A Memorable Trip to Cagayan de Oro

My mom, dad, younger sister, and I spent 2 days in Cagayan de Oro for New Year’s. It was a very spur-of-the-moment trip. My dad needed to buy a car part, and my younger sister decided that we all tagged along. So she booked us round trip flights, and reserved 2 rooms at a lodge near the airport.

I’ve always wanted to visit CDO. It is well -known for its whitewater rafting and it’s just about an hour away to Bukidnon which houses the Dahilayan Adventure Park. The park is well-known for being Asia’s longest dual zipline at 840m.

I’ve always thought that when I come there, it would be a trip with friends, being their photographer as they take on all the adventures with me just sitting in the sidelines watching them (I know, boring right?). But as it turns out, I had to try all of it because my sister just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m glad I did because it felt great.

This is one memorable trip because I conquered so many fears. My fear of water, my fear of heights, etc etc. I even enjoyed whitewater rafting and would not hesitate to do it all over again!

Our first day was kind of blah. We arrived there at about 7am, checked-in, and slept until lunch time as were sort of still hung over from the mini drinking sesh that happened on New Year’s eve. And then we headed to SM which was near where we stayed, ate lunch and watched a movie. While we were waiting for our movie (as we were two hours early), Dimple (my younger sister) and I decided to go to the arcade and play Dance Revolution, another first for me. We sucked initially, but got the hang of it after a few tries.

We watched One More Try. My dad was against watching at first because they were all showing Tagalog movies, but after watching, he was the one who enjoyed the movie the most while the rest of us were just blah about it. Hahaha..

Our second day was the more hectic one. My parents went off to Osmena where they looked for car parts, while my sister and I booked a whitewater rafting course in the morning. We were picked up by a jeepney, and we were grouped together with a balikbayan family. It was about a 30-min ride to the site. When we got there, we underwent orientation about basic paddling, and safety precautions should anything untoward happen, like maybe getting thrown out of the boat (which happened to me by the way, FUCKING AWESOME!).

We took the beginners course which included 14 rapids, 3 of which are critical, or so the guide said. The whole ride was approximately 3 hours. The view was magnificent. We were paddling on the Cagayan River which is the river that separates Cagayan from Bukidnon. It was raining as well and all you could hear were birds chirping, water gushing, and our voices.

We stopped for a minute on the still waters for a dip. My sister went for it, while I stayed in the raft as I had already taken an unexpected swim in one of the rapids earlier. Teehee. (Funny thing, before I took that fall, my sister and I switched places because she was complaining that her butt was getting numb. If we hadn’t switch, she would’ve been the one to be thrown into the water, and not me. Pfft.)

In the afternoon, we booked a van to take us to Dahilayan Adventure Park to try the zipline. It was a long, but beautiful drive to Bukidnon. Beautiful because we passed by the Del Monte plantation and we were all in awe– too many corns and pineapples! And it was a foggy cold afternoon too. It was like being in Baguio. Fog everywhere!

When we got to the park, I was having second thoughts. I really didn’t wanna do it anymore because for me, the adventure of whitewater rafting was enough for the day. I didn’t want to go through another heart-stopping activity. But again, my sister talked me into it. I almost backed out of it when we were about to be launched but to no avail. I just sucked it up and went for it. Hahaha..

After that, we didn’t have time to go visit places in the city. So we just went to a pasalubong store to get souvenirs (I didn’t get any because the store had limited options. Meh) and headed back to the lodge to get rest and prepare for our flight early the next morning.

I never imagined that a 2-day trip could be this awesome. But it waaaaaaaaaaaas! I can never say that enough. Here are pictures from the trip (in no particular order):

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Foggy!
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Del Monte Plantation. Long drive to Dahilayan
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Lodge restaurant

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This place merits another trip. Maybe next year again? Teehee – RA

All rafting pics were taken by Timyong from 1st Rafting Adventure and all zipline pictures that had me in it were taken by my mom. 🙂

Of Eating Kare-Kare, Long J.Co Queue, and Christmas Rush at the Airport

(I was gonna post B&W pictures but decided against it because I don’t have enough quality photos to post. I am skipping black and white Friday this week. 🙁 Sorry! )

Anywho, yesterday was quite a busy day for me (which was also why I couldn’t take decent b&w photos). I had to work, pack my things, clean the house, and head to the mall to buy last minute stuff before my early morning flight to Zamboanga this morning.

