I recently learned one negative aspect on earth that results to something positive! It’s the Negative Ions that are abundant in nature especially around waterfalls, the ocean surf and the beach. Scientists say that negative ions are like antimicrobial agents that neutralizes fee radicals and promote good health as well as overall well-being.
I recently harvested a pretty good amount of negative ions when I recently had a fun out-of-town adventure with my colleagues at one nice beach resort in Laiya, Batangas.
Refreshed and recharged, I was able to create two videos from this summer in September fun adventure. Happy watching…
With its world wide appeal and popularity, the Japanese ramen has turned out to become such an intense source of pride for Japan. It is so popular, Chefs around the world are in serious pursuit of locating and determining the best Japanese ramen ever made.
I myself love a number of ramen varieties and such popularity makes me so jealous on why our Filipino-made and Filipino-developed noddle dish could not be as popular as that of the savory ramen. I wish and dream on the day when the erstwhile and yummy Pinoy Lomi would be as popular, as trendy and as pursued-after kind of a noodle dish like that of the Japanes Ramen.
Japanese Ramen houses are literally everywhere around the planet. But can you envision and imagine having a Lomi House in the well-appointed streets of New York, Paris and Sydney?
And while I patiently wait until such an embryonic and what seem to be ridiculous vision turned out to become such a shocking and ridiculous reality, let me feature one savory Lomi that I and friends recently tried when we went to San Juan in the province of Batangas.
Cafeño the leading café restaurant in San Juan, Batangas (according to Tripadvisor) offers a very good variety of Lomi. Picture freshly-cooked thick noodles, rich and savory broth, the perfect amount of spice, half-cooked egg topped with crispy pork cracklings!
I would not say Cafeño’s version of Lomi is the best Lomi in the country. It is because I have always believed that there is no such thing as the best Lomi. This Pinoy noodle dish is supposed to be of a personal preference. It’s more on having your own favorite variety. Thus, unlike the popular ramen houses who claims to serve the best ramen dish, there is no best Lomi in the country because every Pinoy definitely would have their preferred and darling Lomi version. And so far, Cafeño’s version has been my personal choice and favorite.
The Pinoy Lomi may not be as highly-sophisticated like some of the ramen varieties but this meal manages to be so comforting and soul-soothing at the same time. It is a properly balanced bowl dish that earthlings outside the Philippines has yet to discover.
“Your unexpected detour could lead to unexpected moments of beauty that otherwise you would have missed”
This is how I would summarize my thought after I and my friend-colleagues has gone to Laiya, San Juan in the province of Batangas to scout for a venue for our upcoming company’s post-summer outing.
We basically checked-out, visited and inquired almost all of the major sea-side vacation lands in the area but in each of the resorts we visited there seem to be something lacking. We have gone to seven leading resorts yet we still were not one in deciding which to choose. This until, we decided to get lost and do a little detour before heading back to Manila.
And here is what we found!
It really feels good to be lost in the right direction…
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.
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!
One common yet unofficial belief of religious and unreligious Catholics is that they can make a wish every time they enter a Catholic Church for the first time. Others, may they have a religion or none, would take the opportunity to make a wish every time they came across a wishing well.
I love churches and wishing wells, these spots gives me the feelings of positivity, optimism and upbeat emotional strength. Both feels like they have strange and mysterious healing powers!
Almost all people, I guess, after making a wish in these places would either forget about it or let fate and providence be the arbiter if such longing will be granted or not. No one I guess ever thought or dared of going back to the church or wishing well to follow up his or her wish. Relaying a reminder for the granting of a yearning is not part of the tradition or the custom of making wishes. This is definitely something rare and uncommon.
And since I am rare and uncommon, I did the rare and the uncommon. I followed-up.
Last Thursday, after touring a very interesting meat processing plant in Malvar, Batangas, me and my colleagues decided to go for a side trip. We went to the old heritage town of Taal, Batangas. For a very brief exploration, we went to 2 old churches and one mystical wishing well in Taal.
We went to the St. Martin De Tours Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in Asia and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, one of the few churches in the world that was given the special privilege by the Vatican for plenary indulgence. To cap our short Taal trip, we went to the old spring-fed wells of Sta. Lucia, a miraculous wishing well.
