Flair Candy

your daily dose of sweets

Our Philippine National Gem: The South Sea Pearl

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Advocacy, Featured, Palawan

Our Philippine National Gem: The South Sea Pearl

Do you know how lucky we are to be living in the Philippines?  I honestly can’t imagine myself growing up in some other place.  It has been my home for many years and I quite enjoy the bountiful natural gifts we have in our country :)  I am up for any adventure but I must say, I think I was a mermaid in my past life.

I am not really a diver (claustrophobic and ear problems), but I love being in the ocean.  I guess you can say free diving would be more of my thing.  Best thing about the ocean is – it’s free!  It’s just there, waiting to be enjoyed by everyone :)

And in the Philippines, we are quite lucky to have some of the world’s best diving spots and surf spots!  I envy some of my diver friends and how they can see the beautiful bed of corals underneath our seas.  I can only enjoy exploring shallow reefs when I snorkel, but I haven’t seen much of the world down there and I believe it’s beautiful <3

South Sea Pearl

Yes guys, we have a national gem – as declared by Pres. Fidel Ramos on Oct. 25, 1996.  It is a beautiful product of our seas – the South Sea Pearl <3

Ah… beautiful isn’t it?  there are different kinds of South Sea Pearls, different colors, shapes and characteristics but one of the rare ones are the Golden South Sea Pearls…

 

and yes, they come out of the Oyster in lustrous golden color – no coloring whatsoever.

You know what, after our Palawan trip… I feel like a pearl expert now… Everytime I see pearls I look at the luster, the size, the shape and I feel the texture.  I identify if it’s South Sea pearl or just fresh water pearls…

Diamonds are girl’s best friend they say, but honey, once I introduce you to Golden Pearl baby, you will fall in love <3

Unlike diamonds that are formed naturally in a harsh environment (at high pressure and high temperature), pearls are actually an indicator of our Ocean’s health!  Sadly, the world is changing and unfortunate damages in the environment like pollution, garbage and global calamities can affect the quality of the pearls.

It is really pretty <3 I fell in love with these golden pearls knowing they had to go through 323 steps to produce and 5 years in the making at least.  Apart from that, only 10% of the oysters would result in a natural golden pearl.

WOW!

So you can just imagine how valuable they are and how important it is for us to protect our seas that in turn gives us these gifts :)

 

More than what you see…

I know that the Golden Pearl you see is pretty, but what’s more beautiful is the story behind it all.

It’s the story of the people who initiated a movement to protect especially Palawan seas.

We visited an island in Taytay Palawan they call “Baras.”

This is a community of people who are slowly changing their lifestyles into a greener approach.  If before people are so into dynamite and cyanide fishing, kaingin (burning of trees resulting to bald islands) and harmful practices to the environment, volunteers and some staff from the pearl farm reach out to these communities and educate them on the consequences of their actions.

And now, they teach them to make their own natural fertilizers, cultivate their own lands to produce root crops, vegetables and many more.  They are also into fashion!  The picture above is of the locals making necklaces and other decorative items :)

Beautiful flowers :)

They even have a bee farm to help polenate the plants <3

 

At the end of our trip… I felt good about the beautiful things that I have seen and I got more inspired to take part in saving it.

I care for the world I live in and I love capturing it in photos, I love walking on it, enjoying it and sharing this wonderful world with the people I love <3

 

 

and with that, I am honored to be one of Jewelmer’s Pearl ambassadors along with top online personalities like Vince Golangco of Wheninmanila.com, Noemi Dado of AboutMyRecovery.com, Estan of EstanCabigas.com, Anna Oposa of AnnaOposa.ph, Jayvee Fernandez of ABuggedLife.com,  Kankan Ramos of Yehey.com and myself :)

 

now joining Piolo Pascual as Pearl Ambassador!

wee!

There are things that you can do to save our seas :)  I will share with you how you can do this soon!

Not all superheros you read in comic books have super powers like superman.  We have Batman, Green Archer and many others.  We Filipinos are also proud to have Anna Oposa who is included in Yahoo!’s seven inspiring Filipinos – modern day heros!  She may not have gills like Aquaman, but she has the passion to protect our Philippine seas :)

Know more about the Golden pearls here.

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First Time in Palawan, Flower Island

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 in Advocacy, Art & Photography, Career, Featured, Palawan, Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

First Time in Palawan, Flower Island

I must say, I am so reluctant to admit that at my 25 years of being here in the Philippines, I haven’t been to one of the most beautiful places in my home country – Palawan. I have heard the many good things people say about this place but sadly, some sad events happened too that I shared with you here. Apart from that, cyanide and dynamite fishing were very rampant, killing our coral beds leaving a small percentage alive.

“The World Atlas of Coral Reefs, compiled by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), reported that 97 percent of reefs in the Philippines are under threat from destructive fishing techniques, including cyanide poisoning, over-fishing, or from deforestation and urbanization that result in harmful sediment spilling into the sea.” (source)

I was amazed by the beauty of Palawan and saddened at the same time that the Palawan seas are very vulnerable to many things. Our beaches here are absolutely amazing and I am very proud to be living in a country where there’s bounty of my favorite things – beach, sand, sea. I am just starting to discover its beauty, but then, it might be taken away from me? At the same time, I am touched at the people of Palawan who are now making a big effort to protect the Palawan seas through Save Palawan Seas Foundation.

On a lighter note, I really enjoyed my trip to Palawan. We went to the Flower Isand and we hiked a little, swam a little, sailed through rough seas with 3 meter waves (I’m exaggerating) but learned a lot.

We spent our first day traveling from Manila to Flower Island. We departed Manila via plane at 8am and reached Puerto Princessa airport an hour after.

We traveled 3.5 hrs from Puerto Princessa to Taytay.

