Finding a Reason to Celebrate 🙌🏼

I’m still in the process of reeling from the incredible weekends that the end of May to June has boasted, and the times are only showing me better days to come. Now that’s the way to ring in Q3 of 2016. I mean, this is the year of me saying YES to things within reason.

At this point, my weekday social life has been limited to the gym, or having dinner, then heading straight home. Sleep has been my greatest weakness, thanks to the traffic on EDSA, combating my survival for those glorious early morning hangovers.

Here’s a quick recap of my awesome summer weekends:

May 15 – Nike Women’s Run

First 21K Half Marathon in my life. Had to run and workout almost every day, for two months, to train and practice for this. The goal was to finish in less than 3 hours, however, we, my partner and best friend, Arianne, finished it in about 4 hours. This was definitely one of the craziest things that I have done in my life. But I’m definitely joining and training for the next one. 🙂

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From Nike Run Club. Apparently, this was how long it took me to finish the race. :))

May 21 – 22 Spirit Cup (Discney Princesses)

One of those gender-specific leagues, where my all girl team, Disney Princesses, joined. We battled it out for a weekend but came short at second place. As much as the loss for the Championship hurt, I love the enthusiasm and fondness that this team has for food. So it was a weekend of Food and Games. 🙂

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Your Spirit Cup 2016 All Women’s Division, 2nd Placer

May 27 – 29 Virus Summer Outing

This was definitely one of those moments you wish would never end. The fact that this also served as a send-off to some of the people closest to me in the office, it was fun yet a very emotional weekend.

I actually can’t remember the last time I slept before dawn, drinking and talking with friends, or having a massive hangover. This actually ignited the drunk that I was before the traffic on EDSA barred me from having a Social Life.

Being more sentimental, this showed me how much this company means to me. How much I grew from being naive, selfish and entitled to being the person that I am today. The challenges that I faced at work moved me to the point of humility and understanding. And I have Virus to thank for that. 🙂

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Virus in Montemar 2016

June 4 – 5 Mei’s Birthday and Chang’s Send-off

Drove to Tagaytay for a weekend of fun and genuine, uhm, feelings? All we did was eat. And it was absolute heaven. So glad to have spent this weekend with the girls that matter. ❤

There is no easy way to let go of someone and move on. I typically don’t get bent out of shape when a person leaves, but knowing that one of my office best friends is leaving, had me in pieces. The fact that I actually didn’t expect for us to be this close breaks me. My heart still goes out for you Chang. I missed you!

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Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs

June 8 – Blue Team Potluck

A whole day social gathering for Chang and Kim’s Farewell and most especially, the ‘Huling Hirit ng Blue Team’, before we get disbanded and separated for good.

What started as a Blue Team initiative turned into the whole office participating. This has been one of the most successful food trips that the Blue Team has hosted. :))

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Initial List for the Potluck
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Blurred Image of the festivity

June 11 – 12 Lui’s Walwal in Baguio

One of my officemates have never been to Baguio, so about two months before this weekend, Mike, the boss, sent an email invite for a weekend in Baguio. 🙂 2 days, 3 provinces, and one of the best road trips I had in my life.

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With Virus’ Awesome Media Team

 

Check out this link for more details

June 20 Late night road trip to UP Los Banos

One of my friends’ dad died, and we decided to make the trip down south on a Monday night.

2 reasons why we did it:

    1. We didn’t want to miss work the next day
    2. Avoiding traffic

PS. I was tired the whole week cause of this. We left at around 11:30PM and got back home at 4AM. (I wasn’t entirely sure if this was actually a great idea, after all 😂)

June 24 – MTV Music Evo

The first time I heard from Marella that One Republic would be here for this event, I immediately told her that I wanted to go and see them. I was awarded (from joining a contest) 2 Gen Ad tickets about a month before the event. Little did I know that my younger sisters wanted to come to the event but weren’t able to secure tickets. Luckily for me, my college best friend works for Nickelodeon and was able to give me 4 VIP tickets.

It was raining during the event, and tho we were given rain coats, the VIP area was golden. It was not only elevated, but it also had seats, more space and, of course, a tent. I only knew that One Republic would be there, but didn’t expect to see Bebe Rexha and the Far East Movement. It was a glorious moment for music.

I was also given a pass to the After-party at Chaos City of Dreams and was fortunate enough to be upgraded to the VIP lounge. Free flowing, high tier, drinks is one of my weakness. After a glass of Johnnie Black, white wine and finally settling for Gin Tonics, I found myself dancing to in-house DJ, and one of my childhood crushes, Tom Taus.

If the night wasn’t even more auspicious, I was also lucky to be with friends who checked in at the Nobu hotel, and retired there, not even remembering how we got back to the room. It gave me a massive hangover the next day but it was one of the best times I had with strangers.

June 29 – Moving Up Day at Virus

After several months of construction, the 4th floor of our building was finally able to house the Social Media, the Insights and Media, and the Business Department of Virus. It was definitely a drastic change, moving from a very tight environment to a spacious, roomy and new office. It was also my first time to be in the same room with my department after almost two years of separation. It was sad that we had to leave some departments below, such as the Creatives, on the third floor, but I guess its time for us move on also.

June 30 – Virus Monthly Celebration

There are a lot of things to be thankful for, such as the awesome people that I work with. I think this dinner celebration capped off June for me in a new perspective. I am happy to be part of the milestones in Virus, and also in my friends’ life.

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Photo taken by Andro Bañadera at Nomads BBQ Refuge

 

Check out our website if you’re interested in joining our awesome team: www.virusworldwide.com

The Best Roadtrip Ever: Lui’s First Baguio Trip

The trip was over three weeks ago, so I thought it was about time I write about it.

One of my officemates have never been to Baguio, so about two months before this weekend, Mike, the boss, sent an email invite for a weekend in Baguio. 🙂 2 days, 3 provinces, and one of the best road trips I had in my life. 

The first stop after NLEx was Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan. Mike decided to have his car finally blessed. We almost got lost going there but we eventually found our way around. We also had to buy P300 worth of candles for getting assistance from a guy. HAHAHA!

Arriving at the hotel an hour earlier than check-in time, we decided to eat lunch at Yumi, which was right outside the hotel. The food was outrageous and very disappointing. DO NOT EAT HERE. I REPEAT, IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY!

After settling in, the gang went to Bencab Museum. The drive going there was crazy sketchy, but it was worth it. The view was breathtaking, the museum was perched on the side of the road, overlooking a garden. There were four levels going down, making up the exhibit, so you have to go down (the stairs) to explore. The best part was when the clouds started to cover the entire building.

We immediately went to the lowest level, bought coffee at Cafe Sabel and enjoyed the view on the terrace overlooking the garden and took photos.

We then went to the Burnham Park. Take note that I am with the Media Team, on an Independence Day weekend, therefore, ads must be boosted sooner or later.😂  This was one of those moments when they needed to boost something.

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Runaway as fast as you can
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With the Media Team, From L-R: Mac, Jovel, Lui, Mike and Me

We had dinner at Pizza Volante on Session Road, stopped by 711 to get beer and chips, and then went back to the hotel where we would drink and play cards all night. This wasn’t my usual MO which was drinking till the sun goes up, getting real hammered, or whichever comes first.

The next day we left before lunch, dropping by the Public Market to pick up pasalubong and headed to Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac to meet up with Mike’s friend.

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Trying out Tacsiyapo with the team. 🙂

The whole trip we were listening to Kanye and singing our lungs out. I couldn’t put into words how this trip was the best for me, I guess it would be the fact that we’ve all been, except for one, in  Baguio, so there was no rush to do things, we were chill and we had no one to please but ourselves . :))

 

 

Let’s Talk About Change

(Photo from Google Search)

There are three reasons why people (want) change:

  1. They have suffered enough
  2. They got tired of the same thing
  3. They know better and they are desperate

You know that enough is enough when you’re on the edge and you want what’s best for you.

Personally, I am scared of change. But, I welcome it because I like the challenge that comes along with it. Be it the uncomfortable feeling or the choices I have to make, these drive me to become a better person.

