The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Big Summer Outlet Sale 2012

photo credits:

Excited for this? Ah, not really because my favorite brands are not part of it once again. I was waiting for Stella Luna’s come back of Buy One Pair Get One Pair Free but the brand wasn’t part of this summer sale.

Nonetheless, I would still drag the husband to this event. See you there! 🙂



token gifts from Vancouver, BC

Thank you to Manong and Te Helen for the pasalubong,

You know I can’t simply resist this bottle of pink fragrance.

And Leoncio thought the hoodie looks good on me, so I got it too. 😀

Anyway, he enjoys much the canned meats for breakfast. While I was thinking of a pasta dish that would be perfect for the weekend.

Until the next box, I love those dinnerware sets. 😛



Ilocos 2012: Easter Sunday and Araw ng Kagitingan

Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begins:
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Invisible and visible,
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord is risen
Our joy that hath no end.
–Saint John of Damascus


On the morning of Easter Sunday I was still welcomed with the landscape of the countryside. It’s revitalizing to witness God’s unscathed creation which is within my reach. I don’t get to see this daily so during our 5-day vacay I spent many times just staring blank on this grassy backdrop.

Coming from a 2 day road trip + beach bumming I felt sleepy even it was already past 7am. But I can hear fuss going on downstairs and in the neighborhood making it hard for me to come back to sleep. It’s was Barangay Fiesta and I sense the busyness of everyone preparing the pig. It was customary to butcher one of my MIL’s homegrown porky during this day and feed the neighborhood as it signifies thanks giving as well.

The group effort of these people was priceless; you don’t need to ask for help as everyone would voluntarily do his part.

And the sight of this kid at the very tender of age of 3 was very innocent yet he had his own independence.

Reminiscent of the previous years of our coming home during Holy Week, a specialty was cooked. Authentic should I say by the locals.

I was dared to taste Ata-Ata this time and it wasn’t bad at all, in fact it was good except that it won’t flee my mind that the meat was still half-raw.

Ata-Ata is best eaten at breakfast; oh that explains why they hurriedly cooked it right away. 🙂

Adobo was cooked next but I waited for my favorite Ilocano version of blood stew.

Dinar-daraan or Dinuguan in Tagalog locality was my preferred dish amongst only that the meat this time was a little hard, I don’t know but if I have to cook it myself I would slow cooked it for another 15 minutes or more. It was so delicious, the vinegar did not overpower the overall taste but it remained fresh without any stench.

I had it on lunch, dinner and breakfast the following day! 😀

I spent the whole afternoon lounging at the veranda and caught the sight of husband going to Amianan (it means North). Actually folks here would refer to Amianan when one is going to the main road of the barangay, so that must be North. Sorry, I’m not expert with global positioning, hehehe…ask me for directions na lang I’m good with it because I’m brilliant in remembering landmarks. 🙂

While the husband was out the whole afternoon I was spending me-time, playing Word Mole on my handyphone 🙂  and in between looking after Bea as she tends to escape from my sight every now and then. I also have to prepare our things as we scheduled to leave the following morning.

P.S. My bad, we skipped Easter Sunday mass 😦


Araw ng Kagitingan, Apr 9

Because on this day we were already scheduled to drive back to Manila, I was up early but I was the last to get ready. I don’t know how it happened, hehehe…I had a lot of last minute fixing to do.

The goodbye with the in-laws was extended like the usual, it was tear-jerking especially every time I would get that big hug from my MIL and the promise of our next visit is always looked forward. If only Ilocos is close by like Cavite, we could always find time to spend the weekend with them. And surely our Bea would always be delighted to see the countryside.

Bea was Tita H favorite 🙂

Since we have too many luggage and goods to load we rented two trikes.

The luggage and goods were safely placed in an open-roof trike while Manong managed to back ride.

And the humans rode the regular trike, how many are we? Manang Dalen, her grandson Nash, April, Te Helen, Nerwin and myself –first batch. On the second round of the trike, Manang Linda, Len-Len, JLB, Leoncio and Bea were onboard.

