Archive for September, 2012

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Byaheng Bicol Ulit
Peñafrancia 2012
ITLOG_No. 16
(14-16.09.2012)

On our first trip to Bicol the last time, we went to witness the Feast of Peñafrancia, and I promised that the following year we would again visit and pay Homage to our Lady of Peñafrancia, and after the Feast we would be going around Bicol Region to visit places that we haver never been to.

The feast of The Feast of Our Lady of Peñafranica is celebrated on the third Saturday of September in Naga City, Bicol Philippines. All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from here and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region. Bicolanos from all walks of life will be in Naga City to meet their relatives and partidarios, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. Viva la Virgen, they will shout to high heavens. The feast day is headed by a novena, nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin. On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route. The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from followers in boats escorting the image. When the flatboat reaches its destination, the devotees shout “Viva la Virgen” (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is carried back in a procession to the cathedral.

Millions of Bicolanos will once again show to the whole Christian world their strong faith and loyalty to their Heavenly Mother. amongst triumphant sounding shouts of Viva la Virgen , Bicolanos and pilgrims, with lighted candles in their hands, will kneel on the ground and bow their heads in prayer as the colorful fluvial procession carrying the Virgin plows through the Bicol River in downtown Naga.

A multicolored pagoda carrying the images/icons of the Virgin of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro will pass through the Bicol River. Male, sunburned devotees of the Virgin will adhere to the huge pagoda in a heartwarming display of faith and devotion. Actually, the fluvial procession marks the return of the Virgin from the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral to her home shrine at the Basilica. Upon its arrival, the Virgin will be received in formal religious rites by Roman Catholic dignitaries of the Bicol Region, led by Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez. 


Considered the biggest and most popular religious event in the Philippines, the Peñafrancia fiesta is in fact a one-week affair that starts on the second Friday of September when the miraculous Ina is transferred from her shrine to the centuries-old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral where a nine-day novena and prayers are held in her honor. Ranking government officials, Cabinet members, ambassadors, governors, mayors, senators, diputados , business/industry leaders, landlords, etc., vie for the distinct honor of sponsoring a nightly novena and prayers at the Naga Cathedral.

A procession, locally called traslacion (is the transferring of the miraculous Image of the Virgin, Our Lady of Peñafrancia and of the Divino Rostro to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Naga City for a Novena and Holy Masses. This begun in 1885.), ushers in the weeklong festivities which include civic and military parades, sports competitions, agro-industrial fairs, cultural shows, and the coronation of Miss Bicolandia beauties. 

During the traslacion, which passes through the main streets of Naga, the miraculous Ina of the Bicolanos is borne on the rugged, muscular shoulders of barefooted voyadores who form a human barricade to protect the Virgin from the unruly crowd. Call it absolute coincidence or plain superstition, but any Bicolano will swear to high heavens that the presence of a woman, Filipina or foreigner, aboard the merrily decorated pagoda will surely spell disaster. Whether this belief is true or not, only the Bicolanos know. But past events and experiences support their claim.

Just like last year, we would meet at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, so we, together with friends took the JAM bus at Cubao and headed for Sta Rosa at around 1730hrs, and upon arriving at Sta Rosa, we headed for the local Tropical Hut to eat our dinner. Then by 2030hrs, we were on our way to Daet, where we would meet up with another friend. Traveling at night with all the accidents that we passed along the way, and was even stranded by the road for 2 hours. Arriving at Daet early in the morning, where we had some coffee and hot choco and rested for a bit then headed for Bagasbas beach to eat lugaw. Then we headed for Naga, to attend the Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

Reaching Naga, after looking for a place to park, we walked going to the Cathedral to hear mass, then after, we walked along the route and looked for a place to take photos, here we were brought to a place where they were cooking Dinuguan with Saba and gata, and were ask to taste the food that they cooked, which tasted good. After the image of Ina passed, we then gathered our things and headed to Iriga, where we ate at a roadside restaurant for dinner, then headed to the house where we would spend the night and had a drinking session.

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Waking up early in the morning, we prepared for the activity of the day, which was to go around Legaspi. After having a heavy breakfast of Ginataang Santol, we headed for Legaspi and passed by the place called “Kawa-Kawa Hill”.

Kawa Kawa Hill is a 236 meter land form located in California Village, Brgy. Tuburan, Ligao City. Its name is derived from its curious shape resembling a ‘kawa’ or cauldron. From afar, Kawa-Kawa may seem as ordinary as any other hill, but from its summit, one can see its unique feature in its full glory – an amphitheater-like six-hectare crater. Because of this peculiar characteristic, it is also called ‘the hill without a hilltop’.

Today, the Kawa-Kawa Hill is now one of Albay’s tourist destinations, developed by the city government of Ligao spearheaded by Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Gonzalez. It offers a stunning 360 degree view of Ligao City and neighboring towns, as well as sprawling green fields and nearby Mts. Masaraga and Mt. Mayon.