What’s beautiful about change is that most of the time it hurts. A lot. And then afterwards, you adapt, you move on, and you grow. It is a process and it takes a lot of time.

However, with all the crazy that the elections have brought upon us; the CHANGE people clamor, has become a  different substance entirely. It has turned into a right, a sign of hope, and a protest.

What makes me cringe the most, is the fact that the very people who campaign for change, are the same ones who don’t follow it. You cannot control someone else’s behavior, but you can control your reaction.You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start from within you.

🏽It is not something that other people should do for you to benefit, nor wait for someone to enforce it.

Nakakatawa lang pag sinasabi mong, ‘G*go, mga p*ta kayo, papatayin kayo lahat ni Duterte kasi ang bobo niyo magdrive’, when in fact ikaw mas malala maningit. (It’s funny how much you curse other people on the road for the mishaps they have done, when you drive worse) I laud your firm belief that change is coming. I just wish you embody that too!

Here’s the truth about change: Some people won’t come with you. It’s okay.

Following the Stars Home⭐️

February 19 marked the first day of the celebration for the PMA Alumni Homecoming and the 30th year of the Sinagtala Class of 1986, this year. Being the lead host for this year’s homecoming, Mistahs and Boks (as my dad and his classmates fondly call each other) from different parts of the world, went back to Baguio to celebrate their Pearl Anniversary. 

Five years ago, our family attended the 25th (Silver) Anniversary of my dad’s class (Sinagtala ’86) and clearly it opened a lot of opportunities for us, meeting new people, having friends and forming meaningful and lasting ties, some even going beyond friendship. More than my dad’s and his class’ promise of service and loyalty to the nation, this was definitely their moment to reminisce and talk about their cadet days in the Academy, and their experiences, accomplishments, and successes after graduating.

And as a brat from the outside looking in, it sparked a sense of pride that my dad, is special, more than I had ever imagined. And to feel a real sense of belonging, of knowing that my sisters and I weren’t the only ones being bonded by the sweat and the tears of our fathers, it definitely filled a gap, of why my dad would be working far from home, or why this was important to him.

Now, five years down the line, we go up to Baguio, to celebrate their 30th anniversary, to go back to our dad’s alma mater, to make time for the people who matter, and to leave all issues behind to celebrate their success.

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Riveral Family!✌🏽

 

Day 1 – Welcoming Back the Cavaliers & Daddy’s Birthday!🎉

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Happy Birthday Daddy! Photo Credit from Kamae Riveral

I was hesitant to attend the event after having contracted a fever 12 hours before leaving for Baguio. Fortunately, I was able to get my ass off the bed and pack up, 30 mins before jump off.

 

Over a thousand alumni, both active and retired officers went up to Baguio to celebrate the event. Several tarpaulins can be seen welcoming home the cavaliers, placed strategically from NLex, leading to and mostly in Baguio City.

The event kicks off with the Safari Night at Albergo Hotel. Several families upped their game, wearing themed outfits, ranging from Animal Printed shirts to Vests and Jungle/ Safari attires. The night mostly celebrated the Mistahs who were promoted to Star Rank!⭐️

Day 2 – The Long Gray Line & the Ring Hop

Among the highlights of the homecoming include a tradition that has been practiced for years, both the active and the retired/ inactive members would march with their class on the Borromeo field, after which they sang their Alma Mater Song and culminated with the Cadet Core Parade.

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The class would then move to have lunch at the Yap Hall, mess hall, in the Academy. The walls were covered with photos of our dads taken before they graduated. It was definitely a glorious moment!

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With the Rigor Kids. #HawkHunters

 

 

Later in the evening, the Ring Hop would take place in the same hall, where a reenactment of our dad’s class rings being worn by them, 30 years ago, would be enacted by their now wives.

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As for the brats, my co-brats (or bratmates, whichever works) and I, would invite the others to go out for drinks again later in the evening. Too bad not everyone was informed or were permitted by their parents to go out with us. It would have been nice to have all the brats around, to get to know them and to be able to address them without hesitation the next time we see each other.

