Discovering Baler, Aurora

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Baler is the provincial capital of Aurora, Philippines. It is half an hour away from my hometown. It is a town full of history. Franciscan Missionaries founded the town in 1609 and in 1898, after the proclamation of the Philippine Independence, 54 spanish soldiers made the town church their barracks. A movie was made about the legendary story of the 54 spanish soldiers starring Jericho Rosales a fine actor and Anne Curtis an award winning actress both from the Philippines. Baler (movie title), is a story about the Siege of Baler during the time of the Spaniards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Baler 

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An old photo of the famed church at Baler, where the 54 Spanish soldiers headed by Captain    Enrique de Las Morenas y Fossi was besieged by Filipino rebels on July 1, 1898.

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Baler Church in the modern times

Baler is not only a town full of history but it also have a lot of hidden gems. Aurora is located in the eastern part of the Central Luzon Region and the province is facing the Philippine Sea. There are a lot of gorgeous, untouched and undiscovered beaches. There is the Sabang Beach, Ampere Bay, Dicasalarin Cove, Dinadiawan Beach and a whole lot more.

If you are from Manila, it will take around 6 to 7 hours by car or Genesis Bus Line to Baler, Aurora. The roads have been reconstructed and definitely a smooth drive now. There has been a lot of changes ever since I left home.

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I captured this photo captured from Bay’s Inn.

Sabang Beach has a great, laid-back surfer vibe. There are new developments going on when we arrived. They were building new hotels an a lot of things have changed. The family went straight to Bay’s Inn which is one of the most popular hotel and restaurant of Sabang Beach. We had Mojos! I must say that their Mojos is a definitely must try!

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I’m gonna have this again for sure!

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Even our Baby Flynn loves it.

Bay’s Inn is an average hotel. It is not fancy but if you want to go to Baler and do some surfing, it could be one of the best choice as it is just near the shore and the restaurant is overlooking the beach which is nice and relaxing. Its terrace overlooks the beach, and it’s lulling to sit there and watch the waves. Order an ice-cold-beer and inhale the freshest air you can get in the country! They say Bay’s Inn is also where the surfers hang-out.

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Just sharing an interesting and funny masterpiece that I took, The Five Little Naked Buddies

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This is what’s new! An ongoing construction.

I am not actually sure what the concrete walkway is for but just anticipating what would it look like when it’s all done, I think it will add beauty to the place (just my thought). It was just a narrow and steep walkway before if I am not mistaken. It is really good to see that there’s an improvement.

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Neil testing the warm and sparkling pacific waters.

Below is a photo taken from Ermita Hill. It’s a hill overlooking the serene Baler Bay. This is a great place to contemplate I must say. The hill has it’s own story like the town church. There has been a tsunami that hit and destroyed the town of Baler and only six families survived the catastrophy. They swam to Point Baja which is now known as Ermita Hill.

Ermita Hill nowadays is a beautiful park where you can witness the beauty of nature. There is a grotto near the front edge of the hill where you can say your prayers and make a wish. At the same place, you can see the vast Pacific Ocean, the mountains that surrounds the town, palm trees, fishing boats of the locals and on the other side is the  fish port and Dimanglat Island.

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I captured this photo from Ermita Hill, Baler showing the connection of Sabang Beach and the Reserva River. As you can see, the view is   fascinating.

It’s always nice to go back to my home province in the Philippines.

He who loves not his country  can love nothing.-Lord Byron

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Discovering San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila

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San Agustin Church is a Roman Catholic church under the umbrella of The Order of St. Augustine, situated inside the legendary walled city of Intramuros in Manila.

The Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish collonial period. It has been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1993. The church has a great baroque style edifice.

In 1587 the impermanent earliest building in wood and palm fronds was replaced by a church and monastery in stone, the latter becoming the Augustinian mother house in the Philippines. As a result the church was richly endowed, with a fine retablo, pulpit, wall paintings, lectern, and choir-stalls. It was the only structure in Intramuros to survive the liberation of Manila in 1945.

The land of the building had been donated by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of Manila who had held the expedition to the Philippines from Mexico in 1565.

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An 18th-century pipe organ is located on the upper level of the church.

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The Ceiling is a magnificent piece of art. (above photo)

Below is the statue of the blessed virgin mary on the right wing of the church.

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A few historic and major business leaders are buried inside the crypts and walls of the church. It also contains the tomb of Spanish conquistadors Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti, as well as several early Spanish Governors-General and archbishops. Their bones are buried in a communal vault near the main altar.

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These are wooden chairs carved to perfection!

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I’m not good in describing things especially if it pertains to the interior of a church. The main door is carved, its like an expensive sculpture by itself. When I went inside the church I experienced some goose bumps. The Baroque architecture and design really fascinated me, Neil and my family. The walls and the ceiling are mesmerizing. The ornate chandeliers and the long majestic aisle was breath-taking. The altar has the antique decorations and were so amazing in intricate designed. Everything inside was evident of the Spanish colonization.

I am so lucky to have seen a very historic church. I myself was awed with everything I saw. Neil was so amazed as well. I am so glad to have visited San Agustin Church during our holidays in the Philippines. I can’t be more proud.

I took the photos. I hope you like it.

Holidays in Boracay

Here comes the most awaited holiday of my life. I have been living in the Philppines for 24 years yet I have not seen the stunning beach of Boracay which is now the number 1 tourist destination of the country. I have been away from home for almost 4 years now and I just cannot wait to see my family.

Neil and I arrived in Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 11 o’clock of February 2nd. I cannot believe my eyes when I saw my mom and dad. They look so much older than when I left the country. I did not know how much I missed them until I hugged them. Oh I have missed them ever since I left home. Love them so much. And we are back together for the meantime!

And then our Boracay Adventure.

Why life is better in Boracay?

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As you can see, the beach was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining into the crystal clear water. The fine white sand felt like velvet beneath my feet.

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Food is GORGEOUS and CHEAP.

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I have never witnessed such beauty in a sunset. There are times where the sky is colored neon yellow, orange and pink then it becomes more of a gradient color scheme blending into the wispy clouds and sail boats on the horizon. It looks as if the sky is filled with different tones and texture coming together to form a mass of beauty that is pure and untainted.

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Banana Peanut shake is just heaven! Even the Mango Fruit shake is just divine. Must try Jonahs Fruit Shake as they are supposed to have the best shakes in the island.

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There are so many fun activities to do like the Banana Boat Ride, Parasailing, ATV, Island Hopping, Snorkeling, Helmet Diving and more. I really enjoyed ATV and Banana Boat Ride since the whole family is doing it. It’s just absolutely pure fun!

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This is one of our favorite alright. You can get a good massage for Php 250.00 which is only $ 6 CAD.

My family had lots of fun. We stayed in La Carmela de Boracay at Station 2. The hotel staff are awesome. The hospitality is just priceless. The rooms are nice, clean and well ventilated. We stayed in an Executive Suite for the whole family and the room was spacious.

We had no expectations upon arrival but we fell head over heels in love with this island. I have never seen my mom and dad so relaxed in their entire life and i am so delighted to see them like that. Between the amount of things to do on the Island and such a small price tag associate with the activities, Boracay is the perfect place to go for a beautiful tropical holiday for the family and even honeymooners on a budget.

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Absolutely!

Do you agree?