Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Once Upon A Long Weekend

The Bonifacio Day (Nov.30) long weekend was even longer for us working in Pasay since Dec.2 is Pasay Day. Hence, we had a 4-day weekend this year, which a lot of us at the office took advantage of. From what I've heard, some went to Singapore, others to Boracay, while a bunch of us...13 to be exact...went to Davao for some fun and adventure.Ü

It was actually my first time in Davao and if you ask me to describe the 4-days stay that I had there i'd say: It was an adventure that brought me from under the sea to the top of the mountains...literally.Ü So without any more delays, let me share to you the activity-packed long weekend that my friends and I had at the Durian capital of the Philippines...DAVAO.

Day 1: Under the Sea

The whole group of 13 actually went to Davao in batches: Batch 1 was a group of 5 guys...Batch 2 was composed of two pretty girls...and Batch 3 was a mixture of 6 people. Now, guess what batch I belong to? Shempre Batch 2!Ü LOL! Anyway, Batch 2 caught the earliest flight on that Saturday morning which was PR809 (shermpre dapat PAL Ü) leaving at 4:30AM. The adventure...for me at least...began even while I was still in Manila, with Jovy (the other pretty girl Ü) arriving at the airport 30 minutes before departure! Good thing she told me about this habit of hers (of arriving just in the nick of time at the airport) so I was expecting her to be late already...but still, this didn't stop me from turning in my seat (while waiting) every now and then especially after seeing the people at the check-in counter dwindling down by the minute.

Alas! She arrived, and we checked-in. The person at the counter scolded us for being late and told us that we couldn't check-in our bags anymore. Good thing we just had a duffel bag each plus our hand-carry so this didn't cause much of a problem.

We arrived Davao around 6AM and proceeded to where the Batch 1 guys were staying: The Green Heights dormitory (i'm not sure how to call it but it was definitely not a hotel). Their rate was P1,100 per day and the room can fit up to 4 persons.

After settling down, all 7 of us went to the Davao Scuba Dive Center, where we all availed of the P8,500 Scuba Course. The Batch 1 guys already started with their scuba course the day before so us two girls were pressured to catch up (good thing we did Ü). We took a boat going to the BlueJaz Resort where Jovy and I were to take our first scuba class at the resort's pool with our Dive Master Frank, while the boys dove at the beach with Dive Master Caroline (they already did the pool thing the day before).

We all finished our first dive of the day at around lunch time, and after lunch, Jovy and I got to join the boys diving in Davao's open water...yoohoo! I would say that this second dive is something that Jovy will never forget given the amount of saltwater that she got to drink (Hehehe...Hi Ati!Ü). Nonetheless, I admire her for her perseverance given that this is her first time to dive...EVER...while I, on the other hand, already had two intro dives before.

After our dives, we headed back to the Scuba Dive Center where we had a brief lecture on diving. Jovy and I also got our Open Water Diver Manual which we were supposed to read entirely before we were to take the exam, which was scheduled on the following day. I thought to myself, this was going to be impossible given that we (Jovy and I) didn't actually excel in our practical exercises that day and there was just not enough time for us to read the entire manual before the exam.

After the lecture and heading back to the dorm for our bath, we took a taxi going to Jack's Ridge which is apparently a must-see place when you're in Davao. Going there was like a roller coaster ride with the taxi driver who drove us, so we were just happy to have arrived alive and in one piece.Ü After a bit of picture-taking and dinner, we headed back to the dorm since we had another activity-filled day waiting for us and we all needed our R&R.

Day 2: Still Under the Sea

Day 2 started with all 7 of us packing up our things and checking-out since we will be spending the next couple of days in a different dormitory-slash-hotel. We ate breakfast and bought our lunch at Jollibee. Since we will be taking the licensure exam this evening, we were all studying while waiting for our orders to arrive and even while we were eating our breakfast. It was like we were all back in college cramming for the final exams...a panicky-but-nostalgic feeling all at the same time.

Earlier on, Jovy and I actually talked and psyched ourselves that we might not be able to get our certification during this trip since we both had a hard time with the exercises at the pool...and we were to do those at the beach today! Needless to say, we were freaked out about it and the feeling of excitement to us was mixed with fear of the unknown. Luckily, we survived...and enjoyed...all three dives of the day at Limao, Samal, even if we didn't see much interesting sea creatures in the 40 feet maximum depth that we reached (though some of us saw a seahorse...I excluded *sad*...and a crown of thorn starfish...the bad kind of starfish).

As I said, we had three dives for the day, each lasting around 50 minutes, where we did some of our exercises (not the ones that Jovy and I were dreading Ü) and a lot of swimming under water...just simply taking in the vastness of the sea surrounding us. We finished just before the sun set and when we got to the Dive Center, we knew that we had to embark on another challenge: the licensure exam (wow, parang board exam!Ü). We had some lecture first...got a few pointers from our Dive Masters...took a few quizzes...then started on our exam. Caroline took care of checking our papers after each of us finished and to everyone's delight...WE ALL PASSED! Yippee!!! All we had to do next was fill-up the form certifying that we indeed passed and are Licensed Open Water Divers. We finished at past 11PM then took a cab going to D' Counter Executive Dormitory, which is near Davao's People's Park.

After deciding what room to take at D' Counter and finally checking-in (we took the De Luxe Rooms, which were in their newest wing, good for 3 persons at P1,350 each inclusive of 3 breakfasts...plus an extra bed since there were 7 of us), we finally got to eat dinner (yes, dinner!) at around 12MN at Taps, which was walking distance from D' Counter. We were all super smelly by then (to the point na nakakahiya na sa mga katabi namin) but hunger got the best of us (after 3 dives and an exam, who wouldn't?) so we decided to eat first before taking our much-needed bath (ang baho talaga namin, super!). An incident actually happened to us while we were there but I wouldn't want to elaborate on that since everything ended well anyway. Let's just say it involved one of us, a wallet, and two guys.

Day 3: Over Rocks & Water

Day 3 started with breakfast and all 7 of us heading to the Davao Crocodile Park, not really to see the crocodiles (but we did in the afternoon), but to start off with our rafting activity at the Davao Wildwater Adventure. We met up with the Batch 3 people there and as an entire group of 13, joined two other groups who were there for the white water rafting adventure as well.

Of course we were the last ones to arrive so after watching the video and getting our life vests and helmets, we rode the van going to the Davao River. The trip going to the river probably took around an hour and a half (we all didn't have a watch since we left all our valuables...cameras included...in the lockers provided for us at the park) and we had to stop by for a minute or two to pick up our lunch, which is included in the P2,000 that we paid per head (grabe, for all 13 of us kumita sila ng P26,000!). The package also includes a souvenir shirt for each person and 2 photo/video CDs per group of 6. All pictures and videos were taken care of by the guides and are included in the package seeing as our cameras would've gotten wet with all the river action we were to experience (unless you have a waterproof camera, which one of the other groups had, then you could bring that Ü).

