I had a blast at Sandbox today, where I took on several thrill-seeking challenges with my brother and cousins. It’s an adventure camp in Porac, Pampanga, offering several extreme attractions guaranteed to give you quite the adrenaline rush. Up until the very moment I am writing this blog entry, way back here in Manila, I can still feel the world rushing by me as I ride down that zipline course. Wooooh! Fun!
Allow me to tell this story in pictures. :)
I had to drag myself out of bed to get started on this day. Whaaaat? Vacations are all about rest and relaxation, after all. Don’t blame me for wanting to sleep in, especially since I had the comfort of Baguio’s cool climate to enjoy.
Day Three, Saturday, April 26, 2014
We start the day off by visiting the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. By the time we got there, people were already bursting in and out of the place. Mom and I braved the steps from the very bottom – yes, no shortcuts! we actually climbed the entire thing! Then, at the very top, we spent a moment in prayer and reflection.
Afterwards, Mommy and I took a jeep to Burnham Park. We went boating despite our obvious lack of knowledge of how to row! We spent several minutes just going in circles – I mean, literally. The boat was just turning around and around, not going anywhere. I figured it out eventually though – physics lang pala! :)) But again, my weak upper body strength made it so I couldn’t really keep the rowing up for long. Awww…
We spent a few more minutes walking around the park before heading back to the hotel to rest. :) Then, we heard Mass at the Our Lady of Atonement church, also known as the Baguio Cathedral.
Dinner of Plato Wraps, Master Siomai and Lil Orbits donuts! The evening’s all about bumming at the hotel again. I feel like I never want to leave this bed, but of course… All good things must come to an end! Leaving for Manila tomorrow!
That pretty much wraps up our Baguio escapade! I had tons of fun! :) See you next time, Baguio! I’ll miss your cool climate! Time to go back to Manila and its heat. Wooooh!
It’s time for something new! Experience, after all, is gold – especially true for writers like me who are dependent on said priceless treasures for inspiration whenever we write. Day Two of our Baguio adventure is all about the undiscovered. Let’s roll!
Day Two, Friday, April 25, 2014
8:00 am – After an early breakfast, Mommy and I get started on our itinerary! We hired a car just for the occasion! Kuya Roland was really nice :) I wasn’t used to having a driver wait outside while I went off to go sight-seeing. Oh well, I guess it’s part of the whole ‘this-day-is-for-the-undiscovered’ thing. Haha!
First stop, the La Trinidad Strawberry Fields! Ahhh! The plantation! Farmville doesn’t do the real thing justice at all. I didn’t know strawberry plants were sooooo small. I was thinking along the lines of bushes but was I wrong. The picking experience was a little too expensive, so Mommy and I decided to just buy pre-picked strawberries and take pictures around the fields.
Next, it’s off to Dinosaurs Island and Holy Land, new attractions found at a place collectively known as the Baguio EcoPark along Marcos Highway. Both parks are new and there was still plenty of stuff still under construction. What’s more, to get to all the fun stuff, you had to walk, walk, walk and walk some more. In Dinosaurs Island, there was also a lot of climbing involved. Had to catch my breath several times! Still, I had lots of fun! It was a pretty good idea for us to head over here early – we practically had the place to ourselves! I really appreciate the tour guides imparting bits of trivia here and there. Both places have a lot of potential, plenty of room for improvement. I’d personally like more interactive parts to the tour. :) Like, feed the dinosaur or help Samson break the columns. Haha. Or have actors really portray the stories behind the exhibits, not just statues! That would be awesome!
I’M EXHAUSTED. I blame my physically unfit self for getting tired so easily! The day isn’t over yet though! Next stop, the BenCab Museum – s’yempre, kasi cultured kami! :))
Owned by one of our National Artists for Visual Arts, the BenCab Museum doesn’t just feature BenCab’s works. No, the collection is diverse but nonetheless, amazing and beautiful. The four-storey building has paintings and sculptures that are more than just eye-candies. Special collections include one on the Cordillera Art, Contemporary Art, and Art from the Masters (works from National Artists). What’s more, the garden is equally as breath-taking! I’d love to spend an afternoon there with a notebook and pen at hand. Seems like a great place to relax and just write.
