First Solo Trip: Ilocos, Philippines

Hello friends, I miss pressing some words… oh, the woe of holidays and school. Ha! Anyhoo, I’m back and I’m finally, finally, finally blogging about my first (and definitely not the last) solo trip ever!!!  Say hello to Ilocos, Philippines!

Ok, here’s a back story of this trip. It wasn’t suppose to be a solo trip. I was suppose to go with seven friends with this trip, yes, SEVEN! What happened? Well….. something devastating happened. Long before this trip which was October 21, 2013 we’ve already book a plane ticket going to Cebu. Days before our trip, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the cities of Cebu and it was such a heart breaking scenario. So me and some of my friends decide to not continue with our Cebu plans. However, I don’t want to waste my vacation staying at home so I decided, for the first time ever, to go away… SOLO!

After much debate with myself and a lot of internet research I’ve decided to go to Ilocos and my first stop would be… Pagudpud!

Since I was late in leaving Manila, like around 12am already I took Partas bus going to Laoag. I think, Florida bus line has a direct bus route going to Pagudpud but it is not 24-hours unlike Partas. From Manila to Laoag I’ve spent 797php and an additional 12hours bus ride, Touch down Laoag and another hour and a half, riding another bus, to reach Pagudpud.

Hello Pagudpud and Kuya Arnel (the best tricycle tour in town) was already waiting for me. First, he let me put down my things at the place where I’m going to stay which is Cathy’s Stay Inn. Then off we went to tour!!! Yeay!!!

Kabigan Falls

Kabigan Falls plus a mini trek

Kuya Arnel at Patapat Viaduct

Kuya Arnel at Patapat Viaduct

Patapat Viaduct

Patapat Viaduct

Timmangtang Rock

Timmangtang Rock

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Bantay-Abot Cave


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Blue Lagoon in front of Hannah's

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Say hello to Pagudpud


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Bangui Windmills

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Cape Bojeador Lighthouse


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The lighthouse!


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Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

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Behind the rock formation

Since I was late at arriving at Pagudpud which was around noon, I did my two tours for two days. You can do all in one day actually! Both tours will cost you 600 each, but be generous enough to tip since people there are so nice! As in! For tours you can check the internet for contact number or simply ask any tricycle drivers there. Good thing about this place is that the government train their people to be local tourist guides, from being guides to taking a good picture. Now, about accommodations well if you’re on the tipid side then opt for the beach front houses of Saud beach but if you can spulrge a little then better stay at the hotels of Blue Lagoon.

Aside from their empanadas and beautiful sites, one of the best things here in Pagudpud is their people. They are all so nice, from the mama who talked to me during my bus ride, Kuya Arnel, Ate Cathy, Ate Imelda at the falls, the kuyas at the tourist center, and even just the kids you meet!

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Warm smiles for everyone!

After touring Pagudpud, instead of going home I’ve decided to tour Laoag and Vigan (since I was there already). Haha. I’m going to post about them on another pressed word page! Soon, promise!

I like travelling a lot. It feeds me, it makes me happy. Travelling is not escape, it is about going to…

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Travelling is not escaping

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To travel is to go

p.s. all pictures are taken and edited by me :)

13 Things in 2013

Before this year ends I would like to thank all and everything that made this year special. One of the best years ever! Some of my friends said that 2013 had been a long one but for me it was too sweet, too fast. So here are some highlights of the year…

1. My Singapore trip! Hello Universal Studios…
2. Seeing the wonders of Angkor Wat and spending nights at Pub Street
3. My first solo trip up to the North!!! (gonna post about this soon)
4. Baguio trip with the whole family! Whew!

This year is full of travel, I so love it! :)

5. Spanish classessssss, classmates, and professors hihi
6. Grad stud yeah!
7. WYAAP conference
8. Moving at a new apartment, twice!!!
9. Countless food trip, from Tomas Morato to Binondo, yummy!!!

Not all was beautiful but it helped us grew our faith

10. Typhoon Haiyan…. and being able to help

People are resilient!

11. DLSU won! Yehey!
12. Getting good grades ;)

Last but not the least….

13. Family and friends time, love love love!

Thank you 2013! It was such a blast! Looking forward to 2014, please be better! ;)

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Capturing Cambodia

Told ya I love alliteration for titles, haha. A problem with late posts is that you tend to forget details about what you are writing and since I’m not that OC to jot down details, well…… you can use the internet to supply for the missing information.

Welcome to the historical place of Siem Reap, Cambodia. They say that it’s the oldest civilization in south east asia and its very historical past makes it very colorful place. Most of the people here can understand English very well, which makes communication better, but they also speak some Cambodian dialect and French (some signage there have French translation). Welcome to the place of the Khmers. Sounds familiar? Probably. I guess their tales of war, devastation and survival are ones of the well known. I suggest that you watch Killing Fields to know and understand more about the history of Cambodia and its people. Its nice to see that even after what happened to them they showed that, indeed, life goes on. So, join me! Let’s go and capture Cambodia.

