Today’s TY: I Passed my 50 G OGTT

Alarmed of my 2-kg gain last month, my OB asked me to go through 50 G Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). It was to eliminate the speculation that I might have a gestational diabetes. OGTT is a test to measure our body’s ability to use up glucose (Source: WebMD).

Prior to the test, my diet was more on the veggie and fruits – cucumber is a current favorite. Honestly, I am a little scared. I had consumed a good amount of sugar-rich food and I did not do any exercises. The scary feeling amplified knowing that Nanay has a history of diabetes.

My OB gave me an option to have my test in Isabela Doctors General Hospital (IDGH) or at Amazing Grace Laboratory. I first visited IDGH but the friendly  told me that they don’t offer it. I had no choice but to proceed to Amazing Grace. It’s a small laboratory in front the Isabela Provincial Hospital.

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The first procedure is to drink up a bottle of Glucose Tolerance Test Beverage  must be within 5 minutes. It’s the kind of sweetness I don’t like. Tastes like medicine. The lab’s med tech advised me that I have to wait for an hour before the extraction. On the next 60 minutes, I can not take anything in.

The whole test costed me PhP350.00 (PhP250.00 for the test beverage and PhP100.00 for the actual test). Should I have known earlier that Bro HealthCare is honored here, I could have requested for an LOA to get the test for free.

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There was a blackout while I was waiting. I worry that my blood can not be run in time for my 11 AM appointment with my OB. I’m glad that the temperature inside the lab is cool and bright despite the absence of electricity. The premise is clean, no weird hospital-like smell.

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The waiting area.

What other Amazing Grace and Diagnostic Services offer? Most of services offered are blood test – test for Hepa, Dengue, Typhoid and the like. It is also an accredited drug testing center.

20140827_084147An hour have passed, it’s time to let some blood. I am asked to sit in the Phlebotomy Area for the extraction. Electricity is back, yehey!

I liked the staff here. They’re friendly, all smiles. My belly even got some praises for its size and roundness. My  Little Toffee Pie’s fans club is growing. 🙂

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Extraction does not hurt. Done in 5 minutes!

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 Result’s out in 30 minutes. I PASSED at 8.08. It’s on the rim though so I still have to watch my sugar intake. No rice cakes, still!  Perhaps, it’s really time to let go of my sweet tooth permanently.

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For a pleasant service experience, I am giving Amazing Grace 5-stars.

Amazing Grace and Medical Service is located Maharlika Highway, Calamagui 2nd, Ilagan, Isabela.

 

Good-bye on a Rainy Day: The Baguio Get-away Day 3

(Note: This is a throwback entry for a 3-day Baguio trip in 2012.)

I never knew that preparing an omelette in Baguio can be complicated. This is specially true on a foggy morning. Heat is not distributed to the entire pan. The only heated part of the pan is the one that is touched by fire. The other areas is as cold as ice. As I struggle with my omelette, thoughts of endings and goodbyes is flooding my mind. Next minute I exclaimed, “I give up, will just do scrambled eggs instead.”

In a matter of hours we will be saying good bye to Baguio, to the comfrot of the cool weather but I am happy. Good byes are not always sad. Some goodbyes even leads to better and more exciting things. In fact, someone may say “Hello, Love!” after this trip.

I’ll cherish the girly heart talk on love and waiting. Love can be compared to a princess waiting for the perfect partner to come, ask for permission to take her by the hand and dance forever. Love requires waiting. Waiting requires patience. What to do while waiting? Learn to dance. Or in other words, learn to cook, learn to do household chores, learn to serve, learn to live. When our perfect partner comes, we are expecting him to lead us in the dance of love, in the dance of life. But we also have a part, we are to assist him.

Wahaha, too much drama. Brekkie is ready.

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Around 10 we start to load our stuff in the van. Bath time is now faster. Our driver found out that the gauge valve of the water leading to the house is not fully opened. If only we learned about that earlier.

The whereabout? To buy more pasalubong.

