Places to See, Where to Eat

Xentro Mall (Polangui, Albay)

Hi again everyone! Okay, this is going to be very brief. Just need to update on my posting and share with you the new places to go and see in the land of sili and gata– Bicol!

So, if you ever have plans to head south bound and visit the Bicol  provinces, particularly Albay, you would probably be glad to know that you can now stop, shop and eat (or freshen up) at the newly opened Xentro Mall in Polangui. DSC01231

This is what we did on our way back home from Sorsogon to Naga City. Yoy was really tired and hungry, and Julienne, she just wanted to go to the mall, period.

First, we needed to use the rest room and on the way, we passed by the lounge.

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Then, the rest room was nice and clean and I liked that they have art works hanging on the wall. The cleaning lady was also helpful and friendly.

 

As we were really hungry, we then headed to the food court! This is what it looked like.DSC01261DSC01245

I ordered Strawberry and Cream Crepe and brewed coffee from this shop called Waffle and Crepe. I don’t remember how much I paid but I remember that it was just a little over Php100.DSC01246

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Strawberry and Cream Crepe was delicious and has just the right amount of sweetness.

Yoy bought Sisig (spicy pork skin, bits and innards) and rice meal  from I don’t know which shop. He said it costed around Php65.00 and the sisig was not crunchy (soggy) and not that great after all.DSC01255

Other stuff we ate were kwek-kwek (fried quail eggs in dough) and goto (rice porridge).

After eating and resting at the food court, again we were ready to hit the road. Thanks for travelling with us!  =)

 

 

 

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Places to See

All Day Supermarket is Now Open! (Del Rosario, Naga City)

Good news for the residents of Del Rosario, Naga City, nearby barangays and towns, All Day Supermarket is now open! It is located at Vista Mall, a mall which is still under construction as of this writing. However, the residents of Del Rosario, such as myself, will find it accessible to do their grocery shopping at All Day Supermarket which opened last June 15, 2018 with Alex Gonzaga as the celebrity guest.

I was meaning to post this real time but I was struggling with my own… oh, just got a bit lazy, I guess.vista mall naga city my bicol blog 1

Anyway, we went there during the opening night because we figured there’d be too many people during the day who would wanna go in first. When we arrived, Alex Gonzaga was just being called to the stage, which was situated outside the mall near the entrance. We stayed during her first two song numbers but went inside the supermarket soon after that because we were really far and couldn’t really see anything anyway.vista mall naga city my bicol blog 2

So, there were still a lot of people inside the supermarket.vista mall naga city my bicol blog 6

I have seen all sorts of food items that you would expect from a supermarket – grains and beans, canned items, eggs, milk, fresh produce and a lot more. They even have various kitchen tools, bags, slippers, toys and even underwear.

In the fresh produce section, I got excited to buy some fresh black cherries because I never had fresh cherries before. It doesn’t grow here in the Philippines and we don’t often see it in our grocery stores. It’s kinda expensive though at around Php500 per kilo so I just bought a few pieces just to taste.vista mall naga city fresh produce my bicol blog 13

They also have other imported fruits such as peaches, strawberries, kiwi fruits, grapes and lychees.vista mall naga city fresh produce my bicol blog 12

Local fruits that were on display are avocadoes, guyabano, papaya, bananas and coconuts.vista mall naga city fresh produce my bicol blog 9

What they have that other supermarkets and groceries around here don’t have are these imported ready-to-heat food such as pizza, pasta, risotto, roti and burrito.vista mall naga city imported foods my bicol blog 14

Another thing they have that others don’t is this service called “Paluto” where you can buy fresh seafood and meats and have them cooked inside the supermarket. There are tables and chairs there where you can relax and enjoy your meal, much like Dampa style.vista mall naga city my bicol blog 25

The only thing they have to improve on though is the cashier being too slow. People get frustrated while lining up at the cashier because, let me say it again, really slow. Almost not moving.

