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My Christmas Wishlist to Santa ME!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!
Two more days and it's Christmas once again but it's only now that I would be posting my christmas wishlist, I guess Santa would not be able to grant my wishes. *wink* But since this wishlist is intended for Santa ME, I might still be able to get them, I just don't know when. *hehe* Anyway, this post is in response to a tag made by a fellow blogger Grace of Chicturista for this season's "All I Want for Christmas" meme. Thank you Grace for tagging me. Sorry though, I won't be tagging friends anymore as I noticed everyone (of my friends here in blogosphere) were already tagged. I guess I am the last one to join this meme. ;)

Ayala Triangle Gardens: Enchanting Lights and Sounds Show

Ayala Triangle's Lights and Sound Show
 ♫   Deck the halls with boughs of holly, 
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 
'Tis the season to be jolly, 
Fa la la la la, la la la la.  ♫  
It's christmastime! The season to be jolly and gay, yey!!!

Batangas | Experience the Difference at Palm Beach Resort Laiya

Palm Beach Resort - San Juan, Batangas
It was a long weekend then, me and my friends decided to have a short/unplanned weekend getaway. But since we all couldn't be away for long, we decided to go to Batangas, San Juan in particular. I scouted for a beach resort online (through my CP) and came up with several options but it was La Luz our first choice. Unfortunately, it was fully-booked that time (we don't have reservations by the way).

FoodTrips | Lomi: Merienda ng Batangueño

Batangas Lomi - 50 pesos per order
After our day-hike at Mt. Maculot Rockies, the group agreed on going to Tagaytay for food tripping. So from Cuenca, we took a jeepney going to Lemery. From Lemery, we were supposed to take a bus or van going to Tagaytay but the driver and the conductor of the jeepney told us that there are no more buses or vans going to Tagaytay at that hour, it was almost 7PM then I think. So instead of alighting from the jeepney to look for a ride to Tagaytay, we decided to go back to Lipa City (the driver told us that they'll head back to Lipa instead of going to the jeepney terminal).

Adventures | Surviving Mt. Maculot Rockies

Mt. Maculot Summit
Mt. Maculot summit - view from the rockies
Mt. Maculot is one of the famous day-hike destinations near Metro Manila. It is located in Cuenca, Batangas and stands at the height of 930 MASL (meters above sea level) on the summit, 706 MASL on the rockies. It is considered a minor climb with difficulty level of 3/9 and trail classification of 1-3 (source: www.pinoymountaineer.com).

We planned our climb to Mt. Maculot end of September and scheduled it on the first weekend of October. A day before our climb, PAGASA issued a rain and thunderstorm warning in the vicinity of Batangas so I thought the plan would not push through, plus it's actually raining in Manila that time. However, a friend/mountaineer inquired from some of her friends if it's safe to climb Maculot when its raining and they said it's fairly safe, so off we go to Batangas the next day.

KL-SG Summer Adventure 2012: Summary, Itinerary, Expenses

I've written here several posts about our 2012 summer adventures in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Singapore. It was such an awesome trip, a thrilling adventure; we rode (trains, buses, cabs), we walked, we climbed, we visited places; some are interesting, some are not. With this trip too, I smiled, I cried, I freaked out! But all these made this escapade a very memorable one; indeed, an unforgettable experience!

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A trip to KL would never be complete without visiting their skyscrapers, the KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers. These towers, specifically the Petronas Twin Towers symbolize Malaysia's progress and development. And it draws tourists from all around the world, this twin towers being one of the world's tallest structures. There are other interesting landmarks here worth checking out too and these include among others, the Istana Negara, Masjid Negara and Tugu Negara.

If you're a food lover, street dining in Jalan Alor in the Bukit Bintang area is a must-try experience. Jalan Alor offers a dining experience of different cuisines from Malay, Thai and Chinese, a one-stop-dining experience actually.

