A Travellerspoint blog

A real travel post: Day 1 of the 1st adventure

Gapo, Day 1


A real travel post: Day 1 of the 1st adventure

For some reason, i woke up earlier than my alarm clock yesterday. It must have been plain excitement, and my body wanting to get away. With my bags packed, i went to Victory Liner at 5:30. 

When i got there, i was dismayed to see that there was a 5am schedule, but happy coz i would be able to eat. I was looking for the lumpia my ate was telling me about, but i knew later she was referring to Double Happiness. So i settled for malingsilog which cost me only 52 pesos. It was decent. No complaints. 

The bus fare was 212 pesos. I thought it was higher. I settled in on seat number 8. My seatmate got on earlier so he had the window view. And he had his earphones on, so there was no chance of chatting with a fellow traveler. The bus left at exactly 6am. 

Along the way, i was creating my travel playlist, and there are two that i feel everyone should have when they're travelling: Juice's Best Days and J.Lo's Feelin so good. I so wanted to burst into song but everyone else was sleeping. And while they did, i just enjoyed the view of passing by different cities.

When the bus passed by Robinson's Starmills, i knew we weren't going to SCTEX. It would've been faster, but less fun. At one point, i heard the dad seated across me asking for directions from the conductor. Whew! I wasn't the only worrywart there. I saw the Pampanga S&R, finally! The bus was filled with people right by Dinalupihan, where Mr. Big is from. Couldn't imagine the area being flooded by the recent habagat... 

One of the things i wrote down on my notebook was seeing the domino houses the trio adventurers passed by in our Iba trips. So the name of the village is Lincoln Heights. And it's scarier in close view! The houses really are too close for comfort to each other. I hope the houses are strong. 

Further, into Bataan, my Ate Angie called me and said that if i'm in the zigzagging road, i should be close. That road, ugh. 

So i arrived at Olongapo. When the bus stopped and a lot of peeps got off, i thought it was already the terminal, so i got off. Inggitera. Lol. I had to find the terminal so my ate an pick me up. 

I had lived in Olongapo one summer vacation. It was in my ate's house and the kids were still well, kids. Now her three children are all grown up. And we have new toddlers in the house. The house was still the same as i remembered. I took time to bond with the younger kids. And oh, when we went out to buy Coke, i saw a huge snail and had to take a picture of it on the road. There, a jeepneh was passing by. I almost got hit lol. My tita and my cousin's in-law (who we call mommy too) cooked fish fillet and sinigang! Wow! What a welcome! After lunch, we went straight to the house my cousin looks after.

Well, it is a nice house! Two floors, three rooms and a spacious living room (where they are sleeping in right now, i'm at the second floor alone). The furniture and appliances are really nice. 

After watching a movie and eating almonds cashew and chocolate, i had to rest for a bit. We would be going to the Ayala Mall inside the base.

Hmm. Harbor Point reminded me of an unfinished Trinoma. It was bigger than the SM in the city proper. Not all stalls were done yet. The restos were good, Clawdaddy's, SumoSam, Army Navy, Yellow Cab, Starbucks, CBTL, etc. we waited for one of my nieces and my tita and we all ate at Kusina ni Gerry's. 

While Gerry's is known for being an inuman place, Kusina ni Gerry's is more into food, with prices really affordable and the servings good even for students. I got kare kare paired with pansit bihon and extra sizzling sisig. They all ate something else. The food was good.







We went around and looked for stuff we needed. My nephew, whom i asked what he needed in Watson's, sai he didn't like Toblerone because it was expensive. I was amused, because he only agreed to let me buy him Toblerone if i got the smaller and cheaper one. At Puregold, i bought milk for breakfast, and my ate bought bigas. 

After what seemed like a long day out, i think we were all full. I was tired. So we went back to the resthouse. I wanted to talk more but my body was too tired. I disn't have time for Bible reading, but i just silently thanked Him for allowing me to have the time with my relatives here, and showing me a good time. Oh, i brought my travel buddy Elmo. And we took pictures. 

Later today, i don't know what we'll be doing, but i know there will be more food! 

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 10:04 Archived in Philippines Comments (1)

the day before the big travel


this morning, i woke up really early and ended up eating breakfast with my cousins. i tried the bentelog again, this time the eggs were not that salty, so it was all good.

after the busog lusog meals, i went straight to church. i did not know it was a series break. a series break is a service that does not fall under a church-wide theme. we had Pastor Raymond running the show today, talking about faith. it was really apt for what i've been struggling with for the past few days. i need to have stronger faith. there was also a Hillsong song that i heard at church. i need to download that, if only i knew the title.

and yeah, after service, we didn't eat at peanut butter company. we ate at Mom and Tina's, where they have delectable cupcakes. i ordered the chicken baked macaroni. it was yummy, but the serving was too small. banapple would have had the same price and taste with a bigger serving.

the small group was, erm, a bit small today, although we had new girls joining us. Jobo asked us what our vision was, and i told them about my blog and my work. i really want to inject some Scripture stuff in my training sessions and i'm hoping it would be okay at work.

