Showing posts with label Arts and Cultural Heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arts and Cultural Heritage. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2022

A day trip in White Rock: City by the Sea

What makes British Columbia beautiful is its stunning views of landscapes and seascapes. In Metro Vancouver, there's a place to see the natural grandeur of a city by the sea.

It's the City of White Rock -- about 45 km. South of downtown Vancouver, and just 10 mins. Drive from the Peace Arch, where the US-Canada border is located.

What's significant about this place is its rich history as a fishing village and where it got its name. It's a literal white rock! A huge rock was carried away by glaciers to the South of the metro during the last glacial age period. It's also where Canada's longest pier is located, so people get to walk on a long and unique wooden structure originally built in 1914.

Walking down the steep hill heading to the main street is a magnificent view of Semiahmoo bay. There you can see beautiful houses on a hill overlooking the sea. Such a scenic view of the horizon on a sunny weekend. 

Approaching the main street is an ideal promenade place for fitness and sightseeing. We see people walk, jog, dine at a table, sit on benches, and simply take a deep breath to rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. 

Just a few meters walk, and you'll be welcomed to enter the elevated wooden structure of the pier, a fantastic landmark about 470 meters long. It's where individuals, couples, and families stroll and enjoy the natural scenery. The majestic mountains, the flying seagulls, and the long stretch of beaches make it a relaxing place to unwind.

The pier bridge underwent restoration in 1977 and was rebuilt and re-opened in 2019 after a wind storm hit the place at the year-end of 2018. They restored the pier to weather the storm and withstand natural calamities this time.

Visitors must get down the wooden lane structure to be on the shore at its low tide, walking towards the 'white rock' visible even far away. It's vast and a significant landmark worth seeing. 

On the main strip of the town center is where you can see a long stretch of restaurants offering al fresco dining while enjoying the sunshine, the blue waters, and the cool sea breeze. Sunlight is fantastic as it gives a good vibe and a pleasant experience.

And whenever the sun shines so brightly, we shouldn't miss the outdoors and have some fun. That's what the city of White Rock has to offer -- simply the sunniest place in the metro.

A trip to the White Rock pier and promenade is a great way to experience living in a city by the sea, even for a day. They have preserved history and culture where peace and serenity are enjoyed by many. 

White Rock is undoubtedly a wonderful place to visit and live in. A vivid memory worth reminiscing, a fantastic destination worth revisiting. 

©️ 2022 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Spooky Memories of Halloween

Halloween could be more fun for adults. But that doesn't mean we can never have as much fun as little kids do.

As a kid, we celebrated Halloween by wearing spooky costumes to scare each other. That was a yearly activity for us until it ended when such a thing wasn't exciting anymore, and we were already grown-up individuals.

Back then, we learned about the essence of celebrating Halloween and its hidden dangers. We knew that many people, especially young children, were doing it.

I still remember our celebration of Halloween in 2011. That was the time we introduced it to our nephews and niece. They dressed up in a costume of spooky creatures and characters with scary make-up for an added eerie effect. 

They had fun, repeated in 2012 with a more scary look. During those years, we have yet to teach them the significance of Halloween. All we knew was the fun it brings until the year that follows when we no longer celebrate it.

In recent years as a working adult, I've learned about the dangers of Halloween, especially to young children. That's why I would rather see them wearing a costume like a saint or holy person instead of a scary one. 

We never know about the afterlife, but we must celebrate the holiness of those who have lived clean lives. We celebrate the lives of the saints who have touched so many lives when they are living. 

We don't want to invite negative entities into our bodies and consciousness; we encourage people to celebrate people's holiness and not their negative and evil side. We denounce evil and strive for holiness no matter how sinful we are.

I'm glad to see that nowadays, more people are aware of the dangers of Halloween, and so they would want to correct their mistakes of celebrating wickedness and spooky culture copied from the West. 

Now, our nephews and niece are grown-up children, and they have stopped celebrating a spooky Halloween like we used to. 

And this realization about life after death happens when we go through deeply with our lives. When we go to the afterlife, we want to see the good and the holy people. We would like to see heaven and not hell. We would like to see the Angels and not the demons. Because when we live a good life, we also look forward to a better afterlife.

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 12, 2021

A Moment of Healing and Memories

Where do you go when you need to unwind, relax and set free?

In Baguio City, people would go for a reason. It's a place like no other in the country. It relaxes the body, mind, and soul. It liberates from worries and fears. And it helps get revitalized and healed.

That's the highlands in the Northern Philippines. A City of Pines and Strawberries. A historically rich and vibrant city where people would go for a beautiful journey.

