My Pangasinan Adventure

My Pangasinan Adventure

“Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul.” ~Jaime Lyn Beatty~

I am sitting in my cubicle when I heard my office mates discussing about our Summer Outing this year. And I can’t help but get too excited as we’re going up north this time to Pangasinan. It’s going to be different this year as we have been exploring the South for the past years. Our first stop is to revel in the beauty of the Hundred Islands.

What made it more thrilling to me is to find out that the Lighthouse of Bolinao, is included in our itinerary. Whoopee! As you know, I have been collecting Lighthouses and this will surely slash one from my list to visit. The Enchanted cave is included in the list too. =) I am not that fond of spelunking but this one is going to be definitely exciting. Something that is new to me.

So here’s how our itinerary goes:

LUNCH AT DE GARCIA GARDEN & GRILL

On our way to the resort, somewhere in Sual, we spotted this eclectic restaurant and opted to have our lunch here. We also enjoyed the artistic ambiance, looks like the owners are travelers too, and the food that they served us is okay too. =)

CASA ALMARENZO BED & BREAKFAST 

And then it’s time to unpack and look forward to the activities that we’re about to do in the next few hours.

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HUNDRED ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK

The waters of the Lingayen gulf were clean and of bluish and greenish hue. As the roar of the boat’s engine started, all of us had fun witnessing the naturally beautiful islets that surround us.

There are 3 major islands that they converted as Tourist spots where you can have picnic as there’s a grilling area, restrooms, and rent kayaks and banana boats. Said islands are as follows: Quezon island, Governor island and Children’s island.

How nature lined up these emerald green islets are truly a breath-taking sight to behold.

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BANANA BOAT

We wouldn’t wanna miss this breath-taking ride! =) I lost (or we) my voice after.

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ENCHANTED CAVE

Tucked in Patar, Bolinao is someplace enchanted. =) The Enchanted cave. We dipped in its’ super cold and clear water, and when they declared we’re leaving, I almost don’t wanna go. Not yet! =)

ST. JAMES THE GREAT PARISH CHURCH VISIT

Of course, we wouldn’t leave this town without saying some prayers. Moreso, thank Him for this wonderful trip with wonderful people and great food.

 

CAPE BOLINAO

One of the highlights of this trip (Well, for me perhaps), is a visit to the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines.

PATAR BEACH

We also had the chance to squeeze in to see one of their beaches. The sands are so fine, not that white, but their so fine. =)

BOODLE FIGHT THE PANGASINENSE WAY

I just found this boodle fight prepared neatly, and I just tasted a very delicious version of “Pinakbet”.

Roughly, it took us 5 to 6 hours to get to Casa Almarenzo. This includes the stop-over we had for lunch.

We also had fun roaming around the town, had lunch in this cool restaurant where you will find a wide variety of viands to choose from. We also shop for the also famous Bolinao longganiza. =)

Pangasinan is truly one of the most interesting towns in the northern part of the Philippines. There’s actually more to see in Pangasinan, such as: Sunflower farm, Our Lady of Manaoag church, the beaches, beautiful falls, caves, their delicacies, to mention a few.

 

 

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My 3rd stint in Vigan…

My 3rd stint in Vigan…

When mama asked me to bring her to Vigan. I was wishing that she asked for another place and not in Vigan since I have been there twice already. Since she insisted like a toddler persistent to get her coned ice cream, I gave in to her request setting aside my other priorities. It also served like my post birthday treat for her. Besides, Vigan in reality is so beautiful, you won’t mind revisiting the place in every opportunity.

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It’s good to be back again!

It was just an overnight stay. I recently had this self – discovery that I acquired my father’s attitude of being agitated and uncomfortable in leaving the house empty and no one to tend to our pets, we have a dog, 2 cats and a dozen love birds. Though, to enjoy the trip without worries, I made it a point to secure our door locks and bought reliable stuff to reinforce them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

We left early morning of January 2 and reached Vigan in the afternoon, spent the night in a hotel a few blocks away from the famous and iconic street – Crisologo street. As early as week 1 of December, we were already trying to book ourselves and they’re all occupied. Each and every hotel (specially those that we eyed are all fully-booked!) They claimed that it might slow down come January so we opted to schedule it first week of the first month of 2014. Still, we had a hard time finding a nice hotel to stay. We ended up in a not so cozy place, I can imagine my former boss telling me to always look for the best hotels to stay when traveling. Since I couldn’t postponed it anymore, I’d be back to work in a few days, and as long as it’s clean, the bedsheets are well-pressed, with ACU, and provides crisp towels regardless of its’ thread count. We booked ourselves at Green R Hotel. 

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Green R hotel, a budget hotel…

I then brought them to Cafe Leona come dinner time.

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Mama and his younger brother, Father Noel..
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Mama at Cafe Leona..

