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30 Hours Historical Adventure in Bulacan

Sibika at Kultura and HEKASI tought us about the history of the Philippines, am I right?  Since reading history lessons were my hobbies during my elementary and high school, I didn't dream to become a historian or even becoming a history teacher.  I am curious and wandering if how people of the15th century live in our country and how they give a large impact in today's civilizations - that's the main reason why I decided to explore some of the Bulacan historical places.  The theme for my Bulacan adventure is: " 30 Hours Historical Adventure in Bulacan " For more information about the destinations, click the yellow phrases.

It was the first week of October when I decided and plotted a trip on October 14 and 15, 2012 going to some of the historical places in Bulacan.  The plan was all about exploring just the Barasoain Church and some of the nearby historical spots, it didn't happen and you know why?  When I opened www.bulacan.gov.ph then clicked on the Tourism tab, it gave me a lot of the Historical places that can be found in that province; they also provided a short definition in each spots. That was a great help, that's the only website that I've used in searching all about Bulacan.

My preparations were done the night before my travel dates, actually that's how I plan everytime that I travel alone.  " No directions, No hotels, No first or last locations to visit, as long as everything will be within 1,500 pesos budget" and everything will be okay.

Since all of my outdoor and personal stuffs were already inside my backpack - that's how I am prepared for everything that could happen.  I have separated my travel things to my daily stuff, this is to lessen the pressure I feel every time I am preparing for my next travel.

October 14, 2012 Sunday at 8AM I was in Baliwag Transit station in EDSA-Cubao, Quezon City.  This is my first day trip going to Bulacan.  I took an ordinary bus going to San Miguel, Bulacan since my first location is the Biak na Bato National Park.  Just tell the konduktor that you will be going to Biak na Bato, and they already know where to drop you off. 

While on the way going to San Miguel, I was able to enjoy the green n' gorgeous surroundings.  You will see the big difference between Manila and a simple province like Bulacan.  There are green trees, green field, green mountains, so basically everything was really green, that time, my mind was also green, hahaha.  I didn't felt bored while on the way, because there were people who were standing in the middle of the bus.  Well, I was fortunate because I was able to get a seat. 

Opps, the konduktor shouted, " Yung mga pupuntang Biak na Bato, dito na oh!! " - corrections, I am the only one who's going there, why he used MGA? Anyways, so I grabbed my bag then walked from the back part of the bus going to the front and before I've reached the door, he informed me that I need to take a tricycle going to the Biak na Bato. 

So, that's what I've did, I took a tricycle and while the tricycle was running so fast, I felt the wind blowing my long, black and curly hair.  The wind was cool, really fresh, unlike the air here in Manila, which contains CO2, and what does that mean? use Google, it's for free, hahaha.  According to the driver, it is more than 20 kilometers from the place I descended to Biak na Bato.  It took more than 30 minutes of travel to reach the place, but no worries, because the road is cemented, so your travel is fine.

The tourist guides were the first who approached me, wearing black with white Guide print in it.  The first thing that we did was, briefing about the parts of Biak na Bato National Park and also informed me about the charges. 

Biak na Bato National Park is really wide, composed of many beautiful and historical caves that General Emilio Aguinaldo used to hide from the Spaniards.  After briefing, they let me do everything first, so I went to the comfort room, which costs 5 pesos, then I bought 3 big breads. I ate the 2 breads, so how many is remaining? get the calculator and compute, hahaha. 

So, I think I am done with my personal choirs, together with the guide, we took a motorcycle going to the 3 historical caves: the Yungib I - Ambush Cave, Yungib II - Hospital Cave and the Yungib III - Imbakan Cave.  To see what's inside those 3 caves, just click the yellow highlights.

Everytime I touch the stones inside the caves, I am praying to have a power go to the past, everytime I touch a certain object.  But that's really impossible, the things that could do right now, is to read the historical stories, written by the historians.  Those 3 caves played a great part during the Spanish colonization to our country.  The caves which were used by the Katipuneros including General Emilio Aguinaldo in  fighting against the Spaniards. 

It was already 11:00AM when we finished exploring the caves.  Because of the mud present inside the caves, it stick on my shoes that make it really heavy. So, I washed my Merrell Shoes in the nearby stream to make myself comfortable, because my shoes were too heavy because of the mud.  I saw the children taking a bath while their mothers were washing their clothes in the same stream.  I love the ambiance in that place and the residents have a simple lifestyle and they are so kind to beautiful girl like me, hahaha in my dreams.

