Friday, September 30, 2011

Star-Spangled Journey: Overnight in Virginia Beach


August 22, 2011


Virginia Beach wasn't originally in our itinerary.  But then, we learned that my mom's former boss, who is now based in Virginia Beach, just had a major surgical operation so we decided to visit her before embarking on the east coast journey.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Star-Spangled Journey: Mission of San Juan Capistrano


August 21, 2011

Does anyone know, or has anyone ever heard of this song?



I'm totally clueless about this song until the day we visited the place mentioned in it. But my mom knows the song and has been singing a few lines while we were at Mission San Juan Capistrano which is the subject of this post. 


Star-Spangled Journey: CA's Disneyland, For Kids and Young Once


This is my second Disney experience, my first time was at Hongkong Disneyland. But the magic isn't lost on me. 


Our day in Disneyland in Anaheim, California started on Main Street by visiting The Disney Gallery and the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Disneyland Story). Sketches and illustrations of Disney characters are on display at the gallery. Meanwhile, the audio-animatronics technology was utilized to relive the moments in history with honest Abe. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

All Set for the Star-Spangled Journey



It took me about a month to prepare for the month-long vacation. Hours and hours of surfing the web, communicating with people in different time zones (which meant staying up late for so many nights which spilled over to ungodly hours, reading blogs and suggested itineraries in travel search engines and making huge dents in my pockets. Google, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Booking.Com and official tourism sites of the various states we'll be visiting became my virtual neighbors.

Finally, August came and we were set.


Friday, September 9, 2011

In Transit in the Land of the Morning Calm: Incheon, South Korea


I'm still on my one-month vacation with too much backlog. So let me get started with this post. 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Journey to the Land of the Star-Spangled Banner


It has been a while since I made my last post. For two weeks now, I've been criss-crossing the land of the star-spangled banner. Seven states and counting. And that means I have too much blogging backlog.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Before Ever After: The Slight Detour

Image from http://samanthasotto.com

You might be wondering how a novel found its way in a travel blog.  While it is brimming with romance, the more than hundreds of pages of Before Ever After are screaming TRAVEL.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

This Is What Travelling Is All About


Last Friday, these three videos made the rounds on the internet and in social networking sites. It was indeed a triple treat heralding a beautiful weekend for me. I love the concept, the shots and the music.   Travelling is not about covering numerous cities or countries. It's about immersing in different cultures, breaking free from comfort zones, learning from the locals, enjoying home-cooked meals, and loving the thrill in visiting old familiar places and getting lost in new territories.





EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Canigao Island: A Gem in Leyte


I never heard of Canigao Island until my mom brought me to this place.  It was February of 2010 when we attended the Sto Niño fiesta in Brgy. Tab-ang in Matalom, Leyte. Per tradition, the locals would hie off to a nearby island with white sandy beach a day after the fiesta and on Easter Monday.  

That nearby island is Canigao. On the scheduled trip to the island, we woke up before the break of dawn. But the guy who was supposed to ferry us to there had to catch some sleep after a night's dancing. Finally, at seven in the morning, we embarked on our excursion. It took us twenty minutes to get to the island.

On our way to the motorboat



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dining the Taitong Way


I first heard about Taitong through an article in a local daily. My friend and I have been wanting to try it out but it always got shelved. Last week, we finally freed up our schedule on a weekday and devoted one night to Taitong. 



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nalusuan Island


I just got back from a work-related meeting which brought me to an island in our beloved archipelago. A few people I know have been raving about this island which is a good spot for snorkeling.

Sunrise at Tonggo wharf

Nalusuan is a marine sanctuary off Mactan, a part of the municipality of Cordova. We were at the Tonggo wharf at past 6:00 in the morning to have a good headstart with our day's activity and then have the R&R for the rest of the day. But then the low tide didn't permit us to go the island as scheduled. So we got to serious business mode at the wharf instead. We started before 7:00 a.m. and had everything done by 7:30 a.m. 



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend in Dapitan and Dipolog


Finally, thanks to a wedding invitation, I had an excuse and opportunity to set foot in the cities of Dapitan and Dipolog.  What even made this weekend vacation worth looking forward to was the time that will be spent with dear friends and coincidentally, celebrating Jose P. Rizal's 150th birthday in a place where he was exiled for four years. 



