Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation (The Majesty and Beauty of Kapurpurawan)



The Majesty and Beauty of Kapurpurawan (Capurpuraoan)

If there are divine sculptors up in the heavens, Kapurpurawan is their masterpiece. Shaped by the forces of the ocean and smoothened by time, this rock formation in the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte is a sight worthy of admiration and awe.

Phoenix Pathfinder on Kapurpurawan's broad side providing scale in this photo

Purao in Ilocano (local dialect) means white however this nature’s marvel is actually more on the washed out yellow ochre as its most predominant color. Brown and black streaks can also be seen surrounding the area but are more like accentuating the faded yellowish hue of the entire rock.

The look and feel of the rock formation make the markings of a good sci-fi film

Classified as a sedimentary rock, Kapurpurawan’s majestic features are a result of geological movements and harsh climate changes that can be traced back millions of years. If you will run your fingers along its lighter hued face, it’s undoubtedly an oversized version of your sand stones at home. Looking at its formation, it’s difficult not to appreciate and marvel at the unique shape that roughly looks like nature’s version of the Egyptian Sphinx.

When the lighting is right, Kapurpurawan just beams with breathtaking beauty

Kapurpurawan’s regal beauty comes out when its sunset or when the sunny skies are covered (polarized) by thick clouds casting a soft light.

A nearby stream adding more drama to Kapurpurawan's photogenic appeal

Like royal subjects, these rocks seem to bow before their majesty
Like a proud monarch, Kapurpurawan from afar stands tall and dignified as if waiting for me to bow down to acknowledge its presence. That’s exactly what I did. With ocean tides raging and strong winds blowing, I removed my camera from its protective bag, genuflected facing its way and took my first photographs of “her majesty”. I have to admit I was seduced by this rock’s “beautiful curves”.

Shaped by the elements, Kapurpurawan stands proudly as a geological masterpiece



Dead corals and sharp rocks await visitors who wish to pay homage to Ilocos' jewel of nature

Climbing Kapurpurawan
Going to the rock formation requires focus and caution as the ground that you will be stepping on are either sharp limestones or smooth large stones (adobe). Make sure that you watch your steps and maintain balance all the time as the winds in the area are very strong. Strap your cameras on your neck just in case you accidentally slip. I personally discourage wearing slippers (flip-flops) especially when going up Kapurpurawan. There are no structures to support your steep climb and wearing flip-flops will increase your risk of slipping. Once you’re on the upper part, always lean on the rock and place your balance towards the rock side.

A old log providing a unique accent for a great photograph

When to go there
Best time to pay your homage is during the first quarter of the year (January-March). Second quarter (April-June) is still good but you need to time your visit to avoid the rains especially in June.


The Deal – Tricycle Tour: Explore Ilocos Norte on Three Wheels!
Look for locally (DOT) accredited tour guides on tricycles. There are 2 tour packages which you can choose from: The North Tour and the South Tour. The Tricycle Tour package ranges from P600-P800. To go to Kapurpurawan, you will need to take the South Tour. This includes visits to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Windmills of Bangui, Saud Beach, Pagudpud Marker and other minor stops.

Getting there
By Air from Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport)
Domestic flights from Manila to Laoag could take around an hour

Philippine Airlines
Tel: +63-2-855-8888

Cebu Pacific
Tel: +63-2-70-20-888

By Land
Bus service Manila to Laoag route
Partas Trans
Tel: +63-2-725-1740

Farinas Trans
Tel: +63-2-743-8582

From Laoag to North (Pagudpud/Cagayan) or South (Ilocos Sur) local buses are easily accessible and available in the town bus terminal. It would take approximately 2 hours from Laoag to Pagudpud.

