Jingle Bells – Christmas Village

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Let me give you a small hint, the snow in the Christmas Village is not real snow. This is the same situation as the time when people were gathered in Session Road, expecting snow to come but actually watching soap bubbles fall from the sky. That’s what the snow is in the Christmas Village, soap bubbles. You even have to be careful in navigating around given that. Nonetheless, despite that it is still popular and commonly visited by tourists and locals alike. Even my family makes it a point to visit Christmas Village when it’s around.

Before I saw Christmas Village, all I ever relied on is my classmates’ stories. This is since I am from the Special Program in the Arts during High School, I have classmates that are under Choir. They are once invited to sing in the Christmas Village. Given that, I only relied on their stories as to how it looks like.

One night, when my Mother decided that we go visit the Christmas Village, I’m curious as to how it looks like. However, it kind of betrayed my expectations with the soap bubbles. I thought they would at least present it in a way wherein it would look closely like snow, not to mention the possible hazard that soap can do when you’re stepping on it.

Even so, I am not undermining the Christmas Village as a whole. If you are with your family and with siblings that are still young (and given how I love watching people), it would probably be heartwarming to you. I mean, just looking at families who actually take the time to come there even though it wasn’t exactly as extravagant as people might think, it’s still something they can think of going to.

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Dancing Elves

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Santa Toy Factory

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A Sled ride

I can say the same with my family. Aside from that, if you enter it would feel more like you entered an actual Christmas Village minus the faux snow (well, at least they tried). You can see actual reindeers, snow men, elves and all the usual things (I haven’t seen Santa either or I might not have noticed him). Either way, it is worth a visit. So, jingle bells jingle bells to Christmas Village.

 

 

Tacloban City – A Place of Memories

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I first came to Tacloban even before it was lavished by the Typhoon Yolanda  long ago. So, for me, Tacloban might be not as the same if I’m going to be visiting now. I was young then, on my Third year of High School, and simply one of the persons taken to work on the Scriptwriting and Shadow Puppetry Tagisan ng Talino competition because I can do script writing.

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Atinfuyang. Script Title. A shadow puppetry tale about twins being a cause of misfortune.

Although to be fair, my script did go through revisions and had been mainly worked on hand in hand with a partner and with our professor herself. Aside from that, it had been my first time riding an airplane. (There are things I wish I would have tried but since we’ve ridden the plane during the times where I’d rather feel like sleeping since we rode it at night or at dawn.)

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First time riding a plane. Entering and Leaving.

Nonetheless, it was a pleasant memory although I don’t quite remember most of it already. Still, there are notable landmarks there that I’m able to visit. Also, it is my first time going to Visayas so I never experienced a heat that you can actually experience too quickly.

Tacloban doesn’t have an SM mall, instead it has a Robinsons one. While inside Robinsons, the place is as cool as Baguio is cool. However, if you go out, you always turn hot almost immediately.

Also, it is easy to go around there given how you just need to circle an intersection and we’re already able to return to where we’re currently staying. We’re staying at a school by the way, the same thing as when athletes coming from other parts of CAR comes to our school and treats one place there as a lodge. From there, I noticed that most of the food served if not always didn’t bear much vegetables on them. Most are meat, a stark difference in nature. It is also my first time there seeing someone dance while holding on something lighted with fire.

Au Revoir Program. 

Unlucky me, since I brought a camera without its charger and the only thing I have is my cellphone which doesn’t exactly take that much decent photos. I don’t even remember where I placed those images. But I have a friend, one of the people with me who took most pictures and these are the ones that I will be using given how we’re always in the same place either way. Aside from that, most of the images she took are stolen shots of me so yeah.

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Auto smile detector settings on my friend’s camera.

Aside from the recent firsts, it is also my first time to ever win First Place. This is given how we if messed up in the middle of our performance, with one member mistakenly hitting her toe by the table and me panicking. Yet we pulled through. I’m not expecting anything. I can’t expect anything given how we’re in the Nationals and we’re up against every other people. Not to mention the fact that we performed first and our Teacher specifically mentioned other presentations that are much better than ours.

Yet when the winner is announced, we are surprised and it’s my first time to actually scream for something like this. (No one screams without a warranted reason, unless it is absolutely necessary to scream to free yourself from stress.)

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First Time Champions. Tagisan ng Talino, Script Writing and Shadow Puppetry

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Theatre Instructor, cradling trophy like a baby

Once the event is finished, we’re still staying for two days before we leave this is since our tickets got switched with the other ones and we’re bound to leave later. From there, we are able to explore Tacloban more, although not all. I’m able to visit Imelda’s home, Mac Arthur’s statue along with some several soldiers walking ahead. A revered resort and even the San Juanico Bridge.

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Riding a side cab

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San Juanico Bridge, connecting Samar and Leyte

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Jollibee, Tacloban City

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MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park

 

I might not remember Tacloban as vivid as I should but it was always being a pleasant memory to me, given how I’d been there before a disaster hit such an unsuspecting place. Not to mention how I just recently made a friend who came from Tacloban in an anonymous group chat before hearing about the typhoon.

