Friday the 14th! February 14th!

For most people, February 14th is equivalent to flowers, chocolates, big teddy bears, and fancy dinner… but not to me. Simply because it feels funny. And I’m not really romantic. (You know, before, I just had to warn someone that I won’t walk–either alone or with him–in public carrying a bouquet. So yeah, not really into the cliche.) And ever since I started studying in UP, my idea of Valentine’s Day is always associated to good live music, field grass, and glorious food because of the annual university fair which is always scheduled on Valentine’s Week. It’s becoming some sort of a tradition for me. Yes, V-day is almost non-existent if not for the uttered/typed words: Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s just basically an ordinary day spent with good company.

This year’s V-Day, I chose to stick with the tradition. But it definitely feels so much better because I spent it with someone really special, and I got to meet Arbie’s family and some friends.

I took a leave, and traveled from Quezon City to Calamba that morning to avoid the traffic caused by the Valentine’s Day-Pay Day-Friday combo. I arrived there before lunch giving us enough time to go to Rizal Shrine, because, funny enough, I haven’t been there… and we just came from Taal, so I was still in the mood for some heritage site. Honestly, if you’ve been to Taal, you won’t appreciate Rizal Shrine that much because its feel is not as authentic than the sites in Taal. But it’s good to finally be able to go there.

For lunch, we went to Laong Laan, Arbie’s family’s resto, and had a very sumptuous lunch. I’ve been in their resto twice when we’re still not together (actually, when we still doesn’t even know each other) and I enjoyed the food! Arbie ordered some dishes that I haven’t tried yet, and man, it was a veeeery good lunch!

IMG_0107We had chicharong bulaklak, steamed tilapia, chopsuey, and garlic chicken!

After that, we drove to UPLB to have some quiet moment at the National Arts Center located in Mt. Makiling. Before heading there, we got ourselves some dairy products from DTRI. I really miss Milk-o-Jel, but unfortunately it wasn’t available that time, even choco milk. So we bought yogurt ice cream, and a bottle of coffee milk!

IMG_0142 IMG_0136IMG_0156

When it started to get dark, we drove back to the campus, but dropped by for a while at St. Mark’s Chapel. It’s my first time seeing this, and I was really stunned. Its beauty will make you believe in God.

IMG_0181

And I’m so excited to learn that someone close to me is going to get married here!

Just before sundown, we’re back in the campus, already walking around Freedom Park and checking out the booths. We grabbed some food and sat on the grass listening to the show. Giniling Festival was there! I’m always looking forward to Giniling Festival performances in every UP Fair. And hey, Arbie’s so lucky to get one of Bogart’s (yes, the Explorer from Davao City) drumsticks!

IMG_0194

Being in the fair made me miss the university life more! It felt so good to breathe some fresh air. It felt so good to sit with students. It felt so good to listen to live music made by your classmates/schoolmates. It felt so good to listen to leftists talk. It felt so good to listen to uttered words that challenge your thinking. Ah~ it feels so good to be a student/alumna of this university!

That was my February 14, 2014. Basically, it’s a break from work. Not your romantic cliche celebration, but definitely brought me soooo many kinds of tingly feelings — freedom, youth, nostalgia, satisfaction… and that one that I, myself, can’t comprehend… so I’m just calling it love. :)

Posted in Arts and Culture, Events, Food, Music, Social | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taal Town Trip!

Starting a new year always comes with the drive to try something new, learn something new… or go somewhere new. Somewhere different from your usual vacation destinations… like going on a mini field trip… or go back in time!

Last January 11, Arbie and I decided to go back to the Spanish era, and visited the Heritage Town of Taal in Batangas. Imagine, Calle Crisologo in Vigan… it’s just a strip, but it takes you back in time, right? Well, how about a whole town of Calle Crisologos? Plus equally good food, colder wind, balisong, embroidered products, and a more laid-back feel? I knooow! That’s Taal. It’s awesome!

We arrived in Taal at around 10 in the morning. We had breakfast on the way there. Thanks to Arbie’s explorative cooking, and trusty picnic basket and cooler–we’re loaded for the day trip.

Stop #1: St. Martin de Tours Basilica
This is the biggest Catholic church in Asia, I guess in terms of the size of the structure, not its capacity. We climbed up the bell tower, and in there the whole town is visible. It’s a nice view.

I can send this shot to the Department of Tourism, you know. #MoreFun

BELL TOWER!

BELL TOWER!

Stop #2: Taal Town Park
Well, it’s where we parked, located just in front of the Basilica. They have this huge concrete letters of the town’s name. You see, it’s a playground for the local kids! We wanted to have a picture with the letters… alone, but the kids were all over the structure. Arbie used his “charms” and told the kids, “Sige, kukuhanan ko kayo jan ha, pero kami naman susunod.” And so they left after we took photos of them allowing us to have these perfect turista shots:

So yeah. You better know how to charm these kids… the pair after us didn’t.