Jobo's first question actually made me think really hard. it was about opposition that i experienced from people and what happened to make things turn out well. i remembered the time when all the companies i applied a job for turned me down. it was until i swallowed my pride and applied as an agent at NCO that i redeemed myself. 4 years later, here i am, a manager. who would've known?

after the small group, i hung out with Lori and Ella (?) for a bit at KFC. and then i met Michael.

Michael's a twitter friend. we became good friends when he DMd me and told me he was also in the training field and loved food. we decided to meet today since he needed to attend church too. i brought him to Chocolate Kiss and i treated him to Pure Chocolate and Dayap cake. then we went to SC so he can buy fruit shake. it was such a shame that when we had to get back to Bahay ng Alumni, it rained and we were stuck on the street where Lutong Bahay and Lutong Kapitbahay were. at least we were able to talk. when the rain turned into just a drizzle, we walked towards Bahay, but it's a good thing a cab passed by, we went to SM North. we ate for a few minutes at The Sandwich Guy. i got HBLT, which was still my most favorite sandwich, sans the extra mayo. :) we never really finalized where to go in November.

so i went home. and now i am checking all things i need before i leave tomorrow morning.

on Sep 24-25 i will be staying at my Ate Angie's house in Olongapo. then on Sep 26, i'll be in La Union to watch surfers. Sep 27-29, i'll be in Baguio. i need to double check all my hotel reservations and clothes.

in La Union i'll be staying at San Juan Surf Resort. in Baguio, i'll be at Hotel Veniz. i am so excited!

on a sad note, please take time to pray for Derrick and his family. his uncle passed away this morning.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 20:56 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

hello, life test, 1, 2, 3


According to the Purpose Driven Life, our life is a test. And it is one major test. It's funny because just when i decided to change, the little tests start coming in.

So far, i haven't been tested with smoking or drinking. i guess i have a strong hold on my vices. next week, i will have a goodbye ceremony of sorts. no, i will not be throwing away my lighters in the ocean, that's littering. maybe something like what the trio adventurers did in Olongapo months ago. i'll say goodbye to smoking and drinking.

the one thing that i feel is a daily test will be my preference. i can't even use the right words for it now. ever since i started tweeting and posting about my recent experiences, guys have been suddenly sending me messages. they're asking me how i am, and all that jazz, but the crazy coincidence is that they popped up just when i decided to slowly turn my back on that lifestyle.

today, i met with someone. i dated him more than twice. that's big. no, not Mr. Big. just big. i never dated anyone twice unless i liked him. and i liked this person. when we were together today, i remembered why i liked him. just a little bit of pop culture, and more "makes sense" conversations. it's his nature to be smart. and i like smart guys. and smart conversations. when he dropped me off our office, i thought about kissing him before he left. but i held back. i realized that urges will always be there. it only depends if i act on those urges.

so i didn't kiss him. you know how much of a struggle that is for me? he was my last kiss. that was months ago when we met before going to an ex-friend's party. and he is still my last kiss.

i honestly don't have any idea how long these tests will continue to haunt me, but i must be ready. every day the devil whispers to my ear and tells me to just sleep instead of spending quiet time. when i sleep, my subconscious reminds me of what i am missing out on: smoking, drinking, sex, etc. but i have given up on those.

it is my nature to be competitive. so i will compete. i've been victorious in living a sinful life. i should be doubly working hard on living the right life. in the end, when i leave this world, it won't matter how many parties i went to, or how many boys banged me, or how many bottles or Skyy vodka i drank. what's important is how i followed His will and purpose for me. every day is a test. and i should ace it every day.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 20:02 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

the case of the bank passbook


i've been working since 2004, two years shy of a decade. and i haven't saved anything yet.

sure, i have some gadgets. but these things depreciate in value, and can be of little help if i needed emergency money. so i decided to open a bank account.

it took me this long because i was too lazy to get valid IDs. i didn't realize IDs were important in most bank transactions. aside from my company ID, i had nothing else. it was a good thing our postman said we could apply for a postal ID thru him, with a little extra cost only, so we didn't have to go to the post office. knowing me, that was okay.

i got my ID this morning. and that prompted me to go to BDO and open a savings account (with passbook and ATM).

all i needed were a 1x1 picture and two valid IDs. i didn't need anything else. even though i went to National Bookstore to have my IDs photocopied, BDO had their own machine, bless them (unlike Comelec). i just filled out a form, and in a few minutes, i had my own passbook, with my initial deposit. i felt like a proud momma. i'll get my ATM next week (but i'll be in La Union by that time teehee).

this decision is in line with my challenge to raise savings that would reach 6 digits. i don't know how i'm going to use that money, but i just want to keep it. i feel like a responsible adult!

anyway, after that, i met Derrick at Green Coffee. he gave me goodies from his Cebu-Bangkok trip! i'm trying to imagine my bag. half-clothes. half-food. hahaha. thanks Derrick!

