Baguio Budget Escape 2: What Eats and Where To’s?

We surely had a blast on our Baguio Budget Escape Day 1, and the weekend was far from over. We woke up early the next day and prepared for our host – my housemate and Baguio resident Lalai with her son Kabay will take us to The Manor for a buffet breakfast which Baba and I promised in exchange for the free ride up and down the City of Pines.

The Manor, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Lalai and her family took me to The Manor the last time I was stuck in Baguio so I was pretty excited to have another round of delicious breakfast meals in a beautiful location.

Breakfast Buffet Rates at The Manor are:

Adult : Php 550
Kids : Php 275

please make me an omelette with everything on it!
winner waffle with maple syrup and blueberry jam

Kabai with his fruit plate

Lai’s plate

We took turns at getting some time off and exploring the grounds of the hotel before we had our part 2 of the brekkie. We would love to spend an over night here on Baba’s next vacation.

the Manor

we love it here!

After a hearty breakfast, Lalai took us to Good Shepherd Covent in Mines View Park to buy a couple of Pasalubong favorites – the famous Ube Jam. There was a long line of customers so Baba and I decided to take pictures while we waited for Lalai to complete her purchases.

Good Shepherd Convent, Baguio City

From here, we passed by the Botanical Garden and the Mansion but we did not go down, instead Lalai dropped us off at our Inn to rest while the rain poured over the city. This trip was completely unplanned so Baba and I don’t have anything in mind to go to.

After our siesta, we then decided to take merienda-cum-early dinner and go to the Lourdes Grotto. I was still raining on and off so we just took a cab though we had some idea on how to go there already.

the Veniz Cafe

counted the steps up the Lourdes grotto

Despite our lack of planning, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the City of Pines. We’ve both been here before but have not really explored the city, and now it felt really good getting lost and finding the right way together. We do plan to re-visit Baguio next year and maybe we’d be able take Teloy along with us then.

Baguio Budget Escape: Food Trip in the City of Pines

It was a quiet Friday evening when our housemate, who hails from Baguio City announced that she’s driving alone to Baguio early in the morning. Out of nowhere, Baba and I decided to join her on a road trip. With a couple of clothes and 5K budget, we hit the road at 4am the next day.

The drive was uneventful, we stopped by Sison, Pangasinan to eat something and we’re a little disappointed that Kenon Rd was closed so we had to take the much longer route via Marcos Highway.

We reached Baguio City at around 9am. Baba and I declined Ate Maricar’s invitation to stay in their house and searched for cheap Baguio City accommodations instead. We found La Brea along Session Road and made reservations for 2 nights. We did not prepare any IT and made this trip a completely spontaneous one. We just noted recommendations and jump into what we have in mind next.

After freshening up, we headed to Glenn’s 50s Diner in General Luna Road in front of Brent Road  for our late lunch. The ambiance is great and they have big servings of food. Baba loved his Swimmers while my Schintzel was just okay.

waitresses at 50’s diner wear sailor uniforms!

we love their coffee here

Baba’s Swimmers – 3 seafood delights in sweet-spicy sauce
schnitzel for me (okay lang)
ka-table namin c Marilyn Monroe!
the red car parked outside 50’s diner

After lunch, we decided to walk back and pay visit to the Cathedral and offer prayers of thanks. Then we played corny and headed for Burnham Lake for some rowing action.

can’t believe these oars are so heavy!!
should have tried those paddle boats instead

It was raining on and off and we were tired. We couldn’t think of anything to eat for dinner just yet so we headed for SM Baguio and waited for the rain to stop. We stayed at the veranda and was awed when the fog enveloped the city.

Then we walked to Session Road where there are more choices when it comes to foodtripping. We ended up at one of my friend’s favorite Pizza place – Pizza Volante. The place looks unorganized and seems to be a series of expansions – might be because of the growing number of diners. They have great pizza and pasta choices here – the price is also just right for students on a budget.

love this cheeze burger pizza!

Baba suggested we eat only light dinner tonight because he wants a nightcap at one of the bars we passed by earlier. It’s called the Bohemian and they have angelic acoustic singers here. We had a basket of fresh potato fries and a bucket of beer to end the night…

frothy milk! 😀

a basket of potatoes

lassheeng Baba?

Day 2 of our Baguio Trip was spent at the Manor, Good Shepherd and Lourdes Grotto. Blog soon 🙂

CouchSurfing: Meeting Legazpi CSurfers

Been reading a lot of how much Couchsurfing had made a difference in many travel blogger’s experiences. I signed up for this couchsurfing.org in 2010 but I wasn’t really active and I didn’t even have an updated profile there.

