Sunday, November 18, 2012

The 42nd National Day Of Oman

The celebration of the National Day of Oman takes place every year on November 18 commemorating independence from the Portuguese in 1650. It also coincides with HM Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said birthday, (born November 18, 1940) adding significance to the occasion.

His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said
Sultan of Oman

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Magic of Candles

Lighting a candle is considered a form of sympathetic magic. Candles represent people, things, attributes, emotions, and influences. By lighting and manipulating the candles, whatever they represent is influenced.

A very simple form of candle magic is observe in faith and places of worship; when a petitioner lights a candle and asks for healing for a friend or relative. Praying to God, or Saints, to ask for the favor is part of the ritual.

In Memoriam

Monday, September 3, 2012

Carayan Resort: Nature's Bliss

Our visit to Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Center in Lucban, Quezon was actually a supplemental trip from our original itinerary and that was to spend an overnight stay in Carayan Resort, a nature resort located at the foothills of mythical Mt. Banahaw.

Carayan Resort is located in Barangay Panglan, Majayjay, Laguna. The journey to Carayan Resort is already a treat in itself because of the exhilarating drive along the pitch & winding road of Curva Hill backdrop by flourishing verdant countryside.

The nature resort is situated beside a rock-strewn brook with chilly natural spring water streaming from Mt. Banahaw. The entire landscape is surrounded with well-trimmed pockets and dish gardens complemented with various ornamental plants and assortment of fruit bearing trees. The typical mountain breeze is always fresh and often time misty.

The entrance to Carayan Resort

Landscape of Carayan Resort

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Visit to Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Center

I once read the account about the Kamay Ni Hesus Healing Center in Quezon Province. It was a story on how Father Joseph Faller, a Roman Catholic priest heeds the call of God to perform miraculous healing for the sick even when his faith is almost faltering. It came as a surprise for Father Faller, when people who attended his mass and were prayed over got miraculously healed of their illnesses.

The Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center is located in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon. It is considered as a pilgrimage site, it has a Healing Church, a renewal center for the Diocese of Lucban, and the Grotto of Healing and Purification built on a hill where people climb to see colorful statues and sculptures illustrating The Stations of the Cross. One can choose to climb through the 292 steps on the left ascent or the 278 steps on the right ascent. Although there are lesser steps on the right ascent, the way is steeper. Climbing the hill is already a solemn sacrifice significant for the faithful. Once on top of the hill, you will be rewarded with a majestic view of Quezon province. The Grotto climb is not for everybody even through the stairs. The elderly, disabled, and those with health conditions may not be able to manage the climb. While those who can manage must carry with them bottled drinking water and ensure to keep a towel handy.

The 50-foot statue of Christ dominates the entire landscape

Liliw: The Tsinelas Town of Laguna

If there is a region in the country that rivals Marikina City for being a footwear hub, it will be Liliw, Laguna.

Liliw is classified as a 4th class municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. It is 62.6 kilometers (38.9 miles) from my hometown, Pasig City. It is bordered on the northwest by Sta. Cruz; northeast by Magdalena; east by Majayjay, on the west by Nagcarlan; and south by Dolores, Quezon.

Aside from the sizeable footwear industry where neatly lined-up modest to contemporary stalls along Gat Tayaw Street is eye-catching, Liliw is equally famous for its cold water spring resorts and native homemade delicacies like uraro, ube, pastillas, buko pie, espasol, lambanog, kesong puti, and etc..

A giant slipper display in Gat Tayaw Plaza, Liliw town proper

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Captivating Taytay Falls of Majayjay Laguna

Taytay Falls is located in Barangay Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna. The two-story high falls is impressive because of it’s’ extremely cold cascading water. The water stream is gushing from Mt. Banahaw through verdant and unscathed forest which keeps the water clear even during heavy monsoon. Throughout summertime always expect the water temperature to be sensibly icy. The catch basin of Taytay Falls is almost the size of an Olympic swimming pool; it is somehow shallow since the enclave is rock-strewn. The area always feels refreshing because it is continuously sprayed with fine cool mist from the cascading waters. The rocky landscape back dropped by perennial woody plants is quite mossy making it very slippery so caution must always be observed when making a step.