The hill is also famous as a religious destination because of the larger than life Stations of the Cross lining the 500-meter path to the crater and extending all the way around the crater’s 836-meter rim. During the Lenten Season, devotees flock to Kawa-Kawa to reflect and meditate on the Stations of the Cross as penance.
Recreation facilities and attractions in Kawa-Kawa Hill include a Philippines Eagle Scout Advancement Camp and Facilities, a volleyball court and horseback riding. On the hills slopes, dinorado (high-quality mountain rice), pineapple and vegetables are cultivated to promote agriculture and environmental awareness.

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After which we headed into town and bought Pili to bring back home and ask where we could buy raw pili, and we were directed to a place called Morato Pili Sweets, we learned that this is a factory where they make Pili sweets and I ask if we could take pictures on how they make pili, and they gladly showed us in.

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We then headed for Legaspi and took some photos at Legaspi Boulevard, but since it was cloudy, Mt. Mayon was not visible. We then headed for a restaurant where they serve Chili ice cream and would be interested to taste it. Arriving at Colonial Grill Express, where we ordered our food for lunch, and for dessert the Chili Ice Cream with other flavors of ice cream like Malungay, Pili, Tinutong, Kalamansi, and Baily’s, which all tasted good.

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After lunch we headed out and passed by the place of one of our good friend, Arpie, which is called “FHM”, not the men’s magazine but it truly means “Feeding the Hungry Minds”. It is a small library with lots of books and there kids would have their time reading there, including other activities. After leaving some DVD for kids (care of Daniel), we headed out to Daet for our Dinner.

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Arriving at Daet, we ate at a place called “Alvino’s Roast, Grill and Fry”, where we ordered their famed Binalot. After dinner and saying goodbye’s to our friend, we started heading back to Manila, with a stop over at Tiaong, Quezon, and then went down at Turbina, where we took the bus back to Manila.

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Our trip this time was another thrill like last time, because we got to see other places that we did not get to see and experience other things.

Till our Next Travel… HAPPY TRAILS!!!

Specail Thanks to

Sir Merves – for the ride and everything else
Pao – sama ulit next year
Daniel – as always masarap kasama
Dani – kasama namin
Carol – Palagi kong kasama

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Holy Week 2010: Bataan
ITLog No. 3
(March 30, 2010 – April 3, 2010)

This trip took longer than normal to be posted because I lost my notes in my iphone and I am trying to recall all the details and things that we did on this trip

A friend of ours invited us to experience the Holy Week and stay with her in Bataan, after our trip to Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga about a year ago and decided to try this trip.

We left Manila Late Wednesday night and arrived in Hermosa, Bataan early the next morning. After resting from our trip, we headed for the market to buy food and groceries for our stay in Bataan, heading back to the house to prepare food and eating lunch, we decided to go out almost late in the afternoon to visit churches or what we call VISITA IGLESIA.

The first church we visited was Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish Church in Orani, Bataan. The church and convent of Orani, repaired in 1792 and 1836, were badly damaged by the earthquake of September 16, 1852. They were built and improved under the supervision of the Rev. Bartolome Alvarez del Manzano, O.P. in 1891. They were destroyed by fire on March 16, 1938 which razed about three fourths of Orani including the town hall, the Tercena, former Bataan High School and later Orani Elementary School building. The church was reconstructed in September 1938.

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We then headed for Santo Domingo Church in Abucay, Bataan. The 421-year-old church constructed in 1587 in the rich Spanish style of the day, and a living witness to the massacre of more than 200 native defenders from the hands of Dutch invaders on June 16, 1647. The church is one of the oldest in the Philippines and housed the first printing press, which outdated any single printing press in the United States.

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Next was St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga, Bataan. Balanga Cathedral, formally known as St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City, Bataan, is the seat of the Diocese of Balanga, which comprises entire of the civil province of Bataan. The current rector and parish priest of the cathedral is Fr. Percival Medina.

During the Japanese Invasion, the cathedral was used as an artillery emplacement to bombard Mt. Samat where the Filipino-American troops gave their last stand. It was later renovated by the first bishop of the Diocese, His excellency Bishop Celso Guevarra DD and made its patron saint, Saint Joseph. During His excellency Bishop Socrates reign, he saw that all of its decorations and structures were in a bad state, he renovated it and finished many months later.

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With the last church we visited was, Nuestra Senora del Pilar Parish Church in Balanga. The first church of Pilar was an ordinary chapel made of wood with nipa roofing. It was built in the heart of Poblacion facing the East, just like the other parish churches with the exception of that of Morong town. The same church was used by the succeeding priest Fr. Felipe Gabino (1827-1833) and by the first returning Dominican priest Fr. Juan de Buenaventura (1833) who worked for the acceptance of the parish to the Dominican Order in its Provincial Chapter of 1833. Being late at night, we headed back to Hermosa to rest for the night.

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The next day we just lazed around in the morning and after lunch, we headed back out to see the flagellation in the streets and witness one of the Sinakulo (a Lenten play that is a dramatic presentation of the Passion of Jesus Christ — his trial, suffering and death). Heading back to the house and rested for the day.