If you're into temples and willing to climb 272 steps to get into it, you may want to visit the Batu Caves Temple, a Hindu temple at the far north of the city famous for its 140-feet Lord Muruga statue, the tallest statue of Hindu deity in Malaysia. However, if you're one of those travelers who like to shop till you drop, you may want to visit the Chinatown in Jalan Petaling, a street market where you can haggle and shop for less. These are some of the interesting places we've visited in KL; if you want to read more about our adventures in these places, you may click the link to read more about them.

SG Summer Escapade: Singapore Flyer and the Glittering Cityscape

The Singapore Flyer
For the benefit of those who have not read my previous post regarding my Sentosa night experience, I freaked out in the cable car and skyride. I've fear of heights and those rides, especially the skyride,  really scared me out of my wits. So as we make our way to the Singapore Flyer, I'm asking myself "am I  ready to face my fear of heights yet again thru another ride"? And my answer? Yes! Because I wouldn't let my fears dictate or limit my adventures in SG. I don't know if I could ever set foot again in this country so better to experience everything I could while I'm still here. And so, after one whole day of exhilarating and fun-filled adventures in Universal Studios, we hurried our way to Raffles Avenue for the Singapore Flyer experience.

Singapore Flyer, a giant ferris wheel located in Raffles Avenue is another one of the famous attractions of Singapore. Standing at the height of 165 meters (equivalent to 42 stories high building), Singapore Flyer is the world's highest observation wheel.

SG Summer Escapade: Universal Studios Singapore Tour

Universal Studios Singapore - the most-photographed revolving globe
Universal Studios, a movie theme park located in Sentosa Island, is probably one of the most, if not the most visited attractions in Singapore. It features 7-themed zones - Madagascar, Far Far Away, Lost World, Ancient Egypt, Hollywood, New York and Sci-Fi City. It is a must-see attraction for kids and kids-at-heart, so of course it's included in our SG summer escapade. However, instead of having a DIY tour to Universal Studios, we availed of a package tour worth SGD71 (we were convinced by our city tour driver/guide to get a package tour, regular 1-day pass however costs SGD68). The package includes one way van/bus ride to Sentosa and a 1-day pass to USS (1-day pass includes ride-all-you-can to all USS rides).

SG Summer Escapade: Sentosa Night Experience

Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island
After the boring city tour and the quick lunch at a fastfood joint near the hotel, we headed to Vivo City for the Sentosa tour. To get there, we rode the MRT from Little India Station to Harbor Front Station where Vivo City is. There are several ways to get to Sentosa Island and one of them is through cable car ride which we want to experience. So after going around the mall and after buying some souvenir items, we went to the ticket booth to buy tickets for the cable car ride. In the ticketing area, we saw some flyers that showcase different package tours to Sentosa Island. One of these package tours is the Night Experience Package (SGD38) where we can save up to 43% off the ticket price. The catch? We have to wait for 5PM before we can purchase it. If I remember it right, it was just past 3PM then, a lot of waiting time yes but since we're looking for a package where we can save money, we waited for it. To pass the time, we went back to the mall and window shop. I also went back to the perfume store I checked out before to buy a friend's request (a friend gave me money to buy her a perfume). 

And then came 5PM, we went to the ticket booth again and bought the Night Experience Package. The package includes round trip tickets for the cable car, a ticket to luge car, skyride, Songs of the Sea, and a choice between Desperados in 3D or Sentosa 4D Magix; we chose the latter. And then off we go to the cable car station, excited with the cable car ride!

SG Summer Escapade: Accommodation, City Tour, Etc.

Marina Bay Sands
Singapore is the smallest country in Asia, with only a total land area of about 704 square kilometers including the reclaimed lands (source: Wikipedia). Before its land reclamation, Singapore is actually smaller than Metro Manila. However, with an average income per capita of USD56,694 a year, it now ranked number 3 in the list of the world's richest countries, next to Luxembourg (2nd) and Qatar (1st) (source: urbanpeek.com). Singapore is part of our KL-SG summer adventure this 2012.

