My Favorite Travel Photo

(This post is my entry to lagawan.info‘s anniversary contest)

This photo was not taken by me. It was actually taken by a friend who shared my passion for photography. This photo has become my logo for my website discoveringpinas.com. This photo is very memorable to me because it was my first time to travel alone without parents or friends. I’ve never traveled alone before and this trip became an adventure for me. I just met this old friend through a social-networking site and invited me to go to Camiguin Island for the holy week. I never had any second thoughts on what may happen on my trip or if my parents will get mad at me for this decision. I thought that I was on the right age to travel alone and do what I really want in my life and that is to visit new places and discover historical facts. I was really fascinated with the island. The stories about Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the sunken cemetery awakened my curiosity for historical facts.So I practically used most of my month’s salary for this trip which was a big deal because I was getting a real big sum of money back then. As I look back and think of what I did, I’d still use all my money for that trip. Man, Camiguin has a mystical charm on me. :D




Visiting Paco Park

Paco Park or Paco Cemetery is at the end of Padre Faura Street in Paco, Manila. At first, Paco Cemetery was a cemetery for the elite families of Manila. It was used as the place to inter the victims of the cholera epidemic of 1822. Internment was stopped in 1912 and since then, the surviving family members have transferred the remains of their dead to another location. In the second world war, it was used as a central supply and ammunition depot by the Japanese. In 1963, it was restored and transformed into a national park.

The park is circular in shape. It has two circular walls that surrounds the dome and oval mortuary chapel dedicated to St. Pancratius, patron of the children, andit  is also where the Governor General Ramon Solano Y Lladeral is interred.Niches are carved inside the walls that are made of Adobe. Above the walls are pathways for promenades. In the middle of the park is a fountain and is surrounded by centuries-old Acacia trees.

Paco park is a popular for artists desiring a quiet communing with nature, for concerts and wedding venues. It was venue of the recent Black wedding of Jay Contreras and Sarah Abad last January 27, 2008.
Paco Park is where our national hero, Jose P. Rizal was buried after his execution in December 30, 1896. His remains were exhumed in 1898 and temporarily deposited in his mother’s house in Estraude Street, Binondo, Manila. It was transferred in 1912 in Rizal’s monument at Luneta. Aside from being the grave site of Rizal, Paco Park is also the site where Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were buried after their execution.

Grave site of Jose P. Rizal before his bones were transferred to Rizal park

Grave site of GOMBURZA

A person who fears cemeteries may not experience any panic attacks because only a few niches are occupied. And it’s a quiet place for lovers on a date plus it’s a historical landmark. That’s convening the past and the present.


Discovering Camiguin

Camiguin is one of the smallest islands here in Pinas, second only to Batanes Island (smallest) in land area. Camiguin has 5 municipalities namely Catarman, Guinsiliban, Mahinog, Mambajao (the capital) and Sagay. It’s the home of Lanzones Festival held annually in October and Mt. Hibok-Hibok, still an active volcano that last erupted in 1953.

I was fortunate to have met a friend who has friends in Camiguin. We went there for the Holy Week which is one of the most anticipated events in Camiguin. Pinoys and tourists come here to meditate and relax especially on Holy Week. By then, the twelve stations of the cross are all wind up around the island. You can go around the island for a day and visit all the twelve stations. Some come here for the sun and water. Camiguin is a unique island for the fact that it’s an island in Mindanao, has an active volcano and lots of beautiful white sand beaches. Aside from the beaches, it has waterfalls, cold spring and hot spring. Fun, fun, and fun all in one island.

The first spot that we went to is the Walkway To The Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross in Catarman since it was the Holy Week. This is actually the Mt. Vulcan Daan that erupted in 1871 and which now has stations of the cross. It’s not that hard to reach the summit where the last station is located because stairs were built for easy access. Just a tip though – this is not for the faint-hearted and if you do want to reach the last station, bring water with you.

The entrance to The Walkway To The Old Volcano and Stations of The Cross

The stations of the cross light up just before dark

There are actually two waterfalls that I heard of in Camiguin. One is Tuasan falls in Catarman that we didn’t visit because it’s not easily accessible by vehicle. You have to trek and pass through Barrio Mainit in Catarman. The other one is Katibawasan Falls in Mambajao which is a really spectacular waterfall. The water goes into a icy rock pool and it’s perfect for those hot, summer days. It’s accessible by any vehicle and you won’t get lost because the government installed signs/directions going to the waterfalls.
On our way to…

Katibawasan Falls
The icy rock pool
We also visited the Ardent Hot Spring which is still in Mambajao. This is a perfect spot for those weary travelers who seek relaxation. This is your natural jacuzzi and is very therapeutic. There’s also a man-made swimming pool called Soda Water Swimming Pool and i don’t know why it’s called like that. Probably to attract attention. It’s water is cold and the scenic mountain landscape is yours to enjoy. There’s also a cold spring in Camiguin called Sto. Nino Cold Spring in Catarman if you want the opposite of hot. It’s your choice, really. Camiguin has it all.
This way to…

Ardent Hot Springs
Soda Water Swimming Pool
Camiguin has another tiny island beside it which is named Mantigue Island and is a part of Mahinog. This island is accessible by pump boat from San Roque, Mahinog. There’s no electricity and water in the island so you better pack a lot of food and water if you want to stay there for the night. I’ve seen a lot of starfish and sea urchins in the island and it’s a very good spot for snorkelling. Another island across Mambajao is White Island which doesn’t need any introduction because it’s really, really famous. It changes its shape from the letter C to letter I depending on the tide. You can also see Mt. Hibok-Hibok from here.
Land Ho! Mantigue Island

Just keep walking…

…in Mantigue Island

All creatures…
…and small
Camiguin is also known for the Sunken Cemetery in Catarman which sunk in the volcanic eruption of Mt Vulcan Daan in 1871. Its Cross Marker was installed in 1982 to mark the Sunken Cemetery. This place is actually one of the best dive spots in Camiguin and in Pinas.
The Cross Marker of…

Sunken Cemetery. Cool eh?

Remnants of the said eruption can also be seen in the ruins of the Gui-ob Church also known as Catarman Ruins. It’s located just a few minutes away from the Sunken Cemetery.

The Gui-ob Church Ruins or…

…simply the Catarman Ruins
The biggest and tallest tree that i can find in Camiguin

A white lighthouse near the ruins that adds romanticism to a historical place at night
There’s more to discover in Camiguin but i’ll leave it up to my next trip.
An old parola (lighthouse) in Mambajao

Photo Credits except those with copyright labels: Al and Marlone

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