A Weekend in Carmen

One fine weekend in June, work led me to a small enclave of a paradise. How lucky was I to be working on a weekend and waking up with this view!

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This is in a private rest house. The place is beautiful that it makes me want to work hard in order to afford a little place of paradise for myself one day.

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The place is in Carmen, Agusan del Norte and it has access to a beach.  The beach was rocky. Although you need beach shoes to wade into the water, the water was so clear. I can see the fishes.

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I did not bring swimwear so I hang out on those rocks.  I saw this fisherfolk in a boat made of 3 halves of a plastic barrel. He said that the simplest boat would cost Php 5,000 (approx $110) and that is pretty expensive for him.  This is Filipino ingenuity.  This boat may not be seaworthy but it is enough for the fisherfolk to get a day’s catch for the family and more.

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Our host’s neighbor had these huts and tree house.

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Farther left was this view.

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What a weekend!  I would not mind working again like this: perfect views, great people and full of hope for the future! Even the food was great!

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The Summer of 2016

The cursor on this blog post keeps blinking. It has been a long time since I wrote something and it takes awhile to compose my thoughts. Blame it on the hiatus or Monday blues. I am slowly easing my way into doing the projects I plan to do. My accomplishments for the past week included reduced laundry, cleaned closet and new sheets.  I also started reading a book. Yay! One step at a time and I’ll get in to the groove of things.

I spent a chunk of my summer time with my aunt and uncle who came to visit us. The last time my aunt visited us was 13 years ago; my uncle, 18 years. I think they need to increase the frequency of their visit.

To mark their arrival, we posed for a photo on the mural I made in one of my aunts’ wall.

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I made this one as my Facebook cover photo.

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We also went on a trip. We went to Camiguin, Bukidnon and El Savador (Misamis Oriental).

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We spent time with family.

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We went to Singapore.

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We had fiesta.

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Sometimes we went out. Sometimes we just stayed at home.

Then, summer came to a close. My aunt and uncle already left. We are back to Facetime, chat and Facebook interactions.

Whenever I reflect on the summer I had, I smile because I had a wonderful time. The experience affirms my love for travel. And to be able to do that, I need to work harder, live healthier and make every moment count. So here I am. I am determined to do the things I wanted to happen, in God’s grace and perfect time.

Oh, I got me a new niece last summer. Life is good. God is great. All the time.

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How was your summer? I hope you had a good one.

A Roadtrip to Roadtrip

My aunt came home one afternoon from a get-together with friends. She told us they went to a new cafe along the diversion road in the city. She said that the food was good. It was not accessible by public transportation so when my cousins invited me to go with them, I dropped everything. I cannot pass up the opportunity.

The cafe is named Roadtrip. It is a both a carwash and a cafe. So while you wait for your car to be washed, you can dine in their cafe.  The cafe was cozy and breezy with all the open windows.

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I love the stairs.  They are made of old tires that are filled with concrete.

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The cafe is pet-friendly. We brought my cousins’ mini-pinscher  and she felt at home.

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There is also a backyard with ducks. ( I was only able to capture one duck in the photo.)

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This is what we ordered- longsilog (longganisa, fried rice and egg) and bacon cheeseburger.

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This is the bacon cheeseburger upclose. It was delicious.  (Disclosure: I went back with friends. Twice.)

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Since we went to the Roadtrip Cafe early in the afternoon, we went to a roadtrip (literally!). This time… to the beach!

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I sometimes forget that we live near the beach.  One can just rent a cottage here for P50 (~$1).

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My cousins’ dog went for a swim.

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On the way the beach, we crossed the Masao bridge. The bridge crosses the Masao river.

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There are people who make a living from the river.

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We also went to the nearby barangay, Lumbocan, out of curiousity. We found this beautiful fishpond.

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 Oh, we passed by the area where pots of bougainvillea were sold. I love bougainvillea.

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We called it a day since our youngest roadtripper was already tired.

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Have you explored your hometown lately?

Hello, Negros Occidental!

My friend, Gail, and I found a promo fare from Davao to Bacolod early this year. When September came, off we went to the City of Smiles! As we landed, this is what I saw:  vast plantation of sugarcane!

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With that in mind, our first stop was at Calea,  a pastry shop.  We had luggage in tow and the cafe was not yet open when we arrived but we were willing to wait.  It was an easy breezy trip. It was still around 9AM and we were not expected in our next destination until around lunch time.

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Our tummies can only handle 3 cakes.  Besides, we have 4 days in this place. We have more opportunities for more cakes.

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Off we went to the mountains. We spent our first night in Negros at the Campuestohan Highland Resort.  We went there for the experience of sleeping in a house that looks like that of a hobbit’s. This is called a Bonita Hut.

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The bed is so biiiiig. On the website, it states that this can accommodate up to 6 people.  Oh, the bonita hut has no air-conditioning, which was okay because this was already in the mountain. Cool mountain air was enough to give us a comfortable sleep that night. Actually, I found myself reaching for the blanket in the middle of the night.

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The resort offers other accommodations  like the log cabin rooms…

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… and the teepee accommodations.

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Our only beef  was the transportation. The resort did not have a shuttle service during weekdays. We had to hire a taxi to get us there. We haggled for Php 600 taxi ride in reaching the place and we paid Php 1000 for the taxi driver to fetch us the following day and bring us to Mambukal.

Mambukal is another mountain resort in Negros which is run but the local government. It is at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon so it has several springs and waterfalls.  Good thing that I made reservations months before and I saw my name on their calendar. The resort was fully booked. Some local government units had seminar there.

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It was raining when we went there. We had to wait for the rain to stop before going to our next activity- trekking to the falls. There are 7 falls in Mambukal.  The guide brought us to three.  We opted to just go to 3 falls. It was already raining. Plus, my legs were already tired with all the “climbing”. There are paths, steps and railings towards the falls but because it was raining, there was an extra effort on my part to avoid slipping.

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Since our clothes were wet, we decided to just change to our swimming clothes.  Included in our accommodation  is a free entrance to their small pool. All the swimming made us hungry. I opted for batchoy and halo-halo, I think. This is what I found in my file. hehehe

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By the following morning, we wanted to try the hot sulfur spring. This is called a Japanese Ofuro.

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We had breakfast after dipping in the spring. We still have time before checking out of the resort so went to the boating lagoon to see if we could try boating. We decided to just take some photos there.

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There are mini-buses just outside of Mambukal resort so transportation was not a problem this time. Waiting time for the bus to get filled took some time. Beggars can’t be choosers. The fare was only ₱35! We were not in a hurry. We tried to be patient but our tummies were not. It was merienda time and we did not bring snacks. Poor us! Hehehe

In Bacolod, we stayed at Go Hotels. We snagged a promo months before. Room rate which only costs us 1,200 for two nights.

If I was travelling with my aunt, we would hit popular food chains for food. She does not eat anything unfamiliar to her. Restaurants intimidate her. Since I am with Gail, my foodie friend, we went local. We tried to explore Bacolod’s homegrown restos like Cafe Bob which had a branch in the mall.  Gail opted for Satay Babe (pronounced as ‘Satey Babeh’)…

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… while I chose Angus beef tapa.

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 For dessert, we shared this pavlova.

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 For snacks, we went to a branch of Calea  inside the mall and ordered ice cream cake.

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Our destination for the day is The Ruins in Talisay City.  The Ruins is the mansion of  Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. Sometimes,  this mansion is also called the ‘Taj  Mahal of Negros’. Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built the house for his wife, Maria Braga. Maria died before it was completed.  During World War II, guerilla forces purposely burned down the structure to prevent the Japanese from occupying the space and use it as headquarters.

