"When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him." ~ Francis Bacon

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pandan Island: A New Paradise

Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.  During my summer vacation in Santa Cruz, Occ. Mindoro, my friend Bhebot Rummel and her family suggested that we go to Apo Reef, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mindoro. I heard so much about the place that it was beautiful with rich marine biodiversity. 

Bhebot and Family
On our way   to Sablayan ( it was a long drive from Sta. Cruz), the road trip keeping us fascinated with great views of the province, mountains, rivers, villages and farm lands. 

Upon reaching Sablayan town, fishing village and inquire about a boat ride going to Apo Reef, we were told that it will took us 6 hours to get there and  another 6 hours to go back, and we should came earlier. The trip will not worth it if we don't have much time to enjoy it so we decided to scrap the idea and just opt for a nearer island which is the Pandan Island.

Upon reaching the Island I was surprised it was a white sand beach, and the more we get nearer we were awed by the beautiful sight and clear waters of the island. It was underdeveloped which I like with few cottages available, we rented the boat for a whole day so we could keep our things there since there is no more cottage available. 

Seeing the pristine white sand is a sight to behold, I excitedly jump into the water and enjoy. It was like a Boracay sans too much development and huge crowd. I just hope they will keep the natural state and beauty of the place. Locals and foreign tourists abound the area. 

The road leading to Sablayan town:

 The Beautiful White Sand of Pandan Island:

Sunburn and Me

Spotted some foreign tourist/scuba divers:

Island Tour:

Pandan Island tour can be arranged by Gatber Beach Resort in Sta. Cruz Occidental Mindoro, Inquire about their customized package, land arrangements etc. Contact Mr. Norman Gatdula:  + 63 9982551215.

Walking Tour of Escolta: The Calvo Museum

The Calvo Building is home to GMA Network (Kapuso) when it started as a radio station before it was became the country's largest television network, according to our tour guide Mr. Rence Chan of ""Walk with Chan", tour designer for Escolta Walking Tour, Binonondo Walking Tour and Binondo Food Tour.

The building was a very rich in historical value for its architecture and being a famous landmark in Escolta. The Calvo Museum at the fourth floor houses rare and antique collections of old newspapers, movie posters, vintage bottles, photos and mementos of the past revealing history of Escolta's yesteryears. There is an entrance of P100 to enter the Museum and priorities are given to group tours.

Old photos of Old Manila: 

Turn-of-the century Newsprints :

 The Vintage Bottle Collection:

Ads and Movie Posters Collection: 

Escolta Tour is being conducted by Mr. Rence Chan of "Walk with Chan" and also part of the Royal Postal Heritage Tour, for more info on how to join, contact Rence at e-mail : L_rence_2003@yahoo.com

*all photos taken by the author

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Revisiting Escolta

Walking Tour of Escolta

Manila is such a rich place for heritage buildings and sites, Escolta is one of the Bohemian commercial district of Manila during its heyday. I remember seeing Escolta in my younger years, it is the place where famous shopping department stores located, working professionals dressed in suits, it was like little Europe. The structures of the building were mostly neo-classical and art-deco style which reminds of architectural geniuses of the past.

The walking tour is part of  Mr. Rence Chan's "Walk with Chan" initiatives,  part of the efforts of the advocacy is to bring back the glory of the queen of the streets, that is Escolta. Home to art deco buildings such as the Regina, Calvo, Burke and First United, it was a trip down memory lane.
Don Roman Santos Building now BPI Building 
The Regina Building
First United Building
We are allowed to enter the First United Building, you could see the details of the structures, old clocks, old-fashioned elevator that still works, the former movie outfit offices of Dolphy, FPJ and Ms. Nora Aunor.  

Art in every structure 
Every Saturday 98B is having a flea market here at FUB
Former office of Nora Aunor
Dolphy used to have his office here
Some of the former offices are converted into dormitories

Syvel's used to be a famous department store
Calvo Building, a former house of GMA Radio station
Capitol Theater
Our last stop is the Juan Luna building, formerly the First National City Bank, now Juan Luna E-services building. It was being renovated as a call center offices, we are permitted to go upstairs up to the top floor (without elevator but it's worth the inconvenience) to see a great view of Intramuros .

Views from the top of Juan Luna E-Services Building:

El Hogar Building now privately owned is in danger of demolition 
Manila Port Area

Manila Central Post office
Maestranza a.ka. The Royal Warehouses 

Escolta Tour is being conducted by Mr. Rence Chan of "Walk with Chan" and also part of the Royal Postal Heritage Tour, for more info on how to join, contact Rence at e-mail : L_rence_2003@yahoo.com