We had gotten several instructions on how to get to Cam Sur. King’s instructions was the clearest one we had (plus, I wrote it down). So we went to the terminal beside Pacific Mall (near the SM Savemore, which IMO should be SM Savepoint, like in RPGs) and boarded a van for Naga. We were just in time for the last three seats. Fee for the full trip is P150 per person, but since we were getting off at Pili, it was only P130. Just tell the driver to let you off at the CWC crossing.
The trip is roughly two hours, about half of which I spent sleeping. It was rather uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind it much. The driver let us off the crossing, and we took a trike to the CamSur Watersports Complex. It’s inside a compound that’s houses several government agencies, although much of the area is being developed into several resorts.
We decided on signing up for half day use of the cable park. Since it won’t open until 10 AM, we had roughly two hours to kill. We did so by taking beginner lessons on wakeboarding at Winch Park.
Ideally, we were told that first timers should go knee boarding before trying wakeboarding. This is so that you’ll have an idea on how to balance yourself on the board, as kneeboarding doesn’t really require much effort compared to wakeboarding. Since the park is closed, we opted for wakeboarding basics.
I consider myself a fairly athletic person, having taken up taekwondo and archery in the past. Still, prefer less strenuous sports, and although I do like to swim but I’m quite intimidated by water. First thing I asked was “Are there life jackets?” then “How deep is the water?”
Let me just say that it is not a fun experience when you lose your balance and hit the water… at first. After a while, it just gets frustrating because you see everyone (your brother, mostly) crossing the water easily after one or two falls. Still, the moment where I was able to complete a round was really exhilarating. Sure, I wasn’t fully standing, and maybe I still had some issues with how to properly balance myself, but it was so worth it. After a while I was also able to try standing up slightly, then making a turn.
I also realized that I was able to start off with no problems when the operator suddenly ran the machine while I was still chatting with the instructor. Better because I wasn’t tense with expectation?
Miks started on the cable park earlier. He was able to complete one round by the time we got there. Nez immediately tried kneeboarding, while I decided to pass it up in favor of catching my breath. Around this time, other guests were arriving, including several Australians who seemed to be wakeboard enthusiasts, judging by their equipment and physique. Thank God for shades, because I couldn’t stop ogling at them.
The half day rent on the cable park includes free use of the swimming pool, which we took advantage of while waiting for our food orders.
Food tripping again
We didn’t have breakfast so I was truly starving by the time noon rolled in. CWC had its own restaurant, which was pretty much the only place you can get food from inside the compound. Price-wise, most dishes fell below the P200 line. I had an order of Filipino breakfast (tapsilog) and a side dish of hakaw. Miks had this ground pork dish (the name escapes me) while Nez had some sort of rice toppings. Oddly enough no one thought to take photos of the food, probably because we were so hungry.
I wanted to take home CWC’s menu which was shaped like a wakeboard. Miks and I asked if we could get it, and they said no. Too bad.
For dessert, we had banana split, which didn’t really stand out. The menu described it as four scoops with pili nut toppings. It was only three scoops with no pili nuts. There’s a cherry though. Later on we ordered laing pizza and it was good! The laing was well made so it didn’t overpower the tastebuds. Oddly enough, it mixed well with the cheese. Definitely well recommended!
On to Naga
We spent the remaining hours cleaning up, then took the shuttle to Naga. Our original plan was to go back to Legaspi after lunch, but Nez wanted to go to Naga, after seeing signs for the 300th anniversary of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
I have heard of it before, thanks to various relatives and a friend’s mother who is from Naga. While I’m not a religious person, I still think it warrants a visit, so I was game. When we got to Naga, we were confused about where to go. The trike driver who took us to CWC said that we should go to the Basilica where the Ina (as Our Lady of Peñafrancia is fondly called by her devotees) is housed. She will be transferred to the Cathedral the week after (note: it’s the week of September 13 to 17), before heading back to the Basilica. We again took a trike.
There were not many people at the Basilica, although there were a lot of construction going on outside, probably in preparation for the celebration in the coming days. Outside the church is a tarpaulin board where you can write your wishes or prayers. Nez, Miks and I all noted down our prayers. Mine was for my family.
