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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Summer 2017 is on here in the Philippines!  Here’s my first summer adventure this year!  Fun spending an early summer season with MJ, Willie and JB…

It’s my third time in Baler and this bucolic province never ceases to amaze me.  Love this place!

I lab Baler!

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national shrine of padre pio

One of the highlights of Nengkoy’s birthday celebration last week was my whole family’s visit to the National Shrine of Padre Pio located in Sto. Tomas Batangas (80 km south of Manila).  Except for my younger sister Joie, it was everybody’s first time in the church.

Before proceeding to the main church area all of us took time to roam and check out the grounds of the holy national shrine.  We even lighted a number of votive candles to give thanks and pray for some groovy and awesome intercession.

votive candles…. got myslef a green for health, nengkoy took a brown for birthday while nephew miggy got himself a yellow for money! hahaha!

smiling nengkoy with smiling padre pio

come holy spirit…

few of my monster nephews… denden, luis, kambal, neil and miggy

got to kiss this…

a super blessed day… (nephew alexis: a photo bomber hahaha!)

We failed to attend and listen to a Holy Mass but we were nevertheless lucky and were at the perfect time to have attended an awesome Healing Liturgy.  And part of the blessed ceremony is that people got to kiss a sacred relic of St. Padre Pio followed by an anointment of a fragrant oil on both palms and the forehead.

Though it initially freaked me out, because I thought my lips are gonna burn (hahaha!) when it touches the relic, the experience was something serene, calm and divine.  I definitely felt God’s blessings and Padre Pio’s embrace.

Visiting Padre Pio church in Batangas was one beautiful experience.  It was one blessed experience!

Mwah! Mwah!

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How many times do a person need to play a sport before he or she considers that game as his/he sport?  Does it have to be a daily playing of the sport? Once a week? Once a month?  Do a player needs to receive a prize or a medal for winning the game before he or she considers that sport his/her sport?  Or do you have to enlist yourself to legit and recognized sport organization so that you can call that sport your sport?

Or do you simply need to know the mechanics of the sport, be a knowledgeable on who are the legends and superstars of that sport and you just have to simply have to be an avid fan of such a sport before you can consider that sport your sport?

If the basis for having a sport is the last question, without any shoes or any gear, then my sport would be tennis.  But for other basis or criteria of having a sport, then I can easily say that I don’t have one.

Maybe playing a sport is not in my genes and bloodstream.  In the past, every time a soul would ask me what’s my sport, without butting an eyelash and feeling sedimentary, I would simply say “none” then start justifying that sports are only for people who needs to exhibit hatred, vent out ones boastfulness and dispense their sadistic pleasures.

But this is until recently when for the third consecutive year of visiting the bucolic municipality of Baler, I guess I can consider myself of finally having a sport.  That would be SURFING!  No not windsurfing or kite surfing or internet surfing.  Its beach surfing!  Yeah!  This is my third time on three consecutive years to surf the soft-sanded Sabang Beach of Baler.  Would this count?

a short re-briefing...

a short re-briefing…

as usual someone needs to carry my surf board for me. hahaha!

as usual someone needs to carry my surf board for me. hahaha!

i heart baler

i heart baler

surf is up! hahaha!

surf is up! hahaha!

I have yet to know technical terms of the sport like tubing, windswell, crumbly and pearling, but I’m definitely stoked every time I got to surf.  It may only be my third time but I already feel like I’m a Kahuna!  Kahuna by the way according to surfers are the wizards and magicians of surfing!  Hahaha!

Now ask me.  What’s my sport?

You, what’s your sport?

‘Yun nga lang… nakaka-hingal!

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travel buddies

travel buddies

One of the things that I look forward to when I go to Baler is their creamy, yummy and locally made peanut butter.  Aside from a private vehicle, dwellers of the city can reach Baler through a 6-hour bus ride.  And right beside the bus station is the souvenir and take-home-presents (pasalubong) store where Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter can be purchased.

Via bus ride, I was in Baler this weekend.  And upon arrival and while the bus was to park at its station, I took a peek from the window to check the store.  The store was closed and it seemed no longer there. My friends and I, who equally loved Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter, wonder how can a very busy store located at a very accessible and perfect spot, could cease operation?

When breakfast time came while spreading the same delicious peanut butter on my toasted bread (hotels in Baler serve this peanut butter in their buffet), I got to ask one of the restaurant staffs about what happened to Nanay Pacing’s store and where it may have transferred.

I was told that Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  I was told that Nanay Pacing, the label, is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  And that indeed, the big store beside the bus station has closed.

The restaurant staff through a whisper told me that the label has been acquired by the most powerful family in Aurora and that the peanut butter is now being sold at one of the halls of the municipal building.  But with a flicker of hope on catching and tasting the original recipe, I was further told that Nanay Pacing’s new store is now smaller and has relocated and still sells a creamy peanut butter but already of a different brand.  I asked the staff where the store was, she answered she didn’t know.

To validate the story of the restaurant staff, I asked our tour guide cum driver to bring us to the Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter store.  And indeed, he drove us at the municipal hall!  We entered the building, climbed the second floor and indeed saw the bunch of jars of Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter on a shelf waiting to be purchased by mesmerized buyers.  I purchased a couple of bottles for pasalubong.

Upon exiting the municipal building, I then instructed our driver/tour guide to bring us to the new store of Nanay Pacing.  He humbly told us that the store at the bus station is already closed.  I then ordered him to inquire with people at the bus station on where the new store of Nanay Pacing is.  They for sure would know.

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

And indeed our driver through a whisper by one of the folks at the bus station was told on where the new Nanay Pacing’s store was.  He then drove us to the nearby Baler Public Market and pointed to us the new store of Nanay Pacing.  The store was smaller, offers fewer items but still clean and organized.

