TaDi Snap Shots

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Places TaDified in 2013

Last year, I thought I won't be able to travel that much as I just moved to a new job.  But I guess, with traveling as part of my DNA, I just can't help but explore and discover new places, people and experiences. So here's the list of TaDified places in my Win 2013 voyage.

Calaguas Island

Visita Iglesia in Bulacandia 2

Our Holy Week tradition includes the pabasa, Good Friday walk and procession but 2 years ago, our family started doing the visita iglesia.  In 2012, we explored Northern Bulacan but in 2013 we visited the churches in Southern Bulacan which include the historic Sta. Clara church in Binondo to the heritage churches of Angat, Sta. Maria, Bocaue and Norzagaray.

The ceiling of Sta. Monica Church in Angat
The clan in Bocaue, Bulacan

These kids learn the hard way!  Hehe

Just like in 2012, this experience enriched four things in our lives - spiritual, cultural, physical and emotional.

Spiritual. I must admit, although raised and exposed in Catholic faith, I sometimes forget or neglect my spiritual being. This activity let me reconnect to our God. And it's one big blessing I am really thankful for. :)

Cultural. As a Christian Filipino, most of our classic tradition and practices are rooted from our faith. And this activity me exposed me to that and our beautiful architectural heritage. I just realized that our old churches are not just houses of faith but of arts, culture and tradition.

Physical. Just imagine that we woke up at daybreak, went to 14 churches located at different towns and municipalities of Bulacan, endured heat and sudden shift of temperature inside our van, and beat a deadline of 3 pm! How can you not be thankful for such a workout?! :)

Emotional. To tell you honestly, I am really so happy and fulfilled to witness how my mom, Tita Elvie and the rest, including the kids, were so happy of this activity. We were together in prayer, in appreciating beauty, in going through the challenges and having a fun time. I am also happy to see how the kids got exposed and learned this kind of prayer activity from their parents. And with that, everyone's excited for our next year's Visita Iglesia.

Malay Ko, Malay Nya, Malaysia! 

ZestAir, before its integration with Philippines' AirAsia, held a bloggers fam tour in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for the airline's inaugural flight in the said places.  I was with #TeamKuala (Kuala Lumpur).  The other group is #TeamKota. I decided to join the KL group because it's my first time to visit Malaysia and my rule is, I must be at the country's official landmark when it's my first time.  And because we're just headed to the city, I prepared myself that I may not enjoy the place that much but surprisingly, I did.  I must admit that it was one of my memorable overseas trips not just because of the fascinating places (Petronas Towers, Genting Highlands, Batu Caves, Merdeka Square) but for the amazing and fun experiences with my fellow bloggers and friends.  

Inside Petronas Tower 1, looking at Tower 2

Petronas Towers by night!

Entrance to the Batu Caves!

Cowabunga Pampanga

In summer of 2013, Electrolux embarked on a nationwide journey to promote culinary discovery and enjoyment of Filipino food, culture, and heritage. The Discover-E campaign had a series of activities aimed to encourage the people to do more culinary exploration in their kitchens.  One of the activities is the Food Tours to inspire the public to discover the Neo-Filipino cuisine themselves.  I joined the trips in Pampanga, Vigan and Cebu!

The first Discover-E was in Pampanga.  They said Pampanga is home of the best cooks in the country.  Well, with this trip which I dubbed as Cowabunga Pampanga, I can't help but agree because of the wonderful dishes we tasted.  Most importantly, I also learned through Pampanga food historian Atchhing Lilian Borromeo that Kapampangans even during the old times are trained in the kitchen event at a young age.  What's amazing in this trip is I finally tasted Pampanga's exotic dishes batute (fried frogs) and camaro (crickets) plus the much talked about Kabigting Halo-Halo which has halayang beans and pastillas de leche as main ingredients!  

Be Gone In Vigan!

