Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chain of Thoughts on My Family's Christmas 2013 Trip

During the Christmas week (Dec 21-30), my family went travelling around Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila, Baguio, and La Union.  We attended a wedding, had reunions with friends and relatives, went to see the sights, and had the obligatory picture-takings.  Here are some of my notes and insights during the trip:

 - I forgot to bring my sunglasses.  And couldn’t find a new pair that would fit/look good on me during the entire time of our travel.  Its absence was a constant disadvantage to me throughout the trip.

- Nagged a lot about air con buses.  Travelling at night in them is freezing.  That is already uncomfortable, but it also totally enhances every other travelling discomfort a traveler has.

- Food and other products sold in bus “stop-overs” are around 50% (of its reasonable, usual selling price) overpriced.  If I have the mind of a conspiracy theorist, my train of thinking won’t find it hard to find a correlation between the air con buses and the “stop-overs”; air con buses would make their interiors horribly cold on purpose, so that their passengers would be forced to buy overpriced cup noodles or coffee to offset the coldness.  That’s how I see it.

- I find the staff and management of fast food chains in Legazpi friendlier and more efficient than the staff and management of the fast food chains we have encountered during our trip.  Especially in Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna; the KFC branch there almost ruined the Christmas Eve for us.

- Went to Enhanted Kingdom for the first time.  The only available tickets are those for unlimited rides, so we had those.  I rode this bad boy…
…and was so shaken by the experience that I refused to try other rides anymore (4D movie doesn’t count as a ride).  Look.  Throughout my life, I never rode any carnival rides more extreme than the Ferris Wheel.  Thus, I was not used to it.  Also had a headache afterwards.

- It’s still my dream to go to Disneyland someday.   But I’ll probably avoid the extreme rides. 

- Funny how people are willing to pay money so that they can experience terror. 

- Went to Manila Zoo for the first time.  I’ve got the same opinion of it as I have its city: it’s crowded and unimpressive.  It was the first time I saw an elephant and a hippo in person though. 
The elephant was as bored as me.

- Seriously.  Metro Manila’s air is thick with pollution.  And there’s too much traffic and crowds.  I don’t have the patience and the constitution to live in it. 

- Also went to Luneta and Manila Ocean Park (but did not go see any shows) for the first time.  (Also dropped by Mall of Asia [my third time to be there])   
The thing that thrilled me about Manila Ocean Park was there’s a great view of a US Navy ship docked in Manila de Bay.  I feel like a badass.
- Saw this in Luneta:  
The Korean War was arguably the time in which the Filipino military had its shiniest moment in international warfare history.  

- Baguio’s road ambience, taxis (which mostly are large cars like Crosswinds and Innovas), and taxi drivers’ driving greatly reminded me of the anime Initial D.

- The place we stayed in Baguio – Asia Pacific Thelogical Seminary (APTS) – has a more awesome view that Mines View Park. 
 I exaggerate not.
- Baguio is a pretty nice place.  Especially where the trees are rampant (particularly, Camp John Hay).  We checked out all the sites there.
Burnham Park. Only tourist spot in Baguio where we encountered beggars.
Strawberry farm.  Was foggy when we went there.  Fog is a staple there; greatly reminds me of horror films and Silent Hill.
Bell Church.  Seriously, why is there a lot of Chinese temples in our country?  Just shows how significant and deep China influences our country.  Let’s not pretend that we’re going to war with them someday.  Sigh.  Our country is more or less prepared for occupation.  Hmp. 
Mine’s View Park. Very crowded with tourists.  Taking photos with St. Bernards is a trademark in this place.  I was not interested in having a picture taken with a costumed Beethoven, until I saw this dog dressed as an Igorot.  Now, that’s brilliant and adorable.  I just had to have a photo with it.  His name’s “Casper.”  No one there was clever enough to name a St. Bernard “Beethoven.”
The Mansion. According to what I heard, the President is supposed to be spending his vacation there till New Year.
 Clean Comfort Room. You can find this in all tourist spots in Baguio. It seems there are more of these than McDonald’s branches in Baguio.
Botanical Garden. There’s a miniature Golden Gate bridge where you can pretend you are a Kaiju on an onslaught.
And I can’t help but pretend that this is the yellow brick road towards Emerald City. 
 Camp John Hay. This is, hands down, the best part of Baguio.
First thing that came to my mind when I saw the awesome forest sceneries: “Let’s take pictures as if we’re in the Hunger Games!” 
“Ukay-Ukay” at Harrison Road. Tried my hand on it. No luck getting some cool stuff. Just not my thing, maybe.
This Haunted House? It’s President Marcos’ former property, seized by the PCGG.

- Baguio City, though generally refreshing because of the dominant nature presence, is not immune to littering and garbage mismanagement problems.

- There was also some medium to heavy traffic in Baguio when we were there.  This is due to the amount of tourists – many of whom brought their own vehicles with them – coming up to the city at that time of year.  Getting a taxi ride is a hassle, too.   Baguio is probably as crowded in Christmas season as it is during the summer.

- After Baguio, we went to La Union, our last stop. 
After the cool, foggy mountain comes the hot, steamy beach.

- To Kuya Orly, Ate Ana and Kuya Edgar, Kuya Griam, Pastor Rey and Ma’am June, Ate Remy, Pastor Arlan and Family, Kuya Oca and Ate Pressy, and the entire Trinity Gospel Church – San Fernando: my family is greatly thankful for your loving hearts, as you graciously served as our hosts, tour guides, and/or liaisons that made our trip a truly blessed one.  May God bless you greatly for your generosity and thoughtfulness. 

- “Home is where the heart is.”  That is so true.  Was so restless to go back home.  So restless to go back to my heart.     

For more photos of the trip, check them out in “My Photos”; these memories are now part of my life in pictures… 

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