When we got to our destination, we were given a briefing on how to properly wear the vest and helmet and on the do's and don't's in white water rafting. What stuck to my mind was that if you fall from the raft, these are the things to remember: (1) Don't Panic; (2) Don't Stand (since there are parts of the river that are shallow); and (3) Don't Swim (and just let the water bring you to wherever it takes you...and pray hard to God that you get out of your ordeal alive Ü).

After practice 'falling' off the raft and getting 'saved' by your buddy, we were all ready to start our white water rafting adventure at the Davao river. I took a mental note not to drink the river water if given a choice since the water looks...uhm...very uninviting to drink...not that i'm planning to do that anyway.

After getting through with the first half of the rapids, and having drifted in the river water [What is drifting? It's basically, getting out of the raft (with the guide's permission, of course) and letting your body flow with the river water. I tried this one out and it was fun, but I held on to the raft for dear life since I haven't gotten enough courage to let go of it.], we stopped by at the batuhan (Haha! It sounds better in Filipino) for our lunch of chicken, pork, veggies, and Mentos candies.

We resumed our rafting adventure after lunch where we encountered the most exciting rapid of all! All rafts actually had their little misadventures in this particular rapid except for us since...I dunno...we were better paddlers? HAHA! Anyway, the Batch 3 people actually had a nasty tumble during this particular rapid which left one of them dazed for a good minute or two. But after having saved her (we actually put her up for ransom for the other group to retrieve...hehe!) and recovering from the excitement of it, we continued on with the adventure, but no rapid came close to that exciting one we just hurdled.Ü

We had a brief stopover during the 2nd leg where we were able to take a leak (guess where? haha!) and have our jump shot pictures taken. When we finally reached the end of the river, we were told that there was a pool not too far away where we can swim for a bit (it was actually more of making babad rather than swim Ü), so we did and in just a few minutes there were 13 people wreaking havoc in the mini pool near the river.

We were all tired en route back to the park and it seemed like a long one (for me, at least) even if it's supposed to be shorter compared to the route going to the river. Anyway, we got to immediately see our pictures and videos from the guide's cameras and we all had a good laugh seeing our mini misadventures. We got our souvenir shirt and CDs after then decided to look around the park and see the crocodiles, parrots, and snakes there...all these we did while we were still wet from the rafting adventure we just had since they (the park) didn't have a decent bathroom where we can take our bath, change, and dry ourselves off (although we came ready with our toiletries and stuff).

On a personal note: The entire experience was not complete for me since we didn't even fall off our raft! I was hoping we would, but we didn't, so i'm coming back for more!Ü Probably not anymore in Davao but in Cagayan, where white water rafting is actually more popular.Ü

After a few minutes of sight-seeing & picture-taking at the zoo, we took our much-needed baths (but this time, we weren't as smelly as the previous day Ü) then met up with Batch 3 (they were staying at a different hotel) at Banoks for dinner, which was walking distance from where we were staying. After a hearty serving of Lechong Manok (I think that was what we ordered...and it was really very good Ü), we went to People's Park for some sight-seeing but since it started to rain, we all decided to take a cab and have coffee at Bluegre Coffee at Matina Town Square (i'm guessing this is their mini version of Libis).

When we got at Bluegre, Jovy and I decided to share orders since we both wanted to try their Choco Torte with Cream Sauce and this other dessert recommended by Angel who's been to Bluegre before (sorry, I couldn't remember the name of the dessert but I have its picture Ü). And since we're in the land of Durian, this coffee shop offers (drumroll please...) Durian Frappes! Cool, huh? But i'm not a Durian fan so I didn't order that, although one of us did and I got to try it...it tasted like Durian of course (well, what would you expect?Ü).

Thankfully, this was our last activity for Day 3, and after having our coffee and dessert, we all headed back to our respective hotels to rest and get ready for another full day ahead of us.

Day 4: Of Mountains & Rainy Weather

As with the previous days, Day 4 started with breakfast while waiting for the van that will take us to our destination for the day: Camp Sabros. We got to rent the van, that will fit all 13 of us plus the driver, for P2,500. We had to check-out already so that we wouldn't get charged for another day at D' Counter. Good thing they allowed us to leave our things (sans valuables, of course) at the lobby, so we did just that.

After picking-up Batch 3 at their hotel, we were finally en route to Camp Sabros located at Kapatagan, Digos City, which is approximately 2 hours from Davao's city proper. Since it was going to be a long ride, a lot of us tried to catch up with our Zzzz's, which we all badly needed. Our ride was actually uneventful up to the point where: (1) we got lost...(2) the van overheated...(3) then we got lost again. Apparently, the driver of the van hasn't been to Camp Sabros yet so he didn't know exactly how to get there. But we got there anyway, after a lot of asking around and after we actually missed and passed the point going to the camp...TWICE (the first was when we missed the turn coming from the highway...next was when we missed the point where we were to park the van and start our ascend to the camp).

Anyway, before that second miss, we had one more mini misadventure with the van overheating and all 13 of us staying by the road side for a few minutes while manong driver poured water over the van's engine. When the van finally started working again (after a good push by some of the boys), we had to travel the rest of the way without aircon. Good thing we were by the mountains by then (kinda like Baguio) so it wasn't much of an inconvenience coz the air outside kept us cool & sweat-free.

When we finally reached the PNP check-point (this is the farthest that any land transportation can go when going to Camp Sabros), our foot race going up the mountain began. No one was actually prepared to hike up the mountain at that point. A bunch of us were wearing flip-flops and I was actually wearing my favorite white sandals, which is so NOT for going up mountains. Add to that the fact that it was drizzling outside...but nothing could stop us from going to Camp Sabros, so we all started going up the mountain, without any idea of how long this climb would be (it turned out to be around 20 minutes).

After the 20-minute or so hike, I was just grateful to have reached the camp in one piece...with muddy slippers and all. From an Amazing-Race-point-of-view, I was the 10th person to arrive out of the 13...i'd take that any day...wag lang ma-eliminate...haha! Though I later on learned that this was a non-elimination round (ay, sineryoso? haha!)

We were all starving when we reached the camp (since it was already lunch time) so we immediately ordered food and had lunch after an eternity (ang tagal kasi dumating nung food!). Of course while waiting, we bought some souvenir shirts which we wore during our photo shoot around the camp (hayok kasi kami sa picture!). Had we known we would be waiting that long, we would've started with the zip line since the weather started to clear up during lunch time. But there's no use crying over spilled milk.

It was already past 2PM when we started with the zip line, which was a tandem zip (with a partner)...and at around that time it started to drizzle again. My partner at the zip was Jovy and we were screaming when we started the zip...stopped in the middle...then started screaming again when we were about to reach the end. I actually got scared towards the end because I didn't have any idea how these guys were going to stop us given our speed. I thought it was going to be an abrupt stop, which was unimaginable with the speed the zip was going. But it was wrong for me to underestimate these guys who's been running the place since 1994. The stop was definitely not abrupt, but nerve-wracking nonetheless. And being the scaredy-cat that I am, I closed my eyes for fear of what was about to happen when we stopped.

