Tagaytay: Peace & Quiet

Nothing beats a quick drive or even an overnight peaceful trip to Tagaytay to recharge and slow down from the stressful city life. I put together a Tagaytay Peaceful Weekend Itinerary that you can add in yours. Have a peaceful one!

Surfing trip: Zambales

Roadtrip. Fresh fruits. Waves. –Some of the few things that keep you high in Zambales, a province in the central part of Luzon (Philippines). For some people in Manila, it’s good to go to South and wander under the sea but some prefer to check out what’s there going North and ride on top of the sea. But I suggest to do both and cherish the two unique experiences with genuine appreciation of the beauty of their purpose.

With my enthusiasm to explore and experience surfing, I packed and went on a quick trip to Zambales. I just had surfing in mind with no other expectations about the sea and accommodations. But I was surprised on how that simple trip turned out as one of the best trips I had, first, because I was able to cross-out something in my long bucket list- surfing. Second, because I realized that I had explored and had a wonderful break. Who would ever think that I’ll do so many things in that place aside from surfing? (Here’s the things I learned about surfing).

We stayed at my friend Josh’s usual hiding place, the Crystal Beach Resort. With very amiable staffs and very friendly locals, I enjoyed breathing fresh air and listening to the waves while:

1. walking around the shore and attempting to play beach volleyball.

2. Playing and climbing up in their obstacle courses with a real-life chimpanzee friend (that’s a joke among us cause we look like chimpanzees when falling from the surf board), Daisuke.

3. Being one with nature and having quality time to rest and recharge my spirit in the tranquility of the place in their duyan made from tires.It was really nice to close my eyes, feel the sun shines to my face, breathe in, smile and listen to the birds chirping.

4. Campfire we met again! Yey!
5. Pretending to be a pro when checking out surf boards.
6. Playing around. Wonderful conversations.
7. Getting more and more wounds.

8. And of course, San Miguel Beer in the middle of the day with my wonderful people.
9. Becoming invisible like me in the photo below:

I will always recommend a trip to Zambales, whether you’ll be trying out surfing or just simply lying on the beach while playing music all day. Even if you’ll visit alone, it just feels good to be surrounded by very lively people trying to ride every wave as if it was the last.

By the way, that guy below, my Kuya Josh, was still starting to surf when that photo was taken. Look how he falls! haha. But now, he’s riding unlimitedly and winning! Thanks for the fun trip Kuya!

San Narciso, Zambales-Pangasinan Road

Taal Time Machine.

It seems like I traveled back in time when I stepped in the town of Taal in the province of Batangas. Aside from its very beautiful Church that stood strong for a long time, I am listing my few unconventional favorites in Taal!

1. I like these hair brushes, hair pins and mirrors from so-long-time-ago! I feel like there are some magical powers that will make my hair shiny and bouncy! You’ll see them as you visit the ancestral houses together with beautiful vintage luggage!

2. I wonder why this eyeglasses is not in the market now, seems like a specialty to me.

3. For the growing passion in photography among us, Filipinos, you might want to visit the impressive collection in their Camera Museum!

4. Of course, the rumor is true! You can dress up and live like an Illustrado in the Spanish era at Villa Tortuga! I like the hospitality of everyone who serves the local food while wearing Filipiniana and the extensive knowledge on Philippine History of the great Camp Suki designer, Lito Perez.

5. Looks like a portrait? This is my favorite placemat in Villa Tortuga. It portrays the old Manila. Manila would be so beautiful with people walking around in “saya!” I think this placemat is also for sale!

6. Among all the things that I’ve discovered as we check out the museums and ancestral houses, this is my most favorite. I flew back in time as I looked down the hole and imagined how Andres Bonifacio and several other Katipunan heroes conducted their meetings there with a gas lamp as their only light. I could imagine how passionate these people were in bringing the democracy to the Filipinos. 

7. But the most memorable food I had was the Tsokolate Eh which is a thick and rich chocolate drink which used to be a status symbol among affluent Spaniards and Filipinos during the Spanish Colonial era. It was matched with suman, a native rice cake wrapped in banana leaf. Taku and I always joke around that it will just be Tsokolate Ah for us, a lighter and watery chocolate drink that is good for sharing for everybody!

The Taal fun continues as you ride the cold bus on the way to Manila. We were feeling sick with too much coldness because it was a rainy day when we visited and he tried to tie the curtain over the aircon but the most successful technique was to put some old breads in it, doesn’t look good but helpful. haha.

PS. Don’t forget to buy tablea and balisong!

Unlimited Philippines

It’s amazing how everything that is ‘unlimited’ becomes a hit in the Philippines. I remember when I was in Jakarta and when I was looking at the billboard and TV ads, I noticed that everything says ‘gratis’ and I wonder if it’s what help them sell the product to the Indonesians.

So Filipinos like unlimited and Indonesians like gratis or free

Here’s the Globe (one of the largest telecom companies in RP) unlimited call & text ad which I saw in EDSA:

So it’s not just Globe, I remember Sun Cellular was the first to become famous with Unli Call & Text for P15 when I was in college which was a benefit for me since I just want to talk and hated text that time.

