PHOTO DIARY: Travel & Sunset

Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera.


Browsing through my old travel photos, I realized that I have quite a habit of taking photos of the setting sun. I mean, who doesn’t. Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera and I am glad that I have taken the time to do so, albeit not always on purpose.

I tried to recover as much as I can. Here’s a couple of photos I’ve taken during my beach travels.

Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Donsol River, Sorsogon - 2015 | Canon EOS M
Donsol River, Sorsogon – 2015 | Canon EOS M
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte - 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte – 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao – 2016 | Fujifilm X30

QC Food Festival 2014: The Food, or the Lack Thereof

Unlike in music festivals, there aren’t hipsters here. The horrifying truth is that there’s also not enough food. Food festival my ass.

It was a massacre.

Do you think I should go on with this entry? The first line pretty much summarizes everything and yes, nobody died but I’m willing to bet the money I don’t have that somebody else out there thinks that it is close to what could go down in history as the most food-less food festival.

The anticipation leading up to this day was amazing. For someone who frequented the Maginhawa food spot, I was excited that loads of people will be introduced to this place.

food fest my ass

The food festival (and I will keep on italicizing it until the sarcasm gets old) is a good way to promote this place. I thought that maybe, if more people tried it, the more friends I’d be able to lure with me when I spend my weekends here.

Oh, what a disaster it was.

Yours truly, along with three other friends Anna, Nica, and Cha, went to Maginhawa to experience Quezon City’s idea of a food a festival. It is, after all, the city’s 75th anniversary–and the whole idea of food and people everywhere is both terrifying and exciting. The food festival along Maginhawa is already a brilliant idea in itself.

We arrived around five in the afternoon. The posters say the whole event is from 9AM to 12mn; you’d anticipate that the supply will be enough for what kind of demand it could possibly entail. A whole day of food tripping? That’s my thing.

The Gang.
The Gang.

Needless to say, loads of people came. We were practically among an entire horde of people coming in.  They closed the street from end to end to make way for food stalls and chairs and tables.

It was exciting.

The Scene

But the excitement only lasted up until the first store we visited whose owner only gave us a sad smile saying, “Ubos na po, eh,” meaning they’ve already ran out of whatever they were selling.

That was sort of funny to me but I took it as a good sign. I mean, it’s not even six yet and you’re already sold out, I mean man, good for you.

The shocker was the next booth we visited said the same thing, as did the next store and the next one after that.

That’s when I started to realize that maybe, most of these stores/food stalls weren’t able to anticipate the amount of people that came.

I mean, come on, it was a lot. Like, seriously, loads of people I know announced via Facebook that they were going–and there are so many of them that I could practically announce a spontaneous reunion and everyone will be present.

When you hear some girl scream, “Oh my God,” it usually means they saw someone from college or high school and believe me, there were a lot of oh my Gods. 

It was a good thing that I was with my super fun friends who made funny of the already-bad situation. We were tired of walking–and most of all we were tired of vendors saying they’ve ran out of stock.

I didn’t mind the walking but it was the shortage that bothered me. It’s a food festival–there should be food available in every turn of my neck but that time, I was certain that even if I did an exorcist-esque 360 head turn, I still won’t find anything to eat.

After an hour and a half of walking and trying not to punch someone in the face, we found a small sisig stall somewhere. Spent P39 on a small meal that passed as dinner–which, okay was good.

We realized we’re right in the middle of the street and maybe, not a lot of people have come in there so we were able to actually buy something.

We started to walk again, heading to one of my favorite places in the area (The Sweet Spot). And the following scene surprised all of us:

The Legendary Stage.

A stage… facing the building–when the crowd is on the street.

Do you still need me to, like, elaborate why this is wrong on so many levels?

I mean, I get that the one who sponsored the whole live band thing is probably the owner of the restaurants in the building but COME THE EFF ON! Seriously?

We were laughing our asses off when we found a table that we could, finally–after 486465 years, properly sit by and have some more food.

We went inside The Sweet Spot, got some caffeinated drinks and some dessert and then went on with our lives. The only consolation for not being able to try another restaurant because of the people situation was the fact that we had a good time–but that’s mostly because we’re a funny bunch. I almost cried laughing because everything was just so random and funny; and I was saying things like red velvel and wardrobe marfarncshion.

Highlight of the night was our Mariah Carey discussion–and that’s saying something ’cause we should be talking about the damn food festival.

