Conquering Mt. APO Agco-Kidapawan trail in Davao City

Conquering Mt. APO’s Agco-Kidapawan trail in Davao City.

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb “

I would like to present to you my kababayan Lily Arlos. This is her story. And I feel honored that she gave me the go signal to share this story with all of you.
 
Meet Lily Arlos in full gear just before the two-day climb to the peak of Mt. Apo. Yes, she is so ready for the climb.
Lily Arlos is gutsy. Look at her latest conquest in Davao! Can you beat that?
 Lily with a yellow phyton.

Lily narrated this: Agco kidapawan trail kami. Bihira lang ang dumadaan sa trail na yun kasi mahirap unlike sa ibang trail ng Mt.Apo. Umakyat kami April 8, 2012 patapos na ang holy week kaya paakyat pa lang kami pababa na ang mga locals at ibang mountaineers na umakyat ng holy week.
 On the way up the mountain, they saw a group of Manobo children with make-up on their faces.
 
About dun sa bata manobo tribe ng Mindanao. Hindi ko alam nagtaka rin ako bakit naka make-up siya. Hindi ako familiar sa tribe nila. Natuwa lang ako sa kanya kaya kinuhanan ko sya ng picture. Actually kahit yung ibang bata naka make-up din sila.
 
Sobrang hirap nung climb namin kasi sa sobrang dami ng umakyat nung holy week wasak na wasak ang daan sobrang putik pa kasi laging umuulan dun rain forest kasi.
   
Ha ha ha, kahit sinong mountaineer hindi kayang I explain yan kung anong napapala namin sa kakaakyat. Kung anong nakukuha namin. Tanong ko rin yan sa sarili ko while trekking kapag feeling ko hindi ko na kayang ihakbang ang paa ko pero kapag nakarating kana sa summit kapag nakita mo kung anong meron sa taas wow! Iba! Hindi ko ma-explain ang feeling. Sabi nga “Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb and only through suffering can we find ourselves.”
 
Cha: May ginagawa ka ba na preparation o exercises b4 ka umakyat?
Lily: He he. Wala. tamad akong mag exercise Hiking na ang exercise ko, Ha ha! Kaya yung 1st climb ko nung 2008 nagka trangkaso ako kala ko hindi na ko makakapag summit. Until now wala akong preparation kapag may upcoming climb.
 
Nag start ako 2008. 1st climb ko major agad.sa Mt.Pulag Benguet via Akiki trail o mas kilala sa tawag na killer trail. Hindi ko expected na major pala yun kala ko minor lang at day hike lang 3days pala.pero buti na lang naka survived
  
 
At the summit of Mt. Apo
 
Top of the world.
They managed a smile kahit sobra na silang pagod sa two days na climb na halos walang tulog.

The view from the summit. Ka level mo na ang clouds!
Lily at the summit.
Mahilig si Lily mag pose sa top ng mga bato na nag-ba-balancing act.

 Sobra ang fog kasi ka level mo na ang ulap. Ha ha ha!

Lily Arlos at Mt. Apo, Davao City. Nakuha nila ng two days ang dapat ay three days na climb.
 
Congrats Lily!  
Despite the difficulty of the climb, nothing compares with the happiness that we feel when we conquer a mountain.- Lily Arlos

Chef Hasset Go Bloggers Night

Hurray! Presenting Chef Hasset Go Bloggers Night!

Join us as we witness live demos of yummy desserts and pastries being made by Chef Hasset Go and experience one of the newest and one of the most exciting food bazaars in the metro, Il Mercanti at Metrowalk!

Photo by Dessert Strip. Poster by Gian Pisuena.
Chef Hasset Go Bloggers Night: The Il Mercanti Experience is to be held at Il Mercanti Food Bazaar (Metrowalk) on May 5, 2012 from 7:00pm to 11:00pm.
This event is strictly for food bloggers only who are committed to submit a post-event article about the event on or before May 12, 2012.
To sign up, please visit this link.

