Short and Simple: WHAT IS BLUE SPACE?

Dearest Wandering Seniors, have you heard of “blue space”?

Blue space is the term for visible water needed by people to improve their quality of life.1 Examples of blue spaces are beaches, canals, fountains, harbors, islands, islets, lakes, marinas, ponds, ports, rivers, streams, and waterfront parks.

Seeing a beach, appreciating the clarity of its water, witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset along the beach, gazing at the waves and the soothing motion and rhythm of water, hearing the waves hit the shore, feeling the cooling effect even by just wading on the beach, the feeling of walking near the shoreline and smelling the ocean, riding a boat along a body of water and feeling the water with your hand, among others, definitely have a positive, relaxing and soothing effect on people. The refreshing clean, cool air, as you breathe in and out, somehow gives you a re-energized feeling from the polluted air in the city.

Environmental health research as well as environmental psychological studies have revealed that living near, or spending time close to lakes, rivers and the sea, has a positive impact on mental health and promotes physical activity. It reduces stress and improves mental health and one’s well-being.

So, what are you waiting for, urban-based Senior Citizens? This Holy Week, or even just a weekend this summer, go find a “blue space” for your mental well-being! Who knows, I will see you around!

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel issues/concerns which you would like me to feature? What is your “blue space” escapde this summer? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1www.simplicable.com

EL NIDO: Blue Lagoons – Part 2

Location: Province of Palawan1, MIMAROPA2 Region, Philippines

On our 3rd day in El Nido3 we had our 2nd tour, called TOUR A – BLUE LAGOONS, costing 1,200 per person. Join me as I recall this wonderful day!

We started the day with another hearty buffet breakfast at our El Nido hotel, Sea Cocoon! I packed my hard-plastic beach bag with my needs for the day: sun block, bottles of mineral water, comb, towels, sunglasses, cell phone and power bank, snacks, cash for renting kayaks and for purchasing fresh buko/cold drinks, etc. After breakfast, we all met at the lobby, trooped again to the beach, and boarded our big “banca” (boat) for the day.

The first stop was SECRET LAGOON which can only be accessed by swimming through a small window-sized cave. Again, no worries, dearest seniors, the kind boatmen will always be ready to assist us seniors, your “apos” (grandchildren), and whoever else needs assistance. Once inside, you will not regret entering this beautiful pool of clear water surrounded by limestone formation and thus, another secret no more!

Next was SMALL LAGOON, located at the cove of Miniloc Island, enclosed by rock cliffs. It is best to rent a kayak since bancas are only allowed to dock about 50 yards from its entrance. Talk about El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area4! The local government is really serious about protecting the areas in the various packaged tours.

Secure your safety vest, pay the kayak rental, ask someone you trust, or even one of your boatman, to join you in the kayak because the view is unforgettable! It is so easy to maneuver the kayak, just coordinate with your companion, get your rhythm, and voila, you are on your way to a beautiful site!

Of course, if there was a Small Lagoon, a BIG LAGOON would be next. This is the iconic symbol of El Nido, with 2 cliffs guarding the entrance. Again, rent a kayak to explore this lagoon. You can also snorkel, just be conscious of sea urchins.

2-El-Nido-Big Lagoon - 2- Ed Pingol

  Photos by Ed Pingol

The SHIMIZU ISLAND came next, ideal for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. Our delectable grilled buffet was served in this island. Again our tummies were so happy while we devoured the yummy feast before us! The boatmen were systematic in clearing the make-shift dining area and disposed of all garbage! Now, this is how it should be; leave nothing on the islands except your footprints!

The last stop was 7 COMMANDOS ISLAND, a white sand party beach named after its original 7 inhabitants. Tourists tend to stay here to sunbathe, swim, snorkel, play volleyball, swing at the long-roped rubber tires, and for the men, girl watching! Now you can spend your cash for halo-lalo, mais con yelo, beer, cocktails, shakes, other cold drinks and other treats.

Personally, I appreciate the efforts of the local government to implement the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area4 in terms of tourism. Other than mechanized bancas which give livelihood to the local fisherfolks, there are no visible “gas-operated” water-sports like jet-ski, para-sailing, etc. Kayaks are used to explore the various lagoons and the motorboats are not allowed to go near them, thus, the water is not polluted in these awesome lagoons!

This was another amazing tour and a beautiful sunset awaited us along the shore, fronting our chosen restaurant for the night! Thanks, Gani Ricarte of Hello El Nido, for another unforgettable day! Just search for his website: www.helloelnido.com

Did you find this post informative? Have you experienced this package tour? I would like to hear from you. Just scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you.

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1Palawan, according to the Wikipedia page, “Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, s a province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA Region of the Philippines, founded in 1818, and is now called the Philippines’ Last Frontier. SOURCE: “Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan.

2MIMAROPA, according to the Wikipedia page, “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, is an administrative region of the Philippines which is an acronym for its constituent provinces: Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. It was designated as Region IV-B until 2016. It is now also called the Southwestern Tagalog Region. SOURCE: “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimaropa.

