Posted by: Gina Idea | April 4, 2011

Writing about Daong River

I had the chance to write about this river in Tanay, Rizal in 2010. I got there via a motorcycle ride with Bento, the photographer, from the town proper. It was my first time to ride a motorcycle. My mom never allowed us to ride one, but Bento said it was the easiest way. It turned out to be fun!

Anyway, the entrance to the river was just a few minutes away. The weather was perfect. Bento parked his motorcycle then we walked towards the river. At the entrance stood a house where fees are collected. I took the chance to do a little interview about Daong River.

After being blessed by cold glasses of water, Bento and I walked along. The river was still a bit far from where we were.

We had to go down several steps to get to the river. It was a good thing that the steps were already cemented. This was supposedly part of the development work for the river.

Upon reaching the area, we saw families spending time at the picnic areas. They were eating maluto or packed lunch under the shades of trees.

And then there was the river. It was beautiful even though Ondoy had thrown boulders into it.

I started interviewing people, listening to the water flowing and leaves rustling, and soaking my feet on the warm freshwater.

After a few minutes, Bento and I started heading back to the town proper. And before we parted ways, we treated ourselves to some ice cream from Ice Cream House. Great way to end that cool trip!

To read the complete article about the river, please click this link. Hope you can visit Tanay! 🙂

Posted by: Gina Idea | February 8, 2011

As a Bait in Bailen, Cavite

The Envi Team had just finished a project. After completing weeks of meeting, planning, writing and revision, our leader invited us to his home in Bailen, a small town in Cavite. Kuya Z and Jan dropped by my place early in the morning since we had to leave Manila before the rush hour. It was our first time to travel there, so Jan had to review our route many times.

Kuya Z had been our amazing driver the whole day. We really appreciate him.

We arrived in Tagaytay a little after 8 o’clock. We had to meet Doc Noel, our team leader at 9. Since it was still early, I invited Kuya Z and Jan to have breakfast in my adored place, Bag of Beans.

At 9, we had to meet Doc Noel, who led us to his town. We arrived at his handsome place, the only wooden house in the area. We were greeted by the pure flour of uraro and the fresh aroma of kapeng Bailen, straight from their coffee farm.

As we were already there, we took the time to tour their house. Their balcony was adorned by carved wooden furniture.

The atmosphere in their living room was breezy and relaxing.

We also crossed to their kubo which was attached to their house.

And of course, there was our favorite spot, the stairs.

After a quick tour of their house, Doc Noel started driving us to their farm. They had coffee, banana, coconut and a whole lot more.

It was a bumpy ride as some of the areas are not yet fully developed, but it was great to be amongst plants and trees and everything green. We were to eat together in the farm. A live chicken was transformed to lunch before our very own eyes. You probably think I preferred the fish instead.

While waiting for the food to be served, Doc Noel showed us his other kubo a few meters from where we were. Standing beside a deep brook and tall bamboos, it can house a number of bakasyonistas.

Lunch was taking a long time, as it was being prepared the traditional way. While waiting, we talked about pending plans and names of our group. Terms like Bailen, Alta and EIA came up. It was fun, but we were really craving for fresh farm food. Until, finally, our grilled fish, tinolang manok, pulang kanin, gulay, and coconut juice and meat were being served!

The wait was truly worth it. We had a sumptuous meal under the sun and trees. Eating in the province has always been a treat.

We had to leave as soon as we were done because we had to go to Nasugbu, Batangas to scout for some beach resorts for our friends’ wedding. Doc Noel gave us pabaong coconut. We are truly grateful for him and all the kuyas who made this trip wonderful.

From Bailen, our group took an unknown shortcut to Nasugbu. I passed by Batulao to see my former landlady and her family. It was so great to see them again. They helped us choose which resorts to go to. We spent  a very quick time checking out the venues. As it was getting dark, we started heading back home.

As the night drew near and the cool  breeze swept, we decided to stop by a bulalohan to cap the night. The hot soup was very comforting.

As we were driving in Tagaytay, we took an unpleasant turn to a quiet and dark subdivision. It was the scariest part of the whole trip. Our prayers heightened. Thank God, we were not harmed. We would never use that route again, well at least during the night.

We arrived in Manila from a full and fun day. Praises to God for His provision and grace. Thank you Doc Noel, Kuya Z and Jan. Such an amazing trip.