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rizal @ 150 in Dapitan and Dipolog


On June 19, the Filipinos celebrated Jose P. Rizal's 150th birthday.  Some trooped to his home in Calamba, Laguna while others braved the the rains in Fort Santiago.  My mom, my friend JRTU and I did our own commemmoration by tracing Rizal's steps in Dipolog and Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte where he spent four fruitful years and made great and lasting contributions to our nation before he was executed in Bagumbayan in 1896.


June 17, 2011
From Dipolog, we took the Evergood bus to Dapitan (Php 20.00/pax) and got off near the Liwasan ng Dapitan which was our first stop of the Rizal trail. Just seeing that vast green plaza reminded me of Kasaysayan I and P.I. 100 and our discussions during those classes. From my Kas I class, I learned that most of the towns and cities in the Philippines are characterized by the plaza complex --- a very big plaza surrounded by the church, school, town hall, and other edifices of important institutions in the community.  In Dapitan, the plaza was surrounded by the St. James Church, the parochial school and the city government offices. 




Sunday, June 19, 2011

Casa Empanada


I love empanada, that crescent or half-moon shaped pastry filled with meat or veggies or mix of everything, which I have either in between meals or as a dessert. In the Philippines, we usually stuff our empanadas with ground meat, diced potatoes and carrots, egg, peas, cheese and raisins.


When my friend told me that she has engaged in a new venture, that is rolling out empanadas, I immediately placed an order. I got my goodies on a recent trip to Manila. I had a pack each of the following flavors: bacon and chocolate, strawberry and cream cheese, golden corn and cheese and herbed mushroom and cheese.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sommar i Gröna Lund*


I was sifting through mementos in my travel shoebox when I saw this:

Gröna Lund Ticket
Gröna Lund Ticket


It reminded me of that summer four years ago when a mixed bunch of us (I, together with Philippine Embassy kids CPM and JPM, fellow exchange student RGI and DLSU exchange professors TG and AN) welcomed the sunshine and warm bright day after several grey, chilly and snowy months in Stockholm. So off we went to Gröna Lund, Stockholm's oldest theme park (built in the 1880s) by the sea located on Djurgarden island.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

All Blogging Roads Lead to Cebu Blog Camp 2011


In a week's time, bloggers in Cebu and maybe even across the country will be converging at the Cebu Blog Camp 2011 and I am thrilled as I count the days to the event. Here's my take on why I am excited to be one of the happy blogging campers.


5. The Emily Post in Blogging
In the past three years or so, we've seen the blog as a new form of media, and bloggers have utilized this platform either as an avenue of expression, a source of information or for profit. With the changing media landscape and all that buzz about the big bad blogger, it is high time for the blogging community to display some sense of decorum not just in media events but in carrying out day-to-day activities.


Friday, May 20, 2011

A Dose of Spanish Jazz on a Friday Night



My friend CM and I spent our Friday night listening to una cuarteto español at the Fernan Press Center in Cebu City. The small auditorium was packed with diplomats, expats, Cebu's who's who, students and those (like us) who just wanted to unwind and enjoy some beautiful music after a long workweek. Plus it was for free thanks to Arts Council of Cebu, the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, Agencia Español de Cooperación Internacional and Amigas de España en Cebu.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Windy and Rainy Fiesta in Tapilon (Daanbantayan, Cebu)


It was a rainy Saturday morning. Several CLAWees and I answered an invitation for an overnight stay in the north. We headed to the Cebu North Bus Terminal and by 10:00 A.M. we were already embarking on a four-hour trip to Daanbantayan, in the northernmost part of Cebu island.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jo-Ed's + The Pantry = Birthday Treat for a Friend


Yesterday was CM's birthday so I treated her to a dinner this evening at JOED's Lutong Hapon, a hole-in-the-wall Japanese carinderia in Mabolo which she has long wanted to try out ever since I mentioned it to her.

We both had beef teriyakidon, kani salad and sushi mix. 

Beef Teriyakidon


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Holiness, Highness and Majesty


Today, the world witnessed the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Two days ago, the world swooned as Prince William and Catherine Middleton took each other as husband and wife and were declared Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

I wasn't anywhere near Vatican City nor the Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace the past two days. But I had my share of paying homage to the Pope and getting a glimpse of the royalty (the Swedish monarchs, not the British royals).


