AsiaOn the GoPhilippines

My Top Everything of 2009 – my best places

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1. Iloilo

It was ten years ago when I first visited this Visayan place that is gifted with a rich culture and history. A random invite, to say the least, mom and I visited the quiet islands of Concepcion, the majestic churches of Jaro, Molo, Miagao among others, and the country’s Island of Mangoes, Guimaras.

More than enjoying the places, the food, and the people of Iloilo, my bonding moments with mom were truly worth it; no matter how at times, we’d get into petty fights and troubles along the way! I was able to picture out mom’s life snippet in Iloilo as she showed me to places where she lived, studied and enjoyed. At this point too, I was able to personally meet her closest girlfriends. It was very fascinating to see these three female musketeers jeer at each other’s misadventures (or even the lack thereof). There were no dull moments with them. I suddenly felt so belonged in this (old) ladies group.

I was able to visit my great, great grandfather’s humble monument in Zarraga, and found out about my ancestry. Later on, I was also able to meet a few people who introduced themselves as part of the clan. As I now keep them in the loop, chances are high for me to fulfill my goal in tracing my roots.

2. Boracay

Our very first out-of-the-city escapade together – Dylan, Janet, Stephen and I – was in Boracay. Despite the unexpected circumstances days before we left Manila that could have had called off our much-awaited travel and buried this dream in perpetuity, it turned out that a lot of fun moments awaited us in the end.

3. Alaminos and Bolinao of Pangasinan

I spent Labor’s Day holiday at the Hundred Islands in Alaminos. I also had a quick stay at Puerto del Sol in Bolinao. This year, I have spent more days beach adventuring than I used to before. My love for the beach has just gotten better. Definitely, in 2010, I’ll be yearning for another beach escapes.

4. Tagaytay City

Some of my weekends were spent in this cold place since getting here would take us just an hour. I have always enjoyed the road trip and the stopovers at the local stores to buy my favorites. I buy aromatic oils and soaps and healthy pollens at Ilog Maria; lettuce, dressings, and coffee at Gourmet; organic mushrooms at Mushroom Burger; buco tarts at Amira’s; fresh meat at Amadeo public market among many others.

Ironically for the first time this year, I was able to finally visit Tagaytay’s Palace in the Sky (or also known as People’s Park), Sonia’s Garden, and the new branch of Sanctuario at the Robinson Summit Ridge Hotel. We have also frequented other restaurants like G Point Bar, Leslie’s Restaurant and RSM Grill and Restaurant; churches like the Our Lady of Lourdes, Pink Sisters Monastery and the Chapel on the Hill; and parks like Picnic Grove, Tagaytay Vista Hotel and Tagaytay Zoo.

There are still a lot of places in Tagaytay I have not visited yet. For food tripping, it’s going to be Antonio’s Garden and The Grill by Antonio, Bag of Beans, Taj of Tagaytay, Manos Greek Taverna, Josephine’s Restaurant, Paul Huang’s Fire Lake Grill. For a pleasant experience, it’s going to be a visit to Caleruega Church, Tagaytay Highlands, Taal Vista Hotel, Cliffhouse Tagaytay, or even trekking up to Tagaytay’s main attraction, the Taal Volcano.

5. Bangkal of Makati

Macel, Joyce, Dylan, Janet, Mahros and I went to visit this barangay in Makati that is known for thrift shops, sprawling particularly in Lacuna Street. From vintage Samsonite luggage and chandeliers I heart to classic LPs, and old furniture to secondhand shoes and bags of top classic brands like Louis Vitton, Chanel, Lacoste, and man, even Manolo Blahnik, you would definitely relish anything classy-vintage, and imagine getting yourself back in the past.

Oh, of course, who wouldn’t forget the coziest lunch I had with my friends at Fat Michael’s? We really felt so at home. Old classic books, anyone?

Other places on my top list are SM Mall of Asia, Central Business District in Makati City, TriNoma, Serendra and Bonifacio High Street, Greenhills and Megamall. Obviously, these are my go-to places in the city this year.

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