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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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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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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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Emotions

It’s been a roller coaster ride these pat few weeks. Again, I’ve been missing lots of chance to blog topics, events, happenings or even ideas that came to me. Sigh.

Perhaps it’s just all work for me. Well, it’s my life… I chose it then I have to deal with it. Just like a dear friend who ever one notices that he “kills” himself with work, his reason is so he has no time to “think”. That might have worked for him, for me it doesn’t. And I worry. Not just for what’s happening to me, much of what is happening to him… and where in the world is he?! Gahd! Even his boss-friend is looking for him.

I’m sad and shameful for being a disappointment to my dear friend and almost an older sister to me. Despite that we communicated recently via email and SMS, I can’t deny that she’s really angry at me. It is only to her that I am lost of words to say after I apologize. It’s really my fault not doing her favor which she asked nicely early this month. I have no excuse of being irresponsible again. I don’t know if she’ll be able to read this, I’m really sorry and I do fear you when you get angry. I feel really shameful, awkward and scared.

Though things can run smoothly with a bit of side trips here and there to entertain myslef once in a while. But it just hits my nerve when some people are so insensitive and irresponsible. He’s irritating!!! It’s hard for me to stay in the gray area. It’s just always black or white for me. I’m really disappointed on what has happened with the group. But it’s beyond my control and as part of the team I had to deal with it and respect the decision of our leader. I was just told to hold on to where I am, I wish, no I PRAY that God give me further patience and ignore people who seemed to think of themselves alone. May God keep him away from me because I fear myself of what I am capable of when I snap.

It’s a good thing that I have friends outside of the work circle. If not for them I might have broken down or snapped and give in. releasing emotional (baggages?) rants and raves to friends help a lot. And a few random or unplanned trips really, really helped. Ate Marj and Jose dragged me off my work seat and brought me with them 2 weekends ago to Subic to breathe non-polluted, stress-free and workless air. Sea breeze… aaaahhhhh… simple pleasures I suppose. Considered that as my initial summer getaway. A preparation or a kickoff of my getaways (hopefully). Not able to swim with them due to some “alien” encounters but I am relieved and hapy that weekend. And they were able to see my humble home in Bulacan and meet my Nanay. Oh! Onyx, their black labrador… she’s such a darling to comfort me too… which reminds me, I still have to blog that trip.

Time. Such an expensive leisure? Grammar. Argh!

The last weekend was my great escape to work and city-life that’s been so stressful and so much in rush. It was quite quick though and butt did hurt from hours of sitting in a bus. But it’s so worth it. Expect it to be blogged after I sorted that photos (and I wish it would be soon too). I guess me being from a province too much appreciated the scenic views of Quezon rather than my own place which now have flyovers, malls and fastfood chains. I was really like a tourist taking pictures of anything and everything. I don’t mind looking stupid. I was really happy at that time. As if I’m like a dog being unleashed from it’s collar chains.

Have you ever felt as if you are being chased and been running quite long and yet you don’t seemed to reach the end? Well, that’s how I felt the whole week last week at work. Lots of surprises, expected events that I should have been prepared for. It’s nothing for some but I feel it’s really tiring when everytime I get home there are times I missed brushing my teeth out of sleepiness and tiredness. The degree of being busy and ability to handle stress do depend on each one of us on how we deal with it. It’s one of those subjective topics. I don’t compare so don’t compare mine to anyone elses. No one will win.

Sleep was my mere escape and rest but somehow it’s deprived. Thank God the rush is a bit (take note, a bit NOT totally) over but I feel there’s more to come. It’s the life a choose, again I have to deal with it.

It was so fast. Unnoticed to me until it’s over or passed all these happened in less than 2 weeks? How many emotions have I confronted? It’s just as far as I could remember. And I am blogging aimlessly again. Just typing away whatever thoughts I have.

