Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Of First Times and Some Times

Our brief sojourn for our outreach activity will remain as one of the most unforgettable experiences living a life of a student here. It was especially special because I had memories of some first times and probably throwbacks of some of my related  experiences in the past.

It was not simply the first time that I set foot in San Narciso, Zambales but it was also my first time to see Aeta tribe right under my nose. I was quite surprised though because they are not as what the part of my “book educated” mind expected them to look like physically. I have always read in books that they are short and dark skinned with curly hair, thick lips and pugged nose. I saw that Aeta people nowadays especially in Zambales have been assimilated to the mainstream society and have intermarried with other tribes.

Observing the rice paddies side by side as we entered the sitio, I felt I instantly had a taste of life of our own province. They use water pumps as source of water. However, water pumps are public properties as they are shared by several families. As we passed by, we saw also farmers use the concrete road to dry their crops. It is mainly an agricultural community and people survive mainly by farming. The single motorcycle is also reminiscent of the barrio life. It is the common mode of transportation, if not the kalesas!

It was my first time though to engage in an outreach activity in which the focus is health. I believe it is a timely theme since health is a basic service but most of the time a concern in remote places. I enjoyed how our respective activities closely revolved around health concepts and I learned a lot also from my fellow facilitators. We did the children things like playing different games. We we’re lucky as well that the children taught us how to dance their native dance! I enjoyed participating because that is one way of showing the hosts that we accept them and their culture. It was truly a first time!

Immersing myself with the children, I felt like I had a throwback of my experiences in the past. I used to teach in a remote school in Mindanao for some time where my pupils are even poorer. They are children, so they naturally love to frolic. Some children exhibit vestiges of inferiority complex, so they are shy at the first time we approached them. But eventually, they participated in the activities. Who the kid would not want? We prepared a lot of exciting prizes! Children are always children. I miss teaching the most challenging age group in the world.

Interviewing the teachers and parents about community health and with human ecology in my mind, I systematically got to know the layers of contexts that interplay the health ecology of the Aeta children. Of all the interacting systems, I took note of some of the indigenous health knowledge and practices of the Aeta people. I was not so much surprise with the practice of going to the traditional healer and the use of herbs for healing. I was born in this time and space.

This is my personal illustration of the Health Ecology of children.

As seen above, the health ecology of the Aeta children consists of the child and the contexts. The center of the health ecology is the child. The contexts, consist of layers of interacting systems in a nested arrangement of structures, emanate outward from the center.
Microsystem. The first level in the health ecology is the microsystem. It is the relationship between the developing child and the health environment in immediate setting containing the child. The setting in this ecology is the place with particular physical features in which the child engages in particular activities in particular role as a son or learner. 
Mesosystem. The mesosystem comprises the dynamic interactions among various microsystems containing the child. The mesosystem, essentially a collection of microsystems, for children could include interactions among parents and teachers, health environments such as the classroom, school and family. 
Exosystem. The next level outward in the health ecosystem is the exosystem. It encompasses other specific social structure such as barangay health assistance, media portrayal of health, health related outreach programs, health concepts embedded in school curriculum and family socioeconomic status, that do not themselves contain the developing person but impinge upon the immediate setting in which that person is found. 
Macrosystem. The macrosystem is the broadest level that is farthest from the center of health ecosystem. This consists of the overarching institutional patterns of the societal messages about diet, nutirion and lifestyle, the indigenous knowledge and practices related to health, political programs on community health, and the cultural understanding of people about health. 

As I posted on social media, at the end of the day, we took away more than what we brought to them - especially all the memories of first times and some throwbacks that I took away home.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Tribe of Curricularists

When he scrutinized my application paper, he asked: "Ano itong major in curriculum studies? Wala bang mas mahirap diyan?" I was disappointed with the questions and to the person. I crashed him in my mind and consoled myself by quietly cursing: "Of course, a person not from the tribe has myopic view of the culture." Little did he know, curriculum studies is one of the toughest degrees in the UP College of Education.