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 19:23 Archived in Philippines Tagged the_case_of Comments (0)

my soul's travels: the Christian i see

as my eyes open


we all have stereotypes. because it is our nature to judge, we may even have different versions of common stereotypes that we see out there. like in Mean Girls, stereotyping can also be based on which clique you join. jocks, black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, the plastics, etc.

recently, i joined a new clique. this is a group of people that many of us may have, at one point or another, made fun of. or have made snarky comments about. i joined the Christian group.

i didn't really know what Christians were like, because of the different personalities i see everyday. it also didn't help that i grew up in a family and community that were predominantly Catholic. i may have known a few friends who were part of the Jehova's Witness, but never a Christian. or maybe i just didn't know they were Christians. hmm.. i have one uncle, i think, who became a Christian. i saw them bless our food one day when they came over with their friends. see, stereotypes.

when i joined the Church, i received a lot of reactions, more on the joking side. bless my mom, her only question was, "Why change now?" but the others, oh my. people would raise their hands at me like they are blessing me. or tell me bad words that i used to enjoy saying. some would ask me questions to challenge my change in faith. that, i really don't understand.

when a person is considered ugly, and then gets a makeover, people applaud. when a sinner decides to change, do we question?

it took me a long time to get here. i have lived 28 years of my life trying to please myself. and surrounding myself with beautiful things. i wouldn't have experienced that if a certain Someone did not die on the cross for me. how easy did i forget about that? as soon as i hit my teenage years, i have forgotten who He was. and now that i'm wanting to know Him again, i'm made fun of. well, what goes around, comes around.

i actually don't see anything funny about the new people i hang out with. if anything, they're fun! they know the Bible, or which parts of Scripture would be appropriate for a certain sitch. true, some of us raise our hands while singing, but it's because we feel the message of the songs. in Church, it's considered funny. but in a Maroon 5 concert, if you cried, it's because you're cool.

apparently, Christians also live among all of us. we have jobs. and it's a constant struggle to work in offices where wrong is seen as right. while most of us think about what is "normally" right, Christians want to do what's right. it's saying no to a police officer asking for "lagay" so you wouldn't have "to go through the hassle of paying your ticket." it's saying no to under the table transactions. we have lived with ways to make our lives easy. but not all easy things are right.

being with these people make me realize how much crooked my world is. or how easy it had been for me. the comfort that i had growing up lead me to do things that i am not proud of today.

on Sundays, i usually spend the whole day sleeping, because of a wild extravaganza the night before. the folks i'm with spend extra hours after service to join small groups, share their experiences and pull you into the life of a Christian, to be saved. make no mistake, there are peeps who have families too, but what's good is that their families are involved in church too. how about that?

i admire the efforts of some of them. if we have to talk about going the extra mile, this is the extra mile. they don't get paid for this. they don't ask for any favors for this. this is selflessness. if all of us spent time thinking about one another instead of just our own selves, we would prosper.

which made me think, if a Christian were to join politics, his/her life would be a constant battle. there are standards in society to be met, but there are grander standards set by God. someday, i would love to see a politician who maintained the Christian life while in the government.

every week, i discover things about the people i "hang out" with. while others are talking about the newest trends, or the latest shocker in pop culture, we talk about our struggles. we pray for each other. we give each other hope, that in every day, we will live a life with God in its center.

this is a new world for me. and it's a world that i didn't appreciate before. temptations are everywhere, left and right. but the choice is mine. and yours, soon, i hope.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 03:20 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (5)

the start of something good

no cray cray


like how i planned it, i didn't go out on Saturday and just stayed at home. i must have slept so much that i woke up really early on Sunday. good thing Rye was also awake so we went to KFC and had breakfast. well. i realized i am so disconnected to Path now that i didn't have any stories to tell. Path was like Gossip Girl to us. we knew what was happening to everyone. now, i don't.

after more than an hour of talking, we decided to go home. i wasn't able to take a nap anymore, so i just soundclouded. Click at your own risk. :)

Derrick's on an Asian tour so i was going to be alone at church. it was easier now since i know a few familiar faces. even when i was alone, i was less shy about greeting other people. it was Pastor Manny who ministered and it was okay. until the part electricity was cut off and i almost shrieked as i usually do anywhere lights are turned off abruptly. LOL.

