And the Target: Byahe continues.. Vigan, Beach of La Union, Sisig ng Pampanga, Bangus Dagupan

I've actually done each and every one of these as a kid. My parents grew up in the North - Pangasinan for my mom, and Ilocos Norte (and to some extent Pampanga) for my dad. And part of my memories involve going back to their probinsiya; Ilocos (and stopping over a lot of times), and Pangasinan with some outing mostly in the North.

With Jojo inviting me and RD, we prepared to go to Vigan, our ultimate destination. We realized though that it could also be a good idea to actually have a picture with some more items in the song, everything is on the way anyway. So we stopped at our first stop - beach ng La Union. It probably isn't what the composer intended, but this beach was in Caba, La Union. Our intention was to have lunch by the beach, so when we saw Villa Navarro, we stopped there, and took some pictures of the beach. The place seemed ok, but there wasn't much around. There was an area for airsoft, but nothing much. Anyway, we took some pictures of the beach and decided we'd probably eat somewhere in San Fernando instead.

We actually decided to try the beach again, but got stuck in sand! Thanks to the locals, we managed to escape, but that's another story altogether. We had an uneventful lunch at KFC, San Fernando, La Union. A few hours after, we arrived at Vigan. We just followed the signs and went down following what we saw were old structures. That was that - one street trapped in the Spanish times- Calle Crisologo. It was now full of souveneir shops. Admittedly, the architecture and the Calesas that roamed helped make it feel like you were back in time. We were then invited by a kutsero if we wanted to tour around - 150 Php for an hour. It was cheap and so we did ride the Calesa. He actually took us away from Vigan, to the next neighbouring area. Some were interesting, like the bell tower of St. Augustine Church. Some, like ancestral houses of political figures, we just skipped.

We didn't reach an hour of touring, but we decide to skip whatever is still up next. We then decided to find a play to sleep - lots of choices - but we decided to take Vigan Plaza Hotel. It was actually beautiful and as Rd mentioned, reminded us of retreat houses.

We rested a bit, until it was time for dinner. We tried to look around but eventually went back to the hotel - their buffet dinner at Php300 was a good deal. Lots of choices of viands and unlimited iced tea. No dessert though, but it was ok. It was earth hour too that day, so we did notice how the town celebrated it. There was a band and some areas which were lit only by candles. But Calle Crisologo was lighted up like normal.

During Earth Hour

The next day, we had breakfast at the hotel again - tasting Vigan Longganisa and tsokolate. We still had two more targets for the day - Dagupan bangus and Sisig of Pampanga. We left shortly after breakfast and headed to Dagupan. With nothing to do at the backseat, I used my mobile broadband to search for the best Bangus of Dagupan and Sisig of Pampanga. Fortunately, the GPS brought us to the beach road of Bonuan in Dagupan where we found Matutina's - where someone mentioned it has the best Bangus. We also had rice (with taba ng talangka) and liempo there.

We then headed to Pampanga - where we had to find two restaurants competing for the title "best sisig." We failed, but a search on the internet said Aling Lucing - the "old favorite" for Sisig has a stall in Marquee mall. So we proceeded there instead. We were still full and ordered just that.

Overall, it was a nice trip. Conquered 4 items in the "byahe tayo" song. Still a lot more to finish my target!

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Hong Kong - Macau - Clark - Manila : A journey of sea, air and land

There wasn't any rush for the day. Our flight to Clark from Macau was still at 9PM, so we still had lots of time. The night before, it was a failed attempt to buy souveneirs at Hong Kong's night market. I find the selection too limiting, though it was an endless array of stalls of very similar products. So that morning, I tried to go to the Ladies' market, while my parents went to do last minute shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui and Elements Mall. I was informed by the concierge that the ladies market opens at 11am, so I at least tried to scout some from of the open stores from the adjacent electronics and sports good. But only a handful were opened at 11am. I left around 12nn, feeling sad. Around less than 10% were open, and I forced myself to buy what was available. My parents had more luck. They were able to buy a lot of items.

At 12:30, it was time for lunch. I reserved a buffet lunch at Kitchen, W Hong Kong's restaurant. We were seated with a harbour view, so I have an idea what harbour-view rooms see. They had a good selection of food ranging from duck, make-your-own pasta, bbq, tempura and a lot more. Too bad, I'm not a fan of cheese and salads as there was an extensive selection. Dessert was good too. Dimsum was ok. We had late check out around 3PM then proceeded to a ferry ride to Macau. While it was uneventful, I noticed some differences. Price was displayed prominently at Hong Kong ticket office, and our tickets carried the time, price and number of passengers. This was not the case when we left Macau.

With still a lot of time left, we decided to go to Venetian using their free bus ( most hotels have this). With a lot of stuff, we proceeded to the West Lobby so we can leave our stuff. It was good, I guess if you're in Macau for a day tour, you can leave your stuff there. After a few hours, we then proceeded to the airport. Flight was uneventful too.

Clark was a different story. There wasn't any bus available every night. The only way to go back to Manila at that time is by taxi. We tried to wait for a public jeep to no avail. Taxi to Manila was 2800. However a cheaper alternative is taxi to Dau for 450 (arranged price) then take a manila-bound bus which costs around Php140.

It was an exhausting journey of sea, air and land. I'll definitely be back Hong Kong and Macau! Maybe not in the near future for Clark - current cost saving wasn't worth it for the inconvenience of going back at night without transportation.

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Hong Kong Happy Place

I still have memories of my first Disney Park way back in 2001. 'Til this day, I still look at those pictures with a smile. If there was one place in our itinerary that can never be removed - it was Hong Kong Disneyland. It was an absolute must from my mom's perspective - and that comes from an adult who has already been there previously!

Our journey to the happy place started at around 9:30am. And while the hotel bed was the most comfortable, we tried to leave early and expected to leave Disneyland after the fireworks display. I've originally intended to visit Ngong Ping 360 before we go to Disneyland - but I decided to cancel it for a full day at Disneyland.

From the line train, you can already feel the Disney vibe with all the hidden mickey references and characters all around. You wouldn't even rush entering the park, there was so much things to take pictures of.

Compared to the other parks I've been to, this was small.. but that didn't mean it wasn't full of things to do. The first thing I got hold of was the show schedules, so that we could properly plan our day. Unfortunately, Lion King wasn't part of that Sundays show, I guess that will have to wait for just a few more months when I return. The Disney on Parade was ok, and so was the High School Musical:Live. We loved the Golden Mickeys - we had to watch it twice! The Stitch Encounter was for kids. We did a lot of rides too in between! And while we know the whole park was centered on kids, us adults enjoyed it as well. I guess the perfect ending was the fireworks display. The castle surely added to the magic!


.. and to this happy place, I'll be back VERY soon :)

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