The Basilica is fairly new. By this, I mean it wasn’t as old as Daraga church or some of the older churches we saw along the way. Still, it was pretty impressive. There were huge stained glass works of the various stations of the cross, letting the light flow from outside and casting a colorful glow in the church. The altar is big, reminding me of the church in Dumaguete. At the very top of the altar is the image of Ina. There is an entrance in the side of the altar to a prayer/devotion area, where you can touch the image through a small cubby hole while saying a prayer. We were lucky to get there before anyone else, so there were no lines.
As I said earlier, I am not a religious person. In fact, you can even say I’m somewhat skeptic of the Catholic Church, even though I am Catholic. Still, there was something about the place, and the devotion of the people there that touched me, and I couldn’t help but cry while I was there.
We went around a bit, with Nez going to the souvenir shop to get something for her grandma and offer a mass for her siblings, who are taking the bar.
We headed back to SM to look for a Starbucks so she can get a mug for her sister. Tip: there is no Starbucks in SM Naga, but there is one along the road to the Basilica. It’s right next to Yellow Cab, which is across a gas station in an intersection. I don’t know the name of the street.
The trip back to Legaspi took roughly two hours, again most of which I spent sleeping. Back in Legaspi, we decided on a quick dinner at McDonald’s (yes, we eventually gave in), then walked back to our hotel.
A funny thing happened while we were walking. A
lady behind me asked “Saan yung Tanchuling Hotel?” Apparently, she was also a visitor in Legaspi like us. Nez and Miks were ready to reply that they didn’t know, but I quickly answered with the directions. How did I know? we passed it several times before and I often retain information like that.
We all crashed pretty quickly after we arrived at the hotel. Our bodies were starting to hurt from the wakeboarding, and Nez told me that she had to get some cold canned drinks to put on her aching muscles. I doubted that we’d get up early the next day to get to Bacacay.
I still haven’t sent my postcards.
My best friend Carmenez invited me on a trip to Legaspi, Albay. It had been years since I last stepped foot on my motherís home province and I jumped on the chance. A few days later, she asked if I knew of anyone else who wanted to go, so I took my brother Miks along.
The moments before the actual flight were rather tense. one reason was mostly due to my carelessness, and the other one was purely because of fate. But when the plane was in the air and we landed in Legaspi, we didnít really care and had a grand time laughing about it.
Day 1: Legaspi and Daraga
It was Miksí first time to ride a plane, and his first visit back to Bicol after twenty years. He was roughly two years old when he first visited, and hasnít been back since. He said that the plane ride was rather short (less than an hour from Manila to Legaspi), but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Upon landing, we immediately whipped out our cameras for a shot at the tarmac, even though we were asked not to take pictures in the runway. Since there were not much activity, the airport personnel was a bit more accommodating.
We were able to get a ride with someone Carmenez knew from work, so we arrived at our hotel pretty quickly. Sampaguita Tourist Inn is located along Rizal St., and is easily accessible through public or private transportation. Itís relatively cheap and clean. Our room had three single beds, one bathroom, a TV with cable, aircon and fan. itís the bare essentials, but for P750+ per night, itís very good. Thereís no WiFi in the rooms, but thereís a free connection at the lobby. Thereís also a restaurant on the first floor, but I donít know how the food is.
After dumping our things and freshening up a bit, we headed out. Pacific Mall was our first stop, where we were told we can easily get rides to where we needed to go. A trike is P7 per person, but for some reason the drivers kept asking for P30 for the three of us. It wouldnít be so bad, but the total of those extra three pesos does make a difference.
Pacific Mall is a Gaisano mall, hence the familiar uniforms of the department store ladies. The funny thing was it was only a few blocks away from our hotel, and we couldíve easily walked to it. It houses several familiar establishments like McDonaldís, Jollibee, Bench, Penshoppe and National Bookstore.
We had lunch at Graceland, all because we thought there were two Jollibee stores in the mall, thanks to the mascot Qweenie. For less than P100, you get a full meal. Miks and I had lechon kawali with Bicol Express, while Nez had porkchop with laing.
