"Saraotan sa Dalan" (Street Dancing) Pasinggatan Festival - Taytay, Palawan




       Destination: Municipality of Taytay, Palawan
  • The street dance is a competition between clusters of different Barangays showcasing Taytay's culture and rich history.
  • Taytay's culture and rich history in the form of dance and live music in the streets of Taytay.
  • Participants are dressed in ethnic costumes re-enacting scenes when the town was under Spanish colonial rule with history that date back to approximately 16th century.






Saraotan sa Dalan (Street Dancing in Cuyonon language) - This event marks the end of 10 days of festivities in Municipality of Taytay's Pasinggatan Festival. Came from the Filipino root word "Singgat" or dazzle, Pasinggatan Festival is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the Taytay people, it involves gastronomic festival - Paguetekan, a Cuyono term which means to indulge in eating, Bituin ng Taytay - pageant presenting the candidates of every cultural group, sports days, festival of traditional dances and music among other activities. The whole town stops completely for more than a week for these intense festivities.






May 4, 2014 is THE big day at this time of the year. Participants were flaunting colorful outfits flood the streets of Taytay passing through my cousin's house. I have never seen my hometown as excited about Saraotan sa Dalan as this is my first time to witness it. It was hot summertime, an absolutely electric time here, and the whole town is riding the crest of an incredible wave of emotion, glee and, of course, good times.






The street dance according to my cousin Aida, "are set to be bigger and bigger every year." It's hard to believe, but the first Pasinggatan festival celebrated in Taytay, Palawan was maybe 10 years ago and although the event has changed somewhat since then, locals are determined to preserve the tradition. I’ve never been and I’m not sure what to expect but I definitely didn’t expect it to be as huge as it was.  I thought a couple of streets in Taytay would be closed to cars, but I didn’t realize that the whole of central Taytay would be shut off to vehicles to make way for the parade and a huge street dance.






The street dance is a competition between clusters of different Barangays showcasing Taytay's culture and rich history in the form of dance and live music. Participants were dressed in ethnic costumes and dramatize old stories of our town while dancing at the designated performance area. Each cluster has their own concept and stories to tell, re-enacting scenes when the town was under Spanish colonial rule with history that date back to approximately 16th century.






Sea of colors: The first performance of Saraotan sa Dalan at the main street of the town started at around 10 AM draw people to watch the street dance from their balconies and front houses with beautiful and loud music. I have enjoyed myself as spectator because we were positioned at the front of performance. Tribu Cinopalob showcased the tensions and disorders which culminated during Spanish colonization bridging to acceptance of Catholicism of the native Taytayanos. The group has exhibited a dazzling performance.






The temperature raised further as the street dance moves closer to its noontime. With colorful costumes reflecting the town's strong connections to Spain, the second group presented colorful fight between Taytayanos, Muslims and Spaniards. 






There are some truly inventive and some might say bizarre costumes and rituals - with mixed costumes and figures running riot and fights, scenes depicting some of the harrowing experiences of colonization are the favorite theme. Despite some aspects of the festival remembering some of the harsher part of our history, there's still opportunities for us to celebrate our culture. The group represented how Taytayanos identify themselves in different ways, adapting to different cultures and traditions as they throw their own unique chants to the crowds.






What a spectacle: The presentation includes dancers dressed in colorful clothes covered their faces with white face paint portraying Spanish colonization dancing gracefully with stories of Taytayano's strength, honor, and optimism.






Other performances were also war dances complete with weapons. Young and old performers have joined the line to re-enact some of our culture and tradition, our way of living before and after colonization. 






Taytay has developed their own exotic celebrations for the "Fiesta" season showcasing our own cultures and traditions. 









The festival originally started off as a showcase of the culture and traditions of the Taytay people, but now it is an important municipal event every year. While Saraotan sa Dalan may not be the most well-attended street dance in the country but it will surely put Taytay on the tourism map of joyful festivities and hopefully included in the likes of Sinulog, Masskara, and Dinagyang in the future.




When People are the Tourist Attraction | Daredevil


This is the astonishing moment when my adventurous niece, Sophia, attempted to jump into Maoyon River  - and survived, lol!

With the weather proving unseasonally warm over the last week, I'd love to dedicate this post to encourage you guys to domestic holidays and rediscover the glee of traveling in a river near you to take the plunge. 