I was distraught when that happened. I just don’t know what to do, knowing that I’ve met good people there and I’ve made some memories there that are worth it, it made me sad that those are just taken away as simple as someone blowing a candle out on a birthday cake. So, either way, driving out of the personal thoughts on the matter, I hope you try visiting Tacloban. It might be small and hot (not your temperature if you’re a person who’s more attached in Baguio) but it’s worth it.

The people are nice and friendly and there are some sights that might (hopefully) survived from the typhoon. Nonetheless, Tacloban City is back on its feet and I hope I get to visit someday.

La Vista Inland Resort, Bataan

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WavepoolWave pool resort is a favorite summer hangout of vacationists. It is a waterpark with lots of pools, slides, and cottages. Entrance here is very cheap and the cottages are also cheap. They have different kinds of pools for kids to adults. For kids, there is a man-made pirate ship, and for adults, there are slides, tunnels, infinity pool. The most popular pool here that everyone wants to experience is the Wave pool, where the wave of the water is synthetically created. It’s like you are swimming in the sea that is not salt-water. There are different booths where you can take a picture and different halls for events.

Camayan Beach, Hotel Resort

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Camayan

Camayan Resort is a famous luxurious resort that is right after the Ocean Adventure. It is a well-known staycation for tourists with great customer services. It is a resort with a beautiful white-sand beach, with the availability of swimming pool. They have a restaurant with Filipino dishes inside of the vicinity. Though you need to reserve for a vacancy of rooms earlier because the resort is always full.

Photo from: https://www.google.com.ph/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj4oaKii_LTAhWCjLwKHSApBvgQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.travelbook.ph%2Fphilippines%2Fzambales%2Fsubic%2Fcamayan_beach_resort_and_hotel_918252%2F&psig=AFQjCNEcqX6dPJ0ZvWVwMe2Itf3zvQ2qUA&ust=1494944122963753

Zoobic Safari

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Obviously, it’s a zoo, but not just like because it’s famous. It does have a lot to offer with a very wide area. Adventure for the visitors as well as safety is prioritized here. There’s a walking tour for many species of animals with available picture booths. There is a close encounter area for lions and tigers; tour in a man-made savannah with lots of pigs, horses, and ostriches; different cages for preserved animals and real snakes; an area full of crocodiles, animal parade and night parade; and also the native people of Aetas. The most popular area here is that when you ride into a closed jeepney, and then you will be entering an area, where tigers are free, then you can feed them on the top of your vehicle. Souvenir booths and picture booths are also available for tourists.

Photo from: https://www.google.com.ph/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjn_qmRifLTAhVEebwKHRuCAN8QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zoomanity.com.ph%2Fthemeparks%2Fzoobic-safari%2F&psig=AFQjCNFnZxKR_moJUmW0hcwux5zckgWvgw&ust=1494943551582701

Layak Paanod: Wild Water Tubing

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River Tubing or locally known as Paanod in Davao is an outdoor sport in which people ride salbabidas (or inner tubes, “donuts”, “biscuits” due to their shape) down a river. Depending on the conditions of the river, tubing can be a relaxing way to spend a day, or it can be an energizing wild adventure. It’s like white water rafting, but with tubes in place of the rafts. But unlike water rafting which you do in a group; this water sport depends on you entirely.

I don’t know how to swim so I was a little hesitant to float and flow freely down the rapids on my own but this was another activity I was really excited about and looked forward on this trip so I’m not gonna back out. Layak team will provide the life jackets and helmets for additional safety.

We were told that the river is shallow. We can stand on our feet if we fall out of the tubes. Though, there are deep areas, too. In any case, the best way to go on is just to float freely, Layak team is there to assist and rescue us all the way to end of the ride.

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There’s another thing that you might want to try. To float down the river using just a two bottles connected with each other using a rope. It’s good because the bottles acts as a “salbabida” so you will just float and just go with the flow of the river.

Davao Butterfly House

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A wildlife sanctuary, the Davao Butterfly House is a safe shelter and haven for butterflies, flowers, plants, and other exotic animals such as fishes, crickets, tarantulas and scorpions. It is one of the many butterfly conservation facilities in the Philippines.

The best time to observe butterflies in flight is in the morning with a good sunshine as many species undertake hatching, courtship and mating. During the heat of the day, butterflies take shelter under the leaves and this presents a good chance to observe them closely and take photographs. However, during cloudy days, or late in the afternoon, they usually hide.

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Davao Butterfly House can be found in a 10 hectare area located not far from the Davao Crocodile Park complex along  Diversion Road, Ma-a, Davao City. It’s been in operation since 1995, and up to this date it still is alive and kicking. A childrens’ playground can also be found just outside of the Davao Butterfly House where both adults and children alike can rest and enjoy after the tour.