Baler Bound

Might be a little too late to post about my Baler trips but oh well… I’ll still write about it!

Thanks to my friend Cha, I discovered this place called Baler. It’s a six-hour-bus ride away from Manila. Just enough to catch some snooze and to recharge your energy if you’re leaving Manila around 1AM. I highly recommend for you to ride the semi-deluxe buses of Joybus! Not as expensive as their deluxe buses but they are as comfortable (no stopovers, toilet on the bus, free blanket, water and biscuits, lol). If you’re going there around the peak season, better reserve online for your bus ride.

My first trip to Baler was around September last year and we just stayed there for two days. Cha was kind enough to tour me around the touristy spots in Baler even though she already visited those places. My favorite is Sabang beach where I was able to have surf lessons. LOL! Since I’m too lampa, I wasn’t able to stand on the surfboard. For my first time there, I fell in love. I fell in love with the people, the stories, and the food (of course). Cha is a frequent visitor already of Baler, thus, she already made a lot of friends there. Their stories of how they end up there were amazing! It’s the wanderer and romantic in me, I guess. From bustling cities and busy 8 to 5 jobs, they decided to leave everything and start over in Baler. You can say that Baler is a place for the weary. It’s also a place to dream new dreams and make them happen.

Second trip happened in Novermber. We went there to celebrate Cha’s birthday. First activity was trekking to reach a secret waterfalls (only locals know the place). That was fun though, even if I’m not that into trekking. Haha! One of the highlights of this trip was our trip to Dicasalarin Cove. That place was surreal. It was beyond beautiful. You need to experience it to truly appreciate it. The beach, the lighthouse, the cave, and the artist village were soooooo beautiful. It’s a place that can inspire your soul. I highly recommend this place even though transpo plus entrace fee are a bit costly. Our supposedly three days stay in Baler became five days. We always don’t want to leave!

Now… let’s talk about food! Baler will not disappoint. From sweet to savory cravings, Baler got you covered. If you’re tipid na tipid, there are the rolling stores near the plaza to satisfy your hunger. For sweets, go and indulge on the different breads, cakes, and cupcakes at Dialyn’s Bakery. Don’t forget to partner them with their 20 pesos Twining’s tea (nakakaiyak sa mura). If you looooove food (like we do), eat your lunch and dinner at The Good Food. Their food is to die for!!! There’s nothing like them in Manila and their prices are soooooo affordable.

If you’re looking for new places to visit, Baler is a must. I love how the big waves are my lullaby at night. I love the stories of people there. I love how chill the vibe is there. I love how nice the people there. I love the memories I made there. I simply love it there.

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Best place to stay: Charlie Does Inn

Best food: The Good Food

Must Do: Surf Lesson

Must Visit: Dicasalarin Cove

Must pack: Sunblock

Must leave behind before you go here: Your worries

Must take away from Baler: Happy memories

P.S. All photos are taken by me πŸ™‚

Entry for Love Month 2017

How time flies, it’s the Love Month already. As always, I’ll try a series of post for this month. Been doing this since I started blogging in 2007 (I think). Haha! So for my first entry… here’s a flash fiction that’s been bugging me for a while now. Btw, it’s in Filipino.

“Thank you, guys! Please wait for our second set later…” pagbaba ng banda patuloy pa rin ang pagpapatutog nila ng love songs. Pebrero na kasi. 

“Uy Michael kamusta trabaho? Tagal mo na dyan. Napromote ka na?” tanong ni Jude. 

“Di pa nga, pare. Pag ako nagsawang maghintay…bahala sila! Hahaha!” birong sagot naman ni Michael. “Ikaw Karla? Ikaw din Jen? Dami mo atang sideline ngayon ah.” 

Sabay-sabay kaming napatingin kay Jen at tumawa dahil siguro kilalang-kilala namin siya. 

“Huy Karla paabot naman nung tissue” pakiusap ni Jen. Sa pag-abot ko napansin kong parang kanina pa balisa si Red. Ano kayang tumatakbo sa isip niya? Trabaho din kaya? Sana. 

“Yosi lang ako sa labas…” paalam ni Red. 

“Akala ko ba umuwi si Red sa kanila? Bakit andito na agad siya?” usisa ni Jen. 

“Baka may tinatakasan…” sagot ni Jude.

“Ang sabihin mo ‘di alam ang pupuntahan! Hahaha!” balik ni Jen at natawa silang lahat. Tama siya. Laging magulo si Red. 

“Uy Karla may bago kang tattoo? Anong design? Saan mo pinalagay? Patingin! Dali!” sigaw ni Jen. 