This year, while religiously reading some hot-shot travel bloggers’ stories, I decided to make use of that long forgotten CS account and maybe do some surfing as I travel around and maybe invite surfers too.

I posted on trip to my hometown and got a cool surprise – i got an invite to stay with them. It was quite funny actually but I decided to meet her and her fellow CSer too. I got an even cooler surprise seeing these 2 Couchsurfers from my hometown – they were in fact, schoolmates from HighSchool!

I considered him my little bro back in HS. I was really surprised he’s a well-traveled guy now!
Couchsurfer’s from Legazpi

I thought of using CS more after that meet up. Who knows how I might meet next time? 🙂

Liliw, Laguna: The 2008 Tsinelas Festival and Hole in the Wall Exquisite Food at Arabela

The second day of our stay in Sta. Cruz, we woke up to a hearty breakfast consist of hotdogs, kang kong and talong prepared by our lovely host. While eating we again discussed what we’re going to do or where we should go. Tita suggested we go to Liliw, a town sitting next to Sta. Cruz. Back then, I don’t have much idea of is neighboring towns (Nagcarlan, Magdalena and Mahayhay) and little did I know that I’ll be coming back to check the other towns in the future.

Liliw was a surprise. The small town streets were decorated with colorful banderitas. The main square was filled with food booths and there were a lot of people going around. We had great luck with timing on this trip because it was actually the last day of Liliw’s Tsinelas Festival. Liliw pala has a thriving shoe industry that rivals that of Marikina’s.

We went around the town square and I found shoe boutiques with unique and impressive creations. 

One of our favorite spot here in Liliw is the St. John the Baptist Church. It has a bright red brick facade and a cool and dark interior. This church was founded in 1605 and was damaged by an earthquake in 1880.

St. John the Baptist Church in Liliw, Laguna

The trip was completed by a visit to Liliw’s famed food haven: Arabella. It was a well known quaint restaurant with great pasta, pastries, coffee and other delectable offerings for affordable prices.

Arabela have cool, soft-dim lighted interior and walls with interesting frames.

The place actually looks packed and busy. That’s where they prepare the pasta.
my yummy mocha frappe  – P65.00 only!
Arabela has low ceilings and walls covered by frames and wall decors.
her potato salad 🙂

I promised to drop by this resto if I get another chance to visit Liliw. But it did not happen, work took me back to this town in 2010, but it was a hurried trip and gave me no chance to check out Arabela once again.

(Photo Credits: Jack Cruzado)

Early Backpacking Days: Sta. Cruz and Pagsanjan Laguna 2008

Looking at my older posts, I realized that  I was really lazy in uploading so my posts lack of pictures. So I want to do another take on one of my earliest backpacking (sorta) experience with my tropa.

Four years ago, we are all struggling yuppies and promdis that take excitement from the littlest gimmicks and adventures. That summer of 2008, our Kuya Pamps (who turned 31 last March 15) suggested a quick getaway to Laguna. Kamusta naman ang budget? Where will we stay? So we scrimped up some money and headed to Sta. Cruz, Laguna without concrete plans.

I forgot the exact dates but I think it was a weekend in May. We arrived in Sta. Cruz and was met by Pamp’s Tita. We were at the mercy of her hospitality because we really don’t know where we will stay. After settling down in her home, we discussed what were going to do and where we’re going. One of Pamp’s colleagues also lives in Sta. Cruz and he took us to Pagsanjan. We were excited to see the famed waterfalls, however, di pala namin afford yung P660 per person rate for the boat tour. So we just settled and took pictures by the river. 

Ansabe, this part of the river is the location of the Tabing Ilog shoot.

Photo Credits (Jack Cruzado)

Puerto Princesa Underground River: Its Nature at its Best

When the voting for the new 7 wonders of nature started, i was really proud that the Philippines has a nominee! Yes I voted for it soon as i could and wished that someday when I am able I’d be able to visit the place. Explore and see what the hype is all about.

Last May13-15, my wish of visiting Palawan and exploring the Underground River was realized. What made this trip more exciting is that I am with my well-loved friends! We were big group and a tour was arranged with Sea Adventure. Im not sure how much was spent all in all but we did enjoy the island hopping, underground river tour and the city tour (only paid for my airfare and Php3,000 for 4days/3nights food, accommodations and tours).

