Happy New Year!

IMG_1146

Two nights before New Year!!! Have a Prosperous New Year, everyone 🙂 

Merry Christmas!

_MG_2431

This is the second Christmas we’ll be spending without my father, who passed away October last year. We miss him a lot, and the little traditions we made with him about this special day when we were kids.

My dad’s ultimate Christmas dish was arroz caldo. (congee or rice porridge) with lots of local lemon (calamansi), fried garlic, boiled eggs, and pepper. It’s a meal on its own, and it’s the major thing on our Noche Buena list every Christmas when he was still with us.

Today, I had my sister cook it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I miss him a lot, and though I know he’s happy where he is right now, I still feel sad.

But like what he also told us, he’ll be happy where he is if we’re also happy 🙂

Before the clock strikes 12, let me wish you all A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS! May all the blessings of this Yuletide Season be upon yours and your family 🙂 Have a great celebration!

Bandida Negra

IMG_0426

My sister Cecil’s cat, Negra, has been meowing and meowing, looking desperately for her. She’s in Manila attending a seminar, and Negra is not used to sleeping without her.

Since three days ago, she’s been sleeping outside the door of her bedroom… and she’s been calling and calling Cecil, not letting me sleep 😦

IMG_0437

Cecil is the only person in the house who can touch her, play with her, cuddle her — she’s so feisty, and that scares even our house-helpers, who are left in charge of her food alternately.

Ay, what to do? What to do?

An Island Named After A Shell…

On the eastern shores of Palawan in Puerto Princesa City, there is a bay that is popular among tourists because of its tropical island destinations — it’s called Honda Bay. The islands are named Luli, Pandan, Cowrie, Starfish, Fraser, and the high-end Dos Palmas Island Resort on Arraceffi.

Of all these, Dos Palmas and Cowrie are my favorites except that the first is rather expensive to visit even if I already live in Puerto Princesa. I was on Cowrie Island with some friends a couple of months ago; let me share some photos I took there 🙂

Here’s our motorized boat going KNOTS to Cowrie Island, Honda Bay below nice blue sky and clouds.

Floating cottage off the waters of Cowrie Island, Honda Bay.

From what I heard, Cowrie Island was named after the egg-shaped marine gastropod mollusc that goes by the same name in the family Cypraeidae. Recently, the owners of the island have developed it into an island resort destination, where families and other guests can relax and enjoy.

untitled-23

untitled-51

Ask local travel guides on how to get to Honda Bay because they have packaged tours that are perfect if you want to be trouble-free on your trip. If I’m not lazy to drive my car, I use it to go there. If I am, I just take a multicab or a tricycle.

Multicab fare ranges between PhP15.00 to PhP20.00, I have to update this information though because it’s been a long time I rode one going there. Tricycles, on the other hand, that can accommodate about 4 passengers, may charge up to PhP70.00 or PhP100.00 — depending on how many are traveling.

Boats to get to the island destinations charge differently. You may go to the information center to ask how much an island hopping tour costs (4 islands at best). If you’re visiting only 1-2 islands, the charge is also different, maybe even cheaper.

Some islands, like Cowrie, charge entrance fees but if one’s going through a travel agency, this is normally included in the packaged tour along with your meals and snacks for the day.

Once Upon An Old House…

In Iloilo City in October this year, while looking for something to do on our first day, we took a shuttle van to Miag-ao Church, and then the old houses that are popular among travelers in the place. One of these is Casa Mariquit, the house of Maria Javellana-Lopez or Mariquit, wife of former Philippine vice-president Fernando Lopez Sr.

Casa Mariquit in Jaro City, Iloilo Province is the 200-year old house of the late Maria “Mariquit” Javellana-Lopez. Interestingly, it was both a bank and a house as her father was a banker.

The main door to Casa Mariquit shot from the inside with a view of what was once the main gate. The main gate is no longer being used. Visitors to the casa use the gate to parking area.

Wooden stair leading up to the second floor of Casa Mariquit.

Casa Mariquit’s dining hall with walls adorned beautifully by photos of the family in various frame sizes, plates, and others.

Appreciating the dining hall from another point inside.

No, not the living room — just a sala set inside one of the bedrooms. The bedroom has doors leading to the main sala and the dining hall.

Also posted @ Palawenya Photography FB Page https://www.facebook.com/PalawenyaPhotographybyTRFormoso

Food for Thought, Thought for Food

I’m thinking food at 9:46 p.m. — I forgot all about dinner because of the rain. I’m thinking Skybox, where there’s that wonderful Thai Lumpia (Spring Roll) in the photo below.

Fried Spring Roll @ Skybox Good Food, Good Times!