Right on the second floor is the store my friends and I know and love so well: Booksale. Since I was with the friend who introduced me to it, we just had to pass by. Iím sure my brother rolled his eyes as we made a beeline for it. I purchased a book for Lolo, while Nez hauled in some pocketbooks at P15 each.
We finished running our errands and headed off to the Philippine Ports Authority office, where Nez met up with people she knew from work. We took a trike from the mall, which then dropped us off in front of the Naval base. Unfortunately neither the trike driver nor the security guard we asked knew where PPA was, so we were off for a long walk. We made some wrong turns but eventually ended up where we needed to be.
Most of Legaspiís government offices are located in one compound. I saw the Civil Service, DOST, DOT, LTO, Commission on Audit, DILG among others. There were other government offices outside the compound but they were more like satellite offices.
The Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga
We headed off to Daraga to see the Cagsawa Ruins. The last time I was there, it seemed like it was just a big field with the bell tower in the middle of it. Now thereís a gate, where you have to pay the entrance fee, plus stalls where you can buy souvenirs. Inside the compound, we ran into King, a young man who took us around the ruins and told us the story behind it. He was also really cool to take pictures of us, and gave us information on where we could go next. If ever you do stop by the Cagsawa Ruins, look for King.
Our next stop was Daraga church, which sits on top of a hill. Daraga was celebrating its fiesta the next day, so the church was all spruced up. It had an amazing view of Mayon, and thanks to Kingís tips, we were able to get great pictures of the church and the volcano.
It was late afternoon when we got back to Legaspi, so we opted to go to Bacacay the next day, after wakeboarding in CamSur. Instead, we freshened up and went downtown to look for the bus terminal. Legaspi has a busy downtown district, the only thing I recall ever seeing back then was LCC Mall. We took a walk around but didnít find what we wanted. We poked around an ukay-ukay store, and I finally saw the post office, complete with a really odd statue of kneeling headless man. According to my research, it was originally found along the townís port area and is a memorial to a guerilla hero beheaded by the Japanese during World War II.
Legaspi’s night life
A short walk away is the Embarcadero, a waterfront development full of stores and restaurants, considered as the portal of nightlife in Legaspi. Much of it is still under development, and will house a hotel and spa as well as a IT park in the future. For now, it has enough to keep one entertained. We had dinner in Biggs Diner, one of Bicol’s popular food chain.
At first, Nez wasn’t impressed because it functioned quite like McDonaldís where you have to line up to order instead of sitting down then ordering from a menu. However, when our orders came, we didnít have anything bad to say about it. For the price, Biggís is well worth it. The servings are, well, big, and the taste lives up to the images that are posted on the menu board.
For a Monday night, there were a lot of people milling about. There was a boxing event, and there was a live band playing. Nez wanted coffee, so we looked around for a coffeeshop. No Starbucks or CBTL, instead, we saw La Mia Tazza. Like Biggís and Graceland, it is purely homegrown. Many of the drinks and the desserts have incorporated what Bicol is known for. I just tried tea, but I heard that they have drinks with pili nuts. My mom would love that.
We spent the rest of the evening listening to the band, then headed back to Sampaguita to rest as we had to get up early the next day.
Sunday late afternoon the matriarchial side of the family once again gathered for a few hours of good food and great company. My aunt (who also happens to be my ninang had just arrived from a trip to Germany, and as it had become the custom in the last year, she invited us over for a bit of German-inspired eats.
Only Nunik and I were able to go to represent our contingent, while the usual suspects of my mom’s siblings and their families were there. First course of the night: cheese and wine. Tita Ruth prepared the cheeses she got in Germany and served it with some homemade pita bread and Asti Cinzano.
I am not normally a wine drinker but I loved the taste of Asti.
Rather than just be a guest, I decided to give a small hand in helping my cousins prepare one of the dishes, spätzle. Ideally, it is soft dough that is rubbed through a slotted plate to form small pieces of pasta then cooked in water. Somehow, the mixture went wrong so we just rolled them to little round pieces and cooked them like macaroni and cheese. The rest of the pasta was cut into long noodles, which we then jokingly called “lomi”.
