Monthly Archives: April 2012

Zentraveler travels to Tagaytay, Philippines!

Tagaytay Scenery

My travel companion Perla was walking around with a bright multicolored umbrella protecting herself from the hot sun and said: “maybe she would like to live at the South Pole, Antarctica where it was cool.” I suggested instead of hanging with the Penguins let’s go in the mountains to Tagaytay near Manila and experience a cooler climate.

Off we go in a new aircon bus which we picked up at the Crowe Transit Bus terminal behind Macdonald’s and Sugo Hotel located at the corner of Taft and Edsa streets close to Mrt station in Manila. Approx 15 minutes by taxi from Manila airport. Traveling through some interesting scenery and farming areas we arrived at Tagaytay approximately one and half hours later. We got off the bus at Jollebee, just as you are coming into town on the right side and arranged for a tricycle to take us to our hotel. If you feel you would like to experience living in a Palace in Saudi Arabia, Italy or Greece our hotel named the Estancia Hotel Resort more than fit the bill! The hotel was designed after the Mediterranean Santorni, using the contrasting colors of white and blue… looking all the way down to the lake.

Estancia Hotel Resort

Perched on the cliff the hotel offered many photo ops and has many amenities which include: a nice restaurant overlooking the lake, a large swimming pool, a jacuzzi and sauna plus recreation room. The hotel is large enough to handle large celebrations and ideal for a romantic wedding setting and also offers secluded bungalows along the cliff with your own porch for watching sunsets, taking coffee and drinks or just relaxing.

Resort Swimming Pool


Tagaytay City, located 2,500 feet above sea level enjoys a cool and invigorating climate characterized by a relatively low temperature, low humidity, and abundant rainfall. Average temperature is 22.7 degrees Celsius. For this reason, Tagaytay with its cool weather, balmy winds and foggy mists is called the “second summer capital” of the country after Baguio City.

The primary tourist attraction in Tagaytay is Taal Volcano “the smallest volcano in the world” and reputed to be the most active. Tagaytays cool weather is appealing for tourists around the world, folks from Manila and those living in hot tropical climates. Tagaytay City has a population of approximately 16,000 and is about 60 km south of Manila in the mountains of Cavite Province.

The breathtaking views of Taal volcano and Lake is a MUST SEE for everyone visiting Asia. Tagaytay has its crisp and cool climate all year around. On clear nights, you can see the lake sparkle with the lights of fishing boats, and in the day the fog rolls in giving the area a mystical feeling.

There are several ways to view and enjoy the volcano! You can take a 15 min outrigger boat ride to the volcano that is within the lake. As you head from Tagaytay city toward the lake, many salesman may approach you offering boat rides which they take a commission. By asking at your hotel you can make arrangements directly from the boat owners. You can also take photos from many hotels overlooking the lake and volcano or hire a tricycle to give you the best photo opts while visiting this area. One outdoor writer described the area as one of the most dramatic and beautiful places in all of Asia.

Once on the island you can elect to ride a horse up to the rim of the crater (around 30 minutes). It’s a rather challenging ride, but the view at the top is quite spectacular. You can also trek by foot to the top which is good exercise, but you have to be fit and be sure to bring a lot of drinking water.

We hired a tricycle for the day and made arrangements to go People’s Park in the Sky which is atop Mt. Gonzales, the highest peak on the ridge. From on top of the peak you have a 360-degree view of the three provinces south of Metro Manila to the southern coast of Manila Bay: Cavite, Laguna and Batangas.

People's Park in the Sky


Arriving by tricycle we walked the last leg straight up the hill and took many photos. This is a great place to take lunch in the restaurant overlooking the lake and volcano island. After lunch we stopped at Picnic Grove where you can trek through many walkways and nature trails overlooking the lake or fly like birds in the clouds on their popular zipline. Leaving Picnic Grove we headed to Sonya’s Garden Restaurant, which took approximately 30 minutes by motorized tricycle… and is certainly worth the effort as you dine on homegrown organic salads and explore their colorful art decorations and gardens.

