Glad I did this before 30: The first shipwreck experience

Day 2 – Aug 21, 2011

We were hoping for a good weather the following day as we began the first of our three-day Calamian Islands hopping. Fortunately, it wasn’t too sunny and the water was placid.

boat ride to Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck

Our tour guide got loads of trivia to share during the boat ride. He mentioned that most of the islands were owned by private foreign citizens. What sucks is these islands were sold by the Tagbanuas only for a few thousand pesos!

if I were born & filthy rich back then, I could have bought this island

Our first stop wasn’t actually an island but a shipwreck [Lusong Gunboat]. I was really looking forward to it as I haven’t seen one and the tour guide mentioned that it actually sunk in shallow waters so you can readily see the remains of the ship. Relieved, my new Pentax Optio WG-1 camera was able to capture these great underwater photos! But of course, I had to do a little photo editing. 🙂

Imagine the ship sideways teeming with corals and schools of fish. Quite frankly, I was too scared to get near and step on the shipwreck as it was kind of rusty. Haha…

But wait, there’s more….


12,000 hits in 12 months…

…that is the goal.

This blogging thing really amazed me. I never thought I’d be able to maintain this site for almost a year.

What a year!

And this year, I feel like I’m getting my life back — more time to rest, plan to travel, and of course share the experience by blogging.

And so…if I reach this goal, I’m giving away some of my treasures. It may not be pricey but a little something to share to my seasonal/occasional readers and blog buddies… hehe! 🙂


The chosen one will receive a message from me and have them choose the item. Items to be posted soon. Shipping on me. 🙂

Tick-tock-tick-tock to March 19, 2011!

*If I fail, so what? 🙂 I’m just inspired by the movie Julie & Julia. Haha!

What you’ve just read was a draft entry I made last February 24, 2011. At first, I hesitated to publish it since I haven’t got a chance to take photos of the would-be tokens. But more than anything, it was the fear of not hitting the 12,000 mark. But it did!!! 😀

Looking forward to open my treasure chest. Thanks everyone!

Baguio in January: It Kissed My Blues Away [part 3]

I woke up the following morning freezing to death. My toe socks and fleece blanket were of no help to beat the biting cold breeze of Baguio. So I went out to go on a steep short walk to release some heat… to perspire 🙂 …. and these beautiful skies greeted me that one fine morning.

For some reason, these clouds and view reminded me of those ‘dream’ house & lots for sale in brochures. And so I tried to re-create it. 🙂

We headed off to Cafe by the Ruins to have lunch and have a taste of the famous Rizal’s Tsokolate-e.

They say it’s much cozier at night but I prefer to see it first in daylight so at least I could see what I am eating.

However, I was too hungry and forgot to take a decent photo of what we ate.

bread + Baguio Bagnet with Padas Bagoong

The bagnet was not as yummy as I thought it would be. The brown rice doesn’t appear to brown but more of purple. Though I liked the Padas Bagoong, I liked it so much until my lips turned a little swollen and itchy. 🙂

Other than bagnet we had the following:

  • Sinigang na Malaga with Shrimps > simply put “Sinigang na Hipon”
  • Pinikpikan > which appears to be native chicken
  • Rizal Tsokolate-e > not as thick and rich as I’ve expected but fair enough

All in all, it wasn’t really a bad experience. It wasn’t since I get to eat without shelling out a single centavo. 🙂 But I’m looking forward to have one of those colorful salads and rich champorado…. and probably nail their best main course. Suggestions, anyone?

Our day in Baguio ended with satisfied stomachs and we could all definitely sleep on our way to Manila but still with a short side-trip to Our Lady of Manaoag Church in Pangasinan.

Excited, I can’t wait to get there. Not that I’m a devotee nor religious, I was just really looking forward to tupig.

And my senses didn’t fail me, I can smell burnt banana leaves everywhere with an assortment of Pangasinan native delicacies, fruits and of course religious articles.

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And that concludes my overnight trip to Baguio-Pangasinan… and of the life of this little bird on our way to SCTEX. 😦

As I write this article, I am planning to go back to Baguio to get hold of those famous raisin bread of Baguio Country Club while I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Yum!

Baguio in January: It Kissed My Blues Away [part 1]

This last-minute Baguio trip was my first unprepared trip. I had to pack my clothes on the same day right after work! And I still need to finish a report that needs to be sent out the following morning! I was cramming but it was all worth it… and I’m longing the cold[er] breeze for days now.

