Friday, September 20, 2013

Cute, Cozy, Cool Cafe

A splitting headache, a previous plan, and some errands found me exiting my usual Friday routine. Although the sky was a bit cloudy, I managed to go out to relax. After all, this week had been very hectic at work, and I needed a break.

Maybe some coffee can ease my mind...oops, is coffee even good for a headache? I know the effects of coffee to the blood vessels, but I really don't care. I'd think of it as a treat and a stress-reliever, and thinking that way will, yeah, relieve stress. So, I'd go for coffee.

I always pass by Cafe Maru because there is no other choice but to pass by when going to the heart of the city. Where else would I go when the route is the only route? I had always been curious as to what Cafe Maru was about, and why they sometimes hold promos and such. This time, there was no turning back. And to Cafe Maru I went.

Cafe Maru is located at Ethan House Ladies' Dormitory, which is situated in front of Sto. Nino Village. If people are still not familiar where it is, other famous landmarks near the area are Jollibee, Bright Academy, and Woodridge International School. From the outside, Cafe Maru looks like a glass house with a cute white fence and some signs for customers. According to their Facebook page, Cafe Maru is a Korean-style coffee house serving coffee choices well-loved in Korea, as well as other tasty treats like waffles.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the premises was the welcoming aroma of coffee. Yeah... a coffee shop. The smell of coffee suddenly had me remember CN Blue's "Coffee Shop" from their RE:Blue album. The staff that accommodated me was very friendly, and he handed me the menu. In the main area, there were the usual tables and chairs, so I sat near the door. I usually like sitting near the door with my back facing the street because I want to see the entire place, especially if pleasant to the senses.

Choices that customers can select from ranged from different types of coffee to fruit shakes, from tea to waffles. I will always love chocolate mint but I was curious as to what green tea latte tastes like. Although the weather was very cool, I did not want a hot drink, so I ordered iced green tea latte.

iced green tea latte ♥♥♥♥
너무 너무 맛있습니다! ㅇㅅㅇ

I asked permission from the staff to take pictures of the ambiance, especially the cozy lounge near the bookshelf. They allowed me to, and I was able to take pictures. If I have a criterion to love a place, it is to have a bookshelf filled with lots of books. And you know what? This cafe passed my standards... No, scratch that. It exceeded my expectations! From the outside, it can't be seen, but once you get in, you will find a bookshelf staring back at you. Lovely!

While I was there, there was a Korean high school student loitering in the area. I knew where she attends high school, though I will not divulge where, even if we don't know each other. I had not heard her speak English quite well because she was talking discreetly to the barista, but when her mother called, she began speaking in Korean. The words I recognized from the conversation were "hakgyo (school)," "ne (yes)," and "Chosun Chicken," a Korean chicken restaurant nearby. I could not help but muse, it seemed like I was watching a shooting of a K-drama with young idols like Bae Suzy (Miss A) or Shin Hye Jung (AOA) in it. It was so cool!

Anyway, after she left, I wandered around the premises, especially the lounge near the bookshelf. On top of the bookshelf were lots of toys and games and puzzles, it would be fun to hang out and play scrabble while enjoying your fruit shake. Unlike the table-and-chair combo in the main area, the cozy lounge had low tables and pillows to sit upon. Ooooh! I even recognized a Rilakkuma pillow! If you want that authentic feeling of enjoying your coffee and tea as if you're in South Korea, you can sit on the floor by the low table and do what you want, drink coffee or toy around with puzzles. I saw a deck of cards and tried playing solitaire, but I was not able to continue playing because I still had some errands to do. What the heck? If I get back, I have to get my hands on those cards again!

Hi Rilakkuma!!! ^_^ Where are Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori?
릴라쿠마씨, 안녕하세요? 코릴라쿠마과 키로이토리가 어디예요?

Just like in my other favorite Korean restaurant, there was an area which I called the "memory lane." It's where pictures of customers who had visited the place were hung. Ain't it cute?

Walk down Memory Lane at Cafe Maru

The place was awesome and comfortable, the staff were hospitable, and my iced green tea latte was luscious. What can I say? This is one place where I want to go back to. This is one place that I can recommend to my friends. And this is one place that I want to go and chill on some stressful Friday afternoon.

Okey, so this is my personal blog, and I am not connected with any advertisers or big businessmen, all right. I just want to share my experiences here so that those who want to have a change of coffee shop can try Cafe Maru. And hey, I still believe in the word of mouth...but in this case, the word ^_^

Here are the address and contact details of Cafe Maru if you are interested to go:

Ground Floor, Ethan's House
Gov. M. Cuenco Street, Banilad
6000 Cebu City, Philippines 
(032) 239-7909 / 0922-772-8924

They are open from Mondays to Sundays, as follows:
Monday to Saturday: 10 AM - 12 AM
Sunday: 10 AM - 11 PM

Back to my grievances above, did my splitting headache disappear? Kinda. Was I able to run my errands? Of course I had (but after the latte treat)! Was I able to do a previous plan? Of course I had! And had my stress levels declined? Well, yeah! Sure, this day is totally not my usual Friday!

좋은 하루 되세요!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Fan's Heart Only For Jung Yong Hwa (The 2013 Blue Moon World Tour -- CN Blue Live In Manila)

My trip to the airport that afternoon of June 16, Sunday, was uneventful. After strolling around SM Mall of Asia with my cousin, then what?

Of course, I still had that Blue Moon high, but let's face it: the concert had ended, and it was time to face another day of work the next day. I bet CN Blue also had faced that fact that they will have to go back to practicing again for their concert in Beijing. Nevertheless, the memory still lived on.

After checking in and going through all the standard procedures, I finally waited at Gate 133 of NAIA 3 for boarding. Since I was a bit early, and because it was a hassle to pull out the Reader's Digest June 2013 issue that I had bought the day before, I decided to kill time by writing an entry for my blog. The next thing I knew, a hilarious ruckus occurred at the airport. Up to now, the memory made me smile everytime I think of it.

I had only thought of writing two blogs, the second being my spazz entry. However, after seeing a photo of someone familiar in a CN Blue group on Facebook, I realized many people were inspired by what they had seen, and it also inspired me to write this third entry.

So, what was that thing about? 

Check this out.

Nothing can imprison the heart of a fan who loves.
(Photo credit to owner)

You see this girl in the picture? Before I will tell you who she is, let me go back to my story about the hilarious incident at the airport.

Okey, so while I was busy wracking my brains and thinking on how to arrange my words coherently, my eyes lazily drifted to the woman a little bit in front of me. I noticed that both of her legs had leg braces, and that she was putting one leg after another on the wheelchair seat. Seeing her on that condition made me remember the injuries I suffered secondary to a car accident almost a decade ago, and I was also confined once in a while in a wheelchair for almost four months. But then, I did not mind them too much because they were passengers like me, waiting for their flights.

