Thinking out loud: No matter how much we try to “not care” about other people’s lives for fear of being a busybody, we still do. We don’t notice it but we are still interested in the lives of famous people. Knowing their stories intrigue us. Knowing a piece of gossip excites us. Same goes for the people close to us, even if we don’t admit it. That’s one fatal flaw in all human beings. And sometimes, I hate humans. Even myself.
On my previous post about Burger Company (18th monthsary date with my boyfriend), our food trip didn’t actually stop there.
After eating at Burger Company, we headed off to The Iscreamist for desert. It is located at Magiting Street, Teacher Village - East, Quezon City. Again, using my forever useful Google maps app, we rode a taxi going there.
We were really pumped up to go there because we’ve been wanting to try their Dragon’s Breath for a long time. When we got there, it was packed with students and we had to wait in line. Kind of makes me feel like I’m waiting in line in a club. That got me more excited.
I noticed that the lights in their restaurant were really dim. I have a suspicion that it’s black light. Or it’s really just blue light. Nonetheless, it goes well with their “smoky” theme. I also loved the artworks on their wall.
So their specialty, “Dragon’s Breath”, consists of 3 flavors: Smores, French Macaroons and Tiramisu. They’re all placed on sticks and you get to dip them to their secret Liquid Nitrogen, which makes all the smoke.
Liquid Nitrogen, however, is very dangerous, that’s why they have this sign here. Read it carefully.
It was very clear that we enjoyed ourselves. Here are more pictures:
We ordered everything for a total of P215. Not bad for the first Dragon’s Breath experience. We didn’t get to order ice cream but we vowed to return in the near future! Definitely the journey’s worth.
Last February 21, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 18th monthsary (1 year and 6 months) together as a couple. Since Drix loves eating in new places, he decided to take me to Burger Company which is at Scout Reyes corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City. It’s near Quezon Ave MRT station, so you can take a trike from there. But we took an FX bound for SM Fairview from Taft and with the courtesy of my Google maps app on my phone, we walked a bit from Quezon Ave and found their restaurant.
What I didn’t expect was how small the place was. With so many likes on Facebook, I thought they expanded their branch but for a Burger restaurant that only opened during August 2013, it’s pretty amazing how popular it is now. But we were the only customers there on that day.
They even got Donnalyn Bartolome (her cardboard figure is seen on the front window) to be the face of Burger Company. Good marketing strategy to attract teens since she’s really popular on Facebook.
Their menu is pretty neat too! They even have a smaller and separate menu for their drinks.
I ordered The Striker’s Burger for P239 with an upsize of Crisscut Fries with free iced tea for P40 and Drix ordered a Gorgonzola and Mushroom burger for P199.
They have two kinds of patty: Angus beef and chicken. Our burgers contained Angus beef and it’s really one of the best beef that I’ve ever tasted. Now, the size of the burger was just right. Drix calls it a mini Zark’s, because the burger bun from Zark’s is really big, but the patty’s size is just the same as theirs.
Their burgers tasted really good. They know their seasoning when it comes to the patty. I can tell that their bun is healthy because of the wheat on top.
What I liked about the burger was that it wasn’t oily. It doesn’t sag when you hold it with your hands. And look how full my burger was of pure goodness! Hmm.. bacon.. Their fries were fried to perfection because it was crispy and there wasn’t any oil lingering in between chewing it. The taste was just right. Not too salty.
Now I’m expecting Drix to ask me to go to Burger Company with him every now and then despite being far from Manila.
Cavinti Falls or popularly known as Pagsanjan Falls (because of its tourist route through Pagsanjan) is situated in Laguna, Philippines. It is the most popular nature tourist attraction in Laguna. Originally, it was called Pagsanjan Falls but our guide told us that it was renamed to Cavinti Falls as it is actually located in Cavinti and is too far from the Pagsanjan boundary. We took the Cavinti route instead of the Pagsanjan route because it was cheaper. While the Cavinti route lets you trek to the falls, the Pagsanjan route will be able to let you ride on a boat on crazy currents with two skilled boatmen or simply put, shoot the rapids. If you prefer the Pagsanjan route, be prepared to pay a fee of P1000 – P1500 per head.
One might think me crazy to go there alone so I brought my boyfriend along with me. And we’ve been planning this trip for 2 weeks, so call it a post Valentine’s adventure. So, on Febraury 19, 2014, we left the city. We took a 2 hours and a half bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna bus from Gil Puyat (Buendia) LRT. Bus fare was P112. Once at the Sta. Cruz terminal, we rode a tricycle to Regidor St., Sta. Cruz Public Market (or as the locals call it: Bayan) and boarded a jeep to Cavinti. Be sure to ask the driver if they pass by Cavinti Cemetery because we boarded on the wrong jeep at first. Jeepney fare was P23.
