Sunday, October 30, 2011

Casa Manila

 I just did my Intramuros tour last year and had the chance to visit Casa Manila. However, it was only the courtyard part that I got to visit and not the museum itself. Lucky me that I needed to go to Intramuros yesterday to accompany a friend in an event. While waiting for the event to start, we wandered the streets of Intramuros and found myself facing the entrance door leading to the courtyard and to the museum of Casa Manila.

Casa Manila is a Spanish colonial home. It resembles our version of "compound" or "apartment". It serves as dwellings to the landlords and several tenants. 

The landlord's home has two floors. And anyone can tell that is the landlord's home by the intricate architectural designs and very classic sophisticated choice of furniture. The first floor has the landlord's office and 2 guests rooms. The second floor serves as the receiving room with a spacious hallway and lotsaaaa chairs. (Kung ako ang bisita, maloloka ako sa dami ng upuan, di ko alam saan uupo o magpapalipat-lipat ako ng upuan para ma-experince lahat!) It houses the prayer room, another guest room and the (another spacious) master's bed room. I fancy all the narra-made cabinets and dressers! The four-poster beds on all rooms (less the mattress.. di pa uso non ang mattress!) On the other side is the dining area filled with the finest of china wares. There's this stuff called pun ka (I forgot the correct spelling) It's like a large piece of cloth hanged at the ceiling with ropes being pulled by maids (or parang electric fan!) use to drive away flies/mosquitoes while the landlord, his family and some guests are eating. Bongga talaga!

I got to see the kitchen too. Very classic! There's a dome structure where they bake breads (wala pang oven nun!) Wooden laddles and spatulas, large iron cauldrons and kettle. Biscuit molds made of wood with different shapes and sizes. Banga (ceramic jar) to store water. And you wont believe this, they've got a refrigerator back then! It's not the electric type but it's somewhat made of iron or aluminum (I really can't tell..) where they used to keep the ice (well, obviously, not for long..) The rest rooms.. so old school! The toilet are not the ceramic type but made of wood (with arm chairs pa!) and there are bath tubs and dippers too.

The tour inside the landlord's house won't take much of your time, 30 mins to an hour is enough na! Di ka maliligaw coz you just to follow and step on the red carpet. It'll lead you to the different parts of the house. At the last stop (the kitchen area), they will let you sign on their guest book and leave a comment. 

It's amazing that Intramuros administration really had the chance to preserve and restore Casa Manila and it's beauty from what it was before. We'll the tenants' houses were converted to souvenir shops, cafe, restaurants and offices. The courtyard is a very relaxing place. With the fountain as the main attraction and the cobbled stones and walls, it feels like you wanna try living the life back then. 

If you wanna visit and see what's inside Casa Manila, you can go there anytime of the week. No fee. But if you wanna visit the museum itself, you may visit anytime except on Mondays and there's a fee of php 75. Yun nga lang, no pictures allowed inside. For your eyes only! It's a few blocks away from Manila Cathedral and San Agustin church. It's worth-paying the visit!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who's to Blame?

Anytime we perceive that someone has weakened us, has downed us, has hurt us, has come against us, we really have to evaluate that honestly. 

Did they really, or did we decide they did, then hurt ourselves with that series of thoughts?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One Year, One New Me

Been pondering on my so called "new life". It's been a year. A year of just me, spending my new found "me time", discovering my new self and exploring some new journeys all by myself. Definitely not the time for some emo madness. Just looking back on the year that was.

Let me be blunt of saying this: I am celebrating my first year as a single woman. Single. Not in a relationship. 

The first few months were extremely harsh. I've almost reached the verge of giving up. Letting my life go astray. Full of b***s**t! That was me. Second and third quarter went just fine. Diverting my attention, mostly into traveling. Starting to use my "me time". Slowly recuperating. The last quarter was great. I can now face everyone. Accepted the situation I've been to. Forgave myself and the others. Happy.

I just can't imagine that life will be good to me. All along I thought life's always unfair. But I was wrong. Maybe life just realized I didn't do anything bad so he has no reasons to make mine miserable. I did what I just needed to do: Live life as it is. To the fullest. As if it's my last. Live positively. Always smile and be happy.

It really ain't an easy process. But if you have the will to move on and see yourself look good again and try to put back the life that you had way before you had him, there must be no stopping you now. Don't look back. Always look ahead. 

Thanks to my ever supportive friends. I've seen the real definition of the saying, A friend in need is a friend indeed. They may not always be there for me but they always make sure every time we spend together must be well-spent. I love hearing their unconditional advice. I just love to be in my friends' company. Next to my family, they're God's best gift to me. My second loves. 