The All Home, Vista Mall’s appliance and furniture store, is also now open. This store is huge and the employees are friendly.vista mall naga city my bicol blog 3

I think Nagueños and other town folks will definitely like their display of household items, lighting, home decorations, furniture and appliances. The words I can think of to describe their stuff are updated, affordable and plenty of choices.vista mall naga city all home my bicol blog 17vista mall naga city all home my bicol blog 16

So, there it is, if you happen to be in the area, you might wanna check this new supermarket out and pretty soon, the Vista Mall will be opening too.

Thanks a lot for reading! Till next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Places to See

Celebrating Christmas (Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral)

Yesterday was Christmas Day and it was all about fun, love, food, lights, family, togetherness and the best gift ever- Jesus! We spent it in a simple way and we were happy with it as long as we spend it together.

We didn’t forget to go to church on Christmas Day. We went to Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral as we know San Francisco Church will be so full.NAGA CATHEDRAL 4NAGA CATHEDRAL 6

This is how it looks on the outside:NAGA CATHEDRAL 7NAGA CITY CATHEDRAL 1

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So when we got home, I greeted everyone on Facebook with a picture saying “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Someone asked me yesterday that if Jesus is the reason, then why did Santa Claus become the center of Christmas? And things like why do we even have a snowman decor when Jesus wasn’t even born during winter? And proceeded to say how it is a Western influenced fake tradition, etc. etc. He probably asked this because it is what he sees everywhere and I also don’t agree about how Christmas has been turned into a commercialized and secularized tradition that most people have lost the meaning of it. I mean, why do we really celebrate Christmas? We celebrate it because when Jesus Christ was born, we were SAVED from eternal damnation because no amount of good works can wash away all our sins to make us acceptable in the eyes of God. This is the reason why we rejoice and “give  love on Christmas Day.”

So, what if Jesus wasn’t exactly born on December 25? What if we like to eat, drink and be merry this season? Or what if we make our kids believe in Santa to get them to be nice? That doesn’t make us bad people. That doesn’t exactly put us in the same category as terrorists now, does it?  But to say that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas at all and calling people who celebrate it as gullible fools is overstepping the bounds. For the record, we do have free will. And we should all use it to however we see fit. You may not celebrate the season but really you cannot judge those who do. We should all be tolerant of each other’s differences because if we can’t be tolerant and respectful of other’s beliefs, we’d all be terrorists. And it’s not nice to call others gullible or fools just because their set of beliefs is different from your own. Remember, your truth is not the only truth. Who knows if what you know to be the truth is even the truth? Confucius said that “To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know. That is true wisdom.”

That said, I will continue to celebrate Christmas the way I want, and not the way other people think I should do it. Ho ho ho!

 

 

 

Places to See

Merry Christmas Sorsogon!

Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas is only a couple of hours away and I’m sure lots of us are busy doing last minute Christmas shopping. I should know since I’m about to get ready to do some last minute for tonight’s Christmas dinner myself. Just some stuff we haven’t yet bought, like cake maybe.

Anyway, I just got back from visiting my folks in Sorsogon City. As usual, it was too short of a visit. We only stayed overnight, so we haven’t had a chance to even see a lot of places  or meet with friends. I noticed there were a lot of new establishments though – like the Gaisano Mall for instance. We haven’t even been to Gaisano. All we did was go to and fro to buy stuff for my folks’ Christmas dinner, catch up with them and then catch up on some sleep ‘coz so dead tired. And it was always, always raining!

On the night of our stay in Sorsogon, however, we braved the rain and our soaked feet and went to the park infront of Sorsogon Capitol Building. Just because I was intrigued when I momentarily caught a glimpse of the bright lights on our way to Asia Novo Boutique Hotel.

Drop lights adorned the trees while there was a long line of bright colored yellow trees lighting up the whole park inspite of the rain.sorsosogn city christmas 2017 2sorsosogn city christmas 4

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Below is the very bright and all lit up Sorsogon Capitol Building. We just stood there as we watched the whole building change colors. sorsosogn city christmas 5Picture5

We had the park all to ourselves because nobody else was there save from three little boys who stripped buck naked and used their little butts to slide on the wet tiled surface of the elevated stage we stood on. So slippery ,and “Weeeeeeee!” they all went gleefully sliding on their butts while we were beside ourselves laughing. They didn’t give a rat’s ass about what other people thought, they were happy.  Picture2sorsosogn city chritsmas 3sorsogon city christmas 2017 1

I missed my hometown Sorsogon, and I always regret not having enough time to reconnect with and really get to know the city I spent the most part of my childhood in. As time goes by and I get older, I get less memories and flashbacks that I connect to the places of my childhood as I visit less frequently.