The next zip was a solo one, but we had to climb up a bit to reach the starting point for that second zip. Having now known what to expect, I was a bit braver than the first one, but still a bit scared. So, still armed with my digicam (I have both my zips documented in videos Ü), I solo zipped going back to the starting point just as it was starting to rain.

After we all finished that second zip, the rain started pouring in. We tried to wait for it to stop but it didin't so the camp refunded us back P100 each from the initial P300 that we paid since we didn't get to do that last zip which, I think, was supposed to be like an open air cable car ride (had we known lunch was going to take a while to get served, we would've started zipping earlier on). We still tried to wait for the rain to stop since we didn't want to go down the mountain with the rain pouring down on us but we were left with no choice but to face the rain head on seeing as we all had a flight to catch (and we were two hours away from the city proper). So with our things protected from the rain with plastic bags, and my head wrapped in one as well (I was trying to make a fashion statement, but failed Ü), we headed down for that 20-minute walk to the foot of the mountain.

Upon reaching the van in one piece and cleaning up our muddy feet, we started our way back to the city-proper. I was asleep throughout the first leg, which I learned was the scariest part of the trip since the road was like going to Baguio via Kennon Road. Good thing, I thought, since I didn't want to stress myself even more with worrying if we were going to get to our destination safe and sound or not.

When the 7 of us got dropped-off at D' Counter, the rain started pouring again so it took a while for us to hail a cab going to the Dive Center, where we were to get a copy of the videos of our dive, as well as give them a copy of our ID pictures (for the license Ü). Only three of us got to the Dive Center since the rest had a hard time hailing a cab and when they finally got one, decided to go straight to the airport since it was already getting late. The three of us at the Dive Center waited quite a bit for a cab to bring us to the airport but to no avail and it was already getting late and we had a flight to catch. Since it was already getting late, Maeng from the Dive Center, decided to bring us to the airport despite the distance and the flood (it was really raining very hard at Davao that night). Thank God for people like Maeng!Ü All 3 of us would've kissed him with delight when he offerred to bring us to the airport, but of course we didn't. We actually didn't know how to thank him since we have nothing to offer but our dirty clothes (we haven't been able to shop for pasalubong yet) so we just decided to thank him by sending food via LBC once we get to Manila.

We arrived at the airport just in the nick of time (told yah this was going to be an adventure 'til the very end Ü) but still with a bit of time to spare to freshen up (we hadn't had time to do that since we arrived at the city from camp) and buy pasalubong at the airport (Jovy and I finally got to buy suha at the airport at P650/crate with approximately 14 pcs. or 9 kilos of suha). Needless to say, we were the last passengers to check-in and we actually had a bit of chit-chat with those at the check-in counter when they learned that all of us were actually PAL employees (if you're wondering where the Batch 3 people are, they caught the earlier flight...the 7 of us were at the last flight, PR22). That last flight was at 9:40PM and we haven't had dinner yet so imagine our hunger when we got to the plane. We survived though, with the barquillos bought at the airport's pasalubong shop and the japanese cookies (those were yummy!) served at the plane.

We arrived Manila at past 11PM that night. We all went straight home since we all had to go to work the next day. Talagang sinulit namin ang 4-days sa Davao (the Batch 1 boys were there for 5 days), with the trip starting early in the morning in Day 1 and ending super late in the evening of Day 4. And talaga nga namang araw-araw kaming umuuwi ng basa: Days 1 and 2 with salt water...Day 3 with river water...and Day 4 with tubig ulan. We thought we'd be dry that last day but no, we still got wet...kasi yun ang trend.Ü Hehe!

So that's the end of the 4-day Davao trip I had with friends over the long weekend. Will I be doing this type of from-under-water-to-the-top-of-the-mountains adventure again anytime soon? Hopefully YES! And with the same group of people that I was with coz they're just super fun to be with!Ü


Post Script: The Divers...especially Jovy and I...were still having dizzy bouts even 4 days after that last dive of ours. I'm guessing this is just normal since it eventually stopped. Oh, and we were also a bit bingi after...but that too went back to normal after a few days.Ü

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eyebrow-Raising Chuva

Talk about wrong timing. I've been growing my brows for a month or so now and just decided to have it plucked the other day, courtesy of Mommie Dearie, since I have plucking issues with the third-sex-of-the-salon-kind (a.k.a. badinger-Z's) who always seem to overpluck my sparse eyebrows (though I trust them a lot when it comes to cutting my hair Ü). The only eyebrow re-shaping that I liked so far was when I had my brows threaded (for the first time) at the World Trade Center during one of those beauty bazaars that they had before my college graduation. I liked the shape of my brows after the threading, though it was still a tad too thin for me, which my sister unfailingly noticed.

Since then (and after two eyebrow-shaping incidents involving the third-sex-of-the-salon-kind), I promised myself not to trust anyone else (well, except my Mom...and anything that the Style SOS ladies recommend Ü) with my precious and sparse eyebrows. So for years i've been plucking them just so it's got a decent shape that I wouldn't be embarrassed to show in the public. Until a month or two ago when my mom noticed my brows and had not-really-good remarks about them. That's when I decided to let them grow and let them be...for a while, at least...until it's grown as much hair as it can.

But of course, my brows didn't grow as much hair as I wanted to in the areas where I wanted hair to grow. And since I'm too lazy to go to Robinson's Galleria to check out the Suregrow Eyebrow Restorer recommended by a Style S.O.S. reader a few months back (the 27th of February to be exact...see this link for the article), I decided to end the battle with my brows and asked ever-trusted Mommie to pluck it for me.

And then I woke up this morning, picked-up the paper, and read an article about a newly-opened store at Serendra named Browhaus offering brow services to its customers (see this link for the article). Now...wasn't that just two days too late? Oh well...maybe God has His reasons for doing so. I'm guessing i'm gonna have to re-grow my brows once again...maybe actually buy and use that eyebrow restorer thingy at Galleria before heading out to Browhaus so they can contour my brows the professional way (not that I don't like how my mom shaped it now...it's just that I really find my eyebrows too sparse for my liking), which i've been wanting to do but never did coz the places i've read about who are *apparently* good at such services are in places that I'm not familiar with. At least this one's at Serendra, and i'm pretty sure I know how to get there in one piece.Ü And i'm sure this place wouldn't be featured in the paper if it wasn't any good. Browhaus, according to the article and their website, actually has branches in Singapore (where it originated...I think Ü) and Indonesia, and now in the Philippines at Serendra and Greenbelt 5 (according to the website).

So to those of you out there who are seeking professional eyebrow help, you can include Browhaus as one of the options to check out. I'm sure I will...in hopefully a few months time...and I promise to blog about it when I do (whether it's a good or bad experience for me...i'm hoping it would be the former Ü). TTFN! Happy Sunday, Everyone!Ü

Friday, December 26, 2008

Red Flag Alert

I'm sure all women can relate with what I will be writing about. Actually, ONLY WOMEN can relate with what i'll be writing about. And if the title isn't obvious to you, then I guess you're of a different gender or have been hiding under a rock since birth. (hehe!)

