Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cool Yule Around Europe

Belen, parol, kids caroling, Christmas songs blasting as early as September, simbang gabi, noche buena and the list goes on for the things that would remind us of the Pinoy Christmas season. Then we think of the dreamy, white Christmases we read in books or see on the tube or big screens. Thankfully, I had the opportunity of celebrating two Yuletide seasons outside our tropical archipelago. But even across the globe, there were still touches of the Filipino Christmas spirit.

Vatican City: December 2005

A couple of days before Christmas, we were at the St. Peter’s Square which was filled with tourists as well as the faithfuls. It was being prepared in time for the Mass to be officiated by the Pope.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rolling Ball, a Cushioned Tambiolo

I finally got to try the Rolling Ball a couple of weekends ago in Minglanilla, Cebu. Unlike the Zorb Ball in Davao which goes down a big mound of earth, the inflated ball at the Tubod Flowing Waters Resort rolls down a lane built inside a warehouse-type structure.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Repost: The Amazing Race in Helsinki (24-26 November 2006)

(Other photos in this entry, courtesy of Theresa Bantolo)

Four years ago in November, my friend Theresa Bantolo treated me and two others (Grace Timbal and Reymund Inihao) to a cruise trip to Helsinki aboard Silja Lines as an early Christmas present.

May 4th, 2007 by musings-of-a-sojourner

Partners-in-Crime: There, Grace, Reymund and Tita Rose with the cameo appearance of Cristeo

What was it they said … that it is not the destination but the journey that matters or something to that effect. I’ll try adding another spice to it. The kind of people you’re with and their disposition throughout the whole journey matters as well.

"I have found that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." -Mark Twain

If you ask me about Helsinki and Finland, I can’t give any lengthy reply. The most I can remember from this trip was all the singing, shopping and the TAR-like tour around Helsinki.

There informed us that there’ll be some photo op once we board the ship. We were the last to board and that means that there were no more photographers greeting the passengers. Imagine There’s disappointment as well as the doubt of the first-timers… not a single photographer, not even a single tripod or cable which can prove that there was indeed that *photo shoot*. We went inside our cabin and dozed off. Few hours after the ship started its voyage, I woke up, took a walk down the deck to have some fresh air and explored the ship. When I reached the foyer, photos of passengers taken a few hours ago were on display. There was right about that photo op.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lake Sebu and Around South Cotabato

(Thanks to my brother LPVJ for some of the photos which I used in this entry.)

Taking off from my GenSan trip, let me now continue with my journey to Lake Sebu. From the fish port, we travelled down the long stretch of the Pan-Philippine Highway, passing through Polomolok and Tupi and making a quick stop at the roadside market to buy loads of fruits in season such as the pineapple, mangosteen, durian, lanzones, rambutan, watermelon and guapple.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Repost: End of October, First of November and a Chaotic, Snowy Evening

It's the time of the year for our kindred ones in the northern hemisphere to experience the changing of colors and seasons, from the golden brown of autumn to the grey and white of winter. I wonder if the first snowfall came (or will come) as predicted or fall from the skies when least expected. I remember four years ago when Stockholm was caught unprepared with the first signs of winter.

I am reposting an entry from my other blog of that experience. 

November 09, 2006 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Magandang GenSan!

Magandang GenSan!

That was how our host Ian Tupas welcomed us to the tuna capital of the Philippines. General Santos City or Dadiangas to the locals is also home to the famed boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.

It was close to lunch when we arrived at the airport. We proceeded to the Robinson's Mall to have lunch at the Grab A Crab restaurant. The place had a cozy feel to it and the dining booths were separated by glass and art work wall giving the diners some privacy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dumaguete: Of Sands and Corals and Gentility

Dumaguete City is home to Silliman University, the institution that served as refuge for my Dad and cousins during their college and high school lives, respectively. It could have been witness to my adolescence had the plans of pursuing my high school studies there not been shelved.

A week before the Founder’s Day Celebration, my family and I had a whirlwind vacation in this “City of Gentle People.” This was my second visit, having been here a couple of years ago for the Thanksgiving of my ALG partner-in-crime.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Puerto Princesa: Enchanted with the city in the forest

Isn’t it nice to go traveling and see a different landscape every now and then? But what’s even better is when your office sends you to another island just to unwind and relax sans budget worries and report deadlines. And that’s how my office mates and I found ourselves in mid-July. We were treated to a four-day vacation in Puerto Princesa City. We had our trip arranged by Christy Bongar of BAL Tours. We managed to snag plane tickets at half the regular rate taking a direct Cebu Pacific flight from Cebu to Puerto Princesa. 