An emotional release perhaps.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2008 in Rants, Realizations

 

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Travelling Farther North (Part 2: Baguio)

My introduction to this trip was showing the infamous Lion’s Head in Kennon Road going to Baguio. Seeing that structure is an indication that you are near the city of Pines already. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the Kennon Road but instead took the much safer yet longer route to Baguio via Marcos Highway.

A little backgrounder on the said road: Obviously, it was created during the presidential reign of the late Ferdinand Marcos. He even had his head bust statue placed at a certain peak that when you pass that highway to Baguio you’d be reminded who made that road for you. It may be considered machismo but mostly specially by the activists but admittedly or not, it has been a tourist attraction. But it has torn down or blown off at a certain period. I don’t know exactly when but I remember seeing a footage of that action. Oh well, I was disappointed to know what. I have hoping if not seeing and having a photo op of the Lion’s head at least I get a glimpse of the Marcos bust. But all I saw was what’s left of the latter, it’s bust frame.

The road was wider making it safer to take compared to Kennon Road. It’s just a bit far and the safer refered just for the width of the road, but this road is quite steep. It was my first time (in my recollection) to be on a trip to Baguio taking that road. So I was wide awake, secured my seatbelt and swooning over the fog, the curves and the sight.

For video footages of driving along Marcos Highway, check out my multiply site

We reached Baguio almost past 12noon. Tita Rory is our distant relative is quite a local in the area. She comes there a little quite often to check out their house in the non-city area of Baguio.


(L-R) Me, Tita Rory, my Nanay and Tita Nelly, also a distant relative

(Nanay and me: Poinsenttias!!! Now do you know where I got my cam whore attitude 😉
We stayed at her place. We ate packed prepared food for lunch, did a few quick cleaning of the house, freshen ourselves up and then off to have a quick peek of what Baguio now offers.

It’s been decades since I last went to Baguio. I can’t even recall when was it. What’s more vivid in my memory was the visits we had there when we, my cousins and I are quite small. We used to stay at the Baguio Park Hotel in from of the Burham Park. We like taking bicycle rides at that park. Baguio for me is foggy, cold and pine tree.


But this is Baguio now. Houses on the cliffs. Traffic. Pollution. Populated. And SM Baguio.

Wow. The change.


SM Baguio is now considered to be a tourist attraction in the area. It was built taking the shape of a mountain side. And claimed the only SM Mall that uses no airconditioning. Well, obviously they should not have any aircons on, they’re in Baguio, the coolest (in weather) area in the Philippines.


And the façade. Consistent in branding… hehehe


The roofing/ceiling I guess is that makes this mall aircon-less


The site in one of the balcony floors: The Cathedral


Photo op: Tita Rory, my Nanay and Tita Nelly by the balcony


Self-portrait no. 1, attempt no. 1… oops! Missed the Cathedral view


Self-portait no. 2, attempt no. 2… got it! But I prefer the first one

What what can one do in SM Baguio?


EAT: Tita Nelly, Nanay and Tita Rory eating mini bibingkas standing at the foodcourt. They said if it isn’t Baguio they won’t be caught doing that. Hehehe. Well, it’s the same as being in any other SM Mall in Manila. One can eat, walk around and hangout seating on a bench sighting some view in SM Baguio. It’s a weekend, and there are lots of people. We just stayed for less than an hour and off to the next destination.

Oh, before we left… I have been craving for ice cream since that morning. And finally, I have satisfied that craving.


Me and my vanilla ice cream dipped in strawberry flavored coating. Eating ice cream in a cold area? Who cares! I LOOOOOVE ice cream. Period.

Obviously, I am more observant and conscious now. Folks here are fashionable. Perhaps it’s the weather that made them dress that way. Boots, scarves, jackets, trench coats. Plus Baguio is known for having lots of ukay-ukay hubs. Ukay-ukay for those who are not familiar with it is a store that carries second hand items sold for a cheaper price. Items here range from shoes, clothes and bags. If you’re not quite conscious of being fashionable and not that “sensitive” on wearing or having not quite new garments, ukay-ukay is the answer. Too bad we have no time for some ukay visit, perhaps the next time I’ll definitely put that in my itinerary.

