7/24/2017

Exploring TANGADAN FALLS in San Gabriel, La Union


If there is a place in the North where tourists wonder whether it is worth the visit, then La Union  will definitely be one of the places to consider. Aside from it being a surfers' paradise, a newly discovered place is now attracting a lot of tourists in La Union and that can be found in San Gabriel in La Union, called TANGADAN FALLS.

HOW TO GET THERE: 

Just take a jeepney with a sign of San Gabriel and that would take you to the Municipal Hall of San Gabriel. The fare is around Php 20.00 . 






REGISTRATION 

At the Municipal Hall, you will first have to register at the Police Station and then proceed to the TREASURY OFFICE to pay Php 30.00 .

When you are at the Municipal Hall, you will also meet some of the Tour Guides. Here we got a bit confused because others said that it is mandatory to have one and others said it's not. But anyhow, we didn't get a tour guide and we basically just followed the track and made it to the falls in the end. 



Once you are outside the Municipal Hall, you could simply hire a tricycle to BARANGAY DAGUP which is the jump off to the falls. Tricycle fare is Php 70.00 .


From Barangay Dagup, to get to Tangadan Falls will require a little bit of a hike through the lush forests of San Gabriel. For people without a tour guide, we found it a little confusing since there were no markings as to where to go but we just followed some groups also heading the same way and it was fine. 

So if asked, it would be nice to put trail signage along the routes heading to the falls. 


The trail will take you through some scenic locations and across some river crossings which were actually quite fun. 


A bit of advice, make sure you wear proper footwear for the hike. Flip flops will do - just be extra careful because some rocks were quite slippery. 

Make sure to also keep yourself hydrated all the time during the hike, some locals do sell ice candies along the route and you will also find some tuck shops  selling refreshments. 


After walking for a few minutes, we finally saw this which I thought was the main falls but I was wrong, this was just a sneak peak for what is ahead of you.


One activity that you can do here was cliff jumping. You can hop on to this wooden box that will take you to the other side for Php 20.00 . 


It is advisable to take a rest because the heat was just becoming unbearable and the humidity was at its maximum. 



After 40 minutes of trail walk, we finally made it to TANGADAN FALLS and what a wonderful site to see!

The water gushing down at Tangadan Falls was just so relaxing and we couldn't wait to get into the water. Bamboo rafts are also available for those who wanted to get close to the waterfall. For the safety of everyone,  I would suggest hiring a life vest while swimming for Php 50.00. 


The water at Tangadan Falls was rather refreshing than being too cold. Some swimmers tried to get a bit adventurous and swim all the way next to the waterfalls which you may do at your own risk. I tried it myself and I had great fun! 


After spending our time swimming at Tangadan Falls, another swimming area  is found a few steps up where a lot of people go for a swim as well. 



We were so happy that we were able to insert TANGADAN Falls into our itinerary in La Union. It was a fresh destination for thrill seekers and it's not that far to get to. Public transport is available almost all the time. If you are going to ask the best time to visit, I would say morning is the best time. 

Well there you go, a morning well spent!



PLAZA DE CASTIEL - A Nice and Cozy Accommodation in Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union!

San Juan, La Union has become one of the prime destinations when visiting the Northern side of Luzon. One of the main activities that makes this place famous is surfing and for the newbie and other pro surfers, San Juan is the place to be.

With the influx of tourists, accommodation sometimes becomes a challenge, especially if you are making your bookings late. Luckily, a friend of ours told us that there is a new hotel that hasn't fully opened yet but was already accepting guests for their soft opening. 


Plaza De Castiel has just opened its doors recently and we were very lucky to experience it first hand. During our stay, we were very lucky to have found one room available, all other rooms were booked. 


I also attached the updated room rates. However, rates may changed depending on the season. 


Plaza De Castiel has several rooms that can accommodate various numbers of guest. The place is located right along the highway and it is easy to be seen. The hotel is around 5 minutes walk to the beach. It is not that bad actually considering the price we paid for a night. 



