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Category Archives: Travels and Getaways

A Visit to Lola Corazon’s

I’ve missed blogging and updating you guys for more than a month. Plus there seemed to be not much interesting to share with you yet. But not doing anything fun in a 4-day long weekend is unforgivable because such long weekend rarely happens and it should never be wasted. So in a swift, Nanay and I plus a few more getaway friends packed up and visited Lola Corazon.

THE PLACE

Wait! Don’t get me wrong. Lola Corazon is a person BUT she’s not our grandmother. It’s a name of a place, a leisure farm that was named after the owner’s wife. Lola Corazon’s Leisure Farm is a couple of hours away from our house in Bulacan and we stayed there for a couple of days.

The Resthouse: where we stayed most of the time to eat or simply hanging out

Waters surrounding the Resthouse houses not Koi fish but RED tilapia!

The bedroom above the dining area/veranda of the Resthouse can hold 4 people max. The room has TV and is air-conditioned

The other room we got is good for 6 persons: air-conditioned, with TV and bathroom with hot & cold shower

The long weekend was not perfect as we hoped for because there’s typhoon Mina hanging around the Pacific Coast area in the northern part but it’s causing some gloomy skies and rains in the afternoon.

But bad weather won’t stop us from having fun…

Up, Up On The Wall

Once the sun was up and shining, we immediately took 3-in-1 package of wall climbing, rappelling and taking zipline ride. Coincidence that the young ones wore pairing shirts having pseudo-teams:

Meet the BLUE Team: My godson, Kenji and his sister Karen

And the WHITE Team: my cousins, Lyn-lyn and Issa

The siblings Karen and Kenji got to climb first

Karen (on left) got to the top first

Lola Trining giving Karen a tight hug. Proud of her doing the climb and reaching the top ^_^

Team White next: Lyn-lyn on the farther left and Issa on the right

Note on doing wall climbing: it’s best to have shoes that light and “hugs” your feet like Chucks or sneakers. Lyn and Issa had a hard time in their first attempt because rubber slippers or sandals tend to slip from their feet. We asked the facilitator if they can just go up the wall with bare feet but it may give the barefoot climber blisters or scratches due to the pseudo-rock textures that are rough. So Team White has to go up one at a time wearing my ever reliable red Chucks 😉

Issa was up first. Nice form 😉

Our "fans" watching and cheering for us ^_^ (They're watching Issa climbing here)

Issa's eyes are not closed because she's scared. Closed because she's laughing!!! :p

I gave Issa a hug when she decided to go down. Elephant hug!!! ^_^

Now it's Lyn-lyn's turn! She made it the first signage which is the midpoint of the wall. Not bad! 🙂

Issa and I watched Lyn-lyn as she climbed the wall

Too bad I missed my chance to try climbing the wall even though I know I may not pass the fourth or even the third line of rocks because I’m “weight-gifted”. But I promised myself I’ll be back and try it myself even just for a photo op 😉

Going Down 

Rappelling was my first activity for the long weekend and was my first time too. After climbing flights of stairs, I’m catching my breath. Honestly, I don’t know if it was the flight of stairs of I’m really scared that I’m lost of breathe and we are quite lost of words up there in the tower. Too bad we don’t have much photos from the top since I’ve entrusted my camera to our spectators down below.

My turn. Gearing up with the "special" harness. Special because I'm on the "extra" weighted build :p

The top where I'll be rappelling down: That high?!? *gulp*

See that orange blob? That me about to rappel down. I think my sweat were like waterfalls dripping while up there!

And waaaaaayyyyy down I go...

Almost down there...

YEAH!!! I did it. See how the camera caught that moment. Even the personnel (from the A.B. Team that handles the wall climbing, rappelling and zipline) who supported my line while going down is happy for me. (Because my weight didn't break his bones... hahaha!)

Despite that tiny blister I got on my middle finger at my left hand, the feeling after was amazing. I guess it’s always that way every time you accomplish something for the first time. Will I do it again? DEFINITELY! But I won’t be gripping my left hand too tight the next time 😉

Zipping It Down

After going down 50 feet by rappelling, we went up once more to go down 140 meters of length by zipline!

