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. =)

 

Another Pinoy pride: Kuya J!

Another Pinoy pride: Kuya J!

And so it seems that the popularity of Authentic Filipino restaurants like Dencio’s and Gerry’s Grill reached that leverage of being imitated by many.

The tarpaulin ad of “Kuya J” is so distracting when we passed by SM Dasmarinas, Cavite on our way to visit some clients.

It is almost lunch-time and we opted to have our lunch there after one more client visit.

The temperature lately in the Philippines is so unbearable as we are not used to it, even if we are a Tropical country, with scorching winds, even if we’re in a province, it made us rush to the nearest mall. And to the nearest food stall.

And we ended up at “Kuya J”. Upon review of their menu, it is like a newer version of what you will see from Gerry’s grill or Dencio’s.

kj menu
Mini mini mini mo!

And while I was reviewing the menu, my colleagues are interviewing the attendant if the “J” stands for Jericho (he is the official model of their ads, he is a famous heartthrob in our country), just like asking if Jericho owns “Kuya J” and we were informed that he is just a model and the restaurant is owned by a Chinese Businessman based in Cebu.

kj lovely ladies
Two lovely ladies!

And we’ve had what?

We opted to try their Kare-kareng Bagnet. I (or we) didn’t like the shrimp paste (bagoong) that much.

kj kare
Yum!

We also tried their Pinakbet. And we liked it.

kj pakbet
Veggies!

We also had Crispy beef tadyang (ribs).

kj ribs tapa
Crispy ribs!

I personally like the vinegar, it has a tasteful flavor. I am not much into vinegar sauces, but this one I was able to tolerate.

For dessert, we all wished for the fried halo-halo, it is not just available at that time so they ordered for the real one.

halo 2
Photo courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/KuyaJResto/

 

It was a winner. We especially liked the milky ice, it is so fine and no feel of ice bits.

kj halo
Truly a Summer treat!

Since we didn’t get our fried halo-halo, we asked the attendant if there’s a corkage should we bring food from another establishment, and they said it’s okay.

Calling it a hefty lunch essentials. We had our finale. Two different cakes from Cakes by Kat.

kj cake
We opted for cakes!

We had Chocolate indulgence cake and of course, blueberry cheesecake.

kj choco cake

kj bb cheesecake

And we’re back to work with smiles.

In a different occasion, we’ve tried these equally delicious treats:

kuya-j-crispy-pata

kuya-j-salad

Happy tummies! =)

There are more than 50 branches of Kuya J nationwide. One could be just near you. =)

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/

 

BALAY INDANG, Finally..=)

Finally, Balay Indang…

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, however, only those who are true friends will stay…”

It has been months that we have been eyeing to spend one of our birthdays at this cozy locale in Cavite – Balay Indang. And due again to schedules that won’t meet, we had to postponed it, until finally, It is Theresa’s birthday this month of October, so we all agreed to do it at Balay Indang.

here we come
Chel to drive with 5 back-seat drivers!Lol!

It is a less than 2 hour drive taking the new MCX, we went straight to Trese Martirez and after reaching the junction at Tagaytay, we turned right several times (Savemore and Mendez) and 30 minutes after, we’ve reached our destination.

indang arc
Welcome arch is a tradition for me..
balay
The signage…

Balay Indang is a 5-hectare lot of massive flora. I’ve mused on numerous rare species of very pretty flowers in all colors.

sweet violet

violets

pink

violets 2

violets 3

reds
The orange petals blended with Theresa’s blouse..Beautiful!

Big and small trees with leaves in different shapes and varying shades of green. Being around it, nature per se, is truly beguiling. Like it was rendered by an artist in an all natural crisp palette that went well with the country-side like setting on this secluded part of Indang, Cavite.

sukal

pool

fountain

It is a Bed and Breakfast destination meant for those who really needs peace and quiet or that so called R&R (rest and relaxation). Once you are there, as we were, it is just between the sound of silence or the sound of frolicking leaves.

bahay matalino
Aaaw! They dedicated a room for us! Lol!
lanai
Lanai ng Balay…
were here
Spanish era..Vigan tiles..
chands 1
Can’t help but look up!
cuti pie
Cutie pie!

They also accommodate Retreat activities and the place is just so right. I just learned it later prompted by my wondering of seeing several Holy bibles in the area. There are 17 rooms, a pool, some gazebos, some cabanas, even a vast hall probably to hold events like birthdays and weddings for big groups.

stairs

feel at home

chel funny sit

bomber

balcony

The staff are friendly as expected, they will instantly greet you with an anticipated smile on their faces, and even if you are enjoying your own moment, you can’t help but greet them back. As I have been observing them, they all too must love their surroundings. I am amazed how positively genuine ardor can nature provide to anyone who see through its’ beauty. It reminds me of this famous saying: “May the force be with you.”

And so some force led us to the dining area. Lol! It’s time to make our tummies happy. It was a long trip anyway.

dining area
Signages…
sun flower
Happiness!
next month
It’s hers next month..=)
nkarating
Yey!
us before eating
Lunch time..=)

So this is what we feasted on:

spread
In less than 10 minutes… our food were served…

Fried rice with teeny weeny bits of
carrots.

rice
With teeny weeny carrot bits…

Chicken – Inasal style.

inasal
Chicken – Inasal style..

Oatmeal coated shrimp balls was the winner on the table.

winner
Winner! (–,)

Among those on the spread, the green salad is my personal favorite. I especially love their vinaigrette, the mixture worked for me and I guess with everyone else too.

greens
Greens! =)

Beef Caldereta. Flavorful and very tender.

caldereta
Loved the chorizos here..

Gising-gising is another chance for us to have veggies. =) (Oh my, I don’t have a picture of it!)

Baked Cream dory in cheese.

cream dory
Baked in Parmesan cheese..

And pancit (for the celebrant’s long prosperous life) utilizing sotanghon instead of the typical bijon.

pancit
Pancit sotanghon for Tere’s long & prosperous life! (–,)

We had fresh Dalandan juice, we consumed a number of pitchers.

dalnadan
Thirst quenching, not too sweet for me..

And a very soft maja for dessert.

hbd
Happy birthday Tere! =)

at rest

at res wdo tere

six sissies
Total of six sissies!
us 6
Bday girl’s is the biggest one! ehehe

The talks were non-stop, from while traveling, eating, taking photos at every chance, laughter in between. Even inside the loo. Even jump shots!

salamin
Mirrors became our favorite too..
look up
One of my favorites! This certainly “Look up” mode!
vintage mirror
Vintage mirror..
the story of the doll
And this doll! Ahaha!
chel n essie
Fun side of these two..=)

jump

watch tower 2
May relo ba jan? lol!

watch tower

And we were like kids during the 30 minute trek, wandering and wondering. It is doubtlessly moments created out of sterling friendship.

bday girl
Bday girl! ❤

Our photos might have give justice to it.

Happy birthday Theresa!!! Now we’re all looking forward to (Jhona) our youngest’s bash, where and when we will do it, is yet to be known. #excited

god bless
Our friendship has always been one of our life’s greatest blessings!

ps

We wouldn’t want another group chats reaching 400 plus messages. Lol!