Put away glitz, glamour and gadgets. Let’s go!

Heights are not really my thing, although I'd always dreamt of flying like a bird, free from anything. With my little persuasion and her desire for thrill, my adrenaline junkie niece, Sophia, decided to take the plunge into Maoyon River after numerous peek few feet from the bar of Love and Peace Resort. It brought excitement and ecstatic scream when her mom, Ate Cherry, agreed when she asked for permission. 

Sophia was first in our group to jump. After settling into free-fall position, she flew like Tinkerbell and propelled up into the heavens suspended in air. My heart skipped a beat when I took the shoot. With her eyes closed, she let go of the rope and took a leap of faith into the river. Tensions are high after she jumped and plummeted into the river until her wide-faced smile surfaced above the water yelling "Oh my God, I did it!". "It wasn't easy at first, but the experience of being suspended above anything was another rewarding thrill-seeking adventure", she said. Moments later, her brother Kristian, followed. And they do it over and over again.

Kids, they are the ones who never fear from taking risk because fear is the key of failure. May this blog post remind me to be braver and never lose my kid-at-heart spirit to slowly take the plunge of blogging again. To slowly get back on track, to tell you many tales of adventures or misadventures to places I've been 5 years ago (yes, 5 years of backlog) This is to remind me to somersault 5 summers, 122 places, 548 people and countless experiences.




Photo of the Week | Starry, Starry Night


My inspiration for photography has always been a desire to capture something spectacular, something unusual and something unique because I wanted to share pieces of my travels that my followers will experience in a special way, hence this weekly sharing was born. I hope you do.

BTW, I’ve added “Reflection to Life” portion whenever I post “Picture of the Week” – Please take time to read it and share your views on the comment section.

Here's another favorite picture from my Bohol travel long time ago when we’re sitting on the sand staring at the night sky while waiting for dinner to be served in a restaurant nearby. It was an incredibly still, clear night. Dark skies and no wind, the stars reflected like scattered diamonds dancing across the sky against deep blue backdrop, while the shy moon trying to hide from my sight. The moment was perfectly synced to Norah Jones music playing from my phone, the Nearness of You.

It's not the pale moon that excites me
That thrills and delights me
Oh no, it's just the nearness of you
It isn't your sweet conversation
That brings this sensation
Oh no, it's just the nearness of you
When you're in my arms
And I feel you so close to me
All my wildest dreams came true
I need no soft lights to enchant me
If you will only grant me
The right to hold you ever so tight
And to feel in the night
The nearness of you…

From my vantage point, I let my imagination free. Silhouette of coconut trees lined in the foreground seemed like protecting the moon, pushing away the beauty of dazzling array of twinkling stars. I was in awe, what a beautiful world we live in! The universe is amazing, so spectacular and magnificent, makes me want to cry for some reason as I enjoyed the display of power and beauty of nature. I am reminded that there is still peace and solitude to be found in this angry, lonely world of ours. 

Reflection to Life: The crescent moon represents us, ordinary people, who tend to shy away beautiful opportunities in life because were not full enough or maybe afraid to reciprocate the beauty life is offering. So, we tend to hide and choose to be unknown in our own universes not knowing that our own incredible light beacons, attracting that opportunity. Imagine the light from that distant stars and galaxies trying to attract us. It takes hundreds, thousands, even millions of years to reach us. What a disappointment to lose it in the last millisecond of its journey.

Are you willing to quit your job to start a business or the thing that you really want to do?  Dare to take that one opportunity that sparkle your way today.


Dine with a View at Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan


Serving five-star view that captures the essence of a seductive oceanfront overlooking Taytay Bay and the historic Fort Santa Isabel, Casa Rosa is the best place to dine in the municipality of Taytay, Palawan after spending hours of photo-shooting at the nearby Santa Isabel Fort.  

The restaurant mostly caters to local clientele doesn't serve high-end cuisine but with uninterrupted views over endless azure waters of Taytay Bay, priceless! Look at how beautiful that sea is...




The hillside restaurant is open from mid-morning serving Filipino and American breakfast until diner offering conventional cuisine at very affordable prices including dishes such as Lomi, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Pasta in cream and mushroom sauce. The uphill restaurant can be booked privately for breakfast, weddings or other special occasions. Casa Rosa also offers accommodation at their cliff-side cottages for just a minimum amount.


