Monthly Archives: August 2012

Zentraveler explores city of Tuguegarao, Philippines.

Horse Drawn Carriage City Views

Leaving Aparri we took a travel van, approximately two and one half hours, which took us directly through miles and miles of rice fields… allowing you to marvel at nature and man’s ingenuity for supplying the nation’s food basket. We proceeded directly to Tuguegarao City where we checked into our internet reserved hotel and took some time to explore the city.

Local Church

A fair question might be…. what are your travel goals and expectations? Basically, when I arrive at a new city I look for historical markers, churches, museums, unique architecture, wildlife,zoos,flower gardens,restaurants,
shopping malls, and points of interest in and around the city. Not a perfect guideline, but if you ask at your hotel to recommend a restaurant, a taxi driver, a tour operator… many times you can save time and money by just asking the right questions. Sometimes the internet websites show a great looking hotel, but it is located completely outside the city or in center of a crime or blighted area. If this happens to you simply chose another hotel.

When you arrive at your hotel you want to make sure it is well situated, well lighted and has general safety in and around your hotel. Ask to see the room and look for cleanliness, size and type of bed, condition of mattress etc. So many of the hotel establishments spray heavy chemicals throughout the room to cover up bad smells and cigarette smoke….as I am highly allergic to heavy chemicals smells, I will leave and look for another hotel.

Shopping Center Scene

We headed into the center of town where we toured a local shopping center and took photos of local churches and city life. We hired an 83-year-old man on a horse-drawn carriage to give us a tour of the city, which not only helps the tourist industry, but allows you to slow down and see the sights. We headed off for dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant named Crown Restaurant, where we ate exotic stuffed fish and thanked our lucky stars for the find.

Stuffed Fish Crown Restaurant

Often overlooked by tourists, the following day we hired a motorized tricycle to take us two and one half kilometers from the city proper to the longest freshwater bridge in the Philippines. Named Butun Bridge. the 1.098 kilometer bridge spanning over the Cagayan River makes an excellent photo stop. On our hotel staff recommendation for good seafood, we took dinner at City Seafoods Restaurant, where we ate tuna sashimi, fresh fish of the day, and stir fried vegetables. Excellent fresh fish… plus friendly restaurant staff makes City Seafoods a good restaurant choice. The following morning we headed to the Tuguegarao Airport for our return trip to Bantayan Island.

Buntun Bridge

There are many Festivals with Celebrations of life and abundance in and around Tuguegarao and Cagayan Valley that celebrate the activities close to Cagayano’s hearts. their means of livelihood, religious events, and anniversaries of key historical events. This would be a good time for visitors to see and experience first-hand the warm welcoming nature of the Cagayanos.

So there you have it. In a few word synopsis: Tuguegarao is a bustling economic city in the heart of the food basket with several shopping centers, many small businesses and jam-packed with literally hundreds, if not thousands of motorized tricycles..for a about ten pesos or so you can go from mid-town to outskirts and vice versa. Even if things aren’t perfect and the weather is not exactly cooperating as you would like… you can still find many things of interest and even find some good culinary experiences along the way. Yum Yum!

Jet Prop Plane

QUOTE:“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Known as the spelunker’s, trekker’s and gamefisher’s paradise rolled in one, Cagayan Valley provides a never-ending adventure. The province is now being promoted as an adventure and eco-tourism destination. Both foreign and local tourists continue to explore its caves, engage in game fishing expeditions, trek its mighty mountains and retreat to its centuries old churches.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Fishes of the Cagayan River…specifically the Lobed River Mullet. Because of over poaching, the highly sought after, excellent tasting fish of the Cagayan River is heading toward extinction. If something isn’t done to protect the species it will join another long list of extinction is forever. Start blogging, write letters, spend money grasshopper. If you don’t do something… who will?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Don’t be a couch potato Grasshopper. Do the research, book your travel time, and get moving…it’s later than you think on this earthly planet. I’ve been told if you have enough passport stamps and travel time, when you arrive at the next galaxy you can travel for FREE for the next millennium.

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, Blogging, Buntun Bridge, Cagayan Valley, City Seafoods, Crown Restaurant, eco-tourism destination, lobed river mullet, travel, Tuguegarao City, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on Zen Mind Control!

Zen Mind Control

The question is who is really in charge of your mind? Is your mind controlling you or are you controlling your mind?The ability to think is supposed to be the separation between man and animals and sets us apart as a separate species. (Homo sapiens.) When people hear of mind control they immediately think of spy’s, religious groups, cults, and the subversive. If you can just learn to control what you put into your mind you can obtain a great advantage over the general population, who walk around hypnotized to the exciting stimulants and digital information that is just waiting to enter your ego system.

Did we turn ourself into sheep robots or did Madison Avenue and economics, parents, teachers, leaders, peers, rule our life… because this is what we are told. Were we ever taught to learn to control our minds (garbage in garbage out) in primary school or higher traditional education? The answer is no! Anyone who wanted to learn zen mind control had to learn how to think outside of the box and discover this easy to learn discipline… which can lead to Nirvana and peace of mind.

