Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Wellness in the Green Village

 

If there's one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it would've been a shift to a futuristic mindset. 

To create the next big thing out of soulful desire to live a better and a more comfortable life in a rural setting; a peaceful and green environment.

I call it the next big thing, since sustainable farming is one thing that would thrive on the next pandemic or any financial and health crisis that may come in the future.


On this time of pandemic, we've awaken the power of our intuition and creativity to make use of our productive time while on quarantine. It may not be easy, hence it requires passion, endurance and perseverance to accomplish the plan, and to make things possible even when times get rough.

And so, after 8 months of quarantine, we've started to create a green village that would be our additional source of sustainable farm  living.



We've built 2 traditional Filipino farmhouses that serve as a rest house whenever we make a visit and do some farming activities. In the near future, we're planning to build other farm infrastructures  such as concrete roads, multi-purpose hall, villas, ornamental garden and a tree park.

It's my parents' dream to have a place where they could live a simple, serene and meaningful living, and they're making it possible with their strength, will-power and Divine guidance.

When I was living in Manila, I would always think of coming back home and present to my parents some dream farm ideas, and fortunately they've accomplished some of it. Even if there's more to develop, still I'm happy of what they've started.


Within the decade, we're looking forward to see a growing family and we're also hoping that the green village would bring us closer; with a deep love of nature and a deeper connection to the Divine and its creation.

I may be living away from home, and may not be able to see the development physically in the years to come, but I'm happy that I've seen how it was planned and started, and how it would be like in the future -- such a futuristic glimpse.


This pandemic might be a blessing in disguise, because we learned to keep on going and believing that there's always a great opportunity in adversity.

The making of a green village is not just about health and wellness, it's also about building a lasting legacy, with our environmental responsibility and contribution. A Greenville country farm built with love of nature, and a conscious connection with the Divine love to nurture.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Walking Tour in Mumbai

 

I had a terrible experience in Mumbai and that's something unforgettable. I believe the city is the financial and cultural capital of India and so it's  one of the finest and richest cities. 

But with its glamour comes the downside of a bustling city life for the Mumbaikars. It's the chaos of daily living just like other major world megacities. And with a month-long stay in Mumbai, I couldn't help to stay much longer. I had enough of the good times and the bad times.


From the district of Bandra where I stayed was a busy scene of street commerce, where businesses are laid on the streets mostly of ready to wears, colorful garments and other personal products. I didn't bring much clothes from New Delhi so that I could buy something new from Mumbai, but then I haven't bought a new Kurta, but just few shirts for 150 rupees each and a new pair of shoes in a Nike outlet store in Bandra. That's all I needed for my walking tours around the streets and downtown areas of Mumbai.

In Bandra, I would take a daily walk along the bandstand passing by the mansion of Shah Rukh Khan, one of the famous Bollywood actors. During that time the Bollywood "Walk of Stars" was just newly installed with the name of other stars like Kareena Kapoor whom I've known from the movie "3 Idiots" and other celebrities whose name and body marks are inscribed and moulded-- their version of the Hollywood "Walk of Fame."


On some days, I would travel by cab from Bandra passing through the Bandra-Worli Sea Link; a majestic bridge connecting the 2 most important districts of Mumbai and the gateway to the downtown area where the world heritage sites are located.

I would passed and got intrigued with tower mansion of the Ambanis; India's most prominent and richest family and business tycoon. That's a billion dollar house in the most expensive real estate location in Mumbai.


As I reached the old downtown area, my walking tour started with appreciating the old European structures like the Gateway of India and the the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, both rich in colonial history built during the British Raj.

I enjoyed the gallery viewing inside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. From its construction, the Royal visits, and the terrorist attack, I learned a piece of its glorious as well as gruesome history.


One day, I travelled by train from Bandra going to Christchurch station, and I had a horrible experience with ticketing system on which I got into trouble. Luckily, I survived and continued the journey exploring the cricket field around University of Mumbai and the nearby areas where I made an escape from another trap. Still, I manage to enjoy watching students playing a cricket -- a popular Indian sports similar to baseball.


Most of the days were spent in Bandra and so I explored the streets. There were days I enjoyed a cup of cappuccino in a café, and some days I visited the nearby churches to pray, and also I visited a church on a hill top which is a short distance car ride via the Hill Road.

