Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year-Ender : My Travels in a 3-Minute Video

If there is a word that can describe 2010 for me, it has to be "change". Place. Gears. Hopes. Faith. Relationships. Health. Success, Failures. These are all the many changes in my life.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cabanatuan City's Very Own Delectable Treats

I have been away from my hometown for about half a year now and this Holiday break gave me the opportunity to enjoy some of Cabanatuan's goodies that I really missed so much. These are simple gastronomic pleasures that can only be found in Cabanatuan.

Joey's Palabok
Joey's Snack House is Cabanatuan's answer to Pampanga's Razons. Although both establishments specialize in palabok, each differ on the way they are being prepared. Joey's palabok is made up of special kropek and pepper sauce topped with shrimp, boiled eggs, balingit or chicharon bulaklak and spring onions.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

A gift of new life and a constant challenge amidst everything that has happened. Hope. Courage. Strength. Merry Christmas Everyone.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Philippine Bank Notes Feature Top Tourist Spots

There is money in tourism... or shall I say there is tourism in money as the new Philippine bank notes feature some of the top tourist draws of our country. Historically, Philippine bank notes are often canvass of former presidents and national heroes with events and places showed at its back that depicts our country's unique history. But the latest issuance of these notes, although retaining the heroes and its colors, have something new to offer. These notes now feature some of the best tourist destinations of the country coupled with rare fauna species that can be found only in the Philippines.

The new P20 denomination will have a younger-looking Quezon at the front and pictures of the declaration of Filipino as a national language, and the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. At the back, a picture of the Banaue Rice Terraces can be found, alongside an animal related to that area, the Palm Civet or most commonly known as the Musang.

Ifugao Rice Terraces

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pasko sa Pasig: Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

It's the time of the year when treats of sights and sounds fill your senses. It's when lanterns fill the street and carols fill the air. Not to be left behind by the festivities is the City by the river that is Pasig.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cheap Thrill: Binondo and the Bay

If you are looking for the cheapest, yet exciting way to spend the day in Manila, I highly recommend spending it walking around Binondo and capping-it off with the famous sunset view of the Manila Bay.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

A Splash Off Calaguas in Camarines Norte
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Symphony of Lights and Sounds at Ayala Triangle

One of the treats in living in the metro is that come Holiday Seasons, you will never run out of interesting sights to see. And truly, the nights always come to life with amazing display of lanterns and lights in almost every busy corners of the metro. And to start that Christmas feel in this blog, let me share to you some photos I have taken of the Symphony of Lights and Sounds at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aliaga's Taong Putik Festival

June 24 marks the observance of the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. This is the day when dousing water on unwary people is an excuse to engage in revelry.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ruined Mansion of Bacolod

From the Land of Smiles in my previous post to the City of Smiles in this post. This will be the very first time that someone else’s travel is featured on this blog. But she is no stranger in this blog having been featured here. She recently went to Bacolod City to witness the Masskara Festival and had side trips around the City. And here is her story:

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

All "Thai"d Up

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. And with its massive tourist attractions, it is always best to enjoy the country scot-free. So here are some Thai laws that travelers need to know in order for us to fully enjoy the Thai experience sans the legal hassles. Remember, ignorance of the law excuses no one, even the tourists.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Come Again in Camiguin

Endless sun, salty breezes, sea as far as the eye can see – there is really nothing like an island getaway. I am a traveler. And among the places I have visited, there are some which have stuck more in my mind than other. One of those places is an “Island Bourne on Fire”.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Revisiting Dingalan

One of my favorite places to go to whenever I come home to Cabanatuan City is the quaint little town of Dingalan. And with the opening of a new highway that traverses Sta. Rosa - Fort Magsaysay - Laur, going there is now much, more easier.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Singapore is a "Fine" Country