Let me end this by saying I'm living my life now the way I want it to be. The way I've envisioned it a year ago. I thought it'll will far-fetched. I'd say this wouldn't be possible without my family and friends. But I must say I really owe this life to myself. Because I kept  my promise and pursued my will to live and love my life. Because I believed that no one can stop me from being me and do the things at my own will. Because I relied mostly to God and let Him lead me to the right path where I'm at right now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do the Math on my Travel Expenses

A follow up on my blog DIY Travel Tips.. I am laying down all my expenses on my 3-day Cebu travel adventure. I, (ahem), got the guts to show this to... (ahmm) .. help(?!?) travelers stretch their moolahs when they've decided to travel (in Cebu, of course!) but I really (really, really) don't recommend you try this! (whew!) You can still stretch your budget up to.. half of what I've spent (geesh.. big spender!)

Okay.. Here it goes:

I really allotted a travel budget of php 6000 (in case of emergency.. you can never tell what's gonna happen!) Inclusive of fares, fees, accommodations, food, drinks, pasalubong. But I didn't intend to spend all (fingers crossed!)

Below are my personal expenses, Chinchan's not included... :)

Day 1: Gora sa Cebu and Cebu city tour

(we stayed at GranPrix Hotel - free accommodation c/o of ChinChan)

60.00 - breakfast of siopao, banana and 1 liter of water - c/o 711
100.00 - taxi from Cubao to NAIA Terminal 3 - without the traffic!
200.00 - terminal fee
65.00 - taxi from Mactan Intl Airport to Mactan Shrine       
105.00 - taxi from Mactan Shrine to SM City Cebu
62.00 - lunch at CnT - (chopsuey, lechon, rice and soda) may corkage fee pag nagdala ka ng sarili mong inumin.. duh!
50.00 - taxi to Roseate Pension Inn - along Urgelio st
494.00 - overnight stay to Roseate Pension Inn - deluxe- 2 single bed, with view (Crown Regency Hotel)
50.00 - taxi to Taoist Temple - we're supposed to try the habal-habal pero di panatag ang kalooban ko sumakay sa motorcycle!
55.00 - taxi to Fort San Pedro
30.00 - entrance fee at Fort San Pedro
80.00 - taxi to Larsian sa Fuente 
75.00 - dinner at Larsian - 6 isaw, 4 pork bbq, 7 puso + makapal na usok!
545.00 - pasalubong at Shamrock store - otap, dried mango, turones de mani, piyaya

Day 2: Trip to Moalboal, Cebu

(free breakfast from Roseate Pension Inn)

32.50 - taxi to South Cebu Bus Terminal
5.00 - terminal fee
112.00 - bus fare to Moalboal - aircon bus!
20.00 - chicharon Carcar
150.00 - tricycle fare - from drop off point to Panagsama to Orchid Garden to White Beach, mini tour na din!
10.00 - entrance fee at Orchid Garden - with caged birds at sangdamukal na unggoy
750.00 - overnight stay at HK Resort - na walang TV!
175.00 - lunch at HK Resort - beefstik with drinks, masarap naman kahit shala!
35.00 - bottled water
130.00 - souvenir shirt

Day 3: Kawasan Falls tour and Fly back na to Manila!

300.00 - tricycle fare to Kawasan Falls - arkilado si Manong eh! 
210.00 - entrance fee + bayad sa guide going to Kawasan falls
30.00 - breakfast at Moalboal carinderia - pusit, tortang talong, rice and water - walang free breakfast sa HK resort :(
107.00 - bus fare to Cebu city - ordinary bus na lang
40.00 - chicharon Carcar
32.00 - lunch at carinderia sa terminal
100.00 - taxi to Mactan Intl Airport
200.00 - terminal fee

then free shuttle na lang from NAIA terminal 3 to MRT, then FX at tricycle at bahay ko na! :)

So there.. yan ang aking mga expenses sa paglamyerda  ko sa Cebu! Magastos ba? Oo. Aminado naman ako. Pansin naman, puro taxi di ba? Pwede ba bumawi sa susunod? :)

Ang sa akin lang naman kung kaya ko naman gumastos, okay lang, basta masulit ko yung byahe. Material na bagay lang yan, madali ipunin, pero gamitin dapat ng wasto!         


DIY Travel Tips

I have read this travel blog where the blogger used to list down all her itineraries and expenses. Well, I assume, most travel bloggers do this,  right? It's their way of helping would-be travelers on how to live on a tight budget while enjoying the luxury of traveling. And by showing the easiest and comfortable way of traveling (air, sea or land) without the fear of, of course, getting lost!

For people who has never (ever!) set their foot on a strange land, they would really find this useful. Not only they'll get the easiest route and the cheapest place to stay or eat, but it will also open their eyes to what they are about to discover on the strange land. What sort of people they're about to meet and greet, what tourist attractions awaits them, what souvenir items are worth-bringing home, what places are not to be visited, what festivities are worth-joining and not to be missed.