When we feel exhausted and need to rejuvenate, traveling to a particular destination helps us recover. It changes our mood and uplifts our spirit. Then, we feel good again and do great things again.

In Baguio City, you feel welcome. The friendliness of the people makes you stay, although you'll have to leave anyway. With momentary healing and rejuvenation, you'll be ready to face another race in a much more challenging place.

Not just for friends and lovers, but Baguio City is also for the family. A getaway for fun, learning, and appreciation of arts and culture. Baguio City's charm invites everyone to learn about their stories, heritage, and identity.

If I choose, I'd rather live in a place that balances nature and city life. Living in Baguio is like living in a mountain resort, surrounded by natural wonders for healing and relaxation.

Amidst uncertainty, when time permits to travel a long distance and return to Baguio, I would love to recreate those memories and visit the finest places it offers. The memories create a lasting impact as the place where learning and training started.

We couldn't go places as much as we wanted for now. All we can do is reminisce about the good times. And when we're set free, we can travel again endlessly.

©️  2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Pandemic

What's that one thing you regret not doing before the Pandemic hit?

Is it about all work and no play? No travels? Does it have enough money? Is it about being cold and unable to extend a hand and give a warm embrace? 

What about your fitness goals? That dream job abroad? Or perhaps your dream house, 
dream car and the dream wedding?

This Pandemic brought chaos and lousy energy into our lives. It has caused anxiety, fear, apathy, and grief. It killed our dreams and highest hopes. It made a lot of people hopeless and helpless. It made us believe that life is short and could suddenly be gone.

However, this Pandemic isn't just about the negativity it brings. But it has also unleashed the best in us. It has tested our resilience and faith. It made us more kind and understanding. It taught us the value of a good relationship. It has made us realize that money is not everything. And it helped us ponder on our existence and life purpose.

What's the ugly side and the bitter truth this Pandemic brings? We cannot understand the nature of suffering. Our inability to prioritize what's essential versus what's unwanted. Our failure to see others' worth and even our worth.

The saddest truth is when the invisible enemy turns out to be our blind spots. Our inability to spot our weaknesses. Our failure to unleash our hidden powers and energy. After all these years, we're still stuck with the false beliefs of our society and the influence of the majority. 

The good, the bad, and the ugly taste what we are and what we give out to this world. We may never know when this Pandemic will end, but it's not the end yet to make a restart, a new beginning, so we'll have a happy ending. 

©️ 2021 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year 2021: A New Hope

The year 2020 brought a lot of pain and suffering into our lives. It seems like the darkest era of our times. Something unexpected, but we've learned to accept and embrace it.

If this is the preview of a new decade '20s, we could predict the future; that uncertainty is now part of our daily living. 

Things change instantaneously. It's like a blink of an eye, and our fate would change.

The year 2020 was the saddest and most unpredictable moment we've experienced. It ruined our hopes and dreams and redirected our compass to a crossroads. That was the end of the year 2020. Finally, we've all welcomed the new year 2021 with our greatest hopes. After the long agony, we can blur the sad memories from the deepest of our consciousness.

That was the end of the year 2020. Finally, we've all welcomed the new year 2021 with our greatest hopes. After the long agony, we can blur the sad memories from the deepest of our consciousness.

A new world

Whatever earth changes we've been experiencing, one thing I'm sure of is that this is part of the Divine plan. We're not in control; hence we let things happen and make things happen in our human capacity.

If the world has to change this way, then a more significant force can move us and direct our path -- either to follow and have faith or to step back and have doubts.

So, in this new world order, some would-be victims of a sad reality, while others would be victorious survivors.

New opportunities

We've seen people who have lost a living; have missed some chances and opportunities for the past year.

Some may have struggled a lot in business, career, and life. It also caused our fears, frustrations, and anger. It made us express all kinds of emotions. It had caused inconvenience and a downgrade in the quality of living at some point.

This year 2021, is about new opportunities that await us. The missed one is just a moment of pause; to stop for a while; to re-calibrate, and be ready to stand up again.

This year 2021, is about an opportunity to be together as a family again. To be reunited and to recall how we've started it all.

When we're somewhat lost, our family will always be there to guide and light our path. They're there on our knocked down and cheer us on our way up.

Opportunities don't only knock once. We see opportunities everywhere. And if there seems to be none, we create it ourselves and even create opportunities for others.

A new dream

Yes, we've awakened from a deep slumber. It was somehow a nightmare! 

This year, we're hoping for a better night's sleep. We're hoping for a better dream. And so, as we wake up, we'll turn that dream into a reality.