Filipino Breakfast Longganisa, Php 120


Wide range of Pizzas are favorite among locals with affordable price range of Php 200 (Margarita, Hawaiian, Ham and Cheese, Seafood , and Vegetarian) to Php 250 (Casa Rosa Special). They also serve Sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts. Pork Steak and Schnitzel are served with mashed potato or French fries are best serve at dinner for just Php 220.).


Pasta in Cream and Mushroom Sauce, Php 150

The dishes were cooked just beside the main restaurant. Pizza on the other occasion I went here, was served hot and fresh off the oven and highly recommended though we haven't tried this time around. The most appropriate thing to order at this place is of course, champagne. But with its absence from the menu, Mojitos (Php 80) or San Miguel Beer (Php 45) could be great a substitute.

Chicken Cordon Bleu, Php 220

Considering the prices, the dishes were all good. Lomi was hot and thick with lots of meat and can be shared by two. Pasta was creamy enough and Chicken Cordon Bleu is worth to try another round. Instant iced tea, freshly squeezed Calamansi juice, brewed coffee, and cold softdrins are also available. Desserts are inviting; Banana Flambe (Php, 80), Mixed Fruits (Php 60), and Crepe with Fruits (Php 130) but we skipped it because we're already full.


Lomi, Php 120

This is the perfect location for a romantic private dinner at night - It gets dark around 6pm in this part of the world and it would be nice to have dinner here, so you could take your time mesmerized with the view of the naval fortress slowly lighted during the night.

Overall, the spectacular uphill restaurant where loved-up couples can dine in a cliff-side gazebo with an ocean view is the best in town and worthy every penny to relax and dine. Not too bad a price to pay, it would be a one off experience.



Youtube Channel Re-launch



Hi Guys, Inviting y'all to follow my Youtube channel.  I've been on idle and used the channel as my back-up for videos I made but I'm hoping to create more videos to share. Thank you and enjoy the show 😊

When People are the Tourist Attraction | Solitude



Photo Taken during one of my trips in El Nido Palawan's great Big Lagoon passageway, watching a lone tourist mesmerized by the rugged limestone formations and landscape colored by the magnificent clarity and shades of blue seascape. A solo traveler commune with nature harvesting more than just happiness, I am sure. 

Have you tried traveling solo?

My favorite solo travels are the ones in El Nido and Coron, Palawan. I can't count in my hands how many times I've been to these places. Every year, when budget permits, I book a solo trip to escape the infernal Manila, the drama, and the stress – a break from reality, usually during off-season because prices are low, and I avoid crowds. As much as possible, I tried to get active and really immerse in a destination. Kayaking, snorkeling, and rafting are the things to do around islands of Bacuit Bay, El Nido while hiking along Mount Tapyas' trail is just a small escape to picturesque solo getaway other than exploring Coron's world renown lakes.

Forget about lavish escapes and insta-worthy dining, trips like these are ideal for soaking up the local culture and involvement that are truly personal and unique. Seeking out authentic local experiences in lesser known destinations are my goals in solo travels where I discovered some "secret" spots and truly submerge to total relaxation and deep thinking. Every experience taught me to hug life very firm and be thankful for everything.  It is liberating, and It’s always surprising to find my inspiration alive again.

RECIPE | Sarciadong Bangus (Milkfish Sarciado)


I know, it's mid-week and everyone of us are hanging in there to keep-up with everyday life demands. We have a lot of things to do and we don't have plenty of time. 

In our home during lunch time, all too often I hear my Tatay's cry of: "Bangus na naman?" (Milkfish again?) everyday. Yes, everyday.  It's all because of Nanay. Since both of my parents started living  with me here in Manila last year when she was diagnosed of Breast CA, she always choose Milkfish Sinigang with lots of greens as her go-to lunch dish. She often put a lot of Malunggay (Moringa) and/or Kangkong (Water Spinach) which is good alternative in treating cancer naturally according to medical publications about natural medicine. She never change, her love affair with Bangus grow everyday 😏

With so many workload all day, although working from home 2 days in a week, my home cooking experience has been in decline for the past years with fast food taking its place (hello, Big Mac!😜). I've been trying to give my mother's favorite fish a makeover for few months but always occupied by the requirements of the illness or loads of office works should I had a chance to try.

 ...and finally this week, I'm able to do so.




