Out of Town presents… Birthday Adventures – Part 1: Puerto Prinsesa – Where Every Trip is Worth it!


Ever since I started setting my feet into different places, I fell in love to it. The pleasure (and pain) that it can give you is beyond anything that money can buy. If it is a vice, then it is a good one. Well, as the title suggests, my birthday is coming up. And what more way to celebrate it and give myself a present, than a gift of travels. I had a lot of places in mind, but one thing did stand out, what if I try (sort of) travel around the Philippines? And so here it goes…

For Luzon, I started with one of the cleanest cities in the country, Puerto Prinsesa City in Palawan. That was the  first thing I’ve noticed as I stepped outside the airport. It was really clean!

I arrived in Puerto Prinsesa at around 4 in the afternoon. It’s not my first time traveling solo but the worries of what will I find in any new places I visit still crosses my mind. A good thing though, my cousin Lis, decided to fetch me from the airport and accompany me to Dallas Inn, a place I booked to stay  for 3 nights. It was a homey kind of place where most of the guests are from outside of the country. I loved the place because it was quiet, especially at night and the staff (Kuya Resty and Ate Irene) were friendly and approachable.

After I settled in, Lis brought me to the Baywalk where lot of boats and yachts are sailing, and my goodness the seaside is also clean af! And the smell of the air, its heaven!

Since it’s getting dark, we decided to take our dinner in KaLui Seafood Restaurant. I personally do not eat most of the edible things from the sea so we ordered fish. By the way, they had this awesome technique of welcoming visitors, by having them remove our footwear before entering the restaurant. Their blue marlin dish is amazing, please check it out!

So, that was my first day. The next morning, I headed to my cousin’s house for a breakfast, before we headed for our City Tour (Yeah, she was my tour guide around the city and thanks a lot for not charging me). Our first stop was the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. Yup, it is a real prison; but worry not ’cause the place is safe. It is actually considered as a sanctuary of the inmates while they are serving their sentences. As a matter of fact, this place has its own church and hospital,and a wide area of land where inmates can do farming, animal raising, handicrafts and other stuff that let them earn money in a good and decent way. Another good thing is that their families can live with them inside the farm.

Next, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, also known as the Crocodile Farm due to crocodile farming being done inside the center. For just 40 pesos, you will see the 2nd biggest crocodile in the Philippines (or what’s left of it). You will also witness how the baby crocs are doing, and how large and terrifying the adults are. They will also give you a chance to hold a baby croc and take pictures with them. Not only crocodiles are inside the center; you will also have a chance to see bearcats, talking mynahs, hornbills, a leopard cat, parrots, porcupines, varieties of snakes, and a lot more.

After our nice chit-chat with the animals, we headed to Baker’s Hill. It is actually a playground/park for families especially kids and kids at heart, like me. The got life-size statues of cartoon characters, but I enjoyed the most on their bakeshop; hence, I brought cheesecakes and cookies back home.

Right after that, just a few meters up ahead is Rancho Mitra (Mitra’s Ranch). It’s a pretty big place if you like horseback riding and the full view of Honda Bay from there is magnificent. I just went inside their museum and took some pictures of antique porcelains, for just 20 pesos entrance fee.

Since it’s already 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we decided to go to Kuyba Almoneca (Cove Almoneca), our last stop for the day. It’s a peaceful sanctuary for lost souls.No kidding. The entrance fee is a bit expensive (100 pesos per head) for a short cave tour where you’ll see a lot of statue of patron saints and a face of Jesus Christ molded by the stalagmites. There are churches inside the area where they house weddings and other religious feasts, and they got a fish spa! And so, we spent at least 30 minutes getting tickled by fishes (it’s my first time so don’t judge).🙂

My cousin and I parted ways at 4PM and I went back to my inn. (Thanks again Lis!) Oh, I forgot to mention that am hungry, so I looked for a good place to eat. And since I saw crocodiles earlier that day, I craved for them.🙂

I find myself eating the infamous Crocodile Sisig in Ka Inato Restaurant. It’s a dish that’s good for 3 persons but who cares, I am starving! Thumbs up by the way to the management of Ka Inato for hiring deaf and mute people and giving them jobs to make a living.


Zoomed in to my second day, I prepared myself for an Underground River Tour. Of course, it’s not a complete trip in Palawan without visiting one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. I booked this through El Mundo Travels and Tours for 1,500 pesos. Since it’s a single booking, I was added to group tour which I find to be an amazing experience! There were 9 persons in a group and the great thing was they were all in vacation to celebrate the birthday of each of their companions; hence, a birthday tour was made! We had an amazing time, enjoying the amazing views of rock formations, and witnessed the serenity of our surroundings as we entered the cave in a boat for about 15 to 20 minutes. The whole trip was splendid, to say the least!