And when we dream, we extend it to the special people in our lives. They are the source of our inspiration, happiness, and reason for living. Family is love, and family is forever. That's one thing I know for sure.

A night or a daydream is both a pleasant experience of hoping for brighter days ahead. 

A new hope

We're hopeful that no matter how life seems uncertain, we still believe that something good will happen.

Our hope will always keep us alive to make us believe that miracles happen daily. From the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. 

A new hope is there to give us the energy to live actively. A new hope gives us many chances to try again and never give up but hope when things seem to be falling.

This year 2021, is about hope in all aspects of living. We hope for the best things to happen. We hope for the best wishes to come, and we hope for the best life ahead.

 ©️ 2021 Del Cusay 

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👉 New Year 2020: A New Decade

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sweet Smiles of the Negrense

The Negros Island in the Philippines. Home of the sweet smiling people, or we call them Negrense or Negrosanon.

In December 2014, after my Journey in the city of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, I took almost 7 hours of land travel going to Bacolod, the capital city of Negros Occidental. 

From the Eastern to Western Negros, I had a journey after a fulfilled short visit to the "City of Gentle People" in Dumaguete.

I was undoubtedly in the land of the 'sweet and charming' people since I was at the sugar center of the Philippines... The Negros Island. 

From Dumaguete to Bacolod, you'll see the massive plantations of sugarcane on both sides of the road, passing by several cities.

Yes, Negros Occidental is the province of the Philippines with the most cities, primarily due to its prosperous sugar industry

The sugar industry is so huge that they supply the entire Philippines and even exports it to other countries.

Arriving in Bacolod after a long journey on a bus, I was greeted with a Negrense brand of hospitality, a sweet smile, and a pleasant melodious voice.

I'm in Bacolod! The City of Smile and the home of the famous "Maskara Festival."

That was my 5th time visiting Bacolod, and I love returning to one of the most highly urbanized cities and one of the most livable cities in the Philippines.

In Bacolod and the entire Negros, people live a good life no matter what challenges they may be going through; they still keep on surviving and never forget to smile.

My highlight of the visit to Negros Island was a day tour of "The Ruins," which is an Italian-inspired architectural mansion built in the early 1900s and was burned during world war 2.

Garden by the ruins

A mansion built with the love of a wealthy Sugar baron to his Portuguese wife. The love story is just as romantic as the heritage of "the ruins." 

Sweet as the Negrense, they produce sweet products, most of which are my favorite. Muscovado sugar is the healthiest of its kind and an ingredient in making sweet delicacy like "Piaya and Pinasugbo," which is two of the most popular and a-must try delicacy if you visit Bacolod and Negros Island. 

After the pandemic, I hope to try the sweet smiles again. When the world loses its smiles, the Negrense will always give their most adorable smiles to anyone. During this time, that's all we need -- a sweet smile.

The people of Negros Island are some of the most refined and kind people I've met. Beyond their sweet smiles, they deserve a precious life. A life that is full of hope, meaning, and inspiration.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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👉Campus Tour at the Silliman University

👉The Ruins and the Love Story

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Campus Tour at the Silliman University

In Eastern Negros Island is where you can find the "City of gentle people" and it's the city of Dumaguete in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines.

In December 2014, I fulfilled my desire to visit Dumaguete and see the first American learning Institution in the Philippines and Asia- Silliman University.

Upon the invitation of the student government organization, I delivered a talk about "Balancing Life Strategies" and "Stress Management" to their officers and select staff.

That was a memorable talk with full attention and the desire to learn from the student leaders. If I had more time, I could have given another speech to some faculty and staff members. 

But a day visit to Silliman University is only complete with a campus tour. The different departments, historical and iconic buildings, chapel, open grounds, and library are from the entrance to the exit gates. The campus is truly an ideal and conducive place for higher learning.

At the Silliman University Library

At the Silliman Hall

I was impressed with the clean green campus. The tree-lined Acacia provides cool shade plus the windy breeze from the sea; indeed, they have the best campus in town and one of the best in the country.

Silliman University faces the sea. You can stroll the baywalk along Rizal Boulevard with just a few minute walks. That windy breeze makes a good place for walking along the boulevard. That's the place where I reminisced about the time when I was a student in college. Those times when I had full of hope and dreams, just like any student would.

I hope to revisit Dumaguete and enter the famous Silliman University. To experience the politeness and friendliness of the students and their genuine hospitality.

As I remember, in higher learning, we aspire for growth and have the burning desire to achieve our most cherished hopes and dreams. Those times when we have enough energy and passion for learning.

Those student leaders I've met may now achieve excellence in their chosen fields. They may now be living their dreams and unleashing their untapped potential. They may now live their most extraordinary life and follow their ultimate heart's desire.

Learning continues after stepping out of College or University. It's a continuous process and a lifelong journey. We continue to learn along the way as we embark on challenges and achieve new career and life milestones.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Charming Town of Lucban

There are many old and rustic but charming towns in the Philippines. This main Philippine island of Luzon, South of Manila, is where you can see and experience the historical and cultural municipality of Lucban, Province of Quezon.

The place has a mild and windy temperature, with its best location at the foothill of mystical Mount Banahaw. Its coolness reminds me of Tagaytay Highlands, a weekend getaway mostly of people coming from Metro Manila.

At Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine

Sometime in the Summer of 2014, we had a great road trip from Manila to Lucban to celebrate Holy Week. A soulful week to remember.

I'm always fascinated with old Spanish towns, and Lucban has a pleasant vibe of a rich and preserved colonial past. 

Truly fascinating!

Ancestral houses, centuries-old churches, and plazas feel like time travel with ancient Kalesa or Horse-drawn carriage on a narrow street.

At Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine

Known for its "Pahiyas Festival," Lucban celebrates its bountiful agricultural harvest every 15th of May. That's a cultural and religious festival and incomparable.

I also appreciate that Lucban has a nature-inspired resort and restaurant, a relaxing place for family bonding.

A restaurant with a natural background overlooking the golden rice field is rejuvenating. The water flowing in the swimming pool is flowing from nature's spring. Excellent, clean, and greenish-blue water, so refreshing.

At Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan

With the old town charm, delicious food, friendly people, natural landscape, and a relaxing ambiance, Lucban is just a little but charming town that has learned to appreciate and preserve its heritage and culture.

Living in the past meets living in the present. Living in peace with nature and being captivated by the culture.  

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Kalesa Tour in Intramuros

A horse-drawn carriage, or we call it Kalesa in Filipino. That's one of the remaining symbols and part of the cultural heritage of the Philippines.

The old Manila was once a glorious Spanish fortress and settlement in the oldest district of Manila, in Intramuros. It is where you can find Kalesa for a nostalgic tour inside the walled city.

And that was 333 years of Spanish colonization that ended in 1898. But then, we could only speak fluent Spanish in the Spanish-creole language in the province of Zamboanga in Southern Philippines and South Luzon in the Province of Cavite. 

The Main Entrance

Anyway, we do speak Spanish, but it's broken Spanish. We have tens of thousands of Spanish words in our Filipino language. It's just that Americans took over the Philippine Islands that had to change the identity again that the Spanish had built for more than three centuries.

And so, to glimpse our Spanish colonial past, I should have experienced a Kalesa ride. A tour as old as time in Intramuros, Manila.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Are we a Latino? Asian or a Pacific Islander?

That's hard to explain since we're a mixed-race in the far east. That could be all of the above, or we might be confused with our racial identity.

So, riding a Kalesa inside the walled city of Intramuros was fun and educational. As Filipinos, we must learn how to look back on our past. And so we can have a better understanding of our national identity.

Passing along the streets of Intramuros are the restored walls and Spanish architectural buildings that can bring consciousness back to the good old days. Schools, Churches, Spanish government buildings, and old Spanish Houses are all restored and brought back to life.

Foreign tourists in Intramuros may now know about our Spanish colonial past, why we say "pero, para, mas, menos," and why some Filipinos may look like Spanish mestizos and not brown Malay skin as we are known.

Palacio del Gobernador
Passing through the Old Wall on a narrow street

That ends my cultural trip to downtown Manila. A Kalesa tour is a must-try for foreigners, especially Filipinos, to explore and revisit, but not revise, our history and identity.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Baywatch at Camp Rofelio

West Coast of the Philippines. That's one of my favorite summer destinations. And the place to go is the coast of San Felipe, in the province of Zambales. A peaceful town in the North.

The waves, the blue-green waters, and the greyish-powdery sand make it a great getaway to rejuvenate and spend some pure thinking moments.

In May 2018, I discovered a newly-built camping site on the coast of Liwliwa, a town of San Felipe.

It's a serene ambiance, with several cottages and tents for an overnight stay. At first glance, I knew I would love the place, so I did.

Standing barefooted at the seaside gate of Camp Rofelio is a perfect view of the horizon. The water is clear, and the waves are relaxing. You can sit on the sand, meditate and capture the best view of the surrounding.

