Aug 23, 2014 — This was my second time to visit Iloilo. Once again, just like in almost all of my trips, I had an ‘amazing race’ during my brief stay in this city. A few hours before my flight back to Manila, I made sure I get to see the beauty of the city, taste the delicious delicacies, and buy some pasalubong.
Of course having a photo taken at the Iloilo River Esplanade is a must! It just makes the trip official with the “I am Iloilo” as my background. It’s such a feast for the eyes, both the river as well as the riverbank are clean! I sniff the air, half expecting the river stinks. Fortunately, the air is fresh, with no smell at all. And look at this photo, not a single trash can be seen:
It’s such an inspiring story. My friends from Iloilo say this was totally different before as there were riverbank settlers back then. But with the cooperation of the Iloilo residents to the government’s plan to rehabilitate the river, it has become this beautiful. All the efforts that the Iloilo government did from the planning until the execution should be shared to all the leaders that are responsible for developing all the other rivers in the country.
Even if I am not a resident of Iloilo, I can’t help myself from being proud of what it has become. This is my second time in Iloilo and even if I was already amazed by what I saw then, I am even more impressed this time. The roads are bigger now, there are a lot of businesses that will soon open.
The Ilonggos are proud of their city government and the programs that they are doing. I have a slight pang of jealousy because I want to feel the same kind of pride I have with the entire country. The good news is, this just goes to show that it is possible to have a country like Iloilo. And the biggest part of this success is the residents’ support their city government, they have confidence and trust with their leaders and that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. It’s a team effort after all.
Next stop: The Lizares Mansion
The Lizares Mansion (see photo above) was built in 1937 by the sugar barons at that time. During the World War II, the Lizares-Gamboa family left for Pototan, Iloilo. During that time, the Japanese army turned the mansion into their headquarters. People believe that the basement was where the tortured Filipinos were dumped. After the war, the family returned. In 1950, Don Emiliano Lizares died so the mansion was leased to a businessman who turned it into a casino. The city mayor had it closed down. In 1962, it was sold to the Dominicans and in 1978, it became the Angelicum School Iloilo.
Since I compressed all my activities in one day, I was so hungry when the photo above was taken (I am grumpy when I’m hungry!). Iloilo is known for their La Paz Batchoy. My friends told me that the authentic La Paz Batchoy can be found in the market so off I went to the La Paz Market and chose Netong’s Original Special La Paz Batchoy.
Look at that Batchoy! It has egg, crushed chicharon, chunks of chicken breast, loins of beef, innards of pork, vegetables, and of course the noodles and soup. I had to ask for an extra soup after I finished my bowl, it was that delicious!
My trip won’t be complete without trying out the coffee from Madge Cafe. Since 1941, it has been Iloilo’s iconic coffee shop. It only costs P25! I am no coffee drinker but if I were an Iloilo resident, I’d be a frequent customer and would definitely choose Madge Cafe over the famous coffee shops that we have now. It is affordable and I love the ambience of the place. I like how laid-back it is, very relaxing.
And then after all the wandering, the inevitable had to happen. I had to pack my stuff and head back to Manila. See you again, Iloilo!
Have a look at my post during my first time in Iloilo: http://farahramos.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/april-28-30-2010-iloilo-city/
The DoubleDragon Boat Race 2014 that was organized by Sen. Pres. Franklin Drilon, Double Dragon Properties and the Iloilo City Government (with Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Cong. Jerry Trenas) was held at the Iloilo River last August 23, 2014 . It was formerly known as Sen. Frank Drilon Boat Race and started in 2012.
The race is an effort to raise public awareness and concern towards the Iloilo River. The story itself on how it became as clean as it is now is truly inspirational.
I am lucky to be the Media Coordinator of the event. We all checked in at the Injap Tower, the tallest building in the city. Here is my photo with half of the press people on our way to the venue of the race:
I am proud to say that my good friend, Councilor Jay Trenas, is one of the people behind the cleaning of the Iloilo River. It’s such an honor to be friends with someone who is responsible for the development of this beautiful city.
Here’s just the tricky part. I got so involved in the race that I couldn’t forget what happened. During the finals of the men’s division, I was so amazed by the Boracay All-Stars. They were trailing behind the Boracay Sea Dragons. A few meters away from the finish line, that was when they paddled harder. If you were there, I swear, you’d think the Boracay All-Stars won. It was a close fight… like seriously a close fight.
When we were on the way back to the hotel, I found out that it wasn’t the Boracay All-Stars that won, it was the Boracay Sea Dragons. But of course I didn’t believe immediately. I had to ask the organizers for confirmation and then I saw this photo that was posted on the Internet:
Imagine, the Boracay All-Stars were defeated by 52 milliseconds!
But anyway, congratulations to Boracay SeaDragons for winning! :) Such an amazing first for me to witness a boat race and it was a really really nice race, tight competition!
For more info about this event, you may check out these articles:
Ian Ulpindo of DragonBoat.ph: https://www.facebook.com/DragonBoatPH
Frank Calapre of The Manila Times: http://www.manilatimes.net/breaking_news/boracay-sea-dragons-rule-iloilo-doubledragon-boat-race/
An amazing first. It was my first time to walk down the runway for Style Origin. What even made it more awesome is that I was with these amazing celebrities and riders:
What I wore on the runway. Vans from head to toe. Whoops! No cap in this photo, darn it.
Talent – Manager (Angelia Ong and I) team-up! Both ready to walk for Vans!
Mad about caps! I also love this one:
The long hours made us do this! As a model, we are used to waiting for a long period of time. We wait for the rehearsal to start, we wait for the fitting to start, and of course we wait til the show starts. I am not complaining because it is part of our job, we’re used to it. :) Me and my friends think of creative ways on how not to just sit and complain non-stop in one corner. We do different things, we either entertain ourselves or we do something productive like reading a good book or whatever. And this time around, we took some snaps.
We were so in love with the GUESS collection. The perfect pair of jeans has the perfect fit and style and that’s exactly what I wore at the fashion show in SM Pampanga last Saturday. Check out the snaps we took:
And here is a bonus, haha!
Special thanks to Jem Austria for taking these photos on my iPhone! :)
A couple of months passed (5 months to be exact) since the last time I updated my blog. I missed posting and typing away that’s why I visited it once again and here I am trying my very best to revive this untouched site.
Why have I been on blog hiatus? Simple. Instagram happened.
I am not saying Instagram was born just recently but it has become quite addictive that it became my sort of mini-blog for a while. And I feel as though I’ve cheated on this site. I used to love posting stuff and just documenting whatever interesting thing I did or experienced.
In the next days, I will be updating this with events I’ve been to in between my last post and this. There are a lot of things that I’ve been to that I think are still worthy to be shared even if it’s already late. Haha!
It’s so nice to be back! :)
It’s challenging to plan a trip for a big group so we decided to go wakeboarding in Republ1c Wake Park last Tues, January 7. It was a half day of trying to get-up the board, balancing and trying our very best to ride around the lake without falling. Most of us were first-timers and we’re so proud to say that all of us were able to stand up! Yey!
Take a glimpse of our “moments” at the lake (click on the link to view the video):
It was the long weekend, the last weekend of October 2013 and lucky me, I was invited to go to the La Union Soul Surf Festival 2013. I love the beach, I like surfing, and it’s a music festival so there is absolutely no reason for me to pass up this opportunity to travel and have fun with friends.
My first time to surf was in Baler, Aurora… so I was so curious as to how crazy the waves were in La Union. They say Baler is a haven for first-time surfers and they go to La Union once they’ve improved their surfing skills. That was exactly my impression. But since it was dubbed as “The Surfing Capital of the Nothern Philippines,” San Juan, La Union has perfect spots for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers. So no need to worry guys!
One good thing about festivals is that sponsors put up booths in the event area. Some have photographers so that you could take home some photos that show the memories you’ve had in the event. And what’s even better? They give out free booze, prizes, and there are interactive games and activities!
Here’s just an inevitable shot by the beach. The sound of the waves calms me and basically the reason why I’d love to visit all the other beautiful beaches here in our country.
I just wanna share this guys… I downloaded this new App called Paktor since my friends asked me to. I downloaded it a month ago but it was not until my trip to La Union that I decided to use it. I was surprised when I saw a lot of my friends and even my crush in it! So what does this app do? It connects you to people you’re interested in —- awesome! And it’s all anonymous until that someone you like, likes you back. Even more awesome! :) So if you’re gonna ask me what I do when I’ve nothing to do, I open this app and swipe. Haha! Trying to check out the hotties nearby.
Always, always one of the boys! I was with these two gentlemen (Jal Emata and Kelvin Mangilit) the entire time!