Ignorance of foreign laws excuses no one so it pays to be cautious. International laws are most of the times universal, that is, as long as you respect people and respect their cultures, you will be fine. But sometimes, there are certain laws that are peculiar to a particular country. There are things which you can do in one country that you cannot do in another because it is considered illegal. You do that, even unknowingly, and you will be fined. And in a “fine” country like Singapore, here are some laws to remember so as not to find ourselves in trouble.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

My Vote Is For Life With Ria

Be it music, food, travel, events, movies and even relationships, "Life With Ria" has it all. And coming from a perspective of a fun and vibrant lady-blogger named Maria, every visit to her blog not only entertains you and leave a smile on your face but also imparts good-to-know trivial things that are food for thoughts.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Philippine Beaches

With more than seven thousand islands, the Philippines is truly blessed with some of the world'd best beaches. There are those which are truly popular like Boracay, Puerto Galera, Dakak and Pagudpud where lots of beach combers go. There are also those hard to reach area where you need to travel, trek or boat ride long hours just to get there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

12 Bicol Churches

In line with the Peñafrancia Festival of Bicol, more particularly in Naga City, let me share twelve beautiful and historical churches located in Bicol. I have visited these churches on a couple of occasion that I have been there. The top photo is the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral which is one of the busiest church during the festival.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Visiting Caliraya Lake

One place that is awesome to visit because of its proximity to Manila is Caliraya Lake in Laguna. Caliraya Lake is a man-made lake shared by the towns of Lumban, Cavinti and Kalayaan.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cavinti's Japanese Garden

Large trees, manicured lawns, tidy steps and pathways and toriis and ponds are just some of the things you can see in Cavinti's Japanese Garden.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paete Wood Carving and More

A worthy day trip out of the Metro is Paete in Laguna which is just a couple of hours drive away. This quaint little town will make you fall in love with its friendly, clean and warm atmosphere. Walking in its paved, narrow will easily somewhat transport you back in time.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Birthday Post

It is almost midnight and in just few ticks of a clock, it will be my birthday. Sleep is a stranger and it is when the surrounding universe is dead that thoughts come alive. Another year older. What have changed? Definitely a lot. This is probably the first time that I will celebrate my birthday away from home. I don’t even know if celebrate is a proper word because I will spend this birthday alone.

Then suddenly, in the stillness of the night, thoughts reverberate…

Friday, September 03, 2010

One Tagaytay Weekend

They say the best things in life are free. So, when Ferdz invited me and a couple of travel buddies for an overnight free accommodation at one of Tagaytay's top hotels, who could say no. I have always associated Tagaytay with cool breeze and delectable food so this road trip is a welcome respite to the razzle-dazzle hassles of the metro.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bicol Food Trip

Mention Bicol Food and one will definitely come-up with "spicy". And why not? Its most popular draw, the Bicol Express is just too hot to handle with chopped siling labuyo as its main spice. But hey, like what the Bicolanos say, you have never been to Bicol unless you have tasted Bicol Express.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Capping-Off at Nabua

Bicol has some of the most fascinating churches in the Philippines and I was so lucky to experience and see some of then during this Albay - Camarines Sur - Camarines Norte road trip. Some of them have the best facade but plain interiors while some have simple facade but amazing interiors. But the Holy Cross Church of Nabua has both, from the amazing red-bricked exterior to its wooden and polished exteriors, a perfect church to cap-off this tour.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Choose Pili

As the day near its end, and after spending some time at CWC, we decided to pay visit to Pili Church which is just a few minutes drive away from CWC. Officially called the Church of the Parish of St. Raphael the Archangel, this Church looks so beautiful in a dusky setting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Springing in Iriga City

For those moviebuffs, Iriga City is associated with Philippine Cinema's Superstar Nora Aunor who was born and raised there. And if you happen to chat with Irigañon's, they could very well say that the diminutive superstar was their claim to fame.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Aw Baao!

