Monday, February 27, 2012

EAT, PRAY, LOVE Series: Lake Sebu in Pursuit of Devotion

A month after my Davao food adventure, I am off again for a two days departure from the hassle and bustle of work life. This time I wanted to regain one important aspect of my life that I once disconnected from, my relationship with my Creator & Savior.
Don’t worry, I will not be talking much about spirituality and the like, but it is my journey back to Him, through the places and instances that made this trip memorable. I am with Maya in this journey, Maya my dear cousin, is ten years my junior but ten years my senior when it comes to her relationship with the Lord. The life she lives is a life that when I was her age a total opposite, while she was busy juggling Dentistry & Church activities, I was then at my time busy scheduling when to do my nails, hair and when we will have our “study sessions”- books, cigarettes & gin. That was a decade ago and yes I reconnected but I have distractions that hinder my total connection with Him.

The place of choice, Lake Sebu, a lake-municipality above the mountains of South Cotabato, also known as the summer capital of Southern Mindanao. It has a cold weather that can rival the city of Tagatay and a very rustic life. From Tupi, it took us; a Van ride to Koronadal City, Bus ride to Surallah – the jump off point to Lake Sebu if you are taking public transport, here you can have a choice of vehicles to take; van, jeepney & “habal-habal”, a motorcycle extended to accommodate six people. Our choice, the van, because it was scheduled to leave at the time we arrived in Surallah Transport Terminal.

It was 30-54 minutes ride, but you will never know because of the sights along the way. First stop, the Municipal Tourism Office at the entrance to the Municipal Mini-Forest & Arena. I asked for some suggestions, but well I got everything he suggested in my itinerary.
Lake Sebu Open Field
We walked then towards the Catholic Church a top the hill overlooking the biggest of the three lakes in town, Lake Sebu. Keep a few moments of silence, thanking Him for a safe ride. We rested a while, just sitting by the church door, looking at the beautiful lake.
View from the Church
Ride a “habal-habal,” from the church to Punta Isla Lake Resort for P10.00/person. We are a bit early for check-in and they are still cleaning the rooms, we stayed at the resto and sip some coffee. When traveling, lull time is never welcome, hehehe, for me, either I have to wander around or do something interesting.

Along the way to the resort, we passed by, T’boli Museum, so we decided to just leave our bags at the front desk and walked back to the Museum. Majority of Lake Sebu’s population is the indigenous people, the T’boli.
Inside T'boli Museum
The museum is a typical T’boli House, a big room, without any partition, the whole structure is raised from the ground by big tree trunks. Inside there is the kitchen at one side, the dining/living room at the center at the same time it serves as bedroom at night. One thing I realized is that, in that very simple structure lives a very happy family, there is no division between them, and they all commune in one place, the center of the house. If I can be like that with my Creator, I will be happy, destroying all the “But” & “what ifs” I have that causes all these pains.
At the Museum, there is no entrance fee, but they accept donations. That one thing that do every time I travel, if a particular place do not have an entrance fee, I tend to give more, hehe, do the same thing ha, give more. They do not commercialize on this things that give us so much learning.
Few meters from the museum, we saw the signage of the next resort, just 300 meters from where we are. We walked our way to the resort, only to realize that we walked more than 300 meters and all we see are bamboos and rice fields, huhu, was it secluded from the main highway, it says nothing in the signage. Decided to find it, we continue, until after a few curves, VIOLA! A Welcome sign to Mountain Log Resort.
In life we plan everything, we pray and we want it right away, we do not like to wait, but as what God said; “he is never in a hurry, he always in time.” We need to go through a few curves in life to get to where he planned us to be.

The Mountain Log Resort is place for those who want silence. Within the resort, there are tree house and cabins located among the mini forest. It is also famous for its four storey high viewing deck on hill, rising over the pine trees. In going to the viewing deck, you have to pay an entrance fee at the front desk of the resort.
View from the Watch Tower

Tired from walking, we ride "habal-habal" going back to the resort. Before going to our room, I asked the front desk if they can contact a ride for us the next day going to the Seven Falls, at the same time I ordered our dinner to be delivered to our room.
Here I keep moments of silence, just listening to the sweet sounds of Mother Nature calling the day is over. Nature showed us how to slow down with life, often we make plans and busy ourselves doing everything, that we ended up forgetting one important aspect of life, to be still, take a rest.
It's getting dark.......