We thought we could just pass the river on foot like we did the previous times we needed to cross, but not this time. Probably because of the raining the previous night, the water gets on a higher level. And our only choice now was to use the hanging bridge. 😦

I had no problem crossing the hanging bridge in fact I find the experience extraordinary except for the few shakes when you’re almost at the middle of it. It’ quite scary especially the portion where beneath it was water, which seemed to be bottomless, I have no idea really.

Te Helen had fear of heights; she was so reluctant to cross with all those bags on her shoulders.

But at the middle of it, she gamely posed. 😀

We were the first batch to arrive at the other side of the river and while waiting I was all the time worried for Bea. I remember our visit in 2010 when I allowed her to walk at the bridge; it was a challenge for her because her paws were shooting on the holes of the steel walkway. 😦

I waited at the other end of the bridge and even from afar I could see how dear Bea struggled to finish this race.

Almost there bunso! 🙂

We can’t all fit in our car; it’s obvious from the start so we have to decide who will be taking the bus.

If only these cars were for rent, our transport problem would be solved.

Since Manong and Te Helen would not be joining us back in Manila (they were Baguio bound), we can accommodate another two. April (JLB’s fiancée) and Nerwin was decided to ride with us. While Manang Linda, Manang Dalen and baby boy Nash took the public transport. Sorry guys but we thought it would be comfortable and safe for all of us, not cramped at all. 😦

It was a nice ride back home for our group, though there stoppage because of road closed, it went all smooth.

Look at how this trio slept soundly while husband and I stayed focus on the road.

During our stopovers,

At Sison, Pangasinan where we had our late lunch. Bea was like asking “Mom”, I want some.

Yea, we bought a box of Rikka’s Banana Choco muffin, which we consumed during our second stopover.

At Tarlac City before our entry to SCTEX. It was our last break; we made it safely in Makati past 9pm.

The reunion of my in-laws doesn’t happen every year even if we want to because Manong and Te Helen don’t splurge on going home every year to the Philippines. Nonetheless, the recent one was a remarkable vacay for all of us. And I look forward on their next homecoming, who knows we might get free plane tickets by then. 😀

Inkamin apo!



Wait, this may sound out of topic. I will give a short clip for now. Who couldn’t resist such especially if the price was a steal!



Ilocos 2012: Black Saturday

Probably one of the busiest days of the year when many people go on holiday is the day after Good Friday. And for most Catholic devotees that observe complete silence prelude to this day, going out and having a little fun wouldn’t harm. I know some even feast as this mean the end of fasting for them. 😀

While we decided to give the beach a visit to wash out the sticky feel brought by the summer season, we found it as a reasonable flight once again. The closest beach was in La Union and it’s a good one hour drive without stop, so to avoid the hassle of road construction along the main highway we took the interior roads from Bangar. Glad that we discover this route last year when we visited the town of Luna.

We made a stopover at Our Lady of Namacpacan Church to utter a little prayer and for our company to sightsee the place.

Like last year we took with us water from the said miraculous water well at the rear side of the church.

From the town of Luna, we passed by the interior barangays of Baloan and Bacnotan. If you’re driving at the right direction, you’ll passed by the manufacturing plant of Holcim. From Bacnotan exit, San Juan would be a few more minutes.

The coastline of San Juan, La Union is always welcoming because of its long and wide beach area that I see is perfect for beach bummers like me, hehehe. Now, I’m silly again because I am no swimmer and would never be, probably on my next life I hope I would be.

San Juan Beach is known for its consistent intermediate quality surf and is blessed with two seasons from July to October and November to March and is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the Philippines. Talks about Luke Landrigan, I always love the sight of him even if he’s not riding the waves. Sadly, he was out of my sight during our visit. 😦

Anyway, the happiest during our beach outing was none other than our 4 year old Lab –Bea of course!

She was animated to test to the seawater right away as it’s like her first to see one.

She can’t be stopped from chasing the waves even if the latter keeps on washing her away.

And comparable to her visits to the parks, she would slow down and say hi to her kind.

She would always be a baby for us despite her huge size now and I would always be the protective “Mom” to keep her away from harm.


While “Dad” remains to be her playfellow all the time. 🙂

These are what we call moments that we truly treasure because Bea played a big role on it.

And I know it’s now going to be forever this way, like those footprints on the sand they would be wipe out soon on this earth but not in our hearts. Awe!

