I started running…I failed to write…

Some of the very few who has been reading this “space” asked why I stopped writing…What’s with the hiatus?

I stopped (or rather taken a break) not because I ran out of words to say…not because I stopped traveling…not because I just gave up…

I was diagnosed with hepatomegaly [BIG word] hahahah! Nothing serious…it just means my liver is experiencing growth. What do you know! Liver grows if you care too much! LOL…Kidding aside, my liver, apparently has been pushing my right diaphragm upwards, putting strain on half of my airbag up. [more nose bleed].

To cut the long story short, I had to find ways to stay healthy…hence, I said “hello” to LIFESTYLE CHANGE! Another BIG WORD. hahaha…since I cannot afford to go to the gym regularly for all reasons, financial and time constraints, I decided to take the basic means to lose weight and increase my endurance…I started running…

It was June of 2012 when I started running at least 30 minutes daily. I was happy when I first found out that I lost 14 lbs in 2-3 weeks time. Six months later, I found myself signing up for my first fun run – 7-11’s Run800.  I ran 5Km in 40 minutes… the rest followed…

PhilHealth Run 2013 [5Km]

PhilHealth Run 2013 [5Km]

Mar 17 – Unilab/RunRio’s Run United (leg 1) [Half Marathon – 21 KM]
Mar 24 – OFW Run [10 km]

This Sunday I will run for mother Gaea in National Geographic’s Earth Day Run. This will be my second half Mary…

There goes the explanation…

Then stress came along that I have longed to travel…to get back on track…I missed the airports, buses, jeeps and even trains…

I will be back…along with my backlogs from my trips to Bacolod and Palawan…Soon…

sign 3

photo credit: http://danielblackaby.files.wordpress.com/

photo credit: http://danielblackaby.files.wordpress.com/

How happy is your birthday?

My journal entry dated 18.07.2012
Flight 5J-799 Cebu Pacific Departure: 10:10 AM NAIA Terminal 3, Gate 112 

There’s nothing to see up in the air. It’s a bit of a long travel. 3 hours is a long ride.  I left Manila without having any dollars in hand. By far this is the trip I am most unprepared.  On the eve of the flight I honestly have not packed anything in my bag.  
Disaster 1: Coming to work I have heaps of things in my to-do list. I came in as early as 6 in the morning to get a head start. To be fair, I was able to get a lot of things done. However, when I looked at my tracker, I was not convinced that I have accomplished a lot. To top it all, just when I had that momentum, my office assistant popped up reminding me of the 4pm calibration session with my team, which on a regular basis takes at least 2 hours! So there goes my productivity! 
Disaster 2: Laundry Delay 
Because I had to log off from work late, I wasn’t able to catch the laundry shoppe’s closing. There goes the packing.  I’ve nothing to pack!  What  ended up doing was juice up all the gadgets that I am bringing…Ippie, Sammie, Nikkie and even my good o’le Kia!  Cables and chargers were packed and the regular garbage in Sergio’s belly unloaded. 
I didn’t realize that it’d take me a long time to finish.  With no clothes to pack, I slept just before midnight.  It wasn’t so much of a sleep.  It was too shallow.  I wake up in every bit of noise!  Happy Birthday??? My alarm finally broke the silence and it was 3 in the morning. I found some warm greetings for my birthday.  It started with an old friend from years ago. Maris actually sent her greeting a minute after 12!  Then the well wishers came rushing in. I couldn’t quite appreciate them at the time because I am pretty much preoccupied with the looming problem of not having anything to put on my backpack…the most important thing! Clothes!  I waited and waited until the laundry shoppe finally opened it’s doors.  I was literally rushing back to my room. I tore the package and grabbed some shirts and unmindful, stuck them in my backpack. I changed my shirt and pants, put on my shoes and raced through the door. I took a cab to NAIA T3 and asked the driver to use the Skyway because it was already 30 minutes past the hour of eight! My flight is due to depart at 10:10 am while gate closes 45 minutes before departure!  
On a positive note, international flights doesn’t have a queue! And so was the line for paying the sky high Philippine Travel Tax!  
Philippine Travel Tax – pegged at P 1,650 
Airport Terminal Fee – P 550 
Immigration Test 
I called it a test because in the recent past, a friend was offloaded from her flight to Thailand connecting to Dubai.  She was asked why she was leaving the country and her travel documents were not honored.  Hence, the paranoid “OC” in me made the passage through the immigration a bit of a nightmare .  Luckily, I only got a frown and a dismissive look from the immigration officer. He gave me my first departing stamp.  I’ve learned my lesson from my last flight to Iloilo: it is better to check in your bulky backpack to avoid finding anything that may delay or cancel the trip. I checked-in my baggage and just left Ippie, Sammie, and Nikkie with me along with a bag of local delights for a friend (Des) from a friend (Wei).  
Happy Birthday!  
Checking in was a breeze.  The nice ground crew called my attention so she can assist me even if her counter was for a different flight.  She was so nice and polite throughout the interaction.  I was very pleased.  Boarding was called and I was the first passenger on the plane! To top it all, I got a window seat directly perpendicular to the right wing! This is what I call a birthday! Love love love! 

An impromptu city tour

When I got to SM Iloilo I have no idea where to start. I circled  the not so huge mall and I couldn’t even decide where to eat.  To top it all, the city has no power at the time and it’s raining.  It always rain when I travel!