However, in the middle of her conversation with her friend, the woman with the wheelchair suddenly sang a portion of a CN Blue song, and I looked at her. I began to think that these people had been to the concert last night as well. I transferred beside her discreetly to begin some small talk aside from the fact that the scene from outside was too glaring.

To make the long story short, when the woman and her friends learned that I had been to the concert too, they squealed again at the memories of the oppas. These women did not expect to see a Boice at the airport. I got to know them, most especially Miss Pebbles, the one who owns the wheelchair. I shared to them a copy of PULP magazine with CN Blue in it, and they were extremely sorry that they did not know that the said magazine was available at 7-Eleven. I bought one the night before at 7-Eleven Gil Puyat after the concert because I was extremely thirsty. Not only did I walk out with a bottle of water, I walked out with a copy of PULP magazine. I also lent to them my RE:Blue, and they were having a blast taking selcas with the mag and the album. One of the things that amused me was that, while we were all hyped up, a couple (I think, senior citizens of age) boredly looked at us. Later on, another girl sat behind us (though I will not divulge who she is), and she was with her Korean friend (though I do not know what she did). The girl who sat at the back, upon getting to know Boices at the airport, distributed some spare souvenir items for Miss Pebbles and her friends.

After some talking sessions with Miss Pebbles, I got to know why she was wheelchair-bound, though I think I do not have the prerogative to write down the reason why. I got to know that she and her friends are from General Santos City, home to the boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. She and her friends also created a CN Blue group in GenSan (CNBLUEming... I researched it according to the comments of the people) because she and the girls really love CN Blue. As for Miss Pebbles, she is a certified Boice, a certified Yong Hwa lady. No, she is not into OTPs (no YongShin nor YongSeo). The next paragraphs will be a chronicle of why I admire Miss Pebbles.

Like all the other Boices, Miss P bought concert tickets. Like all others, she also planned on where to stay. Like us, she kept herself updated to the news that Miss Happee Sy was posting. Like us, especially those in Visayas and Mindanao, she was keeping herself updated with the news regarding the weather. Like all other Yong Hwa ladies, she was also imagining how Yong Hwa will look like in person.

And she traveled to Manila no matter what.

Yes, no matter what, and she did not have an ounce of regret.

However, what sets her apart from me? From all the other Boices?

It was her leg condition that set her apart from all other Boices. No physical restraint could ever imprison a heart that loves. I knew the feeling of being wheelchair-bound, so I know that in that condition, there will always be lifestyle modifications. I will not elaborate what lifestyle modifications are implemented for people who cannot walk. Good thing for Miss Pebbles, she had fellow GenSan Boices who went with her and wheeled her.

We often take walking for granted and go on with our own plans (where we should sit, or whether or not we can talk to our guys), but Miss Pebbles walked a different path, that is, attending the concert on a wheelchair. This journey of a lifetime for Miss Pebbles is extra special. This is not just a concert. This is not just a travel. This is a travel to watch her favorite, her CN BLUE, perform. This is her journey to be with the one that she loves. In short, she did not let a condition stop her from doing what she should do, what she could do. Nothing hindered her from seeing Jung Yong Hwa for real.

There were sitting arrangements, all right, but so what? Miss Pebbles chose to sit in the middle aisle to get a good view of Yong Hwa. And what a good view she really got! And on that wheelchair, along the aisle, she cheered on for Yong Hwa. And to her, that night was one of the best memories she ever had.

Some good soul who was inspired took a photo of her, and it circulated on cyberspace. Even some netizens posted it on Twitter and tagged CN Blue. These netizens were inspired, which was why they did that.

And truly, Miss Pebbles is an inspiration. She is strong. She is awesome. Her legs might be helpless, but her heart and mind are not.

She shared to me that she felt grateful, but that she had done nothing special. She was just there to watch the concert and see Jung Yong Hwa. However, it meant a whole lot to people who saw her enjoying herself to the utmost. Miss Pebbles had taught us that disabilities are no excuses not to be able to do one's activities of daily living. She taught us that one can still do what she needs to do, what she wants to do despite the disability.

That uneventful afternoon before the flight turned out to be a great experience for me and for every Boice who had encountered Miss Pebbles. The occurrence was amusing, but it gave me insights to ponder.

I salute you, Miss Pebbles. Thank you for being an inspiration to every Boice.

좋은 하루 되세요!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When Four Guys Colored My Heart Blue (The 2013 Blue Moon World Tour -- CN Blue Live In Manila)

I admit. I must have gone crazy.

I did things which I thought I could not do, like buying a concert ticket, planning my way through LRT and MRT, planning all the other detailed stuff, just to get to Manila and watch CN Blue perform live. After all, I had never been to a real rock concert, as the "concerts" that I had been to were just school plays and benefit concerts. This, I thought, I should grab and experience. This is my first time watching a major concert, and this is my first time watching a rock concert.

Crazy? Yeah. But I did not regret it.

I already posted my "serious mode" blog entry, so this space is reserved mainly for spazzing. Are you ready to spazz with me? Come on!

Before I let you in with all the spazzing, I will tell you that I was not present during the press conference because I could not miss my salary for the world. I love my salary too! It meant that I had to go to work and fly all the way to Manila after my work hours. And it also means that the press conference trivia I will be placing here is information from my friends who were there. They told me about this hours before the concert.

June 14, 203, Friday. The day when CN Blue arrived in Manila. My friends who were there waited so early in order to get a glimpse of CN Blue's arrival. Unfortunately, they (my friends) were not able to see the band members. And so, they all rushed to SM Megamall to witness the free press conference.

As expected, SM Megamall was already riddled with swarms of fans hoping to witness that one press conference and see the band for real. My friends also told me that during the press conference, there were fans who shrieked excessively and started to scream a "name" of someone, most especially when Yong Hwa was asked who his inspiration is when writing songs. My friends even told me that later on, Yong Hwa seemed to be in a foul mood. How rude of these people to even feed Yong Hwa with the answers! I just hope that CN Blue will not have a bad impression of us.

Anyway, enough with that annoying stuff. Let's shift back to the exciting stuff as I promised: my thoughts on the boys. Here goes.

At six in the evening of June 15 (a Saturday), the people were already flocking to Green and Red Gates to get to their places. My friend and I held tickets that allowed us to have access to the Green Gate. Lo and behold! I saw two groups of CN Blue standees! What a blast it was taking pictures beside each of the boys! In a corner, there was a long table filled with CN Blue merchandise such as the Blue Moon t-shirt. Near that table was a box for the gifts to be given to CN Blue. In the next table was another set of merchandise, including the RE:Blue album. I could have bought such album in record bars, but my impulsive nature told me to buy it at SMART Araneta Coliseum. I have the penchant for writing my name, the date, day, and location of purchase, the price, and some special note as to why I bought an item in the first place. And that was what I placed on the album. In the future, should I look back at that memory, I can smile and say I bought one at Araneta during the CN Blue concert.

Before the concert started, a presentation regarding CN Blue's advocacy was aired on a screen. These guys are famous, but they also have their feet steadily planted on the ground. What is fame and money if you cannot share it to those in need? Really, CN Blue made me admire them even more, and I am proud to be Boice.