We tried to fool ourselves into trying to do some more but eventually resigned for the day at 11PM. I asked my friends what their verdict was and I think, the long and uncomfortable silence that followed pretty much summarized it.

Quezon City “Food Festival” was a complete and utter failure.

I wouldn’t  say it was a waste of time because I had fun with my friends–but we were having fun at the expense of the whole event being a joke.

There weren’t enough food stalls for a crowd of about 2, 000 or more–and who are we going to blame for this?

Certainly not the people who thought that the word festival meant there’s a festive thing somewhere; and certainly not the people who thought that when you say day-long food festival there’d actually be enough food for a day.

Writing this blog, I’m still rolling my eyes at how ironic it was.

Sure, it’s a first time thing but hey, don’t make promises you can’t fulfill and certainly DO NOT say it’s a festival when it’s really just a small lineup of food stalls, with owners secretly wishing no one would throw a fit because we all know what hunger and frustration do to people. And good news, no one got hurt–probably just feelings, but that’s a story for another day.

If they’re planning to make this an annual event, let’s just hope that next year, the organizers would run analytics on the likes and retweets because hey, that usually means all those people are planning to go and maybe we could use this to anticipate the crowd and warn the vendors about the shit-ton of people looking for something to eat.

I mean, damn.

Pictures to mask the fact that we are tired and hungry.
Pictures to mask the fact that we are tired and hungry.

We ended up spending the night at my house because hey, my home may not be as festive but at least I have enough supply for the demand.

Food festival my ass.

So, I tried surfing once.

May I just say that I love beaches. As much as I love New York and big cities, I also love the calm and serene ocean which, at times, isn’t calm and serene at all.

Where I’m from, it’s summer; so let’s just say it’s pretty automatic that I hit the beach.

May I just say that I love beaches. As much as I love New York and big cities, I also love the calm and serene ocean which, at times, isn’t calm and serene at all.

But you’re missing the point, I WENT SURFING. Like those people I watch on TV and those crazy good surfers in Florida who do surfing on a regular basis—I WENT SURFING. Like, with a surfboard (HAHAHA Forgive my drama. I’m just freaking happy).

I love traveling. Most places I have visited (and those I have lined up this year) are mostly places with beaches—visiting them to take a dip, rain or shine.  But don’t get me wrong, I am not anywhere close to putting up a travel blog; I love traveling but travel-blogging isn’t my thing. (Food blogging, though. Nomnom.)

(See, this is why I can’t put up a travel blog. I talk too much about myself. HAHA.)

So, my friend and I, planned a 3-day travel to 2 different beaches. The first beach we visited was where I got to surf, the Bagasbas Beach. It’s not one of the many popular beaches in the Philippines but hey, it’s popular for surfing because of the big, cool waves that would totally be perfect for many water sports.

Bagasbas, Camarines Norte

So, there’s that and then, the surfing.

Here’s a photo of me after I have tested if the waters were safe enough that if I died, I’d still be recognizable.

Bagasbas, Camarines Norte, Philippines

Then, here’s a photo of me, still smiling; not knowing what rabbit hole I’m putting myself into.

Surfing, Let's Do This

And another one.


This is the part that I conquer the world (the waves were kinda scary).


And then comes the part that I actually didn’t.

At least I tried.
At least I tried.

It was kind of funny because my friend didn’t even have pictures of me while I was trying to surf; probably saving me for future humiliation. So, maybe, I failed at trying to surf but wait there, I’m planning for another getaway and maybe this time, I’ll come back victoriously. I promise you, I’ll post another surfing-related blog and we’ll drink to my success. Well, hello, South Beach surfers.

Then came the body pain and all that. It was worth it, though. The experience was great. I ate a lot after that, EATING… that’s what I’m really good at. It was a fun experience overall. The most fun I’ve had in a while. In the middle of those big and scary waves, I let go.

It was awesome.

We left early the next morning. I can barely walk since all of my limbs were hurting but witnessing this sunrise is worth it all.


Northbound. Philippines.

And then there’s me with my barely combed hair.

Pagudpud 2012
The next set of images is going to be a stream of photos from my three-day getaway earlier this month.

On an attempt to escape from the busy city for a while, a friend and I decided to back to a place we first visited on a somewhat educational trip back in college. That was way back in 2010, I think; and man this place is so far different now from how I remembered it back then.

Unlike the more commercial beach destinations in the Philippines, Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte) is somewhat underrated. It is perfect for a vacation, especially if you’re not really after the beach parties and whatnot. The beach is perfect and man, I clearly came to the city a different person after this trip.