The highlight of the trip is of course the Underground River Tour. The trip to Sabang which is 50km north of PPC took about 2 hours, was mostly spent snoozing. The view greatly improved when nearing Sabang. You can see limestone karst mountains where the UR flows underneath. The sight might remind you of Pandora in the movie Avatar 🙂

A short boat ride awaits at Sabang port which will take you to the mouth of UR. You’ll get a good view of Sabang beach and other limestone karst on the way. You can explore some part of the densely vegetated beach which you will pass to get to the mouth of the cave. Then a paddling boatman with take you to navigate inside the UR. The Underground River of Palawan is considered as the largest. It is about 8.2 kilometers long, but only 1 or 2 kilometer is allowed for tourist exploration.

The cave has major stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as huge chambers. It has many channels too but most of them are closed from public. Im thinking of bringing Teloyskie there one day. I bet he’d be intrigued by the bat cave chamber mentioned by the bankero. The cave was definitely huge – something that might just leave you wondering, “how can nature ever create something like this?”

T’was the Year of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

2010 started unfriendly with me. I was job ess and broke – scrimping on the meager writer’s earnings for my board and lodging. It was indeed an ugly yet challenging start for a part time student, part time writer, long distance mom and a restless viajera like me.
Work and Studies
Career-wise, the past year placed me in a state of crisis. I lost almost all confidence in my writing, I’ve a number of unfinished projects which I shamelessly ignored and forgot. I felt the need to do something else aside from staring blankly on empty computer screen. Even school papers seemed too much to digest for my ulcerated brain. After finishing the semester, I got two jobs – one which lasted for 2 months and another which lasted for about 3 months.
My stay at the first one was short and sweet, it was fun yet two months wasn’t enough for me to be fully engaged in the job. I was pirated by the next job in just a matter of hours. We all thought that I’d be swimming in here like a fish in the water soon as I jumped in but it just wasn’t like that. I was overwhelmed all the time and it seemed like I couldn’t get things right anyway I do it. Soon I learned to love and hate the job and the people, the trips, the overtime work and all else in between. But again, something else came up, with better offers and a more interesting job description – and finally that is where I am right now.
For what went well in my work and studies: Learned to prioritize
What went wrong: Procrastination, Failing to plan and planning to fail..
Places for improvement: writing and reading habits, schooling (again), personal development
Travel and Leisure
Despite being broke, I was able to go to different places and experience new things- thanks to some good old souls! 🙂
Some of the best trips I had happened this year though they were all confined here in Luzon.
Q1 took me to Mt. Pulag in Benguet with Roslee, Jane and Tons, Baguio, Anawangin Cove in Zamabales and Mt Batulao in Batangas.
Q2 was spent in Tagaytay, EK then in Bicol where we once again visited Amater to relive our high school and college vacation days. It was also during this period that I experienced Nagsasa – which is now one of my most favorite places in Luzon and the Mt. Tarak climb which rendered me crippled for a couple of days in July.
Q3 trips where all limited to OB’s except for Jean’s vacation in September. I was able visit most part of Laguna such as LB, Sta. Cruz, Liliw, Pila, Nagcarlan, Majayjay and others as part of a field trip with Health Implementers. I also spent a week in Albay for a training and this gave me precious time with Teloy while working. Q3 also took me to Calaruega, a quiet beach in Bataan, a turtle conservatory and to Mt. Samat.
Q4 started with an epic trip to Luisiana, Laguna then to Cam Sur for the 1st CamSur Int’l. DB Fest. A month was spent in Bicol and then the rest of this period was consumed by gigs, gimmicks and parties.
For lack of anything else to do, I spent a lot of time climbing walls and seriously rowing. And just when I think i was getting good at climbing, work turns up and made me busy. So I need to do this again regularly, luckily found climb buddies and we’ve now set some scheds.
This has got to be the good or best part of my 2010. The last part should be the Bad, but it’s not actually bad.. just a realization of thoughts, decisions and moves which made me feel bad and worked out to be better.
People
I’ve met and got to know many incredible people this year. They’ve spiced up my 2010 with much life, laughter and love.. hehe and I also strengthened the ties I have with the bestest of friends. Thanks for the connection, for being awesome, for the learnings you’ve shared, for the inspiration and for continuously nudging me when everything seems to stack up.
2010 is also a year of losing and gaining..
of failure to keep communication lines open,
of keeping mum about issues best resolved openly..
of being unassuming and ignoring..
it is a year of avoidance..
But then, this year made me appreciate some very important people in my life – my family. In the past years of working here in Manila, I wasn’t able to spend much time with them especially my Teloyskie. 2010 gave me a couple of months to be a hands-on mom to my son. I got to know him better – his likes, his interests, his tempers, his attitudes and his character.
I learned how mule-headed we are both.
How to tease him mercilessly until he grow mad.
How to quiet down his cries with a promise of chocolates.
How to repair broken bikes and dislocated car wheels,
I learned to kiss skinned knees and chase ‘lagnat-laki’ away,
with cuddles and even tighter squeeze. 🙂
My family has always been very supportive and it was this year that I have fully appreciated them. I’ve never thanked them enough for the things they did for me and my son. 2010, with all the challenges tied to it made me realize this like a slap in the face. Been too caught up with my issues earlier on 2010 that I overlooked the challenges that my family is going through at the same time. Eventually life shook me hard enough to see this. As the year comes to end, everything seems to fall into their places…
When 2011 closes I’d be 10/10 satisfied if I can achieve these ~
1. closer family ties. more vacations spent at home and being a mom to Teloy – (non quantifiable)
2. debt free!
3. complete DPM asap!
4. learn to ride a bike..
5. climb Mt. Apo
6. go back to writing
7. cross out at least 10 off my goal list for 2010.
Habits to cultivate to achieve my goals..
An essential technique I’ve learned this year is to take notes.. we take notes to remember things… and we write to de-clutter our minds.
There are still a lot of loose ends but 2011 came in friendly with a bright career path ahead. There are promises of more travel, learning and discovering.

