Hay Tagaytay

 

Tagaytay is my happy place for more than 10 years… It’s closeness to the Metro and chillin’ weather. Last December 3, I invited my friend Joy to come with me in the city for some breath of fresh air. I am stress for the past week and needed some time out. I am glad she gave in.

I urged her to meet at Good Shepherd – Pink Sisters to cool down. I miss the place and wanting for some retreat. The cold air kissed my skin tightly that made me relax. I prayed and thankful for the year 2016… This may not be a grand year but a steady one and I am fine with it. I realized that two important things highlight the year. I don’t want to leave the place because we didn’t know what to do…. Actually, we didn’t plan anything unlike our trips before… We just rely on google on where to go.

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Its always 11am when we decide to dine in one of the Bulaluhan in the area. We didn’t know where to head to until we reached Radar Baba where a couple of eatery situated. Since, M&M was included in top 10 Bulaluhan, we just tried it. Joy wanted to add tawilis (good! Not to salty) and I liked lumpiang shanghai (delicioso!).

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Joy recommended a coffee place somewhere ( she isn’t sure about the name so we googled it). Before going to Jazz Java coffee, we stopped first at Ina ng Laging Saklolo church to pray and someone had their wedding there. We watched for a bit and felt the music that was played ( we were a bit melancholic that time).
(trivia: I went to this church about 6 years ago and wanted to wed here and had a reception at T house).

Finally, we warmth at Jazz Java which a few meters from the church. Comfy ambiance and artsy design, several paintings hang on the wall. We sat at the corner of the place in front of the Christmas tree. We ordered Tagaytay coffee and malagkit na suman. We spent roughly an hour here, just talking about stuffs.

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Highlights of 2016

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Like what I said 2016 is a stable year. I mean not much grand happened – chill lang. But I must say that little things came thos year that made me appreciate God’s wonderful blessings.

1. Graduation from Cefam
I’ve waited for this for so long. After three years, finally I have a diploma. I am also thankful for the people whom I met in this journey, from my teachers, staffs, classmates and clients. I really learned a lot and it made my characted wiser and stronger.

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2. Be a Teacher
This is my ultimate goal in life. I didnt expect a chance would knock my door and of course I grabbed it. Its nice to share my knowledge to my students ( and I believe they have a better future in this profession). It’s good and at the same time challenging.

3. Hike
Due to busy schedule in school, I just have 2 hikes this year. It a wonderful feeling to experience outdoors once again and breath a fresh air.

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4. Travel
Been to 4 beaches this year (1 is through work) , I must say how I love the beach… (hay, ang taas na ng standards ko sa beach ngayon)… Hoping to have more next year. I also got a chance to stroll Baguio, Antipolo and Agusan because of work. Got also a chance to swim with family members.
Also explored Tagaytay, Sky ranch pampanga and Hot Air balloon.

5. Left brain functions
I let my creative juices functions again. I started writing poems and at the same time, draw out of the theme of my poems.  I also back to blogging. Hope to learn video edit soon.

6. Reunite with true friends
Happy to be reunited with my long lost friends and think alike. Our brains connects to one another and souls intertwined especially when pissed off. Hahaha.

White Castle Hotel

I booked a room a night before my stay and gotcha found one. I arrived at the resort at 11 AM and the staff was able to give me my room without any charges for coming early. The staffs are very accommodating – they provided everything I asked. I didn’t expect much with the hotel and room (even its pricy) because not all you see in the internet is true. The resort is clean and the staffs clean the pool, so you can stay in case you would be disappointed in the beach.
The downside – a two hour brownout upon my arrival. No internet connection in my room (which is located in a secluded part) but good signal in the other places of the hotel. Room is pricy as well as their food. You cant bring food inside the hotel. they also provided free transportation up to the hway. 

In general I love my stay here… 

Chasing Carabao

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October here I come… This trip was supposed to be on the 1st of October unfortunately Cebu Pac need to cancel the trip due to aircraft problem.. So it was a dream for me to explore Hambil or Carabao island but it is really San Jose, Romblon, going back I used my Getgo points to get tickets for this trip ( you know, ang mahal ng roundtrip airfare Manila – Cariclan – Manila , ka price of some International airfare)… so ayun na nga, I used I think 13k points of getgo equivalent around 6k including taxes and baggage allowance. But since its October I want to do something bold again…

The Boat  Ride

Carabao Island is 40 minute boat ride from Tabon Bay Caticlan. From Caticlan airport ride a tricycle going to Tabon fare is Php. 80 but to save from the airport I walked going to the highway and took a tricycle for Php 60. Scheduled boat ride is 9AM but the boat left at 10AM, fare Php 100.00.

Motorbike

The only means of transpo within the island is motorbike. There are options to roam around the island, rent a motorbike for Php. 500.00 half day or go for a tour for 5 hours for Php.500.00 excluding entrance fees.