JOIN THE CENTURY TUNA TRIATHLON 5i50 SERIES ON JUNE 24, 2012

This is a public service post for all triathlete out there!
                                              

JOIN THE CENTURY TUNA TRIATHLON 5i50 SERIES ON JUNE 24, 2012 (1.5K SWIM, 40K BIKE, 10K RUN), SUBIC BAY FREEPORT!

Triathlon, the fastest growing sport in the world is growing as fast in the Philippines. Case in point, the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu filled up registration seven whole months before the August 5, 2012 race day. Word has gone around the multi-sport world that the Philippines throws a great show. And with the staging of the inaugural Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon Series on June 24, 2012 at Subic Bay, Philippine hospitality, ingenuity, and beautiful sceneries will once again be showcased. No doubt participants, visitors, families and friends will not only say “it’s more fun in the Philippines” but also proclaim “it’s more fun to swim, bike, run in the Philippines.”

The Olympic-distance Century Tuna 5i50 race (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) will all be within SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority), a former U.S. Naval base, one of the two former major military bases of the United States in the Philippines, the other being Clark Airfield, which were both reverted back to the home country by the Americans in the early Nineties. Triathletes who join can say they have swum where battleships used to be, in majestic Subic Bay surrounded by breathtaking mountains. These mountains are breathtaking too on the bike leg because this race will feature some vicious climbs. But true to most run legs in Philippine Tri-races, the 10k run route will be lined with spectators, giving that extra needed boost to complete the required 51.5 kilometers total.

The title sponsor is Century Tuna, the leading tuna brand in the Philippines. Other sponsors are Alaska Milk, Summit Water, Gatorade, LBC, 2XU, Timex, Prudential Guarantee, and media partners Philippine Star and Multisport Magazine. The Century Tuna 5i50 Triahtlon Series Philippines, the first in South East Asia, is staged and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc., led by two-time Ford Ironman World Championship finisher Fred Uytengsu.

The Philippines is more than just a fantastic triathlon destination. It has a rich history, where a majority of past heritage sites centered around 300 years of Spanish rule. Contemporary lifestyles are sophisticated and cosmopolitan, where major urban centers have superb international cuisine, complete shopping experiences, and the night life is unbeatable. So after the race, and the awesome loot bag, 5i50ers should try to stay a few more days because is it is safe to say: Post-race recovery – it is more fun in the Philippines.

For further details, email: secretariat@5150philippines.com or log on to: http://5150philippines.com/

Fun Aqua Pool Party at Manila Ocean Park

We had so much fun yesterday (April 28, 2012) at the Biggest Aqua Pool Party at the Manila Ocean Park (MOP). 
The heat was unbearable the past few days. I thought Metro Manila and most of Luzon might dry up under this unforgiving summer sun! I hope it will not soar up to 37 degrees Celsius. No amount of air conditioning and halo-halo could make me bear the heat.
Just imagine my happiness when I got an invitation from Ia to the Biggest Aqua Pool Party at Manila Ocean Park! Thanks Ia!
It was also the grand launching of Manila Ocean Park (MOP) E-Wrist Tag (a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) with free wifi access), a first here in the country. I feel so privileged to be among the first ones to experience such technology. Here’s how it works: we deposited Php100 for the use of the E-Wrist Tag. Upon activation, it automatically updates your status both on Facebook and Twitter. High tech!
Then we lined up and bought pop corn and hotdog sandwich at the food stall inside Manila Ocean Park. The night started with the spectacular Magical Fountain show of Manila Ocean Park.

After the amazing fountain show, we proceeded to the Liquid Aqua Pool where everyone had fun swimming the summer heat away.
 

Aqua Pool Party is more fun in the Philippines! More Photos here

BO’S COFFEE: Amaretto Biscotti Beverage

BO’S COFFEE: Amaretto Biscotti Beverage

BO'S COFFEE: Amaretto Biscotti Beverage  

Bo’s Coffee‘s latest offering this summer is the Amaretto Biscotti Beverage that has the coffee taste with a non-alcoholic Amaretto (wine) twist with ground Biscotti bits that you can chew while drinking it. 

Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Coffee
Partnered with Bo’s Coffee heavenly chocolate cake. The cake and beverage was sinfully delicious. I had a chocolate overload that day because I ate a Goldilocks Choco slice just before I went to Bo’s Coffee. Ha ha ha!
Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Coffee, Bo's Coffee Kiosk
At BO’S COFFEE you are assured of a Just-roasted Coffee Freshness.  Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee every morning. Savor the pungent yet sweet aroma filling your every senses. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee makes your mouth water and your stomach rumble. Bo’s Coffee will not only wake you up with the freshest and best tasting cup of coffee available but you will feel proud to be a Filipino once you learn that Bo’s Coffee is a local company.
Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Coffee Kiosk
It was only last April 20, 2012, that I learned that Bo’s Coffee is a Filipino brand that started in Cebu City 16 years ago! Yes, I know I, like you, also mistook Bo’s Coffee as a foreign coffee brand selling expensive drinks or so I thought. In reality, Bo’s Coffee offers more affordable, delicious and freshly roasted coffee!
Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Coffee Stall, Bo's Coffee Kiosk
This specialty coffee shop offers roasting in front of your very eyes high quality locally produced coffee beans which are used in making hot and iced espresso beverages, specialty coffee beverages and others. It also offers delectable selection of deliciously made cakes and pastries. It also offers pasta and sandwiches and it recently added an all-day breakfast menu.
Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Coffee
The rich spicy aroma of freshly ground coffee, followed by the heavenly scent of freshly brewed coffee, can be witnessed at Bo’s Coffee – The Fort branch. Bo’s Coffee is actually planning to make this a regular affair.
Bo's Coffee, Bo's Coffee Bloggers

Bo’s Coffee assured us that it makes its own pastries with only the best ingredients. For those health or diet conscious, Bo’s Coffee offers the Fruit and Nut Mix. You can enjoy munching on this goodies while you work-out.

Bo's Coffee Bloggers, Bo's Bloggers
For more information on Bo’s Coffee and its products as well as its store/branches/ franchise in the Philippines,  visit  www.boscoffee.com.

Jay Park Live in Manila on May 4 to 6, 2012

Good news to all the fans of Korean Pop superstar JAY PARK!

Everybody’s idol Jay Park will shake up Manila  from May 4 to 6, 2012 to promote his first full-length album “New Breed” under MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines).

 
Catch him live at the following venues:  
May 4 (Friday), 7:00 pm at Eastwood Mall Open Park
May 5 (Saturday), 7:00 pm at Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill 
May 6 (Sunday), 4:00 pm at Lucky Chinatown Mall which are Metro Manila’s premier themed lifestyle centers, owned by Megaworld Corporation

Working with top U.S. producer Rob Knox, rap group Dynamic Duo and other top artists to bring you the freshest sounds in R&B and Electronic hip-hop, Jay Park opens up his world like you’ve never seen before.
Not only that! Jay Park is also Orange Magazine TV’s cover for April 2012 
With last year’s mini-album “Take A Deeper Look” Jay Park brushed off his ‘idol image’ and stepped up as a solo singer.  This time around with his first full-length album “New Breed”, he matures even more into an all-around musician.
As with his last mini-album, Jay Park again holds the reins as album producer.  Writing over 80% of the songs, he cements his status as a world-class singer-songwriter.

The album’s title track “Know Your Name” is an addictive blend of hip-hop, pop and Euro dance, taking the listener on a hypnotic journey.  And with Jay Park’s trademark hard-hitting lyrics and catchy chorus, “Know Your Name” is sure to be 2012’s biggest hit.

