Malalison Island

It takes several months of planning this summer trip. It’s been in my mind since last year when I saw pictures of Malalison from Facebook friends who went there. Last January, my friends and I decided to choose it as our get-to summer destination during the Holy Week break.

Days before the Holy Week break, my hometown has experienced rains due to tropical depression. But luckily, on April 19, the day we are going to Malalison, the weather is sunny.

The island is 15 minutes boat ride from Culasi, Antique. It is an hour’s driver from my hometown to Culasi. There are no resorts in Malalison, so we bring along our packed lunch and water. From afar, the island looks like a brownish mass of land, because of the summer heat. The sea is azure blue because of the sky reflection. We were charge P700 for the banca ride, or P100/person back and forth. Not bad, already.

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Before arriving in the island, you can already see the clear greenish waters and the reef underneath it. The sand is off-white. All visitors must log in the tourism office in the island and pay an entrance fee of P10/head. Yes, that cheap.

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If you wish, they can provide you a tent along the beach for a fee (P150) so that you can put all your stuff there while you explore the island, and swim in the beach.

Malalison Island is a sight to behold. Its hills are reminiscent of Mt Pulag and Chocolate Hills, while the beaches are not crowded. When I was at the top of these hills, the view of the Sulu Sea is so gorgeous! I never realized before that Malalison Island had this beautiful view. I will just let the pictures I took speak for itself.

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It was one beautiful, summer trip I had ever experience. My province, Antique, has so many beautiful spots that are yet to be discovered and explore.

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Bel-is: My Newfound Paradise

My Holy Week break this year has been memorable because I got the chance to come home in the province (Pandan, Antique) to be with my parents and siblings. Even if it’s just for a few days, still, the fact that your parents are happy to see you home and relaxing together with them are priceless. It also eases homesickness, which I still feel even if they are just a plane away.

I went home Maundy Thursday, around noon time, so that I don’t have to join the massive exodus of passengers going to the province which starts around Wednesday night until Thursday morning. It was also because I want to rest a little on Thursday morning before I fly out of Manila. Besides, I am not in a hurry because the flight only lasts 45 minutes (via Kalibo, Aklan).

The whole of Thursday and Friday I was only at home for the observance of the Holy Week. The town of Pandan, Antique (like any typical town) is devoutly Catholic and no merry-making should be done on those two holy days, to observe the death of Jesus Christ.

On Black Saturday, we are allowed to at least get some sun and sand because it is the eve of the resurrection (Easter Sunday). Besides, I am going back to Manila the following day and I don’t want to go back without some tan.

Panay Island, which comprises the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz, Aklan and Antique, is gifted with beautiful white beaches and abundant sea foods. The most famous beach tourist spot, Boracay, is in Panay, located in the town of Malay, Aklan. It is situated at the northern tip of Panay, bordering Antique. See the map.

I decided not to drop by Boracay because it is very crowded during Holy Week break. And I don’t like crowded places. So what I did was gather my high school friends in Pandan that time and go some beach which remains unexplored and not discovered.

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We were deciding on two beaches: Mararison Island (in Culasi, Antique) and Bel-is (in Buruanga, Aklan). Since Mararison is an island, we prefer Bel-is because it is more accessible (and nearer). From my hometown of Pandan, Antique, we rented a van going to Buruanga, Aklan via Libertad (Antique). It took us just an hour for the travel because the road is already paved. The scenery outside of the van is breathtaking because the blue sea is very inviting.

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My friends and I have never been there, so we have to ask (read: research) some basic facts about the place. Do we need to bring our own food? How remote or accessible is it? Are there resorts in the area? Things like that. To make the preparation part short, we bring our own food (picnic style), and sun block!

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We keep our expectations low on the place, all we know is that it is a white sand beach. When you google “Bel-Is” only one postcard type picture will appear. In short, not much visitors go there. A friend told me that the famous Ariel’s Point is located within the area, and that makes me excited because I saw an episode in Sports Unlimited featuring the place. But that was years ago.

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Going to Bel-is requires riding a motorized banca. It is not an island away from the main Panay, but because the place is rocky and mountainous, the best way to access the place is through sea. There is road going there, but the terrain is not car-friendly. It took us about 30 minutes to reach our first beach. From the banca, you can really see the clean, greenish water. A sight to behold.