From San Jose going to Lanas (where I check in motorbike  cost Php.70.00 / one way).

Touring the island is one hell of an experience – AMBIVALENT. Going from one place to another is risky #buwisbuhay, the road is sloppy, rocky, muddy and there were edgy portions that caused adrenaline rush and heart pumping situations. Take note, we dont have any helmet or what so ever ( hindi daw uso sa kanila yon)… So what would I do was to trust my tour guide, pray and enjoy the scenery.

Viola! Its really good to enjoy new and exciting things again (buti na lang talaga, I had a warm up with the extreme rides last weekend, so nasa kondisyon ang katawang lupa ko).

The Attractions

A. Kuding-kuding point

First stop is just breath taking. Awed with the view and couldnt help but smile how wonderful life is.

You need to pay for the care taker Php. 50.00 for sight seeing and if you plan to swim its Php. 100.00

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B. Ngiriton Cave

Entrance fee is Php. 100.00 with fresh buko. Home of bats and limestones.

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C. Nausa Beach

Calm, clean water. I find this place peaceful. As if I own the world. There were some rocks in the shoreline but its manageable.

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D. Tanagan Beach

My favorite place of all. White sand and crystal water. Coconut trees were just alligned in the shore. If I could stay here forever, I will. It is said that this place is not part of the tour, only locals will enjoy this marvelous place.

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E. Tagaytay

It is named Tagaytay because it is situated at the peak of the mountain. Overlooking Boracay and puka beach. Perfect to end the day tour in a peaceful and quiet place. Entrance fee Pph. 50.00.

As we go along, we stopped to several towns for some breather and learned more about the culture of Romblon. We also passed constructing roads and airport. The island is gradually developing new infrastructures but the local government doesnt want to overly exposed the island to tourism.

The Accommodation

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I stayed in Carabao Backpackers Inn located in Lanas which is around 20 minutes from San Jose via motorbike. The owner, Mike is very helpful and accommodating. The place is quiet cheap at Php. 350.00 per night. During my visit Lanas beach is not that clean unlike the Tanagan, Nausa and San Jose beach. However, Lanas is one of the tour destination in the place.

Since it is off peak season there is no restaurant in the resort. You can only find only one eatery near the place and several sari-sari store.

Tip: just bring your own baon/ foods/ snacks … You can cook in the kitchen and use their utensils.

If given a chance, I think I should check inn somewhere in San Jose at least it is at the town proper and near the pier.

Though the Inn has poor wifi connection and smart connection. Better bring globe mobile data

The People

I must say the locals are the best. They are very friendly and accommodating. Kudos to my tour guide Jess, he is the first person I met in the island since he brought me to Lanas. He is a registered tour guide and I didn’t hesitate to agree with him for a tour. My gut feel during the 20 min motor ride is he is a good person. We talked several things about the island and asked him some personal information (well, he is originally from Cam Norte and started a family in Carabao). While having lunch, I observed on how he deals with the locals which made up my mind to go on a tour with him.

During our tour, #tiwalalang . I made up my mind that he is a good person, I mean locals are nice and Filipinos are generally good. It is very risky to go with a stranger and entrust with him my life… To be honest, on our way to our first destination, Kuding-Kuding point, I’m very nervous because in able to reach the point we need to pass woods without any house and rocky road ( my pessimistic and judgmental self said: what if he is a killer, addict, holdapper, rapist or monster but my optimistic side kept on saying #tiwalalang). We were the only person in that area that time, kung may gawin man sya sa akin, walang makakaalam. Kahit na may care taker bago kami pumasok ng gubat…do they carr?… We reached and left the area safe… Doon ko napatunayan ang #tiwalang, I became comfortable with my tour guide so when we reached our next destinations I need not to worry even though the road seems leading to nowhere. Its my first time to experience the real extreme adventure without any gadgets and all.. Yung nga #tiwalalang talaga… We finished the tour and he brought me back to the Inn safe.

I also asked him to fetch me on my way back home on the 3rd day early in the morning since I need to catch up the 6am boat. He arrived at 5:40am … Actually, kinakabahan ako baka di sya sumulpot but he arrived at sobrang saya ko…

I also encountered different locals some employee of the resort, Inn and store owner. They are kind and nice as we engaged some stories and they talked about the island. They were also worried about me that I might not enjoy my stay because of thw stay but I told them that I had tour the island.

Realization

I really treasured this trip. The important lesson I’ve learned is to trust people and take risk by listening to your gut feel. If I didn’t go out of our comfort zone, we will never know what would await us and we can never appreciate things. I really love the locals’ way of care to tourist; no wonder why foreigners love our country.

I also need to plan out my travel and check all the logistics and strategize more to avoid hassles.