While eating the cheese, Tita Ruth told us of their misadventure and we had a good time laughing at it. Dinner was roast chicken, lemon chicken, beef stew, steamed vegetables, spätzle and grilled tuna jaw (pangga that was so good, I didn’t bother with eating chicked). We also had salmon sashimi as a pre-dinner, post-appetiser er, appetiser. I didn’t eat rice at all but I was so full.
After more stories, a demonstration of the handy dandy fruit cutter, we got some pasalubong. Nunik and I took a ride with Tita Rose. Tiring, but enjoyable.
Note: Pictures to follow later. It’s hard to upload them on this connection.
Quezon day today, so that means I’m on holiday. I initially thought about being lazy at home but I went to Ortigas to meet with Ching and Presea. Ching was starting on a new job near Megamall so that was where we met. Lunch of Bodhi (wish there was one in Eastwood), dessert of ice scramble.
Didn’t do much after that. We went to National Bookstore so both can look at things they needed. I perused the book sale pile and found none to my liking. Since they had to go back, I walked with them to Building B. I decided to pass by the Body Shop to check out the price of the perfume I liked, but was sidelined by Chapters & Pages.
While sometimes more expensive than Booksale, I do love their “Buy One Take One” section. There I found some interesting books. For P99, I got two new reads: “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucceillo, and “A Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” by Melissa Bank.
It was inevitable that I pass by Booksale on my way back to Building A, where I found a hardback edition of Mary Balogh’s “Simply Dangerous” for P125, by far the most expensive book I got for the day. A Jude Deveraux hardback released late last year was also available but since I stopped reading her works (medyo boring na), I passed it up.
Since I was on a roll, I thought I’d say hello to Powerbooks na din, because sometimes they have this most amazing sale pile where I get a lot of cool books. A few minutes of looking and digging netted me two books from the “Once Upon A Time” series I’m collecting: “Sunlight and Shadow” by Cameron Dokey, and “The Crimson Thread” by Suzanne Weyn. Both books were at 50% off and I got them at 60% when I purchased a bookmark for P15. Yeeeha.
Today’s book haul for only P400+
I took the train to Cubao afterwards to pick up my sister who spent the past few days in Zambales. She had a lot of things with her, namely a giant pizza and a giant burger from Xtremely Xpresso in SBMA, much like the one we had before. It was my siblings’ first time to try it, and they were overwhelmed. Thanks to my mom & dad for buying it, and my sister for carrying it all the way from Olongapo!
Capped off the day with a short swim, then dinner of my share of the giant burger (which was already good as one Quarter Pounder), then wrote this entry.
Work tomorrow, but I feel good about it.
Cute doggie in the pet store
Taking the giant pizza home
Taxi meter with receipt!
Also, I started watching “Katanagatari”, on the recommendation of my friend SushiChef. So far it’s a pretty good watch. I like the art and the costumes. The story is taking its time but I like the premise. It’s supposed to run for 12 episodes (started last January) and will air only one episode a month.
Still pretty cute though.
I owe myself several blog posts. Quite a few things have been happening in the past few weeks, mostly stuff that the world may not care about but stuff I’d like to immortalize other than taking photos. I’ll probably get to them soon, but for now, this is what I’ll be writing about.
My teammates are foodies. Every now and then we’d get the urge to take our lunch break somewhere. So far we’ve done Italian (Aviento), Chinese (Yang Chow), Japanese (Mr. Kurosawa, Omakase) and Filipino fusion food (Serye, that little cafe in Marikina). Today, we tried Korean. Eastwood Mall has Kogi Bulgogi, and since it was fairly new, we thought we’d try that.
The place was small, but it was bright thanks to the lighting of the restaurant and the glass walls that let the sunlight in. Our waitress was attentive, taking our orders quickly and making good suggestions.
We were served some appetizers. Six different ones in small servings. I don’t know what they’re called, really, but I recognized kimchee, and some of the dishes were familiar, like the plate of dilis (probably called by a different name by the Koreans) and toge. There was also something that resembled achara, but I didn’t like it.