And finally, before our dear boys came out, a video oozing with too much blue awesomeness was flashed on the big middle screen. While the people screamed to their hearts' delight, I was stunned and speechless. There was a blue moon hovering around buildings, and then some holographic stairs... And finally, the members materialized, seen as climbing up the flight of stairs. Each member was also flashed on the screen in their most tantalizing performance mode.

What can I say? CN Blue is cool and hot at the same time. And the people behind that video are geniuses!

Sorry for beating around the bush, so let's start.

Our Dashing Goddess, Untouchable Lee Jung Shin.

My friends told me that Jung Shin looked so captivating in person. Girls whose bias is not Jung Shin found him charming and alluring, they could not help but fall in love with him. During the press conference, he was also seen raising his hand every time he wanted to speak. Oh, look how polite he was! I am greatly impressed! When my friend showed me a picture of Jung Shin at the press conference, I told her that he still looked the same to me: the same good-looking goddess who managed to shine though the youngest of the group. And I did not believe her.

Fortunately, I switched beliefs and believed my friend...when I finally saw Jung Shin in the flesh during the concert.

I could not remember the sequence, but I reckoned Jung Shin was the second person I saw on stage. Because my friend and I were seated at the Jung Shin side, I was able to perfectly get a good glance at him.

O-M-G! Though Jong Hyun is my ultimate bias, I could not help but stare at Jung Shin's face. For me, the aura he radiated in photos is nothing compared to the aura he radiated in person. He is such a pretty young man! I could not help but gush at his prettiness. He's pretty, pretty, pretty, and my heart was greatly thumping and jumping and fluttering to see his pretty face. He even had this facial expression which looked like that of a demure young lass, and it added to Jung Shin's prettiness. He exuded a charm that made me enticed to him. Yeah, sure, I did miss his long hair, the reason why he was nicknamed "Goddess." However, his sweet charming face made me believe that he deserved the nickname after all.

One thing that no one could miss was Jung Shin's sunny personality on stage. Though Yong Hwa is the lead vocalist, with the voice of the bass maybe only audible to the musically gifted, Jung Shin wowed the crowd, and especially the girls in front when he played his bass guitar like the cool guy that he really is. I could see that Jung Shin was extremely enjoying himself, "flirting" with the girls, and making hearts scream with his bass playing and walking around as he pleased.

Have I ever shared that Jung Shin was extremely funny? When he spoke his sentences in Tagalog (the unofficial term for the Filipino language), the crowd went wild. He really was fond of fillers like "so" and "yeah," and he could really engage with his viewers. He could really be a good master of ceremony (MC). I really cracked up during the time when Yong Hwa started the "left and right" charade, and Jung Shinnie was super frustrated and insisted with the ubiquitous "Noooo, noooo, noooo!" How cute could that be?

Anway, he sounded so cute with his Tagalog, though I had to ask myself who taught them the sentences in the first place. I was shocked when he said, "Ako ay Jung Shin (I am Jung Shin)" when he and the guys introduced themselves. In fact, all the guys introduced themselves that way. OMG! It was cute but it was totally grammatically incorrect. Whatever happened to the pre-noun particle "si" to denote that the next noun is a name? And also, during the encore, the other three guys (including him) were reading some cheat sheets (to Yong Hwa's dismay because he did not understand a thing, and he did not understand what was going on), Jung Shin said, "Kantahin natin siya (Let's sing for him)." Again, who was the one who taught him that? To sing a song for someone is different from singing a song. It should have been kantahan (to sing to someone), not kantahin (to sing a song). Anyway, enough with the stiff girl in me...

So there, I have presented my case on the ever-pretty goddess, Lee Jung Shin.

Mr. Eye Smile, Lovely Kang Min Hyuk

My friend shared that Min Hyuk was considered to be the most popular personality during the press conference, more popular than Yong Hwa himself. Whoa! Hyukkie does have a large following too! Fans have different impressions of him, but he is the epitome of cuteness. Anything cute and cuddly like cats, squirrels, rabbits, hamsters, teddy bears, Pikachu, Elmo, Hamtaro, Doraemon, Maru (Maru the Japanese cat of YouTube, not Song Joong Ki Kang Maru), Shunsuke (the Twitter wonder Japanese dog of pomeranian breed), Pusheen, et al, all spell out Kang Min Hyuk to me. Even though Min Hyuk is now sporting handsome muscles on his arms, he still exudes cuteness. Eye smile, anyone?

Min Hyuk was the first person I noticed when the guys entered the stage during the concert. I don't know how others saw him, but he looked matured compared to those in the pictures. But then, oozing out of him was unparalleled professionalism. Yeah, it radiated so much that I could feel it. Hey, playing the drums required extreme patience because of all the guys, it was him just situated in one place. When he banged his drums, he played it with so much power that it was heart-stopping. Unfortunately, I could not get a good shot of him though I was at the VIP area because my cellphone cam could not zoom any further. But then, I am still proud of my phone and will not trade it for any high-end camera. Anyways...

Despite being located at the back, Min Hyuk still managed to make his presence known. I have a feeling that Min Hyuk is good with languages. Cha Segwang mode, hmmm? He spoke his Tagalog lines without too much effort even though the speech was long. And among the guys who spoke their Tagalog lines, I understood Min Hyuk better. I kept on giggling when he spoke because it was cute, but then, sometimes, he reminded me of Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Teen's fame Ryan Bang (방현성). However, during the encore when the guys were surprising Yong Hwa with the birthday charade, Hyukkie was reading a script. Maybe he was pressed for time to memorize it. Forgiven, Hyukkie, forgiven. But then, how come no one remembered that Hyukkie was born on June too? How come Yong Hwa only received the songs and the surprises?

Guess what? If during the press conference, the boys shared that they want to visit Cebu should time allow them, and that they want to try out balut (hard-boiled duck egg with an embryo in it), Min Hyuk shared during the concert that he wanted to try lechon because he was hungry (he stated it in Tagalog). Living the life of Yeo Joon Hee again, Hyukkie? For those who do not know what lechon is, it is a carcass of a pig skewered whole through a bamboo pole, roasted over charcoal, and basted with oil and marinade to add flavor to the skin and prevent the food from drying. Lechon is a staple food in big celebrations in the Philippines, and one can never miss lechon in the middle of a table. All over the Philippines, people (except for the Muslims and those denominations where pork isn't allowed) eat lechon, but I had heard some people claiming that the best lechon happens to be in Cebu.

All the more why CN Blue should visit Cebu so Min Hyuk can indulge in lechon. And by the way, a new trend of lechon is available--boneless lechon.

Min Hyuk also stated that he saw the jeepney, which is the public utility transport in the country. If Park Bom, Dara, and Vin Diesel had pictures of them posing inside the jeepney, Min Hyuk should have one too!

So there, I have presented my case on the cute and cuddly Kang Min Hyuk.

Mysterious Milky Vampire Boy, Burning Lee Jong Hyun

My friends related that Hyunnie was silent most of the time during the press conference, and he usually just smiled. He was also seen discreetly covering his ears when he felt that the noise was unbearable. Uhmmm... no comment. Maybe, Hyunnie must be the type to not like it when outside forces break down his stream of thoughts. And yeah, why is Hyunnie silent? Such a mystery, and it is why I am proud to say he is my bias.

Actually, he is not my first bias. It was Yong Hwa (though I still like Yong Hwa). Hyunnie was the third member I remembered because I could not remember his name, and I kept mixing him up with Jung Shin. As to why Hyunnie became my bias is such a long story, and I might write an explanation like a novel longer than John Grisham's legal masterpieces.

Before the concert began, when the video of CN Blue's advocacy was flashed on the screen, my friend and I were chuckling because we predicted correctly that Hyunnie won't speak. How much does it cost for him to speak? What a mysterious guy... As mysterious as his Collin Black role in "A Gentleman's Dignity" during the first few episodes.

As he was the third person I remembered when I got to like CN Blue way back in 2010, Hyunnie was also the third person I saw on stage during the concert. After being captivated by Jung Shin's alluring face, my heart skipped a beat when I saw Jong Hyun for the first time.

You remember the scene in "Heartstrings" when Lee Gyu Won was speechless when she saw Lee Shin performing at Catharsis for the first time? It was the same feeling I had when I saw Jong Hyun.

Here was how I saw him: super milky white skin, lean and hunky, handsome, elusive. No wonder he was compared to Edward Cullen of "Twilight" saga. And really, the sobriquet "Vampire Boy" described him perfectly. If he showed off that cool aura of a handsome vampire in the pictures, he showed more of that aura in the flesh. That smile of his blended beautifully with his mysterious eyes that he looked all the more gorgeous. And suddenly, Taylor Swift's "Superstar" came to mind.

Sure, it was a concert, and many people were flashing glow sticks and banners, but it was unfortunate of me not to be able to get a good view of Hyunnie due to a pesky banner hoisted by a fan in front. I remembered she was situated near that person with the round fan-like thing with "thank you" written in hiragana (so, the content read "arigatou"). My consolation was that, despite my vision being blocked, and despite the fact that Hyunnie was distant from my view, I still managed to get a glimpse of him. Those elusive moments were priceless, and I cherished them. And while my heart was thumping to Min Hyuk's drums, Jong Hyun was making me speechless.

There were also times, especially during Yong Hwa's presentations, that Jong Hyun seemed to vanish in the blink of an eye. Where was he, by the way? I later learned from some people on Facebook that there was a time when the other guys were busy entertaining us fans while Jong Hyun was at one side, busy playing with the stuffed toys or picking up guitar picks thrown at him by fans. Ooohhh, Hyunnie has his own world sometimes... How cute! I could not imagine the hunky Hyunnie going mushy over cuddly stuffed toys. He deserves a giant Hello Kitty in his room. And by the way, I envied the Jollibee stuffed toy for being near Jong Hyun.

How about his Tagalog? He sometimes pronounced his words the way actor Sam Milby does. Well, well, well. As usual, Jong Hyun spoke less. If memory served me right, Jong Hyun spoke twice: during the introduction and during the "Yong Hwa's birthday" charade.

As for his presentation on stage, he definitely deserved "Burning," because he played his guitar with so much passion. His melodious (and sometimes, melancholic) voice blended beautifully with Yong Hwa's husky voice. These two Busan boys sure knew how to make hearts scream.

Enough of my discourse for my bias. So there, I have presented my case on the silent milky boy, Lee Jong Hyun.

Dark, Sexy, Metal, Emotional Jung Yong Hwa

Yong Hwa was elated at the fans' response during the press conference, so said my friends and according to news. He even encouraged fans to "make some noise." However, aside from Yong Hwa getting into a foul mood and being handsome, most of my friends' comments were about Baby Jung Shin. I was thinking if he really looked the same as he does on TV or in videos, or if he will show off charms that will make me fall for him. And I thought, I can answer that question during the concert.

The last person I saw on stage was Yong Hwa. I knew my glasses were clear, but I tried so hard to stare at Yong Hwa. He looked handsome on photos and videos, but he looked even more dashing in person. What had the Coffee Prince done to my poor unknown heart?

Yong Hwa was wearing his uber cool jacket the moment he and the guys entered the stage, but in a while, he took off his jacket. The weather forecast by the weather bureau was a rainy day and rainy night, but it was totally hot and warm the whole day that I suffered from sunburn. And because of the heat of the night, Yong Hwa was left with no choice but to remove his jacket and perform on stage without it.

That's what I like about him and the guys. They don't need makeup, guyliners and such to look good. And they do not have to strip or show abs to show how hot they were. In short, even with decent clothing and their smiles, they still managed to look so handsome. From my seat, I could see sweat dripping off Yong Hwa's temples. Sure, for a hot day, one really needed to drink lots of water. Despite the sweat, he was still hot!

Yong Hwa proved that he is more than just looks. He also wowed the crowd with his keyboard skills, which he showed during "Y, Why" and "Feeling." "Feeling" did give me a good feeling, but "Y, Why" made me fall in love with Yong Hwa all the more. I had liked other songs before that, but that was the first Yong Hwa song that I liked... like one girl we happen to know who also liked the said song. What else can this guy do? I mean, he can act, sing, play musical instruments, compose songs, pen lyrics, do beatbox... What else can he do?

Yong Hwa can bust some moves!

Okey, CN Blue is not a dancing band, but Yong Hwa proved he can dance like all the other guys in K-pop world...though his dance steps were just the simple ones. Nevertheless, the crowd went wild and shrieked at his cuteness.

For me, Yong Hwa showed two sides like that of a coin. First, his confidence and hotness made fans scream, including my heart--but not my voice, of course. He was that "dark, sexy, metal" that lured girls closer to him. He was that star that rocked the stage and made the girls swoon all over him. Well, I still prefer him and the guys over the rock stars with tattoos, body piercings, goatees, and wasted looks. The second side of Yong Hwa was him showing off those cute charms especially when he got embarrassed over a mistake during the encore. His signature snaggle-tooth could not be beat. I'm glad he did not undergo dental procedures to correct his teeth. He looked fine that way.

Do you know that Yong Hwa can be fun on stage? He started out this "left" and "right" charade that made Jung Shin frustrated over the people. It was hilarious! And what about that time that he did some beatbox, with Jung Shin doing a lame attempt? Every Boice, I am sure, will never, ever forget that.

I had mentioned about the mistake that Yong Hwa committed during the presentation, and that was during the encore. Most of the time, he would ask, "Do you know 'Heartstrings?'" But here in the Philippines, he asked, "Do you know 'Neon Naege Banhaesseo?'" Of course, the crowd went wild and screamed out an audible "yes." Who would not?

