Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016
Easter Weaving, E. Aguilar Cruz Museum, ABR Cutlery, Philceramics, Costales Nature Farms,
The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center and Juag Lagoon and Marine Sanctuary: Puring Native Delicacies
The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum in Magalang, Pampanga

After scoping mainland Luzon and selected parts of the Visayas for four years as a travel blogger, I've enjoyed what the Philippines has to offer when it came to natural attractions. I couldn't count the many times I gushed over the sight of a secluded waterfalls or a remote beach. However, I also couldn't forget the meaningful side trips I did to offbeat attractions that are usually ignored by the conventional tourist. These unique destinations ranged from a charming native wardrobe weaving facility to a sweltering blacksmith forge. It could have actually been anything as long as it was interesting to discover in detail. As long as it enhanced my vacation, it was definitely worth my visit.

Check out 12 offbeat attractions in the Philippines that I highly recommend you visit the next time you stay in any of the following locations for a vacation:

The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum
The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum
The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum
1. The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum
Location: Magalang, Pampanga

Pampanga's quaint town of Magalang is not just home to the relaxing garden resort of Abe's Farm. Right next to it in the same property is the E. Aguilar Cruz Museum which is also being operated by the resort. The museum is an ode to Emilio Aguilar Cruz, known as the “Son of Magalang” and a well-known writer, artist and bon vivant. It's where visiting guests can see displays detailing his achievements as LJC Group founder and his contributions to the local hospitality industry, as well as the restaurants he opened in the country. A visit of the place is definitely going to inspire the artistic side in everyone.

Read more about Abe's Farm.

Puring Native Delicacies
Puring Native Delicacies
Puring Native Delicacies
2. Puring Native Delicacies
Location: San Rafael, Bulacan

Bulacan is famous for its native delicacies and one of them is sapin-sapin. The vibrant rice cake is most sought-after in the town of San Rafael where its locals know is the best and authentic source of such tasty treats in the area. Behind San Rafael Church, Puring Native Delicacies stands secluded in the residential area where most retail vendors get their supplies from. It's also an ideal place to see for yourself how the native delicacy is made and packed. And when you're done viewing the charming process, buy your supply of the product in bulk for less the price than what is offered in retail stores!

Address: #17 Estrella St., Balagtas BMA, San Rafael, Bulacan, Philippines
Contact Person: Margarita Samonte; Phone: 0922-812-1352

Read more about San Rafael.

Maricalum Mines
Cansibit Pit of Maricalum Mines
3. Maricalum Mines
Location: Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

Back in Maricalum Mines' heyday when it employed about 5,000 Sipalay City residents, household pockets in this side of Negros Occidental were always full. However, the environment was also badly affected by the effects of the mining operations. Today, the pit that has been left is now part of the scenic view for tourist to see from a public viewing deck. The whole area can be a great on-site educational tour about the pros and cons of mining.

Read more about Maricalum Mines.

A veteran panday or blacksmith at ABR Cutlery
ABR Cutlery
4. ABR Cutlery
Location: Tabaco City, Albay

In Tabaco City where the tabak is popularly associated with the former for its name, the village of Cobo is home to ABR Cutlery. Owned and operated by Albay-native Azucena Boncacas Rodriguez, the store is the biggest in a community where blade-making is a core skill. She employs about forty blacksmiths and the youngest guy who works with his calloused hand at the store's forge is 20 years old. Locally known as a panday, a blacksmith's asset is brute force. A tour of the place can be a good insight into what drives a community to preserve its chosen craftsmanship.

Read more about ABR Cutlery.

5. Philceramics
Location: Tiwi, Albay

Nothing is old at Philceramics except the practice of pottery as craftmanship. Made of red clay called terra cotta, the earthenware can be found all over the place in this Tiwi facility. They are lined up in interesting patterns, colors, and shapes. Some can be seen against the walls and a few are stashed inside giant ovens. Visitors can try on the molding stations for themselves or simply watch a worker do his stuff. Outside the workshop, a display strip is open to the public for buying souvenir products.

Read more about Philceramics.

The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center
The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center
6. The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center
Location: Marikina City, Metro Manila

Unlike typical city museums, The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center has a book museum where visitors can actually take out a book from the shelf and read it. What I consider the best part of the whole facility is the ethnology center where local artifacts are housed. The display collection is a peek into the old Philippines which one can manually do by visiting various locations in the country. At the site, though, one needs to simply breeze through display-decked hallways and rooms to have a glimpse of our ancestors' old tribes.