It's the same tower for the wall climb and rappelling, just another side for the zipline. Sky started to become gloomy when we went up for the zipline.

First up (or should be down), Kenji

Next was Karen, Kenji's older sister, who as expected posed for the camera :p

Then my cousin, Issa who in all smiles posed too for the camera 😀

Lyn-lyn was next who seemed to be the coolest among all of us since this is her second time to ride a zipline.

My turn! See the orange spot? That's me! It pays to wear a bright-colored shirt to be spotted even from a far distance :p

My thoughts here: "Why are they taking so long? I'll be next... are my hands sweating?"

Me posing scared. I try to look funny here but really I was a bit scared. It's my first time to do the zipline O_o

BOOM! There I went... pulled down by gravity (and weight!) :p See the man in black on the right side? Another personnel from A.B. Team supporting and securing my line (Thank you, Manong!)

Ha! Ha! I made it! (And then I posed as well!) Minus points for the slippers on each of my arm (I know!)

Ha! Again, it was nerve-wracking but it felt good after. And I want to do it again but will make sure I will be doing a majestic pose for the photo op! Ahahaha! 😀

Other Facilities and Activities

The Miyasaki Family fishing for our dinner 😉

Aside from the activities mentioned above there are swimming pools as well. Lola Corazon’s Leisure Farm also offers Kayaking, Boating and Fishing. But it seems like we are playing tug-o-war with the rain, we weren’t able to do the first 2.

Besides just thinking of a getaway or a vacation place, Lola Corazon’s Leisure Farm is perfect for team building as well. They also have a Pavillion for events like debuts or birthdays and they can cater as well.

Up for a challenge? The web looks easy to climb but it's not, right Lyn-lyn?

Who's up for a floating raft race? 😉

Nanay enjoyed the rafting with Lyn-lyn ^_^

Hanging out and posing inside a mini-kubo cottage

For more photos (aside from ours you saw above) you can visit their website here or checkout their Facebook page here.

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Photo Splurge: Bangkok, Thailand

Just to share the sights you could be missing if you don’t drag yourself off your chair and head for Bangkok, Thailand 😉

Grand Palace (from the gates)

Inside the Grand Palace

Purple Water Lily, inside the grounds of the Grand Palace

A part of the Grand Palace grounds

Closer look

A Grand Palace "Guard"

The Buddha's Head at Wat Pho aka The Reclining Buddha

Full view of The Reclining Buddha

Entrance to the re-opened Central World

A part of the Central World Mall that was burned is still being renovated. And part of the renovation are these graphic signs that are brilliantly thought of. Amazing.

A message and reminder not just to the local Thais but to everyone!

Another message from our Thai friends and I BELIEVE these messages... I just missed the last one though 😉

Bangkok's simple yet lived tagline

There are still a more places to see and visit just in Bangkok. Plus a few more famous place in Thailand’s provinces like Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai to name a few. Chiang Mai is my next target to hopefully fulfill my longed for mission: the elephant encounter.

You can check my other photos from my previous trips starting here and here. And my lessons in my first travel to the Land of Smiles here.

Oh! I forgot to share in my previous post… the FULL view from our room’s balcony during daytime…

Bangkok Skyline from State Tower (photo stitched), click to enlarge

So, when are you planning to go have a Thailand experience for yourself? 😉

 

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Thailand and their food

Vacation won’t be complete without eating (well, that’s for my view of vacation). I have my favorites and even with this shortest Thailand trip, I shouldn’t miss the chance to eat authentic Thai food!!!