Plaza De Castiel is still expanding, more rooms and amenities are being constructed at the back that will cater to the demands, especially that San Juan is now a booming surfers' town. 


For the four of us, they gave us this room for four people. It was nice, clean and very spacious. The bed and linen were actually quiet comfortable. The room's air-conditioning also worked really well so we were very pleased with our stay. 




The toilet and bath was nice and big. The heater works perfectly and the I loved the shower head!


Although there were so many places to choose from in San Juan, La Union - specifically in Urbiztondo, we were actually very pleased and happy with our stay at Plaza De Castiel.

 The staff were very friendly and polite during our stay. It was only few minutes walk to the beach and other dining places and bars around San Juan.

Once the hotel is completely finished, I am sure Plaza De Castiel is going to be a favorite place to stay in San Juan! I also hope that they will have their own bar and restaurant soon! Then that would be perfect!


PLAZA DE CASTIEL

Address: Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Email Address: plazadecastiel@gmail.com
Contact Numbers: 09995941199 / 09179061188 / 09179363648



CHOKA Restaurant - One of the Best Breakfast Place and More in San Juan, La Union

When people wander around for holidays, good food has always been a part of their daily activities. So, during our stay in San Juan, La Union, aside from surfing and exploring the other places in this beautiful province, we were also in search for good food. 


Morning came and we were in search of breakfast close to Urbiztondo.  Everything else was closed that morning. Luckily, we found CHOKA Restaurant that was already open and  also looked so inviting. 


The place was quite busy already when we arrived, luckily we found a table good for 4. We immediately looked at the menu and I was so pleased that they have an All Day Breakfast with a refillable coffee. That is a great bonus for a coffee lovers like me! The price itself was also not that bad.


The place was very open which I liked a lot yet you still have this cozy feeling. The staff were very friendly and they have a very good set menu. I could not wait to my meal!



While waiting for our order, we started off with a good and unlimited brew coffee which was what I needed to start off my day. .  



When we looked at the menu, I saw the Wheat Waffles and I told them that's what I want with an additional of 2 eggs and bacon. The price is quite affordable and I couldn't think of  a more perfect meal, especially if you have a big adventure ahead of you. 


My friend ordered pancakes with sunny side up eggs. We all shared our food and we were really satisfied with the food at Choka. 


The food was presented so nicely and was Instagram worthy! 


Just outside the Choka Restaurant, you will also find some interesting gifts or pasalubong items for sale. Wave Nomad PH really makes very cool shirt designs and the good thing is that all of their shirts are 100% cotton.  I really liked this white tank top and so decided to buy it for myself. 


Check out WAVE NOMAD PH Facebook Page: CLICK HERE


I was really pleased that we found Choka Restaurant specially when our palates were really searching for good food. We were very happy with our breakfast and I could just imagine how tasty their other food on the menu could be! In addition, you have cool souvenir items waiting for you to bring home. This place will definitely make your visit worthwhile! 


CHOKA RESTAURANT ADDRESS: 
248 National Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union 

For Inquiries and Reservations : +639212193528

7/17/2017

REDiscovering MORIONES FESTIVAL in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque

Considered as the heart of the Philippines.  Marinduque has so much to offer it's tourists such as beautiful beaches, churches, friendly people, rich cultural heritage and of course, one of the most visited attractions on the island is the world reknowned MORIONES FESTIVAL. 


This is a festival I've been dying to see and when I finally was invited to witness this event in Sta Cruz Marinduque, I was just bursting with excitement. 

The Municipality of Sta Cruz  is considered the oldest and the biggest municipality on the Island of Marinduque. It is a very quiet and peaceful town. People were very friendly and accommodating and I felt very safe during my stay. And most of all, Sta Cruz, Marinduque is one place people go to if they want to witness the MORIONES FESTIVAL. 

