Vigan: Finalist for New 7 Wonder Cities

Vigan in Ilocos Sur is one of the places in the Philippines that I am really curious to see and explore. I have planned several times in the past to visit it with friends but unfortunately, some thing always came up. I look forward to travelling there sometime with my husband.

The historic city of Vigan is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. It is also known for its well-preserved colonial architecture. And as of this month, Vigan has also been included in the shortlist for the “New 7 Wonders Cities” in the world. It is the only Philippine city in the list of 28 candidates that have been selected.

The 28 candidate cities will undergo 3 elimination phases determined by public voting through the New7Wonders website:

The Official New7Wonders Cities, chosen by hundreds of millions of votes from around the world, will be revealed on 7 December, 2014.

Things to Do When You Travel on a Budget

There are certainly many things you can do when you travel, when you explore a new city or town. While you may think that a trip will always cost you money, there are also things you can do which will mean a minimal cost for you, if at all. Below are some suggestions, based on my experience as well as from suggestions of other traveling friends, on the things you can do on a trip which can be cost-efficient on your part:

1, Visit the old churches or temples. You will know about a place and its people by seeing an important part of their culture: their beliefs, including their expressions of worship. You will also see a lot on the history of the place in these buildings of worship. For instance, if you travel to the Philippines, you will find Baroque church buildings built by the Spaniards when they occupied the country in the 16th century. It will not cost you anything to visit these churches, well, except for the fare going there, of course 🙂

Miag-ao Church (Iloilo, Philippines) was built in 1786. Photo: Rachel Leyritana/Wikipedia

2. Check out art centers and museums. Most art centers and museums especially one’s which are overseen by the government or in partnership with the government will have minimal fees; some even have free entrance. For instance, if you ever go to Bangkok, Thailand, you can drop by the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. There are exhibits to see, even some performances like concerts and plays. While there may be fees to watch some performances, checking out the center and the art exhibits will not cost you anything.

3. Don’t forget the parks.  Check out the local parks. Most parks are well-maintained; some would even have a place where you can feed the birds 🙂  It is also a good place to observe the culture of the people in a relaxed atmosphere, that is if you are one who loves to know more about their culture, Performances such as concerts or cultural shows are sometimes held in parks as well, free of charge.

4. Explore biking trails – If you love to bike, then consider biking your way around the place you are visiting as well as some of its known biking trails. In cities like London, you can joyfully join in with all the people there who bike their way around the city; cycling in London as a means of transport has risen in the past years. You may also consider doing some mountain biking. For instance, Australia has some great mountain bike tracks to explore. The bicycle is not just a means of transportation as it was considered years ago, it’s also a means of recreation now. And along with this reality, those who love to bike like my husband, have also gone on to make sure that the bike is cared well. It now has its proper place in the house and not just left leaning across any convenient wall. It’s also cool to note that storing the bike at home doesn’t mean needing that much space. Just check out the photos below.


Bikes can indeed be kept now in a very practical way in the home, thanks to bike racks for sale. You can now store your bike on the ceiling (using the bike hoist) or on the wall (using the wall dock)..

Now back to our travel talk. There are indeed ways to enjoy your trip in another country, city or town even if you are on a limited budget. I think the key is to be creative plus doing a little bit of research and planning before your travel date. You can enjoy a good trip, don’t let a limited budget stop you 🙂

Travelling to Say Good Bye

We have to travel at times to say good bye to our loved ones and people close to our hearts who have gone ahead of us. Within a year, I had traveled twice to do so: for my first cousin Jeremiah “Jerry” Sales in Cavite and for my ninong and pastor, Jessup Bahinting in Cebu.

The suddenness of their deaths (at least to my human timetable) was quite a painful shock. Jerry had collapsed in their home that day in November, incurring a fatal head injury while Sir Jessup also figured in a fatal plane crash in Masbate last August. Jerry and I were still connecting through Facebook the week he passed away; Sir Jessup had asked me two months earlier to stay in their house (which I did) while I was in Cebu; I had hugged him, his wife and daughter before leaving for my flight home. Who would have thought those were my last moments with them?

I could still remember the stories they shared with me and yes, even the sound of their laughter. I will always remember Jerry’s simplicity, his gentleness. He was always willing to help. As for Sir Jessup, I would remember him best as the caring father I had while while I was growing up as an awkward, at times lonely teenager in Cebu in the 90’s while pursuing a college degree away from home, One of my most memorable moments with him was actually in Apo Island way back in 1996 during our church youth camp. Just to make sure that I would snorkel and see the beauty underneath the sea there, he swam along with me, holding me by the hand because I was not really a swimmer.

Ah, thank God for these men, for the beautiful memories they left behind not only to me but most especially to their families and many others. I should say here that I also traveled to their wakes and funerals not just to say good bye but to say see you again in the next life 🙂 You are missed but see you again!

My cousin, Jeremiah “Jerry” Sales


With Sir Jessup, Ma’am Margie & Sarah Bahinting and Vee (Cebu, June2012)