Posted by: Gina Idea | October 11, 2010

Kwebang Lampas/Lukang Beach, Pagbilao, Quezon

It was Labor Day.  Since it was a holiday in the middle of the summer, my family decided to spend the day at the beach.  In our province of Quezon in Southern Luzon, beaches are not the most visited picnic sites.  However, for us who searched the beauties of our town, a fine-sand, crisp-water, and privately-kept beach in the quiet part of Pagbilao town proved to be a perfect pick – not only because of its white sand, but also because of its famous Kwebang Lampas, a cave near the shoreline that may have been formed by waters flowing through it.

We were all up and running at five in the morning to make the most of our vacation together.  With  packed lunch of steaming rice and freshly grilled seafoods as well as bags of fruits and chips, we headed to the local city port where a banca we rented the day before was waiting for us.  The banca will take us directly to the beach within an hour compared to land transportation which will take us around two hours of jeepney and tricycle rides and long walks in hot roads and rugged hillsides.


The banca ride was a refreshing teaser to a more relaxing retreat.  The clear waters showed us colorful corals below. The sights of green islands stirred the excitement in us.  The cool breeze seemed to welcome us.  It was going to be a perfect day.


The banca finally docked on the shore when the sun was softly shining its morning rays.  This added to our already beaming smiles.  Immediately after unloading our baskets and bags, we proceeded to our own nooks – my mom and  dad in the cottage setting down all the food, my youngest sister strolling in the sand surveying the stretch of shoreline, my brother immediately jumping into the cool waters and swimming towards Kwebang Lampas, and my oldest sister and I taking pictures of us using all probable backdrops.  Later on, we all spent time playing in the waters, sunbathing on the sand, and satisfying our tastebuds with our sumptuous packed lunch.


The afternoon proved to be very hot so it was only fit for us take a short siesta.  The shades of the nipa cottage and the whispers of the soft breeze were like lullabies.  The soothing sound of waves kissing the shores added to the music.  It turned out to be a lazy, but restful afternoon.


Upon waking up, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the waters.  We also took a quick banca trip to see the other beaches and islands nearby.  At that point, we were really convinced that our province has hidden treasures – local and tourist spots that are natural, beautiful, and virgin. 


We didn’t want to travel in the waters when it’s dark already, so before the sun set down, we loaded all our stuff back in the banca and we waved goodbye at the beach.  Our bodies were tired as we rode back home, but our hearts and minds were filled with joy and pleasant memories.  The one-day holiday was indeed worth it when spent with the family.  I think we deserved it – anyway, it’s a rest for the laborers.

*Text submitted to APS.

*Dates on photographs are inaccurate. This was on May 1, 2010.

Posted by: Gina Idea | July 14, 2010

Cloud 9 Art Gallery, Antipolo, Rizal

My former officemate, Kuya Arch, treated me, Jana, and Karen to a dinner in Antipolo before the three of us left the company. That night, we were also blessed to have Kuya Dwain, another officemate, who drove us from the office up the hills and back to Manila. We had so much fun being together and showing our funny sides which we weren’t used to show during office hours.

After dinner, we went to Cloud 9, a popular restaurant and hang out place in Antipolo, to get a better view of the metropolis.  There, we also visited the art gallery owned by Mr. Otho. We had so much fun looking around and taking pictures.

I definitely want to visit Antipolo with them again. Maybe we can enjoy exotic eating and pottery experience in Crescent Moon Cafe in the same city next time.

Posted by: Gina Idea | July 14, 2010

La Tienda de Tuy, Batangas

I am a fan of healthful restaurants, so when I was in Batangas for some time, I definitely agreed to visit one. The restaurant I went to is called La Tienda de  Tuy (Tuy is between the towns of Nasugbu and Balayan). It is located inside Hacienda Zabarte, a farm that uses orga-ponics (organic + hydroponics) to grow its plants. Since the vegetables served are organically grown and freshly harvested in the backyard, the menu is definitely a hit to me. Aside from the food, the place is also appealing. Because it is located inside a farm, there are trees and plants, and cool breeze.

My friends and I ordered Grilled Chicken Burger Open Sandwich (supposedly in wheat bread), Grilled Chicken Meal (with salsa made of chopped tomato, onion, and apple; served with soup and vegetable salad), Grilled Chicken Salad (with honey and mustard sauce), Tuna Pasta with Okra (my choice!), and of course, Kapeng Barako (don’t ever leave Batangas without trying this strong coffee). We were also served bread with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan dip as appetizer.

