Lakbayan

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then i could travel just by folding a map

I have read about this guy who put a tattoo of a world map on his back and inks the states/countries he has already travelled to. Unfortunately for me, I do not have the guts to undergo such procedure, and even if I make “magmatapang” I have skin asthma anyway, so, boo!

Luckily, I found this app/website which features the map of the Philippines and a checklist of provinces. The colored ones are the places I’ve been to. Apparently, I’ve travelled most to the north – because I love the north.

I’m a C-. Well, I haven’t listed Puerto Princesa and Surigao yet. I still have hope. Vying for C+ at the end of the year!

I think I will have to do this every year just to inspire myself to go new places.

Also a reminder that my passport is expiring in 2 years, so I better go to a foreign land again.


My Lakbayan grade is C-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

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Sagada Eats

Spotlight on food finds from Sagada:

Yoghurt House

Cream corn soup/corn soup. It was creamy and ~corny~. I could make this at home, not! I liked it, it made me warm.

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Home-made spaghetti. It was a usual mix of sweet, sour, and spicy. And yes, all red sauce pastas in Sagada tasted almost the same.

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Beef curry. I liked this because it had a strong curry taste, unlike some versions which seems to have just used artificial, powdery, commercialized sauce. It’s hot too!

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The serving size in Sagada is really big. It could be enough for two! As apparent in this baked chicken leg (as it says in the menu), which looks like a quarter of a chicken to me.

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Of course, how could you go to Yoghurt House without trying their yoghurts? I forgot how this one is called but it had banana, strawberry preserves (that’s different from jam), honey, and oats. Their yoghurt is sooo creamy, it rolled in my tongue and melted in my mouth like ice cream.

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Sagada Homestay Diner

So this is a plate of random things we had that night: Tuna sandwich, Pork Sisig, and Lechon Broccoli. We had red sauce pasta again but it was not included in this photo. I had mine separated because I am allergic to eggplant. UGH.

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Burnt cheese from the cabin we visited. Thank you, Ironman! Who loves burnt cheese? *Raises hand*

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Looks safe, but it’s fiery hooot! They served this as hot sauce for the Pork Sisig. You could actually see pepper seeds when you look closely.

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Tuna and Ham Sandwiches. Would you believe that the Tuna sandwich just went for Php65? And the Ham sandwich only for Php 85? They’re actually one of the best sandwiches in Sagada. You can even ask the diner to stack them on top of another.

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Strawberry Cafe

We didn’t actually dine here since some guy was fixing the path towards the restaurant, but I just felt like I needed to post the strawberries which they grow on bamboo poles. They’re so beautiful! Also, they were selling strawberry plants! Too bad, they cannot live in Manila.

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Lemon Pie House

Pasalubong, check!

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Salt and Pepper Diner

Cheesy Tuna Omelette is an entry in my comfort food list. I am not picky when it comes to this but the boyfriend was praying with his whole heart that this better be better than what we make. And, it did not disappoint! I loved how it looks mediocre outside, but oozing with cheese and juicy tuna inside.

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This is the only pasta we tried which had a distinct taste. It was made of fresh tomatoes, a lot of onion and garlic, and of course, tuna. Doesn’t look too appetizing in the photo, but it was actually the best we had.

And the bread was a bonus! It was buttered and toasted, yet soft. We turned it into dessert as it came with strawberry preserves.

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Last from Sagada Homestay. Lechon Broccoli! Do I still have to say something about this?

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Here We Go and Dare We Stay*

It has always been a dream to spend my birthday in the mountains. In 2009, I spent several days before my birthday in Baguio. I did research for my thesis, some escapism, and time out for reflection. This year, the boyfriend granted me a trip to Sagada. It’s a lot like Baguio, only less commercialized.

Just few photos from the trip. Some are not yet available (friend hasn’t uploaded yet), and some I choose to keep inside my head.

***

Good morning, Banaue!

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Weather wasn’t too kind. Guy passengers had to go out and clear the road on the way to Bontoc.

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We freshened up, had lunch at Yoghurt House (This deserves a separate food post!), and made way for our 2 hour trek to Bomod-ok Falls. This 180 feet tall waterfalls is a beauty. The water was freezing. I wasn’t able to take photos since my ipod is not waterproof.

After the trek, we cleaned up, took a quick rest and headed for the Homestay’s Diner. We waited for our dinner to be prepared. We had hot chocolate and coffee while the boys played a 5-stringed guitar.

It’s already Christmas in Sagada, by the way.

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We hopped on to Ironman’s beautiful cabin-like abode. We had a hearty dinner while having some sort of experiment with a Teflon pan. Guinea pigs were cheese and sausage. We had wine and some good old Bugnay (rice wine).

He had a fireplace in his house. It made our stay more legit!

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We spent the rest of the evening singing random songs. It was more like an acoustic Rockeoke actually. Here’s the boyfriend doing one of the things he does best.

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The next day was scheduled for the Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection. I was a bit hesitant to go since I had cramps the night before, but with the help of Salonpas (I smelled like an old lady) and painkillers, I managed to finish the spelunking course. It was tough. As I have mentioned in my Twitter, yes, I have never feared for my life until that moment. Imagine going through the caves’ cracks, crevices, holes, cold water (again!), assaults, there was even a rappelling portion! Not to mention, the rocks and stones were just either sharp and slippery. I was too preoccupied with my survival, I didn’t take any photo.

And here we are, fresh and clean after spelunking.

Time to look around Sagada!

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We walked wherever our feet took us, other inns, courts, cooperatives, hospitals, restaurants, schools, souvenir shops, and churches. I actually make it a point to visit nearby churches whenever going places so I did the same here. However, the Anglican church at that time was closed so we just roamed around the garden.