Dinner is my favorite "Binuntis na Manok" of Punta Isla, a whole chicken fried and stuffed with boiled eggs and rice. Yummy.....

It was during this trip that I discovered from my cousin that one essential she always have when travelling, her BIBLE. Imagine all the learning I got  from someone 10 years my junior.
Wake-up early, had a light breakfast of toasted bread w/ butter & jam and coffee. Around 7:30, Manong "habal-habal" arrived. We went straight to the Seven Falls for the zipline. We were the first zipliners that day, so we get to take a lot of photos. Here I shout my heart out, as I zip above the wonderful waterfalls.
View while we zip......

Done with the zipline but we decided to do the trekking to the seven waterfalls. Like our life, we went through its ups and downs and we never give up, just like our trek, we need to jump over fallen trees or crawl down just to get to the falls.

After almost an hour of trek, we need to go back because of falling trees that block the way towards Falls 1 & 2. In life, sometimes relationship needs to end, and we have to accept it like in this trek, we just go back & never pushed our way through it, for our own safety.

Our last stop is a visit to Laan Dulay, our Living National Treasure, T'nalak's dream weaver. She symbolizes a woman who triumphs over difficulties in life.
Laan Dulay
This trip gave me an opportunity to look back and realize that what I am going through is a blessing, and nothing else. Thankful.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

EAT, PRAY, LOVE Series: Davao City in Search of Pleasure through Food

Woooooooooh! I mean it, I want to get out of it and I’m leaving! Hahaha, the drama running through my mind that time. All I wanted is to go somewhere, find something that will ease what I am feeling at the moment. 

It was late afternoon when my sister & I left for Davao City, it was a four hours bus ride from home, but I was decided and I am doing it. For the first time I had the courage to take the trip. 

We arrived in Davao City past 8 in the evening, with an empty stomach. The most pleasurable thing to do is to look for a place to eat, to satisfy my craving of succulent grilled chicken that I tasted in Davao before. Penong’s BBQ chicken is one of the best, so me and my sister opted to have BBQ chicken with rice, the quickest we can have at that time to satisfy our hunger.
late dinner at Penongs

After dinner, time to find a place to stay for the night, choose to transient for a night in my high school friend’s dorm. We freshened up, and decided to take a night walk by the Statue of David at the Seawall. Here we enjoy Davao City’s street foods. We had “kwek-kwek,” a hard boiled egg coated with flour and fried and Buko juice. Hahaha believe me, it was a perfect combination. It was almost midnight when we decided to rest on night. 
by David at the Seawall

Yummy "kwek-kwek" & buko juice

Breakfast the following day is at Dimsums Diner, a quaint Chinese restaurant along Guerero Street that offers good breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal for me, and at Dimsums, I have coffee and tocino, egg & rice combo while sissy had tocino, Chinese sausage & rice combo. 
Breakfast at Dimsums Diner

Full & ready to start the day, we decided to take a walk around Davao’s Chinatown, here we started looking for the Chinese restaurant famous for their siopao. Unfortunately we found the place but their siopao will be available around 10 A.M., early birds we are and we didn’t get to catch that infamous siopao of Davao Famous Restaurant.
Walking around Davao Chinatown

Got to try their siopao next time

Tired from walking around this early, we decided to check in at Ponce Suites The Unconventional Center at Corners Road 3 & 4, Dona Vicenta Village Phase 2, Bajada, Davao City. While waiting for our cousin Maya, we took a nap and for the first time it dwells on me that I forget about the pain for the first time. I used the word forget because I now realized how powerful our mind is, when you choose to forget then you will  forget.

Maya arrived and it’s time for lunch, Dencio’s Hilltop is the choice. From here we can see downtown Davao City. We had; Mandaragat soup - it’s a creamy soup with seafoods, Pork skewers – pork wrapped around bacon & some spices and Binagoongan Rice - fried rice in bagoong top with scramble eggs. Wow it was indeed a feast for the three of us.
Lunch at Dencio's

Stomach full, we are again ready for an extreme excitement, yes! We tried the fastest zip in Davao City, The Excelerator. From the Excelator we choose to burn some of the calories stored, by walking towards GAP Farm also along Ma-a Road. Took a few photos and we are back at Ponce Suites.

Walking along Maa Road

Siesta time it is when you are in Spain, but here we had our caffeine fix at Kublai Kafe. I ordered cappuccino together with sissy, while Maya had Vanilla Stawberry Shake. Tired form all the walking we had, we took a nap and later waked-up feeling hungry again. Hahaha that’s the foodie life, always searching, always craving.

Freshened up, we then take a lot of walking again in the dark corners going to Torres Street, the night & food hub of Davao City. The hardest part of being passionate with food is choosing what to eat. We had reached the last resto along Torres without a place to eat. We decide to take a taxi cab to Damusa, another food hub in Davao City. 

Yellow Cab is the answer to our hungry tummies, and the first thing we saw upon entering Damusa. We had; Charlie Chan – a noodle with peanuts and a sweet and hot chili taste, Potato Halves - whole potato halves, baked with a crisp and Ham, Cheese & Mushroom Calzone – folded pizza with a cheesy filling of mushroom & cheese, for drinks we had bottled Peach Sola.

After dinner, it calls for a dessert at Ice Giants also at Damusa. They do stand by their name; they have everything in giant serving. With that, we shared over Mango Sundae and Peach & Blueberry Parfait. It was indeed a day for us.

Left Davao City very early the next day, before taking another 4 hours bus ride home, we had our morning coffee at Mister Donuts near Ecoland Bus Terminal.

This is truly a pleasurable gastronomic adventure for me. Remember the saying; “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,”? For me, the best way to start healing a broken heart is to pleasure oneself with the things that you love. Luckily I know what I want, to travel & eat. Way to go, but I started it.


Welcome to my local version of Eat, Pray, Love. It will be a three part series for the love month. How a broken heart leads me to a passion that made me fall in love with.
It needs to be broken....... be whole again and better

First know about Elizabeth Gilbert around 2008 while watching Oprah. Her book is one chosen to be that month’s Oprah’s Book Club. I got the book on March 20, 2009 but did not have the chance to read it, until I got my heart broken again.
A movie of the same title, starring Julia Roberts was shown late 2010, but did not watch it at that time, because I was not able to finish reading the book yet. Got the chance to watch the movie last December 2011, when it was shown in HBO.
This time I’ll be writing my very own, local version of EAT, PRAY, LOVE experience that I did in the 2nd Quarter of 2010 to find myself after getting my heart broken…….

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Smile in Botanical Garden Makes a Difference

In every trip I make sure that I get to see most of the points of interest in my list, on our` way to the city center to have lunch, we passed by the Botanical Garden. And I have to see it, it was a quick stop but I was able to have a conversation with a tour guide from Baguio who recommends to me to have lunch at Rose Bowl. Hehe, why I've written about it first, because she was the first one I notice when I entered the Botanical Garden, a woman with a big smile in white tunic & white pants, who wouldn’t notice the friendliness she exudes. This makes “It is more fun in the Philippines,” I didn’t hired her to be our tour guide but she recommends to me places to see in Baguio. It is our character that makes it more fun in our country!

Builders of Baguio Monument

That’s quite long, Botanical Garden is also known as the Igorot Village. It captures the ethnic spirit of the Igorot Mountain tribe. The park also showcases the city’s rich flora & fauna, and serves as a site of cultural activities. The “Builders of Baguio” monument stands her to commemorate the city’s founding in 1908.
D' Group

I felt like I was in my Lola’s Garden, with those dahlias, pink & yellow flowers I don’t know, the mini sunflower that usually grows around back home. What makes this stop more memorable? The personality I met in this stop, if we get to be more loving & friendly, we can all make traveling more fun to us and to others.