Friday, August 1, 2014

The Orange Coast: Pagudpud

My year's kick-starter always starts mid-February.
In fact, February is my January since this is when I always feel completely in the now and has thoroughly absorbed the fresh year into my system.
This is also our love month, and when I say love I don't just mean theValentines - Feb is our anniversary month (yay! flutters eyelashes).
This year, we picked the ever timeless Ilocos to visit and yep folks, we have absolutely no regrets!
We basked in the glory of the heritage city of Vigan (and some neighboring towns like Paoay) on our first day and (this serves as warning! Lol) as expected, the vintage addict in me got too overwhelmed that we ran out of camera battery before the day even ended. (Please check my older posts to see how we spent our tour.)
Then on day two, there's the alluring coast of Pagudpud to discover. But first lemme, take an #ootd! Ha Ha Ha!
I am not sure how I managed to squeeze in the luxury of making these loose little curls on my hair on a day that started so early.

I swear, there's no end to the impossible things I'm capable of doing in the name of photo-ops - yeah, no shame there. Lol Or it could be that the wanderer in me was giddy with excitement that I woke up two hours before go-time and had the the full hour before breakfast to take 'em curling irons out and sport this carefree do. Then I already noticed from day one tour that it could get a little hot outside especially that we are going to be travelling the coastline so I had my trusty fedora on with my comfy jeans, cardigans and sunnies. I knowwwww (eyes rolling), maybe a little too touristy butttttt... :P

So these are some of our favorite places we get to visit during the tour.
First stop - Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.Move over, modern architecture, this thing started operating in 1892 (yes, that's eighteen) and was still functioning a hundred years after that.
I swear I should have stayed away to give the lighthouse its moment! Lol!
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation gave me the Game of Thrones feel (play GOT tune here. Ha Ha Ha!).
Major reason being the horseride during the tour - Daenerys Targaryen, anyone? No one should skip the amazing experience of being on a horse, the majestic creamy white limestone formations around you, the ice-cold wind on your face and the feeling of having your own hacienda, inspecting it atop your mighty horse. And yes, this brain of mine can go weird places so I'm gonna stop now.
And up to this day I still wonder - who (or what?) in the world made those little neat pile of rocks. O_O

My ride during my tour of the realm! Ha Ha Ha!
The sun was at its highest elevation when we reached the famous Bangui Windmills.
Good thing the chilling wind complemented the high noon perfectly making the beach walk under the sun (a.k.a cam-whoring) tolerable.
These giant wind turbines by the bay not just produce electricity but also greatly affect the high rise on the number of tourists that visits Ilocos every year.
Talk about beauty and multi-functionality - brilliant thinking!
There are 20 of these magnificent wind turbines along the bay.

And the day won't be complete without seeing Pagudpud's beaches that easily rival Boracay and Palawan with its pristine white sand, classy resorts by the clear blue
waters and the thoroughly relaxing chilly air.
The only regret I had on this trip is not taking lotsa beach pics here! :(

Insert postcard caption here! :P

For some reason, although I haven't really been there, this place gives off a California vibe (Orange County, perhaps) with all those cliffs and postcard-worthy view around the beaches.
Before we even left Pagudpud that day, we were already talking of how we are definitely going to come back to spend summers here. Awww, we left a big part of our heart and we'll definitely come back for 'em! :P

Monday, July 14, 2014

La Vie Parisienne: A Little Taste of Paris

Color vomit! Lol Make sure you come and visit in the morning to get this lighting.
One look at my post and you would know exactly why I needed to see the place - those pink blossoms! Okay, yeah that might be a little superficial and childish but hey, that's the only thing worth going about this place, I believe.
I am such a big lover of colors and the sight of La Vie's restaurant set got me giddy with excitement. Sadly, it stops there. But go on reading, please.

Bakery entrance (don't worry, I didn't touch the croissants. lol)
So I first learned about the place through a picture posted by a blogger on facebook. At first I thought, "Woah, Japan! Such early blossoms" (posted last January) and went straight to the link of the blogger's page and surprise, surprise it's this little french bakery in Cebu City.

