The Bacarra Bell Tower: the Leaning Tower of the North

Jul 30, 2012

The Bacarra Bell Tower and St. Pedro de Apostle Parish is located at the town of Bacarra and was our first stop on our second day in Ilocos. According to some websites, the locals call it the "Bowing Belltower of Bacarra" and tourists call it "Leaning Tower of the North." According to World Tourist:"The Bacarra Church together with its bell tower were constructed by the Spanish Augustinian Friars in 1593 and subsequently inaugurated in 1782. It was destroyed by the intensity 7.8 earthquake on August 1983 and reconstructed and once again inaugurated in August 1984. The image of the patron saint, San Andres, stands in front of his x-shaped cross in the central niche. The Bacarra Bell Tower is located at the right side of the Roman Catholic Church. It was built in 1830’s and made up of coral blocks and stocco with an original height of fifty (50) meters and a three (3) storey with a wall of five (5) meters thickness. The earthquake wrecked it in 1931, which had caused the top most portions to tilt a little sideward on the right. The bell tower with its unusual elongated cupola, was built during the term of Fray Pedro Berger (1828-1848). It was made to stand a good distance from the church to reduce damage to the later in case the tower buckled during a tremor. Chunks of brick debris, hurtled down during earlier earthquakes practically at the foot of the church."
This side of the church faces the bell tower. It was said to re-rebuilt around the 19th century.  It was also said the church and the bell tower were built through forced labor, a bitter reminder of Spanish occupation. The front of the church.  I guess it was re-painted recently or something because it somehow looks new.  We didn't visit many churches in Ilocos Norte, and this is it, except for the Paoay Church.

Coming Home to Mandaue Foam

Jul 25, 2012

We live in a small, one-bedroom house and for a family of 7, that is cramped. We have a running joke that when you fall in the kitchen, you will land in the bedroom!  I kid you not, our house is small.  But like in the Eraserheads' song, >'bahay nami'y maliit lamang, pero pero malinis to, pati sa kusina, and yes, our small humble home is clean, cozy and just perfect for my family. I believe that in the mantra: your home, your imagination! But our perfect little home will benefit a lot from these great finds from Mandaue Foam and I will tell you why!
This double deck will be perfect for our room for the kids. It will surely be exciting for them to sleep in a double-deck bed as we only sleep on a mattress now. I can imagine them already fighting over who gets to sleep on top, ha ha!
This Retro Bench will be perfect for our living area because of the additional storage space that it provides. I can put my magazine collection and knick-knacks inside to avoid clutter.  The leather cover will also make my house look clean and sleek.

Since I love reading, this bookcase will take a special place in our house.  I want to influence my kids to love reading so this will be very prominent in our living area.  I can already see my Harry Potter collection and Twilight books filling the upper shelves!

"Your Home, Your Imagination"

If you want to check out more wonderful items that will be perfect for your home, and your imagination, check out the website of Mandaue Foam or any of their branches.  Check out their newest, heartwarming commercial here:

Wednesday Happy Thoughts!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Its the middle of the week and the best time to count our blessings!  Happiness is:
1. The Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud trip for our office planning and team building! Finall got to visit Ilocos, and take pictures to prove it!
2. Getting to know my new office mates more. Over dinner or lunch, at picture taking and even over some shots of Tequila and red wine :)
3. Ilocos food: empanada, Vigan longganisa and longganisa pizza!
4. My mom and my sister for stepping up and taking care of my kids while I was away.
5. For my husband for his sweetness and unlimited texts. Hi hi.
6. The paypal payout! Thanks for some money when I need them the most.
7. New group at the office: new boss, new set-up, new challenges.  Bring it on!
8.  For friends who are physically far away, but always very near at heart.  You know who you are guys! :)
9. For the rebond deal for my ever-dependable sister Kris. Yes!
10.  For my blackberry, for helping me get in touch with long lost friends on FB.

To know how this started and for credits on the image, click here.

My Diet Saga

I have been on diet since 5 years ago when my  office mate, who was then on her 9th-month of pregnancy weighed as much as I did! I was 148 lbs on my 5'2" frame and was obese, based on my BMI.  And I didn't feel good about myself.  I cant wear nice clothes because they doesn't look good on me and I felt sluggish and heavy.  So I started to look for ways to lose weight.  I took to skipping meals and taking diet pills.  But I started having migraine attacks and palpitations so I stopped.  Then I started running and doing aerobic exercise.  I also started watching what I eat, and eat less carbs and more fruits and vegetables.  From 148 lbs, I lost 25 lbs in 6 months!  I kept this weight for more than a year until I slowly went back to my heaviest of 132 lbs last year.  Good thing, our office opened a gym for employees and I kept my weight at 132 lbs.  Unfortunately, the gym closed 3 months ago and I am now again at my heaviest after 5 years at 138.5 lbs! So when I weighed myself yesterday and got jolted about my weight increase, I vowed to look closely once more at what I am eating.  I promise myself that instead of chips, I will eat fruits with delicious fruit dressing and more vegetables instead of meat.  I will also exercise and try to run again, instead of just the once a week Zumba class that I attend!  If I was able to do it once, I know that I can do it again and lose the excess weight I have gained so far! So good luck to me!

