Jingle Bells – Christmas Village

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Let me give you a small hint, the snow in the Christmas Village is not real snow. This is the same situation as the time when people were gathered in Session Road, expecting snow to come but actually watching soap bubbles fall from the sky. That’s what the snow is in the Christmas Village, soap bubbles. You even have to be careful in navigating around given that. Nonetheless, despite that it is still popular and commonly visited by tourists and locals alike. Even my family makes it a point to visit Christmas Village when it’s around.

Before I saw Christmas Village, all I ever relied on is my classmates’ stories. This is since I am from the Special Program in the Arts during High School, I have classmates that are under Choir. They are once invited to sing in the Christmas Village. Given that, I only relied on their stories as to how it looks like.

One night, when my Mother decided that we go visit the Christmas Village, I’m curious as to how it looks like. However, it kind of betrayed my expectations with the soap bubbles. I thought they would at least present it in a way wherein it would look closely like snow, not to mention the possible hazard that soap can do when you’re stepping on it.

Even so, I am not undermining the Christmas Village as a whole. If you are with your family and with siblings that are still young (and given how I love watching people), it would probably be heartwarming to you. I mean, just looking at families who actually take the time to come there even though it wasn’t exactly as extravagant as people might think, it’s still something they can think of going to.

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Dancing Elves

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Santa Toy Factory

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A Sled ride

I can say the same with my family. Aside from that, if you enter it would feel more like you entered an actual Christmas Village minus the faux snow (well, at least they tried). You can see actual reindeers, snow men, elves and all the usual things (I haven’t seen Santa either or I might not have noticed him). Either way, it is worth a visit. So, jingle bells jingle bells to Christmas Village.

 

 

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Tacloban City – A Place of Memories

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I first came to Tacloban even before it was lavished by the Typhoon Yolanda  long ago. So, for me, Tacloban might be not as the same if I’m going to be visiting now. I was young then, on my Third year of High School, and simply one of the persons taken to work on the Scriptwriting and Shadow Puppetry Tagisan ng Talino competition because I can do script writing.

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Atinfuyang. Script Title. A shadow puppetry tale about twins being a cause of misfortune.

Although to be fair, my script did go through revisions and had been mainly worked on hand in hand with a partner and with our professor herself. Aside from that, it had been my first time riding an airplane. (There are things I wish I would have tried but since we’ve ridden the plane during the times where I’d rather feel like sleeping since we rode it at night or at dawn.)

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First time riding a plane. Entering and Leaving.

Nonetheless, it was a pleasant memory although I don’t quite remember most of it already. Still, there are notable landmarks there that I’m able to visit. Also, it is my first time going to Visayas so I never experienced a heat that you can actually experience too quickly.

Tacloban doesn’t have an SM mall, instead it has a Robinsons one. While inside Robinsons, the place is as cool as Baguio is cool. However, if you go out, you always turn hot almost immediately.

Also, it is easy to go around there given how you just need to circle an intersection and we’re already able to return to where we’re currently staying. We’re staying at a school by the way, the same thing as when athletes coming from other parts of CAR comes to our school and treats one place there as a lodge. From there, I noticed that most of the food served if not always didn’t bear much vegetables on them. Most are meat, a stark difference in nature. It is also my first time there seeing someone dance while holding on something lighted with fire.

Au Revoir Program. 

Unlucky me, since I brought a camera without its charger and the only thing I have is my cellphone which doesn’t exactly take that much decent photos. I don’t even remember where I placed those images. But I have a friend, one of the people with me who took most pictures and these are the ones that I will be using given how we’re always in the same place either way. Aside from that, most of the images she took are stolen shots of me so yeah.

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Auto smile detector settings on my friend’s camera.

Aside from the recent firsts, it is also my first time to ever win First Place. This is given how we if messed up in the middle of our performance, with one member mistakenly hitting her toe by the table and me panicking. Yet we pulled through. I’m not expecting anything. I can’t expect anything given how we’re in the Nationals and we’re up against every other people. Not to mention the fact that we performed first and our Teacher specifically mentioned other presentations that are much better than ours.

Yet when the winner is announced, we are surprised and it’s my first time to actually scream for something like this. (No one screams without a warranted reason, unless it is absolutely necessary to scream to free yourself from stress.)