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We read that it is best to go there during sunset. We went there from sunset till night time! Sayang ang Php90 entance fee! We went there on a Thursday and, for some reason, there were lots of tourists! Hello, photobombers!

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 I finally had an opportunity take that shot I wanted with few intrusions.

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It was already dark when we left. It was Gail who did most of the planning in this trip especially where we would eat. She learned that a Vietnamese restaurant called Rau Ram Cafe was just near the area. We hired a trike to get us there. Look at my friend’s happy face after our order was served.

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 I know she’d protest over her solo picture being posted. Hi, Gail! This is our photo together.

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On our last day, we went to Silay City to visit heritage houses.  Our first stop  was the Hofileña Museum. We arrived there without appointment that my friend caught the owner, Ramon Hofileña, resting in his living room. Somebody really lives in this house. He was gracious to accommodate us by calling his assistant/guide to tour us around. Edwin, the guide, was very entertaining. He told us a lot of trivia and history of the mansion which was really fascinating. I really suggest not to miss this tour when visiting Silay.

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We had lunch at Cafe 1925 as suggested by my blogger friend, Lady. Silay is her hometown.  There were items in the menu that we were interested of trying but was not available. So I settled with fried chicken. My expectations were not high. I always think that the best fried chicken came from the fast food chains. To my surprise, it was delicious!  The serving was huge. Four pieces of fried chicken for Php160!

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We had dessert at El Ideal bakery and tried their famous guapple pie.

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 After lunch, we visited Balay Negrense.

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There was no guide to usher us around and this greeted us by the door.  I watched a few Filipino horror movies and this scared me. We toured around the place with much care. We did not want to disturb the spirits we concocted in our heads.  Hehehe!

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 There were other heritage houses in Silay but we decided to go back to Bacolod shop for souvenirs.

We had an early flight to Cebu the following day so we had dinner  again at Cafe Bob and started packing.

The trip to Negros was a laid back one. We did not aim to go to as many tourist spots as we can. We did not aim to try different activities. We visited a few and just relaxed. We napped when we wanted to nap and ate when we wanted to eat (which was often! hehehe).  After all, this would not be my last visit to Bacolod.

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Fire On A Plane

I travel as often as I can. Many of the travels that I do require a plane ride. I still am not used to flying. I pray before takeoff and I thank God when I land.  They say that there are more road mishaps than plane crashes but it is hard be at peace with that information.  I console myself with beautiful aerial views like this. This is Negros Occidental and those are sugarcane plantations.  We can only hope that when there are incidents on a plane, the flight crew knows what they are supposed to do.

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If you have ever flown on a plane, then you know that the space is small. The smell of smoke can often lead to chaos that breaks out on the plane, but thanks to the quick thinking of the people who work on the plane, they can get all of the passengers off in a few moments after the plane lands. Pilots and other workers go through aircraft fire training in order to protect passengers in the event of an emergency. They are trained to keep everyone calm before making sure everyone is off the plane.

There are simulators that the pilots and workers will use to see what it’s like during a fire on a plane. They are given details as to the many locations that a fire can begin. One of the common areas is near the turbine as this is an enclosed space and is often very warm. Other locations are in the cargo hold and luggage compartment. The type of procedure will depend on where the fire occurs in the plane. There are several types of fires that are detailed during the training. These include fires in the cargo area, in the turbine area and where the luggage is stored.

Fire departments will work with the other members of the plane to give advice and procedures about how to get through the fire while keeping passengers safe. All of the training is done in accordance with state and local standards. Some of the training sessions involve gas-operated devices. Sprinkler systems are used to keep everyone in the training class safe. The systems are triggered to come on as soon as the fire locations are turned on so that there are minimal flames involved. The simulator can hold the weight of several firefighters in full gear as well as workers on the plane. There are some simulations that involve system failures so that pilots know what to do if they are unable to communicate with the tower. After the fire safety training, there is cold training that involves searching for passengers who might be left on the plane and how to use the emergency slide.

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