Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kid's Camp 2009: SonHarvest @Batangas

3 days, 2 nights, 111 kid campers and 34 workers... whoooww!?

Seems purely statistics huh, but in these numbers hide the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in our recent summer kid's camp ->> SonHarvest @Hacienda Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas last April 24-26, 2009.

Indeed the Lord never fails to WOW us... Our ministry prayed for 80 campers only, considering the financial downfall we're experienced today in the country, but God gave us 111 cheerful, amiable, active, diverse and interesting kids.

Quoting from the bible in Matthew 9:37(New International Version),
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

But in spite of worker's bounded headcount of 34(11 teachers, 14 youth and 9 adult volunteer), the grace of God is infinite and immeasurable for He sustains and strengthens us to accomplish this 3 day, 2 night agile event, where teachers and workers need to rise&shine at 5:00am for the devotion and lights off at 11:00pm after huddle.

I was just so blessed with our youth volunteers who does not rant or complain, but in their exhaustion generously give their service to this ministry. God bless you guys! You'll never know how your sacrifices can affect the lives of the kids that you're ministering...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SB's Dark Berry Mocha Frap

Introducing Dark Berry Mocha frappuccino... Now the MUST-TRY drink of STARBUCKS for this summer.
Fine ice blended coffee plus chocolate chips, with creamy whipped cream and fruity black berry syrup on top.

Combination of sour and sweet taste with bits of choco chips that tickle your taste buds... I remember taking my medicines when I was a kid... ;))

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ilocos Road Trip 2009 in Action

From - 4pm, April 5, 2009
To - 12am, April 9, 2009

Adventurers:( From left to right )

Bernard - navigator / comedian
Tin - humble heir, who accommodated us in their ancestral house in Vigan
Micah - great observer
Girlie - organizer / financial officer
Graciel - picture addict & joker
Joseph - manager / driver

Joseph's Hyundai Tucson - ZRF 693

North escapade... Below are the highways, major bridge and list of towns we passed by coming from Manila all the way to the province of Ilocos Norte:

North Luzon Expressway / NLex
- Balintawak Toll Barrier ( Quezon City )
Toll fee: Php 36.00

- Santa Ines Exit ( Mabalacat, Pampanga )
Toll fee: Php 138.00

Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway / SCTex
- Tarlac Exit ( La Paz, Tarlac )
Toll fee: Php 69.00
Hyundai Tucson speed up to 140km/hour, we reached Tarlac in less than 20 minutes. :D
Definitely a time-saver, motorist friendly and a tool for roadtrip enthusiasts...

- Gerona
- Paniqui
- San Miguel

- Rosales
- Villasis
- Urdaneta
- Binalonan
- Pozorrubio
- Sison

La Union
- Rosario
- Sto. Tomas
- Agoo
- Aringay
- Caba
- Bauang
- San Fernando
- San Juan
- Bacnotan
- Balaoan
- Bangar
- Supiden

Ilocos Sur
- Tagudin (Dona Alicia Memorial Bridge)
- Sta. Cruz
- Sta. Lucia
- Candon
- Santiago
- San Esteban
- Sta. Maria
- Narvacan
- Santa
- Bantay (Quirino Bridge)
- Sto. Domingo
- Masingal
- San Juan
- Cabugao
- Sinait

Ilocos Norte
- Badoc
- Pinili
- Currimao
- Batac
- San Nicolas
- Laoag
- Bacarra
- Pasuquin
- Burgos
- Bangui
- Pagudpud

Stop Over and Visited Places:

1. Bulalohan @ Sison, Pangasinan

2. Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
- St. Paul Cathedral
- Burgos Museum
- Salzedo Plaza
- Burgos Plaza
- Ilocos Sur Capitol
- Calle Crisologo
- Pagburnayan (Pottery Making)
- Baluarte

3. Bantay, Ilocos Sur
- Bantay Chuch and Bell Tower

4. Burgos, Ilocos Norte
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

5. Bangui, Ilocos Norte
- Bangui Windmills
- Kangkang Cafe

6. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
- Jun & Carols Beach Cottages
- Saud Beach
- Kabigan Falls
- Patapat Viaduct
- Sarabo Store

7. McDonalds @ Laoag, Ilocos Norte

8. Batac, Ilocos Norte
- Marcos Museum

9. Paoay, Ilocos Norte
- Paoay Church

10. Jollibee @ San Fernando, La Union

Total kilometers:
From Balintawak Toll to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte back to Balintawak, we drive a total of 1262 kilometers in almost 4 days of road trip.

