Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cebu: Caohagan Island

This island is a popular island hopping and swimming destination because of its long stretch of white-sand beach.

Took this photo of the island from afar.

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And this, when we disembarked from our boat.

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To get to the island’s beach, we had to walk through their barangay, which was really nice because it gave us a glimpse of how the locals live: my favorite Indian mango sold for Php 2 each, roosters as pangsabong (cockfight), a couple sleeping on a papag (wooden bed), children perched on the balcony of their nursery center, a fisherman earning his keep, and two local children who asked me to take their photo.

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Finally, we arrived on their sandy beach. While my friends were buying some clams for lunch, I roamed around and took photos. Here’s my favorite:

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This one’s taken using my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I just recently discovered the joy of taking panoramic shots, and I’m just happy my phone has this feature.

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Caohagan is also famous for its fresh seafood – fish, clam, crab, seashell, lobster, etc. Their prices are a tourist trap, though.

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Aside from their seafood market, the island also has a souvenir shop. Again, the prices are expensive e.g. a necklace I can buy for Php 50 in Mactan Shrine is sold at Caohagan at Php 150 to Php 200.

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It also has cottages for rent (bottom right picture on the above collage). Pardon my ignorance on the rates (docking, cottage rental, etc) as we were not charged anything because my colleagues knew the island’s caretaker.

From talking with the vendors, we learned that the island is owned by a Japanese who has been living in the island for about 2 decades now. They added that he takes really good care of them. He built a primary school, sends scholars to college, and gives them medical assistance. He also taught them quilt making and now, most women from the community supplement their husbands’ earning through this craft.  These women sell their finished products to the Japanese who exports them to Japan.

Before leaving the island, we were lucky to chance on this lady who was painstakingly working on a handmade quilt.

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I was amazed because she was doing it without a sample photo or guide.  How artistic!

Pink Rain Lily

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Free cutix (nail polish), anyone? I’m sure those from the provinces know what I’m talking about. When we were children, we used to gather these flowers, carefully separate the petals then place a petal each on each nail. Voila, instant pink nails!

I never really knew this flower’s name and seeing it in a friend’s garden brought back fond childhood memories of playing dress-up and putting these flowers (or my mom’s liquid paper/correction fluid or much to her frustration, permanent markers, ha ha!) as nail polish.

Googling “pink bulb flowers” finally gave me this dainty flower’s name. It’s Zephyranthes rosea. It is also commonly known as the Cuban zephyr lily or the pink rain lily.

Fairmont San Francisco

Watching The Rock on HBO last night inspired me to write this post mainly because it was filmed in part at the Fairmont.

The Fairmont San Francisco is one of the grandest hotels that I’ve been to. We were given a tour of its Penthouse Suite, which occupied the entire eight floor. This extraordinary suite has three large bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a living room with a grand piano.

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It even has its own two-story circular library with a ceiling featuring the night sky and constellations.

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It also has a billiard room covered in Persian tile from floor to vaulted ceiling.

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There’s a formal dining room too.

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Isn’t t this so intricate?

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And an expansive terrace with views of San Francisco.

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This same terrace, of course, is where the “dangling scene” from the movie The Rock was filmed.

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We were told that this particular suite was originally constructed as the private residence for John S. Drum, then the president of the American Trust Company. Since then, this $15,000 (gasp!) a night suite became home to some royalty and rock stars, including President John F. Kennedy, Prince Charles of Wales, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Tony Bennett.

Aside from its magnificent Penthouse Suite, The Fairmont San Francisco also has a Roof Garden, which I saw as a perfect wedding venue.

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I also found the hotel’s Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar very nicely done.

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On one corner of Laurel Court was a recreation of the San Francisco Bridge in Ghirardelli Chocolate. Wow!

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But the restaurant that struck me most was Tonga because of its unique ambience. It’s a tiki bar featuring a bandstand on a barge that floats in a former swimming pool. It even has artificial rain and thunderstorms!

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When we were there last year, these two cars at the lobby also caught our attention. Its signage says these Ferraris joined the visually spectacular September 2012 FOG Road Rally in Los Angeles.

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Another trivia about Fairmont San Francisco: It is one of the historic hotels of America.

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Here it is over the years:

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For my last trivia, did you know that Tony Bennett first sang “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” at the Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room?

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I’ll end this post with my “parting” shot of the hotel. I said “parting” since I took this onboard our car as we were leaving the hotel.

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For more information about what is considered the Grand Dame of San Francisco, please visit its official website.

San Francisco: Lombard Street

Lombard Street is also known as crooked street due to its curves and turns.  See how these cars form a zigzag path?

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For those wondering why the street was made this way, it’s because it’s so steep that it became a severe safety hazard, and so in the 1920’s, a property owner in the area suggested the scenic switchbacks.  And scenic it was, as the houses there were all charmingly designed.

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It was summer when we visited this place so the street was abloom with flowers, and the flower-lover in me happily snapped photos of colorful hydrangea, roses, etc.

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I don’t know what these flowers are called since we don’t have these in the Philippines, but I find them so pretty.

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My friend and I also had fun taking pictures of ourselves among the flowers.  Here’s a collage of her photos of me.

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Aside from seeing all those lovely flowers, Lombard Street also gave us these views.

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To learn more about Lombard Street, click HERE.

Note to Self: I Just Want to See You Be Brave

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Here I go again. Writing about my frustrations because it’s easier this way than expressing them out loud, especially to the person involved.

I mean to rant as writing has long been my outlet, but then I hear this song on Jango.

…Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave…

Honestly, I want this too, but it’s just difficult, especially when I am keeping my silence to protect a loved one from getting hurt.  What a person doesn’t know won’t hurt him/her, right?

Besides, there’s this nagging thought of me baring my soul, but not being heard or worse, believed in.

Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

As these words sink in, I realize that though it takes courage to hold everything in to spare someone the pain, it does take more courage to tell the person the truth no matter how it hurts.

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Yes, bottling this all up does not do me any good. And so I will speak out, but I will do so with gentleness. I will be honest, but be tactful as well. This person has hurt me, but I can tell her about it without hurting her too.

PS: Thank you, Sara Bareilles for the inspiration. Your songs are awesome, and your videos never fail to make me smile.