Another way of life

It is not the first time that I approached and talked to those people in the street with hippie hairdo and get up “a la Bob Marley”, making intricate hand-made bracelets, necklaces, rings, and sell them to people passing by.  With their improvised table, their finished products are definitely an eye candy and attract people. I surely forgot what my mother told me, not to talk to strangers.

Personally, I love those stuff. Simply because every piece is unique and carefully handcrafted to perfection. You will notice that it is an art in another form. The artistry, quality, time, and effort poured to create a masterpiece is impeccable. Plus, their prices oftentimes are negotiable and you can even customize the design of the item you like on the spot.

Furthermore, talking to them is always like seeing a new perspective when it comes to vagabond, wanderlust, nomadic lifestyle. A lifestyle that is certainly not for me completely, but maybe I have a dash of it in me when opportunity to travel comes along my way. I can’t imagine myself living in a backpack and no permanent place to stay. But I’m always fascinated how they can sustain themselves while and always on the go, their stories of the road, their craftsmanship and how they connect with people.Weaver.jpg

I find them interesting. This time, I talked to this guy who right away noticed that I’m not from Guatemala and I’m asian. He gave me a vibe that he has been to many places and mingled with other nationalities. He speaks good spanish, not slang, nor gibberish, in a sense that I easily understood every single word he said and not trying to connect the dots of what he is trying to imply. He still go to school apparently, not sure how he does studying in a very transient schedule (must be tough or maybe not).  And, surprise, surprise, he got an Iphone.

I guessed you can call it modern-day nomads. I found out where he came from and the places he wandered. I enjoyed our conversation more when he started sharing some of his travel adventures especially to those places that I’ve been too before. He showed me some weaving techniques and asked him how he got those beautiful stones he uses for his stuff. He said from his friends all around the world, given to him. Some are from Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, to name a few. That adds more to the character of his products.  He also mentioned his next destination, his next adventure. Though, I wanted to ask him more questions but I don’t want  to take too much of his time while working on his products.Weaver 2

The exchange of travel stories, travel tips, inside scoops and  random talks, made me realize that if we put our guards down a bit, just a little bit, you’ll learn something new from other people. To listen to their stories, you can understand things and correct wrong impressions. That, it is indeed a small world after all. Every time I talk to people like him, it reminds me to do the things you love to do, that everybody will always have an opinion about you, but, what matters most, is that, if it will make you happy and you don’t do any harm to others, DO it. Never mind those lousy comments.

So next time when you hit the road, and you see someone selling artisanal things, stop for a while. Talk to them, maybe you’ll learn one thing or two. Maybe, you’ll look at things in another way or appreciate another way of life.

Hasta pronto!

 

Love,

Imelda

 

 

Marinduque, Moriones, and more

Ay mandin pa!…That tagalog accent, uniquely Marinduque. When I was a kid, summer time means Marinduque time. Growing up, me, my siblings, and my cousins will spend our entire summer vacation in my grandmother’s place, in a small fishing village in the island of Marinduque, our hometown. So, where in the world is Marinduque? Located in the MIMAROPA region, a group of southern provinces of Luzon, in the center of the Philippines, a heart shape island-province, Marinduque. The province lies between Tayabas Bay in the north and Sibuyan Sea to the south. Marinduque borders south and west of Quezon, east of Mindoro, and north of Romblon.

Marinduque
Marinduque

The island is divided into 6 municipalities (Boac, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Sta. Cruz & Torrijos) and Boac as its provincial capital. Legend has it that the island of Marinduque was formed as a consequence of a tragic love story of Mariin and Gatduke. Just like the heart breaking love story of Romeo and Juliet, the father of Mariin, a local chieftain, did not approve their love affair and ordered the beheading of Gatduke. Before this could happen, the lovebirds sailed away and drowned themselves forming the island now called Marinduque. Aawww.. Interesting isn’t it!. Let me give you 5 good reasons why Marinduque is such an awesome province and why you should plan your next trip to this amazing island.

1. Moriones Festival

Moriones Festival, Marinduque
Moriones Festival
Photo by : Ike Jamilla

The island province of Marinduque is most known for its Lenten tradition of Moriones Festival. This annual religious festivity which originated in the municipality of Mogpog, is characterized by colorful Roman costumes and masks. Moriones, is a play based from a biblical story of Longinus. During holy week, aside from the festival, the island province also held a unique tradition of pabasa (recitation of Christ’s passion in verse) in every municipalities. In general, Lenten celebration in Marinduque is about the religious devotion of its participants. A vow of penance or thanksgiving among its practitioners, which is passed down from generation to generation.

