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)

st 7
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.

st 2
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)

st 12
A 19th century Baroque church (Augustinian)

st 3

st 13
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)

s14
Built in 1934, this more than 50 meter tunnel took two years to be operational.

Gabriela Silang Monument (San Quintin, Abra)

st 4
One of the tributes dedicated to the first Filipina, fearless enough to fight for freedom. 

Abra Pasalubong Center (San Quintin, Abra)

st 5
Where we got the famous noodles, mascuvado sugar, local coffee, shirts and some souvenirs. =)

Open Theater at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)

s16

View deck at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)

s17

s18
Good vibes only! #millennials

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

s15

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

s19

st 6

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

st 9
I dropped a coin and made a wish. =)
st 10
We had Bagnet na sinigang and they’re version of Igado. And fruit shakes too.
st 11
We also had empanada while waiting for our orders.

Crisologo Street – Vigan City

st 8
Jen! No smoking! =p
peeps 2a
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. =)
st 1
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!

Advertisements

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.

k1
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:

k3
I can do this! =)
k4
It is necessary to lodge the tires with these chains to avoid being bogged down in the deep mud.

k2

 

rough 1

Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:

welcome arch.JPG

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

red bridge

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.

k5

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. =)

k20

k6

k7

k8

k9

k10

k11

k12

k13

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

k23

k14

k15
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.

k16

k17
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.

k18

k19

k21

k22

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!

boodle fight 3

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. =)

 

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.

hi9

hi10

hi11

hi12

hi13

hi14

hi15

hi16

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.

hi1

hi2

hi3

hi4

hi5

hi6

hi19

BANANA BOAT

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

hi8

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.

 

 

My “LAS CASAS” Experience…

My “Las Casas” Experience

Every year, everyone at work is excited as to where our boss will bring us come Summer.

I didn’t expect that we will have the chance to see “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar” as they have visited this awesome place for several times already. But yes, we are going there for a Summer treat. A heritage resort it is. Yey!

It is a 3 – hour drive from Manila. More or less. That day is specifically humid but it didn’t have much effect on the incredible feeling I got that I’m traveling again. Better yet, with my colleagues. I usually travel alone and sometimes my travels are with just one buddy, or with my family and whoever I am with, traveling gives me this feeling of excitement.

We arrived after lunch time and spent waiting for our shuttle by admiring their lobby.

l31
=)
machuka
And these tiles..

The staff are so used in attending to guests, from the driver to the ushers and to the servers at the restaurant where we had our lunch after unpacking.

My colleagues and I didn’t waste any time. After a few minutes of rest, we immediately did our rounds. Part of the package is a tour that comes with a tour guide enumerating details per house.

las
(–,)

We opted to explore the place on our own. There is a total of 30 ancestral house, one of which, I have come to witness as a child, the one from Binan, Laguna.

l6

l2

l5

And what a day it was. A day is not enough for you to be able to capture all corners from west to east part of the whole place. Not only that it is literally huge, you can not help but linger at each corner for its’ beauty. It is truly wander and wonder mood for all of us.

l13

l10

l14

l9

I especially love this.

l12

I imagine this with a few locals wearing this.

mm
Isn’t she lovely in that terno?=)

l11

mirror
They say, at 12 midnight, face the mirror, on a full moon, and you’ll see your future husband…=)

It brought me to the past. Something that is quite hard for many. It requires careful study, replicate’s intricate details, and probably passion to achieve this.

To complete the feel, they have a studio wherein you can wear costumes that have been worn during the 1800s.

l27

I just regret that we weren’t able to do it. Maybe next time.

l28

They also have a pool and it is an option if you do not want to go to the beach. The eastern part where the beach is located is part of the South China sea.