As the plane was descending over Palawan island, I was in awe of the clear blue-green waters and the lush forest that covered the area. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Twistix, your funky potato munchies

We were intrigued by this. 

We thought it was a whole lotta fishballs on a foot long stick. So we searched for the stall selling this spiral munchies in Alabang Town Center's food court. We found it but we were wrong. These were not fishballs but one big potato sliced thinly so that when the ends of it were pulled apart, it made a spiral form. Cool! 

Twistix comes in different flavors: cheese, sour cream, sweet chili and pizza. It's a softer version of Pringles, best eaten a minute after it has been lifted from the deep fryer coz it tastes soggy once it has cooled down. The regular size costs Php 45.00, medium at Php 55.00 and the large one at Php 70.00.

Tablea @ Robinson's Cybergate

It was a Saturday afternoon and my friend and I were dying to satisfy our sweet craving. Upon the recommendation of another friend, we found ourselves sitting on one of the corner sofas in the middle of the Cybergate's hallway enjoying crepe and chocolate con churros. Chocolate overload at Tablea.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fatty Fix in Cebu

You've heard this oft-repeated reminder before. Go slow on fatty food or anything that could push your HB pressure to high heavens. However, there are days when you just have to give in to cholestemptation. If there's no way resisting it and you happen to be in Cebu, do try the following sinful treats:


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serene escape to Malapascua Island

Malapascua is an island off the northernmost part of Cebu. It lures vacationers to its white sand, clear waters, rich marine life and the sought-after tranquil environment. It is also home to the thresher sharks. But travel to this paradise is not without caution especially the raging sea condition for the most part of the year. Spaniards sought shelter from the storm (was it Christmas or Easter?) in this island, hence the name Malapascua.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bring it on, Bohol!

I've been to Bohol on three occasions. The first time I set foot on this island was in 2003 when I joined my friends-cum-classmates in giving a lecture on the Fisheries Code to some residents in Buenavista. When all the academic work was done, we toured around Bohol courtesy of our friend Kathy Blanche Borja. Second time, the USC exchange students to Stockholm University joined Joel Bagon for his vacation in the Visayas early this year. And lately, I was back in the island as I joined the Heikkil√§s for a day tour.

What to do, what to expect in Bohol?

If you're coming from Cebu, Bohol can be reached by sea. Take your pick, either the slow boat or the fast craft ferries (Ocean Jet, Super Cat and Weesam Express). You'll be arriving in the port of Tagbilaran and there will be drivers who would offer their vans for a tour around the island. This may be a shameless plug but I'd suggest you go look for Mang Emilio (+63 949 7395737). He's highly recommended by my friend Malou and I could attest to that since he was our driver-tour guide-kabiruan-kakuwentuhan rolled into one. He was like part of the family, a long lost relative who was happy to show his hometown.

Island Itinerary:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Solo Travel in 28 days: Week 4

April 10, 2007: Madrid

Time to get to my next destination. There was no direct flight from Casablanca to Barcelona so I booked a flight with transfers in Madrid. But then another unexpected thing happened. My flight to Madrid was delayed for about two hours and I only had a lay-over of two hours. I knew that I would not make it to my flight to Barcelona but I was still hopeful.

Upon touch down, I was in a mad dash. From the hallway, I could still see the Air Europa plane bound for Barcelona. I breezed through the immigration, claimed my luggage and then went straight to the airline counter. I talked to the airline people to accommodate me on the flight. But when they saw that I had a luggage that needed to be checked in, they told me that it was already impossible because the plane was about to taxi down the runway. Thankfully, they booked me on the next flight (early morning of the next day) at no extra cost (no rebooking fees and no-show charges).

Solo Travel in 28 days: Week 3

April 1-3, 2007: Madrid

My first morning in Madrid, I woke up to a bag of churros and a cup of hot chocolate. Perfect! Un desayuno de churros con chocolate en la Madrid.

Since it was a Sunday, our first order of the day was to attend mass at a nearby church. It gave me an opportunity to observe how the people of Madrid celebrated Palm Sunday. And this was how it went.

The main doors of the church were locked so the churchgoers carrying palm leaves waited outside. Meanwhile, the priest early on led a procession within the radius of the church which ended at the church’s main entrance. He knocked on the door before opening it and then proceeded to march towards the altar. The churchgoers started filling up the pews inside the church. The priest blessed the palm leaves carried and waved by the faithfuls. Palm Sunday in Madrid was in no way different from the one we have here in the Philippines.

