Glimpses of History and Myth at Wawa.

I’ve been anything but okay for the past few days. I know it’s Holy Week and all, but I honestly can’t muster up the energy and enthusiasm to go to Church. I don’t need to burden you with the sordid details. I’m 99.9% sure that my personal life is not the reason you’re here. Moving forward, I just wanted to get out the house. For some reason, I couldn’t contact my best friends. My cellular signal is seriously messed up, so I just dragged my folks to the far end of our hometown. It helps when your family is almost always game for a trip anywhere. This blog has been getting serious traffic for our Visita Iglesia post in Rizal. To all those who dropped by and commented, a big thanks! I’ve been contemplating on either shutting down this blog–since K and I hardly get the chance to update–or just taking over completely. Well, here I am. And here goes nothing.

Being a San Mateo native, I know probably th———is much about Montalban, Rizal (more properly known as Rodriguez these days, but hey politics). If I’m being honest, I probably know th—————is much about San Mateo. And if I’m being blunt, I’d say there really is not much to know about either San Mateo or Montalban–at least from what we could see on the internet, which is a damn shame. But before anything else, let’s not get these two places confused. They’re two different municipalities located at the northern edge of Metro Manila and lying just before the majestic Sierra Madre mountain range, I would imagine. I really wanted to make this post about San Mateo but until I get whipped into an inspired writing frenzy, I’ll save that for later. I’d like to introduce you first to the rarely talked about Wawa Dam and Pamitinan Cave in Montalban.

Wawa Dam Continue reading

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Holy in Laguna.

K and I seem to be in the habit of taking long breaks between posts and then apologizing for our hiatus in each and every one of them. To make up for that, I decided to finally finish the draft for this  post, which I started about a year ago hahaha! Since we’re in the middle of Holy Week, I hope vacationers will take the time to drop by churches and pray. There seems to be an unusual traffic in my previous Visita Iglesia post so I’ll take that as a good sign! If it’s not too much to ask though, please include K and I in your prayers. K is busy with her job in a broadcasting firm and figuring out her career path, while I’m set to graduate–yey!–from law school, and will be taking the Bar Exam soon. I also got in an accident recently but I’m praying that I would be able to walk properly by graduation. Please, please, please help us fulfill our dreams through prayers! I know we’re just faceless strangers on the Internet, but I guess it won’t hurt if I ask you to plead our cause to God as you complete your church visits. Ohhh we’d love to hear from you guys too! Let me know if this blog helped you in any way! Thank you, stranger!

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Nothing beats having a family that feeds one’s passions for travel and photography, except perhaps a family that also motivates one to further one’s faith in God. As a sort of part deux to last year’s Visita Iglesia in the countryside of Rizal, my family and I went from church to church again (albeit now in the neighboring province of Laguna), more determined to visit fourteen churches for all fourteen stations of the cross. Laguna, which is part of Luzon’s CALABARZON (read: Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), was named after the Philippines’ largest lake, Laguna de Bay or “Lake of Bay”. It is a host to 24 municipalities and 6 first-class cities, namely Biñan, Cabuyao, Calamba, San Pablo and Santa Rosa, and home to the tourist hot spots Pagsanjan Falls, the Los Baños’ hot springs  and even the ancestral house of our country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. Two dormant volcanoes, the mysterious Mt. Banahaw (possibly meaning banal daw–Tagalog for “probably divine” or “divine, according to another”), which is characteristically enveloped by a thick puff of clouds, and Mt. Makiling (from the maiden Maria Makiling of Philippine legends, whose profile supposedly gives shape to the volcano), also skirt its borders on the south.

LagunaLagunaLaguna

The province has also bore witness to the country’s long history, hence the number of churches in the area. Here’s sixteen under the Diocese of San Pablo, and a couple of interesting extras. In having included new parishes in this list of destinations–yes, even when they’re located in different towns–I feel like my family and I kind of cheated to finish all the stations of the cross. So do note which are heritage and which are not. (As a warning, there are also pretty graphic shots–although not exactly verging on macabre–of people doing their penitence. Feel free to move the kids away from the screen or just skim through those parts if you feel squeamish at the sight of blood.) Continue reading

On stargazing.

