Exposing The Hidden Canyon’s Splendour and Mother Nature’s Call For “Responsible Tourism”

It was Friday a week ago, 14th of April 2017, when my mobile phone activated the alarm at three o’clock in the morning. I felt woozy but immediately leaped out of bed upon remembering that I and fellow traveler & housemate Leonel Mark Tuscano (IG: thechinitowanderer) are to set out on a trip to this new nature spot in Riyadh Province called “The Hidden Canyon” for a weekend adventure.

Sir Joel Acosta (IG: zanjo_fakz), one of the many prolific graduates of Cameraderie Photography Club International was the one who invited us to join their group’s jaunt. A few minutes later we were on board his Renault Captur and zoomed off  to Panda in Takhassusi Road to meet the other joiners for briefing.

We headed southeast from the city to Ad Dilam (or Al Dulum) via an alternate route past Kamsa Kamsa Park along Al Haeer Road an hour later. What’s interesting about this route is the breathtaking scenery of deserts filled with gigantic escarpments and featureless plains stretching into a distant haze. I would have loved to capture them given the chance but circumstance told me it’s no-chance-for-photo-op part of the trip.

Most of us have experienced this stage in our lives where we find ourselves travelling on someone else’s car or some form of public transport through astounding scenery. This is the ultimate frustration: not being able to have a chance to stop and photograph wonderful scenery passing us by. What I usually do in this case is I just revel in the moment rather than force myself to shoot a snapshot. It’s a waste of time to shoot through a fast moving vehicle’s window. I’ve gone through this more times than I could remember. So just take the scenery in.

After an hour and a half, we passed by a large expanse of acacia trees and soon, the dry deep gorge came into sight. I knew we have reached the destination before the navigator’s voice said so. We then followed the vehicles’ trail beside the gorge on our left from the paved road of that long, almost endless alternate route.

From that threshold, we still had to drive about two kilometers away until we saw parked cars. “The Hidden Canyon found at last!” I immediately exclaimed.

Other than the whistling of summer zephyr and babble of fellow visitors around, all is quiet. We strolled through the edge of the canyon upon alighting from the car and went back to the group for a short talk and breakfast. We were surrounded by prickly desert trees that serve home to birds chirping a beautiful day.

We also enjoyed the ever amazing sun so powerfully hot and yet so beautiful, the way it’s always overhead and on permanent guard―ready to stamp out any aerial element that dares to darken the adventure.

The latest craze when it comes to weekend destinations in Riyadh is "The Hidden Canyon" on the outskirts of Al Dilam (oTher name: Al Dulum). It may not be as grand and deep as Arizona's but descending from the top still makes for a pretty good day of downclimbing, even rappelling. If you were to go down those steep ravines, you still need a bit of "brain muscles" to land safely (pun intended). Make a note of that. I had so much fun doing it repeatedly the day I was there. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #nature #naturephotography #plateau #canyon #hiddencanyon #thehiddencanyon #travelblogger #traveldiaries #travelersnotebook #travelingram #instalike #rockies #riyadhguide #riyadh #ksa #hiddencanyonriyadh

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Being a transitory part of this isolated terrain is surreal.

It’s nature’s best in an Arabian desert particularly when I began peering at the exquisite turquoise waters.

The Hidden Canyon is a sight to behold indeed! A sight that I want to preserve.

A sight that I want to keep for myself…yet, truth be told, impossible to do in this day and age because of overutilized tourism on social media.

Tourism is something seen as common and in most cases, good for the economy and best for people in need of nature therapy. The latter is the case in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where most of nature attractions are on the cuff.

Many may disagree that something is wrong with tourism. However, using this very place as reference, they may see a different approach to the idea.

Allow me to put a classic illustration. Through exploring the stretch of this hidden canyon on that fateful day, I saw one simple way in which tourism outrightly ruins the place’s telluric beauty: Garbage. Non-biodegradable at that!

In a place like this, tourism provides a haven for hordes of sightseers but it also tramples it.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind fellow tourists and travelers to be responsible enough in preserving the cleanliness of this canyon.

While I’m more than happy to exploit new places I’ve set foot on such as this one, I also fear participation in destroying them.