If it's still isn't obvious to you, the topic of this blog is that monthly visit a genetically-true and anatomically-normal woman gets every month. And if you're an OC like me, you'd like to know more or less WHEN you'll be expecting the visitor to arrive every month. It just makes planning your activites easier when you at least have an inkling on when this particular visitor will arrive. And for the longest time, I was manually counting the days of the next visit, which is normally 28 days starting from the first day of your last period. So, for years, since I started getting these visits, I counted...MANUALLY...which is not that hard actually since the only mathematical skill you need to have to do that is to know how to count...and I'd like to believe that I do have that skill. But of course, it would have been easier if someone (or something) does the counting for you.

I don't know why but it's just this year that the thought of searching if there's a tool that does this exact thing crossed my mind. So search I did and Google gave me quite a few hits, ranging from applications that need to be installed to websites that do the exact same thing. This got me thinking: What actually do I need? I needed something that I can update anytime, anywhere...so this rules out the "application that needs to be installed" option seeing as I needed something that I can update even when i'm out traveling the world.Ü So, I picked a website...and it led me to the period counting tool that i've been using for several months now, which is MyMonthlyCycles.com.

I have to admit, I haven't actually been able to fully utilize the entire site seeing as all that matters to me now is their Period Calendar and Menstrual Calculator. But aside from that, they also have a Fertility Calendar, Ovulation Calculator, and Pregnancy Calculator. Definitely, I won't be writing about the latter three functions that I haven't used...so all that I can give insights on are the former two (Period Calendar and Menstrual Calculator). All you ladies out there who would want to use the other functions will have to discover those yourselves...which I think won't be that hard since I easily learned how to use the first two.

So, how does the site work? Well, upon signing-up, you'll have to give them a brief history of when your last period (or last two periods? I can't recall exactly...) occurred so they'll have a basis on calculating the next one. To tag the day where you actually had the first day of your period, all you have to do is click on that specific day while on the Period Calendar screen. It's that simple. You can also view the following information while you're on this screen:

The most helpful information for me is their compuation of the Average Cycle Days...which is 32 Days for me now (a whopping 4 days off of the 28 Days that I used as an average during the Jurassic Era...LOL!) based on the 15 Total Periods that I've actually provided them. This is also the number of days that they use in calculating the day of my next period, which can be done in the Menstrual Calculator screen.

You're given a choice on how to calculate your next period: through the Tracking History or Quick Calculate. I've always used the former since it's easier and all I have to do is click a button and voila, they've calculated the probable start date of my next period in the screen that shows up. You can actually view up to 3 months ahead, which comes in handy if you're planning a vacation in the months to come.

Aside from tracking & calculating, they also provide you with an option of sending you an email alert through the Remind Me screen. The only reminder I have in my account right now is to inform me a day in advance of my calculated next period. I'm sure other reminders can be added as well, depending on what your personal needs are.

In a gist: I'm glad I discovered this site (and have actually recommended it to some of my officemates Ü) and I just wished I discovered it sooner since it would've made my life easier and my calculations would have been more accurate. More power to MyMonthlyCycles and I'm hoping they don't "close shop" (recession diba? LOL!) anytime soon.Ü

Visual DNA @ Youniverse.com

As I was browsing through my high school batchmate's Friendster profile, I got intrigued by a flash application running in her profile page. It says there (only a part of it) "MY VISUALDNA...READ MY VISUALDNA PROFILE...GET YOURS IN youniverse (beta)." At first I didn't know how to read VISUALDNA correctly, only to find out that it's actually Visual DNA. But what actually is a "Visual DNA"? I checked it out and it turns out to be a socializing network (like Friendster) where you are 'matched' by the site to those people who are most likely similar to your personality, likes, and dislikes. So, how does the site do the 'matching'? By letting you take quizzes where you answer by clicking on the picture that best describes your answer. Cool huh? A quiz with a twist. So this is where the Visual DNA comes in.

I'm actually interested on the quizzes and the results and not on the socializing/matching service of the site. It's fun to know what your visual answers to their questions say about you. And they have several quizzes that you can answer. I'm guessing their Personality Quiz is the most popular for obvious reasons, so that's the first one that I took. The result says i'm a Go Getter under the Mood category...a Thriller in the Fun category...a Junkie Monkey in the Habits category...and just simply Fun in the Social category. Of course it goes on to describe how you got grouped per category and I must say they are at times accurate and some of their assessments are quite obvious given the answer you chose for a particular question. Nonetheless, it's fun answering their quizzes which range from Careers & Well-Being to Movies, Love & Dating.

I'm sharing with you some of the quizzes that I've answered which the site has conveniently made available through widgets that you can post anywhere in the web or wherever you wanna post it. You can actually choose from either the Landscape or Portrait version...i've chosen Landscape for all the results that i'm sharing below. I suggest you check the site out (at http://youniverse.com/) and answer some quizzes there (signing-up is not required when answering a quiz) and see for yourself what description they'll give you based on your answers. Happy visually answering!Ü


Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

MIND: The Reformer

Youniverse Mind TestYouniverse Mind Test

TRAVEL: Nature-Lover

Youniverse Travel TestYouniverse Travel Test

MOVIES: Escapist

Youniverse Movies TestYouniverse Movies Test

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of Cars and Food Tripping...


I don't know why i'm on a blogging hiatus for the past month or so...and my non-blogging has actually haunted me since the calendar turned October 1st of this year. *SIGH!* I guess it's just one of those phases in my life that i'd like to call "Procrastination in C Minor." Don't get me wrong, it's not that I have nothing to write about coz I do...it's just that all are half-baked...it's always never done. There's a beginning...a middle...but no end. Oh well...so to make up for my non-blogging months (namely, May and September), I made a vow to myself that i'd finish two for tonight. So here we go...


I was at Pampanga last weekend for a car show that I got dragged into by my brother, mom, and dad. This is what happens if you don't have a social life. Your Saturdays are spent malling (or going to car shows) with mom and dad...add to that Sunday as well. I'd like to call it "quality malling time with the family." Anyway, under the heat of the sun, I got to see cars in their all-out-glory! I'm guessing these cars on display never get used by their owners. I don't actually see the point in it but hey, it's their car...they can do whatever they want with it. Besides, it's actually nice to see sparkling (literally) cars on display with clean engine, interiors you wouldn't even dream of (I saw a car once with an aquarium in its trunk! I can only wonder why...), in colors you wouldn't even know how to pronounce, and sounds that can actually battle with the best sound system in the world (well, maybe the last one is a bit exaggerated but you'll never know what these guys are up to next!).