I had them tried the famous bagnet ( Ilocanos roast pork), their version of pancit bijon, we also had Sashimi as chosen by my uncle and hot choco. It was good to have a priest with you the whole time. We say our prayers each meal. Something we missed to practice at home unless my son, Echo is dining with us. He is so strict and won’t allow us to start eating not unless he’s done with his thanksgiving prayer.

I noticed everyone were tired so we headed back to the hotel. When mama and my uncle were sleeping already. My friend and I with our itching feet sneaked out to explore the place once more. Not wanting to wait for the next day. We just wanted to witness how nightlife is like in Vigan specifically in Crisologo street. We took photos of all the lights we could see. I took reflections too for my souls sister to see, it is one of her favorite subject.

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Reflections for soul buddy..

We captured the different lights from the municipal hall’s posts that changes it’s color every minute or so. I only saw something like this in Singapore, in Manila and in one building in Ortigas. Of course I loved purple most!

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Vigan – Ilocos Sur
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Yellow!
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Green!
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Violet!
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It’s still Christmas in Vigan!
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I just like the man’s shadow here..

Taking photos made us hungry and cold. It was 19 degrees in Vigan at that time, we got used to 26. We ended up having Mexican food at Cafe Uno.

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Cafe Uno..
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Reminded me of Joaquin’s in Tagaytay..

The first time I dined here was 4 years ago and it felt the same.

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My first visit in Vigan..

It’s a bit colder during that particular evening and sipping coffee at Cafe Uno was never better.

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That thing on that spoon is a kind of native sweetener?

We walked around trying to find a 7-11 store to buy some stuff and ended up hiring a tricycle whom we asked to wait so we won’t hire another to bring us back to the hotel. Only to find out that the hotel is just across 7 11. Oh well! I found this window special too..

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This window took my attention..

The following day was shopping day and taking pictures.

Cafe Uno is the coffee shop of Grandpa’s Inn. While Cafe Felicitas is their restaurant. Both places is equally themed, lots of vintage items can be seen and are interesting subjects from a photographer’s eye..

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Cafe Uno..

After breakfast at Cafe Felicitas. We had their famous longganiza with egg and tomatoes and garlic rice.

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Cusina Felicitas..
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I spotted a trip advisor sticker at Cusina Felicitas..
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A painting of the famous heritage site..
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Vintage phones..
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Honestly..it felt creepy..
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Proofs of Spanish colonization in the Philippines..
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Lampara..
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Chalk menu board..
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Had been one of my favorite subjects..door knocker..
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Framed Filipiniana costume..

We hurriedly proceed to Crisologo street, took pictures of the famous heritage site. In all angles.

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Island souvenirs…
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The siblings..2 of 10..
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Fans!
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Awww..Sis, where do you wanna shop?
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Tired?
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Eyeing some souvenirs!

Uncle told me that this street is akin to some streets in Italy.

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The famous street with a “caritela” (horse-drawn carriage) passing by..
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I took this..
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I actually searched for the street signage..
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T’was like this a few years ago..
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I had this same angle before..=)
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Souvenir shop!
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Had several shirts from Islands souvenirs (Vigan, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, etc.)
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Out of Sinamay..
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Preserved in time..
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I specially like the smooching figurine!
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The street can never be empty..lots of visitors at that time..
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It looked like it rained right? It did not. They just showered the street to keep it’s cleanliness..
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Yey!

I was like a kid in the street. I had my taho.

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Manong isn’t in the picture as he is busy counting his money, I asked how much is his quota? He said it’s around P2,500-3,000. And it’s only past 9am at that time.

I also had my DIC.

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DIC!
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Manong, say cheese!
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Yum yum yum!

We bought shirts for mama and my son, for my friends’ friends. Uncle bought some stuff for the kitchen from one of the souvenir shops that I guess have been there for the longest time. Mama bought fruits (fruits?), yes fruits from an old lady, she just wanted to help the old lady. She even wanted to get everything that the old lady was selling if I hadn’t apprehend her. She bought raw bagnet and longganiza.

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I specially liked the horse shoe..and the colored purple cab..
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Horse shoe for good luck!
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Old discarded shoes..
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Wooden chair accentuated by a cartwheel..
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Can’t get enough of me pix..=p
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My favorite shot..

We dropped by shortly at the zoo. Jen tried the “empanada”.

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Empanada!
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Is this a colt or a filly?

It was meant for kids so we left right away.

We visited the “Pagburnayan”,

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Streetsigns..=)
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Pagburnayan!

where a demonstration of how to create those clay pots is ongoing.

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Pot making demo..
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He enumerated the procedure..

It was so interesting (reminds me of the movie: “Ghost”) messy but lovely. The guy doing it is also silly and full of jokes, he was very entertaining and he makes sure that the show is not just on him, it was interactive. I couldn’t get tired watching him as he plays with the clays.

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I actually wanna try it!

After that, I found this very pretty hat in pink. And then I saw one of the same kind, this time in teal. I loved both instantly!

