Tuesday, April 22

The Zippy Zambawood

We often find ourselves hurrying to get into the next chapter of our lives.   We sometimes seek the end even before the beginning commences.  Our world concerns many things which mostly do not deserve our time and attention - stuff that either not only depresses us but also makes us miss what really matters in life. 

Sometimes, it is also good to drop whatever we are doing and just run off to paradise.  I was given the blessing of experiencing paradise in a short but rather sweet getaway. Two weekends ago, I have been a witness to the birth of a vision worth mentioning.

Wednesday, April 16

Vigan's Love Story

Dear Readers,

As you all know I am a romantic at heart. I couldn't help it but I need to write this down before emotions turn me into a hot pile of bubbling liquid. Calle Crisologo is astounding in daylight.  But when night marries the day, it is absolutely a different story.

Rows and rows of old ancestral homes line this centuries-old street.  Marred only by the constant hopping of horse carriages and captured in stills by every curious visitor, I wondered back then if every one who come this way feel the feelings I feel (Okay, I know it is redundant).  

I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug these enormous abode. I needed to simply feel them.  For me they are not just houses made of adobe, or stone or what not.  They are living testaments of the love that has lived through the centuries. Memories born out of love.  

You see, my friend Edmar shared such a love story.  A Japanese commander (hope am right) fell in love with an Ilocana.  He ordered Vigan spared from the war as he did not want to see the life of his love in ruins.  In my eyes, I think his heart would not be able to take it if she would perish because of his doings.

As I walk along Calle Crisologo, I could feel his love - echoing, emanating, encompassing every facet of what might have been.  I am sure wherever he is, he is happy to see that his sacrifice is meant to last forever.  These old homes of Vigan, standing tall and proud, are mute witnesses to such great love - the greatest love a man could give to a woman.  

So next time you visit Vigan, try to look at it in a different light.  Walk along Calle Crisologo at midnight, stand still for a minute, close your eyes, take a deep breath.  Smile slowly and feel the love around you, within you.  Feel the great power of love. Of what it can do for you and for the one you love.

Pondering Paodaolei

Other Parts in this Series

Part 1  Vigan
Part 2  You Are On It!
Part 3  Bangued, Abra

Tuesday, April 15


My first solo trip to the northern part of Luzon island started with me elbowing fellow passengers on board a Pasay-bound ordinary bus.  I was heading for the Pasay terminal of Partas bus company since the Cubao terminal confirmed their reservations were already full.  I got nervous at the idea of not being able to pursue this trip since it took several months of anticipation in finally realizing my dream.

Ilocos Longganisa and Bagnet

I arrived at the bus station at a little past nine in the evening coming straight from work.  The bus terminal was full to the hilt but I gave a sigh of relief as I see that there was no queue at the ticketing section.  It turns out that a passenger must secure a stub from the guard entrance first.  Wait for your stub number to be called before you can buy your bus ticket.  It wasn't until more than two hours later that my number was called.  And it wasn't until another hour again before I was able to ride my designated bus.  I think we left the terminal at almost one in the morning.  Please don't ask me since I already lost track of time.  

Ilocos seas

Tuesday, April 8

The Historical Central United Methodist Church

It has only been recently that I have known that one of the churches of the United Methodist Church here in the Philippines, the Central United Methodist Church (CUMC), is a very part of our Philippine history.  I grew up and came to know God in another Methodist Church, the St. Peter United Methodist Church of Navotas City.  My Uncle and Aunt-in-law got married in this very church more than 16 years ago.  

CUMC present-day facade

NHCP marker right at the entrance of the church

Tuesday, April 1

City Of Seven Lakes Revisited

It was my first time to play as tour guide to my travel buddies.  This getaway was supposed to be an overnight stay in one of my favorite cities but most of them were not available on the next day.  Hence, I organized this day-tour event.  I got a little excited in showing them the little treasures I have loved for a quite some time now since most of them have not yet been in this part of Laguna.

A DIY tour of the seven lakes was doable but it got me thinking that it could get pretty tiring.  Especially if you are exploring at late morning.  After agreeing on our logistics, I got them a trike-chaffeur who also served us our tour guide of sorts.

