Showing posts with label Nature & Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature & Environment. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2022

๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฆ๐—ธ๐˜† ๐—š๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฎ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฆ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต

๐™„๐™ฉ'๐™จ ๐™– ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ง๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™–๐™™๐™ซ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š ๐™—๐™ฎ ๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š. ๐™๐™๐™–๐™ฉ'๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™š๐™– ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™Ž๐™ ๐™ฎ ๐™‚๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™™๐™ค๐™ก๐™– ๐™๐™–๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ค๐™›๐™›๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ข๐™–๐™Ÿ๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™˜ ๐™ง๐™ž๐™™๐™š ๐™๐™ž๐™œ๐™ ๐™ช๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™จ๐™ ๐™ฎ. 

This outdoor destination is one of the best places to visit in British Columbia. The breathtaking sea view from the sky and on top of the mountain is worth the experience. It's exhilarating and truly spectacular. 

Let's explore this stunningly beautiful destination in Squamish, an hour's drive from North Vancouver, passing through the scenic sea-to-sky highway. 

From the base station, The Sea to Sky Gondola is a 10-minute/ 2 km ride to the summit. You'll see the forested mountain and the beautiful turquoise waters of the sea (Howe Sound) as you ascend to a higher elevation until reaching the summit lodge, which offers the most spectacular view of the surrounding mountain, the valley, and the sea. 

On the summit lodge, there are restaurants and cafes for refreshments extended to the outdoor patio and viewing deck offering a view of the magnificent snow-capped mountains. 

The adventure never stops as you get to experience the surrounding trail network passing through the 100-meter Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. We walked through the most accessible trail (Spirit) and the best trail (Panorama), leading to the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform, where you can capture the best shots of the snow-capped mountain as a backdrop. 

Other trails take longer to explore, but you'll always be aware since all trails lead and end at the summit lodge viewing deck. The courses are for beginners and intermediates, so it's a family-friendly hiking experience with viewing areas and platforms for picture-taking to capture memorable moments. 

Sea to Sky Gondola is an all-year-round adventure. It's best in any season, whether on a hot, dry summer or a snowy and chilly winter. The nature trail and the viewing platforms are alluring and worth revisiting in a different season. 

The land of the Squamish First Nation is home to the Sea to Sky Gondola. They protect and preserve the beauty of their heritage and share it with everyone. It's not just about fun and adventure but learning about indigenous people's culture, their early beginnings, and evolution as a First Nation. 

Sea to Sky Gondola is one of the most incredible adventures of a lifetime in British Columbia. It's a place to go and chill, an adventure by nature with a thrill. 

©️ 2022 Del Cusay

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Captivating Mantalinga Island

What captivates the soul more than a small island on the coast of Roxas City, Capiz, known as Mantalinga Island.

It's a tiny island just a kilometer from Baybay Beach's shore. It's 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 gaining national recognition as one of the best sources and suppliers of seafood 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 abundant marine products like fish, shellfish, oysters, and many more. It serves fresh seafood every day at an affordable price compared to the high-end restaurants they supply in Metro Manila which is about triple or quadruple. In Baybay Beach, Roxas City, you get unlimited fresh seafood day and night.

Aside from the sea's soothing waves and cool breeze, one of the most captivating sceneries is 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, hiring a pump boat service or a kayak to see it closely is easy.

The fishermen also call it "Good Luck Island" since they believe it brings good luck once they inscribe their name on the rock before fishing. And also when they write their name on their boat before its main voyage. 

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

©️ 2020 Del Cusay 

Related Post:

๐Ÿ‘‰ The Sacred Heart on a Hilltop

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Japanese art of Forest Bathing

When it comes to natural healing, the Japanese know better. They came up with a term, "Shinrin-yoku," popularized in Japan in the '80s and later introduced to the world. 

Forest bathing isn't taking a bath in the forest in a literal sense. It simply means reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from life's stressors -- causing diseases.

It's been a year since I've lived in a rural area; in my hometown. It's countryside living away from too much noise and chaos.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and due to the 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; forest bathing on weekends is my healing wonder. It's all we need in times of stress and whenever we need to relax and rejuvenate. It cleanses and purifies our physical and mental bodies.