So, like in every other car show I've been to, I busied myself with taking pictures of the cars with my almost 5-year old Canon Ixus camera (to view the amateur photos I took, see this link). What stood out for me is the Ariel car (you know, Ariel...the Little Mermaid?Ü) with the pink interiors and a quasi-aquarium in its trunk...all because I find it very unique. I also liked the Concept One mags on this red (or is it maroon?) Vios that was on display at the show. It's simple and clean-looking...just how I'd like the mags on my imaginary car would be. And by the way, my imaginary car, is pink. <*WINK!*> Ü

It took me only 30 minutes to take pictures of the cars on display, afterwhich I went to the coffee shop (to escape the heat) in front of which are displayed the four grupoRAV4 entrees for the car show...three of which won an award: One for Best SQ (apparently, SQ means "Sound Quality" Ü), Best Paint, and Best SUV. Congratz guys! (Kahit hindi kami close...hahaha!Ü)

Dinner that night was spent at C' Italian Dining restaurant just at the outskirts of Clark, Pampanga. We ordered Kristina Panizza (just so it's clear, "Panizza" is the common noun or the generic term while "Kristina" is one of the few choices of Panizza available in their menu), which is yummy and is served with Arugula, Alfalfa (not the one in Little Rascals Ü), and Olive Oil with herbs. The Panizza is actually like a pizza with a twist, and can be eaten as-is or stuffed with Arugula & Alfalfa, rolled, then dipped in Olive Oil. Our other orders included Wood-Roasted Chicken, Black Angus Steak, Caesar Salad, and one pasta dish in white sauce and another in red. Needless to say, I found the Panizza and pasta dishes uber yummy, while I wasn't much of a fan of the chicken and steak that they served. But they do have a way of using herbs in their dishes that make it unique and tastey. If you ask me if i'll be coming back to this place if i'm in the vicinity...i'll definitely do. But i'll just order the Panizza and pasta, which is basically what Italian food really is to me.Ü

For lunch the day after, we headed to Aling Lucing's Sisig place, which I think is near the market area in Balibago (???), Pampanga. Obviously, we ordered sisig at this place and I have to say that it didn't disappoint. Although I like my sisig toasted and crunchy (the sisig at Aling Lucing's was not), I still enjoyed my sisig lunch together with a Royal true orange on the side (my friends out there know i'm not a softdrink-drinker so this is such a big event for me...haha!).

All in all, my weekend was an event of cars and food tripping in two very extreme places: One was at a semi-fine dining resto that serves Italian food while the other was at a palengke where I enjoyed sisig at its original and finest (they say sisig actually originated at Pampanga). Oh, and did I mention that I saw Martin Nievera's back at C'?!? I'm sure that was Martin...although it was only his back that I saw. Well, that's all for now. Hopefully my non-blogging hiatus ends soon! TTFN! (Ta-ta for now!)

Active Desktop Calendar

An officemate of mine has this software that sits on her desktop which she uses to track events in her calendar. Intrigued by it, I asked if she can share this software to me since I've been actually looking for a program that can remind me of certain calendar events that I want to take note of most especially birthdays & anniversaries. However, when I used the program in my PC (it's the freeware version of Desktop Calendar & it doesn't require any installation), I found that it doesn't actually serve the purpose that I was looking for, which is a desktop calendar/reminder that can allow events to recur weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. So I went & searched for a torrent of the upgraded version of it (which can do the "recurring event" function I was looking for but costs $14.99) but found the Active Desktop Calendar (ADC) instead. I decided to check it out & am glad that it didn't disappoint...although it takes a bit of getting used to.

So...why am I loving this software so much? Let me count the ways...

-Adding birthdays, special occasions, events, etc. is probably the most tedious thing you'll ever do in setting up your calendar, but once done, everything will be a breeze! (I tried the Import via CSV tool but it didn't work since I was not able to replicate the formatting it needs for the CSV import to be successful.).

-The Export & Import facility allows you to easily add events to another PC running ADC, which is the case for me since I have it both at home and in the office. That's why I was easily able to import the birthdays that I manually added in my ADC at home to my ADC at the office (Needless to say, it was just a one-time set up of birthdays for both my home and office PC).

-The software also has a "Task" pane which can act as a To-Do list...but it would have been nicer to have checkboxes as the bullets for this list to be able to easily put a check/tick mark on it once a task is done

-There's a lot of cute icons to choose from and options to change how the calendars & notes are shown on the desktop

Well of course, if there are positives, then there are negatives as well. One of which is that the program takes quite a while to load on startup, which is a letdown, but you can always choose for it NOT to load upon startup if you're the type of person who wants to use the computer as soon as it loads. Also, there's no facility to sync calendar events from Lotus Notes, which is the facility we use to schedule meetings at the office. But it has options to sync events from Microsoft Outlook & Google Calendars...so I guess if you're a user of that then "YEY!!! I'm happy for you!"

I'm glad to have stumbled upon this software since it's made it easier to setup reminders especially those TV shows that I download a day after it is shown in the US. If you guys want a copy of the software, let me know...i'll try to find the torrent like that I used to download it. In the meantime, feel free to view my desktop with ADC in the images below.Ü

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are You Fabulously Independent?

It's only now that I got to read my July ish of Cosmo magazine, and one of their features there is the Cosmo Quiz on Are You Fabulously Independent? Since it's just a 5-question quiz, I decided to answer it to find out if i'm a: (1) Clingy Thing...(2) Indie Chick...or (3) Lone Ranger. So...here are my uber-fabulous answers (in bold...and the corresponding points attached to it):

1. Your work motto is "If you want a job done right, ___"
a. "Ask everyone in the office how they'd do it."
b. "Do it yourself." - 0 point
c. "Turn to a few trusted colleagues for advice."
2. Who typically pays on a first date with you?

a. You, so you're not obligated to him for whatever happens post-meal
b. Him, if he offers, but you don't mind splitting it - 1 point
c. Bring your wallet to dinner? Ha! He'd better pay up or get ready to scrub some dishes.
3. The biggest thing you'd ever do alone is:

a. Visit a foreign country. It would be an incredible adventure.
b. Eat dinner by yourself in a restaurant, though just the idea of it makes you a little sad.
c. Have a kid, buy a home, and any other thing you want. Who needs someone else around to screw it up? - 0 point
4. On Sunday mornings, you:

a. Text everyone in your phone book until you have afternoon movie plans, even if you have to be a couple's third wheel.
b. See if a friend wants to catch a movie but see it alone if no one's free. - 1 point
c. Turn off your cell and be MIA for the day. It's your time alone, intruders be damned.
5. You're most likely to break up with a guy because:

a. He makes you claustrophobic, wanting to sleep over more than once a week.
b. He can't give you the attention you deserve.
c. You're just in different places right now --- no harm, no foul. - 1 point
For a total of three fabulous points, it turns out i'm a LONE RANGER (which is actually kinda sad...):

You're so hell-bent on being self-sufficient that you're as approachable as a feral cat. "You may be isolating yourself from others because you're afraid of looking weak," says Squyres. "But showing vulnerability is attractive." So, ask for a friend's opinion on a dilemma, suggests Hassler. "Even if her advice doesn't fit, you'll find out how nice it feels to have a pal care for you."

