At last!, the long time planned trip and bonding with my colleagues was realized. We've been planning this outing for almost two month and here we are going to a place where we've never been before, The Subic Adventure. Excited, that was the feeling we all have during our departure. Some are so excited that they contemplated the one-hour waiting time for other as a whole 24 hours. Frankly, I also felt like that because I wake up as early as 5am then they show at around 7am, he he he..It's Filipino time anyway. We left Bay,Laguna at around 7am heading to Subic. On our way, you can feel and see the excitement of all maybe because: first, this is the first time we go out together as a group and maybe the place we were heading is an adventurous one, plus we were all 1st timer on that area. Since we seldom see each other, they take this opportunity on chatting and story-telling of each own adventures and happenings. As the saying goes, "wento ng wento ala namang wenta". Laughter filled our van everytime we are teasing each other. Some are too excited that they continuously took photo inside the vehicle resulting to drained battery before reaching our destination.
Dumaguete, nicknamed "City of Gentle People", is the capital of Negros Oriental Province. The word Dumaguete was derived from the word "daggit" meaning to take away instantly according to some documentations. My wife asked me, why did you tagged Dumguete as city of gentle people?. Was it the only place you don't find any trouble with anybody?..Hehe! of course not! I am a very friendly person so there's no way I can get into trouble with anybody anywhere. She insisted why. I was cornered for I also, do not know why the city was nicknamed like that. Maybe because people here were friendly or hospitable which is a trait common to the most Filipinos. Maybe other people find the people of Dumaguete gentle because of the way they talk. Some say, dialect here are spoken gently that even if you are mad, the way you express your anger seems so gentle. And some other reason I dont know.
It was my third time here in Iloilo but I didn't find time to explore the province during my previous visits. The first time I set foot in this land I'm just merely passing through this province going to another province in Panay. My destination then is San Jose, Antique. I have to travel immediately right after I've finished my work in San Jose for another scheduled work in Cebu. I have only limited time then so I couldn't find time to visit some of the historical landmarks here. During my second visit, I have enough time to roam but the weather didn't permit me. It was raining heavily that time and the weather had never been that good for the whole duration of my stay. It's probably because of the announced weather disturbance in the Philippine area of responsibility. Until I set again for another travel here.
This time, the weather was quite okay. I have my time to roam. There's another problem, I have no companion or guide going to the places I want to visit. But this time, that problem didn't prevent me from doing what I wanted to do. I went solo.
In my continuous search of historical places in the country I found myself in a UNESCO certified historical place, the MIAG-AO Church in Iloilo. According to the citation,this wonderful architecture was built as early as 1787 initiated by the then parish priest, Francisco Gonzales with the help of its parishioners not only for the purpose of being the house of worship. This church, like some other historical churches, was being used as shelter for the people when natural disaster struck the land. And not only natural calamities but also this served as refuge from Muslim raiders and pirates. After 224 years of existence since it was built, St. Tomas de Villanueva Parish is still intact. It withstands all "wear and tear" forces throughout the years. Honor should be given to the people behind the maintenance and rehabilitation of this church for their valuable work and contribution to the country's rich heritage.
At last, I set foot on one of the places I desired to visit, The Banaue Rice Terraces. Considered as the 8th wonder of the world, Banaue Rice Terraces is a UNESCO certified cultural heritage. Wonderfully and skillfully built rice fields on the slopes of the Cordillera mountain range in Banaue, Ifugao, that seems like a stairway to heaven especially when the mountain tops are being embraced by the clouds. All your lethargy will be vanished the moment you have a glance on this marvelous work of our ancestors. These magnificent rice fields were built to grow our ancestors' staple food. Because of survival and skills, they were able to "flatten" the mountains in order for them to have food and survive. Walls of the terraces were "Stone-toughened" to resist erosion due to heavy rains and earthquakes.
Anywhere you go in the town, you will see the rice terraces. They were like canyons surrounding the village. Though the rice terraces can only be planted once a year, these were the major source of rice in locality. Farming here is rain dependent.