They have a souvenir shop. It showcase some stuff that really looks very familiar to me. And when I touched them, I was reminded of Antipolo. Then I found out some of their dishes were made by Ms. Lanelle Abueva, the potter whom I’ve met at Crescent Moon cafe.

potter

It was amazing though, and reminded me of the story of this famous psychic, who was handed a pen, and he immediately figured-out as to whom the pen belongs to. It was a crazy feeling. =)

Before dinner time, we were able to watch a show that featured young artists dancing folk dances and it was so much fun.

What I admired most in this place, is the attention to details.

las 2
They call this “tranvia”..

What else can I say? =)

I had one of the best breakfast at Las Casas and especially loved the home-made cinnamon ensaimadas..=)

bfast
Burp! =)

Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is located at: Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac, 2107 Bataan with phone number: (02) 332 5338. 

 

 

The 20th Hot air balloon festival – Clark, Pampanga

The 30th Hot air balloon festival – Clark, Pampanga 

“When everything seems to be against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind and not with it.” 
~Henry Ford~

It took me a while to blog this event. As this day was full of extremes. While it also took me years to finally do this. Like 5 years! I have been wanting to see this since then but for some reason, I wasn’t able to squeeze it in my schedule.

invitation
Courtesy of: http://www.philballoonfest.net/event-inf o/photo-gallery-2/?aid1=25186648821038
tickets
Yey!

Until I did. So while I was enjoying it, and seeing everything that flies, little did I know that one of my cats is breathing her last.

It was a devastating fact that I wasn’t there for her at a time when she expects nothing but to see me and do everything to ease her pain. More so, be there for her all the time. Period.

It taught me a lot. More of strength perhaps to endure this desolating pain of losing a beloved pet.

They were never out of my mind. I was reminded of them for several times. I saw this shirt that says: “It’s meow or never!” though I opted getting the one that says: “Eat a lot, sleep a lot!” One of the balloons I thought was a cat while it was not.

souvenirs 2

souvenirs

souvenirs
Shabby chic! =)
phil flag
Philippine flag!=)

Going back to the 30th Hot air balloon festival, it made me feel like a child. There are balloons everywhere, food, souvenir items and merchandise.

street foods

nachos

shawarma

Kids and adult alike are flying their kites. And not the usual kite that I see flying as a kid. Most of them are shaped like eagles, butterflies, etc.

kites
(–,)
Hotairballoon2016-16
Fly high eagle!

1a

1

daytime
Little boy and girl! Courtesy of: http://www.philballoonfest.net/

Everyone is looking up in the sky. As there are also exhibitions, gliding here and there, flight shows and other flying activities.

The event was triggered by training young pilots (Filipinos and foreigners alike) on discipline and safety in the air.

hukbong

pipin

the grin

One of my favorite shots! It was difficult to find a good shot due to the number of flocking guests.

vipers
Vipers!

Because we didn’t have a tent like some of the spectators. I was able to ask some carton boxes from a vendor. Jen and I were able to find a good spot along with the others who enjoyed the flying scenes while lying on their back.

We were also able to rest our tired feet as we were walking most of the day and removed our shoes for a while. We were like kids literally with food in both hands.

Hotairballoon2016-26
Rest your tired feet little one..

The Night glow is one of the highlights.

night glow 3

2

3

5

big screen

clown

i saw them ds morning

night glow 1

us
Till next time! =)

And when its’ time to go home, we have bags in both hands too. The event was like a shopping spree as well.

It was well-attended.

well attended
Courtesy of: http://www.philballoonfest.net/

Our reservation at Green canyon which is just 20 minutes away from the festival, we cancelled. Though we promised them we will go back.

For some reason, I felt like going home at that time fast. Maybe an angel was trying to pull me from all of this and be home fast. The angel was right, my princess needed me. Had we returned the following day. I might not be able to embrace her the tightest for one last time.

Jen failed to convince me to literally fly. I need more time to consider due to my fear of heights. Well, there’s always a next time.

can i do it

And ticking one off from my Bucket list spells happiness. “Hakuna matata!”

moi
Moi!
20th balloon
I believe I can fly! =)

This event started since 1994.

For more details you can check their official website at:

http://www.philballoonfest.net/