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Re-posting the contents of 2012 4Q Wanderlust – upcoming trips in the Philippines.

Lake Sebu Helobung Festival

9 – 11 November 2012

helubong (n.) – a native T’boli word which translates to ‘never ending joy’

The T’boli is a highland tribe of South Cotabato, known for their colourful traditions. As a quick introduction to T’boli culture, I will be visiting Lake Sebu during its foundation celebrations. On the agenda are performances of indigenous songs and dance, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a traditional horse fight.  The T’boli are also known for their colourful T’nalak fabric, patterns of which are inspired by the weaver’s dreams.  But for me, the best part is getting away from the busy city life and immersing myself in the tranquility and seclusion Lake Sebu.  Nothing but the mountains, lakes and waterfalls – and the occasional tourist, I suppose.

If I start itching for adventure, I might just take a ride down highest zipline in South East Asia (a dizzying 180m off the ground).  Or go for a trek and discover the magnificent beauty of the seven waterfalls nearby.  Me time? Paddling to the middle of Lake Sebu at daybreak, to watch mother nature wake up from her slumber.

Angono Higantes Festival

23 – 25 November 2012

higante (n.) – Tagalog word for giant, or a legendary man-like creature of great size and strength.

The Higantes Festival in Angono is celebrated in honour of St. Clement (San Clemente), the patron saint of fishermen.  Central to the celebrations is a parade of papier mache figures – usually two feet wide and ten feet high – made to look like anything from St Clement to a balut vendor.

Being a culture vulture (or perhaps just an aspiring one), Angono sounds like my kind of place for a weekend away.  Home to a thriving art scene, wall murals by Philippine National Artist Carlos Botong Francisco line the walls near the local parish. Other local artistic giants include Nemiranda and Blanco – both of whom have museums dedicated to their work.

I may just make an entire road trip out of it, and explore nearby Laguna de Bay.  The Viaje del Sol group has establishments in neighbouring towns that are hosted by local artists.  I always look forward to experiencing Filipino hospitality first hand – that is, get plied with copious amounts excellent food that make it impossible to leave.

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