We stayed at Evangeline Beach Resort—which probably serves the best mango shake in the whole wide world.

The place was nice, cozy, and their service was impeccable. I thought online reviews were exaggerating but no, they were all telling the truth about it.

DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH THE FOOD. My friend and I were surprised at how delicious their food was. As what my friend said, never have I ever ate on a place where I liked absolutely everything they served; until Evangeline Beach Resort happened.

Shot taken at around noon.
Shot taken at around noon.
Noon was probably the perfect time to hit the waters. The sun wasn't that offensive and the water was cool as ever.
Noon was probably the perfect time to hit the waters. The sun wasn’t that offensive and the water was cool as ever.

We took a walk after a quick swim and lunch. We visited the place we stayed in 2009. That’s a walk down memory lane if you should call it.

It didn't look like this when we visited this area in 2009. It's so different now.
It didn’t look like this when we visited this area in 2009. It’s so different now.
Later that night, this boat scared me. I was looking inside it when a cat jumped out of nowhere. Seriously. I shrieked.
Later that night, this boat scared me. I was looking inside it when a cat jumped out of nowhere. Seriously. I shrieked.
That's a cool splash
That’s a cool splash

From the deck

And now. The food.

I actually have more photos of food in my iPod but the quality is nothing compared to what I have uploaded so far, so I chose to just feature the HQ shots I have.

May I just say that I love grilled cheese and chicken.
May I just say that I love grilled cheese and chicken.
I don't remember what they called it. Some fine drink that is.
I don’t remember what they called it. Some fine drink that is.
A huge plate of different grilled stuff from pork to fish. And man, I was so full after that.
A huge plate of different grilled stuff from pork to fish. And man, I was so full after that.

I never really liked Palabok but man, this one was easy on the eyes.


And then there’s me with my barely combed hair.

I promise to comb my hair next time.
I promise to comb my hair next time.

Then, it was time to go. A storm was fast approaching before we left so, the tide was quite high.

This is how the beach looked like before we left Sunday afternoon.
This is how the beach looked like before we left Sunday afternoon.

Should you want to visit Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, I strongly suggest you pick Evangeline Beach Resort.
Official travel song: Even The Nights Are Better (Air Supply)


It Rained On My Parade

There’s no such thing as a well-planned getaway if Mother Nature states her say on the matter.