Yong Hwa was singing it as if a prelude to the song, until he sang, "I love Singapore." He realized his mistake, and picked up the pieces by rejoining an "I love Philippines." Laughter between him, the other guys, and the crowd followed.

The next thing we knew, when Yong Hwa tweeted after the concert, he was saying "I love Philippines" a lot of times.

Check out this cute fancam below.

(Thank you to my friend DJ for the "You've Fallen For Me" fancam. Yeah, I was beside her, and I told her when the song was going to be played, as I researched the playlist beforehand.)

During the encore, Min Hyuk and the rest of the guys began to grab their cheat sheets, with Min Hyuk leading the way. Check out this video below and watch at how Yong Hwa looked cute when he got confused and all.

(Video credit to glady828. Thank you for sharing this cute video.)

For the benefit of those who wanted to know what the guys were saying, here is the translation:

Minmin: Guys, this Saturday is a special day for one of our members. Do you know that? Do not state the name. Do not state the name, okey?

Here, the crowd laughed and buzzed, but Yong Hwa looked confused. He did not know what Hyukkie was saying, nor did he know what the heck was going on.

Shinnie: I know that you know what we are saying. Shall we sing for him? Let's sing for him.

The crowd was still buzzing, but Yong Hwa was still looking perplexed and lost.

Hyunnie: Let's sing it (here, the crowd went wild at his handsome voice because he finally spoke). As was said earlier, let's do it together, okey?

Shinnie: Together!

Hyunnie: Together, okey?

Yong Hwa still sported a confused look, and only began to laugh and dance when the other guys and the crowd sang a birthday song to him.

Get what I mean with his two sides? So there, I have presented my case on the sexy, cute, and boyish leader, Jung Yong Hwa.

After the concert, the guys went from one portion of the stage to the next to bow and thank the audience for enjoying, and, just like in their other performances, they had that customary picture on stage, with the fans at the background.

What a night! It was a great experience, and I did not regret it. I like CN Blue not only because they are hot and handsome, but their greatness was absorbed inside of me. Like they and their music had a very positive influence on me which transcended more than just the shrieking fangirl mode.

If I explain any further, this blog is going to get longer, but all in all, the concert was a big hit. Everyone enjoyed and had their dreams coming true that night. Even I had a dream come true that night.

I was crazy, but I did not regret it.

I am proud to be Boice, I love CN Blue, and I am proud of them. Thank you, CN Blue, for such a memorable performance. This performance might seem like once in a blue moon, but I hope to see you all again soon.


Finally, the playlist for the Blue Moon concert here in the Philippines is finally out! Thanks a bunch, Wikipedia!

Main Set
  1. "Opening"
  2. "Where You Are"
  3. "Get Away"
  4. "One Time"
  5. "Man like Me"
  6. "Coffee Shop"
  7. "Have A Good Night"
  8. "Wake Up"
  9. "Love Light"
  10. "Feeling"
  11. "These Days"
  12. "Y,Why"
  13. "La La La"
  14. "Just Please"
  15. "Tattoo"
  16. "In My Head"
  17. "Intuition"
  18. "I'm A Loner"
  19. "I'm Sorry"
  1. "Hey You"
  2. "Love Girl"
  3. "Adlib song"
  4. "You've Fallen For Me"
  5. "Love"
  6. "Try Again, Smile again"

좋은 하루 되세요!

Monday, June 17, 2013

When The Philippines Turned Blue (The 2013 Blue Moon World Tour -- CN Blue Live In Manila)

(This post is written not in spazz form, if you know what I mean. For the press conference, this blogger got her information from Philippine Star, Allkpop, from friends and other people who were there. She will also place some bits of information from Wikipedia. As for the concert, she will chronicle what she had witnessed the night CN Blue shook Manila.)

Define Blue Moon:

A. It is the occurrence of two full moons in a given calendar month, with the phenomenon occurring every two to three years.

B. It is a 2006 romantic drama movie in the Philippines starring Eddie Garcia, Boots Anson-Roa, Jennylyn Mercado, and Mark Herras. 

C. It is South Korean rock band CN Blue's 2013 World Tour to promote their fourth mini-album, "RE: Blue."

This year, the answer is letter C.

And this time, it's the Philippines' turn to experience the BLUE MOON awesomeness!

Last Friday, June 14, 2013, CN Blue arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Terminal 1 before noontime. Fans who waited for hours showered the band with love and support by welcoming them at the airport.

Even before the official store hours of SM Megamall, fans waited and flocked for long in order to witness the free press conference, which was held on that same day. However, despite the two o'clock schedule, the press conference was delayed, thus fans joined games while waiting to see the band for real.

After the two-hour delay, CN Blue arrived, earning them the cheers and shrieks from Boices, the name of CN Blue fans. Seeing the overwhelming support from fans, CN Blue voiced out their gratitude, and even shared that they are excited to perform for their Filipino fans. Frontman Jung Yong Hwa, who will be celebrating his birthday on June 22, received a cake and a birthday song from fans who duly prepared the surprises for him.

And finally, CN Blue rocked SMART Araneta at eight in the evening of June 15, 2013, with their hot performance setting the stage on fire and bringing the house down. Araneta was jam-packed with fans who had long waited for this concert since the day it was confirmed.

CN Blue, consisting of leader/vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jung Yong Hwa, lead guitarist/vocalist Lee Jong Hyun, drummer Kang Min Hyuk, and bassist Lee Jung Shin, performed songs from the "RE: Blue" album, such as "La La La," "Coffee Shop," "Naran Namja," and the hit single, "I'm Sorry." They also performed songs from their other albums, such as "Y, Why" (Bluetory), "Tattoo" (Blue Love), "Hey You" (Ear Fun), and "You've Fallen For Me," OST from Yong Hwa's second drama, "Heartstrings."

Boices who attended the concert sang along, jumped to the beat of rock songs, flashed blue glow sticks, and shrieked to their hearts' content. They also cheered on and mused at the cuteness as the band members impressed the crowd with their Tagalog.

This is the first time that CN Blue had performed on the Philippine shores. With a concert like this happening once in a Blue Moon, it is an experience worth taking for every Boice.

좋은 하루 되세요!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mitchi Chronicles 3, Part 2: Life After Pacquiao, Dipolog Nightlife, And The Day To Say Goodbye

I think I had not mentioned this, but after the Pacquiao and Marquez fight, the people were buzzing still, but not as loudly as before. There were less talks about it... and if you know the story, you'll know how most people react. I'd rather not document it.

After the Dapitan escapade, getting back to the hotel was not noteworthy. I had to stay there for some hours to wait for the gang to come and hang out with me. After all, Ate Ann (a distant cousin) had asked me that Friday if I was willing to let her sleep in the room.

Of course, I will not mind. She's a relative, after all!

There were a lot of some trivial things that I did before dinner, so I think these were not that significant. By the time the clock hit seven, the gang was almost complete, so it was time to hit the road and go out there.

And so started another round of escapade! How many hours had I spent walking around just for that day?