Good Shepherd Convent

Famous for it’s yummy UBE JAM and other pasalubong items. It’s holiday, flocks of buyers are expected. When we arrived, a long queue of patrons winds around the pavement in front the shop. Members of our group immediately joined the line. I had already bough enough pasalubong so I joined the other members of the group explore the area. There is a garden across the convent. I believe it’s a prayer garden. If you feel hungry, there is also a bakery that offers freshly baked bread and stall that sells ice cream.

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Price of pasalubong items sold here are bit more expensive than those offered outside the convent. When you buy a product from them, you are actually helping some Cordillera youth finish college. It’s charity! The quality and the taste can also compensate for the higher price.

Good Shepherd Convent is located at Gibraltar Rd, Baguio 2600 close to Mine’s View Park.

Mamita’s  Bulaluhan

By lunchtime, rain started to pour. What could be a better lunch than a bowl of Bulalo? Our hungry tummy lead us to Mamita’s located at Leonard Road. I can’t complain about there bulalo. Mamita’s is near the 50’s Diner. I’m too hungry to take pictures.

Our group is seated at the covered roof deck. Polycarbonate roofing allows natural light to pass through so it feels sunny even on a rainy day.

Philippine Military Academy (Fort Gen. Gregorio H. Del Pilar) 

First-timer? Present! We were given a tag that must be worn all the time while inside the premises. The tag lists down a few instructions to follow. You can not enter the premises in sandos and slippers. Good thing I brought a pair of sneakers.

I believe a graduation rites has just concluded. Men in uniform were loading there bags in one of the academy’s shuttle bus, I assume getting ready for their holidays.

Thanks to this (random) gentleman who gladly allowed us to take a photo with him. In one condition: no smile for him.  We started to wonder how PMA cadets make ligaw if the can not show other emotions aside from the usual poker face.

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Ahihi. Could it be like this?

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Nice one Yon and Emil. 🙂 Artista ang peg.

 

Some snapshots in Fort del Pilar.

 

The 3-day trip is simply refreshing. We will be going back to work with a renewed point of view, recharged energy and new memories to look back.

Related Post:

At Home in the Mountains: The Baguio Get-away Day 1
Death by Strawberries: The Baguio Get-away Day 2

Death by Strawberries: The Baguio Get-away Day 2

(Note: This is a throwback entry for a 3-day Baguio trip in 2012.)

We had our rounds of doing our chores. Day 2 adventures started out late because of the very low supply of water. Filling up a pail of water takes time. I never knew that April can be cold too. I only have a pair of  jeans. It’s a good thing I brought long sleeves and a jacket.

Death by strawberries because our group have consumed a good amount of strawberry – from the fresh ones, wines, ice cream, jam to taho. Oh no one died.:)

What’s the itinerary for Day 2?

Tam-awan Village: Garden in the Sky

Tam-awan Village is founded by National Artist BenCab to promote the local art and culture of Baguio (Source: Our Awesome Planet). How about a groupie before going in?

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The entrance and the list of entrance fees. The village can also be rented for functions.

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Our first activity is going through a trail that leads up, up, up. Up leads to where? To more trees and bushes. Just kidding. The trail showcases artworks and landscapes that reflects Ifugao art particularly. It rained prior to our visit so the trail is a bit slippery. An observation: the higher you go, the steeper the trail. Good thing, some bamboo hand rails are installed for visitors safety. Our genius friends appreciated the ferns growing on the sides of the hill.

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If you opt not to take the uphill trail, you can still enjoy the visit. A souvenir shop, art galleries and cafes situated at the lower part of the hill. There are Ifugao fertility huts that can be rented if you opt to stay here overnight. I would like to have that experience given the chance. Beware of the fertility statues: they are believed to help you conceive when touched.

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According to a source, there is always an art exhibit going on in the village. One attraction that brings interest to our group is the group of sketch artists. A portrait cost PhP100.00 and usually takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

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A large portrait of Manny Pacquio is exhibited in the village. This masterpiece is a Solar Drawing by Jordan Mang-osan. It’s drawn using the sun and a magnifying lens. Amazing!

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Strawberry Fields

Situated 30 minutes from the heart of Baguio, you’ll be able to find the Strawberry Fields to appreciate how these berries are cultured. The strawberry fields reminds me of the tobacco plantation we have back home specially the white canvass that covers the strawberry seedlings and the black canvass that protects the berries from being soiled.

Other crops are also planted in the Strawberry fields. There are lettuce, brocolli and some patches of mums and roses.

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What is the best thing to do here? Strawberry picking! If you want to do that prepare to pay thrice the price of strawberries sold in the market. For our group, goof around and dance in the middle of the field. :)And oh, not to mention eat strawberry taho under the heat of the sun! Kimmy loved it so he had to call Manong Taho twice.

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These are stars erm berries of the day.

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Camp John Hay

We made a side trip to meet a friend. The group hiked on the side of the hills (or mountains). Tree Top Adventures was closed for the holiday so most of the time spent here was simply chatting and sharing  jokes.  We also made a sequel of our Annual Jumpshot.

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The Jumpshot for 2012

Do you know that there is a cemetery in Camp John Hay? It’s called The Lost Cemetery or the Cemetery of Negativism. So, if you’re carrying a negative vibe(s) that weighs you down; you can bury it here.

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There’s also a butterfly sanctuary that you can check out. It is situated near the CAP Convention Center. Leaving Camp John Hay, I have noticed some factory outlets of apparels. Maybe these shops are also worth visiting.

Just some advise, do not loiter on the golf courses. Golf balls can hit you anytime. 🙂

Mines’s View Park (Round 2)

The journey continues to Mine’s View. This time buying pasalubong is taken more seriously. Peanut Brittle, Lengua de Gato, t-shirts, keychains you can get it here. Ate Abby just gave us a tip that we should save some dough for Good Shepherd items. I bought some bottles of strawberry wine.

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What is our night activities aside from the usual chats and jokes? One of our group brought a set of Pictionary, another Monopoly Deal. There is also a karaoke set in the house which we are allowed to use. It’s free for all but since it’s Holy Friday, we opt to sing mellow as a respect to the neighborhood’s observance of the Holy Week.

Related Post:

At Home in the Mountains: The Baguio Get-away Day 1
Goodbye on a Rainy Day: The Baguio Get-away Day 3

At Home in the Mountains: The Baguio Get-away Day 1

(Note: This is a throwback entry for a 3-day Baguio trip in 2012.)

Baguio is 2012’s choice for our annual Lenten get-away with friends. This year we are tagging along new faces to join our crazy adventures. So how it is to travel to Baguio on a Holy Week?

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Since we are traveling in a big group, we opted to hire a van instead of braving the swarm of commuters in the time of the year. Our driver, Kuya RK picked us up from Mcdo Quezon Ave and started out at 4am a very early breakfast. We have to be rolling this early to avoid the holiday rush. At around 8PM, we found our van on a very long queue for Tarlac Exit. It seems like all roads lead to the North. Before lunch we are already in Baguio.

Our group stayed in a house which a friend of a friend recommended to us. It’s a 15-minute drive from Session Road. It has good supply of water, has 3 toilet and bath and allows to cook. The thing is: the access road is so step that the girls in the group screamed when the van first entered the village. A little after 1:45PM, we left our “home” to begin our Baguio adventures.

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Lexber Heights: heights as in mapapahiyaw ka sa height ng pababang kalye

Pnky’s  Travel Cafe

We have munched enough pasalubong from Davao so we are OK to eat lunch at 3PM.  But still lunch have to be good because of many good reasons. We reached Baguio safely, it’s our first meal in Baguio among the few. A few meters from Teacher’s Village is Pnky’s Travel Cafe: a travel themed cafe that primarily caters to the customers of Pnky’s Home Bed and Breakfast.

It has a very cozy, homy feel. The landscape is so cute that our group can’t help but pose for some photos and take photos of the things that interest us. We chose an outdoor table so it’s dining with nature.

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This is the cafe’s menu. I like the travel scrapbook idea. Take a peek of what’s inside. Owners can be concluded as travel enthusiasts as well.

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Most, if not all of the food offered are European with a Cordilleran twist. For starter, I chose Potato Soup. Yum! Vaticani, beef strips with cauliflower and brocolli sprinkled with sunflower seeds served with brown rice and Strawberry Iced Tea. My brother went for a serving of Ciao Bella Carbonara. Serving is like, Ba’t ang konti? But believe me, the meal is very tasty.

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Check out what other’s say about Pnky’s.

The Mansion House

The adventures continues to the Mansion House. As far as we know this is a presidential home in Baguio. PGMA likes to spend her Christmas her. Civilians are not allowed to go beyond the gate so we are just tourists standing on the outside looking in. Wright Park is just across the mansion. I’ve frequented this area on my previous visits in Baguio so in the back of my mind: there’s nothing much to see here.

The Mansion House

Mine’s View Park

T his is an area you might want to avoid when visiting Baguio on a Holy Week. It’s where most souvenir and pasalubong items were bought. Our van got stuck in traffic for hours. I wondered why we have to pass through this area knowing the traffic situation. I just decided to take a walk to Mine’s View because I felt suffocated inside the van. I did not bother to reach the viewing deck anymore though. I was contented with munching grilled corn along the side walk, observing tourist do their haggling.

I found this interesting piece of art. This used to be the oldest tree in Baguio. It’s now a monument, a sculpture depicting the rich culture of Cordillera.

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Session Road Market

It’s almost evening and energy is starting to reach the low reading again. Since our home allows us to cook, we are taking advantage of this perk. Next stop, Session Road Market. I am not sure if that’s how the locals call it.

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I love markets specially those that offers very fresh produce. You know it’s fresh kasi madami pang lupa-lupa. Hihi. Baguio is undoubtedly offers the freshest. Would you still haggle for a lower price? It depends.

Baguio 201211Vendors who sells on the sidewalk offers the best deals. I believe they are the ones who sells products straight from their backyard. No haggling for them.

Related Post:

Death by Strawberries: The Baguio Get-away Day 2
Good-bye on a Rainy Day: The Baguio Get-away Day 3

A (Half) Day at the Museum

My days in Manila are almost over. Fulfilling a promise and ticking  items out of this year’s bucket list would be wonderful, right?

 Explore National Museum (National Art Gallery)

  Have a photo taken with Spolarium on the background!

I called Martin to share this plan and he was thrilled with the idea. So there, we met on a hot Sunday morning. The adventure started in Pasay. We took the LRT as this is the best mode of transportation going to the museum. Alighted at Pedro Gil ’cause I wanted to eat some fried rice in Robinson’s Supermarket. From there, we continued our journey by foot to Mabini St. Hailed a jeep, paid minimum fare and asked Manong Driver to drop us at the museum.

(Alternatively, you can alight at the Central Station then take a jeep bound for Kalaw if you are not up for a long walk.)

I was in my a pair of short pants and was quite hesitant to go in. I feared dress codes that may be imposed by the museum management. I was like a “timang” peeping on the main entrance to check out the outfit of people inside. Luckily, a Caucasian in his muscle shirt and plaid shorts went in before us. What a relief, I’m safe!

Registration is a must before entering the galleries. Food and drinks and other bulky items can be deposited at the the registry. Cameras are allowed and even infants.

First impresssion: smells moldy and a bit poorly lit. I’m justifying that fact with another fact that the museum is a home of well-preserved art pieces that are over hundred years old. How about the lighting? Harsh light can cause damage to the art pieces. Fair enough. Lesh go!

In and out we go off with the galleries, things started to get exciting and interesting when we started seeing marterpieces of artists like Malang, Amorsolo, Juan Luna, and Botong Francisco.

Looking at the works of Juan Luna, passion for arts could be sensed just by looking at his pieces. He loves to travel and where he sets his feet he drew and painted. I wonder how he manage to transport his artwork from one place to another.

Being a fan of landscapes, I once again fell in love with the paintings of Amorsolo. As I go through the Amorsolo’s studies, Martin discussed how pencil sketches last long.

