My ABRAmazing Adventure

My Abramazing Adventure

“One way to make the most out of life is to look at it as an adventure.”~William Feather

My most recent blog about Kaparkan Falls in Tineg is just one of the many
interesting places you’ll find in Abra.

I might sound redundant but I’m really thankful to discover Kaparkan falls leading me to a lot more exciting places to see in this specific province that’s sometimes patented to be unsafe. Actually it is safe. We didn’t encounter anything shaky the whole time we were there. But of course, we always pray for safety each time we go out right?

So the news we’ve been hearing (mostly politics related), didn’t deter our eagerness to visit this province.

On top of Kaparkan Falls, here are some of the places our travel agency flaunted to us. These and the team spirit (good vibes) made this trip a memorable one.

Don Mariano Marcos bridge (Abra Kalinga National Road)

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Don Mariano Marcos bridge on our way to Tineg where Kaparkan falls is.

San Lorenzo Ruiz church (Bangued, Abra)

Bangued is the capital of Abra.

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San Lorenzo Ruiz church at the Camposanto, Bangued. The churchyard have been constructed as a cemetery as well. It is beautiful because of those red bricks and the twin bell towers. =)

St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral (Tayum, Abra)

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A 19th century Baroque church (Augustinian)

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St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral

Both churches are still closed, and since it’s my first time being there, I made my wishes and prayers. =)

Tangadan Welcome Tunnel (San Quintin, Abra)

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Built in 1934, this more than 50 meter tunnel took two years to be operational.

Gabriela Silang Monument (San Quintin, Abra)

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One of the tributes dedicated to the first Filipina, fearless enough to fight for freedom. 

Abra Pasalubong Center (San Quintin, Abra)

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Where we got the famous noodles, mascuvado sugar, local coffee, shirts and some souvenirs. =)

Open Theater at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)

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View deck at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)

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Good vibes only! #millennials

Balay ni Gian/ Carl Louie (for the longganiza and bagnet)

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Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts (Tayum, Abra)

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Come lunch time, we had ours at “Hidden Garden” – Vigan City

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I dropped a coin and made a wish. =)
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We had Bagnet na sinigang and they’re version of Igado. And fruit shakes too.
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We also had empanada while waiting for our orders.

Crisologo Street – Vigan City

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Jen! No smoking! =p
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Grace on the right, is our Travel agency co-owner, the 2 other equally pretty girls: Sandy and Clarisse, were my seatmates during our “rough road ride” to Kaparkan falls. They’re kind enough to share with me their shawl to cover our legs since we’re exposed to the scorching heat of the sun. =) I didn’t bring anything then, just my phone and my wallet. Jen and I at the background eating ice cream too. =)
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It was great to see this famous street again. =)

On our way back to Manila, they were already discussing when and where to go next. Most of our photos are with hashtag: #wheretonext

Traveler point PH – please take charge! lol!

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Be amazed by ABRA

Be amazed by ABRA

If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.” ~ Tory Burch

I have always been inspired by bloggers all these years and as I do my daily readings, I came across this place: Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra. Upon research, Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra_(province)

I have been to the Ilocos region several times, and I honestly wondered why I missed this spectacular province. Thanks to the bloggers I follow who’ve been there and densely illustrated its’ beauty and what to expect. In my heart, I knew then, Abra is one I shouldn’t miss. Specifically that falls in Tineg.

So one weekend of October, our travel agency announced that it’s time to go, it has been postponed for several times already due to the typhoons in the Philippines and my heart is pounding at the thought of waiting for another year to see Kaparkan falls. The best time to visit is during rainy season as it runs dry during the summer months. However, I’d still insist to call it my own Summer in October. =)

I have to thank the agency: Traveler Point PH for being so organized, caring and had us experience this “ABRAMAZING” weekend.

Day 1 – Friday night:

Our pick-up point is at Greenfields (Mandaluyong City) at 9:00 pm, our organizer is a couple who loves to travel too, we shared the trip along with 8 millennials who made the trip more exciting and full of fun despite of the perplexity of reaching our destination(s). We arrived at DPWH, Tineg around 6:00 am, it is estimated at 8 hours travel time from Manila, however due to several stop-overs, it took us 9 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We were briefed before hitting the road. And at exactly 7:00 am, we are ready.

I am actually surprised knowing we’re riding on this Army truck.

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They refer to it as “Monster truck”…

It’s tires at 1100 x 20, I thought I was lucky that my assigned seat is at the front with 2 millennial girls who made me laugh the whole time. While Jen is at the back along with the other travelers. I was telling her she wouldn’t like it in front, and she’s also saying I wouldn’t like it too at the back. As they say: “Sa harap, kitang-kita, sa likod, damang-dama!” Here’s why:

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I can do this! =)
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It is necessary to lodge the tires with these chains to avoid being bogged down in the deep mud.

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Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:

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is The Don Mariano Marcos bridge. The third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.812 linear meters.