Because it was past seven, dinner came first in the agenda. How can we sustain without food being digested at the pit of our stomach? Even the simple chicken barbecue and rice combo meal was enough to satisfy the need of the body.

Strolling along the long boulevard in the late evening was very refreshing because it aided in digestion of food. I did not feel so stuffy unlike in Cebu when I do not have anywhere to walk around after dinner (at least in our place). Second part of our agenda was singing to some videoke bars. I love to dance, by the way, but I hate disco clubs. I prefer videoke bars even if the songs never like me.

The videoke bar where we went to was a bit dim, but it was open. I prefer that kind of setup compared to an air-conditioned one that will make me feel chilly. It was December, for crying out loud! I sang a song, but I did not join in the drinking spree. Certainly, it's never my cup of tea. No, no, I'm not being killjoy. It's just a serious case of allergy thing.

Because the night was a bit young for just videoke, the gang and I hit the Capitol park. In Dipolog City, the park of the Capitol is designed to sparkle along with the season every year. This place makes for a favorite hangout aside from the park near the city hall.

The epicenter of the decorations was the giant Christmas tree which was made of lights, lights, and lights. The towering height of the decor reached up to the height of the giant trees that it was awesome. Speaking of awesome, feeling so small compared to the Christmas lights and looking up was truly awesome!

Giant Christmas tree in Dipolog Capitol

I know that Christmas is a merry season, but who would have thought that Halloween would transgress? I found it shocking at first when Riza and Yang-yang told me about this, and I thought they were joking. When I saw what the stuff was about, well, they were not making up tales after all.

Whoever had the idea certainly was a fan of Plants Vs. Zombies! Yep, my dear friends, there were the statues of the different zombies scattered around the premises compared to the number of the plants that would fight the zombies off. Good thing, these zombies are just figures. If not... then, go figure.

This zombie reminds me of... a singer.

The sunflower that gives sun to the fighting plants. ^_*

Lastly, we hit Julie's Bakeshop, which was our favorite hangout since 2009. Hey, it's not just high school students who need to have a place to loiter around. The working class certainly needs one too! Though others would prefer joints where they drink booze, I certainly will go for the bakeshop.

A better way to end the night was having a cone of Selecta Cornetto. I am not advertising or something, but I greatly thank Selecta for creating this wonderful treat. Back then, when we were not financially sufficient to enjoy a half-gallon of a 3-in-1 plus 1 ice cream, we'd settle for the less expensive Cornetto. To celebrate our friendship, we dug into the milky goodness of the cone ice cream that will forever hold good memories in me.

December 10, 2012, Monday

I will not fabricate a separate post for my last day in Dipolog because it was just a short experience.

Anyway, Arirang channel and Song Joong Ki greeted my morning just like last Saturday, and I was super thrilled to see my Joong Ki baby again. To make the matters worse (ironically, in a good way), the regional group of ABS-CBN in Dipolog aired an episode of "Sungkyunkwan Scandal," an episode late compared to Manila. Well, I don't really care if I saw an episode later than all the people in the metropolis, just as I can get to get dreamy about Goo Yong Ha and Moon Jae Shin. 

One thing that has been answered for me was that I was able to get to meet my landlady again. Congratulations to me! After so many attempts, my effort was finally rewarded.

My landlady's house is located behind the Capitol building, and it is not difficult to locate as the house has a sari-sari store (uhm, a local version or mini version of a ritzy convenient store, if I have to put it). The two of us talked of things gone by, our misadventures and concerns for the future. She was also asking me about nursing schools in Cebu as her eldest (whom I fondly called Sharpay ^_*) will be graduating high school come March. Nope, only those who are Grade 7 (starting school year 2012-2013) will reach Grade 11 and Grade 12 for the K-12 program of the government.

The next agenda I had in mind was going to a local pizza parlor named "More Bites." Yep, as the pizza good for one had a rather generous size, you definitely should have more bites to it. Just make sure that by the time you enter or exit the parlor, you won't encounter any angry dogs, or you'll get dog bites instead.

What was my thing for going to More Bites? Pizza, of course. Inexpensive pizza with lots and lots of toppings that you will find it hard to regret purchasing it. Nope, I didn't eat my pizza in the store. I had it to go.

The next agenda coming to mind was Grandma's Best restaurant, a cozy and ritzy store selling gourmet cakes, pasta, and whatnot. The cakes being sold are better than the commercial ones that the marketing giants are showcasing around the country (at least, for me). If you mean soft and moist, if you mean work of art, the cakes at Grandma's more than just pass with flying colors. 

As to whether or not I bought a cake, let's just say I'd keep it a secret. 

Last but not the least, I went back to Big Joe's to say goodbye to the trendy joint. I missed the burger, and was not able to order one that Saturday. Now that I have all my time, it was sweet revenge!

An interior of Big Joe's

An interior of Big Joe's

What a miss! I was literally pressed for time that I was not able to get to Kendough Magic, another restaurant that I had visited only once back in 2009. I could not forget the scrumptious food that not being able to get back there was such a pity.

Anyway, no more use crying over spilled milk.

I would not miss Maya and Sir Chief for the world, so a better way to enjoy the show was also to enjoy my company of pizza and burger. Gluttony much?

이 피자가 너무 너무 맛있습니다! 어때요? ^_^

Addicted to Big Joe's... No, I'm not gonna be an endorser!

When I mean super burger, it had lots of toppings that I found it hard to munch off much in a single bite!

After lunch, Riza came to me and asked me for assistance for her wedding invitation. It was a secret between her and me during that time, but since her wedding (as of this writing) had already passed (it was last January 12), I guess it will be all right to tell it here. Being a copywriter (and a blog writer...and a writer... and an article writer) has its perks. Not only had I given some of my wonderful mind and writing to my mother's high school reunion, and had contributed some parts of a tag line for an establishment of which a cousin of mine had worked, I had also contributed to literary works in the form of wedding invitation for my board mate and friend. 

After the nap, it was finally time to go. The check-out time in Camila is 1:00 PM, but one can extend and add only a hundred pesos per hour. Cool, right? I checked out at 3:00 PM and had paid extra two hundred on top of the basic room accommodation. By the way, I still booked the Room 330 when I checked out that Saturday. The hotel also has a free service to the airport, and Ate Ann had told me that if I had told them I would be arriving that particular time last Friday, I could have been fetched by the free hotel car service. Well, lesson learned. But if you happened to want to take an adventure to Dipolog, and want to get to the city proper easily, you can avail of the free hotel car service.

Time and again, I had said that I am not told by anyone to endorse their businesses. I just want to share contact details with you so you will get to know some of the best things in Zamboanga del Norte. There are a lot of other cool hangouts and wonderful restaurants that I had not visited during my stay, but Dipolog is a small city, and you can hit most of the sites in a day. There are a lot more food to enjoy, and if you should go there, you better indulge. 