Look who I bumped into! It’s Justin Quirino of 95.5 RT! Good seeing you again, after a long time! :)
Notice that I kept bumping into familiar faces during my stay in La Union. And guess who I saw on our 2nd day? My girls (Grace, Thina, and Royce) were there too!
We joined the beer pong contest at the Rayban booth. It was me and Royce against Thina and Grace. Royce and I made a great team-up: I did the shooting while she did the drinking. It was just a great strategy since I shoot better and she could handle alcohol way better than me. Oh did I mention that WE WON??? :)
And I kept bumping into more friends that I haven’t seen in a loooooong time! Here’s a photo with Phawie Reyes (we were both interns at Saga Events) and Miah Gomez.
Listened to the beats of DJ Kulkid, R.A.C., and Panic City! The entire music scene at night was amazing that we danced all night!
My new partner-in-crime, Kelvin! Yes, he’s one of the guys I was with in Malaysia and Singapore. :)
The booze and the girls! :) (Kelvin, Royce, me and Monique)
And that ends our La Union trip. On the 3rd day, we decided to move from the beach to the mountains. We went to Baguio for lunch!
I havent introduced the entire amazing group yet so here: Krissy, Jal, Monique, Chris Star, me, and Kelvin
St. Bernard’s are pretty popular in Baguio, they were all over Mines View Park. They are HUGE and wear shades like that! COOL!
And again, the group:
And even in Baguio I get to see familiar faces! My beb, Chantal, was there with her oh so cute and adorable son, Andoni!
The fun didn’t stop there. We decided to have dinner at the Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Tarlac. I didn’t take a lot of photos there because they transformed it into a horror house. We were welcomed by a scary shokoy at the entrance. I had goosebumps upon seeing that thing. You see, I don’t even enter horror houses nor watch horror films so I asked the waitress if there were any more scary creatures in the restaurant and asked her to tell them not to scare us. Good thing she obliged.
And after that “challenge,” we roamed around while waiting for our table. It was a long weekend so there were a lot of customers.
I will always be a “bata-batuta” in my mother’s eyes:
And again, the group:
This was a memorable trip… we all laughed at the corniest jokes, ate like pigs, danced all night, and laughed again at the corniest jokes! I am looking forward to another adventure with this group in December. I really hope it pushes through! :)
It is best to have quality time over quantity time. I heard this in my favorite telenovela and I immensely agree with it as I am a very busy woman. I am always on the go… I am always at work or on the road stuck in traffic for hours. It is not possible for me to always go with my family to trips just like when I was still a child. And so I realized the importance of having quality time — to make those times extra special.
Today, I made it a point to block off my day to rest (since I’ve been working way too much these couple of weeks) and take my mom to dinner at Cafe Lidia in Calumpang, Marikina. Since she saw it on TV, she’s been asking me to take her there.
Cafe Lidia is a famous restaurant in my city (Marikina) so it’s really a must to pay a visit. I am so happy that we weren’t disappointed when we finally tried their delicious food!
Look how excited my mom was:
Spotted this on the way to the restroom:
It’s definitely not going to be my last time to dine at this place. There are still a lot in their menu that I want to try. I’ll even bring the rest of my family next time! :)
A SCAREDY CAT LOCKED UP IN HER ROOM FOR 2 DAYS
September 15-22, 2013 — I booked myself for a week of vacation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve always wanted to be an independent traveler, I want to explore other countries by myself. But I found myself locked up in my hotel room for 2 days. I was scared. Never did I hear a single positive thing about the country. My friends told me it’s boring in KL, that there’s nothing for me to see in the city. Another friend even told me how dangerous it was in there. That she doesn’t wander the streets by herself whenever she’s there for work.
It was not until my 3rd day when I proved that every single negative thing my friends told me wasn’t real. My model friends Kelvin Mangilit and JM Manalang (click on the links to view their Facebook pages) arrived in KL that morning. And I was so giddy that I couldn’t wait any longer to meet up with them. I needed to feel safe in this foreign country. I decided to walk from Cube Hotel in Jalan Pudu. I passed by Bukit Bintang and finally reached Jalan Hang where Arenaa Luxury Hotel, our meeting place, was located.
Jalan Hang was totally different from my area. It looked like a totally different world from my place. The street was clean, there were some Universities there, some nice hotels, and a decent crowd. Aside from that, it’s totally accessible. I would recommend travelers to choose this area in booking their hotel.