2. Beach bum’s haven

Marinduque beaches
Beaches around Marinduque
Photo by: Ike Jamilla
Cj Yumul

Marinduque is an island-province, therefore, it  is naturally blessed with  360° of clear blue water and gorgeous shoreline. It is nearby, a perfect escapade from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle of Manila. Marinduque offers pretty much or even better from what Boracay and Puerto Galera has to offer, in terms of pristine beaches. Locals enjoy them all-year round…lucky!!!. Since it is not highly populated by tourists, the province remains its beaches as a perfect haven to unwind. By the way, if you want to go big time and fancy, you can check-out Bellarocca. The province is also surrounded by small group of islands, for us, island hopping during summer time is simply like a normal routine. With a bag of chips, a loaf of bread and big bottle of water, we’re certainly having a blast, pure pleasure.

And, if you want to go for ta dip in a hot spring, Marinduque have that covered as well. Once done soaking up the sun by the beach or pool, why not go for a splash in Marinduque’s waterfalls, then consider to go on a hike too. Adventure options are unlimited in Marinduque.

3. Culturally interesting

Marinduque
Marinduque’s architecture

Walking along the streets of Marinduque, you can still see ancestral houses that depict influences of Spanish colonial time, as well as the native Filipino house “bahay kubo”. You’ll also notice other architectural influences in every churches in the provinces.  And if you’re into archaeology, Marinduque is an archaeological site, providing vital archaeological finds about Philippines pre-Spanish era.

Marinduqueños are considered to be hospitable and very welcoming. One such proof to that claim, is the custom tradition of putong or tubong. A custom of welcoming and honoring friends and visitors. It is also a form of thanksgiving and prayer for a long and blessed life.

Another uniquely Marinduque, is the version of Tagalog spoken by its inhabitants. It has been described as “the root from which modern national forms of speech have sprung,” where remnants of archaic Tagalog could be found. If this linguistic theory is accurate, Marinduque’s Tagalog has contributed significantly to the development of the official Philippine national language. Even to this date, Marinduqueños speak a variation of Tagalog that is very similar to the way that Tagalog was spoken before the Spanish colonization.

4. Food worthy

If you’re a food enthusiast and always in the mood of new flavors, then Marinduque has something to offer for your taste buds. Big fast food chain restaurants are nonexistent in the beautiful island of Marinduque, therefore, what Marinduqueños consider fast food are homemade and prepped with passion and tradition. Make sure that when you visit this island province, you’ll add to your list these following Marinduque food (and local alcoholic drink) to name a few.

  • Pinaltok
  • Sinagol
  • Saludsod
  • Bibingka, puto & kutsinta (Marinduque style)
  • Kalamay
  • Arrowroot cookies
  • Gulay na santol
  • Tuba!

5. Going back to basics

Marinduque
The simple life in Marinduque

Marinduque is a quite, stunning, and relaxing province and it is exactly what it should be. When you go to Marinduque, you’ll be reminded of the simplicity of life and indulging in real simple life pleasures. That, in this fast changing world, where everything seems to be complicated, there is still a place on earth where life is like a walk in the beach (figuratively and literally). Marinduque will let you disconnect to connect once again to what really matters most in life. Personally, Marinduque is a place that always keeps me grounded, a place of  beautiful memories. It will always be a reminder that wherever I go, home is always there waiting for me, and deep down inside, I’ll always have that small town girl in me.  

Please come back and read more of our latest blog, make sure to stay connected with us. You know the drill, scroll up, choose and click on your right side the way(s) how you want to keep in touch with The Mixed Culture (e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

Hasta luego amigos!

Love,

Imelda

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any photo(s) without express and written permission from The Mixed Culture is strictly prohibited. For any photo related interest, please contact us.

My top five travel memorabilia: Bringing home a piece of culture.

Kamusta mga kaibigan!!! I bet everyone aside from tremendous photos you took during your travel, you picked up some knickknacks to bring back home. Some memorabilia of your amazing trip, to remind you of the adventure, fun and stress free time you just had. Others buy t-shirts, others caps, magnets or key chains. Aside that they are common and easy to grab, most of us simply just didn’t have the time to give it some thought and almost forget about it. At some point, I was like that. To break the bad habit, I started to choose differently.

travel memorabilia

I made a conscious effort that, when I visit a new place may it be local or abroad, I’ll bring home with me a piece of culture of that amazing place (it doesn’t have to be expensive all the time). Something that I will use everyday or if it will be for the people I love, I’ll make sure it is something that will tell them that I thought about them as well while I’m exploring, learning, experiencing new places and culture.