I only had a couple of hours snooze time because my flight was at 5:45am and I needed to be in the airport at 3:45am– which didn’t happen because I had my alarm set at 3am and while I was preppin’, I lost track of time. So we got out of the house at 4am and arrived at the airport at 4:30am. This is normally okay, but what I didn’t expect was the throng of people wanting to check-in to their flight. THIS IS THE ONLY REASON I HATE THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. Aargh, and I hate myself for not thinking about it ahead of time.

So I had to queue, and the lady at the check-in counter was so slow. I really thought I was gonna miss my flight at the rate she was going. 🙁 Good thing a guy holding up a Zamboanga sign was doing a last check-in call for Zamboanga-bound passengers as the plane was leaving in less than an hour. So, he took my plane ticket and they accommodated me first. YAY! I was too happy to even bother listening to the snide comments made by the people still waiting in the long queue. To all of you, I’m so sorry. 🙂

Here are some of the pictures I took while my friend and I were in the mall. We went to Alabang Town Center, which is my favorite mall because it’s near my place and I don’t have to go all the way to Manila and pay a gazillion pesos for expressway toll fee. =_=”. We dined at Recipes, one of our favorite restaurants and ate Kare-Kare and General’s Chicken, our favorite dishes.

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General’s Chicken and Kare-Kare, two of our most-ordered dishes whenever we visit Recipes. 
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We were wanting to get J.Co donuts, but there was a long queue — as always! (facepalm) and I was too tired to face all of that. The donuts will have to wait until I get back to Manila.
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So, in my disappointment, I just took a picture of this cute turtle bread from Bread Talk which was just in front of the J.Co store. Haha..
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Lovely lights by the Rustan’s entrance (and a random person smiling for my camera. gotta love that! ahhaha)

I wasn’t able to take any pictures when I was at the airport. I was too  rushed to be all tourist-y and stuff. Hahaha.. But I got home to Zamboanga safe and sound, and probably haggard-looking. LOL. I am excited as this is the first time in a long time that I will be spending Christmas and New Year’s at home with my parents and my younger sister who’s flying back from Singapore. Happy times. — RA

 

Celebrated Best Friend’s Birthday in Bohol

This is an overdue post. =_=

Last August, I was lucky enough to tag along with my friend in a family-slash-birthday trip to Bohol. We stayed in Dumaluan Beach Resort and went on a tour.

One of our stops was this place. I forgot what the place was called. But the reason we went there was for a ride that’s called The Plunge. Reena and her brother went for it while I and Tita Offie took pictures.

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The Adventure Menu. We didn’t try any of the other stuff because they weren’t available at the time (and we didn’t have the money anyways!). LOL
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You’re not paying for the ride. You’re paying for the experience.
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Reena after the drop.
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Riz after the drop.
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Drop point
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A view of what’s below.

And then of course we went to the famous Chocolate Hills:

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Pretty
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Reena’s a ninja

And then we went to the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc, Bohol.

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Obligatory tourist post.
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Hello there big-eyed creature you. So cute. (Reminds me of Gollum — My precious!)
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A beetle.
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Sleepyhead

One of the highlights of the tour was a buffet lunch afloat a boat while cruising through the river. It was an awesome experience. I saw a group of dogs fishing:

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Dogs!!!
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Hello fella.
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Goodness. This was stressful.
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Cold-blooded.
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Underwater shot of Reena. I used my DSLR camera here with underwater protection. It didn’t have the best quality. Thankfully the water was crystal clear.

Too bad this was a rather short trip. I would’ve wanted to explore Cebu right after, but time didn’t permit. Maybe Cebu deserves a whole different trip/tour altogether. Hmm, maybe in 2013. –RA

Sunrise Buckets, The Grove

I went to Sunrise Buckets yesterday for the second time and thought I’d share pictures of the place here in my blog. They have the cutest interior design! And their wings are great too!