Let's go back to my travel stories, we walked few meters from the cave going to the main road.  Then, since it was already lunch time, one of my guide approached me to have lunch in her house.  So, I have no choice but to say YES to her, and that's it, we walked more than hundred meters and we reached her home sweet home.  She first introduced me to her family, hahaha, well I don't know what that means to them, hahaha.  She cooked rice and we went to her small Sari-sari store, and bought in canned foods with cold soda.  So that's for our lunch, of course nothing is for free today, so I paid everything and we eat happily ever after.

45 minutes rest after our lunch, while the residents were cleaning their nails.  They were so kind to me, they treated me like I am their cousin.  We took the motorcycle (actually I paid the driver for that) and went back to the Park's main gate.  I rested again for few more minutes, and I prepared for a trekking adventure going to the famous Bahay Paniki Cave. 

And now is the most awaited part of my adventure is here.  Wearing my Merrell, 50L backpack, with arm warmer and my trekking hat, we started to walk for the most important part of this park.  Just few meters away, we passed on the hanging bridge going to a large cottage.  That cottage is perfect for backpackers who wants to have an over night experience.  The weathers was perfect, the air was cool, and that time I didn't get any sweat on my back because of the humid weather. 

While on the way, I felt that someone's following us, but nobody  was there.  hhmmm. . sounds creepy right?  Well, that's what I feel, I don't know if they felt that.  Anyways, the stone walls are almost present in every corner of the cemented trail, take note: the government constructed that cemented trail.  The stones can get your attention because of it's forms and sizes, they are truely artistic.  What's that smell? what's that noise? those were my questions to my guide.  And she answer: " Yan po ang amoy nangg guano o dumi ng paniki at huni nang mga paniki sa loob ng kweba "  So that's clear, we are now approaching the famous Bahay Paniki Cave

Since I am a mountaineer, I can say the trail is not that hard, I don't know for those first timer to do this adventure.  The Bahay Paniki Cave serves as the hideout of the Katipuneros including General Aguinaldo from the Spaniards.  For more photos and information of this cave click this link: Bahay Paniki Cave.

While walking on the trail, the amazing view inside the cave was still in my mind.  But I still need to visit the Aguinaldo Cave that served as the office of General Aguinaldo.  The cave has a fresh, cool water inside, that you can enjoy.  For more photos and information regarding this cave, click this link: General Emilio Aguinaldo Cave.

In going back to the main gate, we crossed a river, that time the water was not that high, so I enjoyed the cold water while watching the shirtless guys, hahaha.  It was 2PM when we reached the gate, then it's time to take a rest and to take some pictures.   It's now time to go back to the main road, because I still need to go to those churches which got my attention since they are on my list.  Together with my guide at the same time driver, Jesusa, we went to the main, but take note, it's not for free, I paid her 200 pesos for the service fee.

For the entire Biak na Bato tour, I spent 1,150 pesos.  If you are planning to go here, I suggest to bring more friends, so you can lessen that amount by dividing it into the number of your heads.

Landmark where I took the bus
I didn't get that place, where Jesusa let me took the bus, but look at the picture above, that's the landmark in that area.  I took an aircon bus which is more expensive, so I suggest, you take a jeep going to San Ildefonso Church.  Since I already captured a picture of those churches beside the national highway, I showed it to the konduktor and that's it, so simple right? those pictures were a great help for me.

So again, from that landmark in the national highway, you can go to San Ildefonso Church, Crus na Daan Church and to the Bahay na Pula-Haunted House.  After hunting the old churches, I took a jeep going to Baliuag, Bulacan to visit the old Baliaug Church and the famous landmark in the province Baliuag Clock Tower.  If you are from the National Highway, just take a jeep or a bus going to SM Baliuag.  So, when I reached the SM, I took a break first.  I bought a refreshing soda then rest for 30 minutes. 

Near the main entrance of the SM Mall, is the parking and public utility vehicle terminal.  From there, I took a tricycle for only 30pesos, I told the driver to take me to Baliuag Clock Tower and after 20 minutes, I saw that landmark.  So thanks to the honest and cute driver!  I have no idea if where is the Baliuag Church located, but when I've reached the tower, it's actually just beside it, so I just crossed it out in my list.  And that's it, the drivers know the best for the travelers.