Everything's been set for us. It's our DIY travel book (or Idiot's Guide to Traveling -name of place- .. haha!)  We don't need to buy expensive travel books or maps (even compass!) Have your eyes glued on the net, search on travel blogs and voila! There you go.. You can feel your hands are itching to click on every blogs you see, checking all the places these people have been, jotting down all their travel adventures (or simply print a copy - less hassle) What is left for us to do is pack our things and off we go to a new adventure. 

That's what I did when I booked myself a flight to Cebu. With the help of my travel buddy ChinChan of, we spent countless days looking for the cheapest yet enjoyable trip to Cebu. My idea of a Cebu trip was focused mainly on the city. I did not know that Cebu offers the best beaches, too! I didn't have the slightest idea that Camotes, Malapascua and Bantayan Islands were neighboring islands of Cebu. I've realized that the other provinces of Cebu, just like the city proper, has much to offer. My eyes feasted on amazement, my tummy's on the delicious foods and my mind's on the over flowing of thoughts as I am witnessing a beauty that no one will dare miss.

I tried to write down, as vividly as I can remember, all the places we've been, the activities we did and the moolahs we've shelled out to finance our travel. Much as I tried to cut down the cost by taking public transportation, I can't help but take cabs (for fear of getting lost..) Cebu jeepney's are making me crazy, with all the letter-number combo that you have to watch for.. I just find it complicated (sigh) We just made bawi na lang sa foods. I didn't fancy the numerous restaurants. Carinderia will do for me.  CnT and Larsian.. the best! Delicious and very affordable! We didn't even miss taking advantage the free breakfast offered by the inns. Sayang!

We could have won the tipid travel challenge if not for these lavish cabs we took going to-from. And another culprit, the hotel/inn where we stayed. I'm not picky when it comes to choosing the room to stay but, oh my, I can't stand a day without a TV. Room must be well-ventilated. No a/c? Fan will do. Clean sheets. Cabinets/drawers for storage and clean restroom. I even tried picturing myself staying on a dormitory-type of lodging.. but I love privacy! I want privacy!  So, hotel/inn on a tipid travel challenge: failed! Pasalubong? I narrowed it by spending just 500 pesos, no more, no less. 

This challenge thought me lots of things. I can't do everything what others can (much as I want to believe in myself that I can do this!) I can only do so much.. :)

But I'll do better when my next travel adventure comes. I will "try" to save more and spend less while enjoying the trip!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Just want to share what I've just heard on the radio while I am on my way home a few hours ago.. Manong driver's tuned in to 96.3 Easy Rock. And I love this radio station. Old, classic songs! Brings back the old memories.. 

Anyways, the DJ at that time was Andre Jordan. Nice voice. He's quite frank. Tamaan na talaga ang dapat tamaan sa mga advices nya. (Recently, I find DJ's doing the mala-Charo Santos-kind-of-work.. Advice dito, advice doon.. Minsan totoo, minsan corny, minsan walang kwenta - just for fun lang ba! Pero we still listen.. religiously! - Pinoy nga naman.. )

So I was just listening to the songs being played. Medyo reminisce ng konti. Then Andre went on air na. And I really (as in really!) like what he'd just said:

Sometimes the ones we dismiss so easily are the ones who will stay to weather the storm for us..

Shoot! Sapul! He's not even pointing fingers to anyone pero it's obvious naman na super dami ang natamaan! To cite an example, you're not in the mood. An officemate approaches you, asks how you're feeling today, and you simply said "I'm okay".. even if you're not. You'll never know what advice can your officemate give you the moment you let him know you're condition. Another one. You're heartbroken. Manong Janitor notices it, asks you kung okay ka lang. You simply shrug. What if Manong Janitor, kahit simpleng janitor lang sya, has lots to say when it comes to matters of the heart? What if he's been through the same situation you're into now? Last one. Our parents. Once we've turned into grown ups, feeling natin we know everything. We no longer consult them for guidance. And even if they offer help, we ignore them. Wala naman sila alam. Di nila alam ang pinagdaraanan natin. But at the end of the day, who do we turn to? Still, sila pa rin, our parents. They may never know the in's and out's of everything (like fashion, technology, trends) but unlike these stuff, they never fade. Never will..

We tend to listen to the ones we like.  Tama? Ta-maaa...

We tend to ignore the ones we don't like. And most often than not, the ones we always ignore has the most to say. The ones we always avoid are the ones whose likely to stay, whether we like it or not. So ironic noh?

