Where Have I Been?

My friend, HI!!!!!  It’s been a long time since I created a post.  It was relatively odd that I don’t update my humble site even if I have been to so many beautiful scenery within my backyard, the Philippines.  I just like to catch up with you and make sure I have enough entry for the year (I just recently realized that I have not made any entry for 2015).

Aside from the usual routine I have on a daily basis – work, home, occassional socials here and there; I have enjoyed exploring these places:

February 2014: Banaue & Sagada, Mountain Province

Trio at Banaue Rice Terraces

Trio at Banaue Rice Terraces

Brushing my rusty rappeling skill at Cave Connection Tour (Lumiang & Sumaguing Cave) at Sagada

Trying out my rusty rappeling skill at Cave Connection Tour (Lumiang & Sumaguing Cave) in Sagada

Strawberry Cafe - our favorite and highly-recommended restaurant at Sagada, Mountain Province

Strawberry Cafe – our favorite and highly-recommended restaurant in Sagada, Mountain Province

May 2014: Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte

Beautiful piece of paradise at Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte

Beautiful piece of paradise at Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte

Waling-waling Eco-Village at Calaguas, Camarines Norte - your only option for non-camping accomodation on the island

Waling-waling Eco-Village at Calaguas, Camarines Norte – your only option for non-camping accomodation on the island

August 2014: Kamay ni Hesus, Lucban, Quezon Province

With the family that adopted me illigally (hehehe!) - the Condicion Clan :D

With the family that adopted me illegally (hehehe!) – the Condicion Clan 😀

December 2014: Baguio City, Benguet

Raisin Bread shopping at Villa Cordillera Hotel inside Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Raisin Bread shopping at Villa Cordillera Hotel inside Camp John Hay, Baguio City

February 2015: Puerto Princesa & El NIdo, Palawan

My favorite travel buddies at Puerto Princesa Underground River

My favorite travel buddies at Puerto Princesa Underground River

Enjoying the crystal clear water and fine white sand at El Nido, Palawan

Enjoying the crystal clear water and fine white sand at El Nido, Palawan

April 2015: Isla de Gigantes & Iloilo City, Iloilo

Spelunking with my new travel buddies at Bakwitan Cave, Gigantes Norte Island, Carles, Iloilo

Spelunking with my new travel buddies at Bakwitan Cave, Gigantes Norte Island, Carles, Iloilo

Breathtaking view at Cabugao Island, Carles, Iloilo

Breathtaking view at Cabugao Island, Carles, Iloilo

With my best friends Roger and Emer at Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, also known as Jaro Church at Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo

With my best friends Roger and Emer at Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, also known as Jaro Church at Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo

So, why am I not blogging about it?  Well, I read soooo many travel blogs providing all the nitty gritty details of the places I visited!  To tell you honestly, I was quite indimidated and awestruck with the completeness of their entry and they created it way before I visited the place.  So, what will I offer more? – that is the question that is still stuck in my hard coconut shelled brain.  My insecurities led me to have a creative block.  But the optimist in me says, “Take it as a challenge”.  The carefree side of me says, ” Go ahead.  Blog away what’s in your head”.  Therefore, I will try my best to offer other insights and share to you my exact thoughts and things I think will help you.  Anyway, that’s what friendship is for, right?  You need to be open with each other.

I miss you my blog and my friend.  I will try to get in touch more often. 😉

-Tinakits-

Amazing Things To Do Before *insert age or life event here*

My friend, what is the most amazing thing you have done in your life?  Did you have fun after doing it?  I am very sure you can still remember all the wild details of your adventure.  Glad to know that you did something really awesome.

It is fun to try out something different, those that you never done before.  It adds zest to life, makes it exciting, nerve-wrecking, eyes dropping, heart-pounding and more!  Once a while, you have to try out something different from your usual routine to make an ordinary day extra special.

As an active web browser chick who subscribe to “Thought Catalog“, I always see an article about the things to try out before reaching a certain age.  All of the suggestions were very creative.  It’s just that, in my opinion at least, you don’t have to do all of them before you reach a certain age, status or whatever.  If you have the opportunity, study it well and grab it!

