Page 5 of liliram Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Philippines » Batangas » Talisay August 28th 2011

Taal Volcano. Taal Lake. Easily, a local here would think Tagaytay City where one can view the volcano and the lake from the ridge. But I wanted to bring my family to go volcano trekking, so off we went to Talisay's Club Balai Isabel, a resort built by the shores of Taal Lake. Stormy Weather Over A Long Weekend The storm was a mood killer. A holiday spoiler. It was a long 4-day weekend for my working girls and school-going grandchildren. It also happened that one of the girls is celebrating her birthday. We booked ourselves at Club Balai Isabel weeks ahead and planned to do the lake cruise and volcano trek. Kayaking near the lakeshore or trying out one of those pedal-pushing water vehicles within a roped area of the lake. Biking. But that was ... read more
The Lovely Hotel Buildings Lining the Shore
Lovely Huts All Around the Complex
The Church

Asia » Philippines » Ilocos August 4th 2011

Northern Philippines includes the Ilocos Region : Ilocos Norte with its capital in Laoag City, and Ilocos Sur with its capital in the historic town of Vigan. Locals are collectively called Ilocanos or Ilokanos. And their cuisine is distinctly Ilocano in that it represents and integrates in every dish the major Ilocano trait of frugality and industry. Vegetarian Delights: Sinigang na Malaga, Dinengdeng, Poqui-Poqui, Pinakbet Malaga is a kind of fish. In Vigan's Kusina Felecitas Restaurant in Grandpa's Inn, it is cooked in broth soured by a tropical fruit, santol which is native to a few southeast asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo. Called Sinigang na Malaga (Fish Cooked In Sour Broth), this sour soupy dish is garnished with vegetables such as stringbeans and kangkong, our local water spinach. J... read more
Sinigang na Malaga
Warek Warek

Asia » Philippines » Ilocos » Vigan August 3rd 2011

Packed like sardines, we drove around Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur. I have earlier blogged about this when I visited in 2009 (), but this time around I'm visiting with my family and friends. All 12 of us! If there is ever any holiday where "feeding times" were not observed, this is it. Like we managed 2 breakfasts, a very late lunch, too many snacks while cruising on a van, dessert before a proper meal, an early dinner, and perhaps a 2nd "light" dinner? Every meal, one of the kids would ask "Is this lunch or dinner?" So much confusion . And tons of fun! Bantay Belfry: We've Only Just Vigan! First off, we hired a jeepney to take us all around Vigan. Cost us 800 pesos. Not bad. Way better than hailing 3 pedicabs ... read more
Bantay Belfry
Baluarte ni Chavit
Syquia Mansion

Asia » Philippines » Ilocos » Laoag City July 31st 2011

And who has not heard of our former First Lady Imelda Marcos? Times when I wonder if she grew more famous than her husband, the ex-President. Imelda: More Than The Other Half No, I am not a big fan. But I do admire the lady's vision to introduce class and culture into our local psyche. Oh yeah. I'd get a lot of flak for saying this. I know, right. Imelda certainly didn't gain many fans down here. It was so easy to hate her, after all. Shoe-crazy or not, she is the icon of extravagance in this corner of the world. Yet I thank her for those lasting edifices of arts and culture: the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Makiling Arts Center, etc. It may have been pretentious of her to advance arts ... read more
Love this photo of Imelda & Johnson
This is Power Dressing!
Marcos' Personal Ambassador

Asia » Philippines » Ilocos » Laoag City July 30th 2011

I had a wonderful time when I last visited this place. Dinner with a view then. Lovely, with the entire Church illuminated in all its beauty and antiquity. This time around, I brought my family for lunch here. And the view , on this rainy day, is just as awesome. Plus the novelty of Ilocano dishes for lunch did not fail. Paoay Church It is actually Saint Augustine Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 17th century church combines Gothic, Baroque and even Oriental designs and stands proud , alone and majestic, supported by 24 massive buttresses which render its side view just as interesting as its front view. The belfry is separated from the Church, and looks rooted to the ground like a faithful sentry to its master. As it was ... read more
Buttresses, all of 24!
Pinakbet Pizza

Asia » Philippines » Rizal » Angono July 1st 2011

They make for a very strange combination. Exotic food, as in "bizarre" in the words of Andrew Zimmern. "Taka" as in the art of papier mache. And the Angono Petroglyphs. It wasn't my first time in Angono's Balaw Balaw Restaurant. And even before my first visit, I have heard enough about the exotic cuisine offered in this specialty restaurant cum art gallery. Artist Perdigon Vocalan has long gone; but his wife carries on the tradition so to speak. Angono is famous for its artists and Balaw Balaw seems to have lured many of them to this dining place for both eats and art talk. Around 100 of Perdigon Vocalan's paintings and those of other folk artists are displayed in the 2nd floor Museum above the specialty restaurant along with various sculptures and woodcarvings representing the rich ... read more
Higantes Festival
Hands on the Hips for my Master

Asia » Philippines » Laguna » Calamba June 9th 2011

Laguna is a province south of Manila. This Sunday, June 19th, marks the 150th birth anniversary of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Calamba, Laguna is his place of birth. Their ancestral house has been rebuilt through the years and it is only the well that remains of the original structure. To celebrate his 150th birthday, the ancestral house--- now aptly called Rizal Shrine --- is all spruced up for this Sunday's celebration. So with the other Rizal Shrines and Monuments scattered all over the country. I dare not join the festivities this Sunday. Instead, I visited his home province on 2 separate occasions. Once to revisit the Shrine or ancestral house itself, for some history lessons. Another time to bask in the peace, tranquility of Mount Makiling in the nearby town of Los Banos, Laguna. ... read more
Interiors of the Ancestral House
The Indigenous Fan
Laguna de Bay Beckons

Asia » Philippines » Laguna » Majayjay May 28th 2011

Roadtripping using the Mount Banahaw Loop can be tricky. I say this because looking at the map is soooo not the same as driving around it. Mount Banahaw rests between the provinces of Quezon and Laguna south of Manila. Homeward bound from our week's holiday in the Bicol Region, we toyed with the idea of taking an alternative route. This time, we wanted to take a detour based on the Mount Banahaw loop. From the map, it looks easy and uncomplicated enough. What we failed to realize is how those roads from Lucban, Quezon winds around the mountain to cross to the next town which is Majayjay, Laguna. Before the drive though, we first set down our priorities. First off is our lunch. I remember this place in Tayabas, Quezon the last time I passed it ... read more
Floating Rafts
"Kamay ni Hesus" Pilgrimate Site
Majayjay Church

Asia » Philippines » Camarines Sur » Pili May 27th 2011

It would have been easy to board an overnight bus from Manila to Legazpi City, sleep off the entire 10 hour ride, then hop on a jeepney or a van for another hour's ride from Legazpi City to Donsol, Sorsogon for that date with the "butandings" or whale sharks. But we are a family of 7. An SUV fits us like a glove. Provided no one "overpacks". Also, the plan was for 2 in our family flying home from Legazpi City after a few days into the week. So that lightens up the load and we would have more than enough space in the car on the way back. Summer's Not Over Yet Determined to make this an awesome summer holiday especially for the kids, we set off on this journey late in May. School here ... read more
Ziplining at Embarcadero de Legazpi
Cagsawa Ruins
Camsur Water Complex (CWC)

Asia » Philippines » Sorsogon » Donsol May 23rd 2011

Late February of this year, I had my first encounter with the whale sharks of Donsol. Called Butanding by the local folks, my awesome experience with these "vegetarian" whale sharks boosted my confidence to bring the entire family to Donsol as our summer holiday. It was the end of the "Butanding" Season, and there was a raging typhoon around the area at the time we arrived in this fishing town of Donsol. A Long Drive to the Southernmost Province of Luzon" Leaving Makati, Metro Manila as early as 5 am, we managed only 2 pitstops for a heavy breakfast and a very late lunch. Several pee stops and 10 hours of driving after, we reached Donsol, Sorsogon in the Bicol Region just before sunset. Bicol Region is the southernmost part of the major island of Luzon ... read more
Twilight in Donsol, Sorsogon
Ready to Shrimp Fish
Reunion with the Butandings

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