Stop #3: Taal Town Market
Some of the products Taal is known for are their tapa, and embroidered and native products. They’re all over the market! We didn’t buy tapa, but we got a basket and some table cloth. And if you’re looking for good barongs and baro’t saya, Taal is the place to go!

Stop #4: Don Juan BBQ
Lunch tiiiime! This is one of the well-known restaurants in the area. We had Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis (of course!), all for a very sulit price of around 500 pesos!

Don Juan BBQ's Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis!

Don Juan BBQ’s Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis!

Stop #5: Casa Gahol
Actually, we’ve just mistaken it for the entrance of Villa Tortuga. It is an art gallery. They have a pretty good collection of paintings!

Stop #6: Villa Tortuga
Villa Tortuga is an old house converted to a gallery of old objects. They also have a photo studio where you can have your photo taken while you’re wearing old style clothes and make it look like it’s taken back in the Spanish era. No required fees except for the studio photo.

This one’s a creepy old object. Haha!

Because it’s Villa Tortuga… or, that’s why it’s Villa Tortuga?

Stop #7: Marcella Agoncillo Museum
Oh man, I fell in love with Marcella Agoncillo by just looking at the sculpture! This is the house where the Agoncillo family lived, before and after the revolution. Marcella Agoncillo was the one who sewed the Philippine flag. Yes, the sculpture depiction of the sewing is displayed here, but we were reminded that the flag was, in fact, sewn in HongKong. History refreshed! No entrance fee, but they accept donations.

Depiction of the sewing of the Philippine Flag! Made of fiber glass.

Depiction of the sewing of the Philippine Flag! Made of fiber glass.

Stop #8.1: San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps
This is the stairway connecting the Our Lady of Caysasay Church/Shrine and the Basilica.

Stop #8.2: Our Lady of Caysasay Church
The figurine of Our Lady of Caysasay is displayed here. Before we enter the church, we met a young boy named Army. He was selling us candles, but ended up serving as our tour guide, and told us the history of Our Lady of Caysasay. History: the figurine was caught in a fishing net… so many years ago.

Stop #8.3: Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine
Armin told us that the Shrine was built in the exact same location of the well where some two Marias supposedly saw the image of the Virgin Mother reflected on the water, while some birds called Casay-Casay was flying around her… hence the name. The water from the well was, from then on, believed to be miraculous. Wash yourself with the water, make a wish, and when your wish comes true, you should go back to the shrine and offer some red flowers. Hoping we’ll be back there soon with some red flowers!

The miraculous well!

The miraculous well!

Stop #9: Don Leon Apacible Museum
Don Leon Apacible was a government official back then, and this was his family’s house. So many cool old school stuff! No entrance fee, but they accept donations.

I love the Apacible kitchen! <3

I love the Apacible kitchen! <3

Old school fridge of the Apacibles!

Old school fridge of the Apacibles!

Stop #10: Galleria Taal
This is the Ilagan-Barrion ancestral house transformed into a gallery of old cameras! There’s more than a hundred of cameras displayed here, and some really cool old photos. The 3D camera blew my mind! Haha. This one has an entrance fee, around a hundred, I think?

The 3D photo viewer!

The 3D photo viewer!


Stop #11: Local balisong shop along the highway
Sharp objects, bitch! I got myself a switchblade! Arbie bought a bigger one, and a pen with a knife.

Played with the large models of balisong!

Played with the large models of balisong!

Stop #12: STAR Tollway Roadside (Haha!)
Since we still had some food that Arbie prepared, and it was fcking cold, we decided to grab some kapeng barako in a gasoline station in the middle of the highway. It’s cold but we love the freezing wind, so we ate at the parking lot. Haha!

Taal is an hour and half drive from Calamba City. From QC, I’m not really sure. But it took me two hours to reach Calamba on a Saturday morning. Haha! Anyway, just Google Maps the directions, I’m quite directionally-challenged, I can’t help you with that. But I can suggest a good playlist while on you way there! Play all three albums of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros! Nothing beats Folk while driving on a country-side highway. It feels fucking amazing!

It was really a fun field trip! An educational trip feels so much different when you do it while you’re already working, and especially if you organize it on your own. You go to places because you wanted to learn, and not because you’re required to.

Posted in Arts and Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

Beatles Night

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kapitolyo Samplers

If I can, I will. And last Wednesday, I can. So, when Ani (my good friend and a dormmate back in college) texted me that afternoon to go with her and Ciamae (another friend/dormmate) in Kapitolyo, I didn’t think twice. It was their third time inviting me, and after declining the first two because I can’t due to some family “responsibilities,” and given that I was so free last week, I just couldn’t say no.

