The City That Never Sleeps
My name is John Mark Francia. I am, a Filipino. I find it hard to name things I hate (because i barely hate anything). I'm 18 and I don't mind being shy.I try my best at everything and never fear failure because I believe that there is a reason for everything




posted : Tuesday, April 7, 2015
title : Saktong Buhay: Sa Dekalidad na Edukasyon Pinanday
SAKTONG BUHAY: SA DEKALIDAD NA EDUKASYON PINANDAY”
By John Mark M. Francia, R.N
(Speech as Guest Speaker, Bantug-Lintao Elementary School 28th Commencement Exercises, Roxas Isabela)


 Honorable Rogelio T. Guadilla, respected school principal; teachers and members of the faculty; district supervisor; distinguised guests; graduates; parents and visitors, a pleasant morning to all of you!

I am greatly honored and flattered to have been invited to speak for this very important occasion. The theme of today's event is "Saktong-Buhay: Sa Dekalidad na Edukasyon Pinanday”. This theme highlights the importance of quality education in molding a decent future for the youth. And I want to begin with three questions that I’m gonna answer as I proceed. First, who contributes to a quality education? Second would be “How to attain quality education and what are its effects?” Lastly, “Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng isang Saktong-Buhay?”

Sino-sino ba ang mga tao na tumutulong upang makamit ng mga mag-aaral ang dekalidad na edukasyon? Sino-sino ba ang mga nakakaimpluwensya sa ating mga kabataan upang maging isang huwaran at mahusay na mag-aaral? Unang una diyan ay ang gobyerno, partikular ang Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Epektibo ba ang ginagawang reporma upang mas mapaganda ang mga programang pang-Edukasyon? Is the government efficient to attain their desired goals? Noon lamang 2013 ay inilunsad ang K-12 program. Honestly, napakaganda ng programang ito sapagkat kaya nitong baguhin ang lebel ng edukasyon sa ating bansa. With this reform, we are not left behind anymore by other neighboring countries who have embraced this program. Ang programang ito ay magbubukas ng pinto patungo sa iba’t ibang opurtunidad saan mang parte ng mundo. Ang K-12 ay dagdag-aralin, at hindi dagdag-pasanin. Siguro nga ay marami ang tutol dito dahil likas naman sa atin ang tumutol kapag may pagbabago sapagkat gusto nating manatili kung saan tayo nasanay, kung saan tayo kumportable. Gusto nating panatilihin ang mga bagay na pamilyar na sa atin. K-12  curriculum is somewhat similar to quality education, leading into quality life. Magpasalamat tayo at patuloy ang gobyerno sa pagbuo ng mga repormang pang-Edukasyon to serve us the best chance we can grab. It is the nation’s ultimate investment. They are molding you to become future leaders, future heroes.

Pangalawa ay ang mismong paaralan. Is it conducive for learning? Well, sa pagkakaalam ko, ang Bantug-Lintao Elementary School ang isa sa mga pinakamalinis na paaralan dito sa atin. Bukod pa rito, ay ang magandang lokasyon nito na tahimik at malayo sa mga ingay ng kalsada. Does it have enough facilities to support the needs of our students? I remember when I was in Grade 6, and Bantug Lintao had its first mini-library. It is very important because it provided us extra knowledge and support. The very first book I read was Astronomy, kept on reading it everyday and I was able to utilize it during my Earth Science classes in High School and College. Ngayon, meron na ding computer room which is vital in order for our students to innovate, to be competitive in the world of technology.

Pangatlo ay ang inyong mga kaibigan. According to a research by Sigmund Freud on Pediatric Nursing, sa ganitong mga edad childhood to adolescene ay mas pinakikinggan nila ang kanilang mga kaibigan. Kaya siguro ho napapansin niyo na mas gusto pa nilang sumama sa kanilang kaibigan kesa sa kanilang magulang. Normal lang ho iyon. It is a part of growing up. Studying is really difficult at times, and through the help of your peers, you can make it easy and enjoyable. 8 years ago, I met my best friends. Sampu ho kaming magbabarakada. We have a lot of things in common at isa rito ay ang paghahangad ng mas matiwasay na pamumuhay. Nagkaisa kami sa pagbuo ng layunin, sa pagbuo ng pangarap. Ngayon, anim sa amin ay Rehistradong Nars, ang isa ay Engineer, ang isa ay Chef at ang isa’y malapit ng maging Doctor. Ganun dapat ang magkakaibigan, you must help each other to achieve your dreams. Dapat ay magkaisa kayo sa pagbuo ng layunin upang magtagumpay sa mga hamon ng buhay. And if you think that you are the only one that strives for the best, then you are probably in the wrong circle. Make friends with others or with everyone. The more comfortable you become with a more diverse group of people, the more you will accustom yourself to the art of versatility later in life.

