Ilocandia

And so this happened: We didn’t have enough money to leave Pagudpud and tour around town. There were no ATMs in Pagudpud and we didn’t have enough cash to go to the next city or pay the tricycles to tour around. Our kind homestay* owners just agreed to tour us even if our money was not enough. Our stay in Pagudpud went great despite the lack of time and cash. Instead of staying with hotels and resorts, we did try the homestays offered by the locals and it was a most pleasant experience. They cooked an amazing dinner for us and they were more than accommodating and kind.

We arrived in the afternoon so therefore, sunset photos!

DSCN2219

IMG_0550

IMG_0552

IMG_0563

IMG_0575

IMG_0608

Best dinner evar

IMG_0627

DSCN2253

IMG_0645

IMG_0660

DSCN2271

IMG_0668

OUr kind homestay owner, Kuya Reuben

IMG_0672

IMG_0697

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

IMG_0699

Laoag City. Nothing much to see except for the Paoay Chuch and Marcos memorabilias.

IMG_0764

IMG_0783

IMG_0787

IMG_0823

IMG_0826

We ate at some “diner” called Macy’s Dinner as suggested by Lonely Planet and we went out very very disappointed. :(

IMG_0830

IMG_0838

Next stop: Vigan Heritage Town. And just like normal tourists, we rode the kalesa. Hehehe

IMG_0855

IMG_0864

IMG_0871

IMG_0888

IMG_0896

IMG_0902

IMG_0906

Kyootie alert!

IMG_0923

And that’s all for now! Check out Basti’s photos here.

* Hanna Lou’s Homestay is just in front of the Saud Beach Resort and is 2-3 minutes away from the beach. Contact Kuya Ruben at 09213104826. Php 250/night per person and Php 50 for a (very good) meal. :)

February 2013 Highlight (Video)

A month ago, Basti came here to the Philippines for a short vacation and of course this makes me totally happy and excited and giddy because it’s been five months since he left and I don’t know if I can do an Amy Pond or Rory Williams out of myself (loljk I can wait). I know many other people (in LDRs) have to wait more than this but since we have time and resources, why not see each other sooner, yes? He went back to Germany again last February 16 and we are now planning on seeing each other again in July!

Anyway, we traveled to some places in the Philippines and took so many photos that it almost made our cameras explode. I am still not done with sorting and editing them so, for the mean time, here’s a short video from our vacation. Basti came up with this one and he honestly did a pretty good job in editing the horrible videos that I mostly took. It’s just sayang that we did not have a video of our “gastronomical shenanigans” while we were in Baguio because we ran out of space in one camera and battery life on the other one.

I wish I can articulate more on how awesome it is to be reunited with the person you love after a long time, even for just a couple of weeks, but I am not quite the writer.

So here are the places included in this video: Enchanted Kingdom -> Pagudpud -> Laoag -> Vigan -> Somewhere in Manila -> Coron (hashtag ITSMOREFUNINTHEPHILIPPINES lol)

I hope you guys like it!

PS. Please excuse me on sounding so irritating during the part on the Ferris Wheel. I was scared ok.

Some photos on Basti’s Google+ here and here and here.

Family Vacation 2012 – Puerto Princesa

Photos from our family vacation last December 2012! It was also a celebration for my birthday, my parent’s anniversary, my dad’s birthday, and Christmas. It was my gift for them and my brother actually helped me with the expenses too, by partially paying for the airfare and for all the nomnoms.

While I am by no means a travel expert and cannot boast plenty of stamps in my passport, I am quite proud on how I was able to organize our family vacation without me spending excessively. It was smooooth (except for the part where I had to wake up very early for tours) and budget-friendly. Puerto Princesa is such a beautiful and tourist-friendly city and we were quite surprised how passionate they all are in preserving their wonderful “city in a forest”.

Day 0 – Arrival and Dinner at Ka Lui Restaurant.

What I like about Ka Lui restaurant is that they serve fresh seafood and the  place is really homey. The place is well decorated but I had a hard time shooting photos because of the low-light condition inside. I wish I had a speedlite, lol. We stayed at a place called Corazon Tourist Inn which is just 5 minutes away from the airport and is easily accessible to most establishments like Ka Lui.

IMG_8668

Day 1 – Underground River Tour

IMG_8718

IMG_8749

IMG_8760

You cannot make a private tour of the Underground River, you would really have to join other tourists. We met a very cute couple from Taiwan who are fans of The Big Bang Theory. They told me so after seeing my Bazinga t-shirt! Also, make sure you book this tour in advance because the number of visitors are controlled and it can easily get fully-booked.

IMG_8819

The entrance to the Underground river cave! No photos inside the cave because it was dark but I can assure you that it is a thing of beauty.

IMG_8775

IMG_8805

Right on the same building of Corazon Tourist Inn was this pizza place called Big Flat Bread. We ate there twice because my brother really loved their pizzas.

IMG_8841 Mushroom and Garlic Pizza from Big Flat Bread. Perfect for Vegetarians

Day 2 – Honda Bay Tour and Souvenir Shopping

We have no underwater camera so we had to rent a crappy one. :( We did not join a group tour for this but we rather did rent our own boat, bought our own food (fresh crabs!) and had it cooked at Pandan Island. I think it is a better option compared to a group tour if you want to have full control of your time. But of course you have to do some research (which is easy on the internet) and preparations ahead of time.