Totaling 15 tracks, this album is sure to catch the eyes and ears of listeners.
With tracks ranging from R&B to dance, electronic hip-hop to Euro dance, listeners will hear sounds they’ve never heard before and meet a brand new Jay Park.

Famed U.S. producer Rob Knox, who previously worked with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Britney Spears, lends his talented hand, elevating the album to another level.  Add to those collaborations with Dynamic Duo, dok2 and The Quiett, among others, and this makes for one complete album fans will not want to miss.

HAPI Conference to Take Place in May

Do you have questions about whether you should homeschool, or how you can? Good News! The Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) recently made announcements that the country’s 4th Homeschooling Conference has been scheduled to happen on May 19, 2012. Set to take place at St. Francis Square Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong, the event will gather parents, academe, and homeschooling experts in one venue to promote awareness of the program, as well as provide guests with access to homeschool-related tools and services.

Homeschooling is a practice that, over the years, has rapidly gained popularity in the Philippines. Providing children with a familiar and relaxed learning environment that allows parents to tailor-fit certain aspects of their education based on their needs, remote education shatters the long-standing concept that prime education happens only within the confines of the classroom, and is also proven to unlock certain hidden potentials of the student—presenting more room for growth and enhancement.

This year’s Homeschooling Conference is themed “Laying a Strong Foundation.” It will feature lectures from esteemed homeschooling authorities both here and abroad including: noted inspirational speaker, best-selling author and homeschool parent, Bo Sanchez; and former high school and college educator and best-selling author of award-winning books like “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling,” “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens,” and “Ultimate Planners for Moms, Teens and Students,” Debra Bell.

The event is supported by the 3,000-strong force of Filipino families, who are currently homeschooling by choice and discovering its priceless benefits.

About HAPI

The conference is organized by the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI), an organization that has dedicated itself as a catalyst for nation-building by advancing home education and unifying home educators in the country.

The Philippine Homeschool Conference is set to take place on May 19, 2012 5/F St. Francis Square, Julia Vargas Ave. cor Bank Drive, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City with the theme “Laying a Strong Foundation”. International speaker Debra Bell a homeschooling authority in the U.S. and best-selling author, and our own inspirational speaker and author Bo Sanchez are slated as keynote speakers. The event will be honored by the presence of Dep Ed officials like Atty Tonisito Umali, Asst. Secretary for Legal & Legislative Affairs.

To know more about the Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) or how to register for the Conference, visitwww.hapihomeschooler.com and/or email hapihomeschooler@gmail.com.

PAG-IBIG AND SSS OFFER BIGGER LOANS AT LOWER INTEREST.

Good news from Pag-IBIG fund and Social Security System (SSS): Pag-Ibig and SSS are offering members bigger loans at lower interest rates.

Pag-IBIG members earning minimum wage and with at least two years of monthly contributions can apply for housing loans.

Minimum Wage Earners can be offered up to P400,000

Members with higher salaries can loan up to P3 million

Interest rate is 4.5% a year (down from 6%)

Loan applications start on July 1, 2012

Depending on the applicant’s capability, the interest rate would be reduced from 11 %

Visit http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph/ for more information.
Loan interest rates drop from 13% to 5%

Members may apply for housing loans up to P2 million

For home packages, three members could tuck-in their privilege up to P6 million

Visit http://www.sss.gov.ph/ for more information.

Gastronomic Delights at Naci Comfort Food

We started our food adventure at Naci with an Appetizer Sample. Naci’s best-selling appetizers consists of Beef Taco Spring Rolls which are crispy spring rolls filled with a Mexican beef taco filling and served with tomato salsa and sour cream, glazed Buffalo Chicken Wings, Cajun Mozzarella Balls and my all time favorite deep-fried Squid Rings and Onion Stacks. Hmmm, so yummy!
 
The appetizer was followed by a very refreshing Kani Mango Crunch which is a salad with layers of assorted greens, Kani, ripe mangoes, cucumber with crispy wonton that is very crunchy and vermicelli drizzled with wasabi mayo.  Vegetarians out there would really fall in love with this Japanese-inspired dish. I am not really into vegetables so I shared mine with my brother. My brother has his own review here.
 

