Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Speaking to the Dead: The Afterlife Investigations

I’m up for something spooky. Have any of you guys heard of The Scole Experiment? If not, then prepare to be creeped out in this one and a half hour of pure creepiness (and amazement). Watch the video (trust me, it’s not boring—it might even leave your jaw hanging) down below.

The Scole Experiment is a documentary that was initiated by a team of paranormal experts based in Scole, a tiny village located in the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, England (hence, the name). The video showcases a group of people who claims to have believed that there is life after death and that they have the ability to communicate with the spirits.

In the documentary, it has been said that there are numbers of people who have been witnesses of the phenomenon. Experts like scientists said that there is no scientific evidence of why such events are happening. A professional magician was interviewed and stated that there is no form of trickery that could conjure up the unexplained incidents. An expert who is a master in radio equipment explained that the old radio that was used to communicate with the spirits was not rigged with any special tools to elicit the mysterious sounds that happened to be the dead responding from the afterlife.

More from the footage, it also provided a lot puzzling occurrences like spirits being caught and manifested in film and in audio, objects that appear out of nowhere (called ‘apports’) in the middle of a séance (said to be sent by the spirits), and levitating tables and lights coming out of thin air has been captured during the production of the documentary. The Scole Experiment ran for five years and it was distinguished as one of the most accurate paranormal reports of all time in history. As one of the dead said through the radio from the documentary, “This is an historic moment.” And I agree.

Having to be able to watch the one-hour documentary showing recordings of several paranormal activities that happened made me question my beliefs about the world that we live in. I belong to a family that has a strong faith in God, yet my family is still superstitious in nature, so I think that as much as our faith is intact in us, my family still considers the supernatural as an existing phenomenon, and although that there are people who are not physically with us, they are still alive…in spirit. As an individual, I agree in this kind of sorcery, and I may be the type of girl who is not easily swayed by different occurrences happening in our world when it comes to this kind of subject matter, but this documentary might take the cake.

The documentary interviewed a number of people who have participated in the experiment, and they said that they have never experienced anything like it. The experience was a phenomenal one, and what shocked me was the part about the old man who resides in Italy that has a radio that can channel spirits and have the ability to have a two-way conversation with them. This was the most astonishing part of it all, and it left me speechless. The fact that the spirits from the “afterlife” responded to us living beings made me think that there is a probability there is a second life after we die—or that probably they are still not put to peace.

The world is such a peculiar place. We are always in a search for something new to discover, mysteries to unearth and to be soon answered, since I know that the world we live in is far more mysterious than we think. I tend to question myself, “Where do we come from?” “Do aliens exist?” “Where do I go after I die?” And these questions scare me, since I believe that we are not alone here on earth, and the answers might scare me even more. As much as I am a girl who does not automatically believe what I see, the Scole Experiment and their journey to the question of life after death presented me with information and records that made me incline to consider about the supernatural world.

I like questioning about the human life and its condition, and I think that being curious of our surroundings is a great thing since it paves our way in obtaining new knowledge that is relevant to our existence. It offers us a better understanding of who we are, what our purpose is, and what or who do we live for in this planet. It is also a way of shifting our values, reasoning, and conviction to certain areas, since it made us to be more open to the realms of our world that we have not seen before. This documentary made me convinced that there are entities that are lurking with us, and yes, it did shake my faith a little bit, though my drawback is that I have not seen anything like this in the flesh. I have to actually see and feel it to be able to believe it.

The search for answers is exciting and daunting at the same time, and I give my applause to the people who initiated the pursuit for the “truth” just like this Scole Experiment, where in a team investigated if there is life after death—to make known of the unknown. To all the non-believers of the paranormal, they might want to put their money where their mouth is, because the documentary does show evidence of spirits that dwells among us in this unusual world that we live in, and it is not everyday do we get to see tangible data as accurate as this. They showed that there are things in life that are far from the usual, that miracles do happen, and the world always provides us every day with the element of surprise. In life, we should learn to keep on seeking. Search and strive for answers, and not everything has to have an answer, but who knows, it might lead us to surprising revelations.  