The captivating Taytay Falls

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

R & R Resort Spa: Relax & Rejuvenate

After our Ilocos Region tour, I was considering the idea of treating my family for another leisurely break for the weekend. Basically, it should not be far from Pasig City and does not necessarily be an exclusive get-away resort because there are several leisure resorts that claim to be exclusive, sophisticated although pricey yet t in reality it is nothing more than a vagrant site with miserable amenities and awful service. We opt for a modest but elegant reclusive place where the terms rest and recreation is substantiated.

I did find one resort just 41.0 kilometers drive from Pasig City. The resort is called R & R Resort Spa and Restaurant.

The entrance and facade of R & R Resort Spa

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Our Last Waltz in Mestizo District

Time has come to conclude my family’s holidays in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. We loaded our stuffs in our AUV as early as 7:00 a.m., (Friday, December 30, 2011) to prepare for the next 14-hour journey back to Pasig City. We will definitely miss the friendly smile of our hosts and the quaint, rustic life during our brief stay in Evangeline Beach Resort. We took final glance of Saud Beach Cove, marveled its charm once more and finally; vowed to be back.

The rustic charm of Saud Beach Cove

Our journey plan will include a brief stop-over in Vigan Heritage Village to do some shopping for souvenirs and pasalubong. We will also make a side trip to Batac to visit former President Ferdinand E. Marcos mausoleum and then to St. Augustine Church, the lake in Paoay and MalacaƱang of the North.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Wind Farm of Bangui

In the later part of 1990’s, the Philippines faced serious power shortages. The government took resounding measures to restructure the power sector in order to provide reliable power supply that will help sustain the country’s economic growth and development. The power sector particularly underwent transitions from being a state-owned control to a privatized, regulated sector.

NorthWind Power Development Corporation (Northwind) conceived the development of a 33 MW wind turbine power plant located in Bangui Bay, Ilocos Norte that will produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gases (GHG). The electricity generated by the project will displace grid electricity generated from fossil fuels and reduce GHG emissions.

NorthWind Power Development Corporation generates and sells electricity using wind energy. It sells electricity to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and to customers in the province of Ilocos Norte. The company was incorporated in 2000; it is currently based in Taguig City and operates as a subsidiary of Michigan Power Inc.

Wind turbine towers lined along the shores of Bangui Bay

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is located in the town of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It was established during the Spanish colonial period and first lit on March 30, 1892. It sits high on Vigia de Nagparitan hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador.

Panoramic view of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse along Maharlika Highway 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Tribute For A Good Friend

If Tears Could Build A Stairway

If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane.
We would walk right up to heaven and bring you back again.

No farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye.
You were gone before we knew it, only God knows why.

Our hearts still ache in sadness and secret tears still flow.
What it meant to lose you,  no one will ever know.

But now we know you want us, to mourn for you no more.
To remember all the happy times, life still has much in store.

Since you'll never be forgotten, we pledge to you today.
A cherished place within our heart, is where you'll always stay.


MARTY (1961 - 2012)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Discover The Northern Tip Of Luzon

After the usual morning frolic in Saud Beach Cove and with much enthusiasm, my family organized an afternoon trip towards the northern tip of Luzon Island. The drive took us 12.5 kilometers from Evangeline Beach Resort to Barangay Balaoi, Pagudpud – crossroad to the much celebrated Malingay Cove and the Patapat National Park.

There is an emerging tourist attraction called Malingay Cove where a secluded beach cove known as the Blue Lagoon is located. The cove is a paradise of powdery white sand, invigorating South China Sea breezes, verdant mountains, interesting marine life, fresh seafood, and friendly locals. While Pagudpud has been heavily promoted as a tourist destination, Malingay Cove remains a quieter and more relaxing destination in Pagudpud compared to Saud Beach, far to the west, where the majority of resorts and tourists are concentrated.