The selfie-obsessed hoards and musicophiles are forgivable but not litterbugs. I have faith in humanity but when I witnessed fellow visitors not to mention Filipinos, on that day, throwing and leaving garbage wherever and whenever they want to at the canyon and nearby areas, I somehow lost it.

Then again, the optimist in me prevailed. I believe that all we need is this reminder: No one or no local government unit is looking after the upkeep of the place; therefore, littering is a definite no-no.

Amid the earth’s degrading environment, which is common knowledge as we speak, it’s expected from us, mere visitors, to promote conservation in the outdoors, to abide by the Leave No Trace 7 Principles. Spread the word, please.

I’d like to reiterate that this nature attraction in Al Dilam is free of charge and relatively new. Keeping it clean is the least that we could do to give back to it’s worth.

I’m certain that there are still a lot of expats and locals out there eager to visit and enjoy the place.

We followed the same route driving back to the capital city. I used the entire travel time to weave the foregoing words while indulging in the breathtaking scenery of deserts filled with gigantic escarpments and featureless plains stretching into a distant haze.

This day was another exciting and meaningful day of life lessons in my travel diary.

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Below are the details you need to get to The Hidden Canyon:

  • Address: 16382, Saudi Arabia
  • Coordinates: 23.910811,46.939980
  • Map

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Take a peek at Riyadh’s New Tourism Gem: The Hidden Canyon #VantagePoint (yobynos.wordpress.com)

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Take a peek at Riyadh’s New Tourism Gem: The Hidden Canyon #VantagePoint

A week ago, the leader of expat bloggers in Riyadh, The Pink Tarha, posted this newly discovered nature spot in Al Dulum called “The Hidden Canyon” 130 kilometers from the capital city. Weekend sightseers, Filipino expats in particular, have been buzzing around the place since.

I and a friend were fortunate to have been invited by Sir Joel Acosta (IG: zanjo_fakz) of Cameraderie Photography Club International to join him in disrobing the place’s exalted grandeur and simplicity. The two-hour drive to Al Dulum is one of the most exciting trips in Stories of The Wandering Feet & Mind‘s travel diary to date. Who wouldn’t think about photographing and write a story about or make a note of this fresh tourist gem’s dramatic landscape, majestic escarpments, orange hues, and turquoise water that are tucked away below the deserts of Al Dulum.

As a travel blogger, I always wished for a compact camera equipped with DSLR capabilities that I can slide into my pocket whenever travel or nature’s booty calls like this trip. I’m a supporter of travel(ing) light. My current AI Wander Buddy is a Nikon 5200, which is bulky and prevents me from constantly carrying it. I’m glad to have come across Light.co‘s The Light L16 Camera and would be relieved if I could have one soon. With a massive 52 megapixel resolution, over 5x optical zoom, unmatched low-light performance, precise depth-of-field control, automatic over-the-air updates, and social sharing feats, you will want to pick it up and shoot pictures with it—right away! This cutie has enough to impress travel photographers like me.

I’m truly honored to be part of Light.co‘s #VantagePoint Project on Pinterest.

On a side note, let’s not forget to respect the place by disposing our garbage properly. This is the least that we could do to give back to such a beautiful place—absolutely free for consumption.

This “vantage point” didn’t only provide me with a decent view of The Hidden Canyon’s main attraction, it also opened my eyes to the truth that exploiting a place is a double-edged sword.

In a country whose tourism is, for lack of a better way to put it, just getting started, there’s so much that could be discovered. This may have favorable and unfavorable consequences to the host but, I believe, it’s always altruistic to share something beautiful.

The above photo is a hand-held shot taken at F11, 400-sec exposure, and ISO 800.

The Hidden Canyon will surely become one of the most sought after weekend getaway destinations in Riyadh if not the Kingdom from here on out.

Wanna stop buzzing around and see the place for yourself instead?

Below are the details you need to get to The Hidden Canyon:

  • Address: 16382, Saudi Arabia
  • Coordinates: 23.910811,46.939980
  • Map

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Time Stands Still at Trinity Islands in Oas, Albay

Bonding with nature once in a while is something I am passionate about. It does not only give me the opportunity to travel. It also gives me the chance to do a favorite fitness regimentation or adventure and make  quality time with loved ones . This kind of excursion is a necessity to an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). That is why this activity has become an absolute part of my annual vacation’s written  itinerary.

