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Archive for the ‘tourist attraction’ Category


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♫♪♫♪On a clear day

Rise and look around you

And you’ll see who you are

On a clear day

How it will astound you

That the glow of your being

Outshines every star

You’ll feel part of every mountain, sea and shore

You can hear

From far and near

A word you’ve never, never heard before…

And on a clear day…On a clear day…

You can see forever…

And ever…

And ever…

And ever more…♪♪♫♪

I think I am having  a LSS. That’s Capones Island located in San Antonio, Zambales. Someday, I would love to come back here and wait for the sunrise…maybe just greet the early morning with a smile.

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Here are my own interpretations of what the word Beyond means to me in pictures. Come to think of it, I always look forward  to this weekly photo challenge because somehow you get to look  once more at some pictures which at the time you took were just pleasing to your eyes and senses. Sometimes though, they acquire a meaning and you wish you could capture the essence of each view and place you see.

beyond1

Beyond this mountain is my provincial home which I haven’t visited  in quite a while. My old memories of this places is tied up to the river running below this mountain where we used to catch fresh-water fish during the early parts of rainy months. And yes, the impromptu picnics  beside  the river and taking a long soak after.  Fresh, unpolluted running water and lovely river stones that sometimes my cousins and I used to bring home  for our Piko games.

tanay

The cool mountains of Tanay. I remember taking this shot three weeks after my six-sessions of chemotherapy ended.  It was a kind of litmus test how far I can go without tiring myself after such a life-changing treatment.  I miss this place, I hope someday I would be able to come back here.

beyond3

What lies behind closed doors, do you know? Dreams! Pockets of happy days!  Actually, I was fascinated by the stained-glass door. I seldom see this kind of window and door treatments except in places where they value old-age decor.

beyond2

There is always something that fascinates me in discovering places and looking beyond.  I took this in Caleruega, the hanging bridge was simply irresistible. And beyond this is a vast garden and an upward climb to a hill that gives a wonderful view of the Batulao mountains in Batangas. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

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At first, I didn’t actually like these shots but on second look, they have a redeeming feature, my favorite subject – clouds. And the sun showing its face in the shadows of the Arch of the Centuries of my alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas!

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Five years ago, we spent new year in Batangas to get away from the noise and pollution of Metro Manila. Nestled at the foot of Mt. Malarayat on the outskirts of Lipa City is a 47-hectare spa resort amidst lush, verdant greens, serene ponds and manicured lawns. The landscape is simply awesome. Facilities include the reception hall, the restaurant, library, a large swimming pool, orchidarium, spa, gym and villas.

The health resort can accommodate around 55 clients. There are five different kinds of accommodation each according to style,size and price. We stayed at the Sulu Terraces which are designed after rice huts and have open seating areas on the ground floor. All rooms are air-conditioned. They call the restaurant 85/15 Gourmet Restaurant, meaning, the food served is 85% raw and 15% cooked. The food is a bit pricey though and you are not allowed to bring “baon”. Where would you find a cup of coffee worth P350.00? I almost choked when I saw the price but it was all worth it. Such bliss in a place like this, because I love every corner of their vast gardens. It was another family road trip that we all enjoyed.

Their reception area boast of a water fountain in front and a small store that sells souvenirs.

Just love the verdant greens….

Looking at the views from here, can’t wait to explore the place.

Taken in front of their large swimming pool.

It was more than a two-hour trip from Metro Manila. Tired….

They have these in all corners…meditation huts where you could rest your tired feet.

My youngest…..

Exploring…

#10 Sulu Terraces

We occupied two huts. Good thing they have small safes installed for valuables.

Can’t wait to see what the place has to offer.

The gate of Sulu Terraces…nice long walk.

The ferns are taller than I am.

A close-up view of the peacock, showing its lovely form.

So peaceful, I could stay here all day  just watching the pond or reading but they have a lovely library nearby.

  The lagoon, my  favorite spot during our stay here, a perfect place to idle the time away.

A century old tree…I forgot its name!

Dreaming of my own garden like this!

Ah! The Secret Pool, we all loved it and had a night swim later. The water is heated and the place is secluded.

Look at the intricate carvings at the door, it was simply beautiful.

Going on road trips is such a joy, discovering new places, just relaxing. It was the first time we spent new year away from home.

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There are circumstances and events that live in one’s memory more prominently than the others and going on road trips with the family is one of them – remembering the happier days. I am transferring some of my family albums from Multiply which according to news will close in a few months and I can’t resist posting this particular album here since I loved the place when we dined there more than three years ago, a few months before I discovered that I had colon cancer. It changed my perspective about life because after my surgery, we have cut down on taking trips like this. It was replaced by regular trips to the hospital, diagnostic centers and my doctors. I am so grateful though that before  that life-changing ailment, I was able to visit here.

This was when I was still starting my love affair with my camera. I can’t remember now which one I used here, because I used to have a Pentax Optio and a much-lower-priced Samsung. I am using a Canon Ixus now with many added features. These are raw shots that were never altered, not even cropped.