This opportunity to study came like a manna from heaven and served in a silver platter. Since I was teaching curriculum that time, I thought it would be an ace in the hole if I choose a specialization that I know the ropes confidently. But with my stock knowledge that I thought was enough, I writhed in shame when I discovered that, among so many dreadful disciplines that sprout like mushrooms of Egypt nowadays, curriculum studies is a discipline of its own worthy of scholarly study with its culture common to education but unique to its own. 

If I will randomly ask thirty strangers using maximum variation sampling about what is curriculum, I am a hundred percent sure of the probability of success that I would generate thirty unique answers, too. Even if one will look at the literature, there are just as many definitions as many authors. But the dramatic saying "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" does not apply in curriculum studies; the case is different. Curriculum must take a precise definition when in practice. As teachers who are supposed to be taking the curricularist role, we cannot develop a curriculum if we do not know it.

A curricularist, more than an educator, is a professional specialist interested in the process of developing, implementing and evaluating the components of the curriculum. Hence, curriculum studies is a discipline that is procedural in nature studying the intent, content, approach and evaluation. Procedure is very important. Ever wondered why many curriculum migrations often leave educators hanging in the midair in the end? It is because trainers are usually oriented to the theory only, not on the procedure which is very important in curriculum studies. 

Many teachers assume that because they are teachers, they can speak the language of curricularists "fluently". In our discussion about curriculum, somebody commented that "...in order for us to implement a responsive, appropriate and relevant curriculum." I had to correct him that implemented curriculum should evaluated based on its effectiveness and efficiency; intended curriculum on its responsiveness, appropriateness and relevance. There is thin hair in curriculum concepts that only curriculum studies can critically illuminate. 

UP Curriculum Studies Department. 
This was actually taken during my birthday at Fisher Mall, Quezon City.

People should not talk about it as if curriculum studies is any plain soap in the shelf. I encountered the same acquaintance who earlier commented about my degree. "Nakaka-intimidate naman ang course mo," he said this time. I did not crush him in my mind and hurl curse in the wind again. I take all kinds of comments as challenge to multiply the tribe and educate people on the language of curriculum. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lost in the Missing

"Is it possible to miss someone you do not know?" That is the question that has been haunting my soul. Because I have been missing someone so terribly lately.

Impressed with the discipline of philosophy here in UP like I have never been in my previous philosophy classes, I came with this question of reality of a human feeling. There are just feelings in this world that are antithesis to the normal feelings we know as humans. It is like an elephant learning to fly. Or like black as the new pink.

But what if, indeed, these feelings we know as normal is only a manifestation of our subjective human understanding and the real normal is the exact opposite of everything? What if missing someone you know is only a feeling influenced by what our culture of emotion is used to feel and the reality is that it is possible for us to miss another human we never know at all? I do not know. But who knows.

How does it feel to miss someone you do not know... is yearning, wanting, hoping, desiring... of a person you never know in your life personally, not even in a closer space or time. It happens when you are obsessed with the idea of the identity of that person... the look you never saw, the voice you never heard, the feelings you never felt. 

It is not perhaps the object of that person I miss but the essence of that person... the existence of that person whether that person exists in either kind of reality. But would it matter to argue the nuances between the object and essence of that person as the point of missing? That would be useless because I miss everything about that person....

This is the feeling I am feeling right now... lost in the missing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Abra in Time: Meeting My Family in the North

I never personally knew my maternal relatives. Back in my childhood, I only read them through snail mails that my grandmother shared with them and through her stories. But my hope of meeting them personally - to share stories of our family, to know how they are feeling - has never left me since then.

The drama of my UP journey came as a mission of many purposes. There was one important purpose: to personally meet my family in the North. And last Holy Week was indeed the perfect chance to finally get to know them although a few of them were home.

I did travel the roads of Ilocos Region three years ago, and passing again by that long, dry road made me realize how hard the journey of my grandparents was. As I posted, I saw harsh landscape of undulating plains, whipped by blistering winds... and this could probably describe also the journey of my grandparents many decades ago. That was the time when they had to leave the region in search for a place in Mindanao to build their new home... and their new dreams.