Inspiring y'all with my Recipe of the Week if you are googling ideas for simple midweek lunches. There’s nothing better than a dish like this one; Sarciadong Bangus (Milkfish Sarciado) which is packed with flavor and great when you're short on time.  Make sure you use the freshest Milkfish you can find for this recipe, for a better tasteful lunch dish.

Sarciado or Sarsyado means "sauce" normally added to fish dish which features tomatoes and eggs. It's a classic Filipino, passed-down recipe and very easy to make. In frugal times, you may use your fried fish leftover from yesterday as an alternative and new way to cut down supermarket food bills.



Ingredients

1 kilogram Bangus (Milkfish), scaled and sliced.
Oil of choice to fry the fish (I used olive oil)
1 tbsp Salt
8 pieces medium-sized, ripe tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons garlic minced
1 piece medium-sized onions diced
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pieces raw eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons fish sauce to taste
1/2 cup green onions/scallions chopped to garnish (optional)



Instructions
1) Rub the salt to the fish and leave for five minutes while making the sauce.
2) Make the sauce using a clean pan, heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil then sauté onions, garlic, and tomatoes.
3) Add the fish sauce and ground black pepper and stir.
4) Add water then bring to a boil.
5) Pour the eggs on the pan. Ensure that it is distributed evenly. Once the eggs curdles or coagulates, you may start stirring the mixture.
6) Simmer for another 2-3 minutes and let it rest in the pan while frying the fish.
7) Heat olive oil in a frying pan then fry the fish. 
8) Remove the fish from the frying pan and place in wire rack to drain oil. Set aside.
9) Transfer the sauce in a serving plate, and place the fish on top. Pour more sauce on top and drizzle it with chopped green onions/scallions.


Photo of the Week | Sunset in the Pacific


Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a very memorable weekend and was able to relax and recharge. Sharing with you all is another picture picked from my archive. One of the best golden sunsets I captured during one of our family getaways somewhere in a tropical beach in Batangas, Philippines. Do you want this to be your desktop background? You may contact me should you want to purchase any pictures from my Photo of the day or Photo of the Week posts. I'll give you raw and larger images for a small fee.

So how would you describe this image? For some, probably for those who are less stressed in life or doesn't care about beauty and art of nature, it’s just a beautiful sunset. It could be a painting by Claude Monet or maybe a scattered gold and champagne in the universe for those who have an artistic viewpoint.

I remember spending the end of that day by the beach with a glass of cocktails in hand, watching small forces of waves broke the shore, perhaps the only chaos in the stillness of the golden sea, I thought. But instead of awful memory it served incredible beauty. The small foggy sands closer to shore get tossed and turned in the foam, leading to mixes of golden colors. It was bewitching and magical performance every time each wave touched the stones.  Simply astonishing while the show goes on, each wave that arose looked gorgeous than before and binds golden hues to allure.

Simply astonishing, God's handiwork at its finest.

Reflecting to my life's story, it's another sunset I beg not to discuss again. Writing this post surrounded by different "sunsets of life" behind this walls of PGH's Oncology building, I saw golden sunset painted all over my Nanay's face where each line has a beautiful meaning.

Sometimes, the most beautiful images or moments come from the most unexpected everyday events like this. It's so amazing how a change in perspective can add so much more meaning to something we often take for granted. This image is not just beautiful and stunning, it is another life’s lesson to take in. Just breath and...

"Don't be afraid to look again."

Timeless Taytay - Fort Santa Isabel, Taytay, Palawan


  • Destination: Fort Santa Isabel, Taytay, Palawan.
  • It took 71 years to build. Coral rocks, lime, and egg whites were used as the main materials to build it.
  • Fort Santa Isabel or Fuerza de Santa Isabel in Taytay, Palawan -  A naval fortress originally built in 1667 and the most important landmark of the municipality.
  • Spanish stronghold overlooking Taytay Bay - it is the first line of defense used by the Spanish troops where they fire cannons to fend-off Muslim raiders riding on war boats attacking the town.



Sometimes it pays to get lost in paradise deeper if you're a tourist - especially in a destination with as many layers of attraction as Palawan. 