We had our lunch afterwards and I encouraged them all to try one of my most favorite Filipino dishes, adobo! (They’re all foreigners, by the way). It turned out, most of them were vegan, but they loved pancit guisado. It was a great experience for me as I’ve learned about they’re cultures first hand and we exchanged ideas about our ways of life. And oh, they all feared to visit Mindanao. It’s a bit disappointing but I was able to explain to them that not all places in the Philippines are dangerous. Every place in the world has its own ups and downs. Hopefully, they’ll reconsider.


From back to front: Me, Jacob and Morgan from Australia, Chris from the US (such a good companion), Alicia, Patricia and Martina from Spain and Colombia, and the lovely couple from Israel. #UnitedNationsDay

I returned to the city at 5 in the afternoon. Since it’s a Sunday, I headed to Immaculate Conception Cathedral, said a small prayer and thanks, then rode a tricycle to Bona’s and try their minty Chaolong, an authentic Vietnamese noodle soup. For just 65 pesos, I never regretted it.


The next morning, I made a quick stop to Puerto Prinsesa’s Tourism Office and took a peek of the world’s largest pearl discovered from the largest living bivalve mollusk called Taklobo. It’s huge, indeed!


Before packing my things, I dropped by to a restaurant near my inn called Balinsasayaw and tried one of their bestsellers, Balinsasayaw Express. It’s  a dish made from a specie of bird that can be found in the caves of Palawan, the Balinsasayaw; hence, the place got its name. It’s cheesy, sweet and spicy so 2 thumbs up from me.


At 12:30 in the afternoon, I checked out from my inn and headed to the airport, but am not going home yet. One down, two to go.


Short Poetries 115 – War’s In Love


War is a horror, they say; war is suffering, they say. 

For it is war who brings pain and sorrow. 

But what if it doesn’t? For war is love, just misguided. 

I blossomed during the war, I heightened on it’s peak. 

Do you remember that day the cannons blew? We bumped into each other. 

How about the night that the bombings started? We shared my bed together. 

As the war goes strong, so does our love. 

Thus, how dare they blame it into the war!  

I lost a father, a child and a brother; yet, in the war I found you. 

The memories we made as lives fall, are rays of light to my lonely soul. 

Alas! They come to make peace, so I must lay you into your grave. 

I long for war to come once more, for you, my love, my hands again will hold. 

Photo grabbed from: http://the-lemon-watch.deviantart.com/art/My-War-Love-Grenade-307916383

Short Poetries 114 – A Tribulation for Romantics


This is for me, for all I have is my own. 

The days of sorrows are long gone; neither are the memories I sought to cherish, forever. 

Behold, not the mightiness or the boldness of my heart, but the fragility of it’s pieces, torn apart. 

Let the world know, that from now onwards, I shall keep you inside, no longer. 

I rose up in the spring and danced with the cherry blossoms. 

I walked in the summer until the first of the autumn leaf falls. 

I dragged my feet in the depths of the icy winter; only to find your heart binded with void. 

I shall see you, speak of your norm, no more. 

My heart’s demise is to myself I blame, but I despise the pain it yearns to keep. 

It’s odd the way it channels happiness from the treacherous path it chooses. 

If earlier did I know, but it’s too late to undo what has been the outcome of this affair. 

Clear my path, deprive myself of your ambiguous love; only then, what I seek will be found. 

Real Post 147 – Tuos, More Than Just A Kinaray-a Movie


It’s our second year attending the Cinemalaya and as always, it was a blast! If last year we came for the director, now, for the movie itself.

It’s no wonder why we chose to see it coz it’s a film in Kinaray-a language and we are proud Karay-as, and we are just curious of the outcome. To be honest, we’ve never seen a full-length movie before written and spoken in Kinaray-a so we plan for if the moment we saw it announced online last year.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we weren’t able to buy tickets in advance, and so, we went to Greenbelt 1 in Makati instead of the CCP Complex in Manila, where the meet-and-greet with the casts and crew, and full ceremony is being held each year, hoping that we can get seats before it last.

As of 12:30 in the afternoon, we hopped on the bus going to Paseo De Roxas and headed directly to the ticketing post for the movie. Alas! all the seats are in red, which means they are all taken, or so we thought. My cousin, Mimi, even asked me if am gonna cry because we are too late. Well, am a persistent human being and does not necessary give up so I confirmed with the cashier if they are all indeed taken. She nodded, which made me upset…again, but then I noticed she taps two seats on the screen and two tickets were generated. So, voila! We got in!

