BikolBuyBlog and Baguio Blooms

I know that my blog is supposed to about the Bikol Region, but since Bikol products were brought to the Panagbenga Festival, I’ll use that as an excuse to write about the trip to Baguio City, Philippines.

Baguio is known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” because it is the coolest place to be (literally, at 15-21degC) during the summer (March-May) where temperatures rise to 33degC and up in the lowlands.

Flower floats were a beautiful sight.

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My sister took pictures of colorful flowers, most of the names were never in my memory bank. Will you name them for me?

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See? I was only able to identify three.

What we did in Baguio:

Photo-0p at Mine’s View Park (panoramic view of the Benguet gold and copper mines as backdrop for free, horseback riding for P10 per shot, and wear an Igorot costume for P10, unlimited shots; cameras not included)

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Burnham Park Boating (it’s not Baguio without the swan boats)

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Burnham Park Mini Amusement Park (This is a happy discovery– skating and bump cars)

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5-minute bliss

Strawberry-picking at strawberry farm (I suggest, do this during your last day so you get to bring home your freshly-picked strawberries. P300/kg if you want the picking experience; P120/kg if you just want photos and they pick for you. P120/kg is still cheaper than the ones in the market at P150-180/kg. Souvenirs are also more affordable in the shops here. Keychains at 3pcs for P25. Shirts at 2 for P150/180.

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Dropped by at the only non-air conditioned SM mall

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View from the Burnham Park, SM in the background

Walked down Session Road (Session Road in Bloom is a yearly one-week event that features food and crafts of Baguio and other Philippine provinces; the Bikol booth sold Escaro’s Dried Fish Products, pinangat, Chef Nori’s bottled specialties like sinarapan, sinantol, laing, pili pesto, dinailan, Aronda’s tablea and champorado, coco sugar, pili tarts, and Don Ramon Tropical Wines)

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My Mama, the woman behind Don Ramon Wines

Trekking at Tam-Awan Village Garden in the sky (Entrance Fee is P50, if you love art you’ll definitely enjoy the work of the Filipino artists here)

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Attended mass at the pink church on top of the hill, Porta Vaga

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What I enjoyed eating in Baguio:

Dragon’s Breath Mallow Blast sundae

Solibao’s Shawarma

Footlong hotdog with veggies

KFC’s mushroom soup

Fresh Strawberries

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Strawberry Taho

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Shake

Sinigang na Lechon Kawali at the overlooking resto of strawberry farm

Boiled Sweet Corn

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Crispy Crepes by Louis, Pinikpikan, and coffee and cream puffs at Tam-Awan Village Garden in the Sky Cafe

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I won’t go to Baguio without these:

Enhancer Skin Conditioning Gel (locks in moisture and keeps my skin supple) and Sunright Sunblock (effective protection from harmful UV rays) both by Nu Skin.

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What to do when I go back to Baguio:

Overnight stay in the Ifugao houses at the Tam-Awan Village Garden in the Sky; Visit Good Shepherd Convent; View Arko ni Apo Art Gallery; Bump cars (again); Look for the view  of the sea at Garden in the Sky; eat what I enjoyed eating and add a few more based on Krish’s recommendations at EatsinBaguio; discover something great; be able to name at least 10 flowers; buy a barrel man just for fun.

Tips:

Please book your tickets for your return trip the moment you arrive, especially during the peak seasons (November – May). We had to wait in line for a chance passenger seat for 3 hours.

-Please please please wear sunblock.

A tiny note of appreciation:

In my trips to Baguio, I always liked taxi drivers. They seldom complain, don’t ask for tips, and give an exact change, which of course make me always say, “Please keep the change”

I hope this will be helpful in planning your trip to the City of Pines.

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From Cam Sur, with Love

I know this blog was supposed to be about Bikol, but I think a repost is fitting since it’s the month of love.

Let me know what you think about this:  PAG-IBIG ? (LOVE?)

We often set a list of standards– from the most ideal (like integrity, humility, responsibility) to the most mundane (like height, complexion, eye color).

But I guess in the end, the person you want to be with is somebody you wake up with and gaze at with fondness and complete acceptance; somebody who looks back at you with the same silent softness just because you are you; who gently holds your hand as if to quietly assure you: “It will not always be perfect, but I’ll always be here.”

Then you smile, feeling light, warm, content as if nothing could ever go wrong… (Journal Entry 7-10-11)

Thank you for reading!

BYOB Goes to Manila

Whenever I took my bayong with me during my errands to Naga (small city), I have always wondered if I can actually walk the streets of Manila (big city), carrying it.

Challenge accepted!

Challenge completed!

Last December, with about a hundred commuters I saw, the plastic bags, paper bags, and ”biodegradable” bags they were carrying really paled in comparison to my bayong.

I know what you’re thinking: ”One has to be fashionably fearless to actually be using one of these.”

I agree.

My ”competitive” bayong at Ayala Avenue:

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Etched in Stone – Iriga Church

I know of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. I also know that it cannot actually speak.

If stones can speak, what stories will it tell? We will never know, will we?

In this segment, Etched in Stone, I will bring you to Bikol’s well-preserved, often-visited, and beautified churches as I see them, one at a time.

Iriga Church.

According to the stone that speaks, verbatim:

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And here’s what the stone was really saying: a longer version with more details.

The church’s patron: St. Anthony de Padua

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The altar.

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The church.

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The angel.

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Mama’s Garden 2

The other day, I woke up, walked to the kitchen, and I see this:

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It’s one of my favorite fruits and it came right out of Mama’s garden. How cool is that?

It weighed more than 2 kg and I ate about 1/4 of it.  I did not get to take a picture when it was opened because I was too excited to eat it.

It’s called the guyabano fruit or soursop. Its flesh is white, its seeds are black. It has a distinct aroma and flavor, and the flesh just happily slides down your throat.

This fruit is not only yummy, it might also have certain anti-cancer properties according to (in vitro) studies.

Guess what Mama can do with this fruit. Wine!

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The white wine tastes good on its own, chilled.  I also enjoy it as a cocktail, when mixed with mango juice or orange-calamansi juice.

Summer is only two months away. It’s the time of the year when a lot of fruits are in season. I’m looking forward to (eat) what else comes out of Mama’s garden.

Like A Child 2

SMS to B:

“Guess what. I’m eating authentic nilupak. Woohoo.”

I went to the market the other day <Yes, it’s the same day I talked about in my BYOB post>.

And I was happy to re-discover 2 of my favorites:

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1. Nilubak: mashed cassava with milk and butter topped with margarine, sprinkled with crushed peanuts and sugar

Ingredients are mashed and mixed using a huge wooden mortar and pestle, which hole can fit a basketball.

According to legend, nilupak will taste better if the ”manong” mashing the cassava is shirt-less.

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2. Pacencia Cookies

These cookies made from flour, egg whites, and sugar made me giggle after the first bite.

<How to Make Pacencia Cookies>

Certain fragrances and music often bring back memories.

These delicacies made me feel like a child again, even for just a while.

BYOB -Bring your own Bayong

The other day, I went out to the market with my trusted ”bayong”.ImageImage

I have used it 4 times and the heaviest it was able to carry was 5 kilos.

It’s a bit more pricey than plastic bags, sturdier than paper bags, has a fashionabiliity potential and definitely more earth-friendly than the “biodegrable” bags supermarkets sell these days.

<More about Bayong>

<Government seeks bayong market>

Mangroves and Mermaids

Last April, I crashed my Mama’s school excursion and visited the mangroves of Sorsogon.

From my basic biology knowledge, I can recall that mangroves are habitats for fish and other creatures.  <Benefits of Mangroves>

Alas, more mangroves are destroyed every year.

I was happy to learn that in Bikol, there is a place where mangroves are preserved.

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What I didn’t know was that aside from preventing erosion, mangroves can also protect against very strong waves or tsunamis.

See how still the water is? I wonder if can walk on it.

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Nah, walking is for people, mangrove mermaids swim.

Like a Child

July of 2011, I had this post: Like a Child.

Now that I have returned to the place where I grew up, it’s comforting to know that I can still enjoy the same treats that I loved.

It’s really surprising that after 20 years, these food taste the same.

Some of Bikol’s merienda I enjoyed recently:

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Biniribid: twisted, fried and sugar-coated malagkit <glutinous rice> Crunchy and sweet on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.

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Toasted Siopao: bread with ground pork. Really yummy especially when it’s freshly-baked. <Coming Soon: Hunt for the Best Toasted Siopao in Naga>

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Pancit Loglog: noodles in beef stock, with special/secret loglog sauce, toasted garlic, and spring onion.

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We eat loglog almost everyday. Even during weekends when Mama’s canteen is closed.

Merienda all best served hot and will be most complete when enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold soda.

Soda seem to taste better here in the province.

Actually, everything tastes better because I’m home. 😀

Mama’s Garden

  I tried to grow cacti for a class project. My dish and mini garden was definitely most beautiful. Alas, after a few days, only the dish was left.

I wonder if I will ever have green thumb just like Mama.

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