Pang-apat ay ang mga magulang. Kayo po ay may malaking bahagi upang makamit ng inyong mga anak ang matibay na pundasyon ng edukasyon. Kayo po dapat ang magbigay inspirasyon upang mag-aral sila ng mabuti. Parents are coaches, so you must provide strategies for them to be champions. You must give reinforcement at home. Give more time to your children because if you keep on ignoring them, it will make them feel irresponsible and they will lose interest in study. Tinutulungan niyo po ba ang inyong mga anak sa kanilang pagrereview? Tinatanong man lang ba ho natin sila kung kumusta ang bawat araw-araw nila sa paaralan? Minomonitor niyo ho ba ang kanilang grado at ano ang ginagawa mong hakbang upang matulungan sila sa mga aralin kung saan sila nahihiarapan? Naturuan nio silang bumigkas noong sila ay maliit pa. Naturuan nio silang maglakad, magdasal, bumasa at sumulat and your role doesn’t end there. Dapat ay patuloy ang inyong pagturi at paggabay hanggang sa abot ng inyong makakaya. Dapat ay huwag kayong magsasawa na suportahan ang inyong mga anak. Pilitin ho nating makapagtapos sila sapagkat hindi lang naman sila ang makikinabang kundi kayo rin. Hindi ba’t napakasarap sa pakiramdam yung maglalakad kayo diyaan ay may mga magsasabing, “ah yung anak niyan teacher”, “ah yung anak niyan Doktor, Nurse at iba pa”? Kesa marinig ung “ay ung anak niyan hindi nakatapos!”, “ung anak nian adik, lulong sa bisyo” at kung ano-ano pa. Kaya ngayon, ay dapat tayong sumaludo sa mga magulang na bagama’t kulang sa kaalaman ay pinilit tayong turuan. Gusto kong palakpakan natin ang mga magulang na naghirap at gumapang para tayo ay makapagtapos.

Pang-lima ay ang ating magigiting na teachers. Sila ang may pinakamalaking kontribusyon sa pagpapanday ng dekalidad na edukasyon. Sila ang humuhubog sa moralidad ng isang mag-aaral. Sila ang tumutulong sa pagpapatalas ng ating kaisipan. Sila ang nagdidiskubre ng ating talento at sila ang nagpapahusay lalo ng ating mga kakayahan. Alam mo ba kung gaano kahirap ang ginagawa nilang paghahanda mabigyan lang tayo ng magandang aralin? Alam mo ba kung gaano sila katiyaga sa pagtutuwid sa atin patungo sa tamang landas? Alam mo ba kung gaano sila kaunawa sa pag-intindi sa ating mga kamalian? Alam mo ba na kahit may karamdaman sila ay hindi nila tayo pinababayaan at patuloy na ginagawa ang kanilang trabaho to give us the best education we can ever have? They keep on enhancing your skill and bring out the best in you, so you can have a wonderful life in the future. Kung napagalitan ka man ng iyong guro, o napagbitawan ng masakit na salita, ay huwag ka sanang magtatampo. Bagkus ay magpasalamat ka, dahil sa iyong pagtanda, you will realize that those things actually motivate us to be better and better each day. Sometimes, teachers are underappreciated, underpaid, and under a lot of undeserved pressure. Yet they hold the future of our communities and our nation in their hands. I've always been impressed by how a single positive remark from one teacher can influence a student's path. I’ll never forget my Bantug-Lintao teachers, Ms. Marietta Diza, Ms. Eva Valdez, Ms. Precy Ragojos, Ms. Dolly Raymundo, Mr. Virginio Simpliciano, and Ms. Oliva Espiritu. Thank you for giving me courage. Thank you for giving me strength, patience. You really made me a better person. I also want to thank our present teachers, im sorry that I don’t know your names, but in behalf of our graduating students. Im sure they feel glad, you became their teachers. Kaya gusto kong sabay-sabay tayong magpasalamat sa ating magigiting na guro, our modern day heroes, sa pamamagitan ng isang masigabong palakpakan!