The "I Love This Place" caption in the brick wall of Apo Idon Beach Hotel 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Fun Continue In Saud Beach

Saud Beach is a 2-kilometer beach cove of pure sand bordered by the deep blue expanse of Bangui Bay and South China Sea. This picturesque beach is renowned for its crystal clear waters, fine white-cream sand and underwater sceneries of multi-colored corals and iridescent fish. It is an uncluttered beach with few commercial establishments and crowds that usually spoil the appeal of a quiet beach destination. It is a haven for swimmers, snorkeling enthusiasts, wind surfers, and fast becoming another surfers’ paradise in the Philippines.

Saud Beach on an early morning stroll

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Fun Begins In Saud Beach

Pagudpud has been referred to as the Boracay of the North, beautiful on the day we arrived yet perfect on the subsequent days of our stay. Saud Beach is undoubtedly one of Pagudpud’s best kept secret.

Saud Beach, one of Pagudpud's best kept secret

The white sand coastline of Saud Beach was acclaimed as one of the most beautiful beach in Asia and best of the beaches in the Philippines. Imagine a beach without too many tourists, no jet skis, no speeding banana boats nor rows of anchored boat blocking the magnificent views; no strip of sleazy bars, no noise in the nightlife, no blanket of lowly or high rise hotels, and not even a mall or fastfood, just you, the sun, and the beach!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Everyday I Love You

For My Wonderful Wife On Our Anniversary

If I asked would you say yes?
Together we're the very best...
I know that I am truly blessed,
Everyday I Love You...

Special Credit:YouTube uploaded by rovelinafd on Apr 14, 2009

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Pagudpud At Last....

"Pagudpud at last."

These were the very same words we uttered after arriving in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on December 26, 2011 at 4:45 p.m. after a grueling 18.0-hour journey. But even if the trip is an agonizing one, we truly took pleasure with the scenery of the countryside.

Welcome Archway of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Laoag City to Pagudpud

After completing a 10.0-hour tour of Vigan City; we started our journey towards Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Vigan City is a 2.0 hour drive to Laoag City while Laoag City is another 2.5 hours drive to Pagudpud.

While traveling, the kids are busy comparing souvenirs purchased from Baluarte while similarly chattering about their experience. Not a single member ever complained of thirst nor hunger even if it is almost lunchtime. Perhaps the endless supply of healthy chichiryas from our onboard food chest kept their hunger at bay. During the planning stage, Sweety made sure we have stocked and handy access to ensaymada, white bread, crackers, assorted nuts, jams, butter, low-carb electrolyte drinks and mineral water.

From Vigan City, we need to pass through the municipalities of Bantay, San Ildefonso, Sto. Domingo, Magsingal, San Juan, Cabugao, and Sinait.  The distance we need to cover is barely 40.0 kilometers but decrepit road condition and the sinister traffic, held back our pace.

Boundary marker - Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Badoc, Ilocos Norte

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Baluarte - The Fortress of Vigan

The Baluarte or fortress is a must-see attraction for first time visitors and even those who have visited Vigan before. It houses a zoo with animals extensive from other countries and other animals endemic in the Philippines. The zoo is a personal collection and continuously being improved by no less than the most popular and distinguished gentleman of Vigan, Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, well-known among the Filipinos and foreigners accustomed to Philippine political scene.

The Baluarte - official residence of the Governor 

File photo of the Honorable Luis "Chavit" Singson,
Governor of the Province of Ilocos Sur

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Crisologo Museum

The Crisologo Museum was established after Congressman Crisologo's death. It is located along De Los Reyes Street, Vigan and open for public viewing throughout the week. The museum does not charge any entrance fee but may appeal for modest donations to help keep and maintain the place. It houses the Crisologo family’s antiques, memorabilia and other prized possessions enhanced with history. It is personally managed by the Crisologo family. It is very well-maintained; evident is the polished floors of the second floor as well as the well-kept details of the various rooms.

