IRRI Rice World Museum

The IRRI Rice world Museum and Learning Center is located inside the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Riceworld showcase the historical, cultural and technological information of rice.

The exhibits highlight the old technology used in farming rice, the science behind the production of rice and the cultural aspect of rice as a crop for the rice farmers in the Philippines.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) also houses the International Rice Genebank and also the home of different agricultural research and science laboratories dedicated to rice and agriculture. IRRI is located in the UPLB Campus in Los Baños, Laguna. It also gives a great view of the ricefields and different mountains in Laguna.

After the tour of the museum, you can also enjoy sumptuous food inside the IRRI Main Cafeteria or enjoy snacks and coffee in IRRI Coffe Shop – BeanHub.

Popular Destination in Tagaytay

Tagaytay is the summer capital of Southern Luzon because of the cooler climate provided by its altitude. It is the most popular holiday and weekend destination, with its close proximity to Manila and with a breathtaking view of Taal Volcano and Taal lake.

It is officially known as the City of Tagaytay in the province of Cavite. It is closest to the boundaries of Sta. Rosa, and parts of Canlubang in Calamba in Laguna and Talisay, Batangas.

Tagaytay’s Picnic Grove

This is the first place I’d been to in Tagaytay during my college days. We rented a van and went to Tagaytay with my first-year barkada in UST.
It is a picnic area in a scenic hilltop view of Taal Volcano. It has numerous picnic huts and tables. You can also enjoy horseback riding, zipline and cable car rides. It also has an eco-trail with a hanging bridge. It is located along Tagaytay – Calamba Road.

People’s Park in the Sky

It was originally named Palace in the Sky and a mountain top mansion during the Marcos era. It was left unfinished and it was turned into a park and became the most-visited destination in Tagaytay.
The Shrine of Our Lady. Mother of Fair Love is located in People’s Park. There’s also the Doppler weather station within the park. It is located in Mount Sungay in Tagaytay which is also near Silang, Cavite and Cabuyao Laguna.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay

Sky Ranch is an amusement park in the middle of Tagaytay City. It has different rides and attractions. The different rides are carousel, sky cruiser, trains, bumper cars, boats and race, city rail, coaster, mini Viking and the famous Sky eye.

Pink Sisters Convent

Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy or famously known as the Pink Sisters Convent is one of the places I often go to in Tagaytay. It is a Catholic church and a very solemn place in the hustle and bustle of Tagaytay City. It is along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway going to the narrow street of Arnoldus Road. Besides the convent is the Angels Hills Retreat and Formation Center.

Ina nang Laging Saklolo Parish

Another beautiful church in Tagaytay is the Ina nang Laging Saklolo Parish and is located along Tagaytay – Calamba Road.

Famous Landmarks in Tayabas Quezon

Tayabas is officially called the City of Tayabas and it is nestled in some parts of Mount Banahaw. It used to be the capital of the Province of Tayabas (now Aurora and Quezon) and surrounded by the neighboring city and different towns of Quezon – Lucena, Sariaya, Lucban, Pagbilao and Mauban.
The city is known for its heritage houses and historical landmarks.

The famous attraction is the Minor Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel is the largest Catholic Church in the province of Quezon. The church is shaped like the key and the locals refer to it as Susi ng Tayabas.

Near the church is The Casa Comunidad, a centuries-old building. It is a national landmark that has a museum and the municipal library.
Since my ancestors came from Lucban, Quezon and we go there every summer, there is a famous resort along the Tayabas – Lucban road that we often visit. It is called Nawawalang Paraiso. It was the first resort near Lucban and we witnessed how the simple resort turned into the latest Nawawalang Paraiso Resort and Hotel.

One of the famous restaurants is the Original Palaisdaan just a few kilometers away from the resort. And between the resort is another restaurant called the Air Summit Gourmet.

Heritage Houses in Sariaya, Quezon

Sariaya is a town before the capital city of Quezon which is Lucena City. The Sariaya town is considered as the Heritage Town of Quezon and the Art Deco Capital of Southern Luzon. It is famous for its different ancestral houses. The three famous ones are declared Heritage Houses by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The following Heritage houses are The Enrirquez – Gala Mansion, Gala – Rodriguez House along Rizal Street and Don Catalino and Luisa Rodriguez house which is also known as Villa Sariaya.
The Saint Francis of Assisi Parish Church is a stone church built along the National Highway.

The town is also famous for its beach resorts in the coastal area of Tayabas Bay. It is separated by the river called Malaking Tubig River with the town of San Juan Batangas. When I was younger, I went to Paraiso Beach Resort in Barangay Guisguis Talon.
Sariaya is also along the boundaries of Mount Banahaw where you can also enjoy trekking activities leading to the peak of the mountain.

