island away at Island Verde=)

>> Wednesday, November 10, 2010

         Most of us would curse after some minutes or hours of having "no power". We become irritable. We stop and blame meralco for their service because without electricity, we cannot do our daily chores. Because, whether we admit it or not, our life is now so dependent to electricity. Without electricy, we mostly are immobile. But you know what, i have this fond feeling whenever there's no "power" during night time, specially in our "bukid".  i do not know. but there is something in darkness that i am so inlove with. You know, just listening to nature. Just listening to bugs and the sound created by the wind and the tree leaves. The stories. Or just the silence. The "lampara". For me, its a way of escape. Yet, i do not exempt my self from those whose life is dependent to the prescence of electricity.

         But can you imagine life without electricity. Not just the idea that the light switch will  temporary be unavailable for giving instant light and convenience. i mean, a whole life without electricity. No hair dryer to blow dry our hair. No refrigerator to give us iced-cold water. And yes, meat is never a luxury to every meal. No cellphones. No air-condition. No tv. No laptops. Oh gosh. Imagine that. Nothing but true nature. Will you survive?

         i had a bit taste of it for three days. well, ate madel and ate grace had been bombarding me to go with them to "isla verde" eversince they discovered this no-electricity island. Ate madel kept on convincing me and giving me promise of solitude. And yes, you read it right. Sa kabila ng pagpupunyagi natin sa maka-bagong teknolohiya , nasaksihan ko ang isang isla sa katagalugan na tila napag-iiwanan ng ipinagmamalaki nating pag-usad. An island where the only source of light is sunlight, and candle or gasera at night. There are very few houses who were able to afford to buy generators as a source of electricty, including the church and house of the "kura parokyo" in Barangay Paco. Not every house has a pumping faucet. Barrio people need to fetch water from a common place where there is an existing one. Most viands are canned goods, vegetables and fish, most of the days, there's none. But you know, what's lovely with the place? People are so friendly. You will never feel that you don't belong to the group. Maybe, that is a common barrio culture. Well, much said. Now, here's a three-day trip to isla verde:

day 1 is friday. Dental and Medical
           i, with ate melai, badly needed to catch the 6AM boatride to the island, so from Batagas Plaza we rode a 100-peso tricycle ride to Leah Beach. Pero sabi ni Manong Tricycle driver, nakamura pa daw kami because the usual transaction daw is P120.00. But if you're not so much in a hurry namna, you can have a cheaper alternative, ride the trip via Tabangao for just P 9.00. and hooray, you'll find your feet ready to rumble with the sandgrains of Tabangao beaches.
             St. Paul's boat which was filled with more or less 30 heads, mostly medical people (yes, doctors and dentist) and volunteers  was resting quite far from the shore so for passengers to jump into it, there's a need to pay for P5.00 fare with the little boat which picture is on the left. When we arrived at the shore, there were kids cladded in their blue and white school uniform accompanied by their teachers and with sister elena who greeted us in chorus with "Good morning, Visitors, Welcome to Isla Verde!" 

           Right after the mass, we ate dinugan and bread. nice! (trivia: i do not eat dinuguan with rice, only with puto or bread. hehe) and then we proceed to the dental and medical mission where doctors and dentist rendered their services to our kababayan in isla for free. The dentist association also taught children how to brush their teeth and yes, gave each one free toothbrush and toothpaste!

           well, very meaningful first day, right? but didn't end just like that. because, it was also Ate Melai's birthday! so there's gin (haha) and calamansi. i had one shot then just joined the gang with my sprite and calamansi and chicaharon. and songs and yes, stories. scene one was ate madel's bangelya drama, she just proved her consistency of being a certified TALKER! (i hope i can upload her video here. hah!) and scene two which happend around by 2am when everybody's asleep, ate melai woke me up grasping for air which eventually had awoken everybody. Reason: she can't breath due to complete darkness, patay na kasi ang generator. now, miss achluophobia, are you afraid of the dark? hehe.

day 2 is my favorite. i call this sWEaT life.
first activity was the boat trip to Ozone Dive Resort.
         Aw. you will surely fall inlove with the SO clear water, it's so blue! timecheck: around 11AM -2PM. haha. nothing really changed. i'm still so hooked with my long-standing love affair with the seawater and the sun! and i still love torturing my skin with the sun rays! i even jumped right into the water without sunblock (i was super excited, i forgot!) without even thinking twice.