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Their chicken comes in this cute red bucket.
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You get more when you take your food out. Awesome!
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Some surf love.
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More cute stuff
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Yes we did try the Sunrise Original the first time we went there and their Ultimate Crazy Hot flavor and it was just that – CRAZY HOT!!!
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The most amazing rootbeer float I’ve ever had.
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Reena devouring the icecream on her rootbeer float
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Chili Cheese Fries
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More wall art.
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Order counter. They don’t charge a service fee, so the customers go up to this counter and place their orders.
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Cute display.
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Life’s a beach. INDEED.
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Surfboards on the wall.
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I’ve only been to Bangkok out of all these.  🙁
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My flavor? I loved the BBQ Berry Sauce! And the Jack Daniels wasn’t so bad too. I love spicy food, but I’ll leave the Ultimate Crazy Hot flavor to the crazier people out there. Haha. So what’s yours?
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Messages on post-its.
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Cute designs
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Best root beer ever.

I am a bit sad that I didn’t get a single decent picture of their chicken wings. *fail* I took one before eating but I was too hungry to bother checking if it was a good shot or not. Hahaha.. sorry.

I know Sunrise Buckets also has a branch in Greenhills but I haven’t dined there yet. The Grove is nearer to my place.

Madison Square, Madison Street corner Ortigas Avenue,
North Greenhills, San Juan
Reservations 4-777-636
Sunrise Buckets
The Grove by Rockwell, C5, Libis, Pasig City
(across Tiendesitas & SM Hypermart)
Reservations 0917-5949044

–RA

Experiencing Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Out of all the places I’ve ever been to in the Philippines, this one’s my favorite. It is so clean and it makes me proud that such a place exists in my country. It gives me some sort of hope that we can still be as clean as Singapore, if we wanted to.

We went on a tour and met a lot of nice people. It reminded me of when I was in Thailand – foreigners everywhere, accommodating tour guides, smiles, sand, and beach! We stayed at a beachfront resort, though the beach wasn’t really swimmable, the overall service was okay. Their breakfast was a disappointment, and their restaurant didn’t have as much options. The good thing was, Puerto Princesa was a place full of restaurants with good food. And our resort was accommodating enough to drive their guests to the town proper when they want to go out.  We tried Kalui and Balinsasayaw which were both great.

Here are some photos from the tour:

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The bar at the resort restaurant.
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The dog at the resort.
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A flower that our tour van had to stop for so we could take pictures. I don’t know what kind of flower this is but took a picture anyways.

Continue reading

Sta. Cruz Island, Zamboanga City

I mentioned a couple of posts back that my friends were coming over to Zamboanga for a visit. So they did and one of the places we went to was The Great Santa Cruz Island.

A view Sta Cruz Island from Paseo del Mar

It was my first time to go there despite the fact that I lived in Zamboanga city for 4 years when I was in college, and that we owned a house here. It’s just that years ago, going there was just never an option, what with the rampant kidnappings during those times.

But it was always a dream for me to go there. I remember that one of our text books back in grade school featured Sta Cruz Island, describing it as a heart-shaped island that is known for its pink sand. As a child, hearing of a place with pink sand (PINK! As in my favorite color. WTF o_O) was pretty awesome and dreamy. And the fact that it was in my parents’ hometown made it way awesome-r. LOL. Oh, and did I mention it was heart-shaped too? ASJGAKDFDDJAA&; *flails* Continue reading

Zamboanga and Mom’s Garden

I’ve been so busy the past few weeks. Had a trip to Bohol, had a 3-day meeting with the boss, finished a layout, and I am yet to upload all my travel pictures and portraits that I took of my brother’s family.

Anywho, last Saturday, I flew back to Zamboanga City, my hometown (well, it’s my parents’ hometown, I was born and raised in Manila, does that make me a Zamboangueña? WTF). I will be staying here for a month (ah, the joys of working from home!!!) and in a week’s time, 2 of my closest friends will be coming over to visit. So yes, I will be playing the part of a tour guide, when I barely know this place. WTF. I’ve managed to read a few articles over the internet and I’ve decided on an itinerary. I’ll be sure to post our adventure pictures. I am excited because I don’t get to show Zamboanga to many of my friends who live in Manila.