The 45 minute jeepney ride to Cavinti Cemetery was refreshing. While it was so hot back in Sta. Cruz, the ride just cooled us down because of all the trees surrounding the road. Outside the cemetery, we rode a tricycle to Pueblo El Salvador Eco Park. Locals call it Pueblo. Bear in mind to say Pueblo because there are two Eco Parks in Cavinti. The other is called Bumbungan Eco Park which is just on the way to Pueblo.
When we alighted our tricycle, we got the driver’s number because there aren’t a lot of tricycles around Pueblo. He charged us P70 (both of us) for the ride. But really, I thought it was just a P50 ride.
Once there, we were met by the front desk lady. She cited to us the rules of the park and told us that there are 586 steps going to the falls. People who are prone to have heart problems and high blood are not allowed. Same goes for pregnant women. We were also told to leave our bags in the office because it would be tiring going back up. The entrance fee was P270. There was a P500 package before, which includes the trek going down in Cavinti and shooting the rapids to Pagsanjan, but now it’s not allowed. I wished I could’ve experienced shooting the rapids. That’s one thing I haven’t done.
So we met our guide, Kuya Helbert. He asked us which route we would prefer going, the long way or the short cut. Of course we picked the short cut. And I would suggest the short cut if you guys are planning to go there. It takes half the time through the short cut than the long way. He was also kind to tell us a bit of the park while we walked.
Going down was a great adventure. The amazing scenery just awed me. There were also insects and plants I’ve never seen before. There was a blue insect that really fascinated me. I wonder what that was.
Once we reached the middle of our trek, we were met by the statue of El Salvador del Mundo.
What I didn’t tell my boyfriend was that we would be rappelling down twice (he’s afraid of heights). Opps. We wore harness for rappelling and descended the 90 degrees ladders and the 586 dangerously high steps.
We met our second guide, Kuya Sonny, at the ladder.
The steps (photo below) were almost vertical the height was just asking me to fall down. I felt like a daredevil. I was especially worried about my boyfriend because of his fear of heights but he seemed more okay than I did.
My legs were shaking furiously when we reached the bottom. But we were met by an extraordinary view. It was like we were located in a big underground hole because the rock cliffs were so high up. I really wished that I had a wide lens to capture the whole view. Everything looked better than what I saw through internet photos.
Tourists who took the Pagsanjan route. ^
Of course, nothing beats the amazing view when we saw the falls. I had to take a minute to look at it before joining the other tourists who took the Pagsanjan route into the Devil’s cave which is inside the falls. I asked our guide why the tourists left right after going in the cave because a view like that needs to be appreciated for more than the 30 minutes they were there. He said that they weren’t allowed to stay long if they were from the Pagsanjan route. Which just made me feel good that we took the Cavinti route.
Of course, I had to take an epic selfie with the falls.
There were also little waterfalls nearby. So that was cool.
I took another landscape photo before heading back up to home base.
I went through extensive research and prepared myself for this 2nd adventure before traveling. But what I did not prepare myself was the beauty of the falls, the exciting feeling of being in the Devil’s cave and the exhaustion I experienced going back up. Drix said I lost color on my face when I suddenly had to stop. I literally lost my breath. When we went back to where the big statue was, our guide showed us where we could drink water. It was through a hose that I noticed earlier running through the park. Turns out it was fresh water! I had never felt the need to drink water so much.
Fresh from the falls!
On the way back, Drix and I were able to talk to Kuya Sonny about his work as a guide in Pueblo. I was a bit shocked to find out that he receives barely a minimum salary. He also told us about his 4 high school kids. A job like what these guides are doing requires a lot of energy when they go up and down almost 5 times a day. I felt like they deserved more.
Kuya Sonny suggested that we go to the Cavinti Underground River / Cave next time. It is said to be even more beautiful than the caves in Palawan. That’s gonna be part of my list. Looks like I’m seeing Cavinti again!
We gave our P100 tip, took a last couple photo and left the park.
Our budget for this adventure was P1000 each for us and I’m happy to say that we didn’t go beyond that. Here’s a breakdown of our expenses, per head:
Fare / prices may vary if you plan on going there but I can assure you it’s all under P1000. The table above is just a guide.
