Monday, March 28, 2011

Capones Island

May 2010

On our 2nd day in Anawangin, our boatman picked us up at 9am and we went to Capones. The island is known for its lighthouse and its stunning view of the sea and the horizon.

Instead of sand, the shore is lined with beautiful, probably metamorphic rocks

Our patient boatman

If a picture paints a thousand words
This is my favorite photo ever!!!!! :) I'm so glad to have this kind of photo. Thanks to my friend who took this shot. Really, most of the time, stolen shots are the best. I call this a "life photo". It speaks about youthfulness, happiness, friendship, dreams, goals etc. It's the kind of photo that makes you appreciate life even more.

The climb was a little exhausting but so worth it. You're sure to get thirsty so bring a bottle of water.  Arm yourself with sunnies and umbrella or hat to protect your skin from the scorching heat.

And finally, we reached the top! We stayed for around 30 minutes just taking in the beautiful sight that surrounds us.    
the GORGEOUS view :D

Meet "emo" and "senti". lol. :p We're just adapting to our environment. hehe

Hugs and Happiness,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seduced by Anawangin

May 2010

How something beautiful can be the result of something destructive is truly a wonder. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it gave off substances that later became pine trees and its lahar brought forth the greyish-white color of the sand in an island cove in Zambales called Anawangin.

Anawangin is enchanting. The first time I laid my eyes on it, I immediately made plans to go there.  I invited 3 of my friends who, like me, were captivated by its beauty.

How to get there: Take a Victory bus that goes to Zambales(Iba). Tell the conductor you're heading to San Antonio. One-way fare is approximately Php250. Get off in front of the San Antonio municipal hall, take a tricycle and ask to be taken to Brgy Pundaquit. Once there, rent a boat that will finally take you to Anawangin. There are other islands that you can also visit: Capones, Camara and Nagsasa.

We hired a boatman from Mang Mike (09283405136), he charged us Php1400 for Anawangin and Capones (the ff. day). I also wanted to go to Nagsasa that same day but it was more than an hour away and the waves were crazy, it was almost 4pm that time. Tip: Sail before 3pm because the waves can get rough late afternoon. We were so wet and morbid things were already running through my mind. I was looking at the deep blue water and thought about drowning. Haha.

There are no hotels or any kind of accommodation, you need to camp out. Camping fee is Php100/pax.  While here, you can also say goodbye for a while to the rest of the world. You will be detached from it coz there is no phone signal on this island. No electricity as well. Back to basics. :) The idea thrilled me.

If you don't have tents and you're really not into camping, instead of buying, you can just rent from your boatman. You can also rent whatever you might be needing- super kalan, ice box, flashlights. You can also request for them to cook foods for you. Remember to bring enough foods. There are makeshift stores in the island but their prices are expensive, expectedly so. We bought 1 kilo of rice from one of the stores for Php100. haha. We didn't bring rice, we just had loaf bread. We were lazy. Haha.

The sand may not be very white and powdery like most of our popular beaches but the beauty of the whole cove compensates for that. The enchanting surroundings and the seclusion make Anawangin the perfect escapism haven.

There were not a lot of campers when we were here. It was a Friday. There were just around 5 tents in the island. I liked it that way. But the next day, when we were about to leave, a lot of people had been arriving and setting camp. Good thing we went there on a weekday. :)

The tall pine trees add mystery to the island.

I am so feeling it! LOL.

I thought of bringing a hammock but we were not able to buy one. It would have been a lovelier stay. :) Ironically, on our 2nd day, when we were almost about to leave, we saw a man selling hammocks. Whaaaaaa! Why only now?!

Our quest to find the fountain of youth. LOL! :D We were just looking for the waterfalls. We didn't find it. Haha. The ice cream vendor I spoke to the following day said the falls would be dry at that time. It was May, btw.

aww look, there's a forest fire. dunno if it was an accident or some people were doing Kaingin. I felt kindda sad, the mountain won't look so lush anymore after this. Nevertheless, the fire served as a good photo background. LOL.

Waking up early morning, opening your tent and the first thing you see is the splendid, almost deserted island, blue skies after the sun had just risen..
the calm.. the quiet..
It's an incredible feeling. Sigh happily and say "I LOVE MY LIFE"

Morning Glory
(What's the Story, Morning Glory. lol)
I love this shot. It's one of those photos that can tell a good, riveting story.
That guy in the photo is Edward, my friend's boyfriend.

Another plus point for Anawangin is its lagoon. Hauntingly beautiful, it's like a scenery straight out from a postcard. 

I love bridges, even makeshift bridges. :p

It's almost like camping in a lake in Colorado or Europe, eh?