The province of Palawan is rightly famous for its beach, reefs, lagoons, wildlife, and tropical forest teeming with huge biodiversity, but here we go a little bit far, just 4 hours away from Puerto Princesa City to the Municipality of Taytay, revealing Palawan's rich, fascinating culture and history... Welcome to my hometown, the beautiful "Star of the North" - Taytay, Palawan! Scroll down and enjoy the scenery :-)




History Snippet: The name Taytay was derived from the word “Talaytayan”, which means "bridge" shortened throughout time and became Taytay.  The first capital of the province of Calamianes (1859 to 1876), the entire territory of Paragua (now Palawan), formally founded in 1623. This town is the oldest and biggest municipality in the province in terms of land area, and a first-class Municipality with 31 barangays abundant in natural resources, made up of communities of fisher-folks and farmers.




Guardian of Taytay Bay, this 17th century Spanish fortress called "Fuerza de Santa Isabel" is strategically located fronting the town which stands as a silent witness of rich historical battleground during the Spanish regime. She was built in 1667 as a wooden palisade under the Augustinian Recollect priests to protect Taytay harbor from the Muslim raiders.




Fort Santa Isabel or Fuerza de Santa Isabel took 71 years to build using coral rocks, lime, and egg whites as the main materials and is now the most important landmark of our municipality.  This striking fort combines history, engineering, archaeology and stories of Taytayanos courage. And it all unfolded during that Spanish colonization period when it was obvious to the world-conquering warriors that he who controlled Fort Isabel would be the master of all he surveyed.




Hard-wooden doors grace the front - an uphill corridor will lead you to the top with interesting remains of small chapel dating back from the 17th century, a village, living spaces, large dungeon, and storerooms. Relics of four towers in each corner serves as a monument of centuries rich history were destroyed but still standing proud. These bastions are named after San Toribio, Santa Isabel, San Juan and San Manuel. The small museum was closed when we went here too early in the morning, but it displays important historic artifacts so don’t miss it when you visit here.




Some of the original cannon endures time to testify to the uses of three centuries ago. There was gold or maybe bronze or copper attached in the cannon we used to carve using stones whenever we had a chance visiting the bush-covered fort to play tagu-taguan when we were little kids.




She was the Mont Saint-Michel of my Nanay's generation where the fortress was not yet fully connected to the mainland. There was a tunnel connecting the fortress and the nearby church according to tales. A refuge to my Auntie Esther who used to study at the comfort of the silence of the old fort. Abundant marine life surrounds the fortress as she collects sea shells and catch fish for dinner, remembering all those happy times she had spent at the fort when I asked about kuta via messenger.




It was just a normal park during those summer vacations, a play area during our generation. Spending one or two hours watching sunset with my cousins Lorna and Jenneth to pasyal after a day of helping Auntie Narit attending her carenderia in the town's market, hoping to have a glimpse of our crushes, lol. Growing-up, it became the silent spectator of our generation as we kiss our first love. The fort has become our teen-age dating site :-)




Fort Santa Isabel is one of the most beautiful forts in the country now sits in beautiful man-made grounds. A lot of original structure were destroyed but the local government started its beautification program since 2016, some parts of the fort were beautifully restored. They installed spotlights in the grounds, allowing visitors going to and from El Nido to enjoy the facilities, including the museum, even at night.




We spent almost two hours of photo-shooting before proceeding to the nearby uphill restaurant overlooking the bay. While re-discovering the places I love, AWESOME is the only word that will do. 




Waiting at the hillside restaurant Casa Rosa, overlooking Taytay bay in Sulu Sea, the remains of Santa Isabel fortress, is one such moment. Shades of blue behind the fort of history give definition to what the day has to offer. The scenery while taking our lunch in Casa Rosa was astonishing and unspoilt, which is breathtaking. After all, where else in the world can you find one of the most beautiful forts with not a trinket shop, souvenir stall or ice-cream kiosk in sight?





It's a perfect scenic place for special events. If you are dreaming and looking for rustic, vintage, and idyllic destination wedding- you’ve found the stunning one. Taytay tourism management has opened the chapel on the top of the fort to private weddings for just a small fee. For just 30 pesos entrance fee, you get a fantastic view overlooking Taytay bay and the maritime fortress on your special day. 







Consider Taytay as another trip and take a tour around Fort Santa Isabel. From Puerto Princesa, it would take 4-5 hours of scenic land travel. Taytay is so close to El Nido, but so far away. It’s like a more orderly, low-profile, under-the-radar vacation spot – dare I say –  a quiet version of El Nido.