Tour guide:
Jes – 09077871337

October

You came on a rainy season
For some you came with a fall of orangey thing
31 days of oasis
Brings bliss in a kids heart.

October tickles my senses
A sound of glee
A phantom of beauty
To an innocent me.

Cheers to you my birth month.
OCTOBER

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8:00 PM
justjenandthesun

Vietnam: Hanoi Notes

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Three hours plane ride from Manila, Philippines I found myself in Hanoi, Vietnam. At first, I was gazing between Hanoi and Saigon or Ho Chi Minh, which place suits my personality. I chose Hanoi because of its vabriant personality partixularly the Old Quarters and its nearby some of the tourist attraction in the northern part of Vietnam.

Hanoi City Tour

While doing some research on the places to visit in Hanoi, I came across with Free Hanoi Tour ( check tripadvisor for details or simply google it).

I chose a package that best suites me. It is a whole day city hour (9am -4 pm) which includes Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Kiem Lake, Hanoi prison and strolling around Old Quarter.
Just booked a trip with them.

My guide for the trip was Quang ( a 20 year old male student).

Trivia: the guides in the Free City tour are mostly students who offer their services, be more fluent in English and have fun with tourist.

Quang fetched me at the my hotel at 8:30am, he early that I am still having my breakfast that time. He was nice fun guy, he is a conversionalist and like giving details about the place we went to. He was also ready to take me pictures up the point on asking on why girls love taking pictures because his girl is always like that. He has a good heart, I gave him a tip at the end of our trip but hesitant to accpet because he was there to help ( such a good soul). He just wanted me to write about my experience on their website. More power to him.

Going back, Temple of Literature (entrance fee: 35000 vnd),  in this place I learned more of Vietnam culture, how Confucious teachings influence their way of life and the influence of Chinese to them. The place is huge as it is composed of five quadrants of Big temples.

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From the Temple of Literature we walked to Ho Chi Minh museum ( kinda long but its okay, I tend to appreciate the architectures along the way. I understand the history in this place, how they consider Ho Chi Minh as a hero during the war. Parts of  museum was under construction then so no entrance fee needed.

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After that two historic place, we just eat somewhere before proceeded to St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Actually, this isn’t part of our itinerary but I told Quang that I wanted to see this church.

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We also went to Ho Kiem Lake ( actually the lake was a few blocks from my hotel). Certain cafes and shops surrounded the lake. Hanoi is known as colonized by France way back, so can see French touches in their food and some architectures.

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Quang also brought me to Hanoi Prison museum (entrance fee: 60000 vnd), I got oriented on the judicial process of Hanoi especially during the war. The agony of prisoners that time saddened me.

After the trip, using his motorbike, Quang and I strolled around Old Quarter and Hanoi. We passed by the Hanoi government agencies, malls and buildings. What amazed me were the murals along the hi-way. It depicts their culture, values and history. The tour ended at 4pm.

In the evening, I explored the night by exploring Old Quarters while waiting for the night market.

Hoalu Tam Co Tour (34$)

Located at the Northern part of Vietnam particularly in Ninh Binh, it took us 3 hours to reach this attraction.

I am astonished by the grandeur of the place. Seems like stepping in an old Chinese era with the royalties around. A lot of Chinese inspired architecture around the place.

Hoalu Tam is a serene place where limestones were scattered every where. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate pristine beauty of the place but I am a little bias if I would say Palawan (Philippines) is still the best when we talked about limestones. But of course Hoalu, you can paddle the boat and experience Vietnam culture at its finest (there’s nothing there in Palawan). I also tried to ride through a bicycle in the place to appreciate and be thankful of all the wonders of God.
We all got back to our bus at around 5:00 PM and headed back to Hanoi with one bladder break on the way. ETA to Hanoi is around 7:00 PM.

One of the highlights of this trip was meeting other foreigners sharing the passion in traveling. I felt flattered knowing that they have gone to the Philippines and really appreciate my country. They are the nicest after all.

*The tour includes buffet lunch.

Shopping

Night market opens every Saturday and Sunday. A long stretch of good finds and yummy food for a reasonable price.

You can take home varieties of Vietnam coffee, it’s just every where. Also the famous rice pulled noodles.

Food

Quang brought me to one of the streets that served Bucha ( must try while in Hanoi). It is said it was originated in Hanoi thus for some reasons not available to other parts of Vietnam.

Bun Cha is a noodle soup with pork. It will be serve by a plate of rice noodles, fresh herbs and a bowl of cold broth with grilled pork, spring rolls  and some vegetables . The combination of broth and the pork make it unique and delicious.

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I also tried other dishes along the streets like Pho, Banh Cuon, Banh Mi and others.

Coffee shops are everywhere in Hanoi. Try also their cakes and breads at reasonable prize.