On the second bus that I took aboard, I was seated in front - a perfect spot that I was able to capture the iconic tunnel of the province of Abra. This welcomed my very first sojourn to the land where my forebears came. And it was just so amazing, knowing that finally I am home for the first time!

My Lolo Porcing, the youngest brother of my grandmother, waited for me in the capital of the province. I immediately recognized him, and I hugged his beautiful wife, Lola Norma. He looks like the handsome male version of my grandmother. We drove for about an hour before we reached the ancestral house where my great grandparents and grandmother once lived. "Ito ang bahay natin," said Lolo Porcing. It was so sweet.

I spent the three days with the family, talking about how life has been before the family migrated and how every one is doing in Mindanao now. I also lived with one of my uncles and his family, and we frequently bonded with my first cousins, Manong John and Jhey, who were there. Life is very laid back in the province, and these are the things that I missed most... the silence, the food, the home. I can never forget how they graciously made me feel a part of the family.

I thank God for this once in a lifetime opportunity. It feels so good that somewhere else in this world, you belong to a very wonderful family. I cannot even imagine until now that I trace my roots in this corner of the world, that  wonderful feeling of a place where a part of my humanity came from.

Clockwise: The Abra Tunnel; my Lolo Porcing and Lola Norma;
the old house where I stayed; and with Manong John and Uncle Chet.

On the day I was about to leave home, I hugged them with all my heart and with teary eyes. They told me to come back as often as I can, and I promised them that I will.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Library Afternoons and Personal Annotations

Between the rigors of UP in the new chapter of my life and the times when I felt the tendrils of loneliness embrace my soul being home away, I spent my afternoons in the quiet libraries of the university amidst the heaps of books that contain wonderful epistemologies and metaphysics. It has brought my perspectives to wider dimensions of life and it amazes my human existence every time I come to realize that such realities of ideas exist in this world. Indeed, in this seemingly small geographic enclave, there is still so much worlds to come, to see, and to conquer.

One of the tree lined streets in UP on holy noons going to the library.

Here are some of the most celebrated, at least to me, annotated bibliographies that I managed to write:

Rorty, A. O. (1998). Philosophers on education: New historical perspectives. London: Routledge
The implicit paradigm of Freud to learning was the way children conducted “sexual researchers.” Children should discover sex in their own ways based on their own needs at particular stage. He further illustrated a war between curiosity and education. Children want to know sex but adults tell them to learn education to distract them. Hence, education teaches the child to get disinterest in what really matters most to learn – sex.

Edgerton, S. H. (1996). Translating the curriculum. New York: Routledge
This selfish love is the one where the lover soaks as much experience into the self from the other who is loved though not in intrusive and obliterating way. It is different from selfless love which involves emotional investment that includes risk of rejection at the same time. But in order for love to grow, it should be selfish that it cannot risk to be rejected... it must require reciprocity and the lover must get in return of that investment. This deconstruction of hierarchy of love is found in the transference love – a love that is peculiar to pedagogical situation. This love here does not function as analogy for teaching and learning; it is real and important condition for pedagogy.

Orata, P. R. (19780. Self help barangay high schools. Quezon City: New Day Publsihers
If Mohammad cannot go to the mountain, then the mountain should go to Mohammad. If the children cannot go to the schools, then the schools should go to the children. We desire the same philosophy in our educational system today. We should stop looking at the other side of the fence, the educational systems of other countries; the grass is always greener in our own backyard, the unnoticed margins of our education history.

Ballenger, B. (2007). The curious researcher: A guide to writing research papers. New York: Pearson Custom Publishing
Tourists still buy bags of seeds for about a dollar and pose for pictures drenched in appealing flocks of pigeons. On the other side, officials of these cities continue to wage war they call “pest control” against these birds that decay cultural monuments and drop dung fungus. It is hard not to admire the traits of these pigeons, but it is also undesirable for these creatures to earn a negative label when it is only a normal part of their pigeon existence. Some wars we encounter today, either personal or social, are some wars that we cannot win because humans just know that the rewards of winning will not be worth the cost. Like the pigeon battle, our wars are futile endeavors that we cannot win because we also battle our own conflicts: our political responsibility to protect the great works of humanity and at the same time our moral obligation to share space with other lives in this planet.