Reference: http://wikimapia.org/2423591/Don-Mariano-Marcos-Bridge

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As oriented, this “one hell of a ride” is more or less than 4 hours, and less than an hour trek to reach our destination.

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It is my first time to experience one such ride, upon being there, and finally witnessing this magnificent falls, I hear everyone saying “Oh My God!” several times! Myself, speechless. I must say it (bruises, scratches, broken nails, etc.) was truly worth it, I totally forgot about that “ride” upon seeing Kaparkan falls. Let these pictures speak for themselves. =)

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Nature has it’s own special way of taking my breath away.

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If you noticed, they do not bother to remove the falling leaves for a purpose, it adds beauty in time, the marks they leave, creates art naturally.

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You will notice too that the place isn’t that populated by guests. The Dept. of Tourism gave strict directives that the maximum # of guests is only 90. This will allow guests to enjoy its’ tranquility too.

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Those rows of limestones are naturally formed in that wondrous presence through the years, though it made me wonder, they aren’t slippery. I was too careful as it glistens when one of them told me that it isn’t slippery. Because of this, I began my wanderings and conquered my fear. =)

Our coordinator must know how famished we’d be, upon reaching our Transient home dinner time, they had this “Boodle fight” dinner set-up to welcome our group. Yum! =) We have fresh fruits too!

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Our itinerary come Sunday is composed of some interesting places which I will blog separately.

Just this one at Kaparkan Falls substantiates that my more than a year waiting time to visit Abra is truly worth it. While there’s more this province can offer.

It is the highlight of this trip while I have my own personal highlight too, it is our visit to Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts, which really satiated not just my eyes but my soul too.

Our itinerary for Day 2 includes: A visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, Tangadan Tunnel, Gabriela Silang monument and Abra Pasalubong Center, passed by Don Mariano Marcos bridge, the open theater and view deck at Victoria park, another visit to an old heritage church: San Lorenzo Ruiz church at the Camposanto, Bangued, side trip to Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, we also went to Balay ni Gian to buy Vigan longganiza and Bagnet (at Carl Louie) as pasalubong (goodies for loved ones at home). Our itinerary includes the Bantay Church Bell tower, the Gourd hat maker, the Loom weaving village, Acosta panciteria (that famous Abra pancit miki). But due to time constraint, we missed those ones. But it’s okay. For those who will visit Abra, these are also some spots you would want not to miss.

So this is how we spent this one amazing weekend at Abra. I must agree whenever they say it’s “Abramazing!”

Below is a map of Abra:

 

Courtesy of: http://www.abra.asia/_pages/GoSeeStay.htm

Should you be interested, feel free to call Grace or Chris of Traveler Point PH for more details at: 0945 813 0618.

PS

Kaparkan falls is prettier in person. =)

 

Lugang Cafe – A Taiwanese Treat

Lugang Cafe – A Taiwanese Treat…

“Count not the candles…see the lights they give. Count not the years, but the life you live. Wishing you a wonderful time ahead. Happy birthday ate Queng!”

In this iconic structure at BGC – SM Aura’s. On it’s fifth floor, You’ll find a long avenue of collective restaurants that give you options as to where to dine with loved ones and friends.

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Through the years, if chance permits, we were able to try Mexican food from Andale, Authentic dim-sum treats from Tuantuan Chinese Brasserie. Some scoops of ice cream from Bono Gelato, ube churros and frozen yogurt from Pink Berries.

Last week, on a long weekend and to celebrate my sister-in-laws birthday, We all agreed to visit Padre Calungsod chapel at SM Aura.

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And dined at this authentic Taiwanese restaurant: Lugang Cafe, named by Asia Tatler as one of the best restaurants in the Philippines for years.

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We had Xia long bao for a starter.

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Source: http://www.lugangcafe.com.ph/

A special dumpling intricately prepared and served warm. You can actually watch how it’s done. It is so delicious we had to order for it twice. =)

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For appetizer, we had Tofu with century eggs topped with pork floss and Garlic pork roll.

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For the main course, we shared Three cup chicken.

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Spare ribs with plum sauce. My son’s favorite. I realized spare ribs goes well with orange sauce, apple sauce and this time we were able to try it with plum sauce.

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The special Birthday noodles for the celebrant which is a tradition for a long life is a must-have.

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The Golden fried rice is one of their best sellers and I truly must agree. My personal favorite is the Soy sauce braised pork knuckles. as it is so tender and very tasteful.

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Over all experience is good, the attendants are bubbly and very attentive, the food were served ahead of declared waiting time. It’s just that their house tea isn’t complimentary. Or maybe I just got used to Chinese restaurants serving complimentary house tea while you’re still figuring out what to order, China bowl during the late 1990s even offers free shrimp chips.

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Anyway, before we get to decide if we want tea or not our food already arrived. It was a very good dining experience especially with your family. “Xièxie nĭ/nĭn!”

 

Joey Pepperoni Pizza

Joey Pepperoni Pizza

“Count the memories, not the calories.”