Oh my, I don’t know why I would always end up emotive every time Bea is concern; perhaps it’s a natural feeling after all.

Meanwhile, the rest of our human companion happily enjoyed the big slapped of waves.

But not including my BIL who remained dry and content from watching us from afar.

On occasion, I saw him dipped one time but not to take the plunge rather to capture the happy face of his other half. 🙂

We wanted to stay until sundown to witness the orange-filled sky but thinking that it would mean to walk 3kms again, it’s too much sacrifice. Like I mentioned on my previous post, the river was not passable and public transport was not 24 hours, so we need to catch at least one trike that would fetch us  back home.

Arriving shortly, we had dinner right away and settle down. We were supposed to walk down at the plaza to witness this year’s coronation of Queen and Princesses however, we all felt heavy and immovable from our beds. Hay! We retire too early on Black Saturday missing something big.

Governor Chavit’s appearance this year at the coronation night was a big surprise, and we missed it! Unlike last year, we stayed until nearly midnight waiting for his attendance but went home disappointed. I am not a big fan of him, but once in a while I want to witness how these celebrated politicians immerse themselves to the voting public. I wonder if he noticed the need for a concrete bridge so people from barangay Bio and Ambalayat would have a convenient means of transportation especially during the rainy months.


P.S. While husband was blaming me about not witnessing the Governor’s coming, Manong was blaming his wife about his absence on the dance floor. He went home with leather shoes on his luggage just so he can join the seniors 🙂  dance balse once again. Until your next home coming Manong 😀



Ilocos 2012: Good Friday

Again I have to skip my Boracay travelogue for now and go on with our recent trip during the Holy Week. I know, I know I am becoming so dormant after each trip other than I got sick (really sick) after the long vacay I have no other reasons to be idle this time.

A day after my BIL and his wife’s arrival from Canada we drove to Ilocos to spend the Holy Week with the rest of the family. We expected traffic the usual but aside from it there were plenty of stopovers because of road construction. Roughly after 12 hours, the longest we had so far, we finally got there.

But we were caught by this little surprise –we didn’t expect that the river was not passable. It’s odd that during the summer month the water was big. Some light vehicle attempted to cross but we didn’t take any chances; we left our vehicle on the other side of the river and transfer our belongings to a big jeepney that brought us to the hamlet.

Coming from a very lengthy trip was tiring; I felt it had taken all my energy that day. The reason for the scarcity of photos on Maundy Thursday. 😦  After some small chitchat with the in-laws I decided to retire. Woke up for dinner and had grilled milkfish and “dinengdeng” –this is what I love about going to Ilocos; I was able to eat healthier on the side. Before we ended the day, we planned our activity for the following day.


Good Friday

I remember our Good Fridays in Ilocos were all spent road tripping despite the belief of the old folks that it is not a safe day for travelers we were not stopped. And because we wanted my BIL and his wife to make most of their vacay, we wanted to tour them around.

We set aside the beach and decided to drive to Vigan. Though it was a little distant from my husband’s hometown we endured the long drive again.

We arrived at Vigan around noontime, dropped by at Vigan Cathedral (St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral) as it’s a must for us to visit churches anywhere we go.

Next was to find a place to have lunch, though we always favored those makeshift eateries around Plaza Burgos we discard the idea this time as the place was so humid besides we might be tempted to eat meat with the sight and smell of “sinanglaw”.

Delicious “okoy” sold at 3pcs for P100

Café Leona was a choice but it was jam-packed so we left and almost decided to settle for “okoy” (shrimp fritters) only until I spotted a new eatery around. I don’t really know if this was a new place perhaps during my last visit in Vigan some three years ago it did not exist yet.

Trellis Food Court is spacious however service was a little slow 😦

I am not sure if this Trellis is the same Trellis in Manila, I didn’t bother to ask anyone as we’ve been famished by the long drive and very warm temperature. All we wanted was to get seated and eat.

Trellis offers good selection of grilled meat and seafood, and it’s good that they offer group meals; it made us easy to decide and order.

Since we observe no meat on Good Fridays, we asked to remove the “liempo” and had it replaced by fish. Thank you folks for accommodating our request! 🙂

Overall, we had a filling lunch, enough for us to make ready for our impending activities.