Since I have been to all these three spots just a couple of weeks ago, this means, I would not have the opportunity to make a wish. Thus, to make this trip a more fruitful one, I simply expressed a reminder for the granting of my wish. The same request I made the first time I went there.
At the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, people are obliged to return to this site when their wishes has already been granted. Grantees return so as to offer white or violet-colored flowers and to pray their deepest thanks. Since my wish has yet to be granted, I did not bring with me any flower but nevertheless say a short prayer of thanks for being well and alive.
Still at the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, while dampening my face, my neck, my arms and my hair with the banal na tubig (sacred water) fetched from the well I was literally uttering in a sweet gentle tone, “Follow-up lang po… follow-up lang po…”.
Everyone was laughing when they heard me say this. Maybe it’s because it’s unusual to follow-up. My colleagues knew that I was just there few days ago, that is why they were giggling when I was making a follow-up.
So, to make my wish become more potent, I called for reinforcements! I requested my colleagues’ that part of their wishes is that they wish that my wish be granted!
“We stayed in an old Spanish-colonial house”. This is my usual response to a lot of friends who asked where did I and a couple of friends stayed when we were in Taal, Batangas. We actually stayed in Paradores Del Castillo, an old Spanish-Filipino house turned into a hotel.
For those who love the old world flavor with the illustrado-Spanish-Filipino touch, you will truly enjoy staying in this hotel. And true enough, as soon as I saw the façade and entered this old house, I immediately wanted take photos of the whole place. Every space, wall and décor seem to have rich characters. It would be one of those places that Ernest Hemmingway or Jose Rizal would approve of. It felt like I was in some old Filipino period movie produced by LVN or the Sampaguita pictures.
Here are a few photos of this beautiful and uniquely Filipino hotel.
It has always been my belief that entering a house of prayer or a religious temple for the first time goes with a lot of perks. I am with the faithful belief that you can ask for three wishes if it is your first time to enter a church. This of course is aside from the opulent opportunity to pray for your loved ones, express your heartfelt gratitude, catch-up with God and in a way save your soul.
But my first time visit to the church of Our Lady of Caysasay in Barangay Labac, Taal has more than what I expected. I only knew through a brochure write-up of the hotel were we stayed in Taal that pilgrims and visitors of this church as decreed by Vatican may actually receive the rare and priceless plenary indulgence. This means, if you visit and pray at Caysasay Shrine all your sins, wickedness and impiety will be washed away. Upon knowing this, and since my wickedness is already up to the brim, I made sure that I and my friends must go there.
Aside from washing away all my evilness, I also got to meet one remarkable kid in Taal. His name is Mark Vincent. I actually met him right inside the church. After saying a solemn prayer, this kid approached me and asked if I wanted to personally hold the image of Our Lady of Caysasay. I of course agreed. He then told me to follow him outside, led me to the back of the church and asked me to go up the stairs which leads me to the back of the high altar.
When I reached the top floor, the main backdoor of the church was locked. Mark Vincent noticed that I could not get in so he hurried downstairs and told the church’s personnel to open the door for me and my friends. This is where the amazing and rare opportunity of touching the miraculous image, her vestment and even the hair of Our Lady of Caysasay happened. This beautiful experience was indeed sublime and mystifying.
When I told Mark Vincent that he is supposed to be in school that Wednesday morning, he told us that his teacher ordered them to report halfday after lunch because it’s the feast day of St John the Baptist. In Batangas province, part of its local tradition is to splash water to people passing by the streets from morning ‘til noontime during San Juan day. The teacher then, as I supposed, must not want her students reporting at school in the morning all drenched wet.
I was expecting Marc Vincent to ask money from us upon making sure we experience what we experienced. Usual Pinoy cunning and scheming kids would charge or ask tourists for money for the service they believe they’ve rendered. But what is so remarkable about this kid is that he never asked anything from us. He simply wanted us to have a deeper encounter with the Lady of Caysasay. This is the point when I surmised that Mark Vincent, the genteel and well-mannered kid, must be some angel sent by heaven. (I will write further about my encounter with this remarkable kid in the days to come…)
Sa wakas nahuhasan din. Grabe. Ang linis linis ko. Hahaha!