from culture, arts and heritage, FOOD is considered as one of the major pillars of the tourism industry. Silay is not only a home for heritage houses but also a melting pot of sumptuous local cuisines and mouth-watering native delicacies.
Disclaimer: Video not mine taken from the Facebook page of Kaon Ta Food Festival
The food festival opens at 8:00 a.m. and run until night-time for two consecutive days (June 10-11, 2017) at Balay Negrense Museum ballpark displaying an array of delicacies and homemade cuisines. The said event is a good venue for family bonding and get together as well. Filipinos love to eat and food is the basis of our social life and is a huge part of Filipino culture.
Here are some of the photos that I took during the food festival this morning.
Filipinos like condiments and fond of dipping on or pairing anything with our dishes. Eating oysters would not be perfect without dipping it into vinegar with chilli, ginger and garlic.
Aside from food and delicacies there are also souvenirs items being sold made by local artists of Silay like ref magnets, key chains made of lutak or clay, wire sculpture of Ian Valladarez.
KAON TA LIWAT SILAY FOOD FESTIVAL is more than just an opportunity to try the Silaynon delectable food and learn about Silaynon culture. This is an invitation for the community and visitors to come, eat and be a part of the celebration. A great opportunity to come out and support our local food business industries as well.
Whether you are a serious foodies or just curious to learn more of the heritage tour this is the event that everyone must look forward to every year and something that everyone should come out and experience.
KAON TA! (LET’S EAT)
Another article of mine has been published on TripZilla Magazine!
Here’s the link: https://www.tripzilla.com/noahs-ark-malaysia/60139.
There is no better way to explore Silay City, Negros Occidental than our winding, curvy mountains road to Patag and to the majestic view of the Lantawan Peak. The road going up to Lantawan Peak is clean and surrounded by mountains of green, tall trees and sugar cane plantations that can be seen along the side. Negros Occidental is the Philippines’ major sugar producer, contributing over half to the country’s total production.
As you approach the top you will be in awe by the beauty and simplicity of rural life. It was a quiet scenic ride all the way up to Lantawan View Silay. At the top, there is a campground and a distance away is the forest seedling of mahogany trees. The mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni) is a large tropical tree with a semievergreen growth habit.
Due to its popularity and known for its view that overlooks the Lantawan Peak, the owner decided to put up an accommodation offering a tent-style accommodations and a basic cottages. The place has a bathroom for male and female where you can take a shower and a small store that offers small bites for snack. They have a wide space to park your 4 or 2 wheels service as well.
In preserving the beauty of the place, visitors and guests are not allowed to pick flowers and carving trees.
The best part of our road trip was seeing the majestic mountains of Lantawan Peak surrounded by greenery and fresh air was truly amazing. The scenery is so beautiful, no words can describe how I felt that day. I felt I transported into a paradise realm where the Earth is still pure, fresh and nourishing. The view was just so amazing that I stood glued by the beauty of the mountains. I was totally captivated by its grandeur.
Lantawan Peak is the northernmost peak of Mount Silay. The peak is largely uninhabited, especially its back country Southern side. Likely most of the peak of the mountain, Lantawan is largely covered by forest. The first recorded climb of the peak done by Joseph Victor Magdato, Mark Anthony Maja and John Paul Salcedo who scaled it on October 3, 2005.
Elevation (feet) is 3,442. Latitude: 10 49 58.44″. Longitude: 123 14’9.96″
It was almost late in the afternoon when we headed back to the city, as we descend I saw beautiful flame trees (fire trees, Delonix regia) along the side of the road. It is a flowering tree that grows in many tropical parts of the world, like the Philippines.
The leaves of the tree look like Fire. It is red, yellow and orange. So beautiful to see. How the shade and the sun connect. It makes me felt I was in a field of fire.
The sky turned into orange, yellow, red and blue and imagine strolling through these trees with leaves the color of fire. I just wish everything just stop. It was amazing. Orange, yellow, red all different colors really made me felt warm inside as I said goodbye to this beautiful country side of my home town.
I am going back someday…..
This underrated gardens is just a perfect place to visit to forget your worries, find peace and enjoy the lovely landscape in solitude.
The Chinese and Japanese Gardens is very easy to find. The garden is located next to the Chinese Garden MRT Station.
At the main entrance of Chinese Garden, you will find a pair of majestic stone lions guarding its gate. According to Chinese belief the lion is a symbol of strong authority and fealty.
The Chinese Garden was built in 1975 and designed by a famous architect from Taiwan. Prof. Yuen-chen Yu. True to their word the garden is a slice of ancient China complete with a series of bridges, pagodas and a tea house surrounded by ponds, lakes, and trees. Many of the trees are quaint models for bonsai trees.
The Japanese Garden is on the adjacent side of the bridge. The Japanese Garden is more modest and natural. The main focus of the garden is given to simplicity, peace and tranquility.
Here are some of the photos I took of what it’s like there:
The Gardens open daily, 6am – 11pm and the entrance fee is FREE. The Bonsai Garden and the Garden of Abundance (where you can see sculptures of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals) are open daily from 9am-6pm.
One of the major attraction of the Chinese Garden is the small Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. I wasn’t able to visit the said museum as it was raining heavy and we needed to go back our condo. (You may visit their website http://www.turtle-tortoise.com)
This garden is really worth a visit if you need a couple of hours of peaceful reflection.