Hotel

I booked my stay at Hotel Alibaba at the heart of Old Quarters. It is a four storey (old) building. The cheapest I got. I stayed in the 3rd floor, so the struggle was climbing the stairs with my luggage ( they dont assists client). It was  mediocre, nothing special about place, they don’t serve breakfast after all. But what I appreciate in staying here were the staffs; they were so friendly and humble. I don’t mind spending an hour talking about them even sometimes we had language miscommunication. We just laughed at it.

The hotel also transfered my from/to the airport for 19$ one way.

My three full days in Hanoi was well spent. I treasure the place, love the people and embrace their culture. Thank you Vietnam for warmth hospitality and for making me at home.

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Climbing Tales: Mt. Gulugod Baboy

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My first climb with power couple Matet and Marvy (never mind, being the third wheel that time). Doing some researched about the place, we were convinced that this mountain is literally for beginners only plus the breathtaking view at the peak.

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Mt. gulugod is nestled in Anilao, Batangas ( as fas a I remember, I knew Anilao because of its diving spots and beaches but not for mountain climbing). As we reached the descending point, locals mentioned that guide is mandatory but I insisted that I know the trail (para makatipid lang… Hehehe and hey, that’s what you call freedom).

Matet is a first time while Marvy tried some prior to the climb. We were surprised as we start to descend (paakyat agad-agad, wala man lang warm-up)… The hardest part of the trail was the start, it’s uphill cemented road ( simula pa lang, iba na ang pagod ko… I just told myslef, kaya ko to)…

Climbing Gulugod is a different experience compared to other mountains. The trail is soily and slippery, we can’t hardly cling because of small branches. There parts of steepy road that’s difficult to endure. But like what they say “tiwala lang”. Whenever we got tired, we glanced at the ocean and conditioning ourselves to move on.

We climb for two hours but I can say that it’s worth it. The hills reminds me of Sound of Music (“the hills are alive….” 🎶) and I kept humming Chasing Cars ( if I lay here, would you lay here with 🎶)….

 

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Till the next climb folks….

 

 

 

Untying the Knot

 

March 21, 2011

I want to explore the joys of single-hood and explain why I should not rushing things out..

I’m in the stage wherein everybody is getting married, engaged and planning their future with so called “partner” but me, I prefer to enjoy every mili-second of my single-hood. Of course, as a girl, I also experienced day dreaming a cute crush, indulge in occasional flirtation, exclusively dating someone from the league, fell in love, got a bunch of heartaches and fall in love again. Through all of these, I also dreamed of same things most girls wanted: to find the love of my life, get married and start a family of my own.

Yes, I do feel tinge of envy when I see dear friends walking down the aisles, in their dream dresses towards their dream guys. But the envy lasts merely a few seconds… and I thought: “Oh, there are seriously getting married?!”. Don’t get me wrong but I’m happy to those friends who settled down but I wished that before they promised forever, they have initially happy by themselves, found the things that would make them happy before attempting to be happy WITH someone else. Marriage is not “I marry you because you complete me” but it must be “I am a complete person and I want to share my wholeness with you”. Sound chessy but its true for me.

 Since I choose not to get married for now, I can make decisions for myself and by myself, buy solo tickets to concerts, can go out with friends without making paalam, invest on gadgets without thinking of saving for a little family, go on impromptu backpaking trips to any part of the country and spend more time with more people (uhmm like dating).

Right now, I dont think that I need to be self-pity not because I am not YET tying the knot, it let me flexible, remain my surname and allows me to appreciate things differently. With this kind of status, I get to immerse myself in whatever mystery or adventure I wish to experience. For me marriage is not bound by age pegs or “marry musts”, but I guess taking time to build a career, rake up a good amount of savings and enough time to find myself. Mr. Right is just there, and I know that one day, he will sweep me off my feet and whisk me away with a promise of a happy ever after. By that time I’m ready, I will confidently say “YES, TAKE ME NOW”.

Disclaimer:  I  wrote this last March 21, 2011.. That time I was happy in a relationship and I don’t why I wrote this thing. But after five years, I never knew that this would be applicable to me. 

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Single and I’m loving it

Blissful Moments

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Eating slivers of cakes,
Some with berries,
Some topped with truffles and cashews,
Others with cookie bits.

Munchin’ strawberry pie on a Sunday,
While sipping a taragon tea,
I can smell the gardenia,
Oh what a great feeling.

Ice cream slowly melting my mouth,
I felt the coldness and warmth debating inside,
But oh, its sweetness reigns
And I am willing to scoop it again.

Food and you are the same,
Looking forward for our unguarded scenes
Blissfully saying  (can i taste you?)
You replied “one moment please”.

Oh what a blissful moment
Of you and me.

10:44am
Aug 6, 2016