Quality education  is a collaboration. A collaboration between us, the environment, our home and school. Dapat ay magsanib-pwersa ang lahat para matulungan ang ating mga kabataan. The development of our kids is set primarily at home and in school, and when these two environments are attuned to each other, your child benefits the most.

Pang-anim ay ang ating mga sarili, the student itself. Ikaw mismo ang tutulong sa sarili mo upang makamit mo ang iyong pangarap. Dapat ay pumapasok ka, hindi dahil inenroll ka ng magulang mo, kundi dahil gusto mong matuto, gusto mong maging isang intelehenteng indibidwal, maging isang mabuti at disiplinadong tao, maging magalang at maging mapagmahal sa kapwa. Elementary education is the primary vessel in order for a person to learn his/her values. Dito mo unang matututunan kung anong tama at mali, at ang iba’t ibang ugaling wagi. Kailangan mong seryosohin ang iyong pag-aaral dahil isa itong malaking biyaya, yan ay karapatan at hindi isang pribilehiyo. Life is dark if we stop aquiring education. Nowadays, opportunity is scarce, jobs are difficult to get so you must strive harder. Siguro nga ang iba sa inyo ay hindi pa lubos na naiintindihan ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon, pero gusto kong malaman niyo na ang buhay niyo ay pwede pang magbagao. Pwede ka pang magkaroon ng komportableng pamumuhay.

Ngunit sapat na ba na mayroon ang mga taong nabanggit ko upang makamit ang dekalidad na edukasyon? Hindi! Sapagkat kailangang salubungin mo ito ng mga hakbang na ikaw mismo ang tanging makagagawa. Tulad nga ng sabi ko, ang dekalidad na edukasyon ay isang kolaborasyon. Una, study well. Pangalawa, listen but listen with understanding. Kailangang unawain mo kung ano ang ipinapahayag ng bawat aralin. Pangatlo, absorb everything. Kailangan mong isapuso at isaisip ang lahat ng natutunan mo, at itatak mo ito sa iyong pagkatao. Pang-apat, prepare enough. This is not a battle of intelligence, but of readiness. Hindi sapat na matalino ka lang. Gaano ka ba kahanda sa pagharap ng bawat tanong sa iyong exam? Ilang oras ba ang iginugol mo para magreview? I remember when I was about to take the Philippine Nurses Licensure Exam, inumpisahan kong magreview 6 months prior to it. I became the teacher of myself. Araw-araw kong tinuturuan ang sarili ko ng bawat aralin sa Nursing. Noong una mahirap, hanggang sa nasanay ako at hindi na ako makatulog sa gabi ng hindi nagbubuklat ng libro. Araw araw ko ding hinarap ang libo-libong practice questions para lang makapasa, and eventually I made it. Pang-lima, Apply. Ang lahat ng natutunan mo ay hindi nagtatapos sa gate lamang ng paaralan, o sa pinto ng silid aralan. You have to apply everything you’ve learn anywhere you go and in whatever you do. Of course, overflowing will and determination is badly needed. Because sometimes, the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of will. You also have to be proud of yourself and believe that you can make it, because you cannot make otrhers believe in you if you, yourself don’t.

Ang edukasyon ay parang bala, na iyong magiging sandata na tutulong sayo sa iba’t ibang digmaang darating. Para din itong isang patalim na pilit magpapatalas ng iyong kaisipan. I want to share these beliefs dahil iyon ang tumulong sa akin patungo rito, kung saan ako ngayon. I was consistent as a 2nd honor during the first five years of my Elementary days, but due to my endeavor, my eagerness, I graduated as Valedictorian in 2004. I was an academic scholar from 2004 to 2012. I attained the highest score in Chemistry of all 2,700 subject enrollees at Our Lady of Fatima University in Quezon City, way back 2008. I passed the Comprehensive Examination and Qualifying Examination with gleaming grades in 2012. And in 2013, I am one of 16,000 out of 37,000 Nursing Board Passers. Soon, I will be taking the IELTS for United Kingdom, and im no longer afraid to take risk. Why? Because I already surpassed a lot, and im not afraid to fall, because failure is a common ingredient that successful people has.