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Woke up early and traveled to Mt. Samat, where we walk around and visited the museum. Eating lunch at a road side restaurant then tried going to Corregidor but there were no scheduled ferries at that time so we decided to head back and stop at every place we could see and buy some stuffs for pasalubong.

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Passing by San Fenando on our way back to Manila and meeting some friends, arriving late in the evening in Manila where we rested up for the day and had to go to church the next morning because it was Easter Sunday.

It was great experiencing different places in Holy Week but the rituals and re-enactments of the death of Christ is almost the same. Hope to visit other places when the next Holy Week comes.

See you on our next trip…
HAPPY TRAILS!!!

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (Part 2)
ITLog No. 02
(January 15-19, 2011)

After eating breakfast at Sinario Café and Catering we headed for Atkinson Clock Tower, one of the most enduring landmarks in Kota Kinabalu, it stands prominently on a bluff along Signal Hill Road adjacent to the old Police Station. Built in 1903, this all-wood, no-nails structure was built in memory of Francis George Atkinson – the popular first District Officer of Jesselton during the British North Borneo Chartered Company Administration, who had succumbed to a tropical disease at the young age of 28.

We then went to Signal Hill Observatory Deck to view the city from above, seeing where Jessleton Point is and the famous Australian Sector, which is now full of printing press office. Walking back passing through Atkinson Clock Tower and the Australian Sector, we headed for Wisma Sabah to book a tour to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, and then walk around Suria Sabah Mall.

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Walking along the wharf and took some photos, after which we headed for City Corner Restaurant and ate lunch, then back at the hotel to rest, by 1600hrs was walking around the city of KK and taking pictures, and by dinner time eating again at the wet market when it started raining, after dinner we passed by the night market and see what things we could buy, then back to our hotel to rest for tomorrows tour.

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Ate breakfast at Sinario Café and Catering then waited for our ride going to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department. Occupying an area of 280 acres it is one of the largest wildlife parks in Malaysia.

It is home to a fascinating and varied collection of tropical animals comprising mammals, birds and reptiles. These animals live in large enclosures designed to be like their natural habitat. Water is used as barriers wherever possible, together with low fences and walls camouflaged with vegetation. This open environment concept provides for easy viewing and unique opportunities for wildlife photography.

The park encourages the public and particularly schools to use its educational facilities, to provide an authentic learning experience through observation and also by listening to tour guides and park staff during the visit.
A botanical garden has been developed to highlight common plant species of the rainforest as well as some of the more unusual species such as pitcher plants.

The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park offers a unique opportunity for close-up views of some of the most elusive and endangered wildlife species in the world and to appreciate the conservation efforts being carried out to preserve and continue their survival. We hope you will enjoy the experience.

The wildlife park is located about 25km from Kota Kinabalu on 280 acres of forested land. It is easily accessible by using either the Old Penampang-Papar Road via Dongonggon or the Putatan-Papar Road and is only a 15-25 minute journey from the city. You can drive there on your own or take a tour and be guided to view the exhibits in the park.

After the animal show, we took photos around the entrance of the park then rode the van back to the city where we were dropped off at Gaya Street to eat lunch in one of the Chinese Restaurants there, then walked back to our hotel to rest for a bit when it started to rain hard. By 2000hrs, it was still raining but decided to walk to the wet market and eat dinner there again, there were not so many people eating because it was raining, and after dinner headed back by taxi to our hotel.

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We had a late breakfast, after which we prepared our thing for our flight back to the Philippines. We check out of our rooms and waited for our taxi ride to the airport. Waited at the lounging area for the counter to open and then checked in our bags and headed for a restaurant to eat lunch, after waiting at the lounge area we boarded out flight at about 1400hrs heading to Clark. Arriving at DMIA we took the bus going to Manila and arriving in Manila it started raining again

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Kota Kinabalu was a fun place to go and will be back in March for the Island Hopping we hoped we would go to. I wanted to visit Gaya Island but was advised not to go unless you know somebody to go with you. I wanted also to climb Mt. Kinabalu but was told it would take 3 days to climb the mountain and would cost around RM1200, maybe cheaper if you go in a group. But we had a wonderful time at KK, specially the grilled seafood that we eat almost every night. We will be back again to this place called Kota Kinabalu.

Till our next trip “HAPPY TRAILS”!!

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
ITLog No. 02
(January 15-19, 2011)

Kota Kinabalu, formerly Jesselton is the capital of Sabah state of Malaysia, is a growing resort destination due to is proximity to tropical islands, lush rain forest and Mount Kinabalu. It is located at latitude 5.98333° and longitude 116.06667°. As of the 2000 census, its population was 354,153, with an estimated metropolitan population of 900,000. Facing the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park on one side, and with the mighty Mount Kinabalu in the background, Kota Kinabalu sprawls for kilometers along the coast and inland.

The City of Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah. Located on the west coast of “the Land Below the Wind”, under the watchful eye of majestic Mount Kinabalu, and on the fringes of the South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu is the bustling and colourful gateway to Sabah. Here you find the international airport, world-class hotels, innumerable restaurants and café shops, shopping malls and business districts. We call our fast developing and modern city with some 350,000 inhabitants simply and affectionately KK!

