The reason for my skinny frame may be attributed to genes or fast metabolism, but definitely not to diet or exercise. If you ask me though, I believe it’s due to my stomach’s inability to contain a big amount of food. Nope, I never had a bariatric surgery, it’s just the way it is. Given this I am not the ideal person to hit buffet, especially an “all you can eat” one. But would I say no to a buffet? Of course not!
Last Saturday I went all the way to Quezon City in response to an invite by the sales and marketing manager of The Buffet International Cuisine, Cathy Sanchez. Joining me in this food trip are my friends/favorite travel companions, Rhoda, Paolo, and Alchris.
For four years, I was consistent in attending our company’s summer outing. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time that I’m talking about it in this blog, probably because this is where I had most fun out of all outings that we had. This year we went to the Ocean Park Adventure Subic.
In this outing, apart from skipping the swimming part, I discovered several things such as, dolphins make for an uber cool surfboard and they can walk on water (they can even do it backwards), sea lions are big and cute and not to be mistaken for seals, jellyfish sort of glows and is beautiful up close, the skin of the snake is not slimy and wet but dry and rough to the touch, animals can be trained even bats, and if friction-based fire making doesn’t work just use a friggin’ lighter.
Before this trip the only thing I can associate about Bontoc is the bus accident that killed comedian, Tado and 14 other people in February 2014. It is sad when people can only remember a place because of an ugly occurence so I am happy that I was able to go to the Mountain Province and discover the interesting things that Bontoc has to offer.
Just like the lotus feet in China and the neck rings in Thailand, there is a tradition in the province of Kalinga that women undertake in pursuit of beauty. The tradition is called “batok” or the art of tattooing tribal designs using thorn and bamboo stick. The female citizens bear the marks for beauty, which they are allowed to get when they come of age. The men, on the other hand, have to prove themselves worthy of the mark, hence, the majority of men who have these tattoos are warriors. This alone makes batok an experience like no other. It is also a tradition that is slowly dying following the passing of the original mambabatoks. There is, however, one of them who is still alive and despite her old age, shows no sign of retiring from doing this art. And just a week ago, I have had the privilege to experience this traditional tattooing procedure under the hands of the legendary mambabatok of Kalinga, Apo Whang-Od.
Dubbed as the most pristine out of all 7 lakes in San Pablo, Laguna, Lake Pandin is a popular side-trip destination in Barangay San Lorenzo. It is the smallest of the 7 lakes, about 20.5 hectares, with an average depth of 207 ft. It is separated from another lake, Yambo, by just a narrow strip of land, hence they are called as twin lakes.
I’d visited this lake twice; the first time was with my blogger friends after our memorable staycation at Casa San Pablo Bed & Breakfast. It’s a good 15 to 20-minute walk, depending on your pace, going to the lake from the highway. We walked under the midday sun, hence the look of displeasure on everyone’s faces as we trod the dirt path. There are motorbikes that you can rent to get to the lake for PHP 50 (USD 1.00) per person. We only took this option going back to the main road.
Our efforts have not been in vain, the lake is beautiful.
There are activities that you can do on this lake, though I’m not sure if swimming is one of them as we didn’t see anyone doing so. Bamboo rafts lined the side of the lake, waiting for tourists to hire them for a cruise down the lake. You can ride these rafts anywhere between 180 to 600 pesos, depending on the package of your choice; you make take the bamboo raft ride with or without food.
My friends and I decided to relish in the view while enjoying our halo-halo and fresh coconut. We were allowed to sit inside one of the parked rafts.
You may refer to the article of ThePinaySoloBackpacker on how to get to Lake Pandin.