Solo Travel in 28 days: Week 1

March 18-22, 2007: Vienna

This is it! I packed into my small trolley and borrowed knapsack my clothes (one week's worth), maps of different European cities, DK Germany travel book (courtesy of There), tourist pamphlets, pasalubong for my hosts, pair of slippers, socks, scarves, bonnet, gloves, tripod, video camera and several mini-video cassette tapes, manual Canon SLR, lomocamera and rolls and rolls of Kodak films. I brought my winter jacket with me (never mind if I felt warm several times during the trip) because the spring weather can be so unpredictable. I double-checked my passport and its photocopy, copies of proof my scholarship grant, tickets, IDs, ATM card and extra Euros.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Solo Travel in 28 days: Preliminaries

Finally, I am going to put into writing my European and North African sojourn (on a student budget with help from family, friends, acquaintances and strangers) after shelving it for so long. I hope I can still capture every feeling I had with the aid of my travel tickler notes, scribbles and doodles on my e-tickets and maps, photographs, videos and other mementos I accumulated during the said trip.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Around Capiz (with a pit stop in Iloilo)

This year, my Mom and I spent our Holy Week in Roxas City. Apart from visiting Maves Simon, a friend way back in high school who survived a year since she had her kidney transplant, it was a chance for us to explore the genteel city and its environs as well as literally sink our teeth into the seafood, the city's pride and treasure.

My Mom and I, together with my friend TSC, took the Cebu Pacific flight from Mactan to Iloilo. We were fetched at the airport by TSC's husband as well as her brother. From the airport, we proceeded to the Tagbak Bus Terminal where we boarded the Ceres bus bound for Roxas City. TSC and her hubby disembarked at Tinaytayan en route to Dumalag while we proceeded to Roxas. The fare from Iloilo to Roxas (aircon bus) costs Php 169.00.

On our first day in Roxas City, we climbed up the Culasi Point (Medium Lighthouse). It was a slightly difficulty trek especially for someone who has shied away from physical activities for some time now. We treaded on black rocky shores and a hilly landscape before we finally reached our destination. Then, we had to take several flights of steps up the ladder in order for us to reach the top of the lighthouse where we had a nice view of the city and a blast of the cool breeze. Mr. Jun Anisco, the lighthouse keeper, told us that the lighthouse is powered by solar energy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday Night Habit at Alejandro's

It was my first time at Alejandro's, a resto in Cebu City's Capitol Site area, which takes pride for having the best crispy pata in town. No, I wasn't there to try the sinful pata. I joined the Artiaga siblings and their friends for some geeky yet cool fun and for which Alejandro's is now (in just 7 weeks) becoming known for --- the Trivia Night and it happens every Wednesday from 8:00-10:00 p.m.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Calda Pizza (Home of the 36" pizza)

My favourite pizza in Cebu City, no doubt, is Calda Pizza. This was introduced to me in 2008 by my classmate whose relative owns the said food venture.

From the space they shared with a grill resto along Salinas Drive to the kiosk next to the 24-hour convenience store (on the same ground where the resto grill formerly stood), Calda Pizza is growing with several branches in Metro Cebu. They started the 36-inch Xtra Super-sized pizza in the city.

I am glad that they now have a branch close to where I live and work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

28 Days

Three years ago, I treated myself to a journey which was a fulfillment of a teenage dream. I decided to go backpacking around Europe by my lonesome. Coincidentally, the trip started on my 28th birthday and this lasted for 28 days.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Work brought me to Davao City the past week. It was my third visit to the city (make that fourth if I include The Leytean's quick stopover in 1994). Back then, Davao impressed me with its wide lanes. And until know, it does and more.

So here's my random ten things about Davao City:

1. Davao City is the largest city (in terms of land area) in the country and among those in the world, a factoid I learned in high school.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Turning Japanese

If you're into Japanese stuff or are just drawn to anything from the past, then check out KIKU TRADING CO. It's a surplus store that sells items made in Japan such as grandfather and mantel clocks, dinnerware (made of porcelain, crystal and ceramics), brooches, leather couch, low tables, astronomical telescope, antique phones, gadgets that were the "in thing" in the 70's and 80's (think of atari, betamax, turntable and SLR cameras among others) and a lot more. It's definitely a blast from the past. The articles on sale are still in good working condition, some a bit pricey while the others are definitely a steal.

Visit Kiku from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Door 6 of the Alphonso and Sons Building along A.C. Cortes Avenue in Ibabao, Mandaue City. It's beside Sugbuanon Rural Bank. Or you may check their website.

Happy Shopping.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Traipsing the web and the world

I found myself another nook in the world wide web where I'll be sharing my travels and freezing moments of people, places, food, thingamabobs and everything that spells fun and adventure. Hope you'll walk with me as I continue to wander and see the world.
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