Saturday, May 24, 2014

Humility, One important virtue of a true mountaineer

My compilation of  emails on the 1998 Guiting Guiting climb.  Humility cited by Rey D.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Texture of elements in a tropical island South of Luzon

Grass > Flower > Curtain
Forest Cover > Mangrove > Hill
A tropical island is exposed to the elements of earth, wind, water and fire. As such, its surfaces have variety. 
Sand > Stone > Wood
Sea > Leaves > Nipa

Tinagas possesses several types of visual surfaces: hard surface formed by rocks, ground grown with grass, ornamental plants and tertiary trees, soil washed away by the incessant flow of sea water, sand mixed with corrals, river system lined up with mangroves, naturals mixed with man-made substances as plastic and cement.

Volcanic Rock > Laing and Kinilaw > Well
Bato > Laing at Kinilaw > Balon
From an aesthetic perspective, surfaces are described as texture. Texture is defined as the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something. Texture defines the character of the place.

Lynda Lehmann, an artist, photographer and a nature lover says "Texture is the most enduring and ubiquitous (widespread) underpinning of form ...certainly a calming, meditative and appealing world for both the eye and mind."

Fly in Heat > Sand > Rock
In my roaming around the Tinagas island of Barangay Vinzons, town of Daet province of Camarines Norte in the region of Bicol, I documented a number.

Some are common with lowlands, some unique to the island and others endemic to the region. See if you can identify and associate some with your experiences. Check your emotional reaction if its texture is calming, meditative, appealing or agitating.

Chito Razon 4 May 2014

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Spirit of an Island in South Luzon

View from the top accessed from the back leading to the Barrio.
Leads provided by Mang Manny Austria of MA Camp
One bus ride, one tricycle ride, one boat ride in 12 hours from Metro Manila lead you to hills similar to the Naidi Hill of Batanes. The difference is in the magnitude of scale. The span in Barrio Mangkawayan in Vinzons Camarines Norte can sufficiently trigger a similar awe in this place  popularly identified as Calaguas.
1st level saddle from the North side of the beachfront

At the beachfront, you are blinded by the pearl white sand deflecting more heat in the air making daytime summer hotter.

Unspoilt but development is rapidly progressing. A number of cottages built out of nipa and wood are already powered by electricity through small gensets which just years ago was unheard of. A few have tapped solar energy for supply. Cellphone signals of other providers are intermittent if not non-existent. Eco system is threatened by lack of waste and garbage disposal program.

Three operators of the outrigger boat (banca)
for the 1.5 hour ride back to Vinzons
Where lies the spirit of the island is not at the beachfront but in the community at the foot of the hills, about 15 minute walk from the shoreline.
Halo halo at Barrio Mangkawayan. About 15 minutes
from Mahabang Buhangin
The Artadis of San Juan and Hilongos 

This is where families live, make a living through fishing and operating outrigger boats day in day out so they can eat and sleep and send their children to school. Education is valued that  students cross islands to complete their degree: elementary at Mangkawayan, high school at Paracale and college in either Daet, Naga, Legaspi or Manila.

This observation alone is more than enough for me to appreciate the place Vinzons. I was grateful for the formal education that I received and have been continuing to receive particularly from the folks at Barrio Mangkawayan. To quote Henry David Thoreau, “Only the travelling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better."


  • Cost of trip to Calaguas is only 25% of the cost to Basco for 2 Nights and 3 Days. Air travel time to Basco is 1.75 hours compared to surface travel of 12 hours.
  • At the shared comfort room manned by a high schooler charging P10 per pail, I asked him if he goes to school.  Jomar said yes in Paracale but he had difficulty with Mathematics particularly division. With the help of his mother, we computed how much he would earn if he carried 20 pails in a day which he readily answered, P200. However when asked how many guests will he serve for him to earn P240 a day, he already tapped all his fingers and toes and still did not provide an answer. I reversed the multiplication process and jumbled the numbers and still he was confused (P10 x 24 is ___,  240 divided by 10 is ___). I wish that my short session with him and his mother made him appreciate the principles and relationship of numbers.
  • Flor, Manny Austria's partner is proud of her eldest who graduated valedictorian of an HRM course. He now is posted in an overseas job.
  • The pamangkin who mixes halo-halo at the sari-sari store fronting MA Camp is a college student at Daet.
  • The boy who mans the island across Mahabang Buhangin is in high school at Paracale.
  • Our gratitude to the organizers, the Artadis of San Juan Metro Manila and Hilongos Leyte for extending the invitation to the place.