Great adventure for this February, I should say. I think I’m gonna make this adventure trips a monthly thing. I’ve missed so much adventure last year because of being overworked and it’s time to make this year my year.
One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was to travel out of town alone. It was scary but I figured that I had to do it once in my lifetime. I did some research and I came across places like Laguna, Batanes, Nuvali, etc. But the places I researched all required me to have a large amount of pocket money. I did a quick survey through Facebook status and a college professor suggested Rizal. Again, more research and I found out that Angono, Rizal was famous for the arts. So, on February 9, I packed my camera gear and headed off to Angono.
The process of going there was pretty stressful because of the heat that’s upon us these days. I found out through online articles that there was an FX passing through Angono stationed at SM Megamall. Now, the trip from Manila to SM Megamall took an hour and a half. That’s including walking the whole of SM to find where the FX to Angono was.
The FX ride going to Angono was P45. Once there, I felt like a lost kid. I took a peek in my Adventure Notebook first on my list was YAB Design. When I walked to where all the tricycle was, I told them about YAB and surprisingly, they didn’t know what that was or where it was. You’d think they would know Angono better than I did. I swear, I saw it on the Google Maps and in online articles. I didn’t waste any time for them to ask among themselves and changed my decision to Nemiranda Art House. The tricycle ride there costs P18.
Apparently, Nemiranda is famous in Angono. I think all the tricycle drivers I’ve ridden with suggested that I go here.
Once there, I was welcomed by a big “tuloy po kayo” sign with sculptures surrounding it. I’ve never seen a more creative and colorful entrance to an art gallery. What I know was that they had an entrance fee of P50/head, but no one really bothered to charge me when I was there. I asked a lady if it was okay to go in and if there was a fee, she just let me in. Lucky me. Or maybe because it was a Sunday? Hmm..
First thing I noticed was the entrance to the toilet by the side. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended.. Moving forward.
This was the entrance to the gallery (photo below). Turns out you can also have a photo shoot inside as stated on the sign on the right. But for a fee of P500 per hour.
Nemesio B. Miranda or Nemiranda is known for introducing Imaginative Figurism through his art. And just when I thought I was done with the first section of the gallery, there was a bigger one behind.
His works are huge! And in various mediums. He does pencil, charcoal, oil, sculpture. I bet this museum contains his life’s work. It’s extraordinary.
I was particularly fascinated by this artwork below. The one on the right. It’s called "Isang kahig, isang tuka, sa kaunting sarap…sangkatutak na hirap”,oil on canvas, 1996. There was a long description on the side. It was basically telling a story of how a mother is giving birth to her 6th child and the burden of the drunken husband to support his big family. The theme on the third world poverty and overpopulation.
On the description, it said that there was an unused condom under the Sto. Nino statue. Though I can’t really see it…
I headed off to Balaw Balaw Restaurant which was just a minute’s walk away and on the same street.
Funny story: Outside Nemiranda, I actually asked a tricycle driver on how much going to Balaw Balaw and he showed me that it was a stone throw away. So much for trying to sound confident.
Turns out there’s also a gallery inside (haha, big surprise). They’re a big fan of Valentine’s Day, apparently.
I asked the waiter if there was an entrance fee to the gallery. I think he mentioned a P50/head entrance. But he told me that they won’t charge a fee if I was eating there.
Since I ate a heavy breakfast, I decided to order a Mais con Yelo for P70 since I was driving nuts about the heat. I took the time to write down in my Adventure Notebook and take some pictures of the interior before indulging myself in their gallery.
There were 3 floors filed with paintings and sculpture. The building has a pretty good structure. I especially loved their spiral stairs going up.
One artwork caught my attention and that was a sculpture of The Last Supper. I would usually see replicas of The Last Supper paintings but the effort the artist put in to making this The Last Supper sculpture is amazing.
After my tour in Balaw Balaw, I took a short walk and saw a big map of Angono. Under the heat, I quickly browsed it and saw that there was a Forest Park. In need for some shade and nature, I hailed a tricycle and we drove there for a fare of P20. I kind of felt the need to complain about how much he charged me because the driver told me that it was a long way there but really it wasn’t. But I told myself that I didn’t need that kind of stress.
When I alighted the tricycle, I was worried that the Forest Park might be closed because the old lady that I met at the entrance told me that there was a council meeting. She also asked if I was there for a photo shoot and I replied that I was just touring around. I also asked if there was an entrance fee as it was stated on the sign outside but she told me there was no need for me to pay.
It was such a treat for me to talk to the old lady (I didn’t get her name) because she told me a little about the park and that there were steps at the back. She also told me how many steps there were and according to the kids who play there, it’s 77 steps.
When I got to the end of the steps, it took me to a road. It was so quiet up there. The old lady mentioned to me that there was a retreat house at the end of the road. But I didn’t go that far for fear that I’d get even more lost. So while the retreat house was up, I went down the road to go back to the entrance of the park. I went back in and had a little chat again with the old lady and walked around for a bit before leaving.
I didn’t know where to go next and it was still early for the sunset. I asked a tricycle driver on where I could go next and he suggested Blanco Family Museum. It’s a well known museum in Angono filed with artworks by the Blancos. But when we got there, there was an entrance fee of P100. I think I looked very hesitant because the lady who accommodated me suggested Nemiranda and Botong Museum. Having already gone to Nemiranda, the tricycle driver then took me to Botong. We also got a bit lost along the way but we managed to find it.
I think I clicked on their buzzer for 3 times before someone could accommodate me. I gave the tricycle driver a tip of P50 and the guy who opened the door led me inside the gate (photo above).
Once inside, he led me to a small door to a small gallery. What I didn’t know was that Botong was the nickname of National Artist Carlos V. Francisco. He’s known for his mural painting. He was also famous for his discovery on the Angono Petroglyphs in Angono Cave, in which I didn’t get a chance to go to because of the P300 tricycle fare for one way. I swear, these tricycle drivers love to take advantage of how famous a place is.
Anyway, after looking around his work, I spotted a door behind that leads to a studio. The whole place was actually a Resident Gallery. The care taker opened the door for me a told me that it was the studio of Botong.
It was amazing how they preserved Botong’s things like his paint brushes, his palettes and even the chair he used. It felt like, for a moment, that I was in his history.
There were even pairs of shoes that belonged to Botong and I even took a peek at his book shelf.
When I went deeper into the house, it led me to a living room. I immediately felt that I was an intruder because there were two kids around. But the care taker was kind to tell me that I could go in because visitors do that too. He led me to their main front door and there were more paintings. I started to wonder if Botong painted those too.
I chatted with the care taker for a bit about Botong and he revealed that it was his Lolo. I was kind of surprised because I thought he was just the care taker. When I asked for his name before I left, it was “Totong”. Carlos “Totong” Francisco II. I did some research on him when I got back home and he is actually the great grand son of Botong and that he was a painter too. Those paintings near the main front door was actually his work. It was like I had met a celebrity and didn’t realize it. It was a shock to me.
For my final destination, I went to Lakeside Park. On the way there though, there were all these art engravings on almost every wall on the street where the Botong Museum was. Totong mentioned to me that they were a replica of Botong’s works especially for the road walls. Pretty cool. Now, that is traditional street art.
The tricycle fare going to Lakside Park was P12. And when I reached there, it was filed with people. Mostly students from FEU for their field trip. I remember Totong telling me that it was 10 buses of students.
It was around 3PM when I got there, so I had a lot of time to sit down, rest, write down on my Adventure Notebook and take some pictures. It was also still very hot (I’ve been complaining a lot about the heat lately) so I retreated to this bamboo bench where people can rest. I realized then that I still had about 2 and a half hours to wait for the sunset and I got bored easily. I played Flappy Bird, Temple Run, browsed on Instagram and Facebook on my phone to pass the time. When it was around 5:30PM, I took the opportunity to go up a building and take the photo above. I was disappointed because there was a tent that kind of destroyed the photo. There were also boutiques around the place that weren’t supposed to be there (according to the pictures I saw on Google). Not sure whether there was an event..
So, I took more pictures of the scenery than of the people. Though the kids were fun to watch.
I wasn’t the only one waiting for the sunset. I even spotted a photographer in the distance.
And when that moment arrived.. That sunset, all my worries just washed away. The sunset does that to me. It was serene and peaceful. Also, the race to capture the sunset was thrilling. I took 4 pictures of the sunset from different positions. Here’s my favorite:
I went home feeling really good about myself because I gained a bit of confidence while asking for directions. I took the tricycle back to the plaza for P10 and waited for an FX by the main road. Good thing I asked the FX driver earlier that day on where to wait unless I would’ve been lost. I spent a total of P342 going there and home. Not bad. The people were so accommodating and I’m glad that nothing bad happened to me. Next adventure, I’m dragging someone along.
It was my first adventure of the year and I think l learned more about art than in one of my history art classes during college (or maybe because this interested me more than listening to my professor). I really think that a trip to Angono would be a good requirement for art students. But better late than never for me.