Breakfast at Antonio’s (that’s actually the full name of the restaurant), is a high-end restaurant that serves breakfast meals all day long.  I remember the date, it was January 15, 2009. We came from our first road trip to Caleruega and we were on our way back to Manila. We were talking of where to take lunch even before we left Caleruega. And the kids were unanimous in saying that we will have it in Tagaytay so they could also enjoy the view of the Taal Lake. It was quite cloudy when we were there so I suggested why not try Breakfast at Antonio’s? It is about two and a half kilometers from the main highway but it is worth the time and the wait. We waited for about thirty minutes to be served. There were only about three occupied tables when we arrived. It’s gourmet dining at its best. Hubby was impressed. My two kids ordered chocolate milk drinks while  hubby  had tomato juice. I just had plain water because I had so much coffee while we were in  Caleruega.

It’s an architectural showcase, notice the high beams, it blends so well with the place.

While waiting for our food, we had one of the waiters take a shot of the four of us.

The fun part – eating! They call this Sausages and Scrambles.

Beef  tapa, a must have for a nourishing breakfast but we had it at lunch.

Ham and Swiss Cheese Roesti

Croque Madame

More than the food, I just love the ambience of the place.

This greets you at the reception area, a room full of antique items on the walls and as decors too. Even the floor entices you to go barefoot.

Ah, the Koi, we all love Koi!

Love that big pot of Anthurium, part of the charm of the place.

The main door stays closed but they open it for clients and diners.

My two kids….

A rare shot of the four of us – as always, we have to set up the tripod for this.

Love those paintings on the wall. This dining area has that airy atmosphere which is just perfect for a lovely chat.

I love that picture window and the garden beyond.

And this lush Koi pond….

The Koi fish are bigger than the ones they have at Caleruega.

Couldn’t resist these  lovely blooms….

Another shot of the reception area…

The garden in front…

That’s my son enjoying a few minutes of walking around the place.

I really hope one of these days, we could come back here and sample their other menu on the list.

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REJOICE fellow Filipinos and be proud of our country. Puerto Princesa Underground  River is now officially confirmed as one of the new seven wonders of nature.

Palawan is one of the best places to visit  where you really can enjoy the pristine beauty of nature. Puerto Princesa City is the capital of Palawan. Add to  these are the beautiful  islands of Coron, El Nido, Amanpolo, Busuanga. Such  lovely  places, all within one’s reach. What more could you ask for?

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Last October 25, 2011, I blogged about Exploring Binondo on Foot with hubby and I promised that I would upload the pictures I took of the place. Each picture has its own story to tell.

The Chinatown in Manila is considered the oldest and was established in 1594.

One’s visit to Binondo would not be complete without tasting their delicious and tasty pork dumplings called siomai. They are served hot from those bamboo  racks.

The Calesa or Kalesa, others call it karetela. It’s the 18th century Rolls Royce of the Philippines . It’s a horse-driven carriage that you can still see plying the streets of Binondo.

Have you ever tasted Durian?  Known in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its unique odor, large size and formidable thorn-covered husk. It is largely cultivated and grown in Davao City.

A busy street corner around Ongpin.

Chinese drug stores abound in  all corners of Ongpin St. I bought a bottle of White Flower (an essence used for headache, muscle pains etc.) and it was slightly cheaper than at Mercury Drug Store.

At the place where we had our lunch, hot green tea was offered for free.

Castanas or roasted chestnuts are sold by the kilo.  We often see lots of people selling these during the Christmas season.

Side by side with modern transport are these Kalesa and tri-bike.

A colorful Chinese store in Ongpin selling everything from Chinese lantern and figurines and other Chinese ornaments which they say are for “good luck”.

One of the famous bakeshops in Ongpin is the Salazar Bakery. They sell all kinds of sweets from hopia to tikoy, machang , mooncakes and other exotic baked goodies.

I was delighted to see this array of a childhood favorite, Haw flakes. They are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of Chinese hawthorn.

Hopia baboy, hopia black monggo, hopia monggo, you name it, they have everything cleverly arranged in shelves – so tempting.

Ah, sugar cane! Another childhood favorite, we used to munch on those sugar canes back in the province. Now they have a more convenient way of extracting the juice without  biting on those hard canes.

The North Bridge of Ongpin – another landmark which would take you to the various small eateries around the place.

Another bakeshop famous for different flavors of hopia is the Eng Bee Tin. They are packed in colorful tin foils and are simply tasty.

These are different fruit preserves and sticky rice cakes called Tikoy.

This is Binondo Church, one of the famous landmarks of Binondo and is known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, our first Filipino saint.

It was founded by the Dominican priests in 1596.

This is Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, right in front of Binondo Church.

Hopia galore – the things I bought in Binondo.

And Tikoy too!

Would these be left behind? I want to go back there and buy some more.

I had a lovely time taking shots of these stones. That’s me holding the camera!

Look how old the buildings are, but not far from these are some highrise buildings which are mainly banks.

They’re colorful, aren’t they?

Koi fish for good luck?

It was just lovely to see this large Buddha made of orange jade ( according to the store owner, it’s for prosperity and good luck too).

I am planning to further explore the place before Chinese New Year, that’s when you could really bargain for even lovely jewelries and accessories which the place is famous for.