I have a special affinity with the beach so that my vacation has always been during summer since I became an OFW. And normally, I go for non-mainstream destinations. I may have chosen Calaguas Islands (Calaguas), which is mainstream, last year as the place for this excursion but the longing for that comfort in the familiar will never dissipate. Ms. Wonderwall, my official travel buddy, was missing in action this time around because of her fractured elbow. I am grateful for she has been taking care of the perfect destinations for this activity nevertheless. I am an adopted Bicolano. No one knows Bicolandia better than she does. I and my eldest son would have not seen another hidden gem of Bicol last 07 March 2017, before it gets crowded. 

A group of low-lying hills surrounding the gentle valleys along the coast  in rural Albay; a pebbly, sandy shore; a boscage of lush trees, a blue lagoon, fishing boats scattered here and there that seem to have become part of the landscape…

Then there is Trinity Islands tucked into those sceneries that takes a challenging two and a half hour drive from the town of Oas center to get to Brgy. Cagmanaba, and another seven to ten minute boat ride to finally reach the place.

The name of the place was derived from the number of the islands.

What makes them unique are their close proximity to each other like Siamese twins, only there are three of them; the lagoon that they form, which is visible at the peak of the tallest, biggest island; and the emerging diving spots on two of the islands—strongly recommended only to the brave and bold.

The physical characteristics of Trinity Islands are undoubtedly attractive.

This goes as well for the  public beaches along Cagmanaba coastline that serve as penultimate destinations.

Both are currently unspoiled, free from the brash crowd. 

A trip to Trinity Islands also offers a privately operated resort that trots out boats for rent and stuff.

This is a decent destination to take the family for a day at the beach. 

May these beautiful views remind us that we have a graceful relationship with nature. As we go on appreciating them, let us not forget our responsibility to nature: to take care of it. Nature is the one thing we all share and have a mutual interest in.

I am therefore advising future visitors to help in the upkeep of this place by taking nothing from it but pictures or video clips and leave nothing but fingerprints.

One thing noteworthy about this entire experience is my eldest son’s overpowering joy.

I never saw him this happy and engaged until Trinity Islands’. Other than the long drive, boat ride, and swimming, he also loved the hiking and diving that came out of this one-day escapade.

These are the summer vibes in store for you when you get to Trinity Islands. 

I am most grateful to Sir Ronald O. Redito for facilitating our trip; for the smooth ride to and from this ultimate destination; and for walking me through the economic state of Oas that prompted me to positively exploit this promising place through social media. Visit his Facebook Page or contact him directly at +639173628904 for booking purposes.

Related Blog Posts

Rediscovering Oas, Albay: Barangay Cagmanaba (iamaljonpertiz.blogspot.com)

Trinity Island: Paradise at the West Coast (kooroocai.tumblr.com)

Bicol Travel Diary: Day 3 and 4 (yonamarieyoung.wordpress.com)

A Visit To Trinity Islands Cagmanaba Oas Albay (mrjgeurrero.com)

Trinity Islands, Oas, Albay (greedypeg.org)

Monster Trucks Crash in Riyadh

Backed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment (GAE), the Feld Entertainment Inc. and Live Entertainment have brought the popular live motorsport, Monster Jam, to the Kingdom at the King Fahd International Stadium today, 17th of March 2017.

This two-day show is one of the biggest and most celebrated touring shows in the USA and the world for over a decade. It features legendary drivers in four-meter tall, five-ton Monster Jam truck, which are built for short, high-powered bursts of speed. These super vehicles generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. They can also fly across 130 feet, a distance greater than 14 cars side by side, and up to 35 feet in the air.