If you’re craving for pasta, try Nadine’s Adobo Cannelloni. It is my favorite on all the dishes served that night. Nadine’s Adobo Cannelloni is a classic flaked adobo rolled in pasta topped with Bechamel and covered in adobo sauce and mozzarella. You could taste its goodness in every bite. I couldn’t help it, but its delicious taste is stuck in my mind. Geez!

This pie is called Steak & Mushroom Casserole. This is a flavorsome and unusual dish. The beef,mushrooms and gravy can be found underneath the mozzarella cheese. You had to slice it to find its secret. The beef is so tender it fell apart under my fork. This dish turned out so good, it was amazing! 

To my delight, Naci’s menu is blessed with a good selection of pizza! I like this Steak & Cheese Pizza so much I wanted a second serving. So yummy!

This is one of their best sellers according to Nadine the Peruvian Chicken Rice. Nadine told me that if you want to order this dish you have to give an allowance of 45 minutes because it takes time to cook this dish which consists of rice, chicken, sliced lemon with mayonnaise on top. Rice with chicken are very traditional and popular dish in Peru. Ingredients and cooking techniques are very similar to the Spanish paella. I asked Nadine if they substitute Kasubha instead of Saffron sometimes, she said they always use Saffron. So there ladies and gentlemen don’t forget to try this flavorful dish.

 
Slow Roast Pork Belly. The meat is soft and melting while the skin crisps up which makes for a great contrast of texture and flavour. Crispy and crackling. Its tender meat and sweet apple sauce is Saturday perfection on a plate.
 
Nate’s Steak and Eggs, which is a stack of seared beef patty over parsley rice topped with eggs and onion rings served with chunky mushroom gravy, is certainly a dish for meat lovers out there. I don’t know if it is just me, but this dish reminds me of Jollibee burger steak, lol.

Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken. This mouth-watering & hearty dish is so soft and yummy!

 
Satay Marinated Grilled Prawns

This is the first time that I had pizza for dessert this is a very innovative dish! Cream Cheese Pizza with Mango bits, honey and mint. I love it!

Two beautiful platters of very enticing mini cakes and cupcakes were served to us. Each one of these are worth ordering. The Black and White Premium Cupcake which had silky and cracking chocolate glaze-coated dark Belgian chocolate ganache atop a dense vanilla cupcake really stood out.

I saw this signage at Naci Comfort Food:We assure you no appetite will be left unsatisfied! And I have to agree with that.

Verdict: Two Thumbs up for Naci Comfort Food! I really love Nadine’s adobo! The next time you find yourself craving for something that might give you that nice happy feeling in your tummy or for some downright good tasting food, NACI Comfort Food and Dessert Bar may have something for you.

You’ll never miss Naci because they have multiple signage. I actually lost count of its exact number. And they’re just on the same building with Bikram Yoga Greenhills 
Naci Signage are all over the place. Naci Comfort Food and Dessert Bar is a 7 month-old baby by Nadine Nocom. The restaurant was named after Nadine’s father and restaurateur Nacy Nocom. All the items on the menu are originally inspired creations of renowned culinary experts Executive Chef Ed Quimson and Chef Booj Supe in collaboration with Nadine and her family.
The interiors which was personally chosen by Nadine and her family are just as comforting as the food, with a friendly and attentive staff to attend your every need. 
This Greenhills food haven offers a hearty combo of comfort food and desserts. It is as if I toured the world with the great variety of available cuisine.

Staying true to Naci’s promise, every guest walking in to the restaurant can enjoy the cozy interiors and earth-toned colors of the 220-square foot dining destination. Naci have approximately 120 guests seating capacity . Naci exudes a homey ambiance, a wall of award-winning international wines, and an open patisserie.

