Archive for category Places

Silay, the fulfilment of a dream!

Exploring the ‘Paris of Negros’

Balay Negrense Left Side Facade

Balay Negrense

Hofilena House Front Facade

Hofileña Heritage House

Jalandoni House Front Facade

Jalandoni Heritage House

If Ilocos has Vigan, Negros has Silay!

Silay, a city about 14 kilometers from Bacolod, like Vigan, is a place replete in history. It has a number of still existing beautiful old houses, some of which are open to the public for tours.

It is a place I have been wanting to visit for so long because of my fascination with ancestral houses. I would like to explore this place, dubbed as the ‘Paris of Negros’ because of its rich cultural history. I finally had that opportunity when a friend and I took a trip to Negros Occidental, late 2015.

Silay City Marker

While we landed in Silay City, as the new airport is there, we opted to base ourselves in Bacolod and tour Silay, Talisay and other areas we would like to see from there.

We took the trip to Silay on the third day of our vacation.

From Bacolod’s North Terminal, we took the Ceres Bus bound for Victorias. Like the day before, when we went to Talisay, we asked the bus driver to let us off somewhere in the place we were about to visit. This time, I asked him to drop us at the church in Silay, the San Diego Pro-cathedral, as I have read that the city’s ancestral houses are just near it.

Silay El Ideal Bakery

Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House

However, upon reaching Silay, it was not a tour of ancestral houses we ended up doing first! Instead, we went to El Ideal Bakery, the oldest bakery in Silay, located on the ground floor of the Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House. The bus stopped at a traffic light, and lo and behold, we saw the famous bakery. My friend’s sister had asked her to buy piaya there. In our happiness at seeing the bakery, we told the driver that we will just get off there, instead of the church. Thus, we did our tour of Silay backwards, we bought pasalubong first!

Silay El Ideal Bakery Goods

We just left our boxes of pasalubong with the nice ladies at El Ideal. Aside from piaya, we also bought butterscotch, ground coffee beans from the area, and muscovado sugar.

Silay San Diego Cathedral

San Diego Pro-Cathedral, Silay City, Negros Occidental

Silay Rizal Street

My friend and I were greeted with shrieks and screams when we reached the gate of San Diego Cathedral, a short distance from El Ideal. Not only that, a large number of teenagers, still in their school uniforms, came rushing to where we were. We got curious as well and checked what the commotion was all about. We didn’t wait long to have our answer. Enrique Gil, of Forevermore fame, and now Dolce Amore, got out of a red pick-up truck. It turned out, he and Liza Soberano were in Silay shooting the movie ‘Everyday I love You’! We left the happy teenagers and onlookers and boarded a tricycle to take us to Cinco de Noviembre Street where two of the three ancestral houses open to the public are located.

Hofilena Museum Information

Stopping at the first one, the Hofileña Heritage House, the red pick up truck, the same one that was in the movie, passed by, and that was our third ‘Everyday I love You’ moment as we were also in the same flight as these actors two days before. We have wondered where they were going, then we knew!

Hofilena House Entrance

The Manuel Severino Hofileña Heritage House is the first heritage house in Silay that opened its door to tourists.  The current owner, Mr. Ramon Hofileña still lives in it. He was in the premises when we arrived, but he didn’t conduct the tour himself as I have read he would do at times, or if one booked a tour in advance. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting experience touring my first Silay ancestral home. This was the first ancestral house that I have toured that is still being used as a residence.

Hofilena House View from Living Room

Our guide, toured us first on the ground level, with many interesting information about the house, showing us a variety of things that Mr. Hofileña amassed during his travels. The ground floor also showcases the house as it was, with beautiful porcelains, family heirlooms and old photos, dotting the place. Looking at those, one can vividly imagine the generations that had lived and celebrated life there.

Hofilena House Sala

Hofilena House Piano

Hofilena House Photos

Hofilena House Ceiling

Hofilena House Dining Room

Hofilena House Bar

Hofilena House Cabinets

Hofilena House China Cabinet 1

Hofilena House China Cabinet 2

Hofilena House Jars

Hofilena House Plateras

The second level of the house is like an art gallery with so many paintings on the wall. Some of them, works of several national artists.

Hofilena House Stairs to Second Level

We walked towards the end of the Cinco de Noviembre Street, leftwards, checking out other ancestral houses, after our tour of the Hofileña House. When I started reading about the old houses of Silay, I thought that the houses were clustered in Cinco de Noviembre, I imagined that the street would be like Calle Crisologo in Vigan wherein ancestral houses dotted both sides of a quite narrow road in small clusters. It was not the case with Silay as the beautiful houses are spread all over, but it does not make the place less beautiful, unique and historical.