Let’s start with the drinks:

McDonald's in Thailand serves Cha Yen: Traditional Thai Iced milk tea

My new favorite drink: Lemongrass Ice Tea

A new (yet late, I know!) discovery of mine was their version of lemongrass ice tea. I so of fell in love with it and now my favorite cha yen has its competition! It’s sweet yet refreshing. For those who are lactose intolerant, I recommend this one 😉

Now for the real carbo-loading yet healthy Thai meals…

Pad Thai or some say Phat Thai is one of Thailand's national dishes: this version is with glass noodles ("sotanghon" noodle in Tagalog) instead of the usual flat rice noodles

Out of my love and among may favorite food here in Thailand is Pad Thai or locals may say or call it as Phat Thai is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with egg, fish sauce tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. This is also one of Thailand’s national dishes (definition lifted from Wikipedia). I tried cooking this dish to my friends and yet nothing beats the original and authentic dish!

 

Simple yet tasty: Crispy Egg Omelette with shrimp

 

This crispy egg omelette with shrimp is not a fancy food. Simple rice topping yet it’s tasty and my trip won’t be complete if I don’t eat at least a meal of it. I always eat this at the Siam Paragon’s food court, which I consider a haven of food… soooooo many to choose from: Thai, Japanese, Korean, etc.

 

Cute and small yet sweet and spicy: Thai sausages

Sticky Rice

 

I say it’s a simple and yet best combination of Thai meal if you’re in a hurry: Thai sausages and sticky rice. Never underestimate the size of those sausages because its spiciness bites! I always pair it with rice (no spoon or fork needed eating this kind of rice). In Siam Paragon food court, they give you blanched raw veggies when you buy a set of Thai sausages Ü

 

Thai dessert

I forgot the name of this Thai dessert (again). The bread is like a crunchy cone, same as the consistency of sugar ice cream cones but smoother and the white part is a thick and sweet icing and the orange one are shredded sweetened coconut (I think) for the topping. If you have a sweet tooth this one’s what I recommend that you shouldn’t miss.

 

Let’s now go for the “branded” food in Thailand… I mean food chains that’s available or started in Thailand.

 

The Pizza Company's Tom Yum Pizza

 

Even though I missed out eating Tom Yum Goong soup, I won’t passing this one up. Authentically it’s from and only in Thailand: Tom Yum flavored pizza from The Pizza Company. The said pizza chain in known to be creating flavors or combination of flavors that some might find weird. You might find this flavor weird on a pizza but I like it (yes, i know, I’m weird!). The pizza chain by the way offers combination pizza flavors in one pan 😉 I think we got there a pizza flavor with crab sticks and pineapple (I forgot the flavors name, sorry) and Tom Yum, for my request ^_^

Before I tell you the next brand, let me introduce you to their mascot:

 

MK Mascot with my cold house tea that I like too ^_^

 

Ok, to be honest, I don;t know if it has a name or if it’s even really the shabu-shabu restaurant’s mascot. But it’s always in every table and every branch of MK restaurant that I’ve eaten at holding a pen and I think that’s a mobile phone on the other with some toothpicks and comment card oh! and tissue inserted on top or back of it. Branding I say :p

 

Veggie Platter Set at MK

 

Like what I’ve mentioned, it’s a shabu-shabu restaurant where in you’ll be cooking your food. they do offer meals that are already prepared but it’s their signature I guess on the “cooking your own food” part. And for those readers who knows me as a non-veggie eating person, I did eat this meal. I eat veggies, but not all kinds of vegetables. Just a selection, a few of the kind. I’m picky you know!

 

Cooking the veggies in prepared broth

 

It does take time in this kind of restaurant but at least you have a time to have some chit-chat with your food buddy 😉 Meanwhile, you can pair it up with one of their noodles in which my favorite is:

 

Jade noodles with garlic flakes

 

You can eat the noodles as it is or dip it in MK’s special spicy sauce. Or you can place the sauce in the serving of the soup you cooked…

 

Veggie soup meal: with Jade noodles and MK's special spicy sauce

 

And a proof that I ate veggies…

 

Jade noodles anyone?!!!

Hope I didn’t make you guys hungry or crave for Thai food 😉

 

 

 

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I DID Return

Weeks has passed after my return to one of my favorite place: Thailand. This was first trip to the Land of Smiles without my Powerbook so my vacation documentary was not as detailed as what Chico did. this trip was also the shortest: just 3 days.

