Trip to West Rizal with law school friends

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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April 20, 2012. Some friends from law school and I took a day from our summer break to go on a road trip east of Metro Manila to the western towns of Rizal.

Our first stop was the town of Rodriguez, just half an hour’s drive from Quezon City, to frolic in the waters of the the abandoned Wawa Dam and its reservoir.

Situated upstream from Marikina River, Wawa Dam is an American colonial-era infrastructure nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains flanked by two majestic natural limestone walls covered in lush foliage. It used to supply water to Manila until the building of the Angat Dam in Bulacan. By legend, it was the infamous Bernardo Carpio who caused the separation of the limestone mountain which stood right where the dam is, as he was breaking free from bondage, and thus resulted in the flow of water creating the river that leads to Marikina.

Wawa Dam, Rodriguez, Rizal

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

We proceeded to Antipolo, further upland into Rizal where we paid a visit to Antipolo Church, a famous pilgrimage site, and to some waterfalls made infamous by a popular folk song, Hinulugang Taktak.

The falls, however, have all but lost its traditional charm, and nowhere is it near its folk song glory, having turned into a massive catch basin for detergent and other sewerage from residents upstream.

Before heading out of Antipolo, we dropped by the ‘pasalubong center’ to sample some local rice cakes to take home.

Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Hinulugang Taktak, Antipolo, Rizal

We were supposed to drive further east to the town of Tanay to end our day trip in the waterfalls of Daranak and Batlag, but my classmates didn’t think it was a good idea, as it was getting dark late in the afternoon.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Art House, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

As an alternative, we proceeded south of Antipolo to a town along the banks of Laguna Lake, Angono, famous for its artisan families. We ended our trip with some drinks at Nemiranda’s Arthouse’s restaurant.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

Lakbay Norte 2010: Where to stay and eat in Clark and Angeles

January 30-31, 2010. Angeles City and Clark have many establishments that cater to local and foreign visitors, from restaurants that serve local and international cuisine to budget motels to world-class hotels and leisure resorts to shopping malls. During our stay in Clark for the Lakbay Norte 2010 caravan, we were booked at Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn Clark is the only accredited international deluxe hotel in Central Luzon.

Holiday Inn Clark occupies a building that used to be called Chambers Hall, where bachelor officers of the former American airbase and some generals were billeted while on assignment in Clark. In 1996, after renovations, it stood as one of the first landmarks in Clark right after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. It has again just recently been renovated and refurbished in accord to the Holiday Inn chain’s global re-branding campaign. Like other international deluxe hotels, it features modern amenities and furnishings in all of its rooms and villas. Broadband internet access is also available in the rooms. It has three restaurants (Mequeni, Rodizio Rooftop Grill, Copa’s Bar) a swimming pool, a recreation and game area, function halls, a spa and fitness area, and since it is located within the Mimosa Leisure Estate, it also has a 36-hole championship golf course.

If you choose to stay in Angeles City right outside Clark, you may stay at the Oasis Hotel, which has been in operation for more than four decades, and is one of the leading business hotels in Angeles City. Unlike the Holiday Inn, Oasis occupies a sprawling complex of 124 rooms in apartment-like single-floor structures. On our last day in the Lakbay Norte caravan, we had lunch at Oasis Hotel’s Maranao Grill, where we were served with roast lamb and roast beef, together with pasta, baked mussels and roast duck in taco shells. Every Friday, Maranao Grill has an RST Buffet where they serve roast beef, roast lamb, sushi, sahimi and tempura all day.

We arrived in Clark Saturday night, and we had dinner right after checking in at the hotel at Red Crab Seafood and Steaks which is just walking distance from Holiday Inn Clark. We had generous servings of local staple viands and, of course, red crab.

After dinner at Red Crab, we were taken to Camalig Restaurant in downtown Angeles City where we sampled Armando’s Pizza–different kinds of “Kapampangan Pizza,” pizza with all sorts of combinations of local toppings, from salted eggs, to fried crickets. It was a sumptuous after-dinner treat.

Holiday Inn Clark Mimosa Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga (02) 845 1888, (045) 599 8000 www.holiday-inn.com/clark Oasis Hotel Clarkville Compound, CLark Perimeter Road, Angeles City, Pampanga (045) 893 3301 to 04 www.oasishotel.com.ph

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 8)

Once we found ourselves back in Quiapo, we decided to have mami and siopao at the old and infamous Ma Mon Luk restaurant along Quezon Boulevard. The place has been un-airconditioned since time immemorial because, according to a magazine clipping posted on Ma Mon Luk’s wall, airconditioning affects the noodle soup’s taste. For a decent price, the bowl of noodles was quite filling. Though, as to taste, I don’t think there was anything extraordinarily special about the soup. Perhaps it’s all about the nostalgia of having a bowl full of the ‘original’ mami of Manila. The siopao was meaty and quite filling too.

After having merienda, I parted ways with my friends and walked across Quezon Boulevard, took some last snapshot of Quiapo, and boarded an FX back to Quezon City. That was a pretty tiring but satisfying spontaneous walking tour.