Our orders arrive quickly. First came the japchae, a noodle dish that was sticky and sweet, but quickly became one of favorites. Next was the bulgogi, thinly sliced beef and mushrooms cooked in soy sauce, sugar, garlic, onions and sesame oil. I ate that down with garlic rice.
Much like what I saw in many Koreanovelas, the utensils we had were long metal spoons and chopsticks. I had a difficult time with the chopsticks so I opted to use the light, wooden ones.
We also ordered sambap, a dish where you’d wrap rice and meat (in this case, grilled chicken) in a lettuce leaf and dip in any of the sauces that comes with it. It was good, but nothing different from what I’d do at home with lettuce or seaweed.
The meal was very filling. Surprisingly the cost was pretty low too. A lot of the dishes in Kogi cost less than P200. For the three of us, we spent roughly P600. Tea (rice tea, I think) is served free, as well as ice cold ice water. Service is pretty fast and efficient. The servers were quick to clear out table when they see an empty dish, so by the time we were done, they only had to clear the main dishes.
I’d definitely go back to Kogi for another round. There’s still plenty of dishes I’d like to try. Maybe I can bring the family over there next time.
I took a leave from work yesterday so I could go to Zambales for my Lolo’s birthday. He’s turned 85, and my parents had the idea to invite his friends over for lunch. Tito Abet and I left Manila around 5:30 AM and arrived in Candelaria around 11.
Amongst all my cousins and siblings, I was the only one who was able to go so I was my generation’s representative. Many of Lolo’s visitors were his friends from way, way back. Some were fellow teachers, others were family and relatives. His godchildren also visited, one of whom is the current governor of Zambales.
It was a small affair, but a good one. They sang Lolo songs, told stories and wished him all well. They all had a great time and Lolo did too.
I love being here in Candelaria. It’s so peaceful. It’s also quite good for writing as I was able to write a thousand plus words last night.
The weather’s great too. At mornings it’s sunny and comfortably warm. Around the afternoon, the skies would darken and it would rain, making it pleasantly cool in the evenings. I slept rather long last night, waking up nearly eight.
Lolo hi-jacked my laptop for nearly four hours to talk with Tita Meyann over Skype. It was a good conversation though. I should buy him a microphone and good speakers for the desktop so they can talk more often.
Tito Abet brought his DSLR and I’ve been playing around with it. I still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to adjusting the settings. Sometimes it’s too bright, sometimes it’s too dark. Composition’s ok, but it still comes out blah. It’s fun to walk around taking pictures though. The chickens are good subjects because they stay perfectly still while you take a shot at them.
One of the things I like about being here is that my skin’s so clean. Back in Manila I have to do all sorts of maintenance just to keep the oiliness at bay, or keep it clear. Here, just water is fine. Maybe I should pack gallons of it and bring it with me.
Heading back to Manila tomorrow. Today, I’m just going to relax. Everyone (my parents and all my siblings) are in Manila. Miks is taking the nursing board exam this weekend. It’s been a while since I had the house nearly all to myself. It’s as good as going to the spa.
Will post pictures later (I forgot my USB cable and the card reader).
Other July 2 celebrants: My former boss Baby O’Brien and my cousin JC. Cheers!
P.S. Last weekend we had a barbeque to celebrate the June boys’ birthday. Miks and the rest of my brothers were absent though, but we had a good time, lots of food and booze and prepared for the next Iron Kitchen Family challenge.
On the second Sunday of June, we once again gathered for a food trip. This time, we decided to try our hand at cooking our own dishes.
The fare’s pretty simple. Tita Rose prepared pancit, Todel did cream dori. I made some pesto for pasta while Miel, Lee and Dan made grilled burgers and liempo. Rice was courtesy of my mom and siblings.
It was a great night. Food was great, company even more so. We stayed up until 4 AM, just chatting and drinking. I was so tired that I had to skip out on meeting Drew the next day in favor of staying longer in bed. Hana’s takoyaki will just have to wait.
A week after my Zambales trip with my friends, I was back. This time, I was with my family for a long overdue trip.