Food Trip: Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, Quezon

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - Tayabas, Quezon
After climbing more or less 300 steps in Kamay ni Hesus Shrine, we heard our stomach rumble so we decided to have our early dinner at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, Quezon, a floating restaurant along the highway going to Lucban, Quezon. We pass by this restaurant on our way to the Shrine from Lipa City. The restaurant, which is just a few minutes away from the Shrine, features a dining experience (with your bare hands, if you so desire) in a floating nipa hut.

Quezon | Visiting Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban

The Ascending Christ
It was a long weekend then but I didn't plan for a weekend getaway longer than a day's trip; my travel buddy can't get away beyond a day and I don't have enough courage yet to go solo so I settled on another road trip, this time in Lucban, Quezon to visit Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine is a healing center built under the initiative of Father Joseph "Joey" Ayala Faller, a gifted and well-known healing priest. A healing mass was conducted at the Kamay ni Hesus Chapel every Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:30AM.

This Shrine may be known for the healing masses but it has also become a popular tourist and field trip destination nowadays. Even on a Sunday, a long weekend at that, several groups of students were having their field trip there, also lots of families and groups of people were there to visit the shrine; saw some of my office friends too, small world eh...hehe!

Food Trips | Alamarius Grill's Bulalo

Almarius Grill's Bulalo (PhP320.00/serving, good for 2-3 persons)
Bulalo is one of the famous dishes of Batangas, one of the reasons being the province as one of the major cattle producers in the country. And if you search the net for the famous bulalohan in Batangas, Almarius Grill would come up as one of them.

A few weeks back, me and my friend went on a road trip to Lucban, Quezon to visit Kamay ni Hesus Grotto. But instead of taking the shorter Laguna route, we opted for the much longer (I think) Batangas-Lipa route because of just one reason - to satisfy our craving for bulalo. We've tried bulalo from Rose and Grace's Restaurant in Sto. Tomas from our previous road trip and we liked it very much but we want to try other variety so we went to Almarius Grill in Lipa City.

UP-AyalaLand Technohub: Mezza Norte Food Trip

Mezza Norte - live acoustic band

Sometime last July, I saw a feature on TV about the newest night food market here in the Metro, the Mezza Norte. I haven't been to any food market yet because most of them are far from my place so when I heard that this one is in Quezon City, me and my friend scheduled a food trip there. It's been raining during the last weekend of July and early August so we're only able to visit the place mid of August.

KL Summer Adventure: Aquaria KLCC Tour

Aquaria KLCC
As I've mentioned in my Petronas Twin Towers post, we didn't avail ourselves of a tour to the twin towers' observation deck since we've done that in KL Tower. Instead, we visited Aquaria KLCC because my friends wanted to check out this oceanarium. I've already visited an oceanarium before (Manila Ocean Park) so I'm not that excited with Aquaria but since I have nothing else to do, I agreed to join them. So after more or less three hours of window shopping and roaming around Jalan Petaling, we went to KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Convention Center).

KL Summer Adventure: Shopping in Jalan Petaling - KL Chinatown

Chinatown - Jalan Petaling
I see traveling as almost synonymous to shopping! Why? Because whenever we travel (local or international), we also tend to shop, not necessarily for ourselves but for our love ones and friends back home. And by shopping, I don't just mean buying expensive items from malls or shopping centers; it also includes shopping on bazaars and/or street or night markets. That's why whenever we travel, we also look for bazaars and bargain shops where we can haggle and shop for less.

KL Summer Adventure: The Towering Towers of Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower, at night!
For those who have visited Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur specifically, I'll bet that the towering structures of KL were part of their itinerary. I guess, no visit to KL would be complete without seeing and taking photographs of at least the Petronas Twin Towers or the KL Tower, if not both. And of course, we are no different; KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers are part of our KL Summer Adventure itinerary.

