PAGLALAKBAY ni JUAN KALAYAAN

Tatlong bituin at isang araw. Pula na sumisimbulo ng Katapangan ng lahing malaya, Bughaw na nagpapakita ng karangyaan at kadakilaan ng lipi, Dilaw na nagbibigay liwanag sa kinabukasang darating, at Puti, ang kalinisan ng budhi. Hindi puwedeng sa larawan lamang o kaya naman sa mga kuwento lang makita ang ganda at kinang ng bansang Pilipinas. Suotin ang iyong tsinelas kahit luma, isukbit ang iyong kamera kahit film o digital..at umpisahang tahakin ang landas tungo sa PAGLALAKBAY NI JUAN KALAYAAN

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Visita Iglesia 2009

Being born and raised from Catholic roots involves a lot of tradition. From attending mass regularly and making sure that all the feast day of saints and churches were remembered. My parents also decided to enter a catholic school to ensure that my catholic values is intact and my formation as a human being will be according to the teachings of the Lord. Well, I thanked my parents for being responsible and allowing me to be exposed on the works of the church.

One tradition that my parents taught me when I was growing up is remembering the sacrifices of Jesus Christ every Holy Week. During the Lenten season, I make sure that I do something in a form of penance that will at least in a bit absolve the sins that I made for the past year. Since 1990, I was in grade five then, I started doing the "Visita Iglesia" or the Way of the Cross. It is by replicating the passion of Jesus Christ from the time that He carried the cross up to time of His death in the mountain of Golgotha. Accompanied by my relatives and cousins, we will visit 14 churches and say the Prayer for the Stations of the Cross. One church represents a station of the cross and to do penance seriously, we walk all throughout.

When I reached college, that is the time that I decided to do it by myself. It is more solemn and I can reflect peacefully on the things that I did for the past year and this year marks the 19th year that I have been doing the Visita Iglesia consecutively.

Doing the Visita Iglesia is not your typical walk in the park thing. It needs willingness and clear motive in doing it. I always have this route plan. I cluster the churches according to their location. I start with the Station One or the first five churches that I will pass through my visit. These churches are the: Our Lady of the Assumption in Leveriza and the Our Lady of Remedies in Malate, the Nuestra Senora de Guia in Ermita, San Agustin Church, and the Manila Cathedral both in inside the walled city of Intramuros, Manila.








Visita Iglesia is being done during Holy Thursday and it is the same day when all the priests, seminarians, and lay persons under the Archdiocese of Manila attends the Chrism Mass held at the Manila Cathedral. It is difficult to squeeze inside the Cathedral because it is indeed jampacked.

After the Station One, I passed by the old buildings of Intramuros along the fabled and historical Pasig River and cross the Jones Bridge. Seeing the archway or the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch signifies only one place...Binondo.




Binondo is not only known for its delicious food place such as Eng Bee Tin for hopia and tikoy, Savory for its age-old roasted chicken, and Ang Tunay beef house, the genuine beef house in Manila. It is also the home of the one and only Filipino saint San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila.


Commonly called Binondo Church it is formally named as Minor Basillica of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and it is the first church to my Station Two.

Station Two consists of Minor Basillica of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, the Immaculate Concepcion Chapel runned by the Franciscan Monks beside the Binondo Church, the Sta.Cruz Church in Carriedo, and the Basillica of the Black Nazarene or the Quiapo Church.





It was surprising to see when I passed by Quiapo church, there were flagellants that entered the church to the amazement of those who were still praying. This is the moment that I took my first pit stop. Traditionally, I start the Visita Iglesia without eating or drinking any. I will only drink my first after finishing the Station One and will have a light snack to provide me the energy at the middle of the Station Two.