To those who know me they describe me as a nerdy, church-goer, shy & goody-two-shoe kind of girl that obeys every detail that parents will say.  In short, a very very bland gal.  Well, that’s what they think.  Though I always play on the safe side, I also did some amazing things that not everybody had experienced before.  So for those like me who always play safe, the ones who don’t believe in the motto YOLO (You Only Live Once – fyi for the oldies.  Hehe), here are some things you can do that some I have tried.  Especially that I am seeing a lot of people scanning posts like this and also to give you some other options that is possible because I tried them.

HOLD ON!  Before you leave and tried these out, always consider your health and your budget.  It’s fun to enjoy them but make sure you take all possible precautionary measures for you not to get hurt physically, emotionally, financially, and will not aggrevate another person’s feelings or reputation.

Here’s my bucket list:

[x]  Be at two places at the same time

You may recall the movie or the book “A Walk To Remember” on the scene when the leading man named Landon Carter asked his lady love Jamie Sullivan to stand between the border of two states since this was one item on her bucket list.  Yeah, that can be done.  But to make it more exciting, I add this and number two at the same time which is:

[x]  Swim at two bodies of water at the same time

Yes!  I did it literally!  How?  Where?  When?

My favorite travel buddies love the beaches at Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan because of its serenity and ruggedness.  I believe that was in 2008.  We went there after a storm and after that town was devastated not only by the typhoon but also of tornado.  The path where the tornado went created a wide stream that connected the sea to the river.  An older friend of ours (we call him Sir Romie) told us that the other part of the stream was a river.  We did not believe him because we did not see any line or partision or border to see it.  He then challenged us to taste the water from two sides, and so we did.  The other part, the most obvious part was salty because it came directly from the sea.  But the other side of the small stream was not!  Nature is so mysterious in a beautiful way.  So we took this picture while we frolic on two bodies of water:

On the right is the West Philippine Sea, the left is the river of Bolinao, Pangasinan

On the left is the West Philippine Sea, the right is the river of Bolinao, Pangasinan

To continue with what I accomplished and pending goals on my bucket list, here it is:

[x]  Speak in public in front of (more than) a hundred audience

[x]  Learn to converse in foreign language (I have learned to speak & write in French & Spanish.  Thanks to my Foreign Language subject in College & Instituto de Cervantes)

[]  Re-learn my French in Paris, and Spanish in Spain

[x]  Create your own recipe (Click here to view it.  So far, it is my most popular blog post.  Thanks to all of you!)

[]  Ace baking (my biggest frustration as a kitchen person is me not being good at baking)

[]  Visit a flower field/farm

[x]  Party from sundown till noon the next day and attend a class after (did it in College)

[x]  Party from sundown to sun up then go to work after

[x]  Be at a volcanoes crater (See my blog post about it here)

[x]  Ride a Boeing 747 plane

[]  Fly Business Class to any international destination

[x]  Go on a blind date (hmm… will not provide details. HAHA!)

[x]  Be promoted at work

[x]  Run for public office (Somewhat I did this.  I was a VP candidate at our school government before)

[x]  Graduate with flying colors

[]  Have a second degree

[]  Enrol in Six Sigma and be certified with it

[]  Hop on a big ferris wheel (either at the London Eye or Singapore Flyer in SG)

[x]  Go on a cruise

[x]  Try wakeboarding, cliff diving, wall climbing, rock climbing, zipline

Different physical pursuits I have tried so far

Different physical pursuits I have tried so far

[]  Do sky jump at Macau Tower

[]  Master wakeboarding

[]  Be good at swimming

[]  Learn scuba-diving

[]  Scuba dive at Tubbataha Reef

[]  Go to Onuk Island in Southern Palawan

[]  Stay either at Lagen or Miniloc Island (both are in El Nido, Palawan)

[]  Go to Batanes

[]  Go to Maldives or Seychelles and enjoy their beaches

[x]  See a rainbow’s end

[]  Tour United Kingdom

[]  Meet a real Prince and/or Princess, or the Queen of England

[]  Tour the Holy Land

[]  Tour Italy (Milan, Tuscany, Rome, Vatican City)

[x]  Go to Ilocos Norte and see Bangui Windmills, Paoay Church & Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

My Ilocos Norte dream came true!

My Ilocos Norte dream came true!