At St. Peter's Square in Vatican (December 2005)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Feast


Sharing with you our Easter Feast.


We had shrimps, sinigang na lapu-lapu, crabs (steamed and in coconut milk), baked scallops, lechon and seafood pasta.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Red Box-Ayala Cebu: Food and Sound Trip


In March, my dorm mate and I celebrated our birthdays together. So we decided to treat our friends to the latest hang-out in Cebu --- Red Box at The Terraces, Ayala Cebu.

We availed of their buffet lunch promo. For Php 299.00/pax, we had a six-course meal plus a couple of desserts and a three-hour music mania (drinks not inluded). The dishes were delivered straight to our assigned room. If we wanted a refill, we just had to buzz and their attendant will bring in additional servings of our requested dish.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Postscript Ilocos


Pasalubong
A trip to Ilocos won't be complete without bringing home some goodies from the north. Up for grabs are bottles of basi, onions, garlic, bagnet, longganisa, tobacco cigars, cornik, biscocho, towels and blankets made of abel and clay pots.


Of course, we hoarded groups of garlic and onion, several kilos of bagnet and longganisa, pile of towels and blankets made of abel and packs of balicotia (sweetener), biscocho and cornik.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Holiday in Blue Lagoon and Around Pagudpud


March 27-28, 2011

On the northernmost part of the Ilocos lies the town of Pagudpud. According to tales, there was a guy from Batangas who reached this part of Luzon. He was so tired that he blurted out, "Ako'y pagod na pagod at ang sapatos ko'y pudpod." From that statement came the word which later on became the name of the town Pagudpud.

First, we went to Saud where we had lunch at the Terra Rika resort. The long stretch of white shoreline was dotted with resorts, tourists and walking peddlers.



Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sandy Crests and Troughs in Ilocos


March 26, 2011

Apart from the centuries-old churches and houses and the healthy and sinful dishes, one spot which has made this northern region famous is its sand dunes. It is not as imposing nor its sand as fine as that of the dunes in the Sahara Desert but it surely has won the nod of many filmmakers.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sights and Flavors of Ilocos Norte


March 26, 2011

From Vigan, we went back to the north.  We were running a bit late because we spent a considerable amount of our morning shopping on Calle Crisologo.  Our guide Steve was driving really fast just so we could reach the Marcos Mausoleum before lunch break.


Marcos Mausoleum (Batac)
We entered a dark room where some hallowed music filled the air. Right in the middle encased in glass was the corpse of former President Ferdinand Marcos. My mom, who was already alive during the heyday of the Marcoses, commented that FM seemed to have shrunk. Our guide gave a brief bio of FM.  Picture-taking was not allowed inside. Guards in civilian clothes inside the room were on the lookout for those who tried to sneak some shots. From the mausoleum, we went to the gallery at the back of the museum but it was already closed for lunch. So we went to Herencia Cafe to have our lunch. We made a table reservation and placed our orders. Then we crossed the vast park towards Paoay Church.


Paoay Church (Paoay)
This all-too familiar church is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Construction of this church was started by the Augustinians in 1704 and was inaugurated in 1896. This church has weathered earthquakes and wars. It stands tall in the midst of the green plain, a reflection of the town which can live independently.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dine Back in Time at the Arce Mansion


March 25, 2011

Walking down a long stretch of cobbled street, admiring the rows of bahay-na-bato, listening to the clickedy-clackedy of the horses while viewing the street scene from the azotea. And then bubble thought: How is it like to live in the nineteenth century?

Thanks to Ivan HenaresI just found out the best way to level up this vacation in Vigan. I signed up for the Colonial Dinner Experience at the Arce Mansion.



Monday, April 4, 2011

Vigan: Heritage Houses, Pottery and More...


March 25, 2011

This was how we spent our afternoon in Vigan.

Syquia Mansion
From Villa Angela, Steve drove us a few meters down the road to Syquia Mansion. Although sometimes referred to as the home of the Quirinos, the house actually belongs to the family of Alicia Syquia Quirino, the wife of President Elpidio Quirino. Ferdinand served as our guide as we explored the mansion that stood the test of time since 1830.