The Monster Jam motorsport event is one of the biggest and most celebrated touring shows in the USA and the world. It's worth reiterating that it made history earlier tonight because it kicked off the first of its two-day series that features storied drivers in four-meter tall, five-ton Monster Jam trucks; quad bikers; and motorcross riders. The experience is summed up to a one hell of a ride. So if you're up to an adrenaline-pumping show, you can (still) purchase passes for its second day right at the stadium's ticket booths. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #instalike #instagood #monsterjam2017 #monsterjam #motorsport #riyadh #riyadhguide #travel #travelnotebook #supercross #ksa

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Monster Jam is only one of the upcoming events that GAE is working on to bring to the Kingdom. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that returned to KSA in November last year was another successful event made possible by GAE.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, once again, proven its continuous efforts on introducing the general public to a new form of entertainment all for strengthening the country’s economy and global competitiveness and in harmony to its Saudi Vision 2030 (“Let the show begin: Word-class entertainment comes to Saudi Arabia“).

The stereotypical picture of the cultural entertainment in the Kingdom is indeed changing into a new face—one that is modern and open-minded.

#monsterjam2017 #monsterjam #riyadh #riyadhguide #travelersnotebook #motorsport #motorcross #supercross 

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On Break

Riyadh’s Ten Best Places To Watch The Sunset

When I was still working in the Philippines, sunset is no big deal to me. I didn’t feel that strong inclination to chase it up to make my day complete. But when I braved the corporate world in Riyadh five years ago, things changed. I struggled at coping with the kind of life expats have here particularly in my circle. Having friends helped me a lot during the extreme homesickness period. But there’s also one thing that assisted me in my alone moments, whenever nostalgia knocks on the door: sunset.

During my first few weeks, there was this time when I went home a little bit earlier than usual. There was only me in the flat. So the dreading (home) sickness kicked in. I wanted to call them or chat with them but had no means. I fidgeted for a few minutes until I snuggled down at the sala. Suddenly, I was lashed by the summer breeze that made its way through the open window adjacent to where I was seated. I looked at the window and saw a beautiful painting. My optical organs got inundated with vivid colors of yellow, orange, and red beautifully interfusing with the blue sky and soft clouds simultaneous with the sun taking the center stage. I was magnetized by the scenery. I grabbed a seat by the window. At the very second I gazed out, the sky became a glorious art gallery. I felt like that sunset view was them staring at me and telling me they’re fine. I felt happy, satisfied. hopeful, and comforted. 

From there on out, sunset became a part of my life here especially when life’s low points crop up. It maybe regarded as a thing of fleeting beauty but its magic lasts. It was embedded in me. I then started documenting my sunset encounters and majority of them were posted on my social media channels last year.

In this fast-paced world divided by nationalism, language, gender, political belief, and religion, I believe it’s a must to remind those who’d forgotten the importance of appreciating a sunset. This is something we all can agree on

As beautiful as it is, sunset is not too difficult to capture. You don’t need to go places or use a super camera to catch its charm. To prove my point, check these 16 sunset photos (which were mostly shot on iPhone) out as they take you to 10 of the most ordinary places in Riyadh to watch the sunset, with a bit of story on the side. 

May this kind of view reminds us that we have a graceful relationship with nature. As we go on appreciating this transitory beauty of nature in the mundane, let us not forget our responsibility to nature: to take care of it. Nature is the one thing we all share and have a mutual interest in. Let us not throw things as if people are always ready to them pick up. Let us not forget to recycle. Let us not waste things like disposable plastic cups, plates, spoons and forks as well as paper cups, plates, and towels. Let us not ignore the importance of cooking your own food and growing your own food. And, let us minimize the use of plastic bags or avoid buying those in the stores whenever and wherever necessary. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #freegift #sunset #sky_hues #sky_captures #mundane #nature #riyadh #saudiarabia #iphoneography #shotoniphone

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If you've been paying attention to the sunset pictures I've been posting, you know that this is like the nth time I'm posting the same subject. Yes, it's true. But you would notice that each photo shows different shades and textures of that dominant sunset colors as well as cloud forms. Sunset do appear in many faces on the sky and it makes one weary at some point. Howbeit, I won't get tired of taking a few minutes admiring its simplicity, exquisiteness, drama, and, most of all, mystery each time I catch it flaunting up there. #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #storiesofthewanderingfeet #travelersnotebook #travelstoriesworld #travelblogger #sunrise_sunsets_aroundworld #sunset #skyporn #riyadh #riyadhguide #ksa #iphoneography #shotoniphone

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The next time you catch a sunset, slow down and make sure to revel in it. It’s such a calming experience I tell you. Always remember that you’re accomplishing a very important thing when you do.

