Sunday, April 29, 2012

Off the cuff: Laguna

Have you ever tried an ad hoc spree?  Where things are not in place and just go with the flow.  Let me tell you my story of having these experiences in one of the provinces in Luzon, Laguna.

It’s Friday night when I got a message from my high school friends to spend weekend with them at Pansol, Laguna. My weekend planned was just to stay at home for I don’t have enough money to accommodate a tour for weekend. Due to their generosity, I was given a chance to join them. I thought it’s for free but they lend me some money instead.

Pansol, Laguna is famous among tourist for their hot spring resorts. Private and public resorts are available throughout the area. We stayed overnight in a public resort in Pansol, an all natural hot spring.

Laguna Hot Spring is established since 1949. Unlike the other resorts around, this resort is free flowing mineral spring water. Assorted kind of rocks can be found in the pool area. Since this resort offers all natural spring water, temperature varies in different spots. Fishes are also present in the stream. When you stop moving, you can feel the fishes feeding on your dead skin under water.

On the far side of the pool is a covered area wherein people can have body massage for a small fee.

We rented a family room for Php 1,200 intended for 12 hours and additional Php 100 for succeeding hours. Resort Entrance fee is 90.00 for overnight stay.

All Natural Hot Spring.
After relaxation, we headed to an authentic Thai restaurant at Los Baños.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ilocos Sur

My Ilocos trip was quite different from a usual trip. I travelled far away for a purpose, which is to attend the wedding of my uncle. I felt the excitement at the moment knowing that I’ll be having the chance to visit some of the places nearby, though I have a hint of spending a short stay. From Manila, we pass through 14 hours heading to Ilocos Region.

Ilocos Region is located in the northwest of Luzon, Philippines which composed of four provinces namely Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. It’s really a long journey and seems like a never ending road you’ll see.

Bantay, Ilocos Sur is our direction. I have no Idea about the town for I only know is all about Vigan. I might find some interesting sights but not sure to where my feet will lead me. It’s 6 in the evening when we arrived at Bantay. We spent the whole stay at the house of my uncle’s wife.  After having a dinner and small chat, I decided to rest which marks the end of my Day 1.

Crowing of rooster woke me up in a fine early morning. I had my breakfast at the veranda while staring on the wide garden of the house. Around 9 in the morning when my lolo invited us to stroll around the shore, no seconds thoughts so I joined them.

Bantay Beach is unusual for no one’s there except for us and empty man made cottages. The sand is fine sparkling like there are pieces of broken glass. The waves are great as they stroke on the shore. The water is perfectly okay. I was pretty amaze when my uncle informed me that I’m facing the South China Sea.

My little bro playing on the sand.

After an hour of staying under the heat of the sun, it’s time for us to pack our things and check in at Terraza De Nino Resort. We stayed there overnight for the big event that will happen the next day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Café by the Ruins

After long hours of voyage and be slaved by my bed at Hotel Villa Rosal the whole night, an early bird deserves a great breakfast to start a day. Rather than taking the free meal from the hotel, why not have it outside, breathe some cool air and say hello to a lovely day ahead.

Café by the Ruins is my personal choice. I’ve read lots of good reviews about the café and just by looking at the photos itself feels like a feast in your eye. Without any second thoughts, my friend and I go off to find the place.

It is easy to look for the café, located at  23 Chuntug Street, only a few walking distance away from Burnham Park and Baguio City Hall.

First thing comes on my mind was these words, “What a lovely place again”. I don’t know why but for some reasons, every shop, café, bar and the alike here in Baguio, in general, has their own unique way of putting a homey and welcoming aura, too bad for it’s really far from the metro.

Since it still early in the morning, we decided to dine outside the main shop. So why Ruins, the shop was constructed from a garden theatre that was later on turned into residence. Try to look on their walls and you’ll find the ruins. Hanging plants, pieces of folk art and craft by Baguio artists spread all over the place.  At rest, creativity of the natives showcase from the garden to comfy interiors.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tam - Awan Village (Garden in the Sky)

It was the last day of my 3 days Baguio Invasion when we visited Tam-Awan Village. Located at the outskirts of city at Pinsao Proper, Tam-Awan which means Vantage Point in native term is a village of the Cordillera’s Ifugao and Kalinga huts rebuilt and founded by Chanum Foundation, Inc.

Upon paying a small fee, you’ll be given by a ticket and a map which will serve as your guide touring around the village. The village is a sloping area wherein you’ll start at low end going up to reach the sky.

Alang is the first hut to stop, a granary secured by a pair of bulol. From this area, you’ll find the greenery and richness of the place, a man-made pond in front and an art installation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

PNKY travel Café

When I was planning my 2nd visit to Baguio, City, the first thing pop out on my mind is to have some research about other spots to explore here, where I should stay and most important - FOOD. Well, I can eat anything edible but once I’m out of my world, no one will ever stop me to try something new.

Through my web browsing, I stumbled in one of the pages that really caught my interest – PNKY travel Café. The web page is pretty much appealing. You can find about PNKY travel Café, a glance to what they can offer and their interactive menu. I had fun flipping those pages. So right after my look through, it fell on my “must see” short list.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The BenCab Museum

Baguio City is identified by its wide range of mountains and rain forests but who would know that art also lay in this city and just waiting for you to discover.

As part of my Baguio escapade short list for the 2nd time is to visit The BenCab Museum by our National Artist Ben Cabrera. Well, living in a small town of artists, this visit means a lot for me.

For first time traveller, I would suggest to ask directions first to the natives on how to get to the museum and choose your way than directly riding a cab for it will cost you too much. I just learned that you can ride a jeepney going to Asin Road near the Baguio Public Market.