Kapitolyo is a food district in Pasig somehow similar to Maginhawa St. in Quezon City. It was just a 15 to 20-minute walk from SM Megamall (Shaw Blvd. side). Since the two of them have been there twice, they already knew the directions perfectly! (I can’t share the directions yet, because I can’t really remember. I won’t reach Kapitolyo from Megamall if you let me walk alone. Haha!)

We decided to have some “breakfast” for dinner when we saw Milky and Sunny and the resto’s very enticing look! There are a lot to choose from in their menu–unli cereals, sausages, sinangag, waffles… come on, just think of Western and Filipino breakfast!

The three of us ordered their Breakfast Platter–you can make your own breakfast combo. One can choose three from the following: bacon, Spam, corned beef, sausage and hotdog. Then, one pastry product: bagel, toast, pancake or waffle. This combo also includes, eggs (sunny side up or scrambled, it’s still up to you) and hash brown.

I had bacon, corned beef, sausage + bagel + scrambled egg + hash brown, all for 270 pesos!

After this heavy “breakfast,” we went to Cab Cafe, which is just a few meters away from Milky and Sunny, to grab some beer. Ani told me that they have Bogs Brew which I’m dying to taste ever since I learned from my friends who visited Bacolod that such product exists! Haha! And man, it tastes gooood!

Primo Bogs!

Primo Bogs!

A couple of 65 peso beer (Cab Cafe price) and a real good conversation with friends plus a slice of cheesecake made my night. Of course, I would go back in Kapitolyo to dine in other restos… but I’m pretty sure I will always end up having a chillax night in Cab Cafe. I mean come on, this is the only place I know in MNL that sells Bogs Brew.

I think I’d be visiting Kapitolyo at least twice a month, yeah?

Posted in Food, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After Some Bottoms Up: How I See You

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Breakfast at 19:02

Photographed by AniPhoto by Ani Liwanag

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Weekend #1

It’s always nice to spend the first weekend of the year with good friends, good food, and good music. What can be more perfect than that, right? In my case, it’s just lucky to have a college bestfriend celebrating her birthday on Day #3 — there’s no other choice but to still have a blast a few days after the New Year celebration!

Butch’s birthday celebrations have always been very laid-back. We just sit back at the porch of their Los Baños home, talk, and enjoy bottles of beer and glorious food…  the food is always glorious in Casa Lapitan! But this year’s celebration was quite different, but much better than the already good ones before because there’s a guitar and a cajón! So it’s just good ol’ music all night!

A quick break from singing and playing for this lovely shot with the birthday girl!

A quick break from singing and playing for this lovely shot with the birthday girl!

Butch’s orgmates are really good musicians and can play every song we requested. And since they are from the “Eraserheads generation” and Butch was born in the ’90s, most of the music played are songs of the bands from the ’90s! It was really awesome since it’s “our kind of thing.” Just a little background: Butch and I became really good friends because of the Eraserheads!

Here’s a link to the video of us jamming to Eraserheads’ Huwag Kang Matakot:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200687510745233 (only viewable by friends)

And it’s just so cool that Butch’s parents joined us, and even “sponsored” the lambanog… oh that sweet, swabe lambanog… that we all enjoyed! Of course, we also jammed to some Beatles songs because we love them, too… and definitely, because Butch’s dad was with us.

Butch's 22nd!

(1) Drinking sesh! That’s Butch’s dad in white, right there. Cool right? (2) Butch’s best guy friends, Arbie and Tim, with her volunteer friend from Dumaguete, Larry. (3) The birthday girl with Tim, Jazz and me. (4) Butch’s orgmates! (Photo from Butch’s Instagram)

Weekend #1 was also for catching up with friends!

I enjoyed catching up with my good friend, Jachin, at Butch’s party. We haven’t seen each other since July! Both of us stayed at Butch’s house until the day after, and we spent half of the day just talking… and bonded like we used to back in our college days.

Saturday afternoon, I traveled from Los Baños to Alabang to have catch up dinner with two of my high school bestfriends, Leigh and Meizelle.

Meizelle, me, and Leigh! Enjoyed the food, but definitely enjoyed the long conversation more! At Gerry's Grill in Alabang Town Center. (Photo from Leigh's Instagram)

Meizelle, me, and Leigh! Enjoyed the food, but definitely enjoyed the long conversation more! At Gerry’s Grill in Alabang Town Center. (Photo from Leigh’s Instagram)

It’s been 20 months since we last saw each other! There were a lot of things to talk about so we kind of… like stayed in Gerry’s Grill for almost 4 hours! And we think that we still haven’t caught up enough!

Yep! That was a good start for 2014. And yeah, for a person who doesn’t go out that much and just loves spending chill nights with friends, this weekend’s quite hard to beat!

Posted in Events, Music, Social | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment