Visita Iglesia

Last Thursday, my family and I went to Bulacan (a province in the Philippines) to go to several churches. It’s called Visita Iglesia (thus the title hehehe). It’s a tradition many Catholics still observe to this day. It is done every Maundy Thurday wherein people will visit seven churches and pray the Stations of the Cross; two stations per church. Some opt to go to 14 churches, praying a station in each church.

Some of the church markers are in Filipino. Unfortunately, I can’t translate them perfectly as some are deep words >_< hehe! Sorry. Um, usually the markers just states when the church was founded, who inaugurated it, etc.

Our family visited only seven churches due to time constraint. We went to the church/es of six different towns. Our first stop was Sta. Monica Parish in Angat, Bulacan.

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The church’s ceiling had beautiful paintings! And each of their pews have detailed carvings.

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By the way, we passed by Angat river on our way toย Sta. Monica Parish ๐Ÿ™‚

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The second church was San Agustin Church in ย the town of Baliuag. I think this church is right in the town’s center which makes it easy to spot ๐Ÿ™‚

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In Plaridel, we went to St. James the Apostle Church. Too bad the church was closed.. So we just prayed in their adoration chapel and went around the church grounds ๐Ÿ™‚

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After quite a long drive, we reached Malolos, Bulacan and visited two churches there. The first is Barasoain Church orย Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. This church is important to the country’s history as it was here that the first Philippine Constitution was passed. This is the same church were the first Philippine president, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of office.

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The church’s intricately carved doors.

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The other church we went to in Malolos is Immaculate Concepcion Parish. According to the church’s marker this also held a spot in the Philippine’s history.

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For our sixth church, we visited San Ildefonso Church in Guiguinto, Bulacan. This is quite a small church but has nice interiors and altar. What I also liked is that it is beside a river. Well, maybe I liked that part because I rarely see a clean river in Metro Manila. Err :\

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The seventh and last church we went to was Nuestra Seรฑora de la Asuncion Church in Bulakan, Bulacan. This is a pretty big church. The photo of the church’s hall below is only about half the actual length. The main doors of this church also have very intricate carvings.

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We surely had an exhausting day (woke up early, experienced an intense summer heat) but we didn’t mind it because for us our Visita Iglesia was meaningful. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday Special: Longganisa Pasta

Last Sunday, it was my dad’s turn to prepare our special dinner and he served longganisa pasta ๐Ÿ™‚ Longganisa is a Spanish sausage and for this dish my dad used longganisang hamonado which has a sweet taste. Sweetened dishes are very Filipino haha!

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Thisย is inspired by the dish of the same name in one of the hotels here in Manila. My dad found its taste unique and was very much satisfied that is why he decided to replicate it. And it was a success!! We even had second servings ๐Ÿ˜‰

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For dessert, my mom made brownie a la mode ๐Ÿ™‚

Nothing else to say except that we definitely enjoyed another Sunday special!

Beauty From Ashes

Two Saturdays ago, March 16, my parents and I joined my brother in a trip with his fellow Backpackers (a club in his workplace) to behold the beauty of Mt. Pinatubo.

But before the renowned volcano became as breathtaking as it is now, it once caused great destruction to its neighboring provinces when it erupted in the year 1991. It affected the lives of more than 2 million people whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed. It also had an global impact since the eruption had an effect in the ozone layer and the global temperature.

Today, Mt. Pinatubo is one of the popular tourist destinations of the Philippines. However, they only limit the tourists flocking in to only about 10,000 per day if I remember it right.. hehehe ๐Ÿ˜€ Since it was our first time to go there, we did some research and read several blog posts on Mt. Pinatubo. Many said that you would get really dusty when onboard the 4×4 vehicles. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for us. The drivers keep a safe distance from the vehicles before them so as not to get theirselves and their passengers covered in lahar dust ๐Ÿ™‚ we heeded the advice of other bloggers to wear a long-sleeved shirt as the sun is scorching hot!!

We left Manila at 3am, had a short stopover in a gasoline station along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and arrived at the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) sattelite office in Capas, Tarlac at around 7am. Good thing we were on a bus, I was able to get a bit more sleep. When we alighted from the bus, we fix our registration with DOT, applied sunscreen and did some stretching (this is important!). At around 8am, we were all set and we excitedly headed to the 4×4 vehicles waiting for us.

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A kid selling bamboo rods that will serve as your walking sticks.

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Our closed 4×4 vehicle. Some of them are open-aired which I think are cooler ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Little Aetas (local kids).

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Some Aeta kids with their bamboo toys.

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Our climb started at this point; an easy 20 to 30-minute trek after an hour and a half of bumpy ride. Our tour guide told us that some opt to trek from a station called Lipit where the 4×4’s trail used to end. The station is 7kms away from the crater and the trek will take about two hours. I was not able to take a good photo of the station because of the very rough road making some photos blurry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ If you’re in for more adventure, I think you can ask your driver to drop you and your tour guide off at Lipit station ๐Ÿ™‚

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After our 20-minute trek…

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My feet submerged in the sulfuric water! Hahaha

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Our team’s winning shot! Hooray for Team 5! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Shortly after lunch, it was time for us to go…

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Though our stay there was pretty short and quick, it was still memorable and fun-filled. Who would have thought that something that once caused great disaster would be as beautiful as this? ๐Ÿ™‚

Tips:
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, a cap/hat, rubber/trekking shoes.
Bring a camera,ย shades, sunscreen lotion, picnic mat, slippers (so you can dip your feet in the water :))
Bring lots of water or Gatorade, snacks and lunch (if you plan to stay there for quite some time)

Photos by my brother and me ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.
We passed by Capas Shrine, one of the historical landmarks in the country. It is where the Bataan Death March started. We were not able to stopover but I learned that the entrance fee to the shrine is P60 only ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting By

I wrote this more than two years ago and it’s dedicated to my wonderful friends who always makes my (super) stressful days less stressfulย ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, I woke up
Looking forward to a great day
But events aren’t always kind
They sometimes bring me down

Today, I wore a frown
Cause of all the unwished for happenings

Today, I saw you
We exchanged stories and jokes
Little did I know
My worries disappeared one by one

Today, I wore a smile
Cause of the happiness you shared

Tomorrow, I will wake up
With a smile on my face
Because I know that, maybe thanks (again) to you,
I’m getting by

Grilled Chicken Pita

Wednesday last week, I got the chance to cook dinner again! Yay for me. Haha! I feel like I haven’t cooked in a really long time that was why I was very excited haha! I was a bit anxious though that I might not have enough time since I was coming from work. Thank God it wasn’t traffic and my super mom was there to assist me ๐Ÿ˜‰

This was suppose to be a Sunday special but certain circumstances prevented it which was why I made it on a Wednesday. This was my first time to create a dish with pita bread so I searched the internet for a recipe that is most appetizing for me and I found this. And since feta cheese is very expensive, I also searched for a salsa recipe to replace the tomato-feta mixture. (I removed the chilies though as I don’t eat anything spicy >_<)

Clockwise from top: Lettuce, salsa, sauteed onions, yogurt sauce

Surprisingly for me, it was rather easy to make. It’s also perfect for dinner as it is not that heavy on the stomach ๐Ÿ™‚