In a quiet little town of Baao in Camarines Sur lies a quaint little church that serves as the historical and cultural icon of the town. Further, the monument of the first Filipino Bishop, Jorge Barlin, stood in front of the church as a tribute to this young priest who was well-respected by his parishioners and Baao political leaders of his time.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Trippin' in Tiwi

When I was younger, I associate the place Tiwi with Hot Springs. Maybe because of the lectures I had during my elementary days where one associates a tourist attraction with a place. So, when I got the chance to go to Bicol, particularly in Albay, in my mind, other than the Mayon Volcano, I really wanted to see Tiwi Hot Springs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tabaco City of Love

Talk about love and anger in one city and you will surely be amazed with Tabaco City in Albay. Dubbed as a city of love, this place also prides itself with the best bolos called "tabak" and will give Batanguenos a run for the title of a place with the best bolo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cagsawa Ruins and Mayon Volcano

Images of Mayon Volcano floods the textbooks and postcards of my elementary days. As I can vividly recall, associated with the famed volcano is a church tower which symbolizes the fiery eruption that engulfed the whole town of Cagsawa.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Daraga Church and Mayon Volcano

The Province of Albay is home to some of the country's century-old Churches. Some of them have not survived the test of time the wrath of Mayon Volcano while others who were partially damaged has withstood various catastrophes and still stand proud for everyone to see.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Food Trippin' in Embarcadero

Night Life. Cebu has one, Davao has one, Manila has one and now Bicol has one with Embarcadero de Legazpi.

Embarcadero, which literally means where the ship embarks, is a waterfront, all-activity place located at the harbor area of Legazpi City adjacent to the Sleeping Lion Hill. At the day, it offers a stunning view of the mighty Mayon Volcano as well as Legaspi's cityscape to the north and the Albay Gulf to the east.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Ligñon Hill and Mayon Volcano

Known worldwide for its near perfect cone, one can't help but be amazed at this majestic volcano that dominates the City of Legaspi in Albay. Mayon Volcano is an active volcano with a base of one hundred thirty kilometers in circumference and rises to 2,421 meters from the shores of Albay Gulf.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Cam Sur Wake Boarding and More

Camarines Sur prides itself for having the country's best water sports park designed for cabled Wake Boarding. Located within the Provincial Capitol Complex in Pili, CWC (as it is fondly abbreviated and called)is the first of its kind in the Philippines featuring top class cable ski system developed and operated by the local government.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tarlac's Isdaan Beyond Food

After the sumptuous lunch featured in the last post, let me now share you some of the sights or things to see in Isdaan. I still opine that the general theme of the place is Buddhism or meditation mainly because of large statue of a Buddha and smaller ones scattered around the restaurant. Morover, there are lots of koi in the pond and lush greenery abound perfect for meditation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food Trippin' in Isdaan

A group of friends (four of us) in Cabanatuan decided one Saturday morning to have lunch at Isdaan in Gerona Tarlac. It was hot and clear in Cabanatuan as we drove-off (with me as the designated driver) but as we approach Tarlac, the weather became gloomy and heavy rain started to fall. In fact, we have to stop driving and park my car on the side of the road because the rains were so heavy that visibility was almost nil. Nevertheless, we arrived in Gerona safely although its almost an hour past noon.

The restaurant was fully-packed so we waited another hour to be accommodated. But one thing good about Isdaan is that there are lots of things to see, from the Tacsiyapo Wall to the interesting landscapes and figures. Let the scenery take the back seat for this post is all about food:


Innapoy or Rice Rolls is a Tarlac delicacy made up of sticky rice mixed with curry, sugar, chorizo and cutlets of meat rolled-up in Banana leaves. A single serve consist of four rolls cut in halves and perfect as an appetizer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Naga's Metropolitan Cathedral

To end this triumvirate posts on Naga's Penafrancia Churches, let me feature one of Bicol's oldest and most impressive stone church - the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Naga's Church of Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia

It was perfect timing. Although my intention was just to take few snaps of the place, the mass was just about to start so I decided to attend the mass instead. What amazed me most in this church is the painted ceiling of flowers, angels and various images of the Virgin Mary. It felt rustic and modern at the same time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Naga's Basilica Minore de Penafrancia

This will be a three-post series on the Penafrancia Churches of Naga City. As you may know, every September, thousands of devotees make a pilgrimage to this city for the Penafrancia Festival, in celebration of the Virgin of Penafrancia. I happened to visit Naga City this summer and have decided to visit these churches sans the festival crowd and let me share photos of these churches starting with the Basilica Minore de Penafrancia.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Mahabang Buhangin @ Calaguas Island

I thought I have seen the best beaches in the Philippines - but not until I set foot on Mahabang Buhangin Beach in Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte. Tell me what a good beach should be and this beach will definitely exceed your expectation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Calaguas Morning

Imagine this... waking up to the sounds of the waves gently going back and forth in the shores. Then slowly stretching your body feeling the cool breeze of air coming from the hills and valleys. Then inch your way to the shore as the fine white sand trickle at your feet and the gentle waves wet you feet but just ankle deep. No crowds, no deadlines, no rush hours, no work... but just the presence of glorious natural bliss.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunset means Goodbye!

I can't help myself but be melodramatic. As I watch the sun slowly set again while staring at the red-orange skies, I realize that at this point in my life, everything seems to lead to goodbyes. I am not the one to elaborate because I don't usually put my heart on my sleeves but then again, everything happens for a reason. I will just put my faith in Him and I know I will be alright. Sunset means Goodbye but Goodbye also means moving on...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Of Birds and Butterflies

Spread your wings and fly
toward my shattered dreams
come and see my blood red sky
come and share my fears

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Songs of the Sea

Songs of the Sea is dubbed as Singapore's multi-sensory extravaganza.The show will make you fall under the spell of a new nightly extravaganza set in the sea. It will bring you a mesmerizing show with a live cast and dramatic effects pyrotechnics, water jets, brilliant lasers, special computer imaging, captivating music and stunning flame bursts. It's a one-of-a-kind entertainment that's not to be missed. I have been to Singapore twice and in both times, I made sure to watch this amazing show.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Sentosa's Siloso Beach

The island-country of Singapore is truly fascinating. They do not have white-sand beaches so they made not one but three artificial beaches. With a stretch of more than two kilometres in length on Sentosa's southern coast, Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Tanjong Beach have become favorite destinations not only among tourists but for locals alike. These beaches are reclaimed using sand bought from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Monday, May 03, 2010

2nd LIFE (The Baler Capsized Boat Experience Part II)

It was probably one of the longest ten minutes of our lives as our boat captain tried unsuccessfully to revive the motor of our boat. Our boat stopped at the middle of Aniao Islets and the relentless waves keep pushing us forward to the sharp and deadly rocks of the bigger Aniao Islets. My first actual realization that we are going to be in deep trouble was when our boat was merely arms-length away from the sharp rocks and the only thing that kept our boat from crashing was a piece of bamboo pole that we used to push our boat away from the deadly rocks.

We were literally fighting it out with the elements until the first glimpse of hope arrived – a small outrigger fishing boat that can fit four people at the most. This boat passed us just few minutes ago when our boat was still running. One of the two passengers of the boat said that they had a gut feel that our boat will be in trouble because of the strong waves so they decided not to proceed to their destination and return to warn us instead. And oh so right they were, we were indeed in deep trouble when they arrived.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Baler Capsized Boat Experience

I planned on not blogging about this frightening experience in Baler primarily because I don’t want to freak-out my mom who lives very away from me. But how can you not write about something which has nearly taken the lives of seven fun-loving individuals – the Survivor Seven as we call ourselves.

I have been to Baler late last year and having been bitten by its natural beauty, I found myself going there again and this time with a group of friends all from Nueva Ecija. We took the earliest van ride from Cabanatuan to Baler (fare is Php200 each).