Anyway, one of the biggest factors why I believed my friends was that Jalan Pudu, compared to Jalan Hang, appeared shady. There wasn’t any good view from the hotel since the street was under construction. Aside from that, there were beggars on the sidewalks. Indians were also everywhere. Not that I’m afraid of them, but my friends said they were bullies and that they could harm you.
That was my biggest mistake. I let fear overpower me. So the consequence? I wasted my first two days in KL.
Here’s a traveling tip: Never let fear overpower you. Yes, some places could really be dangerous. But can you tell me a place where it is 100% safe? Live life dangerously, my dear friends. That’s where the fun starts.
WHEN GREAT COMPANY TURNS A BORING TRIP INTO AN INTERESTING ONE
Since I was enveloped in fear, my brothers from the modeling world tore my walls of fear. We didn’t waste another minute. We instantly traveled on foot to the Petronas Towers (click the link to get to their website)!
The twin towers were a feast to the eyes. They’re undeniably fascinating. Here are some photos of us at the Petronas Towers in broad daylight:
Inside the towers:
And again, we traveled on foot to the KL Tower, the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public.
The KL Tower served as our pastime to check out how the Petronas Towers looked like at night. Once again, we traveled on foot to the twin towers. Did I mention that the sun sets at 7pm in KL? So we were wandering the streets up until 7pm. Non-stop walking, people! Anyway, here’s a photo with the twin towers at night:
We walked the whole day. After seeing how beautiful the towers were at night, we went back to our hotel to freshen up and grab a few drinks at a bar nearby for a nightcap. JM and I were ready to call it a night when we reached the hotel but Kelvin convinced us that we had to experience the nightlife in KL. So JM and I dragged ourselves out of the room… but first thing’s first. We realized we haven’t had dinner.
We dined at Bistro Tom Yam. I only remember the Chili Paddi, JM and Kelvin’s favorite. Since I don’t eat anything spicy, I didn’t finish my food. The food was undeniably delish… I blame it on my choosy tongue. A few exchange of stories after comes…..
THE UNPLANNED SINGAPORE TRIP!
How did this happen? My cray cray friends JM and Kelvin thought their return flight to the Philippines was 3 days after. But thanks to my observant eyes, I remember their return flight… it was 2 days after. So right then and there, we asked Kuri, a waiter at Bistro Tom Yum, where the bus station to Singapore was located. He said it was just right across and that the last trip was at 2am. It was already 1:20am then. So we were back on our feet, brisk walked to our hotel to collect our important stuff and went back to the bus station. Hello to spontaneity! :)
5 hours later, we arrived in Singapore! A few more hours passed and we were at the Universal Studios Sentosa!
It was my 2nd time in Singapore and at the Universal Studios but I was still excited to go there since I didn’t get the chance to ride this huge ass roller coaster. Unfortunately, it was under maintenance. Ugh. :(
Oh, haha! Cuz Miley you’re my idol… not!
Hey baby Shrek!
Welcome to Hollywood!
Watched the performance of our Kababayans: The Streetboys! Proud to be Pinoy!!!
Bye, Universal Studioes, Sentosa! We had a great time!!! :)
You’ll find the man-made beach 2 stations away from Universal Studios. I insisted on going there since I didn’t have the chance to go there on my first SG trip. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this place.
The bar behind us is called Bikini Bar. Cute name! This area is full of bars. So basically it has a Boracay feel in it, minus the clear blue water. I was only referring to the party scene by the beach.
And in this photo, we were deciding where to go next. And we decided to check out the Marina Bay Sands.
WHOOPS! No photo at the Marina Bay Sands. Imagine we were on our feet for 2 consecutive days already without getting a proper rest. We found the train going to Marina Bay Sands but the train in SG was so confusing. So we went back and forth and found ourselves at the exact spot were we were. I was almost losing my patience. When we got off to the Marina Bay station, we walked inside the Marina Bay Hotel looking for the spot were we could take a good photo with the hotel as our background. Again, we went back and forth. It took us hours to finally locate the place. And we were already tired by then. I wasn’t in the mood for photos ops anymore.
10pm on the same day, we were on the bus to Malaysia. It was freezing cold in the bus so I had a difficulty falling asleep. But when I finally did, we all woke up 7 hours later. We should have gotten off the bus 2 hours earlier.
It was already 5am when we learned that we were in Ipoh City. We thought it was already a remote area since no one spoke English when in fact people in Malaysia converse well in English. Anyway, good thing we were approached by a taxi driver. He said the only way we could get out of there was via train. The train station opens at 7am so we had to wait for 2 hours. He offered to take us at a nearby famous restaurant.
