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“Manong, pwede pong paki-baba na lang po kami sa mismong bayan ng Talisay!”
This was my request to the driver of the Ceres bus we took from Bacolod’s North Terminal, Monday morning, the second day of my Negros trip with one of my best friends. We got to the terminal by taking the Mandalagan-bound jeepney along Lacson Street, Bacolod’s main road!
My friend and I really didn’t have any idea on how to go to Talisay, the nearest city north of Bacolod and before Silay City, and how to get to the places we want to see that day, the Balay ni Tana Dicang and The Ruins, two of Negros’ famous ancestral houses. We thought that the best way to do it would be to go the center of the town, ask around, and take it from there.
More than 10 minutes after we left the North Terminal, our bus stopped at a school along the highway, and the driver told us we are in Talisay! We got off and saw several tricycles parked at the curb side. We approached the first one in line, and asked the driver if he could take us to The Ruins. We agreed on a price, Php 100, to take us there, but since he was nice and there are other places we would like to see, we ended up renting his tricycle for the trip around Talisay, for Php 500.
Manong’s tricycle sits two people in the front side, and two in the backside (though it would really be a tight fit), and one can sit on the motorcycle itself behind the driver. It was okay. I have tried the habal-habal before in Bukidnon and Siargao Island, and that one, you had to hold on to dear life! With my friend on the front side, and me in the back as I wanted to take pictures along the way, we started our adventure. We went back to the direction we took on the way to Talisay from Bacolod, bore off leftward towards the direction of the sugar cane fields and a new subdivision development at the start of it, near the main road.
I have seen photos of The Ruins but I was not prepared for the view that I will see after passing through fields and fields of sugar cane for about 10 to 15 minutes. We turned left before that tall structure above and I caught a glimpse of my first Negros ancestral house! One word for it, amazing!
We paid the Php 95 each entrance fee, and just stared for a while at the beautiful sight before us. Even if the weather was a bit gloomy when we set off that morning, the first glimpse of the house was like a ray of sunshine to us!
The Ruins or the mansion built by the sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in loving memory of his wife, Maria Braga, maybe just a shell of its former self now, but looking at it you can still see traces of how beautiful and grand the house must have been. Still standing tall, proud and beautiful, overlooking the vast area around her, as she had done for about a century now, she is like a queen, very regal despite the ravages of war, and time!
Still in awe, we entered the house reverently through its, still, grand entrance, and started our journey to the past.
The garden of the house is also very beautiful and the grounds, extensive.
We left the place feeling happy. My friend mentioned that the place exuded positive vibes.
With our heads still full of the images of The Ruins, we boarded our tricycle again, and the driver took us back to the city for our next ancestral house, the Balay ni Tana Dicang, the house of the Alunan-Lizares family which was turned into a lifestyle museum. It was actually the first one we went to as it is nearer, but it was still closed when we arrived there. The museum is open from 10AM onwards.
We paid the Php 100 entrance fee for adults (Php 20 for kids) and we started touring the beautiful bahay na bato built in the latter part of the 19th century for Don Efigenio Lizares and Doña Enrica Alunan.
Being in this house, I really felt like I entered a time machine and arrived in Spanish-era Philippines.
The house looks unchanged through the passage of time. When you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll have the feeling that the lady of the house in her finest clothes will come forward, and welcome you to her magnificent home (similar to a scene in the classic movie ‘Oro, Plata, Mata’).
Of all the Philippine ancestral houses that I have been to, so far, this is the grandest and the most preserved one I have toured!
It was a wonderful experience walking around the magnificent home and getting glimpses of how the family had lived in their very interesting times.
We asked our driver to take us also to the Talisay Church, as aside from ancestral houses, I also make it a point to visit beautiful, old churches in the places that I have been to!
Our last stop was a restaurant so we can have lunch before we travel back to Bacolod. Our driver brought us to this place. We thanked him as we parted ways. It was a wonderful, and indeed, a very different experience touring Talisay in his tricycle!
These much delicious food, and drinks, cost us only around Php 500. We were even unable to finish everything! Too much for our tummies!
We crossed the street, and flagged a Bacolod-bound jeepney. As Talisay receded from our sight, the experience of having stepped back in time, lingered.