Before I left Mumbai, I haven't found the Bollywood. It's not a place, but it's a film center. I understand, they're the largest producer of films in the world and I've watched some of Shah Rukh Khan and Amir Khan films not in Mumbai, but in the cinema in Delhi. There's more to Bollywood in Mumbai, but unluckily I had enough.

That was a month-long of stay and I've learned not just about the place, but also about the people, culture, food, music, and lifestyle.

Mumbai has a colorful heritage and history and whenever I have a chance to come back in the future, I wish it would be much wonderful and truly memorable.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Captivating Mantalinga Island


What captivates the soul more than a tiny Island in the coast of Roxas City, Capiz known as Mantalinga Island.

It's a tiny Island located just a kilometer away from the shore of Baybay Beach which is famous for its long stretch of beachfront restaurants.

The place is popular in the entire Western Visayas region as the best food trip destination and is gaining national recognition as one of the best sources and a supplier of seasoods in the top restaurants in the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila.

The seafood capital of the Philippines. That's the title awarded to Roxas City since it has an abundant supply of marine products like fish, shellfish, oysters and many more. It serves fresh seafoods everyday as at an affordable price as compared to high-end restaurants they supply in Metro Manila which is about triple or quadruple the price. In Baybay beach, Roxas City, you get unlimited fresh seafoods, day and night.


Aside from the soothing waves and cool breeze of the sea, one of the most captivating sceneries is the Mantalinga Island. It's the most famous background and natural landmark in Roxas City.

Due to its closer distance to the Mainland of Roxas City, it's easy to hire a pumpboat service to see it closely and can also be reached through a kayak.

It's also called "Good luck Island" by the fishermen since they believe it brings good luck once they inscribe their name on the rock before they go on fishing or to write the name on their boat before its main voyage. 

We all want a good luck; a good journey in life. And when you visit this laid-back city in Western Visayas, be sure to see Baybay beach and experience the enigmatic charm of the Mantalinga Island. You'll come for sure and you'll ask for more.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay 

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👉 The Sacred Heart on a Hilltop

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Japanese art of Forest Bathing


When it comes to natural healing, Japanese  know better. And so they come up with a term called "shinrin-yoku" that was popularized in Japan back in 1980s and was later introduced to the world.

Forest bathing isn't literally taking a bath in the forest. It simply means being reconnected with nature and disconnected with the stressors of life -- causing diseases.

It's been a year since I'm living in a rural area; in my hometown. A provincial living away from too much noise and chaos.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and due to lockdown, some plans weren't able to happen and since then, I wasn't able to come back to Manila.

I'm living my best life away from distraction and pollution, and forest bathing on a weekend is my healing wonder. This is all we need in times of stress and whenever we need to relax and rejuvenate. It cleanses and purify our physical and mental bodies.

So Japanese people are considered as world leader when it comes to health and longevity. Their approach to health and wellness is just holistic and truly admirable. Hence, they're a world record in having supercentenarians. 

We, Filipinos adapted to this Japanese form of natural healing. Forest bathing is slowly gaining recognition most especially among health and fitness enthusiasts.

Hikers, trekkers, mountain climbers and  yoga and meditation practitioners are among those groups who are gaining from the healing benefits of forest bathing.

In the Philippines, there are places I've done forest bathing on a day trip.

Camp John Hay in Baguio City, Northern Philippines is where you can find the most number of pine trees and having the largest forest cover in the area.

At Camp John Hay, Baguio City, Philippines

That was a wonderful forest bathing experience as I was feeling the mists of the foggy place. It feels so great to be surrounded by trees as they give off natural cleansing energy.

Bucari Highlands in Iloilo, Philippines is one of best mountain resort destinations in the country.

It was rainy on the way up when we visited the place and we're greeted with a foggy and misty climate. Just like Baguio City, it's also planted with pine trees making the environment cooler.

Bucari, Iloilo, Philippines

There are other places where I've enjoyed forest bathing. These are; The Mount Arayat National Park in Pampanga, Philippines, the La Mesa Eco-park in Quezon City, Philippines and Naddi Village in Dharamshala, India.

More than a decade ago, my parents were inspired to develop our farm, so they planted Mahogany trees making it a mini-forest. Now, the trees have reached its peak maturity and are so tall giving a cooler shade in the surrounding. 

Our Mahogany tree park

And so, everytime we visit the farm, I would do forest bathing. I would walk slowly and be in stillness under the trees until I've reached a meditative state. Feel the serenity and just inhale the life force. 

Anyone can do it. When life gets tough, all we need is to take it slow and find a greener space to unwind and re-energize. 

The Japanese people are doing it as a lifestyle, and so we can learn and adopt from their philosophy of a healthy and balanced living.

©️2020 Del Cusay

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👉 The Highlands of Baguio

👉 The Highlands of Bucari

👉 Stairway to the Mountain

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Strolling at the Garden of Dreams


A Garden in the city makes life more balanced and achieve a healthier lifestyle. A breath of fresher air amidst the toxicity.

And with an urban garden in the city center, I was fortunate to have an afternoon stroll in the fully restored Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu, Nepal in August 2013; just 6 years after it was reopened to the public after several decades of closure.

Kathmandu's lifestyle may not be as lavish as compared to big cosmopolitan cities, but it has the best of culture and its people. 

The entire city of Kathmandu is a blend of a  cultural heritage and a modern society due to its preserved structures like monuments and temples and the restoration of public places like the Garden of Dreams and other modern infrastructures.

As I troll inside the walled garden, I was greeted with serenity due to the absence of noise surrounding the bustling city. It was just about 5-minute walking distance from the hotel where I stayed, so I got the chance to visit and unwind.

The walled Urban Garden

What's noticeable about the garden is its European style architecture since it was restored with the help of the Austrian Government. It has features like 6 pavillions which represents the '6 seasons of Nepal' and where the place got its second name, the "Garden of the Six Seasons." 

The garden has a veranda, balustrades, fountains and pergola giving its European vibe. Also, the Ampitheater is where visitors can sit or lay down to have some chat or to read book. Such a relaxing scene.

The Ampitheater

European-inspired pergola

The flowers, shrubs and trees makes it greener and beautiful as it is well maintained by the number of caretakers. It's clean, green and rejuvenating.

I appreciate arts and so, I spent some time at the art gallery and had a conversation with the locals. That was a meaningful encounter as I have learned more about their culture. 

Café by the garden

That was a delightful afternoon stroll at the Garden of Dreams and before leaving, I had a cup of cappuccino as I reflect and plan for my next journey around Kathmandu.

The Garden of Dreams is true to its name. It's really a sophisticated garden of its time, and became more beautiful when it was fully restored. Urban dwellers need a green space for leisure and hopefully more cities will adopt to this kind of garden offering respite to the people from the hustle and bustle of a city life.

The Garden of Dreams. The Garden of the Six Seasons. A garden for the soul.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Island Hopping in Guimaras

We need to regain ourself. At times we get stressed and it's due to various stressors of daily living. From multitasking work, daily commute, never-ending problems, and now the pandemic.

This global health crisis is making our life at risk. Either we become a victim or a survivor.

Everyday, since the lockdown early this year, we think of ways on how to stay mentally healthy. How to keep our sanity and not to experience loneliness, apathy and worst is depression.

Everyday is a battle of survival. We keep on diverting our consciousness towards happy thoughts . We reminisce the happiest moments in our life. Those times when we live our greatest life.

Boat ride from Iloilo to Guimaras Island

And for me, there's one greatest way to relieve stress and to rejuvenate. That is to travel to beautiful places and spend some weekend getaway to have some pure thinking moment. To distress through meditation and to appreciate the healing wonders of nature.

Every Sunday, I reminisce the times when I had my Soulful travel moments. We can't travel on this pandemic due to restrictions, and so the best way is to have a mental vacation. 

It works! It's as good as visiting the place real time and almost the same feeling. It's just that we process with our mental power -- our beautiful imagination.

I believe that the power of the mind does healing and contributes to our wellbeing. Whenever we feel sad, lonely or depressed, we don't have enough energy to do our daily tasks and become productive. And so, when we feel happy or joyful, we suddenly become more inspired to do great things that we could lift up other people with our positive energy.

Positive energy is contagious and so is negativity... that's what I believe in.

I would rather be with someone or a group that would inspire me or make me happy than suffer from negative emotions brought by someone, a group or worst is a personal creation -- becoming enemy of oneself.

To have a mental vacation is a heavenly experience without leaving the comfort of your own home. We can go to almost any places we're dreaming of; those on our bucketlist.

One of my favorite Islands in the Philippines is Guimaras. It's one of the smallest Island-Province, and I'd like to keep on coming back whenever I am in the region.

Island Cove in Guimaras Island

Guimaras is just a 20-minute boat ride from the coast of Iloilo province in Panay Island. So near the distance that both Island is visible from each other.

One thing I like about Guimaras is the serenity of the nature. It's not a very touristy place, so definitely not crowded and you'll enjoy soulful moments on the waters, on the shore or on a cliff.

Guimaras is not overly developed as compared to Island destinations like Boracay or Siargao. That's one reason why I like it even more when there are Filipino style cottages and not big hotels that can pollute the ecosystem of the place. 

I hope Guimaras will retain its grandeur; it's natural environment, and will not be subject to over commercialization.

Naturally beautiful environment in Guimaras Island

Guimaras is already beautiful as it is on its present state and so many people would appreciate its hidden beauty and natural charm.

Guimaras is not just a small Island, but it has friendly and hospitable people with a good heart. That makes them different from the rest. The heart and soul at its best.

© 2020 Del Cusay

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Palace in the Sky

There's something mysterious about the ruins. The old and well-preserved structure that's perhaps built to last for a lifetime.

That's what the ruins are for. To stand the test of time. 

In the Philippines, just an hour from Manila is the ruins we call as the "Palace in the Sky" or now more popularly known as "People's Park in the Sky," which gives a chilly feel due its geographical location on the summit of Mount Gonzales in the province of Cavite.

At the veranda overlooking the Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love
People's Park in the Sky
The view deck overlooking the Taal Lake

The structures' old and rustic charm attracts local and foreign visitors due to its breathtaking view of the famous Taal Volcano and the Taal lake. 

Truly captivating!

The highest point. That's the description of the place; as it is located on the summit of the highest mountain in Cavite at 709 meters (2,326 ft.) above sea level. And so, it offers a 360 degree view of the Tagaytay Highlands, including nearby recreational parks and villages.

How this "Palace in the Sky" became famous ruins has its different story from the other ruins in the country.

This one has got a unique story.

The view deck overlooking the mountains

Sometime in the late 70s during the  administration of the late President Marcos, when "Palace in the Sky" was commissioned to serve as a guest house for the visit of then US President Ronald Reagan. That's a show of Filipino hospitality at its best. 

A royalty welcome and treatment.

However, the construction was left unfinished when the visit of US President Reagan was cancelled.

We are left with the "Ruins in the Sky" since then.

The rustic and mossy Palace ruins 

That "Palace in the Sky" would have been beautiful if the construction was finished. But sad that it was just abandoned.

That was supposed to be consistent with the Imeldific brand; highest level of extravagance, attributed to former first Lady Imelda Marcos.

Truly, I love the place on the summit. Although, the ruins can be a little creepy at first sight, its beautiful ambiance captures the heart. 

It was surely built with love.

The next time you visit Tagaytay, you should never miss this place. 

A must-visit! 

A great weekend getaway for the family, for partners or even for solo traveler. A romantic destination that captivates the soul of just anyone.

The "Palace in the Sky" is not just an abandoned ruins. It shows timeless elegance and a natural charm. It shows our glorious past and bring wonderful memories to last.

© 2020 Del Cusay


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Baywatch at Camp Rofelio


The 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 makes it a great getaway to rejuvenate and spend some pure thinking moment.

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

A serene ambiance, with several cottages and tents for an overnight stay. At first glance, I knew it that I would love the place and, and so I did.




Standing barefooted at the seaside gate of Camp Rofelio is a wonderful 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. A camping at the beach. A soulful moment to watch the sunset. A fresh grilled seafood for dinner and a bonfire night to remember.

A memorable and fun moment at Camp Rofelio.

It's not a crowded 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 baywatching!


A Baywatch, not only to appreciate the area and the surrounding waters, but this place facing the West Philippine Sea has been a controversy from unwanted intruders.

The pirates of the sea had been inside our Philippine waters and caused tension and threat to the fishing livelihood of the locals.

That's supposed to be protected by the Philippine government. To defend our territorial waters. To protect what is ours, and our own people.

Questionable dredging foreign vessels were spotted in territorial waters of Zambales and truly a threat not only to our territorial rights, but also to the fishing rights of several fishermen  on our own 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 government seem not powerful enough to defend the territory.

I love Zambales and I would love to come back 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 baywatching, but be mindful and have a telescopic eye for the pirates of the sea.


We dream of having a great and safe tourist destinations, and so we have to be aware of issues affecting our rights and our dreams not to be taken away from us, which is likely to happen  if we are silent and doesn't care.

San Felipe; a place of kind and peaceful people. Protect your place, 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