Category Archives: Philippine Travel

The National Museum of the Philippines

The National Museum of the Philippines

City of Manila, PHILIPPINES

The facade of the National Museum of the Philippines.

The month of May is the National Heritage Month Celebration.  The National Museum of the Philippines opened its doors to the public for free.
Been seeing posts of the museum for days and it got me interested. Thus, I went there on a Friday afternoon not expecting too much but just the usual artworks and stuff that we see in museums.

Hallways filled with masterpieces hanging on the wall.

Little did I expect that the building itself and how they laid out the galleries, corridors and lobbies were like artworks in itself. And that winding stairs, OH!!! The old Senate Hall, WOW!

Every visitor of this museum will definitely have a shot of this beautiful staircase.

The visit was a visual feast for me. I enjoyed the tour. Find time to visit it. I heard the free entrance is extended this June. And please don’t content yourself with just selfies. It’s a great experience to marvel at these works of art.

Corridors such as this, such a visual feast.
There is certain vibe of nobility in this lobby. This is the floor where the old Senate Hall is located.

Will post the shots of the galleries and the Senate Hall in a separate album. It deserves a separate album.

Check out the museum premises in this gallery.

(You may click on the thumbnail to have a bigger view of the image).

Doors at the Pinto Art Gallery

The PINTO ART GALLERY

LOCATION: Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines

A few months ago, an inspiring travel photographer posted a photo of a door in his Facebook account.  It is the entrance to the Pinto Art Gallery.  It wasn’t much about the door itself, but the feel of accomplishment for this young man for having discovered it and enjoyed the visit that made me want to visit that place.

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Pinto Gallery is a gallery owned by a retired and accomplished doctor.  It is perched in a sprawling property in a modest subdivision at the heart of Antipolo City.  It was initially intended to be a personal gallery of the vast art collection of the good doctor until he decided to support other artists by opening his doors for them. He built a gallery to house and display these artworks which is now called the Pinto Art Gallery.

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This is what welcomed me as I entered the main door.

“Pinto” is the Filipino word for “door”.  And that is exactly what I noticed in this place.  Its got so many doors that lead to rooms with awesome exhibits and to gardens that are either amusing, relaxing or breathtaking.

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I enjoyed the vibe of this place.  I have experienced some museums and galleries that are intimidating and forceful to the point of being superficial and conceited, but here in Pinto, my experience was, it is open, sincere and easy to connect with.

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It was so easy to connect. It felt like you are part of the story.
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It gets you engaged. You wouldn’t even notice the other visitors there.
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It felt like you are in your own personal space.
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You feel at home, and with your own horse.

And the gardens …

Oh! the G A R D E N S!  I can stay here for days. 🙂

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My dream garden.

And they are all over the place!  🙂

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Thanks to that inspiring young travel photographer.  His name is Brian Kevin Felix.

This is the Pinto Art Gallery as I saw and experienced it.  Take a tour of this beautiful place through this photo gallery. (click the thumbnail for better appreciation of the image)

You may also get a glimpse of some of the artworks of Pinto in this link:

https://adelle125agustin.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/some-of-the-artworks-at-the-pinto-gallery/

A Friendly Waterfall

THE KABIGAN WATERFALLS

LOCATION:  Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

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Time Stood Still

We arrived at around noon.  We were told that it will take around 30 minutes to get to the spot.  However it seemed like the trek to the waterfalls was long.  I think it was almost an hour.  And as we started to get deeper into the path,  time stood still  (I think).

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I felt the welcome vibe as we got deeper into the valley.   The sound of the nearby stream accompanied us as we trekked the path leading to the spot where the waterfalls was.

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And We Felt Welcome

It wasn’t a clear and straight path though. There were some blind turns and small makeshift bridges along the way.  But what was great about it was, the blind turns would open to beautiful clearings.  I had to stop and gaze at the vista and surroundings and inhale the experience.  It was as if it was welcoming us each time we come from a blind turn.

We met some travelers that came from the waterfalls.  All wet and  seemed happy with their experience of the waterfall.  When asked if the falls was nice, they gave the thumbs up sign.  That got us more excited.  When we arrived at the spot, we were surprised to see not much people there.

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It was an Enchanting and Mystifying Experience

The spot where the waterfalls was was serene.  The sound of the water falling from about 40-50 meters above was surprisingly calming.  The cold mist coming from it was enough for me to feel that I was welcome.  It was enchanting and mystifying.

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The place wasn’t much of a “tourist spot” kind of place.  It wasn’t grand visually.  But the vibe and experience was a traveller’s find.  It leaves a mark in your spirit.

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HERE’S THE REST OF THE EXPERIENCE …

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Inside the Manila Cathedral Now

LOCATION: Intramuros, Manila City Philippines

Inside the MANILA CATHEDRAL Now.

Renovated. Retrofitted. Beautiful.

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After 2 years, the Manila Cathedral opened its doors again to the faithful.  It was worth the wait.  A work of art and a labor of faith.  It is awesome.  I encourage everyone to come visit (even hear a mass).  Bring your cameras, if you don’t, you will regret not having one when you are there.  It is really BEAUTIFUL . . . 