Thank you to my new friends and co-teachers, Mady and Hershey, as well as to our driver and tour guide, Hertz! 🙂

La Tienda de Tuy is open daily from 8am to 8pm. Visit it in Hacienda Zabarte, K. 102, Brgy. Guinhawa, Tuy, Batangas, Philippines. Contact number is 09163977898.

Posted by: Gina Idea | March 31, 2010

Budin St. and Pinais in Tayabas, Quezon

Budin or Cassava cake is a popular pasalubong in the Philippines.  It is one of the most popular kakanin especially in the provinces.  In Quezon, specifically in the town of Tayabas, there is street called Budin that is literally lined with stores that sell the kakanin, among other pasalubong.

In the town, there is also a local specialty called Pinais.  It is like tamales but it is flat and is made of grated coconut and shrimp.  Not bad.

Tayabas is a budding town that is less than 30 minutes away from the city proper of Lucena.  Tricycles and jeepneys are the main mode of transportation here.  Just ask around and you’ll definitely not miss Budin Street.  You may also meet peddlers of Pinais along the way.


Posted by: Gina Idea | February 3, 2010

Street Food in Tanay, Rizal

Here’s an article I wrote for Tanay Geographic.  Do visit the website often as it features service and destination stories of Tanay, Rizal.  If you can, take a trip there too.  Enjoy!

Posted by: Gina Idea | January 13, 2010

Hawaiian Party in Hardin ni Tita, Calamba, Laguna

It’s my cousin’s 18th birthday last December 16, 2009 and we celebrated it in a beautiful private resort in Laguna called Hardin ni Tita. To get here from Manila, my sister and I took a Sta.Cruz-bound HM Transport bus in Cubao and got off near Jetti Gas Station in Pansol then rode a tricycle to get to the place along Bagong Kalsada St.  My sister and I hurt our arms because we were carrying 2 large Tupperware bowls containing coffee jelly with brandy that my sister made as requested by Natasha, the debutante.  We arrived at around 6:30, still early for the 8pm party.  The garden and pool were all dressed up but the rains forced us to hold the party inside the house.  Still, it was wonderful.  Thank God!

The theme of the debut party is Summer in December. Days before this, Tash was having her exams.  I’m so amazed at how she was able to organize the party!  Praise God for excellence in both endeavors!

The celebration took place on the 21st when most of the guests are free.  It is also closer to Natasha’s dad’s birthday who already passed on.  We miss you, Uncle Vito!  It would have been really more exciting if you were here!

The first person I saw when we arrived was my mom who was already busy setting up the place.  I so thank God for my mom.  She always does such things excellently that I sometimes took her acts for granted.  Thank you mommy!

When we arrived, Tash was already in one of the rooms doing her make-up.  Make-up is one of the things I love and so I insisted to help her.  I thought about this moment and realized how God makes me happy in little things.  I have always known that parties and other big occasions need to have an official make-up artist, an expert in the field, until I was reminded that doing such things myself can be priceless.  It’s an opportunity to bond with people and to be happy with something that I am passionate about.

Since Tash had already put on some make-up, I just put a little more and blended the shades.  Oh by the way, I love her dress!  It was simple yet very fitting!  Good choice, Tash!  And her headband — it’s perfect.  I found out my mom made it.  Galing-galing naman ni mommy! 🙂

While waiting for our other cousins who were still in Los Baños and for Tash’s classmates and friends, we took pictures!

The house is nice.  You can rent the whole place for less than 20,000 for half a day.

Here’s a shot of Tash and her cake which my mom made too.

Tash with my mom and dad

Eventually, the guests started to arrive.  The program began with a prayer and a song from the band.  Thanks to Tita Elsa who brough her instruments all the way from Lucena!

Before going through the traditional 18’s, we had dinner first.

Thank you to everyone who prepared!

With my cousins (Shaula, Carlos, Shania, my sister Kathy, Calvin)

More cousins! (Mean, my brother’s girlfriend, Stef, my sister Kim, Erika and Aiko)

With my brother JP

After dinner, we moved on to the 18 Kisses part, something like the  18 Roses.  Instead of roses, guests were asked to give Tash a message and a kiss. 🙂

Afterwards, another set of 18 guests gave blue gifts to Tash.