Well...i'm not that surprised actually. I know, and have been told, that I am a bit too independent, and that I should learn to be otherwise sometimes. So, i'll make it a pact (to myself) that i'll try to be less independent from now on. Can anyone give me some pointers or suggestions on how to do this? =)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sunday is family day for us four, and it's usually spent at home resting and watching the weekly noontime and chismis shows. But last Sunday was a bit different since my dad and brother had this bright idea and we ended up at the Armscor Shooting Range at Makati Cinema Square. Needless to say, that was the first time I was able to hold a gun with my bare hands. And I actually thought, on our way going there, that the shooting range would be outdoors. But lo and behold, it was indoors, on the basement of the mall actually (when they told me it was at Makati Cinema Square, I thought that what they meant was it's NEAR the mall and not actually INSIDE the mall...Ü).

We wasted no time when we got there. I initially got 10 bullets to fire, but before doing so, was given a short lecture by one of the employees there (also known as the "range master") on how to grip the gun, the correct way of standing, and a reminder to always wear the ear muffs (I don't know what you call them but i'm sure you know what I mean Ü) and the protective goggles. And you sure really have to wear both AT ALL TIMES while inside the firing range. Why? Well, each shot creates a really lound bang, hence the ear muffs. And the goggles are to protect your eyes from the empty shells flying all over the place everytime a shot is fired (mind you, these shells can be a bit hot). I never really thought about what happens to those empty bullet shells after a shot is fired. Heck, I never even thought that empty bullet shells do exist! I thought that the bullet leaves the gun and hits its target intact...no shells...no remnants...no nothing left behind. Oh well...I guess I learned something new that day.Ü

After using up all of my 10 bullets, Dad treated me to 20 bullets more! Yippee! Today's my lucky day (HAHA!)! At P9.00/bullet, that's already P270 total...and he actually ended up spending P900 for all four of us...my brother had 50 bullets, while Mom and Dad had 10 each. A bit pricey for my taste but I'm not the one spending anyway (hehe!) and it was actually a nice and different experience. Something out of the ordinary for me.

Well...what can I say? It was a bit nerve-wracking...knowing that you're holding a real gun with your hands and that you can really do quite a big damage with it just in case your mind starts to go wild and run amok (Even more fearsome is when someone else in the room runs amok and decides to make you a target). A bit scary...yes...since the gun kicks back after every shot and it's very much forceful...for my frame/body type at least. And mind you, I was just using the 9mm gun, which apparently has the "least kick back" at all (I asked my Dad if there was a gun with lesser kick back and he said: "Meron, anak. Toy gun." NYAHAHA!Ü).

So...will I do this again? Probably yes, as long as it's Dad's treat.Ü The range master there said I'm OK for a first timer since most of my shots were in the region just below the white target, and my aim was much better than that of Mom's and Dad's. But it's my brother who's the best among us four. He had some shots right in the white target and he even changed his gun from a 9mm to a 45 (whatever that means...haha!).

Well guys...that was my Sunday. Now, how did you spend yours?Ü

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Thoughts 5: Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream...

Just wanna goof off with the title but what I'm about to write doesn't actually have any connection at all...except that I just watched Mamma Mia (the movie) last last weekend with friends and that last night, I had a very weird dream (told yah, NO CONNECTION at all...). Anyway, first, the movie: Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and the others (too many to mention Ü). It was a fun movie. Definitely a chick flick. A guy friend of mine got dragged into it by his officemates and he left the theater even before the movie ended. That's how much he didn't like it. Haha! But my friends and I did. It was a mixture of funny moments with a bit of light drama and of course, lots of singing. Definitely a feel-good movie i'd recommend to any one of my girl friends. Another good thing about the movie is the beautiful scenery...the nice, clear blue water and the chapel on top of a huge rock (that was a rock...a very big one...right???). Surely a great place to get married at (only if you can magically make all the guests appear at the chapel without them having to walk the million steps to get there).

Next...the dream. I'm actually not comfortable writing about it so i'll just speak in general terms here. It involves someone that I used to love. Someone that I wanted to get to know better. A few friends. A wedding. And what seems to be a carefully planned plot such that it's something that can actually happen in real life (not those far-fetched dreams that you're definitely sure is impossible like flying or running naked in the streets). That's all that I'm willing to share for now.Ü


I am a Tortillos addict! Just for today...I think (and I hope). What's bothering me is that I was never a fan of Tortillos. Sure I've had a bite of it here and there but it was never in my "Favorite Junk Foods" list. But today, I had it for lunch, merienda, and dinner. Yes, you read it right. I had it for lunch together with my gambas and rice...for merienda with my assorted fruits...and just now for dinner with spaghetti. I blame my hormones for this Tortillos craving since i'm about to have my period soon. Gheezh! Bloatedness? CHECK! Cravings? CHECK! Pimple/s? CHECK. And this happens every month. Who said that we girls had it easy? Ugh!


I went to Araneta last Friday to check out the latest Bench fashion show aptly titled: BLACKOUT. Well, it was a blackout, alright. Disappointing to a certain extent. It definitely didn't live up to my expectations seeing as the previous shows were really spectacular! (see link for my write-up on the previous show) Super bitin...and not in a good way. I guess what made it disappointing, for me at least, is that: (1) Piolo was not there. Why oh why is Piolo not there? He's a Bench model, right? Then why is he missing? I just don't get it. But I guess I shouldn't have expected him to be there since I've never seen a billboard of him promoting the show unlike Sam, Dingdong, and others. However, a friend pointed-out that John Lloyd wasn't there (in the show) but we actually have a newspaper clipping with pictures of some of the Bench celebrity endorsers and John Lloyd was one of those in the clipping. So we're just wondering what happened...(2) The show just failed to tickle everyone's delight. Sure there were a few highlights like Rafael Rosel naked and revealing his behind (but he was behind a curtain and only a camera was projecting images to the big screen...and it was actually only just his behind that got shown...well, duh! It would not have been just R-18 if they showed more than that!)...and Dingdong Dantes unzipping and removing his pants onstage to reveal an itsy-bitsy underwear. But aside from that, nothing else stood out in the show (at least in my opinion).

Well, being the optimistic that I am, all was not lost in this sea of disappointment since...drum roll please...I bumped into Anne Curtis in the Araneta washroom with her model friends! They were all super tall...but maybe because they were all wearing platform shoes with gigantic heels...and their mini dresses actually made them look taller. Had I known that I'd be bumping into them, I would've worn my mini dress and high heels para hindi naman ako ma-OP in the washroom. HAHAHA!Ü Anyway, I actually didn't recognize Anne at first since she had heavy make-up on...and it was not one that flattered her looks. I actually think she would have looked prettier sans the heavy make-up...especially her heavily-drawn eyebrows (WOW! That was a lot of "heavy" in one sentence...haha!). But boy oh boy, her nose is super tangos. Very nice indeed.Ü How I wish my shyness didn't get the best of me or else I would've asked for a picture with them...right there in the washroom (well, it was just them, me, my mom, and the cleaning lady)!


