Category: Activities

Tara, Isabela!

Isabela is the largest province of the Philippines and the largest on the island of Luzon in land area. Its capital is the city of Ilagan. We have our Mengal festival yearly. Where Miss Earth pageant’s Resorts Wear and Talent Portion Competition was recently held at my hometown. I am from Echague, Isabela. Yes, I am an Ilokana and I absolutely love pinakbet, inabraw, inatata and most especially native tinola!

Now, let me tour you first before we talk more about our delicacies. Tempting, I know right!

Magat Dam Magat Dam

First of all, Magat Dam. A major source of power and water supply in Northeastern Luzon, and Southeast Asia’s biggest hydroelectric dam. It is located at the boundaries of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and Ramon, Isabela. There is no entrance fee so if you want to breathe fresh air while enjoying the nature, you can come here. In addition to that, you can bring your bike or just stroll when you are with friends. My daughter were so thrilled upon seeing fishermen on their boats that she wanted to ride it there and then. While my Daddy took pleasure in fresh and live fish. He bought kilos of fish back then.

Ilagan Sanctuary Image result for ilagan sanctuary

Next destination is the most accessible natural tourist spot in the whole province. Located in a portion of Fuyot Spring National Park that comprises the Northern Sierra Madre National Park. A hike of about 2.5 kilometers from the caves will lead to Pinzal Falls which is the main source of water for the swimming pools right by the picnic areas. The sanctuary also houses several parks and recreation areas including a botanical garden, boating area, a hanging bridge, zip line, fish pond, and a mini-zoo.

Crocodile SanctuaryRelated image

Also, we have the Philippine crocodile or bukarot is considered the most threatened crocodilian species in the world due to hunting, destructive fishing and habitat conversion. It was rediscovered in the town of San Mariano in 1999. The crocodile sanctuary protects this special animal by keeping hatchlings in a rearing station before releasing them in the wild 18 months later.

Image may contain: 6 people, including Bianka Alejandro, Deborah May A. Garcia and Bea A. Alejandro, people smiling, people sitting
With my Mom, nieces and kids. We always have our family picture taking here at the butaka.

Butaka

In addition we have the butaka. Have you heard of it? It’s a reclining lounge with a lengthy back, extended arms found in many homes here. Isabela is the home to the world’s largest lounge chair (weighing 2,368 kilos) which was built to promote woodcraft/furniture industry. The gigantic chair measures 9.7 feet wide, 20.8 feet long and 11.4 feet high. Found in a shed at the Freedom Park in Ilagan as a town landmark. Both my parents own a butaka at our house. They had their supplier made a little verison, a customized one for their apo, my daughter Grey. And it’s still sturdy. I feel cozy every time I’m at the butaka. I can fall asleep quickly. Likewise, my parents are like my butaka. My security blanket.

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Honeymoon Island

Furthermore, as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines with its crystal clear waters teaming with live fishes and corals is a sure haven for sea folks. At around 3:00 in the afternoon, a major low tide affects the area which reveals crazy rock formations, small basins of corals and live fishes. A virgin island that will capture your mind & soul.

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Palanan Related image

Moreover, stargazing in the coastal town of Palanan is a definitely a must do. The night sky lits up with billions of lights that you could go on staring at them. Aside from the fact that it has wonderful beaches to offer, too.

Now, lets go to our delicacies!

Seafood

The local tribe of Isabela – the Dumagats, still practice barter trading. You can trade a can of sardines for freshly caught lobsters. Yes, you got it right, lobsters. The Dumagat Tribe is one of the oldest tribes in the country. Dumagat tribe is perhaps the oldest living tribe in the Philippines. I think it would be my privilege and honor to get to mingle with them up close and personal. One day, I will bring my kids to play with them.

Pancit Cabagan Image result for famous longganisa in cauayan

The most popular local specialty to try. It is made of stir-fried, fresh miki noodles with mixed vegetables, quail’s eggs and topped with cripy lechon de carajay or fried pork bits. You can try this in many restaurants but locals recommend always Josie’s Panciteria & Restaurant in Cabagan, Isabela as serving the best variety. But I found a nearer place at Cauayan, Isabela called Triple J’s restaurant.

Aling Luring’s Gotohan

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“Sobrang sarap po nitong mga inihain sa amin aa Aling Luring’s! Serkele, Goto, Lumpia, at Okoy, lahat okay! Definitely a must-try kapag napadaan po kayo sa Cauayan, Isabela” ~Sen. Bam Aquino. Cauayan Mayor Bernard Dy (white polo shirt) and Isabela Governor Bojie Dy (black tshirt) with Sen. Aquino.