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Pre-Game for Saturday! 🙌🏽 Photo grabbed from Ardie Biyo

 

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Last night in Baguio with the Brats!🍻

How can I forget the number of times my friends take annoying selfies on my phone.😒

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Woohoo! Still looking forward to the next time we’ll be able to gather as one. 🙌

Festival Must-Haves

Masskara and Sinulog were pretty much alike, with the street parties, the parade of floats, and the EDM music festivals. And most of these festivals, if not all, are jampacked, and filled with so many people. Here are some tips for festival goers:

Things you should always have:

  1. Money – Our country, the Philippines, hasn’t fully adapted to the Credit Card payment option, therefore, bringing money is essential. Having spare change is a must! (so as not to be tricked by vendors)
  2. Cellphone/ Camera – Whatever you’d like to bring is fine just as long as you can keep it near your body.
  3. Waterproof Case – Having this would be beneficial as this could serve as your bag! 🙂 It also keeps your belongings from getting wet. Just make sure to check it once in a while.

Tip: Always remember to keep the stuff you’re carrying to a minimum. Carrying a purse is not practical as this can be snatched away from you easily.

What to wear:

Anything goes! You should, however, consider the weather!

  1. Clothes that can be thrown away. You haven’t experienced Sinulog if you weren’t painted on. Expect your clothes to be soaking  with beer, water, and paint! Avoid wearing jeans as they tend to get soaked and get really heavy.
  2. Dispensable shoes. Same as your clothing, make sure that you don’t wear your Roshes, Airmaxes or Stan Smiths if you don’t want them to get destroyed. Sandals are absolutely not recommended unless you want to get your toes stepped on.

Tip: You can drop by the mall and check out H&M, Cotton On, and the likes for their sale rack. I once got shoes for P500 at H&M in Cebu, it was a steal.💪🏽

Things you should do before attending festivals:

  1. Make sure you had a big meal before heading to the party as you may not have the chance to get to eat again, until after. Remember that a lot of people are also in for the same thing, therefore, food places may be filled with people, same as the streets.
  2. If you’re planning on watching the parade in the afternoon, you should put sunblock on to prevent getting burnt.

 

Sinulog 2016 in 4 Days

This was probably the most random trip I’ve ever been to. I booked my ticket less than a month before the event, arranged my accommodations through favors, three hours before my flight. and basically, I HAD NO PLANS.

Day 1 (The Search for the LifeDance Tickets)

Life Dance Festival is an outdoor EDM Festival that has been attended by people since 2012.

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Thank you, Social Media for being awesome! Connecting people from all walks of life, and those looking for the same things, like trying to purchase tickets!

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College Blockmates to Office Seatmates, to Festival goers. Roch. ❤️

 

For the love of God, DJ Snake was theeere! He was AWESOME AF!

Day 2 (Luck on our Side)

Most, if not all, of my friends, were going to Elektromundo. So by peer pressure, we are also expected to be there. My friend and I had a hard time getting tickets, so we planned on just going on with our day.

We went to visit SM Seaside, and WHADDYAKNOW, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was there!! And they’re having a free concert for their 10-year anniversary thingyy, HS FEELS!!

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RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS!!

We then headed to meet a friend who lives in Cebu. Apparently, the party will be held on the same mall we’re having dinner, so we got our tickets! (for a cheaper price, at least my friend did) (AirAsia Booklet)

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We didn’t really enjoy this one and headed home earlier than expected.

Day 3: VIVA PIT SENYOR and the Search for the Invasion tickets🎉

Invasion by Spectrum originally started in Sinulog, but the first Invasion I attended was the one in Bacolod for Masskara in 2015. IT WAS CRAZY FUN! So the goal was to get into this party! BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONE PARTY WE MUST BE A PART OF.

Again, thanks to Twitter, I was able to find a ticket seller online.✌  She texted me and we met up in Mango Road. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF OUR LIVES! Apparently, the parade was there, so imagine the crowd of people, swarming all over the place, looking for a spot to watch the floats. THERE WAS NOWHERE OUT!

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Mercury Drug near Fuente Road

As crazy as getting lost, we decided to enter the side streets to find our way out of the chaos, that is Mango Road. To our surprise, the real party was there..