Picnic Grove


So there you have it! If you want to feel the cool climate, experience good hotels and restaurants, want a day of golf or set off on many trekking adventures, take postcard type photos… this makes a great vacation spot not to be missed. The coffee is extra good along with the local fruits and flowers seen in many stands throughout the area.

Cool Mountain Breeze

QUOTE:“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The Nobel Peace Prize medal depicts three naked men with their hands on each other’s shoulders!

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The path less traveled!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel often, travel light, and don’t forget to pack your digital camera with an extra memory card and extra battery… so you won’t miss that once in a lifetime photo opt!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, traditional herbal medicine, Uncategorized, zoological society of London

Zentraveler on benefits of Oregano!

Oregano Herb Flower

Oregano means “mountain joy” and is a wonderfully aromatic, flavorful herb popularly used in Spanish and Mediterranean cooking. Oregano adds depth and savor to any dish, but goes particularly well with tomatoes, eggplant, fish, chicken and any meat. For an extra zest sprinkle oregano in your scrambled eggs and salad dressings.

Oregano oil is extracted from the Oregano plant. It contains two different compounds that work together to create the healing effect; carvacrol and thymol. It is an antiseptic, an antifungal, and an antioxidant. Oregano is not used as a seasoning for food in the Philippines but is considered a medicinal plant.

Oregano, the seasoning, can be found in any grocery store however, this is not the Oregano that you are searching for. If you want the Oregano oil health benefits you will need to buy the concentrated oil that is found in health food stores. Before you purchase the oil, make sure that the Oregano oil is from Origanum vulgare and has at least a 70% concentrate.

Oregano Oil Health Benefits: An upset stomach may be brushed off as indigestion when it could be caused by bacteria. The bacteria may be treated with oregano oil. Put a few drops into a glass of juice and drink it. With the help of carvacrol and thymol in oil of oregano, you can relieve the symptoms of joint pain and stiffness. Oil of Oregano has recently been found to be more effective in killing MRSA infections than the drugs used in the past.

A small drop of oregano oil on an ailing tooth can also relieve toothache pain. Oregano oil is great for all different types of skin conditions. Skin infections are easy to get, but hard to get rid of. The oil can be combined with water and then placed directly on the infection, where it will begin working immediately to kill the infection. Read the bottle of Oregano oil first before using. Most of these oils require that you mix it with coconut oil, olive oil, or water before you apply it to the infected area. When used correctly you can enjoy the many Oregano oil health benefits from one bottle.

Cold season can be rough on anyone. You get sick and it seems like it takes a long time before you are able to get over it. People usually reach for vitamin C in order to ward off cold symptoms, but this year put Oregano oil in your cabinet and be prepared for the next cold that comes your way. For sinus congestion, you can add as little as three drops of the oil into your glass of juice, one time a day for up to five days and it will help reduce the symptoms associated with the congestion.

Within a few hours of adding three drops of Oregano oil to your juice you can feel the symptoms of a cold or sore throat begin to weaken as the oil kicks in. It’s best if you only use the oil for a total of five days.
Oregano oil has a sedative effect and can be used to induce sleep when insomnia is a problem. It should not be used in large quantities for this purpose. It only takes a little bit. Keep a bottle of this oil in your medicine cabinet. You will be glad you did when you need one or more of oregano oil health benefits. It is also available in soft gels.
Research credits: http://www.essential-home-remedies.com/oregano-oil-health-benefits.html#ixzz1roaRxAHJ

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on Zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

So there you have it! This well-known spice Oregano that everyone has heard of also has great value as medicinal uses and offers great health benefits! Keep a bottle of oregano oil with you while traveling to offset any nasty infections that you may encounter. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of money you may have to spend when you come down with a nasty flu.