Ngunit ano nga ba ang depinisyon ng saktong-buhay? Iyan ba ay nasusukat sa dami ng pera sa iyong bank account? Iyan ba ay paramihan ng pagmamay-aring lupain? Yan ba ay pagkakaroon ng iba’t ibang mamahaling sasakyan? Malaking bahay? Madaming negosyo? Sa tingin niyo? Sino sa dalawang taong may dekalidad na edukasyon ang tunay na nakakamit ng saktong-buhay? Isang mayamang indibidwal na mayroong limang sasakyan, at nakatira sa isang mansyon ngunit araw-araw na ginagawang miserable ang buhay ng kanyang mga tauhan? O ang isang negosyante na bagama’t hindi nakatira sa isang mansyon ay mahal ng karamihan dahil sa pagiging mabuting tao, ama at boss? Para sa akin, ang saktong buhay ay ang pagiging masaya sa iyong napiling larangan. Pagiging isang indibidwal na kayang makipagsabayan sa mga kumpetisyon ng buhay. Pagiging mapagmahal na ama, ina, anak. Pagiging isang mabuting tao at pagiging magalang sa karapatan ng bawat isa. Pagiging mapagmahal sa kalikasan, may takot sa Diyos at marunong makipag-kapwa-tao. Ang saktong buhay ay ang pagsasama-sama ng iba’t ibang aspetong aking nabanggit na siyang bumubuo sa isang dekalidad na edukasyon. Ikaw? Ano ang saktong-buhay para sayo?

To our dear parents and loving teachers, you are gathered here to reap the result of your exhaustion, thirst, hunger and sleepless nights. So seize the moment because you really did a great job. To the graduates. I hope that you continue acquiring quality education. I hope that someday, we’ll see each and everyone of you excells in your chosen career. You are the future, and if you want a good future, you should transform into a better version of yourself. Dream big and make your dreams so real, and keep it alive. Surely you will have a bright future. You’ve already come this far and I pray thay you continue rising to the top. Well done, Batch 2015 and Congratulations to everyone.

Getting quality education is NOW, don’t ever say NEVER.

Thank you at Mabuhay po tayong lahat!






(March 25, 2015)

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posted : Sunday, August 18, 2013
title : Passing the Nursing Board Examination

            Nursing profession is performing of an act or activities, guided by a unique body of knowledge, training or by experience and ethical code, for a fee or compensation of nursing services to various clients—families, individuals and communities in all setting and stages of development for the promotion of health, prevention of illness, restoration of health and alleviation of suffering.

But how can you fulfill this big responsibility if you are incompetent and unsuitable for this career? That is probably the reason why nursing students are required to take the ride to hell disguised as examinations, toxic duties and tons of dilemmas before taking the ride to heaven.

I am pretty much aware that a lot of students took this course because of its opportunities abroad. Of course, the hypocrites say they want to help people and continue the legacy of the great Florence Nightingale, or to apply the theories of Dorothea Orem and Jean Watson. Some might also be dreaming they want to amend Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory or Erik Erickson’s Psychosocial Theory. But me, I say, I want to earn money in the fastest possible way to help my parents be freed from diseases they may acquire from working very hard to give us the best they can bestow. 

Preparing for the Philippine Nurses Licensure Examination or locally known as Board Exam is the most difficult part, because people who are not used in strict way of studying will hardly take time to sit and read lot of books and answer thousands of practice questions. I believe that the more prepared you’ll be, the higher the chance of passing because the board is a not a battle of intelligence, but of readiness. Of course, overflowing will and determination for the license is badly needed. It is very helpful that you allow yourself a day to think and reflect of the things that welcome you once you passed or failed the exam. Think of the fact that you need to uplift yourself and believe that you can catch that letters R and N, attach it in your name free of misdemeanor and practice the profession as humanely as possible. You also have to make you proud of yourself, and believe that you can make it because you cannot make others believe in you if you, yourself don’t. You need to realize that you may not reach the stars; forget about topping the exam, you just need to secure the license to make your trek worthy. Always remember that before you make others proud of you, be proud of yourself first. Think of yourself, your family, your neighbors and the billion people in the world, their life is already at your hand.