The Cape Bojeador Light House

Jul 24, 2012

The Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as the Burgos Lighthouse is located at the town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte.  We missed the road sign going to this place because we were enjoying the beautiful, beautiful ocean scenery on the other side.  Good thing we saw another sign and turned back, otherwise, we would have missed it! It was one of the places that we really intend to visit in this Ilocos trip.

According to Wikipedia:  "Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. It was first lit on March 30, 1892 and is set high on Vigia de Nagparitan Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town.The light marks the northwesternmost point in Luzon. The 65-foot-tall (20 m) octagonal stone tower, the most prominent structure in the vicinity, can be seen from as far away as Pasuquin town in the south and Bangui on the east on a clear day."
The lighthouse was designed by Magin Pers Y pers and finished under Guillermo Brockman. 

There is also a small museum that highlights the history of the lighthouse, with mainly old photos of  the lamps and the construction.

The lighthouse was made mostly from bricks and some of them are already fading. But the view is still breathtaking and the veranda is perfect for picture taking!
The view from the light house veranda is simply breathtaking!  I can stay there all day and just watch the horizon! It was perfect.  We are really blessed to have these wonderful views to lighten our hearts. I am very grateful to have seen such a beautiful part of the Philippines!  I would rather do this than visit an amusement park in Hong Kong or Singapore.
One thing that caught my eye is these solar panels, which I found out were powering the lighthouse.  According to Wikipedia: The lighthouse was originally fitted with first-order Fresnel. The intense earthquake of 1990 that hit most of Luzon damaged the lenses and displaced the mechanism alignment of the original first-order apparatus making it inoperable.The beam now comes from a modern electric lamp that is powered by solar panels. The light before was provided by pressurized kerosene lamps very much like "Coleman lamps". 

The light house tower itself is closed but the caretaker allowed us to take pictures of the stairs leading to the view deck. The wrought irons looked really sturdy but we did not want to try to steal our way up :)
It was enough for me to see the lighthouse and marvel again at the rich history of the Philippines.  Make sure to put the Cape Bojeador light house in your itinerary when you visit Ilocos!  It is indeed a must-see and one you should not miss!

A Visit to Paoay Church

Jul 20, 2012

Paoay Church In Ilocos Norte
One of the places that I have always wanted to see is the Paoay Church (or St. Agustin Church) in Ilocos Norte. It is one of the four Baroque churches of the Philippines in the Unesco World Heritage Sites, along with the San Agustin Church in Manila, Church of La Nuestra SeƱora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur and Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao, Iloilo.  After seeing the beautiful churches of Bohol, I want to see the complete list.  And I was awed by how beautiful the church and the bell tower looks!   The marker below says that the Augustinian missionaries started building the church in 1704 and it is indeed  a miracle that we can still marvel at its beauty until now.  The bell tower, which stands a few meters  from the church played an important role during the war in 1898.
Church marker
The pillars on the side of the church, known as buttresses, all 24 of them,  makes the church the most outstanding example of Earthquake Baroque architectural style.I was dwarfed by the sheer size of those buttresses.
side of the church

Just looking at them made me feel that I was in some other country because of the similarity on the design of the church to other architectural structure there, like the Borobudur monument in Indonesia  or the Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
massive buttresses
Unfortunately, while the facade of the church looks very magnificent, the inside of the church looks almost bare and empty.  I was expecting a grander altar or beautifully painted ceilings like the churches in Bohol, but I was disappointed.  Only now did I learn that the roof, which now looked like iron roof sheets used to be thatched roofs that were perfect for escape form fire or earthquakes. While we visited the church at noon, I saw no one inside, save for what looked like a caretaker. I just hope that on Sundays and feast days, the church gets its magnificent share of worshipers so that it can live up to its name of a grand and marvelous church.  Still, visiting the Paoay Church was a very educational and pleasant experience and I am happy to have been given the chance to see it.