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There are residents in the area, but only a handful. They are mostly fishermen. They are so blessed to witness nature’s beauty daily.

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The weather is perfect when we went there. The sun is out, not much cloud, and the blue sky envelops the water. The corals below are also visible. The sand is white, powdery even. It reminds me of Boracay during my childhood, when it is still unexplored, with no electricity. In Bel-is though, there are already resorts but these are just of low-quality. One of those we went to even have dilapidated facilities, a reminder that the place is not maximized. What a waste. Maybe the Aklan government can help in promoting this spot.

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Overall, we did not err when we choose Bel-is as our point of destination for Holy Week break. If the pictures are beautiful, it don’t hold justice when you see it real. That’s how beautiful the place is.

I am lucky to be residing in a place where all these beautiful natural resources abounds, and accessible. I will definitely go back there. Maybe with my Manila friends in tow? Before it becomes another Boracay, of course.

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Manny Pacquiao in Time’s 100 List

From Time.com

From Time.com

Manny Pacquiao is included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, under its Heroes and Icons list. The article was written by Lennox Lewis, another famous boxer. Here’s what he is to say about the famous Pinoy:

“Pound for pound, Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world. But even more important than holding that distinction, Manny has connected with the people of his home country, the Philippines, to the point where he’s almost like a god. The people have rallied behind him and feel like they’re a part of him, because they can see his talent, his dedication, his grace and his class. The grip he holds over the Philippines is similar to Nelson Mandela’s influence in South Africa. I can surely see Manny becoming the Philippine President one day.”

Florence Nightingale welcomes you.

My younger brother is now a certified nurse after he pass the licensure exam given last year (2008). That’s his name below. My heartfelt congratulations!

For complete results, click here.

29103 PECAOCO, STEFANY KAYE LIAO
29104 PECHO, ARIANE MANANQUIL
29105 PECHO, ARLENE MANANQUIL
29106 PECHO, FELICIDAD DELA CRUZ
29107 PECHON, KEN JIM ROSALITA
29108 PECHON, ROGER LEO ANTEZA
29109 PECKLEY, BLESSY JEAN FERNANDEZ
29110 PECO, GENE ANDREW CRUZ

Pinoy Connection in LOST Season 5

Mabuhay Pilipinas

In the third episode of LOST Season 5, there was a scene with Pinoy connection. Desmond and his wife are in the Philippine soil, well, Philippine water to be exact. Their yacht, at least. At first, I thought, maybe they are in Southeast Asia because there are presence of tropical fruits, beach, palm trees, and gambling. Until I overheard two girls running blurting out the words “Laro tayo!”. And then Edmond shouts for “Efren Salonga!, Efren Salonga!” who is the village doctor. Desmond’s wife is about to gave birth. But what tops it all is the word Mabuhay and the Philippine flag in a veranda. Refer to the screen shot above.

 

The doctor is busy gambling.

 

If I remember, in Season 4 of LOST, the island is somewhere in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia. I remember it because the rescued group (Kate, Sun, Hugo, Sayeed, etc) were awashed in an Indonesian shore.

 

I know that LOST is filmed on location in Hawaii. And maybe, just maybe, the huge Pinoy community in the island state makes it easy for the producers to gather as much extra as possible to create a small Pinoy community for the episode.

 

Meanwhile, I am enjoying this current season. But it might turn off new audience who haven’t watch the four previous episodes, because this season vacillates from the future and the past, which introduces old characters from previous episodes.

 

The interconnection of relationships between characters demands good interplay and imagination. But based from the episodes I have seen so far, the writers has been successful in handling the interrelationships.

 

Now, I am excited how Kate and her group will return to the Island.

The new Pinoy to the world.

She is now to be managed by Oprah. She is featured in a full episode of Oprah. She will be singing with Celine Dion in her concert. Previously, she had duet with Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany. Many thanks to Youtube, this small girl from Laguna has come a long way.

Talent is really something. She is Charice Pempengco. And she is made in the Philippines. Her Oprah episodes below: