Finally, our plans of going to Binondo pushed through. Aldekari has been planning on this trip for a long time, but for some reason or the other, we never really got to doing it. Sunday was our day, and despite a few setbacks, we were off.
Our transportation of choice was the jeepney. We met up early at Edsa/Shaw and took the jeepneys going to Quiapo. The driver mistook our destination for some other church and tried to drop us off at San Sebastian. “Sabi namin Quiapo!” we said, and he charged us an additional P3.00 each. Oh well.
Quiapo was bustling. There was a mass going on, and there were people doing their business along the streets and in Plaza Miranda. I am truly amused at how Quiapo has a big Catholic structure there, at the same time around it are people who offer the non-Christian services like card reading and fortune telling. Such a lovely study of contrasts.
Also, that day, people were selling fresh produce at Baguio prices. Den, Ching and I were all agog, wanting to buy whatever we can carry. Then again, it wasn’t advisable since we were going for a long walk after all.
And walk we did. From Quiapo down to Hidalgo then to Carriedo, crossing from Sta. Cruz Church, past the fountain, to the archway saying “Welcome to Binondo.” I acted as a tour guide, having gone to Binondo before.
Den gleefully asked for a picture with this statue
First stop was lunch at Waiying. I ordered roast duck with soy chicken and had a glass of lemon Coca-Cola to go with it. Sarap! Busog!
Today, I went to the 5th Christmas Toy Fair. It was also a joint event with the Mom’s Holiday Finds. I really wasn’t planning to get anything, but I was hoping to score some Pinky:St parts from Akihabara Toys. It was also my first trip outside after a week’s seclusion thanks to my infected eye. My sister gave me the go-signal to go out, so long as I take care of myself.
Yue, Ryan and I agreed to be there at 10 AM so we can maximize the morning. Yue arrived first while the mall was still closed. I arrived a few minutes later and Ryan came much, much later, thanks to the traffic in his area.
While waiting for Ryan, Yue and I went ahead exploring the booths that were there. According to Yue, this was a much bigger event than the last one she attended. Ryan said the same thing later on, that the space for the 2009 con was smaller than this year’s.
Here is the Akihabara Toys booth. They’re a toy store located at Malolos, Bulacan. Field trip, my fellow toy collectors?
Japanimation also had a booth there.
Since there’s so much to see, I will refrain from trying to write something in a narrative form. Instead, I will spam you with pictures (which you will see by clicking on “Read more” below) and provide some comments.
Saturday had me visiting Riverbanks for the Hobbyworx toy fair. Last month they had their event at Glorietta 5, where my friends managed to get great bargains on some merchandise. This month’s event had fewer booths, but had a cosplay and auction activities in partnership with Cosplay.ph.
I met Ryan, then with Drew. Nothing much to look at (except for the fascinating and somewhat creepy giant janitor fish in Marikina River), so we decided to head on to Makati to meet up with the rest of the Plurkers for pizza. I missed seeing Yue because I didn’t get there fast enough.
The trip to Cubao itself was an adventure. We were stuck in traffic next to a truckload of pigs. We couldn’t take the smell, so we got off at Project 4 and took a different route to Cubao. It was a familiar place for both Ryan and myself, so we pointed out places to Drew (much like touring a foreigner, which is now a running joke amongst us). When we got to Cubao, we stopped over at Ali Mall only long enough for me to get my Pinky:St dolls and the Chopper hat for Joiz.
The line for MRT tickets was long. It was also crowded inside the train, so we sort of just squeezed against each other. It was marginally better than the horrendous traffic along EDSA. When we arrived at Magallanes, we took a jeep to Makati Cinema Square, where Joiz was with Shabby, Marsha and Jan.
Danbo and the Chopper hat
Danbo wants pizza
Danbo loves the giant juice
I like the Chopper hat!
We ordered pizza, and knowing that it would take a while, Ryan, Drew and I went to Waltermart to look at Great Toys. Drew wanted to buy a toy because I got some and Ryan got comics. :p He ended up getting Revoltech Airi from Queen’s Blade.
Dinner was fun. We had the 27″ pizza and a plate of pasta. Surprise! Busog. Took pics, made fun of Joiz then headed off to Greenbelt for drinks. I got sleepy after one bottle of Super Dry, so I had coffee. I looked so cool.
I had to leave early because I had to be up and about by 6 AM the next day for the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour. I was late in getting up, but still earlier than everyone. I should get plus points… say, a free Tab. Hehe.
Saturday found me with friends and fellow toy enthusiasts Drew, Ryan and Joiz browsing through the booths of various toy shops at the October Toy Fair in Glorietta 5.
Ryan jumped into the comic book bins, while the rest of us went around looking at what’s for sale. I never really intended to buy anything, but I did get my first Pinky St. from Ryan.
There were more than twenty booths that fit in the activity area of Glorietta 5. My favorite booth had to be Akihabara toys, which mostly had anime figures. Original, high priced toys stood side by side with bootleg copies, while vintage toys also attracted some attention. I saw two complete sets of Voltron Go Lion die-casts (just the figures, minus the accessories), while there were also some loose lions for sale. Sadly, it is very much over my budget so I just gazed at them until I was dragged away by my friends.
After lunch we planned to head to Bonifacio High Street but the rain was too strong, so we went back to the toy fair to wait for Fritz. He went there solely to buy the Black Rock Shooter figure from Figma.
Everyone got something that day. Joiz hauled a set of four Ruroni Kenshin figures, Drew gave in to buying a Peter Venkman figure while I got a cute pendant, aside from the Pinky St. figure.
Afterwards, we went to UCC near 6750 to take pictures and trade other stuff.
Some behind the scenes
Speaking of toys, here is one that I haven’t shared with the world just yet.
It’s a pair of Star Wars chopsticks from Kotobukiya US. Rochelle of magnetic_rose.net had a raffle for two of these babies, and I won one of them. This is Mace Windu’s. It’s nine inches long, made out of plastic. The saber handles are detailed like the actual weapon it’s patterned from, and the “light” part is also made of plastic that is safe to use with food. There’s also a chopstick rest with the logo “Star Wars”. As my cousin and Star Wars fan would say, “Awesome!”
And here is my new Pinky St: Maki. Thanks Ryan!
I haven’t edited this, so sorry for the awful photo.
*A warning posted at one of the displays. No pic, tsk.
The weekend’s coming up again soon. I’m loving my Saturdays because I get to see my friends and do fun things with them. I really wish I could split myself a la Naruto so I could see all my friends, but alas, I can not.
I was late in meeting Drew, who patiently waited at the MRT station. The NCF was a jeep’s ride away, and was already in full swing when we arrived. There were various exhibits, lectures and activities guests can participate in, including an aikido demonstration, origami lessons, tea ceremony basics and a trivia booth. There were also a few items for sale, and for Php5, you can rent a cute hat for a photo op.
You can also rent and wear a yukata for the day. Drew agreed to wear one after I said I will, but the girls’ yukata had a long line, and I didn’t bring mine.
There was also food available. They looked yummy, even if they were packed in styrofoam boxes.
We spent less than two hours there. Headed off north so Drew could go to Gilmore and I to Ateneo.
The 1st Human Heart Nature Summit I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend because I wasn’t able to pay for the tickets. Imagine my surprise (and glee) when I got a message saying that tickets would be sold for half the price! Instead of paying P500 for two, I got to pay P300! What luck!
I arrived shortly before one. I picked up my tickets and purchased the mineral make-up at only P215. Haven’t used it yet, so don’t expect any reviews.
Fristine was already inside, and I got to hang out with Lornadahl. We saw Bryan McClelland, the guy who makes bamboo bikes. Tita Rose arrived shortly after and we went inside.