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 6)

From Intramuros, we crossed Jones Bridge another time on foot, this time proceeding to Binondo, where pedestrians will be greeted by the Filipino-Chinese friendship arch at the starting end of Quintin Paredes St. Upon descending form the Bridge from the Intramuros side of the Pasig, one shall be at Plaza Moraga, which according to this website, was the site of the first ice cream parlor in the Philippines (useless information, sorry). To your right, you will see Escolta, which as many of us might know, was once upon a time the premiere shopping and business center in Manila. That day, the entire place was just deserted.

We passed through the arch and walked along Quintin Paredes till we reached the end where a small plaza and a statue of Roman Ongpin can be found, and of course, where Binondo Church stands. There was a mass baptism going on at the church when we were there.

After taking random photos at Plaza San Lorenzo, we proceeded to this hole-in-the-wall, almost run-down restaurant in one of the back streets of Binondo, Dong Bei, which served authentic and fresh Chinese dumplings. The place is run by an immigrant couple from northern China, and their menu card claim that since many of the Chinese in the Philippines come from southern China, our concept of Chinese food is largely limited to Cantonese cooking, so one should try them out because they are different.

We had a plateful of their staple, steamed dumplings, I forget what they are called exactly, but they’re stuffed with ground pork and some green vegetables. These dumplings are prepared right within the servers’ own table at the dining area. We also ordered xinjiang chicken, which are cubes of chicken deep-fried and specially-flavored with, what, some northern Chinese spices and sesame seeds? It was good. It was my second time at the place, the first one was more than two years ago during an impromptu walking tour withIvan Mandy and a brod, Ivan Henares.

Constitutional Law 1 Malacañang Field Trip

September 25, 2008. Our Constitutional Law 1 professor, who happens to be the Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, made us go to Bantayog ng Mga Bayani and Malacanang Palace instead of holding our usual late afternoon class in UP to talk about extraordinary powers of the chief executive.

It was a good time to talk about the topic, since incidentally it was also the week of the 36th anniversary of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ imposition of Martial Law.

First stop was Bantayog ng Mga Bayani near the National Power Corporation compound along Quezon Avenue. The place serves as a memorial to the hundreds of martyrs, from students and workers to the priests and nuns who fought the dictatorship decades ago. It was an inspiring reminder of how valiantly our people confronted the oppression that prevailed and a stark reminder of how we should uphold and continue to fight for the freedom that we all value.

After an hour or so, we all proceeded to Malacanang Palace in Manila, which we all know, unless you’re not a Filipino, is the seat of the Chief Executive of the country.

Of course, the only part we, or the general public get to see, is the museum area or the Kalayaan Hall building of the Palace compound, which was not totally uninteresting because the same compound served as the past Governor Generals and past Presidents’ working area. Among the rooms in the building were the room from where President Marcos broadcasted his Martial Law proclamation, and the cabinet meeting rooms of pre-Martial Law presidents and even the offices of the Spanish and American Governor Generals. We also got to sit at the same chairs they sat on, among other perks. Or perhaps it was only because the curator allowed us preferentially.

After the tour of the Malacanang museum, our professor gave a brief lecture on the extraordinary powers of the chief executive based on the constitution. After his lecture, he was supposed to bring us to Mall of Asia for dinner, but instead he asked us to proceed to Intramuros.

We had dinner at this restaurant called Barbara’s adjacent to San Agustin Church. It had a really old-rich Spanish colonial feel to it. Even the air in the restaurant smelled old and musky. We were the only group in the place. The food was great, however. It was relatively expensive, but well, it was our professor’s treat.

Two nights of fancy food

Two nights ago, my mom picked me up right after my last class in UP and then we had dinner with her friend together with my dad at this fancy Chinese restaurant called Summer Palace in EDSA Shangri-la. It’s been months since I had fancy Chinese food. I’ve often said that Chinese cuisine is top of my list and the experience two nights ago simply served as an expensive affirmation.

Last night, on the other hand, I went to Abe Restaurant in Serendra. It was Ivan who invited Renz and I to the first anniversary treat of Abe Restaurant. The place was packed. A choral group from Pampanga was present to sing to the crowd. The emcee however spoke entirely in Kapampangan, which I didn’t understand.

Traffic last night was terrible, it took me two hours to drive from Congressional Avenue in Quezon City to Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. When I got to the place, I immediately headed off to the buffet table and took in everything. The adobong kimaru kamaru (crickets cooked adobo-style) was surprisingly delectable, I was eating half a plateful of it, even before I was told they were real crickets.

Abe Restaurant, Serendra, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

The famous priest-turned-Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio was one of the event’s guests. I was coaxed to have a picture with him, after having written an entry about the governor some weeks ago. It was also, actually, my first time in Serendra and Bonifacio High Street. Ivan, Renz and I had some donuts at Krispy Kreme before heading home.

US Trip ’07: Lunch at Tiburon

Tiburon, California
May 30, 2007. On the way back south to the southern bay area, we passed by Tiburon, a small and picturesque seaside town along San Francisco Bay. We had lunch at this fancy restaurant at the town’s docks where tens of yachts where docked. It had a nice view of San Francisco from across the bay. After the late lunch, we also drove through Sausalito, another picturesque seaside town north of San Francisco before re-entering the highway back to San Francisco.

Tiburon, California