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View the new Manila Cathedral in this photo gallery.  (click on the thumbnail to better appreciate the image)

You may also want to check out the photos of the actual event (mass) of the Re-opening in this link.

https://adelle125agustin.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/inside-the-manila-cathedral/

Downtown Manila Today

The ORIGINAL MANILA BUSINESS DISTRICT

Location:  Binondo, City of Manila, Philippines

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The original Business District and center of power of the country. This used to be the hub of the Stock Exchange, banks, big department stores and other primary businesses.  Though the banks’ main offices have moved to Makati and Ortigas, also in Muntinlupa,  the Binondo district is still the primary business district of the city of Manila where the Chinese business community are mostly based.

Regina Building
Regina Building
Perez Samanillo Building
Perez Samanillo Building
Post Office Building along the Pasig River
Post Office Building along the Pasig River

The old buildings are still standing inspite of the urban modernization and development.  Efforts are now being made to preserve such structures.  Noteworthy in the list are the Regina Building, First United Building, Capitol Theater, PNB, BPI, Calvo Building, and the other establishments such as the Syvel’s Dept. Store., Berg Department Store, etc.

It is rich and enchanting.  Even with the grime and dirt, one cannot not be fascinated by its charm and whispers.  I am definitely going back and savor the essence of the place.

Check out the gallery… (click on a thumbnail for a better appreciation of the image).

Provincial Scene

LOCATION:  Isabela, Philippines

The bus ride from Manila to Cagayan Valley takes about 12 hours.  We left Manila at 5 in the morning.  As the sunset was about to set in, the bus was coursing through the highways of Isabela, the province before Cagayan.

The view from the bus was beautiful.  I decided to take some shots from a moving vehicle running at a speed of at least 100 kph in the national highway.

Provincial life is mostly about agriculture, fishing and tourism.  At the end of each day, the usual images are farmers going home from a hard day’s work, farmers bathing their carabaos in the river, the fields turning into golden yellow which means that harvest is near, and of course, nature at its bounty and beauty over a canvass of bright blue horizon.  I didn’t let all these pass.  I made sure I captured these even if I am aware that the photos may be blurry because I was shooting from a moving vehicle.

These photos are what I salvaged from a set of blurry shots.  I am happy.

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

From Dusk Till Noon in Saud Beach

The SAUD BEACH

LOCATION:  Pagudpud.  Ilocos Norte, Philippines

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We arrived in Saud at almost 6pm and dusk has already set in.  I rushed to the beach to get a short glimpse (and some shots) of the sunset.  It was beautiful.  The waves are perfect for a number of surfing dudes who were having the time of their lives that day.  The wind was fierce, thus the sound of the waves and the splashes on the rocks by the seashore sounded like rolling thunder.

The next day, I woke up at 5am to watch the sunrise.  It was so cold and I had a hard time setting up my camera and focusing it.  The mist kept my lens blurry, thus, I can’t focus my lens.  I decided to just marvel at the scene and take a few snaps once in a while.  We left before noon and I managed to take a few more shots under the scorching sun.

I like the vibe here.  It is warm and personal, and I felt safe.  The locals and the tourists seem to connect with you in a pleasant and personal way.  You feel welcome but your are also respected in your own personal space.

To say that Saud Beach is the Boracay of the North does not give honor to any of these two beaches.  Each has its own enigma far different from each other.

This is my kind of beach.  I want to go back to this place.  And I wouldn’t mind going back again and again and again.

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

Boracay Now

LOCATION:  BORACAY BEACH, Malay, Aklan Philippines

For a landscape photographer, the best time to shoot is the hour before sunrise and the hour during sunset.  Thus, I ventured much in the island at those select hours with my camera and shoot as much as I want.  In between those hours, I didn’t shoot much.  I simply enjoyed the sun and the beach which was teeming with people who are just having their sweet time.  I also took it as an opportunity to explore the strip and tasted it’s magic while clicking my camera once in a while.

This is Boracay today.  Some of its allure is now gone but it is still mystifying.  Like a woman who is past her prime, but is still captivating and attractive.  You just can’t ignore it. (You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

Boracay Sunset Romance

LOCATION:  BORACAY BEACH, Malay Aklan, Philippines

My romance with the sunset started at the pier.  The island was just a glimpse away.  But the boat that would bring us to the island will be late for about 30 minutes.  Oh Boracay … so near yet so far.

Even at the pier alone, one could not ignore the temptation of the beauty and passion of the sun as it starts to set for the day.  Amidst the backdrop of the island, the boats, the cargo vessel, the passengers, and the calm sea, I marveled at nature’s beauty.  I didn’t let it pass, I fired my camera away.  When I saw my first shot on the LCD monitor of the camera, I knew, I’m gonna be having a great romance with the island.

And the next two days proved that I was right.  For two days, as the sun was about to give its final performance for the day, there I was, walking down the whole strip marveling at its mystery and swallowing its beauty.  As the minutes passed, the vibe changes from fun, to awesome, to dramatic, to intense, to jawdropping, and finally, to gratitude.  The experience would take about an hour for each day, and it was enough.  As darkness starts to envelop the island and the lights are being lit in the establishments along the strip, I would take one last glance at the horizon and whisper, “Thank you God for that awesome experience.”

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)