Inside the Paris Opera Ballet: The Oldest National Ballet

 

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The Paris Opera Ballet was breathtaking and if you watched the video I posted on YouTube which is below the tips section, you could see the different Marbles and the structure of the place was really just amazing. Every room feels like a dream and every stairway was so picturesque. If I ever got to Paris again I hope that I am able to watch a ballet show with the Paris Opera, even if I have heard not so okay reviews about their companys politics. It would be a really wonderful experience for sure to be with the crowd of snobby French people appreciating their art. Now that is something I really would love to experience firsthand, unfortunately there are no shows during the summertime when we went to Paris.

Its Amazing how this place built in the 18th-19th century is still so beatuiful. The place was built if I remember correctly during the time of Louis XIV. When ballet or social dancing during that time got too demanding that they had to build a place where dancers could train for performances. During that time the dancing was usually done like a court dance, but with all of the complicated steps being added by the kings personal ballet teacher, they eventually had to make a system of ballet and thats when the steps were noted and eventually put into system and thus the birth of the ballet school and the Opera Garnier to watch performances.

Some tips if you intend to visit the beautiful Opera House.

TIPS: 

  1. The entrance is not at the front but on the west side of the building. So if you want to go inside, just make sure to go from the side of the building where the famous statue is located. That statue is the one believed to be protecting the Opera House from any fire. 
  2. No need to come early, we were there around 11am but the line isn’t so long usually since Im sure most people who come are dancers or people who love art and the threatre. 
  3. If you are under 26 you always apply for the student discount! Don’t forget because it will make a big difference 

I wish I was just able to visit the flooded ground floor, Im sure there is a way to visit that place but I will probably have to pay a lot more and hire someone to bring me there.

 

My sister and I really enjoyed the Paris Opera Ballet theatre or the Palais Garnier. I think anyone who isn’t a person of ballet, would instantly be turned into someone who will be interested in the art after coming here. What is beautiful about Europe and or Paris is that ballet is still treated as being a part of their culture. Whats even more interesting is that so much of that culture was also brought to the Philippines in the past! Do you know that a lot of famous ballet dancers visited the Philippines long ago.

I hope that there would also be more infused culture of supporting the arts and ballet in the country. A challenge to all the ballet companies and schools to keep their shows up to standard and to keeping the art alive.  I hope and pray that times change for the better. For now enjoy my ballet loving blogs and vlogs.

Much Love,
dancebylina.com
thebackpackingballerina.com

 

Apo Island Dumaguete, Philippines

Its been a dream of mine to revist Dumaguete and finally go to Apo Island. I was last in Dumaguete when i was on a local tour with my former ballet company. Apo island as explained by a local here to us is the “apo” or the grandchild of the Negros region in the Philippines.

 
Home to plenty of turtles, we saw some as big as a 10 year old child and one as small as a 2 year old. I really enjoyed apo island minus the sea sickness. Staying here, since my dad was paying for everything this time (thank goodness. Hehe) I looked for the best and nearest resort to the island. Atmosphere resorts is only a 30 minute boat ride to APO island and is also located in Dauin.

We spent half the day in APO island and half around the island of dumagute, If you are looking for local cuisine, Lab As is the place to eat as recommended by a few local friend of ours. We also did a tour around the city and a walk along the boulevard, a visit to the bell tower, and bought some Silvanas and Chocolate Suman for pasalubong to our friends.

 

The corals in Apo island I would say might be best enjoyed while Diving. I was told that while they were diving they would encounter not only turtles but also reef sharks. And I was told that this was named one of the top 10 best diving spots in the world. I enjoyed snorkeling too, but i was limited to go around the shallow areas. I’ll save the diving for next time when I come back!

Banaue-Sagada, Cordillera Region

I cannot say much about Sagada except that it was really too much for me to intake in just 3 days. I think that I need more time for the experience to actually sink into me. We stayed here for 2 nights and 3 days. The first day was for traveling here, we left Manila at 10pm and arrived Banaue passing the back way and not from Baguio at around 7am where we had our breakfast. From Banaue we had to drive all the way to Sagada which took us around another 2-3 hours. We got there at around 10am where we first took a long rest and had our lunch. We stayed at Hidden hill, which costs about Php 300 per head a night. Very quaint and hidden, it was a really nice place to stay in.

The viewpoint of Banaue Rice terraces. There are so much of the terraces all over the place so you could practically call everything Banaue Rice terraces.

The viewpoint of Banaue Rice terraces. There are so much of the terraces all over the place so you could practically call everything Banaue Rice terraces.

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Hiking up to Bomod-ok falls. It takes about 2 hours going there and another 2 hours coming back. Don’t forget to should when you’re at the echo valley.

Day 01: Banue Rice terraces and Sagada, Bomod-Ok falls

We were advised to go to the Bomod-ok falls first today instead of the cave connection because apparently it was a “holiday” the next day and they said that we would not be able to visit the Bomod-ok falls because they would be resting.

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The Fedelisan people believe that the water here has healing powers. So if you want to try, you may swim in the falls. It is very cold though so be careful. Also the rocks are very slippery.

Going to the Bomod-ok falls takes about a 2 hour hike up and down the terraces. It was a lot of fun talking to our guide about the culture down here. They are mostly Christians but they also follow their own traditions down here. Each person has their own Christian name and Native name. We learned a lot about how each family has a part in the terraces as a source of livelihood and how they use some of the grass as fertilizers. The view was breathtaking and the trek was long but worth it. It was also another 2 hour hike to go back up another route which was a bit easier since it was less steeper.

Day 02: Cave connection from Sumaguing to Lumiang cave then we spent the afternoon in Ganduyan Museum, Pottery house and hike around Echo Valley to the Hanging Coffins.