I started reviewing my notes on February 4, 2013. At first it was really hard, because there are lot of temptations. Television is there, laptop, cell phone, malls; they are all lures that’s going to make you lazy in studying. Of course, you need not to punish yourself by studying all day; you just need to allot few hours to learn. Time management is very important here, so I made a schedule from February 4 to May 29, and allot my remaining 3 days to visit all the churches I could, to reach out for help and guidance. Weeks after reviewing every day, I felt so obsessed in it that I could not sleep at night without reading at least 10-15 pages. The result? I became advance in my schedule, well it’s a good thing just in case I miss to study a day due to unforeseen circumstances.

The board examination was rescheduled to June 2-3, 2013 by the Board of Nursing. Well, it’s a big deal because they have taken a month from us. In that span of time, I could even read the whole Brunner. My examination place was St. Paul College along Pedro Gil in Manila. The ambiance is good, perfect for exam takers. It is air-conditioned, and is very clean. On the first day, I felt really sad because of NP2 and NP3. That moment I was answering NP3, my dreams of passing the exam is starting to crash. I can’t remember any lessons I know, and I almost cursed that Irritable Bowel Syndrome. On the next day, I felt quite happy because of NP4 and NP5 which I think I did really well.

A week after the board exam, an article stating that the result would be released by June 17 was spreading real fast over the internet. Because of the number of examinees which is almost 38,000 it would be released sooner. That was a pretty convincing explanation but on that day, the results never came. Another article stated that it would be released on June 28 or June 29 and then July 1 and then July 5. I was tired of waiting because I want that anxiety to be over! On July 7, 2013 a text message, a facebook status and a twitter update state that the results will be posted midnight at the PRC Building but will be opened to the public by 8AM, as soon as the office opens for Monday. I was convinced, but I did not take it serious.

JULY 8, 2013. I was in our office in Pacifichub Corporation when someone texted me a “CONGRATULATIONS” message. That time, I knew it was about the Board Examination. I screamed really loud in the cafeteria, I didn’t care who’s or how many people are there. I just wanted to shout. Lot of text messages confirmed that I made it. Right after, I immediately texted my parents and my sister to tell the good news. My dreams turned into reality, yes RN NA AKO! I supposed to go on lunch that time because I felt really hungry during the training, but I wasn’t able to eat because of excitement. Now I know the feeling of those people who pass the licensure exam. I was exhilarating, palpitating and catching breath. Is that what I should really feel? I don’t know. If only I don’t have work that time, I would go immediately to the church and thank God for the greatest blessing I receive this 2013.

Well, I have friends who didn’t make it but just a simple thought; don’t let that sink in to your mind. There will be lot of chances and there will come a time that the license will be the one pulling you, just don’t give up on it. God is planning for a perfect timing, that license will be yours soon.

RATING:
Nursing Practice I82 (Well I am expecting a higher grade on this because this is the easiest for me)
Nursing Practice II85 (I didn’t know what happened here. I am not expecting an 8th grade, maybe a 6th or 7th. On this NP, I am only sure to my 5 answers about Herbal Meds, so that 80 points additional is a miracle)
Nursing Practice III78 ( This part was the hardest! I almost give up while answering those questions on this NP. Well, God is so powerful that he led my pencil to the correct options)
Nursing Practice IV- 72 (I felt comfortable with this NP because it’s the easiest next to NP1, but look at my score. HAHA.)
Nursing Practice V80 (Well, I know I really did well at this NP)


FINAL RATING: 79.40.


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posted : Sunday, June 23, 2013
title : ILOCOS NORTE: Hidden Paradise of the North

It was June 14, 2013 when I and my friends Verna, Carl, April and her boyfriend Kurt left for our planned escapade in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. The trip had flimsy preparation and lack of travel know-how’s. It was entirely young adventurer’s burning desire to feel the most sought after destination in the Northern Philippines.