The town of Jesselton was renamed in 1968, as Kota Kinabalu. In 2000, Kota Kinabalu officially took on city status. Largely destroyed during World War II, KK, as the locals affectionately call it, has since developed into a modern city. As the capital of the State of Sabah, KK is also the gateway to other major towns and districts and home to around 300,000 people.

In the vicinity of the city, there are various places of interest including one notable landmark the 30-storey Sabah Foundation building at Likas Bay. This building is unique because it is one of the few buildings in the world to utilize a single column structure.

Having not tried any flights originating from Clark going out of the country, we booked a flight via Air Asia at Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. Leaving Manila at 0930hrs and arriving at Clark at 1100hrs where we had lunch in a Lomi House which serves lunch, then headed for the departure are of DMIA but the counter was still closed and was told to wait at the arrival are where we waited. Looking around DMIA, I was disappointed to see that to think that it was an international airport but the facilities was like a provincial bus terminal with their comfort rooms stinking and no working air-conditioning. By 1440hrs we were lounging at the pre-departure area waiting for out flight, and by 1600hrs was leaving Clark and headed for Kota Kinabalu. Nearing Kota Kinabalu, the pilot announced, that due to heavy rain and poor visibility at the airport, we were told that we would be circling around Kota Kinabalu and wait for good visibility to land. After a while, we were told by the pilot that we are landing at Labuan Airport, and while getting ready to land at Labuan, the pilot told us that we will proceed back to Kota Kinabalu and was cleared to land. After a rough landing due to some rain we landed at Kota Kinabalu International Airport where we walked thru immigration and claimed our baggage and took a cab heading to our hotel. Arriving at Century Hotel where we checked-in our bags (after some clarification of our booking) then headed to Sinario Café and Catering where we ate dinner, and after buying some things at the convenience store we headed back to our hotel to rest for the night.

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Waking up around 0700hrs to bath, and by 0800hrs was heading for Gaya Street to see the Sunday Market. One of the main streets of KK, Gaya Street used to be known as Bond Street. The street is closed to traffic and transforms to a mega fair every Sunday morning and is the place where locals come to buy their goods. You can find almost anything at the Fair. From local handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing to food, drinks, Chinese medicines, delicacies and even animals like chickens and pet dogs, can be purchased for very reasonable prices. It also is a good opportunity to try out your bargaining skills.

Having not eaten breakfast yet, we ate at Restoran Nuryana, which we ordered Soto Daging and Teh Tarik. Going around Gaya Street, we saw a lot of cheap goods and food, which we tried to taste the food that we have not seen until now. Buying a lot of souvenirs for back home, then heading back to the hotel by 1100hrs, heading for Warisan Square to take the free bus to 1Borneo Hypermall, where we met up with friends.

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Taking the free 20-minute bus ride to 1Borneo, the much hyped about biggest hyper mall on the island of Borneo at 4.8 million square foot complex, it was indeed spectacular.

1-Borneo the largest Lifestyle Shopping Mall in Sabah consists of 4 international & regional chain Hotels, Condominiums, Auto city, Oceanarium & Discovery centre, Handicraft & Cultural Centre, Spa & Fitness Centre, Amusement Centre, Bowling Centre, Cineplex, Gourmet Lane. Giant Super market is the anchor tenant. 1Borneo is strategically located on 23.3 acres of prime land along Jalan Sulaman Highway, adjacent to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) with close proximity to the state and federal administrative centers. 7 km southward of KK City along the Jalan Sulaman Highway surrounded by lush greenery overlooking the majestic Mount Kinabalu,

1 Borneo is set to be the ultimate shopping experience in Borneo Island to be enjoyed by locals and foreign tourists alike. 1Borneo is nestled in the middle of a growth triangle formed by the Federal Administrative Centre, the fast growing ultra modern University Malaysia Sabah and the upcoming Alamesra Township.

Eating at a restaurant below the mall, with viands costing just RM1.00 (PHP14.00) each, and drinks costing about RM2.00, and was full after eating. Heading to Tunes hotel to the room of our friend we stayed there for a while and drank some beer, then went around the sides and ate some ABC (Halo-Halo here in the Philippines). Then by 1830hrs was back at the city center and headed for the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market (formerly known as the Filipino Market) where we ate grilled prawns, squid, and fish. Costing about RM10.00-15.00 for the big fish (good for 3 persons), RM5.00 for the squid and prawns, with RM1.00 worth of seaweeds (LATO) and the good tasting sauce that they had. Buying some cold colas beside the tables to wash down the good tasting food and then walked around the city heading for our hotel, which by 2000hrs was back and freshening up to rest for the day.

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All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Ganduyan: Laylaydek Sik-a
ITLog No.1

Sagada, formerly called Ganduyan, is a quaint and quiet town of Mountain Province tucked away in the stunning mountains of Northern Luzon – 12 hours drive north of Manila, 5-6 hours north of Baguio City and about 2 hours further from the provincial capital, Bontoc. Sagada was what Baguio City was 50-100 years ago, and unlike the latter, has a more laidback, quieter, and slower pace of lifestyle with the culture, which is steeped in metaphor relatively intact among its Kankanaey populace. The thrilling (and to some, very intimidating) drive to Sagada, which can be accessed either via Banawe in Ifugao or Baguio in Benguet is characterized by precision driving through a narrow highway that snakes through the mountains of the region with drops to at least two kilometers deep down into the ravines, rice terraces and lush pine jungles of the Cordilleras.