Ahhhh! What a tiring morning! To top it all off, time for a trip to the bookstore! And not just any bookstore, Baguio’s very own Mt. Cloud Bookshop. This place is quaint but definitely has a lot of character. A definite standout from all the bookstores I’ve been in before. :) I wouldn’t mind being left here for a whole day. The books are open and potential buyers are more than welcome to spend time browsing and reading. Kewl~!
Fatigue from all the morning excitement as well as the rain that came that late afternoon made us head back to the hotel early. Rest and dinner via room service! Woooh! What a day! How’s that for discovering the undiscovered? :)
Let the adventure begin! We’ve been joking about just taking a bus all the way to Baguio for quite some time now. I never expected us to eventually push through it, but here it is! I guess we have Chino and the CMLI SummerCon to thank for giving us reason to go for this trip. Woooh! Let’s get it on!
Day Zero, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
11:15PM – The bus leaves the Victory Liner Cubao terminal at exactly the scheduled time. Traveling in first class accommodations means having a stewardess on board, snacks and a small comfort room. Just our luck when Mom and I found out that our seats are located right next to said comfort room. Luckily, it doesn’t have that unpleasant comfort room smell – I guess passengers don’t really use it anyway, what with the real comfort of the ride being the comfy recliner chairs that make a nice long nap possible. Music serves as my escape for the first half-hour but lights off in the bus made it impossible to resist closing my eyes and giving in to the call of sleep.
Day One, Thursday, April 24, 2014
3:20am – I wake to bilateral ear pain, the obvious change in climate – brrr! cold! – and the voice of the stewardess announcing that we were now arriving at the Baguio terminal. Already?! But I’m still sleepy! is the first thought that comes to mind. It’s still so dark and our check-in time isn’t until later at noon. And so, with no other place to go, Mom and I crash at Ibay Zion Hotel, site of the CMLI SummerCon, where Chino and his friends are saying and holding their workshops. Let’s see if I can stack up on a couple for zzz’s before this day officially begins.
7:00am – The sound of a megaphone cuts my somehow unrestful nap to a short; Chino and the other CMLIers were up and ready to begin their workshops. Mom and I left to start off our Baguio adventure – for real, this time.
It was early morning, so there weren’t much people out yet. Mom and I got to enjoy the view of Mines View Park to ourselves. How does it feel like to be at the top? Well, let me just say that the view is spectacular. :)
We eat breakfast at a nearby eatery – beef steak and adobo – and the owner was kind enough to guide us to the next tourist attraction.
We took a cab to the Mansion, the Presidential vacation house here in Baguio, and then, we walked through Wright Park. A hundred steps down and more steps around the rotonda and through the main road, we eventually got to the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, with the weight of our bags, Mom and I couldn’t really enjoy sight-seeing that much, and so we opted to just head straight to Hotel Supreme for check-in.
Thank God the people here are so nice! They seem so used to tourists and the hospitality is just amazing. Mom and I spent a few hours getting a nap and freshening up, waking at around 3pm. My stomach made it very clear that it wasn’t very happy about me sleeping through lunch time, so Mom and I head over to SM Baguio for lunch at Savory. Just because we have time to spare, we catch a movie too – Heaven is for Real. Pretty nice film that makes you wonder just what really awaits us in the after life.
Night strolling at Burnham Park after stocking up on drinks at the supermarket. Because it rained in the afternoon, the place was a bit muddy. Mom and I were treated to the sight of dancing fountains. There wasn’t really that much to do since it was already dark, so after having a quick dinner at the nearby Chowking, we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel and just chill.
Lava cake for a night snack! Woooh! And of course, my day wouldn’t be complete without my preferred dessert, a nice good read – finished Jenny Han’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’, reading straight up to midnight. No regrets! Really good book with just the right amount of sweetness, kilig and a reality check. And besides, boys who get along with your younger siblings = a definite plus, plus, plus. I might write a full review after our Baguio trip. :)
This part of (i)Spiced Up Summer deals with Day Six of our trip. This time, we’re in Bacolod! Again, pictures are all courtesy of Hardcore Mami (Shari Altamera) and Awesome CoHead (Ithran Kho).