Pratt, D. (1994). Curriculum planning. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace, Inc.
Knowing has always focused on the objective study - dispassionate and detached. This objectivity fails to create harmony of relative realities, which in turn produces a crippling isolation of dream and reality, ambiguity and certainty, thought and action, poetry and science. This is the concern of the feminist movement in curriculum. The modes of thought and action experienced by women are process rather than product, social rather than isolated, facilitating rather than competitive, intuitive rather than rigid, supportive rather than difficult. What the feminist pedagogy offers is not simply a curriculum that responds more fairly to the needs of women, but a curriculum that reflects fully the nature of humanity.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pinned Lectures

Hello students!

Download our lecture presentations and other class related documents here. For students not under my current classes who would like to download files, kindly acknowledge on comment box below.

Thank you and enjoy browsing.

Ed198 Methods of Research

Course Orientation
Lesson 1 - Introduction to Research in Education
Lesson 2 - Defining the Research Problem
Lesson 3 - Writing the Title and Statement of the Problem
Lesson 4 - Synthesizing the Literature Gaps
Lesson 5 - Putting the Pieces of Problem Together
Lesson 6 - Preparing for Review of Related Literature
Lesson 7 - The Modern Purview of Literature Review
Lesson 8 - The Methodology of Methodology
Lesson 9 - Instrumentation
Lesson 10 - Preparing for the Proposal Presentation

Ed102 Human Growth, Development and Learning

Course Orientation
Lesson 1.1 - Concepts, Meanings and Principles of Human Growth and Development
Lesson 1.2 - Research Methods in Human Growth and Development
Lesson 2.1 - The Life Span - Prenatal and Infancy
Lesson 2.2 - The Life Span - Babyhood and Childhood
Lesson 2.3 -  The Life Span - Puberty, Adolescent and Early Adulthood
Lesson 2.4 - The Life Span - Middle Age and Senescence Age
Lesson 3.1 - Psychosexual Theory by Sigmund Freud
Lesson 3.2 - Psychosocial Theory by Erik Erickson
Lesson 3.3 - Cognitive Development Theory by Jean Piaget
Lesson 3.4 - Sociocultural Theory by Lev Vygotsky
Lesson 3.5 - Moral Development Theory by Lawrence Kohlberg
Lesson 4.1 - Classical Conditioning by Ivan Pavlov
Lesson 4.2 - Operant Conditioning by Burrhus Frederic Skinner
Lesson 4.3 - Connectionism by Edward Lee Thorndike
Lesson 4.4 - Purposive Behaviorism by Edward Chace Tolman
Lesson 5.1 - Hierarchy of Needs Theory by Abraham Maslow
Lesson 5.2 - Gestalt Theory by Kohler, Werthiemer and Koffka
Lesson 6.1 - Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura
Lesson 6.2 - Constructivist Learning Theory by Jerome Bruner
Lesson 6.3 - Conditions of Learning Theory by Robert Gagne
Lesson 6.4 - Subsumption Theory by David Ausubel
Lesson 7.1 - Intelligences Theories by Gardner, Sternberg and Goleman
Lesson 7.2 - Learning Styles Models by Burke, Silverman and Dunn
Lesson 7.3 - Memory: Remembering and Forgetting