Taal Heritage Site

Taal is a town in Batangas which is famous for its heritage houses. The ancestral houses are found along the streets near the famous Taal Church. Old houses are still visible in Taal’s Poblacion.
The heritage houses are found in Calle Del Castillo, Calle Gliceria Marella, Calle Jose Diokno, Calle Marcela Marino Agoncillo, Calle Ramon Diokno, Calle Antonio De Las Alas, Calle Conrando Sanchez.
The Augustinian friars founded the town of Taal. At the heart of the town is the Taal Basilica or known as the Minor Basilica of St. Martin de Tours within the archdiocese of Lipa. St. Martin de Tours is the patron saint and the fiesta is celebrated every November 11 and was founded in 1575.
The town of Taal was destroyed in the Taal Volcano’s eruption in 1754. And the church was rebuilt a year after but was again damaged in 1852 due to earthquakes. It was declared a Minor Basilica in 1954 and a National Shrine in 1974.

In front of the basilica is a park which includes Jesus’ shrine, and on the right side of the church is the Escuela Pia or Taal Cultural Center, which is considered to be one of the oldest educational institutions in the country. It was initiated by Taal Arts and Culture Movement Inc.

During our visit, we went to one of the famous restaurant called Don Juan BBQ . Taal is also famous for its balisong, barong and tapa. Other places to visit are the different museums: Galleria Taal, Museo nina Marcela Marino at Felipe Agoncillo and The White House: Gregorio Agoncillo Mansion.

Padre Pio Shrine in Batangas

The Parish and National Shrine of St. Padre Pio is a catholic church administered by the Roman Catholic Church of Lipa. It is consecrated to St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, an Italian priest and a saint for exhibiting stigmata for most of his life. It is a pilgrimage site at Brgy San Pedro, in the Santo Tomas – Lipa Road in Santo Tomas, Batangas.

The Shrine became a famous tourist destination because of the different structures around like Mother of Mercy Belfry, St. John and Mary Vianney Chapel of Reconciliation, The Sanctuary of the True Cross of Christ
and Holy Water Sanctuary.


Other structures built within the National Shrine include the parish rectory, office and religious store, the Fountain of Hope, the Stations of the Cross, and recently the Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims.

A first-class relic was entrusted to the proposed church in 2003. The Parish of St. Padre Pio was erected some months after the canonization of St. Padre Pio in 2002.

The Historical Balanga City

Bataan is a very famous historical place for the Philippines. Going to Bataan, you will a mark in the called the Bataan Death March Marker which is seen in the town of Orani.

The capital city of Bataan is Balanga.  What are the famous places to see in the capital? In the center of the city are the following:

Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral – Parish of Saint Joseph

Balanga Cathedral, formally known as Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral Parish of St. Joseph was declared as a diocesan-shrine and is the seat of the Diocese of Balanga. The cathedral was formally declared as a Diocesan Shrine on March 19, 2015.

Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga

Across the street from the façade of the cathedral is The Plaza Mayor.  The plaza mayor is a plaza of the famous Plaza Hotel Blanaga City with a statue of Jose Rizal. Plaza Mayor de Ciudad de Balanga is an old hotel in the middle of Balanga City. It is a 3.5 hotel with 34 guest rooms.

The hotel also has the mall in the adjacent building. On the right side of the hotel is the town hall.

Bataan World War II Museum

The museum houses inside the compound of the Balanga City Elementary School. It is near the surrender site and located at Jose Basa Street. The museum is dedicated to the Filipino and American war soldiers and war veterans. The World War II museum has different artifacts and dioramas about the events that took place during World War 2.

It consists of two floors where you can see some original memorabilia used during WWII even some parts of the plane that crashed in the Tarak Ridge.

Right across the museum is the Surrender Site. Other landmarks to see are Dona Francisca Park, Bataan Tourism Center and the Zero Kilometer Death March Marker.

Samal, Bataan

Samal is a coastal town in Bataan. It was known for sea gypsies migrated in Luzon in the early 14th century and settled in Bataan. They introduced the pearl and capiz culture.
The Parish Church of Saint Catherine of Siena was founded in the municipality on April 20, 1641. Saint Catherine of Siena became the patron saint of the municipality and a feast on her name was celebrated every 30th of April.

Historically, the church and the convent were burned by the Katipuneros in 1896 and as rebuilt in 1903.

