• ‘Love Life, Love Travel’

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    At the second general membership meeting of the Philippine Tour Operators, there were two featured speakers. Tourism Regional Director for region 4 (Calabarzon) Rebecca Labit who spoke about the new places to visit in the region as well as the must-see places. I must admit I have not been to many of the places that she mentioned and I am inclined to do so to take advantage of the summer vacation.

    Their slogan for 2014 is “Love Life, Love Travel” beckons. Calabarzon is a fusion of history, arts, culture, heritage and culinary experience, she says.

    The tour begins in Kawit in the province of Cavite, the cradle of the Philippine Revolution then to the Geronimo de los Reyes Museum in General Trias, to the 19th century home at the De La Salle University Campus in Dasmarinas then to Tagaytay city, one of the more popular getaways due to its proximity to Manila. They must do something about the traffic though. It is turning out to be the same one thing that we city dwellers are so tired of and face day in and day out and what we are looking for to get a brief respite from.

    Laguna is next in the itinerary with Calamba as first stop, the birthplace of our national hero Dr.Jose Rizal. The new regional government center will be in Calamba incidentally. The bustling city Sta.Rosa boasts of Enchanted Kingdom, our local Disneyland, owned by Mr. Mario Mamon who we were informed was recently elected as head of the World Association of Amusement and Entertainment Parks. Majayjay is where you will find the colonial era church aged over 280 years old with its red brick walls and ivy—covered buttresses. Definitely a must—go for the Holy Week for VisitaIglesia. After the church visit, shop for organic food at the Costales Farm before proceeding to Pakil to continue with your VisitaIglesia at the St.Peter of Alcantara Church where the Marian Statue also known as the Lady of Turumba is enshrined. Move on to Paete with its famous carvers and lanzones and Lumban, the embroidery capital of the Philippines, Liliw the tsinelas capital, Pagsanjan for its shooting the rapids, then Caliraya Lake, Luisiana for its Pandan products and Cave Karst in Cavinti.

    Rizal is known for its Hingantes Festival and petroglyphs in Angono and Binangonan. Do stop by the AngonoArtists Village for a look—see at the latest masterpieces and art works. For nature lovers, you have the Rizal Nature Trail which includes Daranak Falls, Masungi Karst and Wawa Dam. Quezon province is tagged as the coconut province of the Philippines where all kinds of festival celebrate the coconut: Niyogyugan Festival, Coconut Festival and Mayohan Festival. And then you have the mystic Lucban which hosts the back of Mt. Banahaw and culinary delights Lucbanlongganisa and pancithabhab. The Pahiyas festival is a well—attended event and this year is happens May 15. It has also become a sojourn, a pilgrimage for those whose faith overwhelms. The largest Catholic Church in the province may be found in Tayabas—the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel along with the giant statue KamayniHesus. BatisAramin is an adventure camp while KalyeBudin and Bahay ng Ube are places where you will find ube jam shaped like flowers and fish. Lucena is capital city of Quezon where pancit lovers will surely delight at the choices: pancittara, pancitginisasinalibagsatoyo, mikibihon, tuyongpansit, and pancitna may sabaw. If you are like me eat my pancit with bread, you can get some at Koffe Klatch, Gemini or any panaderia in Lucena. Then go visit the monument of President Manuel Luis Quezon which according to folk tales is made up of collected silver coins. Sariaya is where you see the splendour of Mt. Banahaw. And while you’re there visit the beautiful century old house Villa Sariaya, a classic bahaynabato, St.Francis of Asisi church, BalaiSadyaya and don’t forget to buy delicious ‘pinagong’ of broas and apas. In Tiaong, go to UguBigyan Pottery for nice food and other culinary concoctions.

    Finally, our last stop: Batangas, the Land of the Brave, balisong and haven of livestock in the country. Let’s not forget the beaches of Laiya in San Juan, Calatagan, and Nasugbu, Anilao, and Verde Island Marine Corridor for the best diving spots. Lipa, Talisay, San Nicolas and Taal each have their own come-ons for tourists which you will have to discover. Don’t just take my word for it. Visit to believe it.

    God is Great!

    thelmadm@yahoo.com

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