Don’t touch the walls

We were starting our tour of Angkor Wat when our guide, Khemra, points out the cordon that forces tourists to walk a foot away from the temple walls carved with the history and legends of Cambodia. He says that we cannot touch the walls in order to preserve it for the future generations.

“They are our heritage. Because of our heritage, tourists come. When tourists come, there is money for the country. When there is money for the country, we can take care of our heritage. When we take care of our heritage…tourists come.”

Khemra didn’t just ask us to take care of the ruins — he told us WHY we should take care of them. That’s something that stuck out to me. Sure, he told us of Cambodia’s rich history and culture almost as if he lived through it since the ancient times, and he told us of little trivia and tidbits while walking from one temple to the next. But, that — that little speech right there about  something that should be common sense, but it’s also something that everyone needs to be reminded of constantly — was one of the things that stood out.

Em Khemra, Licensed English Speaking Tour Guide
http://www.angkorunitedtour.com
E-Mail: emkhemra@hotmail.com
Phone: (855) 12 863 271
Also, try searching Tripadvisor for him. You’ll get good reviews like this one.

“I’m walkin’ ‘ere!” says the starfish

Unless you’re a marine biologist, or a diving enthusiast like my friend Jayvee Fernandez, or you live in an island full of them, you don’t get to see starfish all that often. I, for one, have only seen live starfish on the beach a handful of times, and usually, I see them hanging out unmoving in the sand.

Except for this one time in Dumaluan Beach in Bohol, when I watched two starfish almost making a head-on collision with each other.

I first noticed the big one, and, being a lover of anything star-shaped, I rushed to take a photo of it… Until I noticed the other one. And then I noticed the tracks they had behind them. And then I noticed that they were moving. They were moving at a slow pace, of course, but it was much faster than I expected.

I have a video of this somewhere…

The Hats of Pahiyas

When people visit the Pahiyas festival in Lucban, Quezon, they always look at the decorated houses. And they should, because that’s really the main attraction of the festival. And of course, there’s the food. I have to talk about the food more at another time.

But aside from enjoying the food and the houses and the festivities, when in the Pahiyas festival, I pay attention to the hats. We’ve seen hats before, but it’s always fun to check out the ones in Pahiyas.

They’re all colorful, but they’ve chosen the colors usually used in the festival decoration. It’s as if there’s an official Pahiyas palette. (Is there? I don’t know.) If you crane your neck enough, or if you climb up one of the houses and look down to the street, it’s nice to see that sea of color below.

There are beach hats, bonnets, cowboy hats (I bought one before!), and fedoras (also bought one on another year), among other things.

Business-minded folks will think that it’s a no-brainer decision to sell hats during a festival that requires you to walk through the streets for a good half a day. What I see, however, is an encouragement to stay under the sun and enjoy the festivities, and not think about holding up a parasol while combing through a crowd.

One last thing I love about the hats: the people who sell them. They don’t pressure you to buy them. They let you sift through them, and take your pick. And they’ll even tell you which one suits you better.

The Department of Tourism has a small page on Pahiyas. There’s a pahiyasfestival.com that isn’t an official website, I think, but has lots of helpful stuff on it.

The View from Lemlunay

Lemlunay Resort is a gorgeous little (not so little) spot at the edge of Sarangani. I visited it during a the first Soccsksargen Experience bloggers’ tour in 2010, and, at the time, the resort was fairly new, had a few rooms, and a lot of future plans. Even then, I loved my visit. The food was good, the wind was perfect, and the view was phenomenal. It was heavenly to take a dip in their infinity pool — they had one when infinity pools were rare and usually in break-the-bank kind of resorts. After I left, I vowed to return and stay longer and take an oxygen tank and dive into the reef.

It’s been four years, I haven’t been able to go back yet.

The May showers have started, and I haven’t  even seen a glimpse of, the beach this summer. That makes my stumbling on this old photo a little difficult, and makes me wish and wish and wish for the sea.

I’ve seen posts about it recently, and it looks like the view is as beautiful now as it was then, only that the plans that we heard about are already fully furnished rooms ready for guests to enjoy.