One of the things I look forward to whenever I come home for a visit, aside from my mom’s delicious cooking, is taking pictures of my her flowers/plants. She has a fair number of plants in her garden. Here are a couple of shots from today:


I love this shot so much! This flower (don’t ask me what it’s called) was partly hidden by leaves from other plants but some part of it was lighted by the sun, thus the dark background. It’s almost as if it’s illuminating light! Or maybe it’s just me and my imagination? o_O?


And here is a picture of a Gumamela (Hibiscus Flower) or just the middle part of it. Meh. :

I will be taking more pictures in the next few days so you will be getting more plants for sure. Bear with me?

Rock on! – RA

That Time I Fangirled Hard at the Universal Studios Singapore

One of the things I really love is when an anime/cartoon or a book turns into a live action movie or series and the movie lived up to the awesomeness of the original version. I just have a lot of respect for filmmakers who can pull that off. There’s just something so unbelievably remarkable when a cartoon character comes into life right before your very eyes.

Transformers is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s just cool and awesome and I run out of words to describe it. I clapped and did a standing ovation after I saw it in the cinema. There’s just too much awe. I didn’t even care much about the whole storyline. What mattered was there was Prime and Bumblebee, transforming into real cars, talking to real people, it was just pure love.

I felt that again after going to the Universal Studios Singapore and went in the Transformers The Ride. I cried. I felt I was part of the movie. It felt too real and I couldn’t help but feel emotional about it. I am a fangirl after all. I am not gonna go into details as to what the ride is all about. I suggest you just go ahead and try it yourself. You won’t be disappointed, whether you’re a fan or not. That ride was worth the SGD74 I paid for and more!

With that being said, I did enjoy some of the stuff we did there too. I had the most fun because I bonded with my two sisters. We wore the same shirts. Haha.. we’re dorks like that. We laughed for the most part, took pictures with awesome characters, and went on rides that shook us like nobody’s business. We were too chicken to try the Cylon and the Human though. Boohoo.

I also got to met the Streetboys who I was a big fan of when I was in high school. That was another highlight as well.

Here are some of the pictures from the trip:

The rest of the pictures are available here at my Facebook page.

Rock on! – RA

Fun at the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

My family and I had the chance to visit Jurong Bird Park yesterday. The bird park is the largest in the world in terms of number of birds. It boasts of a lot of attractions, among them are the tallest man-made falls and the Lory Loft. We didn’t get to explore the whole place because we got there at 4pm and the park closes at 6pm. So we only had less than a couple of hours to tour whatever we could.

The best fun we had was when we fed the Lory birds! Oh how awesome it was when they flock on the cup of food. Haha.. here are some of the pictures I took. I used my brother’s Sigma 28-300 f3.5-6.3 Macro lens for all the shots.

You can check out my Facebook Page for other pictures. 🙂

Getting Friendly with the Jellyfishes at The Manila Ocean Park

I am not very fond of the ocean. In fact, I have water anxiety. I don’t have a problem going to beaches, or swimming in shallow waters, but throw me in the middle of the ocean, or a deeper part of the beach, and I’d probably die of a heart attack first before drowning. It’s just how it’s always been. I remember when I was a kid, my family would go to the beach every summer and I would cry all the time because I couldn’t swim with my brothers and sisters for fear of being stung by a jellyfish. Yeah, it was that bad.

Now that I am older, I still have that same fear. But I’ve gotten to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and its creatures. I love going to beaches (even bought an underwater camera) to take pictures of fishes, corals, and whatnot. They’re just breathtaking. And as you know, Philippines has a few of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I’ve gone to a few, but I still have a long list to cross out!

A couple of weeks back, my family and I went to the Manila Ocean Park. I’ve always wanted to go there because I’ve heard so much about it – mostly good things. I had high hopes but was disappointed when I saw how shabby the place has become. I wish I had gone when it was newer. 🙁

This didn’t prevent me from having fun with my family (time with family is always fun!) and from taking pictures of the amazing collection of sea creatures they have there. Here are some:

You can check out the rest of my shots here: Raia Ajihil Photography on FB.

Rock on. RAP