“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” ~ Satsuki Shibuya
I came across this sort of quote from Steve Maraboli’s posts (I am an avid follower of this guy): “If not now, When?” And all those things I wanted to do came bursting in my mind. One of them is to really be able to surf, to stand in that board and really experience what’s it like. So getting an opportunity to be gone out of town, I chose going to Baler for my surfing experience.
I’ve always thought that surfing is so much fun. =) Even if I discovered some bruises when I get home. Lol!
There are actually several places in the country that can give you the best waves, when this is my choice due to other reasons (one of which is that, it isnt just a pleasure trip but a business trip too!)
So come weekend, there I was catching the last trip bound to Baler with Jen, my foodie travel and all things in between buddy. Aside from the surfing experience, we definitely love the food in Baler.
Jen was the one in-charge as to where we’re staying and I really love what she got for us. It is very affordable (via Agoda), very clean and the staff are so accommodating and helpful. I don’t mind staying there again when we go back.
Though, I found these equally great places to stay in Baler. So, we might try them too.
And my original choice to stay: Balituk.
If you’re commuting, it is best to reserve your seats a few days prior your intended date to visit. There are only two trips bound to/ from Baler:
While when you’re driving, it’ll take you four (more or less, because stop overs are really awesome right?) hours to get there if coming from Manila.
Aside from being able to stand in that surf board, we also get to see the biggest Balete tree in Asia. And a side trip to the Hanging bridge in Zabali. Said bridge connects two Barangays, Brgy. Tibang and Brgy Sabang. It is located at the endpoint of Zabali road. It isn’t just a spot for tourist but very useful to the residents too.
Towering more than five stories high, this 600-year old Balete tree or is also known as Millennial tree is one of the reasons why I can’t wait to visit Baler. Weird to some as it may sound, It’s been years when I learned to get my energies from trees. So I took advantage staying with it for long and leave the place with a smile in my face. =)
Oh, please also visit my niece’s cool place: @lilwarung.baler and @kokoanatural.ph located at Dogtown Collective. She’s got a lot of great stuff in store for you. =)
What’s travelling without buying local goods? =) When I shop, I really get to appreciate the artistic skills of my fellow Filipinos. Isn’t it great to earn while doing what you love?
I definitely must go back, because I missed the Light house. =( And there are three. And some really great rock formations along the way. =)
“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”~Mark Black
This 4-star hotel has it’s own special way of pulling back their curtains. One weekend, Jen and I were able to witness Hotel Jen’s unique personality.
Hotel Jen has been alluring us since last year especially my travel buddy: Jen, since it bears her nick name. She’s declaring then she’s wanting to visit just to have a photo with that personalized pillow that says: “I’m staying with Jen.” Ahahaha!
Said pillow has been around some parts of the Asia Pacific (under Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts Management) and her excitement is overwhelming me. =) It is located along Roxas Boulevard, just across The Cultural Center of the Philippines,
and Star City. Our window is overlooking that giant “chubibo!” (Ferris wheel).
Manila bay with its’ beautiful sunset (and sunrise) is just a short walk away from us. However, we were too busy sleeping, we missed them both (sunrise and sunset). Like we went there just to rest, watch some movies, read and enjoy the placidness of our room with 2 comfy beds which allowed us to elude the city’s bustle. I was planning to unplug for that particular weekend but the speed of their internet is too fast so I enjoyed browsing and uploading photos as well. =)
Come dinner time, after scrutinizing choices of where we could eat at the lobby,
we opted to just go out and proceeded to this Seafood market which popularly known here in our country as “Dampa”. It took us less than 20 minutes to get there. The method of dining at Dampa is you choose first your seafood from the fresh market, everything are still in the water and the vendor will recommend restaurants where it is best to prepare and cook it. The charge will be separate.
You might want to look around and not settle right away on the first stall you bump into, who knows there’s a better price somewhere else. =)
What we had are shrimps, scallops, and lobsters. The last item is for Jen’s heart’s content. You’ll get crazy when she craves.
We partnered them with broccoli and Yang chow rice. We went back to the hotel after an hour with happy tummies.
Oh, there’s more. We later found out that our breakfast will not be sent to our room the following morning since what comes with our package is a Breakfast buffet. Hmmmn. Happy tummies again. =) I think this is the best part of the stay, we just enjoyed eating together without the need of going to the market, prepare our meal’s ingredients, cook them before we can eat, like everything here is free-flowing and just in front of us. Foodies!
Hotel Jen is in the following countries:
Hotel Jen Beijing
Hotel Jen Shenyang
Hotel Jen Hong Kong
Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia
Hotel Jen Penang
Hotel Jen Malé, Maldives
Hotel Jen Manila
There are 2 Hotel Jen in Singapore and they’re putting up one in Kota Kinabalu by year 2020.
Jen wanted to know how did they end-up with the hotel’s name. So I had to research for it. The website says that it is the brainchild of a virtual persona: Jen, that she owns a hotel, and all-time lover of life, travel and discovery.
It’s just great to know that some of our “Where to next” destination(s) were included in their list of locations. Jen is excited again. I was telling her can we try other hotels and she played deaf even on my second query. Hmmmn.
Hotel Jen isn’t too luxurious since it is just a 4- star hotel but as long as the people are friendly, the amenities are clean, everything is working, we are safe, all that we need is there, it is already truly an R&R for the two of us, and she is already checking her calendar for our next staycation.
We missed doing this a lot. The last one we had I think was a few years ago. =) I know we’re going to do it more often.
It is so gratifying to always have something to look forward to right? =) Because we deserve a break every once in a while and #seizethestay …
Hotel Jen is previously Traders Hotel also under Shangri-la Resorts and Hotels Management.
To book your stay, you can call them at: 02-795-8888
I might sound redundant but I’m really thankful to discover Kaparkan falls leading me to a lot more exciting places to see in this specific province that’s sometimes patented to be unsafe. Actually it is safe. We didn’t encounter anything shaky the whole time we were there. But of course, we always pray for safety each time we go out right?
So the news we’ve been hearing (mostly politics related), didn’t deter our eagerness to visit this province.
On top of Kaparkan Falls, here are some of the places our travel agency flaunted to us. These and the team spirit (good vibes) made this trip a memorable one.
Don Mariano Marcos bridge (Abra Kalinga National Road)
San Lorenzo Ruiz church (Bangued, Abra)
Bangued is the capital of Abra.
St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral (Tayum, Abra)
Both churches are still closed, and since it’s my first time being there, I made my wishes and prayers. =)
Tangadan Welcome Tunnel (San Quintin, Abra)
Gabriela Silang Monument (San Quintin, Abra)
Abra Pasalubong Center (San Quintin, Abra)
Open Theater at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)
View deck at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)
Balay ni Gian/ Carl Louie (for the longganiza and bagnet)
Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts (Tayum, Abra)
Come lunch time, we had ours at “Hidden Garden” – Vigan City
Crisologo Street – Vigan City
On our way back to Manila, they were already discussing when and where to go next. Most of our photos are with hashtag: #wheretonext
“If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.” ~ Tory Burch
I have always been inspired by bloggers all these years and as I do my daily readings, I came across this place: Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra.Upon research, Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra_(province)
I have been to the Ilocos region several times, and I honestly wondered why I missed this spectacular province. Thanks to the bloggers I follow who’ve been there and densely illustrated its’ beauty and what to expect. In my heart, I knew then, Abra is one I shouldn’t miss. Specifically that falls in Tineg.
So one weekend of October, our travel agency announced that it’s time to go, it has been postponed for several times already due to the typhoons in the Philippines and my heart is pounding at the thought of waiting for another year to see Kaparkan falls. The best time to visit is during rainy season as it runs dry during the summer months. However, I’d still insist to call it my own Summer in October. =)
I have to thank the agency: Traveler Point PH for being so organized, caring and had us experience this “ABRAMAZING” weekend.
Day 1 – Friday night:
Our pick-up point is at Greenfields (Mandaluyong City) at 9:00 pm, our organizer is a couple who loves to travel too, we shared the trip along with 8 millennials who made the trip more exciting and full of fun despite of the perplexity of reaching our destination(s). We arrived at The Department of Tourism Office, Tineg around 6:00 am, it is estimated at 8 hours travel time from Manila, however due to several stop-overs, it took us 9 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We were briefed before hitting the road. And at exactly 7:00 am, we are ready.
I am actually surprised knowing we’re riding on this Army truck.
Its’ tires at 1100 x 20 (all terrain), I thought I was lucky that my assigned seat is at the front with 2 millennial girls who made me laugh the whole time. While Jen is at the back along with the other travelers. I was telling her she wouldn’t like it in front, and she’s also saying I wouldn’t like it too at the back. As they say: “Sa harap, kitang-kita, sa likod, damang-dama!” (English translation: “The rough road is so visible in front, while the roughness and bumpiness is felt most at the back!”)
Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:
is The Don Mariano Marcos bridge. The third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.812 linear meters. #thisthingwithwelcomearchs
As oriented, this “one hell of a ride” is more or less than 4 hours, and less than an hour trek to reach our destination.
It is my first time to experience one such ride, upon being there, and finally witnessing this magnificent falls, I hear everyone saying “Oh My God!” several times! Myself, speechless. I must say it (bruises, scratches, broken nails, etc.) was truly worth it, I totally forgot about that “ride” upon seeing Kaparkan falls. Let these pictures speak for themselves. =)
Nature has it’s own special way of taking my breath away.
Those rows of limestones are naturally formed in that wondrous presence through the years, though it made me wonder, they aren’t slippery. I was too careful as it glistens when one of them told me that it isn’t slippery. Because of this, I began my wanderings and conquered my fear. =)
Our coordinator must know how famished we’d be, upon reaching our Transient home dinner time, they had this “Boodle fight” dinner set-up to welcome our group. Yum! =) We have fresh fruits too!
Our itinerary come Sunday is composed of some interesting places which I will blog separately.
Just this one at Kaparkan Fallssubstantiates that my more than a year waiting time to visit Abra is truly worth it. While there’s more this province can offer.
It is the highlight of this trip while I have my own personal highlight too, it is our visit to Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts, which really satiated not just my eyes but my soul too.
Our itinerary for Day 2 includes: A visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral,Tangadan Tunnel,Gabriela Silang monument and Abra Pasalubong Center, passed by Don Mariano Marcos bridge, the open theater and view deck at Victoria park, another visit to an old heritage church: San Lorenzo Ruiz churchat the Camposanto, Bangued, side trip to Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, we also went to Balay ni Gianto buy Vigan longganiza and Bagnet(at Carl Louie) as pasalubong (goodies for loved ones at home). Our itinerary includes the Bantay Church Bell tower, the Gourd hat maker, the Loom weaving village, Acosta panciteria (that famous Abra pancit miki). But due to time constraint, we missed those ones. But it’s okay. For those who will visit Abra, these are also some spots you would want not to miss.
So this is how we spent this one amazing weekend at Abra. I must agree whenever they say it’s “Abramazing!”
And so it seems that the popularity of Authentic Filipino restaurants like Dencio’s and Gerry’s Grill reached that leverage of being imitated by many.
The tarpaulin ad of “Kuya J” is so distracting when we passed by SM Dasmarinas, Cavite on our way to visit some clients.
It is almost lunch-time and we opted to have our lunch there after one more client visit.
The temperature lately in the Philippines is so unbearable as we are not used to it, even if we are a Tropical country, with scorching winds, even if we’re in a province, it made us rush to the nearest mall. And to the nearest food stall.
And we ended up at “Kuya J”. Upon review of their menu, it is like a newer version of what you will see from Gerry’s grill or Dencio’s.
And while I was reviewing the menu, my colleagues are interviewing the attendant if the “J” stands for Jericho (he is the official model of their ads, he is a famous heartthrob in our country), just like asking if Jericho owns “Kuya J” and we were informed that he is just a model and the restaurant is owned by a Chinese Businessman based in Cebu.
And we’ve had what?
We opted to try their Kare-kareng Bagnet. I (or we) didn’t like the shrimp paste (bagoong) that much.
We also tried their Pinakbet. And we liked it.
We also had Crispy beef tadyang (ribs).
I personally like the vinegar, it has a tasteful flavor. I am not much into vinegar sauces, but this one I was able to tolerate.
For dessert, we all wished for the fried halo-halo, it is not just available at that time so they ordered for the real one.
It was a winner. We especially liked the milky ice, it is so fine and no feel of ice bits.
Since we didn’t get our fried halo-halo, we asked the attendant if there’s a corkage should we bring food from another establishment, and they said it’s okay.
Calling it a hefty lunch essentials. We had our finale. Two different cakes from Cakes by Kat.
We had Chocolate indulgence cake and of course, blueberry cheesecake.
And we’re back to work with smiles.
In a different occasion, we’ve tried these equally delicious treats:
Happy tummies! =)
There are more than 50 branches of Kuya J nationwide. One could be just near you. =)