Till then, Merry Christmas everyone!

Places to See

AMAZING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN LIGAO CITY, ALBAY

Hi everyone!

I have always wanted to see the much talked about Christmas lights and displays in Ligao City. The Ligaoeños, I hear, take their yearly Christmas displays rather seriously. And it pays off, since Ligao has always been featured on both local and national television this time of the year.

So, I thought it was really lucky that my co-workers and I got to go on a side trip to Ligao after our Christmas Party in our regional office in Legazpi City last Friday. It was almost 8:00 PM when we got there, and at first, we hesitated since we did not really know which way to go. It was our first time to go to the centro of Ligao but it did not take long for us to find the church and the lights display was so easy to find that we didn’t even need to ask for directions. All we needed to do was to “follow the light(s)” hehe. So by this time, I was already very excited and I haven’t felt that way about Christmas in a while, or maybe I just got excited to find new material for my blog? Hmm.

We parked inside the compound of Saint Stephen Promartyr Parish Church. This is what the church looks like at this time.Christmas Lights in Ligao City 2017 1

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And just outside the church is the 54 meters tall Christmas tree made from blue LED lights with a star on top. It’s kinda hard to take a photo of the whole tree though because some guys just stood around it (really closely) even when they’re obviously not having their picture taken. Anyway, the tree was amazing!christmas lights in ligao city 2017_8

Then we went to their plaza which is adorned by hundreds of star-shaped lanterns locally called parol in the Philippines. It was such an amazing sight to see. Just three colors- dark blue, sky blue and purple.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_4

Isn’t it weird how a bunch of lanterns lighting up the dark night can stir up some feelings of child-like excitement and wonder? Things one may have forgotten in his quest for a better shot at the future by slaving away infront of the computer meeting deadlines, and being oblivious to the rest of the world. Such a toxic life can be a real pain in the ass in the long run because time flies and we will not live forever.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” So the lanterns were there to remind me I should live a little, or live more.chritmas lights in ligao city 2017_11

A little trivia, do you know that the Christmas tree and the star lanterns were hand-made by jail inmates in Ligao? It’s good that they have used their talents for a good cause. Their work is not too shabby, by the way.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_6christmas lights in ligao city_16

When we were there, a lot of people were in the plaza to watch “Patiribayan sa Ligao” which was a singing contest. Everywhere, the smell of popcorn, barbeque and hotcakes was very inviting but I kept thinking if only there was somewhere I could get a cup of coffee. I didn’t get my cuppa though because we already had to leave.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_9

The people of Ligao must be very proud for coming up with such a great way to put their place in the map, so to speak, by making sure that the festive mood of the holidays can be felt by everyone who visits. It sure is something to look forward to every year. Christmas is only a few days away, I hope you all are excited and feeling the Christmas spirit already!

 

 

Places to See

Robinson’s Place, Naga City

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We took a stroll at Robinson’s Place, Naga City last night and I was so thrilled to find that a giant Christmas tree is up! Well, that’s just me, something I brought along from my childhood is that old feeling of giddiness whenever I see a Christmas tree all pretty and bright. This particular Christmas tree is really pretty but I’m afraid my camera specs did not exactly give it justice. Nevertheless, I hope you see it as I do. =)Robinsons Place, Naga City

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Julienne likes the Christmas tree!

Before that, Yoy, little Julienne and I met Mama Pat and Tita Inky at SM City Naga, and together, we took a tricycle ride to Robinson’s Place which is located in Diversion Road at Brgy. Triangulo. To say that SM is packed with shoppers this time of year is an understatement as it is seriously stressful to go about your business when people are going on a buying frenzy like that. The queues for the ATMs, for McDonald’s take out and the lines at the cashiers were really long. Queues were everywhere. It was a good thing we only stayed there for a few minutes. The only consolation was that at least people were lining up instead of going in a mad dash (I think that stampede for the Php8.00 Shark’s Burger in SM North EDSA might be the one major proof in history that we are not getting any smarter with time).

Here are some photos I took to show what Robinson’s Place looks like right now in preparation for the coming Holiday Season:robinsons place, naga city10robinsons place, naga city11robinsons place, naga city5DSC09090DSC09094DSC09095robinsons place, naga city3

Although there were more people than usual as there was an event going on when we arrived, and of course, more Christmas shoppers, at least it wasn’t as crowded. It helped that this mall is bigger and the building is a lot newer than SM. It recently just opened last August 15, 2017 so everything is fresher, cleaner and their restrooms are really neat, clean and not gross. I guess, SM needs to step up their game soon, it’s a good thing they have their prime location going for them.robinson's place, naga city4DSC09029

So, if you’ve never been and if you ever find yourself in Naga, you might wanna check out Robinson’s Place for the ambience, good selection of restaurants, great customer service and helpful/friendly staff. You might also wanna go there for the holiday feels as Christmas lights are everywhere and their aircon is always so cold that I get the chills even when I’m wearing a sweater.

 

 

 

 

Places to See

NAGA CITY IN SEPTEMBER

Whenever the month of September comes, also marks the onset of the busiest time in Naga City as preparations for the Penafrancia Festival can immediately be felt. You can feel the energy as the usual pulse of the city suddenly gets a little bit quicker as the excitement for the festivities builds up.

Naga in September is like a crazy mass of crowd. People are everywhere, mostly dressed their best, lining along the roads to watch the Civic Parade and Float Competition, the Penafrancia Voyadores Festival Street Dance Competition and the Bicol Region Military Parade, among other activities. Also, there are concerts going on almost every night sponsored by the malls like SM, Robinson’s Mall and LCC. Across the street from SM City Naga in Barangay Triangulo, a carnival was also set up wherein the air is always wafting with the smell of newly cooked hot cakes and popcorn to the delight of the kids, with rides like the ferris wheel, caterpillar ride, horror train and the carousel. Peddlers and vendors are everywhere calling out to the crowd offering their wares.DSC08308

Nothing says fiesta more than the Banderitas hanging everywhere in the city. It’s great to see them blowing in the wind, you know it wouldn’t be fiesta without them.

 

By the way, you know what would be the best and most meaningful thing to do when in Naga? Let’s go do a Visita Iglesia! (visit the churches). Ok, did eyes just go rolling for a split second there? Nobody thinks this is fun? Well, I hope more and more people are willing to go along with this because you don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate a tour of our beautiful churches. You have to visit these churches to understand why they are a major part of the city’s identity and the life of its people.

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Basilica Church in Balatas, Naga City

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Naga City is not known as a pilgrim city for nothing. Its churches are its main attractions and the city welcomes thousands of devotees of “Ina” come September of every year. So, maybe you won’t find beautiful beaches here like in Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes, but Naga City is spiritual as it is a happening city.

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Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral

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San Francisco Church at night
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Partial View of San Francisco Church

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Sadly, the influx of tourists and devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia does not help the crime situation any as thieves also get busier during this time of the year. So I would advise everyone in Naga to please ever be so mindful of your valuables just like you do when in Manila. Wear those sling bags that can be worn across the body with the bag placed right infront of you. If carrying a backpack, wear it on reverse (as in infront of you). Of course, you can’t do this with those really big backpacks so just for the small sized ones then. And please, please avoid brandishing your high-end cellphones about, as tempting as it can be, or as nice as the rose gold color of your iPhone 7 matches your pretty peach outfit, please stop yourself from doing this. I have seen some people do this and all I could think about was “there goes another victim in the making.” The augmented police force is everywhere, in every corner, in every nook and crook, but they can only do so much. They can’t watch every single person in the crowd all the time. So better watch out for yourselves. Be smart, be careful, and don’t be a victim.

Happy Fiesta Naga!