Then of course one of the biggest, SMART:

Don’ be surprised why the Philippines is the texting capital of the world. Haha.

Well, since rice is the staple food for Filipinos, why not have the ‘Unlimited Rice?’ Mang Inasal is a very successful example of this then other small food chains or even the small-time food vendors follow:

But it isn’t just Mang Inasal in the big scene, also the famous Japanese fast-food chain, Tokyo Tokyo which has a famous promotion of ‘Eat all you Kan-in’ (Kanin is rice in tagalog).

Well, if you’ll think about it, the unlimited fad is indispensable for the ‘necessities’ (mobile charges & rice are important for Filipinos) but how about the leisure or luxury?

I went to Perfect Swing Driving Range for a meeting and I noticed their ad that says ‘Only 240 on a Two-hour Golf Driving Range Session with UNLIMITED BALLS! 

Then I passed by an aesthetic clinic with an ad of UNLIMITED WARTS REMOVAL.

I feel suffocated of unlimited. haha. Then, why not have UNLIMITED PIZZA WITH UNLIMITED ICED TEA too? Amazing, yea? Papa John’s does it. haha.

I think we’re just thinking of unlimited ideas. Hopefully not ideas on how to make another ad or promo with ‘unlimited.’ 🙂

Oopss! As of June 26, 2012, there’s an addition to the long list of ‘UNLIMITED!’

NOTE: All photos are from the internet.

I got my sanity back!

We just celebrated our first anniversary last month and we decided to push through with our long-term plan to visit the majestic Palawan. Taku was sweet when he convinced me to push through with this trip to refresh my “system” since I’ve been through a lot weeks before that trip. Thanks to him, I got my sanity back. 🙂
Palawan is very beautiful and this amazing experience made me say what everybody’s saying, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” (The Dept. of Tourism’s tagline is really working, huh?) When I first visited Coron, I stayed in El Rio y Mar and that was a very amazing and serene escape for me but this time, we stayed in their sister resort, Club Paradise, which exceeded our expectations. You may opt to have a tranquil escape from the city (since they just have TV and wifi in their clubhouse) in this island or try out the unlimited things and trips that they offer. But the part that I enjoyed the most was the intimate moment with the sun, waves, a pen and my notebook, a good book and Amoretto Sour. Plus we met a wonderful couple who were in their honeymoon (It was really nice meeting you Irene & Raine!).
Since we were so hooked with video editing that time, we tried to do the storytelling through video and here’s the teaser (haha):

And here’s the whole Palawan experience:

Enjoy the sun and the sand this summer!

Please visit http://hoywherewewere.tumblr.com/ for more. 🙂

(We flew to Busuanga via Air Philippines and flew back to Manila via Cebu Pacific Air)

Bus to Quezon

When we were kids, whenever we go to Manila, we have to leave at midnight and wait for the bus since going to Manila is a 4 to 5 hour bus ride. I got used to it because my dad used to leave and arrive at midnight every weekend and when I was in college and needs to attend to my SK responsibilities, I used to go home at the same time every weekend.

Aside from the schedule, I developed a skill of feeling and knowing what kind of vehicle is coming since we used to play a “guessing-if-bus-is-coming” game; too many lights are usually trucks, one light is always a tricycle.

I missed playing it with my dad and sister.

I never like air-conditioned buses in the Philippines because they’re too cold (I don’t know if I can survive living in a cold country if I couldn’t stand cold buses).

Today, I went home with my sister riding a non-aircon bus. I like it even if my hair is as hard as stone after the ride. But today, I enjoyed the ride much better cause aside from my head resting in my sister’s shoulders, the conductor of the bus took care of us. There was a drunkard who sat beside me and didn’t stop talking to me and the bus conductor didn’t leave until the man got off. I am so happy experiencing that kind of service since it doesn’t happen that much nowadays because usually people don’t work professionally and we just settle for a bad service from waiters to public servants.

There are many buses going to different parts of Quezon.  JAM Liner, JAC Liner (the very efficient bus with wifi), Lucena Lines and A Liner that usually travel until Lucena. Superlines, Raymond, P & O or Barney and AB Liner are the usual buses I ride until my hometown and until Tagkawayan or Sta Elena, the tip of Camarines Sur which is next to the last town in the south of Quezon. When I was in college, I used to ride in Barney/ P&O a lot because I feel safe but after experiencing the good service of AB Liner, I think I’ll have it as an option always. It was bus no. 620, I just didn’t get kuya’s name but I definitely said thanks.

Aside from the fresh air, I enjoy riding a non-aircon bus going to my hometown because of a number of vendors who go up to the buses to sell my favourite food! I like the “Pinagong” in Sariaya that’s why I always make sure to have the energy to eat them when the bus passes by that town. I like quail eggs, pacencia and broas from Lucban Quezon but I like the most the “puto pao” in Lopez cause my mom makes it. Haha.

It’s so nice to be home. Merry Christmas everyone!