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First Time Champions. Tagisan ng Talino, Script Writing and Shadow Puppetry

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Theatre Instructor, cradling trophy like a baby

Once the event is finished, we’re still staying for two days before we leave this is since our tickets got switched with the other ones and we’re bound to leave later. From there, we are able to explore Tacloban more, although not all. I’m able to visit Imelda’s home, Mac Arthur’s statue along with some several soldiers walking ahead. A revered resort and even the San Juanico Bridge.

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Riding a side cab

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San Juanico Bridge, connecting Samar and Leyte

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Jollibee, Tacloban City

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MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park

 

I might not remember Tacloban as vivid as I should but it was always being a pleasant memory to me, given how I’d been there before a disaster hit such an unsuspecting place. Not to mention how I just recently made a friend who came from Tacloban in an anonymous group chat before hearing about the typhoon.

I was distraught when that happened. I just don’t know what to do, knowing that I’ve met good people there and I’ve made some memories there that are worth it, it made me sad that those are just taken away as simple as someone blowing a candle out on a birthday cake. So, either way, driving out of the personal thoughts on the matter, I hope you try visiting Tacloban. It might be small and hot (not your temperature if you’re a person who’s more attached in Baguio) but it’s worth it.

The people are nice and friendly and there are some sights that might (hopefully) survived from the typhoon. Nonetheless, Tacloban City is back on its feet and I hope I get to visit someday.

SEEING DOLPHINS – Ocean Adventure

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Ocean Adventure is the first Open Water Marine Theme Park in Southeast Asia. It has become one of the premiere attractions in Subic Bay, Philippines as well as all of Southeast Asia. Ocean Adventure has demonstrated a history of providing environmental awareness education combined with wholesome entertainment. Ocean Adventure’s advocacy for environmental protection and its corporate social responsibility programs are second to none.

The only ever souvenir that I might have gotten from Ocean Adventures is a green dolphin. This is because we often don’t get souvenirs especially if they cost quite a lot. Right now, looking back to 2015 – when I visited most places, I regretted not taking too many pictures. I have no idea why. It is either I’m the kind of person who simply wanted to be in the moment or that I am camera shy. Which is which. Maybe next time I’d try taking more pictures whenever I visit other places.

It was too hot inside the place. For someone who is more used to how cool Baguio feels, it made me uncomfortable being inside. But you are always never allowed to judge a place by its entrance. Because what’s inside might look more or less better than the steaming hot entrance.

Since my parents are not usually the type to spend too much in a place with an entrance fee that is expensive for them, we just followed the fixed program given to us. Most of them concern dolphins, sea lions and some acrobatic performances.

The first one is mostly about the animals they kept in their zoo and the way they had presented them is interesting. It is nice to meet such animals in the way of how they actually move in their environments.

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Rescue Center. First Program.

What amazed me the most is the dolphins’ show. For one, I haven’t seen dolphins in real life yet until Ocean Adventures. All my younger years I had been wondering when I’d ever see a dolphin or if I’m even going to see one (the miseries of someone who’s not usually allowed to just go anywhere without permission).

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Hello Dolphin

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Human and Dolphin race

Aside from that, it’s our first time actually seeing the Velascos’ Family in action and it is amazing watching their acrobatic performances. In fact, everyone held their breath upon watching their amazing acrobatic performances and seeing how flexible they are.

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The Velascos and my sister

The third show is also fun, especially if you’re quite near the stadium. You would really get splashed by the sea lions. It’s amazing how they can be trained and how cute they can act. In fact, sometimes they feel more or less like dogs but sea dogs.

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Sea lions.

Nonetheless, even if we just followed the actual program given to us, I still did enjoy going to Ocean Park Adventures. While I would have wanted to swim with the dolphins, I’d be alright with what I experienced, maybe someday when I come back, I’ll try riding a dolphin.

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Ocean adventure with sisters

Tiptoe Excitement: PUGO Adventures

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PUGAD PUGO is becoming popular to adventure seekers, sports, and outdoor events enthusiasts with 3 zip lines, flying like a bird, rappelling, wall climbing, trekking, adult pool/kiddie pool, cottages, nipa huts and clean toilet/shower rooms.

From Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Pugo-adventure-166766100051032/about/

I didn’t exactly visit the place the first time. I’ve been there for five times, most of them spent with family and friends. But most of them are only spent on pools since my father never allowed us to go to the zip lines, rock climbing and other adventures available.