The bunch of peanut butter jars can easily be seen displayed on the shelves.  I asked the lady manning the store on what happened to the label.  With a smile, she ignored my question and simply answered “we have our own version of a peanut butter and free taste is available”.  I simply told her, “My God, you are so professional!”

I of course took a tasting spoon and whipped a spoonful from the jar.  And when I tasted it, I can suddenly hear my taste buds cheering and clapping for joy!  I knew then that it was the same lovely peanut butter which I was mesmerized when I first tasted it as offered to me by no less than Nanay Pacing herself during my first visit in Baler.

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy's favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy’s favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

the true deal in baler peanut butter

the true deal in baler peanut butter

I purchased a couple of jars and regretted buying at the municipal hall. I then decided that I will just give away all the peanut jars I purchased at the municipal building and I will keep the peanut butter I bought at the public market for my own personal consumption.

While writing this story, I am munching on a piece of bread with heaps of the delicious Great Harvest Peanut Butter!

Ayana, alam nyo na ang hindi dapat bilin at dapat bilin sa Baler…

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It is shocking to learn from the news that a group of businessmen as well as the government of Palawan has plans of putting-up a Nickelodeon-designed underwater theme park.  This indeed is very disturbing.

These builders of artificial theme parks must be made to realize that Palawan itself is one big and breathing park.  A park built by no one but nature itself.  A natural park where people can thrillingly commune with nature.

Palawan in so many times has been voted as the best island in the world.  All human beings who has been to this heavenly place dubbed as “the last frontier” can attest that this island is one of a kind.  The environment is serene, the air is fresh, the waters are crystal clear and the wildlife is healthy.

An underwater theme park is the last thing that Palawan needs.  Owners of Nickelodeon obviously has not gone diving or snorkeling the beautiful waters of Palawan.  They have yet to know the richness of the marine wildlife found in that beautiful island.  Thus, there is no underwater feature of Palawan that is needed to be enhanced.  The clearness of the water and the vastness of marine wildlife in itself is one blissful natural theme park already.

booo!

booo!

I obviously disagree and would not want the construction of an underwater theme park in Palawan.  This opted me to sign-up to the “No Nickelodeon’s Underwater Theme Park in Palawan” petition/campaign.  And let me ask all those who stumbled upon this post to join me by signing up at:

https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/no-to-nickelodeon-s-underwater-theme-park-in-palawan

photo from my most recent trip in el nido, palawan

photo from my most recent trip in el nido, palawan

palawan: heaven on earth

palawan: heaven on earth

One more thing…  SpongeBob SquarePants may be adorable but I don’t need to see or be with him for me to enjoy the most beautiful island in the world.

Nakakaloka!

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One of the beautiful highlights of my recent Seoul trip was something unplanned and unexpected.  Me and my colleagues were lucky enough to be at the right place and at the right time when we happen to experience one traditional South Korean ceremony.

bonsingak: a totally different belfry

bonsingak: a totally different belfry

During the Joseon Dynasty, the Bosingak Belfry was used to keep time.  In the very old days when Seoul was still enclosed by 4 main gates, the bell of Bosingak would ring 33 times at 4:00 AM so as to signify that people can be allowed to enter Seoul.  And by 10:00 PM, the bell again would ring 28 times to alert the public that the gates to the city are closing.

On our way to Insadong (one shopping capital in Seoul), just outside Jonggak subway station, we happen to pass by one oriental-looking structure.  Being first timers and tourists of South Korea, we of course were lured to take photos of the massive building.  When we were called to step in at the rather old compound and was informed that entrance for free, we temporarily suspended our shopping itinerary at Insadong and instead marveled at the beautiful structure in front of us.

i love the colors...

i love the colors…

ring my bell... hahaha!

ring my bell… hahaha!

high fashion!

high fashion!

While taking photos of ourselves, the buildings and the guards in traditional and colorful Korean clothing, we were told that we can participate in the day’s ringing of the bell ceremony.  But before we were allowed to hit the bell with a massive wooden log suspended from the ceiling, we were told to first change into Korean traditional costumes.  The changing into colorful Korean clothes even made this awesome experience more unforgettable.

And at 12 high noon, we were hitting the massive bell of Bosingak to alarm the whole Seoul, South Korea!  And after this awesome experience, we were so inspired, ended up buying lots of traditional South Korean goodies at Insadong.

Kampanerang kuba ang peg!

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In my recent journey to New Zealand, I got to spend a very short period of time in Australia.  It is because my flight from Manila to Queenstown was via Sydney.  It was a 3 hour layover at the land down under.

While at the Sydney airport, I was ecstatic because despite the fact that chances of bumping into my favorite Aussie celebrity was like asking for the heavens to give me the greatest love life I don’t deserve, I was still positively expecting some mystic phenomenon to happen.  I was not expecting to bump into Kylie Minogue or Hugh Jackman nor Cate Blanchett or Chris Hemsworth.  I was not expecting Australians to bestow me a red carpet welcome.  I was not expecting the mayor to hand me the key to their city.  I was actually hoping to see Australia’s singing diva, Dami Im!

dami-im

dami was not popular yet during my visits in sydney...

dami was not popular yet during my visits in sydney…

I know it’s stupid but as soon as my feet landed on the grounds of Sydney, my bizarre and inexplicable hope for Dami Im to be at the airport!  And since I don’t have any photos to show, it means this longing did not transpire.  I guess the heavens was smart enough not grant such a wish, otherwise, I would not have left the airport in time for my journey to fresh Queenstown.

Let me just satiate and mollify this stupid wish by posting and listening to Dami Im’s latest single “Fighting for Love”.  I actually prefer Dami’s live performance during the X Factor TV show than the actual music video of the song…

Na-aning-aning lang sa Sidni…

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.