Suzy Andrada-Abrera, a Human Heart Nature dealer herself, was one of the lively hosts of the program. Anna Meloto-Wilk, her husband Daniel and HHN spokesperson Rachel Grant all said a few words. Daniel also introduced members of the HHN team who are from various GK villages. As they told their stories, I couldn’t help but tear up. Awards were also given to the best performing HHN branch and dealer.
My beautiful friends
HHN also introduced the “One Heart, One Community” program, where 100% of the proceeds from the company’s best selling product will go to the community who provides the main ingredient for that product. Imagine, ALL the proceeds go to them and not Human Heart Nature. Wow.
The program lasted until 5 PM. There was also a search for the next HHN ambassador, as well as a very rousing performance from the Ryan Cayabyab Singers. Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, said a few words as the program ended. It rained while we were inside, making the air cooler as we stepped out to head our own ways. There were various booths outside, other organic producers, NGOs and groups.
It was definitely a success. Until the next summit!
September seems to be my vacation/travel month. Two years ago I visited Sagada. Last year, I went to Baguio (which shouldn’t really count). This year, I surpassed my quota (if I actually had any) by going to three different places: Bicol, Tagaytay and Bohol.
It’s my first time to see Bohol outside TV and pictures and it’s a strong candidate for a place I want to retire to. Seriously. While some people prefer city life, I can happily survive in small, provincial towns. Given that I hardly go out most of the time, I hate pollution and traffic, it’s an ideal place. Not to mention that there’s Internet there too.
I was with fellow Plurkers Joiz, Jan, Shabby and Marco. We booked for three days and two nights at Linaw Beach Resort in Panglao island. Of all the places we asked, this was the one that replied rather promptly with all the details we needed. The pictures showed a rather nice place so everyone gave it their approval. When we got to the resort, oh my. It was worth every centavo. Downside: no complimentary breakfast. Everything else was good.
We were practically the only people there, although we did see some people from other resorts dropping by the restaurant for dinner and some visitors coming in the next few days. It was nice to have it all to ourselves. On the first day, we didn’t do much except to go around and take pictures. The atmosphere was so relaxing, I would feel drowsy every time I sit down (which was what happened some time after lunch). Sat down to read “Hunger Games”, then the next thing I knew, it was mid afternoon and everyone was gone.
On our second day, we went on the countryside tour around Bohol. That means no island hopping, nothing too tiring or adventurous — unless you count crossing that hanging bridge that had me screaming bloody murder when everyone started jumping and swaying. I did not relish the idea of falling twenty or so feet into the brown waters of Loboc River. Yes, I was scared. Very much so. :p
So, tour. It started off rather promisingly, especially with the Belgian guys. Headed off to the Chocolate Hills (too many tourists posing for wacky shots), then to the butterfly sanctuary (did you know that there are butterflies that are both male and female?). Took a look at some tarsiers (I kinda felt sorry for the little creatures), crossed that blasted bridge (twice), caused traffic along the man-made forest and went on the Loboc River tour.
My best friend Carmenez invited me on a trip to Legaspi, Albay. It had been years since I last stepped foot on my motherís home province and I jumped on the chance. A few days later, she asked if I knew of anyone else who wanted to go, so I took my brother Miks along.
The moments before the actual flight were rather tense. one reason was mostly due to my carelessness, and the other one was purely because of fate. But when the plane was in the air and we landed in Legaspi, we didnít really care and had a grand time laughing about it.
Day 1: Legaspi and Daraga It was Miksí first time to ride a plane, and his first visit back to Bicol after twenty years. He was roughly two years old when he first visited, and hasnít been back since. He said that the plane ride was rather short (less than an hour from Manila to Legaspi), but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Upon landing, we immediately whipped out our cameras for a shot at the tarmac, even though we were asked not to take pictures in the runway. Since there were not much activity, the airport personnel was a bit more accommodating.
