Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bacolod - Masskara Festival 2011

I was probably four when I first went to Bacolod. I vaguely remember having tasted sugarcane, and manually shifting the gears of a pick-up truck while my cousin drove.

Cut to 2011. I was back in Bacolod--this time for the Masskara festival.


From what I learned, the Masskara festival is a month-long celebration but my office mates and I chose to be there from Oct. 14-16 since there were lots of parades and competitions happening that weekend. 

Because it was too hot, we watched the parades at night!





OUR ITINERARY - 3D/2N

Day 1 – Friday, Oct 14

-Arrive in Bacolod (hire FX from Bacolod-Silay airport to hotel)
-Check-in @ Business Inn
-Lunch at Manokan Country for authentic chicken inasal
-Desserts at Calea - must try their cakes!
-More desserts at Roli’s in Lopue's Mandalagan (Napoleones!)
-See The Ruins in Talisay City (via cab, 15 mins. away from Bacolod City)
-Visit Balay Negrense, an ancestral home, in Silay (via cab, 25 mins. from Bacolod City) 
-Watch electric masskara parade at night
-Dinner at Aboy’s for Pinoy sinugba. Their squid fat is also to die for.
-Street party at night 'til sawa 

Jeeps look like armor trucks!
(There's our hotel! Nearby ATMs nearby, too!)

What was left of the five cakes that we ordered in Calea

Traffic! Roads were starting to be closed in preparation for the parades and night activities.

The Ruins.
 Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built this mansion in loving memory of his deceased wife Maria Braga after her death in 1911. The mansion was torched by the guerrilla fighters during WWII in 1942 and was burning for 3 days.

Debutante pictorial at Balay Negrense. I felt so embarrassed for her.

One of the electric masskara floats


Day 2 – Saturday, Oct 15 
-Brunch at Cafe Bob’s for pizza and pasta
-Tour Negros Museum near the lagoon and have merienda at the Museum Cafe
-Watch electric masskara parade at night
-Dinner at 21 for batchoy
-Street party at night ‘til sawa 

Artsy fartsy at the Museum Cafe.
The ginger-lime drink goes well with beer!

Sugar cane rum! Ask for a taste in the Museum Cafe.
Beware, it's so strong! Gumuguhit!

VERY crowded street party. There was a concert on every corner!
We couldn't go to Mushu anymore because it was too crowded.

Dance like no one's watching.
The Koreans seemed to be having the most fun at the street party.

Day 3 – Sunday, Oct 16
-Brunch at Pepe’s for salpicao and pesto chicken (in Sorrento)
-Mass in Ilonggo at San Sebastian Cathedral -- for experience
-Buy souvenirs and merienda at SM because it was just too hot to watch the street dance competition
-Take cab to airport
-Depart for Manila

View of San Sebastian Cathedral from the plaza

Inside the cathedral

Big masks being sold on the street. P300-P400

One of these is P70. Bought one for myself!

Tips and lessons learned:
  1. Buy plane ticket in advanced. It’s cheaper. We booked our flight in January. Tickets were P2,618 round trip without seat sale via Cebu Pacific. Chances are bleak to get plane tickets on seat sale in time for Masskara.
  2. Be prepared to sweat. Bring lots of panyo, your pamaypay or umbrella.
  3. Nap at night. This will energize you 'til the wee hours of the morning.
  4. Wear shoes for the street party. You don't want your toes stepped on.
  5. Be prepared to walk. Roads will be closed after lunch in preparation for the parades and street parties. Heavy vehicular and human traffic!
Budget
I suggest preparing P7.5k - P8k for the entire trip. Roundtrip airfare is around P2.5k (suppose you buy way in advance). While in Bacolod, I spent a total of 5k. This includes airport fees, costs for meals and transportation, accommodation and pasalubong. Of course, it helped that we traveled in a group.

Photo Bomb!
The stranger who took our photo thought the lady on top was part of our group!

Had a super fun and colorful weekend. I'm still full from everything we ate!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: No Other Woman

I still don't know what to think of Now That You’re Gone No Other Woman.

I left the theater neither raving nor feeling disappointed--much like after watching One Day. Maybe it was the hype. 

No doubt the acting was terrific. Both Christine Reyes and Anne Curtis were out of their elements and they kicked ass. ("Hindi ako ito! Hindi ako itooo!") They were both so hot, too! Nakakatibo.

Perhaps I just didn't like the ending. How can a wife possibly be friends with her husband's mistress, or even be civil about it? 

Sorry for the spoiler but what level of maturity does one need to have to be able to do this?! I just don't get it. But anyway, that's the story being told and we can't really do anything about it. At least it wasn't expected. 

I just feel that no matter how much one has moved on, c'mon, there's always going to be that tint of hate. A bit of awkwardness, perhaps? Oh, a cocked eyebrow, at least.

This is me talking from inexperience. Though I wonder how I’d react to this if I had been cheated on or if I were the "other woman". (other woman?!)

Some things I picked up from the movie. Healthy reminders for all of us:
1. Don't be a home wrecker. There are many fishes in the sea.
2. Trust your gut. 
3. Choose your battles wisely. 
4. An apology is different from asking for forgiveness.
5. Love is a decision. (Hello, Scott Peck!)

What do you think of the movie?

...Henson

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Typhoon Pedring: No Work!

Very. Very. Rainy... and Windy.
I tried to brave the storm this morning to try and go to work. Leaving the village, I was advised to head home already. It was the best news of the morning... like an answered prayer.

Simultaneously, a transformer in front gave a fireworks display. It wasn't too celebratory, though. Power was out when I got home.

The rain kept falling (and still is). It was extra windy this morning, too! I thought that Pedring was mostly going to bring rain?

As selfish as it sounds, I couldn't have been happier to sleep in until past lunch. I was smiling (kilig and all) while tucking myself into bed.


Here's Pedring from my perspective today:

So many scattered leaves!

Deformed plants in the plant box.  

Our semi-flooded balcony. Playing again with reflections.

One of our trees just snapped in half!

An important learning: always charge your batteries while there's still electricity. Good thing the electricity was back right when my phone was near empty.

I hope that everyone's safe and sound.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around

I believe that there's a karmic reaction to everything that we do. Do good or bad and it'll come back twenty-fold (or more). This I've been told.

When something bad happens, people believe that it's a punishment for something negative done in the past. Retaliating and revenge continues the karmic cycle. It is said that genuine forgiveness and acceptance prevents the negativity from happening again. At the end of the day, it strengthens relationships.

Last year, a family friend died after getting hit by a car. Freak accident, really. Her family accepted it as her fate and karma. To avoid negative karmic repercussions in the future, the driver was intentionally freed from any charges by the family.

I was so bothered by this.

Where does one's moral responsibility fit in the picture? It's an internal struggle, really. Conscience or fear of Karma? If you ask me, it's following one's conscience to do the right thing and for the greater and common good of all.

This, above all, will reap good karma. I hope I'm right.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Haven't Been Dating... Now What?

People have been asking if I've been dating lately. Well, not really. I'm all for meeting new people but dating, as in romantically? Nah.

I guess I'm scared--scared to start anew, play these mind games again and get hurt. It also doesn't help that I've never really dated. The manang in me comes out in these situations.

I'm also scared of possibly dating some random guy knowing that his objective is just to get into my pants. How scary is that?! Men have their needs, I know, but please, I don't want to be involved in this hanky panky. I'm not that desperate yet. Let's face it. We all know that these "relationships" end up short lived.

I want someone for keeps.

As I wrote in a previous blog entry, I want a romantic relationship born out of friendship. That's why I'd rather meet new people without any expectations rather than go out on a date with someone who's already considering me as a life partner candidate... or someone who just wants to get into my pants.

The Notebook captures my sentiments exactly:
Having a relationship that’s based out of friendship makes your relationship more substantial and less fleeting instead of one based out of infatuation. That’s not to say that “love at first sight” doesn’t exist and can’t develop into a lasting and fruitful relationship.
I wish that a new Prince Charming will come. But I'm not really on the lookout. Who knows, he could already be in my midst without anyone noticing. Not even I.

...Henson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Subic Long Weekend

My long weekend was spent at Subic with college block mates. 

Mother Nature was seriously acting up so our plans of swimming didn't really push through. We did go to Anvaya Cove just to have lunch, though. 

Waiting for lunch to be served.

We bummed around mostly and just bonded with each other--reminiscing the good 'ol days in college, talking about... well, people, and catching up on each others' adventures. It's one of the best feelings.

Lazy day... love life drama.

Facebook-ing and stalking before sleeping.

I remember what Sev Sarmenta wrote in his blog about running back to classmates: 
"‎...we trust people who knew us when we were nobody in the world. Some were even classmates from prep and they knew you when you couldn’t find a hanky to blow your nose or couldn’t make it in time for the toilet." 
That's us!
(Minus one because he took the photo)
Really. "Nothing beats seeing each other again no matter how old you’ve become or what you’ve done in the world lately." 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moon Leaf in Katipunan

Moon Leaf Katipunan on a Saturday afternoon.
In all fairness, the drinks in Moon Leaf are actually good! It's living up to the positive reviews I've read so far. 

I've also been hearing good things about its competitor, Serenitea. That, I still have to try. 

Surprisingly, there were so many people at Moon Leaf's little stall behind Katipunan. For first timers, your landmark would probably be its crowd lining up along Abada street. It's hard not to spot--even on a quiet Saturday afternoon.


That's my Lychee Yakult with bubbles--three of my favorites in one drink. Pure heaven! For less than a hundred bucks, notice how big the drink is! 

This could actually go well with a shot of brandy! (Alcoholic?!)

Oh, the Hakka Milk Tea is also worth trying! 

Not to burst anyone's bubble... but Quickly, for me, still reigns supreme. Would Moon Leaf or Serenitea care to have a head-on Taro Taro competition with Quickly?




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tara Let's, Philippines!

Five years ago, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) launched the "Biyahe Tayo" music video as part of the "WOW Philippines!" campaign. 