Next stop: Baguio Public Market. I’m not quite sure if it’s called the Maharlika Market but it’s where the supposedly cheap goodies are. I have not much of photos in this area because we are warned to guard off our belongings like bags, wallets and cellphones aside from my hands are quite occupied with stuff bought by Nanay and my titas. One thing I’m sure of, silver here is CHEAP. Nabbed a few earrings for my 3 goddaughters (php50.00 each from php80.00) and one simple danggling for me (php100.00 from php120.00).

They bought some broom, a known pasalubong from Baguio, some strawberry jams and ube yams, peanut brittles and fresh veggies which we cooked that night for our dinner.


Flowers are cheap here too. The bouquet was being sold for about php200.00 at first and later the vendor dropped the price to a hundred. Well, if I’m a man I’d snatch that one for sure, for too bad I’m not and don’t have anyone to give the flowers too. Besides, we are to leave the next day, it might not reach Manila in good state.

That was for day 1, Saturday. The next day (Sunday), it was planned to start the day by hearing mass at 5:30 in the Cathedral and head back to Bulacan right after lunch time.


In all fairness, this is just taken with my ever reliable SE K610i. No Photoshop involved (exempt for resizing).

A few photo op after the mass…


At the stairs of Beatitudes. I didn’t notice that this Beatitude about mourning is where we stopped. Timely? Hehehe.

Session Road was closed to traffic that weekend. The week before we came was the Penangbengga Week, a famous flower festival in Baguio.


My Nanay loves flowers, specially one of a kind orchids. Unfortunately, we are too early at that time that the shops are still close. Well, if you can’t take the flowers physically home, take some photos. A cheaper way pa. Hihihi.

Went back at home for a quick breakfast then headed for La Trinidad Valley, Benguet for their famous strawberries!!!


More housing along the cliff. I’m not really afraid of heights but I won’t choose to live in such. I wonder how they get up there.

Reaching the “fields”, it’s not just strawberries that are planted there. Veggies of all sorts that require cool climate are harvested in the area.


Farmers harvesting lettuce


Nanay eagerly pointing the fields. Near her I believe are leeks.

And of course, what we really came for in La Trinidad…


Strawberries!!!


Yum!

And yet, I don’t eat fruits 😦 Including these sweet strawberries. But not so far from where I stood, I heard a bell clinging… ICE CREEEEEAAAM!


Saved by the bell… my almost finished strawberry ice cream.


These are the shrubs where the strawberries came from. Wonder why there’s some sort of black plastic wrap on the soil bed? It keeps the strawberries from getting dirty with soil. Clever.

More photo op… :p


A few hours left before departure, we took a few photos over The Mansion, as they call the Malacañang in Baguio. This is where the reigning president stays when s/he is in the city of Pines.


Me, Nanay, Tita Rory and Tita Nelly. I can honestly say that I am not much of a fan of our government today. I just encouraged the group to take some photos at The Mansion for keepsake… memories.

It’s perimeter by the way is the only place where pines trees are still visible which one can bearly smell on the breeze. Somehow that gave me a few minutes in reminiscing the Baguio that I knew before.

That was a quick weekend getaway. But I’m quite satisfied. Specially that this is another travel I made with my fave red chucks.

 

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Away Time… Layo Muna…

Ratratan… gulatan… magic-kan…

‘Yun ang tawag ko sa mga nangyayari sa akin nitong mga nakaraang araw.  Pakiramdam ko talo ako. Pagod kada tapos ng araw. Well, I guess ganu’n talaga ang buhay…

Basta alam ko, bukas, aalis kami ng nanay ko kasama ang ilang mga kaibigan n’ya. Mahigit isang dekada na akong ‘di napupunta du’n. Basta malayo lang sa gulo at lumamig ang ulo… game na!

Bukas, lalarga kami. Pero ngayon, kailangan ko munang maisip pa’no ako makakauwi. Me rally na naman…

I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Mr. Lion Head!

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2008 in Tagalog Naman

 

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