INTERESTING THINGS HAPPEN AND ARE MEANT TO BE DISCOVERED WHEN YOU’RE LOST
The taxi driver didn’t disappoint us. Restoran Kam Ling is a famous restaurant in the area. And we were welcomed by a friendly waitress (or probably she’s the owner) who spoke a bit of English.
What do we have for breakfast? :O
Glutinous sticky rice is my favorite! It’s a sticky rice with a chicken wing inside. It’s really really really yummy!
Paying for our pasalubong! I got home-made egg tarts for my mom! Yeyyyy!
Meet the taxi driver! Thanks so much, manong driver, lol!
Take a peak at their train station. It is spacious, and well I am really amazed with their train system. I felt like I was at the location of Harry Potter (sorry for my exaggeration haha!).
HERE COMES ANOTHER CHALLENGE!
Two hours later, we were back in Kuala Lumpur. We freshened up at the hotel for a few minutes… I decided to switch into my rubber shoes because by this time, my feet were already killing me!
I was asleep on our way to the Batu Caves. I was exhausted but I just wanted to take on the challenge and also to see the caves. I even fell asleep at the station while waiting for our train. Haha, a stolen photo by JM:
If I gave in, I wouldn’t have seen this beautiful site. Check that out! And that was our next goal: to climb 272 steps without even having enough rest.
And so, I made friends with Red Bull! :))
Inside the Batu Caves, we were all smiling! We did it!!! :)
July 17 – 22 — My bestfriend Gino and I went to Bangkok, Thailand again for the second time together. Our first was January of last year. I know I promised myself not to go back to any destination I’ve visited since my traveling goal is to match my age with the countries I’ve been to. Thailand, apparently, was an exception. Aside from not having a chance to travel this year, I cannot deny the fact that I’ve fallen in love with this country.
Why Julia at Julia? Remember the twins Julio at Julia (Kambal ng Tadhana)? :)
So off we went to Bangkok…
Lucky girl! I got all three (3) seats to myself so the 3-4 hour flight was comfortable.
It was Gino’s birthday and yet another reason why we flew to Bangkok. We dined at Feuang Nara, Gino’s favorite restaurant. I love it there… the ambience and THE FOOD!
Must try: Crab curry, prawn spring rolls and of course Thai iced tea!!!
Bangkok at night. We had a few glasses of wine at Hyatt Hotel with Gino’s friends… while I was also having my dinner. It’s quite embarrassing to admit that I am always hungry, haha! Actually, Gino always is… and I am not.
It was my first time to mingle with Thai people. And it was then that I realized why I want to keep coming back to Bangkok.
Thailand is almost just like the Philippines… it’s also in Asia, Thais and Filipinos look the same, the weather is just the same. So it’s still “home” for me in terms of the things that I see. It’s like you’re in a familiar yet unfamiliar place. And it’s just so refreshing to be “home” at the same time enjoy my independence. I can just let my feet take me to wherever they intend to go.
That was part of the conversation we had. After that, we went to meet Gino’s other friends at Soi 11 and Falabella… and there I met more Thai people! :)
Walking along Soi 11, we spotted these mobile bars along the street. It was complete with all the paraphernalia: bartender, booze, sound system, chairs and tables… so cool!
The next day, I decided to go to the Lumphini Boxing Stadium right across where we were staying. I also went to buy some Muay Thai essentials (liniment oil, hand wraps, and of course boxing glove keychains :P ). After buying all these stuff, I went upstairs to check out the Muay Thai Gym. They invited me in and allowed me to watch, take photos and videos.
It was amazing to see them train right in front of me. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them because they didn’t understand nor speak English. Anyway, they were unbelievably strong and powerful! They would do 10 consecutive kicks with the same strength/ power.
And so when I got back to the hotel, I was in the mood to go to the gym.
Wandering the streets of Bangkok
And of course, SHOPPING!!! I went to Chatuchak to buy pasalubong for my loved ones and friends back home — a must! Haha! Look at this photo of me carrying a shopping bag that looks like a garbage bag.
I met Hannah, a high school friend of mine, after I shopped at Chatuchak. She took me to Platinum Fashion Mall to shop some more!
I really got so tired after and this was how I looked like before Hannah and I had dinner:
Some of the cute stuff I bought:
I’m sure this is not gonna be my last in Bangkok. I am so in love with this city and I know I’ll come back again… and again. The only question is when. :)