Ed110 The Teaching Profession

Course Orientation
Lesson 1.1 - Tracing the Philosophical Heritage of Teaching
Lesson 1.2 - Morality and Values of a Responsible Teacher
Lesson 1.3 - Teaching as a Vocation, Mission and Profession
Lesson 2.1 - The National Competency Based Teachers Standards 
Lesson 2.2 - The 21st Century Teacher
Lesson 2.3 - Linkaging and Networking with Organizations
Lesson 3.1 - A Closer Look at the Educational Systems of Selected Countries
Lesson 3.2 - Multicultural Education: A Challenge to Global Teachers
Lesson 3.3 - Broadening Teaching Perspectives: Teacher Exchange Programs
Lesson 3.4 - Bridging the World into the Classroom through Educational Technology
Lesson 4.1 - Key Periods in Educational History
Lesson 4.2 - Major Educational Theorists
Lesson 5.1 - Presidential Decree 1006
Lesson 5.2 - Republic Acts 7836 and 9293

FS1 Field Study 1

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blackboard Attachments


Course Orientation
Demonstration Teaching Rating Scale
Portfolio Rubrics
Culmination Activity Evaluation Sheet
Portfolio Cover Page 
List of Appendices
Case Study Format and Style


Course Orientation
Lecturette 1 - Context of Distance Education
Lecturette 2 - Approaches in Distance Education
Advertisement Rubrics


Course Orientation
Module 1.1 - Introduction to Curriculum
Module 1.2 - Foundations of Curriculum
Module 1.3 - Intended Learning Outcomes
Module 1.4 - Content, Experiences, and Assessment
Module 1.5 - Teaching as a Curriculum Process
Module 2.1 - Models of Curriculum Design
Module 2.2 - Curriculum Mapping and Scope
Module 2.3 - Sequence and Continuity
Module 2.4 - Integration, Articulation and Balance
Module 3.1 - The Role of Stakeholders in Curriculum Implementation
Module 3.2 - The Role of Technology in Delivering the Curriculum
Module 3.3 - Pilot Testing, Monitoring and Evaluating
Module 3.4 - Change as a Process in Curriculum
Module 4.1 - Models of Curriculum Evaluation
Module 4.2 - General Criteria for Curriculum Evaluation
Module 4.3 - Tools to Evaluate the Curriculum
Module 4.4 - Linking Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment 
Module 5.1 - The Philippine K to 12 Curriculum

Mock SBM Survey Tool
Evaluation Report Format and Style
Table of Specification


Course Orientation
Outline of Topics
Written Reprot Format
Oral Reporting Rubrics
Drum and Bugle Contest Rubrics
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Portfolio of Experiences

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Role of Technology in Delivering Curriculum

The role of technology in curriculum development is important. Right at the planning phase of any instruction, aside from formulating the objectives and among other considerations, there is a need to identify what instructional media are to be utilized in the implementation. The role of technology comes into play here.

Instructional media should not be confused with the terms media technology or learning technology. Speaking in the parlance of education, it pertains to the communication system in the educative situation. For this lesson, we can also simply refer instructional media as technology.

Image credits to www.economist.com.

Types of Instructional Media

The plural form of the term media is used purposely to indicate that there are various forms of means used in implementing the curriculum. Technology offers various tools of learning ranging from projected and non-projected media from which the teacher can select. However, the teacher should be careful in the selection of appropriate technology that would match the supposed objective of the instruction. For example, will pictures be enough in presenting the story selection or will a video clip of the same be needed to capture the interest of the learners?

Non-projected media include real objects, models, realia, and diorama, field trips, kits, printed materials such as books, magazines, worksheets; visual materials like drawings, pictures, graphs, charts; visual boards as chalkboard, whiteboard, flannel board; and audio materials. 

On the other hand, projected media cover overhead transparencies, opaque projection, slides, filmstrips, films, video, VCD, DVD, and computer or multimedia presentations. 

Other Technology Applications

Technology moves forward every day. As technology progresses, education will continue to be shaped by it. Specifically, the selection and design of instructional media will become more sophisticated also.

The concept of educational technology is very complex and becomes more sophisticated with the advent of what is called hypermedia or multimedia packages that include text, audio, graphics, animation and video.

Hypermedia also finds an application in what is known as Information and Communication Technology that includes tutorial software packages, webpages, simulation games, project management packages, and others.