Sagada was a foreign backpackers’ secret, until fairly recently when more and more Filipinos started taking notice of this beautiful mountain town- a thousand times better than what Baguio had to offer. Baguio has become an entire city of tourist traps, with unregulated housing construction-effectively replacing pine trees on its once beautiful mountains into a jungle of drab looking houses and a choking air pollution that rivals that of Manila. Sagada has none of that. The air was crisp and clean, and the construction was manageable – only Sagada locals are allowed to purchase land in Sagada. Sagada is known mostly for its natural attractions- and for a little town, there is plenty to do for the intrepid adventurer.

Since my childhood days, living in the City of Baguio, I have never been to Sagada, only in its near-by places like Bontoc and Banaue. With some free time in my hands and some recovery period, we decided to visit Sagada. We were thinking of visiting Sagada on our own but decided to go there with a tour group to lessen the hassle we might incur, meet new friend and decided to join the group, Vagabond Pinas, first, talking to the group was ok, but as the date for the trip came nearer, they were asking for additional money on top of the quoted amount, then what pissed us off was, we were transferred to another group without even informing us that we were not already in the group Vagabond Pinas, but with another group for the trip. We decided to push thru with the trip with the group Anywhere Phil, and hoping this would be a better group, and I think is a better group but also a fun group to be with.

We were picked up by Ivy, Ian, JJ and the rest of the group at Jollibee Cubao and started our trip to Baguio where we would pick-up another couple (Marc and April), arriving in Baguio around 0400hrs, with stop over at NLEX and La Union. Leaving Baguio around 0430hrs, passing thru Bugias and Mt. Data, and arriving in Sagada at around 0900hrs. The group first registered at the Tourist Center then we checked in our bags at The Traveler’s Inn. We went around since it was a Saturday and a market day in Sagada, eating some karioka and others street foods. Then saw some cured meat, which they call “ETAG” or INASIN.

Igorots are known to be meat-eaters. During festive occasions, they prepare their favorite dishes, often pork-based, making Etag a regular ingredient. Every part of the pork carcass is used in preparing the various local dishes. Etag dishes are consumed with much delight along with rice wine and other locally brewed alcoholic beverages.

Etag is very much a part of the Igorots’ culture and age-old traditions. For instance, when a child is born, Etag is processed and preserved. It will only be taken out of storage and cooked when the child gets married and served as one of the dishes during the wedding celebration.

The fastest way of preparing Etag is by rubbing the meat, bones, fat and all, thoroughly with a generous amount of salt. For the curing process, the pieces of meat are hung to dry, either to air-dry or sun-dry. If the preferred wood is available, some cure the Etag by smoking. This is considered the best way to cure Etag. The meat is smoked for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours per day, for at least two weeks. However, the meat should not be reached by the flames and should not be exposed to excessive heat. After smoking, Etag is ready for storage for future use.

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Lunch was at the Masferre’s Country Inn and Restaurant , then rested a while and got some souvenirs for friends. At 1400hrs, we headed to the big falls or Bomod-ok falls, with our guide with us, we started our trek to the falls passing thru a small village, some rice granaries and rice paddies.

Bomod-ok Falls or simply the Big Falls — is one of Sagada’s most visited and sought-after attractions. Despite being one of the few sites of interest that is a few minutes’ hike from the town center, countless visitors still brave the long trek to admire the 200-feet tall column of water as it splashes down on the cold pools below.
To get to the Big Falls, one must hire a guide from the Tourism Desk at the Town Hall care of the Sagada Environmental Guides Association (SEGA) or the office of the newly established Sagada Genuine Guides Association (SAGGAS). For the former, the charge for a group of 10 people or less is a pretty affordable rate of 600 pesos (~15 USD). Use this to your advantage! Look for other small groups who would be willing to split the fee with you. Who knows, you might even make friends in the process.
The trail to the Big Falls would take you on a long and exhausting trek along the sides of countless rice terraces! You literally walk between rice paddies and scale the elevated portions to the lower levels through the use of the sturdy stone-walls of the terraces. The ingenuity of these people would totally impress you. The rocks were once in the riverbed but thanks to the great minds and muscles of the ancestors of the present day Sagadans, this great construction project is in existence for all of us to see and appreciate.

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We started back late in the afternoon, and was dark already when we got to the van, headed for Log Cabin for dinner but decided to eat at Strawberry House instead, we ate pancit, baked chicken with veggies and mountain tea. After dinner and was so exhausted on the trek, we turned in for the night at 2200hrs.

Woke up at around 0600hrs and took a cold shower (I did not notice the switch for the heater), we ate cinnamon bread and pancit for breakfast then went to St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church where we heard a sung mass at 0830hrs. I got to talk to Mary Gang-aoen (teacher of Sunday school), who knows the parents of my childhood friends in Baguio.