[]  Experience autumn & winter

[]  Make snowman & snow angel

[]  See cherry blossoms in full bloom

[]  See a live turtle on an island and set it free

[]  Tour Singapore-Malaysia-Bintan Island for a holiday

[x]  Kiss a total stranger

[x]  Do ballroom dancing and be good at it

[x]  Sing solo on stage in public

[x]  Cross another island via sandbar

[x]  Overnight stay in a floating house located in the middle of the sea

[x]  Stay in a luxury resort

[x]  Live on my own

[]  Have my own house under my name that I paid with my own money

[]  Stay in a luxury hotel in Manila (This is strange.  I worked in a luxury hotel in  Manila before but I haven’t stayed in it as a guest)

[x]  Write a letter to my favorite author

[x]  Buy a diamond jewelry with my own money (but a woman can’t get enough of diamonds.  I’d like to invest more on jewelries)

[x]  Spend a night sleeping under the stars

[x]  Watch sunset and then wait to watch the sunrise

[x]  Start a business

[]  Have a successful business

[]  Buy stocks and get a huge profit from it

[x]  Eat a strange meal (the ones with meats of animals like crocodile, woodworm, frog, etc.)

This is wood worm or "tamilok".  A strange meal in Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan

This is woodworm or “tamilok” soaked in vinegar. A strange meal in Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan

[x]  Go on vacation and hop on different hotels everyday (happened 2 years ago in Palawan)

[x]  Join a festival and their street dancing

[x]  Dance under the rain

[x]  Kiss under the rain with full moon (It’s true and the most magical experience I’ve had!!!)

[]  Witness a meteor shower

[]  See a comet

[]  See another planet clearly (from a telescope or from an eclipse)

[x]  Not speak for a day

[x]  Make a donation

[x]  Help someone to finish his/her  education

[x]  Witness  Solar and Lunar Eclipse

[]  Witness Aurora Borealis

[x]  Go dolphin watching at open sea (and not on whatever animal circus)

[x]  Swim with dolphins or any friendly whales or the gentle whale shark

[x]  Have my fortune told

[x]  Join a fun run

Successfully finished a Fun Run!

Successfully finished a Fun Run!

[x]  Win in any game of chance (in a casino, lottery, bingo and raffle draw even if it is not the grand prize)

[x]  Keep a blog

[]  Earn profit from my blog

[]  Visit at least one country from Asia (done!), Europe, North America, South America, Africa & Ocenia

[x]  Explore Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

[]  Go to France & see Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Provence for their lavender field & any champagne winery

[]  Live in another country for a month

[]  Visit the remains of my 3rd grandparents in Australia

[x]  Go on vacation in any nice place in Mindanao

[x]  Learn any self-defense (boxing, muay thai, karate or aikido)

[]  Do wild water rafting

[x]  Go on a safari

[]  Touch a tiger

[x]  Ride on top of an elephant

[]  Hug a real live bear (panda or koala)

[x]  See Mickey & Minnie Mouse

Mickey & Minnie Mouse taken last February 2013 at HK Disneyland

Mickey & Minnie Mouse taken last February 2013 at HK Disneyland

[]  Buy a car from my own savings

[]  Be an expert driver without me screaming every time I take major roads (like SLEX, NLEX, SCTEX) especially at night

[]  See Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

[]  Shop in New York

[]  Shop in Beverly Hills in CA

[]  Spend a holiday overseas with my Mother

[]  See the New Year’s ball drop in NY

[x]  Ride a bullet train

[]  Go to DMX – border of North & South Korea (very intriguing place for me)

[]  Go clubbing overseas (Ibiza, Mykonos, Singapore, London, Las Vegas & NY seems to be the best venue.  Any of them will do.  HAHA!)

[x]  Own a lasting leather designer bag (Balenciaga!!!)

Oh, Balenciaga Classic Town.  When will you be mine?

Oh, Balenciaga Classic Town. When will you be mine?

[]  Go to a spa in Bali, Indonesia and enjoy their famous massage

[]  Build a tent and go camping

[x]  Spend all of my salary on a shopping spree

[x]  Have braces (already a graduate from it)

[]  Pay my insurance in full (almost done!)

[]  Touch the clouds

[]  Go on a hot air balloon ride

[]  Ride a helicopter

[x]  Swim with “Nemo” or a Clown Fish

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Me under the sea of Boracay with Nemo!!!