How about you? What's your take on this? Is it real or just a hoax? Rest your thoughts on the comment box down below, I'd happily read and reply.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Batanes, Philippines: Nature's Playground

The last time I heard Batanes was way, way, back in my grade school days (yeah, way, way, back my Social Studies subject,) until my dad brought it up and told us that we will be spending a quick vacation here. I asked what’s there to see and he said that there are “houses made of rocks”.


But I consulted my friends and other random people (I made a way of opening up Batanes as a topic,) and told me that it was one of the most beautiful places they’ve ever seen—or so they’ve heard. I eventually looked up Batanes on the internet and learned that it is situated at the very topmost part of our country (whoa!) and when I clicked to view some pictures…They. Were. Mesmerizing. This got me all excited!
             My sister enjoying the view
     Look at that scene below us!
Batanes Airport
The pictures didn’t lie. We arrived at the airport by 9AM, and we didn’t get to see our hotel room by 5PM, since by the time we landed in Basco, Batanes, we already started to tour the province. That’s freakin’ 9 hours of nature-hopping in only one island. And that was just our first day!

The Landscape
Let me tell you: Batanes is pretty small. Population count: 16,000 people (and probably 500+ cows, goats, and chickens). That’s as equal as the entire student population of my University. What makes Batanes amazing is that despite the small island, it was grand in terms of sceneries and landscapes. So grand it made Quezon City, the largest city in Metro Manila, look like a tiny upscale village. Batanes looks like it was a mini-New Zealand. The surroundings seem like  The Sound of Music was filmed over there! I would want to spin around the hills like what Maria from The Sound of Music did, but there were lots of cow dung everywhere!

My view from the Basco Lighthouse
Tukon Church from afar
Breathtaking view!
Row your boat straight to that horizon then you'll most probably land in Taiwan.
The Sunset and Rolling Hills
The first picture was taken overseeing the ocean and Mt. Iraya. I caught this majestic view from atop a rolling hill, and let me tell you, if you are afraid of heights, then you're up from some challenge. I was holding our tour guide the whole time we trekked up this hill! But I made it. I faced my fear and look where it got me. I earned myself a jaw-dropping scene.

I promise you this is not a postcard. 
The sunset that I caught in the Naidi Hills
The Food 
The food in Batanes is amazing. It was rich in flavor and very tasty. There were some food here that’s already familiar to me (the Filipino classic Tinola, sausages, corned beef,) but we were served with their very own specialty. I got to taste their delicacies like the bukayo, a sweet dessert made coconut. On our last stop on the trip, we get to eat our lunch overlooking an isolated beach, and to add to the whole outside-beach-lunch-palm-trees-chill kind of vibe, we ate in large banana leaves. Oh, and can you say seafood galore? Seafood galore! We were presented with fish, crabs, and lobsters, fresh from the ocean. How can you not drool with that kind of platter served at your table? (I suggest you eat with your hands. It’s way more fun. But don’t forget to wash your hands!) 

Coconut Crabs & Lobsters
My pretty messy plate
Lumpiang Dibang 
Squid Calamares
Dorado Fish or Mahi-Mahi Fish
The People
How do I even begin explaining the people here from Batanes? One word: Nice. Okay, two words—super nice. The locals (called the Ivatans,) were kind and they enjoy greeting you. The fishermen, the kids, the oldies, even the construction workers would do a quick nod to you and say hi. They enjoy smiling too. I didn’t encounter a mean local, (okay there was at least one, but I think she was just shy or probably anti-social). The Ivatans are one of the kindest and most simple people I have ever met.

Local girl from Chavayan, Sabtang, Batanes. She said hi to me!
An old Ivatan woman weaving a vakul, a traditional Ivatan headgear
The Honesty Coffee Shop
What I also love about Batanes is how they value honesty and responsibility. In Batanes lie a simple shop called The Honesty Coffee Shop. Now what is The Honesty Coffee Shop? Basically it’s a self-service store where the shop is left unguarded, so they use an honesty system where you can have the freedom to choose or browse over their items, and if you decide on buying anything, you just write down your purchases on a log book and leave your money in their cash box. It’s a pretty nice, concept, right? I bet this kind of shop won’t last long in the city. If you are planning to go to Batanes, this is a must-stop place that you need to go!