The Red Crab Alimango House: Crabby Nights Buffet

Thai Chili Crab
It's no secret here that I love seafoods. And of all the seafoods out there, crabs and prawns are the ones I love the most. So don't even try asking me out to dinner in a restaurant with crabs/prawns in their specialty, I would definitely say yes! *wink* 

Last Friday, me and my office friends decided to eat out in one of the seafood restaurants under the umbrella of Red Crab Group of Restaurants - The Red Crab Alimango House located on the second floor of Greenbelt 3 Ayala Center. It's been a while since we're planning to dine here but it's only last Friday that it happened. We left the office at past 6PM and walk our way to Greenbelt 3 instead of taking our officemates' offer of a free ride (we were starving ourselves for the buffet dinner ahead eh...hehe!).

KL Summer Adventure: 272 Steps to Batu Caves Temple

140-ft Lord Muruga statue in Batu Caves
After our KL city tour, we asked our driver/guide to drop us off at our hotel so we could freshen up a bit before our next adventure - the Batu Caves. In this adventure, we're on our own, no driver/guide to help us and bring us there. So before we left the hotel, we check out some flyers and ask the receptionist for directions going to Batu Caves.

From our hotel, there are several ways to go to Batu Caves - we can take a taxi going there, take the KL Monorail and KTM Komuter, or simply avail ourselves of a Batu Caves tour from tour operators in the hotel, which of course is more expensive. In the end, we opted for a taxi ride since we thought we could save time by taking a taxi rather than spending time looking for and transferring from KL Monorail to KTM Komuter Train; anyway we are four in the group and the comfort of just sitting inside a taxi cab without worrying about directions could compensate for the higher fare. (in short: maarte lang...hehe!)

KL Summer Adventure: The City Tour

Kuala Lumpur, or simply KL, is Malaysia's capital city, the country's hub for commerce and finance. It is the home to breathtaking modern mega structures; a home to about 1.6 million people of different races and cultures. (source: KL tourism flyers) When I set foot on KL last summer, it feels like I am still in Metro Manila, our country's capital region; except that it's more densely populated here and that they, of course, have that towering twin towers! :D

Anyway, I've mentioned in my previous posts that our KL-SG adventure last summer was on a package tour; and just like any other package tour, it includes a free half day tour to some of the city's interesting attractions. In KL, our city tour includes a visit to the Istana Negara (National Palace), Tugu Negara (National Monument), Masjid Negara (National Mosque), leather factory/store, batik (a cloth printed with various patterns) shop, and chocolate factory.

Istana Negara (National Palace)

Istana Negara or National Palace is the official residence of the Yang de-Pertuan Agong, the king or head of state of Malaysia. Located along Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur, this Istana Negara is the newly-built official residence of the King, replacing the old Istana Negara along Jalan Istana. It has an imposing gateway which is guarded by the Malay Regiment and palace guards. The palace is not open for tourists though, so people just flocked the main gate for photo-ops. ;)

Istana Negara (National Palace)

KL Summer Adventure: Accommodations at Hotel Alpha Genesis

For our 3-days/2-nights adventure in Malaysia, we stayed at Hotel Alpha Genesis, a business boutique hotel located at No. 45, Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The hotel is just a few minutes walk (15-20 minutes, they say) to the two famous attractions in Kuala Lumpur; the tallest twin towers and the sixth tallest telecommunications tower of the world - the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower, respectively. Also, the hotel is just 10-minutes walk to the KL Monorail - Bukit Bintang Station. It is also just 2-blocks away from the famous Jalan Alor where we had our first dining experience in KL. Also near the hotel is a 24-hour convenience store (just in front of the hotel) and several bars and restaurants.

Hotel Alpha Genesis - Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL Summer Adventure: Street Dining at Jalan Alor

Summer time is adventure time...in another country! *wink* Last summer, I joined a friend (and her friends) in their summer adventure in Malaysia and Singapore. We bought a 5D/5N package tour, 3 days in Malaysia and 3 days in Singapore. *wink-wink* :D

We left Manila at around 2:10PM via Cebu Pacific Air and reached Kuala Lumpur at around 6:00PM. Since it was a package tour, airport-hotel transfer was provided so we have a ride to our hotel. During the trip to the hotel, I asked the driver what Malaysian food should we try but he discouraged us and said that Malaysian food is full of fats, we might not like it (our driver looks like an Indian, maybe that's why...hehe!). However, he was kind enough to show us the famous Jalan Alor, which is just walking distance from our hotel.