QUOTE:“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” —-W.C. Fields

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Oregano Has a Calming Effect. Oregano has been used to settle a queasy stomach, treat motion sickness and calm anxiety. A cup of oregano tea before bedtime can soothe and relax the nerves and prepare you for sleep.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Oregano Leaves…they smell good too!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Drink more Oregano Tea and spice up your life with oregano sprinkled on your food!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under good health, health, health food store, oregano health benefits, oregano herb, oregano medicinal uses, oregano seasoning, oregano spice, oregano tea, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on Zen Holy Week!

Zen Holy Week


“In Christianity, Holy Week is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. It does not include Easter Sunday.”After Holy Week, comes the glorious day on Sunday…Easter. Christ is Risen!

Bantayan Island Holy Week


“Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. On this Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving known as Lent. Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we have prepared ourselves to die spiritually with Christ on Good Friday, the day of His Crucifixion, so that we can rise again with Him in new life on Easter.”

Resurrection of Jesus Christ


Regardless of your religious affiliations this is a great time to reflect and enjoy the now! A good question might be what is this Zen stuff all about anyway? A simplistic answer would be to go with the flow of life and try to make things less complicated and be in the now.

A good definition of Zazen (a form of zen) is just be! Zazen is considered the heart of Zen Buddhist practice. The aim of Zazen is just sitting, “opening the hand of thought”, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but gives you the framework you need to simplify your life and get in the now. We all have pasts that can haunt us or taunt us if we let it! This is the best time in your life to forgive and forget and get on with your life by trying to act more like Mother Teresa, who believed it is YOUR responsibility to help make this a better world by eliminating poverty and sickness.

The human population has been blessed with great brains and has every opportunity in the world to use imagination and invention to take us to a higher level of consciousness… which helps the world overall. We have reached the crucial turning point, where we have behaved like conquistadors, vikings, warmongers… ravaging and profiteering from our destructive behavior. We have become polluters,plastic waste distributors, and have destroyed vast areas of our forests and oceans and last but not least, but still on the drawing board…the total annihilation of the world population through nuclear wars and aggressive self-destructive behavior.

We should be in a point in this life where we are sharing our modern technology along with spiritual teachings so we all can get back on track and start living in a better world. The old game didn’t work and its time to take action now… each person doing what they can do to elevate our state of consciousness… evolving us forward in “A New Earth” movement, as is so eloquently written by the modern-day spiritual architect Eckhart Tolle.

Use the Zen Holy Week to enjoy what you like and reflect on how to help our society by practicing simple Zen.

Light your own Zen Candle


We took this opportunity to Zentravel in the Camotes Island province in the Philippines and experience Holy Week down-under, where we toured several caves and saw religious images carved out of stone by nature. We crawled through several tight cave crevices and experienced a pool of pure spring water… large enough to swim in. Being this removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life… it was easy to feel in the moment and yet reflect on our religious past.

Holy Cave Camotes Island


So there you have it! Use this time frame around the traditional Holyweek to go one step beyond and forgive all of your enemies and past screw-ups and move directly into the now… giving just one kind word or deed to everyone you know and soon the roller coaster of destruction stops mid-air reverses directions and we head toward a better world.

This reversal all started with a simple Zen thought! YOU!

Zen Holy Week can be so personal, yet offers a great opportunity to slow down and ask the question what is life all about anyway? When you have that part figured out… you are on your way to a greater YOU and a greater world.

QUOTE: “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” —Lao Tzu

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Holy Week, i.e. the series of pre-Easter festivities commemorating various events of the final days of Christ’s life, probably developed in 4th century Jerusalem, possibly beginning with St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Christians from all over the world would take pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and the Church of Jerusalem provided rites and worship dedicated to reenacting the final events of Christ’s life. The first account we have of such rites is the diary of the pilgrimage of Egeria to Jerusalem around AD 381. Gradually many of these customs and holy days spread to the wider Christian world.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Religious cards and icons.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:You can freely practice all religions without hiding behind warfare and terrorism to get your own way! Why not work toward a better world for all mankind.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Blogging, Easter Sunday, Good Friday, holy week Philippines, Jesus Christ Resurrection, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, Uncategorized, Zazen, Zen fables, Zen holy week