Naci Comfort Food and Dessert Bar  
Located at the 2nd floor of Fox Square Building
#53 Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan
Tel. No. 726-7266
Operation hour is from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. (Mondays to Thursdays); 
and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Saturdays); 
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sundays)

CALENDAR OF MAJOR FESTIVALS IN CENTRAL LUZON THIS MAY 2012

 

COME AND JOIN THE FUN!
CALENDAR OF MAJOR FESTIVALS IN CENTRAL LUZON THIS MAY 2012.

Araquio of Penaranda
Date and Venue: Month of May, Penaranda and other towns, Nueva Ecija
Held during the month of May in Penaranda, Nueva Ecija, the Araquio Festival is a traditional procession and dramatization of the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena and her son, the Emperor Constantine, where Jesus Christ was crucified. Similarly, the komedya or moro-moro carries on in some villages or barangays such as Poblacion, Las Pinas, Sto. Tomas, San Jose and Pinasahan. Dating back from the Spanish colonial period, the festival features vivacious beats of brass bands, spirited choreography and moving voices embraced with a daunting literary piece. Written in ancient Tagalog, the script tells about the feud of the Muslims and Christians that started over territories. It shows how Christians used the power of the cross symbolizing their faith in defeating the Muslims, who later retaliated by way of stealing the cross from them. Many battles preceded the retrieval of the cross, which in the end led to the Christening of the Muslims. Because the date of the feast varies from one town to another, Nueva Ecija can be considered an Araquio province in the month of May. This festival starts with a Eucharistic Mass celebration and ends with the ever-elaborate Flores de Mayo. Each performing group is given a day or two to perform in the town plaza, and thus it becomes a weeklong presentation when there are many groups lined-up. Contact Joseph Mabalay (Municipal Tourism Officer) Mobile 0906-331-9011 or contact Ms. Carolina Uy (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 982-3041 (trunkline) Mobile 0910-888-8288 / 0908-888-4858 Email caroline088@yahoo.com

Luyang Dilaw Festival
Date and Venue: May 2, Marilao, Bulacan
The name Marilao originated from a plant (shrub) that abundantly thrived in swampy areas during Spanish era. The matured plant bears light yellow flower & the edible roots are colored dark yellow (dilaw). The yellow roots became famous and used for various purposes now we called “luya”. The purpose of the festival aims to inculcate in the minds of residents and the youth, the love and appreciation for the town’s origin. For further details, please contact Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 791-6604 / 2480 Mobile 0927-648-6916 / 0929-745-2566 Email sonnyjcristobal@yahoo.com / bulacan_tourism@yahoo.com or log on to www.bulacan.gov.ph

Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival
Date and Venue: May 12-15, Talavera, Nueva Ecija
Celebrated during Farmers’ Week, the festival aims to actively encourage, promote and enhance carabao’s milk as a nutrition and livelihood industry. Highlight of the festival is street dancing followed by float parade, parade of carabaos, carabao race, agri-trade fair, milk drinking contest, ice cream making competition, among others. For further details, contact Elman “Sonny” Maniquis (Municipal Tourism Officer) Phone (63 44) 411-1977 / 7950 / 0285 Mobile 0926-719-4815 / 0917-995-8126 Email elmaniquis@hotmail.com / mtio_talavera@yahoo.com or contact Carolina Uy (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 982-3041 (trunkline) Mobile 0910-888-8288 / 0908-888-4858 Email caroline088@yahoo.com