#lifeinsaudiarabia #alkharj #jarirbookstore #alizdihar #iavatime #alwadi #nofafarm #alkharj #manarat #northringroad #exit7

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Sun Siyam Groups in KSA’s “A Glimpse Into The Sunny Side Of Life”

Earlier tonight, the opening ceremony of Sun Siyam Group in KSA’s “A Glimpse Into The Sunny Side of Life” took place at the stunning Four Points by Sheraton in Al Murabba, Riyadh. The event was attended by dignitaries such as the Ambassador of Maldives, Sun Siyam Resorts’ Director of Business Development, and Saudia’s Sales Manager for Riyadh.

Since this is the first and biggest launching of Sun Siyam Resorts in the kingdom, various media personalities from broadcasters to travel bloggers were also in the circle to make sure the great news reaches traditional and social media platforms.

The goal of this event is to boost tourism for Maldives, through Sun Siyam Resorts, in KSA considering its peoples’ love for the sunny side of life. Closer ties between the two countries is a given. Saudis and expats from different parts of the globe here in the kingdom are continuously if not increasingly drawn into tropical wonders particularly beaches and resorts as beautiful and luxurious as Maldives’.

A collection of hotel and resort brands born from the inspiration of Ahmed Siyam Mohamed defines what Sun Siyam Resorts is–led by the passion for creating a difference in the Maldives Tourism Industry that redefine the luxury hospitality experience. Sun Siyam Resorts has a high caliber portfolio of boutique luxury resorts operating in Maldives that include The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Maldives, and Sun Aqua Pasikudah.

Add to that the numerous awards in this field of business. The most recent of which are The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi‘s exceptional award, along with recognition on a regional scale, in the South Asian Travel Awards 2016 as the Leading Wellness & Spa Hotel/Resort in both the Maldives and South Asia in November 2016 and two prestigious awards namely the Global Winner Leading Luxury Beach Resort and the Regional Winner Leading Luxury Spa Hotel at the World Luxury Hotel Awards Gala Ceremony in Qatar last October 2016.

On a side note, the event paved the way for Saudia to announce and promote its expansion of flights to Maldives. Their two flights that have been operational since the 30th of March 2016 will become four by summer this year through the shared future plans to launch direct flights from Jeddah to Maldives.

Visit sunsiyam.com & saudia.com for more promotional details.

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Maldives is waiting and is always ready to welcome vacationists to its paradisiacal islands.

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A massive thanks to Media Source for letting me represent travel bloggers in Riyadh.

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Why Camarines Sur should always be one of the most and must visited provinces in the Philippines?

A long long time ago when the heavens poured down natural scenery on the Land of the Morning, Philippines, a place called Camarines Sur caught most of it. Blame the colossal titans inhabiting the land; they were holding celestial buckets during that time.

Camarines Sur (Central Bikol: Habagatan na Camarines; Filipino: Timog Camarines; and better known as CamSur at present) in the Bicol Region may have suffered a dramatic decline in the number of visitors in 2013, a year after it was being declared as the country’s top tourist destination, but it remains as one of the most sought after destinations in the Philippines. The credit goes to its diverse attractions from front line to off the beaten path. Extreme sports, recreation, cultural, nature, adventure, and religious tourism spots are almost countless—and these are close to if not within Naga City’s vicinity.

In 2016, the Philippine Dairy Inquirer, the most widely read broadsheet newspaper in the Philippines with over 2.7 million nationwide readers daily, once again confirmed that CamSur is the most visited province, with 2.06 million tourists in 2015, or 45.5 percent of arrivals. Being the second home of this blog’s author since 2013, promoting tourism for the province has been one of Stories of the Wandering Feet & Mind’s serious missions.

With Camarines Sur’s continuous tourism power since 2006, when the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) began full operations, evidenced by the Philippine Statistics Office and Department of Tourism‘s reports, there is no doubt that it is still on top of the best destinations in the Philippines. Impressive limestone formations and pristine beaches in public or secluded areas for beach bums, pulsating adventure spots for the brave souls, biking and hiking trails for contemporary health enthusiasts, among others are only some of what makes the province an absolute standout.