After taking the stride in Quiapo, I crossed thru the Lacson underpass and to Hidalgo Street. It seems that it is not Holy Week, not only that most of the people in that area are our Muslim brothers. They too pay respect to Catholic festivities but what is really eye-catching is there were still people selling pirated dvds (but they were playing movies such as the Ten Commandments and Passion of Christ), street foods that will quench and fill of people doing the Visita Iglesia, and other electronic gadgets that you can find in Quiapo. Add to the mix are those vendors that still play loud music.

Quiapo is such a haven for people who really wants to know the culture of Filipinos in a quick glance. Jeepneys flying everywhere, people racing against time, and its history remains while everything around it changes.

The last batch of churches that I visited, I called them the Mendiola Swing. Along Hidalgo Street is a small chapel in honor of Jesus Christ's Holy Face, the Shrine of the Holy Face of Jesus and the Basillica of San Sebastian which I considered my favorite church after Malate Church. In the past, it will be followed by the Church of Benedictine Abbey or San Beda Church but this time, I decided to take the twin church in Bustillos Street, the Our Lady of Loreto Church and the St. Francis of Assisi.





Crossing the memorable statue of Don Chino Roces means that I am already in Mendiola and taking the last run of my journey. The Benedictine Abbey Church or San Beda, the Church of St. Jude, and the Church of San Miguel Archangel rounded up my Visita Iglesia for 2009.




It was an exhausting but meaningful journey. I had that very rare moment on reflecting about the things that I did for the past year whether good or bad. Having that moment of solitude with my Creator and talking thru my heart, it was a relief, like a fresh water that cleansed and bathe all the burdens in my heart. Reflecting on my belief that Jesus Christ died on the to redeem all the sins of mankind and in my own little way, pay respect thru penance, I can also redeem my own sins. Next year, I will take another journey and hopefully, till the last days of my life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Isnaks: Noypi Style

Isa sa mga katangian na kilala ang mga Pinoy ay ang pagkakaroon natin ng kakayahang makagawa ng isang bagay na bago at talagang kakaiba. At hindi nalalayo dito ang pagkain. Habang ang mga kapitbahay natin sa iba't ibang panig ng mundo ay patuloy sa nakagawian nilang "fine dining" at "buffet treats", tayong mga Pinoy ay hindi na kailangang maging magarbo upang pahupain ang himagsik ng sikmura. Dahil sabi nga nila, makikita ang solusyon sa iyong sariling bakuran. Subukan nating alamin at sulyapan ang kakaiba at natatanging Isnaks: Noypi style!

Kahit saan ka magpunta o tumingin, laging pinipilahan at dinudumog ang mga street foods na Noypi ang dating. Kadalasan sa mga tambayan at paradahan, maririnig mo ang ganitong mga hirit. "Kapag may usok, may nagiihaw" o kaya naman "Isang stick lang, ayos na ang araw mo". Maraming pagpipilian ang simpleng Juan na kagaya natin kapag kumalam na ang sikmura at kalansing lamang ng barya ang nasa bulsa. Minsan kesa magyosi, stick nalang ang dadamputin at isa-isang dadagitin ang mga bilog na palutang-lutang sa kawaling puno ng kumukulong mantika. Meryenda na iyon kung tutuusin. Masasabi din natin na "Food is the window to the culture".

Hindi mauubusan ang Noypi sa mga ganitong "pantawid-gutom", ito na marahil yung bersyon natin ng "fastfood". Libutin natin ang mga kalye at eskinita at ating tikman, langhapin, at pagmasdan...ang pagkaing SARILING ATIN.

Abnoy. Bugok na itlog ng pato, hinaluan ng harina at tubig at niluto na parang pancake. Adidas. Paa ng manok, binabad at pwedeng inihaw o kaya adobo. Arroz caldo. Lugaw na may manok. Atay. Inihaw na atay ng manok.