Goosebumps. Teary eyes. I remember watching this over and over again. This made me extra proud to be Pinoy. I wanted to do everything the song mentioned!

Even our college thesis was inspired to help promote Philippine tourism. It was an attempt to create a comprehensive travel guide for the Filipino youth. 


Our thesis: "Tara Let's, Philippines!"
Logo design by Pow Santillan


With thesis mates Fidz and Giapeps in Vigan! We had such a blast!

Recently, the DOT launched a new campaign: "Pilipinas, Tara na!" (Very similar to our thesis, don't you think? Hehe.) An updated version of Biyahe Tayo was developed. This is the first of three videos:


"Nakapag-uwi ka na ba ng perlas mula Greenhills Sulu?" LOL.

The DOT probably figured that people needed new sights to see and adventures to plan. I actually like how the song mentions things that are so near to us--activities that we may take for granted: bargaining in Greenhills and Divisoria--even buying world-class shoes from Marikina! (Although I've never thought of buying shoes there.)

Let's go, DOT! Regardless if the campaign targets the Filipinos, the youth, OFWs or foreigners, just keep promoting the Philippines! And, oh, trust your ad agency this time.

Tara Let's, Philippines!



Monday, August 15, 2011

From Friends To Lovers


Sometimes I feel sad and sometimes I feel blue
But whenever I see you, I'm as happy as can be
For you bring a smile upon my face
And a feeling of joy within my heart

You're like my sunshine in the morning
and my stars that glow at night
You're like the waves in the ocean
the cool breeze in the wind

Like the call of the birds in the morning dew
Like the sounds of beauty in the night
You see all of these things are of beauty and love

That's how I feel whenever you are near
For it was the passion and desire from both of us
That opened up the world for our eyes to see

For our love of each other will grow and grow
And our needs and desires will be more everyday
For a friend you once were and will always be
Has turned into love as it should have been

So I want you to know as a friend and lover
that in my heart and arms you'll always stay
for our love for each other will never fade.

--

I first read this poem 6 years ago. Somehow, it stuck through the years. It captured my sentiments of being in love loving a friend-turned-lover. 

I long to experience this once again. Soon, hopefully. But not now. 

...Henson

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Illegal Carpool Taxis


Recently, I avoided the MRT and lined up for the carpool taxi in Quezon Avenue. For P60, the taxi would take me, plus four other passengers, to Makati. 

I'm sure that all of us in line know that this is illegal. Nobody seems to care, though. 

Look. Who benefits?
  1. Me and my fellow commuters! Instead of spending P200+ on a solo taxi ride to Makati, we spend just P60! I even get dropped off at my building's doorstep!
  2. The barker! They earn P50 per cab! 
  3. The taxi drivers! Instant P250 and it's not even 9am yet!
  4. Mother Earth! Since this is a carpool system, less cars = less pollution!
The downside? 
  1. More expensive compared to riding the MRT. P60 vs P12.
  2. Longer ride compared to the MRT. It's a half hour to an hour's difference. 
  3. Cramped. But it's more cramped in the MRT.
  4. Taxi companies suffer. They end up earning less because people carpool.
  5. Government loses money. Is this really an issue? 
The benefits outweigh the drawbacks. What do you think?

I'm not saying that the government should make this legal just because it's rampant. Since carpooling has many benefits, they should find a legal way to continue this...whether it's developing a legal public carpool system or improve the existing public transport systems. 

In the meantime, here are some tips should you end up ride the morning carpool taxis:
  1. Barya lang po sa umaga. 
  2. Tell the driver ahead of time where you'd like to be dropped off.
  3. Try to sit in front. It's most comfortable. 
  4. Avoid sitting at the left side of the cab so the sun won't be in your face.
"Love your ride!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Deserving better

(C)rush Hour. Where did I hear this from? =))

Tuesday has never been this slow. My precious hours alive are wasted by just being on the road!

Traffic greeted me the sunniest "Good morning". The MRT was a drag. These are nothing new but today was a different animal.

I know I shouldn't be complaining since it's really my choice to commute. But what about the others who have no other sound option? We deserve better.

If only commuting wasn't as draining and time consuming, we'd all be more productive, peaceful and happy. 



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Army Navy's in Valero!

After an extra productive day at work, I treated myself to dinner here:

Army Navy is fairly new to Valero St. in Makati. It's my first time at this branch!


Here's a view from the seats outside. 


While waiting for my order, a fat becky approached this cute Afam seated across from me. Ugly Becky introduced himself as being poor and that he needed transportation money. 

Simple ways much?  


My all-time favorite Breakfast Burrito:
Flour Tortilla filled with longganisa, toasted hash-browns and scrambled eggs. 

P165 well spent. 

I usually order Freedom Fries and Libertea iced-tea to go with it. But not tonight. Unfortunately, I'm on a budget. 

While the food is yummy, Army Navy isn't my everyday meal. It's too expensive to have daily. That's why I reserve it for "special" days like today.


What was left from dinner. 
See the oil puddles? *burp*

When will this branch start issuing ORs? I still can't charge my OT meals!