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I blogged about this place last month when we went there for a visit because my daughter was planning to have their prenuptial pics taken there. This afternoon, I tried uploading the shots I took and luckily, this laptop was in the mood to read some of the various shots waiting to be posted. Sounds like this laptop is crazy huh, but yes, the past two months, I could not even view the shots from my camera using this. So here they are, it’s  a whole album of antique decor and 50’s bakeshop.

It was the first thing I noticed when we reached the place, the windmill.

Look at this lovely lantern. It is very conducive for windy and rainy weather. And that sungka board on top of it. We used to play sungka games when we were kids.

And look at this lovely table and the carved bust on top of it. And that lovely water jug made of wood.

This is where my daughter  had her prenuptial pics taken. There is an area near here where the tables are all made of chessboard where you can really play if you know how.

My daughter Nissa!

The place is really one big  area where you can enjoy reminiscing…your childhood perhaps?

No smoking…definitely. I also love those wrought iron chairs and tables that remind me my grandmother’s house in the province.

This is the entrance, at the right is their bakeshop. Look at the twigs used to decorate the ceiling. It is simply unique.

When I was in grade  school, we used to have a similar radio like this, powered by batteries.

I guess those are Japanese samurai swords together with a fan and some old pictures framed in a glass-enclosed  canvas.

The mini-garden complete with a pond filled with Koi fish.

We were about to have lunch. The food here is cheap. And their pandesal and ensaymada are pugon-baked, circa 1950.

A horse-drawn carriage which we used to call calesa prominently displayed in one corner of the place.

A rickety, rickety old bridge. My knees tremble just looking at it.

The facade of Pan de Amerikana with its signature windmill…

Just love the pocket garden in front of the place.

And this water feature blends well with it. Lovely, isn’t it?

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Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  ~Lydia M. Child

It is always a joy to visit the garden early in the morning. There is that feeling of being at peace with the universe when one is busy looking at the Koi gently swimming  and discovering something new – a bloom or a shoot of an annual plant that was not there on your last visit. I always look forward to seeing my Hoya orchids bloom every year. They are truly a sight to behold.  This morning I was pleasantly surprised when I saw several buds of flowers. There is no fixed month where one can see these flowers bloom, before you know it, they’re just there and all you need is to admire them and wait patiently for another shoot on another day. They seem to say, “you’re surprised, aren’t you” because they finally decided to show their face for you to utter those “oohs” and “aahs” because finally you have something to show for your effort after another year of regular watering. I thought of taking some shots but I could not upload them here anyway so I’ll just show what Hoya is like on a previous post that I did. Growing Hoya , you can find this at my Multiply blog.

Hoya belongs to species of hanging plants in the family Apocynaceae (Dogbane) and is commonly known as waxplant, waxvine or  waxflower probably because its small triangular  petals are wax-like and sturdy.

I have a close circle of friends at my Multiply home page and they’ve been my contacts for years. I normally don’t accept requests if I don’t know them personally but the other day, I was surprised that a certain Rembrandt Vocalan requested that I add him up, with a short note of thanks for blogging about Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant  located in the picturesque town of Angono. We went there two years ago to celebrate Valentine’s day. It turned out that Rembrandt is the son of the owner Pedrigon Vocalan. The former is an artist too and a photographer.  What a small world! One of these days, we may be able to revisit the place and explore the rich culture of Angono. It is known as the Arts Capital of the Philippines.

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This would be the first time I would utilize the  topic suggested by Plinky.com because I like it. I love going on road trips, whether a short two-hour trip or a long  five to six hours on the road. It even feels more special when you are traveling with the whole family and discovering places which are new in your eyes and a delight to see.  We’ve taken several road trips before but the times that stand out are  those days that we spent in Caleruega, one of my favorite places. If you want peace and quiet amidst the splendor of lovely gardens and a beautiful church, it’s the best place to be. I’ve been blogging about the place and raving about it for I don’t know how many number of times. It was on our first trip there that we discovered the most talked about Breakfast At Antonio’s in Tagaytay City,  it’s gourmet  dining at its best. I remember taking a lot of pictures because I loved the place. It has a garden and a Koi  pond plus lots of antique collections and heirloom pieces proudly displayed at their reception area. Although the food was a little  expensive, it was worth the visit.

This is Breakfast At Antonio’s main dining area. The black and white motif makes the wonderful paintings and the lush garden stand out.

The front facade of the restaurant with its landscaped garden.

They call this Sausages and Scrambles...yummy!

Last December 2009, we embarked on a short trip to Tanay, Rizal, it was three weeks after my last chemotherapy.  I blogged about it here.  Did I say it was a litmus test for me?

An amazing scene, the mountain air was biting.

The unfinished log cabin where we roasted marshmallows and hotdogs and grilled Bangus for lunch.

And staying in the open field with a tent is what I call total bliss.

The best road trips are of course the times we went to our home province for short vacations. There is really no place like home.  I still dream of one special place to visit. The truly inspiring place remains a dream for now. It’s not near enough to be reached by car since you have to spend more than an hour by plane to reach it.

 

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