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We then headed for Ganduyan Museum and met Christina Aben (born on Christmas Day), curator of the museum, she explained to us the different items in her collection and then showed us here drawings and pottery work including her bead work.

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We ate lunch at Kusina Igorota – dinuguan, nilagang pata with rice and mountain tea. Meeting up with the group and then headed for Lumiang/Sumaging Caves for the cave connection (here is where I hyper-extended my knee, repelling down).

Sagada boasts more than a cool mountain climate, forests full of pines and tree ferns, and exotic burial rituals. Our principle reason for coming here was to bone up on our spelunking skills by doing the famous Cave Connection, a four-hour cave crawling tour linking the Lumiang and Sumaging cave systems. This tour requires its participants to repel down vertical shafts, crawl, squirm, dangle off of ledges, slip, slide, wade waist-deep through underground streams, and clamber over wedding cake cave formations – in other words, it’s serious food for your inner child.

After an exhausting caving, we went back to traveler’s inn and cleaned up all those guano and took a shower then rested for the night.

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We woke up at 0530hrs and headed for Kiltepan, but it was so foggy that we were not able to see the sunrise. So we headed back and ate breakfast at Ganduyan Inn – ham and cheese omelet and yogurt. We bought some Sagada oranges and other souvenirs and by 0830hrs, we meet up with the group at St. Mary the Virgin and started walking to Echo Valley.

Passing thru the cemetery where I noticed the burnt wood near all the tombstones, this is where I learned about the panag-apoy.

Panag-apoy or to produce fire is a practice of Sagada folks as “pananglagip sin minatey” (a way of remembering our dead kin) kankanaeys use saeng (pine pitch) instead of the conventional candles that are available in stores.

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After Echo Valley, we went back to traveler’s inn and packed our things and checked out, by 1100hrs, we headed for Lemon House but were not serving lunch yet so we ate at Shanghai House nearby, we ate shanghai with ham and eggs and pancit. Then went back to Lemon house and tasted their Lemon Pie.

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Started travelling and headed for Baguio stopping at the Highest Hi-way Point in the Philippines and then reaching Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad at dusk. We passed by our parents house then on the way we stopped got take-outs for dinner. By 2000hrs we were on our way to Manila and by 0130hrs was headed back home and dropping all our bags and taking a good night sleep.

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Sagada is one of the laid-back places you could go to for some peace and quiet time all alone or with someone. Good food, good weather and most specially, friendly people not to mention good place to get high. Thank you Anywhere Phil for the wonderful trip we had with you guys… we would like to take a trip with you guys again.

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Till our next travel
HAPPY TRAILS!!!

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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We woke up around 0700hrs and would be visiting the KL Bird Park, which they say is the World’s Largest Free Flight Aviary. We waited for the Hop-on Hop-off Bus at Jalan Ramlee station till the first bus arrived and traveled to the KL Bird Park

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Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is located in the serene and scenic Lake Garden, about 10 minutes from the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. KL Bird Park is well known worldwide as “The world’s Largest Covered Bird Park” or “The World’s Largest Free Flight Aviary”. It is also the home to more than 3,000 birds from approximately 200 species of local and worldwide birds.
Sprawling approximately 20.9 acres of verdant valley terrain, bird park visitors will have an exciting experience of watching colourful and melodic birds perching and winging about about freely while relaxing in a natural and beautifully landscaped surrounding.

One of the KL Bird Park’s most extraordinary feature is all birds are let free in the aviary which resemble the natural habitat. With this type of free flight concept, birds are able to breed naturally in this unique concept bird park.

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After our visit at the KL Bird Park, we got on the bus again, and headed to Petaling Street where we had lunch at Tang City Food Court, which is like a bunch of karenderia here in Manila, where you order you food at the stalls and take your seat at the table, and when your food is cooked, they bring it to you steaming hot. I ordered shrimp with rice and a coke. After lunch, we walked around Petaling Street looking for some good bargains and trying some of the street foods.

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Petaling Street It is infamous for pirated clothes and accessories along with bootleg DVDs and CDs. Petaling Street however does not exclusively offer pirated products. Haggling is a common sight here and the place is usually crowded with locals as well as tourists.

The area has dozens of restaurants and food stalls, serving local favourites such as Hokkien mee, ikan bakar (barbecued fish), asam laksa and curry noodles. Traders here are mainly Chinese but there are also Indian, Malay, and Bangladeshi traders.

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Got on the bus again and headed back to Suria Mall and got some last minute shopping, then took the taxi back to our hotel to fix our things. And then headed to Bintang Walk to get something to eat and some pasalubongs, then rode the monorail back to our hotel to meet a friend.

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While they were chatting and catching up on things (with a bottle of Tiger Beer), I headed back the Petronas Tower to get my night shot of the tower, which I would not pass-off on this trip, and took a load of pictures of The Petronas Tower. Heading back to the hotel, I passed by the KL Convention Center and took a picture of the fountain in front. By around 2000hrs we were picked up by our cab and headed for the airport, checking in our bags and lazed around till our flight was up. Arriving in Manila at the wee hours of the morning and throwing our bags aside, we rested our feet and slept till late in the morning.