Went back to Bangkok with Panch and it’s her first time. We can consider it as an adventure somehow. And perhaps lucky as well.

Camwhoring with Panch while waiting for the delayed flight

Flight was delayed for more than an hour. Technical problems from an earlier international flight was the cause but come to think of it, here are some of the memorable events that happened to us: the “stress vs. blessing” moments.

Stress vs. Blessing no.1: Friday night traffic vs. Being offered another roundtrip ticket to any Asian country where the airline flies.

We made it obviously. We just paid for a quite high-priced private service. My usual taxi-service was not available that day 😦 For the lucky part, sorry to burst your bubble but we didn’t take it. But what’s the reason for the “offer”: airline got overbooked and they are trying to weed out passengers that I guess will bite the offer. They will be paying for the hotel accommodation for the night since we will be taking the next day same flight. Really tempting but if not for the hotel pickup waiting for us at the airport…oh well.

Stress vs. Blessing no. 2: Reservation problem vs. New hotel.

This I really call an accidental blessing. I called up the hotel to confirm which gate was our pickup waiting and then they told us we are being moved from the Sukhumvit hotel to a different hotel in Silom. Panic was all over me then. But was assured that we will be moved back to the original hotel as soon as our supposedly room was cleared. (Again, the word “overbooked” was mentioned) To cut the story short, we never checked in to the original hotel. But instead we stayed here:

Living room in State Tower hotel

State Tower's bedroom with free computer use and internet (LAN and WiFi). That's Panch checking out what's on cable.

State Tower's bedroom with balcony

Our room has a dining area and a fully functioning kitchen too: stove, microwave, airpot and refrigerator plus and all the plates and utensils you'll be needing

It was a blessing! Oh, did I mention that the view at the balcony was spectacular?!?! ^_^

The view from our room's balcony at State Tower in Silom

And talking to Mike, the manager who’s very accommodating and nice, the roof that we are in is much expensive but I felt it’s practically lovelier. And besides, I made it clear that if we stay there we will be charged with the price deal I made with the previous hotel. We might have missed the free American breakfast deal but I practically don’t care. We are in Bangkok, food is everywhere 😉

Stress vs. Blessing no. 3: Away from Sukhumvit vs. Staying in Silom.

Obviously with my almost yearly visits in Bangkok, I am more familiar with Sukhumvit area. But it ended up, I love it there!!! There’s also a walking distance train station! Too bad I wasn’t able to take photos of the street. But I promised myself I will be back and will be staying in that area again.

Stress vs. Blessing no. 4: Alone in Bangkok vs. Getting around.

Alone I meant without any Filipino friend (I miss you, Gian!) to be with. For my past trips there, I usually stay with my friend Gian or a local friend will be taking me around. And it’s Panch’s first time there too so it’s up to me. And lo and behold, I still remember the stations and exits 😀 Yehey! I think I’m more familiar with the train stops there than here in Manila.

 

Me taking photo of Non, my Thai friend Put's brother at the grounds of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

And with this trip, made me decide not to fear being alone or at least have a contact person in a place you are going to. This trip was my shortest but I guess still ok.

Doing the famous Thai hand-gesture greeting with Ronald McDonald

 

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Double Celebration

It’s my 2nd day in Davao and will just be doing a quick blog…

Today’s my Nanay’s 70th birthday and she’s celebrating it along side with Ate Neth’s house blessing ^_^

Ate Neth (left) and my Nanay (right) by the main entrance of Ate Neth's house

We heard mass in the morning in SVD (Society of the Divine Word) Davao and ended the day with the actual house blessing. Photos will be shared when sorting already 😉 For now, sharing a couple of photos:

Ate Neth's one-of-a-kind house design 😉

And below is a breathe-taking view you’ll be seeing everyday from the house’s balcony (from the room’s balcony that Nanay and I are staying)…

Breathe-taking view: will ask Ate Neth what is this mountains name

Will be posting (hopefuly soon) more photos from my Davao’s experience (second time around) 😉

To Nanay: Maligayang 70th birthday, Nanay!!! *hugs and lots of kisses* We love you!!!