Hotel Camila (Camila 1)
Gen. Luna Street, Dipolog City
Zamboanga del Norte

Big Joe's Cafe
Gen. Luna Street, Dipolog City
Zamboanga del Norte

Cafe Isabelle 
Sta. Isabel, Dipolog City, 
Zamboanga del Norte

More Bites Pizza
Malvar Street, Dipolog City
Zamboanga del Norte

Grandma's Best
Arellano St  Dipolog City

Kendough Magic Cafe
Quezon Ave  Dipolog City

Fantasyland sa Dapitan
Sunset Blvd., Dapitan City
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines 

The information above are just some of the places that I had been to. Traveling is indeed fun, and it is educational. If I have enough financial resources, I will want to travel to other places in the Philippines, such as Vigan, Bohol, Baguio, or Palawan. With the wonders of the Philippines, it is a given that still, it's more fun in the Philippines!

Ahhh... so that ends my journey. And what started as an airplane ride ended with an airplane ride as well. Aside from the Philippines, I hope I can also travel outside the country... like Singapore or South Korea, perhaps? ^_^

See you soon in my future entries!

좋은 하루 되세요!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mitchi Chronicles 3, Part 1: A Journey Out Of A History Book

Spoiler to my third day:

My chronicles for the third day is comprised of two parts: my trip in Dapitan City, and my bonding with my friends.

Here goes...

December 9, 2012, Sunday.

The next day, after the mass in Misamis Occidental, my cousin, my niece, my nephew, and I set out on a journey to Dapitan. Instead of moping around and doing my plans, why not get into this I-don't-have-a-plan type of thing? Maybe I might enjoy what I will get to see, and bring home fresh memories from my travels.

First off. There was one restaurant that is situated  near a long river that one can see in Dapitan. This trendy restaurant in Burgos, Dapitan goes with a rather "chill" name, "Inato Lang." I cannot literally translate what the phrase "inato lang" means, but it can be translated to something as one that is intimate, cozy, and homey... something like, you can be yourself and be comfortable.

The lawn's neat with all the coconut trees sprouting from the ground, and the field carpeted by green grass. Of course, this is what you will see by the time you enter the premises of the restaurant. It does give one a homey feeling. Inato lang.

My niece and my nephew as the models, candid, right? Anyway, this is how Inato Lang looks like. Because the travel down the road from Dipolog to Dapitan to Rizal is long and exhausting, one needs to stop and rest, especially if you have a vehicle and you are the driver. The Chinese-style design of the roof is one indicator (or can I say, landmark) of Inato, and that you are almost near Rizal. 

My nephew and my niece about to enter Inato Lang

We did not stop to eat here, just to admire the scenery. Of course, when you get to dine in here, all you will ever see is grandeur, and all you'll ever experience is dining like royalty. With an open space and fresh air, I doubt you will forget Inato Lang.

I had fallen in love with the river in Dapitan ever since I laid my eyes on it back in 2008. It was my first time to see a river because in Cebu, I had not seen one. What amazed me was the luxurious green wallpaper of trees and plant life that adorned the mountain and the plains and the fields by the river. It was paradise, and it was like a promise land. 

This river is a view from Inato Lang.

Because the river stretches long, passengers can enjoy the view during travels and watch as the river empties into the  Dapitan Bay.

Finally! After all that admiration for the river, we finally reached Dapitan City. The first destination we had was the restaurant that my cousin had been telling me about: Kamayan ni Manay. When I mean "kamayan," I mean that you can literally eat with your hands. If other cultures utilize utensils, if most Eastern countries use chopsticks, many Filipinos eat their meals with their hands. It is a cultural thing, and it is something that I am certainly very proud of. 

If you are in Dapitan and happened to pass by Kamayan, do not be intimidated by its luxurious appeal. Though grandly decorated and built, the place is actually very homey and comfortable to dine in.

Let's get in, shall we?

The one thing I love about Kamayan is due to the fact that it is sprinkled with the local atmosphere and heavily decorated with the native materials to give that authentic Filipino feel. If you are one looking for Filipino-style restaurants in Dapitan City, you definitely should put Kamayan on your list, and the first priority at that.

Do not fuss about all these richly decorated tables. It just means that we, Filipinos, know how to dine in style.

Because this is a native restaurant, it will showcase native food as well. We have been accustomed to eating our native food, so native food served in a native restaurant is just a wonderful celebration of the culture that is already imbibed in us.

Manga-on ta na!

That is one common expression Filipinos have when eating at the table. You might be familiar with the Japanese "Itadakimasu," or the Korean "Jal meokgetseumnida," expressions which mean thanking the server or someone cooking the food. In a Catholic nation like the Philippines, thanking the food means praying before meals. And usually, after prayer, people will say the expression, "Manga-on na ta," which means, "Let's start eating." In Tagalog, this is, "Kain na tayo." This is an expression you use when all of you are at table, and someone says this to commence eating. You also say this expression when you are eating and someone passes by... just a way of calling his attention and inviting him to eat. In this situation, the most polite way of responding is actually not eating with the person inviting you to eat. Just say, "No, thank you." It was just said out of respect, as the people eating might think that the person who passed by might not have eaten something yet.

Don't think of it as something weird. This is just a part of our culture.

Anyway, sorry for shifting gears, but finally, let's get to the food. This is just a sample of some of the food served at Kamayan. Sad to say, I cannot eat all of the food served due to food allergies.

As a way of inviting you, "Manga-on na ta!"

Kamayan is situated near Gloria de Dapitan, the one and only commercial hub in Dapitan, housing Zamboanga del Norte's one and only theme park, Fantasyland. I will not dwell into the details of Fantasyland, but I had a really enjoyable memory of that park when Riza, Yang-yang, Dodoy (my nephew), and Eugene (Riza's boyfriend at that time, now her hubby) went there for an early Christmas treat back in December 23, 2009. One interesting trivia: Gloria de Dapitan is located near the beach. And oh, Dapitan City is also the home of the famous Dakak Park and Beach Resort, which I got to visit only once when I was only six years old.

Moving forward...

Next stop was Dapitan Shrine. Every Filipino student who had studied Philippine history knows that our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, was punished heavily by the ruling Spanish government during his era, and thus, was exiled to Dapitan. I really had no idea how the shrine looks like, but it amazes me that I can finally visit the place that I only get to read from history books.

Once you get to the place, you just park your vehicle outside the gates of the shrine. Anyway, this wide lawn is the first thing that will greet you the moment you get in. Because it is a heritage site, you will get to see the Philippine flag, flying high and proud while being hoisted on the flag pole.

My cousin certainly had been to the place several times that she was my personal tour guide. Now, how cool is that? First building we entered was the museum of the shrine. It looked like a local library to me, but it houses, not books, but memorabilia and everything else that give more than what you can just read straight out of the history book.

This is the entrance to the shrine museum.

The first thing that I saw was a gallery of pictures of men and women, all of who were the ancestors of our national hero. Lo! You can even see Rizal's picture at the upper right side!