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There were still other places we wanted to go and visit in Kuala Lumpur but our schedule did not permit us to, but would like to visit Kuala Lumpur again and see the other places that we did not get to visit.

Until our next travel, HAPPY TRAILS!!!

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Selamat Datang ke Kuala Lumpur

Selamat dating (səlamat dataŋ) or Welcome in the English language is a greeting which you will usually hear when you arrive in Malaysia.

Malaysia (pronounced məˈleɪʒə/ mə-LAY-zhə or məˈleɪziə/ mə-LAY-zee-ə) is a federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometres (127,355 sq mi). The country is separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (also known as West and East Malaysia respectively). Malaysia shares land borders with Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei and has maritime boundaries with Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population as of 2009 stood at over 28 million. Malaysia has its origins in the Malay Kingdoms present in the area in which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements. Peninsular Malaysia, then known as Malaya, was first unified under the commonwealth in 1946, before becoming the Federation of Malaya in 1948. In 1963, Malaya unified with Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore. In 1965, Singapore opted out of the federation and became an independent state. Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5% for the first 50 years of independence. The economy of the country has, traditionally, been fuelled by its natural resources, but is now also expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism.

Landed at KLCC Airport via Cebu Pacific Air from Manila at past 0100hrs after which we took a taxi in the airport where they ask where your destination is then pay in the counter then go to the taxi stand (been reading in the net that you have to ask first for the price of the fare going to your place before riding to be sure of the payment and beware of Indian taxi drivers because they charge you triple the fare). On our way to KL we passed by rows and rows of palm trees, which the driver says, that Malaysia is the number 1 exporter of Palm Oil.

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Arriving at Paradise Hotel, we checked into our room and tried to rest a bit for we would be up early for the trip up to the Petronas Twin Towers. Waking up at 0530hrs and headed out to Petronas Twin Tower by 0600hrs, walking along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ramlee and upon reaching the Towers there was already a long cue and it was not 0700hrs yet. We waited in the long line till the ticketing booth opened at 0830hrs and was given a number, which was Number 110 (after a while they were not issuing anymore tickets and they closed the entrance already to those who wanted to get tickets). They started asking what time they would want to go up the Sky Bridge, we got our tickets and were scheduled at 0945hrs, and better more it is free. Went to the snack bar and ate Nesi Lemak and got my daily dose of coke for breakfast then headed to the Petronas Exhibit Hall to see how the tower was made and other stuff including some puzzled which really got me thinking till someone told me how to solve it (thinking out of the box). By 09300hrs we were called at the assembly area where we were issued tags and then watch a presentation about Petronas, then headed to a security check then up the elevators to the Sky Bridge. The Sky Bridge is the only area where tourist are allowed to go (starting October 1, 2010, they started a tour to the top level of the towers plus a dinner) and were only allowed to stay for only 10 minutes.

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The Petronas Twin Towers was designed by Argentine architects César Pelli and Djay Cerico under the consultancy of Julius Gold, the Petronas Towers were completed in 1998 after a seven year build and became the tallest buildings in the world on the date of completion. They were built on the site of Kuala Lumpur’s race track. Because of the depth of the bedrock, the buildings were built on the world’s deepest foundations. The 120-meter foundations were built within 12 months by Bachy Soletanche and required massive amounts of concrete. Its engineering designs on structural framework were contributed by Haitian engineer Domo Obiasse and colleagues Aris Battista and Princess D Battista.

The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. Another Islamic influence on the design is that the cross section of the towers is based on a Rub el Hizb (albeit with circular sectors added to meet office space requirements). Tower 1 was built by a Japanese consortium led by the Hazama Corporation while Tower 2 was built by Samsung C&T and Kukdong Engineering & Construction, both South Korean contractors. The sky bridge contract was completed by Kukdong Engineering & Construction. The notable event was that the South Korean Samsung C&T started construction later than the Tower 1 but completed building faster and became the first.

Due to a lack of steel and the huge cost of importing steel, the towers were constructed on a cheaper radical design of super high-strength reinforced concrete. High-strength concrete is a material familiar to Asian contractors and twice as effective as steel in sway reduction; however, it makes the building twice as heavy on its foundation than a comparable steel building. Supported by 23-by-23 meter concrete cores and an outer ring of widely spaced super columns, the towers use a sophisticated structural system that accommodates its slender profile and provides 560,000 square metres of column-free office space. Below the twin towers is Suria KLCC, a shopping mall, and Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

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While at the Sky Bridge, I talked to the guide and asked the way to Batu Caves and directed me to go below Suria Mall were the train station is (which is located at the bottom of the Twin Towers) and take the train to Taman Melati and then take a taxi to Batu Caves (which was better than taking a taxi from KL to Batu Caves). She also mentioned the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, which will take you around KL and to most of the tourist attractions in KL.