Palawan puerto princessa jeep palawan zigzag road

We rode this overflowing jeepney on this long, winding, zig-zag road 😛

I KEED! haha 😛 I took this photo from our van and this is pretty common here in the Philippines especially in the provinces. It amazes me how the people above the jeepney’s roof could stay alive while passing through zig-zaggidy roads @_@ As for us, were in a comfortable van and I slept the entire time because I didn’t want to get car sick! Bonamin helped too!

Taytay Pier Palawan Hannah Villasis of Flaircandy and Mia

The look of relief on my face when the 3.5 hour ride was over… thinking that I can now stretch my sexy legs that are about to get a tan! 😀 😛

From there, we rode a boat. What a 1 hour ride from Taytay Pier to Flower Island became a 2 hour sail because of the rough seas. Waves where at 2-3 meters high and it was quite a ride.

Taytay Pier, Palawan Palawan rough sea boat

Gloomy weather. Manong kuya lowering down the plastic shield to protect us XD

serious waves ahead @_@

On a normal day though, the seas are usually calm and it would only take an hour or less to go to Flower Island from Taytay pier.  I kept on thinking the Tsunami in Japan somehow made the seas rougher everywhere.

At first I got really scared that the big waves would engulf us because I kept seeing huge waves ahead of us that made us tilt up and abruptly throw is down. But after feeling like I am riding a free roller-coaster ride, deep inside I was like “OMG that was so much FUN, let’s do it AGAIN!

After that 2-hour boat ride, we finally arrived at our relaxing destination – Flower Island :)

Flower Island

Flower Island Palawan

It was just lovely being here. The long journey to reach this place was all worth it.

Flower Island, Palawan

This is where we stayed. The house was mostly made of bamboo. Of course, they plant more bamboos to replace the ones they used.

These are photos around the Flower Island.

Flower Island Palawan

Flower Island Palawan

Flower Island Palawan

The Peak

The peak is a tower / lighthouse that is situated literally at the Peak of Flower Island.

Flower Island Palawan
It would take you 15-20 minutes to hike all the way up. Don’t worry, there’s a cemented path.
Flower Island, PalawanFlower Island, Palawan
Going up the very steep path, you will be greeted with nature :) Ola ^_^
Flower Island Palawan
There are bugs, spiders, snakes and even wild monkeys sometimes. They don’t kill anything here. They just let nature be.

 

The Peak, Flower Island Palawan

After hiking for 20 minutes, you will see this <3 The Peak.

We went up the top-most portion of the tower and the sight was just beautiful

Flower Island, PalawanThe Peak, Flower Island

The scenery at the top actually reminded me of Greece, only better! Yes. And see that island.. it might be for sale. I want my own island too!

<The Peak Flower Island Palawan

I CAN HAZ LONG LEGS!

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry about it, just go up the tower, you won’t regret it!

Catching the Sunset in Flower Island Palawan

I brought some of my gadgets with us and we were surprised that we didn’t feel the itch to open them. We just did nothing while waiting for the sun to go down.

When was the last time you did nothing at all?

Flower Island Palawan Sunset

Capturing the sunset with a self-portrait. An evidence that I’ve been here.Thanks by the way to the host of flower island for giving us the seashell necklace as a welcoming gift. :)

Meditation, Yoga and Qigong

I’m sure you might have heard of meditation and yoga, but you might not know what Qigong is.  Qigong is where you combine simple body movements, breathing and mental imagery that you can direct the flow of your body’s energy to prevent disease, build strength and advance spiritually.

I was so into the exercise that I didn’t bother taking photos like a good blogger should be. I have an excuse though, I think I really needed that session because I have been sick with cough for almost 2 months. After the exercise, I felt lighter on my chest and lungs. And when we went back in Manila, the cough is almost gone. I don’t know if it’s just mind over matter, or I just got hypnotized by the host’s directing voice… I don’t care. It worked for me 😛

The one who guided us throughout the exercise was the host of the island who was taught by an 83 year-old meditation / yoga guru. We weren’t able to meet her, but we are blessed to feel the extension of her teachings to the people in the island, who shared this with us. I feel graced to be able to calm my mind, be in the moment with nature, hearing the waves and the birds chirping… it brought peace in my mind. I also shared in our environmental debate after dinner that maybe, if all people meditate, we would have a more peaceful place. No one will get angry easily, people won’t get agitated by any irritants, and people might solve their problems better when they do this. It can even heal you mentally, emotionally and physically.

This shot was taken right before we did our meditation.

The dog’s name is Spigo (not sure of the spelling). On the background you will also see Estan – holler!

Photogenic Palawan

Since Palawan is very photogenic, me and Vince did a mini photoshoot. 😀

Flaircandy hannah villasis flower farm palawan

Flaircandy, Flower Farm Palawan hannah villasis

On Flower Island.

Photogenic Palawan Flower Island

Sunset Haze
Photogenic Palawan flower island

A Whirl of Clouds

Waiting…

shadow sunset flower island palawan

Shadow and Sunset

Cloud, Sunset and Sea - flower island palawan

Clouds, Sunset, Sky and Sea

No matter how hard I try to capture its beauty through my digital cameras, nothing beats seeing Palawan in person. If you think my photos are good (really? *blush*) you haven’t seen anything yet. Palawan is lovely. I am proud that it is a part of our country.

But you know what’s lovelier? – the story of the Golden Pearl. It’s like a fairy tale. And hearing this story moved me a lot. That will be on my next post on Palawan.

Do subscribe if you like this and share the love <3

Xoxo,

FlairCandy

flaircandy beach sand flower island palawan

P.S. I wrote this with my toes 😛

P.P.S Thank you to Jewelmer and Yehey for inviting me to this beautiful island. :)

Helpful Links:

Flower Island Official Website

More photos on my Flickr.

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