Day Six: Friday, April 20, 2012
Another early rise! We took the first trip of the SuperCat ferry to Bacolod!
Mambukal Resort – We visit this place not for the resort, but for the waterfalls! But along with the beautiful sights is the intense climb! Up, up, and up! I thought it would go on forever, honestly. =)) A tour guide – and children working towards being tour guides – led us through the trail and to the waterfalls. There were seven all in all, but we only got to see the first, second, third, and sixth waterfalls. This was because the pathway to the fourth waterfall had been destroyed by the past landslide that hit the area while the fifth could already be seen from the sixth and the seventh was found a good distance further than we would have liked to walk.
Balay Negrense –Next, we visit this ancestral house turned museum in Silay City. I don’t really remember much of what the tour guide said, so I’ll let this description do it for me, source cited, of course:
“The house is a later and more airy version of the bahay na bato. The first floor, raised from the damp earth is pierced by windows that make the interior brighter than older houses. The first floor is no longer just a storage space but large foyer which leads to rooms and offices. The lower floor connects to the upper story through a grand staircase. The upper floor has bedrooms flanking the living room. To the rear is the dining hall and kitchen. The upper story is made of wood with generous ventanillas that allow air to circulate throughout the house. The house has been furnished with furniture and appurtenances donated by various persons. (http://www.ateneo.edu/offices/mirlab/panublion/r6_silbalay.html)
We head to Bob’s, deemed Bacolod’s favorite restaurant, for lunch. And I’ll let the following picture show just how intense our food trips are:
Next, we visit a place called The Ruinsin Talisay City.Now, here was a place I would have loved to have known about for my Pre-Debut pictorial – then again, it’s found all the way in Negros Occidental, so maybe I would have stuck with La Mesa Eco Park anyway… Beautiful. Simply beautiful. What was left of the structure that Don Mariano Lacson built still reflected the grandeur that the original mansion had. The concrete was especially made such that it’s texture resembled that of marble. Now, in such a beautiful place, would you really expect us to miss a chance at a photo shoot? Of course not!
We had a few more stops in Bacolod, like the Provincial Lagoon, Wildlife Reserve, and the Negros Museum, where we learned stuff – for instance, did you know that the province of Negros was the first to achieve independence from the Spanish? And it was done through an intense show of wit and deception! I don’t really remember the exact details, but I do know that it involved the citizens pretending to be soldiers with passing off their farming tools as weapons, so as to make the Spaniards think they were heavily outnumbered and thus, settle on a quick retreat.
Then, we had an awesome dinner waiting for us at Shari’s house and one of my favorite desserts – Tres Leches! Number Three, we reunite at last!
For the last night of our vacation, we enjoyed a KTV night at the MO2 Annex. We leave on the afternoon of the next day. :)
How’s that for a spiced-up summer? Awesome experience! :) Thank you to Shari and her family for accommodating us – Tito Butsog and Tita Dids, thank you so much for everything! :)
Though I’m pretty late in my writing, (i)Spiced Up Summer resumes in this entry that details Day Five of our trip. We arrive in the island of Guimaras and experience the greatness of their world-famous mangoes firsthand! Again, pictures are all courtesy of Hardcore Mami (Shari Altamera) and Awesome CoHead (Ithran Kho).
Day Five: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Every second counts on this adventure trip, so once again, we wake up early and go on a boat ride to the island of Guimaras, practically just across Iloilo, if not a little to the South, if I’m not mistaken.
The drive takes us to see the world’s smallest plaza as we head for the Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Abbey. It’s a really peaceful place, perfect for meditation and contemplation. Even a chatterbox like me would feel inclined to appreciate the silence there. Seemed like a great place to write. :) We stopped by their chapel and shop. Bought some mango bars – basically, butterscotch with mangoes mixed in – to take home.
Next up, we head on to Camp Alfredo, a nature adventure camp that offered outdoor activities like a zip line, a hanging bridge, rappelling, and an obstacle course. All of us opt for the first three that came in a discounted package rate. Fuuuuun~! I applaud my good friend, Jan for facing his fears. Good job, dude!
