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September 29, 2012

At the end... It's just the two of us

Our friendship started way back in 1993 when we were in grade school. We were not even classmates. We met at the church when I joined the Children of May Immaculate or COMI. I don't know why we became friends since we are so much different. Di kami parehas ng favorites. She prefers yellow and i like blue. Lakwatsera ako siya hindi. She study hard ako happy-go-lucky. She dance well, ako parehong kaliwa ang paa, but I can sing better than her. hahaha. She's a worrier, I'm not.  She's a cry baby too. 

High school came and classmates na kami. We have our own set of friends inside the school but after class, kami na naman ang magkasama dahil lagi kaming tambay sa simbahan. Marami ng pinagdaanan ang friendship namin. There were times na hindi kami bati. I remember those times but I can't remember the cause of our misunderstanding. Those childish moments.

When we were in college, we still have each other. We were both studying at CEU Manila, with the same course. Still... we have our own set of friends.

After college, sa kasamaang palad...magkasama pa rin kami, lol. We both work in the same company. magkasama pa kami sa isang room. Those who know us were surprised that up to this time ay kami pa rin ang magkasama.

I remember those time when we both write letters to each other. Then nauso ang text, friendster and facebook. I still miss our letter writing. Now, I encourage her to blog. Meron na rin sya but still on process pa ang editing.

Over the 19 years, friends come and go..but still... we are the last one standing! At the end...It's still just the two of us.

I made this avp last 2010 on her birthday. I got busy these past few days kaya hindi ako nakagawa ng bago. 

Happy happy birthday to my soul sister... Love you.

September 26, 2012

Pyestang Tugak (Frog Festival), San Fernando Pampanga

Pyestang tugak started in 2003 to perpetuate the beautiful traditions that emerged through the years in catching and cooking frogs that used to abound in the rice fields of Pampanga. The citizens of San Fernando have reserved a special day every year to honor this amphibian because of its important contributions to the environment, the economy and culture. It also resembles the Fernandino in many ways, including its resiliency.


Photography by Sidney Snoeck
Pyestang tugak started in 2003 to perpetuate the beautiful traditions that emerged through the years in catching and cooking frogs that used to abound in the rice fields of Pampanga. The citizens of San Fernando have reserved a special day every year to honor this amphibian because of its important contributions to the environment, the economy and culture. It also resembles the Fernandino in many ways, including its resiliency.
The frog is part of Kapampangan tradition and culinary culture. It is said that in the early days when the farmers were totally dependent on rainwater to irrigate their farms, the children would gamely catch the frogs while their elders were busy cultivating the land or planting rice. This “game” eventually became an opportunity for families to establish strong bond as the technique used in catching frogs evolved to the point of being ritualistic. It was not unusual to see families lined up on top of ‘pilapil’ in many rice fields with their ‘paduas’ on one hand and ‘panyapu’ on the other. They would patiently wait for the frogs to bite the “bulating tudtud” as they move the ‘paduas’ in slow horizontal direction. They do this very quietly so that the frogs would not be agitated
This practice was handed down to the succeeding generations. Up to this time, though their number has decreased, many families still carry this tradition as they catch frogs for their own consumption or for selling purposes.

 Frog Cuisines

Known for their virtuosity in their cuisine, the Kapampangan ultimately discovered the gastronomic attributes of the frog. Thus, recipes were formulated using indigenous ingredients. These include the “betute” which is a pun for “butete”. The latter is a Kapampangan word for tadpole. “Betute”, on the other hand, is dressed frog stuffed with minced frog meat or pork and some finely chopped ingredients.  

Fried farm frogs really taste like chicken.

Other old recipes are “adobong tugak”, “tinolang tugak”, “lelot” and almondegas. The manner of cooking frog varies in many places in Pampanga. It is noteworthy to mention that these indigenous cooking procedures were passed on to family members through the years.

One important characteristic of the frogs is that they eat insects which they catch through their long and sticky tongues. They help farmers get rid of bugs and other creepy creatures that destroy the plants.

