Bacolod 2013

My parents and other relatives often wonder where I get my wanderlust from because I come from a family of homebodies. My mom and my brother are very satisfied in just staying at home while my father has no special interest in getting on an airplane and spending on a three day trip to an unfamiliar location. This is why it pleased me when my mother booked a family trip to Bacolod City, which is a 45 minute plane ride away from Manila. It’s not as intense or adventure-filled as the trips that I take with my friends, but it’s a good change from our usual family trips to the Philippines which mainly comprised of staying at home and going out just for shopping or eating.

We only spent two full days in Bacolod, so we decided to visit all the sites on our first day. We decided to start our day early so we wouldn’t miss anything.

Our first stop was the San Sebastian Cathedral which has gained infamy for the giant Team Patay/Team Buhay tarpaulins that were put up during the election campaign period. Despite it being months since the National Elections, the tarpaulins can still be found posted on the face of the cathedral, which is a shame since it is such a beautiful church and all the tarpaulins do is distract us from its beauty.

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Most decent shot of the San Sebastian Cathedral I could take. Tried not to include the tarpaulin but a part of it still made its way to the picture.

 

Our next stop was the Mambukal Resort which is located at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon and is known for its hot springs. Being from Laguna, the scenery was not very different from what we saw growing up. Nonetheless, the place was beautiful. I wish we were able to spend the night in the resort so we could explore the area more. We were only able to walk around for a few minutes and visit the Butterfly Garden before heading off to our next destination.

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After our trip to Mambukal, we visited the Pope John Paul II Tower which was built to commemorate his visit to Bacolod in the early 1980s. There are seven floors in the tower and each floor is themed differently, with pictures, paintings, and even the Papal Chair that JPII sat on during his visit.

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We then had lunch in SM City Bacolod which is right across the John Paul II Tower. Afterwards, we left Bacolod and headed to Silay which is known for their beautiful colonial houses. Since we were pressed for time, we were only able to drop by Balay Negrense, which is the ancestral house of Victor Garson, son of one of the pioneers of the sugarcane industry in Negros Occidental. The house reminded me of the Syquia Mansion that my friends and I visited last year in Laoag. Basically, it was a house that was turned into a museum, complete with a tour guide who will tell you about how the family lived their life decades ago. I really have a fascination towards Spanish period homes and furnishings. Going into these houses really makes you feel like you’re being teleported to the past, or at least that’s how I feel when I visit one. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a picture of the house, but here’s one of me with one of the displays: an old school motorcycle!

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After our quick visit to Silay, we went back to Bacolod to visit the Ruins. This was what I was most excited about because every time I told someone I was going to Bacolod, the first thing they would tell me was to visit the Ruins! This definitely did not disappoint. Despite really just being the remains of a burnt down mansion, the Ruins was such a gorgeous sight to see. It definitely is one of the most photogenic remains of a burnt down mansion I have ever seen. It’s amazing how it was transformed into a tourist destination. It was the most tourist packed location that we went to that day and most of the tourists were foreigners! The tour guide was very entertaining. He explained the history of the family and the structure itself in a very engaging manner. I didn’t stay long for the tour because I was too captivated by the environment. Ten minutes into the tour, I separated myself from the group and decided to go around and take photographs of the place. It was simply majestic. Hands down my favorite stop in our trip.

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My brother and me playing chess on the mini golf course that was opened right in the garden area of the Ruins

 

Our last stop for the day was the newly built Bacolod City Hall. By this time we were already very tired from the entire day and so we only took some pictures before heading back to the hotel. It looks beautiful at night with all the lights.

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We were so exhausted from the sightseeing heavy first day that we ended up getting up at 10 am the next day! Our second day was more of a food trip day. We had lunch in Bob’s, where they have the BEST brownies ever, and dinner in the Chicken House so that we could have some authentic Chicken Inasal. We had cakes from Calea for dessert. The White Chocolate Cheesecake was definitely my favorite.

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Chicken Inasal!

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Calea’s White Chocolcate Cheese Cake

 

I’m really glad that my family has decided to be more adventurous now. Even if it was just two days in another city, we were able to have some really fun and cultural family bonding time. I love traveling with my friends but it’s definitely a completely different experience traveling with family. My parents and my brother seem to have enjoyed this trip so I am very hopeful that this is not the last trip that we all go on together.

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Complete family picture in Mambukal 🙂

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Visiting the Beautiful Sand Dunes of Shaybah

I have lived in Saudi Arabia for most of my childhood but this was the first time I was really amazed by the beauty that this country has to offer. Growing up, I’d mostly go to the beach in the camp or to the city center to go shopping. We never went to the desert – which is funny, because most people think that Saudi Arabia is just one big chunk of desert land. It’s a common misconception that I’ve heard from people, along with “Wait, so Saudi Arabia is not in Dubai?” and “Isn’t it very hot in Saudi Arabia?? (No, it gets freezing cold during the winter brr)”.