Jalan Alor - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Khao Tom Mud (Banana-filled Sticky Rice Cakes)


Can you guess where this photo was taken? I bet you'll guess it was taken here in the Philippines, on the side streets in one of the provinces up north, probably in one of the Ilocos provinces. But your guess is wrong! This photo was taken in Thailand last year, during my summer adventure there in Bangkok.

Cavite: Baldomero Shrine | Imus Cathedral | Etc.

For the past two weeks, I've written posts about my road trips to Cavite last April 9 and June 10, the first one about the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit while the second post about one of the favorite summer coolers of Filipinos, halo-halo (Bacoor). Being one of the eight provinces who revolted against the Spaniards, Cavite has many interesting places worth exploring. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned in my previous post, some of the places we visited were closed during that time so we just took some photos of them. Here are some of the places we stopped by during the said road trips:

Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine

Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine - Kawit, Cavite

Bacoor Food Trip: Digman's Halo-Halo

Digman's (top) & Chowking's (bottom)
A week before my visit to Aguinaldo Shrine, I happened to watch a TV program that features one of Pinoy's favorite summer coolers - halo-halo (a Pinoy dessert with sweetened fruits, shaved ice and milk). And one of the halo-halos featured on the said show was Digman's!

Although summer season had passed, temperature is still high, it felt like it still is summer, a delicious halo-halo would be a welcome treat. So after our visit to the Aguinaldo Shrine, we decided to head straight to Bacoor to try their famous halo-halo. Before we left the Shrine, we asked the locals for directions going to Digman in Bacoor. By the way, Digman is one of the barangays in Bacoor, Cavite and not the name of the owner/s of the famous halo-halo shop.

Aguinaldo Shrine: The House of Independence

Aguinaldo Shrine - Kawit, Cavite
With nothing to do and having had a long vacation already (due to the Lenten season), my friend and I decided to have a historical trip down south last April 9. We went to Cavite and visited some historical sites there. One of the sites we visited was the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. Aguinaldo Shrine, the ancestral house of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, is the site of proclamation of Philippine Independence. Unfortunately for us, we were not able to enter Aguinaldo's house as it is closed every Monday, the day we were there, so we just explored and take photos around the shrine.

Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011: Lessons Learned, Tips & Guides

As you may have read from my previous posts, Bangkok was where my first travel is.  And being a newbie traveler, I had a lot of adventures and misadventures there. Here are some of the things I learned from the said travel. These things may be based on my Bangkok experience but I’m sure these could still serve as a reminder especially to newbies wishing to travel to their dream destination, wherever it may be. :)

Do not be late. Be at the airport at least two hours before your flight, much better if you're at the airport three hours before your flight. If you have read my first post in this series, I mentioned there that a friend arrived at the airport late, an hour or less before our flight if I remember it right. Good thing ours was a delayed flight, we never encounter any problem checking in. But I have friends who encountered problems, just because they were late.

Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011: Chao Phraya River Cruise

Bhumibol Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Chao Phraya River
During our city tour and before leaving for the Grand Palace, Sam our tour guide asked us if we might be interested on a river cruise later in the evening. Since we don’t have any plans for the night, we decided to take his offer and bought tickets (1,100 baht/person with buffet dinner) for the Chao Phraya River Cruise.

Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011: The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace - Bangkok, Thailand
Being a first-timer in traveling, we went to Bangkok with no plans, certainly no itinerary. But since I searched and read about the city before our flight, I remembered coming across an article that says a visit to Bangkok wouldn't be complete without seeing one of its famous attraction, The Grand Palace. And so, from Chatuchak Market where our tour guide Sam dropped us off after the tour, we decided to explore the city on our own and visit The Grand Palace - this after buying some souvenirs for families and friends (Chatuchak Market is a famous market in Bangkok that offers variety of souvenir items, from handicrafts, fabrics, clothing, etc.)

Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011: The City Tour

We bought our Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011 package tour from PAL's (Philippine Airlines) swing-around package. It includes airfare, accommodation, daily buffet breakfast, hotel/airport transfers and half day city tour. So on our second day, our first agenda was to join the city tour that was part of the package. The tour includes a visit to three of Bangkok's temples, Wat Benchamabophit, Wat Intharawihan and Wat Pho. However, because we enjoyed photographing the first two temples (Wat Benchamabophit & Wat Intharawihan), we spent most of our time on these first two we were not able to get to the last one *sad*. Also included in the package is a visit to The Gems Gallery, a jewelry factory.

Bangkok Summer Adventure 2011

Tuk-tuk replica at MBK mall, just for photo-ops :D,
I don’t have a photo of the real one but it’s actually smaller, with just a row of seats, unlike this replica
Last summer 2011, I was able to go out of the country for the first time. My destination – Bangkok, Thailand! I was so excited with this trip I made sure that I have all the necessary requirements and clearances with me, (though I heard from colleagues that they weren’t asked for it).  I have contractual obligation with a certain agency in the government, hence the need to get so many clearances. And I’d rather get one beforehand than encounter some problems at the immigration on the day of our departure.  It's better be prepared than sorry, it’s my first travel abroad, anyway. :D

Cavite | Overnight Camping at Pico de Loro

Mt. Pico de Loro - the summit
Except when I joined vibouac during my high school days, I never again experienced camping out.  It’s not because I am picky though. Camping out usually entails outdoor adventures which I am not that fond of. I am not an adventurous type of person. As I wrote in my Manalmon post, I'm more of a couch potato, hehe. But of course, I do get out of my comfort zone from time to time. :D

Road Trips | Taal, Batangas: The Heritage Town

Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal)
Last year, I've been to Vigan City in Ilocos Sur and visited for the first time the Heritage Village, one of the popular tourist destinations up north. I went to Vigan to see the vintage houses in the Heritage Village not knowing that in my home province, we have our very own Heritage Town: Taal.

Road Trips | Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Lipa: A Second Visit

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
More than a month ago, my friend and I went for a road-cum-food trip to the home of kapeng barako, Batangas. We thought of visiting Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa City as I told him about the miraculous events associated with the said church.  We were also supposed to attend mass there but since we left Manila late in the morning, we missed the morning mass schedules. :(

QMC's Circle of Fun: A Park Inside a Park

Night shot of Quezon Memorial Circle
Quezon Memorial Circle
During weekends, restaurants and other fast food chains located in the malls are usually full-packed.  After attending the mass, families usually go straight to the mall to dine.  In instances when we don't have the patience to wait, we usually go to the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) to have dinner in one of the restaurants there, usually in Max's.  One time though, we decided to have our dinner in Bacolod's Chicken Inasal, also located inside QMC.

Visita Iglesia 2012

Visita Iglesia 2012
One of the many good influences that my friend have on me is the practice of Catholic faith.  He is a regular church-goer and since we met, we regularly attended mass together during weekends.  On Lenten season, we do Visita Iglesia and Way of the Cross together, usually during Maundy Thursday.

Luneta Park: I Shall Return!

Luneta Park's Attraction: Dancing Light
Luneta Park, I shall return! These are the words I said to my friends when we did our Luneta and Intramuros photo walk (hehe...feeling photographer lang, please bear with me) two weekends ago. As I mentioned in my kalesa tour post, the weather and the rain conspired against us we were not able to enjoy much of our photo walk that time. Despite the rains, my friends still took some photographs but I didn't. I wouldn't risk exposing the camera I'm using just to take photographs that time, the park's just within Metro Manila and I can always come back here anytime anyway. So as promised, I returned, to once again watched this dancing light attraction. This time, I was able to take some photos without worrying of my camera getting wet.

Intramuros' Kalesa Tour Experience

kalesa & kutsera!! (photo courtesy of Gigster)

According to my father, my grandpa (my mother's father) was once a kutsero (a man driving a kalesa) during his younger years. But since I only met my grandpa once and he's old then, I haven't had a chance to ride with him. Actually, I haven't had a chance to ride a kalesa since before last weekend. Kalesa, a horse-drawn carriage, is the Philippines' mode of transportation in the olden times.