However, even without that I still did enjoy going to Pugo. Especially having to cross the bridge while carrying the food in storage boxes, not to mention the fact that they are heavy. Imagine having to cross the bridge that moves at every step and having to carry one thing on another and hold on the bridge with the other.

Not to mention the fact, that you still have to walk before going there and the hot weather. However, it’s alright given the pools waiting for us.

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Family friends. Boating for kids is allowed too.

There are different variations of the pools, there are those that are specified for children, some for adults, some with sprinklers and the like. There are also things there that looked kind of cave like for a pool. I remember also finding a butterfly there and the insect is wet so at first, it wasn’t able to fly for a moment. I stayed by the side from there and watched it move from one point to another, never being able to fly that high.

It was an interesting and turned out kind of abstract to me. If you’re like me who notice some little things then you might share my point of view.

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Sisters at the sprinklers.

There is also a zoo there and I think that is the most interesting. That is especially the parrots who suddenly called out ‘Panget’ to some passersby. The monkeys are interesting too since they actually try to interact with visitors. There are also some different kinds of birds and some mammals and water-based animals. There is also the famous snake, which I haven’t tried being able to interact with. It isn’t exactly my first time visiting a zoo but of course, they have different animals so it’s still all good.

Zoo Animals

Since I haven’t experienced most of the adventures, I hope you are convinced to go visit the place and maybe, try the other adventures for me.

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Photoshoot — A friend’s birthday – First visit on Pugo Adventures

 

 

A Cruise Ship of Books – Logos Hope

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ABOUT MV LOGOS HOPE

We’re an international ship which brings knowledge, help and hope to the world through literature, cultural understanding, relief work and much more.

Company Overview
MV Logos Hope is operated by GBA ships e.V, a non-profit organisation based in Germany which operates ships that sail around the world to bring knowledge, helpand hope. Since 1970 our ships, known for their floating book fairs, have made over 1,400 port visits in more than 150 countries and territories and welcomed over 45 million visitors on board.

Reference: https://www.facebook.com/pg/logoshope/about/

So, here we are Logos Hope. I visited the cruise ship the year 2015 when I was still able enough to actually go on family vacations.  The ship had been around for three days in San Fernando, La Union

I am an avid reader. The kind of person that you can invite in book stores whether they are selling new or preloved books, I will be there. I can probably spend way too much time on simply browsing books and grabbing everything interesting to me. Given that, when I heard that we’re going to Logos Hope and having heard about its reputation, I am beyond excited. I am more excited than anyone.

Not to mention the fact that it’s also my first time riding a ship. The first amazing thing that I noticed is the way they first presented about their history.

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My sister and Logos Hope History Presentation

After that, we were led to a kind of path that documented the Prodigal Son, it was a pathway filled with detailed and rich illustrations. It clearly showed the story in its entirety even without the need of placing text or dialogue.

Then, there came the bookstore and this is the part that I enjoyed a lot. With a carrier in hand, I started picking out books. Most of them are classics aside from religious books, miscellaneous items, and souvenirs. The ones I visited the most are the classics.

Since I’m in High School, I’ve been hooked on Classics and I usually buy the ones priced at 99 pesos in National Book Store. However, they have Classics there that are only relative to the place given as how they don’t come from the same publisher as the ones who published the ones available in NBS. So, I just grabbed book after book with a smile on my face. As you can see on the image below:

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Book hoarding – MV Logos Hope

It actually took them quite some time to convince me to finally leave. In fact, they even had to ask me if I’m going to take all the books that I hoarded. Given the fact that I’m not exactly the one paying for them. Nonetheless, they did take the books that I hoarded and they have a special place in my room’s library.

Aside from the books, one other amazing thing about Logos Hope is their staff and the way that they are not just Europeans, we also have Asians and other volunteers not from the same part of the world. With that, Logos Hope is able to show that people no matter the walks of life, no matter what race, can all gather together and embody a family.

With such a good experience, if ever we can go back to Logos Hope (the ship travels so…) I would very much likely visit again and I advise any avid readers out there or anyone who wants to see what Logos Hope has to look out for the dates in which they will visit and go there.

It is worth the experience, I assure you.

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Childlike Wonder in La Trinidad’s Strawberry Farms

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We visited the Strawberry Farm with a family friend on a vacation day that actually matches my schedule. Since I’m in a college, my vacation usually doesn’t match my sisters or our family friend’s schedule. But yes, for some reason, we were all able to go out together.