The moral here is to learn to appreciate whatever anyone has to say, whoever they are, regardless of their status and situation in life. We're so picky. Sa sobrang picky, wala ng natitira, naubusan na pala tayo. Pero the ones that you left behind, kahit ano pa ang gawin mo, saan mang sulok ng mundo ka magpunta, will always be there.. to stay.. to weather the storm for you.. to carry your burdens.. to love you unconditionally..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plant with Me!

My employer's way of giving back all the blessings received was to show support on all cause-oriented activities. And one of them is Plant With Me activity.

The activity is very simple. Plant. :)

We volunteered ourselves on the said activity for the following reasons: 

a) Leave credit/s - yes, you heard it right! You volunteer and right away you gain one leave credit. Isn't that nice? Where in the world you'll get an extra leave credit just by planting? Not much effort was even exerted.

b) Road trip - take the chance to go on a road trip at no cost! Just enjoy the trip and wait til you get to the destination. 

c) Fame (?!?) - pwede na.. Just try to imagine having your pictures taken while planting. Artista? haha.. Not much. May nakatingin sa camera, merong hindi. Mas maganda yung stolen shots eh. May mga camera-conscious. Kailangan munang mag-pose at kunin ang tamang anggulo bago picture.

d) Awareness/Assistance - Simply helping Mother Earth. Pay back time, ika nga. Sino pa ang magtutulungan kundi tayo-tayo lang? And it's a great feeling that you're helping others. Di kailangan ng pera. Just effort and willingness to help. Kakaiyak. Kaka-touch.

e) Fun! - Mas masarap mag-work when you're with your friends. It's a different bonding. Tulungan sa pagbungkal ng lupa, sa pagwalis, pagbunot ng damo at pagtanim. Pagod man ang lahat after a hard day's work pero kitang-kita ang mga ngiti sa labi.

Honestly, I am always looking forward for these kinds of activities. Kahit wala ng leave credits. Just the thought that you're doing this as a sign of helping others and showing your compassion towards nature and mankind. 

Boodle Feast @ Seafood Island

Sobrang gutom ka na ba? Tara at mag-boodle feast na!

Are you a member of a hungry pack with pocket's aching out loud (due to a tight budget) but still looking for a good place to eat? Have you felt the need to eat without kaartehan? No spoon/fork/knives. No plates. Very cowboy way of eating yet still inside a classy resto?

I'd say go to Blackbeard's Seafood Island and try the Boodle feast! Very affordable. Very delicious food. It's a different bonding over eating!

Wander Woman

Wander Woman: The woman who likes to wander around. And it's me! I've come to realized that I like, and love, to travel. Travel with friends. Travel to see the beauty of nature. Travel to taste local delicacies. Travel to own bits and pieces of what the place has to offer. Travel to amaze myself on the numerous wonders our country has to offer. 

We have tons of reasons why we like and love traveling. We even have different ways of defining the word traveling. Some travel for fun. Some involves business. Some travel for research. Some travel seeking for inner peace. Some would like to witness different festivities. Some travel and brag.

For me, traveling is witnessing what a certain place has to offer. I am a visual person so I want to see every bits and pieces. I love taking pictures. I like owning something from where I came from. I love proofs of my travel. That's why whenever I travel, I never sleep. Because I don't want to miss a single thing. Kahit nakaharap pa ako sa isang bundok o bangin.. it's still worth it! I like seating near the window mapa-bus o plane pa sya. Sometimes I tend not to mingle with my seat mate because my eyes were all glued outside. The talk can wait; the scenery can't. 

Traveling doesn't only feed the eyes with the beauty of nature. It also awakens our other senses: taste, touch, hear and smell. Now it's up to you how you'll use each one of them to make the traveling fulfilling. Given that the eyes are for the wonderful sights, the sense of taste applies to the local dishes and delicacies, the sense of touch for feeling the warmth of the people and the surroundings, the sense of hearing while listening to the laughter, cries and stories told by the people and the sense of smell for savoring the scent of a freshly-picked fruit.

There was this moment that I feel like I already knew what I really wanted in life. That was the moment when I am recalling all the travel activities I've made this far. I love to travel. It made, and still making, me happy. I love to write and share what I've experienced to everyone. I can't say that I am gonna take it to a serious level where what I'd only do in life is travel and write. I still have lots of needs to attend to. 

For now I'll just let my creative juices pour out and share it by means of writing. I blog not because it's "in" but this is where I put all my thoughts on things. I care less for people who will scrutinize my posts. After all, they're entitled to their own opinion. I don't have anything in particular when it comes to blogging. Travel. Food. Life experiences. Love problems. Name it. 

I will still continue my passion for travel. I maybe on a tight budget but it's not a great excuse for me not to fulfill what I've wanted. Focus. Self-control. Determination. Continue to feed my mind and my senses with history, pictures, stories, and foods. I travel because I want to know more. I am eager to learn.

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