Calvin: If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.

Hobbes: How so?

Calvin: Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.

calvin and hobbes stargazing

Just a classic Calvin and Hobbes existential dialogue to get you through the night.

(Inkdependent does not claim any ownership over the photo used in this post. The image belongs to its respective copyright owners and was used only for illustration purposes.)

Nothing is ever lost to the one who gives

String of typhoons is an annual staple in the Philippines, turning vast agricultural lands and stifled metro streets into water-worlds that the ever resilient Filipinos have learned to endure and, well, just ride the wave

But it becomes a different story when devastation hits weeks before Christmas, when yet another typhoon ravaged Visayas and Mindanao. Typhoon “Pablo” (with the international name “Bopha”) tore apart families, with 540 dead, 1,088 injured, and 827 missing, and left about 250,000 families homeless, struggling for survival and without the holiday cheers to look forward to.

Regardless of your beliefs, we appeal to your gentle spirits a minute of prayer for the departed and the survivors. For those of you who have blessings to spare, kindly refer to any of the following agencies to convey your donations:

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Into the sun at Marcia Adams’ Tuscany

(I come up with the lousiest titles of late :c)

If this post were a color, it would be yellow: 1) I’m pumping Ed Sheeran (the first time I fully listened to the guy) to my ears to match the milky-and-sunny sky that I was gaping at on my way to work; 2) Wee, dry leaves swirling and crashing against the windshield still outline magic in my eyes, which goes to say I haven’t been fully consumed by the lull-before-the-storm I’m in; 3) I seriously contemplated on whispering a calm expletive to the van driver beside me when he decided to switch off his radio (my relationship with ambient sounds still outweighs any technological advancement there is); 4) My yellow tumbler endures me; 5) I’m sipping chocolate from a yellow box through a yellow straw as I type these gabs instead of editing my colleagues’ output; 6) I need to get rid of “I,” (not my friend!) “me,” and “my” in my next posts; 7) MARCIA ADAMS’ TUSCANY in Tagaytay, Batangas.

Much like the country house-cum-restaurant was built based solely on the owner’s dream and imagination, setting foot in this Secret Garden-like seclusion (that’s redundant, right?) has been a forgotten yearning until “J” surprised me with an invitation to the place a weekend before his schedule began to become messed up. I think it escapes him that I really appreciate the occasions when he takes note of and acts on the littlest detail about me.

Word of mouth put the restaurant on the radar, mostly because of the Mediterranean ambiance and not the food. Since driving and directions are way too serious business for my liking, all I can share is that Marcia Adams’ Tuscany is situated a few meters from a welcome arch to the right of Aguinaldo Highway, past Residence Inn Zoo.

(L) Two-seater table by the backdoor with a cluster of fresh flowers, (R) Amalfi prawns

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Lost to, lost in Cafe Kapitan

Greetings from the underworld!

As is evident, “I” has been the only one breathing life into this blog from time to time (law school and a wee fraction of her attention goes to helping rehabilitate my mangled writing ego). Yes, years have passed and that self-limitation still holds me by the collar. I try to shake loose, you see; so I go around, see and try things thinking that by putting myself out there, I might regain what was lost to me. But one crucial act that I have not been keen to commit to is to sit down with self-discipline.

With small steps, I clamber out of the abyss, yet again endeavoring to woo the muse that has eluded me for my complacence.

I am eyeing Marikina as an inspiration to an idea that I intend to birth in time. Since my boyfriend “J” and I were meeting last Saturday with no clear destination, I suggested that we explore the city’s food haunts and take an insight or two. After an exemplary display of my direction noob-ility that took a good half of our day, we managed to find the J.P. Rizal Street of Marikina.

Tucked in a small street across the Our Lady of the Abandoned Church (which locals refer to as “OLA”), CAFE KAPITAN is a two-story heritage house that consists of adobe walls, capis windows, glass-paneled doors, wooden frame and furniture. The ceiling of the main dining room is adorned with orbs of light cupped by paelleras or pans used to cook the famed Spanish dish, paella. I am a sucker for old houses and this, without a fail, popped my eyes with utter wonder.

