Green Gift Ideas

I like gifts.

I enjoy wrapping gifts more than I enjoy unwrapping them. ;D

During breakfast, Mama made an inventory of the gifts she already bought. She realized, she had a gift almost for everybody, she only needed to buy gift wrapper.

Then, she said, “Why don’t we just recycle and go organic this year? Let’s use newspaper. Let’s use magazines.”

I said, “Ok.”

Then, I stood up, got some magazines from the rack,  peeled off pages, put them together using plastic tape, dusted off 2-yr old papel de hapon from Mama’s cabinet, got some abaca twine from my craft box, and picked the presents that needed wrapping.

Finished with the first batch of Christmas presents.


Very easy, economical, and earth-friendly gift-wrapping.

Please, do try this at home. 😀


Penafrancia 2012

“Resuene vibrante el himno de amor
Quen entona tu pueblo con grata y emocion
Resuene vibrante el himno de amor
Patrona del Bicol Gran Madre de Dios
Se siempre la Reina del Nuestra Region
Patrona del Bicol Gran Madre de Dios
Se siempre la Reina del Nuestra Region”

Last time I watched the Penafrancia procession was when I was 8 years old. After that, our parents wouldn’t encourage us to be there because of the possible dangers.

Now that I’m all grown-up and have already exposed myself to different sorts of risks, it’s about time that I see “Ina” again.

Last September 15, 2012 in Elias Angeles St., Naga City, I stand barefoot on a parked motorcyle, with camera fully charged, excitement, and  curious anticipation, I wait…DSC_1156

… with them.


… and them.


Then, “Viva el Divino Rostro” <History of Divino Rostro>


The drama begins… The crowd claps to urge the image forward. Goosebumps.


Devotees believe that if they have handkerchiefs wiped on the image, they will be healed of their physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses.


This kuya was really helpful, and so were the other guys he’s sitting on below.DSC_1175DSC_1179

This kuya was successful. Wipe…


dive and swim…DSC_1177


The Divino Rostro has left and will wait for Ina at the Bicol River for the fluvial procession.

The sea of men almost crushed the motorcycle and I had to jump for my life. When the crowd thinned, I was able to rescue my flip flops.

I looked for a more strategic and hopefully safer place I can stand on. And waited…


…with them.


Then, “Viva La Virgen” “Viva” <History of the Virgin of Penafrancia>




Brothers are kind enough to wipe hankies for you. But if one gets too close, they don’t think twice prodding you with their long stick.



This is the guys’ way of getting to Ina. The ladies and children prefer the quieter way, one with almost zero chance for injury– lining up in the Cathedral during the 9-day novena.

Ina was able to pass through faster than the Divino Rostro.

These devotees walk to the Bicol River to bid Ina on her way home to the Penafrancia Basilica.


Then, nostalgia. Remember being carried by your father just so you could see better and to be sure you wouldn’t get squashed?





I hope this guy had better luck in capturing the Fluvial Procession. I heard it was really a beautiful sight with the sunset and the lights.


Oh well, there’s still next year.  My post will be good but never as good as the real thing. Hope you make it here next year.

The Village

As promised, one of the seldom-visited places in Bikol: The Village at LRV Agri Science Farm at San Bernardino, Calabanga, Camarines Sur

Our family went to the Farm for a Technology Commercialization Forum sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. My mama, who is a professor at Central Bicol State University, and one of the leading tropical wine manufacturers in Bikol talked to farmers, students, and entrepreneurs about wine-making production and economics.


There were also exhibits of Bikol produce right by the fishing area.


Since mama was a resource speaker, our family had the privilege of staying in one of The Village’s Cabanas.

For us three, the room was really spacious.


After dinner, we walked around to see what The Village looks like at night.

In the morning, we had breakfast at the restaurant, and saw the Don Ramon Guyabano Wine displayed there.

After which, we enjoyed a dip in the pool.

In the afternoon, we took pictures of pretty flowers:

We fed the doves:

And followed them to their home when they flew away:

We explored more of the Agri Science Farm:

And when the sun went down, we bid The Village good bye and see you again perhaps this Christmastime.

Hello world!

Yesterday, I went to the Naga City People’s Mall to look for wine bags I can use for a friend’s wedding.

I found these:

Which I made into these:

And into these:

Then I thought, why not share about the Bikolano ingenuity and creativity? Why not share about the Bikolano culture? Why not let the world in on my discoveries of those which are rare, lush, and beautiful about the Bikol region?

Come with me as I sample Bikolano dishes, discover unique products, immerse in Bikolano festivities, and explore the seldom-visited spots.

And as you read, may you be encouraged to visit, buy, and experience Bikol yourself.

If, and when, I’ll be happy to assist in any way I can.

See you.