Picture perfect. ;) A perfect place to get away from the busy world, commune with nature and do some soul-searching. :)

When we left, each one of us had the same thing in mind: "Someday, I'll be back here"
One night on this enchanting island is not enough, we hoped we could have stayed longer.

Anawangin may not have the finest white sand and clearest water, thus not being the most beautiful beach. But for those who have high appreciation for nature, Anawangin has the most beautiful beach scenery in the Philippines.

Hugs and Happiness,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random Dinner at Fish & Co.

  Restaurants under the Bistro Group are always a no-fail option for casual dining. My most favorite among them is Friday's, just because I lurve big juicy burgers and like their interior the most (aside from the food, a restaurant's interior and overall ambience is what makes me want to eat there). ^.^ Whichever is your most favorite, it's just a matter of taste. They're all good, I love Fish & Co and Italianni's too. The last time I ate at Fish & Co was two years ago and it's just recently that I was able to come back.

Orders are good for sharing

Seaman's Salad, Php 290

New York Fish and Chips, Php 415
It's not exactly chips, it's fries (LOL) and it's one of the best I've tried. I love that the fish had stuffed cheese.

Seafood Pasta with Crab Sauce, approximately Php430
Was ok, I've tasted better versions though

Pork BBQ Ribs, Php 1156
the pork ribs were tender, sweet and fall of the bone easily 

Haha. So this is my first attempt on food blogging. I think this a lousy post. LOL. I know I can improve eventually. :) anyway, I find it funny that I'm also writing about food. Usually, if you ask me how a food tastes, I would always answer "it's ok". Haha. I should train my taste buds to be more discerning. Hmm.. I generally have a a good taste with everything, it's just that when it comes to food my taste buds are very kind. LOL. :D

Hugs and Happiness,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fun in the Kitchen: Pichi Pichi Surprise

I have this habit of experimenting with foods especially when my taste buds are craving for something a little bit special. Two days ago, at past 4am and still wide awake, I went downstairs to the kitchen to grab something to eat.

I was craving for something sweet. There were cookies in one cabinet but I wasn't in the mood for cookies. There were chocolates in the other but they have not been opened yet, I did not want to touch them. There was pichi pichi in the fridge. That was my last option. But I'm not a fan of rice or cassava cakes except for Moron, a native delicacy from Leyte that is ohmygad, eye-poppingly delicious.

Ok, so I'm not a fan of pichi pichi. Right! But I needed to satisfy my sweet cravings! Then in a flash, my experimental self thought, "Why not make something special out of this?". It didn't take me long enough to find what I just needed.

Pichi Pichi (or Peach Peachy), Walnuts and Smucker's Magic Shell in Chocolate flavor then it's creative-mind-meets-hungry-stomach history :)

Just a few drizzles of the Smucker's (no, I didn't expect it to shell because it won't. hehe. I just needed it for the chocolate flavor) and toppings of chopped walnuts, may I present....

charan.....  Pichi Pichi Surprise! not your ordinary pichi pichi anymore, eh? :)

I totally liked it and made another one come evening. :) Chocolate goes really well with walnuts, or just about any nuts. What surprised me was the chocolate and cheese combination. It's a match made in dessert heaven! :)

those shredding are cheese, they look like desiccated coconut because of the flash

Hugs and Happiness,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Singapore and the Lost Luggage

July 20-ish in the year 2009,

Few weeks before my flight to SG, I had already planned what to wear and what to bring during the trip. When we arrived at the Changi Airport, my mom, bro and aunt already got their luggage and I'm yet to see mine. Several minutes have passed and I have not spotted my bag. I thought of the unlikely, that it might have been placed in the other luggage conveyors. Unlikely but I thought to myself, it's not impossible. We searched the other conveyors to no avail. I was ready to admit to myself that my luggage, with all my clothes in there, is really missing.

Hey Missie, that's not your luggage. :D
I felt almost shattered. I went there to have fun and suddenly I'm left with no clothes. I was bringing a plain black luggage that looked like everyone else's so I was positive someone might have mistaken mine for theirs. I'm partly at fault because I forgot to put a name tag on it. I didn't expect that boo-boo would cause such an inconvenience.

Having given up searching the baggage carousels, I hoped to spot my bag among the throngs of people. If someone accidentally picked it up, I have to hurry and pray that whoever got it have not yet left the airport. I went past the exit and when I did not find my bag outside, I decided to re-enter and report my lost luggage to the airport officials.

But the lady guard won't let me in. I explained that I'm looking for my missing luggage and that she should let me in. She called two officials and they led me outside, past the railings already. We went in to a room on the side of the building, they asked for my passport and another government issued ID. After that, they escorted me back inside. We used another door which connects directly inside the airport.

