Sunday, July 31, 2011

meditations on the mountain

Lowlanders don't understand how massive a mountain is. We think we do, but actually we think that it's "just" a mountain. Highlanders KNOW that they are surrounded by the biggest objects on the planet. By accepting the fact that human beings are miniscule compared to the Supreme Being's other creations, they open themselves up to the vastness and majesty of the world. Therefore, they feel no need to change nature. They just blend in.

Sunrise at Kiltepan.

My favorite rice terraces at Ab-ab.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

feeling masferré

Eduardo Masferré was a Filipino photographer who died in 1995. His book, People Of The Philippine Cordillera-- Photographs 1934-1956, serves as an important record of the lifestyle of the tribes of the Cordillera region in the mid-20th century. A true son of Sagada, he was able to go where outsiders weren't welcome, and his beautifully stark black and white prints show us a world created and populated by the true Filipino-- the indigenous people who carved out a living from these mountains, untouched by Western influences.

This is my little tribute. Of course, I'm not worthy to even wipe the dirt off Masferré's sandals, but sometimes, when the subject matter is exceptionally gorgeous, my photos turn out alright.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ode to joy

As I'm sorting through my pictures of our drive through the Mountain Province, I can hear Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" playing in the background.

12 June 2011. Feast your eyes, friends.

up close and personal

Even though our objective was really Sagada, I have to say that I like Banaue. Rather, I like the people of Banaue. They're such characters.

Here's Kuya Jun, who was our constant companion for three days. He took care of us, and by that I mean that he made sure we were comfortable and happy the whole time we were with him.

Jun Pitpitunge and his chariot. A proud Ifugao man surveys his kingdom.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

long and winding road

Sorry for jumping around like this, but I still have some photos that I want to post from our Cordillera trip in June. To my one and only reader, please don't be confused. These pictures are from BEFORE Legazpi/ Misibis. To continue the story...

Did I happen to mention that we had freakishly pleasant weather the whole time we were in the Cordilleras?

After breakfast at People's Restaurant, our driver and guide Kuya Jun drove us through what seemed like an endless, bone-jarring journey following a half-paved one-lane road that led to our first must-see rice terraces. The views were utterly breathtaking. Little did we know that this was just a teaser of the even longer, and even more picturesque, drive up and down entire mountains (Not some puny little hills, OK? Mountains!) to Sagada later that day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

kids these days

We just saw this movie, "Post Grad", on Star Movies and we have very divided and strong feelings about it. Here are some reactions:

Is this a satire?

Is this a fairy tale?

She quit her job? So now what? She's gonna be a housewife.

A father would never say that to his daughter.

Well, at least the soundtrack is OK.

Sometimes, when trying to sound cleverly ambiguous, one ends up being just mediocre and confused.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

bag or purse?

One of my favorite iPad apps is the NET-A-PORTER.COM catalog. It's the only fashion magazine I read regularly now. It's free, it has a cool layout, the articles are interesting and the products are very drool-worthy. Case in point:

Marc Jacobs Wellington leather shoulder bag in glossy red. £966

Although I collect Marc Jacobs dresses, I never really got his bags... until the Wellington. It just jumped out at me and I can't stop looking at it. I have nothing bad to say-- I even adore the little heart shapes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the boy who lived can sing and dance

Harry Potter, isdatchu?

Even though I'm a fan of the books, I don't think I've ever avoided falling asleep halfway through a Harry Potter movie. Perhaps if they had been musicals?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

letter from the 5th floor

11 July 2011, 2:30PM

Dear YOU (you know who you are):

Today I pretended to be you again and forged signed my way through an amazing lunch at Restaurant 5 of Discovery Suites. The lunch buffet is available Mondays to Fridays only, from 12 noon to 2:30PM, and it costs about PHP1,000 nett (US$23) per person. Of course, I ate for free thanks to your about-to-expire Discovery Lifestyle membership.

Let me tell you, this lunch is light-years away from our steak dinner at 22 Prime last Saturday. After that disappointing meal, we agreed that 22 Prime is not what it's cracked up to be. The steaks were just plain disturbing, with that weird powdery aftertaste and liver-like aroma. No mas.

Our buffet breakfast the next day was much better, but still not outstanding. It was OK-- hearty, and more satisfying than Misibis Bay Resort's breakfast-- remember last month? But then anything is better than Misibis food... except maybe El Nido Lagen food, har har.

So my expectations were not very high when I walked into Restaurant 5 at exactly 12 noon today. I requested a table by the window for the view and the light, but after two hours of sitting there, the afternoon sun started to bother me, so down came the blinds. The pictures turned out great, though.

First plate: Bread, butter and assorted cheeses. Normal lang. Same stuff we had for breakfast last Sunday.

Second plate. Beef carpaccio with grated Parmigiano, California maki and chilled mussel. The sushi and mussel were remarkable.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

eating legazpi

I don't think we ever had a bad meal in Legazpi City, but these two truly stood out.

On our first day, just a couple of hours after our plane landed, we went to Embarcadero Mall to get the lay of the land. The security guard at the entrance recommended Gilian's Sea Wharf Chef, the only restaurant that was open for lunch at 11am.

I had known for months before this trip that the first thing I would eat would have to be Bicol Express, the signature dish of the Bicol Region.

The real thing. Bicol Express is sliced green chilies simmered in coconut milk and shrimp paste. The pork bits are just for flavor and are not the main ingredient. PHP150

And how could I pass up genuine Pinangat?

Pinangat is the leaves of the taro plant layered and tied in a bundle, placed in a pot and cooked in, you guessed it, coconut milk, shrimp paste and of course, chilies. PHP75

around albay in a day

OK, that title is a bit of an exaggeration. I'm sure that we barely scratched the surface of the province of Albay, but it sure felt like we saw most of it. Actually, we just drove all the way around the humongous Mayon Volcano.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the man from everest

When we were in Sagada, I mentioned to Mountain Boy that we were going to Legazpi City in a couple of weeks. He told me to get in touch with J.B. Anonuevo, a mountaineering friend of his who works as a guide. "He was a member of Team Everest. You must call him," he insisted.

This was how our first conversation went:

DB: Hi JB! We are going to have one whole day in Legazpi. What do you recommend we do?

JB: Mountain Boy said that you might want to climb Mayon Volcano.

DB: Er, let's put it this way... During our trek to Big Falls in Sagada, we thought that we were going to die.

JB: Ah so.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

m is for majestic

I believe in karma, and because I had not killed a single cockroach in my entire life, the universe conspired to give me my Mayon Volcano shots on 26 June 2011.

8:11 AM

8:17 AM

Friday, July 1, 2011

playing hard to get

25 June 2011, Legazpi Boulevard. The sun had just set on our second day in Legazpi City, and we STILL hadn't seen the full majesty of Mayon.

6:10 PM

6:20 PM