Cave connection is optional. You may opt not to take the route from inside the cave of Sumaguing to Lumiang, but I would recommend this because it was so much funner!

Cave connection/ Spelunking is optional. You may opt not to take the route from inside the cave of Sumaguing to Lumiang, but I would recommend this because it was so much funner! Php 300 per head.

This was the most tiring day ever! I was falling asleep between the trips because I was so tired from spelunking in the cave connection. You can opt to do the cave connection or not, but I would encourage you to try it because it was such a memorable experience! You wouldn’t believe how beautiful it was inside that cave. Don’t worry if you’re not so experienced. There are a lot of guides to help you go around the cave. I would suggest that you go here in small groups so that you do not take much time. Also bring slippers to go around the cave because sandals could cause you to slip easily. It took us about 4 hours inside the cave and we were exhausted when we got out.

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The lady guided me in making the pot. It was really difficult even if she made it look so easy.

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This is my finished product! I encourage you all to try it out. Php 100 per person

After lunch we headed to Echo valley which was another hike to the hanging coffins. Really interesting tradition of the Fedelisan tribe here. After another long hike we headed to Ganduyan Museum, and I was already dozing off. Ganduyan was the original name of Sagada but due to a misunderstanding with the Americans the place was called Sagada. The museum is really one to visit and I would encourage that you ask them to guide you around. The owner of the museum takes care of this place very well and it gave me a good look into their traditions. Then we headed to the Pottery house where I made my first ever pot. It was pretty difficult and the lady in the pottery house kept on scolding me (haha). It was so much fun! I wish that I had more time here because it really was a lot of fun. Php 100 per person to try the pottery making.

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Trying to catch the Sunrise from kiteplan tower at 5am.

Day 03: Sunrise at Kiteplan tower, leaving Sagada passing by the route to Baguio and the Highest point of the highway.

We woke up at 430am just to watch the sunrise on Kiteplan tower. Although today Mr. Sun didn’t show up we did get good pictures. How I wished that I was on top of Mt. Pulag at that time. It was a sea of clouds and It was really cold to be up there at 5am. After watching the sunrise we left Sagada for Baguio. On the way there we stopped over at the highest point of the highway for a bathroom stop and to stretch our legs. Then we passed by La Trinidad strawberry plantation before heading home.

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This way going home is actually longer than the back way but it was part of the tour to be passing by this way so we did.

We spent a total of Php 6000 each including accommodations, food, transportation and the tours. We booked the hotel and the itinerary with Parana tours. It cost us about 3800 to book with them which included the individual rooms and the van transpo with the tour guide and most of the tours. The rest of the 2200 pesos was for the food, the cave connection Php 400 each but Php 300 if you do not book this with the agency and pasalubong shopping. It wasn’t so bad for a first try and I would love to come back to explore some more of Banaue and Sagada. There are just so much things to do here and I really didn’t expect to have that much fun. My next trip might be to Ilocos but since I don’t want to ride a van anymore I plan to just take a plane going here. It’s just too much of a hassle to be sitting around in a van for 12 whole hours.

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Strawberry Yoghurt from the Strawberry Cafe. I will come back to eat more of their food!

For the places that I ate in Sagada check out my post on Exploring the food in Sagada, Cordillera Region. Pagyaman! Fedelisan tribe.

Mt.Pinatubo Day Hike

10157001_10203581900779029_823659614_nWoke up at 2am for this hike. We left Manila at around 3 am or 315am on a Sunday morning to head to Pangasinan. We arrived at the Pinatubo bump off at exactly 6am. From here we rode a 4×4 jeep. Note: Bring sun glasses and a bandana or a towel to cover your mouth. As the lahar flies around while you are on 10248827_10203581900699027_165054301_nthe jeep and it becomes very dry and dusty. The jeep ride took approximately 1 hour. After the jeep ride is a long hike of about another 2 hours or so depending on your speed. My friend and I took about more than two hours because I took a lot of stops along the way and the air got very hot at around 10am. Note: Bring an umbrella, even if it will make you look stupid while hiking. It is better than burning to death under the heat of the sun. Also bring TONS of water. They sell water along the way but it costs 100php per bottle. CRAZY. 

 

SONY DSCAfter another few hours of walking we finally reached our destination! The crater of Mt. Pinatubo. The water was not as warm as I hoped it would be, and swimming wasn’t allowed because apparently someone had drowned here before. Most of the people here just stay in this one area taking pictures and then they just go back to the hut to talk and to eat lunch. Meanwhile the foreigners  went under the sun and sunbathed. It was a beautiful view though and my friend and I felt great after our long hike. Note: Bring a lot of food as you will be very hungry after this hike, and YOU WILL HAVE TO HIKE BACK THE SAME WAY. HAHA.  No joke. My friend Michelle and I just went crazy after hearing this. Although the hike back was shorter since most of the roads were already sloping down and the sun was going down. We were all so tired by the time we got back to the 4×4 jeep and we were all so dirty by the time we got to the van. To shower would have cost you 50php, so my friend and I just opted to shower at home. We just used some baby wipes and changed our clothes. We got back to manila at 6pm sharp. It was definitely a very tiring yet fulfilling day. I would recommend anyone to do this hike.

We availed of our hike with http://www.trailadventours.com/ The tour guide was a friend of my friends and it was a very fun and successful trip. The whole trip only cost us 2700Php, not including the food that we bought and brought. We probably just spent about 3500 or less. I would recommend this to anyone who would like to get out of the city and to get A LOT of exercise. Another last NOTE: There isn’t any signal once you reach the Pinatubo bump off.  So expect that you won’t be needing your phone for the entire trip.  A great trip for anyone who wants to escape the city life. Even just for a day. Get tons of sleep before the trip!

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Going down the steps to the crater