Since that day was Sunday, the Baliuag Church is so busy.  There were lots of people inside and out the church.  So what I did?  Walking around the area, and saying Hi and Hello to the people there was an amazing experience.  Hahaha, I felt they were starstruck, I don't know why? 

So going back to the story, beside Baliuag Church and Baliuag Clock Tower I took tricycle going to the location where I can take a jeep going to Marilao Bulacan - Cath's house my resting place, so thanks to the trike-driver, he brought me to the right way.

From Baliuag going to Marilao is a long trip, I promise.  The jeep passed different towns like Pulilan, Plaridel, Guiguinto, Balagtas and Bocaue, Bulacan.  That was 9PM when I've reached Marilao and Cath was there for me because I was so wasted, you can actually fry a tilapia in my face because of the oil.  To Cath's family, thank you so much for everything.  You let me in when I was out, you let me eat when I was hungry.  Crispy fried chicken, plain rice and ice tea for our dinner.  Washed my face after the sumptuous dinner then watched tv, do I really need to share everything I did?? hahaha.  Before I slept, I set the alarm at 5AM.

4AM when I woke up, so what is the reason why I need to set an alarm, I woke up first an hour before the alarm time, that was really crazy isn't it?  But that's fine with me, I first uploaded 1 photo captured in the cave of Biak na Bato and in just few minutes, I received lots of likes and comments from my friends. 

Hot pandesal, sopas and coffee for our breakfast.  Then after breakfast, I took a bath and prepared myself for my new directions, but now together with Cath.  This new day, we will be going to Malolos, Plaridel and Guiguinto area. 

Crossing in Malolos City - our first location of this new story.  From Crossing we took a tricycle going to the famous Barasoain Church.  You don't need to worry if you're in Malolos, the drivers are aware about the locations of every historical sites in their area, so just give them the name, and they will you there securely.  Just few more steps along Paseo del Congreso, you will see the Jose Cojuangco Mansion then few steps more will be the Casa Real Shrine.  We walked few meters for the next locations; I would like to thank my sun block sponsor Beach Hut Max 100++ hahaha, that time the sun was really hot. 

The next spot is the convent used by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo: Basilica Minore de Immaculada Conception then in front of it is the Malolos City Hall.  Since this historical place is located almost in the center, we took a jeep going to Bulacan Provincial Hall, and there we'll be going to Plaridel, Bulacan.

Bulacan Provincial Hall is the center of this province.  Its compound is the location of the University and the Museum.  It's the place where you can take a ride going to different/nearby towns.  In the middle of the Hall, we took a jeep going to Plaridel, Bulacan.  Of course, same thing, I forgot everything which involves numbers, so I can't give you the jeepney fare.

It took more than 30 minutes to reach the 410 -years old Plaridel Catholic Church, when I touched the walls of that old structure, I don't know but there was something in it.  It's a unique feeling, so right now, I want to visit Intramuros next time, I'll try to check if I'll feel the same way.  Since that was passed 11AM, we searched for any food court, but instead of going to the fast food, we went to the carinderia near the Plaridel Municipal Hall.  That was so affordable, I paid less than 80 pesos - I think it was 79 pesos only, great savings right? 

Beside the Plaridel Catholic Church, we took a jeep going to Guiguinto area for Guinguinto Old Train Station.  Again I forgot the address, but all I can remember, there was a commercial establishment, then beside it, there's a tricycle terminal.  And there, we actually asked the drivers if they are familiar with this old train station, but only the old man knew it, maybe because he's really old and he knows the history. 

For 30 pesos, and 20 minutes tricycle ride, at last I saw the Guiguinto Old Train Station even we're few meters away.  Thank you kuya for the nice trip with your tricycle.  When I saw the structure, I knew that it's the ruins that we're looking for.  But, unfortunately some of the people who do not respect the historical value of it, created the historical landmark as their storage room.  And as per guard on duty, the structure will be demolished after the final decision on creating a new and modern train station.

After that frustrating end, together with Cath we walked few meters going to the National Highway where I can take a Bus going to back to Manila.  And after few hours, I was able to reach my home sweet home securely.  Thanks God for the Guidance!!

The entire Bulacan adventure was an amazing experience.  Travelling alone is really great, and now I am planning for my next trip.  I don't know where but I'll let you know.  If you want photos, just click the yellow link and enjoy.

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