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March 26, 2014

Revisiting Nueva Vizcaya my mother's hometown

A blast from the past – Salinas Salt Spring

                After so many years I came back.  I could no longer recall what year when I last visited this humble province where my mother roots are from.  My last recount of this place was when I was still in college, back then when social media and blogging was obscure. The last exploration we had with my parents and siblings was when we climbed the Salinas Salt Spring in Bambang, which was the famous tourist spot of Nueva Vizcaya when it was still alive, it died after the 1990 earthquake.  So regretful  that I have never seen it’s clear salt spring that pours out on top of the white hill.  It was the salt spring that made the hill white.  My mother, who grew up in that province could testify how beautiful this was once before, she said that even from afar the luminous white tip of the hill can be seen, which made it stand out from the rest of its neighboring mountains. 

Salinas Salt Spring photo from mid 1990's
I am the girl sitting beside a small girl.  This photo was taken sometime in 1990's.

               Going back to this province suddenly made my heart lift and curios of how it is now, so I decided to come with my parents who frequently come back in the province, especially my mother who went there not only to visit relatives, but also to do social civic work together with her high school batch in 1969 from the Bambang National High School and Saint Catherine’s School. Like in this occasion they have a scheduled gift giving to the selected families of two Barangays the next day.

Dalton Pass (Balete Pass)

                Nueva Vizcaya is the next province after San Jose, Nueva Ecija and the landmark you can see right after the welcoming arc at the boundary of this province is the tower at Dalton Pass, Santa Fe.  It was around 5:00 p.m. when we finally reached Nueva Vizcaya, it took us 5 hours from Manila to this location from the fast pace drive from NLEX & SCTEX to slow pace traversing the towns of Cabanatuan and San Jose up to the zig zag road of Dalton Pass.  We stopped over to get near the tower, which has ascended pathway, the cold breeze of wind made us shiver that it made my whole body tremble, there was a viewing deck at the far ascend, but it made my mind not to climb the steep path ahead as the wind is getting cold, so after taking some photos we went back to our vehicle and proceeded on to our way to Bambang.

Dalton Pass tower in Nueva Vizcaya
Dalton Pass tower

NVAT (Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal)

                While we were on the road something came up in our minds, we decided to drop by at NVAT,   to purchase vegetables so the next day before leaving Bambang after the gift giving we will just have to pick-up our ordered items and load it in the back of our pick-up vehicle.  NVAT is a well known wholesale market where you can buy in bulk at a very cheap cost. It is located just along the National highway on the left side if you’re heading to Bambang Proper.  The signage is already fading, if you're approaching fast on the street and if you’re not familiar with the area you might get past it. 

                Agriculture, particularly farming is the major livelihood of the Vizcayanon, the people of Vizcaya so they can get these fresh fruits and vegetables first on hand at a very cheap price, and most of the nearby provinces like Benguet and Kalinga also sells their produce to the wholesalers of NVAT.  So while we're in Bambang we took the chance to buy in bulk.  Some of the prices I remembered like potatoes per kilogram is sold at Php 35.00, whole squash Php 10.00, one crate of tomatoes Php 130.00, broccoli Php 25.00, sweet potatoes Php 15.00 per kilogram, and lettuce Php 10.00.

                The weather is good and I guess they have the same weather in Baguio City, I was wearing my jacket the whole time, most of the locals are wearing those knitted sweat shirts to protect them from the cold. It was then when we reached our hotel in Bambang that I took off my jacket when we're in our room.  I was so happy that I was able to go back again to Nueva Vizcaya which has been part of my childhood.  

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