Friday, February 27, 2009

Trek to Dumacaa River

Walking through the forest is like taking a miracle drug---it relaxes the spirit and rejuvenates the soul. It reminded me of a favorite Henry David Thoreau quote, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately..." Of course, "to front only the essential facts of life" is not for somebody who wants to be pampered. If you enjoy the simple things like a colorful butterfly, a riot of wild flowers, a flash of color under the bushes, light coming through the leaves, the smells and sounds of the forest, and how grass and mud and slime feel on your skin, then you'd love a trek like this one. It's the pure joy of walking slowly, standing still, experiencing nature. Drop the sense of hurry and savor the surroundings.

An hour and a half trek through the forest brought us here---to Dumacaa River. I don't know what it is about the sight and sound of rushing water that soothes my senses and calms my inner OC. There was a pleasant smell of damp leaves and the sounds of life accented by chattering birds and the rapidly rushing waters of the river from Mount Banahaw. Our own private paradise.

Thank you, Ike, for inviting us to your hacienda.:D

trail to the river
relaxing rapids
no, i was not about to dive
checking out the depth
quiet pools
you know what they say about quiet waters

Dumacaa River is in Tayabas, Quezon province

Posted for Watery Wednesday

Food Friday: unforgettable

This dish is definitely not photogenic but what it lacks in presentation certainly makes up in flavor. Reason why I couldn't resist posting it---the flavor still lingers on my taste buds. This is one of the best ginataan dish I ever tasted, no kidding! It's ginataang pako with kuhol---in English, it's young fern with golden snail cooked in coconut milk, and in French (with feelings now!), escargot et fougere avec lait de coco (hehe imbento ko lang :D). I don't remember the last time I have eaten kuhol---it's not something we normally cook at home. Except for a relative in Negros who cooked a mean laing with kuhol when I was a kid, I couldn't remember my mother ever cooking kuhol. I was feeling adventurous that Saturday night so I went ahead and ordered the dish. I love pako salad and been curious at other pako dishes. This dish revealed that pako does not lose its crunch even when cooked. The coconut milk was sweet and perfectly spiced...the kuhol was surprisingly delicious and the texture of pako made the dish more interesting. This dish has even invaded my dreams---the other night, I dreamed of devouring ginataang pako with kuhol!

When you visit Lucban, check out the original Palaisdaan where this unforgettable dish is served.

Posted for Food Friday

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: mga bulaklak (flowers)

Matitingkad ang kulay ng summer kaya bakit hindi natin ipamahagi ang init ng araw sa pamamagitan ng mga bulaklak? Isa ako sa mga taong kinikilig pag nakatanggap ng bulaklak lalo na kung ito ay hindi ko inaasahan. Pakiramdam ko, ako ay pinagsamang Gisele Bundchen at Miss Universe ('wag ng isipin kung anong taon) na may hawak na bouquet. Kaya di na kailangan maghintay ng espesyal na okasyon para magbigay ng bulaklak. Mas nakakakilig 'yong walang okasyon at naisip ka lang bigyan, di ba?

Di ko alam ang pangalan ng mga bulaklak na 'to. Nakita ko lang sa gubat ng Tayabas noong Linggo.
Summer is bursting with vivid colors so why not send some of that sunshine that you're feeling? I am one of those who loves to receive flowers, even more than receiving them, I love to be surprised with a bouquet of flowers. I feel appreciated, beautiful and adored when somebody gives me flowers. And there's no need to wait for a special occasion to give somebody you care about a bunch of flowers---the best reason to give flowers is for no reason at all.

I don't know the names of these flowers. They're blooming in a forest in Tayabas on Sunday morning.

The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life. ~Jean Giraudoux

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: rest stop

My friends and I have been walking in the forest for about an hour when we found this resting place. It was a welcome sight after hiking through muddy trails, bitten by insects, and a leech fattening itself at my heel. I even slipped once and landed on an undignified heap by a tree stump (my bruised rear is still smarting). Good thing, nobody else had a camera.:D

with our guide cum bodyguard, Harvey

Photos were taken in a Tayabas forest last Sunday. Tayabas is a town in Quezon province, 132 kilometers south of Manila. The road trip took us almost 5 hours from Makati after being lost twice and asking directions from policemen, pedestrians, jeepney drivers and street vendors. But it was so much fun! More photos in the next few days.