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Bar in front of the kitchen entrance and beside the door to the Music Room

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Casual at Sancho’s.

Hi —

It’s been months and we’re sorry. Life has taken hold again. Moving forward, a lot of things has happened to both K and I. First off, I’m still trying to convince her to let go of her obsessive-compulsiveness and just write (maybe I could start a poll and you guys can help me with that). Second, I gained a sis-in-law and an adorable new niece. Third, K now has some romance in her life. (Ya, she’s basically left me in the world of NBSB–for those of you who are not Filipino or basically strangers to the colloquial term, it’s means “no boyfriend since birth”–a term coined by Chick Lit writer Claire Betita). And last, I’m still stuck in the crazy, crazy world of law school. We’re on break right now so I’m grabbing this chance to blog again. Forgive me, I’m rusty.

Doing two of our favorite things–eating and pigging out–oh, that’s just one thing haha, K and I chatted over Spanish food at Sancho’s. (If we’re being technical, I’d say more Filipino with Spanish influence.) If you either remember our previous post or have been to BRGR: The Burger Project, then you would have an idea as to where Sancho Churreria Manila is located. Establishing itself as one of the more known restaurants in the Maginhawa foodie strip, Sancho is a small, casual dining place offering your traditional pasta, churros and other Spanish meals.  Continue reading

Water Under the Bridge

I haven’t had the chance to take real photos for quite a while now; school has, unfortunately, taken up much of my time. But I still remember the good old college days when we were required to take some shots for Photo Journalism class, and there was one assignment that I was really happy that we were.

“Sampayan”, which is Tagalog for “clothesline”, was the assignment for the week. We were pretty much novices in handling an SLR, a film camera at that–but my friend and PhotoJourn partner and I wanted to do something that wasn’t quite as fleeting or an art for grade’s sake.

I’d like to share those photos with you especially as I find it more meaningful now that I’ve seen some of my fellow Filipinos and San Mateo residents living on the streets, off the Batasan-San Mateo bridge to be precise, and begging for food or money just to get through the day after the recent monsoon floods ravaged their houses–which were already tattered shelters made from discarded wood from the start but were, nonetheless, homes to most of them.

The people in the shots actually lived under that Batasan bridge. These were taken with an Olympus OM-10 on January 2008, before Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana), the recent calamity, and everything else that has happened in between. I remember them saying that they were always nervous when rain starts to pour because then they’ll have to find somewhere else to flee to and leave what little they do have. I pray that they’ll get their silver linings soon.

(Inkdependent reserves its right of ownership over the photos in this post. Please do not copy. We hope you’d rather comment instead.)

Dreadful Weather.

The Philippines, particularly Luzon and the Metro Manila region, isn’t doing so well right now. Quite a number of towns, cities and provinces are now submerged in flood water, which in most places, has already ravaged through houses, schools, hospitals, offices and places of business and there are also various threats of landslide. There’s no tropical storm, but this terrible and non-stop monsoon rain has brought an unusual volume of water—no doubt showing how badly global warming can affect us. Most are either stuck on the roads (a number of which are now impassable) or stranded in their homes, some safe while others are already on their rooftops or trapped in the second floor of their houses.

We implore your help in the form of prayers for our country and countrymen and, if possible, donations through accredited government and/or non-government agencies.

Please click on the links to know how you can help.

Call (632) 931-8101 to 07 or DSWD Nat’l Relief Operations Center at (632) 852-8081

For inquiries, please contact the Ateneo DReaM Team at (632) 697-7168 and email ateneodreamteam@lists.ateneo.edu

So travel.

We’ve been suffering from quite a hiatus lately. K and I have unfortunately been busy with so many things in our lives. But the prospect of eating good food, reading inspiring novels, watching amazing shows and meeting new friends on roads less traveled has never wavered in our minds.

I just wanted to share this Henry Rollins note I saw in my personal Facebook feed. It was posted by Bogart the Explorer from Davao City. What can I say? I couldn’t agree more. Life is good :)

(Inkdependent does not claim any ownership over the photo used in this post. The image belongs to its respective copyright owners and was used only for illustration purposes.)