• Please find below scanned copies of the leaflets I got on both houses for additional information about these beautiful places. You can also click on this link for Balay ni Tana Dicang and this link for The Ruins.
• If you would like to know more about Philippine ancestral houses, you can get this book. It is a bit pricey at Php 1,500, but worth it. I bought the book at National Bookstore. Balay ni Tana Dicang was among the heritage houses featured in this beautiful book. It also has a list of Heritage House-Museums you can visit, at the back pages, with brief descriptions, opening hours, addresses, and phone numbers!
• For the Bacolod side of my trip, please click on this link. Next travel post, the ancestral houses of Silay City, Negros Occidental!
My introduction to Be Careful With My Heart (BCWMH) was through the first five DVDs that I got hold of, in the early part of 2013, I think. It was, like, love at first watch!
From then on, aside from religiously watching the episodes, I was always on the look out for the release of the succeeding DVDs so I can watch the episodes again and again, at leisure. I, still, am!
When I got hold of the latest DVDs, Volume 46 and 47, the first thing that I noticed is that Volume 46 has another beautiful cover. With that, I just thought of doing a catalog of the covers, as part of the show’s wonderful journey.
It has been almost eight months since Be Careful With My Heart has ended but with these DVDs, I can still travel to my BCWMH universe anytime, especially when I need my feel good fix. I am now in Volume 26 of my current rewind (my nth one)! Sir Chief is namamanhikan in San Nicolas, and will get ‘cute drunk’ in a while! ❤
I thought this would be perfect for the very rainy Wednesday I woke up to. I already had my morning coffee and a piece of toast with butter, when I remembered that our kasambahay cooked champorado yesterday morning, which I had not gotten around to eating.
This is what I call ‘instant champorado at tuyo’ since it was not prepared from scratch! The champorado mix, I found in S & R and in another supermarket I go to, and the tuyo is from the Tapa King restaurant near us. There are several other brands of bottled tuyo in supermarkets and shops but I like the one from Tapa King, which they also sell in bottles, aside from what they usually serve in their menu. Besides, with the tuyo in the bottle, you don’t have to remove the tuyo’s kaliskis! 🙂
For those who are craving for champorado like me, especially in this rainy weather, the box has an instruction on how to go about it.
Yes, it is not made from scratch, but it tastes good (especially with the spicy tuyo), filling the tummy, and made me feel happy on this rainy Wednesday morning. Have a great day everyone! 🙂
Me and gadgets, whether uber-high tech or simple ones, and simple household appliances that look cool and make life easier, I just can resist them, just like the reading lamp I wrote about in April.
I saw these lanterns as soon as I entered the S & R Membership Shopping store I go to! The outdoor lanterns, look so cool and handy, not to mention cute! It reminds me of those old Coleman gas lamps! Before I knew it, the box was in my pushcart.
I thought that these lanterns will be handy just in case there is a power outage, not that it happens much, in our area, or something that would be very useful once the rainy season starts, as the season usually comes with typhoons and monsoon rains, and with those, the occassional power outages!
The lanterns are powered by three big batteries (D), bought separately. Just insert the batteries, and there it is, an emergency light! It is safer than candles, which sometimes, left attended, have been known to be the cause of some of the fires in the city. I have tried rechargeable lamps too, and most often than not, I only remember, and look for those from where they ended up getting stored, during a power outage. They are also left uncharged.
The lantern floats and is waterproof and has a 144 hours run time, according to the packaging. It has two settings: a high powered LED light and an amber night light. The box of lanterns costs Php 899.95, discounted (the original price was Php 1,199.95), just in case you want to buy one yourself.
I have put one of the lanterns on the shelf, ready to be use in case there is a power outage, or as a handy flashlight! Pwede ring reading lamp! Happiness in simple stuffs! 🙂
Inside the La Mesa Ecopark
Entering the La Mesa Ecopark through its canopied entrance is like being transported out of the city and into a forest in a blink of an eye.
Recently, I managed to do what I have been wanting to do – to go back to the ecopark, which is one of the places right at my ‘doorstep’ but haven’t been to, in a long time. The first and only time I went there was more than a decade ago.