We were able to get a ride with someone Carmenez knew from work, so we arrived at our hotel pretty quickly. Sampaguita Tourist Inn is located along Rizal St., and is easily accessible through public or private transportation. Itís relatively cheap and clean. Our room had three single beds, one bathroom, a TV with cable, aircon and fan. itís the bare essentials, but for P750+ per night, itís very good. Thereís no WiFi in the rooms, but thereís a free connection at the lobby. Thereís also a restaurant on the first floor, but I donít know how the food is.
After dumping our things and freshening up a bit, we headed out. Pacific Mall was our first stop, where we were told we can easily get rides to where we needed to go. A trike is P7 per person, but for some reason the drivers kept asking for P30 for the three of us. It wouldnít be so bad, but the total of those extra three pesos does make a difference.
Mall nanaman? Pacific Mall is a Gaisano mall, hence the familiar uniforms of the department store ladies. The funny thing was it was only a few blocks away from our hotel, and we couldíve easily walked to it. It houses several familiar establishments like McDonaldís, Jollibee, Bench, Penshoppe and National Bookstore.
We had lunch at Graceland, all because we thought there were two Jollibee stores in the mall, thanks to the mascot Qweenie. For less than P100, you get a full meal. Miks and I had lechon kawali with Bicol Express, while Nez had porkchop with laing.
Right on the second floor is the store my friends and I know and love so well: Booksale. Since I was with the friend who introduced me to it, we just had to pass by. Iím sure my brother rolled his eyes as we made a beeline for it. I purchased a book for Lolo, while Nez hauled in some pocketbooks at P15 each.
We finished running our errands and headed off to the Philippine Ports Authority office, where Nez met up with people she knew from work. We took a trike from the mall, which then dropped us off in front of the Naval base. Unfortunately neither the trike driver nor the security guard we asked knew where PPA was, so we were off for a long walk. We made some wrong turns but eventually ended up where we needed to be.
Most of Legaspiís government offices are located in one compound. I saw the Civil Service, DOST, DOT, LTO, Commission on Audit, DILG among others. There were other government offices outside the compound but they were more like satellite offices.
The Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga
We headed off to Daraga to see the Cagsawa Ruins. The last time I was there, it seemed like it was just a big field with the bell tower in the middle of it. Now thereís a gate, where you have to pay the entrance fee, plus stalls where you can buy souvenirs. Inside the compound, we ran into King, a young man who took us around the ruins and told us the story behind it. He was also really cool to take pictures of us, and gave us information on where we could go next. If ever you do stop by the Cagsawa Ruins, look for King.
Our next stop was Daraga church, which sits on top of a hill. Daraga was celebrating its fiesta the next day, so the church was all spruced up. It had an amazing view of Mayon, and thanks to Kingís tips, we were able to get great pictures of the church and the volcano.
It was late afternoon when we got back to Legaspi, so we opted to go to Bacacay the next day, after wakeboarding in CamSur. Instead, we freshened up and went downtown to look for the bus terminal. Legaspi has a busy downtown district, the only thing I recall ever seeing back then was LCC Mall. We took a walk around but didnít find what we wanted. We poked around an ukay-ukay store, and I finally saw the post office, complete with a really odd statue of kneeling headless man. According to my research, it was originally found along the townís port area and is a memorial to a guerilla hero beheaded by the Japanese during World War II.
Legaspi’s night life A short walk away is the Embarcadero, a waterfront development full of stores and restaurants, considered as the portal of nightlife in Legaspi. Much of it is still under development, and will house a hotel and spa as well as a IT park in the future. For now, it has enough to keep one entertained. We had dinner in Biggs Diner, one of Bicol’s popular food chain.
At first, Nez wasn’t impressed because it functioned quite like McDonaldís where you have to line up to order instead of sitting down then ordering from a menu. However, when our orders came, we didnít have anything bad to say about it. For the price, Biggís is well worth it. The servings are, well, big, and the taste lives up to the images that are posted on the menu board.