Shaybah is found in the Rub Al Khali or the Empty Quarters. It is the largest sand desert in the world, stretching over four countries – Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, and Yemen. It’s quite far from where I live so we had to ride an airplane to get there. It was a beautiful sight, probably the most beautiful one I have ever seen. The sand was pure and untouched. My family and I climbed up the sand dunes to witness the sunset. I’m asthmatic but I took on the challenge. Although it was quite difficult to climb, it was very rewarding. Every time I see the pictures we took from the top of the sand dunes, I am still amazed by its beauty.

I really don’t have enough words to use to express how awestruck I was by the view, so here are some pictures that we took from that day.

 

With my brother!

 

Sunset to twilight shots. All taken without any filter.  It was that beautiful. Last two pictures were taken with my iPhone 4S. 







I’m definitely glad I was given the opportunity to go on this trip! We almost didn’t go because it was just a few days after my Bangkok trip and the tickets were really hard to get (people were lined up for tickets as early as 4am!) I’ve always wanted to fly away to far off countries to see the beauty of the world. What I didn’t realize was that one of the most beautiful things I would see was just an hour away. I love this world.

 

One of the biggest downsides of being in Saudi Arabia is that there are no updated Cinemas in the area. There is one cinema here that is walking distance from my house, but it shows really old movies. It really frustrates me since I won’t be watching the Harry Potter movie until December 2, which is around two weeks from the official release date.

I have decided not to go on Tumblr before I watch it. I won’t want to spoil myself. My mom told me to download a bad torrent copy of it but it won’t be the same. I’m so annoyed. But what annoyed me more is that my mom called me a brat when I explained to her that I’m a big fan. I honestly tried my best to take it well. Being a brat would mean me not talking to my parents until they can either let me go back to the Philippines early or drive me to Bahrain as soon as we can.

I was merely explaining why (1) I won’t download the ugly version from torrent – as she told me to do in the mean time and (2) why I said I would not go online to the sites I regularly go to for two weeks.

Oh, if only I could drive myself to Bahrain. Maybe I can wear a wig and a fake mustache so I can actually do that.

About my birthday

July 7, 2010 was my 21st birthday. It is time to accept that I am no longer a teenager. When I was 20, (which was just about five days ago) I easily argued that I was twenteen. But it is futile denial when I say I’m twenteen one. In my heart I will always be that teenager who knows how to have fun (I hope).

I love my best friends. They truly made me feel special in that day. Rhowenna made me an entire photo album full of pictures of our memories together which made me cry. It was nice looking at five years of great friendship with my first friend in UA&P. This was followed by a facebook message from my other best friend, Henry, which really made me feel loved. I really miss my best friends now 😦

But to top it all up was my great friend, Mar. He forgot to greet me, which got me really annoyed because if there’s something that I’m very particular about, it’s birthdays. I purposely did not place my birthday announcement on facebook to know who would actually greet me. (Yes, I’m that kind of person, on a side note, Jonathan was the first dormer to greet me. I actually thought the all forgot. Haha).

Anyway, I threw a big fit when he finally greeted me (36 minutes late). It was kind of touching that he greeted me on text, twitter, and facebook, but I did not take notice of his greeting (I felt I had the right, I considered him to be one of my greatest friends… just a level below “best friend”). But I did converse with someone else in twitter, to let him see that “look i’m online but not responding to your messages!!!” Haha I’m evil, I know.

In my attempt to ignore him, I stayed invisible on YM. But he still buzzed me anyway. He apologized, but what got me the most was when he told me that he “hopes [I] wouldn’t make this a basis of our friendship”. I stopped being a bitch, but I still a little upset, because. It was my birthday :|. We chatted a bit and I kinda made him feel a bit guilty. After an hour or so of talking, he sent me the cutest e-card which carried both a birthday greeting and an apology. It was really then when I really felt his friendship.

You see, aside from my birthday, I put a big weight on friendship, especially for those who I hold as important to me. I went through a rough patch a few months ago, which led me to believe that I should not give my all to people. But with what just happened, I felt that I was actually doing it right. And for that, Mar perhaps gave me then best birthday gift I could ask for – and that’s bringing back to me the belief that true friends actually exist, and true friendships last. I know it’s so cheesy. Since I’ve turned 21 I have been excessively cheesy. Anyway, I sent him a lengthy text expressing how deeply sorry I was for being a class A bitch to him when he was pretty contrite about his actions. Alls well that ends well ey?

My birthday this year was simple. Just a dinner out with my family. Nothing exciting, it was just like a normal day… and you know what? I loved it. I like the quiet. I think I like the quiet after all the hectic years in college.