It is also the same concept that I’ll tell my friends who are travelling and asking me, what I want them to bring back home as a souvenir for me. I’ll ask them to get me something local, unique, a piece of culture. After giving it so much thought and serious deliberation in my head (nah), I’m happy to share to you all my top 5 all time favorite travel treasures to date, things that I picked up along the way and other amazing gifts from friends from their adventure. Every piece tells a story of adventure and fond memories. May you start bringing home a piece of culture as well on your next escapade.

5. You got mail

postcards
Anywhere in the world

Oftentimes neglected  in a souvenir shop today, postcards. Affordable souvenir with photos of beautiful places & culture, professionally taken and fits in your bag…beat that! It may be old-fashioned, but, I still believe that handwritten message in a postcard still have its charm to melt the recipient’s heart. Aside from social media, I still enjoy sending postcards to family and friends to communicate. The effort to write something on it and the magic it brings upon receiving it in the mail is priceless. I just love random old-fashioned catching up in a busy and modern world. So, to spice up that randomness, I use postcards I got from places I’ve been. Whenever I’m out there somewhere, I make sure I’ll grab a couple of postcards.

 4.  Bookworm’s bling

Handpainted bookmark
Huehuetenango, Guatemala

I love to read. When I saw this bookmark with hand painted mayan art, I knew I have to buy it. It is just a perfect bling for my books and as I turn the pages, it automatically reminds me of my alone time in the western highlands of Guatemala. I bought it while I was visiting the Zaculeu Ruins in Huehuetengo, Guatemala and on that day, I was interviewed by the local television channel about travelling. Detailed bookmark with lots of travel stories attached…winner!.

3. Divine intervention

Rosary
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mexico, Guatemala & Canada

I pray the rosary and I also carry one with me wherever I go. It wasn’t intentional to collect rosaries, it was more of a habit to get one every time I visit a church and then I realized I accumulated a lot already. The habit started back home when I’m about to leave the country in 2006. I wanted to have pocket rosary with me as I travel and begin a new chapter in my life. I also give it to dear friends of mine. I believe in miracles and the power of prayers. For me, faith/religion is a big part of any history & culture in every nation. So, when I’m  in a church visiting for the first time, I’ll get a new rosary and have it blessed.

2. Writer’s delight

Australia
Australia

It’s like Christmas in May when I received this beautiful notebook by mail. A dear friend of mine Samuel, a certified globetrotter got me this special notebook with a Warmun artist’s masterpiece, whose works are made of natural ochre and pigment on plywood from Australia (and it smells so good!!!). He knows that I write and what a perfect souvenir to give to a friend who writes…a notebook. Imagine this, Samuel bought it in Cairns, Australia, then wander around the country, later, he hopped in to Asia with it, continuing his adventure in Singapore, Thailand, then en route to China & New York on his way home to Montreal and then before leaving again to continue his journey, he sent it to me here in Guatemala. Whoah…what a ride for this notebook. But wait, mileage is not over yet for this special notebook, I told Samuel that I’ll bring it with me wherever I go. Therefore, the story of  the travelling notebook is still on. Notebook on the move (should I give it a name?). And where is Samuel now? you got it…he continues to discover the wonders of the world (and saves it as well 😉 ).

1. Dainty treasure

Philippines
Philippines

To date, it is the most expensive but worth it travel memorabilia I ever got. I can proudly say that I own a piece of Philippines natural treasure. When I visited the Philippines in 2011, I bought a pair of South Philippine Sea pearl earrings while on vacation in Palawan. Aside from its worth, I thought that it is something that I can pass on to my children and the beautiful stories behind these beautiful pearl earrings.

I am Imelda, a traveler, I cherish travel memories, and I bring back home a piece of culture with me. I dream to learn and experience more cultures from all around the world.

What do you cherish and what is your dream?

Hasta luego…..

Love

Imelda  

México City travel diary

Mexican flag

Viva México!!!. I had the opportunity to explore and experience México City by myself recently. The reason why I went to México is for some immigration documents I needed from Philippine Embassy. Though the trip is primarily not for tourism, I grabbed all the chances to learn and understand the city and its culture as much as I can and not be just a tourist passing by.

Though, I pretty much have an idea about México City (including how notorious it can be there), still, before jumping into the plane, I did my research about my destination and meticulously planned how I can hit two birds with one stone (business and pleasure). I also asked my Mexican friends for their suggestions so I can maximize my trip to the fullest. Armed with enthusiasm and ideas of the must things to do, eat, see & learn and off I travelled to México City.

It was a three-day trip, but the fun part only happened in less than 24 hours. And yes, I hustled to cover most of the stuff in my list and surely I achieved what I was hoping to gain from this trip, fond memories, better understanding and deeper respect for México and its people.  Here are some of the photo highlights of my trip and may it give you an idea on what you can do in México City in less than a day.

Aerial snapshots of México City

Mexico City, travel
From the land of tacos, tequila and mariachi…Bienvenidos a México!

And I’m getting so giddy when finally I can see my destination in sight. Listed as one the biggest metropolitan in the world and joining the list of top 10 highly populated city. Indeed, México City is HUGE!

El Ángel de la Independencia, along Paseo de la Reforma

Mexico City, El Angel de la Independencia, travel Mexico
One of the most representative symbols of México City and the whole country, the Angel of Independence stands majestically in Paseo de la Reforma.

First stop, Angel of Independence. Since the landmark is on my way to the embassy, I stopped by.  A shrine where the remains of some of the most outstanding leaders of the Mexican Independence movement like Miguel Hidalgo, Vicente Guerrero and Ignacio Allende rest inside its base, which also includes the sculptures of said insurgents and a beautiful sculpture of a lion guided by a boy which represents the dominance of truth and intelligence over strength.

Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (or simply “la Villa”)

Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe
Maximum religious centre in Mexico, the Village of Guadalupe is a place of important relevance in the hearts of all Mexican people as it’s the place which holds the image of the Virgin Guadalupe, patron of the Americas and one of the most profound symbols of the mixture of races and the Mexican culture. The devotion to the Our Lady of Guadalupe is the basis of Christian history in Mexico.

While the embassy personnel is preparing the documents I needed, I hopped into the bus heading to the northern neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (or simply “la Villa”), about 30 minutes away from the City center. The Basilica and its patron saint are among the most sacred places and miraculous saints in the Americas and highly visited by many Catholic devotees.  In this Basilica, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass several times on his trips to Mexico, among them, the canonization of the Indian Juan Diego. It served as a mini pilgrimage for me to give thanks for all the provisions in my life.

Zona Rosa (Pink Zone), Colonia Juárez

Mexico City, travel
First class financial and commercial district in México City, the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is a place in which the tradition has always been modernity.

Zona Rosa, another area nearby the embassy, checking out local and international restos. The streets of Zona Rosa became a fashionable place and its coffee houses a place to see and be seen, the city’s meeting place. Colonia Juárez was thus invested in by several businessmen, mainly focused on tourism,  elegant hotels are located in the area, as well as modern and sophisticated commercial centres like the Jacarandas Mall, with its coffee shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries and exotic personalities from artistic and literary spheres who used to meet there, then latter being attributed with having named the area as Zona Rosa. A Mexican personality once thought the area was “too shy to be red, too daring to be white”.  But one far more interesting thing about it, is that during a period of decay in this area in the 1980’s, other social groups saw an opportunity to settle themselves there, such as the Korean community and especially the gay community. Zona Rosa is one of the first places of open respect for the rights of this community. It is quite interesting to know how the acceptance of the third sex evolved  in a macho culture.

El Monumento a la Revolución, in Plaza de la República

Mexico City attractions
This monument stands out by its massiveness and geometric shape that take us back to pre-Hispanic architecture; nevertheless it’s also a faithful representative of one of the architectonic styles of the time: Art Deco, which becomes present in the sculptural groups perched on the copper cupola of the monument, which were created by the artist Oliverio Martínez and represent: the Independence, the Reformation Laws, the Agrarian Laws and the Worker Laws.

