Who is the real Tarsier?

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One of the tours included in the countryside tour of Bohol is a visit to a Tarsier Sanctuary. One of its messages is spreading the awareness and concern about preserving the population of one of the unique primate species endemic in Bohol, which is the endangered Philippine Tarsier.  After seeing the cute and cuddly Tarsiers around the visitor's area, there's an imitation wall of the Tarsier where you can slip you face and hand so that you can have a memorable souvenir picture of imitating the famed primate of Bohol. This is was very popular among the visitors of the sanctuary.  And so I try to mock the Tarsier. I slip my face on the wall's hole, enlarge my eyes as large as possible to imitate the big round eyes of the Tarsier and extend my hand limbs to the fullest so I can have an authentic look of the Tarsier. The result is... who is the real Tarsier?

More about my Tarsier encounter here.

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Antipolo's Real Cove

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Enjoying the leisure with nature is the treat that I had when I visited Antipolo's Real Cove Resort in Rizal for a company teambuilding last May. The trip was a good opportunity to rediscover Antipolo again and the province of Rizal as a good nearby metropolis destination for Summer.

Antipolo's Real Cove.
It took us a 2-3 hours drive from Manila to reach Antipolo, Rizal. Real Cove Resort is located along Provincial Road, Brgy. Dalig, near Antipolo - Teresa boundary of Antipolo City.  While traveling on the road, I can already see the resort's imposing landmark - a billboard size name of the resort on the top of a very visible mountain top. This just made me excited for teambuilding that we were going to have in the resort later.
The resort is located at the base of the mountain and basically hilly. But what I like about its surroundings is its trees and plant abounded surroundings that makes the place cooler even on high summer day. The tall trees that gives instant shades from the hot rays of the sun were refreshing in sight and very nature inspired place. This is a true testament to the resorts' slogan - enjoying the leisure with nature.  

Teambuilding mates.
Welcome to Real Cove!
Here's a little bit of background about Antipolo and Rizal. Antipolo is a city in located in the province of Rizal; about 25 kilometers east of Manila. It is the largest city in the Calabarzon Region in terms of population. The city is popular for being a pilgrimage site. It prides itself as the "Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines." The Marian image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or the Virgin of Antipolo, which was brought in from Mexico in 1626, and enshrined in the Antipolo Cathedral has a continuous following among Filipino Catholics since the Spanish era. Its higher elevation than that of Metro Manila affords it a scenic view of the metropolis, especially at night. The city was named after the tipolo (breadfruit) tree (Artocarpus incisa), which was in abundance in the area. (Source)

Meanwhile, Rizal is a province that made the CALABARZON Region , just 16 kilometers east of Manila. The province was named after the country's national hero, José Rizal. Rizal is bordered by Metro Manila to the west, the province of Bulacan to the north, Quezon to the east and Laguna province to the south. The province also lies on the northern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. Rizal is a mountainous province perched on the western slopes of the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range. (Source)

One of the public pools of the resort.
Grill time!!!
Grilled fish, perfect for chow time.
Our teambuilding started with registration first. Then, we prepared our things in our room assignment. After we settled in, I helped in preparation of our food. Grilling is the best way of cooking in this kind of event - and grilling of all sorts of food - fish, squid, hot dogs and pork barbecue, of course!

We also had a private pool near our private room area where we are the only one who can use it but we are also allowed to use the other 2 public pools of the resort at our own leisure.

Extreme swimming time!
After we had our meal, we started our teambuilding games. But before we the games we had to do a team cheer first.  During the program, we had three games - Pinoy Henyo, Family Feud and Amazing Race, in which all of my team mates won.  Hurray! I highly enjoyed Amazing Race among the team games that we had. I had a chance to play like in my favorite reality TV Show - The Amazing Race - with all the runs and stride, puzzle solving clues and doing extreme challenges!

