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

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.

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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. =)

 

And they call it “Brekkie”!

And they call it “Brekkie”!

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” ~John Gunther~

Nowadays, I hear things that I don’t practically understand, millennial terms that I need to ask my son its’ meaning even how it is pronounced. He helps me update my vocabulary especially that I blog/ write. Like “rad” (cool or edgy), “meme”, “sepanx”, “salty”, “fleek”, “bae”, “adulting”, “chill”, “squad goals”, “instagrammable”, “yolo” or “fomo”, “FC” (feeling close), to mention a few.

There’s one term that I’m really loving lately: “Brekkie!”

I see it everywhere!

Courtesy of: http://cleanharvest.com.au/index.php/barra-blog/how-changing-my-breakfast-changed-my-life

So since I’m loving this word, and literally loving having it, I might as well blog about it, I only have a few photos as references, but I’ll start collecting. You may contribute and add one here if you wish so, and I’ll try it if time (and budget) permits me!

Thanks in advance! =)

At home, these are our favorites:

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That famous “Spam” puts smile on our faces, my son used to ask what is it about Spam, it tastes so good for so many.
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And another we really love is bacon! =) Dried fish or “dilis” with tomatoes is a winner for me too. =)
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We aren’t much of a corned beef lover unless it’s our preferred brand: Purefoods. =)
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Hotdogs have always been a favorite. Let’s face it, it’s been there since we’re still kids.
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And pancakes are better when you put some cheese bits on the batter. Try it! =)
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Pork tapa specially done (and marinated for a few days) by my late father is one of  our favorites too!
I loved the mushrooms from “The Gardens”…
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I had this on our first day at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.
While this happens to be a breakfast buffet at “Rustic Mornings” in Marikina.
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Bad Late night breakfast… #chicharonbulaklak
From “Just like Home”…=)
Sulyap Gallery Cafe
Acua Verde, Batangas
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And my favorite bacon & cheese omelet from Sunrise buckets…=)
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2 kinds: Dangit and longganiza at Casa Almarenzo, Bolinao, Pangasinan
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Purple tree. A simple breakfast composed of rolls and mushroom omelet paired with hot chocolate and coffee.. =)
Daing na bangus from Pancake house. =)
Omelet from Pancake house! =)

Jen my foodie buddie promised me weeks ago that she will treat me to another breakfast place: “Eggs for Breakfast”, she has spotted it on her way home to Antipolo and we’ve been meaning to visit it soonest. And definitely I shall add it here. =) I recently found one in Alabang too, “Bean & Yolk”.  Any suggestions please? =)

 

 

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.

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

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souvenirs

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Shabby chic! =)
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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.

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nachos

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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.

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Fly high eagle!

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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.

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

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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.

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Rest your tired feet little one..

The Night glow is one of the highlights.

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big screen

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i saw them ds morning

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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.

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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.

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

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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/