So while at the Mall of Asia, Jen and I decided to check Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria. It is the nearest from where we came, and we’re both famished and craving for pizza. Seeing them just in front of us is very timely.

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The place is not that big, it was rush hour at that time but the barker outside was able to grab us a table for two right away. Impressive.

Immediately we ordered for pizza, and I got the mozzarella sticks and Jen got pasta in white sauce with grilled chicken toppings which they call Grilled chicken Alfredo.

We chose Joey’s Supreme, it is fully loaded with ham, pepperoni, bacon bits, mushroom, beef toppings, onions, bell pepper, and black olives.

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Their menu list is complete, they offer salads and soups too. You can also create your own pizza. They offer rice meals as well which looked equally delicious. They have desserts too, something I found unique was the Banana Nutella pizza. Though we didn’t try it.

Their list is very affordable. When you look at how they do their offerings, they look expensive but they’re not. So if you’re looking for a commendable place to eat at Mall of Asia, this is one great choice.

Other locations are:
– Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
– Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City
– SM City, North Edsa
– Araneta Ave., Sta. Mesa
– Tuazon Ave., Cubao, QC
– Robinson’s Place, Ermita, Manila
to mention a few.

Said pizzeria is owned by the man behind the famous “Go Negosyo” – Joey Concepcion. I think he was able to personify in this place all of his advocates. =)

So while at Mall of Asia, Jen and I decided to check Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria. It is the nearest from where we came, and we’re both famished and craving for pizza. Seeing them just in front of us is very timely.

The place is not that big, it was rush hour at that time but the barker outside was able to grab us a table for two right away. Impressive.

Immediately we ordered for pizza, and I got the mozzarella sticks and Jen got pasta in white sauce with grilled chicken toppings which they call Grilled chicken Alfredo.

We chose JOEY’S SUPREME, it is fully loaded with ham, pepperoni, bacon bits, mushroom, beef toppings, onions, bell pepper, and black olives.

The menu list is complete, they offer salads and soups too. You can also create your own pizza. They offer rice meals as well which looked equaly delicious. They have desserts too, something I found unique was the Banana Nutella pizza. Though we didn’t try it. Theirs is very affordable. When you look at how they do their offerings, they look expensive but they’re not. So if you’re looking for a commendable place to eat at Mall of Asia, this is one great choice.

Other locations are:
– Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
– Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City
– SM City, North Edsa
– Araneta Ave., Sta. Mesa
– Tuazon Ave., Cubao, QC
– Robinson’s Place, Ermita, Manila
to mention a few.

Said pizzeria is owned by the man behind the famous “Go Negosyo” – Joey Concepcion. I think he was able to personify in this place all of his advocates. =)

And here’s ANOTHER STORY

And here’s ANOTHER STORY

“Friendship is the comfort of knowing that even if you feel alone, you aren’t.”

I am not much of a mall rat. But one mall near our place that I can’t resist is Evia Lifestyle Center. 

I’ve been there for only several times, and my most recent visit, I noticed a lot has changed already.

There’s an on-going renovation, a pizza parlor is no longer where I last saw it, I’m lost and figuring-out where is the old parking lot and the Mediterranean structure you’ll see from afar. It is now converted into a high-ceiling dome in glass. And they say, we should expect more changes to come.

But we went there just to try “Another Story”. I have been fascinated by it for a long time, it’s being dreamy and whimsical. Just like Cafe Voila (which owner happens to be also the brain behind Another Story), 4th street cafe, Dreamland Arts & crafts Cafe, Cafe Juanita, Vanilla Cupcake, Secret Haven Cafe, among many others. And I’m glad that my two high school friends willingly granted my wish. =)

Character-filled Interiors like this makes me feel like I’m not just in Another story but in another time too.

Like I’m a character in a Fairy tale story, embodied the spirit of someone significant in a story line.

I admire how intricately they put attention to all the details and be unique thus standing – out from the rest.

You will see and feel the owner’s passion even from the way she describes each offering from the menu like sharing her experiences as if we’re her friends or family, or as you choose your order, it felt like you’re reading a story.

And it is not just the ambience, or the interiors, you’ll enjoy their offering too.

We only tried 2 kinds: a green salad: “Another Story salad”, we chose it instantly because it has prawns on it. And as recommended by one of their very affable attendants, we had one of their best-selling pizza. And we truly enjoyed it and all agreed that these people are taking their jobs seriously. We even agreed to go back on a weekday to enjoy the “Eat all you can pizza”, their paella and the other flavors of their cake as we definitely liked the Tiramisu cheesecake that they served as a treat for my birthday. Surely, I’m planning to
try their All-day breakfast and maybe some pasta too. =)

Complimentary bread.
We all love veggies.
And their pizza is delish too. =)
This really surprised me..=)

If you haven’t been to Another Story, please do. It is truly mesmerizing. =)

Moment of beauty…

Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

PS

The birthday cake is such a sweet gesture for me. I really appreciate it. =)