I ended my night together my colleagues on a relaxing night swimming while the others opt to sing in the video karaoke all-night long.
I'm proving myself not a couch potato - all smiles at the start of trek but later...
The following day, I woke up with a painful body.  This is what I get from last night's exhausting and over the edge swimming activity due to excitement! Despite of muscle aches all over my body, I need to wake up early to grab the opportunity of the morning's good atmosphere for a mountain hiking. Real Cove has a 400 step mountain hike that is a very good activity within the resort's facilities. The resort sits on the base of a mountain which the resort also owns. The steps are paved and guided so you won't be lost when you reach the summit.

If you think a couch potato can do it, think again. The 400 step is an extreme challenge! I started on 50 step first lap together with my colleagues who want to try hiking too. While the steps are pave, the heat of summer sun and no air breeze along the trail made it difficult and hot. Yet I'm glad that with all the sweats I had, I loose a lot of calories!!!
We're almost there - 2 more laps to go!
Some of my hiking colleagues enjoying the hike adventure.
After 400 steps!
The beautiful view of Rizal and Antipolo at the top.
I'm flying!!!
Beautiful mountain ranges can be seen at the top of the viewing area.
The summit at the top was rewarding. I got a 360 degree mountaintop view of Rizal province and Antipolo. There is a lush greenery view of the mountain ranges and hills of the surrounding areas at the top. A clear bluish sky also greeted us at the top. This is now where a cool mountain breeze blows. Even I had a weary body after the hike, I appreciate the imposing view at the top. This relaxing view is a great reward after 400 steps!
I'm not a couch potato - I reach the finish line!
The hiking trail down.
The trail down the mountain prove to be difficult this time, as the steps are quite steep and the view is nauseating. But with guided and moderate steps, I managed to finish the hike down.  After a total of 800 steps of hiking - up and down the mountain, I felt a need to rest. But my colleague invited me to do a garden walk at the back of the resort. The resort had a shady gardens perfect for afternoon chats and nature explorations.  This is also near the trail of ATV Rides that the resort is also offering.  The garden is nice and perfect for souvenirs photos.

Garden walk at Real Cove.
Antipolo Cathedral.
After a quite long rest, the company's service fetch us. Since there still enough time, we asked for a sidetrip to Antipolo Cathedral. While the cathedral is famous for the Catholic devotees, it is also famous for being the shrine of Marian icon, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Senora de la Paz Y Buenviaje). According to history, the icon, after repeated safe journeys between Mexico and the Philippines early in the 17th century, became known as the heavenly protector of Spain’s galleons.You can view the history and artifacts about it, offered a prayer and touch the icon on a separate backdoor trail of the cathedral. We did this after a short attendance to an ongoing mass. You can also buy candle and icon souvenirs and have it bless within the grounds of the church.  Outside the grounds, there are numerous tiangges selling popular pasalubongs from Antipolo like cashews and suman – a local delicacy made out of sticky rice.

We drove for 2 and a half hours back to Manila after. I have a leisure nature trip in Antipolo and though with a weary and tired body, I appreciate these discoveries in Rizal that made my last escapade of Summer 2011 a memorable one... 'til next summer.

Real Cove Resort 
Provincial Road, Brgy. Dalig,
(near Antipolo - Teresa Boundary), Antipolo City, Rizal
For booking and inquiries - 710-6054/994-3616/0922-8452844/0917-8809628/0920-9513970

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The 50th State!

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Hawaii is the 50th state of United States of America. It became an official state of US in August 1959.  It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands and adopts the motto, "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness."  Hawaii is an archipelago of over nineteen distinct volcanic islands located over a geological "hot spot" in the Central Pacific. There are eight major islands, six of which are open to tourism - Hawaii (Big Island), Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. Hawaii’s natural beauty, warm tropical climate, inviting waters and waves, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike.

Now that's a bit of history and information perfect for curious travelers to Hawaii and USA and just suited in time for the celebration of the America's independence day tomorrow.  While the state flag of Hawaii looks like a Union Flag of UK or having a part of it because it was once a British protectorate, its stripe colors of red, white and blue is very American. While touring the grounds of Pearl Harbor during my Hawaii trip, I have found these flags of state of Hawaii and USA, side by side and reminding us that Hawaii is a state of USA.

More about Hawaii here.


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