Obando Fertility Dance
Date and Venue: May 17 – 19, Obando, Bulacan
Devotees from all over dance their way to find a lover or be rewarded with a child on the feast days of San Pascual Baylon, Sta. Clara de Asis and La Concepcion de Nuestra known as Virgen de Salambao every May 17 – 19. Be enthralled by rythmic dances of men and women accompanied by traditional brass bands – all garbed in Filipiniana attire. LEGEND OF THE FERTILITY DANCE: It is believed that the fertility dance originated from a miracle performed by Saint Pascual Baylon (San Pascual Baylon) who was a member of the Franciscan Order. He was very much blessed by the Holy Spirit, and to show his adoration and respect for God, he usually danced merrily and with great devotion. Many miracles were attributed to San Pascual Baylon. A story related that San Pascual Baylon sometimes visit villages in Obando and other neighboring towns disguised as a vinegar peddler. He then advised couples to go to the Obando Church to pray for a child. Many followed the advice and to their surprise, the image of San Pascual Baylon resembled that of Pascual, the vinegar peddler. Believing that what happened to them was a miracle, they danced with joy in front of the altar. And a few months later, many couples’ faith was rewarded with a happy baby. The account of the miracle spread and was told and retold a thousand times, and soon devotees began flocking to Obando during the feast day of San Pascual Baylon on May 17 to perform the annual fertility dance. For further details, please contact Obando Tourism Council, Office of the Municipal Mayor, Phone (63 2) 294-7097 Email dhey27nikki@yahoo.com or contact Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 791-6604 / 2480 Mobile 0927-648-6916 / 0929-745-2566 Email sonnyjcristobal@yahoo.com / bulacan_tourism@yahoo.com or log on to www.bulacan.gov.ph

Pastillas Festival
Date and Venue: May 5-7, San Miguel, Bulacan
The festival is a tribute to one of the town’s famous sweets – pastillas de leche (carabao milk candies). The town was formerly known as San Miguel de Mayumo, so called because it was renowned for the sweets made there. Among the events in the festival are demonstrations on pastillas cooking and the craft of making pabalat, the lacey pastillas wrappers made of rice paper. The art of making the pabalat or pastillas wrappers has transformed in recent years from being a local, folk tradition into a popular art. Besides adding flair to the sweet pastillas de leche made from fresh carabao’s milk, the pabalat has also become a compelling icon/symbol of the people’s creativity, not only of the town of San Miguel but the entire province of Bulacan. For further details, please contact, Municipal Planning and Development Office, Phone (63 44) 678-2452 Fax (63 44) 764-0154 or contact Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 791-6604 / 2480 Mobile 0927-648-6916 / 0929-745-2566 Email sonnyjcristobal@yahoo.com / bulacan_tourism@yahoo.com or log on to www.bulacan.gov.poh

Pastores Festival
Date and Venue: May 1, Gapan, Nueva Ecija
The Feast of Divina Pastora is celebrated every 1st day of May. Visitors come to the Shrine for prayer offering. They believe that the patron is miraculous.For further details, please contact Ms. Carolina Uy (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 982-3041 (trunkline) Mobile 0910-888-8288 / 0908-888-4858 Email caroline088@yahoo.com

Paynauen ‘Duyan’ Festival
Date and Venue: April 25 – May 1, Iba, Zambales
Paynauen Festival in Iba, Zambales which commemorates the provincial capital’s founding anniversary (founded in 1611) traces its origin from a Zambal word which means “rest” or “pahingahan” – the ancient name of Iba before the Spanish conquistadores founded the village on the shore of the Bancal River in 1611. The festival is the brainchild of Vice Mayor Benjamin Farin, Jr. It features photo competition and exhibit, sand sculpture competition, skate boarding, 2-cock derby, carabao race, beauty pageant, kite flying, banca race, boxing tournament, street dancing / Duyan Parade, among other activities. For further details, please contact Rufina Arcega (Municipal Tourism Officer), Office of the Mayor, Phone (63 47) 811-2910 / 2708 / 3583 Mobile 0917-803-7245 or log on to www.zambalesnow.com