One of her friends gave her a pair of blue contact lenses!  After this, the crowd took a break from all the mushy speeches and celebrated by dancing!

The debutante with my mom and her sisters, Tita Mabel, Tita Elsa and Tita Didith

After a while, we resumed our program with 18 Toasts with the coffee jelly that my sister made.  The most memorable were toasts were that of Tash’s mom and brother.  Sabel, Tash’s sister, had work. 😦

The program ended with the cutting of the cake and the reading of fortunes.  Swimming and videoke followed after.

Everyone had so much fun!  Thank God for family and friends!

Tash’s classmates.  Thank you CJ for my hair! 🙂

Tash’s friends

And so that’s another family gathering that I can’t miss.  This year, 2009, God gave me a fresh reminder of how important my family and relatives are, how He loves them so much and how He died so that they may have a right relationship with Him.  Yes, I remember the many flaws, problems and hardships that my family went through but I remember more how God remained faithful through them all.  He changed our hearts more than He changed our circumstances.  All praises to the Father!  Through thick and thin, mabuhay Abadicio-Raagas!  🙂

* Natasha Glenda Modesto is a scholar and a consistent Dean’s Lister.  More than being smart and pretty, I’ve known my cousin to be a very sweet and jolly girl.  Happy Happy Birthday again Tash!

Posted by: Gina Idea | August 10, 2009

Mindoro: Fourth Day

So everything has its end, they say.  Here’s the last of our refreshing trip in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.   Since it’s a Sunday, we attended a church service of Church of Christ. Age’s family attends this church.  Age even grew up here.  Kids church baby. During that warm morning service, we sang gospel songs with the small congregation.

Sunday Service where we performed Mighty to Save. haha!. PW, PW, PW, PW and PW (wink)PW, PW, PW, PW and PW (wink*wink)

In Age’s church, it was customary for visitors to present a song for the members.  Age already “warned” us about this beforehand but we didn’t take it seriously.  We just partly believed — until we were called by one of the elders that morning.  We were hesistant but we thought, let’s just do it (malakas ang loob, syempre andun si Anne). Since the young music team knows the song Mighty to Save, we chose it.  After a brief introduction (more of a disclaimer) and after greeting the fathers a Happy Fathers’ Day (I got teary-eyed), we stepped in front and sang away.  Praise and worship.  For you, the Father of all.

On the spot, pasensiya. But thanks to everyone, thanks music team!On the spot, pasensiya. But thanks to everyone, thanks music team!

After our last fab fab meal in their house, we hoarded pasalubongs and stormed the airport.


I was waiting for Tita Lety because I wanted to hug her and say my goodbyes but she had left already.

Thank you Tita Lety and Tito Carling!Thank you Tita Lety and Tito Carling!

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the candidates for Bb. Occ. Mindoro!

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the candidates for Bb. San Husi, Uksedintal Menduru.  All are finalists to the Bb. Pilipinas pageant to be held at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City (Hehe).

Hmmm... Look do we have here.. Hahahahah!

By the way, we (well at least, I) gained 2 kilos during this vacation!

Great vacation! Thank you so much Ge!Great vacation! Thank you so much Ge!

Coming back to the Manila became exciting.  I was looking forward to everything that I missed — yes, even work. 🙂

In a row

Ka goes solo againKa goes solo again.  Hmmmm… bakit kaya?

In this trip, I was sitting by the window so I had a good view.

These are the works of your hands, oh LordThese are the works of your hands, oh Lord

Heaven's betterHeaven’s better

Bye, MindoroBye, Mindoro (there’s the White Island)

I'll see you again, WIHere’s a closer look.  (I’ll come back for you.)

Since we rode a smaller plane, the trip took longer.  The sun was setting when we arrived in Manila.  We had dinner at the NAIA, took a cab and flew to Quezon City.  This vacation IS awesome.  Thank you our dear friend, Age.  Thank you Jesus!  Praises to the King!

Sunday Service where we performed Mighty to Save. haha!. PW, PW, PW, PW and PW (wink)
Posted by: Gina Idea | July 16, 2009

Mindoro Third Day Part 2: Back to the Beach

We would not NOT go back to the beach.  We just have to. 🙂Beach round 2!Beach round 2!

It was a lazy afternoon but there were so many people, unlike the day before.  We looked for a spot and started deciding whether to wait for the sun to go down or to risk some burns.


Karen and Haze decide to rest in the cottage for a while.