What a pleasant coincidence! We were scheduled for a flight to the queen city of the south a few weeks after my discovery of La Vie and so I immediately included it in our list of places to visit.
La Vie Parisienne is situated in Gorordo Ave., Lahug, Cebu City. Our hotel was a few blocks away, it could have been an easy walk, actually, but we were not very familiar with this part of the city so we had a cab helped us navigate to the place.It was a little too early. I guess, when we got there since the staff are still busy going around unloading and rearranging things in their bakery.
We went to the menu and because things are named in French, of course I would ask for help to make sure I could actually eat what I would end up ordering. So I began asking the difference between this and that, which are bestsellers so far, what's that supposed to mean, how's this compared to this - a little too touristy maybe, lol. Sadly the answers we got came a little too noncommittal than graceful and so we decided we're not very crazy about their customer service. I am not usually very picky with the people who serve me food but a little smile and pleasant demeanor among food servers can go a long way.
The gigantic goat cheese with honey sandwiches - one of the best random food decisions I've ever made in my entire life! Lol
Since the people at the counter could not really give us their thoughts on the food menu, we felt a bit too eager to leave but decided to, at least, check the place out and order a few item to eat while we take pictures. We just went ahead and order what we thought were familiar items on their menu. Both my boyfriend and I got the goat cheese with honey sandwiches which, by the way, were superb! I would strongly recommend it. If you are not mad hungry, though, you wouldn't want to eat this alone. We ordered two and consumed them for what felt like hours. LOL. I guess, we really shouldn't have eaten the hotel breakfast. Along with those, we ordered tall glasses of orange juice and some of their famous Parisian macaroons.
I am not really crazy over macaroons but these are yum! :)
Their cellar boasts of different types of wine - those of which worth buying I couldn't afford. Lol

So there, the idea is to get the blossoms shot and I think we were able to meet that goal so it was a win situation. If you, however, are planning to visit for a good meal then I would not hesitate to suggest for you to turn around and feast on their famous Cebu lechon, instead. Now that is one giant tummy satisfaction! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Stop Procrastination

Before the fast-paced job I hold right now, I live in my mom’s spare room, have someone do my laundry, was not given major household chores than just set the table during meals and was only told to clean my room when my mom would feel the need to penalize me for coming home late.
I don’t have a job but to study and go to school yet I’m often faced with the overwhelming feeling of having a lot of things to do with so little time. There’s always this mean monster trying to get me so it felt like I’m running late every time. There’s always a book I planned on reading a long time ago lying around untouched begging for my attention, a school paper I’m cramming on that seems to take forever to conclude, closet that needs organizing – with overflowing carelessly folded clothes as main fixture, trash that needed to go over week ago and an awful string of things I somehow managed to put off without any apparent reason. I could have done these all in one day; to be honest, but my mind is just too crude to always have all the wrong reasons to justify my act of negligence.  I later found that the problem lies on how I value my time. I don’t hold a job, was not given any responsibility in school and was treating myself like the bum that I was. I didn't feel the need to apply urgency in anything that I do. I didn't feel the importance of getting things done right away to get to another task thinking this would not really have significant effect on my daily routine.  My own life, my own pace - I fell into a trap we call procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate?
Overwhelmingly underwhelming - there are more interesting stuff lying around. We view the task at hand as seemingly unimportant or something that do not have any huge impact in our lives that we let a series of tasks pile over it until it’s forgotten. We see things based on how interesting they are for us neglecting its importance. The struggle is on how long something can hold our attention. Homework dulls in comparison to Xbox games or even Facebook or even just lying around doing nothing - there‘s always going to be a ‘more important’ thing to do.

Stop Procrastination
•Manage your time to the last drop
I was never a big believer in doing to-do list until I got hired in a job that includes a lot of multitasking. Suddenly, minutes became precious and all the bumming around seemed like a luxury I can’t afford anymore. I tried going through everything mentally but then I discovered the power of post-its! I write all the things I would need to accomplish daily and arrange them base on priority.  Don’t get intimidated with time pressure and allocate a timeframe to each task. This will help push you in getting with your goals. Aside from the fact that it will help you get to your tasks in an organized manner, you’ll get a huge amount of fulfillment just seeing how productively you were able to manage your time. Believe me, it could be addicting even.

•Ditch that snooze, it’s a TRAP!
Later is not always better and tomorrow should not be an option. Even the most mundane of all my daily tasks – waking up at 3am – wages war between me dragging myself up the first time the alarm hit and that little button of temporary heaven we call snooze. And every time, again EVERY TIME, whenever I let that little devil win, I would always end up in trouble getting late for work or starting the day in a very sour mood. We need to free ourselves from that lie of temporary relief from the truth – truth being that whether we delay or not, that something needs to be done and the longer you delay the harder it gets for it to be completed.

•Live for the reward
Love yourself. Love yourself more when you manage to overcome the temptation of more interesting but useless things and were able to set your priorities straight. Go right ahead and buy yourself that cup of coffee for a job well-done. Promise yourself that salon trip when all the writings on the post-its have been crashed out. This will give you something fun to look forward to at the end of every completed task.