Silay Old House Cinco de Noviembre

Silay Old House Cinco de Noviembre 1

Having reached the end of the street, we walked back under the intense heat of the noon sun to go to our second ancestral house, the Balay Negrense or the Don Victor Gaston Heritage House.

Balay Negrense Entrance

The house was built by the sugar baron, Don Victor Gaston in the early 1900s. We took the guided tour of the house. We were also lucky to have met one of the descendants of Don Victor when we arrived.

Balay Negrense Marker

The house was restored and turned into a lifestyle museum with prominent families donating furnitures, our guide told us. It showcases life as it was lived by the hacenderos in the area.

Balay Negrense Ground Floor 1

Balay Negrense Ground Floor 2

Balay Negrense Ground Floor 3

Balay Negrense Ground Floor 4

Balay Negrense Ground Floor 5

Balay Negrense Dining Room

Balay Negrense Platera

Balay Negrense Second Floor Front

Balay Negrense Second Floor Left

Balay Negrense Second Floor Right

Balay Negrense Second Floor Room

Balay Negrense Second Floor Sala

Balay Negrense Stairs to Second Floor

From Balay Negrense, we walked the length of Cinco de Noviembre, rightwards, and saw other old houses. We also passed by the Cinco de Noviembre Marker. It was at this site the Negros Revolution against Spain was launched in 1898.

Silay Acacia Tree Cinco de Noviembre


Silay Old House Cinco de Noviembre 2

Silay Cinco de Noviembre Marker

Cinco de Noviembre Marker

Silay Old House Cinco de Noviembre 3

Silay Old House Cinco de Noviembre 4

While on our way to lunch, on board the tricycle we took, we saw other ancestral houses in Silay which are not open to the public. The driver took us around a bit and showed us these houses which, otherwise, we would have missed.

Silay Old House 1

Silay Old House 2

Silay Old House 3

Silay Old House 4

Silay Old House 5

Silay Old House 6


Silay Old House 7

The driver dropped us of at the Ann Co Cakes in Rizal Street. I wanted to see this as well as my Negros-based friend told me that it has more artworks than the one in Bacolod.

Silay Ann Co Cakes Facade

It surely has more art, much more beautiful and spacious than the one we have been to the day before. The food and the coffee are good.

Silay Ann Co Cakes Counter

Silay Ann Co Cakes Interior 1

Silay Ann Co Cakes Interior 2

Silay Ann Co Cakes Menu

We hailed another tricycle after we had our delicious lunch, coffee and cakes.

Jalandoni House Side Facade

The third and final house on the list is the Don Bernardino Jalandoni Heritage House, finished in 1908, and most popularly known as the pink house because of its color. It too, had been turned into a lifestyle museum.

Jalandoni House Stairs

Jalandoni House Calesas

Jalandoni House View from the Stairs

Jalandoni House Ceiling

Jalandoni House Sala 1

Jalandoni House Sala 2

Jalandoni House Sala 3

Jalandoni House Sala 4

Jalandoni House Sala Stairs View

Jalandoni House Victrola

Jalandoni House View from the Stairs

Jalandoni House Room 1

Jalandoni House Room 2

Jalandoni House Room 3

Jalandoni House Dining Room

Jalandoni House Back Window

Jalandoni House Azotea

Jalandoni House View from Azotea

From the Jalandoni House, we walked back towards the church and the plaza. We saw more old houses along the way, some were converted into commercial establishments.

Silay Old House Rizal Street 1

Silay Old House Rizal Street 2


Silay Old House Rizal Street 4

Silay Rizal Street Facade

We wanted to check the Silay Museum before we head back to Bacolod. However, it was closed as they were doing renovations. Nevertheless, the nice and accommodating staff at the cultural office, opened it for us.

Silay Museum

They also gave us some materials on Silay ancestral houses, and told us where we can buy delicious Silay food. We were directed to an ancestral house, near the branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands in the city.

Silay Plaza 2

Silay Plaza 2

The last stop of the day was El Ideal, where we started. We retrieved our boxes and waited for the bus that would take us back to Bacolod, feeling very happy to have fulfilled a dream!

Travel Notes:

• We got this tourist brochure after we have been all over the place! If I had it beforehand, I could have put captions on the other houses we toured by foot or by tricycle. I hope it would help you, instead. The brochure also has information on the rich history of Silay.