Today, when the thought of dengue fever brings chill into our spines, the frogs can be of help in snuffing out these “killer flies”.

Economic Contributions

Everybody in the City of San Fernando would agree that the frog contributes to the income generated by the restaurants who serve this delicacy. Many regular costumers of these eateries go to them when they search for exotic food such as the frog. The continued patronage of the frog cuisine ensures a stable income to the restaurants and to frog catchers, as well.


The frog is one of the most resilient animal. It can live in water, on land and even on trees and rocks. It can easily adjust to the environment.

This is also true among Kapampangans. They can adjust to any situation allowing them to recover easily from crisis. The Pinatubo experience is one proof of this resiliency. After 13 years, except for the buried houses in Bacolor and Porac, it is very hard to see traces of the Pinatubo calamity in Pampanga. San Fernando is now a multi-awarded flourishing city despite the fact that several of its barangays were buried in lahar in 1995.


September 22, 2012

Tara Lets sa Let's Pinangat

I heard someone said that you will not leave Bicol till you ate bicol express and pinangat.  And I also heard that the best pinangat is in Camalig Albay. Madadaan ito on the way to Cagsawa Ruins. You will not missed it on your way. Aside from the big signage, mapapansin na maraming naka-park na sasakyan sa gilid ng daan.

Maliit lang ang store, may limang tables kaya di madaling makakuha ng bakanteng upuan.

Pinangat is made up of gabi leaves, chili, meat and coconut milk wrapped in gabi leaves and tied securely with coconut leaf. Parang laing na nakabalot. Sa Let's, meron din silang hindi maanghang na pinangat para sa mga takot sa sili.

Aside from pinangat, they also serve bicol express. According to many experts, this dish is not a traditional Bicol dish. It originally came from Malate Manila. Bicol express is made up of long chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, and a little bit of pork, mas marami ang sili kesa baboy! Imagine ang anghang! Bicol Express was named after the passenger train from Manila to the Bicol Region that is famous for its spicy cuisine.

see the chillies?
For those who are not fan of spicy food or those who don't eat food with gata, Let's also has other food options for you.

You can also buy pasalubong. Masarap ang coated pili nuts.

Let's Pinangat is so famous that it was featured in Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho in GMA7. So, kung pupunta kayo ng Albay, tara Let's Pinangat.

September 21, 2012

Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Albay

It was a gloomy Sunday morning when we head off to Daraga to see Daragang Magayon.... the magnificent Mt. Mayon. It's always our sidetrip after attending the mass in honor of Ina. On our way, we ask my cousin Louie (first time nya) to pray that he'll be able to see Mt. Mayon because the sky is not clear. It's a must destination if it's your first time dahil sa postcard lang makikita itong view mula dito. Unfortunately.... Daragang Magayon is shy this particular day and kahit silip ay di nakita ng pinsan ko...

Cagsawa Ruins is located an approximately 8km from Legaspi City and 70km from Cadlan, Pili. It's roughly 11 km away from Mt. Mayon. From Pili, we passed by the towns of Baao, Nabua, Bato in Camsur and Polangui, Oas, Ligao, Guinobatan, Camalig and finally Daraga. We had breakfast at Jollibee in LCC Nabua.

The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of an 18th century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano. They are located in Barangay Busay, Cagsawa, Daraga, Albay.

The ruins is now called Cagsawa Ruins Park and one of the most popular destination in Albay. It is maintain by the Municipal Government of Daraga and the National Museum of the Philippines.

There is an entrance fee of P10. Quite cheep for a breathtaking view.

Inside the park, there are children who will approach you to take your pictures for the "trick shots". Wala namang specific amount kung magkano ang ibibigay mo. This year we did't avail one and we've tried it ourselves lol. (see our trick shots last 2010 taken by the boy we met)

There are many stalls who sells native bags made of abaca and various products.

They even sell pili.... Pili nuts in various variety and Pili tree.