This view of the sun midst the pine trees is breathtaking. It gives that kind of warmth, joy, and a promise of peace, still, and calm.

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That night, we just stayed at the Homestay and had dinner at the Diner. (How redundant that sounds!) We spent the chilly evening stargazing at the Dap-ay with a dog, Pipay, and foreign visitors.

It has been a mushy dream for me to spend an evening with my lover to do stargazing in a Dap-ay. The timing was perfect. There were plenty of stars in the sky. They were bright (you know stars shine the brightest in the province), I could almost point out every constellation there is! I was secretly cringing (in a nice way) that time. HAHAHA

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We woke up early the next morning. The sun was up, giving the apt amount of warmth midst the cold winds.We headed for souvenir shops and some restaurants we have previously missed. We even walked down until the Sagada Weaving shop looking for pine cones which my mother requested.

We took a quick lunch thereafter and headed for the terminal to Bontoc.

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It’s almost goodbye!

We took the topload on the way to Bontoc. And again, I feared for my dear life. There were still rocks, stones, and dirt on the road. It was dry yet bumpy. I was scared I might fall down the cliff, but the view was awesome. Think: lush pine trees, mountain ranges, scenic terrain, ravishing river. The Sagada-Bontoc trip on topload might have scared me off, but the view was too beautiful to consider the trip bad at all.

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Farewell, Sagada! You have indeed made me fall further in love with the North.

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*Words from Rachael Cantu’s, Far and Wide.

To The First Ever Time and Space Lecturer of My Heart

Unknowingly building forts and bridges in my heart

Dear Pa,

How far could a point ever be from another point? You inquired like a Math professor. You examined space.

How significant is something that lies between two things? You posed as if you were conducting a lecture to an Architecture class.

These were lessons you asked me to wonder at before you left last year.

Only now have I realized, you were my 101 classes, if not my pre-requisites in distance, space, even in maps and cartography. Our lessons date back my younger years. You taught me the joys and pains of waiting – from when you left those early evenings and arrive minutes after midnight, until that moment you bid bye and came back years after. Then there was distance, defined by miles across sea and land. Then came along space, the different timezone, when your night was my day.

All of these were prelude to the men in my life. Stories further drafted in notes which bespeak of terminals, airplanes, bus rides, and even long afternoon walks. They were phrases either drenched in rain or burned under the sun.They underlined anticipation, longing, waiting and homecoming. Hope and uncertainty were in italics and boldface.

They were all love letters written in maps. But yours is the longest, rolled a hundred times, unfolding like a Japanese scroll. Yours is the most profound. Yours has been the fundamentals of history and continuity. Your sentiments on time and space have been my laws, canons and theories.

You are most of the colored pins in my heart’s map, I can hardly calculate their distances anymore. But who needs numbers when you are in every corner as my bridges, defensive forts, protective walls, and my lighthouse.

Yes Pa, I wouldn’t have survived the journey without you and your lectures. And I love you for more than that.

Your traveler,

Little TidTid

*This is also in celebration of the book (Richard Bach’s There’s No Such Place as Far Away) you left my siblings and I years ago. I thought I was too young for such literature, but nah, it was just plain appropriate.

Pandora’s Box Contains No Evil

 I was at Hong Kong last weekend for the Hong Kong International Art Fair 2011. It was my first time to travel abroad and I had only my officemate’s and his girlfriend’s company. I used to have what my friends and I call “The Fear of the Unknown”. But this foreign place and only two days of stay, made me overcome such fear. I have to mention of course, my officemate’s help in a lot of stuff like preparations and whatsoevers, and D’s pointers in commuting within the area.

Though my bags are generally big, I am actually a light packer. For my Hong Kong trip, I only brought my black overnight bag from Collezione (yeah, it’s with the Philippine Map) which is actually a gift from my boss, and my trusty brown satchel minus the pink ribbon. And yes, I am exposing the traveler me’s stuff in conquering my first trip to Hong Kong.

Goodies in Pandora’s Box

From left to right: 1) The brown satchel I got from a thrift store; 2) Pad from my Powerbooks planner, a Chinese inspired notepad i got from Girl Shoppe and a Pilot V5; 3) Hand sanitizer from Watson’s 4) Watson’s tissue and Baby Wipes 5) Maps (train map, city map, and bus map) – for navigation. Who said I’m afraid of getting lost; 6) Tickets to the Vee-Ahy-Pee; 7) Cards and bills and photos stashed in this trusty silver wallet from Accessorize; 8 ) Ipod nano which doesn’t have a name yet; 9) Globe and Sun mobile phones – I only used the Globe one during my stay because it’s the only one with roaming feature. The other one was my calculator and alarm clock of sorts; 10) Red ninja coin purse I got from Greenhills; 11) Black matte hipster glasses and green aviators for my over-sensitive eyes; 12) Maybelline lipbalm in mint, lip and cheek tint from Avon and J&J cologne – vanity on minimum; 13) Passprt in piano case; 14) Bonnet – for when it gets cold; 15) Mints – Airwaves is HK’s version of Cool-Air, Black Currant mints from 7-11 and Smint.

"Wait, they don't love you like I love you..."

These three maps were my constant companions while roaming around the city. There’s one which has all the train stations in it, another with all the bus routes, and another which appeals to someone who loves walking miles. I hold on to them whenever and wherever to check streets and alleys looking for galleries and art hubs in the vicinity.

Also, these maps remind me of the farthest our hearts have gone separately. We could have walked, rode the bus, taken the train, and alighted the plane together. But those are just wishes and wonders, I have your heart pinned unto me anyway. That is how far your heart has gone. Thus, this is how far our hearts have gone together.

PS. I’ll be writing about the Art Fair soon.