Baga. Inihaw na baga(lungs) ng baboy o baka, pwede rin prito with barbecue sauce. Balat ng manok. Piniritong balat ng manok. Balun-balunan. Inihaw na balun-balunan ng manok. Balut. Pinakasikat na itlog ng pato. Banana cue. Piniritong saging na saba na binalutan ng tunaw na asukal na pula. Barbeque. Pinakamabilis maubos sa lahat ng okasyon. Betamax. Inihaw na buong dugo ng manok o baboy. Batchoy. Mami soup na hinaluan ng atay at puso ng baboy, chicharon, manok, at sariwang itlog ng manok. Nagmula ito sa aking mahal na pinagmulan, Iloilo.

Bibingka. Bigas na malagkit na niluto sa palayok sa ibabaw ng uling. Karaniwang mabibili tuwing Pasko. Biko. Bigas na malagkit na may niyog sa ibabaw. Binatog. Mais na puti na may asukal, niyog, at gatas. Bopis. Puso at baga ng baboy na ginisa sa suka. Kilala it sa Bicol region na "Kandingga". Butse. Inihaw na lalamunan ng manok, pwede rin prito.

Calamares. Pritong pusit. Calamay. Malagkit na bigas na may niyog at asukal, nagmula ito sa Mindoro. Maraming klase nito sa bawat sulok ng Pinas. Camote cue. Pritong kamote na tinabunan ng tunaw na asukal. Carioca. Binilog na malagkit na bigas, pinirito at tinuhog sa stick. Cheese sticks. Hiwa ng keso na binalot ng lumpia wrapper at pinirito. Chicharon baboy. Balat ng baboy na tinimplahan at pinirito. Chicharon bituka. Isaw ng manok o baboy na pinirito. Chicharon bulaklak. Piniritong ewan ng isaw...basta masarap to. Chicken balls. Laman ng manok na binilog at pinirito. Astig kapag may sweet and sour sauce. Cutchinta. Malagkit na bigas at asukal na pula.

Day-old chicks. Kilala sa tawag na "ODOKS", day-old na sisiw, pinirito at hinaluan ng suka. Empanada. Pinagmamalaki ng Batac, Ilocos Norte. May palamang longganiza, itlog, at ginayat na papaya. Pinirito at pinasarap pa ng Sukang Iloko. Fishballs. Binilog na laman ng isda, pinirito at pinasarap ng suka. Goto. Lugaw na hinaluan ng laman-loob ng baka, tinatawag din na "Congee" ng mga Tsekwa. Halo-halo. Pinagsama-samang matamis na saing, camote, macapuno, kaong, nata de coco, pinipig, gulaman, sago, beans, garbanzos, ube, at leche flan. Tinabunan ng yelo at binuhusan ng gatas. Sikat dito ang Razon's ng Pampanga. Helmet. Inihaw na ulo ng manok. Isaw. Inihaw na bituka ng baboy o manok. Kilala din na IUD ang isaw ng manok. Iskrambol. Kinayod na yelo na hinaluan ng gulaman, sago, at gatas. Kikiam. Giniling na karne na binalot sa balat ng tokwa. Pinirito at hinaluan ng suka. Kadalasan kasama ng squid balls at fishballs. Lomi. Noodle soup na gawa sa itlog. Longganiza. Lokal sausage ng Pinas. Maraming klase nito mula sa Vigan, Lukban, Ilokos, Batangas, at Iloilo.

Lumpia. Maraming klase nito tulad ng lumpiang basa, lumpiang hubad, lumpiang prito, lumpiang sariwa, lumpiang shanghai, at lumpiang ubod. Mais. Nilagang sweet corn na pinahiran ng butter at binudbudan ng asin. Mais con yelo. Ginayat na sweet corn na nilagyan ng yelo, asukal, at gatas. Mami. Simpleng noodle soup, kadalasang makikita sa mga kalye. Manggang hilaw. Masarap kung may bagoong alamang. Mani. Puwedeng nilaga, adobo, at binusa. Maruya. Saging na binalot ng harina ar asukal. Nilupak. Kamote o saging na nilagyan ng margarine at asukal. Palitaw. Malagkit na bigas na hinaluan ng niyog, asukal, at tinustang linga. Panara. Ginayat na papaya at laman ng alimasag, binalot tulad ng empanada. Madami sa Pampanga nito tuwing Pasko. Pandesal. Tunay na Pinoy almusal. Penoy. Itlog ng pato na nilagang Pinoy.