One of most sumptuous buildings in the city, is El Monumento a la Revolución (The Monument to the Revolution). This monument was turned into a mausoleum which houses the remains of some of the main protagonists of the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco Villa, Plutarco Elías Cales and Lázaro Cárdenas. Also, since 1986, this monument’s basement houses the Revolutionary Museum. Today, in the museum and the great open space which surrounds it (Plaza of the Republic), several cultural activities take place, of which the Tecnogeist stands out, one of the most important festivals of electronic music and of multimedia art in the American continent. It is also a place where local protests are staged.  This landmark is just 2 minutes away from the hotel where I stayed in, it is the first landmark I checked out the minute I freshened up and settled in.

Zócalo, El Centro Histórico

Zócalo, Mexico City
The Zócalo’s background dates back to pre-Hispanic times; since then, in the place occupied by this plaza today, there existed an open space which was part of the ceremonial center of the Aztec empire’s capital, Tenochtitlán.

Zócalo is definitely a must spot to see in México City. It is a monumental public space surrounded by some of the most emblematic urban landmarks in the city, which together constitute one of the largest and most important public plazas in the world. The main square of the city is called Zócalo, but its official name is Plaza de la Constitución. It takes up a whole city block and is among the largest squares in the world where people gather for civic and cultural events and celebrations throughout the year. Within the square, you can visit The Palacio Nacional (National Palace) where you can admire the murals by Diego Rivera. Also, in the square is the Catedral Metropolitana, which replete with colonial religious art and beautiful gilded altarpieces, Federal District buildings, Nacional Monte de Piedad and on the northeast of the square is the Templo Mayor. Finding the square is quite easy, with its enormous Mexican flag, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Torre Latinoamericana, El Centro Histórico

Mexico City, Torre latinoamericana
Considered for many years the tallest building in México and Latin America, the Latin-American Tower is a great pride for the inhabitants of México City as it broke many records in engineering during its construction using Mexican technology, and has also resisted the strong earthquakes of 1957 and 1985.

My time is running out, last night in México. What is the fastest way to get an excellent 360 degrees view of the city? Well, it is an easy yet tall fix, climb to the once tallest building in México, a classic skyscraper of the city and one of the most important urban landmarks, Torre Latinoamericana. This skyscraper has 43 office floors and an antenna from which radio and television signals are transmitted. It also has a belvedere on its last three floors where one can get an excellent view of the city.  And if you still have time, you can also check the museum in the building only few floors down from the viewing deck. The mood up there can get pretty romantic especially if you’re with your special someone and enjoying the big city view.

Televisa & Arena México, last-minute stop

Arena Mexico, lucha libre, Mexico City, travel
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia mass media company and the largest in Latin America. Also, the first of Spanish-speaking world. Arena México is an indoor arena, which is primarily used for professional wrestling or Lucha Libre..

I’m leaving México City and bringing with me are such tremendous and wonderful memories, but it’s not over yet. The morning of my afternoon flight back home, I decided to check out one more place, which is quite close to the heart of Filipinos. I went to take a peek of the television network that made Filipinos fell in love with Thalia with her telenovelas such as Marimar, María del Barrio, Rosalinda, etc.  Though I wasn’t able to see Thalia ( of course) or other Mexican stars, but having able to talk to some of the company personnel, it was still such a treat knowing and seeing the place who made that special bond between México and Philippines. Another iconic event in México is the Lucha Libre, the arena is just on the opposite street of the television network, so, I took a look and hoped to watch a real wrestling match. However, I was too early for it, therefore, I was only able to see some wrestlers prepping for the match later that day. It was muscle overload in one day and in one place for me.

And that was a wrap! Will I ever come back to México? One big YES! (hopefully soon). Overall, what made my trip extra special aside from the amazing places that México has to offer is the warmth of its people. For all the Mexicans who gladly gave me a free inside scoop and guide about its culture and history and made me feel at home, I’ll always be grateful and will hold México closer to my heart. And on my last note, México City is definitely not that bad after all, it is about understanding and respecting what is evident and travelling smartly.

So, I shared most of the highlights of my trip to México City, I’ll be sharing as part of this travel diary on my next blog the “behind the scenes” of my trip. I’ll share next time about the food, transportation and other adventures I had in México City. Make sure you stay connected with us. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope that I was able to give you an idea how to experience México City  in a short period of time. Please come back, read more and I’ll be happy to hear your comments, feel free to drop me some notes below. So next time you visit a new place, may it be local or abroad, “Don’t be just a tourist, be a traveller”.

Hasta luego amigos!!!

Love,

Imelda 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any photo(s) without express and written permission from The Mixed Culture is strictly prohibited. For any photo related interest, please contact us.