I must say that this is the CHEAPEST out of the country travel I ever had. For this travel I was with my mom, my friend Abi and her mom. We bought the tickets in May and our travel date was last June. Tickest are way cheap, at least we need more than two months to score cheap airline tickets but with this one we got lucky. Then, the issue of accomodation. The best way to search and book for your hotel is with Expedia (available for Apple and Android). I soooo love using it. It is so addicting! Anyhoos, the hotel that we have chosen was the Angkor Spirit Palace. It was amazing. It’s not really a hotel so that’s why there’s only few rooms. The place is an old heritage cultural house and they kept their interior very Khmer and Hinduistic. The place itself is already a tourist attration. With free breakfast for our 3 days stay we only pay less than $120 dollars, that’s like we’re only $30 dollars each, $10 per day. WOW!

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Angkor Spirit Palace

They also have the best pool in town, no kidding! Just look for the reviews about their pool.

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Best hotel pool ever!

Like what I’ve said earlier I suck with details. You can learn more from my friend Abi when she post her own take of our travel. All hotels in Siem Reap offers tours and packages, so better take advantage of the front desk! For all of our tours we always rent the tuk tuk for the whole day which will only cost you $25. Another tip for travelling here is that you need to pack your sunblock lotions and have an umbrella so that you’re ready for all types of weather. Well, June is the end of summer so expect some drizzles if you’re heading here this time of the year.

For our first day, we went to the Floating Village, then to Angkor National Museum which have fantastic galleries then we went and enjoyed a lot with the Cambodian Cultural Village (highly recommended). Then we spent our night at Pub Street and Night Market. Our second day is the temple tour, you need to be there around 4am to be able to catch the sunrise in Angkor Wat. I think there are at least 7 major temples/ruins there. You might need to spend a two days or three to take in everything! It is a sight to be remembered. It was so magical that I can easily believe that it was aliens that made it. Unfortunately, during our visit most of the temples are being reconstructed and that’s why we’re not able to roam around much. For our final day we spent it with the old Pagodas and the various Artisans Angkor around Siem Reap and haggling for the best prices at the Old Market. We always spend our nights at Pub Street and Night Market (best place to buy your pasalubongs). I enjoyed Cambodia a lot, from its best tasting coffee up to the warm smiles of people. This is really a very special place to visit…

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Angkor Wat

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Tah Phrom

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Stone carvings

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One of those amazing temples which I forgot the name

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Mama and me :)

With all those walks we sure are hearty eaters and food here is also cheap but nonetheless very yummy! One of the best resto here is the Blue Pumpkin. I’ve heard they sell bugs and exotic food on the streets here and, luckily, I didn’t encountered any.

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Me in front of the Blue Pumpkin

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Sweet macaroons

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Spicy Chicken, love it!

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More food!

Some more captured memories from Cultural Village…

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Replica village

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Wax museum

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Peacock dance

Some good finds at the Night Market…

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Tiny turtles

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Elephant mobile

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Vintage finds :)

Some sweets and eye candies (there are lots of these here!)…

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A very chocolatey cake

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I do prefer coke more than pepsi! Haha

Meet the people I was with…

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Tita Aida at the Silk Farm with Kry

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With Abi at the Blue Pumpkin

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Our tuk tuk ride

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Abi, Tita Aida, Mama and Me

So there it is! Dear reader, what have you captured lately?

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Floating village :)

Favorite Father

Deducing from the title, this is a post-father’s day post (a late post). By default, my favourite father is my father since he’s my only father. Why the title? Nothing. If you haven’t notice before well… I love using alliteration for my titles, thus, the title. 

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2010, Hong Kong Disneyland

Back in my teenage-angsty day I didn’t appreciate my father the way he should be appreciated.  Fortunately,  now I know how blessed I am for having him as my father. He’s simply the best! He’s a good provider, first and foremost. In our family, he is the organized one, the systematic one. He’s the one that puts us in order when everything seems chaotic. What I like about him most is his sense of humor!  He usually make people laugh with his one liner side comments. Thanks to him I am able to achieve so many things. Thanks to God that he showed me how my Papa loves me. Despite the distance,  since he’s working abroad,  I am now assured with his love. I thank God that He gave me a “new” heart and because of that I have the luxury of time to tell Papa that I love him, everyday, and mean it.

Happy late Father’s Day Papa! Can’t wait for you to go home… take care and I love you.

When March is Still Love Month

This is month is actually more of my love month rather than the last one. I learned many things about love this month. Not just about the love that we see in the movies or read in books but about real and the right love. Something about that kind of love is.

Real love follows

… it is also obedient. Real love also knows no limits and it forgives. Real love is selflessness.

Another thing about March that made it my love month is that, me together with my friends were able to attend RnR 2013 by Destiny Church Manila. That’s Romance and Rhythm! It is very lovely indeed. Also, this is also the month wherein two of my favorite people celebrated their birthday! Their birthdays made me streched my heart plus I can say that I was able to do things for their birthdays that I haven’t done before.

March made me realize that I love what I’m doing. I love studying! I love my courses this semester and that’s why I’m happily taking up my masteral’s degree.