The Moriones Festival  is celebrated annually during the Holy Week season where locals dressed like MORIONS who tried to imitate the Roman Soldiers during the era of Jesus Christ. People from all walks of life dress like Morions as part of their penitence. 


During the celebration of the Moriones Festival, Sta Cruz organized different activities to further strengthen the tradition and give importance to continuing this tradition and attracting more tourists as well to the municipality. 


The activity started when the Morions paraded around town. I was so lucky that they walked outside my hotel and when I saw them, I was speechless! 


I was blown away as they walked passed with their elaborate costumes and masks made from the different types of materials ranging from wood, fiber glass and even recycled materials. 


I Was also privileged to have met Honorable Marisa Martinez, the  Mayor of Sta Cruz, Marinduque who also joined the fun of the parade.  


For the first time, Sta Cruz, Marinduque with the cooperation of the Tourism Office organized different sets of activities such as Creative Morions Contest where different Morions showed off their elaborate costumes made from recycled materials. And the main highlight was the Battle of Morions where different groups from different towns competed in a street dance competition. 



Aside from the adults, the tradition is also being passed on to the young generations. This is such a great way of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the province. 


How cute is this kid wearing a white Morion costume. He may not understand everything now, but I am sure that this is something he will be proud of soon. 


Some Morions gathered around the plaza and was able to get up close and personal with their Morion outfits and got to chat to some of them. Participants were also gearing up for the Battle of The Morions happening that evening. 



Tourists and local residents were so excited and the whole plaza was full. Luckily as part of the media, I got a front seat where I could witness everything up front and take better photos. 


After the parade, the program started at 4PM. A solemn mass was first conducted and then the show started. People were so excited and tourists flocked around the plaza to witness the most awaited Battle of the Morions. 


While others were dressed like Morions, others locals were also dressed in what Romans citizens wore during the Roman times. 


While all the other participants were busy preparing the for Battle of The Morions, I walked around this very festive town and had a selfie opportunity with some of the Morions on the street. What I also observed was none of the masks were the same and you can feel that they really take pride in their wonderful creations.




Before the main event, the Creative Morions paraded their elaborate  and recyclable costumes for judges to see. The craftsmanship was simply superb! 


The Battle of the Morions finally started and different towns from Sta Cruz participated in the event. 



Each group of participants really prepared well for this event and it can be seen from the costumes, props, and even from the choreography. As towns were being called, you could feel the support of the people as they cheered their hearts out for their representatives. 




In the Battle of Morion, they were also trying to depict the story of Saint Longinus who was a Roman Centurion and half blind and tasked to spear Jesus Christ during the cruci. And when the blood of Jesus touched him, he was able to regain his eyesight which later converted him to Christianity. The Roman Centurions were not pleased and so later  he was found and was beheaded.  




Activities never stop as a Mass was held on an Easter Sunday. Devotees flocked around the church to witness the church parade which was also part of the tradition.


While watching the parade, you can just see the smiles, love, and dedication  from the people who are part of the celebration.  Though there were so many people, it felt very peaceful all throughout the activities. 


More people flocked onto the streets as Black Nazarene came out from Sta Cruz Cathedral. I am not a Catholic myself so I was just observing from the side and was really overwhelmed with everything that was going on.


The Black Nazarene was decorated with beautiful flowers and surrounded with hundreds of Rosaries. As it leaves the Cathedral, it was very calm but on it's way back, that's when people crammed up to get the Rosaries and cut a piece of the rope that was used to pull the carriage. It is believed that the Black Nazarene can perform miracles and their wishes will be granted. 


I felt very lucky to have witnessed an event such as the Moriones Festival. The Municipality of Sta Cruz, Marinduque really made great efforts to relive and strengthen the culture and pride of the Moriones Festival. I can't wait to come back again next year to witness the festival and I am sure it is going to be bigger and will attract more tourists to the province!