Take a peek at Pinoy Travel Blogger SonyboyFugaban and Professional Landscape Photographer Rodel delos Reyes, with the big help of their fellow Instagram wanderers, have to say about the grandeur (i.e., upcoming destinations that you should add to your travel bucket list) that is #CamSur through their photos and as to why it should always be one of the most and must visited provinces in the Philippines.

The CWC in Cadlan is equipped with world-class water-based entertainment facilities not only for wakeboarding and water skiing but motor cross, skateboards, and BMX trails.

Add to that the equally attractive sites that serve as perfect side trips in every visit to CWC: the Eco Village and Lago del Ray.

CWC is definitely back to the grind; it hosted the “2016 Wake Park World Championship” last year (October 2016).

The immaculate beaches of Caramoan will not disappoint both locals and foreigners; it is still the province’s, not to mention Bicolandia’s, ultimate summer capital.

The Philippines’ best beaches and islands” that was published on CNN’s website in November 2016 recognized Caramoan as the sixth placer on the list.

The lofty Mt. Isarog is not only a paradise for mountain climber’s but even bikers for its adventure friendly trails.

During casual conversations, we're frequently asked about our favorite season. The part that makes me wonder most of the time is the inclination of fellow Asians, here in the Saudi, to choose winter over summer. Well, I've come to a point when I suspended my disbelief. One's favorite is his favorite after all. Winter and summer are the equivalent of hot and dry seasons in the Philippines, in the tropics. I've always reveled in summer; it's inherent to me. There maybe days when I avoid the scorching heat but that will never bate the affection I feel for summer. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #travel #reflection #story #itsmorefuninbicol #bicolbloggers #visitcamsur #nature #mtisarog #summer

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This mountain, which stands 1,966 metes above sea level (MASL), is actually a natural park with rich biodiversity and fresh countryside views.

Beautiful #sunrise #mtisarog #travel #asia #philippines

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For those who are up to recharging their batteries from the zest-draining workplace stress, Panicuason offers natural hot springs and modern outdoor adventures.

Panicuason is the blogger’s next must-see CamSur destination.

The home to the world’s smallest edible fish in the world, Lake Buhi, and the only white pebbles beach in Camsur and the whole Bicol Region give the same treat.

These places offer an unscathed scenery that will force any sightseer to put his mobile phone down.

Take a peek at one of the country’s freshwater wonders that is an endemic species of the very placid Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur: tabios (a.k.a. sinarapan – the world's smallest commercial extant fish). When I was just frequenting the province in 2007, I could say I've had enough of it. (Tabios dishes still make my sac growl.) But when reports about its inclusion in the list of endangered species surfaced in 2014, its availability on the market followed the same fate. I hope the local government will make an institutional intervention in the preservation of this species. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #itsmorefuninbicol #bicolbloggers #philippineimages #sinarapan #endangeredspecies

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They literally define a laid-back yet quaint place, which makes a getaway to either of these two truly rejuvenating.

Waterfall chasers will go after Iriga City, Libmanan, and Pili while spelunking aficionados should go down to Adiangao and Kulapnitan.

#hotspring

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The earth has its music for those who will listen 👂🏻🎵 – George Santayana

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This province is also teeming with historical churches that radiate ancient Spanish vibe and festivals—such as Karanowan, Harana, Partido Baybayon, Kaogma, Boa-Boahan, Tumatarok Lagonoy Kadahoman, May Ilaoud, Bikol Pastores, Kamundagan including the two of the country’s most celebrated ecumenical and offering festivals Peñafrancia and Tinagba respectively—all year round.

Happy Fiesta, City of Naga! Viva La Virgen! #PenafranciaFestival #HomeTown #HomeSweetHome

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Tinagba Festival 2014

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Finally, CamSur is home to a variety of authentic Bicolano food such as Pinangat, Laing, Bicol Express Pasta, Pancit Bato, and Laing Pasta

Naga City is, of course, swarming with restaurants and eateries along Magsaysay, Peñafrancia, or Mayon Avenue where these delicacies can be found.