So Japanese people are considered world leaders regarding health and longevity. Their approach to health and wellness is just holistic and 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, especially among health and fitness enthusiasts.

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

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

In the Philippines, there are places I've done forest bathing on a day trip. Camp John Hay in Baguio City is where you can find the most pine trees. And has the most forest cover in the area.

At Camp John Hay, Baguio City, Philippines

That was a refreshing forest bathing experience as I felt the foggy place's mists. It feels so great to be surrounded by trees, which give off natural cleansing energy.

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

When we visited, it was rainy on the way up and with a foggy and misty climate. Like Baguio City, it has many pine trees making the environment more relaxed.

Bucari, Iloilo, Philippines

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

My parents were inspired to develop our farm over a decade ago, so they planted Mahogany trees, making it a mini-forest. Now the trees have reached their peak maturity and are tall, giving a cool shade in the surrounding. 


Our Mahogany tree park

And so, every time we visited the farm, I would do forest bathing. I walk barefoot and remain under the trees until I've reached a meditative state. Feel the serenity and inhale the life force. 

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

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

©️2020 Del Cusay

Related Post:

๐Ÿ‘‰ The Highlands of Baguio

๐Ÿ‘‰ The Highlands of Bucari

๐Ÿ‘‰ Stairway to the Mountain

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Serenity at the Nan Lian Garden

I find serenity wherever I go. In the hustle and bustle of city life, there's still a piece of pure calmness and soulful paradise. 

A pond... A rock formation... A waterfall... All that can be found in an oasis of pure joy; a magnificent city garden.

A bustling megacity like Hong Kong isn't just about a magnificent and stunning skyline. It also boasts some of the most beautiful and refined traditional Chinese landscaped gardens.

The entrance of Nan Lian Garden

In the busy area of Diamond Hill in Kowloon, Hong Kong is where I've found a peaceful ambiance of an ancient Tang dynasty-style complex; the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Nan Lian Garden.

That's a refined piece of ancient Chinese architecture brought back to life in Modern-day Hong Kong, with towering residential skyscrapers and a mountain range in a backdrop. 

Nan Lian Gardens' Wooden Gate

An entrance to the complex makes you feel welcomed with the garden's natural elements of lush greenery, ornamental rocks, and a wooden gate. That's a blissful and truly welcoming sight to behold.

Passing through the wooden gate leads you to one of the beautiful attractions: the golden pagoda with an attached red-wooden bridge. Colors that bring good luck and prosperity according to Chinese beliefs.

The Golden Pavilion/Pagoda

A few steps from the Golden Pagoda is the Chi Lin Nunnery, a Buddhist temple converted into a school, library, and home for the elderly.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is an impressive Chinese architecture with a surrounding koi-filled pond. The wooden structure is a work of art from ancient times (618 AD to 907 AD), revived in modern times.

The Chi Lin Nunnery

To better understand ancient Chinese architecture, I had a solemn moment inside the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery. It's a place to discover the different Chinese architecture in other cities of China in a different period.

The Nan Lian Garden is a Tang Dynasty-inspired garden built in modern times. It's reminiscent of old but refined Chinese architecture with a balance element of nature.

The Chi Lin Nunnery

The garden's tranquil ambiance offers visitors a great sense of peace and rejuvenation. It's not just a typical Chinese garden, but it's filled with learning about the Chinese way of living back in the old days -- the earliest civilization.

Heritage and culture must be preserved for the world to see and experience. The Nan Lian Garden is not a typical attraction; it has an old soul Chinese ambiance in a modern setting -- teleported back in time.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Celebrating Birthday at the Farm

Life is good. No matter what challenges we're going through, still there's a reason to celebrate for all the blessings and abundance.

Since I'm celebrating my birthday, I have it at the farm for the first time. It's also the first year since we started to develop a portion for tree planting and, just recently, for organic vegetable farming.

Celebrating your birthday in a different setting and with my family in my hometown feels excellent. The previous year's celebration was in Manila. That was a joyful and jolly celebration back then, pre-COVID.

2020 is a simple yet meaningful celebration as I contemplate life's meaning and purpose.

What's there waiting for me?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot has changed. Uncertainties and vulnerabilities are on the consciousness. That our life matters above all. That life is too short. And that life is precious.