Silay City Heritage Walk

Silay City Brochure

• Flyer which contains some information on the Jalandoni Heritage House.

Jalandoni Museum Brochure

• Click on this link for the history of Silay and this link for a brief description of all the Silay houses and other tourist attractions in the city.

• This post is the third and my final post on my Negros trip. Long overdue one, I know! If you had missed or would like to check the Bacolod one, please click on this link and the Talisay and its share of beautiful ancestral houses post in this link.

Happy travels! 🙂

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Good morning!


Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well! It has been over a month since I last posted and it was not my intention to let it that long. My apologies! I got busy preparing for a trip that my family and I decided to take. I just want you to know that I’m still here and will resume writing as soon as I can, and that I didn’t just disappear from the face of earth! 🙂 I do missed writing very much but I am still settling in where I am at the moment after frantically preparing for the trip in less than a month. I will go back to it in the next couple of days. Cheers and good vibes always!

❤ Antigone ❤


Coffee time!

Lucca Bakery SM Mega Mall


Sometimes, all we need is a cup of coffee, some pastries, and a laid-back chat with a friend to get out of the funk we found ourselves into! Most of the time, after a cup of coffee with a friend, I feel better and energize. A nice coffee shop is my default place when I go to the mall with one of my closest friends. We would go around the shops, then chat and catch up while drinking our favorite brew.

In recent years, a lot of nice coffee shops have sprouted in the metro, and I’m glad as it means more choices and more nice places to relax and talk.

One day, I will write about those coffee shops! For now, I’ll go back to updating my stories. My apologies for the lack of updates. There were just quite a number of things that I needed to deal with the past days! Hopefully, I will have something for you guys in a day or two!

Cheers and good vibes as always!

❤ Antigone ❤



Sugar rush, bucket list, and ‘Everyday I Love You’


The Ruins, Talisay City, Negros Occidental

Balay Negrense, one of the ancestral houses of Silay, Negros Occidental

Balay Negrense, Silay City, Negros Occidental

View from Bacolod Baywalk!

View from Bacolod Baywalk!

Yummy ube piaya!

Sugar rush! All of these, and so much more, when I’m trying to lose a couple of pounds!

It all started over coffee, one afternoon. I told one of my best friends that one day, I would like to go to Negros Occidental and see for myself the beautiful ancestral houses there. I told her that, in particular, Silay City is on my bucket list of places that I would like to see in my lifetime. Since I have been to Vigan three years before, Silay is my next goal.

She sipped her coffee, smiled at me and then she said, “Tara!” I looked at her, quite surprised as normally, being a mom like me, she needed to arrange things at home before we can go somewhere, even for our ‘coffee and movie dates’. I asked her again to be doubly sure that she would like to go with me and that we will do it now, instead of in the future. She said yes! And so we planned our trip, the first out-of-town one we took together.

I got in touch with one of my old friends who is now based in Negros Occidental, as well as a former colleague who is from Bacolod City. My friend gave me a list of places I can check out when I asked him for a recommendation on accommodations. My friend and I would like to stay within our budget, so a simple, clean one will suffice. We only need the place for sleeping and to park our things. However, I have another requirement – that it should have a TV as I don’t like to miss an episode of On the Wings of Love, even while on vacation!

He also suggested we base ourselves in Bacolod as the places I want to see are not that far from the city. That way, he said, we can travel around, and at the same time explore Bacolod. His idea is actually brilliant and it saved us from packing and unpacking and moving from one place to another. That way, we also got to explore more places, like he said. I chose the cheapest on his list, if I remember correctly, and the most accessible from Bacolod’s main street. I also read the reviews, looked at photos online, and the place seemed okay.

We took the first flight out of Manila via Philippine Airlines towards the end of September as it was cheaper than the other schedules. By taking that flight, my friend and I had our first ‘Everyday I Love You’ moment, as Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano were on the same flight!  We wondered if they have a show in Bacolod since it was around the start of the Masskara Festival season. Our question on where they were going was answered two days after, when we made it to Silay.  We saw Enrique getting out of the pick-up they used in the movie near the church there! He and Liza were in the area for the location shoot of their movie!