The Crisologo Museum Signboard

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Exploring Vigan City

Vigan City is a very modern and clean city with plenty of restaurants, hotels, convenient shops and many tourist sights to visit. The climate in Vigan is ideal in the winter season with temperatures from 20 to 25°C but summer season is the best time to explore the city.

Visitors have choice options for mode of commuting when exploring the city. There are jeepneys and tricycles to transport them around the city. The tricycle transport system is color-coded according to the municipality they operate in. There are mini buses plying other places of interest which is a little off Metro Vigan. 

The most famous means of exploring Vigan is by the traditional Calesa or horse-drawn carriages. Exploring Vigan in a calesa is the most recommended as it give visitors chance to experience the nostalgic Spanish period. Calesas charge P150.00 ($3.50) per hour.

Vigan's renowned Calesas, a horse-drawn carriage

AJ with family in another Calesa

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Vigan, Heritage City of the North

The skies of that December night haughtily displayed his eloquence. The moon and stars collaborated too; they sneak-out of their concealment to compliment "Companion Sky" in accompanying the weary travelers on lonely midnight flight.

We steered our way safely from the province of La Union passing through the coastal towns and cities of Agoo, Caba, Bauang, San Fernando, San Juan, Bacnotan, Luna, Bangar & Sudipen towards Tagudin, the first municipality of Ilocos Sur. We only need to negotiate the towns of Sta. Cruz, Sta. Lucia, Candon City, Santiago, San Esteban, Sta. Maria, Narvacan, and Santa before calling it the day. We will be spending the rest of the day in Vigan City.

We arrived in Vigan City at 3:15 in the morning. We have covered a total of 340 kilometer (211 miles) distance from Pasig City. We drive towards Vigan Heritage Village in search of a modest hotel. The famous cobblestone street of the heritage village was an impressive sight. The faint amber street lamps supplemented the old-fashioned charisma of her nature.

Vigan Heritage Village

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: A Christmas House in Tarlac

One good thing about driving long distance at night is that traffic is less. Traffics like the hefty bulks, the rolling road blocks and the dormant thugs are examples of road obstructions that can give you a very bad day. Long time ago, driving in rural areas was a unique experience because of the enthralling stretches of rice paddies, the fresh breath of untainted air, the typical quaint barrio landscape and roadways that are well paved. Nowadays, it is quite difficult to drive the rural streets because the influx of roaring motorcycles had transformed the narrow streets into a maze-craze alley where these roaring hooligans unceremoniously weave in and out.

Panoramic shot of the Christmas house

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tara Na Sa Norte...

Hello Dear Readers

It's been quite sometime since my last entry. Let me apologize for such long delay. I just got back from a two-month vacation in my native Philippines. You see having spent Christmas Day, the New Year, Feast of the Ephiphany, Sweety's birthday, my Barangay's Fiesta Day, St. Valentines Day and the rest of the ordinary days; in my country and right at the comfort of my home is an ultimate high. It was a very memorable vacation with my loved ones; we shared the pleasure of our company, the pros and cons of our adventures, the seemingly endless roads of our journeys, the taste of delectable cuisine and an instance of an unexpected melancholy.

Overall, I will always savor every minute of my vacation and look forward to another ultimate high this year. Yup! you heard me right, "Looking forward this year...." This means as early as today, I'm drawing-out our itineraries. 

The journal I prepared will be presented in mini parts and series. It will narrate my family's memorable vacation in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, our tour to some of the most scenic and prominent tourist destinations and our delightful gastronomic encounters in the Ilocos Region.

So sit back and relax as we head North. "Tara Na Sa Norte."

Our Tara Na Sa Norte (Let's Head North) theme

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Joyous Tradition

Christmas Day in Manila!

The Philippines has earned the distinction of celebrating the world's longest Christmas season with Christmas carols heard as early as September and lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, the Feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9; which happens to be Sweetie’s birthday, and the Feast of the Santo Nino de Cebu on the third Sunday of January.

The official observance is from December 16 with the start of the "Simbang Gabi" or Midnight Mass until the Feast of the Epiphany. 

Incidentally, Christmas Day is similarly my mother-in-law’s birthday. 


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