To Ate Neth: May a dozen more happiness, unsolicited love and (world?) peace always surround your new house. Thank you for accepting me and Nanay as part of your family. Love you, Ate! *hugs*

 

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Summer in Pagudpod

I was trying to organize my photos and sort what can be sorted out. My hard drive has crashed on me twice deleting my photos that has been organized in iPhoto. It pains me that I have to do it all over again that’s why I’ve been procrastinating for quite sometime now. My online organization isn’t as reliable since I’ve been juggling from Multiply to FB and my 2 Flickr free accounts has been well, max-ed up 😦 I’m thinking now if I’ll be purchasing (and maintaining) a Pro account from Flickr just to be “organized”. I intended to remove the existing photos that has been uploaded but seeing that most of it has been viewed, well, made me think again.

Anyway, it feels now that I’m going back in time with my random search and check with these photos. Expect that in the coming days I will be uploading and sharing my photos from places I’ve been too. I’m not sure if I’ve posted here already since I have a habit of procrastinating in blogging and uploading photos and blogs 😦  I won’t promise that I’ll be diligent this time, but I will try 😉

Now, let’s stay with not so long ago. This is one of my best summer as I recall. With my cousins, aunt and uncle, we headed to the northern part of Luzon for a few days and enjoyed the summer breeze, sun and food 😀 That was more than a year ago, March 2009.

It’s raining and gloomy now as I write this blog. And looking back at my photos of those days, walking down the memory lane, it feels like summer again Ü

Pagudpod Waves

Big waves in Pagudpod beach

Appreciating serene blue waters in mid-day in Pagudpod while I stayed in the shades provided by the trees along the shore

And lying on a hammock, reading a book, sipping fruit shakes or just simply napping was a perfect way to spend a day in such place

This driftwood got my attention in that small pond or swamp behind the Saud Beach Resort where we stayed

Pagudpod Sunset

And what could be a perfect setting and end of a summer day? A perfect sunset.

When asked if I’d like to come back here and spend a few days, I’ll definitely say YES! If you’re after getting a splash of waves (big ones) and a tan on a white beach sand, head north and go to Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte. Minus the night life (which I can do without), it can really be considered the Boracay of the North.

For more photos of the place and some quirky photos of me and my cousins, check out my album here and here ^_^

 

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My (First and) Last Hurrah for Summer 2010

Yes. I got my wish…

Thanks for the long weekend and a non-official planning with Nanay, we closed the summer (actually it’s already raining here in Manila) by hitting the Zambales beach.

Two and a half days and two nights of non-chaotic moments. It isn’t just-all-by-myself days or those road trips-runaway-leisure days but it wasn’t that bad. Thank you, Nanay ^_^

(From a camphone) My only picture of the trip: Afternoon waves of Iba, Zambales beach

First out of town trip that I didn’t bring my digital camera. But I did bring Lucky (the lolo but yet very much working Powerbook that’s been with me for years) because I plan to work a few simple jobs assigned to me but it turned out, I never even open the bag where I kept the trusty Apple gadget. Let’s consider it his rest days too :p

Zambales may not be Boracay but it’s the nearest beach area to hit if you’re eyeing a northern location to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The days we stayed there were fabulous. No rain and not much of people hitting the beach. What a blessing!!! You may find it weird but I prefer places even beaches that are not crowded. I enjoy the sights and beauty of a place when it’s serene.

I’m not a swimmer. A few beach visits I made before I wasn’t able to take a dip. But it doesn’t matter as long as I’m a witness of a sunrise or sunset by the beach, I get to walk barefoot along the shore and my feet and legs get washed by the splashing waves, I’m happy with it. I feel like I’m being refreshed and recharged. And that what happened last weekend.

I got dark but not really peeling-sunburn. Sun-kissed some call it. But for me just a remembrance of my simple long weekend getaway. And with that I’m planning a road trip before the year ends… the me-time getaway.

 

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