We landed at the Bacolod-Silay International Airport more than an hour after we left Manila. I was told by the pension house where we will be staying that there are shuttles from the airport going to hotels and inns in Bacolod at Php 150 per person. However, my friend and I opted to take a taxi as it would just cost Php 100 extra each on our part. We have one luggage each, plus our carry-on bags. The taxi costs Php 500. The guys manning the taxi line were very nice and as promised, and after passing through a bit of only sugarcane fields and not much houses, we arrived in Bacolod, and at Pleasant Travellers Pension House after 30 minutes or less, I think.

Pleasant 1

The place is a bit off the main road, but just a short walk from Lacson St. It is quieter here than Bacolod’s main street.

Pleasant 2

Sitting area near the lobby and the ground floor rooms towards the front of the inn.

The check in at the pension house is at 1PM so we had to wait. We were unable to check-in early as our room was not yet available. The staff showed us to the area where we can rest and wait. We left our things there to eat breakfast. First, we checked their canteen, but the food there didn’t appeal much to our stomachs at that time. We decided to venture out to Lacson Street,  Bacolod’s main street, even if was raining a bit. Luckily, a taxi dropped off some people at the pension house when we were about to brave the drizzle. The first place we checked out, base on my Lonely Planet guide-book and my map, was undergoing renovations, so we walked a bit more, and found this very nice coffee shop at the L’ Fisher Hotel complex. We thought it would be on the expensive side, it being in a hotel complex, but it’s not. They offer nice and very filling breakfast meals, breads and mouth-watering cakes and pastries, and nice coffee too!


C’s at the L’ Fisher Hotel Complex. Their cakes and pastries are a feast for the eyes!

C's Breakfast

For this much food, and more, it only costs us less than Php 300 each per meal. We were not able to finish everything, too much for our tummies! We ate three of our four breakfasts in Bacolod in this place!

We went back to the pension house after breakfast and waited until we managed to check in past 12nn.

Pleasant Rooms

Our room is at the second floor, at the back part of the inn.  It was okay, big enough for my friend and me, with two single beds, a bedside table, a closet, a dresser, a bathroom with hot and cold shower, and of course a TV! The place is clean and cost Php 780 per night (the one without a TV is around Php 200 cheaper). The blankets were thin (those white ones, and it got very cold at night, even if we adjusted the air conditioning). We requested for extra blankets (and pillows since there was only one each) at an extra, but minimal cost. I also wore socks to bed. Problem solved!

LC 2

Lacson Street. Photo was taken while at the overpass going to Robinson’s Mall, streets away from where we stayed. It took a 10 minute or less jeepney ride to go to this place from our pension house! We needed umbrellas as we forgot to bring one.

Lacson Street 2

Bacolod’s streets are laid out in a grid form, along Lacson Street, so it is easier to find your way around. Our inn is at 13th street, parallel to Lacson. We usually just walk to Lacson and travel from there. All jeepneys and taxis pass through this street. My Bacolod colleague told me that Lacson is also their national highway. Indeed, you can access the North Terminal going to say, Talisay, Silay, through Lacson.

In between traveling to Silay and Talisay, we managed to explore quite a number of places Bacolod in the four and half days we have stayed there. Here are some of the activities we did, and you can do, while in the City of Smiles:

Food trip/coffee time moments along Lacson Street. Aside from the usual chains of restaurants you can find in Metro Manila and other urban centers, there are quite a number of local restaurants, and cafes along this busy main street. Here are some of the places we have been to:

  1. Ann Co Cakes
AC 1

We checked out Ann Co Cakes on my friend’s recommendation! This one in Bacolod is a branch of the much bigger and more beautiful one in Silay City!

AC 2

The cafe has a very nice, and very interesting, art interiors. I love the paintings on the seats!

AC 4

AC 4

I chose the Toblerone cheesecake, and unable to resist the macaroons too! The cheesecake was to die for. The coffee was also good. Two cups coffee, two heavenly cakes, and the macaroons cost only a little over Php 400!

2. BongBong’s


Buy mouth-watering pasalubong that would send you to instant sugar rush at this pasalubong center. The place also serves coffee, piaya and some delicious basic merienda staples like pancit. All three only cost less than Php 100!



Bongbong Coffee

3. Calea 

Choices, choices and more choices!

Choices, choices and more choices!

Calea 2

Calea 3

I felt like I landed in cake heaven when I entered this place one evening!

Calea 5

My yummy strawberry cheesecake and cafe americano cost less than Php 200!

4. C’s at L’ Fisher Hotel

Mind boggling cakes and pastries! A friend who has a very sweet tooth will really go crazy at this display!

Mind boggling cakes and pastries at this nice coffee shop! A friend who has a very sweet tooth will really go crazy at this display! I didn’t get to try any of these anymore, just the pastries that come with the breakfasts we had at this place!


5. Starbucks (for the Bacolod mug)! 


I checked out the Starbucks in the city since one of my friends asked me if I could get her a Bacolod Starbucks mug for her collection. Well, I was not able to resist my favorite caffe americano as well!

Starbucks 2

So cute, I bought one for myself too!

Walk around Negros Occidental Capitol Park and Lagoon!

Negros Capitol 1

Negros Capitol 2

Negros Capitol 3

Negros Capitol 4

Negros Capitol 5

Negros Capitol 6

 Visit the Negros Museum.

NM Facade

The museum is behind the provincial capitol!

NM Opening Hours

The museum entrance fee is Php 100 per person. Take the guided tour.

NM 1

The guide will walk you through pre-colonial Negros through the murals on the walls on the ground floor, before going up to see various exhibits in connection with Negros history!

NM 2

Replica of a train used in transporting sugar canes from the fields!

NM 3

The way to mill and refine sugar canes in the old days!

NM 4

NM 5

NM 6

The exhibit on Cinco de Noviembre.

NM 7

NM 8

Don’t miss the special section of the museum (sorry, not allowed to take pictures in that part of the museum). You are in for a treat. Inside this section, beautiful toys and other collectibles from all over the world from the collection of Ms. Mara Montelibano, are on display. Your tour guide will take you there towards the end of the tour!

Have another coffee time at the Negros Museum Cafe.

MC 1

MC 2

MC 3

MC 4

MC 5

MC 6

MC 7

Cooked Talisay Ham Sandwich!

MC 8


• Explore Downtown Bacolod!

BC 1

Take any Libertad bound jeepney/taxi and get off at the cathedral.

BC 2

My photo of the beautiful interiors was blurry! 😦

BC 3

SM Mall

Walk through this mall and you will see the John Paul II Tower!

JP II Tower

We didn’t go up the all-glass building, as it was already a bit dark, but the view from up there must be incredible!

JP II Tower 2

Bacolod Baywalk

Beyond the John Paul II Center is the Bacolod Baywalk. I can’t remember how much is the  entrance fee to this place But it is just either Php 10 or Php 20!

Bacolod Baywalk View 1

Bacolod Baywalk View 2

Bacolod Masskara 1


Bacolod Masskara 3

Dine at Aida’s Chicken at Manokan Country

Manokan Country


Taste the best inasal in the city at Aida’s! This, on the recommendation of my local friend. Manokan Country is just before SM Bacolod and after the Cathedral!


Shop for souvenirs and pasalubong at the Negros Showroom along Lacson Street. The place has a lot of beautiful and very nice local products. Aside from these two, I also bought a beautiful abaca bangles which is now a favorite accessory!

Negros Showroom 2

Canvas tote bag with hand painted design I found at this place.

Sugar Rush Logo

Print on the t-shirt I found at the Negros Showroom!

Go to Panaad Park and Sports Complex. Our Negros Museum guide told us that a real train that was used in the transporting sugar canes in the old days can be found in this place, so off we go, especially after we decided not to go to Victorias Milling on this trip. I was also curious about this place as I remember that a Philippine Azkals game was played at the Panaad Stadium. Panaad is far, if we will measure the distance from where we have been, which was the Negros Museum.


Panaad Train

Panaad Bacolod Replica

Replica of the Bacolod City Hall. You can find the  replicas of all the town and city halls of Negros Occidental in this complex!

Panaad Bago Replica

Panaad Grounds

Panaad Silay Replica

Mall fix at The District. Getting out of Panaad commuting became a bit of a challenge as we were not familiar with the jeepney routes, and the area itself, anymore. Not much taxis either in that area. Luckily, we found this very nice taxi driver after a while. We asked him to take us to The District in the neighboring Talisay for our mall fix. He was also the one who took us back to the airport the following day for Php 500. We ate lunch there, had coffee, and then just went around.

The District 1

The District

The Art District in Mandalagan. We managed to reach it after getting lost. We missed the stop to Mandalagan. There was not much activity in the area when we went there in the afternoon. Maybe, it is best to go there in the evening as I noticed there are several places where you can sit out and drink.  After braving a dark stairway, we found the Gallery Orange and the current exhibit there.