Read more about The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center.

Pinto Art Museum
Pinto Art Museum
7. Pinto Art Museum
Location: Antipolo City, Rizal

Pinto Art Museum is an Antipolo City destination that's starting to be an attraction not just for art aficionados but also lovers of photography because of its well manicured gardens, cobbled pathways, and Cycladic-inspired galleries that have monastic exteriors and industrial-style interiors. Visitors can simply pay a reasonable entrance fee at the museum gate which will let them access the entire 1.3 hectare property the whole day. For meal breaks, there's a cafe and restaurant inside.

 Read more about Pinto Art Museum.

Juag Lagoon and Marine Sanctuary
Juag Lagoon and Marine Sanctuary
8. Juag Lagoon and Marine Sanctuary
Location: Matnog, Sorsogon

Marine environment advocate Alex Geneblazo established the Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary in the town of Matnog where Sorsogon tourists can make a meaningful stopover before heading to a terrific beach or other destination. Visitors can board a motorized boat to reach the entrance of the sanctuary's bamboo enclosures where aquatic species of varying kinds are kept to grow and spawn. It's open to the public and is considered by Geneblazo as more than a fish farm.

Read more about Sorsogon.

Costales Nature Farms
Costales Nature Farms
9. Costales Nature Farms
Location: Majayjay, Laguna

Costales Nature Farms is an attractive result of the combination of science, technology, and nature under the nurturing hands of its founder, the late Ronald Costales. He staunchly supported the practice of abstaining from the use of pesticides in crops so that they are not loaded with toxic chemicals for people to consume. Instead, the farm exists to foster a more holistic and natural ecosystem. With his passing, his wife Josephine or Josie is left to lead it but she's not alone in the endeavor as her grown-up kids have imbibed the same values for the environment that she and her husband were able to develop in the past decades. The eco-farm has a restaurant for walk-in guests and quaint lodgings for overnight stays.

Read more about Costales Nature Farms.

Mauban Public Bath
Mauban Public Bath
10. Mauban Public Bath
Location: Mauban, Quezon Province

A few steps away from Mauban's Saint Bonaventure Parish Church is the oldest standing public bath in the Philippines, a nondescript bungalow that cradles an old way of life. The structure was commissioned by a village captain in 1725 and it still stands today as proof of how enduring the locals’ heritage is in this part of mainland Luzon. Originally made of lime and shells, the more than 200-year old structure is no longer operational but is still perfectly functioning for the purpose of exhibition.

Read more about Mauban.

Easter Weaving
Easter Weaving
11. Easter Weaving
Location: Baguio City, Benguet

Baguio City's public market may have all the cheap finds that the province of Benguet has to offer, but it's at Easter Weaving where its ethnic culture is most palpable and you don't have to leave Baguio for it. The facility is a modern structure that started as early as 1908. On the ground floor, visitors can shop around for fabrics of various ethnic designs from Sinanbituin to Kinen-ew-inspired. At the basement is the actual weaving room where ladies are assigned in their respective textile-equipped weaving stations.

Read more about Baguio City.

JSJ Goat Farm
JSJ Goat Farm
12. JSJ Goat Farm
Location: Gerona, Tarlac

Tarlac's JSJ Goat Farm is a family enterprise that started with its owner, Jeffrey, doing goat-shopping for a friend. The need was urgent and for a special occasion. In his frustration of finding a seller, he realised that there was a demand for goats that no one in the province was serious in considering. A lot of homes with big yards did have at least a goat or two but no one was really seriously making a big living out of it. The whole farm is an ideal space to tour kids who need to have insights into goat farming and the appreciation of farm products.

Read more about JSJ Goat Farm.

A tour of a destination in the Philippines is not just about relaxation. Along the way, one can have a meaningful side trip to an educational site.

Eager for more travel recommendations? Check out the following posts:

Farm Tourism Destinations In The Philippines
Fields of Dreams In The Philippines
• 10 Resorts and Hotels With Attractive Swimming Pool Views
• 7 Charming Resorts and Hotels For Pre-Nuptial Photo Shoots
• 10 Luxury Hotels and Resorts To Book For Pampered Vacations
• 8 Less Explored Attractions In The Philippines
• 10 Extraordinary Resorts and Hotels To Book In The Philippines
• 3 Essential Events Place In Metro Manila For Weddings, Birthdays, and More


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