IMG_8854Josh Goes Places. LOL.

HB-01

HB-12Crappy underwater shots! With timestamps! Que horror~

And a mandatory I need-to-do-something-about-that-tummy shot.

IMG_0550

Second part of the day included hanging out at some “art” cafe and buying souvenirs.

IMG_8895

IMG_8909Bottom left photo is undeniably a person who is very hungry

Day 3 – City Tour

IMG_9018

IMG_8986

IMG_9014Avatar~

IMG_8943

IMG_9045

IMG_9129

IMG_9116

Part of the city tour was going to the place where they have these handlooms used in making different kinds of stuff. We were actually taught how use it and tried making some mats, I guess.

IMG_9146You have to excuse that strand of white hair

IMG_9150

IMG_9058

IMG_9078Geronimo!!

Gastronomical Shenanigans

IMG_9225

IMG_9049My brother tried the crocodile sisig

Mandatory sunset shot to end this post

IMG_9239

Well what can I say, we fell in-love with the city and the people. My parents immediately recommended it to their friends! The experience was worth every penny, not only because of the beautiful city but because when you travel with people you care about the most and loves you, it makes the experience more memorable. D’awwww. Not to mention that my mom really packs well!

My Basti will be visiting 8 days from now I am excited to travel with him and take some more mediocre photos!

Nicole’s 18th Birthday

Just random photos from my cousin’s 18th birthday. It was a nice laid-back party with live music courtesy of my talented brother and uncles and friends lol, Taekwondo showcase since Nicole is a blue belt and her brother and sister are both black belts; and lots of dancing.  Also, I am lazy to photoshop now. Sorry.

Before the party (like daaaays before):

IMG_7104

IMG_7147

IMG_7215

IMG_7254

IMG_7340

IMG_7805

During the party:

Nicole and the band opened with “Black Sheep” from Scott Pilgrim vs The World (not the Metric version) and it did set a pretty good tone for the rest of the party. My brother Josh is not in this photo, he was on the leftmost part.

Josh and the band were also part of the 18 love songs, he sang “Love Song” by 311. Choi (other eyeglasses guy on the guitar) sang a song by Norah Jones; Kel did “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths/Anberlin cover, and Nino (guy who turned back) did some pop song I can’t remember. Tito Dheck (Nicole’s dad) sang “God is Able” but already towards the end of the program, not during the 18 love songs.

And now! The mandatory family photo! The t-shirt was my parent’s idea (and my money). I don’t know where and what my dad at is looking but I like this photo.

Holiday Drinks

A blog post in which I pretend to know stuff about teas. For the sole reader of my blog.

So the holidays are already upon us and I, for a lack of better judgement, decided to be a victim of these overpriced limited edition-ed holiday consumerism shenanigans. I am proud to say though, that I will not collect stickers for a Starbucks planner that I will not end up using. Ha!

AND SO, my first holiday purchase are: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Holiday Tea Trio.


The trio: Winter Fruit Tea, Caramel Cream Rooibos and Winter Dream Tea packaged in stackable cylinder tin cans.

I tried the Caramel Cream Rooibos first because I became very interested in Rooibos ever since an acquaintance of ours prepared some authentic South African Rooibos Tea for me and b.

My workstation reeked of the Caramel scent as soon as I brewed it but as time went by, the Rooibos smelled more. The sweetness is spot on and that’s a huge plus because I can skip putting honey or any other sweetener (the caramel does it all). Adding milk would be a good idea for a more nightcap-y drink since it is caffeine-free. Some people would say that it is an “acquired taste” when it comes to appreciating Rooibos but I say otherwise. I think it is a good introduction for those who would want to try drinking tea for the first time because the flavor is rich enough to appeal to all kinds of tastebuds. The standard steeping time for Rooibos is 5-6 minutes, so make sure you time it otherwise it will become bitter and loose some of it’s flavor.

Second drink I tried was the Winter Dream Tea. It also has a Rooibos base but with additional black tea. I was hesitant to try this at first because I HATE THE SMELL OF CINNAMON. But I would not want to waste my money so yeah. The smell of cinnamon was very strong but not the kind that makes me puke (yay). Everyone said that it did smell like Christmas and I agree. It was not as bad as I thought it would be (shame on me) and I think would probably like it after a few tries if I can get pass the smell. It tasted more of the black tea than the Rooibos and is not as citrus-y as I hoped it to be. It is more like black tea and cinnamon and just a little little bit of the rest. I also don’t like that it has artificial flavorings. :(

  • There is no photo boo -

And finally, the Winter Fruit Tea. Ingredients are:

With a green tea base, I know it would already have the leafy texture and aftertaste. And sure enough it does. I had to add brown sugar because it’s a bit too bitter for me. But the fruity flavor was a pleasant surprise and is almost kinda refreshing. This is a good drink to start the day because it perks up the senses and is caffeinated. A healthier substitute for coffee methinks. I think I can even drink it iced and it would have a different, probably better, effect. Ensure that you only steep this tea for 3 minutes with almost-boiling water because it can get very bitter! And you don’t want that.

Finally, an actual photo of some tea.

Bonus item: This is how you drink your tea – with a cake placed on a paper towel.

And that’s my first holiday drink purchase and probably the last! Hahaha. Who knows.