Next, and that is after I have written the update to my fan fiction, my trips to Talisay and Silay! 🙂


Note: Sorry, this one is very long post. I put more information and photos, more than I would normally do, (including rates, prices of stuffs, fees, and also some links for more information) for those of you who would like to go there as well, and also for people who will end up in this blog, looking for information, like I do, before going to a place. I hope you will find this post useful!  


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Nature in the city

Inside the La Mesa Ecopark

lep entrance 1

lep entrance 2

lep entrance 3

lep entrance drive

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.

lep entrance drive 2

lep office 1

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!

lep entrance signage 1

lep entrance 3 park schedule

lep entrance signage 2

lep entrance path

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.

walk 1

walk 2

• 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.

        butterflt haven 1

butterfly haven 2

butterfly haven 3

butterfly haven 4

butterfly haven 7

butterfly haven 9

butterfly haven 9a

• 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.

swimming pool 1

swimming pool 2

Swimming Pool 3

Swimming Pool 4

• 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.

picnic 1

picnic 2

picnic 3

picnic 4

picnic 5

picnic 6

• Food stalls. There are some food stalls/kiosks in the park, just in case you don’t want to carry picnic stuffs.

food 1

food 2

food 3

food 6

food 4

• 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.

fishing lagoon 1

fishing lagoon 3

fishing lagoon 6

fishing lagoon 8

• 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!

sft 1

sft 2

sft 3

sft 4

sft 5

sft 6

• 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!

pa 1

pa 2

pa 3

pa 4

• 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.

forest 1

forest 2

forest 3

forest 4

forest 5

forest 6

forest 7
forest 9

• 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.

orchidarium 1

orchidarium 2

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.



horse back calesa ride

horseback riding

water bike

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).

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Preserving memories

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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.

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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.

Corregidor Island

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Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

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Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

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Sagada, Mountain Province

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Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte

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Now, I want to see these places again! One of these days, I will!


Getting fit by the bay

Of all the malls in the metro, the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, popularly called MOA, is the least one I go to because it is a bit far from where I live. The one time I was in the mall to attend a friend’s baby’s baptism party in one of the restaurants fronting the bay, I did find the place quite interesting with tons of shops and restaurants.

However, it is also pretty huge! It was tiring to walk around with a kid who refused to walk anymore due to the vastness of the mall. Kiddie carts for hire saved the day. I thought of checking out the amusement park in front of SM MOA with my little one, though. Something I haven’t done until now.

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Recently, I discovered that there is another attraction in the SM MOA Complex. The area in front of the mall, SM by the Bay, is a popular place for those who want to get fit or people who likes to be in an open space within the city with a view of the sea, and relax a bit.

The area was filled with joggers that morning, as well as bikers and people, like me, who only prefers to walk around briskly to shake off those body fats, exercise the heart, and clear the head.

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The early morning view from the bay was very relaxing. At one point, though, a not so nice smell wafted into the area, brought by the wind, but it was not enough to distract or dissuade me from soaking the beautiful and relaxing view as I walked back and forth along the sea wall that, sort of, fenced the place.

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I discovered that you can also take a ferry ride around Manila Bay at sunset from this area. Hmmm, something to take a closer look at, too!

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SM By the Bay also full of restaurants and small food kiosks, aside from the rides scattered at one side of the area, which includes a giant Ferris wheel. Some of the kiosks were opened even at early morning but when we checked out the Starbucks we saw while brisk walking, fervently wishing for a cup of very hot coffee, we found out that it will open around noon!

Sitting cross-legged on the seawall with a steaming cup of coffee after a vigorous morning exercise would have been heaven, but it was equally so with a cold bottled water and a hot dog sandwich!  With all the restaurants there, it might be worth checking it out in the evening. I have to do that next.

promenade side

We ended up having coffee and breakfast at the Starbucks in Harbour Square at the CCP Complex, an area very much familiar for Be Careful of My Heart fans like me. While drinking my caffe americano, I thought of the scenes in the show wherein Sir Chief and Maya were walking in the area, as well as at the other side of the seawall in the CCP Complex.

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Maybe, it was the reason I finally remembered that I have been meaning to buy sunflowers!  So on the way home, I passed by Dangwa in Sampaloc, Manila and bought two sunflowers in plastic containers.

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It was a great morning, indeed.

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The Quezon Heritage House

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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.

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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.

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The spiral stairs leads to the ground floor of the house.

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The door leads to the grounds of the house.

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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:

° QMC’s must-see attraction: The Quezon Heritage House

° The Quezon House at QMC

° Quezon house now in Circle

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