For a Monday night, there were a lot of people milling about. There was a boxing event, and there was a live band playing. Nez wanted coffee, so we looked around for a coffeeshop. No Starbucks or CBTL, instead, we saw La Mia Tazza. Like Biggís and Graceland, it is purely homegrown. Many of the drinks and the desserts have incorporated what Bicol is known for. I just tried tea, but I heard that they have drinks with pili nuts. My mom would love that.
We spent the rest of the evening listening to the band, then headed back to Sampaguita to rest as we had to get up early the next day.
Wow. I’m on a roll. Yet another post for the week. It feels good to be able to get back into the groove of writing and blogging. Five years ago I used to write blog posts at least twice a day. Now, barely one a week, so this is certainly a good thing.
Met up with Drew at Megamall to meet up with some friends from Plurk who were going to Metro Comic Con. To kill time, we went around Cyberzone to check out things for a future desktop. I drooled over Android phones and DSLRs. Later, we met up with Gilbz, Shabby, Joiz and Ryan at Teriyaki Boy.
After eating, we went around some toy stores, then headed back to the 5th floor to try and get some pictures of the cosplayers. In the end, we got the surprise of our lives when the “crush ng Plurk bayan” got her photo taken by a fan. Oha. Walang costume yan!
Sorry about the bad photos. I wasn’t really in the mood to take them
Ryan & Gilbz had to go, so the remaining four of us went to Forever 21 to look at some things. We dragged Drew, who babysat Jack while we girls went around. I finished my task rather quickly, so I sat with him and took random photos. Made a little girl a wee envious as I hugged Jack.
Afterwards, the three south side folks went home, and I went to meet Den at KFC. Dinner was California Maki Twister, then some rounds of bookhunting. Came up empty handed.
Regular readers of my blog will notice that I often talk about my dad’s hometown, Candelaria, Zambales. Over the years, I’ve been inviting people over and so far only my two best friends have taken me up on that. Ironically, a few other people I invited went to visit on their own because they wanted to go to Potipot Island.
Anyway, fast forward to last weekend. I had invited some friends for a visit and we thankfully were able to push through. After a few delays, we got on the midnight trip to Candelaria.
Thus begins my rant.
In my past night trips, the lights were often turned down and music was kept to a minimum. The bus company also tries to limit extra passengers so, I presume, the trip would be quiet.
Well, that wasn’t the case in this trip. There were more than ten extra passengers, all who yapped until their stop. We couldn’t sleep at all.
I hope that people would realize that as much as it is their right to have fun while on vacation, they should also respect the other people who are on vacation as well, whether or not they know them. Oh, there’s a part two of this rant.
Anyway, we arrived home, got a few hours of shuteye then headed to the beach. We stayed at my great-uncle’s place for lunch, then headed for a swim later in the afternoon. Plans of staying overnight was ditched in favor or sleeping in actual beds, and we decided to just wake up early to head to Potipot the next day.
On to the island
When I was younger, Potipot Island wasn’t really given much attention. It was known as a resting spot for fishermen who, instead of going back to the mainland, would stay in the island until their day is done. Over the years, it’s been basically ignored by the locals, including my own family, for personal reasons. Ownership has changed hands so many times, it’s quite hard to trace back the original owners.
In the past few years, Potipot has become a popular vacation spot for anyone who wants to experience white sand beaches without having to compete with the crowds in Boracay or Galera. It’s also known for those who want to “rough it” without having to travel long distances (from the mainland it’s only a five minute boat ride).
During my first visit to Potipot several years ago, there were about less than ten people on the entire island: me, my sister, my parents, my friends Den & Ching, our banca man and one or two fishermen. We were able to go around the island in thirty minutes. Silly me forgot to bring extra film so I wasn’t able to take pictures.
My parents took us to Potipot Gateway, where we initially thought of getting a boat, but it was way too expensive for our budget. The place is nice though, much better than when I first saw it years ago. We decided to go to Dawal, where we could rent boats at a more reasonable rate.