Indeed a one-of-a-kind experience... and certified road trip in action :D

RoadTrip 09: Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Attraction: Paoay Church and Lake
Location: Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Date: April 8, 2009

I thought I could only see it in postcards... Until I meet this gorgeous architecture which dazzled me.

St. Augustine Church also known as "Paoay Church" was built from 1704 to 1894.

Build to withstand earthquakes, which is one of the most destructive calamities here in the Philippines, its walls are more than 3 feet thick, and all made of coral blocks, tree sap, stucco-plastered and lumber.

The Paoay Church was declared a national treasure by President Marcos in order to preserve its state. It is now included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

How to get there?
Few kilometers south from Laoag, turn right in Crossing Batac.

RoadTrip 09: Batac, Ilocos Norte

Attraction: Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
Location: Batac, Ilocos Norte
Date: April 8, 2008

Right in the heart of Batac City, Ilocos Norte, lays the preserved, waxen corpse of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos in a glass-entombed crypt inside his Mausoleum. With Gregorian chant in the background... Btw, cameras are not allowed inside this area.

Across the mausoleum is a museum that housed some of the memorabilia of late President Marcos, which consists of his photos with Imelda, his military awards, his government-issued plates, his pieces of writings and his work desk and chair. On the 2nd floor of the museum holds the office of his son Bongbong Marcos, who is a current congressman elect.

Adjacent to the museum is the Marcos mansion where the dictator president grew up and the house of Dona Josefa Edralin(his mother) which are both under renovation during our visit.

How to get there?
Few kilometers south from Laoag, turn left in Marcos Avenue also known as Crossing Batac.

RoadTrip 09: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Attraction: Saud beaches, Kabiga Falls and Patapat Viaduct
Location: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Date: April 7, 2009

Saud Beaches
under construction...

Kabiga Falls

1.2km trek from the Kabiga sitio entrance. After 30-45 minute walk, passing through hectares of land fields and 3 rivers, reveals a 120 feet water falls protected by rainforest trees.

A refreshing way to enjoy mother earth. Absolutely worth the walk. Plus having a friendly, approachable, to-the-rescue tourist guide, Ate Maribel who runs off the river to save Joseph's Nike slipper... ;))

Green is IN... plus a narra tree, what else is missing?!

Before I miss, you need to pay Php15.00 entrance fee per head upon entrance at the gate and you can also ask for tourist guide whom you can pay at least Php100.00 after the trek.

Patapat Viaduct

Underneath the North Cordillera Mountain Range lays the 12-km winding bridge known as the Patapat Bridge, popularly known as the French Riviera of the North which is the only link from Ilocos to Cagayan.

From the Patapat bridge you can have a glimpse of the breathtaking panoramic view of the Pasaleng Bay.

Unconvinced?! Let the pictures do the talking...

RoadTrip 09: Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Attraction: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
Location: Burgos, Ilocos Norte
Date: April 7, 2009

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse.

Designed by Engineer Magin Pers y Pers in 1890, completed in 1892 by Engineer Guillermo Brockman. Stands grandly and 160 meters on top of Vigia de Nagpartian Hill, the lighthouse is made from local fabricated bricks and accented with cast metal grillwork.

Up to date, Burgos lighthouse serves as mute guidepost to all sea navigators sailing in northern part of the South China Sea.

Embracing fresh air as we stand on top of Vigia de Nagparitan Hill, in our back is the South China Sea. From our position you can view the actual contour of the North West coastline of the Philippines.