Well, well...I just noticed that the last "Random Thought" entry I wrote was more than two years ago, in May 2006. That's a good sign actually seeing as I only make these "Random Thought" entries whenever I don't have anything concrete to write about and when I just want to air out my thoughts to anyone who would listen (or read, in this case). This is actually the first one with a subtitle...I just thought I'd mention that. HAHA!


Before I end this entry, I would like to post a shoutout to my good friend and officemate, Jacky: HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACKY! May you have more to come and I wish that the years ahead would be full of happy memories and pleasent surprises! My ultimate wish for you is...well, we both know what that is...no need in letting the whole world know about it.Ü Pag nagkatotoo na lang, that's when I'll mention it here.Ü Again, Happy Birthday! Enjoy your BL/LTO license renewal day...hehe!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For SALE: Nissan Serena @ P500,000

2002 Nissan Serena - QRV-R Limited (w/ VCD Player)
Php 500,000
Mileage 66,000 km
Plate ending 5
Silver, In very good condition, 1st Owner

Additional Setup:
- American Racing Chrome Mags
- Dunlop Lemars Tires (90% Thread)
- Fog Lamps (Original Japan, Newly-installed)
- HID (High and Low: 8000 Kelvin)
- Newly-installed Velvet Seatcover- 3M Tint

See link for photos: http://cdsaint.multiply.com/photos/album/34/For_SALE_Nissan_Serena_Php500000

For interested parties, just send me a message here or email me at snb.cdsaint@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rainy Days & Sundays

I woke up at 330AM on this rainy Sunday with intermittent electrical power and typhoon Frank knocking on our door (both literally & figuratively). By 4AM, our street completely lost all electrical power (and I guess a big chunk of Metro Manila) and I completely lost whatever sleepiness I had in my body. In other words, by 4AM I was wide-awake with nothing to do. This got me thinking...what can one actually do on a rainy, "electrically-challenged" (did I just coin a new word?Ü) day? I obviously can't watch TV or surf the internet, so I got my iPod and portable speakers and played some of Chico & Delamar's Top 10 which I downloaded and have stored in my iPod. Good thing I just recently charged my iPod so I had full battery power, but I can't say the same thing about my mobile phone (which is about to conk-out any minute now).

So aside from listening to your iPod (or any mp3 player), what else can one do? After a bit of thinking, these are what I came up with:


(1) Listen to AM Radio. On a bad weather day, this is the best thing one can do to be updated with what's happening in the surroundings. This requires that you have a working battery-powered radio & batteries to power it. Good thing we had a working radio requiring only 2 AAA batteries since the other two radios we had requires 8 medium-sized batteries, which we unfortunately didn't have on stock at home. So, moral of the story: stock-up on batteries that can power any battery-powered radios you have so that when the situation calls for it, then your home will be "battery and radio-ready."

(2) Blog...which is what i'm doing right now. If you have a laptop with a bit of battery life left, then good for you since you won't have to re-type everything you've written down. If not, then do it the "old-fashioned" way: using a pen and paper (like what i'm doing now). If you're not into blogging, then just write on your diary (if you have one) or just simply write down any thoughts you have on your head. Try it out, you just might like it and who knows, you might just discover that inner writer in you.Ü

(3) Clean or organize your room/cabinet/drawers. This requires a bit of dedication seeing as cleaning is not really on top of one's list of favorite things to do. But hey, what better time to do such thing but on an electrically-challenged, rainy day seeing as the list of things that you can do are limited on such days. So rather than just sitting and doing nothing, go grab a flashlight (or if your room is situated in a place that reaches the light of day, then a flashlight is not necessary) and start cleaning and organizing. I'm sure, once the lights are back on and the rain has gone away, you'll get to appreciate more all those hard work on cleaning and organizing any what-have-yous in your home.

(4) Call a long lost friend using the landline. Gone are the days when the only means of communication was through a PLDT landline. In this day and age when accessing the internet is easier and mobile phones are a necessity, a lot of us have replaced long talks on the ever-reliable landline with texting, instant messaging, and short conversations over the mobile phone. Which begs the question: Is it really worthit? Replacing juicy & friendly conversations with SMS or instant messaging where the only emotion one can view and convey is when the other party sends a winking ; ) , smiley =) , or lonely =( face? I don't think so. So on a day when going out to the mall is out of the question (since it's rainy), texting is kept to a minimum (so as to conserve as much of your mobile phone's battery power as possible), and the internet is not within reach (duh! there's a blackout!), why don't you try picking up the phone and check if you still know how to dial a phone number in your landline. Who knows, aside from learning what's up with a friend (and hearing someone's reaction on what you're saying rather than "reading" it), you might just get to catch some juicy gossip as well.Ü

Well, that's all that I got to think of for now (since the lights just came back on...YEY!). If you still have some ideas on what to do on an electrically-challenged, rainy day, let me know by posting a comment here. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this humble blog of mine. 'Til next month's blog! Ciao!


As a post script, I'd like to ask those reading this blog to offer a moment of silence and prayer to the victims of typhoon Frank and to those who perished in the sinking of M/V Princess of the Stars. May their souls rest in peace.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

GrupoRAV4's Subic Fun Run

A convoy of RAV4s on the road? Why not! And that's exactly what we did last Saturday en route to Subic. True enough, the line of RAV4s traversing the expressway is a sight to behold. Add to that the numbered bond paper that was placed infront and at the back of the cars, to make lining-up in sequence easier and ensuring that those in the convoy would indeed standout from the other vehicles in the crowd. It would have been better though if there were ribbons tied to the side mirrors to make the convoy more distinguishable, but the identical vehicles was enough to steal the show.

So...what does one do on a fun run, actually? I was at a loss at first but as it turns out, it's just similar to an outing planned by a group of friends. Except that this assembly of sorts was fueled by the group's fascination about anything RAV4 and I think (with emphasis on the "i think") that some of these guys haven't even met in person at all. This is just an assumption since I saw some of them shaking hands just like introducing one's self when meeting someone for the first time.

For this particular fun run, the group prepared an itinerary with the following activities:

6:00AM - Meeting @ Petron NLEX
7:00AM - Depart Petron
7:20AM - Stop at Total or Shell NLEX regroup
8:00AM - SCTEX Expressway
9:00AM - Subic International Raceway (orientation); Need 750 pesos and helmet / swimming @ Camayan just in case walang gusto mag-circuit
11:00AM - Zoobic Safari/ Ocean Adventure / Extreme Adventure
12.00NN - Lunch @ Boardwalk
1:00PM - Shopping @ Royalle
2:00PM - Carting, Horse
3:00PM - Freetime
4:00 or 5:00PM - Go back to Manila

As with any other plan, there were quite a few flaws with this one, but none that would spoil the fun for everybody. First off, we got to depart Petron at 8:30AM instead of 7AM as planned. Hence, we only got to do one activity in the morning which was running the circuit (sorry guys but I don't really know the correct term for this Ü) at the Subic International Raceway. If racing is your thing and you love the smell of burnt rubber, then I strongly recommend that you try this one which seems like an adrenaline rush from what I've heard from my brother and the rest of the gang.