Q&A: About The Pinay Wanderer

I'm supposed to post this on my other blog but I realized I only made a very simple self introduction on my very first post here, so here's a little something about my boring self. This post might make you a "lightweight reader" though so be careful, you might damage your laptop as you do "qwerty nosedive".  I've warned you now so you can't hold me liable for the damage. :D To Gracie, you gave me a headache, I feel like tagging you back but since you're sending me a cutie pink bear, you're safe, hehe! Here we go:

Food Trips | Batangas Bulalo @ Rose and Grace Restaurant

Batangas, one of the provinces in the Southern Tagalog Region; home of kapeng barako, Batangas lomi and of course, the famous Batangas bulalo.  Being one of the main producers of cattle in the country, Batangas is known for its bulalo, a classic Filipino dish consisting of beef shanks with bone marrow boiled and cooked slowly in a broth until the meat is tender.

Rose & Grace's Batangas Bulalo - PhP400.00 (w/ veggies); PhP370.00 (w/o veggies)

Pampanga | Paradise Ranch & Zoocobia: Clark Adventures Finale

Paradise Ranch - Clark's Nature and Conservation Park
Paradise Ranch is a nature and conservation park located in Zoocobia Valley in Clark, Pampanga.   It is managed by a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental conservation through reforestation and animal and wildlife preservation.  It promotes responsible charity through "work for food" and "work for school" programs.  It is also the home to Zoocobia Fun Zoo, a zoo that features among others, "bird thrill" and "zooc ride".

Pampanga | Nayong Pilipino: realizing a childhood dream!

Nayong Pilipino - Clark Expo
In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, field trips and excursions are part of annual school activities, especially in the private schools.  But in far-flung areas and remote barangays like the one I once lived in Oriental Mindoro, field trips and excursions are unheard of activities in school.  I've never experienced field trips during my elementary days.  In my high school days, though Batangas is near Metro Manila, we had but only one field trip.  It's an educational tour to the Planetarium, the Luneta Park, a museum (I forgot what museum) and SM Store (educational tour(?)...and as if we have money to buy souvenirs...hehe).

Pampanga | 17th Hot Air Balloon Festival: a prelude to a fun-filled adventure in Clark

17th Hot Air Balloon Festival - Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival is a sports aviation event held in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.  The event's being held annually since 1994 to help boost the local economy (following the devastating Mt. Pinatubo eruption) and to make the Philippines one of the leading sports aviation and travel destinations in the Asia Pacific Region (source: Wikipedia).  It is usually held during the early part of the first quarter of every year.  It features hot air ballooning, aeromodelling, kite flying, aircraft competitions, paragliding, skydiving, dancing helicopters and more.

Bulacan | Spelunking at Bayukbok Cave, a fun-filled yet life-threatening, extreme adventure

As I wrote in my previous post (Conquering Mt. Manalmon), I am not an active type of person; not into sports, not into any exercise regimen except for a short walk from my office in Ayala Avenue to MRT station (Ayala-EDSA), which of course is hardly strenuous.  But would you believe that I went through (unexpectedly, that is) an extreme, life-threatening adventure during our spelunking at Bayukbok cave?

The Pinay Wanderer, on a cliff inside Bayukbok cave

Bulacan | Conquering Mt. Manalmon: A day-hike adventure

view from the Mt. Manalmon summit
I'm not an active type of person; couch potato, you may call me.  No regular exercise regimen, no strenuous activities. Certainly, no outdoor adventures.  For years, I've been like this. Boring, right? :D Recently however, I've decided to go out, to come out of my comfort zone; to join a group of friends on a day-hike adventure to Mt. Manalmon.

Reliving the Past in Heritage Village, Vigan City

After a short stopover in La Union, we continued our way to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, the original destination of our road trip.