Once inside, I noticed that there are only two luggage left on our flight carrier's designated baggage conveyor. One looked strikingly similar with mine. I was convinced that whoever owns that had taken home with him my bag. I told the airport officials we should get that luggage and search for any info about the owner so we can trace my bag. Of course, I was being irrational. I know that protocols won't allow them to do that. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I found my bag on a hidden corner. Someone took it from the conveyor by mistake and didn't bother to put it back. Sheez, some people! Haha. Well, I didn't feel any disgust at all, I was just happy I won't have to put through "unexpected outfits" for the rest of my trip.

Btw, when I booked flights for me and my mom, I texted my bro and asked him if he wanted to go with us, he would be celebrating his birthday at that time and he just passed the Nursing Board Exam. He said yes so the following day, I booked his flight and guess what????? The RT fare was slashed down to just half the price. How ridiculous! I swear I spent weeks thinking about the money I would have saved had I not been so excited to book. How would I have known that they would have a 50% off promo after the day I made my bookings? Hmpp! Dagdag shopping money sana. Haha.

This is also where the Fountain of Wealth is located.  What a very nice shot, eh? haha.  I was using here my very jurassic Sony Cybershot that was begging for retirement. LOL.

2nd day is Sentosa day. We just explored the island, we didn't go to any attractions.

the beautiful beach in Sentosa, so tempting!

One of the things that I really liked when I was in SG was the ice cream being sold on the streets, they are ice cream bars that you can eat sandwiched in two wafers or rolled in a colorful loaf. They looked so cute, I really had to try them. Haha.    

To be concluded......... (I'm still busy. hehe)

Hugs and Happiness,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Magic of Disneyland

It's every child's dream to go to Disneyland, the happiest place in the world where their juvenile fantasies come true. Last 2009, I was able to realize that dream.

It was our 3rd and last day in Hong Kong, we went to Mongkok first to buy some souvenirs. It was easy going around the city especially by train, they are all interconnected.
Welcome to Disneyland
We arrived at Disneyland at around 3pm. It was a mistake going there late as we missed the other attractions. I should have done my research and did not presume that the park closes at 10pm, it does not. It closes at 8.
Enter the happiest place in the world
Once inside, we wasted no time and started the most important thing of all: picture taking! :) the queue to pose with Disney characters are usually long but who's complaining?! :D

Still a few minutes before 6pm, I had my last photo with Minnie. Yay! I was relieved. Time now to do something else aside from taking pictures and stalking Walt Disney's friends. haha.

                                Finally, we met, adorable POOH. Haha. He was my favorite when I was in High School. :D

My pretty sistah, Minnie Mouse.
My first ride after 3 hours in the park, I knew I needed to try this one no matter how boring it may look like. For me, Disneyland is.... the Disney Characters and these Alice in Wonderland teacups. I did not want to miss this. Mother did not ride, she said it might make her dizzy. Indeed, the ride was dizzying. It was fun though, not boring like what I initially thought.
Back when I was still a child, when I think of Disneyland, these teacups are what comes to mind.

I have always wanted to travel the whole world. While I may not do that in just a few years, It's A Small World can take me around the globe for just a couple of minutes. Yeeeh.. I'm excited!! :)  
Add caption

The facade of It's A Small World

Inside, we sailed "around the world" in a small boat while listening to the song "It's A Small World" repeatedly played in different languages. The scenes were very beautiful and creatively presented. 
The children of all cultures

Cambodia or Thailand? It seems hard to tell. Perhaps a combination of both. :)
Arabians? :)

The Netherlands

Presenting: The Philippines! :) Ladies in a nipa hut wearing their Terno and oh, look how cute that Tarsier is!

animated figures

Lilo and Stitch
On the way out, "PAALAM" ^.^ the word "goodbye" is also written in many other languages

My mom liked It's A Small World the most. It was really very pretty inside. :) My favorite was the Philhar Magic 3D/4D Show. The graphics were so believable that I got carried away and found myself reaching for a diamond ring. haha. There was also a scene where water splashed and us audience were sprinkled with water too. hihi. Another favorite of mine was the Space Mountain, it was the last ride we had and I was so happy we got there before they closed its entrance. The ride was exhilarating. My mom found it scary but I loved it, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. haha.

Not long after we got out of the Space Mountain, the Disney characters and the park's performers paraded. After that was one of the most anticipated attraction in Disneyland, the fireworks at the Sleeping Beauty Castle which was very spectacular and if I must say, magical. :)  With the splendid fireworks illuminating the castle and harmoniously dancing to the song Beauty and the Beast, how much more magical can something get? :) I wasn't able to take any more photos though, my camera was drained out of battery.