Waiting for the sun to lie lowWaiting for the sun to lie low

The rest of us waited for Age’s friends.

Waiting for Ge's friendsWaiting for Ge’s friends

After a while, they came and with them was a very cute baby girl with curly hair!  I wasn’t able to take a picture of her though.


Later on, I decided to study the shoreline and approach some kids whom I guessed were from the town.  I thought that if I really wanted to swim without my friends, I have to befriend locals.

At first, my friends didn't want to swim with me so I befriended some locals in case something happens to meI forgot his name. As you can see, the water is kinda murky because of the strong current.

I played with the waves for a while.  Nakakatawa hitsura ko sa mga sumusunod na litrato.  Parang ang loser ko. Haha.

My friends later joined me in the wavesMy friends (not in the picture) later joined me in the waves
No, I'm not drowning

No, I’m not drowning

After a while, I wasn’t enjoying the waves anymore.  Naman.

It's not good for you to be alone. Thank you for reminding me, LordIt’s not good for you to be alone. Thank you for reminding me, Lord (makulit lang talaga si Gina)

During these times, Anne was obviously taking pictures and Hazel was playing in the sand.

Yes, Haze heart YOUYes, Haze heart YOU

Finally, I got out of the water …

I'm dripping, AgeI’m dripping, Age

… and started taking pictures too.

Anne (foreground) and Haze (background)Anne (foreground) and Haze (background)

Last moments with my earth hour cap. The sea ate it.Last moments with my earth hour cap. The sea ate it.

Here, I just took random pictures of Anne and Haze who were playing with the waves on the shore.  I made up a series of conversations.

Haze is anticipating an exciting rideHaze is anticipating an exciting ride

Haze, I've been in the same sandHaze, I’ve been in the same sand

I know, right (a question)I know, right? (sorry for the dark and light colors. different angles, different light compositions. it was nearing sunset at this time)Just enjoy as it comesJust enjoy as it comes

Right! Woohoo!Right! Woohoo!

Ang saya naman Lord!Ang saya naman Lord!

Alright Anne. Come on, let's enjoy this seasonAlright Haze. Come on, let’s enjoy this season

What if I stumble Anne (another question)What if I stumble Anne?

Do not fear. The Lord is with youDo not fear. The Lord is with you

The seas is becoming calm. Where are the waves <div class="question"></div>Wait. The sea is becoming calm. Where are the wave?

Wait. Not yetWait. Not yet.  Not you pala.

Oh, it is true. God has a perfect timing for His bestOh, it is true. God has a perfect timing for His best. (anticlimacitc! haha!)

Haze then looks at me …

Bhe, mauuna ako sa 'yoBhe, mauuna ako sa ‘yo

Hehe.  I love you, Haze.  Again, disclaimer: The above “conversations” is a fiction.  🙂  And so, Anne takes more pictures.  I can’t post ALL of them here though.

Anne, I like this shotAnne, I like this shot

Sunset, sea, sand and scrubsSunset, sea, sand and scrubs

Anne, what does a sunset mean to you

Anne, what does a sunset mean to you

There.  I don’t have pictures of what happened after but we (except Karen who looked out for our stuff. Ka, we love you so much!) spent the rest of the time (until it was dark)  playing in the big waves!!!  It was so much fun!  The best part of it? God answered my prayer that afternoon — that I won’t be alone playing in the water; that my friends would have the courage to face the open sea and appreciate the beauty of His waters — whatever condition it may be; and that I would continue to marvel in this time of conversing with Him.

I love you Lord!  This is all about you.

Afterwards, we went to a grocery store.  We bought ingredients for a fruit float that Haze later on made.

Haze makes fruit-graham float for Fathers' dayHaze makes fruit-graham float for Fathers’ Day

And while Haze was doing that, I had to wash my wet clothes outside.  Argh! (Gina reklamador).

Que horror! I had to wash my wet clothes! Stephanie, nasa'n ka po sa mga panahong 'toQue horror! I had to wash my wet clothes! Stephanie, nasa’n ka po sa mga panahong ‘to?

So there.  Haha!  Ang pangit ng closing ng third day noh? Anyway, we were all so tired so after watching NNNN (ahahaha, tired na daw???), we all dropped on our own nooks.  Last day na bukas!!!  Abangan ang concert! Haha!

It’s not good for you to be alone. Thank you for reminding me, Lord

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