The first of the two trips I took there again was on a weekday. There were fewer people and some of the kiosks/food stalls were closed. It was amazing, just to walk around. I brought my daughter and she got antsy so we left after more than an hour or so.
I came back on a Saturday since I missed exploring parts of the park. There were a lot of people – families carrying picnic stuffs, and groups just going around the park like my companions and I opted to do. The park was more alive. Some of the kiosks that were closed on a weekday were opened. Nevertheless, it was still very relaxing and peaceful to be there, as you can sit just in a corner, under the trees, and do some deep thinking, contemplate life and the universe (magmuni-muni) if that is what you would like to do, like what I want to do sometimes, or write the next chapter of my stories!
La Mesa Ecopark offers a variety of activities and points of interest for everyone, aside from taking in as much of the over abundance of nature around you.
• Butterfly Haven. A guide walked you through the stages of the development of a butterfly and see full-grown ones up close inside a small enclosure.
• Swimming. La Mesa Ecopark has two swimming complexes. One is near the entrance and the other one is near the fishing lagoon. The second time I was there, I thought of going in and see the inside of the first of the two swimming facilities. However, I was unable to do so as the place was booked for a private event. As for the second pool, I only caught a glimpse the first time I was there. It does look quite inviting from what I could see of it.
• Picnic. Fancy eating al fresco under the canopies of trees? You can do it through the designated picnic places at the Lopez picnic grounds. The use of the concrete picnic table is free of charge.
• Food stalls. There are some food stalls/kiosks in the park, just in case you don’t want to carry picnic stuffs.
• Fishing. You can try your hand at fishing in the lagoon. Standing at the other side of the lagoon, picnic area side, I did see some big fishes. If you are not into fishing, just looking at the lagoon is very relaxing and there are picnic huts for rent at the other side.
• Climbing the flower terraces. The view from the top of the Shell Flower Terraces is breathtaking. You also get to see the dam and the surrounding areas, and in the process, get a bit of exercise too, climbing up the many steps to the top!
• Exploring the amphitheatre. The Petron Amphitheatre looks like a small rice terraces. Two people brought a tent and pitched it at a vantage point of the amphitheatre the second time I was in the park. Quite a nice set up. Looking at them, I imagined myself bringing a laptop next time, and doing that too!
• Communing with nature at the mini-forest. Beyond the amphitheater is the mini-forest. You can hike around and enjoy the cool air whilst looking at the trees and beautiful foliage around you. There are walking paths and you will not get lost (as one of the guys with a high-powered camera we chanced upon, when we were about to venture into the forest, assured us, and he was right!) It was very peaceful doing so.
• Going around the orchidarium. From the lagoon side, you can explore and have a relaxing time inside the Drilon Orchidarium. There was a group of students doing some activities when we were exploring the place.
• Zipline (Zip across the flower terraces). Bungee fun. Water bike. Calesa/Horseback riding. These are some of the other activities you can try in the park. There is a boating lagoon, according the map I got, but when I asked the park reception about it, as I was unable to locate it, I was told that they don’t have it anymore.
• Walk around. If you are not keen on swimming or doing other strenuous activities, you can just stroll around the ecopark and enjoy nature without having to travel far out of the city.
I left the place happy. Next time, I will bring a picnic and try one of the pools, or the tent with the laptop near the amphitheatre. For the two times I have been there, I was just contented with going around the park, especially at the mini-forest.
For more information about the La Mesa Ecopark (opening hours, rates, facilities, and various activities you can do, how to go to the place, please click on this link).
From my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary celebration, to various trips around the Philippines and beyond, to simple but very happy office and family moments, I was taken down a long, and wonderful, trip down memory lane after I have received this package.
The package contained the scanned copies of the negatives, more than a thousand frames, that I had sent to a photo shop that offers this service. It was something I have been meaning to do for years, since I have learned that technology has made it possible to do so.
While the negatives have print copies, some of them were either lost, or ruined in the photo albums (the old-fashioned ones!) through the passage of time. I did manage to scan a lot of print copies using my Canon printer with scanner. But some were already difficult to remove from the photo albums.
Since I have transferred the files from the CDs they have sent me to my computer, I have shared my grandparents golden wedding anniversary photos, which was in the 1990s, through our Facebook group page, with my aunts, uncles and cousins, who were very happy to go down memory lane with me.