Requires 63 steps from antique spiral staircase + 12 steps to reach this shot. Top of the lighthouse... :P

More pics :D

How to get there?
All the way from Vigan we took Pan-Philippine Highway (also known as the Maharlika Highway), passing through the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte... You can't miss it when driving going to Pagudpud. Upon entering Burgos, Ilocos Norte there is a sign board along the highway that leads you to a two-lane narrow concrete road of Nagpartian hill.

RoadTrip 09: Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Location: Bangui, Ilocos Norte
Attraction: Bangui Windmills
Date: April 7, 2009

Encounter with the 15 tall, white wind turbines of Bangui, which were built by the NorthWind Power Development Corporation to help reduce emission of harmful greenhouse gases causing global warming and to accelerate the rural electrification of the goverment.

These tri-blade windmill which began operating in 2005, provides 40 percent of the power needed by the entire province of Ilocos Norte. Each kilowatt-hour produced by the Bangui wind farm is also seven centavos cheaper than fossil-fuel power.

Each gigantic windmill is 70 meters high, and each blade is 41 meters long extending a total of 9 kilometers along the Bangui Bay. Too great to ignore :D

Another attraction here in Bangui is no less than "Kangkang Windmill Cafe" - the only cafe and restaurant you'll find near Bangui Windmills. The word "Kangkang" is the name of their sitio which originally a name of a rural bird that creates the sound "kangkang."

Food that is served generously, healthy and fresh.
Plus cool sea breeze.
Plus friendly and accommodating crew & staff
Equals superb and indulgent breakfast at Kangkang Cafe :D

Opps, make sure you won't miss to order their special Kangkang Brew - made from fine, whole coffee bean imported from Switzerland... fresh roasted... brewed perfectly... fragrant aroma... rich flavour... superb taste :D ( caution HOT )

For only Php45.00 per cup... cheap at its best:D

For your eyes only :D

How to get there?
From Burgos Lighthouse, we followed Pan-Philippine Highway (also known as the Maharlika Highway) and head to Cagayan. After passing through Burgos town proper, you'll see directional marker in the left side of the road. Turn left before the bridge which will lead you to gravel road heading Bangui Bay.

RoadTrip 09: Vigan, Ilocos Sur

St. Paul Cathedral
Plaza Salzedo
Plaza Burgos
Calle Crisologo
Burgos Museum
Pagburnayan (Pottery Making)
Baluarte Zoo
Location: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Date: April 6, 2009

The Heritage City of Vigan

The name came from the Ilocano word “kabiga-an” pertaining to the plant “biga” abounds. Biga is a tuberous plant (alocadia indica) that once grew along the banks of its rivers. Today, Vigan City was included in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Heritage City of Vigan unveils various must-see places and attractions that showcase the inheritance and culture of the Biguenos. This includes some of the ancient churches, cultural museums, inviting park and plaza, pagburnayan(pottery making), baluarte zoo, caleza ride, longganiza and empanada delicacies and the welcoming faces of the people.

Time space warp! Back to the past... The cobblestoned streets of Calle Crisologo and its antique architectures brings me back to the time of Spanish regime way back in 15th and 16th century. Not only that Heritage Village offers a lot of souvenir shops where you can bargain for native pasalubongs as you travel back to the present time. :P

Oppps but wait till you see Calle Crisologo @night, and be mesmerized by the cushy, illuminated color from each lamp post that blends perfectly with stars and moon at night. Enchanting it is!

Indeed Vigan has been successful in preserving the history, antiquity and unique architecture of the city.

Finally, Baluarte Zoo which is more than just a zoo... 80 hectares of terrains, hills and mountain sides build for interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility by Gov. Chavit Singson in the late 1990's. Here visitors can actually feed, pet, ride the "tiburin"(a small horse-drawn carriage) and visit the Butterfly Garden.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ilocos Road Trip Tips

Planning for a road trip? Catch some of road trip tips as we conquered the North... :)

1. Set a suitable date of the trip - "suitable" means agreeable(especially when you're traveling in group), strategic and convenient. In our case we headed North 4pm of April 5, Sunday, wherein highways our just "our ways" since travelers already moved Friday and Saturday nights. And we went back to Manila, April 8, Wednesday where travelers are mostly heading North due to lent season. Again highways are not congested in our side which means higher speed and shorter travel time. Wheeww, what a relief :D

2. Prepare an itinerary - Essentially "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Making an itinerary serves as guide so you could max out your trip. We had a 3 day, 3 night trip and here's how we stretched it.

