The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag

Aug 30, 2012

One of the places to visit during our Ilocos Tour was the St. William's Cathedral and the Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag.  By this time, I had already a splitting headache and when we saw the bell tower, I beg off from alighting from the van and just asked my friends to take a photo.  We actually didnt get to see the church because the bell tower was far from it! The area was cordoned off and was somehow under construction but they still managed to get a nice photo! I hope that the construction is to create a park around the bell tower so that tourists like us can view in its magnificence, not marred by commercial establishments around it!
There was a plaque that reads:

This centuries old 45-meter tall bell tower built by the Augustinian Friars in 1612 is one of the tallest and most massive in the country.
The construction is typical of the earthquake baroque structures found in Ilocos. Built of old brick and stone-faced with lime stucco plaster, the tower rises in four tiers. The base with is massive rounded corners supports the graduated upper tiers noted for its graceful curved buttresses and corner treatments, giving it its early baroque appearance. The tower is crowned by a double dome topped with a cross.
Access to the top is through a vaulted tunnel leading to a winding wooden stairway. At the top are 6 bells of different sizes. A big bell on the third tier when rung can be heard in nearby towns.
Tales by old people mention that a person on a horseback once could enter its vaulted entrance without stopping. Now, a person of ordinary height has to stoop to enter through the tower door, becaus the tower has sunk considerably and evenly, thus its reputation as “The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag”.

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Aug 29, 2012

Happy Wednesday! Happiness is:

1. More work, more responsibilities!
2. Long weekends
3. Movies, movies and more movies.
4. Finishing another chapter on my financial book.
5. Hugs and kisses from the kids.
6. My husband for taking the time to bring me to work despite his schedule.
7. Zumba.
8. My friends, old and new for keeping me sane.
9. For google and investopedia, ha ha.
10. For having the courage to speak up.

For credits on the image and to see how this started, click here.

Fort Ilocandia Resort

Aug 28, 2012

During our stay in Ilocos for our annual planning and teambuilding, we stayed at "the only 5-star deluxe resort hotel in Northern Philippines," the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino.  The rooms were indeed very nice, clean and adequate, even for 3 people in one room.  There are lots of activities to do in the resort, but we were not able to enjoy most of them because we were busy touring the Ilocos.

It boasts of a beautiful courtyard that is perfect for a garden reception.  Too bad that when we were there, a garden set-up  for another group had to be moved inside because of the heavy rains!
I wasnt able to take pictures of the rooms but it was nice, as well as the amenities.  But the hallways are dark and we cant help but tell each other ghost stories, ha ha!
But we enjoyed the buffet breakfast, the pool and the rooms and of course, the opportunity to take lots of pictures!
This is the hotel counter, and the dark hallways that I mentioned above.  Okay, maybe not too dark during daytime but one cant help but think of ghost stories.  I dont think I will stay here with my family, but would rather prefer to stay in a newer hotel.

Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud Ilocos Norte

Aug 27, 2012

From Pagudpud beach, we travel  further north to see one of the longest bridge in the Philippines, the Patapat Viaduct.  A viaduct is a bridge composed of many spans and may be over land or water, with arched under. The Patapat viaduct is long! We stopped at the middle to have our photos taken! Aside from the Paoay Church, this is my next favorite stop on our Ilocos tour because my boss was driving and while there was not much to see, he was game!
According to Wikipedia, the Patapat Viaduct is a viaduct at the municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level, is 1.3 km concrete coastal bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town's coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.

Too bad we were not able to do a group jumpshot because there were trucks and buses plying the viaduct!

Pagudpud Beach, Ilocos Norte

Aug 26, 2012

On the second day of our Ilocos Tour, we drove all the way Pagudpud to see their famous beach.  But since I have been to Boracay already, all other beaches fail in comparison. But still, Pagudpud beach is very beautiful and I only wish we had more time so we could have at least taken  dip!
 This was an area of the public beach and we had to pay P10 entrance fee for the maintenance of the beach. There were also cottages to choose from if you want to stay and have picnic.  There was also shower areas and changing rooms so it was really an ideal place for a swim!
Nevertheless, we enjoyed taking pictures of the beach and of ourselves.  I really would like to come back here with my family and friends and enjoy the beauty of Ilocos, un-rushed and un-hurried!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Aug 22, 2012

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today is the first day of the week after a 4-day weekend so let us start counting our blessings!

Happiness is:

1. The 4-day weekend where we only stayed at home, woke up late, ate, slept and watch movies.
2. New responsibilities at work.
3. People who believe in me.  And even for people who do not.  Because of them, I felt challenged to do better.
4. Torrent. Ha ha.
5. Caryl's book. And for her belief that I can learn on my own.
6.  For my friends at work, for their continuous trust and support.
7.  Vanilla ice cream and sponge cake. Super yummy combination, thanks to Aryssa!
8. Our house in Montalban is now clean! Though it was also flooded, it was not as bad as Ondoy.
9. Twitter and Facebook, for the distraction, and for keeping me sane.
10. For my family, for their unconditional love and support.