“Uhmm… dito lang sa may gilid. Eto oh… it’s an anchor.” sagot ko. 

Hating 2016

Most, if not all, hated 2016 with a passion. Good thing that there’s an end to it. Hello 2017, bye 2016! And in all things we hate, we must have learned a thing or two… how about five? 

They say that we, millenials, are so entitled. But up to what point? Yes, we’re all entitled to our emotions. We are entitled to feel them. We are entitled to be happy, sad, depressed, mad, excited, etc. etc. However, we are not entitled to our actions. We are beholden to our actions. We need to remember that every action have consequences. So if your emotion is pushing you to do a certain action, better think twice! 

You will learn this the hard way. 2016 for me is full of No-s. Every job application I’ve been sending out since June were negatively responded… except for one. Which was just positively responded this December. Those month in between were a bit hellish but they are part of the journey. I love those No-s!!! Why? Because I strongly believe that every No will lead you to your real destiny. Never fear a No for it might just be the best thing that will happen to you. 

How many heartbreaks can 2016 throw you? Add those to the heartbreaks that were thrown at you from 2015, 2014, 2013, and so on. That’s a lot of baggage to carry! But maybe time can heal your wounds. It will. However, I’ve discovered, that travel can heal certain wounds as well. Travel nourishes my soul, it renews me. Travel locally, travel out of the country. Travel in style, travel cheap. Travel to places you’ve never been to, travel to places you know like the back of your hand. Travel with your eyes, travel using your feet, travel and smell that different air. Travel to catch sunrise and sunsets. Travel to touch oceans, travel to sleep in another bed. Travel to take pictures, travel to make memories. Travel to write, travel to tell stories. And when you’ve done all those things you’ll see your wounds healed.

They also call it the art of Letting Go. This is hard too, you need a 4.00 in your Philo classes to even try this. Well, ehem… Anyway… Back in the old days of my youth I’ve learn a thing or two about detachment. Some may interpret it as “not caring” but it is more than that. Detachment in the sense that I can let go of things that are simply not meant to be. Detachment in the sense that things can be replaced, that I’ve survived without them before. Detachment in the sense that I don’t dwell too long in situations that are beyond my control. Detachment in the sense that I cared but I understood enough to let go. Maybe this is why I’m always “chill”… 

Remember that movie with that hot Jack Frost in it? This is the piece of advice he took that made him a successful Guardian. What’s your center? Maybe it’s joy. Maybe it’s hope. Maybe it’s love. What can keep you going when everything else fails you? What can you hold on to when everything falls apart? Anong panghuhugutan mo? For me… it’s  faith. Faith in goodness. Faith that all things happen for the greater good. Faith in humanity. Faith in love. Faith in faith. Faith keeps me going. 

For being such a bitchy year, 2016 definitely taught me a lot. Here is just my top five. Well, top lessons that sounded so mature and philosophical. LOL! 

I am happy though. Happy that this year happened. Happy that it will end soon. Happy to have experienced it with people who are fun to be with. Goodbye 2016… maybe, just maybe, your worth looking back on. 

Here’s to an exciting 2017! 

First Solo Trip, a Continuation: Laoag and Vigan

Hi dear readers, I’m still alive and kicking. Remember my last post about my first solo trip? Well, I didn’t stop from exploring Pagudpud, I went southwards and also explored the treasures of Laoag and Vigan. I thought, why not?!? Since I’m already there then…why not?

I know that I’m soooooo, SUPERDUPERUBER, late in posting this travel diary but better late than never, right?

So, I finished my tour at Pagudpud before lunch time so I immediately rode a bus going to Laoag so that I can tour it that same day. While eating my lunch (luckily, they have wifi), I’m already booking my hotel in Vigan. After lunch, I just randomly ask a tricycle driver there if he can give me a tour of Laoag and I’m set! Here are some of my outtakes of the tour:

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After my half-day tour at Laoag I went to Vigan by bus also. I reached Vigan around 8pm, I think. So I just checked-in, had dinner and looked for pasalubongs around Calle Crisologo. Then morning came… first stop: a Vigan longanissa breakfast!!! Then I’m off to random places that was recommended by google search. Here are some of the things I did:

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So there…

I do encourage you to travel solo even just once in your life. It teaches you a lot of things. Like for me, it teaches me how to be more organized, control my spending, and how to talk to strangers. I really will treasure this experience because it’s a very nice one. Maybe…who knows…my next solo trip will be out of the country!!! Until that moment come, I will just spend my time living life like a one big happy adventurous journey.

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Dear Danna, travel on…

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!!! Β 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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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…”