Originated at J.M. Basa st. Concepcion Baliwag, Bulacan. Established in the early 70s by Leonila “Nanay Luring” Castro Trinidad. The concept of a traditional filipino “meryenda” (snack) such as goto- a rice porridge with stewed ox tripe, serkele, palabok, tokwa baboy, lumpiang gulay, chicken arrozcaldo with puto & kutchinta was born and is continually in existence at this place. The family’s food business branched out to the far northern part of the Philippines at Cauayan, Isabela in 1985. The concept and the original menu has not been altered since then, with the addition of sweet dessert like biko, sapin sapin, pitchi pitchi, bibingka and the fast rising popularity of the side dish “okoy” with special vinegar for dipping.
Good heathy food that will nourish not just your appetite but also your soul.

Inabraw Image result for inabraw picture

Inabraw or dinengdeng is a tasty combination of different fresh vegetables such as jute leaves, bamboo shoots, young corn, patola, eggplant, tomato, okra, malunggay, bitter melon, string beans, squash flowers, and other products with bagoong. This is one of my comfort food. My mom would add malunggay and fried fish, too. Yummy!

Mushroom Image result for mushroom cauayan

Cauayan City  is the “mushroom city of the North.” You can find unique dishes made from farm-grown mushrooms here like the mushroom empanada. It’s filled with sliced oyster mushrooms and sauce instead of meat. The town’s Mushroom Center produces other unique mushroom-based dishes like mushroom pickles, mushroom tempura, mushroom patties, mushroom sisig, mushroom shake – and even mushroom ice cream. I would say, vegetarians will love this.

Inatata & Corn Coffee

Image result for inatata & binallayIsabela is the rice granary of the North. You can find rice delicacies like tupig and suman in different towns. Inatata is a glutinous rice creamed with coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt. The name comes from a combination of the words for mother and father “ina” and “tata” to reflect the labor of love from parents because of the care in which it takes to wrap the rice treats. It looks like ammunition belts of a machine gun but paired with hot choco or hot coffee will make your day.

As a corn capital of Philippines too, Isabela offers variety of corn delicacies. One of which is the corn coffee.  It lacks caffeine so you can consume it anytime of the day. Aside from corn coffee, they also have nachos, corn shake and pastillas that are all made of corn.

Binallay

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Another homegrown rice cake is Binallay, made of glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves. “Balay” means “house”. This has religious significance and traditionally served during the Holy Week, to help Isabelinos endure hunger during the fasting period.

 

Native tinola Image result for native tinola

I grew up eating my vegetables like malunggay, saluyot, eggplant, sigarilyas, string beans, squash and even bitter gourd. I love my mother’s famous tenderly delicious beef steak and her adobo that meat will almost fall on its bone. My all-time favorite is native tinola. Why? Because my father will butcher one of his native chickens then my mother will cook it. See the tandem behind the preparation & cooking? I love the partnership my parents have. That’s called labor of love. They are my Yin Yang. So every time I am home, my dad & mom will cook for me. Native tinola tastes no other. Nothing compares to the aroma and invigorating soup. It warms my heart and my stomach is full, too.

Finally, I would like to add the most prominent celebration in Isabela is the Bambanti Festival celebrated every January. Named after the Scarecrow which guards the fields from birds and pests, the Bambanti Festival celebrates the agricultural industry, natural resources, culture and industries of the entire province. This year’s festival has got them in Guinness World of records.

I will make another blog about what adventures and where to stay when in Isabela. For now, let’s satisfy our hunger.

HONGKONG-MACAU 2019

HONGKONG-MACAU 2019

 
Traveling to Hongkong-Macau is special to me because it’s my and our first time to travel with my girlfriend outside of the Philippines. But actually we’re not alone, we have her whole family with us. As the quote saying, “The family that stays together travel together” and yes indeed true. Why not. As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” and that’s what we did. We made it. VIOLA!!!!

Pre Departure: We stayed in front of NAIA Terminal 3

Yes, you read it right. We stayed in front of NAIA Terminal 3. But not literally in front of the airport. Hehehe. We just booked an AIRBNB located in front of the terminal so that it is hassle-free from all of us going to the airport since our departure was 7 am in the morning and also we have my girlfriend’s grandmother and her niece. So think of it, its quite hassle if we will coming from afar. Nice move right?