Enterprise Survey Softwares

Jul 12, 2012

When you visit your favorite websites, do you get annoyed by those pop-ups asking for a little of your time to answer a survey or a set of questions?  I used to get seriously annoyed by them because it takes too much time and sometimes asks too much information.  But when I asked a friend who works at a marketing firm if she knows what they are, she gave a me lecture that changed my view.

She said that those marketing research tools are used by a company to gauge the needs of the site visitors.  They tell them what they expect from the sites, and what likely product can be offered that will benefit both the company and the user.  If you will take the time to answer the survey, you in fact are saying what you want to see or what you need to know.  If the company uses an enterprise survey software that is easy for a visitor to answer, then it is very well that you answer it.  Your voice is getting heard and it is a powerful tool that can make your visit a pleasant experience.  Just make sure not to disclose too much personal information for your own safety. Now that I know what they are, I really give some of my time to answer the surveys and hope that the collected information will result in a much better and streamlined website. 

My First Tattoo Experience at Ink Asia Tattoo

Jul 11, 2012

I bought 2 vouchers from Ensogo for discounts at Ink Asia Tattoo for me and my husband.  At P499 for a 2x2 black or colored tattoo, I know it was a steal.  I also googled Ink Asia before I purchased the voucher and while they were not popular, I didnt see anything bad written about them.  Ink Asia Tattoo is located at Metromart Complex in Pinatubo Street in Mandaluyong, at the back of Wendys near the jeepney station.
Its just a small place but they have a decent  waiting area and cool aircon.  I thought at first it was too cold, only to realize that I was just nervous!  So anyway, when we got there and show the voucher, they got our preferred design and even asked me if it was really what I wanted and even offered to design one for me.  But I wanted my first tattoo to be simple and meaningful so I just stick to my design. While they were preparing the tracing paper, I checked their tools and found them satisfactory.

The needles were sealed and other thing was properly sterilized and sanitized. The disposable gloves was  also reassuring.  The light was not working but they didnt need it because my tattoo was so simple.
Below is the thing which I dont know the name.  The needle goes through the silver thingie and the other is where the ink goes trough.
My foot before the tattoo was traced.  We were supposed to just check out the tattoo shop and maybe book an appointment so my nails weren't pedicured and all.  But they were not busy so they entertained us even without an appointment.

So they printed my design and traced it on my foot at the exact place I wanted it and then once I was satisfied with its placement, size and details, the pain began! Of course, he first cleaned the area with alcohol before putting the design.

Initially, when I was asked where I want it and I told him on the foot, the artist, Jobi asked me if I was sure because according to him, it was going to be very painful.  There is not fat in that area and he would have to put pressure on the needle for the ink to sink into to skin. Yes, I said I was sure. 
It was indeed painful.  Imagine lacerating your skin with a cutter and never stopping till you cry.  Tears were streaming down my eyes and I was biting my lips and my hands were holding tightly to the couch ( the other hand was busy taking pictures). And Jobi was like, sorry, but I have to do it in one motion.  Good thing my design was so simple I only had to bear it for a few minutes.  Can you imagine if I had a design that could cover my whole foot?  I might have kicked him, ha ha. It was of course bearable because I had no choice: I wanted it done! And the result was just as I wanted: simple yet pretty! 

Meet my butterfly tattoo with kanji design.  Its not an original design but I fell in love with it (and the story) when I saw it on the internet.  I know that my first tattoo experience was unforgettable and I love it that Jobi from Ink Asia was able to capture the simplicity of my tattoo.  I love it and I can look at it everyday and never regret my first choice for my first tattoo!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts!

Happy Wednesday! Happiness is:
1. My new tattoo.  I finally am inked!
2. My Keratin treatment at Hair To Go.
3. Danica's birthday spaghetti and lumpia, thanks to Ate Dianne.
4. The food loot from Ms Lara for my kid's baon. Imported pa ng URC!
5. Our Zumba class. Super loving it!
6. Taho. Yummy.
7. Ishi, Danniel and Drex for being such blessings to me.
8. Noel for his hardwork. Sana ilibre nya na ko sa sweldo, ha ha.
9. Inay and Kris for all their love for our family.  I have no words actually to describe my gratitude to them.
10.  My friends at the office and my BFF's for being such source of joy and inspiration.  Life is really better with friends like them!

To see how this started and for credits on the image, click here.

Ang Taho, Bow!

I haven't had taho for a very long time and was delighted to find one Manong Magtataho in front of the bus stop in Robinsons Galleria. Taho is made from soft tofu, arnibal(sugar and vanilla syrup) and sago or tapioca. I remember when I was a child, I would buy taho but would ask the manong to just give me arnibal and sago only, ha ha.  But this morning, I chanced upon this steaming taho and just had to buy a cup!