Meryienda time! 😘😉👍 #bicolfood #pancitbato #sinapot #yummy

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Laing Pasta #nagacityfood #bicolfood #rollscafeph

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Verily, Camarines Sur is not only Bicol region’s financial, commercial, industrial, business, and cultural hub, but a reliable tourism icon of the Philippines with its spectacular nature wonders and modern entertainment facilities of various forms that will make every visitor, be it a traveler or tourist, come back for more.

This is my entry to Ms. Gretchen Filart Dublin of Blog Carnival BadgeFilipina Explorer‘s PTB Year Opener Blog Carnival titled “Best Upcoming Destinations for 2017”.

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The Leaning Tower of Milaor (nagacitydeck.com)

Cafes in Naga City (bicolblggers.com)

(Feel free to comment on the things that were missed from you personal list.)

Chronicles Of A Three-Day Trip To Dubai: “Food Trip at SOY in The Dubai Mall”

Chronicles Of A Three-Day Trip To Dubai: “Dubaiscapes”

One of the perks of staying in hotels during leisure trips aside from security, comfort, room service, and internet access is luxury in the forms of swimming pool, fitness center, and in-house restaurant. This was how we started our second day, 16 July 2016. We took advantage of Ramada Deira’s luxurious offerings.

It was good news for us to know that the hotel’s swimming pool and gym are just a floor away from our room. I went to the gym first to do a few sets of weightlifting workout as warm-up for swimming before joining Onel and Ren at the pool in about 20 minutes.

The rarest yet very loved form of exercise that I do is swimming. Thank God I did learn it before teenage years kicked in or I couldn’t have enjoyed the river near our place back in the day or the swimming pools in the other places I’ve been to. The reasons why I still love swimming—even if I don’t have a pool—and can’t do it regularly more than any other forms of exercise are it burns more fat, helps build stronger muscles, and is very effective in burning off calories. I read, believed the supporting scientific studies.

Good times! (July 2016) #whenindubai #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #thewanderingstenographer #dubai #uae

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Summer in the Middle East was already at its peak during that time and, generally, it keeps people from leaving their air-conditioned rooms. As a result, excursions are like Giant Pandas in the forest habitat of southwest China’s mountainous areas: extinct! Swimming is no exception. But we don’t care about the piercing rays of the sun if there’s a chance for us to swim even in a pool.

After indulging in the hunger-inducing activities of the morning, we went to the in-house Filipino restaurant, Barrio Fiesta, to avail the free breakfast. I stuffed my sac with protein rich food coupled with black coffee. That was such a moment to relish because we were eating some of our favorite local food. It felt home!

At approximately 9:05 AM, we were already inside the moving bus  for the four-hour city tour.

Our first stop was at the Dubai Museum that is lying under the Al-Fahidi Fort along Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai.

Wordless Friday Series (Episode 6) #mydubai #streetphotography #dubaimuseum #whenindubai #dubai #uae #alfahidi

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The museum was built in 1787 to defend the Dubai Creek, which is another major attraction in Dubai.

The entrance has a fascinating exhibition of old maps of the Emirates and Dubai, showing the expansion that hit the region after the oil boom. Below the ground floor are display halls with exhibits, showcasing various aspects of traditional Emirati lifestyle including artifacts from the 3,000-4,000 year old graves at Al Qusais archaeological site, and a souvenir shop offering an array of Dubai mementos.

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The courtyard area boasts several traditional boats and a palm-leaf house with an Emirati wind-tower. The right-hand hall features weaponry and the left-hand hall showcases Emirati musical instruments.

The three photos are only a glimpse of what can be seen at this Museum.

The fun part of a city tour via a bus is the chance to see countless, awesome cityscapes, especially along Sheik Zayed Road and D 94, but it’s very difficult to get a decent photo of them.

It requires a considerable amount of patience to take good snapshots in a moving vehicle.

Sheikh Zayed Road is the primary access route crawling across Dubai’s modern downtown business district.

This wide, eight-lane highway is brimming with jaw-dropping skyscrapers, rimmed with towering glass and steel, along its length.