Just as a flash back, here are pictures from my birthdays from the past five years:

2005

My 16th birthday. L-R Top: Camille, Justin, Benise, Nardz, Bien, Mia, Me, Migo. Bottom: Aya, Haeja, Henry

This was taken in the school cafeteria before blue and gold took over the space. These are my blockmates. Most of them I’m still super close with 🙂

2006

My 17th birthday. Top picture: taken on the steps of Tektite, Ortigas before we headed off to Eastwood. L-R Top: Me Henry Camille, Bottom: Justin Ian Jonathan

Bottom picture taken after we left Eastwood (yes we don’t have a decent picture in eastwood meh.Clockwise: Jonathan, Camille, Henry, Me, Monica, Ian, Mar. This was in McDonalds when we just played cards till the sun rose 🙂

2007

My 18th birthday. It was a beautiful debut with all the important people in my life at that time. I love these people. The theme was pink (boys) and white (girls) Clockwise: Ian, Mar, Tyress, Monica, Cheston, Jude, Enzo, Henry, Jonathan, Camille, Me, Benise. ❤ This was in the Venue (Yes, that’s the name)

2008

My 19th birthday. This was in Kimono Ken, the Podium. Clockwise: Maan, Tyress, Enzo, Benise, Camille, Jonathan, Jude, Kath, Rio, Cheston, Me, Henry, Mar, Ian (not in pic: Justin, but he was there 🙂 )

2009

My 20th birthday. My departure from the teenage years. I was glad to do it with the greatest friends anyone can ever meet. Clockwise: Kath, Enzo, Mar, Jonathan, Camille, Henry, Justin, Jude, Cheston, Me)

2010

And here are the pictures from my 21st birthday 🙂 Yes I gained weight. Thanks for pointing it out.

And this is my practicing my wacky face for when I get back to the Philippines and have pictures taken with the dormers 🙂

1995

And the final flashback. This was me on my 6th birthday. 15 years ago.

I know. I was so cute. What happened?

Before I go to sleep.

I brushed my teeth in the dark. Half way, I freaked out thinking I may have picked up the wrong toothbrush (we’re four in the family) so I ran to the hallway where there was light. And thankfully, I used the right one.

I was supposed to type up a long update today but I was too preoccupied with Frontierville. I swear that game is evil. It is taking control of my life. I promise myself I will update tomorrow. There are some things I would want to immortalize that happened on my birthday.

Addendum:

I updated my letters blog for the meme:

Day Five: To Your Dreams

Day Six: To a stranger

Day Seven: To an Ex

Day Eight: To your favorite internet friend

Day Nine: To Someone you wish you could meet

Day Ten: To someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to

No non-sense return policy

I planned on watching the Brazil vs Portugal game on our Plasma TV, but when I turned the TV on, I saw Ivory Coast vs. North Korea. Seriously? Do they not want more viewers? Brazil vs Portugal is obviously the more intense match. So now I’m in front of my tiny 10 inch net book watching the game on live stream. (i love you, adthe.) It’s 0-0 as of now for Brazil vs Portugal. It’s 0-2 for North Korea-Ivory Coast. I’m not surprised. Anyway, I’m torn between Brazil and Portugal. I’m for both teams. But anyway, unless Ivory Coast scores 9 goals against North Korea, and Portugal loses against Brazil, the both teams are surely qualified.

Anyway, I was at Ikea the other day. This is their return policy:

Shop with confidence at IKEA. Almost every thing you buy is backed by The No-nonsense Return Policy. If you are not satisfied with something you’ve bought, just bring it back unassembled within 30 days, in its original packing and with the receipt, and we will refund you or exchange it for something else. After all, it’s human to change your mind, and we want you to be happy with your purchase

They make a very philosophical, but valid, point. I wish life had a no non-sense return policy.

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Today my mom is considering signing up for a facebook account because I seem to be enjoying my bum days on it a lot. She wants to know what all the fun is about. Haha.

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Congratulations to the Philippine Team, represented by BAYAN Marketing, for winning the Silver Cannes Lion Young Marketers Award. Go Filipino!

On a lighter note…

I felt my first post was kind of heavy. So here’s one on a lighter note. I realized how hard it was to dress up now, mainly because I live with my parents now and so I can’t wear what I used to wear. (They want me to throw my shorts away). It’s also because I’ve gained a lot of weight as a bum. Plus, I’d rather dress conservatively to avoid being talked about by other people (since most people aren’t used to seeing too much skin here)

This is what I wore out today:

I don’t like posing for these kinds of pictures so I didn’t know what to do with my hands in the second picture. There’s my brother in the background of the first picture. He was the one who (reluctantly) took the second picture.

To be cliche, I will break down the outfit.

Tube top: Mango (P400)

Skirt: SM Department Store (P400? I forgot.)

Cardigan: Thrift store (P80)

Anyway, something cute. My friend and I ordered shakes in the mall a few days back. The colors are so cute.

That’s Watermelon Shake (Left) and Mango Shake (Right)

Girly, i know.