This is my P10 worth of happiness!  A cup of hot, steaming taho with lots of arnibal and sago.  Perfect breakfast while walking on my way to work.  This is a good source of energy and protein but if you are on a diet, ask the manong to just add a little of the arnibal.
Hmmm, taho anyone?

Alien Invasion!

Jul 9, 2012

It looks like a scene from an alien invasion movie, don't you think?  I took this photo from my office window last week, around 1pm using my blackberry.  But that's just rain clouds and a few moments later, there was zero visibility because of the heavy down pour!  But do you remember the movie 2012?  Well, after watching the film, I cant bear to look outside, ha ha.

Yep, its no alien invasion but I am sure that after the photo was taken, traffic, flooding and irritable commuters invaded the city!

Inked, Finally.

Jul 6, 2012

Getting a tattoo has been in my bucket list for some time now.  I first wanted an infinity sign, then a literary tattoo, before finally settling with this butterfly with a kanji design.  I have a fascination for dragonflies.  I see them as creatures of beauty that are free and not as bound to conform like butterflies.  And my blog's title, To Be. To Be. Tutubi. means just that.  The Kanji symbol means life, a celebration of who I am and what I can do.  I really love my tattoo and while it was as painful as they said it would be, it was worth it!  This is something permanent, and I can live with it as a reminder that I can do with my life as I please. 

I Am Lucky!

Jul 5, 2012

I didn't won the lotto jackpot, but I know that I am luckier than most people because my kids love me!  Below is a card that Danniel did for a class project.  His brother helped with the drawing, but the words all came from Danniel and it was full of love and gratitude.
Buff Dad and Sexy Mommy
 I am lucky because I and my husband are  loved by our kids.   Even though we can only give them so much material things because of financial difficulties, I can feel their happiness with our lives.  They are not spoiled, and they understand our situation and would only ask for things that we can give!
The words are filled with love
This is my greatest blessing in life: not money, not wealth, not fame, not even my job (where I know I am lucky also), but from the love I get from my family.  And for this, I know I am luckier than most because I sleep soundly at night, filled with gratitude for this blessing!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Jul 4, 2012

Happy Wednesday!  Happiness is:

1. Swimming Party with BFF's Rona and Ehms and family.
2. The sleepover and Sunday movie watching Titanic.
3. Rona and Rodney for opening up their home to us!
4. The Pasig City Day last Monday which meant extra day off for us!
5. Great taste white coffee and skyflakes- a dieters complete meal.
6. Ishi and kamote fries.  Will always makes me think of home.
7. Rain tree macaroons from Ria.
8.  The heavy rains yesterday did not flood our dream house! Hurray!
9. My Inay for the delicious meals that always makes me forget my diet, hi hi hi.
10.  My super duper sisters: Ate Dianne for the Drex's boxer shorts and Kris for looking after my kid's homework.

To see how this started and for credits on the image, click here.

My Blog is Turning 4!

Jul 2, 2012

Time really does fly so fast when you are having fun!  I just realized that my blog is turning 4 years old on September 10.  This blog (and 4 others, ha ha) has chronicled my life for the past 4 years and I dont think I can imagine my life without this blog.  I have earned so much, (okay maybe just enough but I wish for more) and learned so much on blogging because of this blog.  I would like to make this blog anniversary special so I would cook up  contest or so.  If anyone is interested to sponsor Paypl moolah to make this anniversary thing going, please leave a comment.  Do wait for this contest as this is going to be my first in this blog as well.

Our Car Sticker

Above is the car sticker that my husband had made at Its Personal booth in Robinsons Galleria.  It costs him around P300 only and we got it after two days.  They have different body and head designs that was fun to mix and match, depending on the personality of each member of the family.  My eldest, Drex loves basketball and my younger son loves gaming so he has a handheld device.  My daughter had to be made a little chubbier, which was easily done by computer manipulation.  My husband choose my look, and I added the glasses as a final touch to his image.  We have yet to stick it to our van as we are planning on swapping it with a smaller car.

If you want something like this made, you can visit Its Personal's booth at the 3rd level of Robinsons Galleria mall.  They are located in front of the department store, beside the elevators.  They also have other personalized items aside from car stickers, like mugs, bags, t-shirts and more.

Best Friends For Life

Jul 1, 2012

We don't need many friends.  We need only true friends.  And these are two of the best-est friends one can ever have!  They are my sisters from another mother, girls who knows me inside out, and will accept me without any question or judgment.  I'm lucky to have them in my life!


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