The Houses Made of Rocks
Why yes, my dad was right. We did get to see houses that are made of rocks. Eventually these houses made of rocks are actually traditional Ivatan houses, and they were designed in a way to withstand nature's calamities. We get to hop in a boat and went to another island in Batanes, which is the Sabtang Island, where most of the traditional Ivatan houses were located. Rocky mountains and green pastures were sprawled everywhere. It was way more isolated than Batan Island (where we were really stationed at). Sabtang Island is just a small place, probably with just over 600 residents. Most of the time I was wondering, “Where are all of the residents?” The island was so isolated when we were touring the place, it felt like it was an abandoned Universal Studios studio lot. But I enjoyed the seclusion. It was calm, relaxing, and peaceful. 

The Seascape
If Batanes is rich in landscape, well, they are nowhere behind when it comes to seascapes. Just like pretty much everywhere else in the Philippines, the beaches here are beautiful. Beautiful is an understatement, actually. We just set foot in one of the disconnected-to-civilization beaches here in Batanes, since most of the beaches were too far below the high hills we were situated at, and they were pretty much rocky to descend down to (I was just wearing slippers that time. I was not prepared for this!) Even though we didn’t get to swim (at least we get to wade in the water, the waves were kind of scary!) It was pretty much okay. The panoramic view of the surroundings was already satisfying enough!

I was on the very edge on top of a 100-foot high hill when I took this amazing picture!
My brother having his moment alone
What did I tell you about isolated?
The famous rock arch of Batanes in Morong Beach, Sabtang Island
Pretty shells my sister caught
Nature's Playground
Overall, the trip to Batanes was unforgettable. Its beauty is truly preserved. I hope that tourism will boom in this place soon! This small province made me know more about our country's history and culture, I get to taste their cuisine, and I also get to realize that my country has its own little piece of heaven. If you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, would love to escape the city life, enjoys the smell of fresh air (who doesn't?) but wouldn’t mind the smell of cow dung (it’s everywhere,) then I suggest you book a flight to Batanes. It sure is one of the undiscovered gems that you have to see in the Philippines. Batanes truly is nature’s playground!

See you again, Batanes!
Tips and Reminders
1. We didn’t get to see any ATMs around, so make sure to bring cash!
2. Two nights and three days is not enough for a vacation to Batanes (that’s how long our stay was. Or short.) Try making it around a week! (There’s an island that we didn’t get to go to: Itbayat Island. I bet it’s also wonderful over there!)
3.The phone signal in Batanes is uncertain, but they have a pretty strong Wi-Fi over there!
4. Bring medicine if you’re easily nauseated. My mom vomited twice from our island hopping!
5. Be careful! If you’re with children, always keep an eye on them! There are instances where you will be hiking up a hill with narrow pathways. Try not to fall!
6. On our way back home, we had a slight delay (due to wind currents,) so be prepared for any kind of circumstances like that. Their airport really is just small!
7. Bring hiking shoes. Don’t ask, just do!
8.Take lots of pictures! The pictures I have shown to you are just snippets of my adventure in Batanes. I have over 800 shots on my camera!

Shots taken from: Canon EOS 550D | Shots fired by: Me | The Honesty Coffee Shop (via TripAdvisor): Honesty Coffee Shop | Batanes Cultural Travel Agency: Batanes Travel

Beyond My Control

The salty sea is trickling down
From my face, I can’t be seen,
You did it once, you did it again,
Why do you always intervene?

They say that sticks and stones will break your bones,
But words will never hurt you,
Well I’d rather go naked, be hit and thrown,
Than taste another poison.

My heart’s racing like a car on full speed,
Down the spiral road, I accelerated more.
I am losing my grip of the wheel, oh dear,
I crashed, I cannot take it anymore.

I am battling my fears every day,
But the riots got out of hand,
Just give yourself a bad distance
From me, this, please, I demand.

Of all the things that you can do to me,
My mind, my body, is taking its toll.
Now here I am, again, suffering in silence,
Will you wait until I am beyond my control?

Photo Credit: Google

Monday, April 7, 2014