Upon entering the house, we saw a black carriage owned by family. Then we were led to the stairs leading to the main area on the second floor. Our guide pointed to us a circle on the floor which served as a peep hole to screen the visitors the family would like to receive in their home. There was also another peep hole on the wall of the master bedroom.





Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the Road from Laoag to Vigan


March 25, 2011

We started our day by having an outdoor breakfast at Balay da Blas. I had longanisa, fried rice, egg and tomatoes. My companions had dilis and tapa. The longanisa was a bit bland and had less fat. I had to add KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasona) to enhance its flavor.



By 8:30 a.m., Steve picked us up and we were on our way to Vigan. Upon leaving Laoag, we passed by the Gilbert Bridge, named after the Governor-General Gilbert. From the bridge, one can see the Hollywood-esque letters of LAOAG on top of a hill. Then we were on our way to our first stop which was Currimao. It was a long ride but Steve had a bag filled with stories so we were never bored.



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ilocos, Here We Come!


I've always dreamt of going to Ilocos. Snapshots of Vigan has fueled my yearning to visit this side of the archipelago. I almost had the chance of going to Vigan back in college but I had to pass up that opportunity because I was busy with academic stuff. As the years passed, I never let go of that dream vacation, wishing and hoping that one day I'll find myself in the northern part of the Philippines. Finally, thanks to an airline promo, I booked Laoag tickets for myself, my mom and my friends. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And I'm back from Ilocandia!


I had one of the best vacations the past week. Ilocos region is definitely rich in culture, tradition and culinary delights.

I have planned this trip for months, googling for the places to go, things to do and dishes to savor. I also made reservations ahead of time because I know Ilocos in March will be teeming with guests from around the globe.

The trip went as planned, thanks to the tips that I got from Trip Advisor, Ivan Henares, Anton Diaz and Calvin's Hub where I got the number of our tour guide-cum-total performer Steve Hardin B. Maximo. Plus, I was in the company of cool and fun-loving people which made the trip even more memorable. Thank you so much for making this vacation one for the books: to my Mom, my dearest friend 'te Che and her mama Tita Falda Cabutihan, my couple friends Mera Jane Ragay and Edward Arreza and Oliver and Sheila Vinluan, and my college classmate Lulu Mislang.


I'll write more about our trip in the coming days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feel at Home at Abaseria


I've been in Cebu for years but there is one restaurant which has been recommended to me but which I haven't tried till this month.  On my birthday last week, I decided to have dinner with my friends at Abaseria Deli and Cafe.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vamos a comer en Arano


Tucked in the middle of a roundabout in a small, quiet subdivision in Cebu City is an al fresco dining where Spanish dishes are whipped up by a man rooted to the Iberian peninsula but has been living pretty much of his life in the queen city of the south, long enough to be able to converse in Bisaya. 

Arano. 


Señor greeting the diners

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dutch Treats


At the Schiphol Airport

My adventure in the land of the famed Red Light District, space cakes and tulips came earlier than planned. My brother broached the idea of us meeting in Amsterdam where he was to attend a weekend conference.  We haven't seen each other for more than a year and it seemed a perfect time for us to have our pre-birthday celebration.  As soon as my brother freed up his schedule, I booked a flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam which came with a hefty price tag since I bought the ticket a few days before the trip. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sutukil in Taloot (Argao, Cebu)


Yesterday, work brought me to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth in Argao, Cebu for the third time. After our meeting with the center head (which lasted till noon), the group decided to have seafoods for lunch. So we went to Taloot Wharf, also located in Argao. Tall mangroves were quite a plenty in this part of Argao. Then we came to stop in front of a hut. Behind it was an L-shaped bridge on stilts. We were looking for the restaurant but we were told that it was at the other end of the bridge. That meant having to cross that long narrow bridge. So we catwalked down the new planks. At least there were bamboo railings which you could hold on to in case you'll get dizzy from the height or just wanted to feel secured.




Sunday, March 6, 2011

Desperate Moment Needs Chill Out Measures


In my previous entry, I talked about our quick stop at the Molave Milk Station in Barili, Cebu. Apart from putting our hunger pangs at bay, we also had to relieve our bladders during that long trip. We made our way to the toilet but before we could enter that little room, something caught our attention.



Funny and cute yet it rings true for most, if not all of us.

*edit: I stopped by Molave Milk Station recently and this sign post is no longer there.
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