In the end, we got a friend of my mom to take us to the island. We had fun swimming and heckling people, especially those who were hogging the big driftwood. We also aired our frustration at how people were so inconsiderate to just leave their trash on the beach. At first glance you wouldn’t see it, but at a closer look you’ll see bits and pieces like cigarette butts, chips and candy wrappers etc. It was so maddening that I’ve got half a mind to tell the governor to close the island to visitors. Haha, swapang.
Be responsible tourists people. Being there is a privilege. We should be thankful that the island’s owners are letting us use it for our enjoyment.
It was around lunch when we headed back and I was so glad to back on terra firma. We cleaned up, had some lunch and prepared ourselves for our trip back to Manila. The bus was full, but after a few minutes we got seats. Slept for most of the trip, then when I woke up, had a chatfest with Lorna.
Thanks for the great weekend girls! I hope you enjoyed it!
Fristine told us about this food tour event at Bonifacio High Street happening last Saturday. I dragged Presea and Ching along, but it turns out we didn’t make the cut-off even if we were early for the sign-up. Pfft. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t feel it much of a loss, as opposed to this woman who said she was from McCann-Ericsson and was informed that someone else already signed up for the tour in her name, and brought along a few other people to boot. Talk about stealing identity.
Ching, Presea and I ended up at Conti’s. Afterwards, we walked around and met Den, who decided to go to Taguig to beat the heat. We got her books (may bagong convert haha!) then she got into a conversation with Presea about writing, and along with Ching, decided to establish something that’ll combine our interests and earning.
Franco live in Eastwood I went home with just enough time to freshen up. It took me roughly ten minutes to get from the house to Eastwood, where I met Miel and Vero, and their friend Pieter (who is Belgian, likes beer, can speak Tagalog and Cebuano, and thanks to Vero for the lesson in the differences between the Visayan dialects ^_^).
We stood for about 30 minutes before the band played. It was awesome. From the first, they really rocked the place. I love Franco’s aura. He kept saying “positive vibes!” and I really believe in it, coming from him. Think about this. All my photos of the band members were blurred. With Franco, even if he was moving around, I managed to get clear pictures (as clear as you can get with a compact point and shoot).
Anyway, I love this group. Nunik was already sharing with us Franco’s songs even when he was still with Inyo, but to hear him live, wow. Get his cd, purchase, not download.
Passed up on Route 196 (glam rock night) with Miel, Vero and Pieter.
Professor Layton I went to Greenhills today to pick up my Revoltech Professor Layton. The ride was pretty quick from our place, but when I arrived at Virra Mall, I was in shock. I’ve been to Greenhills on and off the years, but I’ve never stepped inside Virra Mall. Gone is the old, dark and rather dangerous mall that I know, replaced by a bright and very busy commercial complex. If it weren’t for the fact that I was entering from the garden, I wouldn’t even realize where I was.
The National Bookstore I know is now an appliance store. The Dec and Baker’s Fair is some shop I can’t remember. The area where C.A.T.S used to be is now Banco De Oro and the Metrobank outside was now a cafe of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Post Office was still there, but it was rather sad to realize that when I stand in front of Virra Mall, I can’t see my high school anymore. I told it to David (my high school guy best friend) via SMS, and he couldn’t believe I haven’t been back since then.
Shoppesville, on the other hand, is more familiar than Virra Mall. Even if it had a facelift of sorts (the lighting’s brighter for one), it still had many of the same shops that I used to visit back then. The Mercury Drug was still there, and the shop above it that was full of knick-knacks. I didn’t see if the Booksale was still there, but the fabric store where my grandma used to go was still around.
I spent a few minutes getting lost, then got my toy, then got lost again. But all in all I was in an out of Greenhills in less than an hour. I didn’t feel like going around. Maybe next time.
Cooked some pasta for dinner. Not bad. Now I need to catch up with some work.