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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Exploring Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte: Day 1

Ilocos Sur

The long trip to Ilocos is my first this year. I had a blast. Driving past lovely beaches, quaint houses, and quiet thickets, I thought: “Why go out of the country when Philippines alone is already lush with amazing sceneries?” Well, I still want to go to places besides these islands but I would love to see more of the awesome sites in my own territory first. Everything was breathtaking to me. That’s coming from someone who see buildings and hear honking cars all the time in the city. These noises and nuisances have become pretty painful to look at, let alone the four walls of my room. Don’t get me wrong. I love my home but it would be nice to have occasional trips to the woods and beaches. I still have a hang-over from the trip. I miss the vast landscapes, the cold weather, and the food! Let me share these happy memories with you in 2D.

First Stop: Baluarte ni Singson and Bell Tower

baluarte ni singson

My photo-junkie cousin and my niece

This huge 80-hectare park/zoo/ranch/fortress welcomes visitors with a few pairs of parrots at the entrance gate. Admission is free but you have 20 Php for the short (I mean really short) ass ride. Okay, pony, as my niece called them. I believe the trip used to be free as well but they started collecting a small amount for maintenance. After all, it’s just Php 20. 😀 My cousin and I thought the ride would tour us around the entire place though, but it only ran around the ranch. That was only less than five minutes.

Balaurte ni Singson

My sister, niece, cousin, and m… where’d I go? 😀

Cordillera mountain serves as Baluarte’s head-turning backdrop. No wonder Mr Chavit Singson and some of his amigos loved staying there for a vacation. I would. If only I were rich, I would buy a property near that place and turn it into my personal sanctuary. Not bad. I was a little disappointed but not bad enough for us to walk for two hours checking out the animals and taking pictures. I guess it disappointed me that we couldn’t take pictures with the tigers. 😀 That would have been the day’s highlight.

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I had to zoom in my camera to take a close shot

I had to zoom in my camera to take a close shot

My brother-in-law had been driving for eight hours at that time so he bailed and decided to take a nap while we enjoyed sight-seeing. At 2 pm, we were on our way to the Bell Tower in Bantay, just a few minutes away from Baluarte and Heritage Village.

Bell Tower

bantay bell tower

Just seeing the tip of the tower made us giggle. It’s amazing how the people were able to preserve them. We were walking toward history. The trek the very ground that friars and heroes walked on. Well, there were no goosebumps, lol! But it was simple captivating. The sun was shining so bright but the wind was blowing cold. It’s a fine weather if only the seat was cool enough for us to sit on. Our butts were burning while taking pictures! Finally, we went up to the Bell Tower and enjoyed the breathtaking view from the top.

Nice, isn’t it? It’s beautiful by day but it felt like a beheaded ghost of a Spanish priest would appear at night. The structure was ancient but sturdy enough to survive eons. Although intact, we always watched our step due to the very old wooden floor. If you are coming to visit the place, there’s nothing to worry about. I suggest not to come with a paranoid cousin with a machine gun mouth. 😀

A view from the top

A view from the top

Another ancient ruin lies near the Bell Tower. It was once a portion of a church that people turned into a mini garden or shrine. We checked it out and took some pictures, of course. While my cousin wanted to capture her moments, I wanted to capture the magnificence of the 14th century remains. Thank God I got my own camera!

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We passed by these awesome walls towards the Sagrada Familia garden. I actually forgot the exact name of the spot but this is situated behind St. Agustine Parish. I checked out the Church’s interior but there’s nothing really special to see. The Chapel of the Souls on the left side near the entrance was not really interesting. No wonder my companions drifted to the art gallery and left me! 😀

From Bantay, we still had 1.5-hour drive to the hotel. The hot sun and seemingly endless walk consumed much of our energy. The lunch we ate in one of the diners near Heritage Village (Ilocos’ special Sinaglao and rice) had served its purpose. We all felt hungry on the way.

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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Life

 

Today, We Celebrate My Niece’s Birthday

Taken during our trip to Blue Lagoon in Ilocos Norte

Taken during our trip to Blue Lagoon in Ilocos Norte. Love this picture! 🙂

People often mistake me and my niece as a mom and daughter tandem because we have similar gait. Some of my long-lost friends would also ask me if I finally got married and have a kid. “No, I haven’t married yet but yes, I already have a daughter. I just let my sister conceive,” I would say.

Seven years ago, some time in December, my sister and I spent most of the time thinking of a name for a baby girl. “Okay, since my chances of becoming is really slim, I would give you my supposed future baby girl’s name — Helena.” If I would have a baby boy, I would want to call him Lourd Anthony. Oh, I love those names! My sister doesn’t, of course. There were so many suggestions, mostly Indian-inspired. We wanted it to sound like a goddess. Since my sister had quite a bad taste, I picked out a few: Minerva, Shiva, Indira and other funny names. The rest I forgot. Indira means beautiful in Indian, so we decided she would be called Indira.

Evidently, the name fits. That baby grew up to be one beautiful child I have ever seen, next to my late sister Josephine. Indira and Josephine actually have some resemblance. Maybe, Indira is Josephine’s reincarnation. 😀 And not only is Indira beautiful, she is also smart and eloquent. Ask her to dance or sing and she would take on the stage without batting an eyelash.

That angelic face though does not always come off as Divine. Because she is smart, she talks a lot and opposes even my mom, tells her daddy to go find a work, and fend for herself when no adult is around to assist her in preparing her snack (rice, by the way. That explains why she’s dense). She can be a devil when not in the mood, too. But I love her so much. The kind of daughter I wish having is my late sister but Indira would pass for an extraordinary choice as well.

And I dedicate this post to her. I love you so much, baby! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Family

 
 
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