Aaaah! I want to go to Lemlunay, now!

Other friends who blogged about it:

Lemlunay Resort
Tampuan Point,  Sarangani Province 9502 Philippines
Phone: (PH) +63 (83) 228.17.04 or +63 (928) 524.45.28
Phone: (US) +1 (818) 974-3778
Email: lemlunayresort@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.lemlunayresort.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lemlunay
Book now with Agoda

Snacking and Dessert-ing in Davao

If you have a sweet tooth—or even if you don’t—you will be very pleased to know that aside from scrumptious meals, Davao City also serves yummy, happy snacks, and delicious, mouth-watering, close-your-eyes-in-bliss desserts.

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Davao eats, and eats WELL

Davao Food Appreciation Tour blog post #2. Let’s get eating!

If there’s one thing you must know about me in relation to travelling, it is that I travel for the food. I also go for photography jaunts and sight-seeing, yes, and I like learning about the history of the places I go to, but I travel primarily for the good food. The different food, not just ones I can cook myself. The local food, the ones that the locals love to go to, and not just the ones that get featured in expensive magazines.

That’s what attracted me to the Davao Food Appreciation Tour, actually. I was going to get inside information from Davaeños! If you want to know where are the best places to eat in Davao, then read on. Continue reading

Hullo finally, Davao!

My first trip of 2010 was Davao, all the way out in Mindanao at the other end of the Philippine archipelago.

I went on this trip to join the Davao Food Appreciation Tour (DFAT), arranged by Avatar Media this year. Although it says “food appreciation” on the title, we did more than just appreciate the Davao’s eats.

The goal of the DFAT is to promote Davao as a food, adventure, and ecotourism spot. So we also went around the city for adventure and sight-seeing so we can appreciate the islands—and burn all the calories we took in, while we were at it.

I’ll get to the food and adventures later. For now let’s look at some of the spots we visited around Davao City. Continue reading

Bohol-bound in November

Planning for Bohol, and I am getting dizzy.

This year has been a travel year for me. There was Baguio in January, Davao in March, Quezon in May, Palawan in June and Cagayan de Oro in August, and General Santos City in September. My last trip for the year is going to be Bohol in November! (Unless, of course, we go somewhere for New Year’s…which has about 90% chance of happening.)

I don’t usually blog about a trip before the actual trip, but this is probably also because I’m usually not the one planning my trips. We went to Baguio and Cagayan de Oro for weddings, and in both trips we didn’t really have itineraries aside from ther wedding. Davao was arranged by Avatar Media, and GenSan by the Soccsksargenbloggers. Quezon was Pahiyas. Ah, for Palawan, I helped with the itinerary, but my mom was the final decision-maker. But for this trip… Ahahaha. I was doing the legwork. Sort of.

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hypnosis

I had said repeatedly that I wasn’t a beach girl. That I wasn’t one who swam in the ocean. That I preferred the cool, clean pool water — especially if it was natural spring water of Laguna — to saltwater.

Until now, I would still say that I’m not one to swim in the ocean.

That is, if we follow my definition of swim. For me, swimming is doing laps. Swimming is racing across the pool. Swimming can also be lying on a float, relaxingly drifting back and forth in the pool, feeling the soothing pressure of the water on my legs while the cool wind gently blows on my face.

Yes, if I was to do that, I would definitely, definitely choose the pool. For the longest time, I haven’t been to the beach because of my love for the freshness of the swimming pool.

Until the 9th of June, 2006.

I (along with 9 friends) went to Zambales. I almost didn’t go, though… But that’s another story altogether.

Anyway…

I (along with 9 friends) went to Crystal Beach, San Narciso, Zambales. The place was, to make an understatement, beautiful.

Yeah, sure, it wasn’t a white sand beach. Yeah, sure, it didn’t look like no five star place. Yeah, sure, it was no Boracay or Palawan, form what I’ve seen in the pictures. But, man oh man, it was GREAT.