Suffice it to say, it was another dream come true. <3 I left the park with my juvenile heart jumping up and down. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My own "Before Sunrise" in Hong Kong

It was my 2nd time in Hong Kong. The first time I went there in 2004, I was with my whole family, there were more than 20 of us then and during that time, HK Disneyland wasn't open yet. Last 2009, I decided to go to HK again to experience the magic of Disney. I was supposed to travel alone since I've always wanted to do that. I admire people who travel by their lonesome. I find it really cool! =D Since my mom's birthday was around the time I booked my flight, I took her with me. It was my gift to her -all expense paid trip to HK.

the famous double-decker buses
It was a 3D/2N vacay and since I didn't have that much of a budget, I planned to check out of our hotel on our 2nd day and just head straight to the airport after we go to Disneyland then just wait until morning for our flight back to Clark. We didn't bring lots of stuff, my mom and I shared just one bag for our clothes (it's not even a luggage) and I also had one bag for my small bags and shoes. Skipping one day in the hotel means more shopping money. haha. And it would be pointless not to, since we would be out the whole day and would have to go to the airport very early in the morning the next day.

My Disneyland experience was really fun, I had a blast. It brought out the kid in me! After it closed, I told my mom we should stay there a bit so we won't have to stay in the airport for a very long time. There is scenery outside the park, there is none in the airport. It was almost 10pm when we decided to go to the airport. We will be taking the Disney coach which will take us to another train station then from there, 1 station away (Tsing Yi), we'll get to the Airport Express. Going around in trains is easier, more convenient, more accessible. Besides, I'm not even sure if there are buses in that area and cabs would be expensive.

So we took the train and when we finally got to the Airport Express station, I was really shocked when the ticket guy told me it's HK$60 each so that would be $120 for two tickets. That time, what's left of our dollars was just around HK$90. I didn't expect the ticket for the Airport Express would be that expensive because it's just ONE station away from the airport. The train ride from Mongkok(went there after we check out of our hotel to buy some souvenirs) to Disneyland which was about more than 10 stations away only took $20 off our Octopus card. I felt a little panicky that time then I realized there is a mall adjacent to the station so I went ahead and looked for a Money Changer. Rotten luck, money changer's already closed.

I looked for cabs but I had a hard time communicating with drivers since very few locals speak/understand English. Good thing, there was this passenger who alighted a cab then translated what I was trying to ask the driver. As I've expected, the fare's still expensive, more expensive even. I looked for buses but it was really hard to look for one that goes to the airport from that area. I tried asking passers-by, no dice, the language barrier was really not helping me. I was hoping that time to see a fellow Filipino who can give us directions or possibly let me exchange my Pesos to their HK Dollars. I found none.

My mom and I kept walking , hoping we would find where the buses are. We were so exhausted already. We found a promenade along a waterfront. It was more like a park and there were benches(I love benches!). We stayed there for a while then something came up my mind, I had a plan. We would be staying there until around 2 am then get a cab, tell the driver we're short of dollars then ask him nicely if he can take pesos. That was the plan. But I wanted to take a rest first. The place was really nice. When we got there, there were still a few people- lovers, friends, young, old. And then we were the only ones left. There was a mini playground and the childish me really got excited and tried out the kiddie slide. I had so much fun!

Moments Later, a guy entered. He looked professional. I reckoned he speaks English and might be able to help me. When I talked to him, he did not understand me but he smiled then walked away. After a few minutes, he came back, he was trying to converse with me. He finally got what I was asking him because I kept reiterating "bus to the airport". He pointed somewhere then we walked a few meters but I really could not understand what he was saying. We went back to the park. My mom was sleeping with her hands on her face.

Avenue of Stars
I sat on one of the concrete benches near the body of water and the guys was standing in front of me, leaning on the steel rails. We talked for almost 3 hours. I enjoyed the time I was with him notwithstanding the language barrier. We barely understood each other's language, I was talking "carabao English" so he would understand me. He tried his best too, he was even making sign languages. There were times we would say just 1 word but would understand completely what one is talking about. That time, one word told a story.

We shared a couple of great laughs. I felt a connection with him. I felt so happy that time and regretted that my camera's dead. I so wanted to document that experience. He asked for my name and he gave me his but I forgot what his name was! :( It's hard to remember, it's Chinese. And oh, he was good-looking. hehe. He stayed with me until my mom and I left for the airport. That was the best part of my HK trip! Up until this day, that experience brings a smile on my face. Indeed, everything happens for a reason. I ran out of dollars and was unable to go the airport sooner so I could experience what I would consider a "magical moment". Forgive my cheesiness.

This is that unforgettable place. :) got this photo from Wikipedia
Plane tickets for two, hotel accommodation, Disneyland tickets, shopping spree: thousands of pesos. Spending a few hours with a stranger in a foreign land, talking under the moonlight and star-filled sky in a park in front a harbour, with the gentle night wind touching your face: PRICELESS!!!

As for the cab ride, good thing the driver was really nice and agreed to have me pay for the remaining fare in pesos. =)