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Showing posts from April, 2018

Where in the world is Jaybanga?

I was reading my Twitter feed one day and then I saw this post from the Twitter account of Skyway SOMCO (which I follow to find traffic information before I leave the house for Manila).
THERE ARE RICE TERRACES IN BATANGAS!!
I've been to Lobo, Batangas before and it was so difficult for me to get there by driving because the roads were steep and winding. But because I've been there already, I knew that I could find Jaybanga if I just had a day to explore the town. And so, I invited Val and Nikos to go on an expedition into the unknown. We drove to Batangas, searching for the enchanted rice terraces of Jaybanga.

Curiously, I didn't find a lot of blog posts about this place; nor did I find specific instructions on how to get there. So we decided to follow Waze. It brought us through Ibaan and Rosario, Batangas. But after Rosario, that's when things started getting iffy because our mobile phones' signals weakened as we drove on narrow dirt roads somewhere increasingly…

Arsenic and Old Lace (2018)

I was in Greenbelt and I saw that The Repertory Philippines was performing a play called "Arsenic and Old Lace" at OnStage Theatre. As usual, I decided to watch at the last minute, opting not to read anything about the play so that I'd be pleasantly surprised.
And The Rep did not disappoint. It delivered the drama, the suspense, and the comedy.
"Arsenic and Old Lace" is a Broadway hit dark comedy by Joseph Kesserling. The plot is about Mortimer Brewster, a theatre critic who was about to marry the love of his life, and his family, who lived in a mansion in Brooklyn, New York. The family consisted of two spinster aunts who killed lonely old men with wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and cyanide; a murderous brother who had several facial surgeries; and a delusional brother who thought that he was Theodore Roosevelt. His delusional brother has been tasked with burying the men that their aunts killed in the cellar. The murderous brother went home to find a mea…

Good bye, Ninong Romy!

My uncle and godfather, Romy, was an enthusiastic golf player. A few years back, he was with me, Daddy, and Biboy at the Fernando Airbase Golf Course. It was my first time on a golf course because I've always just practiced my swing in the driving range.
It caught me by surprise when my aunt, Ninang Trining, sent a message to the rest of the family that Ninong Romy was confined in the hospital, in very bad shape. Ninong Romy, after all, always seemed to be in good physical condition. A few hours later, he passed away.
I didn't realise that the last time I'd see him was the dinner I had with them and Lola Bats when they arrived from Australia, in early March.
In memory of my uncle and godfather, Romy. May the angels and the saints play good rounds of golf with him in heaven. ⛳️ A post shared by Rochie Cuevas (@rochiecuevas) on Apr 18, 2018 at 3:04am PDT

Happy 102nd, Lola Bats!!

My paternal grandma, Lola Bats, turns 102 today! Unbelievable because she's been touch and go on her approach to 100. Now, we are all looking forward to her reaching her 105th year. Daddy stayed a few more days to be with her on her special day before going back to the US.
Thank you, Richelle and Mary Ann, for taking the lead for prepping the food during her party and to everyone who brought cake and pastries. We all made Lola very happy.

under the Super Trees

I was wowed when I first saw the Super Trees in Singapore four years ago, so I was determined to get my parents to see the trees during their first trip to Singapore. We went to the grove as soon as we finished touring the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. Unfortunately, we didn't get there early enough to be able to walk on a bridge that goes through the different Super Trees. Not to worry, however, because the alternative was sitting under the Super Trees and watching them glow in different colours in time to some Disney music.
For me, it was the perfect time to sit down and rest after a full day of exploring Singapore's Gardens by the Bay and the city via the river cruise. It's not as spectacular as the sunset on Palawan Beach, of course.



Inside the Cloud Forest

Mommy was certainly prepared for the cold despite the tropical heat in Singapore. While in the Flower Dome, she donned a wrap because it was so cold while Daddy and I didn't bring a jacket. This paid off when we transferred to the Cloud Forest, where we were greeted by frigid water being sprayed by a waterfall. 

As the sun was setting outside, it became challenging to take photos inside the Cloud Forest; a shame really because we saw pretty orchids displayed along the walkway.

This walkway was really leading us towards the queue that would bring us to the top of the waterfall where the tour would officially begin. Aside from orchids, we saw a lot of other flowers growing on the side of the "mountain". I didn't get the flowers' names anymore; by this time, my brain was already saturated by greenery and flowers. I wanted to see something different!