[x]  Find true love

[x]  Open a savings account and consistently deposit money on it

[]  Open a saving account in any foreign currency ($$$)

[]  Be debt-free (with the list I have here, it’s quite impossible.  HAHAHA!)

That’s it!  I’m done with some but still got a long way to go.  Actually, some of it are already in a process of being fullfilled.  I will let you know once I go about it on preparation and tell you the experience I have while accomplishing it.  But for now, let me go back to work and earn more so I can fullfill all of it.

My friend, what’s on your bucket list?  Share it to me and I might help you make it come true.

-Tinakits-

Of Starting Over & Mt. Pinatubo (Part 4 – Conclusion)

The reason behind this trip is because of my friend Marie who wants to start all over again after a break-up.  Starting over means forgeting all the hardship she had endured on her previous relationship and enjoy life after.

That’s what we did upon reaching the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.  After the long and tiring trekking, we relaxed and enjoyed life.  And this is what the place reminds us:  that after the destruction lies beauty of a new life.

After resting, we opt to go closer to the lake.  Not because we want to swim, but because Marie wants to fullfill a dream of getting close to a volcano’s mouth.  And so we took a long stair going down to reach Mt. Pinatubo’s Lake.

DSC08958

For the adventurers, please obey by the rules.  It’s for your own protection.  Besides, you don’t want to be in the news the next day, right? 🙂

Obey

Obey

Based on our guides website, we can hire a boat & roam the lake for a certain fee.  But because of the recent accident that had happened, the management of the park decided to stop it until further notice which is fine with our group.  A part of me was scared and have this wild imagination that once we go on a boat tour, the water will suddenly boil & will toast us then the volcano will erupt.  HAHAHAHA! (Silly me).

After resting & enjoying the place for more than an hour, we decided to head back to our starting point.

Our groups photo before we go down and trek back to our starting point

Our group photo before we go down and trek back to our starting point

I don’t know why but I felt that going back to our meeting place was a lot easier.  Maybe because we were happier now with what we have achieved.  So in no time, we saw our jeep and head to Pinatubo Spa Town for our lunch.

Though we were 7, we ordered 6 Filipino lunch meals because our driver (Roger) said one meal is good for 2 people.  Since Mommy A and I are trying to go on a diet and minimize our carb intake, we agreed to share one.  But after trekking, we were thinking if our decision was correct since we were both craving for rice and we were really starving.

Lo and behold, our decision was correct!  We thought our lunch was packed in styrofoam but it was served to us on a sitdown family style.

Enjoying our Filipino Lunch

Enjoying our Filipino Lunch

Because we were so tired & hungry, I forgot to take pictures of our food before we dig in.  But for your info, our Filipino Lunch comprised of eggdrop soup, roasted chicken, stir-fry rice noodles, chopsuey, steamed water spinach (kangkong), potato salad, steamed rice & ripe latundan banana for our dessert.  Since we were billed for 6 people, we paid Php 1500 only.  That’s Php 250 savings 🙂

While eating, the mother of our friend Cynthia reminded us to bathe in lukewarm or hot water because of an old Filipino belief that we might get “pasma” (Sorry.  Don’t know the equivalent English word for that.  Your feedback is highly appreciated :D).  We asked our server if the Php 100 we will pay if we use their shower facility has an available hot shower & she said no.  So all of us did not took a bath and instead washed our face, brushed our teeth, settled for a sponge bath instead and changed our clothes to clean ones.

Since we were tired and excited to go home, we no longer avail of the spa services in the Pinatubo Spa Town.  We did not even avail of the Capas National Shrine Tour even if it was only for Php 10 which our driver understand.

 

CAPAS NATIONAL SHRINE FROM AFAR 

Out of kindness, Roger passed the gate of Capas National Shrine for us to view.  He even drove the van closer to the gate for me to take a picture of the monument!

Capas National Shrine Monument : this is the farthest that my camera can zoom in

Capas National Shrine Monument : this is the farthest that my camera can zoom in

For your information:  The Capas National Shrine is a memorial to the Filipino and American soldiers who died in Camp O’Donnell at the end of the Bataan Death March.  The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland, 35 hectares of which have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the deceased.  A 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former interment camp.  The obelisk is surrounded by  a black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos and Americans known to have died.  