Fort Worth, Texas

My flight was 9 in the morning, but I needed to arrive 2 hours in JFK prior to the scheduled flight. I took the train until Grand Central but decided to take a  cab going to the airport as. I boarded the American Airline plane going to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. A friend picked me up at the airport and I stayed in his house until the following morning before visiting another college friend in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Water Gardens

Fort Worth is a city in Texas referred to as “Where the West Begins”.
The first place we went to was Fort Worth Water Gardens. The Water Garden was located downtown between Houston and Commerce Street adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center. It is a beautiful and refreshing oasis with a variety of water features in a cityscape.

Fort Worth Stockyards

The Fort Worth Stockyards is located in Rodeo Plaza. It is a historical district for the livestock industry during the late 19th century.

The Stockyards consists of entertainment and shopping venues that capitalize on the “Cowtown” image of Fort Worth. I also saw the parade of longhorns cattle with the cowboys of Stockyards.

During dinner, we ate at the Golden Corral Buffet and Grill with my friend’s whole family. We also shopped at the nearby Walmart Supercenter before going home. I saw the train of the Fort Worth & Western Railroad.

For Fort Worth tours click here

Exploring Washington D.C.

That Saturday morning, my friend and I took a bus going to Madison Square Garden. We alighted there and walked going to the bus stop where the bus was heading for Washington D.C. Since we were early we ate at Bagels and Schmear for breakfast.

New York to Washington D.C.

The bus arrived and we were traveling to the Capital of the United State of America. It was a long journey. I wasn’t sure about the roads but I saw some bridges and rivers along the way. In Philadelphia, the bus also changed drivers.

Somewhere in Baltimore, we were stuck in the road for almost an hour before the bus took a U-turn and found another road going to Washington D.C.
It was already 3 in the afternoon when we reached the bus stop which is Washington D.C. Union Station.

Union Station

The Union Station is the central station in Washington D.C. It is a terminal for buses and subways. We went outside and took a picture in Columbus Circle, the Union Stations’ plaza with a fountain.

United States Capitol

We walked going to the Lower Senate Park with different tres and trimmed grass and a beautiful walkway. We then went to the United States Capitol. The United States Capitol is an iconic domed shaped classical building of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is one of the remarkable National Library in Washington with beautiful interiors and architectural design.

We also went to tour the area of the United States Capitol and went to see Garfield’s statue. You can also see Union Square. From the left side, there’s a Botanical Garden which was already closing at that time.
We went back and tried the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus at the bus stop in the Garfield Memorial/Botanical Gardens.

Hop-on-Hop-off Tour Loop

It was the last tour of the Day Tour Bus. We decided to try the tour loop without going out of the bus to explore the landmarks and scenery of Washington D.C. Here are the landmarks for the tour loop: Air Space & Space Museum/ Bible Museum; Washington Monument/Bureau of Printing & Engraving/Holocaust Memorial Museum; Museum of American History; Museum of Natural History; Newmuseum; Chinatown/National Law Enforcement/Memorial & Museum/Capital One Arena/ Madame Tussauds/Grand Hyatt; Hotel Harrington/Ford’s Theatre; White House/The W Hotel; African American History & Culture Museum; Jefferson Memorial; M.L.K and F.D.R Memorials, Lincoln Memorial & Vietnam; Shuttle Bus to Arlington National Cemetery; WWII Memorial; White House Visitor Center; National Archives/U.S. Navy Memorial; DC Wharf. The Hop on Hop off One Day Pass is 42USD.

When the bus maneuvered going back to the trail, we decided to go down at the White House.

White House

The White House is the official residence of the president of the United States of America. We went to the famous view were people took a picture with the backdrop of the White House.

Washington Monument

Crossing the street in Constitution Avenue, we walked to the German-American Friendship Garden with the view of Washington Monument. The Obelisk was built to commemorate the first President of the United States, George Washington.

World War 2 Memorial

From the Obelisk, we went to World War II Memorial. The World War II Memorial is a memorial for the Americans who served in the armed forces as civilians during World War 2.

There are 56 granite pillars for the 48 states in the USA, the District of Columbia, and 7 other territories. A striking pillar dedicated to the Philippines which was under the USA during the war.

The memorial is also surrounded by a square and fountain. You can also see the view of the reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

We headed to the Lincoln Memorial via the long stretch of reflecting pool. The Lincoln Memorial is built in honor of the 16th USA President Abraham Lincoln.

The architecture of the building is a Greek Doric temple with a large seated sculpture of Lincoln. Inside the building is a museum.

From the Lincoln Memorial, we went to Constitution Ave near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and waited for another friend to go to Virginia. We ate first at Taco Bamba in Falls Church, Virginia. After eating we drove to check the Pentagon, before going to her house in Virginia where we will be spending a night.

For Washington D.C. tours click here