Traveling Up North: Baguio

The Papal Visit gave us five days of vacation time so my friends and I traveled up North for some much-needed r&r. My good friend Ciara invited us to her hometown Agoo, La Union where we savored the pleasures of provincial life. Tito Dan, Ciara’s dad, was kind enough to drop us off at the bus stop where we took one headed for Baguio. With the wind blowing in our hair, we excitedly took groufies (not a mental disorder — yet).

baguio from agoo

Gilbert, Ciara, Patintera, and moi are headed for Baguio from Agoo

I felt giddy as the bus began to zig and zag uphill on a snake road, a classic sign you’re nearing Baguio. With the wind turning chilly and prompting us to put on our sweaters, I eagerly awaited to reach a familiar landmark – the Victory bus station, UP, or that tree-murdering mall – but traffic was so bad I’ve lost all excitement at being in Baguio before we even got off the bus. I guess one downside of having a five-day holiday in Metro Manila is everyone goes up North. Read More

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Traveling Up North: La Union

Two reasons I adore Pope Francis: one, he always points people to Christ and two, his visit gave us a much-welcome five-day vacay. Woot! Woot!

The sudden free time gave me and my friends reason to go up North. My good friend Ciara invited us to visit her hometown Agoo, La Union where we experienced provincial life which, unlike Belle, I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m actually thinking of moving my family to Agoo. The fresh air and even fresher food will do my ageing family good. The commute is a bit of a killer though. Not all buses take the SLEX and TPLEX for some reason and that translates to nine hours of uncomfortable bus ride from Pasay to Agoo. Ouchy booty!

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Tuguegarao Longganisa

A colleague surprised me with a pack of Tuguegarao Longganisa when she came back from her vacay to her hometown.

Over years of exploring the Philippines I’ve learned that nearly every province has their own version of this beloved breakfast staple, each with their own special flavor and secret ingredients.

longganisa tuguegarao

Cooking Tuguegarao longganisa in the oil it secreted after the boiling water evaporated. Talk about niluluto sa sariling mantika.

Tuguegarao longganisa boasts of having all-natural ingredients and zero preservatives. The only preservative it has is garlic and I’m beyond happy with that. Not only because it’s healthier but more because I luuurve garlic!

longganisa tuguegarao

Longganisang Tuguegarao with achara and fried brown rice

Sadly, I went through my entire pack quite quickly. And now I’m all Tuguegarao longganisa-sad.

I can’t wait for my colleague to take her next vacay hihi

Late post: Away at Lorenzo’s Way

Tucked in a corner of Bonifacio High Street is Lorenzo’s Way, a Filipino-Spanish restaurant from respected restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

Lorenzo’s Way boasts of offering the best dishes from the late LJC’s famous restaurants Cafe Adriatico, Cafe Havana, Abe, and Fely J’s.

lorenzo's way larry j. cruz

Larry J. Cruz of Lorenzo’s Way greets diners as they come in

The Filipiniana interior is complemented by the relaxed ambience that invites you to leave the long, tiring day behind to come home to a satisfying meal.

Lorenzo's Way at Bonifacio Global City

Lorenzo’s Way offers Filipino-Spanish cuisine

And boy, was I glad. It was a long, tiring, holiday-traffic commute from Ortigas to High Street. Good thing we had a reservation because the place quickly filled up for 7 PM dinner time.

Since our friends were late and we were famished, my best friend Tinay and I decided to go ahead and eat. We ordered our all-time favorite Paella Valenciana and decided to try their Binukadkad na Pla-Pla since every single table in Lorenzo’s Way had it and we were not disappointed.

binukadkad na tilapya lorenzo's way

Binukadkad na Pla-Pla was on every table that night.

paella valenciana lorenzo's way

Sumptuous Paella Valenciana

dinner with friends at lorenzo's way

My sisters by choice

Our friends eventually made it and they ordered Spanish Garlic Chicken which I failed to take a photo of but they said it was delicious as well.

I pledged not to rant in this blog so I’m just going to chalk up the less-than-great service to the holiday craziness. All in all, making our way to Lorenzo’s Way was worth it.

Will we go back? Not any time soon.

Do I recommend it? Yes but with the gusto of someone who was satisfied but not blown away.

Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream

My sister took me to see Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream for our post-holidays date. We haven’t gone out in a while and she thought that this would be the perfect start to our 2015.

disney on ice dare to dream

My sister Badette

We got to Smart Araneta Coliseum a little late, about a half hour into the show (*sniff* *sniff*) but wonder struck me powerfully as soon as I sat down.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother was asking the audience if anyone remembered the magic words she needed to help Cinderella to which I proudly answered “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” and outsmarted the little girl next to me. Read More

365

As 2015 begins, I tick off days trying to live purposefully and mindfully in each of them.

I’m blessed to have begun the year caring for my mom. She’s been bedridden for nearly two years now after suffering an ischemic stroke – her first and Lord willing, her last – that crippled the left side of her body.

She’s unable to walk but  her strong spirit keeps her content and hopeful.

We’re thankful that the Lord is still giving us time together in this world.

2015

Starting the year right