•Manage your thoughts
Give it a thorough filter – get those that are not related to your task off, close all unnecessary brain tabs. Sometimes, we need to say no to entertaining unnecessary thoughts to give bigger room to whatever task is at hand. Say no to crowded thoughts. Close your social networks, stay away from the television, get to your own private place and obliterate the distraction. This way your train of thought works smoothly and uninterrupted.

On top of these, COMMIT.
Commit on being better at getting things done. Commit on forgetting about tomorrow and what you can . Commit on an unfazed focus under pressure. Commit on  mastering evading procrastination.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Ways of the Old

The sight of the cobblestone streets.
The grandeur of mixed oriental and colonial European architecture.
The feel of polished old wood.
As my partner tried to explain the route we will be taking for our kalesa tour that afternoon, I was already lost daydreaming.
Of living here.
Of waking up to this vintage jungle every morning.
Of afternoon tea at one of the verandas.
Of intimate weddings at one of these aristocratic mansions.

Ah, the rush old things bring me - I was definitely born on the wrong century.

The old convent made into parsonage adjoining Sta. Monica Church
(Sarrat, Ilocos Norte)

Sta. Monica Church (Sarrat, Ilocos Norte)
 A beautiful piece of holy handwork, the church built in 1779 is elaborately designed with beautifully colored red bricks seen on the outside while elegantly framed with wooden roof trusses in the inside. The baroque feel is just all over, from the roof down to the ground.  Oh, and here's a trivia - it took 10 long years to construct the whole giant complex! Now, that's a lot of hardwork right there.
A built-in vintage house at Museo Ilocos (Laoag, Ilocos Norte)
 I remember staying in a house similar to this back when I was a kid. My grandparents' abode, with the shiny wooden floor, big narra tables adorned with knitted table cloths and the capis shell windows  all have the same look and feel of familiarity and warmth of home. I can almost imagine the smell of sinaing from the memories.
MalacaƱang of the North (Paoay, Ilocos Norte)
 This mansion was, indeed, made for royals. The entire house, from the chandeliers to the paintings down to the unique pieces of furniture to the masters bedroom and its giant closets and baths - it all scream wealth and regality. While touring the former first family's mansion, though, I couldn't help but thought of how weird it must be to have strangers come over and snoop through your house like your bed sheets are one of  the most well-kept secrets of the state. It must be disturbing to see how your old dolls are more photographed and go online more often than your own picture. Anyway,  before we left the place,  I decided I want to live there. I have to go figure how I intend to do that, though. Lol.

Meanwhile... that glaring sun in the picture is no photoshop! :)
Paoay Church (Paoay, Ilocos Norte)

Paoay Church (Paoay, Ilocos Norte)

 Unesco World Heritage Site named The Church of St. Augustine known as Paoay Church as one of the best baroque inspired churches in the country. And why not!? Built in 1710, it's one of those few able to withstand the unpredictable seismic condition of the country while most earlier churches gave in to several massive earthquakes that hit the region. I couldn't help but wonder how these mega vintage towers, built by bare hands, can withstand strong earthquakes. Ah, the wonder of old architecture.
Bantay Bell Tower  (Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

 The scorching heat of the sun was up on our heads, the air humid on our faces, we're ready to give anything for a glass of ice cold water when we reached the belfry atop the hill beside St. Augustine Parish Church at Bantay. Here's what one should bear in mind as he reached the floor with the bell on it - you're a 1590 Spanish colonial era pirate guarding the town. That's exactly what the tower's job once was - fun fact. Stay an hour, it should be more fun while taking lots of pictures. And a little trivia - it's the most photographed bell tower in Ilocos so it should get you several FB likes.(*wink*)
Calle Crisologo (Vigan Heritage Site)

Vigan immediately came to mind when the talk of our 10th Anniversary celebration was brought up.
I would take pride in saying that it's because we're well worthy at being called 'vintage' for being the oldest couple among our friends. Haha
And what's not to boast, old things have its charming qualities.
Some of the words associated with old are sophistication, credibility, elegance, wisdom, wealth, beauty and power.
All of which applied to the quaint little city of Vigan and the neighboring towns Laoag, Sarrat and Paoay.

Clippety-cloppety , that beautiful sound horse's feet make as we walk around the village. The smell of wood, the sweet Ilocano chatter, the never ending line of old casas... a car engine snapped me out of my reverie. We're going back to the hotel and I feel like I am being torn from something really close to me it's almost emotional. Ha ha ha.

Oh, did I say I was born on the wrong century?