Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Turning 28

I can honestly say that I'm terrified. In less than a month, I'll be turning 28 years old plus I'll be giving up a comfortable career and leaving my friends/officemates as I move to a big company. It feels like 2010 again, where my so called quarter life crisis happened, but with less drama..
Three weeks ago, I wrote this on my planner and today I'm still anxious about being a year older. The good news is I'm less terrified because the "new work" part is in progress. As Mr Alvin, the New Joiners Orientation speaker said, "you'll feel it if its for you" and indeed, I'm claiming that I've made the right decision.

Age is just a number, they said. Come to think of it, what's the fuss about 27 and 28!? Its just 1 year difference but honestly,  TWENTY-EIGHT sounds intimidating. The society, my family and even my 23 year old self would have a lot of expectations for the 28 year old Mei.   Note to self. With pressures coming from different directions, the only solution to stay sane is to love my own phase and embrace that age is not an obstacle to overcome but rather a stage to be enjoyed. =)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Never Say Die Ginebra 2013 Version

5 years ago, I posted a blog entry about Ginebra's championship. 5 seasons and 12 conferences I lost count on the number of trades, that's how long it has been since their last reign.

Barangay Ginebra Kings' campaign for the 2013 Commissioner's cup is as dramatic as their fairy tale feat in 2008 where they had a 0-5 start, a 13 game winning streak before winning against Air21. Fast forward 2013, Mamaril, Wilson, Caguioa and Helterbrand are the only remaining kings from that 2008 champion roster. The kings started the conference with a new coach in Alfrancis Chua, a 0win-4loss record then they changed their import. They found Vernon Macklin and had 6 straight wins but instead of fighting for a 2nd seed, the kings lost their 2 remaining games and ended up as 7th seed.

In the quarterfinals, Ginebra had to win 2 straight against ROS after losing game1. Then, Ginebra faced TNT on the semifinals round where they won games 1-4-5. To say that the kings play well when their backs are against the wall is an understatement. So far, the kings has under performed as they are down 0-2 on their finals series with Alaska Aces. As a Ginebra fan for too long, on Game 3 tonight, I have no choice but to bank on the "Never Say Die" spirit!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

When In Quezon Province

Our friend Brian, who also owns Chibugan Republik, gladly toured us on his hometown and he even provided a van that was used to fetch us from Pagbilao port. The first stop on this Quezon Province day tour is HIS ancestral house, we're grateful to be able to use a real restroom again! After the much needed shower and CR break, we're off to a historical bridge built on time of Spanish reign. 
Tulay Malagonlong 
We checked out Brian's Chibugan Republik and sampled the swabeng original Chamami and "melts in your mouth" leche flan<3 
Light meal @ Chibugan Republik
If you're from Tayabas Quezon or within the area, make sure to try Chamami from Chibugan Republik located at C.M. Recto (Former Petron), 4327 Tayabas, Quezon! May Free Wi-fi din!!!
The other swabe food choices
To prepare for the heavy lunch, we decided to go to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban Quezon. We walked through Noah's Arc and Garden of Eden with giant sized animals. I reached halfway of the grotto before giving up due to exhaustion and call of nature =)) 
Kamay ni Hesus
After 15 minutes drive, we're at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant in Tayabas, Quezon. We told Brian that we've had enough of pork/chicken but he told us that we cant miss the Sisig! I forgot to take a photo of the crunchy Sisig dubbed as "walang katulad"!! Definitely a must try <3
Seafood fest
The final stopover was to pickup the ultimate Quezon Province pasalubongs: Yema cake and Lucban longganisa!
It was certainly a day well spent--in Quezon =)

Beach Camping at Puting Buhangin, Pagbilao Quezon

I'm not really an outdoor type of girl but I've learned that you should experience sleeping under the stars at least once in your life! In my case, it was my second time and I realized that I can endure going back to primitive life to be able to swim on a pristine white sand beach AND basta its just an overnight stay! =))
I was able to hit the beach for the first time in 2013, weeeee!

My 1st beach camping experience was at Nagsasa, Beach Cove in Zambales back in 2011 but we're kinda pampered then because we paid for a travel package that included the transportation, tent and even the food. This time around, my friends and I ended up planning a DIY beach camping trip with a target budget of PHP1500! Our friend Brian invited us for a tour on his hometown, Quezon Province, and we thought of hitting two birds with 1 stone by planning an overnight beach trip. Unfortunately, plan A wont work because there were no available beach resorts for our preferred dates and budget. We stumbled upon several blog entries about Puting Buhangin and the photos made everyone instantly agree on plan B! Puting Buhangin is a privately owned camp site located in Pagbilao, Quezon Province and currently there's no electricity and water supply although there's a public toilet for rent. Preparation is really the key here because once you're in the island, its hard to buy the stuff that you need or it costs 4 times more!  After sorting the itinerary, we even prepared the meal plan so that we can list the items to be bought on the city grocery and on the local market.We also needed to complete 4 checklists:
1) the kitchen set - cook set, portable stove & butane, dishwashing liquid and sponge, chopping board & knife.
2) the camping set  - tent, sleeping bag, cooler, trash bag and first aid kit
3) personal backpack - clothes, personal hygiene (shampoo, body wash, deo), wet wipes, sunscreen, off lotion, hat, sarong, bikini, candies
4) meal plan - rice, meal ingredients, seasoning, water

How to get there?
At 2:30AM, we're on a JAC Liner bus for a 3hour trip from Buendia Makati to Lucena, Quezon Grand Terminal! (PHP210-one way fare)
My PHP99 CDR king Neck pillow turned out to be a good investment!
By 6AM, we finished our breakfast from a karinerya on the terminal. Once we satisfied out tummies, we rented a jeep(PHP130/pax), our first stop was Pagbilao Market where we bought the ingredients(PHP390/pax) for our meal plan (Lunch: Adobo & ensalada, Dinner: Sinigang na Baboy and Breakfast: friend pork and Binagoongang Pork). And no, we didn't mean to go ALL meat, we unfortunately messed up our grocery list hahaha! We we're supposed to have a 1 hour Jeepney ride to Pagbilao port BUT we had a flat tire which took at least 45 minutes to be resolved. Its so funny but we're thankful that the tire gave up in front of a vulcanizing shop!
flat tire wont steal our sunshine!
It was already past 10am when we arrived at the port and we realized that a lot of people thought about our the same itinerary =)) There were four groups ahead of us before it was our turn for the 5minutes boat ride. The waiting time was longer than the time to cross the lake but its all good :) We paid PHP100 for the overnight entrance fee and PH20 for the boat fee. 
4 groups before its our turn!
Our itinerary included 5 minutes trek---for experts! Hahaha but for beginners like me with a heavy backpack and 2 grocery bags, it took me at least 15minutes and a pale worth of sweat =))
5 minutes trek for experts!
3hrs bus ride, 2 hours jeep ride+stall, 5 minutes boat ride and 15 minutes trekking after, we've landed to a paradise called Puting Buhangin <3
Puting Buhangin @ Pagbilao, Quezon
Usually, we'll wait until 3-4noon to swim since its the best time of the day but since its a DIY beach camping trip, we needed to settle a lot of things after arriving at 11am. First was setting up the tent, double checking the list, sorting the stuff for lunch, dinner and breakfast and finally cooking and eating the best tasting chicken adobo and ensalada! After washing the dishes, we had time to play Monopoly and rest on the tent before hitting the beach!
our camp site!
I had to cut off my swimming hours because I know that its hard to take a shower when its dark. There's only a makeshift shower room aka doorless box type Nipa structure =)) There's no pale and tabo as well so I had to buy 2 medium bottles of Wilkins bottle for PHP80! They were selling PHP40 per pale of water but the owner wasnt there and I didnt want to wait until 6PM to wash up. It was certainly an experience to take a shower with limited water, head semi exposed for everyone close to see and 3 ducks attacking while Im on my undies TMI!!! Hahaha I still managed to have a semi decent shower thanks to wet wipes!
Puting Buhangin @ Night
It really helped that my friends are into mountaineering and used to camping that's why we didn't have to buy or pay for a lot of basic stuff like tents and portable cook wares. Aside from that, they are used to cooking while I stick to what I do best-> washing dishes =)) After finishing the camping chores, its time for socials a.k.a drinking and charades game =))
Yna's sinigang na baboy <3
I woke up at around 6am the next day - with a hangover. I think its because of GranMatador brandy plus the snore of my tent mate, so I decided to go for a quick swim and shower! We managed a quick yummy breakfast and campsite clean up before 9:30AM, our scheduled departure time, then we're off for our next stop!
Bye bye, Summer Paradise!