The movie ran for at least an hour and a half (please correct me if am wrong) and I can say that Tuos is more than just a Kinaray-a movie. You may encounter a bit of dizziness for some parts of the opening scenes due to constant movements of the camera but if you know how to speak Kinaray-a or at least understands the language, you will find it comedic. If you are none of those two, worry not, for they have English subtitles for everyone to cope up.

At first, we were laughing because of the accents the casts have when they speak in Kinaray-a. You can easily identify which one is a native speaker and which ones are not (and which ones are Ilonggos and which ones are Tagalogs). One thing that stunned me though is the fluency of Ms. Nora Aunor’s tongue in speaking Kinaray-a. If someone doesn’t know her ( which is highly doubtful considering she is a Superstar), they’ll probably say she is a native Karay-a. Indeed she is a versatile actress!

Think no less of Barbie Forteza as the granddaughter of Ms. Nora Aunor in the movie. Whenever I felt about laughing at their accents, I just looked into her face whenever she acts out a scene, giving her a thumbs up is the least that I can say for her performance. Also, kudos to Ms. Flor Salanga for a spectacular portrayal of her character with the least lines delivered.

Now, why did I say it’s not just a Kinaray-a movie? Coz it isn’t. It is a colorful play with all the feels in it; Drama, Comedy, Thriller and Romance in one seating, plus a bonus Animation and Musical. #SpoilerAlert

The plot is so simple that they play  all the angles of the movie right. On the other hand, I sincerely apologize for laughing at the accents they made but if I did not understand Kinaray-a, the enjoyment would be a threefold. Minus the technicalities considering it’s an Indie Film, Tuos is a must see and a must be shown movie.

I salute all the casts and crew for making this movie. I am looking forward for its DVD release so that I can show it to my family and friends in Antique.

‘Til next year, Cinemalaya!

Out of Town presents… Baguio City, A Heat Escape


Dry season in Metro Manila is hellish as ever. If you want to escape a hot limbo, where do you wanna go, it’ll be Baguio!

Named as The Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City is cold as your ex-lover’s heart. This is one of the reasons why my cousin Mimi and I decided to spend our time there last weekend.

As discussed, we headed to Cubao Bus Terminal to catch the earliest ride to the City of Pines. Alas! We are not the only ones who want to get out of Manila that night, but we are losing any hopes. It turned out, Victory Liner is not the only bus headed towards the Cordilleras. We got seats from the North Genesis bus just few blocks away from Victory Liner and rode our way at 9:30 on a Friday night.

At around 4 in the morning of the next day, we arrived in Baguio. As a first timer in this place, I can confirm that the chills are real. It is really cold in there especially during the wee hours of the night ’til dawn. Our knees are trembling and our jaws are clicking because of the severe cold. ‘Brrr’ is indeed a word in there.


An early morning stroll in Burnham Park. Brrr!!!

Since the place where we are going to stay opens at 8:30 AM, we decided to take an early breakfast (and very late dinner for last night) at one of the fast food chains in there. It is true that establishments in there operate without an air conditioning unit, as well as their cabs, which by the way can be praised for having honest and approachable cab drivers so far.

After settling into a transient house owned by Ate Garet – thanks to my colleague and friend Rizza who happens to be a girlfriend of her sister’s step-son, we got a room for 300 pesos instead of 350 and we were allowed to check in early and check out late – we headed to Lourdes Grotto to say a little prayer and lay a flower on the statue of Mother Mary. The grotto is situated on the top of the hill so we need to take 252 steps before reaching it. It was really worth it since you will see a panoramic view of establishments in variety of colors. It seems like you are looking at a magazine cover or the Island of Santorini in Greece.


We’ll say a little prayer for you! :-) 

Kapilya nina Jesus at Maria

A small chapel located at the Lourdes Grotto for those who wanted to say their prayers in the shadows. 

At 11:00 AM, we decided to look for a place to calm our starving bellies. I saw a post about the 50’s Diner in the internet a day before out trip so we decided to check it out. The least I can say is, it was an experience. Maybe it’s just me but you can check them out for yourselves.🙂

We were planning to visit the Mines View Park next; however, due to some weather disturbances and an agitation I felt from my stomach (as it is still adjusting to the cold temperature of the place), we headed back home to rest.

We went down to the Burnham Park at around 5 in the afternoon and stroll beside the lake, then we saw a cycling range. Without further ado, we rented 2 bicycles at 40 pesos per hour each and roam around the park. It was my first time riding a bicycle again since way back high school years. It was really, really refreshing!