Vigan City is about 400 kilometers away from Manila, depending on traffic situation, around 8-9 hours drive via NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) and SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway).  It is located on the west coast of Northern Luzon and is the seat of provincial government of Ilocos Sur.  Vigan City is famous for its Heritage Village, a tourist destination where ancestral houses and other structures built during the Spanish era can be found.  Heritage Village was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Site for these well-preserved ancestral houses and other historical and religious structures.

It was already evening when we reached Vigan City.  We walked around the Heritage Village, along Calle Crisologo and nearby streets, admiring the vintage houses that they turned into tourist attractions, taking photographs here and there.

the famous Calle Crisologo of the Heritage Village, Vigan City

Road Trip to Ilocos Sur: La Union Stopover

I love traveling. Yet, I am not that fond of long road trips. Most of the time, long commute or long road trips made me feel dizzy and nauseated, especially when riding public transport vehicles like bus or van. So when I go on a long commute, I always make sure to sit on the first two rows of the bus/van (in those seats, the feeling of dizziness and nausea lessens).  Otherwise, I wouldn't get in. I would wait for another bus/van just to be seated on those first two rows.

It's another story though, when riding in a private vehicle. Although I still felt dizzy, I can go sit on the backseat because I can open the car windows anytime I feel sick. I don't know what's with the open air, but it somehow relaxes me when I get to breathe fresh air, or should I say polluted air...hehe!

Wandering Around La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark

Are you looking for a place where you can relax and bond with your family and friends? A place near enough and good enough for your precious time and budget? Try La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark, it's affordable and best of all, it's right within the city. La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark is an ecological recreation site located in East Fairview, Quezon City, just a few minutes away from the Quezon Memorial Circle and the Quezon City Hall.  It is part of the La Mesa Dam, a water reservoir and primary water source of the entire Metro Manila area.

La Mesa Ecopark - Shell Flower Terraces

WOW! It's more fun in the Philippines!

Department of Tourism has recently launched it's new campaign slogan It's more fun in the Philippines. But just after it's launching, on the same day it was launched, the same campaign slogan, as used 60 years ago by Switzerland, also appeared. A copy-cat or mere coincidence?

I do believe the phrase 'It's more fun in the Philippines'; with the magnificent Batanes group of islands from up north, a province with its welcoming and trusting people (I remember they have this "honesty" store), a province with zero crime rate (from what I've heard at the time I was there, at least), to Zamboanga del Norte down south (the farthest I've been, that is), a province with friendly and generous people, with abundant fresh sea foods; with our country's varying but rich cultures and beliefs; with our beautiful beaches; with our lovely, cheerful and hospitable people; definitely it's more fun in the Philippines!

But I still prefer Wow Philippines as a slogan, it's positive, it appeals to people's curiosity, the word 'wow' in it says it all. When people hear the word wow, people tend to ask 'what is it?', they tend to get curious and would want to try or check it out. Well, this is just my opinion; whatever our tourism's slogan is, I would still enjoy going around and seeing all of the Philippines. Let's all visit and explore our country, let's all be PROUD of the Philippines.

Just a thought: perhaps we can make it WOW! IT'S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES! ^__^


~oo00oo~

This is a re-post from my other blog, transferred it here since it's also travel-related.  Would want to re-post the comments too but am using Disqus on my other blog and I am too lazy to search how to transfer the comments here.  Anyway, thank you to those who commented on this post before. :)

About The Pinay Wanderer

At an early age, I am already a wanderer. I was born in Pangasinan; spent the first six years of my life in Batangas; the next six years in Mindoro; and another eight years again in Batangas. After my graduation in college, I moved here in Metro Manila; stayed and lived in more than a dozen places, worked in three different organizations. Early on, I learned to live, to travel, to wander through life.

Last year however, I discovered that traveling is more than just moving from one place to another. It's about enjoying and living the fun and excitement of wandering through places. It's about taking risks, about experiencing life outside of your comfort zone.

Now, I travel, not just to visit a place, but to relax, to learn, to have some fun. Join me as I wander around the Philippines and beyond, follow me here and be a part of The Pinay Wanderer's adventures! ^_^

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