Interactive Whiteboards. SMART BOARDS and MIMEO BOARDS are interactive whiteboards which can be used by teachers and learners in manipulating texts, objects and in visiting websites for content review. They come in package of activities and programs that are very helpful for teachers.

Websites and Blogs. Teachers can create websites and blogs to post lectures, assignments, communications, and other learning materials. They also offer multiple representations of knowledge in the form of video, audio, text, image and data.

Tablets and Mobile Devices. Access to websites and other educational programs can be done through tablets and mobile phones, which are very much handy.

Social Networks. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram have academic benefits if used for the purposes of assignments and class projects.

Factors for Technology Selection

1. Practicality – Is the equipment or material available? What would be the cost in acquiring such media?

2. Appropriateness – Is the medium suitable to the learners? Will the medium be only amusement, not learning?

3. Activity or Suitability – Will the selected media fit the set instructional event? Will it result to information, motivation or psychomotor display?

4. Objective Matching – Does the medium fit with the learning objective? Does the medium help in achieving the learning objective?

Criteria in Developing Visual Material and Presentation

Children learn 83% through the use of sight; 10% hearing; 4% smelling; 2% touching; and 1% tasting. When teachers develop visuals for a wide range of materials like visual boards, overhead transparencies and other computer generated presentation, there are basic principles of design.

1. Visual Elements – pictures, illustrations, graphics
            a. Lettering style or font – consistency and harmony
            b. Number of lettering style – no more than two
            c. Use of capitals – short titles should be no more than six words
            d. Lettering colors – easy to see and read; contrast for emphasis
            e. Lettering size – good visibility even for learners at the back
            f. Spacing between letters – equal and even spacing
            g. Spacing between lines – not too close as to blur at distance
            h. Number of lines – no more than eight lines of text in a slide
            i. Appeal – two dimensional, catchy, interactive
            j. Use of directionals – devices like arrows, bullets, bold, contrast

2. Overall Look – patterns of alignment, shape, balance, style, color

The Role of Technology in Curriculum Delivery

We live in age when technological innovation is fast developing and this will always influence the trends in education. One of the current trends is the increased use of new information and communication technology.

The following are the roles of educational technology in delivering the instructional program of the curriculum of schools:

1. Catering to personalized and differentiated instruction adapted to different levels of learners using technology aided instruction

1. Upgrading the quality of teaching and learning in schools by using technology as avenue for extended teaching and learning

2. Increasing capability of teacher to inculcate learning effectively and for learners to gain mastery of the lessons

3. Broadening of delivery of education outside schools through modern approaches to formal and informal learning

4. Revolutionizing the use of technology to boost educational paradigm shifts that give importance to student centered learning

Computerization Program is a current project of the Department of Education to equip
schools with multimedia facilities to better deliver curriculum.
Photo credits to www.interaksyon.com.

Group Activity

Design a slideshow presentation given the criteria in assessing a visual material and other creative applications. Utilize our lesson above as content of your presentation.

Name the file with block section and group number format. Example: ELGEN C – Group 6. Attach your output in an email message to be sent to michaelcahapay09@gmail.com.

Deadline of submission: 12:00 MN, March 07, 2016.


Bilbao, P., Dayagbil, F., & Corpuz, B. (2014). Curriculum development for teachers. Cubao, Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing Inc.

Bilbao, P., Lucido, P., Iringan, T. & Javier R. (2008)  Curriculum development. Cubao, Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing Inc.

Caubic, R., Casihan, L. & Lim, L. (2014) The teaching profession. Cubao, Quezon City: Adrana Printing Inc.

Palma, J. (2012) Curriculum development system. Mandaluyong City: Cacho Hermanos Inc.

* Blog entry version 2.0 as of March 03, 2016 until revised.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My MSU Journey

Life is an unwritten metaphor of communal undertaking called journey. Along the road are inevitable bumps, rough patches and unexpected detours. But the most prized part is when at the end of it, one finds that he has arrived at the destination.

And such is my long journey to the place that with pride I call my second home. After years of intellectual struggling and uncertain dreaming, I just found myself again in the middle of this semi arid dessert among the bright imelda grasses.

Welcome back to College of Education, Mindanao State University, General Santos City! A dream so long waited to come.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A City Frozen in Time

It is an irony that though I am a self confessed culture junkie myself, I have never been to many cultural places. So, when this summer road trip came, I took the liberty to witness at large the heritage treasures of our country that I have always wanted to visit.

We reached the world famous Spanish colonial town of Vigan on the third day of our road trip to the north. Vigan City was such a welcome twist from the nature adventure we had in Baguio City after five hours of butt burning travel.

Vigan was the seat of politics, religion, culture, economy and education in the north during the Spanish colonial times. As we entered the town, I felt I was transported back to the past with its cobbled stone streets, crumbling pillars side by side, and imposing house architectures. We were toured by a horse drawn carriage and everything just felt nostalgic.

We saw old houses, many of which were converted into hotels, restaurants, botiques and shops. The city government though has taken care of these treasures. According to a resident whom we had a small talk, any house repair by the owner has to secure permit and acquire design from the city. Thanks heavens for this kind of preservation efforts.

And although there are a number of modern Spanish inspired buildings around Vigan notably the fastfood chains like Jollibee, Chowking and McDonalds, there are a good number of authentic Spanish era houses dotting all over the city. The best preserved ones are those that are located in Calle Crisologo, a seemingly time frozen section of the city that tourists should never miss.

Aside from Calle Crisologo, another corner any visitor should never miss is the pueblo, a plan itself so characteristic of Spanish towns of the olden times. It is where the public plaza, the city hall, and the central church could be found. Until this day, this planning can be attested exceptionally conserved in this old city.

Well loved cultural and educational destinations in the city also include museums. The house of Father Jose Burgos, one of the three priest martyrs, and the mansions of famous illustrado families of Syquia and Quirino were converted into museums. It was only unfortunate for us to visit them late in the afternoon and they were closed for public.

We stopped a while at Bantay Church, another well preserved religious structure. At first I thought it was only a reconstruction of an original old church because its facade looked very intact, but viewing its colossal pillars I confirmed it was authentic. Beside the church, the iconic century old bell tower located on top of the hill is a must view.

It was dark when we went back to the downtown. What made Plaza Salcedo buzzing was the multitude of spectators and alike waiting for the spectacular dancing fountain show which I can only describe as world class.

Having toured the entire heritage city, I realized that its real charm is more than its material culture, but the tenacity of its people to safeguard a historical treasure that remains remarkably well preserved amidst the challenge of time.

Strange realization but that was how it felt Vigan for the first time, and I vowed it will not certainly be the last.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Exploring Up, Up North

Okay, back to the abbreviated travelogue I promised to spin before I took another unexplained hiatus from this blog.

Aside from travel account, I should be writing an obituary for my feet after a day of walkathon with my buddies. On our second day of summer vacation, we headed up north for an exquisite cultural and history trip this time.

Batac in Ilocos Norte is a lesser known spot for tourists. But after visiting this thriving city, I would say that it was worth the trip. 

We spent lunch at Jollibee. We walked across Marcos Museum which is just a stone's throw from the fast food chain. The museum is more likely of a gallery filled with framed clippings about the late dictator president Ferdinand E. Marcos.

We walked further to the Marcos estate which consisted of their ancestral house and the mausoleum of the late president. What was intriguing were the swollen veins, as if live, in the hands of the late president. Too bad picture taking inside the dark mausoleum was strictly prohibited.

From the ancestral estate, a view of the imposing facade of a century old church looms over. It is beautiful but I think it has been reconstructed many times that it is not as quaint looking as those other Spanish churches.

We then side tripped to Paoay, a fifteen minute ride by a tricycle. It was a beautiful small town. Located at its heart was the grandeur of the century old Paoay Church, enlisted as one of the few UNESCO world heritage sites.

From our nature trip in the summer capital, it was really a three hundred sixty degree turn going further north to Batac and Paoay in Ilocos Norte. If I have a regret, it was that we had no enough time to linger more.