It is a cold yet great day strolling in Burnham Park. What a lovely afternoon indeed!

We looked for a place to eat dinner at 7:00 PM because this is one of the things we like to do while traveling. Unfortunately, the rain poured down again so we ran up to SM Baguio and get inside a Chinese fast food chain and vent out our disappointments on their food. It’s a good thing we were hungry, or else…


The Baguio Skyline.

Since it was not really a good time to unwind while the rain is heavily dropping it’s tears, we went home and prepared ourselves for the next trip in the morning, the Strawberry Farm!

We woke up at 5 in the morning, took a bath (the water is sooo cold and since there is no heater on the bathroom, we soaked on a sudden ice bucket challenge!) and went our way to La Trinidad. It was an amazing view of a farm. They got not only strawberries but broccoli, lettuces, cabbages and many other fruits and vegetables that grow in cold weathers. The land is muddy due to a heavy rain last night and my cousin enjoyed it in barefoot while strawberry-picking. The smell of the farm and the mud feels like home in the province.


It’s strawberry-picking time!

Strawberry Farm

What a magnificent farm you are!

We spent a thousand pesos buying souvenirs and pasalubongs in there while thinking of our last stop before going home since it’s nearly noon and we are about to go back in Manila in 6 hours. Then, Mines View Park made it to the top list.

Despite of a heavy traffic, we reached Mines View Park after 30 minutes. The pungent smell of horses and fresh air is what makes our ride to the park distinctive from the rest of the tours we had since the day before. The place was said to be the highest peak of Baguio City but we did not appreciate it very much due to a high volume of people wanting to take a good picture and a quality pose of the mountains and the valleys below it. Again, we looked for some souvenirs and headed our way back to the house.


Last stop, the soaring high place at Mines View Park.

I cannot say that my trip there is one of a kind, but it is certainly an experience. It was also my first time visiting Baguio so I will clearly be back in that place to peak on the rest of the beautiful spots in there. It is true that Baguio has a lot to offer for your eyes to feast on, but what many people don’t know is that observing the ways people live in there is astounding.

If I were to choose, I will live there not because of the great places they offer, but of how they give importance to people, may you be their neighbor or a stranger across the street, and of course, because of its great, cold and chilling climate. Definitely going to come back there someday.



Out of Town presents…Pray. Eat. Appreciate. – Tagaytay City

Featured Image

It would have been another typical rest day passing by until I come up with an idea,a night before yesterday, I should have a great weekend ahead of me. And so, I decided to visit Tagaytay. It is just a 2-hour drive from the Metro but for some reason, I haven’t think about it over the years. Yeah, it was my first time going there, but, it was worth going to this place.

I packed my things at 5 in the morning and rode my way to Coastal Mall Bus Terminal. I began my journey at 6 and reached my destination 2 hours later. Did I forgot to mention, I decided  to go alone? Yup. I usually asks a friend to accompany me for trips outside Metro Manila, but this time, I prefer a DIY situation. I just wanted to see how I will be doing in traveling by myself in places I have never been before.

First stop, the Chapel of Tierra De Maria. I am not really that religious but it is a peaceful feeling if I visit churches or holy places first before anything else. I got a calm mind and spirit upon entering this chapel. It was a serene moment for me, and I loved it.


Our Lady of Manaoag – Tierra De Maria in Tagaytay City.

This is a 3-storey chapel with a roof deck where you can see the Taal Lake and Taal Volcano from a distance. The view was mesmerizing. I felt like a child seeing wonders of the world for the first time again! I usually see this picturesque spot in books and the internet, but looking at it in close proximity, whoa, it was fantastic!


The ground floor entrance of the chapel.


Inside the chapel. You will not know what solemnity means until you step inside this place.


I am always fascinated of pictures hanging on the wall.

I offered a small prayer and slipped a ‘prayer note’ on one of the wishing boxes then quietly exited my way out.

Next stop was supposed  to be the Museo Orlina, but since it was 5 minutes before 9AM, I decided to look for something to eat, also, the museum opens at 10 and I got nothing to do at that time. As per my itinerary, the great place to dine is in Mer-Ben Tapsilogan sa Tagaytay. This is not your usual tapsilogan, not because the food they serve is unique or varies from our regular tapsi food stores, but because of how courteous they are and very approachable. One of the things that could give you amazing experience in places like this, is how they treat their customers. I would prefer eating in a karinderia with a smiling face tindera than in a 5-star hotel with a crew having judgemental looks. I need to have my happy place when I eat and I am so glad I went there.