The beach was ours and ours alone. No, it had nothing to do with the owner being our friend. I think it was mostly because it was already June, and summer was supposed to be gone. But, whatever the reason for the absence of people was, I was thankful for it. The sky was blue, the water was perfectly warm, the wind was just delicious, and the waves were AWESOME.

I probably said it once, but I’ll say it again: that weekend was perfect.

Well…OK. Maybe it’s a point less than perfect due to the fact that I injured my toe. Because of it, I didn’t get to surf on Saturday. Arrr.

Despite that, though, I enjoyed what I loved most about beaches: simply sitting there and letting the waves hyptnotise me.

Yes. When I sat down on the beach and let the tide roll in and tickle my toes, I decided that there’s no place I’d rather be than where I was sitting at that moment. The sun was shining, but, thankfully, it wasn’t scorching hot (maybe because it’s June already) so I enjoyed sitting on the beach for hours.

I suppose I thought about many things during my “session”… I suppose I realized a lot of things… I suppose I forgot about all those things, because, for the life of me, I could not remember a single thought. All I could remember was that I was relaxed, refreshed, and…

Hypnotized.

I remember looking at the horizon. I remember watching the surfers catch the wave. I even remember holding my friends’ valuables as they went out for the water. I remember sitting there and enjoying the feeling off the sand lightly scrubbing my ankles…

…the calm of it all.

Man, I’m suddenly in love with the beach all over again.

So, I speak to you, as a pool-loving girl. If you’re one who rarely goes to the beach, go and try to catch a wave sometime. It might — no, it will — do you good. And if you’re one who always goes to the beach for the sun, sand and parties, don’t take the beach for granted. Go and just sit. Be hypnotized.

It might — no, it will — do you good.

more pictures here.

Destination: Laguna

By popular demand…
Through much tears, fights, and sleepless nights…
After a time of depression, elation, exhaustion and procrastination…
With kicking, screaming, and mass hysteria…

Graduation day had finally come.

MY graduation day had finally come.

The presentation was a piece of cake, actually. Much easier than I expected, that’s for sure. My panel was the following:

My adviser
Another student presenting his SP
The other student’s adviser
My adviser’s roommate in the office (who’s actually playing dynomite while listening to us)

That’s it.

That’s freaking it!

I’m NOT complaining. Yes. Glad we have that cleared.

And, my gosh. It didn’t even take me five minutes, and we were done. (I can’t remember the details anymore, because it HAD been a few weeks ago already.)

And so, there I was, on the 29th of April 2006, ready to march down the aisle, go up the stage and get my (pseudo-)diploma.

Again, I won’t go into the details. Else, I’ll just start babbling, and I’ll probably never stop. I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.

Yey! Kuya JB, my Dad, me and my Mom being blown away by the wind in front of the dorm. (Buti na lang mahangin!)

The family amidst the graduating CMSC students.

But of course, where ever you put them, the Cada boys will still have fun.

OK… I went up on stage at around 6:30 p.m., I think. So it was too dark to take pictures from where Kuya JB was standing. I do have a picture, though, taken by the official photographer. I shall upload it after I scan it.

It’s teh graduate!!!

After the graduation, we rested in restful SEARCA dorm (the hotel pretending to be a dorm inside UPLB). Then we got up and went to one of my favorite places in the country, Rizal Recreation Center in Rizal, Laguna! YEY!

We did practically everything you could do in the Center. Thank goodness everything’s for free. We played all ’em games, we went attempted to go through the obstacle course many, many, MANY times, we went stargazing (“Ooooh! So many starzzzzz!”), fishing, swimming… and we basically did so many crazy things, it felt like we were there for a week when we were only there for a day.

God, I love that place.

The Cada kids in the treehouse. It’s a real treehouse in the strictest sense, I think.

FISHING! I caught the first fish. I caught it within just a minute after getting my fishing rod! Thank you, Grander Musashi!!! XD I caught three of ’em! Yey!

Photo op on a tree with Adrielle (in yellow shirt), Joni (in Blue shirt) and my sistah Chique (in yellow tank top).