Boarding Time

Everything was smooth. We checked in, paid for travel tax and passed at the immigration. The immigration that everyone was afraid of. We’re lucky that our officer was kind and don’t have any questions at all. Just luck though.

We boarded on time. Thanks to Cebu Pacific. No delays at that time.
 
 

Touch Down (Hongkong International Airport)

 

Hong Kong International Airport is the commercial airport serving Hong Kong, built on reclaimed land on the island of Chek Lap Kok. The airport is also known as Chek Lap Kok Airport. The airport has been in commercial operation since 1998, replacing Kai Tak Airport.

What did we do in Hongkong?

Enjoy the enchanting view of Victoria harbour

The harbour is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. Lying in the middle of the territory’s dense urban region, the harbour is the site of annual fireworks displays and its promenades are used as gathering places for tourists and residents.

Visit 1881 Heritage

In a city that preserves its traditions while looking firmly to the future, 1881 Heritage fittingly combines historical attractions with more contemporary pursuits.

Visitors can shop for international fashion brands and enjoy fine dining on the grounds where pirates were incarcerated and a daily signal was watched by ships in the harbour as they prepared for long and treacherous trans-global journeys. Tradition and innovation, past and present, 1881 Heritage is a real Hong Kong experience.

Enjoy Hongkong Disneyland

I remembered back when I was a kid, I love watching Disney movies/cartoons. I bet when we say HongKong, every one of us will firstly think of the Disneyland in Hong Kong. Right? We enjoyed our whole day stay inside Disney land.  I keep on saying to myself that someday I will be back in here. And of course with my child hopefully. Because I know it was everyone’s dream.

Facts: Although HK Disneyland is smaller than that in other countries, the Adventureland section is the biggest Adventureland of any Magic Kingdom park around the world.

Visit the “Las Vegas of Asia”, MACAU

 

Traveling to Macau from Hongkong was just a quick 1 hour of travel via BUS. That’s why it’s a must.
FACTS:
Today, Macau (澳門) is formally known as Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is an autonomous territory, so even though it is officially part of China, it has its own currency and immigration policy, separate from that of mainland China or Hong Kong. In fact, even visitors from the mainland and HK will have to pass through immigration and customs check upon entering Macau.

Macau has a lot to offer. Some of the places that we visited are as follows:

  • Senado Square

  • The Parisians

  • Ruins of St Paul

Walking around Macau really amazed me because there are many Filipinos working and traveling there.  It’s really true that everywhere there is a Filipino.

So what are you waiting for? Travel now with your loved ones.

“Time is free but is priceless. You cannot own it but you can use it. You cannot keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it. you can never get it back.”-Marvey Mackay

 

Alladin: The Disney Live Remake

Listen, Disney has been re-making their classics into live action. From the last movie Beauty and the Beast (I enjoyed a bit), I think I was more in love with their remake of Alladin. The animation was not my cup of tea growing up yet the remake was incredible! All the colors and lively songs, One of the things I love about it either is they didnt white-wash the movie. All the actors seems like they came from Arabia, the casting was great they fitted the role of their parts perfectly!

My favorite part would have to be Alladin’s entrance to Agraba, where genie introduced him to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine. Genie made a spectacular parade of colors and dance. Will Smith (Genie) made this remake oh so dazzling!

Travel to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Discover the most beautiful beaches in the country

What to see in Cambodia?

When you hear Cambodia, you’d probably think of Angkor Wat (in Siem Reap) which is their very popular tourist spot. Most tourist in Cambodia go there to experience and see the most historical temple in the country. But what others don’t know is that there’s a lot to explore in this country. One of it is in Sihanoukville.

There’s a lot of beautiful beaches in this province of Cambodia that is conveniently not so busy.

So, here’s a list of most beautiful beaches you should probably visit during your trip to Cambodia.

1. Otres Beach

Is a white sand beach with a crystal clear water you can’t resist to swim. It’s peaceful and not so crowded. On the other hand, if you prefer swimming pool there are also a lot of beautiful hotel and resorts nearby. (Check this) There are also restaurants and bars alongside of the beach that offers good food and comes with a lot of choices.

 

 

 

2. Ochheuteal Beach

This beach is more lively and crowded compare to Otres beach. It has chain of restaurants and bars but it is a good spot for watching the sunset.

 

 

 

3. Koh Rong Island

It is like a virgin island which has a lot of beautiful beaches and bungalows, perfect for wedding occasions and honeymoon. You can also do a lot of water activities such as snorkeling, jetski, scuba diving etc.