September 20, 2012

Feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia 2012

Every month of September since 2009, we drive for more than 10 hours from Pampanga to Naga City for our pilgrimage. This year is my 5th year as a pilgrim. The feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of September. Ina, as the Virgin Mary is called, is the Patronness of the Bicol region. Bicolanos and other devotees all over the Philippines and abroad flocked to Naga City to pay honor to Ina. This year's theme is "Thank God for Ina, I am a Catholic now and for always."

Peñafrancia Basilica

Mass Schedule at Peñafrancia Basilica
A procession, called traslacion is the transferring of the miraculous Image of the Virgin, Our Lady of Peñafrancia and of the Divino Rostro to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Naga City for a Novena and Holy Masses passing the streets of Naga. Devotees are barefooted and acts as human barricade to protect Ina to the unruly crowd. 

On the feast day...the images are then transferred back to the Basilica through the route of Naga river by a fluvial procession. The images are carried by colorful pagodas. Those who row the boats are called voyadores. Only men are allowed in the pagoda as there is a belief that the Virgin is selosa. Ang mga babae ay nagdarasal habang naghihintay sa riverbanks.

There are many vendors who sells religious items and pasalubongs.

Lumabas ang Mahal na Ina at Divino Rostro around 4pm. At 5pm, nag start ang fluvial procession. The images reached the Basilica at around 6:30pm. As they enter the compound, everybody sings the official hymn, "Resuene Vibrante"  while waiving white handkerchief, holding lighted candles and shouting "Viva la Virgen, Viva el Divino Rostro" The mass was officiated by Manila Archbishop Luis Tagle.

 Pagkatapos ng misa.... fireworks na.

No to Division of Camsur

Posters in various spots in Camarines Sur.

September 19, 2012

Where to Stay in Camarines Sur: Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC)

Since hotel rates in Naga City are high (double the rate plus minimum of 3 days stay) during the our Lady of Penafrancia Festival, we booked ourselves at CWC. This is our 3rd year na sa CWC ang accommodation namin. The first time, we got the Villa del Rey Containers and last year we've got the Villa del Rey Cabanas (no pictures). This year we decided to get the Villa del Rey Containers again kasi mas malamig ang aircon compare sa Cabanas. Dahil Penafrancia Festival... we booked our rooms last June pa. Mahirap na ang maubusan ng rooms. 

CWC is located inside the provincial Capitol Complex in Cadlan, Pili Camarines Sur. It is owned and maintained by the provincial government. 

The front desk....
There is a waiting area in the reception... if you happened to come earlier than the required ckeck-in time, you can just stay here to wait.

After getting our keys, we went directly into our assigned rooms to freshen up. We have to leave by 3pm to go to the Basilica.

There are many types of accommodation that will suit your budget and needs at CWC. 

Villa del Rey Wood Cabins

Villa del Rey Dwell Homes
Villa del Rey Cabanas
There is also the Villa del Rey Villas, walang picture kasi they are private with fence... and those who are staying in the villas have access to the swimming pool.

We prefer the containers kasi nga malamig yung aircon and mura may tv pa. There are 3 types of containers, blue, red and green.

GREEN (Single)
Php1,200 per night good for 2 persons
Equipped with Queen Size Bed, A/C, cable TV, Hot & Cold shower
BLUE OR RED (Family)
Php2,850 per night good for 4 persons
Equipped with 2 BR, 1 room with Queen Bed
1 room with Twin bed
2 units A/C in each room
1 cable TV, Mini Ref & Microwave, Hot & Cold shower

Inside the green container...

And the containers are near the watersports park and clubhouse.

For inquiries:

Camsur Watersports Complex Office
Provincial Capitol Complex
Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur
Contact Number: (054) 477 3344 / (054) 477 3349
Fax Number:+63(54) 477-3347
Mobile number: +(63) 917 8954156 or +(63) 999 8893697
Postal Address:
Provincial Capitol Complex
Cadlan, Pili 4418
Camarines Sur, Philippines
Provincial Government of Camarines Sur
Manila Liason Office
2nd Floor bldg. 11 la Fuerza Plaza Compound,
2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
Phone number: +63(2) 817-0831
Fax number: +63(2) 817-0832

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