Looking outside is a facade of black and gray building burst into the green tone environment. As you enter, you need to pay Php 100 for the entrance fee at the reception area. This includes your ticket and a map for the museum. I was in awe as I see the map because the whole museum composes of 3 levels and a farm and garden but outside seems like a level or two type of museum. The building itself shows what art is. A perfect union of art and nature sits on the side of a hill.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baguio City

December 2011, along with my college friends, we spent 2 days to the coolest summer capital of the Philippines - Baguio, City. It's my first time to travel and explore Baguio. I’m excited to what the place can offer and know why it is infamous to many people. This trip is also our first out of town for our annual holiday season get together.

It was 1:00 am when we arrived at Victory Liner in Cubao.  Our planned departure wasn’t met because we forgot to made early reservation of tickets, so we waited until 4:00 am as chance passengers.

After almost 8 hours of travel we finally arrived to the City of Pines. It was lunch time so we first unload our things and rest for a bit in a transient house where we stayed just near at the Victory Liner Bus Station. I just loved the weather here, far from buildings and polluted city. Surely this is a good start of my trip – Day 1.

Immediately after our lunch at Max’s SM Baguio, we proceed to our first destination, Burnham Park. A typical park with lagoon wherein you can rent boats and paddle around. We didn't stay that long because we only have few hours left and beside nothing else can be done. 

Second destination, Camp John Hay. What else can we do is to take pictures under huge pine trees around. Camp John Hay offers various outdoor recreational activities – from zip line, rappelling, paint ball and the extreme that we tried was the tree drop for a fee of 150.00/each.

We didn't plan anything when we made this perfect jump shot. Thanks Ecah for photo credits.

Time is really fast when you’re having fun. It’s almost dinner when we left the camp.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don Antonio Cafe

After the long walk and procession, my friends decided to have something to eat before they go back to Manila. Looking for places we used to hang out but unfortunately all stores were closed because it's Passover. Then we found a cafe besides the Angono Municipal Hall, Don Antonio Cafe.

I've heard a lot of things with this cafe from my friends and relatives but haven't tried it yet, so I guess this is the right time to work on my taste buds.

Located along P. Tolentino St. corner Doña Nieves St. Angono, Rizal is a coffee shop wherein you can enjoy variety of food craves. At first glance, the cafe looks like a typical snack bar. The dining area is located outside and no customer would be able to enter the service area because it seems like only the staffs are allowed. You will need to find your seats first and staffs will assist you afterwards.

From salads, rice meals, pasta and deserts all these you can find on their menu even burritos and nachos too. Frappuccino, hot tea, cold drinks and iced beverages you can also have here.

I like this part, tasting time! Though I have my own order, I can taste the one they’ve ordered. What a clever I am!

First stop, Adobo Flakes. All I can say is I can beat this one. It’s a simple adobo rice meal in a well presented plate. Just a reminder, when you order please be mindful to specify Adobo Flakes pasta or rice meal because my friend originally want some pasta but he forgot to mention it.

The croissant on the side is not included, my friend just added it.
Italian style Baked Macaroni is quite usual. I love the cheese they’ve put on top.

Cream Dory and Crab Sticks. The fillet cream dory at the bottom covered by cheese and crab sticks with taste of green bell pepper match with java rice is a must have.  

All served drinks are ok from frapuccino, red ted and iced choco.

Overall, the food was great and affordable. The only thing I can advise for this café is to expand more for the dining area and try to redecorate and improve the inner side of the café.

I will surely come back and recommend Don Antonio Cafe to some of my friends.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Angono Lakeside Park (Wawa)

It’s been a while since the last time I visited Angono Lakeside Park - a well known place for the natives of Angono, especially for all grown-up like me. I remember back in my childhood days, when my father always brings us here every Sunday morning to see the sun rising in the horizon of the Lake. I bet every child leaving here would agree on me. The excitement to witness the first daylight and birds flying all over the lake was shown in our faces. We call it Wawa, so once we heard about it, we make our bed early because it’s a special day.

Well, that was before, good memories from the past.

I haven’t seen it again for the longest time I’m out for work and I wonder how things are there now. Along with my sisters, we decided to roam around the town and have some stopovers, luckily got the chance to visit Wawa again – the sunset this time.

It felt like I’m a stranger in my own place as we walk on the streets heading to Lakeside Park. I was amaze with what I see few distance away – the golden sky and lots of people having fun.

It's good to be back!

Super Zoom lens. Amaze lang ako...

As I look around, all things have changed. The rough roads are now concrete, light house still there but what is missing was the long pathway heading to far side of the bay, seems like Marina. According to some authorities around the area, it was ruined by storms through the years that have passed. It feels bad for that was the area where we go fishing using our improvised fish rods.

I was trying to take a photo of the sunset while I'm waiting for my fish balls to be served but this boy suddenly stood up and took a nice shot with him on the background.

A nice view of the sunset with their love ones - Nanay, Tatay, Ate, Kuya, Bunso and playmates.

Hello birds! I haven't seen you for so long.

Wawa is still under renovation and improvements. It has lots of potentials to showcase. Authorities should know how to take care every part of it. It’s a haven for everyone to experience.

Few minutes when I took the first photo, the sun started to lose its light.
That's Indigo.

Angono Lakeside Park is located at A. Ibanez St. Brgy Poblacion Ibaba, Angono, Rizal. It's a 2 hours travel away from east of Manila. You may explore the place using your own bikes, fly your kites, play with your friends and enjoy the captivating sunset. Boats and cottages are for rent for a small fee. Food stalls are available around from variety of street foods.

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