Pinagmamalaki ng Pinoy ang iba't ibang klase ng Pancit na nagpapakilala sa bawat probinsya sa bansa. Narito ang ilan: Batchoy ng La Paz, Iloilo, Batil Patung ng Tuguegarao, Pancit Bihon ng Bulacan, Pancit Canton ng Tarlac, Pancit Habhab ng Lucban, Pancit Luglog ng Pampanga, Pancit Malabon, Pancit Molo ng Iloilo, Pancit Palabok, Pancit Puti, Pancit Sotanghon, at Pancit Miki.

Pares. Terno ng kanin, beef stew, at mainit na sabaw. Kadalasang makikita sa mga kalye ng Makati, Pasay, at Manila. Pusit. Inihaw na may palaman na kamatis at sibuyas. Puto. Giniling na bigas na nilagyan ng asukal at gatas at niluto ng steam-style. Puto bumbong. Giniling na malagkit na hinaluan ng ube flavoring at niluto sa steamer. Masarap ng may asukal, niyog, at margarine. Kwek-kwek. Nilagang itlog ng pato o manok na binalutan ng harinang kulay orange. Puwede din na gamitin ang balut. Sapin-sapin. Malagkit na bigas at gata ng niyog na niluto sa steamer. Iba-iba ang flavor nito depende sa kulay, may ube, macapuno, langka, at kutsinta. Binubudburan din ng niyog at latik. Siopao. Steamed pork buns, pwedeng asado o bola-bola. Siomai. Steamed pork dumplings. Sisig. Inihaw na mukha o batok ng baboy na hinaluan ng tinadtad na atay ng manok, sibuyas at sili at binuhos sa mainit na sizzling plate. Pinagmamalaki ng Pampanga at Tarlac. Sorbetes aka Dirty ice cream. Street ice cream na gawa sa prutas at iba pang flavors tulad ng ube, mangga, avocado, keso, chocolate, langka, buko, at strawberry. Squid balls. Binilog na laman ng pusit, pinirito at isinawsaw sa sweet and sour sauce. Suman. Ito ang isa pa sa may pinakamaraming klaseng kakanin sa Pinas. Gawa sa malagkit at binalot ng dahong ng saging o ng niyog. Iba-iba ito gaya ng Binagol ng Leyte at Budbod sa Kabog ng Tanjay, Negros Oriental.

Taho. Gawa sa giniling na soy beans o tofu na hinaluan ng arnibal at sago. Sa Baguio City, strawberry jam ang hinahalo. Tenga ng baboy. Inihaw na tenga ng baboy na tinatawag ding "Walkman". Tokneneng. Nilagang itlong ng pugo na binalot ng orange na harina mix at pinirito. Tupig aka Itemtem. Giniling na malagkit na bigas, kinudkud na niyog, gata, at molasses na binalot sa dahon ng saging at inihaw hanggang sa masunog ang balot na dahon. Kilala ang kakaning ito sa mga bayan ng Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, at Isabela. Turon. Saging na saba na may asukal at langka. Binalot sa lumpia wrapper at pinirito. Tokwa. Pinakapaborito kong pamatid gutom. Pwedeng iterno sa goto o arroz caldo, pwede ring prito lang o kaya naman ay inihaw, masarap din kung may halong baboy. Ang aking "Feel Good Food".

Kapag nasa Pinas ka, hindi ka magugutom habang naglalakad ka sa kalye ng Maynila. Kahit saan ka tumingin may tindahan ni Aling Nena na pwedeng patirin ang uhaw mo at gutom. May mga tindahang permanente, may de-tulak, may mga tinayo sa tabi ng kalsada, may nilalako sa mga bahay-bahay, at meron din naman na nililigpit kapag naubos na ang tinda.