after service, we ate at Peanut Butter Co, which we should not do next week. i'm starting to not like it. i met new folks from church again. that was nice.

after lunch, we proceeded to the small group and talked about adversity. it's humbling to realize i have so much to be thankful for that i took for granted. i have also started my one to one session which i think is really important.

i will not be sharing a lot of stuff, i guess. some stories are not for me to share. while some are things we can only experience as we go through a transformation. i wouldn't want to spoil the fun for others.

anyway, when i got home, i removed some apps from my phones that i will not be using anytime soon. this can be the start of something good.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 14:11 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

playlist update: sweet surrender

leaving the cold room


"Sweet Surrender"
by Sarah McLachlan

it doesn't mean much
it doesn't mean anything at all
the life I've left behind me
is a cold room

I've crossed the last line
from where I can't return
where every step I took in faith
betrayed me
and led me from my home

and sweet
sweet surrender
is all that I have to give

you take me in
no questions asked
you strip away the ugliness
that surrounds me
are you an angel
am I already that gone
I only hope
that I won't disappoint you
when I'm down here
on my knees

and sweet
sweet surrender
is all that I have to give

sweet surrender
is all that I have to give

and I don't understand
by the touch of your hand
I would be the one to fall

I miss the little things
oh I miss everything

it doesn't mean much
it doesn't mean anything at all
the life I left behind me
is a cold room

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 03:46 Archived in Philippines Tagged playlist_update Comments (0)

random babbles: doodling on my laptop

of floods, crying and glee


i wanted to blog about my experience this morning. when i was limping along Florentino with my shoes and a paper bag in hand. attempting to walk on a flooded street. squealing like a little girl when a huge truck suddenly passed by. i wanted to write something funny today. you know, getting sick the day before, and then going to work not fully well only to come back home the next day to a flooded street. i had a lot of ideas. until i went blank.

i just couldn't write any other word. i knew it wasn't worth saving a draft since i wouldn't finish it anyway. until my travel next week crossed my mind. and i cried.

i've never had a vacation that had meaning. it was all about drinking. fun stuff. and lately, my VLs have been used up because of getting surgery twice in a year. that ain't fun. i cried because i was thinking of who and what i would be after this vacation. i had a lot of things in mind when i was planning this vacation. i wanted this trip to be really cheap, but i'm a new traveler so maybe my budget for my next adventures would be really small. i don't want to spend so much money nowadays too. sounds weird, coming from me.

anyway, tomorrow, i'll start my one 2 one with someone from the small group. i don't know how it will go. but my soul is excited. i think this is a new route in my life that everyone's gonna be shocked about.

after that one week of travelling alone, i will come back and leave everything that made me feel bad behind. forget the meaningless vices. i'm really praying that i can do this. i've found new friends that could probably help me get there. and hopefully my friends will remain.

while crying it wasn't helping that i was watching the season premiere of glee. i kinda lost interest in season 3, but this season opener got me. i cried like a baby over that "Chasing Pavements" scene. should i give up? for that chance to change? and risk losing a lot of things that i enjoy? but it's time to change. i should be happy about those memories. i need new memories now. one that i will spend with Him. anyway, i need to sleep.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 07:20 Archived in Philippines Tagged random_babbles Comments (0)

Playlist update: Open my Eyes

My current favorite Hillsong track


[Verse 1]
In the stars I see Your majesty displayed
In the heavens all Your wonders are proclaimed
I see Your fame in all of the earth
And I seek to know the ways of Your heart

Through the seas and open skies I hear Your praise
As the shout of all creation lifts Your Name
I hear Your praise in all of the earth
And I seek to know the ways of Your heart

So open my eyes oh God
Open my heart to see
All the wonders and the power of Your name

By Your grace I'll live
By Your grace I'll see
For my life and my salvation is in You

[Verse 2]
For You take the sinner's heart and bring new life
Through the cross we are restored within Your Light
I know Your love is all that I need
And I seek to know the ways of Your heart


I know Your love is all that I need
And I seek to know the ways of Your heart

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 06:12 Archived in Philippines Tagged playlist_update Comments (0)

poem vomit: the reform


i found myself at a crossroads
where i had to make a decision;
do i choose the path to pleasure
or the path to my salvation?

the years that lead to this
were hazy and without purpose
i turned my back on You,
and lived a life that was godless

and now i turn to You
to show me that i can transform
into the person You thought of
before, in a womb, i was formed

let me take a walk with You
to be free of worldly desires
fill my heart with Your grace
that's one thing i need, in dire

Jaycee Pagdanganan

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:56 Archived in Philippines Tagged poem_vomit Comments (0)

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