writer on haitus

i’ve visited this blog many times in the past couple of months only to be depressed at the things i read. the last readable post was written months ago. i have gone on a forced haitus, but hopefully i can get back to writing here soon as i settle into my new work environment… ciao!!

May 7-10: Nagsasa Cove Weekend

For beach campers and nature trippers, Anawangin Cove in Pundaquit Zambales has become the place to hole in. It has a pristine white beach and crystal clear blue waters. But aside from Anawanin, Nagsasa Cove, which is only 45mins to 1 hour away from the shores of Pundaquit is also fast becoming a destination for those who wants to have quieter nights with the stars and nature. Like Anawangin, Nagsasa has no mobile phone signals, no electricity nor amenities. The place is home to occassional Aetas who can take you around waterfalls and the mountains beyond. At night, the skies are filled with stars and it is more fun to sleep on the sand or in a hammock than inside the tent.

The beauty of nature here in Nagsasa also lures photography enthusiasts because of the scenic views of sea, mountains and lakes. I was lucky to have been invited by a friend who wants to celebrate his birthday in this amazing place.

To reach Nagsasa, you can drive to Pundaquit in San Antonio Zambales and find a boatman there.

Boat fares range from 300-400 per person. You can camp with Mang Ador in the left side of the cove and he charges 100 per person per night’s stay. Local guides are available from 400 up if you are interested to trek and explore the mountains and the forest beyond.

What to bring on a beach camping?

Beach camping should not be any different from hiking or trekking up a mountain. Here are somethings you should bring on your beach camp:

  • tent
  • water
  • sleeping gears (sleeping bag, malong)
  • head lamp
  • hammock
  • cook set
  • butane lamp or led lights
  • mess kits (spoon, fork, plate?)
  • swiss knife
  • sunblock
  • rope for a clothes line
  • swim suits
  • light clothing
  • zip lock bags or a dry bags (to keep your things dry)
  • insect lotion
  • garbage bags
  • food
  • first aid kits

The more you explore and go on beach camps the easier it will be for you to decide on the things to bring and what you will need.

Teloy’s First Swim-Swim; Amater Spring Resort Malinao Albay


April 3, 2010

Black Saturday
For the longest time, my tropa has been spending summer breaks and sembreaks in Amater Spring Resort. This is owned by my friend’s parents and we get to spend an overnight or 2 nights stay there for free. All we have to arrange is the food and our things. After like years that we haven’t visited the place, we now decided to spend a day swimming and bonding – even if there are only very few of us now. I also took this change to bond more with my kid and take him on his first swimming outing.
We left home at 6am, went to ninang Roslee’s house and waited for tito Arnold. Tito bought Teloy some burgers for breakfast and then we headed to Legazpi Central terminal to catch the fx going to Tabaco and meet tito Niben. We then arrived in Tabaco at 8 am and prepared for our trip to Malinao which is around 30 minutes away. We bought cooked food and roasted chicken for our lunch, some snacks and drinks.
When we arrived at the resort, it seems that it was over-flowing with people! I prepared teloy for his first dip and was really surprised that he was afraid to go down!. Well the water was really “too cold” and soon teloy was shivering and maybe it was also because he was scared and crying. I took him off for a while and let him play near our cabin, but soon i brought him back to the water. Good thing we were able to borrow a float for teloy to sit on, and then he was able to enjoy paddling around.

Because of Teloy’s reaction, I’m pushing for his swimming lessons so that his fear would vanish and so that he’d enjoy swimming rather than be scared and panic.