We were tired but happy at the same time.  Though sore, we have smile on our faces till we reach our homes.  Tell our families and friends about our adventure, reminded of our hardship, but the achievement we have accomplished was the most memorable.

My friend, any questions about the trip? I’m glad to answer them for you. 🙂

 

-Tinakits-

Of Starting Over & Mt. Pinatubo (Part 1)

My friend, what do you do after a break up?  Don’t get me wrong, I am not broken-hearted.  It was a question that we kept on answering for a friend who just ended her 6-year relationship.  For anonimity sake, let’s call my friend “Marie”.  As a friend, we tell her so many tips like finding a new guy, going out with friends, find a hobby or go on vacation.  All of these she took note and tried her best to do it.  Another thing she have in mind is to travel every month and do something she never did before.  One of which is to go to Mt. Pinatubo and trek there.

As a friend and a travel-addict, I want to help her.  Besides, I miss her companionship whenever we travel.  So I fired up my lappie and researched on an agency to arrange for our trekking.  I haven’t been to Pinatubo nor a trekker.  Whenever I go somewhere, I usually do it DIY style.  But I don’t want to risk our groups’ safety that’s why I opt to inquire at Trekking Pinatubo‘s website.  Among all of the sites Google gave me, I chose this because of the great feedbacks posted on their site from locals & foreigners.  I contacted my friends and asked if they are up for the challenge.  After finalizing our headcount, I emailed Trekking Pinatubo and they responded immediately.

Our chosen tour agency arrange everything for us.  Thought they have a preferred meeting place, they will give you option on your prefered pick-up point within Metro Manila.  Their rate depends on the number of pax.  Of course the more the merrier and the cheaper ;p.  Their rate includes van pick-up/drop-off, hiring of 4×4 to go to the trekking area, fee for the Tour Guide, Driver & other fees (environmental, travel, whatever!).  We tried to form a group of 10 to avail of their promo of Php 1,999.  But because of schedule conflict and others opting for a more relaxing travel, we only form a group with  8 people which will cost Php 2,425/person.  Not bad.

Though you may bring food, the agency can arrange for your lunch after the trip for Php 250 (Flipino Food) or Php 350 (Korean Food).  If you don’t want to bring big towels & toilettries, you can add Php 100 for Shower Fee which includes every bath essensials.  A side trip to Capas National Shrine is also offered for Php 10 only.  We also thought of getting a massage for Php 500 & try the Volcanic Ash Spa also for Php 500.

TIPS FOR THE TRIP

Always do research before going somewhere for tips.  Travel blogs were very helpful.  A lot of them recommended January as the best time to go there because of the weather – it’s not too hot, temperature is cooler & the color of the lake is clearer.  We chose January 12th because this is a special day for me and my other half, B.  But for others whose schedule is too busy on that month, any cooler month will do.  I guess December to February are the best months to go there.  It can be scorching hot during summer not only because of the season but the temperature will be doubled because of the sand & lahar on that place.

As a fashion-conscious individual, I also want to wear the most comfortable get up.  For this trip, I was more conscious about the footwear I will use since I’ve had an accident recently in which my right toenail cracked.  You need something that will protect your feet from the sands, slippery terrain, rocks and water.  Bloggers suggested to wear sandals or heavy-duty trekking shoes.  The Tour Agency even suggested Crocs.  All these suggestions were too expensive!  A friend recommended the brand Sandugo as the best and the cheapest.  It’s a local brand that caters to the Flipino’s adventurous feet.  I bought an open-toe sandals named “River Crossing” and it cost me Php 650 only!

My footwear of choice and it did not disappoint me

My footwear of choice and it did not disappoint me

T-shirt, sports bra & shorts were my chosen get-up.  To have extra protection, choose  a get-up made of water & dust-resistant cloth.  You don’t want your shirts to get dirty and hard to wash after the activity especially if you’re going to do photoshoots to document the event, right? ;D

Trekking will take half-a-day so you need lots of energy.  Bring lots of water, snacks, energy bar or drinks for you to survive the trip.  But make sure to pack light.  Having extra load will make it harder for you to walk.

All’s set for our trip!  Wait for my post on what happened on the actual trip.

-Tinakits-