To live in the realm of Buddha nature means to die as a small being, moment after moment. When we lose our balance we die, but at the same time we also develop ourselves, we grow. Whatever we see is changing, losing the balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. This is how everything exists in the realm of Buddha nature, losing its balance against a background of perfect balance. So if you see things without realizing the background of Buddha nature, everything appears to be in the form of suffering. But if you understand the background of existence, you realize that suffering itself is how we live, and how we extend our life. So in Zen sometimes we emphasize the imbalance or disorder of life.

If you want to obtain perfect calmness in your meditation, you should not be bothered by the various images you find in your mind. Let them come, and let them go. Then they will be under control. But this policy is not so easy. It sounds easy, but it requires some special effort. How to make this kind of effort is the secret of practice. Suppose you are sitting under some extraordinary circumstances. If you try to calm your mind you will be unable to sit, and if you try not to be disturbed, your effort will not be the right effort. The only effort that will help you is to count your breathing, or to concentrate on your inhaling and exhaling. We say concentrate, but to concentrate your mind on something is not the true purpose of Zen.

The true purpose is to see things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes. This is to put everything under control in its widest sense. Zen practice is to open up our small mind. So concentrating is just an aid to help you realize “big mind,” or the mind that is everything. If you want to discover the true meaning of Zen in your everyday life, you have to understand the meaning of keeping your mind on your breathing and your body in the right posture in zazen. You should follow the rules of practice and your study should become more subtle and careful. Only in this way can you experience the vital freedom of Zen. research credits:

A professor once visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.“The cup is full!” said the professor. “No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

In Conclusion… if you truly want to be in control of your mind you must begin to empty your mind and rid yourself of your ego. The easy way to do this is to begin a daily practice which concentrates on meditation. Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of self-awareness.

At the core of meditation is the goal to focus and eventually quiet your mind, thus freeing your awareness. As you progress, you will find that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, accessing an inner calm no matter what’s going on around you. You will also find that you can better control your reactions to things as you become increasingly aware of your thoughts (letting go of anger, for example). But first, you have to learn to tame your mind …(Zen Mind Control).

QUOTE: “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” –Jules Renard

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “Prophets, mystics, poets, scientific discoverers are men whose lives are dominated by a vision; they are essentially solitary men . . . whose thoughts and emotions are not subject to the dominion of the herd.” — Bertrand Russell

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your Mind! Don’t burn it up on useless activities.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You are not your mind, but you can learn to control it!

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, mind control, nirvana, peace of mind, Practical Zen, think outside the box, thoughts become things, Uncategorized, zen mind control

Zentraveler on health benefits of White Radishes!

White Radishes

A white radish is a member of the radish family native to East Asia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. There are a number of ways to use white radish in cooking, in Asian recipes and recipes from further afield, and this food is often obtainable at big grocery stores and Asian markets. Enterprising gardeners can also cultivate white radish at home, as it grows very readily and is generally easy to handle.

This food is also sometimes known as the Chinese radish, loo bak, mooli, winter radish, labanos, Japanese radish, or daikon. In appearance, it resembles an oversized white carrot or turnip, with a tapering root and a spray of large green leaves. When a white radish is grown entirely underground, it will have a tender, crispy texture and a mild flavor. If the root is allowed to protrude above the ground, the exposed areas can turn green and slightly woody; a green-topped radish should be avoided, if possible.

Several cultures believe that white radish is a very effective digestive aid. Small plates of grated radish may be served with fried foods and other heavy dishes to help people digest the meal. White radish may also be offered as a palate cleanser, or used as a garnish. In Japan, people are more inclined to eat white radish raw in things like salads, while the Chinese tend to prefer to cook it in stir fries and other dishes. White radish pickle is also a popular condiment and snack in some parts of Asia.

Fresh white radishes are crispy and juicy, with a delicate flavor which can be quite enjoyable. When used in cooked dishes, they can be thrown in at the last minute to retain their crispy nature, or allowed to simmer for a longer period of time, depending on the taste of the cook. Grated white radishes are also used in the preparation of cooked dishes such as delicate fried cakes served around Chinese New Year.

Although white radishes are winter radishes, classically maturing in the fall and winter, they are often available year round. People who live in temperate climates where summer weather does not climb to high temperatures can to grow this vegetable. They should prepare the soil by fertilizing it and making sure that it will drain well, and plant out seeds or seedlings in mid summer. White radishes like to stay moist during their growing period, and they will need to be thinned to give the roots some room to grow. They can be harvested through the fall. research credits:

If you have high blood pressure, you are at higher risk for kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. Although no single food determines your blood pressure, white radishes can be a healthy addition to an overall balanced diet for lowering your numbers.

So there you have it. If you want to improve your general health… why not add white radishes to your weekly menu!

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.

QUOTE: “Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.”
– Henry David Thoreau

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The large white radish is called “Little Ginseng in China. Radishes were found on the dining tables of Egyptians dating back to 2780 B.C. China later developed many of the varieties of radishes that we eat today including the small round red and white radishes seen in most grocery stores across America to giant daikon popular in Japan and other parts of Asia. The flavor varies a bit from variety to variety but most are crisp with a slightly peppery bite. Radishes are mostly eaten raw in salads and other cold dishes but the larger daikon is also used in stir-fries.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: White Radishes–they are under appreciated! Give them some love!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Eat more white radishes and skip the doctors and pharmacies.