S gathering momentum
a slippery trail

Posted for Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: take it slow

I chanced upon these snails mating while hanging from a vine at a forest in Tayabas. What an interesting [and exciting, if I may add] place to do it. Snails are known for their slowness, and guess what, they certainly took their time...I walked by again about an hour later and the snails were still at it. :D

Posted for Weekend Snapshot

Friday, February 20, 2009

Food Friday: Cocido

A close relative of Pochero, Cocido is a Spanish tomato stew with pork, Spanish sausages and vegetables. This dish brings back memories of my grandmother's home-cooking---rich, comforting and straightforward. I have vivid memories in my grandmother's kitchen---the delicious smells of garlic, onions and ginger, of steam coming out from the pot, the delicate way she sliced vegetables, her vibrant laughter, a cigarette hanging from her lips, the graceful sway of her hips while cooking and humming a long-forgotten song. My mother told me that my grandmother learned her way in the kitchen from their family cook. She was a child-bride and when her husband (my grandfather who died when my mother was 8 months old) was napping or out of the house, my grandmother would tiptoe to the kitchen and observe the cook. As her interest in cooking grew, the old cook taught her how to appreciate and prepare great-tasting food that her family came to enjoy.

My bowl of cocido was served at Abe-Serendra where you can find home-cooked meals in a classier set-up and good value for money. The restaurant is always full and they don't accept reservations, so be there a bit early.

Posted for Food Friday

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: tipanan (date)

Sino ba ang hindi nangangarap ng di makakalimutang date sa araw ng mga puso? Sana natupad ang pangarap mo nitong nakaraang weekend. Kung di pa, hindi pa naman huli ang lahat. Pasyalan n'yo ni fafa ang kainan sa tuktok ng Holiday Inn-Clark. Tamang-tama dito ang romantikong tipanan sa tanghalian para mahaba-haba ang oras ninyo sa isa't isa. Tikman n'yo ni fafa ang Brazilian barbecue sa Rodizio Grill habang ninanamnam n'yo ang mabango at malamig na hangin mula sa nagtataasang puno at berdeng kabundukan ng Pinatubo.

Who wouldn't dream of an unforgettable date on V-day? I hope your dream date happened last weekend. If not yet, don't's not too late. Check out this restaurant at the roof-top of Holiday Inn-Clark. It's a good place for a romantic weekend date---how about lunch for two (so you'd have an afternoon and evening to look forward to)? Enjoy Brazilian barbecue at Rodizio Grill and feast your eyes [at your date] and at the refreshingly lush canopy of trees and verdant Mount Pinatubo mountain range.

grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce at Rodizio

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: compulsive licker

I spied on this cat one morning sunning himself on my neighbor's parked car---he was intently licking himself. He was still at it when I came back about half an hour later. This cat couldn't seem to stop licking himself...a cat with OCD? :D

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: V-day hangover

Remnants from last weekend's temporary insanity---red heart triplet and L-O-V-E in red bold letters at SM Megamall. I was looking for a certain Tex-Mex restaurant at Megamall's new wing when I noticed this valentine's day decor.

A hundred hearts would be too few
To carry all my love for you.
~ Unknown

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: Daranak Falls

I haven't been anywhere lately and the daily routine is making me crazy. It seems that the only thing I look forward to these days is the time when I get to play with Fritz. A friend calls my affliction "tamaritis" because I'm just plain lazy to do anything after work. It's probably from all the left-brain thinking I do lately. My left brain has been in atrophy for the longest time so imagine it flexing muscles to cope with rolling forecasts, business plans and strategies on my desk.

Beneath the busy clatter of ideas thrown back and forth around here, what I’m really craving are the sight of an open road, sound of rushing water, and of trees whispering. To feed the yearnings of my right brain, I dig through my archives and unearthed these photos of Daranak Falls. These were taken a couple of years ago when my friends and I hiked through the mountains and caves of Tanay, Rizal until we reached Daranak Falls. The kind of adventure I need right now---kidnap me, please!

Posted for Weekend Snapshot

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love's Divine

Seal - Love's Divine

A belated Valentine song for you.

Then the rainstorm came, over me
And I felt my spirit break
I had lost all of my, belief you see
And realized my mistake
But time through a prayer, to me
And all around me became still

I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name

Through the rainstorm came sanctuary
And I felt my spirit fly
I had found all of my reality
I realize what it takes

'Cause I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name

Oh I, don't bet (don't bend), don't break (don't break)
Show me how to live and promise me you won't forsake
'Cause love can help me know my name

Well I try to say there's nothing wrong
But inside I felt me lying all along
But the message here was plain to see
Believe me

'Cause I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name

Oh I, don't bet (don't bend), don't break (don't break)
Show me how to live and promise me you won't forsake
'Cause love can help me know my name

Love can help me know my name.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Photo-Hunter: nautical

nautical sign at Fisherman's Wharf

For this week's nautical theme, I'm re-posting photos taken at the Fisherman's Wharf during my visit to San Francisco in February 2007.
a 40-foot lighthouse on Forbes Island, a floating island with a restaurant, sun-bathing sea lions at Pier 39
sailing at the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge at the background
a boat cruising along the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz at the background

Posted for Photo Hunt