Friday, October 28, 2011

Calamianes: Rain-scented afternoon

We enjoyed a day of fair weather when we visited Culion Island in the Calamianes.  But as soon as we docked at the Coron pier around 4 pm, the clouds turned dark---rain was in the air.  People started to scamper for cover while the cool wind danced on the bay, sweet-smelling rain wafted through the harbor.  

These are snapshots from the Coron harbor a few minutes before the rain finally poured, and boy, it really poured!

Rain!  whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~ John Ruskin

Rain or shine, there is always Sky-watch Friday

Meatless Pancit Canton

October is a busy month in our family when it comes to birthdays.  On the first week of this month, my brother celebrated his birthday.  My grandmother threw a party on the second week for her 79th birthday---it also became a family reunion of some sort.  A cousin and an uncle also had their birthdays on the second week but both were out of the country.  By the third week, another cousin had her birthday; yesterday was my sister's birthday and this weekend, I'll be having mine.  To all celebrators this month, here's a cholesterol-free pancit canton for longer has all the goodness of tofu and fresh veggies.  Don't wrinkle your nose, this tastes so good you wouldn't notice it's meatless.:p

Join us at Food Trip Friday

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coron Island: At the Twin Lagoon

It was around 2 pm when we reached the Twin Lagoon in Coron Island.  The lagoons are enclosed by giant walls of craggy rock formations of the Calis mountain.  This place made me feel like I was in a parallel universe.   The air of serenity that envelopes this place soothes the senses.

These photos were all taken at the outer lagoon where the boats were docked.  The two lagoons are separated by a wall of rock.   To see the inner lagoon, one has to pass through a narrow opening by swimming or floating.  The outriggers are too big for the entrance---and since I am not a good swimmer (and a bit claustrophobic), I opted to stay in our boat.

My sister and the rest of the boys tried to convince me to go with them, assured me the life-vest would keep me afloat but I wasn't persuaded (I must be really getting old!).  My sister reported later than a small banca was able to enter the entrance---had I known, I should have joined them.  But according to our boatman, even small bancas wouldn't fit into the entrance during high tide.  Nobody mentioned a raft.

This is how the entrance looks like.
Borrowed this photo from Christian's Lakad Pilipinas

I learned later than one of the boys was also spooked and didn't go into the lagoon.  My sister told me that the water in the inner lagoon was strange---both warm and cold, crystal clear on some parts, murky on the other.  The lagoon has brackish water, it's probably the reason of the changing temperatures.

The wooden footbridge alongside the limestone walls serves as pier for boats and people who want to swim into the inner lagoon.  Snorkeling and kayaking are allowed inside the lagoon.

I spent my time taking photos, staring at the limestone cliffs, looking out for birds, particularly balinsasayaw and just taking in the splendor of this place.  

Twin Lagoon, Coron Island
Calamian group of Islands 
Palawan, Philippines

My contribution to:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

High [Photo Hunt]

These are snapshots from the Calamianes, a group of over 80 islands in northern Palawan.  Perched on higher ground overlooking the bay at an 18th century fort in Culion Island is an old cannon.  This was one of the cannons used by Filipinos to defend the island from Moro raiders during the Spanish regime.

One of our destinations in Coron Island was the twin lagoon.   It's a pair of hidden salt water lagoon with remarkable warm and cold water temperatures.  High jagged bluffs surround the twin lagoon, and one couldn't help but feel small amid the magnificence of these granite mountains reflecting on the emerald green lagoon.

Mount Tapyas in Busuanga Island doesn't look that high  although the 700-plus steps I climbed  leading to a giant cross at the summit was challenging.  But the hike was equally rewarding especially when I saw the 360-degree views of Busuanga from the top--from the shimmering waters of Coron Bay, the rolling hills and mountain ranges to the distant and nearby islands of the Calamianes.

Get high at Photo Hunt

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coron Island: Atwayan Beach

After spending the whole morning at Kayangan Lake and snorkeling at the nearby coral garden, it was time for lunch.  We dropped anchor at this strip of white sandy beach called Atwayan.  The cove is nestled in the wall of sky-scrapping rocks.

It was a cloudy, drizzly day but I was dazzled by the clear turquoise water and white sand.  The rustic hut at the corner caught my attention.  It was a perfect place to enjoy the serenity and simplicity of this secluded beach.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

I love how this tree, rooted in rock, with its gnarled trunk and branches, extends over the beach.  This is my favorite spot in Atwayan.

Atwayan cove is being protected by the Tagbanua as part of their ancestral domain.

P.S.  I'll be very busy this week, and may not be able to visit you back right away.  Will catch up later. :)

My contribution to NF Waters and Our World Tuesday

Friday, October 14, 2011

Calamianes: Afternoon Clouds

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
~ Percy Shelley, "The Cloud"

A wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even on cloudy days the sun waits to break through.

Join sky-watchers at Sky-Watch Friday

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crabmeat Frittata

I have posted my mother's Beef Frittata in my other blog a few months ago.  Today, I'm sharing my Crabmeat Frittata.  It has basically the same ingredients as my mom's Beef Frittata except that I used  crabmeat as its star ingredient.  I also added button mushroom...because I love mushrooms.  It's an easy, no fuss, open-faced omelet.