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

Wood or Tiles?

Aug 17, 2012

I grew in the province where houses are cool in the summer and warm during rainy season, thanks to proper ventilation and well thought out flooring. There are thatched roof and flooring are sometime made from bamboo where air can freely circulate inside.  But now we live in the city where large spaces are hard to come by and even impossible to have houses made from wood.  We always see cement houses and iron-sheeted roof that does not make well ventilated homes. So now, our family is having a discussion on whether to have floor tiles or hard wood. I want hardwood ever since I saw nice designs from and I told my husband to check them out. He likes white floor tiles so that the house would look bright and clean.  I think it would look much too like a hospital while a house with wooden floors would look very homey and filled with warmth.  Well, the debate is still raging on and I hope my husband would see the light and choose my side.  My mom has her own choice, which is to have floors elevated to prevent rain water from entering our house.  She actually has the most logical choice, but one can always dream.

Floor Tiles or Carpet?

No thanks to the heavy rains and the subsequent flooding that affected our house, our floor looks too worse for wear.  The floor is now cracked and peeling on some areas.  My husband and his siblings have lived in this house for more than 15 years and I know that it pains him to see the house look dilapidated after the recent flooding.  Unfortunately, we have living expenses and since he recently changed jobs, our budget is depleted.  But good thing I found some affordable floor carpets like the ones I loved at Longmont floor store.  I especially love the Asian-inspired carpets that I think will cover our whole living area.  There are also other carpets to choose from, but I already liked Asian-inspired ones because they will go well with our furniture.  And if my mother would rather not have carpets because of her allergies, then I can opt to have floor tiles or hardwood instead depending on the budget.  I am actually excited to explore my options if we would rather have carpets or floor tiles and I am not very much bothered anymore about the price because I see that they are reasonable.  My husband would be happy to see the house that he grew up looks new and really homey!

Selling My Dream House?!

Aug 16, 2012

We are paying for a low-cost home that we bought more than 5 years ago.  We already made improvements  to this house by taking out some bank loans and from some of our own personal savings.  However, after the storm that submerged most of Metro Manila and provinces, it was destroyed and we had to start again from scratch.  We took out some more loans and used money that we should have saved for our eldest son's educational fund.  And after all those expenses and sacrifices, we have not lived there except for long weekends and holidays.  I don't think we have used the house to get our money's worth.  And then, there is the recent flooding that affected a lot of places and while my house was not as affected as 3 years ago, it was still flooded!  So now, I am thinking of selling my dream house.  I wish I can find a good realtor, like those from Austin Texas real estate, that can give me a good price for my house. I know that this is not really the best time to sell the house, when people are very wary of places that gets flooded but I don't think that I can still afford to throw good money after bad. Wish me good luck in selling my dream house!

What to do before, during, and after the flood

Aug 9, 2012

I got this from Ellen Tordesillas' blog and would like to share it here:

When warned of flood, here are the things you should do:

Watch for rapidly rising flood waters.
Listen to your radio for emergency and possible evacuation orders or instructions.
Store drinking water in containers as water service may be interrupted.
Move household belongings to upper levels.
Transfer livestock to higher ground.
If advised to evacuate, do so. Don’t panic. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwaters.
Turn off the main electricity switch and gas valve. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Lock your house before evacuating.

During the flood,

Stay indoors
Do not attempt to cross rivers or flowing streams where water is above the knee.
Do not go swimming or boating in swollen rivers.
Do not drive through flooded areas or streets. Avoid needless trips.
Stay away from downed power lines.
Be alert for gas leaks. Use flashlight to inspect for damage.
Report flooded areas to the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils.

After the flood,

Re-enter the house with caution using a flashlight, not lanterns or torches. Flammables and dangerous animals like snakes may be inside.
Be alert for fire hazards like broken electric wires.
Do not eat food and drink water until they have been checked for contamination.
Report broken utility lines (electricity, water, gas and telephone) to appropriate agencies/authorities.
Do not turn on the main switch or use appliances and other equipment until they have been checked by a competent electrician.
Consult health authorities for immunization requirements.
Do not go “sight-seeing” in disaster areas. You presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

Keep safe and dry everyone!