Here are some other vacation photos from the negatives I have had scanned. Still looking pretty good, di ba, after all these years! The photos were from 1995 to 2001. Oh, and the photos above were from Batad, Ifugao in 2001.
Hundred Islands, Pangasinan
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Sagada, Mountain Province
Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
Now, I want to see these places again! One of these days, I will!
I returned to the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC), one morning, to check on the museum underneath the Quezon Memorial Shrine. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public as it was being renovated. I asked the guards in the area if they have an idea when it will open again. They can’t give me a date, though. Maybe, seeing I was a bit disappointed, they told me that I could visit the Quezon House instead, and pointed me to it. At first, I was hesitant as I have set my mind on seeing the museum. While walking around, thinking what I would like to do next, I made up my mind and decided to check out the house, which I didn’t notice in my previous visits to the park, since I was already there. I’m glad, I did!
I love very old grand houses, and I have been inside several ones – from Taal, to Vigan, to one in Nueva Ecija, and one in Manila which was converted into a beautiful fine-dining place. While the house of President Manuel L. Quezon inside QMC is a reconstruction of the vacation house originally built at New Manila, Quezon City, it contains pieces of furniture and materials, including the Machuca tiles, from the original house.
Stepping inside the house with my tour guide, a Tourism student from one of Manila’s universities on practicum, felt like stepping back in time.
The spiral stairs leads to the ground floor of the house.
The door leads to the grounds of the house.
Entrance to the place is free. However, should one wish to donate some amount, there is a donation box just before you exit the door leading to the grounds of the house.
For more information on the place, click on the following links:
There is something for everyone at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC). This is what I realized when I have finally gotten around to taking a closer look at this 25-hectare park situated at the heart of Quezon City, Philippines, and the city’s most distinguishable landmark.
I have been a Quezon City resident for more than a decade and I haven’t really been inside ‘Circle’ as the place is popularly called until two weeks ago. I initially got interested in finally checking out Quezon Memorial Circle after all these years because it was one of the locations used in my favorite teleserye (Philippine soap/drama series).
My first attempt was more than a year ago I think, but there were a lot of people at that time, also the places I wanted to see were being renovated then, the Circle of Fun and Circle of Joy, so I gave up. I also attended an event in QMC after that but I didn’t manage to go around the place, just at the area of the park where the event was being held.
Recently, I have taken to jogging, running and walking, to keep myself fit and one of the places I found out where I can do this is at the Quezon Memorial Circle. In between brisk walking and slow jogs, I took pictures and checked out various points of interest there:
° The Quezon Memorial Shrine. The area around the shrine is a favorite jogging/running path. I even saw some practicing martial arts on the shrine’s grounds. There is a museum inside the shrine for Commonwealth of the Philippines President (1935-1944) Manuel L. Quezon, after whom the city was named, but it was closed for renovation when I checked it out. I’ll write about the shrine, which is also Quezon’s final resting place, in details when the museum opens and I can take a closer look at it too.
º Gardens. I prefer calling them parks within the park. There are picnic tables in some areas. People also play badminton, chess, exercise or jog in and around these areas.
º Playground, amusement parks and a zip line. There are a lot of interesting things for kids at Circle of Joy but I suggest, though, to bring the kids in there not too early as the park employees are still cleaning the place, early morning. When I went there at around 7AM, there were quite a bit of garbage still from the night before! The Circle of Fun, on the other hand, opens in the afternoon.
º Biking. The area around Circle of Joy is also designated as a biking area. You can rent bikes and go at the path around the playground.
º Zumba/aero sports venues. On the Saturday I was there the first time, there were a lot of people participating in the zumba session near the shrine. There were other places in the park doing so. One was at the fountain area, and also in this covered court.
º Tiangges (bazaars). The first time I was there, which was a Saturday, the stalls were full of stuffs, mostly clothes. I went around and to my delight, found a stall that sells ceramics and I was not able to resist buying a bowl for my collection! There was also a food tiangge that Saturday. When I returned on a weekday, the stalls were all empty.
º Places to eat, buy food and have coffee. Aside from the big restaurants near the entrance, in front of the city hall, there are also other places inside Quezon Memorial Circle where you can buy food and have coffee.