It is also a pride to personally see paintings that I used to see in my History books back in elementary. #BotongFrancisco #TheFirstMassInLimasawa #hehehe

One of the galleries also exhibits the original of Jose Rizal’S most famous portrait – the one in the old One Peso coin. I saw those eyebrows. Rizal Matches, familiar? I just can’t stand the smell. #ImSorryBuntisAko

We finished all the galleries but Spolarium could not be found. I remembered us skipping the first room near the entrance. We walked in and behind the white wall with a naked angel sculpture is the walah! The Spolarium!

It was a huge, huge painting. I first imagined it as a regular-sized one. It is secured with iron chains. If I recall it right, the Philippine government had to acquire back the painting from the Spanish government. Another curious question : How do they manage to transport it back to PH?

Oh, I also enjoyed the quick tour at the former Senate plenary. The sculptures on the walls and ceiling reminds me the Parthenon.

The museum tour lasted only for about 4 hours. Some sections were closed. I believe it was part of the preparation for the National Heritage Month in May.

Visiting the museum on a Sunday has an advantage – admission is free! Just come in a group of less than 10. There will be no curators during Sundays so you can take your own pace. Visit the National Museum soon and be in touched with your artistic side.

National Museum is located at P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How Much Does It Cost to Explore Ilocos?

Traveling in group is fun. It’s noisier, there will be more stories to hear. And yes, noisier! If traveling in group and if the destination is reachable by land, it would be more convenient to rent a car. Considering that our trip is scheduled on a holy week, imagine the inconvenience that we have to deal with finding seats for 10 people. Also, commuting to the different tourist attractions will be painful. Well, an exemption if you are willing to ride a tricycle and have a race with bigger vehicles along the highway. Buwahahahah! Planning a trip to Ilocos in a group? Hope this post will help you weigh these questions: to commute or not to commute?

Capture - Day 1Day 1: Let the Travel Begin!

We basically explored Vigan. Though our eyes have already feasted on the views we have passed during the trip that started 5AM from Quezon City. At around 2PM, we were avail to reach Vigan. Then our adventures begin:

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Sneak preview of our Ilocos Adventures – Day 1

Our group took a Calesa Tour with an instruction to go to the highly recommended areas only. We voted to check out Baluarte, Padre Burgos Museum and Calle Crisologo. The tour was quite slow. Blame it to the madding crowd that flocked to Ilocos that long weekend. 🙂

Day 2 : Explore Ilocos Norte.

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This day is what I am excited about. I’ll be seeing the Bangui Windmill for the the very first time. Voted spots to check out:

  • Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud
  • Cape Bojeador, Burgos
  • Bangui Windmills, Bangui
  • Paoay Church
  • Dine in Herencia’s Cafe, Paoay

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Day 3 – Tara na sa Beach!

Our relatives in Ilocos Sur blessed us with meals and welcomed us to their home. That’s a big slash from the expenses. Thank you, Dr. Sean and Joy!

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It’s time to go to the beach-each-each. Our group together with our host took us to San Isidro Beach, San Juan, Ilocos Sur to cool off a bit before we hit the road again. After the lunch at the beach, the group then went back to Vigan to purchase pasalubongs – chichacorn, bagnet, Vigan longganisa we sourced from the wet market. We also passed by Marshia’s to take a bite of the famous royal bibingka and pudding.

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Some notes on the transportation arrangement: gas, meals, toll fees and accommodation for the driver is separate from the van rental. At the end of the trip, we made a deal with the driver to drop us near our respective homes and he agreed. That explains the additional gas refill for Day 3.

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Each individual had contributed PhP3,000.00. That does not include the additional chi-cha, water, and other personal effects. I could say that this trip is worth all the peso spent. A big thanks to our sponsors during the trip.

Why I Love Ilocos?

Ilocos is probably one of the tourist destinations that I have gone to for a number of times. Yet, there are still so many things to explore, to see, to taste. These are the things I’ll never get tired of checking even if I’ve already tasted or seen it.

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  1. The historical Calle Crisologo. A famous street in Vigan where stood the Spanish-styled houses. A walk in the four-block cobblerstone path feels like being transported to the 1500.  Considered as UNESCO World Heritage Site, this street is well maintained. I have seen it once closed for a major clean up.What to see: Hotels, Bars and Cafes, Souvenir shops where you can buy the pasalubongs.20131230_154951
  2. The food.  Skip the fastfood. Try the local delicacies available. Okoy and Empanada in Plaza Burgos, Vigan; grilled Vigan Longganisa (go for Tiongson’s), Pakbet Pizza in Herencia’s at Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Malunggay Pan de Sal from  Durong’s, Oh that sinful Bagnet and Poqui-poqui.

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    One of the Empanada stands around Plaza Burgos

  3. The magnificent church structures. Need I say more?

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    The Paoay Church by Twilight. Credits to Nehemiah Villanueva

  4.  Cape Boujeador. The breathtaking sight of the South China Sea captured my heart. Visit this site by April then you’ll know what I mean. No entrance fee.When not to visit: Holy Week – it could be too crowded, Rainy days as going up to the foot of the lighthouse can be slippery.
  5. IMG_3182Bangui Windmills. Take a slow drive along the dirt road of Sitio Kangkang to come closer to these environmental friendly monsters. I enjoy having my feet soaked in Bangui Bay while running away from the strong waves. Be careful with the stones washed ashore as they can puncture your sole. Take a sip of coffee at Kangkang’s Cafe where you can also purchase a miniture windmill.As of December 2013, few more cafes and home-stays have been erected in this site.
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  6. Drive along a scenic route . Ilocos Norte is preferred over Ilocos Sur. There are more to see and I feel more one with nature. The stretch of the blue sea peeping over the tiny trees along the highway never fails to make me smile. Unless it’s raining, the trip is never complete without stopping over at the famous Patapat Bridge – a bridge that runs along a mountain overlooking the South China Sea.
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  7. Kapurpurawan Rock Formations. I first went to this spot few hours after the last sunrise of 2013. I was like, “WOW!”. The forces of nature have chiseled and carved these amazing rock formations.  Inhale fresh air as you trek the rocky trail. Or if you want to experience it in another way, ride a donkey. In 2 years time, windmills will become part of this attraction.
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  8. The Beaches. White. Black. Rocky. You name it. There is a beach for every adventure you seek.

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How much does it cost to explore Ilocos? It depends on the adventure that you want to take. My travels to Ilocos is usually in groups. Sharing with you our budget for a 3-day get away to Ilocos for 10 pax.

Cartimar: a haven for pet lovers

Nanay described Cartimar as the “Greenhills”, “shopping mecca” of the socialeras during her time. Since I moved to Pasay last December, she always ask me if I have already check the place. There are RTW stalls but what caught my attention are the pet shops. Fishes, cats, dogs, birds and other exotic pets are available. Here I was introduced to fish species like alligator gar, albino dragon fin and hammer head sharks. Watching the fishes swim in their tanks has this distressing effect. Now I have this desire to keep heart shaped parrot fishes for pets.

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Finding Nemo and friends.

An hour trip to Cartimar is not enough to explore this haven. I am ending this post with a promise to make another entry for Cartimar.

Fresh Selections Katipunan: An Organic Fastfood

Christmas Holiday recently concluded and my tummy is craving for something with low carbs and low fat. A friend suggested Fresh Selection. She describes this place where our vegetarian friends would be seen often. Fresh Selection offers fresh organic fruits, vegetables and meat. I’m glad that these kind of food are becoming more accessible.

We visited the Katipunan Branch. It’s quite small compared to the other Fresh Selection branches.  The wooden interior and yellow lights give a home-y feel. Cashier counter is right at the entrance where you can place and pay for your order. I only wish the comfort room is given a little more attention. It smells musty. 😦

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I have tried their Fresh Lumpia, an order costs around PhP60.00. Serving size is just right and I love how the peanut sauce works with the lumpia. The wrapper tastes fresh, too. I heard their Fried Chicken is a must-try.

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What else do they offer? Check out this menu. You can also purchase Ready-To-Cook Meals and enjoy your favorite restaurant dishes at home.

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Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Budget: P250-300
Credit Cards: Not Accepted; Cash Basis Only
Reservations: No Reservations Accepted