If you wish to know about accredited accommodations feel free to contact the Ilocos Norte Provincial Tourism Office.
+63-77-7704242; 722-1211


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Acts of Random Kindness (Random Acts of Kindesss Day, February 17)


A cherub in front of Sto. Nino Cathedral, Cebu

To look at the world from my eyes is like looking through a kaleidoscope. It is a world of fun, color and possibilities. People ask me how I manage to do that. They ask me if I’m so na├»ve to see the world for what it really is. Yeah, I could do that. I used to be a pessimist. I could drown myself with sorrow and despair I know will get me nowhere or choose to think that something positive is always out there that drives me forward. I take light of things and have no big expectations. The last thing this world needs is another ounce of negativity.

Among the rainbow colored days, I am only human. There are times, either outside looking in or inside looking out and I see things that make me weary. It maybe the rain, the time of the month or a souvenir of a terrible incident that affects my perception of the world yet I’m not so quick to give up on it as little surprises here and there and small wonders pop-up to save the day. 



I was once trapped in a storm, under a makeshift shed that poured more water in than it kept out. Guess what?! That day got worse as a car passed hurriedly which soaked me in a wave of sewer water. A kind old woman selling candies saw what happened and offered her “trapal” vinyl material which she used as raincoat. I couldn’t possibly let her take it off her back and accept the offer because that would mean she would end up cold and wet. I could have easily sunk to the lowest of lows and cursed my way to the bottom. I remembered having watched the movie “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carell, wherein God (played so cool by Morgan Freeman) stressed the ARK as an acronym for act of random kindness. The movie left a positive note luckily reserved for such a day where everything was swamped with glitches and I thought couldn’t get any worse. I was touched by the old woman’s gesture and chose that to uplift me. I felt a warm tingle all-over, I couldn’t explain. All of a sudden I felt like doing a Gene Kelly, to dance and sing in the rain.

I also remember a time, getting lost and alone in Malaysia when a complete stranger offered some assistance. That stranger is now a friend. Thanks to him, this foreign place that started out as a lonely planet experience is engraved in memory as a familiar wonderful adventure. This day and age, kindness is rare and sometimes suspicious in nature but these random acts of kindness shown toward me gave me pleasant surprises that revive my hopes in this world. Kindness still exists.

Front door detail, Manila Cathedral
Angelina Jolie found herself as U.N. ambassador to help in 3rd world issues, Brad Pitt excavated a deep rooted passion for architecture as he helped build homes for victims of hurricane Katrina, Oprah built schools in Africa, Leonardo Di Caprio went green for climate change awareness and the list goes on. They are doing their share to heal the world with grace and kindness. These A-listers have transcended beyond their hierarchy of needs that they have arrived at a stage where they have now a need for cause. Their acts of kindness are on a large scale because they can but, what of us who want to make this world a better place yet limited to a stage where we have nothing yet to offer, nothing financial to spare?

The old woman and the stranger were also great models of kindness. To do something in kind may greatly affect someone, somehow, somewhere and the chain of positivism continues well onto a grander scheme of things. A little thing can make a big difference. Although we will never know exactly how far our gesture meant and went, we will feel the difference because the world will present itself in a whole new light.

I’ve come across a poem in Dr.Seuss like fashion that I’d like to share. This sums up my feelings towards simple acts of random kindness.

Title: Smile
What a beautiful day
The sun said “hi!”
I couldn’t think of any reason
Any reason why
Not to return the greeting
That set my spirit high
In response, I said, ”My oh my!
Thank God for another day,
Thank God for another try.”
I went on walking, out where I could see
Lots of people with whom to share my glee
They asked me
Why I had such a big smile on
I answered,
It’s a gift from me to you
That’s what God sent me to do
It was contagious you know
Every person that I have passed
Have been passing smiles along
It turned into a chain
Until the world was rid of pain
At least, for a day
Oh what a smile can do!

I speak so passionately about living life even if the world seems inhospitable at times because I’ve been through the trenches and back enough times to learn that kindness is a weapon. A smile, holding the door for someone, a good pat on the back, hold a friend’s hand, send a smiley sms, these acts of kindness may not be as grandiose as some philanthropists have shared. Small as it may seem but crucial just the same. It helps to have the means and the celebrity to make this world a better place but it only takes a simple act of kindness to keep us and this wonderful world from self-destructing. Imagine if all of us woke up armed with a smile and with the intention of doing even just one nice thing… this would be a whole new world.


