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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Getaway with Writers Block 2012: Travel the Write Way

Travel the Write Way workshop by Writer's Block
Phiippines conducted last April 28, 2012 in Makati.
Courtesy: Writers Block Philippines
It is always a tradition for me to write what I have learned from writing workshops I attended.

Two months ago, I decided to enroll in a one day travel writing workshop conducted by Writers Block Philippines. Actually, this is the second  eventof the Writers Block that I attended after the Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0 workshop last year. Before I made it to the travel writing class, I got lost in the Makati Loop and having an adrenaline rush before I came to the venue. When I arrived at the place of workshop, I met the three lovely and smart ladies of WBP as well with other participants of the workshop. I said to myself that I am the least experienced traveler but I have a lot of quirky stories to tell through writing. Therefore, my purpose in attending this workshop is to improve my craft.

The workshop covered on topics about the basics of travel writing such as the different types of travel articles, choosing catchy and appropriate soundbites and travel photos, opportunities for travel writing and how to identify the good, the bad and the ugly travel write-up.

After the lecture, we need to face the music in the most exciting part of the workshop which is the writing session. In this portion, we are going to write our own travel article based on our experience. We spend our time in writing for thirty minutes plus fifteen minutes for extension. In my part, it is hard to write when you are under the pressure of a limited time and I was confused on the location and concept that I am going to choose. In the end, I wrote about my travel experience in the Laguna Loop via commuting. After forty-five minutes, we are divided into three groups. Each group was mentored by the three ladies of WBP namely Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou and Nina Terol-Zialcita. I am thankful that I was assigned to Nikka's group. Our group was able to share our writing piece and I imagine that it leads me to my imagination, from mouth watering Chinese delicacies to surrendering her breakfast in the ocean while others (including my work) covered on the captivating places in our country and in abroad. In the end of critique session, she gave us a reward: a nutritious Soyamilk.

At the end of the workshop, I learned a lot of things about my strengths in my craft such as having the informative details of the place I visit and I need to improve my creativity and mechanics. Therefore, I am still willing to pursue a career in freelance writing and more travel experiences to come. Thanks Writers Block for this wonderful opportunity!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Batangas Journey: From The Highlands to the Heritage Town

One summer day, I had a travel where I passed the highlands in order to make it in a heritage town located in the progressive province of Batangas. From ascending the highland roads to the busy streets which lead you to the town of ancestral houses. As you travel in Batangas, you can see buildings dotted in the rolling hills, a vibrant castle in the green and lush mountains which motivates you to have an adventure, visiting century-old houses which gave you an idea of our colorful history and taking a tiring but meaningful walk in a scorching heat of the sun to discover the heritage town preserved from the Spanish era. 
The green and rolling hills of Batangas.
Fantasy World, an amusement park in the verdant hills of Lemery.

I traveled for almost two hours from Cavite by riding a bus going to Nasugbu where I stopped at the boundary of Alfonso and Nasugbu. Then, I rode a jeepney going to Taal passing the town of Laurel and Lemery. As the jeep ascended to the zigzag roads, I saw the few buildings dotted in the verdant mountains of Batangas. Therefore, the place that really caught my attention is a huge and colorful castle in the town of Lemery called Fantasy World. It is the place where some of the television series took place in this amusement park.

Taal Basilica
The church interior of Taal, Batangas.

Then, I made it to the heritage town of Taal. The town has similarities with other heritage places such as Vigan, Intramuros and Pila where there are many ancestral houses made from the Spanish era. But first, I decided to visit the Taal town proper. In the center of the town, you can find the Taal Basilica or the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours. It is known as the Asia's Biggest Catholic Church. It was built in 1575 and it is originally located in the present town of San Nicolas. It was destructed by a volcanic eruption on 1754 and it was rebuilt in 1755 in its present location. In 1849, the said church claimed its title as the "Biggest Catholic Church in the Far East."

Taal Park
Taal Municipal Hall. The town of Taal was found in 1572.
The Taal Cultural Center. It is known as Escuela Pia during the Spanish era.

Other interesting places in the town center are the Taal Park located in front of the church, Taal Municipal Hall and the Taal Cultural Center which is known before as the Escuela Pia during the Spanish era. The town proper of Taal reminded me of the society in the Spanish era where major infrastructures like church, school, town hall and the market are located here.

Goco Ancestral House
The Taal Heritage Town along with the progress and urbanization.
Marcela Agoncillo's Ancestral House. She created the Philippine Flag used in
Declaration of Independence in 1898.
Leon Apacible Ancestral House

Galleria Taal

Then I decided to take a walk to the heritage town where the ancestral houses are located. In the town of Taal you can find the Marcela Agoncillo Ancestral House, Leon Apacible Ancetral House and the Goco Ancestral House. I also had a chance to visit the Galleria Taal, an ancestral house owned by 1935 Consitutional Convention delegate Antonino Barrion. In this house, you can see the different vintage cameras as well with the old photographs from 19th century to the 20th century.

Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine
The miraculous well of St. Lucia
The 150 steps to the town proper via San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps.

My travel experience in Taal would not be completed by visiting the Our Lady of Caysasay Church and the miraculous well of Saint Lucia. Then, I took the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps where I took the approximately 150 steps to the town proper.

Therefore, my travel experience in Taal is such a great trip because I feel that I traveled back in time and appreciate our history especially in taking a look at the heritage houses where some of the heroes and politicians came from this town. In addition, I appreciated that Taal is a town where the Christianity served as a legacy by the Spaniards.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

OPM Love Songs Guessing Game 1

I grew up listening to Filipino love songs played on the radio during my childhood days. Also, I always heard my neighbors singing jukebox hits in the videoke during celebrations. I always remember the commercial jingles in television sang by popular artists. Until now, if I will going to surf the net I will find my favorite Pinoy classics to hear it once again just to add the number of views. Therefore, I love listening and singing this songs which are truly Filipino, the Original Pilipino Music or OPM. It is divided into different categories such as love songs, rock, alternative, novelty and jukebox.

OPM is such a music category which is near to my heart. Since when I was a kid, I grew up listening to the songs of Jose Mari Chan, Rachel Alejandro, Dingdong Avanzado, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Jaya, Gary Valenciano, Jessa Zaragosa and Martin Nievera. During the teenage years, I chose to remember the songs of South Border, Freestyle, Nina, Kyla, Sarah Geronimo, M.Y.M.P. and Christian Bautista. Recently, most of the younger people I know, they liked Charice and Jovit Baldivino as their favorite singers. 

In order for us to recall the OPM love songs, we will have a game which tests your knowledge about your favorite Pinoy classics.

Part 1: Guess the Original Artist or Singer (2 points each item)

1. Sa piling mo nadarama ang walang patid na pagsinta
Minimithi gabi't araw na ang magmamahal sa akin ay ikaw.

2. Ikaw ang siyang ligaya ko magbibigay sigla sa puso ko
O giliw ko pakinggan mo ang nais sabihin ng aking puso

3. Kailan, kailan mo ba mapapansin ang aking lihim
Kahit anong gawing lambing di mo pinapansin.

4. Kapag ako ay nagmahal ang lahat ng ito'y magagawa
Di magbabago, di maghahangad ng anumang kapalit.

5. Heto ka na naman kumakatok sa aking pintuan muling naghahanap ng makakausap
At heto pa rin ako nakikinig sa mga kuwento mong paulit-ulit lang nagtitiis kahit nasasaktan.

6. I love to see the ocean's beauty and the moon that shines above
Alone in the sand looking at the stars wishing someday I will find true love.

7. There are nights when I can't help but cry 
And I wonder why you had to leave me.
Why did it have to end so soon 
When you said that you would never leave me.

8. Pag wala ka na sa aking tabi 
Tunay na di magbabalik ang dating
Pagmamahalan, pagsusuyuan
At tuluyan bang hahayaan

9. Kumusta ka aking mahal sana ay nasa mabuti ka
Ako'y huwag mong intindihin nakakaraos din.

10. Kung di malimot ng tadhana 
Bigyan tuldok ang ating ligaya
Walang hanggan ay hahamakin
Pagkat walang katapusan kitang iibigin.

Part 2: Guess the Title (3 points)

1. Since you left me I never really tried to put my life to where it should belong
And I'm always let the past gone by I'm realizing that it could be wrong.

2. Hey there's a look in your eyes must be love at first sight.
You were just a part of your dream nothing more so it seemed.

3. May bukas bang naghihintay sa pag-ibig na kapwa kay lamig
Kapag wala na ang lambing na dating nag-aalab sa init
Kapag ang puso ay napagod na wala na ang paglalambing.

4. Look it's happened once again
It happens every now and then
Feeling the hurt and hating all the men
Ready to stop it all.

5. Nagmula nang makilala ka
Buhay ko bigla nang nag-iba
Kay saya ng bawat sandali
Kailanma'y hindi ipagpapalit.

6. Ibalik ang kahapon
Sandaling di mapapantayan
Wag sana nating itapon
Pagmamahal na tapat.

7. Langit ang buhay
Sa tuwing ika'y hahagkan
Anong ligaya
Sa tuwing ika'y mamasdan.

8. Then you left without even saying that your leaving
I was hurt and it really won't be easy to forget
Yesterday and I pray that you would stay
But then you're gone and oh so far away.

9.  Dati rati laman ng puso mo ay ang pangalan mo
Lagi ako sa puso mo.

10. Mayroon akong nais malaman maaari bang magtanong
Alam mo ba matagal na kitang iniibig matagal na akong naghihintay.
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