Monday, May 29, 2006

Trip to Lucena

We went to Lucena yesterday to visit our Lola Vena who celebrated her 91st birthday. We were supposed to go last week but had some car trouble. We later realized that this Sunday would coincide with the town fiesta and that the 2 major networks were going to have a show there. (Here's the dirt: Mayor wannabe James Cooper, yes, hairdresser of Maricel Soriano initially invited Abs-Cbn stars but they turned him down. So he got Gma stars instead. When Abs-Cbn heard of this, they immediately decided to send stars, too.) We still went and prayed we wouldn't get stuck in traffic. We got to Tita Gina's place and my eyes landed on this:

O di ba? Groovy! We chatted while waiting for Ate Annalisa and her brood which took a longtime as they were stuck in traffic. Good news! Ate Annalisa and the kids' visas have been approved. We first went to nearby Trees and Greens(?) for lunch but they were sadly unprepared for guests so we hied off to Palaisdaan, the original one since the new one was overflowing with guests.

Next stop was Lola Vena's and we were glad to see she was quite healthy and strong. We greeted her happy birthday from all of you guys.We ate ice cream and watched the noontime show on TV broadcasted live from SM Lucena's parking lot.It was scorching hot outside and i felt sorry for the artistas who also had to ride a motorcade around the city.

Finally, we went to Employees' for some shut eye. Poor Ate Annalisa has had her hands full taking care of her kids and doing all the chores as her helper has left (buntis!). It's a good thing I took my vitamins that morning as Gela and Francine are like the energizer bunny!

Fortunately, I did manage to get them to relax.

Friday, May 05, 2006

wala lang

we were watching a dvd of "the producers" this morning. i was eager to see this as i had heard so many good things about the musical starring nathan lane and matthew broderick. it had its moments but it wasn't big-laugh funny. something felt off. then i saw the end credits and found out that mel brooks didn't direct it. a-ha! the choreograpgher also directed it!
uma thurman did surprise us with her singing and dancing skills. my sister wondered how come so many stars had secret talents we didn't know of. i said that's because they don't have a gma supershow there. in our country, when stars promote their movie, they have to sing or dance regardless of their capabilities.
one of the most unforgettable promotions caught on tv was former president's daughter kris aquino singing on that show then suddenly disappearing from the world ! she wasn't wearing contact lenses and fell off the stage!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

more on boracay

My officemate had a dream that I enjoyed myself so much in Boracay I stayed there forever. Tempting? Well, this would probably be my job there: t-shirt painter for Lonely Planet. I wonder how much they pay a UP graduate? :)
I brought along my colored pencils and sketch pad but I wasn't able to use them. Maybe if we stayed longer--except that would have exhausted my ATM account.

Anyway, here's some more pics from the island:

That's my mom
and sister
at one of the
cafes all
over the island.
More of us hanging out.
We didn't eat here
but we just loved
the seats!
That's d*Mall.
I love that
the roofs are
native inspired
in design as well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

back from boracay

Hi guys! After a year of planning, i finally set foot on the sands of boracay! You will not believe how hard i prepared for this trip that took a year to realize!
(Back story: We were supposed to go last year but our intended plans went awry when the Negros Navigation ship i booked informed me they weren't sailing on the dates i paid for. I calmly asked for my money back and was all set to just ride another ship and look for a place to stay when we got there. Then, on the day we were to set sail, there was a massive jeepney strike and we couldn't flag a taxi down. Ma thought this might be a sign not to go so I relented. We just went to some pricey secluded place in Cavite called Caylabne.We'd jokingly describe the place as Bawat galaw may bayad! , in English, practically every activity there had a price tag. haha!Afterwards, I would always watch with envy all the summer TV specials about that island called Boracay while silently promising myself: One day my precioussss)
So everyday since January 2006, I have been diligently scouring the internet for the cheapest plane tickets, accommodations, food, etc. I went to internet forums (fora?)like virtual tourist, pinoyexchange, even girltalk ! I badgered all my friends and officemates for tips and anecdotes and downloaded all the most recommended restaurants. That's my quirk i guess: I need to be prepared!
So we got the promo fare from Asian Spirit(my first plane ride and contrary to rumors, you will not be a spirit or ghost when you land) and we were on the small plane at 0630.