We were all hungry and sweaty by lunch time so we specifically wanted some place airy (with airconditiong if possible) to eat so we ended up at Pancake House in Subic (of course!). Afterwhich, we went to Royal Subic (I can't remember the name exactly...memory gap...hehe) for a bit of shopping and cooling off since it was really just too hot outside. When we were done, we went to Zoobic Safari, which we were supposed to have gone to earlier in the day. It was already almost 4pm when we got there and the tour apparently lasts for about 2 hours. Since we (my family and I) had to be back in Manila by 8pm to pick-up my older brother from the airport, we weren't able to join the group at Zoobic Safari anymore. Too bad since we were looking forward to seeing what Zoobic Safari has to offer. Anyway, there's always a next time, but little brother was a bit miffed about it, which is understandable. I, on the other hand, was actually looking forward to the Extreme Adventure part of the itinerary, which seemed interesting after having read the printout lying around the house together with the above itinerary. As it turns out, the group wasn't able to do that either (i'm really not sure since the events that happened after we left are a bit hazy to me...obviously...Ü). Well I guess we'll just have to do that some other time.Ü

All in all, even if we (my family and I) didn't get to join the group in all the activities, I had fun seeing and checking out new things, mingling with other people, and learning a lot about cars, RAV4 in particular.Ü By the way, for those of you wondering, I was just a 4th wheel in this day trip seeing as it's actually my not-so-little brother who's a ka-GrupoRAV4.Ü So, who are the 2nd and 3rd wheel? My dad and mom of course, who enjoyed this day full of activities as much as we all did.Ü So...if you own a RAV4, then I suggest you sign up and join http://www.gruporav4.com/ and learn anything and everything that has got to do RAV4 and meet fellow RAV4 enthusiasts.Ü

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In a Baguio state of mind...

My family and I just recently came home from a trip to Baguio and during our stay there I got to thinking just how much I take these "Baguio trips" for granted...especially after learning that someone close to our family hasn't even been to Baguio (and here I was thinking that EVERYONE's been there...wala lang...feeling ko lang...hehe...).

Anyway, seeing as we've been there countless of times, the allure of going to Baguio's must-see places like Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Good Shepherd Convent, and other places, has diminished over time that we actually no longer go to these places anymore. But I guess Baguio really just has this inherent charm that we keep coming back to this place despite the fact that we've gone to every nook and cranny in this place (well, not really...but it feels that way Ü).

What makes Baguio special anyway? After a bit of wondering and thinking, i've come up with a list of things that makes Baguio special for me & our family. It's actually more of like a-visit-to-Baguio-is-never-complete-without... list. So here it goes...Ü

A Trip to Baguio is Never Complete Without...

Having buffet lunch or dinner at Baguio Country Club. Because of some really mabait and superb (Haha! Sipsip!) family friends, we get to stay here as their guests, and one of the things I look forward to in staying at BCC is their buffet. They serve different cuisines every time so you won't get bored with the dishes their serving coz there's always an element of surprise of what food they will be serving for the next buffet. During our recent stay there we availed of their Saturday Dinner Buffet and Sunday Brunch Buffet (too bad I didn't take note of the "titles" of these buffets). They stop serving buffet by Sunday dinner and resume Thursday Lunch (if i'm not mistaken) but no worries here...you can always order ala carte from their menu, which leads us to the next thing that I look forward to when going to Baguio...

BCC's Gambas Al Ajillo. I know it's weird seeing as we're in the mountain and yet I choose to eat seafood which i'm sure is not within close proximity from any point on this City of Pines. However, I just truly love BCC's version of Gambas Al Ajillo...it's not spicy (a bummer for some, i'm sure, but i'm just not much of a fan of spicy food), has got just the right amount of sauce, and it's not too bell peppery. Just writing about it now actually makes me hungry! Yum yum!

BCC's Raisin Bread and Hot Chocolate. A Baguio trip is never complete without having raisin bread and hot chocolate for a room-serviced breakfast. We usually order this on the morning of our 2nd day since we usually don't get to finish the entire raisin bread and we most of the time have leftovers of it for midnight snack or breakfast the next day. We also take home loads of it (the raisin bread) back to Manila to stock some in our freezer and for pasalubong since BCC's raisin bread is really very, very good. So good in fact that they're famous for it and to the point that they just recently 'baptized' their coffee shop with a new name which is now called 'Raisin Bread' (of course they have other stuff aside from raisin breads that they sell there).

A visit to Camp John Hay. There's an entrance to CJH near BCC and that's usually where we pass through to get to CJH. What I love doing every time we're at Baguio is to walk the entire way going to CJH's Commissary coming from BCC. It's a good 10-15 minute walk uphill but is definitely worthit coz I get my heart rate up and at the end of it all is the commissary where I can shop a bit for some anik-anik.Ü But if we intend to go a little further to Chocolate de Batirol or the Mini Golf, we bring the car since that's a little further up. There's actually a bit more to see now at CJH since The Manor (a new hotel place there) is now open and I read in the paper that their raisin bread is up at par with that of BCC's and that it's gearing up for a bit of friendly raisin bread competition between the two. I also read in a blog somewhere that the 19th Tee restaurant is now also up and running after a bit of hibernation. Well, i'm not really sure if they closed down the place or maybe they just transferred to a different location but I remember in one Baguio trip that when we visited 19th Tee in the location where we knew it stood, it was closed and we didn't notice any sign anywhere to inform travelers of where it transferred. So all these time I thought it closed down for good. I'm happy that it actually didn't.Ü

A visit to the Palengke. We usually go to the Baguio Market at least twice per trip. The first is to buy some strawberries & Tantamco's ube halaya to take home to the hotel so that we have something to munch on while watching TV or to eat as dessert after a hearty lunch or dinner. The strawberries we store in a container and pour sugar over it after cutting off the leaves so that we can still bring them back home to Manila without it getting lamog, which will definitely happen if we just take it home as-is after buying it at the market. The ube halaya, on the other hand, is a favorite of the entire family except yours truly.Ü It's not as if I didn't try to like it...I did, for several times already...it's just not 'liked' by my tastebuds.Ü
A second trip to the market is almost a necessity for every Baguio trip that we have. This usually happens on the day of our departure from Baguio where we'd buy pampasalubong items and fresh vegetables to take home to Manila. I especially look forward to buying my favorite kutsay tips (Does anyone know the translation of this in English? Coz I don't...maybe someone can share it to me so I know...Ü) which can be very cheap in Baguio when it's in season (it's quite pricey in Manila and you don't actually get to see it often in the palengke or supermarket).

Well, I guess that's all for now. After writing all of those stuff, i'm actually missing Baguio already.Ü If you guys have anything to add in the list above, let me know by commenting...wookie?! 'Til next month's blog!


Before I end this, let me give a shout out to my Lolo who's celebrating his 72nd Birthday today...HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lolo Er! *HUGZ!*and*MUAH!*