Glass Nail Files

Like any other woman, I take care of how I look.  I make it a point to look good and presentable so I have a weekly pampering date for myself.  I especially love having my nails done so that when I extend my hands for a handshake, my fingers look all neat and clean.  My manicurist uses these glass nail files which she said their boss orders directly from and they are superb! They do not damage my nails like the usual nail files do.  They also look good and very durable.  I also think that these glass nail files are perfect for gifts for my girl friends because they are so neat and chic looking.  I would really want to receive them as gift myself! The unique designs, including those with Swarovski crystals, are really wonderful!  They are easy to clean and would last long so I know that they are just perfect.  If you want your nails to look good even if you don't visit a salon regularly, and give them as gifts as well, go to their website and find out how to get them for yourself! I know I will order some for myself and my friends!

I Won Tickets to The Bourne Legacy!

Aug 6, 2012

Thanks to Nuffnang and Mandaue Foam, I have a date with my son this Friday! This is for the blog I wrote, Coming Home to Mandaue Foam last week, and I am so happy to see the special screening of The Bourne Legacy.  I am so excited as some scenes are shot near our place in Manila. See you there!

The Bangui Windmills of Ilocos Norte

The Bangui Windmills are located at the Bangui Bay in Ilocos Norte.  There are a total of 20 wind turbines that produces a total of 33MW of electricity.  The project is officially called the Northwind Bangui Bay Project and is the first wind farm in the Philippines and the biggest in Asia. 
The massive turbines are indeed a sight to behold.  We were there at noon time and the heat of the sun, and the burning heat of the sand made it impossible for us to stay for a longer period of time.  But since it was the first time that we saw such wonder, not even heat can make us stay away!  below is just one of the many pictures that we took. There were no other tourists around, maybe because it would be hard to take pictures at this time, ha ha!  There were lots of discussion on why we don't have that many wind farms in the Philippines given our strategic location, perfect for harnessing the wind, and I think we were all in agreement about one thing: corruption stops us from making these viable investments. Hayyyy.

There were stalls selling gift items and one t-shirt caught my attention: "Its more fun fan in Bangui" and I didn't buy it, thinking there were other stalls that will be selling this t-shirt.  By the time I found out that there were no more stalls, we were already at the cafe and walking back to the beach was impossible because of the heat! Sayang talaga!
The shirt was only P150! Other gift items were these cute windmills at P50-P100 each (they were sold in Vigan at P150!) ref magnets and key chains at P10 to 3 for P50.
If you are to visit Ilocos, this is one place that you should not miss!

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Aug 3, 2012

After our visit to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos, our next stop was the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. From the main road, it took some 10 minutes to reach the drop off point where one can go down stairs and take a 15 minute hike to the rock formation. It was a beautiful sight to behold: Mother Nature at its finest! The name comes from the word Puraw which means white.

When my office mates went to visit Ilocos last year, they were still able to go to the rock formation but it was already cordoned off during our visit. But there was a platform for photo session where I was standing. My pictures really do not do justice to the beauty of the place so I wish you can see it up close and personal.

The sea and the lush greenery was enough for us to forget the heat of the sun and marvel at one of the treasures of Ilocos!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Aug 1, 2012

Happy Rainy Wednesday! Keep safe and dry! Happiness is:

1. Payday and slowly paying off debts! And saying no to new expenses :)
2. Rainy weather, bed weather! I am a fan of rainy days (except for the floods).
3. Zumba tonight and my diet that starts today (again!)
4. My boss turns 10 years at work today and he is treating us to Bug Guys Pizza( was I just talking about my diet? he he)
5. Learning new things like EV, PE, Ebit, Ebitda. La la la la :)
6. Class suspension for the kids. They are safe at home!
7. My sister Kris for her newly rebonded hair (was I again just talking about saying no to expenses?  Ha ha, thanks Cathy for letting me use your credit card for the rebond deal!)
8. And for Kris, and her  OJT stint at Manila Bulletin.  My little sister is now an adult. Wait till you see her name on the paper :) Ba-byline na yun!
9. Our beautiful. beautiful pictures in Ilocos, thanks to Joseph and his camera!
10. My husband for being the best that he can be :)

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

Paoay Sand Dunes

One of the items on our list was to try and visit the Paoay Sand Dunes because it has been on the news, thanks to Imee Marcos' recent tourism program for Ilocos.  So after our visit to Paoay Church, we drove back to Fort Ilocandia and passed by the signs pointing us to the sand dunes. It was around 2pm on a hot, humid afternoon.

We are so pampered, we didn't even get off our van! We just took photos of the sand dunes and the area where one can rent a 4x4 for an extreme sand adventure! I don't think I can do sand boarding even if my life depended on it anyway!

If you want to experience a real {Paoay SAnd Dunes adventure, check Iron Wolf post.  Me? I just wanted to see it.  I have enough 4x4 ride for my lifetime when  we visited Mt. Pinatubo  early this year! We even took the pictures from inside the van, ha ha.
But for those after extreme adventures, this looks like a lot of fun!


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