Making a wish on a birthday is truly important and meaningful since we attract what we ask for and become even more powerful when people who are dear to us send their best wishes.

Like a group prayer, we often materialize our wishes and hearts' desires when more people are there to celebrate with us.

However, as we reach a certain level of maturity through the years, we tend to direct our wishes to ourselves and more to the people who matter most in our lives.

Our wishes tend to become more specific,  lesser on material aspirations, and centering more on our well-being and enlightenment.

This pandemic teaches us to go back to the basics. To review and renew our lives and try to present a new 'us' to the world.

Celebrating a birthday at the farm is about celebrating the natural world. Not surrounded by many people but with trees, plants, and vegetables.

My deepest gratitude for another year of surviving life's challenges. To my family, friends, and above all, the Divine. The source of a great living.

Life continues, and I will never forget that life is too short. We have to live it well and live our best life. Only the best life we deserve.

© 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 9, 2020

Surfing at the Crystal Beach

Gentle waves at the beach are fun. The sun shines, the sand is sparkling, and the people surf.

In the Philippines, the coast of San Narciso in the province of Zambales is one of the country's finest beaches and a surfing destination. The Crystal Beach. A surfing paradise in the North. 

In May 2019, I traveled about 4 hours from Manila, the Philippine capital, to reach this surfing spot. Its proximity to Manila makes it an ideal weekend getaway to escape stress and regain vitality briefly.

We need a place like this. Great for total rejuvenation of the body, mind, and soul.

Crystal Beach has its surfing school for beginners and a surfboard rental for any surfers.

Have I dared go on surfing? 

I love water adventure and have long been interested in learning about surfing, but I was still looking for a better moment for me.

And so, I was closer to my dream of surfing. It just takes a single step, a show of interest.

It's good that a country like the Philippines is blessed to have one of the best surfing spots in the world. 

The Cloud Nine waves of Siargao in the South are world-renowned and the surfing spot of La Union. It's a favorite destination among local and international surfers and beach lovers.

I was just fine with gentle waves. It's ideal for beginners, and watching some people surfing is already a fun water show.

Crystal Beach is a sparkling Jewel and a rising surfing destination in the Philippines. The waves from September until January would be the best since it's a monsoon season when the wind blows stronger.

That was a great weekend at the beach. And so I'm thankful to have enjoyed the beach before the pandemic since it may take some time for local tourism to recover and rise again. I hope life will be back to normal soon. We deserve to be closer to nature.

The coast of San Narciso and the sparkling shore of Crystal Beach is truly a paradise for everyone who appreciates nature.

Great memories always live on, and the ripple goes on.

© 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 5, 2020

Weekend Getaway in Boracay

I need a vitamin sea. That's how millennials or young travelers would say whenever they need a break.

The sea is medicine. Prescribed not by physicians but by none other than our very own friends, our colleagues, or people closer and special to us. We feel calm and relaxed when we are in a body of water. And so, our mind becomes clear and our soul uplifted. Our well-being is healed and rejuvenated, and that's the ultimate goal to achieve.

The truth is we want to escape reality once in a while. To live in a fantasy land where there are no pains and stresses. We pause, pack our things and go for a travel and adventure.

Dream on and go on.

In April 2016, I had a great weekend getaway on a small island on the west coast of Panay Island in the Philippines. Boracay Island. One of the world's best.

It's a hotspot for the world's beach and island lovers. A multi-cultural hub where the east meets the west.
That was my 5th time visiting Boracay in about two decades. And each time I saw it, its ecosystem and culture had undergone several transformations. I the old Island culture I missed.
I may have seen Boracay during its pristine days when it was less developed and had its Island vibe. So that brings back vivid memories worth remembering. 

Last year when it underwent temporary closure, it became like a ghost Island. Only a few tourists and businesses closed for about half a year. If we humans deserve a break, a busy Island deserves a much-needed break too.

When there is damage in an ecosystem due to commercialization, it has to clean and heal itself before serving people again. And so other more popular Islands in the country and Southeast Asian region followed suit. They also rehabilitated their Island paradise. That's a great move with great sacrifice and love. 

Take a break from the crowd. The party. The noise. The pollution.

