First Hike Trip of 2015 : Aduan Falls

Your days are your life in miniature. So as you live your day, you live your life. – Robin Sharma

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One of the intentions I set for myself this year is to spend more time with nature. I was surrounded by it in my previous job. I wake up to the howls of the monkeys. I am greeted by the chirping of the birds. I am gently caressed by the mild, cold wind blowing through my window. I am enveloped by the stillness and beauty of the hills.

When I decided to move back to the Philippines and take on a new direction (aka adventure), the setting changed. I am now surrounded by concrete, paved roads and endless honking of cars and all. I miss my life in the hills. But I was so busy last year settling in and making sense of my new surroundings that I forego seeking what I have been yearning.

This year, I told myself to have no excuse. So last Friday, I broached the idea of hiking with some colleagues at work and I got positive responses.

After asking people where the best place to go for this preliminary excursion is, plans were laid and we were ready to go.

February 7, 2015. Saturday.

I almost backed out. The pull of gravity of my bed was so strong that if my colleagues did not sleep over in my place, I would have declared a pass.

7 AM and we were off. Aduan Falls, that is the destination.

It was not that difficult to find the place. After asking several security guards and locals, we found the location. And off we hiked.

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We have only taken a few steps when we all began reeling that what we are doing is such a great idea. It was a beautiful day. The sky is almost cloudless and the horizon is very clear. It was the perfect day to go to the falls.

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The hike took about 1 and a half hours. The guides said it could be less. But since we were not in a hurry, we took our time to enjoy the landscape, appreciate the flowers and of course adjust to the sudden change of activity of our legs. I am used to wearing heels for the last 15 months of my life and putting on a rubber shoes and walking again on sand, rocks and water needs some getting used to.

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The gentle heat from the sun, the soothing coldness from the water and the finale of seeing Aduan falls made the trip all worth it.

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Will I do this again? Definitely.

We’re now coming up with a list of all the hike trails we have in Clark and excited to cross them off one by one before the year ends.

This year is turning out great. I love it.

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Image Source : All photos are taken by the author except for the last 3 which were courtesy of JM Lorenzo.

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Gi-Chi’s Lugawan

It is a Saturday.

The torrential rain which came with lightning just stopped and my stomach is churning.

What to eat?

Time check 4 PM.

I sent a quick message to my eating buddies. They have just finished having Korean Samgyupsal. What’s for dinner? I asked.

They have no idea.

I said why not have some lugaw? In that unlimited lugawan they have always been telling me about.

Weather is just perfect for that warm bowl of congee. I asked if they also serve tokwa’t baboy. They have, they said.

Great.

See you at 6:30 PM then.

And I continued reading blogs until I need to get up and prepare for the night.

Gi-Chi’s Lugawan is located in the street near Diamond. If you are from Angeles, you know where Diamond is. It is a subdivision where lots of restos, cafes and videoke houses have sprouted. That is the destination.

We arrived and was welcomed by a garage turned carinderia.

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Plastic chairs and tables covered in linoleum. A counter which houses the steaming goto and some side dishes for accompaniments.

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I ordered EggCaldo. 30 pesos. Not bad. I paired it with tokwa’t baboy worth 25 pesos and a bottle of Pepsi for 10.

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A big bowl of steaming white delight arrived with those golden brown tokwa’t baboy. Stomach problem solved.

For only 65 pesos, Saturday dinner, check.

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Rating:

Parking 4 out 5

Park at the sidewalk at your own risk. There were plenty of spaces though when we arrived.

Taste of food 3.5 out of 5

Limited condiments. Friend garlic is rationed. You can have all the kalamansi, patis and pepper you like though.

Hygiene 2.5 out of 5

My measure for this will always be “Will my Mom eat here?”. Definitely not. Exposed washbasin with your typical curtain covering the bottom part. Possibility of crawling critters but I did not see one.

Price Soundness 5 out 5

For 30 pesos a bowl. You cannot complain.

Will I eat here again? It will not be a favourite place but for those times when budget is low and craving is on full mode, why not?

Also, there are several videoke and bar restos in front all blaring their own music. Conversation is not possible. Stress from noise pollution? Guaranteed.

Work-Life Balance, Eating and Writing. Yay!

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It has been almost 10 months of living in Clark and I have to give the self a pat at the back.

I got what I wanted. Yay!

I am living independently, doing work I love and having a real awesome WORK-LIFE balance.

Work-Life Balance, something that has become a stranger to me in previous jobs. Something that I was able to own back for the last 10 months. Hurray!

So what is the life in this work-life balance anyway?

Aside from having weekends off which I rarely had before because it was either I was travelling or working, I now have the opportunity to nurture my loves. Which are? Doing things I cannot do before such as cooking, maintaining a home, reading, napping, exercising(?), and eating!

Nothing spectacular really, I know. But they are to me. Especially if you have missed them for a long time.

And I am very grateful that I live in Clark now. It has everything I need and want and sometimes more!

One of which is the abundance of great places to eat. 10 months and I am still not even a fraction close from trying and dining in all the gastronomic delights this place has to offer. And I like food at that and often eats out when time and money permits. So there really are a lot!

This place is foodie haven!

Colleagues have noticed this passion for eating and some has been suggesting to blog those food-sojourn. Share the experience. Recommendable or blah. Some sort of an advice kind of blogging.

And I said yeah, why not?!

My blog has been in hiatus for quite some time. And this project might keep my fingers to start tapping again.

Marrying two loves. Eating and Writing.

So here goes.

To more gastronomic adventures and beyond.

Matam-ih

If you are a Clark mainstay, you have probably noticed that carnival-looking place near Mimosa Leisure Estate and have wondered what the heck it is. No, it is not a carnival (really) or a perya of some sorts. It is one of the new restaurants in the place. A real, legitimate restaurant. I kid you not.

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The resto is called Matam-ih which stands for delicious in one of the Aeta dialects in Tarlac.

We tried the place one time when we have something to celebrate with colleagues and believe me when everyone was a little bit hesitant and unsure when it was found out that it was the chosen destination.

The place was a combination of steel, wood, lights and some indigenous material, all beautiful in their own right, but looks odd and disharmonious when combined together (or is it just me?). We got seated in one of their gazebo-looking place attached to the main area of the resto and was welcomed by one smart-looking chap who took care of us all throughout our stay. We don’t know what’s in store for us.

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The hesitation and ambivalence to the place stopped when the food was served and everyone digged in. The food, the taste, unexpected. They were all just mouth-watering delights. To say that they were all yum will be an understatement. They were divine.

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Everyone was happy filling in his plate and taking in serving after serving of what were on the table. All dishes were cleaned to the last morsel and everyone got so excited when it was time for dessert!

When they say don’t judge the book by its cover I guess they were talking about Matam-ih. It is one gastronomic delight. Now, every time I pass by that place and people ask what the heck it is, I am all just praises and very generous in citing a very unexpected experience I had with them.

I will always remember that night when I went home with one very happy tummy.

Try it.