It was around 7am when we met up at downtown Roxas (Isabela).  Since we are already too late for the GMW trip straight to Ilocos, we had no choice but to ride a van bound to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. It was 9am when we reached the GMW Terminal in the city, and left at around 9.30am.

We had our stop-over/lunch in Gattaran, Cagayan and then continue travelled the rest of Maharlika Highway through the municipalities of Lal-lo, Alcala, Abulug and Camalaniugan. It was quarter to 2 when we reached the municipality of Claveria and had a taste of their yummy ‘bibingka’. The view in Claveria is the first peek of what you will experience up north; it was amazing to see the Babuyan Channel and mountains packed with coconut trees and Anahaw, our national leaf. We were able to reach Sta. Praxedes by 3pm, a town where Cagayan and Ilocos Norte meet each other. As soon as we enter the first town of Ilocos Norte which is Pagudpud, we pass by through the Patapat Viaduct, a landmark which serves as a boundary between Region I and II.

(Lhea, Verna and April)

We were dropped off at Baduang Market in Pagudpud pass 3PM but the person we made contact with didn’t show up. He is supposed to take us to a public house we reserved and tour us around. Because of that we ended up checking-in at an expensive tavern at Casa Victoria Hotel along Saud Beach. The room has an LCD TV, double-decked bed and it is pretty spacious for us. We changed our clothes right away and had a taste of their pancit and fruit shake.  To finally start our adventure, we roam around the nearest beach at night and had some alcohol shot. There were line of hotels and resorts along Saud Beach but there were only few tourists that time because summer has already ended. 

(Pancit and fruit shake)

15th JUNE, 2013th

An ensemble of strapping winds and unruffled waves extending towards the shores,  with the tender brushing of trees, all together, played a melodious ambient tune which greeted us a good morning at Casa Victoria Hotel. We woke up at around 5 in the morning because we want to see the sunrise. Only to find out that you cannot witness the sunset and sunrise in the beach because of its location, but there is the view of Bangui Windmills which is a great replacement. Theatric cloud formations seen from the horizon contrasted the stunning hues of blue dominating the open sky. The morning was full of colors, sounds, and energy. It seemed like a perfect day for a Pagudpud day-out so off we went
(Pagudpud welcome arc)

It was 8AM when the two tricycles who will tour us, arrived. Our first destination was the PATAPAT VIADUCT, a long highway at the northernmost tip of Luzon Island. It is a snaky 1.3 kilometer concrete bridge that follows the outline of the northernmost mountains of Cordillera, elevated 31 meters above sea level, and the 4th longest bridge of the Philippines was strategically built to avoid accidents in this landslide prone area.

(Patapat Viaduct)

Next was the AQUA GRANDE PICNIK PARK. According to our tour guide, the park also serves as an alternative source of electricity. The place is very good for people with problems because it is so breezy and so relaxing.  Our third destination was the PARAISO NI ANTON. According to our tour guide, they do not have any idea why they call it that way. It is a twin falls which the locale believed is miraculous. I also noticed those buses coming from Cagayan were dropping by to drink its blessed water. So, to maximize our Ilocos experience, we also had the chance to drink its water. Beside the falls is flight of stairs leading to a Virgin Mary sculpture.
(Aqua Grande Picnik Park)

On our way to Hannah’s beach, we passed by the TIMMANGTANG ROCK and BANTAY ABOT CAVE. We went first in Timmangtang Rock, which according to our tour guide is synonymous to a male cock. On its left side is the Bantay Abot Cave but we needed to ride a tricycle first in order to reach it. Well, our world is full of tales, and these two tourist spots also have its own.  According to our tour guide, a long time ago there were two lovers who went to the sea but unfortunately, were drown. Then suddenly, the Timmangtang rock which is the male and Bantay Abot Cave which is the female appeared in the area. Strong Pacific waves relentlessly pummeling the coastline of Pagudpud since the dawn of time could’ve punched the huge hole into the mountain that made Bantay Abot truly a sight to see.

(Timmangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave)
 (Timmangtang Rock signage)
(Bantay Abot Cave)

Next is the HANNAH’s BEACH. There were lot of establishments within its vicinity such as Convention Center, Hotels, Resort, Resto’s and Bar’s which I think is very-Bora. J According to my research it is the most sought after place in Ilocos Norte because it is where you can experience the wonderful scenery of the Blue Lagoon Beach. It is a place perfect for adventure seeker, there is the longest Zip line and of course the Banana Boat experience. It was my first time to ride a Banana boat, and I got so excited so I really screamed at my loudest all throughout the ride. 

(Hannah's Beach from afar)
(Blue Lagoon Beach)
(Hannah's Beach Resort Convention Center)
(Getting ready for the boat ride)
(Banana Boat!)

After 10 minutes of travelling, we were able to reach the entrance of KABIGAN FALLS.  The entrance costs 10 pesos per head and a hundred pesos minimum fee for the tour guide. Beside the entrance is a restaurant where you can order foods they are going to cook for you. :) In front of a small chapel was a grass-covered parking space which also marks the jump off point for the 1.8 kilometer hike to the falls. We went hiking for 30 minutes, and we pass by a really forested area and a brook similar to that of Flatrocks in Los Banos, Laguna.  The trail was easy and entrenched. Flatland covered most of the hike leading deeper into the forest. Improvised bridges built from fastened tree trunks or wooden planks enable easier crossing of the streams. On a relaxed pace, Pagudpud’s waterfalls is in sight within 30 minutes. According to Ate Chona, the tour guide, the two people who discovered the said falls are friends who ended up as lovers. “Magkaibigan na nagka-ibigan”, and that is where its name Kabigan was derived. Surges of water plus the greenest of green welcomed us atop. We were amazed on the breathtaking view the falls has to offer. I admit that it was tiring to go hiking, but it seems like our effort was shelved off because of the reward. The 80-foot falls was surrounded by luscious green forest vegetation, and at the bottom was a basin of freezing water. I and my friends went on swimming and the water was so wintry and the cool mist felt in the air was refreshing, and a dip into the pool will kick tiredness and weariness out of your system. The local government bans any use of shampoo and soap on the falls because they are preserving its natural exquisiteness. When we got back to the restaurant, our Tilapia and Liempo were already cooked. Perfect! We were already hungry at that moment. We went back to Casa Victoria after eating to change our wet clothes.

(Kabigan Falls signage)
(Balete tree)
(Lhea)
(After 30 minutes of hiking, finally...)
(Kabigan Falls)

Thirty minutes away from Pagudpud comes the KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATION in the municipality of Burgos. The rock formations has been a shooting place for various movies such as Suddenly it’s Magic, Panday and Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote at Si Ako. The rock is made up of limestones, with a sand-like texture and dirty white color. They used to allow tourists to climb up the limestone formations until it was becoming thinner because of human activity. 
(Kapurpurawan Rock Formations)

It was 4PM when we were brought to our next destination, the CAPE BOJEADOR LIGHTHOUSE. Because it was already late, the lighthouse was already closed but we managed to beg for the caretaker to open it for us. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. It was first lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town.

(Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)

Our last destination for the day was the BANGUI WINDMILLS, located in the municipality of Bangui. Arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea, it is the first power generating windmill farm in Southeast Asia. At first, I got so scared of coming near the windmills because it is so massive. But as soon as we came accross the mills, i began to appreciate it :)

(Bangui Windmills)

It was 7PM when we got back to Casa Victoria Hotel. Knowing that it is already our last day in the province, we went out to the sea, left our camera in the room and enjoyed the place as it is. We experienced the fine sand, felt the coldness of the sea and watched the moon shining over us. Forget about trying to capture everything, record everything, because in the first place we went there to enjoy the magnificent paradise of the North.

Our trip in Ilocos Norte was full of tiresome activities, but it’s definitely worth it. The people were accommodating and more friendly than its counterpart province. Wandering around the place will lash out stress and negativities out of your physical body. The province is highly recommended especially for family gatherings because of various attractions it offers. The place is also perfect for nature lover and adventure seekers because it’s full of exciting tricks. Ilocos Norte will leave you breathless with its sundry topography that persuades you to come back again and again…

OTHER PHOTOS:

ILOCOS NORTE:
Hidden Paradise of the North
by: LHEA VENUS DUQUE
photos courtesy of: CARL ALLAN TARUN
narration by: JOHN MARK FRANCIA

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