Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Hope of A New Year

People are probably tired of hearing the same old shit, "new year, new me" and the like. I know it sometimes get on our nerves but some people need the new year to believe in themselves more, to give them hope. I know, I know, you can change for the better anytime but the new year is symbolic for lots of people. It is officially the start of a new year and some people feel like they have a clean slate for the year. So let's give those people a break, including me, and let's all be joyful as we welcome 2015.

So this year, I'm not gonna write about my new year's resolutions nor am I gonna post a list of quotes. I'll just keep this post brief.

Year In Review:

  • I was an ugly mess throughout 2014. But the thing is, wounds heal and people heal. I never thought that my heart would be on the mend but yes, it got better in time. 
  • A handful of people saw me at my worst, and yet, here they are, still beside me. I will be forever grateful to the people who stood by me and never judged me. They understood that I had to do what I had to do.
  • Quitting my job at that point in time and starting my MBA was probably the best decision I made despite the separation anxiety I had from being a workaholic and the tremendous adjustment of studying again.
  • I also met a lot of new friends this year. I met my MBA friends, my Antiteasis friends, and rekindled my friendship with a few others.
  • My relationship with my family is back to normal with all the arguments and discussions. Of course, I'm once again present in all outings and gatherings and all the family chaos.
  • I lost the best mother in the world. I surely miss my lola but I'm sure she's smiling in heaven. 
  • And the most important realization for me still comes down to love. It's a surprise that I can still love. I thought that I turned into someone very cold and hard. But despite my walls and my list of rules, I'm still capable of loving people.

So whatever comes my way this 2015, I know I can survive it. I've been through the worst, so whatever the universe throws at me, I know the universe believes I can handle. But hey, this is not a challenge, please be a little gentle with me this coming year. And yes, I'm also hopeful this coming year. I know that greater things are bound to happen. Cheers! :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Spot the Difference

So it's my second time in Laoag and of course, one should always stop by Paoay Church (which is not exactly in Laoag but about 30 minutes away from the capital). For me, the Paoay Church has one of the most beautiful facades ever. It's just a bit aesthetically unappealing that this year, they added tarpaulins on the bell tower and by the entrance.

There's also a little garden and souvenir shop at the back of the bell tower. And there's a mini plaza nearby with interesting restaurants and cafes.

And about 20 or so minutes away is the Malacañang of the North where the Marcoses lived when they were in town. I'm not a fan of the Marcoses but the mansion was indeed huge.

And hey, notice that in 2013 the skies were gloomier and cloudier and in 2014 it's much more sunnier. Is it over-interpretation already if I relate it with my disposition because so much has changed in one year? Charrr lang. OA much.

December 2013. Taken with an iPhone 4s.

December 2014. Taken with a Samsung S5.

December 2013. At the balcony of the Malacañang of the North. Taken with an iPhone 4s.

December 2014. At the balcony of the Malacañang of the North. Taken with a Samsung S5..

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Where We Stayed In Vigan: Ciudad Fernandina Hotel

There are several hotels around Vigan and I was a bit on a rush so I just booked the first decent hotel I came across which was also not too expensive.

We got a superior room for a little over P3000. I don't know if I'm just unfortunate but the room I got was really tiny. It was just the bed and the usual room amenities but there was barely enough space to move around. And it was on the fourth floor but their elevator was only up to the third. Well, I don't really mind the extra flight of stairs. I just wish the room was a tad bit bigger.

Our other companions booked the same room but got a better room layout. I just skipped the complaining and comparing part because I needed a couple of minutes to rest and settle down after a nine hour land trip.  What's important was the room was clean, the sheets were clean, and the bathroom was clean. And the breakfast was awesome!

I wouldn't mind checking in here again and I would recommend this hotel to travelers who would love to explore Vigan especially Calle Crisologo, the ancient road with preserved old houses. The hotel is just on the street parallel to Calle Crisologo so it's very accessible, even for early morning or late night walking.

P.S. The Eigenmans were also there when we checked in. But oblivious little me didn't notice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Traipsing Around the Old Town of Vigan

Hello, hello, hello! It's been ages since the last time I was able to write. Grad school was I-N-S-A-N-E, especially during exam weeks. I'm just glad that term break started after the first week of the month and I was able to embark on an adventure right away. Yay!

Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage City and it was recently named one of the New 7 Wonder Cities, among many other recognitions. We stayed there for three nights. Two nights at the beginning of our Ilocos trip and one night towards the end, on our way back to Manila. It was a pretty laid back trip so we had lots of time to go around or just lounge in the hotel.

First stop was Calle Crisologo. It is one of the most preserved streets in Vigan, complete with cobblestoned walks. Restaurants and souvenir shops can be found on this street. The Vigan Information Office can also be found right beside Cafe Leona where they give out free maps of the city. There are also several calesas and karwahes (horse drawn carriages) which can take you around the city. It's also nice to walk around and have something to drink at night in Calle Crisologo, especially now that the wind is cool.

We also visited the pottery place where you can try making pots and jars. Sadly, you couldn't take it home since these still need to be baked in a kiln. The experience was fun though. (The trial is free but tips are expected.)

Another stop people need to visit is the Syquia Mansion, which was the house of President Quirino's wife. It was grand even though it was really, really old. It was quite amazing that the housekeepers were able to preserve the place. Our tour guide, Rusty, belongs to the 4th generation of housekeepers of the family. He was a great guide and he loved taking our pictures in various places of the mansion. (Entrance is only P20 or P30.)

At 7:30 every night, there's a light and sounds fountain show at Plaza Salcedo. I was really impressed that we have something like that in one of our provinces. It's nice that it's free and kids can experience its amazing beauty without leaving the country.

And don't forget to take a peek at the Arsobispo's house and the Vigan Cathedral which are just adjacent to the nearby plaza.

Our last stop was the Baluarte, which is owned by Chavit Singson, I think. It's like a mini zoo and we came in a few minutes before closing time so the "interactive animals" were no longer around. But the place was really huge. Nevertheless, I was not that impressed. It's something I wouldn't mind skipping in our trip.

So that's basically what we did in Vigan. Then off we went to Laoag!

Calle Crisologo

Vigan at night

Souvenir shops in Calle Crisologo

Calesas and Calle Crisologo

Cafe Leona, one of the popular eating spots

Pottery you can take home

Pottery demo
I even tried making my own jar. These kuyas and little girl showed me how to make a heart shaped jar.

Syquia Mansion

Dining Hall of Syquia Mansion

Kitchen of Syquia Mansion. Now, that's a kitchen I would love to work in.

Fountain show at Plaza Salcedo

One of the oldest asrchbishop's home in the country

Vigan Cathedral aka St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral

The interior of the cathedral

Baluarte ni Singson


“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” 
– Jawaharal Nehru