Saute drained crabmeat in garlic and onions.  

Add diced potatoes, carrots, slices of button mushrooms, red bell pepper, salt and pepper to taste.

I added a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of spice, and lastly added raisins. Stir frequently until all ingredients are cooked.  Then remove skillet from burner.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in a bowl and add in the cooked crabmeat mix.  Blend well.

Line baking pan or non-stick skillet with aluminum foil, pour crabmeat with egg mixture into the pan and close edges of aluminum foil to seal in the heat and flavors.  Place under the broiler or on a burner and broil for about 5 minutes or until frittata is set and the top is golden.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Join Willa and the gang of foodies at Food Trip Friday

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sour [Maasim]

Ang kamias ay maasim na prutas na madalas ginagamit na pampaasim sa mga nilutong pagkain.  Ginagamit ito sa halip ng sampalok o kamatis.  Ginagawa rin itong atchara at pampagana.  Ang hilaw na kamias ay kinakain din...madalas, ito ay sinasawsaw sa bagoong (ginamos) o asin.

Kamias (Iba, Averrhoa bilimbi, Cucumber Tree or Tree Sorrel) is a sour fruit commonly used as souring agent for various dishes to substitute tamarind or tomato.  It is also preserved for pickling and prepared as relish.  Uncooked kamias can be eaten raw or dipped in rock salt or shrimp paste.

Posted for Litratong Pinoy
Medicinal uses (source): 
  • Skin diseases, especially with pruritus: Reduce the leaves to a paste and apply tolerably warm to areas of affected skin. 
  • Post-partum and rectal inflammation: Infusion of leaves.
  • Mumps, acne, and localized rheumatic complaints: Paste of leaves applied to affected areas.
  • Warm paste of leaves also used for pruritus.
  • Cough and thrush: Infusion of flowers, 40 grams to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses of tea daily.
  • Fever: Fruit as a cooling drink.
  • The fruit has been used for a variety of maladies: beriberi, cough, prevention of scurvy.
  • Infusion of leaves also drank as a protective tonic after childbirth.

You are also invited to join Amanda at Self Sagacity and answer our Thursday 2 Questions.

1.  What are your strange food cravings?

2.  What is your "mood food" right now?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kayangan Lake: A journey to paradise

From a distance, Coron Island is a massive and unbroken limestone wall of sheer precipices that juts out from the sea.  Up close, lush stunted forest vegetation, so resilient that they are able to grow on pure rock, cover the craggy cliffs of the island.  

On a cloudy morning, we traveled to Coron Island to see the famous Kayangan Lake, one of the seven mountain lakes in the island.   Out of the seven lakes, only Kayangan and Barracuda lakes are open to the public.  It took our outrigger boat less than 30 minutes to reach the island from Coron town harbor in the nearby Busuanga Island.

Coron Island is an ancestral territory of the Tagbanua, one of the oldest tribes in the Philippines.  Visitors must pay an entrance fee of P200 (or less than $5) per person.  Funds go to the Tagbanua Foundation that supports community projects such as medical assistance for the elderly and scholarship for Tagbanua children.

This was the outrigger boat that brought us to the island.
We stopped to read the sign---the rules are listed here. 
The steep ascent and descent to the lake are ideal for trail hikers---I'm not one of them though.  So imagine me almost running out of oxygen on the way up and down the steps.  This was my --th stop in the guise of taking photos.

It had been raining and the rocks that formed the steps were slippery, the wood railings helped me a lot.  After an arduous climb, we were rewarded with this spectacular view of Coron Bay and the most photographed channel entrance to Coron Island.

From this viewpoint of 250 feet above sea level, we started our descent to Kayangan Lake.  The lake is a Hall of Fame awardee for the "cleanest and greenest inland body of water".  
Enclosed by high limestone karsts, this splendid awuyuk (lake) is held sacred by tribal folks. The Tagbanua believe the panya'in (hostile spirits) dwell in the lakes so they seek the advice of a babailan (shaman) before they go to the limestone walls of the lake to search for balinsasayao (Collocalia troglodytes) nests.

The water was warm and a bit salty, according to my sister.  And the emerald water was so  clear that breathtaking stalagmite formations underwater and schools of fish were visible from where I sat.  There were no corals underwater, only rock formations.  

I only soaked for a little while then stayed on a shady spot under the overhanging  branches.  This place is undeniably beautiful, but lakes spook me...images of Loch Ness monster  and undiscovered life forms crossed my mind.  Lakes are  mysterious--I wonder what forces of nature created them.
I admire this boy's courage--the dark crevices under the rocks creep me out.

Swimming with the fishes...some even bit my legs!  They probably wanted me to swim with them, too.  Sorry, guys.  Our guide assured me there were no big fish in this lake, only the greenish elongated fish that resembles dilis (anchovies) were found here.

And here's my little sister---she's fearless and tireless!  She snorkeled all over the lake, even attempted to get into a cave on the other side. 

We stayed the whole blissful morning in Kayangan was serene, an amazing experience.  Thanks to the Tagbanua for taking care of this place and sharing a piece of paradise with us.

Share your world at Our World Tuesday and get virtually wet at Watery Wednesday
Also linking to NF Waters