Day 1
We got to Caticlan at 0800 and paid the ludicrous port fees (P50.00 environment fee ?!)
The beach did not disappoint. The water was vey clear and a sparkling jade color. The famed white sands were indeed fine but were really more of an oatmeal color hehehe.While the place was bustling with activity, it was not crowded as i had feared (Good thing i didn't go there during the Holy week as the locals said there were so many visitors, one had to walk sideways to get around.)
We booked a place on boat station 1 called Bans resort. One of the most affordable places in that area. They let all 5 of us stay in one room for P4,000/night. But check-in time was at 1200 so we decided to go to Jonah's for the famous milkshakes and some food. Very good shakes, rather slow service.
We than had lunch at another place i read about: Blueberry's at D*mall. We were disappointed by the slow service and the overdone grilled food. Fortunately, by the time we were done eating, our rooms were ready. Our room was a nice little cottage with a native bahay kubo design which i liked better than the large imposing cement structures of the fancier hotels. Inside we had cable tv, aircon, a small ref, a clean bathroom with surprisingly strong water pressure and a cute verandah where my brother hung out to "chill" listening to his new mp3 player(thanks tita luday!)
One thing that wasn't pleasant about Boracay was the lumot or the algae formations that could be found near the shallow water. Locals say those are what make the sands so white but elementary science or a kid with a goldfish bowl will tell you it's waste mismanagement. So we waded a little further away to waist-deep waters which were lumot-free. And that's what makes the vacation worth it. The waves are gentle and the water so clear and mild, I could open my eyes underwater and it wouldn't hurt at all. I could've stayed there indefinitely if only we didn't have need for food and such stuff. We had merienda at MaƱana's (very tasty mexican food) then washed up for dinner. Naturally, I had to take a picture of the famed sunset.

For dinner we foolishly decided to walk to a place called Little Corner of Italy which turned out to be 30 minutes away ! By the time we got there I could swear we were in a little corner of Italy. But the food was great and my sister is a Godfather fan so she loves to imagine that the owner, Mario, is really a Sicilian whowent here to hide from the mafia. The only problem now was how to fit into the swimsuits after all the food!

Day 2
The next morning Ma and Pa had the itty-bitty free breakfast that came with the room. My siblings and I decided to eat at Cafe Breizh to see why lots of places were offering crepes. While the ambiance was very chic, the prices were out of this world!
We then proceeded to some more sun-worshipping as we basked in the warm sun and cool waters. (With thanks to dr. photoshop for the liposuction)

Upon my mom's insistence, we had lunch at Andok's, a lechon manok stall in Manila that has put up a franchise in Boracay which is tacky and out of place to some, a godsend to others who find food on the beach to expensive. At 1500h we went on a boat for an island tour. We went to the Crystal Cove, fed clownfish at Crocodile island(we should've brought lots of bread!) visited Club Panoly, but the most enjoyable part was swimming in Puka Beach! The place was virtually deserted except for the locals selling their beads. Here, the sand was immaculate, the water pristine! Our feet would slowly sink in the sand when we went for a swim. I guess the only reason people preferred the crowded side of the island was that the water gets deep here quickly. In just a few step I was already in chest deep water.

Dinner was an all-you -can -eat buffet of crabs, lechon, clams, etc. at the Bamboo House restaurant. Quite filling and affordable for P200. I loved the tropical shake of mangoes and strawberries! After ma and pa went to bed, we checked out the night scene. Lots of people hang out in the open air bars in front of the beach to listen to acoustic guitars or sing(!)

I really liked sitting on a banig (woven mat) on the beach while a thousand stars were overhead.

And of course, how can anyone resist a picture of the sandcastles?

Day 3: So soon?

Well, it was our last day here so we woke up really early to make the most of the time. I got a cupcake and went into the water and just threw some crumbs in the water. Seconds later, I was so elated to see lots of striped fish swimming by quickly to eat my cupcake! I was so happy I was giggling like a child. Then we went to the beach to make our own sandcastle---which turned into a fish.hehehe. Basta, fish yan!
For lunch we were supposed to go to Aria but they wouldn't be open till 1130h and we were hungry! So we went to Upper Crust. We chose the set family meal of chop suey, sinigang na tanigue, grilled squid, grilled chicken. I also added some garlic shrimps. My mom declared that this was the best food she'd eaten on the island! Indeed eveything was delicious and obviously fresh. I loved the garlic shrimps and those memories and these pictures will remind me of the fantastic first time we went to Boracay.


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