The whole Anawangin trip was a highly anticipated highlight of the summer. On the 2nd of June 2012, me and three of my friends, made our way out of the city only to experience prolly one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever had.
The Tributes [Photo By: Criz Tan]
At this point, I would like to refer to us (a group of four) as The Tributes.
Lesson 1: Having an incredibly late trip-mate has its perks
One of my fellow Tributes came late, ’nuff said (see: Khreanne Manez). Sure, it caused early freak out gestures and early blood boiling incidents but it was our ticket to ending up riding with our icredibly cool tour guides.
It saved us from being forced inside a packed van hence, our ride was smooth and fun. Not to mention the weird playlist all ride long.
One of the above people is the late Tribute [Photo By: Criz Tan]
Lesson 2: Like Adele’s ex, the sun can change it’s mind, too
On the way to Zambales, sure the sun was promising. It was so promising, I could marry it right away. But yeah, soon as Adele started hitting with Someone Like You, the weather changed and our lives were never the same since then.
Lesson 3: Rain is not the enemy, the sea waves are
I am pertaining to the boat ride to Anawangin. All I can remember is my stomach performing an encore of Somersaults: The Musical.
The waves were dangerously… high, like hey-bitch-pray-for-your-soul-already level of high. Still, my love for nature won out. I belted out Florence and the Machine’s Shake It Out as I appreciated the islands we passed by and no, not a single fuck was given that day.
Lesson 3: When it rains, so be it
Yes, when it rains, it pours but really? When you’re a busy person allowed to have a break out of the city, there’s nothing else you can do with rain but make the most out of it.
We did.
Sure, the endless rain somehow frustrated my fellow Tributes and also me at some point. But it doesn’t mean we cannot have fun while cursing the rain in the process.
So, despite the rainy thing going on, we attacked the sea! Like, we literally fought the huge waves approaching us as if we were the Pinoy version of Ninja Turtles.
Excuse me as I smile at this because who would have thought that swimming in the ocean while it was raining so hard could be so much fun?
I mean, some would have spent their day with long faces because the vacation was practically ruined but there we are… fighting the waves like our lives depended on it.
It was the most fun I’ve had in a while and honestly, playing in the rain like that could easily take your mind off things.
And so with this experience, we felt as though we are in a real-life Catching Fire scene (yes, from the book!). All the rain and the camping experience, man, that was tough. Call me crazy but after that, I was ready to hang a sign: I was reborn, bitches. Deal with it. Believe me, hell, it was challenging.
Lesson 4: Never, ever, let the broken hearted mix the drinks (Lesson 4.1: Boracay Rhum is a heartless, insensitive bitch)
Three shots of the Rachel Makayan Mix were all it took for Criz Tan to raise her hands and say, “I surrender.”
She didn’t raise her hands and all but she did hit the tent grounds after three shots.
Blame it on the Rachel Makayan Mix – we shall put that mix to rest.
One of the above people is the pioneer of THE RACHEL MAKAYAN MIX; and one is the LIGHTWEIGHT
Lesson 5: Friends are absolutely a must-bring in getaways
I mean, it was dark and our only source of light was a flashlight we borrowed from a fellow cast away (applause to the Tom Hanks reference!!!) but when things got a little serious and when things got a little teary, it’s nice to have friends who know how to listen.
It’s in moments like that that I am thankful for being a person who’s emotionally capable of vulnerability and being surrounded by people who are equally capable as well.
Matters of the heart. Matters of the heart.
As for the gory details, that should be kept secret.
What happens in Anawangin, stays in Anawangin.
Lesson 6: A swarm of frogs could give the cast of Glee a run for its money
Forgive me as I freak out once again. I’m a girl who grew up in the city. I didn’t know frogs could make noises like that!!!
While we were practically drowning our livers, the sound of nature served as our music and yeah, the sound of nature includes the Frog Chorus. It’s crazy!!!
Are they really frogs, you ask me?
I ask myself the same thing.
Lesson 7: It’s Always Darkest Before the dawn
True enough, after we have retreated from our liver-burning-through-alcohol session, the bitch also known as the typhoon came attacking again.
It was scary and at the same time funny because sleeping inside a tent that was shaking madly could make you forget things.
I was lying on my back and watched as the roof of our tent shook madly because of the wind.
Try sleeping with a broken heart – that’s how it felt like: it’s impossible! (Applause to the Alicia Keys reference!!!)
Lesson 8: The Sun Will Rise
Of course it will.
That’s where we got to take pictures and all, walk around the island and enjoy some sort of an Earth benefit called the sun.
It was short-lived but hey, it was still fun. I had more fun with all the rain, though.
Lesson 9: Do not underestimate the force that sunk Titanic
On the way back to Zambales, the waves were life-threatening. Like, seriously, my stomach performed a suspense-thriller version of Somersaults: The Musical.
The ride was fun, though. Except for the occasional screamo moments when the boat suddenly rocks hard, threatening to throw you off balance and have you eaten by the sharks under the sea.
Nah. There aren’t sharks within the Philippine seas, at least that’s what I believed growing up. But really, watching Jaws taught me not to trust the ocean.
Sorry for the rambling but yeah, the boat ride back to Zambales was quite fun because we got to see the lovely islands. Said ride was a little traumatic, too, hence, no boat rides for me for the next three months. Hah. Bitch, please.
Lesson 10: Getaways are always, ALWAYS about the company…
No matter where, no matter what
I feel as though I have enjoyed this trip more than I should. Given all that transpired within that span of time, others would have easily said it was a good-for-nothing vacation but not me.
I dunno, I actually look forward to more road trips with my fellow tributes. It’s awesome to have people with whom you can have fun no matter what.
And one thing about not getting everything you expected to get, it teaches you a lesson – a lesson you might have not learned otherwise.
Seriously, when you go through a situation like that, you learn a lot about yourself.
A trip-gone-wrong is actually a test of character, so to speak. It’s a test of temper and a challenge to one’s optimism. I’m glad I was able to use both my sanity and optimism right there. And please, bitch, a trip-gone-wrong is a like a real-life Fear Factor (see: me, battling a gigantic chicken in Zambales).
Being a cast away in an island with the rain on zero-visibility mode is a situation that can drive you mad but with good company, cool drinks, awesome food, and everything to talk about… a vacation like that is always a blast.
On a side note
I actually learned that blasting boyband music while on a smooth car ride back to the city is an awesome thing to do. I made a mental note to make a playlist next time we hit the road.
Aaaaand! I also learned that Aegis music is a cool company as well. *Shrugs* Who would’ve thought?