         We left the resort with me having a wide-wide smile in my heart. and yes, also because of the humor brought by Ka Sano (epic talaga!). Even the mere thought of him makes me laugh. and then , after late lunch, we played basketball. (this is the sweaty part) Team one: ate melai, ate madel and ate grace. Team two: Nongnong and me. First round, they won. but we bagged the second round. so patas lang. though, madaya sina ate. since they cannot do anything with Nongnong, ako lang ang binabantayan nila. so i was left with bruises in my arms and legs. Buti na lang, i'm good and quick when it comes to passing the ball. haha! hay, i can no longer remember the last time i sweat like that one. sobra. sobra. i was known kasi for someone who doesn't sweat so much. kahit ang iba ay tuluan na sa pawis, i'm still poised with very little perspiration. but now. but now. oh, gosh. paarng tubig na tumutulo sa ulo ko. haha.

        and then, after the basketball laughing tournament, we freshened up and readied ourselves for a 15-minute walk daw to Brgy. Subukin. The barangay was scheduled for a monthly mass. But oh, gosh! it wasn't a 15-minute walk away. it was a 15(+)-minute run away. but then, i had to enjoy the trip so not to be left behind in the darkness (since it was already getting dark then) i jogged the whole time until we reached our destination, a small chapel with patroners waiting for their kura's (kura is a tagalog word for priest) arrival. Nongnong talked about the footprints in the sand for his homily. i love that story. it reminded me of all my worries and how i get passed through all of those. How people can have the audacity to complain and question where God is. How people survive a great pale of pain. how people forget who was really there during those times of almost giving up. Well, i am proud of myself because there was never a time that i ever question where God is amidst everything. because i know He is always everywhere, watching over me.

          About the barrio people, they were all so kind, they even prepared a dinner for us. Wow. Fresh bulanglang, fish, chicken tagalog tinola and home-made buccaio. After dinner was another long walk back to our place which made us hungry again. buti na lang Tita Remy cooked bulanglang and chicharon for us. Then, they played cards with some crazy punishments. i hate punishments, so i skipped and just played with some cellphone games.

       Day three is the last day.
         we attended two masses. the one in Barangay Paco and the other one was in a boat away barangay, San Agus Silangan. Oh. OH. you think last day didnt give us another new adventure? When we dismounted from the boat, i saw the cement stair right away. researchers said that climbing the stairs will make us fit but i guess its going to be overly tiring when you need to climb a 333(+,maybe) steps everyday. hah!
and so, our feet ended up covered with mud.

it was midday when we sailed back to Batangas. yes with our muddy feet and sweaty shirts. and there's no other way to celebrate a good trip than a yellowcab treat. we filled our tummy with pizzas ( our two most favorite: new york's finest and dear darla) and chicken wings.
and with my top most favorite in yc.
raspberry sola and twice-baked potato halves. YUMYUM.
and my new discovery (courtesy of Nongnong) 
Charlie Chan pasta. i like the mushroom, and yes, there's nuts!

i think this place would be a wonderful place for those people who would like to go for a retreat. Because here, you will have most chances of appreciating life and seeing beauty in darkness.


togs grill and their cheesecake

>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finally. After years of rummaging around just to  give my tongue the taste of the very first cheesecake i fell inlove with.  i’ve found you. it was more than a decade. Gosh. Well, maybe nothing will ever beat the first time but this one, this one reminds me so much of the first time. the texture. the taste. the crust. the smell. oh, yes, the aroma, i’ve longed to crave for that aroma. and yes, it was served right on the most perfect timing, neither  too frozen, nor into the melting stage already, just right!
yes. just for P90.00 per slice mga friends! or you can buy me a whole for P650.00 lang!
and here are other items you can find in their menu:

baby back ribs with corn cob and lettuce for P200.00
asparagus soup. we'll its not creamy at all. i hope they can improve this one.
i do not exactly remember but i think this one is what they call butterfly shrimp. 
grilled squid and eggplant with and tomatoes and mango for P180.00
i like this one, sweet chili wings for P185.00
i just grabbed this photo from their fb account. hihi.
we also ordered sinigang na hipon for P185.00 but i forgot to take a photo. and yes, this place is wireless hotspot and they have a band, i think, every friday night. so, if you guys just want to chill out or avail of a free wifi, or just for gastronomy, here's one place to go in Batangas.

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