Very early Saturday morning, Todel, Tarose, Miel & I left Manila for the five hour trip to Zambales. We had breakfast at Delifrance along NLEX, and had a pretty much uneventful ride all throughout.
We passed by the Magsaysay ancestral home and decided it would be a good idea to stop by for a look. I’ve been passing this place for years and this is the first time I’ve ever been inside.
It wasn’t much different from the old house we have in our town. It had many similar designs, like the lower part of windows that open, or the very spacious second floor. The house was turned over by the Magsaysay family to the government so it can be preserved. I don’t quite like the mint green color though, but the house is full of interesting things.
Upon arriving in Cande, we stopped by at home to say hello to my grandpa, and take a much needed toilet break. I grabbed some swimwear and we went to the beach where my parents and sister were waiting for us with lunch. Needless to say, we all dived in with much gusto.
After an hour or so of chatting and rest, we went to the market to buy booze and ingredients for our dinner. We hung around by this man who was selling homemade fishballs that tasted really great.
Back at the beach house, we saw that the videoke machine my parents rented had arrived. So while waiting for a good time to swim (late afternoon again, so we won’t get sunburned too much), we sang our hearts out. I was the first (and for a long time, the only) one to get a score of 100.
We went for a swim just as the sun was going down. The water was calm and warm, which was very relaxing. Later we took a walk to Lolo Vering’s place (where we stayed in my last entry) and got to talk to one of our uncles. Making our way back, we ran into friends of my parents and another aunt. After a few minutes of talking, we headed back inside for dinner.
Miel’s parents and her brother Dan arrived just as we were getting ready to eat. We had our dinner while listening to songs courtesy of the videoke machine. Afterwards, we brought out the Absolut Vodka, Sprite and some pulutan. Unfortunately, all of us couldn’t make it past midnight so after several rounds of drinking and music, we all went to bed.
Day II: Potipot Island again
The sky was already bright when I woke up and to my surprise, Otki, Miel, Tita Ruth and Tito Vic were already up. I went out and found them taking pictures of the sunrise. This was the first time in a while that I’ve seen sunrise from the beach, because most of the time, trees were blocking the way. We were lucky to have an obstructed view while the sun rose from behind the mountains.
After breakfast, we went our own ways. Tita Ruth wanted to take pictures, while Miel, Dan, Otki, Tita Rose and I wanted to go to Potipot. So Todel took us to the same place were we got the boat the last time. The water was a bit more rocky this time, and I was a lot more nervous than before. We arrived at the island just fine though, and after scouting for a spot, we dove right in.
There were still a lot of people, but slightly less than last weekend’s. We had a nice time just enjoying the water, taking jump shots and talking about responsible tourism. Later, we got up to find another spot and eventually we arrived at the driftwood again. Thankfully, there weren’t much people so we were able to take several shots. The water was low too, and we were able to get to the rocks just a little off the shore. Wish I had my aqua shoes though.
As we made our way back, we couldn’t help but pick up trash along the way. There’s really quite a lot of it, and we managed to gather about three plastic bags worth. We even picked up trash that was right in front of these people talking. This led to a discussion again of suggestions of how responsible tourism can be implemented.
Our trip back was really rocky. The waves were higher, and I was truly, truly scared (even if I had a life vest). When we got back on dry land I could just kiss ground. We met with Tita Ruth, who had halo-halo with Tito Vic and Tito Del at Dawal Beach Resort. We headed back to the beach house for lunch, then I headed home to fix my things.
Back to Manila
Before leaving for Manila, everyone passed by the house to say hello to Lolo. It was around 3PM when we left. It was a rather quiet trip, but somewhere in Castillejos, we got caught in traffic, thanks to a Santacruzan. Because it really took a while, Miel and I got off and took some pictures. It let ToDel get some sleep too, so it was all good.
We met up with Tita Ruth at SBMA, where we had dinner at Xtremely Xpresso. It was as good as I remembered. Once again, we had the giant burger (which was already a meal in itself) and their delicious pizza. We took home the leftovers and after one last stop at the Petron station to refuel, we continued our way to Manila.
It was nealy 10 PM when we arrived, tired but still on a high. It was really great to have been able to hang out with my family, and I hope we could do it again soon.