I love studying but I also do appreciate breaks! Haha. Which leads me to a new love that I found. I lost a love this month (I found out that my celebrity crush is gay) but I also found a new (relatively) one. He is none other than Ed Westwick! Haha. I know, I know… but because of the movie I saw it made me appreciate him more since he was able to use his lovely sexy Brit accent!

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New love!

Since we’re talking about goodbyes and hellos let’s say goodbye to my long affair with curls and say hello to my new lovely summer hair. Yeay for us!

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Hello shorter hair

March is really lovely. However, saying goodbye to an old love is not that easy but it is possible. Sometimes we tend to hold on to the wrong kind of love. Most of the time it is because we cannot forgive ourselves and therefore we think that the only kind of love that we deserve is the wrong one. That’s wrong though. All of us deserve the real and the right kind of love. They say that time heals all wounds. False.

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Time cannot heal wounds

Wounds are healed when we learn how to accept and to forgive…

So dear reader choose to love this month! Love others and love yourself!

I am so excited for the upcoming months! I get kilig and so excited just thinking that there are more months for 2013! Haha. Remember dear reader, just love.

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I love you! :)

A Story of Unrequited Love

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Not mine

I looked at her across the table, forgetting all about the things we were talking about. I couldn’t help notice and look at her hand, there it was. The diamond ring on her finger glistens with the lights of this coffee shop.

She noticed I was looking at it, so she looked down too. Then she smiled. Right there and then, I knew. I know that I was doing the right thing. Yes, it was right to marry her. It’s going to be next week. This is right, it is right to marry her.

I looked up and smiled back at her. This night would end soon.

As she played with her ring, she said “I love you…”

Strolling in Singapore

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Say hello to Singapore dear readers! I recently went there with my family and it was fun. I would definitely go back there!

Let’s talk about the weather first. I guess we were still lucky even though it was rainy for two days there. It isn’t really that bad to stroll in Singapore on a rainy day. The streets are clean, so you don’t have to worry about floating garbages. It doesn’t flood also. Lastly, most of there walk way or paths are indoors or it has a roof. Although, even if it was already raining it was still hot (but not as humid as Hong Kong).

The first thing we did was to eat at the airport while waiting for my cousin to fetch us. So we ate at McDonald’s and we all ordered McSpicy. I am one for spicy food but McSpicy in Singapore was on another level! It burns….

First stop for all the first timers in Singapore is Sentosa island, you can do a lot of activities there which is suitable for all ages. Plus, Resort’s World Singapore and Universal Studios Singapore are also located there.

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That’s me riding an old bike in Sentosa! There are so many things to see and do in Sentosa like there is the biggest oceanarium, going up inside their own Merlion, watching shows, and a lot more! In the Resort’s World side they do offer high end boutiques and good eating places like Hard Rock Cafe and Din Tai Fung. It is really one of the places in Singapore that tourist must go to.

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Going to Sentosa we opted to ride their cable car instead of riding a train. This picture is the rules that you will be able to read there! My favorite is the first one!

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My cousin, plus all of Singapore, said that you have not been to Singapore until you have gone to see the Merlion! The Merlion is the symbol of Singapore. You should really go there for, aside the quintessential Merlion, you would also see buildings of different companies on one side and on the side of the water you would see buildings of superior architectural design plus Singapore’s own observation wheel (which, sadly, we weren’t able to ride).

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The following day we went back to Sentosa to experience Universal Studios! The kid inside me was super duper uber happy!!!  It was a rainy day but nonetheless I enjoyed it a lot! I also think that the rain helped us to maximize Universal Studios. I expected a very very large crowd because it was the weekend but lo and behold there were not so many people. And because of that I felt like I had a quick pass or something for the lines are so short or even nonexistent! The rain also didn’t hampered us to ride the rides for most of the rides there were indoors. Since it is a theme park their streets are well… themed. My two favorites are Sci-fi City where there are the rides called Galactica and Transformers and the other one I loved was the New York side which is full of Sesame St. characters and stuff plus I so love the architecture. The down side of a rainy day there was that the Parade of Stars was cancelled but fortunately for us the rain stopped during the night that we were able to watch their fireworks display!

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That’s a picture of the Galactica, it is actually two rides. I love the blue one more than the red one. For the blue one your feet dangle in the air while your world turns upside down and all around! I love it so much!!! The thrill and the chill are the best!

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For our last day in Singapore we went to Orchard Road and Chinatown to do some shopping. Of course, if you are one to give gifts to your love ones when you come back from a vacation, then for Singapore, Chinatown is your safest bet! They have ref magnets, keychains, shirts, and food. Don’t anchor your happiness with how much you were able to buy in Chinatown but anchor it with the richness of the culture that you would see there. Singapore is expensive, haha. On a more positive note, Singapore is tax free especially for tourists and that’s why I was able to get a new pair from my favorite store which is Charles and Keith.

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There you go dear readers! Enjoy life and explore the word. There are so many things to see outside our comfortable corners, let’s see them… Dear reader, what have you seen in these past few weeks? Care to share?