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Random Acts of Kindness day is celebrated in many countries and in fact there is a global movement raising this important day to everyone's consciousness.

Learn more about RAK. Visit these links: 


Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward
Random Acts of Kindness Acts of Random Kindness February 17 Kindness Altruism Paying Forward

Monday, February 13, 2012

Local and International Travel Promos (The 19th Travel Tour Expo 2012)

 

Ready. Get set. Let’s Travel!

To all travel bugs out there, this is again the time that we pay homage to the gods of exploration and adventure as we seek better travel deals, better accommodations and better vacation experience in our future get away plans. The stage is set yet again for us to take our pick on our next destination.
Tourists enjoying and admiring the sight of Mt. Kinabalu from a nearby viewdeck in Kota Kinabalu

The Travel Tour Expo, the country's biggest travel and tourism event, is a three day promotional event with over 450 booths featuring around 200 local and international organizations, including airlines, cruise operators, travel agencies, and hotels and resorts. Participating companies offer jaw dropping deals, valid during the expo weekend only, giving attractive discounted travel deals and hard to ignore promos for local and international travel.

The Travel Tour Expo was conceptualized in 1994 to showcase the products and services of its members. Since then, it has grown to be the not-to-miss destination for the most far out travel deals and the premier marketplace for all destinations. This year, the annual grand expo, organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association or the PTAA, is expected to attract more than 60,000 visitors. This year’s theme is One Stop Shop to the World. TTE 2012 promises visitors a more attractive variety of travel options and special packages only available during the event.

The Exhibitors
Local and international organizations will be there belonging to the different business and industries.  
  • Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (Philippine and foreign based) The Deal
  • Local Tourist Office / Organizations
  • National Tourist Office
  • Airline companies
  • Cruise Liners / Shipping
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Theme Parks / Entertainment Venues
  • Travel Products Suppliers
  • Food / Regional Delicacies
  • Health and Wellness Services
  • Culinary Schools
  • Real Estate Companies and Developers

The Deal
  • Every booth will have their gimmicks and come-ons to get your attention and hopefully get you signing-up with them.  
  • Discount Travel Promos and Packages
  • Special rates on Hotel and Resort accommodations
  • Invitation to sign in email listing – For Future Travels
  • Freebies – Travel Magazines, pens, marketing items
  • Experiencing a taste of culture like Thai massage with a local Thai masseuse (flown in just for the event!), Malaysian Chai Tea, Cultural dances, etc.

What to Prepare For
  • For first timers, this event is obviously a pilgrimage site of travel bugs from all over the country. There will be lots of people so keep your wallets, cell phones and other valuables safe.
  • If you get overwhelmed, “let the organized chaos in the venue reign and then reign in chaos”. Just wander around initially and just don’t mind what  people are selling to you and then snap out of your trance and methodically pace yourself from one booth to another taking everything that you can get from them (freebies, brochures, price listing, etc.) and leave your contact info for their emailing list.
  • Don’t be shy. Ask a lot of questions.
  • Ask for discounts lower than what is offered.
  • Ask for suggestions on the time to take a vacation (best season to go there).
  • Get ready to mingle!  

Travel Tour Expo Details
  • The event is scheduled on February 17-19 at the SMX Convention Center Halls 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Pasay City. 
  • It will be open to the public from 10AM-9PM on Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18; and 10AM-7PM on Sunday, February 19.
  • For inquiries, call the event manager, FAIRS AND MORE, at 845-1324 / 759-6680 or the PTAA Secretariat at 552-0026-29. 
  • Entrance fee: P50 for regular visitors; P20 for senior citizens.
  • Visit the website - http://tte.ptaa.org.ph/
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