Sampaloc Lake 

Sampaloc Lake
Overlooking Mt. Cristobal

Sampaloc Lake is the largest and the most accessible among the seven lakes.  It is near San Pablo City Hall, Cafe Lago and Tahanan ni Aling Meding.  

Friday, March 28

The 5th Philippine International PyroMusical Competition

I love festivities and New Year's eve is one of my most favorite.  Me and my travel-blogging friends were given the opportunity by our sponsors to witness New Year's Eve again on the last night of the The 5th Philippine International PyroMusical Competition held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds where USA was the last performer and the Philippines showcased its special exhibition.

The venue was already filled with people from all walks of life as early as late afternoon.  They patiently waited for the show to start as the fireworks will not light up the sky until around 7:30 PM that night.  For those who love sunsets, getting there early is a sure bonus as you can catch front row seats facing the lovely Manila Bay.

Test fireworks were shown which were more than enough to solicit shouts from the eager crowd. As the lights dimmed, the DJ announced the start of the event. USA performed as the last contestant of the competition.

Atlas Pyro Vision

After which, the Philippines grandly took the stage.  

Platinum Fireworks, Inc.

A buffet-style dinner was served free. As tokens for us, we were given media passes, one free gold ticket and first-come first-served front-row seats.  Please forgive me for the humble fruits of my labor as this was my first time to cover a fireworks competition.

This even was made possible by all its sponsors

The announcement of winners capped the night wherein Canada was in first place, China in second place and United Kingdom in third place.

See you again in the next year's event!

Tuesday, March 25

Wander Photo: El Nido

Wow!  It's been a year since I have visited and fallen in love with El Nido.  Four days were not enough to fully explore the place but it was more than enough to declare her the love of my life. Let's go back to El Nido and fall in love with me once more.

Wednesday, March 19

That Big White Ship

The wind coming from the sea caused my friend's ticket to go aflutter on the floor, causing a bit of panic in her.  If not for the reminder from the kind woman behind us, hers would have been lost in the hustle and bustle of Bacolod City's port where the cackles of bound chicken and distant barks of dogs were our background music. What happened was funny because that almost convinced her to turn around and flee.

As we boarded the gigantic ship, I clearly remembered my heart began to pound wildly in my ears.  
I felt the staccato beating of my heart, as it grew louder with each step that I made on the wooden stairs, whilst feeling this weird urge of wanting to drop my heavy luggage to the waters below.  I stared up at the long line of people being swallowed into the ship's swollen belly.  It reminded me of a giant sea creature, lying on the sea shore, diligently waiting to be fed.

We found ourselves entertained in the idea of going on a sea voyage. So it was both exciting and nerve-racking for first-timers like us.  After checking into our room, my itchy feet longed to wander and my curious eyes began to roam around.  I began taking pictures of myself in the reception area, slipped into the small store nearby and silently cursed after seeing how expensive the prices were.  Talk about going on diet that night!  Then again, it was a trip that carried a lot of memorable firsts.

Wednesday, March 12

Burot Beach

It has been months since my last foray on the road and I was excited as a bumble bee when my itchy feet finally took their first step outside on a cool Sunday morning.  I sent my friend a message a week before asking if she wants to hit the beach.  She immediately said yes and suggested we visit Burot Beach upon seeing the nice photos across the web.

Since we are not living within Metro Manila, I found it hard planning our logistics since we hail from Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.  Not wanting to arrive at sunset, we met and left at four in the morning and took the longer route by public transport.

Tuesday, March 11

India Trip at a Glance

Ah, and finally my India series comes to a close. It seemed like years but it has just been several months since I came home from India.  I am very grateful that I did not decide not to come here as I know I would regret it for the rest of my life.  I still remember butterflies were dancing in my stomach as me and buddy Marx were waiting for our late afternoon flight to Bangalore.  It was like meeting a potential boyfriend on a first date.  Only this time, the love story is much better.

Brave in Bangalore

Lal Bagh Botanical Garden

For what seemed such a long time, we encountered several bloopers before we finally settled down in our hotel in Bangalore.  Here where was I had my first taste of everything Indian.  From spicy food to seeing animal-drawn vehicles in the busiest parts of the city streets.  Bangalore's cool weather helped calmed the nervous me.