 

 

 

There’s still a lot more beaches in Sihanoukville but those three are the most popular and organized. So if you plan to visit Cambodia, make sure you add these to your bucket list. Enjoy!

A Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Guitar

A Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Guitar

 

Are you a big fan of the guitarists of a certain band you like? Do you fancy yourself playing a guitar in front of a huge crowd while they sing their hearts out? Or, do you just want to have fun jamming with your friends? Then, you’re on the right page! Tell you what, you won’t need to have a musician’s blood in your veins just to play a guitar. As a beginner, you just need to know the basics then afterwards, you’ll be able to tune your beloved guitar to your own melody.

 

Here are the guitar basics a beginner should know about:

 

    • Get to Know the Parts.

      This is a vital information for every aspiring guitarist. Of course, you can only win a war using a weapon you’re a master of. Getting to know the parts of the guitar should be your first lesson. These parts are the bridge, neck, headstock, tuning pegs, frets, and sound hole. When you’ve understood their uses, then you’ll recognize their distinct contribution to the music you’re making.

    • Tune and Hold the Guitar Properly.

      There are many ways of holding the guitar which do not compromise the correct posture and give comfort to the guitarist. For beginners, discomforts are to be expected in areas like shoulders, arms, hands, and neck as they tend to slide the guitar down to see what’s going on. On the other hand, tuning a guitar requires you to know the various string and fret combinations. You must familiarize yourself with the name of each string, as well.

    • Choose the Pick.

      You can always use your thumb or index fingers in strumming the guitar, but certain times come when you just won’t last long. There comes the pick. Picks can be thin or thick, medium thin or medium thick. For beginners, a standard shaped medium thickness pick is advisable. No worries. You can always decide what suits you better later.

    • Time for the Chords!

      E Minor chord and D2 are two of the easy chord shapes. Chords create the music. You may find it hard for your muscles to move with coordination. That’s okay! At least, you have a good start! Practice as many times as you can in a day. This way, your fingers will remember the chords. Then, changing chords later will be a smooth one for you.

    • Make your own music.

      Now that you’ve known the basic in playing the guitar, it’s time for you to get up, hold your guitar, play the chords, and compose your own music.

     

    Playing the guitar becomes easy when you’ve got the determination to learn all about the instrument. Your music may not be that good at the start. But as days pass by, you’ll get better with constant practice. And eventually, you’ll be able to tune your guitar to your own melody. So, pick up your guitar and have a good start today!

Suroy sa Misamis Oriental

Credit to Eat Bulaga Miss Millennial 2018

When we heard about Mindanao some people think negatively because of the chaos that happened at Marawi City. The Martial Law in Mindanao declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte still ongoing and tourists and travelers afraid to visit some beautiful tourist spot of Mindanao. Well, you should not be afraid, why? because the Provinces of Mindanao has their own unique, beautiful, delicious delicacies and friendly people. Let us talk about one of the provinces in Mindanao “Misamis Oriental”

Why Misamis Oriental on your travel bucket list? Why not! Misamis Oriental has lots of tourist spots where you can choose depending on your personality and hobbies. If you love adventure Misamis Oriental has different adventure places like Water rafting at Cagayan River, Dahilayan adventure park where you can experience extreme rides and the dual longest zipline in Asia. Another new is pragliding its new in Misamis Oriental where you can experience to fly and to see the heart of the city at the top. And not to forget the new seven seas water park where you can experience extreme water slide.

Misamis Oriental, as a coastal province, is dominated by two bays to the north; the Macajalar and the Gingoog Bay.[3] The central portion of the province features several rivers originating from the highlands of Bukidnon, such as the Cagayan. And because of that many beautiful beaches, waterfalls and water springs in this province.

If we’re talking food and pasalubong Misamis Oriental has different kakanin or native food. We have sweet Bibingka (rice cake), Puto Maya, Binaki (sweet tamales) biko (sticky rice) Toasted Peanut by cheding’s and many more to say. Each town of Misamis Oriental has their own story they have their own souvenirs too. In our town which is Salay Misamis Oriental, we have Salay Handmade Paper Industries Inc. (SHAPII) they cater a different kind of souvenirs that made by their creative hands. You can visit their facebook page to see how beautiful their products are.
https://www.facebook.com/salayhandmadeproducts

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Explore, Experience Life is short, Philippines has 7,107 islands to visit. Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen ONCE. What are you waiting for Tara suroy nata sa Misamis Oriental!