Next in my Discover-E journey is Vigan.  This is another wonderful experience for me as I'm a fan of the famous bagnet and Ilocos empanada.  To add, this is where I was able to experience more Neo-Filipino dishes such as bagnet maki, dinuguan with chicharon, bagnet KBL pizza and more!  And of course, the picturesque view of Vigan, plus Laoag, added to the Ilocandia food flavor!  It was also an amazing experience because no less than Caoayan Mayor Germy Singson toured us in the place.

Bagnet Maki at Cafe Leona!

Laoag Empanada!

View from the Singson Tower

Doobidoo Cebu

Last leg of the Discover-E food tour is in the Queen city of the south, Cebu!  Well, I consider Cebu as home away from Manila.  I've fallen in love with the place the first time I went there in 1999.  And I fell in love with danggit, Chicharon carcar, lechon Cebu and dried mangoes!  And these are the same dishes we rediscovered together our media friends.  But the greatest discovery during the tour is Cebu's tablea via Ralfe  Gourmet!  This is indeed a Discover-E of Cebu's gem.  Their products put me into hypnosis!  :)   And most importantly, we were able to meet an amazing woman, one of the personalities behind Ralfe Gourmet, Aicelle Santos look alike Raquel Choa!  

The Tablea chocolates of Ralfe Gourmet

Get High in Tagaytay

The last time I experienced a "real" retreat was during high school days in Paco Catholic School.  After so many years, I felt the need to have another one!  Hehe.  It's good though that I finally joined Feast last year and I was able to join the Love Life retreat in Tagaytay, just like my first one!  :)  And yes, Tagaytay is my first favorite out-of-town place because of the serenity and peace of mind it gives to me.

My room in Tagaytay

It was a refreshing experience because I was able to renew my relationship with our Creator and meet new friends along the way!  :)

Luvettt Benguet & Sagad sa Sagada

In July, I was also part of the Organic Agriculture Bloggers Tour in Cordillera organized by Department of Agriculture's Asian Training Institute.  We were toured in different farms in Benguet and Sagada to learn more about organic agriculture, its benefits to our health and the feasibility of going organic!  This is part 2 of the #OABloggers (Organic Agriculture Bloggers) Tour.  The first was in Majayjay, Laguna.  Check this article for reference: http://foydi.blogspot.com/2012/10/treasure-find-33-going-oa-is-lot-ok.html

Sagada's traffic system

It's a healthy trip because after being exposed to many sinful eating during the Discover-E (hehe), I got detoxicated with all the organic dishes we ate.  One can't really go wrong with going organic.

Wagas na Wagas sa Calaguas

As I thought I'm done with the trips for 2013, I was surprised I'm yet to experience my most unique travel for the year!  It was my trip to Calaguas Island of Camarines Norte for the Philippine Gems campaign of the Isla Lipana!

Seeing paradise requires a sacrifice. After a 12-hour bus ride from Metro Manila and almost 3 hours boat ride from Vinzons, Camarines Norte, I witnessed a paradise in his lifetime via a place called Calaguas Islands.

Our boat in the Calaguas trip

Before reaching the main islands, I saw these Batanes like hills!

I was in awe and was put into a spell as soon as I saw the clear water, fine white sand beaches, the amazing landscape and the colorful contrast of sea, sky and hills. It is as if I was warped into another place, dimension and time.

This is the paradise I'm talking about!

It's truly captivating.. mesmerizing...

Calaguas doesn’t boast of first-class tourist facilities but it offers an encounter with nature in its purest form that can bring one closer to the environment, to God and to himself. Bicolandia must be proud of this another tourism discovery, a true Philippine gem that all Filipinos can be proud of.

And this!

And this!

Calaguas emerged no.1 in the search for Philippine Gems of Isla Lipana in 2013.

With my travels alone, how can I not consider last year as #Win2013 right?  And with that, I'm now more than ready for #Stonger2014!

Bulacan, Kuala Lumpur, Pampanga, Vigan, Cebu, Tagaytay, Benguet, Sagada and Calaguas in 2013... now TaDified!  And that's the foydi way!  :)

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