Monday, September 4, 2017

Bluer than Blue: Hinatuan Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur

Words are not enough to express the magnificence of Hinatuan Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur. If there are truly engkantos in the area as the old folks believe, then I must have been completely charmed. But who would not be mesmerized by the river's awesome beauty --it's bluer than blue, the depth seems unfathomable, the colorful and variety of fishes that suddenly appears during feeding time, and the surrounding exotic foliages and thick forest. It needs no magic to capture your heart.

I've never seen a river close to its magical beauty.

Around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the bell rang. It signals swimmers to get out of the water because it almost fish feeding time.

The feeding time used to be at 12 noon. I don't know what happened, why the change.

Fishes of various species and sizes surface from under water.

Two men on a bangka fed the fishes as a song was played in the background.

Check this video during the feeding time:

Amazing! You'll be puzzled where all of these fishes come from. According to some folks, the number of fishes declined through the years.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Plainview, Mandaluyong.

You really don't have to spend that much to eat a delicious and gourmet-style meal. Just go to Kanto--not your ordinary kanto though but to Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Mandaluyong.

The word kanto means street corner in English translation. Here in the Philippines it is typically where tambays (bystanders) meet and stay and where food hawkers sell inexpensive fares.

I am fortunate that I am currently staying near Kanto, which just a jeepney ride away.

Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is a familiar name to foodies because they served fine fares at affordable prices in an eatery-like environment. They proudly call their resto as Tapsihan Uplifted or Sossy Tapsihan, which is fitting.

It started small in one of the residential areas in Mandaluyong. I've been here a couple of years ago. I remembered ordering pancakes and immediately fall in love with the food.

Now, they have several branches all over the Metro to serve their expanding market. You don't have to go to Brgy. Plainview in Mandaluyong to taste their awesome meals.

Last time, I have their honey garlic chicken, served with hollandaise sauce and on the side is tomato topped with pesto. Sound so sosyal, right? It's only Php100-ish.

To treat my sweet cravings, I brought home delicious banana peanut butter pancakes.

My total bill was only Php170 if my memory serves me right. Not bad, yeah?


Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Mandaluyong
549 San Joaquin St. brgy Plainview, Mandaluyong City 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao del Sur is tagged as the Little Niagara Falls of the Philippines.  With 95-meter width, it is said to be the widest waterfall in the country. The waters plunge from a 55-meter or 180-feet height.

The water cascades in 4 tiers or levels but only 3 is visible.

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur

The mist produced by the strong pressure forms a rainbow between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. Sadly, it was already late in the afternoon when I arrived, so I missed the rainbow.

The rushing waters plus the surrounding lush tropical rainforest is a picturesque vision that forever will be etched in my mind.

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur

Despite the rain when our group came, I still enjoyed the majestic view.

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur


The word Tinuy-an means the intentional act of doing something to achieve a goal. According to legend, the inhabitants of the Magdiwata Mountains were captured to slavery by fierce Agusan tribesmen. They were mistreated and forced to do hard labor. The natives plotted to kill their cruel masters. So, one day, when their masters boarded the gakit or bamboo raft, they jump off and shoved the gakit towards the waterfalls. Hence, the name Tinuy-an to commemorate the courage of the natives.

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur

Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur


I was fortunate that we have a van to take us to Tinuy-an Falls, so commuting was not an issue. We came from Cagayan de Oro, which was like a 7-hour road trip.

If you are backpacking, you have to bear the transportation transfers.

If you are coming from outside Surigao del Sur, the starting point would be in Bislig City. Go to Mangagoy, which is the town center of the city. From there, you can contract a habal-habal to take you to Tinuy-an and back to Bislig.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pizza, Frappe and the Thing Called Life

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."- 1 Corinthians 13:13

Nobody says life is going to be easy. Instead, we are being taught on how to deal with the different challenges we come across. In fact, a lot of philosophies and practices came out to help modern people as we face various stressors in our lives. Meditation is one, which helps you to silence your brain. Mindfulness is another practice to bring your mind into the present moment. The law of attraction or LOA conditions your mind to manifest what you really want in life. And there are so much more.

All of those principles are good. If you are practicing one or all of them, you can probably attest how powerful these are in honing your mental strength.

Another powerful practice is having a deep-rooted relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Silly as this may sound to non-believers but I'm stating a fact.

Jesus Christ promises Salvation and Eternal Life in Heaven. Nothing in this world comes close to that promise not even your handsome boyfriend who promises to cross the ocean and give you the entire world just to marry him. Love in this world is fleeting. It changes. But not the Love offered by the Lord Jesus to men that He died for our sins so we will not go to the lake of fire. Do you believe that? No wonder, some people who chose to believe that Love and who have built a strong relationship with the Lord also build a strong mental attitude.

Why would you be afraid or worried when God is with you, right? 

With Love, we can do amazing things even the hardest thing of all like forgiving an enemy.

However, be mindful that the bible teaches Love but it is discouraging us not to Love the world because the love of the Father is not there. See 1 John 2:15 of the bible. And He teaches us to Trust the Lord, that whatever we ask in prayer, we receive. These Christian teachings have some parallels in other religions like Buddhism

The belief of Jesus and the habits that go along with being spiritual aligns your thought that leads to a peaceful and happy life. Most spiritual people, and I mean not just Christ believers, who sometimes don't even have much of material wealth and yet you find them happier and feel that aura of peace that you can't simply find from other people. Wealth can sometimes be a baggage too.

Check this Youtube video: The Habits of Happiness, a Ted Talk.

So, what does it have to do with Pizza and Frappe? Well, that's because despite life's challenges--the pain of losing a loved one, the financial turmoil, the sadness, etc.--we get to enjoy life's simple bliss because we choose to. 

Pizza at Gustav, Angeles City

Pizza at Gustav, Angeles City

Gustav, Angeles City

Instead of being swallowed by our sadness and pain, we dined out and swallowed the pizza and frappe with much gusto at Gustav. With delicious food laid on the table, life is good after all.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Exploring Laguindingan: Trek to Tambo Falls

A certain magic is at work the moment we hear the sound and see gushing waters. Our worries and troubles seem to fade away.

In my hometown Laguindingan in Misamis Oriental, there is a small but beautiful waterfall located at Brgy. Sambulawan. They call it Tambo Falls.

While people are flocking to widely visited, man-made and fancy tourist destinations, some people enjoy exploring off-beaten path like this. I personally like it very much. Its rustic beauty is charming--the rugged and narrow paths, the damp areas you stepped into, the wild ferns and plants, the leaves that slap your face, the sound of the chirping birds, the swaying of the trees, and all. It is just wonderful.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hanabishi Multi-Cooker in the Kitchen

Home-cooked meals are always the best for budget-conscious like me. Although, it is great to dine out once in a while to excite your taste buds and to save you time from washing the dishes, cooking your food at home is cheaper.

It could be difficult to find a karenderia especially in Metro Manila's upscale areas. Hence, It is wise to cook instead and save some of your hard-earned income.

So, recently I purchased a 9-in-1 multi-cooker from Hanabashi for Php1,250. It can be used as a broiler, braising pan, steamer, slow cooker, stew, BBQ, deep fryer, stir fryer, and warmer.

Since I bought it, I've been cooking my meals using the multi-cooker. I've cooked rice. I toasted my sandwich. I fried fish. I cooked my veggies. I'm still exploring what else I can cook. 

Here are some of the meals I've prepared so far:

Toasted bread and not-so-scrambled eggs with cheese

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

Peanut butter and banana toast is my new found love. I spread the peanut butter on toasted bread and top it with sliced banana. Other times, I would prepare a sandwich first before toasting it. The crunch of the bread toast plus the sweetness of the banana and nutty flavor of the peanut butter is delicious and comforting.

That's Lily's Cruncy Peanut Butter in the picture. It is only P107, which is like 20% less the price of well-known brands.

I did not just wake up and realize I wanted to eat bananas and peanut butter. There is a science to this diet.

These past several weeks had been pretty intense. The stress manifested on my skin and too much hair fall. I've acne not only on my face but on my body. I'm anxious with so many things. Sign of hormonal imbalance, don't you think? Or sign of aging?

I tried a little meditation, motivation and exercises on my own just to release the anxiety. I don't say I am sad or depress. It far-fetched. But this anxiety might take its toll and might lead to depression eventually.

So, I shut myself from the world, a little. I'm just not ready to socialize at the moment. I want to feel better.

This saying: "You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself," sounds so true to me at the moment.

I did a little reading. I've been doing tons of reading lately actually.

I find out that peanut butter and bananas have great health benefits to our moods.

According to Livestrong, "Peanut butter provides you with a variety of nutrients with health benefits. It also contains substances that activate neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, to stabilize your moods."

It is said to contribute to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that provides calming effects.

On the other hand, banana contains Tryptophan, which encourages relaxation and boosts mood.

Several other foods including nuts, whole-grain bread, salmon and milk can help reduce anxiety. But for now, let me enjoy this peanut butter and banana toast. It's delish and it has the health benefits that I direly need.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Camiguin Island Budget Travel

Nature makes me feel so active and alive. So, when I had the chance to go to Camiguin, I grabbed the opportunity. Can you blame me? I'm staring at the computer for like 8-10 hours inside my room working almost every day. This lady needs a break, okay? So, I did just that.

I heard great things about Camiguin since I was a child. Though I lived in Cagayan de Oro until 1996, it is only this 2017, thank goodness, that I was able to go to this island. Indeed, all those beautiful stories were right. Camiguin is a very charming small island in Northern Mindanao region blessed with many wonderful tourists spots. It is famous for its sweet lanzones. It is great that commercialization has not yet exploited the place that much.

View of Mt. Hibok Hibok

This Jollibee food truck is the only famous food chain and a large corporation that made its way to Camiguin. Sign of blossoming commercialization of the place, Isay.

I've gained new amazing friends and new beautiful memories during this trip.

The entire trip cost me Php5,000. Though I didn't make proper accounting, it was the only budget I allotted.

We were a bunch of backpackers from Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. We took a jeepney which just cost us Php50 each going to Agora Terminal, Cagayan de Oro City. Of course, we used our charm to have that bargain fare. It was only 5 a.m. and we were like the buena manong pasehero ni kuyang driver who had driven us to our destination like it was going to be the last jeepney ride we were going to have in our lives.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hungry Pinay Cooks Pork Binagoongan (Pork With Shrimp Paste)

Pork binagoongan is so flavorful that makes you want to indulge in rice. You can't enjoy this dish with no or less rice. If you serve this, make sure you've cooked more rice than the usual.

Pork binagoongan is a personal fave. So, I learn to cook the way I want it. I don't want to disappoint myself, of course 😀

Back in my Ortigas days, when I used to work in a corporate office, I would take my lunch early when I see this on the menu. The pork binagoongan I used to eat has gata (coconut milk) in it that makes it creamy and a little oily. I love that version too. 

My version of pork binagoongan is salty and sweet. I didn't add vinegar to the dish because the shrimp paste I bought is not that salty anyway. Though, most of the recipes add a little vinegar. Pork binagoongan
Pork binagoongan