JOSEPH T. BAUTISTA

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Several historic and heritage sites, 24 peaks, white-sand beaches, hidden water-falls, lovely islets and one mighty river— all located in two adjoining towns. And the nice thing about them is that it takes less than two hours of driving to get there. The twin towns of Maragondon and Ternate are…

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My first glimpse of Baler was from inside the confines of a movie house. It was from the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now. Baler was used as the location for the now famous “surfing scene.” In that scene, Richard Wagner’s “Ride Of The Valkyries” is played through helicopter-mounted…

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It is hard to believe that the Chinese had already been doing trade with the Philippines 600 years before Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1521. Does this mean that the Chinese discovered the Philippines first? Historical records show that as early as 972 AD, during the Sung Dynasty, Chinese merchants…

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Abra 400. It sounds like one of those national cars from a Latin American country, but it’s not. It’s just my way of measuring distance to the places I frequently visit. It means Abra belongs to the 400km league, like Naga or Vigan—or in driving time, about eight hours. But…

Joseph T. Bautista

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Looking for a road trip to one of the spookiest places in the country this long Halloween weekend? Why not drive north and head to Sagada? The people of Sagada, the Kankanaeys, have some unique rituals of taking care of the dead and remembering them. They believe that the spirits…

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I first learned about the town of Luna while doing research on the fortifications in the Philippines during the Spanish era. Beginning in 1565, Spanish colonists built fortifications to protect themselves and their emerging settlements. They built fuerzas and baluartes all over the archipelago to ward off the attacks of…

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This tadpole-shaped island, 6.5-kilometer long and 2.5-kilometer wide, is the first thing that visitors see upon entering Manila Bay. Because of its strategic location in the entrance of the bay, it served as a fortress of defense from attacks by enemy warships for many centuries. Geologically, the islands of Corregidor…

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If there’s a mountain that can be considered as the Philippines’ most popular, Mount Makiling wins by default. This mountain with its peak towering 1,090 meters above sea level and located about 70 kilometers south of Manila is the first that most city dwellers see when they travel south from…

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“I wanna feel the heat with Zambales Yeah, I wanna dance with Zambales With Zambales who loves me” This quaint barangay in San Antonio named after an archangel in Zambales in miniscule. It is probably the only barangay in the Philippines that has its own festival – not just one,…

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“Mind your c’s and g’s.” That was the first thing I learned during my first caving expedition in Peñablanca, Cagayan more than 20 years ago. The c’s and the g’s as I learned are what I should remember to identify rock formations inside the caves. Rock formations that grow from…

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