Napakaraming sikat na street foods sa Pinas. 68 lamang ang nabanggit ko at masasabing natikman na rin sa aking paglalakbay sa mga sulok ng bayan ni Juan.

Hindi lamang ito para sa mga taong walang oras na magluto o kaya naman ay tinatamad mamalengke, isa rin itong paraan upang itawid ang pang-araw araw na gastusin ng isang tipikal na pamilyang Pilipino na gustong kumita ng marangal. Parte din ito ng buhay na naipasa na mula sa iba't ibang henerasyon at pagpreserba na rin sa kulturang kinagisnan.

Para sa isang Juan Kalayaan, ang pagkaing Pinoy at simbolo ng iba't ibang kaugalian at katangian ng isang tao. Sari-sari man ang itsura at lasa ng pagkain, magkakaiba man sa kulay at ang mga rekadong hinahalo dito, kahit saan man dako ng mundo dalhin, sa timpla mo malalaman...ang sarap maging Noypi.

Salamat kina:
Sidney Snoeck ng My Sari-Sari Store (s.philippines@gmail.com)
Ivan Henares ng Ivan About Town (info@ivanhenares.com)

Friday, April 24, 2009

2009 - 2010 I Must-Travel Places in the PINAS!!!

Many blog entries has been made showing the various and must-see places in the Pinas. Frequently mentioned were Batanes, Boracay, Puerto Galera, Palawan, Camarines Norte, and the well revered Anawangin in Zambales.

I must say PILIPINAS is the most beautiful place in the world (Bias!). Not only that I'm a PROUD PINOY but I was blessed enough to have the chance to visit and travel some of the most treasured places of our country. I thought I already had enough but to my surprise, there still more and there will be more.

Let me share to you the I-Must-Travel places in Pinas for 2009-2010...Why not only 2009? If my schedule will allow me then who am I to say no to these beautiful and enchanting places. Since I'm working full-time and my chosen vocation does not permit me to do this occasionally then, I will extend my plan to visit these places until maybe March 2010. To see these places is not only my reason to travel, photography and food exploration comes in handy as well.

1. Baler Eco-Travel (Baler, Aurora Province)

Baler is a province blessed with an abundance of travel locations. It has its share of historical sights such as the home and resthouse of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. The province also has a beautiful Catholic church and several historical markers. Its natural attractions include picturesque waterfalls, lush greenery on mountainsides, and panoramic beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain climbing and trekking are only some of the activities a tourist can enjoy in Aurora.

This month of May 2009, my travel Dabarkads will be conquering Baler as we dubbed it as "Project Jericho". We will visit Dicasalarin Bay in San Luis, Sabang Beach, the Borlongan Beach in Dipaculao, and the historical Baler Church and Ermita Hill.

Shutter Subjects: Shore lines, mountain ranges, historical markers, beach fronts
Best Eaten: Fresh catch seafoods from the beach
Travel Date: May 23-25, 2009
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2. Sagada Trek (Sagada, Mountain Province 1,500 MASL)

It was back in 2004 when I first visited Sagada. Well, all I know of Sagada then are mountains, rice terraces, Echo Valley, and the cave. But when I had that chance, it was something that I truly treasured up to this date.

Sagada is filled with eye-refreshing sights. At least, a breather from the usual sea and sand. You can find nature and culture ventured into a community with mutual respect to the two. On the way to Sagada is the breathtaking Mt. Data mountain range where I experienced travelling at dawn time and it was like I am on top of the world with massive cloud formations sitting atop the Ifugao mountain ranges.

Sagada boasts a handful of nature's treasure. The Sumaguing Cave, the Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls, the Kiltepan Rice Terraces, Echo valley cliffs, and Lake Danum. Preservation of Igorot culture is also evident around the place with the Hanging Coffins and Burial Caves.