My Labor Day events anyway.
Fristine told us about this food tour event at Bonifacio High Street happening last Saturday. I dragged Presea and Ching along, but it turns out we didn’t make the cut-off even if we were early for the sign-up. Pfft. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t feel it much of a loss, as opposed to this woman who said she was from McCann-Ericsson and was informed that someone else already signed up for the tour in her name, and brought along a few other people to boot. Talk about stealing identity.
Ching, Presea and I ended up at Conti’s. Afterwards, we walked around and met Den, who decided to go to Taguig to beat the heat. We got her books (may bagong convert haha!) then she got into a conversation with Presea about writing, and along with Ching, decided to establish something that’ll combine our interests and earning.
Franco live in Eastwood
I went home with just enough time to freshen up. It took me roughly ten minutes to get from the house to Eastwood, where I met Miel and Vero, and their friend Pieter (who is Belgian, likes beer, can speak Tagalog and Cebuano, and thanks to Vero for the lesson in the differences between the Visayan dialects ^_^).
We stood for about 30 minutes before the band played. It was awesome. From the first, they really rocked the place. I love Franco’s aura. He kept saying “positive vibes!” and I really believe in it, coming from him. Think about this. All my photos of the band members were blurred. With Franco, even if he was moving around, I managed to get clear pictures (as clear as you can get with a compact point and shoot).
Anyway, I love this group. Nunik was already sharing with us Franco’s songs even when he was still with Inyo, but to hear him live, wow. Get his cd, purchase, not download.
Passed up on Route 196 (glam rock night) with Miel, Vero and Pieter.
I went to Greenhills today to pick up my Revoltech Professor Layton. The ride was pretty quick from our place, but when I arrived at Virra Mall, I was in shock. I’ve been to Greenhills on and off the years, but I’ve never stepped inside Virra Mall. Gone is the old, dark and rather dangerous mall that I know, replaced by a bright and very busy commercial complex. If it weren’t for the fact that I was entering from the garden, I wouldn’t even realize where I was.
The National Bookstore I know is now an appliance store. The Dec and Baker’s Fair is some shop I can’t remember. The area where C.A.T.S used to be is now Banco De Oro and the Metrobank outside was now a cafe of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Post Office was still there, but it was rather sad to realize that when I stand in front of Virra Mall, I can’t see my high school anymore. I told it to David (my high school guy best friend) via SMS, and he couldn’t believe I haven’t been back since then.
Shoppesville, on the other hand, is more familiar than Virra Mall. Even if it had a facelift of sorts (the lighting’s brighter for one), it still had many of the same shops that I used to visit back then. The Mercury Drug was still there, and the shop above it that was full of knick-knacks. I didn’t see if the Booksale was still there, but the fabric store where my grandma used to go was still around.
I spent a few minutes getting lost, then got my toy, then got lost again. But all in all I was in an out of Greenhills in less than an hour. I didn’t feel like going around. Maybe next time.
Cooked some pasta for dinner. Not bad. Now I need to catch up with some work.
Baguio over the weekend. It wasn’t a tourist visit. Then again, when has going to Baguio been a tourist visit for us? Den wanted to go to PMA for “research,” while I just wanted to find some binatog.
We ended up doing that, and more.
We left Manila at 3:30 AM. All trips were filled and that was the earliest one we could get. So a good two hours was spent at 7-Eleven, gorging on whatever we could to keep us awake. Once on the bus, I immediately tried to sleep. Too bad the conductor decided to show Rush Hour 1 & 2 for the whole trip. I don’t think anyone appreciated it. Not that I don’t love Jackie Chan, but I’d rather be sleeping.
Ching’s brother and sister (both who were studying in UP Baguio) met us at the station and took us to their boarding house, where we left our things. After having lunch at Cathy’s (hello lechon rice!) we went to University of Baguio to watch my sister dance for their school festival. She lost her phone though, and whoever took it will suffer my wrath *fume* They performed great though, and I realized that I may not be as fit as I used to be. Climbing five floors in Manila is easy. Climbing five floors in Baguio makes me dizzy.
View from the 4th floor of UB
We then went to PMA. The last I was there was sometime during my 3rd year, when my groupmates for a journ class covered the PMA graduation (probably 2001). Prior to that it was at my friend’s debut and several open houses. Open houses are fun. You get to see how the cadets live and maybe swipe a thing or two off their personal belongings.
The thing with PMA is that going out is rather tricky. There are jeepneys, but it’s pretty sporadic, and getting out by 5 PM is a must or else there’ll be a very long walk in the dark for you. Luckily, a cab passed by and with a little prodding, the six of us got in.
Two cadets walking around
Probably our only photo together
Silent Drill Company
|From DeKaRi Baguio|
Click to full view (panoramic shot)
We arrived in town, where my sister & I went to her dorm so she could wash off the paint they used for their costumes. I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up with a lovely headache. Still, it felt good to be burrowed underneath a warm comforter. The weather in Baguio is always lovely.
We went back to town for dinner at Steaks and Toppings, then walked towards Burnham for the market encounter. I finally found a binatog vendor, and excitedly bought some binatog for me and my sister.
Binatog in Baguio is different from the binatog in Manila. For one, it’s not sold by men in bikes, banging some metal bell. Often, it’s pretty much in a cart like fishball, often stationary, waiting for the customers to come by. For another, it’s main flavoring comes not from salt, but from sugar and evaporated milk. The first time I ever tried one in Baguio I was so surprised, but I loved it. It’s still P10 per cup, but the cup is smaller now.
Market encounter is much like a tiangge. There are a lot of stalls selling all sorts of things, from the usual Baguio paraphernalia and memorabilia (t-shirts, keychains, bonnets and scarves) to toys (there were several stalls with decent anime figurines) and of course, food.
Having a low budget, I didn’t buy anything, except for a pack of pink marshmallows and a P10 flashlight.
Get your glooves on!
Lighting up at the Melvin Jones Grandstand
We headed off to our respective dorms: Ching was going with her siblings, while Den went with me and my sister. Upon arriving, I changed into sleepwear and went to sleep.
We were supposed to meet up at 9 AM but when we woke up, it was already 9! It took us an hour to get ready (try to take a bath without hot water), by which Ching was already done with her shopping.
Baguio market always fascinates me. Even though sometimes I hate the crowd, there’s always something interesting to see there. Today, there were a lot of people, locals selling their goods, tourists flocking to buy them. Being neither a resident or a tourist, I stood mostly there and let Den and Osky look around. I did buy some strawberries, splitting the loot with my sister. She bought a rope bracelet.
One of my pet peeves is rudeness, and boy, did we get a good dose of that at the market. See, while my sister and I were talking to the saleslady where we got the bracelet, this girl butted in to ask the saleslady something. Um, hello? Can’t you see that we were talking? And it wasn’t just that. Den said that while she was looking at some keychains, the same girl grabbed the one she was looking at. Den’s not the type to argue so she gave the girl a look, and the girl turned away to talk to the saleslady again. Den later said the girl had bad breath haha.
Later, we saw the girl with a group of her friends who were all loud. I get that you’re on a trip with friends and enjoying each other’s company, but for the love of all that’s good and holy, please be mindful of your surroundings and respect the people who live there!
We had about three hours to go til our trip. My sister was feeling tired so after taking us to the station, she went back to her dorm. Not knowing what to do ’til we had to leave, we went to Ching’s boarding house. After a few minutes of doing nothing (except that I ate strawberries and bread), we decided to head to town to buy some cream puff from Dane’s. We even had time to look at ukay ukay! Yeah, I love Baguio.
Bus is empty, everyone went to eat
The trip down was uneventful. Bus showed “Night at the Museum,” which made me really dizzy. I slept through “Universal Soldier” and woke up in time for “Avatar.” What sucks is that we arrived at our stop just before the movie ended. Yeesh. Even though I know how it ended, it still grates.
Stepping off the bus, I want to go back. ASAP.
P.S. The ironic thing was, the three of us were finally together in Baguio many years after our graduation, but we never set foot in school. Haha. My personal accomplishment: I didn’t go to SM!