Pulilan Carabao Festival
Date and Venue: May 14 – 15, Pulilan, Bulacan
An annual festival featuring hundreds of water buffaloes (carabao) parading along the streets of Pulilan followed by a throng of colorful floats and farming machines – all celebrating the feat of their patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador. The popular beasts of burden are cleaned and waxed to an ebony shine, their horns festooned with garlands of flowers, and and made to take a bow before the town church by performing the traditional genuflection – an incredible feat that never fails to mesmerize local and foreign visitors. One week before the feast day, a number of agri-related events are held in the town to primarily focus on and promote the economic development programs of the local government. Farmers hold contest such as carabao races, best crops competition and other folk children’s games. Prizes are at stake for the best-looking carabao, the most skillful and the cleanest, the best themed-cart float, among other events. Contact Santos Santos (Municipal Tourism Officer), Phone (63 44) 676-1234 or contact Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal (Provincial Tourism Officer), Office of the Governor, Phone (63 44) 791-6604 / 2480 Mobile 0927-648-6916 / 0929-745-2566 Email sonnyjcristobal@yahoo.com / bulacan_tourism@yahoo.com or log on to www.bulacan.gov.ph

Flores the Mayo
Date and Venue: May 1 – 31, Nationwide
First introduced by the Spanish friars in 1854, and ten years after, blossomed in the various towns of Bulacan, Laguna, Batangas and Pampanga, the May devotion, also known as Flores de Mayo, is celebrated in the entire month of May when organizations like Daughters of Isabela, Knights of Columbus, Solidarity and Adoracion Nocturna, offer flowers to the Virgin Mary. The grand feast of the event is reserved for the last Sunday of the month when Mass is said and the image is led in a procession around town. Women who joined the procession wore blue saya and white veils made by local couturiers. The virgin is usually put under neoclassic arches, called kubol. Young men in barong Tagalog fetch and escort the girls in long gowns towards the church. Today, the celebration is combined with the traditional Santacruzan. Please contact your local tourism office.

Santacruzan
Date and Venue: May 1 – 31, Nationwide
Santacruzan (Holy Cross Festival) is considered the queen of Maytime festivals. It begins with a rosary novena in honor of the Holy Cross. Each night of the novena is assigned to a “hermana”, a member of the organizing committee, which is headed by the “hermana mayor.” The culminating event of the Santacruzan is a grand religio-historical procession commemorating Queen Helena’s finding of the Cross. During the procession, young women in appropriate, lavish costumes personify Biblical characters and symbols of the Christian faith: Reyna Abanderada (Queen with the Standard), who carries the Philippine flag symbolizing the Christian Army, Reyna Justicia (Queen Justice), who is blindfolded, Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess), who carries a shepherdess’ crook, Reyna de las Estrellas (Queen of Stars), who carries a wand topped by a star, Reyna de las Flores (Queen of Flowers), who walks with a canopy of flowers. There are also young girls dressed as angels. But the central figure in the procession is Reyna Elena (Queen Helena), accompanied by a little boy representing the young Constantine. Devotees walk with the procession with lighted candles singing the theme song “Dios Te Salve” (Hail Mary). According to legend, Queen Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, took it upon herself to recover the original cross upon which Christ died. After many false leads, she came upon fragments of the true cross, which she brought back to Rome. Please contact your local tourism office. (Source: Fiesta! Fiesta! Festival Food of the Philippines book)

Jose Abad Santos Day
Date and Venue: May 7, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
The entire province of Pampanga remembers the patriotism of one of the City of San Fernando’s illustrious sons, Chief Justice Jose B. Abad Santos, who was martyred by firing squad in Malabang, Lanao on May 7, 1942 by the Japanese for his refusal to pay allegiance to the Japanese flag. He is remembered for his famous words, “It is a rare opportunity to die for one’s country. Not every Filipino is given this chance.” For further details, please contact Ching Pangilinan (City Tourism Officer), Office of the City Mayor, Phones (63 45) 961-6640 loc. 106 / 209/ 961-5022 / 5684 / 3328 loc. 211 or lof on to www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph

*Dates and other important details may change with or without prior notice. Please contact the local tourism office prior to visit. Always verify the exact date of festival or the highlight of the event (street dancing / parade, float parade, eucharistic celebration, showdown / competition etc.).