The Northern Territory of Australia is one of the most unique and beautiful places on earth. The bold colors of the landscape rival the stunning sunsets. The rich history and culture of the aboriginal peoples is kept alive and preserved for you to learn and experience their heritage. The Northern Territory ranges from the exciting melting pot of cultures and cuisines in the city of Darwin, the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, and the natural beauty and wonders of Liluru-Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. You can even pan for gold after a cruise down Katherine Gorge and revel in the natural beauty of Tennant Creek. There is so much to do in the Northern Territory you may need more than one holiday to experience it all.
It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid to experience what it feels like to play in the snow. Creating my snowman, forming snow angels, throwing snowballs at each other and what it’s like to spend a really white Christmas, you know, like most stuff shown on cartoons during my childhood. Unfortunately, i'm from the Philippines, and as a tropical country, it’s unlikely to ever snow here, though is not impossible to happen since, I have heard stories from my parents that Baguio City, the summer capital of the country was once covered in snow many years ago.
|The Milky Way|
Countless times have I tried to take a picture of the stars and finally I have my own set to be proud of, and I'm not surprised that I was able to take the photos in one of my favorite places, Patar beach in Bolinao. After almost a year. I was finally able to make it back to this place, and was lucky enough to have clear skies during the trip.
It was a scene straight out of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series. We’ve been driving for what seem like an eternity through a rough path surrounded by thick bamboo trees on both sides. We had no idea where we’re supposed to go or what we were looking for to know that we’re there. We checked our phones – no signals. Our colleagues told us earlier that it was a resort, but failed to mention the name. So naturally we thought there would be lots of lights to guide our way, but no. The forest-like trail was jet black except for the small areas that the beam of lights from the car’s headlamps shone through. The sound of crickets filling the air did not help to calm us down either. By then our imagination just started to ran wild. We kept thinking that a ‘white lady’ would appear in front of the car to stop us and the next thing we know she’ll be sitting beside us hitching a ride and holding our hands. As we continued to drive along holding back emotions of fear, we passed by a spotted dog - kinda like a local Dalmatian, o sige askal na - with his eyes glowing brightly reflecting the beams from the car’s headlamps, natural right? Then all of a sudden a huge – when I say huge I meant tall and thick - Acacia Tree appeared blocking our path creating a fork on the road, my eardrums busted as my seat mate shriek in fear as the tree appeared out of nowhere. We tried moving on, but things just kept on getting weirder and weirder. For instance, we passed by the same exact dog twice after our first encounter, and every time we see it, a huge Acacia Tree appears either in front or on the side of the road. For a moment we thought of taking off our shirts and putting it back inside and out, thinking that a super-natural being decided to play with us and we have to counter its curse. And as we were about to expose each other’s body, a sign caught our attention, a sign that sent chills down my spine personally, the hair at the back of my neck stood up as I still try to grasp what I have just read, still thinking that this can’t be true, my knees by now started to tremble, ladies inside the car started crying and yelling.
Despite the modernization of present times and the majority of the Filipinos adapting to Western culture, I was dumbfounded to find out that there are still places in the country that practices true Filipino family culture and values. I mean, I should have not been shock, the Philippines, after all, is one of the most diverse countries in the world. We still even have a lot of different native tribes scattered all over the region, still preserving their culture, living their way of life as their elders has lived before them, not succumbing to the changing times, though able to adapt but still holding on to their identity and tradition.
Launched way back 2004, Kicaco Caffe is one of the very first establishment to introduce gourmet coffee to the Dagupenos. Owned and managed by Ms. Katherine Kiat, an accounting management graduate of UP without any formal training in the field of culinary arts yet armed with a passion to cook, she started Kicaco Caffe on October 2004 along Tapuac District and later on transferred to its present location along Perez Blvd. corner Rizal Street conveniently situated at the very heart of Dagupan City.
The third instalment for my Bolinao series, I’ll be featuring one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, The Bolinao church or historically called St. James Parish, The Great Fortress. Located in the town’s center just beside the public market, this grand century-old stone structure has served as a fortress against pirates, Americans, Japanese and the English in the past, and has become a major tourist attraction for the town in its own right over the years.