The ride wasn’t comfortable. Sitting in a van with no headrest for 6 hours was no joke. I couldn’t lean as well as we were too cramped. Anyway, I just amused myself with the dark view [as we left Manila at 1 in the morning] while listening to my iPod. Eventually, I dozed off with my head occasionally banging the window.

morning full moon

Via Kennon Road, we arrived Baguio at about 7am. I was welcomed with the cold but slightly polluted breeze. Now where’s that pine scent?!?!

Kennon Road - Manila bound

We checked-in at the Garden Villa Apartments of Green Valley Village and immediately left to find an internet connection. Unfortunately, my Globe Tattoo has no signal so we headed off to SM Baguio. Fortunately, Starbucks was open at 9am with free Wi-Fi. Yipee!

Green Valley Hotel & Resort

Garden Villa Apartments

It was my first at SM Baguio and I’m impressed! With its wide open hallways, al fresco restaurants and coffee shops, I can stay here all day! I’d probably just have coffee [and yes, still cold coffee] and sit sloppily along the hallways while enjoying the icy breeze, the view of Burnham Park and of the tiered houses from the mountain tops. What a lazy day to spend…

By noon, we headed off to Lourdes Grotto to meet the rest of the folks for lunch. We were first to arrive there so I looked around the souvenir shops which mostly offered knitted garments. As I forgot to bring my neck warmers, I indulged myself to buy one. One brown, then pink, then black. They are much cheaper, around Php40-50 each compared to those sold at the Baguio Public Market which cost Php150 each!

There are a lot of cool hats as well… from berets, bonnets, and animal-shaped hats [for kids]. But hats are not my thing… because they don’t look good on me. See?!?!

I look like a "grow up" mushroom from the Super Mario Brothers

To be continued…

Nothing beats a peaceful sleep

August 2 – tossing and turning then suddenly wide awake at 2am. went out side to get some fresh air, take a leak, and drink some water. went back to the room to get my blanket and pillow and propped myself at the couch to get some sleep. guess, i finally dozed off around 4 or 5am. then was awakened by the sound of my phone alarm by 6am…just the same, still alert.

August 3 – still tossing and turning until 2 am. was awakened by weird dream… a dream of circles and numbers that repeatedly flashed… 251 and 661. what could this be? went outside again with my pillow and blanket, hoping I’d get some sleep in the couch. 3, 4, 5, 6am zzzzz… then up by 8 am with my eyes wide open with 251 and 661 in mind. these numbers messed up my mind thinking I needed a 66 to win Php500,000 in the 7-11 Bingo contest being August 3 as the last day of the draw. I hate math but my mind couldn’t stop calculating the rest of the numbers. perhaps, it may be for a lotto winning combination: 1, 2, 5, 6, 25 and 51 or for the blazing 777 of the casino slot machine [2+5], [1+6], and [6+1].

August 4 – well-rested for the rest of the night but then startled by a bad dream at 5 am. who wouldn’t be awakened by being molested by a female patient in a mental institution? it was a terrible nightmare… I can almost hear myself moaning and crying subconsciously. I failed to go back to bed and began researching about this terrible insomnia caused by my medication [Reductil] and an old Indie song I’ve learned to love… Insomnia by Cynthia Alexander. Singing: ruby, lemon and blue… tangerine, green, purple, psychedelic…. dream in universal color as I lie awake with I-N-S-O-MNIA

August 5 – the unexpected happened… I woke up at 6:15am just when my phone alarm started playing “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy…” finally, I had my peaceful sleep…I beat insomnia.

It is indeed my sleep journal as I knew I had to record my sleeping patterns so I have something to share with my doctor after a month of testing her new medication. She didn’t require it but I guess it makes it all more sane… a responsible thing to do.

photo from

My sleepless nights brought me into researching about insomnia. I never thought there were different types and patterns of which:

Types of insomnia

Although there are several different degrees of insomnia, three types of insomnia have been clearly identified: transient, acute, and chronic.

Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week. It can be caused by another disorder, by changes in the sleep environment, by the timing of sleep, severe depression, or by stress. Its consequences – sleepiness and impaired psychomotor performance – are similar to those of sleep deprivation.[6]

Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of less than a month.[7]

Chronic insomnia lasts for longer than a month. It can be caused by another disorder, or it can be a primary disorder. Its effects can vary according to its causes. They might include being unable to sleep, muscular fatigue, hallucinations, and/or mental fatigue; but people with chronic insomnia often show increased alertness. Some people who live with this disorder see things as if they are happening in slow motion, wherein moving objects seem to blend together. Can cause double vision.[6]

Patterns of insomnia

  1. Onset insomnia – difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night, often associated with anxiety disorders.
  2. Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia – Insomnia characterized by difficulty returning to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night or waking too early in the morning. Also referred to as nocturnal awakenings. Encompasses middle and terminal insomnia.
  3. Middle insomnia – waking during the middle of the night, difficulty maintaining sleep. Often associated with pain disorders or medical illness.
  4. Terminal (or late) insomnia – early morning waking. Often a characteristic of clinical depression.

Source: wikipedia

I also researched on how I could beat this sleeping disorder. But most of the natural home remedies seem inappropriate like drinking a glass of milk with honey would only lead me to higher potassium level that might cause blood clotting because I’m also taking a pill to cure PCOS.

It got me thinking, was it just stress and it’s all in the mind? Yesterday’s events and relief gave me hope… hope that I would be free soon [just 2 more days!] and eventually enjoy a good night sleep. Can’t wait to bask in the sun, sand and waters of Bohol in 2 weeks!

Where my eyes take me…

When I feel tired and start day-dreaming about vacation, I browse pictures from the places I’ve been to. It may sound pathetic but it makes me sane, even for a while… 😀

So join me as I explore my hard drive…

1. Victoria Peak – Hong Kong > It was the family’s first out-of-the-country trip. I can still remember how I truly enjoyed the cool breeze of Hong Kong in November.

2. Underground River – Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan > It has been Party of 6’s tradition to celebrate two of our friends’ birthday out-of-town. Though two of the six were missing, my friends & I had a blast on our 1st trip to Palawan. Though the two-hour bumpy drive and an hour boat ride [x2 as it’s back & forth] to the underground river was stressful.

3. Sibul Springs – Abucay, Bataan > It was a Good Friday when I joined my friend’s family outing. I took this photo with my knees bent on the ground one fine morning….love morning walks in strange places.

4. Marikina > After the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy or Ketsana last September 2009, I had to organize a charity campaign in my previous company. One of which was the school caravan where we donated library books, school bags, school supplies, & computers to 2,000 students in four elementary schools in Marikina. Helping indeed is a heart-warming experience.

5. Singapore > It was a company-sponsored trip…for an induction and year-end party. Singapore is a neat place but I so hate the weather…way too humid!

6. Jonah’s Fruit Shakes – Boracay, Aklan > The famous shake in Boracay! It’s just one of the places where you’ll end up meeting someone you know from the city. Too bad they’re no longer at the beach front.

7. Intramuros, Manila > Indeed, the walled city. I had an opportunity to have a close look at it and even had a quick bite at a small eatery situated at the walls of Intramuros. This photo was taken during a job fair in Mapua Institute of Technology [MIT].

8. Honda Bay – Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan > I love snorkeling but I chickened out when I saw this wall of fish.

9. Hidden Valley Springs – Calauan, Laguna > Yes, it is hidden and going to this place at night is way too scary. Quite pricey but the privacy is worth the price. Love the place and looking forward to another night swimming.

10. Boracay fire dancers > There’s always a first time. And watching it for the fist time is really [literally] hot and fun.

11. cream chow-chow in Tiendesitas Pet Village, Pasig > Isn’t he adorable? Another first…to see a rare color of this furry breed.

12. Corregidor – Bataan > Imagine how many lost souls linger in this Island Fortress.

13. Cali Calamansi > Cali is my long-dead plant. During her lifetime, I decided not to pick any of her fruits that’s why they were all yellow. 😀

14. Boracay 2008 > The first time I’ve ever been to this famous beach….and the first wasn’t so fun due to some Party of 6 misunderstanding. Hehe! But the bad experience didn’t discourage us from coming back…and it has been a yearly thing…a tradition.

15. Boracay honeymooners, backpackers, usual tourists > Watching people is one of my favorite Boracay past times.

16. Aoki Clubhouse – Gen. Trias, Cavite > I usually dine in this place whenever I’m on a business trip. With its zen ambiance, one would mistake this place as Japan.

17. Alabang Village, Muntinlupa > The weirdest & most eclectic house I’ve ever seen…only in Alabang.