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Our shirts say, ‘Paint on Me’. Nine and I.

Paint on our faces and bodies, and people getting you to take a shot of whatever liquor they have on their hands. We decided to do the same and purchased our own.

Soon enough I was too drunk to party, and we headed home. (BOO MEEE! 😭😔) Lucky for us tho, we were not part of the ‘Stampede’ that happened in the event.

Day 4: Recovery Day

Waking up, and not remembering anything from the previous night was one of the worst feelings ever. What’s more unacceptable was knowing what really happen. HAHAHAHA!

Nine and I met up with our friend from Iligan, Mico, who got stranded in Cebu, had a massage and then had dinner. We were then taken by my Cebuana friend, Sam, to Mr. A Bar, overlooking the city, where we hung out and talked about business and pleasure.IMG_8072.JPG.

This is definitely an experience worth sharing in the years to come, but I most definitely won’t come back for Sinulog anytime soon. 🙂 The stress was too much to deal with, but it’s undeniably the Best Party Down South. I have never seen so many people party in that magnitude. Hands down, Cebu! Viva Pit Senyor! 🎉

Bacolod in 4 Days

Bacolod Trip Itinerary (Bacolod – Lakawon – Iloilo)

Day 1: Lakawon Island & The Ruins 

Start the day by traveling to Lakawon Island, make sure that you get there early, or go here during the weekday where there’s a high chance of having the place to yourselves. There’s food and beer available there.

Watch the sunset at the Ruins, in Silay, as this is the best time to be there, according to locals.

Day 2: Mambukal Mountain Resort or Don Salvador Benedicto

Enjoy a day of waterfalls and a sulfuric pool dip in Mambukal. Climb the mountains to see the 7 falls! This will surely take your breath away! Get Family Cottage 2 as this has the best view of the lagoon.

Don Salvador Benedicto offers a lot of attractions for nature trippers, such as hiking, riding one of the longest ziplines, nature trip and sight seeing. Moreover, the high altitude and the cool climate is similar to Tagaytay. The Magnetic Hill is also located here!

Day 3&4: Guimaras

Make sure you leave early in the morning to catch the earliest ferry to Iloilo and then a pump boat to Guimaras. Bring food before going to the resorts as the locals close shop at around 7pm.

 

Food Suggestions:

Manokan Country offers an assembly of Chicken Inasal restaurants, with so much to choose from. I suggest to try eating at Aida’s Manokan! You should also try a local favorite, Nena’s Rose Chicken Inasal, which can be found almost everywhere.

The Old Pala-Pala Market is a must for your Seafood craving! If you’re feeling fancy, you should try Imay’s Bar & Restaurant (6th Street), or the 18th Street Pala-Pala Restaurant.

If you have a sweet tooth, or just looking for pasalubong, drop by Calea Restaurant, and Il Ideal for the cakes, and Pendy’s for their great tasting Napoleones!

Camiguin Island Travel Guide

As the second smallest island in the Philippines, Camiguin offers a lot! Its history is rich and the locals are very friendly. 🙌

The typical itinerary for Camiguin is a tour around the island.

Leaving the Port of Balingoan at 9am, we got to the Benoni Port after about an hour of travel.

We rented a multicab to take us around the island. The driver first brought us to the Sto. Nino Cold Springs, where they paved the sides (looks like a pool) of the spring to accomodate more guests.  However, the water is definitely natural, the flooring is all organic, and there are still fishes in it.

Right after lunch, we headed to the Tuasan Falls, the Guiob Church Ruins, and the Sunken Cemetery Cross, until we finally went up to the Old Walkway to the Old Volcano, which is basically the Stations of the Cross, that is paved only up to the 3rd Station. We then checked-in at Paguia’s Cottages, leaving our bags and heading to the Ardent Hot Springs.

On our second day, we decided to head to the dock early in the morning to see the White Island Sand Bar. After which, we headed back to the cottages to collect our stuff. We went on to the Katibawasan Falls and the Giant Clam Conservation, where you can snorkel and see the clams while being pulled by guides, however, we had to leave early as the waves were getting bigger.