What’s for lunch?

I thought I wanted to get a taste of  the famous La Paz batchoy from Ted’s or Decos but the shoppes were full and I can’t hold the monsters in my tummy any longer. I spotted a small place near one of the mall entrances called Green Mango.  It sounded familiar but not quite. I decided to grab a chair and order. At the back of my head I was just tired and I needed a safe place to consult Mr. Google.

I ordered one of their platter.

Lunch

rice ball, pancit canton, fish escabetche (don’t know how to spell it), a chunk of fried chicken

The city tour!

Lunch was good but my worries are starting to grow because the rain hasn’t completely stopped and my head is about to start singing Eva Peron…”Where do we(I) from here?…

I wandered a bit until a decided to text Ong Bun Pension to ask for directions. I was told that they can only hold my reservation until 6 in the evening! That added more panic. Fortunately (or I thought it was), the instruction was simple–Hop on a jeep with the sign “Iloilo City Proper” and drop off at the pension house. I boarded a jeep and went on my way. We’ve passed UP Visayas, the Sarabia Manor, the Provincial Capitol and a whole lot of streets. Among those streets I couldn’t see any sign of the pension house so I decided to drop off at Ledesma St. where the pension house is suppose to be located.

I walked along Ledesma St. but could not find the pension house.  I turned to Mr. Google once again and looked for landmarks. It was near a huge local supermarket and SM Delgado. When I saw the hard-to-miss supermarket I turned right and headed towards SM Delgado. The city is busy and so am I in being lost.

I found the hotel  in my list when I was researching Iloilo and It’s nice to finally see them in person aside from the fact that I can’t afford them. While walking, I passed by the riverbank.  I recognized the body of water as the Iloilo river.  The breeze is cool and relaxing, especially when your feet are sore and your whole body is drenched in sweat. I would have loved to stay and relax a bit but I am yet to find my bed!

Returning to the busy city, I passed by quiet street-Arroyo.  It looks like a slum area. Natakot ako because it kinda looks like a street in Tondo, Manila.  Isama mo pa ang questioning eyes of a few while I’m passing by.  I don’t mean to judge the place nor the people…my instinct told me to be careful.  Arroyo street ends in a Rotonda.  The funny thing is, it’s the same place where I started to walk. The area looks like a chinese town where lanterns adorns the center of the rotonda while the buildings show influences of the chinese architecture. So there I was! Back in Ledesma St. This time I walked on the other side.  It wasn’t really far from where I stand I raised my head and miraculously saw the sign! Ong Bun Pension House with its corresponding chinese characters.

As I draw nearer, I realized that the building was actually  the next one if I did not turn right towards the hard-to-miss supermarket.

There! I was able to go around Iloilo City in an instant because I got lost.  After having a cold shower, I slept comfortably…

2011: A glimpse of the year that got me to travel

It’s a day after Christmas.  In a couple of days we’ll all bid goodbye to another year.  Before doing so, I’ll take a glimpse of the year that’s about to close. It has been a fruitful year. I pray that 2012 will be as fruitful as the last.
February 2011 rekindled the fire I have for traveling when my friends and I bought cheap round trip tickets to Cebu. We weren’t the usual travelers.  We didn’t have that much of experience in this kind of activities but the old trust-your-instinct kind of attitude worked.
March gave me the opportunity to fly.  It wasn’t my first to be in an airport but it certainly was my first to travel by air. Thanks to Airphil Express’ promo that I had the opportunity to see the sky and ride the wind via Airbus Industrie A320.
So my feet landed on the wet Cebu City on March 12, 2011. I got to taste the famous lechon Cebu!
Magellan’s Cross with Kimmy and Paolo
I planned on going to Palawan last summer but did not have the opportunity.  No cheap ticket for me.
On the other hand, before summer ended, I booked a flight to Bohol! ’twas a birthday gift for myself. A little late pero ang sabi nga nila, huli man daw at magaling, maihahabol din!
August 20, 2011, my traveling feet landed in Tagbilaran City, Bohol!
Man-Made Forest in Bilar
September 04, 2011 – I walked a long line to Taal, Batangas, the home of the butterfly daggers and Barong Tagalog.
It was a very tiring walk…
The Basilica of St. Martin of Tours
September 2011 – After Batangas, I got tricked to going to Tanay, Rizal.  The two-hour butt numbing ride was worth it!
Batlag Falls after a heavy down pour
 Daranak and Batlag Falls in Tanay, Rizal was my last trip for the year. I was planning on going to Bicol during the Thanksgiving break last November. I was working on reaching the province via Bicol Express, the country’s railway system. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right time.
2011 did not get me to a lot of places but it sure inspired me get to a lot more on 2012!
Cheers to the year of the rabbit and hello 2012 Dragon! More travels to come!

Short journey to Nueva Ecija

After my grand solo backpacking in Tagbilaran, the island city of Bohol and a month-long absence in my hometown, I decided to pack Serge with my Nikkie and Ippie along with a bunch of sweets I bought from my recent adventure.

Reaching the bus station in Cubao, I suddenly realized that it’s a long weekend. Funny, next week’s our long weekend with-US labor day. Anyway, I battled with the very long queue at the bus station. After An hour or so of sniffing dirt in the air, I was finally able to take a relatively comfortable seat. As of this writing , the bus is traversing the length of the North Luzon Expressway.

I’m starving, sleepy and dizzy.