I’m also thinking about that Chop Suey I had at Sunburst in Dumaguete City, when I visited my brother and his family a couple of years ago. The veggies weren’t overcooked, and very crunchy, if you can describe it that way 🙂

Stir fried veggies with chicken and prawns @ Sunburst, Robinson’s, Dumaguete City

Cool and Tall

And finally, I’m also thinking about this tall, cool strawberry concoction and a cake (I forgot its name) from Isla de Kasoy Cafe adjacent Skybox. It’s so good! Thank goodness, I enrolled in a diet program 🙂

Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm

Many of the photos I was commissioned to take at the Puerto Princesa Underground River at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan long weeks ago are already out at Tropical Breeze Travel and Tour’s website http://tropicbreezetravel.com/

The website’s layout is cool 🙂

I’m not done yet; my busy schedule is getting in the way. But the other day, I managed to go to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm with Thea, my friend, who is the manager of the travel and tours.

Travelers take a tour at Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, one of the oldest correctional facilities in the Philippines. The place is in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The building behind was among those built in 1904, when the U.S. colonized the Philippines.

More than a correctional facility for offenders, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is a popular tour site for those who care about history, and who love to help minimum security inmates by buying the souvenir items they make out of indigenous and recyclable materials.

This old building used to be the center of all activities for the minimum security inmates. They do their programs here, meetings, and others. Currently, it serves as the souvenir shop of the penal facility.

Dancing inmates at the souvenir shop at Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. Everyday, when tourists come, they dance for just little helpful donations.

The expanse of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm ground, also known as “PRISON WITHOUT WALLS,” as seen from the antiquated building.

Rain sticks sold as souvenirs.

Southern Palawan Road Trip

I am so busy, I forgot that there was a road trip I did with some friends last July; out of that, I have wonderful photos I only got to see last night.

These photos were taken from Bataraza, a mining town in Palawan. I thought there’s nothing I’d be able to document that would turn out beautiful because of the character of the place as a mining town. But I was wrong. The place has its own beauty.

Bridge

The bridge helps transport ores to barges.

Bataraza Reflection

Beautiful reflection

Philippine Navy Boat

A Philippine Navy boat off the shores of Bataraza. This keeps the border secured between the Philippines and Malaysia against illegal activities, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, smuggling and illegal logging.

Bataraza Sunset

The sun sets beautifully over the mine tailing pond of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation. The tailing pond is where the mining company’s left over materials flow after the process of separating valuable fractions from uneconomic fractions of ore.

The Right to Food is a Human Right

I’ve been cleaning my external drive since this morning; I wanted to delete photo files that I do not think I need anymore so I can save space.

Then I found these 🙂

The Adobo sa Gata is basically adobo with coconut milk added to enrich its taste, and long green chili pepper for some medium hot goodness. It’s one of my favorites at The Gypsy’s Lair here in my place. Adobo is cooking pork meat (or chicken and beef) in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic with ground pepper. It got its name from the Spanish conquistadors, but the cooking process is entirely indigenous to the Philippines.

Adobo is a favorite Filipino dish in all parties — birthdays, weddings, baptisms, etcetera. It’s also a favorite easy-to-cook item of food that’s very good with rice. Some like to cook it dry, some like it with a bit of sauce to put on their rice.

Iced biko, on the other hand, is putting ice cream on top of the sticky rice dessert that is popular among Filipinos. When it melts, and its taste blends with the biko, it’s so good!

Biko is easy to make. One only needs malagkit (sticky or glutinous rice), gata ng buko (coconut milk or cream), and brown sugar.

The other one’s Chao Long (stewed rice noodles), a Vietnamese recipe that’s also popular in Palawan. It’s served with mint leaves, bean sprouts, chili-garlic oil, and very good with garlic French bread.

I have to practice my right to food. I’m thinking Chao Long… 🙂

Landmark Philippine Churches II

I am posting the three remaining photos of the churches I’ve recently documented with my reliable Canon camera 🙂 These are Tigbauan Church, Molo Church, and Jaro Church — all located in different areas in Iloilo province, all historical, all built a long, long time ago.

The Molo Church is one of Iloilo’s most popular landmarks. “Built in 1831, the church stands as a reminder of Iloilo’s rich history and a monument for Ilonggo artistry. The Molo exudes a blatant expression of Gothic-Renaissance architecture, the one of its kind outside Manila. The interior is a fusion of Gothic and Romanesque architectures, there is a constant alternation between the overpowering features of Gothic and the recessive characteristics of Romanesque.”

Jaro Church, or the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles. It is constructed of “Romanesque revival architecture,” and distinctive to it is its bell tower that is located across the street, and that it has two stairs built on the front facade so people can go up to the statue of the Our Lady of the Candles to pay their respects, or supplicate.

Tigbauan Church, on the other hand, is said to be the classic example of the Churriqueresque style, or Spanish baroque, involving many carefully arranged parts or details as seen in the main exterior entrance. I have to post the photo I took of that later.

———————

By the way… I just want to express strongly!

I have a problem with some people who seem to be oblivious to the correct use of the exclamation point (!) whenever they send me text messages, or reply to my own.

I have at least 7 people who always end their text messages to me with the screamer (in printing world, it’s what the mark is called) though they do not really want to express anything strongly.

Unfortunately, today I had to send 3 of the 7 text messages, and their replies sort of irritated me. I ask a simple question, and I get a simple answer with a slammer like that.

Maybe it’s just me.