3El Nido, according to the Wikipedia page, “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, is a first class, highly urbanized city located in the western province of Palawan, the westernmost city in the Philippines, with 66 barangays, and the capital of Palawan. The airport is located in this city and it is also known for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, named one of the New7Wonders of the Nature. SOURCE: “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nido,_Palawan.

4El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) is the largest marine sanctuary in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page, “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, It covers 18 barangays in El Nido and 3 barangays of its neighboring town, Taytay, involving more than 900 sq. km, using various forest and marine conservation and protection programs, to protect and develop the livelihoods of the seaside local population, amidst the development of tourist in the area. A very small (50 US cents) daily conservation fee is required per visitor. SOURCE: “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nido,_Palawan.

Please visit my first El Nido post EL NIDO: Heaven on Earth – Part 1

and

last post EL NIDO: Islands and Caves – Part 3

ALTERNATIVE AND ACCEPTABLE IDS FOR FILIPINO SENIOR CITIZENS

Have you ever experienced changing your bag to fit your attire only to find out that you forgot your Senior Citizen Identification Card? Well, fear no more as long as you brought other acceptable documentation. And do not be intimidated by that counter personnel or cashier who will insist that their establishment only accepts the official Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) ID! Know your rights!

Article 5.5 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9994 clearly defines the senior identification document as ANY document or proof of being a senior citizen and shall be any of the following:

  1. The Senior Citizens’ ID Card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs in the city/town where the senior citizen resides;
  2. The Philippine passport of the senior citizen concerned; and,
  3. Other valid documents that establish the senior citizen as a citizen of the Republic and at least 60 years old, which shall include, but not limited to the following government-issued identification documents indicating a senior’s birth date or age: driver’s license, postal ID, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Card, SSS/GSIS ID, and voter’s ID.

If you were ever in a senior-ID predicament, do share your experience so we seniors can be made aware what to do if it ever happens to us. Just scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. I’d love to hear from you, thanks!

FILIPINO SENIORS, KNOW YOUR LEISURE RIGHTS!

Are you like my husband when he became a senior? He did not apply for a Senior Citizen’s Identification Card until after about 2 years of being such.  Perhaps, initially, he was in denial. However, when he gradually realized the big discounts in his maintenance medicines and in fine dining restaurants which he missed compared to his colleagues, off he went to the Office for Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) of our town!

I’m a bit different. I was still in denial turning 60 yo but looked forward to obtain my SC ID and avail of all the perks! I have been a law-abiding tax payer and it was the appropriate time for me to enjoy my rights as a senior. Who likes long lines in the airport/fastfood counter/grocery/other counters? So being senior is fine, especially when the counter person asks for my card to check if I am really senior! LOL

Anyway, regardless of your mindset, I believe you earned your senior rights as a good Filipino citizen so avail of it, especially those related to health and leisure!

I will only concentrate on leisure rights in this post but you can check out Republic Act No. 9994 in the web for more information.

  • DOMESTIC TRANSPORTATION PRIVILEGES
    • 20% discount and VAT1 exemption for air and sea travel, including advanced booking;
    • 20% discount and VAT exemption on fare in public railways, including LRT2, MRT3 and PNR4;
    • 20% discount and VAT exemption on fares in buses, jeepneys, taxi, and shuttle services (AUV5).
  • HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
    • Discounts on resorts such as beach and mountain resorts;
    • Discounts shall be applied on room accommodations and other amenities offered by the establishment, not limited to the following examples:
    • Hotel-based parlors and barbershops;
    • Restaurants, massage and spa, workout gyms, swimming pools, KTV6 bars, internet facilities.
  • RECREATIONAL AND PLACES OF LEISURE
    • Discounts on the utilization of services in the form of fees, charges, and rental for sports facilities or equipment;
    • Discounts on ballroom dancing, yoga, badminton courts, bowling lanes, table or lawn tennis, workout gyms, and martial arts facilities
  • ADMISSION FEE PRIVILEGES
    • Discounts on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls;
    • Discounts on other similar places of culture, leisure, and amusement such as museums and parks.
  • EXPRESS LANE PRIVILEGES – These shall be provided in all private, banking, commercial, and government establishments; in the absence thereof, priority shall be given them.

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1VAT stands for Value-Added Tax. It is a form of sales tax on consumption levied on the sale of good or properties and services in the Philippines and on the importation of goods into the Philippines, pegged at 12%, based on gross sales or receipts.

2LRT is the abbreviation or informal term for the Manila Light Rail Transit System, a metropolitan rail system serving Metro Manila in the Philippines.

3MRT stands for the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, also known as the MRT Line 3, MRT-3 or Metrostar Express. It is a rapid transit system, servicing Metro Manila, Philippines with 13 stations and runs along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).

4PNR is the abbreviation for the Philippine National Railways, a state-owned railway company in the Philippines which operates one commuter rail service in Metro Manila, CALABARZON and the Bicol Region.

5AUV stands for Asian Utility Vehicle, an affordable, simple vehicle for basic utility, public transport or shuttle services.

6KTV is the abbreviation for Karoeke TV, a form of interactive entertainment developed in Japan, available for use at home, or in karoeke bars/boxes with private rooms which a group of people can rent to sing along with recorded songs using a microphone, along with the enjoyment of food and drinks.