After the tour was done we passed by the gift-shop and looked around, since we will be going to other places yet we did not get anything but will get something before we leave KL. We headed our way to Suria Mall and looked around then went to the train station below and got ticket for a trip to Taman Melati after about 7 stops we got off the train then took the taxi at the taxi stand (the driver was Malay) and took us to Batu Caves. Along the way, I was marveled by the road system and railway system that they have.

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Batu Caves is a limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples, located in Gombak district, 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village.

The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. Some of the cave entrances, were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people (a tribe of Orang Asli).

As early as 1860, Chinese settlers began excavating guano for fertilising their vegetable patches. However, they became famous only after the limestone hills were recorded by colonial authorities including Daly and Syers as well as American Naturalist, William Hornaday in 1878.

Batu Caves was promoted, as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the ‘vel’-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Muruga within the caves.
In 1890, Pillai, who also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Subramania Swamy in what is today known as the Temple Cave. Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.
Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its 100 m vaulted ceiling.

Climbing the more than 200 steps was a feat to make (even old people climb the steps), where monkeys freely roam around and take food given to them. Arriving at the top you could see an entrance where upon entering you will be see a big cavern about 100 meters high where statues are erected at the sides. Then climbing another flight of steps you come to an open space where there is a Subramanium temple where devotees offer prayers. After going around and taking some photos we headed back down and had lunch at Restoran Rani, where they serve vegetarian Hindu food on a steel plate covered with banana leaves. I ordered their Rani Thali and was given a plate with all the stuff plus, if a finish one part, they fill it up again. Then gave me some sort of dessert which look somewhat like buko pandan. As we were leaving I met a man making Roti canai (pronounced “Chanai”) and wanted me to take his picture. Went around and saw all those sweets they are selling which I did not get their names but looks like sapin-sapin and kutsinta.

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Heading back to KL, we took the taxi to Gombak station and took the train back to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). I noticed that the train we were riding has no driver… we were riding in an automatic train where it stops at every station and even slows down on turns.

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Arriving in KLCC, we headed out to the park and took some photos of the park and the Petronas Twin Towers then went to the bus stop where the Hop-on Hop-off bus will pick up passengers (which was the last stop of the Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour). The Hop-on Hop-off Bus is a double-decker bus with its back part open for tourist to take photos, you pay about RM38 (for adults) which is good for 24hrs, which will take you to most of the major spots in KL including the Petronas Tower, Menara, Bukit Bintang, Arts & Crafts Center, KL Bird Park, Petaling Street and many others. After paying for our tickets, we got on the bus and headed to the Malaysia Tourist Center (which is technically the first stop of the tour), where we stopped for 10 minutes to wait for passengers, then headed for Menara Tower.

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The Kuala Lumpur Tower (officially known as Menara Kuala Lumpur; referred later as KL Tower) is a tall tower located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Its construction was finished in 1995. It is used for communication purposes and features an antenna that reaches 421 m (1,381 ft), which currently makes it the eighteenth tallest freestanding tower in the world. The roof of the pod is at 335 m (1,099 ft). The rest of the tower below has a stairwell and an elevator to reach the upper area, which also contains a revolving restaurant, providing diners a panoramic view of the city. Races are organized yearly where participants race up the stairs to the top. The tower also acts as the Islamic falak observatory to look for the crescent moon to mark the beginning of Muslim month of Ramadhan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to celebrate fasting month of Ramadhan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha.

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Next, was a stop at the Arts & Crafts Center, where there is a store, a museum and a work area where locally made products are sold and are shown how they are made to tourists like the Batik. Here we were not allowed to take photos, I wanted to try making of Batik but we had to move on to our next stop, which was Bukit Bintang.

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Throbbing with activities of various kinds 24-7, the hip and happening Bukit Bintang remains Kuala Lumpur’s trendiest shopping and entertainment district. Combining historical charms with contemporary chic, this area has managed to retain its popularity over the years, both with locals and visitors alike. This bustling area offers everything from shopping centers to nightclubs. Due to its central location, it is fairly easy to get to Bukit Bintang from anywhere in Kuala Lumpur via public transportation.

At Bukit Bintang, we went around the malls hoping to buy some cheap stuff (which was on sale) then headed to Low Yat Plaza for some serious electronic buying.

A stylish and well-integrated shopping mall, Low Yat Plaza joins the cream of favorite’s retail and entertainment establishment in the heart of Bukit Bintang offering spectrum of fashion, food, phone, computer, software and family recreation as well as thematic concepts.

Low Yat Plaza is becoming too popular for technology lovers. It offers very intensive computer hardware and software, verities of mobile phones and etc. You can get all you want here + value for your money.

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After buying the stuff we were about to head back to the hotel but it was raining hard, and like in Manila when it rains, comes the traffic, it took us almost half an hour to get back to the hotel when it takes just 10 minutes to walk. After leaving our things at the hotel and resting a bit, we took the monorail back to Bukit Bintang and had dinner at a roadside stall, we then headed for a road where stalls were set-up at the road side, where you seat down and eat Mangosteen and Durian. Then we walked going back to our hotel and rest, for tomorrow will be another day of going around KL again.

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All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.