º The peace bell.
º Urban farming. I was delighted to see the house made of native materials in this area, with a banggera (a part of old/traditional Philippine houses where one can wash plates, glasses, etc.) in the back.
º Plant shops/nurseries for those who likes to garden. I bought some of my sunflowers from one of the stalls at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
º The Quezon Heritage House. This one I have toured on a separate date. When the museum was closed, and the guards were unable to tell me when it will open, they directed me to this house. I’ll write about it next.
The fee for vehicles going inside the park is below. There are parking spaces inside as well. There are also pedestrian underpasses now, which make QMC more accessible.
So, after several trips, Quezon Memorial Circle is not just a place I passed by on my way to other Quezon City destinations! I also discovered that the best time to go there if you are not into jogging/running/doing zumba, and would just like to walk around and relax a bit, do something different aside from walking inside the malls, is around 9AM to lunchtime on weekdays. The place is pretty quiet and lovely, especially in summer. Inside the park, you forget about the thousands of vehicles that pass around it, non-stop, everyday!
I love to read while lying down, in the middle of the night. I can do this until dawn if the book is good that the only time I can put it down is when I am done reading it. To be able to do this, I need and want a good reading lamp. So, I’m always on the look out for one. I have tried a lot. But still, there was something lacking in the ones I got.
I also tried the tablets/phones offering a Kindle app. But I found out that reading that way was hard on the eyes. The new models of Kindle have a backlight feature, but I’m still loyal to my old basic one. Also, most of the time I still prefer ‘real books’. I like the feel of them on my hands. I like turning the pages and folding the corner of the current book I am reading to mark the page I last read.
Recently, I found myself inside this huge Wilcon Builders’ Depot in Balintawak, Quezon City as I was looking for something for our kitchen. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I found the coolest reading lamp ever.
It looks like an eyeglasses case. About the same size too. Very compact!
Then it opens into this.
It can also be used as a flashlight.
It is rechargeable via a USB cable.
Isn’t it the coolest and the most convenient reading lamp ever! It is made by Philips and has small LED bulbs. Now, I can read to my heart’s content, comfortably.
Instead of using a credit card, I use a Visa debit card for my online purchases. I find it more convenient.
For me, what works is Union Bank’s EON card, which is a Visa debit card. I stumbled upon it several years ago when I got my first Kindle. I have been using it since then.
I applied for my EON card at a Union Bank branch. But now, you can apply for this card at the Union Bank’s website, just fill out the form, then just get the card at a Union Bank branch. It is quicker and faster. One of my friends got hers the day after she applied for one.
I have used EON in buying stuffs at Amazon, both at Amazon US and UK, aside from Kindle books I buy from time to time (and usually, in the middle of the night!). I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey so every time a season is finished, I pre-order the season’s DVD at the Amazon UK’s website.
I have also used my EON at the Apple Apps Store for my kid’s apps, and at iTunes for hard to find recordings of the musicals I like or old albums not available anymore in the local shops.
I bought a bag at Cath Kidston’s website using this card as at that time, there was no Cath shop in the country.
To fund your purchase, you can just deposit the amount you need approximately to buy the item that you want. But you can also put more than that and use the card as a form of a savings and spending account. However, just be aware that the bank limits your transaction to Php 20,000.00 per day. If you need to purchase something more than that amount you have to request for an increase in your daily limit. The bank said it is for the protection of the card owner. Kinda makes sense!
The annual fee is Php 350.00 and you don’t need a maintaining balance for EON. When I wanted to buy something, I just go to the nearest Union Bank branh and deposit the approximate amount I need to pay for my purchase. I usually check on my card’s transactions and charges by logging in to my online banking account at the bank’s website.
Nowadays, I have been using this card also to pay for my groceries, and other purchases in the malls and supermarkets. It is easier than carrying cash or using my regular ATM. The cashier either swipes it like a credit card, then you sign the slip or like an ATM where you need to input your PIN number. It really depends on the store and the terminals. So, be sure to sign your card too.
Just thought of sharing this. I have recommended the card to several friends who wanted to buy stuffs online too. I think there are other local debit cards available now, but since this one works me, I didn’t check the others anymore.