We took the Calesa Tour going to Baluarte. It amazed me this time that our “kutserso” (carriage driver) was very helpful all the way to our destination as he was giving us edifying infos and willingly respond even to our silly questions.

Len-Len to Manong Kutsero: Bakit po may takip ang mata ng kabayo? 😀

Our “kutsero” was the perfect tour guide. He had recollections of almost everything about the history of Vigan, including the Singsons and the Crisologos, the incumbents and even the Ronald Singson-Lovie Poe story was not missed.

Past 15 minutes or more we arrived at the 80 hectares of gently rolling terrains, hills and mountain sides. Baluarte is Governor Chavit’s gift to the people of Vigan where residents are accorded free use of spaces for their livelihood programs. And it’s open to public for free.

Baluarte is an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility, with the breathtaking view of its dominating scenic boulders amidst trees and greens.



I so believe that Zoo is not for kids only so I snagged the animals during their best moments.


There were activities too, at the Butterfly Garden; you will truly enjoy the exquisite experience of butterfly metamorphosis.

At the Petting Zoo, you can freely interact and take photos with the different animals like camels, ostriches, deer, parrots, orangutans and a lot more.

The Animal Encounter allows the visitors to come up close and personal with exotic creatures. And a chance to have their photos taken with the animals with the assistance of the care takers to guarantee both the safety of the visitors and the animals. Okay, the animal encounter is free but the photo op is not. Donation is mandatory. 😐

This photo op with the Tiger cost us P50.

And donation to this photo op with the Snake is P20 per head.

Don’t expect me to have photo with that reptile. I am not so gutsy to even come closer to it.

We stayed more than 30 minutes at Baluarte so our 1 hour was already consumed. By the way, the Calesa Tour charges P150 per hour, not cheap at all. Our way back, we skipped the Pottery Making and the museum tour.

We descend at the Heritage Village or the well-known Calle Crisologo. We decided to walk at the cobbled street to fully come across the remains of the Spanish era.


It’s the place to buy your “pasalubong” (take back home); I always got mine at Rowilda’s.

Some of the highlights of our Heritage Village tour,

The Legacy Superclub which is owned by the Singson

Cordillera Inn by the Crisologo


Abundance of antique furniture and home decors

Ooops sorry guys! I thought everyone was all set for the cam 😀

Always ready for the snap!  

Because my BIL and his wife can no longer withstand the warmth we decided to leave Vigan after some photo op here and there.

We stopped at Bantay, Ilocos Sur and brought them at the Bell Tower, the neighboring landmark which was just outside Vigan archway.

The Bell Tower of St. Augustine Church remained picturesque from our last visit, though from inside it was quite disappointing to see defacement from people who probably do not understand what preservation means.

See how some people can’t help themselves engraving their whatnot on these century old bells.

The view I got from the top of the tower.

The 18th century church –St. Augustine

Guess they enjoyed this trip. 🙂

I requested husband to slow down at Marsha’s and took home some of their bestsellers, it’s just too bad that I can’t bring any to Manila because of its short shell life. 😦

The old Quirino Bridge is now a tourist spot

The mighty new bridge 🙂

On our way home we failed that stopover at the view deck of Quirino Bridge cross over Abra River. I always love the sight of this beautiful bridge which is now replaced by a newer bridge that is used by motorists. By the way, for the adventurous you the old bridge these days are a tourist spot where one can enjoy zipline, rappelling and rock climbing.

We reached Tagudin around 8pm and walk around 3kms just to get home. Thank God for the full moon that lit our way.

To be continued…



prelude to Holy Week

I would take a pause starting today to observe the Holy Week. Tomorrow with Leoncio’s family and Bea we would drive to Ilocos again to spend the piousness of the hours. While getting some fun under the sun would be part of this trip, we would take time to recollect and join the community as everyone prays.

On Sunday, like the previous year, a thanksgiving feast would be offered and everyone in the neighborhood will be invited once again.

By the way, BIL and wifey just arrived this morning from Canada. It would be a happy reunion for my other half’s family all throughout the long weekend.

I wish everyone a blessed Holy Week! 🙂