Tired, we enjoy a reprieve as well as a filling lunch at Raymen Beach Resort. No swimming this time around. I think we had enough of that back in Boracay. :)
And as if the food there wasn’t enough for us – I tried to spare as much space in my poor stomach as I could, we next accepted the challenge of the Mango-All-You-Can event held for the Manggahan Festival 2012. Swerte na naabutan namin ‘to sa pagbisita namin sa Guimaras! Game! Bring those mangoes on!
Now, there came a time when we just couldn’t take it anymore. So we gave up on eating and just, well… I think that iMed ’17 thing in us – the maeksena thing – awakened. At first, it was just us singing along to the festival jingle that kept playing repeatedly. But then, led by our unbeatable dance diva, Micah, we put on quite a performance!On-the-spot choreography! And, very true to the maeksena reputation of our class, well, we got the attention of everyone else participating in the event as well as the event organizers! I think it means something when I don’t feel any bit embarrassed about what we did; rather, I enjoyed it very much! XD~ No video to post here, though! Sorry! :)
Our last stop in Guimaras Island is the famous Balaan Bukid, a pilgrimage site that devout Catholics are known to climb during Holy Week. The van could only go as high, so we walked on foot for the rest of the climb up. Stations of the Cross marked several places of the trail. On the very top is a chapel as well as a beautiful overlooking view.
Quite a day that was~! :) An experience to remember! Back in Iloilo, we had another one of those intense dinners, this time at Tatoy’s Manukan and Seafoods. No doubt about it – I’ll have to work on losing all the pounds I’ll gain on this trip!
But before that dinner, we hit the Timezone arcade at SM Iloilo and well, had another maeksena moment! Deal or No Deal, iMed style!
(i)Spiced Up Summer continues in this chronicle of Day Four of our trip, which particularly dwells upon our adventures in Iloilo, home of the awesome Shari :). Again, pictures are all courtesy of Hardcore Mami (Shari Altamera) and Awesome CoHead (Ithran Kho).
Day Four: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We had to get up pretty early the next morning since Tito Elias prepared a lengthy list of places we were to visit. Bonggang mala-field trip day ito! We, along with Kuya Angel, Shari’s family driver, went all around and though it was pretty tiring, being out and under the hot sun and all, it was fun to learn about the culture and history of Iloilo and at the same time, bond with friends. Picture taking galore, of course! XD
The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. I’ll try to put as much commentary in the captions as much as possible. :)
There’s this crossroad you soon encounter. Physical vs Spiritual Hunger =)) For the latter….
SEAFDEC FishWorld – It’s basically a center of aquaculture education and marine life exploration. All sorts of aquatic animals can be viewed in their tanks and I liked their seashell collection – reminds me of a certain Purple Goddess :)).
UP Visayas – S’yempre, binisita namin ang campus ng UP dito sa Visayas! Pero…
Miag-ao Church – Here, we met a kindly parishioner by the name of Noel, who shared with us what he knew about the church’s history as well as his photography skills. =)) Puwede, kuya! Puwedeng-puwede!
Our other destinations / stops included:
San Joaquin Church
San Joaquin Cemetery
South Park Grill – had lunch here! XD
Lizares Mansion / Angelicum School
Jaro Cathedral (HARUKAAAA! – Ithran)
West Visayas State University
Lopez Mansions – Pink?!
Downtown Iloilo (Iloilo’s very own Binondo)
Fort San Pedro
St. Paul’s Iloilo – cool. there’s a SPU here too!
Dulgies’s – the best cakes I’ve ever tasted in my whole entire life. Their ‘Tres Leches’ remains my Number Three <3 (The Number One and Two slots currently remain unoccupied, just saying :) )
Altamera Dental Clinic (and Gift Shoppe!) – one of the best in Iloilo, so I hear :> go Tita Dids!
Breakthrough – another intense dinner! wooooh! everyday antihistamine isn’t bad, is it? XD
Wooh! It was great seeing the wonders of Iloilo as well as learning a bit about culture (o di ba, educational din itong trip na ‘to!)… Yet again, we had to sleep early to wake up early tomorrow… More adventure awaits!