One important thing though, make sure that you have knowledge of their public transportation or you will end up paying 150 pesos tricycle fare for a 15 pesos jeepney fare.😦

After a 2-hour bountiful meal, I went to the museum. Museo Orlina is a vacation house turned into a private museum by his owner, the internationally acclaimed Ramon Orlina, pioneer and foremost practitioner ofglass sculpture in the country. For a hundred pesos entrance fee, you will be given a video presentation on how it all started and a DIY tour of a 4-storey building with a basement. I had a great time walking around the house and going up and down the stairs, as I do not want to use their elevator for some reason. Below are some of the sculptures displayed on the gallery, mostly are made of glass and stones, others are metals and metal strands:




Blueshirt Carvings. The latest collection added into the gallery. Recommended for a closer and personal look for a greater fascination!


Optical Illusion Sofa.



My favorite, the virtual kinetic rolling sculptures.

Since this was my last stop for the day, I decided to look for souvenir stores for some things to bring at home. I bought a mug with Taal Lake printed around it, a small ‘R’ key chain and 20 pieces of espasol ( a native delicacy that can be found, pretty much everywhere in the Philippines).

As I rode back to Manila, I started to reflect on the things that happened there, and I learn some very important things in traveling alone.

  • I can do it and I should do it again!
  • People are approachable as long as you approach them properly and with respect.
  • If you are stranger, be clever, or you will end up spending more than your expected expenses.
  • If you visit a place, stay for a while and enjoy the moment.
  • Lastly, have fun!

And so, I will be going on my next solo trip in I-do-not-know-yet place. So peeps, worry less, travel more.


Real Post 146 – Labor Day: A Holiday Worth Celebrating


It’s the first of May, and we all know what this day is all about. It’s Labor Day everyone!

I know we are all accustomed to seeing people gathering in one place staging protests, hearing and seeing news about groups participating in rallies, whether to impeach government officials, complain about abuse on rights, unfair justice, inequality, unlawful system schemes or ranting about changes in all forms. These are some common practices we are doing and witnessing every May 1st; however, today, I just wanted to share good vibes and positive thinking, most of all, to give thanks.

– to the tricycle drivers who drive me to work every night, thank you. I knew how hellish traffic in the Metro is, but you still got your patience. I understand how painful it is to ride in a big bike for the entire day, raining or not, flooding or not, but you still got your hypes.

– to the security guards who greet me with a smile and open the door as I enter our office, keep up the good job. I know working for 12 hours a day is exhausting, not to mention the stamina and vigor you all need to keep in order to stay alert and awake, but you still manage to do so.

– to my boss and his bosses who always put their game faces and are always up to challenges, great work Sir’s. We are all looking up to you and we commit ourselves to working alongside with you for the betterment of our company.

– to my colleagues, let’s hang in there guys. We will all make it. We choose this job because we believe in it, plus it surely pays the bills. We are a team and we got each other’s backs. Thank you for making our workplace a one big happy family-like environment.

– to our workstation, office and bathroom cleaners, thank you for making sure our building is dust and pest-free, and for refilling the water dispensers every half an hour.

– to our electricians, thank for for keeping our lights on and giving our fragile air conditioning unit a proper care it needs. And for making sure we will not be electrocuted.

– to our baristas and concessionaires, an awesome job for serving us variety or delicious meals. Fortunately they are not expensive, and it exhibits great quality and an awesome kick in the stomach.

– to our office nurses, praises for an awesome job. Always keep your cool.

– to the taho and mani vendors outside our building, I salute you po. No matter how big or small we make out of it, as long as they are lawfully and morally right, it will never go wrong.

– to the service crew of the fast food chains and convenience stores I often visit for some yummy delights, proud of you guys. I may not know the demands of your jobs, but I can always see you put a smile in the name of a quality customer service.

– to the market vendors who calls me suki every time I buy something from them, you are all awesome. I may not know your stories, but I understand your sacrifices to earn an honest living.

– most of all, to myself, I am so proud of you. Just hang in there buddy. Always remember that work is a piece of your life’s puzzle. It’s a nature’s way to balance your life. A simple, and sometimes (well, most of the time) a firm reminder that if we want something, we need to earn our way in order to achieve it.

You might realize by now that I just describe to you my daily work routine, but I had fun doing it. I know there are a lot of people from all walks of life out there and I cannot thank all of them. But hey, let’s still give them a thanks, and by that, I mean each other. Let’s give each other a pat in the back and tell them we make a good job.

This might not be the most sought-after holiday, but this is surely is worth celebrating! After all, we are laborers.

Happy Labor Day everyone!!!

Image taken from: http://philnews.ph/2013/04/25/may-1-2013-labor-day-a-regular-philippine-holiday/labor-day/