I love Boracay. It has a different vibe among Philippine Islands and beaches. And so, I am pro-rehabilitation if needed, so it can breathe again and rejuvenate -- just like us human beings.

The Nami Resort will bring you over the hills and experience exhilarating fun from an old-style elevator reaching the hilltop. Nami resort got the best view of the Island, and it was just fantastic. The food, the music, and the ambiance are great. The experience was magical.

Boracay once again was closed just recently. This time due to the pandemic. And so, when people can travel again without restrictions, Boracay will open its paradise for responsible business owners and kind travelers.

Boracay is for everyone. One day, I may be able to swim in its water again. Witness its captivating sunset. See the sandcastles and leave footprints in the sand.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Stairway to the Mountain

Nature's spring is nature's best. That was a tremendous and meaningful adventure on the foothill of the Mountain, Mount Arayat National Park.

To be closer to nature is a weekend and holiday destination for most city dwellers. An escape from noise pollution and the hustle and bustle of city life. Escaping from the real world of unending work and tasks. Escaping from reality, even for a short while.

An adventure worth sharing 6 years ago brought me to the beautiful and peaceful town of Arayat in the Province of Pampanga in Central Luzon Island, Philippines.

Two months after I arrived in the Philippines after a year of living abroad was a great adventure and soulful healing. That was April 2014 when I finally had a closer glimpse of Mount Arayat, which can only be seen from a distant highway when going to the Northernmost provinces in the country.

Nature's retreat offers excellent healing results for the body, mind, and soul. This is all we need after a long and tiring work week. And for the physical grounding, a day hike to the Mountain feels like rooting to the earth. Nature's Way to be reconnected to the world as our mind wanders and boggles, accompanied by anxiety, worries, and fears.

At the park's entrance to the hilltop community are a serene environment and the soulful sound of nature. The park is also home to different species of birds and wildlife under conservation. 

The park is an excellent escapade for families, team building, and even solo retreats. There are cottages, picnic areas, playgrounds,s and campsites for everyone's needs.

A hundred-step stairway to the hilltop community is a great calorie-burning and offers a stunning view of the Mountain. Closer view to the roof of Pampanga -- the province's highest peak.

Take a deep breath and a little more hike passing through the treehouses and all the Way to the Arayat Bikers Club. A solemn spiritual community awaits where one is closer to nature. Truly a heaven on earth for the residents and for the visitors.

Before heading down to the lowlands, I paused, meditated, and reflected on the Divine presence and a meaningful journey ahead.

The Mountain of Arayat and its Natural Park provides excellent service for people seeking respite from suffering, loneliness, stress, and grief.

On the new best normal and after the pandemic, people would reconnect with nature, taking a deeper breath and breathing out of toxicities of the body and mind and purifying their soul. And when we need to reboot or restart, there will always be a mountain to climb for soul searching -- to heal our being.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day at The Farm

Life at the farm. That's our best new normal during this time of Pandemic. We get the benefits of a clean and green environment for healing and rejuvenation.

Today, we celebrate a special day since it's Father's Day. We decided to visit and spend our Sunday at the farm, a sanctuary we had developed for about a year now.

As I swing through a hammock, I reminisce how it all started back in June 2019, from when it was conceptualized until it materialized.

Today, a year after, we are harvesting fruits and vegetables, which my parents started to plant since the lockdown and home quarantine due to the Pandemic. My parents didn't stop their usual organic farming activity, and it's paying off-- it's harvest time.

We have varieties of vegetables like eggplant, bitter gourd, string beans, spinach, and squash. We also have fruits like Philippine lime or Calamansi, tomatoes, avocado, banana, watermelon, and coconut. These and many more in weeks to come as we expand and develop other areas for planting.

We aim for sustainable farming practices to provide our own food on the table in this time of crisis and as a way of living -- a new lifestyle.

In previous years, I may not have celebrated Father's day at home, so this year is an opportunity to be present and to show gratitude and appreciation to our dear Father.

I will forever be thankful for the love and inspiration; this crisis allows us to plant, grow and harvest what we've produced.

Father's day isn't only for a day; we celebrate it in our lifetime. Wherever we are, he will always be in our hearts. Our Father, our hero, our motivation, and our source of endless inspiration. 

© 2020 Del Cusay