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Pink!
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I wish to take them home!
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I read from an article that claypot making industry is dying, as the market is switching to plastic-made pots..=(
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Lots lots of jars!
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I noticed every time I travel, I encounter names close to my heart, like God’s way to remind me of these people..
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Pots neatly arranged..
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Beach? (–,)

On our way home, just as we passed by the Arch of Agoo, it’s not Agu (like I first read it), it’s Ago-o! Mama sighted these giant black tigers

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Black tigers!

And there’s no way I can’t stop her, as they’re my favorite too! 6 pieces of those shrimps is 1 kilo already, they must be really big! Mama got crabs too..

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On our way home sweet home..(–,)

I guess she went home with a smile on her face. That trip is actually dedicated to her. I just hope she was happy, if she is, I’d be happy as well. I am grateful for his younger brother to accompany us. It was a very special trip particularly for my mom. My son didn’t go with us, since her other grandma is in the hospital. I need him more to be there. I’ve always knew that there’ll be more next times to tag him, hopefully with his 2 grandmas in a single trip. It’d be really fun for all of us.

So long Vigan. With pride – I’m glad to see you unchanging! (–,)

Batanes…Beyond expectations

Batanes – Beyond Our Expectations

I am so fortunate to witnessed the unspoiled and undisturbed beauty of Batanes, if not for the Ivatan’s (True Insulares) uniformed goal to preserve mother nature, this will not be achieved. Thanks to my soul buddy, for this once in a lifetime experience. (–,) ♥♥♥

Batanes map
Photo grabbed from: http://attyreycdar.blogspot.com/2014/07/wonders-of-batanes.html

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It means “The goodness of God be with you.”

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My soul sissy brought this for me claiming it must be part of my wardrobe.

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We only spend a few days in Batanes though it is enough to leave me lifetime memories to cherish. It was raining most of the time on that first week of December. It is very cold, windy and wintery. We can’t go out without layers then.

I imagine Batanes during Summer yet since it is not when we visit, I see Batanes as fascinating during the Rainy Season. They control the number of visitors so we felt like having the island all on ourselves. It was a unique feeling, since more often than not traveling usually requires us to deal with other visitors too.

There is bliss when we arrived and all through out our stay.

 

“Blow Ur Horn” – Breathtaking Batanes

“Blow Ur Horn” – Breathtaking Batanes

“Travel brings power and love back to your life.”~Rumi~

It goes without saying that this signage “Blow Ur horn” is all that I can hear of when I was on board for our trip to Batanes. I hear it inside the plane, I hear it at the airport.

I didn’t have much time asking Google about Batanes as my soul sissy gave me all the information that I need, all I had then was excitement.

And so I heard and I saw and I conquered. The “Blow Ur Horn” thing is for safety purposes. It is found in all the blind corners and curves and all drivers religiously blow their horn to make sure that motorists were warned. I forgot the exact number but I recall counting them, maybe more than 50 for each and every turn.

You will notice that it is made of stone and attached to boulders so it is strong enough against wear and tear since this specific zigzag road in Batan, the main island of Batanes, has always been exposed to strong winds. It has been built long ago and it is funny to imagine that they already shortened the word “your” to “ur” even if texting isn’t existing yet then.

Here are some of my souvenir shots:

Have you noticed the blues and teals of the sea:

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My first few days in Batanes were of mixed emotions. Mostly gratitude as it brought me such happiness for all the right reasons to desire witnessing more and more of this world we live in.

Our stay at Batanes Seaside Lodge was good. During our stay, there are some personnel from GMA 7, I heard that they will feature the oldest man in Batanes. It is located at: National Road, Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes 3900 (Main branch). There are barkers at the airport and will show you brochures and leaflets of where you can stay in case you haven’t booked at any yet. You can contact Batanes Seaside Lodge at:

0927-788-5508/ 0999-992-4977 or send inquiry at: batanesseasidelodge@gmail.com or you can visit their website: http://www.batanesseasidelodge.com/new/

Of Windows, Doors and More

Of Windows, Doors and More – Breathtaking Batanes

“Be an opener of doors.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I am so fortunate to witness the unspoiled and undisturbed beauty of Batanes, if not for the Ivatan’s (True Insulares) uniformed goal to preserve mother nature, this will not be achieved. Thanks to my soul buddy, for this once in a lifetime experience. =)

Batanes is one of those few provinces, the smallest one in the Philippines, yet, with the most unique way of living and not to forget highlighting the breathtaking natural beauty of the whole island. Setting your foot there is awe-inspiring and truly unforgettable. A laid-back province yet is very rich in culture and natural resources.

The Architecture is unique too since they are situated along the typhoon belt. They created roofs made of cogon grass that are sturdy enough to weather storms especially during the rainy season. Because the islands are surrounded by the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, they are oftentimes exposed to very strong winds.

Here is a collection of doors and windows I’ve witnessed in the stone houses of Savitug in Sabtang island.

There are endless ways to enjoy your visit to Batanes. For me, this is just one of those.