We wanted to visit the Mantigue Island but due to the bad weather and our lack of time, we weren’t able to fit it in our schedule.

Tips:

  1. If you can bring your own gear, e.g. Snorkelling, take em with you.
  2. Bring lots of water, you need to hydrate.
  3. If you are trekking, bring appropriate footwear.
  4. Always get extra luggage room for Lanzones. You can get a Kilo for as low as Php25!!
  5. Buy the Pastel in CDO if you’re returning. They sell it with the same price!

A Forgotten Palace

One of the first projects of the late President Corazon Aquino was forming the PCGG, or the Philippine Commission on Good Governance. Their primary objective was to sequester all of the ’embezzled’ money and properties that were results of the Marcos family’s ‘corruption’; the Sto. Niño Shrine in Tacloban was one of them. 

The Sto. Niño Shrine was one of the 29 rest houses that the late Ferdinand Marcos had built. This one was for his wife, Imelda, who was from the same province. Imelda Marcos was mostly known for her collection of shoes, and her immense loyalty to her husband and family. What history classes didn’t teach us was that she was also a ‘Patroness of Arts and Culture’, and the Sto. Niño Shrine was a showcase of her talent and passion.

Thirty years after the government sequestered this palace, it was abandoned to the elements.

From the outside, it looks like a scrappy looking building, with planks of wood covering the windows, and dints and holes coating the walls.

We had to pay an entrance fee of Php200 for 3 people, and an additional Php60 in excess. There was also a fee for use of camera (Php150), video camera (Php200) and gadgets (Php30).

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The Shrine also served as a chapel, holding a liturgical mass during the feast of Tacloban City.

 

According to their pamphlet, ‘it is one of the frequently visited tourist spot in the city’. It houses different collections of intricately handcrafted artefacts, furnitures and paintings of famous artists. Moreover, each room has a different motif, showcasing native wood such as bamboo, rattan, and narra, shells and basket weaves married with Eastern and Western furnitures highlighting the innovation and creativity of the Filipinos.

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Si Malakas at Si Maganda. Made out of Narra.

 

It also served as a home of memorabilia for the Marcos family, where most of the gifts they received were placed. In fact, our tour guide, who was once a staff in the residence, knows about the history of most, if not all, items found inside. She said that the artefacts were mostly gifts from famous people like Mao Zedong, ancient vases and jars from China, headdresses from Asia, rags from Argentina, pianos from Spain, and mirrors from Austria among others. Being inside felt like being  in a different place. It was beautiful, stunning, and elegant. It was, truly, a treasure to be proud of.

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Wooden (Narra) Chandelier made in Pampanga.

Unfortunately, this place is self-sustaining and has been left to rot for years. In fact, to save off from bills, the lights in each room were turned off after going in them, and fragmented furnitures were not restored, just to keep ends meet. I feel bad that this was left rotting to its core.

I am calling on the government to do something about this place and urging the people to help support and sustain this valuable work of art. It is a National treasure to behold. It should be preserved for the next generation to see.

Food for thought, have the government left this to the care of the Marcoses, it could’ve been saved.

 

 

Mindanao in 4 Days

Mindanao Trip Itinerary (CDO – Bukidnon – Iligan – Camiguin)

Day 1: Bukidnon – White Water Rafting

Start the day at the Dahilayan Adventure Park, make sure that you get there early. Leave right before noon, and head on to the White Water Rafting Site.

Day 2: Iligan

Enjoy a day of waterfalls in Iligan. Take a van/ a bus to Iligan City, see the Maria Cristina Falls, the Mimbalot Falls, and the Tinago Falls. If you have time, eat your lunch at Gloria’s at Timoga and get a table by the beach. Grab dinner at the TreeHouse Food Arcade too.

Day 3&4: Camiguin

you need at least two days in Camiguin to truly appreciate its beauty and explore the scenes. Leave early to catch the earliest trip at the port of Balingoan, hire a multicab to explore the island. Make the trip to the Ardent hot springs last for a relaxing night. (You can also book a room here)

If you have extra time drop by Vjandep Bakeshop in CDO for pasalubong. You can get their famous Pastel and Shiga Chili.