Jose P. Rizal (top right) and his ancestors

More picture of Rizal's ancestors

Ehem, ehem.... Jose P. Rizal might be famous for being a scientist, linguist, doctor, hero, patriot, painter, and others, but he was also certainly famous for a lot of ladies being linked to him. A number of Filipinas were linked to him, such as his (you gotta believe this!) distant cousin and first love, Leonor Rivera. Maria Clara, the heroine in Rizal's novel, "Noli Me Tangere," was said to be patterned after Leonor Rivera. However, ladies of other nationalities were also linked to him, such as his Japanese interpreter in Japan, O-sei-san, and his common-law wife, Josephine Bracken. So you see, it does not matter what nationalities people have when it comes to friendship and love. ^_*

Leonor Rivera, is that you? Yes, she's the first girl at the left side.

Note: Rizal was said to be a playboy, which is really not true. His first love was Leonor. The others were just flings or friends. One of them girl friends was Usui Seiko, popularly known as O-sei-san (upper right in the big picture). And who would forget Rizal's final love and common-law wife, Josephine Bracken? (lone picture at the right)

Rizal was not only a doctor, for he was also a teacher. In Dapitan, he spent time doing worthwhile things and made use of what he had. It was a lonely exile, yes, but he had produced a lot of things to use his time.

One of the things he had while on exile was this blackboard. See, it's rather different from the blackboard that we use nowadays.

Rizal's blackboard
There will be no teacher if there will be no students. During Rizal's exile, he had organized a curriculum to teach his students. And yes, even the name of his students appear on the list.

List of the curriculum, oral examiners, and students

Remarkable pieces of history in the museum, such as Rizal's clothes, replica of the carved images, and even the pictures of his students were displayed. If you get to visit the shrine, you should not miss going inside the museum.

And all these men were Jose Rizal's students...

Jose Rizal's pants

Replicas of the carved images

"Mother's Revenge"

Finally, after examining and admiring and studying the pieces of historical items inside the museum, it was finally time to go stroll around the property. 

The first house that we chanced upon was the Casa Residencia, where Rizal retired at the end of the day during his exile. Most of the structures were made of wood. It is, therefore, a fact that most of the structures here are already replicas of the original. Like most wooden structures in the olden times, the Casa Residencia was elevated. 

This is how the casa looks like from afar. In the property, there are a lot of structures constructed such as that one on which sat my niece, an obelisk of the Freemasons, and a statue of Jose Rizal himself.

Casa Residencia as seen from afar

Oh yes! Who would not be contented with just looking at the Casa from the outside? If you want to use your time in Dapitan wisely, you should not be intimidated to get inside the Casa.

Let us?

I noticed that the living room is so spacious and neat. This kind of house is easy to maintain compared to houses adorned with lots of furniture. Another room that intrigued me inside the Casa was Rizal's room. I had not talked with the caretakers of the shrine, but I noticed that the entrance to the room was barricaded with ropes...maybe to prevent illegal entry. On the elegant bed was placed a picture of the national hero himself.

Inside Rizal's room

This is the replica of Rizal's kitchen. It is comfortably situated a few feet from the house. Clay utensils used for cooking were also preserved well for display.

Rizal's kitchen filled with love, love, love

In college, the book that we used was the one authored by Gregorio F. Zaide. It was entitled "José Rizal: Life, Works, and Writings." I hope authors will forgive me, but I am not really one who has a long attention span when it comes to reading. This comes as an exception when I am talking about Zaide. He told Rizal's life in a way like he was simply telling a story. Because I am a story writer myself, I am entertained with stories. 

One of the things I remembered during Rizal class was about the aqueduct that Rizal had engineered while in Dapitan. He had found water source from the mountain, and he directed it to flow to his property. With his knowledge in science and technology, he was able to put water to good use. I had never imagined that this wild mind of mine could ever see the aqueduct for real. Even for more than a century, the water from the aqueduct was flowing still.

I can only imagine the thrill that the European explorers must have felt when they saw new and unknown lands. The feeling of ecstasy filled me when I saw the structure. 

I love you, aqueduct!

By the way, that white figure at the left side of the picture is a bust of Ferdinand Blumentritt, lecturer, author, and Jose Rizal's confidante.

Zaide had mentioned about the aqueduct in his book, and this was one thing I never imagined that I can see in my lifetime. I wonder, why do I love anything about water?

No matter how exciting your day is, there will always be times when Mother Nature does her work. If you are looking for the restroom, you have two options inside the shrine. The first is located in the museum, and the second is located in the field. You will find a figure looking like a huge rock, but in reality, it is the restroom in the shrine. I had used the one in the museum, but I had also used the one inside the artificial rock.

This is a spoiler.

The restroom in the artificial rock is air-conditioned, and each toilet bowl in a cubicle is equipped with the bidet. Such a super cool john!

This is the pond located inside the shrine. From afar is the sea. The collaboration of the waters in different basins, the rocks, trees, plants, and the sky all made up this relaxing abode. Located in this spot near the pond is a giant rock which was called "Mi Retiro" rock. 

I can only imagine Rizal retiring on the rock and writing stuff after a long day at work.

This is the "Mi Retiro" Rock It was said that "Mi Retiro" was a poem which Rizal wrote when he was sitting on this rock. Because of the height of the rock, there installed was a flight of stairs for tourists to climb up to. I myself had been up the rock, and I could see much of the property which I cannot see on plain field.

The view from the top was so breathtaking.

Imagine sitting on the Mi Retiro rock while contemplating and watching the wonders of nature in the yard.

Mi Retiro... my retreat...

A lot of other structures such as the hexagonal and the octagonal houses stood on the property. Each structure had functions of its own, like one of the wooden structures served as the classroom. After lingering for more than an hour, we decided to hit the streets to get to Dipolog. 

Before we reached the shrine, we passed by the monument which was erected to commemorate Rizal's landing on Dapitan. My cousin promised that we would go and take pictures after the shrine tour, and she did kept the promise!

The landing site, which is located in Sta. Cruz Beach in Dapitan, is a historical landmark that is so strategically located that it can be seen by anyone passing or driving around the location, or going to the Rizal Shrine. Another marker across the site, standing at the intersection of the roads, is a large cross.

The landing site was barricaded during my tour, and if I had asked locals as to why, I would have gotten an answer. But if I were to use my common sense, maybe the landing site was barricaded or closed to prevent urchins from vandalizing or degrading the heritage site.

The Rizal Landing Site

Another famous spot could be seen in Dapitan: the map of Mindanao, which was made by Rizal and a teacher of his from Ateneo de Manila. I could have gotten a good picture of the map if it were an aerial shot... Nevertheless, the green grass that you see is the map.

The map of Mindanao

My historical tour ended early afternoon, so it was time to hit the streets and get back to the hotel in Dipolog. 

Soooo.... this day was Manny Pacquiao date for the Filipino people, but it was a historical tour for me.

What surprises await me in Dipolog?

Stay tuned for the second part of my third day! ^_^

좋은 하루 되세요!!!!