D 94 is also known as Jumeirah Road or Jumeirah Beach Road; King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud Street; and officially as Al Sufouh Road. It starts at the Dubai Maritime City and ends at Jumeirah Beach Residence, coalescing with Sheikh Zayed Road.

The road runs parallel to Dubai’s coast along the Persian Gulf and along E 11 (Sheikh Zayed Road), connecting the sub-localities of Jumeirah (Jumeirah 1, 2, & 3).

The street art in the photo is a trademark of Al Ghurair Food (AGF). It's strutting along Al Ghuraiba Road in Bur Dubai and is one of the attention-grabbing views during a city tour in Dubai because of its unique visual appeal and the sponsor behind it. According to AGF's website, the company entered the foods industry sector in 1976 through the creation of National Flour Mills in Dubai. Today, Al Ghurair Foods is a strong force in the UAE's business sector with technologically advanced and multi product manufacturing enterprise and with a market presence in over 25 countries in 4 continents. #storiesofthewanderingfeet #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #whenindubai #streetart #streetphotography #citybustour #dubaiscape #dubai #uae

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The next stop is another prominent landmark in the City of Now: Atlantis, The Palm. This is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious resort hotels in the world; it is set on the iconic Palm Jumeirah island that allows a full view of the Arabian Gulf.

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It’s one of the frontline landmarks that define Dubai’s beauty and modernity. A visit to the city won’t be complete without taking a groupie in front of it.

Wordless Friday Series (Episode 7: Usies) #mydubai #atlantis #entrance #thepalmdubai #cityscape #usies #dubai #uae #iphoneography

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The same goes for our penultimate stop which is the, as in The Most Iconic Ladmark in Dubai: Burj Al Arab.

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When I hear the word Dubai, the first thing that comes to mind is this burj. Really!

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You could just tell by the warm fuzzies depicted in our striking pose behind it. We can’t help but take a photo of it because its iconic and it really makes for a perfect background or beach scenery.

This stunning part of Dubai was our penultimate stop during our city tour. Burj Al Arab is still the, as The Most Iconic Landmark of Dubai. When I hear the word Dubai, the first thing that comes to mind is this burj. Really! If you set foot on this place, you can’t help but take photos of it because its iconic and it really makes for a perfect background or beach scenery. Burj Al Arab maybe the 13th most expensive hotel in the universe but in the Middle East, it's the only one regarded as a 7-star hotel. (https://yobynos.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/chronicles-of-a-three-day-trip-to-dubai-dubaiscapes/) #storiesofthewanderingfeetandmind #storiesofthewanderingfeet #burjalarab #iconic #landmark #jumeirah #beach #summerlovin #travelblogger #whenindubai #dubai #uae

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We spent a total of 30 minutes feasting on the turquoise Persian Gulf’s offing with the 13th most expensive hotel in the universe on the side.

Then we zoomed off immediately to our final stop: Dubai Mall—the 6th largest and the biggest shopping mall in the world.

The Dubai Mall is nesting at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. This one was actually not included in our tour package. We only requested the tour operator to drop us at the place and was granted.

Our arrival at the mall was perfect time for lunch. But before we got in, I noticed this handsome thing flaunting its flair in front of the mall’s main door. Our sacs were already growling but being a collector of its toy version, I had to give the car the attention it deserves.

That would be all for now in this episode. I consider the Dubai Mall along with Souk Al Bahar and Burj Khalifa as Cyclopean Trinity. They have to be encapsulated in a separate blog post.

#Deira #Dubai #UAE #SheikhZayedRoad #RamadaDeira #DubaiMuseum #DubaiCreek #AlGhurair #AlKazimTwinTowers #dubaiscapes #BurjAlArab #DubaiMall #AlFahidiFort #Cityscapes #iPhoneography #JumeirahBeachResidence #D94 #JumeirahRoad #D94 #AlSufouhRoad

Related Articles & References

Dubai (iamella.com)

Dubai Travel (huffingtonpost.com)

Top 15 things to do in Dubai (joaocajuda.com)

Why You Should Visit Dubai In 2016 (spotahome.com)

A quick travel guide to Dubai (adventurousmiriam.com)