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 The Department of Tourism Office, 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”…

Its’ tires at 1100 x 20 (all terrain), 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!” (English translation: “The rough road is so visible in front, while the roughness and bumpiness is felt most at the back!”)

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. #thisthingwithwelcomearchs

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. =)

 

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CELESTINE Bazaar

CELESTINE Bazaar

“Every artist was first an amateur.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have not attempted to write about losing a loved-one. I do not have the strength for it. I lost my mother months ago and then I learned that there’s a proof that even in lowest times, you can find something positive from it. With me, I developed new relationships, or specifically new friendships.

Jen, the owner of Celestine Bazaar is my schoolmate during high school. We have common friends, though we’re not literally friends then. And very recently, that common friend brought us together. In a special way, it made me happy, because they reminded me of the good old days, and who I was.

Jen never stopped sending me comforting messages when she learned I lost my mom and it surprises me that she gives it to me, free-flowing. I really appreciate it. It meant a lot to me. I have been thinking of ways how I could give it back.

And during one of our chats, she invited me to visit her shop: “Celestine Bazaar”, she named it after her second mom, sister of her mom, who also passed away and we shared the same sentiments. She was very thoughtful. She and our common friend (who lost her mom too), made me feel that they understand what I’m going through.

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She invited me to visit the shop once, and instantly, when I get there, I found nice items for myself, I also bought one for my mom even if she’s physically no longer with me, I bought her a mirror. =)

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Onwards, the friendship continues and we discovered having the same interests, and one time, we ended up to collaborate by doing ex-deals. She allowed me to display my beaded stuff in her shop and I offered too that she can also display some stuff in my mom’s shop at home soon.

You will surely find items that will interest you at Celestine Bazaar. I, personally, each visit, left the place not empty handed. As there are too many good finds. Beautiful things in all corners are plenty and pretty. You’ll find yourself planning to go back again as you intend to buy more stuff.

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Here’s a peek of her dazzling collection:

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I am so proud of her to showcase and endorse the incredible craftsmanship of Filipino wood carvers from Paete, Laguna: The Wood carving capital of the Philippines. =)

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She is also meticulous in offering new items. Soon, we are going together to Paete, where she gets all of her wooden items that are intricately created. I can’t wait for that too.

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The floor lamps are one of her best sellers:

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Just in time for the Holiday season, please drop by at Celestine Bazaar for your gift items need or if you’re wanting to add some items for your house, or doing some renovations, or looking for items to fill-in your new home, the shop can provide for you.

Celestine Bazaar is located at: Bro Business Center, Pacita Avenue, San Pedro, Laguna 4023. You can contact them at: (02) 919 3922.

For more items, please visit their Facebook page too:

https://www.facebook.com/celestinamendoz/

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. =)

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.