Wish granted, I thought... because out of nowhere, we saw an exhibit of limestones and crystals. It's supposed to…

Inside the Flower Dome

Our morning tour of Singapore just provided us a flavour of what was in store as we explored the city on foot. In the afternoon, it was time to really do some sight-seeing. We went to the Gardens by the Bay and entered the Flower Dome, which was really one giant glasshouse that enabled plants from the temperature regions to flourish.
... and because it's spring time, we came just in time for hanami. Mommy and Daddy were just getting a glimpse of the abundance of flowering trees I've seen in Japan two years ago (because we're inside the glasshouse).

It wasn't surprising that there was a whole row of displays paying tribute to the sakura in Japan. What took me by surprise, though, was that the display included the anime-like dolls in various Japanese-themed scenes.

I just have to admit that I missed seeing cherry blossoms. But the Flower Dome didn't disappoint because it was full of pink flowers blooming on the floor. I don't know what these flowers are but they…

Singapore River Cruise

I have always wanted to see the Merlion but I didn't see it the first time I went to Singapore. But this time, I also wanted to see the rest of the city centre. I didn't want to walk because we were in the country for only a short visit; so we took a short cruise along the Singapore River.

The boat cruise we took started at the Merlion Park. While in the boat, we had our first glimpse of the famous Marina Bay Sands up close. It really screamed luxury, I think, especially with those glass panes and the trees at the top.

On the other river bank, we found the Art Zoo, which appeared to be a water theme park with gorilla and flamingo balloons. It looked like a perfect venue for children's parties... even for those who are young at heart. I wonder, though, if people won't be at risk of falling into the river if they climbed any of the balloons.

As the boat made it's first turn, we first had our first glimpse of the Merlion from the river (of course we dropped by for a …

Fiery sunsets and fancy light shows

Sentosa was definitely a fun place to visit. As the sun started to set, we took our seats at the amphitheatre on Palawan Beach. Yes, there's a Palawan in Singapore too! 
Anyway, the sunset in itself already was an awesome light show. The sky started turning orange as we settled into our seats.

It's one of the most dramatic sunsets I've ever seen! Sorry, Manila Bay, but this Palawan Beach sunset has got to be the most vibrant orange I've witnessed so far.

Mommy, Daddy, and I were quite happy to sit down after a day of walking. Yes, I made Mommy walk a lot while in Sentosa because she didn't have much of a choice. Actually, there's the train but if we took that, we'd miss seeing many of the sights. It made us achieve the 10,000 steps-a-day thing for health.

We thought that the orange glow was the climax... but we were wrong. The sky turned bloody red! That made me shoot in manual mode because the pre-programmed settings in my camera just made for pale colour…

Sentosa: Close encounters of the animal kind

Once we viewed Sentosa from the sky, it was time to explore Sentosa by foot. What I noticed straightaway was that there were so many animals, either inside fenced and netted areas or along paths used by visitors. It was amazing, for me at least, to be at such close proximity with wildlife without me being eaten alive and without them being intimidated by humans... but then again, these are really relatively docile animals.
Reading up about the island, I learned that Sentosa is a largely covered by secondary forest (it's a forest that has regrown after the original forest was destroyed; the traces of the previous forest cannot be seen anymore). The development of the tourist area impacted the forest area quite negatively despite the developers' efforts to minimise the damage. Despite the steady entrance of humans, wildlife have thrived. Perhaps, their populations will go increase slowly and will adapt around these human developments.
Some more things I learned:
The pupal stage…

Seeing Sentosa from the sky

During my first visit to Singapore, I opted to skip the typical tourist spots but I was with my parents this time so I chose to visit one of the major tourist draws: Sentosa, an island resort in the southern part of the country. Because we had a very limited time allotted for seeing Sentosa, we chose to do the fast way, via cable car which provided a generous bird's eye view of the place.

Inside the cable car, we were happy that there was ample ventilation and that the cable car had transparent sides. We could take as many photos as we could. Daddy was taking photos with his iPad (so that the pictures would also be huge) while I was using my trusty Canon Powershot SX720 HS for the long shots and my mobile phone for group photos.

As the cable car moved away from the forested area and glided closer to the water, we were surprised to see three islets; beyond these islets were many ships and what looked like an oil refinery at the back. I just found the sea here exceedingly crowded.