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, digestive aid, giant daikon, high blood pressure, little ginseng, stir fries, Uncategorized, white radishes

Zentraveler travels to nature resort and Aparri, Philippines!

Baua Beach Resort

Leaving Santa Ana we took a travel van to the bridge at the town of Gonzaga and traveled about a mile down a dirt road to arrive at Baua Beach Resort. A secluded and relaxing resort located right in the north-eastern tip of Luzon in the town of Gonzaga, province of Cagayan. Baua Beach Resort is fronting the Babuyan Channel and South China Sea, surrounded by the breathtaking Sierra Madre Mountains at the back. This time of the year during typhoon season we had the resort to our selves and had the luxury of just hanging around and enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

South China Sea

From there we took a motorized tricycle to the bus depot and waited a short time where we got a jeepney going direct to the city of Aparri. If you ever wanted to see miles and miles of green rice fields this is the perfect opportunity. Traveling alongside some of the Philippines largest rice plantations you can see a sea of green grass waving in the wind. Bright green rice fields in every stage of production with individual workers with large straw hats scattered among the rice fields, either planting, weeding or harvesting. Is quite impressive to witness and would be an excellent subject for a landscape portrait artist or photographer.

Arriving at Aparri we checked into the Riverview Royal Hotel located on the main road on the outskirts of Aparri. The hotel is relatively new, well-managed, has a restaurant, is clean and a favorite for travelers and businessmen. They also have a security guard who can arrange local transport and the entire staff is friendly and helpful. The hotel overlooks the Cagayan River with a view from the top floor. I told Perla the Cagayan River is the wildest and longest river in the Philippines and runs north emptying directly into The South China Sea.

The Cagayan river is also home to the most tasty and expensive freshwater fish in the Philippines and can be taken during breeding season in murky waters. A rare species of fish in the Philippines that sells for P5,000 a kilo is facing rougher waters as poachers continue to threaten its population. The lobed river mullet or Ludong, endemic to the Cagayan Valley region, is a treasured fish believed to be an annual gift of the river goddess to the Ibanags or to the people living by the Cagayan River.

Riverview Royal Hotel, Aparri

Aparri is one of biggest commercial centers north of Manila has a long and colorful history. According to a legend, Captain Pablo de Carreon, a native of Spain, landed at the site of Aparri in 1581 at about dinnertime. The Vizcaya colloquial term meaning to take dinner in Aparri, thus the place was called Aparri.

The seaport of Aparri located at the north of the Cagayan River was discovered In 1581, by Captain Juan Pablo Careon, of Spain. One hundred soldiers fully equipped with arms and ammunition and other provisions, came to Cagayan with their families by order of the Spanish Civil Governor, to explore the Cagayan Valley and to convert the natives to Christianity as well as to establish ecclesiastical missions and towns throughout the valley. This was the first batch of Spanish settlers in the Cagayan Valley who introduced Spanish culture and Latin civilization, enriching primitive culture, customs, and tradition.

On June 29, 1583, Don Juan de Salcedo traced the northern coastline of Luzon and set foot on the Massi (Pamplona), Tular, and Aparri areas. The Spanish friars soon established mission posts in Camalaniugan and Lallo, which became the seat of Nueva Segovia established on August 14, 1595. The Spanish influence can still be seen in the massive churches and other buildings that the Spaniards built for the spiritual and social welfare of the people.

Calapao Garden Restaurant

We hired a tricycle to take us to a local restaurant with native cuisine named Calapao Garden Restaurant situated in a pleasant outdoor atmosphere with an extensive menu. We ordered the fresh fish of the day, stir fried veggies and fresh mangoes. Good service and tasty fresh foods. We then proceeded to the interior of Aparri where we went along the wharf to witness and photograph the Cagayan River emptying into the ocean. Since it was running murky after the typhoon… it reminded me of the mighty Mississippi River from the United States during spring run-off.

Cagayan River meets China South Sea-Aparri

The following morning we boarded a travel van and traveled approximately two and one half hours to Tuguegarao City where we checked into our reserved hotel for a couple of nights stay before heading back to Cebu.

QUOTE:”Medicine and disease cure each other. The entire earth is medicine. What is the self?” —Essential Zen

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Rice is the primary food for more than half the people in the world. It is the seed of a grass and is the staple of many cuisines from Asia to Mexico to Africa because it is rich in protein, starch, minerals, and vitamins, and low in calories and fat. It is versatile enough to be an integral part of an entrée or a dessert.


ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Eat more rice… as there over 120,000 different varieties and makes a perfect anti-cancer micro-biotic diet. Eat your rice grasshoppers, but save some for us mortals.

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under adventure travel, Aparri, Baua Beach Resort, Blogging, Cagayan River, Calapao Garden Restaurant, Riverview Royal Hotel, travel, Uncategorized