As fellow photographer and blogger Ferdz Decena said " Sagada is a place that is truly worth coming back". I will surely be back.

Shutter Subjects: caves, falls, rice terraces, hanging coffins, rock formations, landscaped valleys and mountains
Best Eaten: Yogurt, Fresh Veggies, Homemade sausages, Mountain-grown fruits, Pinikpikan, Eetag, Food toppings (Panalo to!)
Travel Date: July 2009
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3. Tondol Beach (Anda, Pangasinan)

Tondol Beach is definitely the best beach in Pangasinan and perfect when the tide is low. It's a five to six hour drive from Manila to Anda, Pangasinan. Go through Camiling and pass by Lingayen and through Alaminos (stopover at the Hundred Islands anyone?). It's on the way to Bolinao, right after the town of Bani.

Tondol possess powder ivory white sand in fact, there is an island one kilometer from the shore which you could walk or wade to. And it's powder white sand all the way. When the tide is low, you can pick a spot in the middle of the water and just sit down there the whole day. So if there is any beach that can claim to be the Boracay of the North, it's Tondol! But why even claim such a thing? Why are we always content with being a copy of the original when each beach is unique!

Tondol is actually a public beach and entrance fee is only PHP5. You can rent large huts for PHP200. For now, there aren't any good resorts to stay in so the best option when visiting Tondol is to stay overnight in neighboring Bolinao which is about 45 minutes away.

Shutter Subject: White beach shore line, long stretch of white sand
Best Eaten: Bangus, Bangus, Bangus....
Travel Date: September 2009
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4. Mt. Pulag (Ambangeg, Kabayan, Benguet 2,922 MASL)

Majestic Mt. Pulag is highest peak in Luzon and the dream destination of every Filipino outdoorsman. Its fabled views, of winding slopes of dwarf bamboo, and distant peaks surging like islets in the ocean of lofty clouds, comprise perhaps the most beautiful photo-op in Philippine mountaineering. The native tribes say that Mt. Pulag is the "playground of the gods". In Luzon, it is literally the closest to heaven that mountaineers can get!


The enchantment of Pulag, however, is much greater than just the clouds and dwarf bamboo. The entire experience is a great treat that makes the long travel time (10 hours from Manila to Baguio then Baguio to the jump-off) worth it. Whichever trail you choose - the easy Ambangeg, the challenging Akiki, the arduous Vizcaya trail, or the various traverse climbs - Pulag is a great adventure. Of course, many would opt to do different trails in one climb, the most common of which is the Akiki-Ambangeg combination.

Shutter Subjects: Pulag Sunrise, lush forests, mountain ranges and trails
Best Eaten: Mountain fruits and vegetables
Travel Date: November 2009

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5. Mt. Pinatubo Crater Trekking (Mt. Pinatubo, Capas, Tarlac 960 MASL)


After trekking the crater of Mt. Pinatubo, everything will be in awe. No exaggeration to this but imagine a glacier-like brown peaks with white smoke rising up and in the background, a crater lake that was so enchanting. What a sight to behold!

It is safe to swim in the crater of Mt. Pinatubo , but not in the middle, guides warn that currents might pull you underneath. Kayaks may be rented at the crater lake. Climb Pinatubo at any time of the year, but pay attention to weather conditions especially during the wet season months of May to September. Heavy rains, especially those of typhoons, cause lahar floods that have stranded tourists in the past. Not recommended attempting climbs to Mt. Pinatubo if there is any storm within Luzon, even if there is no storm warning for Zambales and Tarlac.

Shutter Subjects: Mt. Pinatubo crater and summit, Crater lake, Surrounding mountains and rock formations
Best Eaten: Since the location of Mt. Pinatubo is near Pampanga, it is very common in the area to have dishes likely the same as in Pampanga specially the local favorite Sisig.
Travel Date: February - March 2010
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