DAY 1: April 5, Sunday -  Depart Manila to Vigan
Call time: 3pm Trinoma
ETA: April 6, 1am

Rest at Tin's ancestral house :D

DAY 2: April 6, Monday - Vigan, Batac Tour
Call Time: 6am

St Paul Cathedral
Burgos Museum
Bantay Church and Bell Tower
Pagburnayan (Pottery Making)
Crisologo Museum
Heritage Village
Syquia Mansion (Entrance fee = 20)
Baluarte Mini Zoo

12:00pm - LUNCH

Badoc Juan Luna Shrine
Marcos Museum
Malacanang of the North
Paoay Church and Lake

Rest at Tin's ancestral house :D

DAY 3: April 7, Tuesday -  Depart Vigan to Pagudpud
Call Time: 5am
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
Bangui Kang Kang Cafe - Breakfast
Bangui Windmills

12:00pm – LUNCH

PM – Check in to Resort, SWIM, SWIM
Kabigan Falls (Entrance fee = 10)

DAY 4: April 8, Wednesday - Depart Pagudpud to Manila
Call Time: 7am
Patapat Bridge Stop over
Marcia's Delicacies(Bantay, Ilocos Sur) Stop over - Pasalubong

Don't forget to consider this one thing which we failed to include in our itinerary - Museums are closed during Mondays and Holidays :D

3. Travel light - Do not panic when packing. Choose appropriate clothes to bring and pack only the important stuff. Wear comfortable slippers, which you could use for the entire trip, so you would not need to bring another footwear.

4. Be Prepared - Bring first aid kit and medicines.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You can make a difference...

This less than 10 minute movie clip surely made my entire day... more than enough... It divulge understanding on the importance of life, relationship and concern for other people. Which we tend to neglect because we are too busy doing what's written on our job descriptions.

A heart-warming, eye-opener media not only for teachers but for every all... no one is exempted... just to share my personal favorite lines:

Teddy: Thank you for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.
Miss Thompson: (In tears)Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you.

The Teacher's Movie
by Mary Robinson Reynolds
story by Elizabeth Silance Ballard

We may not be the best teacher or best employee or best manager or best mother or best father or best daughter or best son in the entire world. But we could always have a significant role affecting the lives of people around us, especially our family.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lahing Kayumanggi

by Mr. Willy Buena, Bread of Life Ministries International

Nakikita mo ba
Ang nakikita ng iba
Mga naririnig nila
Naririnig mo ba
Lahi mo ba'y alam mo na
O hinahanap mo pa?

Lahing kayumanggi lumalaban ka ba?
Nangangarap ka ba na tulad ng iba?
Bayan kong natutulog, gumising ka na
Tayo ang magbubuo ng panibagong historya.

Sa bawat pangarap may kalakip na hirap
Sa bawat lakbayin
May maliliit na hakbangin
Itong aming mithiin
Sa 'Yo O Diyos dinadalangin
Ibangon Mo ang aming bansa
Ang lahing kayumanggi.

Ikaw lamang O Diyos ang tanging may alam
Ng aming pinagmulan at patutunguhan
Ibuhos Mo sa amin
Ang apoy ng 'Yong pagmamahal
Upang kami'y makatayo
Bilang Iyong bayan.

Sa bawat pangarap may kalakip na hirap
Sa bawat lakbayin
May maliliit na hakbangin
Itong aming mithiin
Sa 'Yo O Diyos dinadalangin
Ibangon Mo ang aming bansa
Ang lahing kayumanggi.

Wait till you hear this song, and find your heart crying out to God to heal our land.

Only if every Filipino will have the heart to love his country more than he love himself... Our kids will have a bright future :D

Download Lahing Kayumanggi mp3 here.