A great weekend retreat. Camping at the beach. A soulful moment to watch the sunset. Fresh-grilled seafood for dinner and a bonfire night to remember.

Truly a memorable and fun moment at Camp Rofelio.It's a decent weekend destination. A solemn place where you can be at peace and one with nature. When you hear the waves inside the tent at night, you'll have the most relaxing and deep sleep ever.

But, hey! I'm supposed to be bay-watching!

A Baywatch, not only to appreciate the area and the surrounding waters but the place facing the West Philippine Sea, had created controversy from unwanted intruders. The pirates of the sea had been inside our Philippine waters, causing tensions and threats to the fishing livelihood of the locals.

That's supposed to be protected by the Philippine government. To Defend our territorial seas and secure what's best for our people.

There were spotted dredging foreign vessels in the territorial waters of Zambales that threaten our territorial rights and the fishing rights of several Fishermen on our territory.

We are standing as a Baywatch. Someone who sees intruders from afar. But our local fishermen are powerless, and even the local and national governments must be more powerful to defend the territory.

I love Zambales and would love to return for the next summer season. But the best Baywatch is to see happy people and not stories of intrusion -- like thieves of the sea. Camp Rofelio is a good place for bay watching, but be mindful and have a telescopic eye for the pirates of the sea.

We dream of having great and safe tourist destinations, and we have to be aware of issues affecting the rights of our people. Hence, they will take it away from us, which might happen if we are silent.

San Felipe is a place of kind and peaceful people. Protect it, and make it a heaven-on-earth experience. Make it a paradise. And together, we can protect and become a good Baywatch. A good Filipino.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Highlands of Baguio

An American town in the Philippines. That's Baguio city in the Cordilleran region. A hill station in the North.

The "Little America," also known as the City of Pines, attracts tourists from all over the country and foreigners who would want to explore the rich culture and heritage of this highly urbanized City in the Cordillera region -- literally means a mountainous area.

But the tag of American town is not its present-day description. That was what it was called back in the 1900s during the American colonization of the Philippines.

Baguio is one of the most incredible hill stations in the Philippines. It is good that the Americans have developed this place as their mountain resort to escape the lowland heat, especially during the summer. 

And why do Filipinos love Baguio City? Undoubtedly, it's a cool climate almost all year round due to its higher elevation. When summertime comes, more people will pack up for an adventure. It's not just during the summer season. Still, it has become a weekend getaway for people from the nearby provinces and Metro Manila -- the National capital region.

In the present day, Filipinos are in complete control of the former US military base; Camp John Hay; not after they gave back our independence in 1946, but it was just a not-so-distant past in 1991 -- almost 3 decades ago.

That's just a little piece of history. Yes, the Igorots of the Cordilleras have a colorful and vibrant culture, which even Americans could not change or take away their identity.

I lived and worked in Baguio City in the summer of 2015 and have witnessed its natural wonders, but this place is slowly losing its balance due to commercialization. It's a number one enemy for people who are into environmental protection and preservation.

Housing projects, malls, and big infrastructure projects are just on the rise, and it costs thousands of century-old pine trees to be cut down to give way to these projects.

Baguio City is now crowded, and you can see the hillside full of houses and even far away mountains almost full of places. That was not what I witnessed in 2004 when I first visited Baguio.

Development on this mountain resort was so fast in just a decade, and developers are eager to exploit more and make the City miserable.

The development would have made Baguio a highly livable Philippine city, but overdevelopment for business profit will slowly kill its natural charm and beauty.

One thing I admire most about Igorots (the local name for the Cordilleran people) is their hospitality and friendliness. They are also kind and honest people. I hope that they will be able to preserve its rich culture and pass it on to the next generations. And yes, I hope they will fight for their land and not be taken away.

The Burnham Park, Wright Park, Bell House, Kennon Road, and Brent School. These places of interest were named after the Americans who have contributed significantly to what Baguio city has become.

And so Americans showed us how to build a highly master-planned city on a mountaintop. Initially, they made it for less than 30,000 people, but after over a century, the population has become 10 times larger at more than 300,000.

The highlands of Baguio is genuinely captivating to any tourist. Its history and culture are the souls of the place and the local people. 

After the Pandemic, more people will again be stuck in a traffic jam on its zig-zag road and all the way up just to feel its mountain breeze again and the warmth of the Igorot people.

In the Highlands of Benguet Province, Philippines, Baguio City are a cultural gem and a hub of great people deserving of recognition and reverence.

Baguio City; is home to charming people.

© 2020 Del Cusay

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