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!!!!