It was quite the long ride even though the actual distance of Baguio from La Trinidad is not that far. But given usual traffic and all, I can say that we didn’t exactly get there immediately.

Upon getting there, we were faced with first the usual scene. This is usual especially if you’re a tourist, you will really see stalls upon stalls of souvenirs. But that is to be expected, but since I don’t really feel for the souvenir stuff right away I didn’t focus there.

From that point on, we were led to the farm and get this, we were allowed to pick strawberries! I mean, strawberries, actual strawberries! When I was younger, we lived in La Trinidad before moving to Baguio and I only remember running through strawberry fields and picking up small baby berries.

Being an adult and not to mention the whole thing being a vacation, picking up berries felt like a big thing. Since I rarely go out (except for the times when the family wants to go somewhere and I want to go somewhere), it is a real breath of fresh air.

Not to mention the fact that our family friend had children not on the same age as we are. The youngest being six or seven but small (smaller than my younger sister). Being able to watch such a small kid excitedly picking strawberries with a toothy smile is something heartfelt. In fact, I remember him just running around, with strawberries and even comparing what we got with his. He had something to brag about given how he did pick most of the big ones. While I only get regular small ones, well, not bad.

Aside from the strawberry picking, we are also allowed to take what we picked home and if that’s not good enough for you, I don’t know. Not to mention the fact that there are actual workers there and you can ask them about how to grow strawberries or simply anything about strawberries. They are kind and would answer all your questions. Given how this happened quite some time ago(two years ago), I can’t exactly remember what our family friend asked one worker there, but I remembered the way the worker talked to him. So, I suggest giving Strawberry Farm a visit and forget about your stress at the moment and just pick some strawberries and look at children running about.

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My Mother – Strawberry Fields, La Trinidad

 

 

Burnham Park Wonders

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If you go to Baguio, the first common place you’re probably going to go is Burnham aside from SM. As a person who’s from Baguio, going to Burnham is not exactly a hard feat and since it isn’t really anything new to me, it ceased to excite me.

However, since this is a blog where you need to share some experiences about some certain places that you visited, I’ll share something about it. Besides, Burnham Park has its own wonders. If you probably visited it or might have surfed through the web for pictures, you might have seen how it looked like then and now. With this post, I would focus on sharing about the now. Because Burnham might have already improved since your last visit, so join me~

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Rose Garden at night, Burnham Park, Baguio City (Image Source: http://www.philips.com.ph/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/about/news/press/2012/20120312-rose-garden.html)

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Fountains at night – Burnham, Baguio City (Image source: http://foresthouse.ph/burnham-park-baguio-city/)

To start with, Burnham was renovated recently and ones of their new additions are the Rose Garden. An actual rose garden, which gives the feeling of walking through some rose courtyard. But that’s not the ONLY best part about it.

Another best part about the rose garden is the installations of the lovely water fountains which, get this, glows like laser beams. I remember going home during my High School days and hoping that I see the fountain lights (this is mainly because I’m in High School and I need to go home early). I missed it most of the time. However, when I’m with family and we’re eating outside and Burnham is just nearby, you can see it.

Needless to say, it’s pretty and soothing. You can just imagine yourself drifting to some sort of a portal.

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Fountains in the morning: Burnham Park, Baguio City(Image Source: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/93483534)

Another thing is the boating in the Burnham lagoon. This is not exactly new but the boating grounds had also been renovated. I remember walking through Burnham to get to school on my High School days and having to avoid the mud that they had been digging from the boat’s area. It was a hassle and there ha been no boating for some time. But then, when it returned you can say that it’s more stable. Boating aside from riding bikes is one of the main highlights of Burnham and now there’s never a time where you won’t see a boat wading through the waters.

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Boats – Burnham, Baguio City (Image source: https://wanderingsoulscamper.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/revisiting-baguio-city-the-burnham-park/)

That’s all for the new things in Burnham, but there’s more to it than what I’ve shared. So, why not try to visit Baguio and head to Burnham. You would see people there from all walks of life. In the early morning, you’ll get to see joggers. In the afternoon, you would see families picnicking on the grass, children and adults alike by the biking area and boats. At night, you’ll see casual strollers and the couples and the laser beam like fountains. Given that, wouldn’t Burnham be interesting and a good place for taking a breather? I hope so because that’s the feeling I get whenever I visit the place and it never ceased to amaze me.