Hard at work under the glaring heat of the sun. ☼
A week ago, we set April 6 as the day my family and I would go to Enchanted Kingdom (EK). But, before going to EK, my uncle had to attend to a few business matters which included a project in Tagaytay.
We arrived at Tagaytay at around 1PM and we haven’t eaten lunch yet. My cousin suggested eating at Pamana Restaurant which is one of the famous food spots in Tagaytay. Pamana Restaurant is owned by Happy Ongpauco, cousin of celebrity Heart Evangelista.
Photo © Dianne Reyno
I love the interior of the place because it gives a homey feel. There are lots of Ongpauco family pictures, antique furniture, and quaint pieces of home accessories (e.g. rocking chair, fireplace) inside.
We decided to seat ourselves at the second floor. I don’t know if sitting inside was the better choice. It was VERY hot that day and we only had one electric fan to keep us cool inside. I did not notice any signs of the wind blowing outside so there was a possibility of sitting outside as a not-so-good idea, too.
On to the food we ate at Pamana! By the way, I was too hungry to take note of the names of the dishes we ordered and their corresponding prices since I did not eat breakfast that day. I did my best to search for a menu online but there was none. 😦
The bowl of Bulalo was really big so imagine this bone sticking out of the bowl… I thought that this was probably from a dinosaur. Kidding! We asked for extra soup and the waiter was kind enough to grant our request. Pamana’s Bulalo had a meaty flavor and the meat itself was very soft to chew. I was just a tiny bit disappointed with the soup because it was not very hot. But of course, that is already a personal preference.
Since the start of 2013, I have been on a low-carb diet and one of the things I did was to substitute whole-wheat bread for rice. The only “rice” I cannot refuse to eat are my mom’s fried rice, bagoong rice, and aligue rice. So, when I saw that Pamana has Bagoong Rice, I knew that I had to order it. Pamana’s Bagoong Rice (good for 2 to 3 servings) has scrambled egg, binagoongang pork, and green mango strips for toppings. It’s actually a meal on its own already. I enjoyed stuffing my tummy with this that I did not bother getting a big portion from the other dishes.
The aligue in Davao’s Baked Sugpo sa Taba ng Talangka went well with the cheese. This combination complimented the sugpo (large shrimp) well. I only got a piece of this since this dish was for my cousin who cannot eat pork, chicken, and beef due to fasting.
This was the only dish I was not able to taste but seeing the rest of my family get second helpings of this dish means that this was delicious enough for them.
The squid was not overcooked so it was easy to chew. It tastes good but it was not too outstanding for me.
Dun-dun-dun!!! The highlight of our lunch goes to the Crispy Pata (deep-fried pork leg). I saw my little sister get a huge chunk of the skin. Huli! I tried a small piece of the skin and it was really crispy. I also grabbed some meat which was easy to munch. Pamana brought out the savory and meaty flavor that I want with crispy pata.
After our business with Tagaytay, we headed towards Laguna. Enchanted Kingdom!!! The last time I went here was around eight years ago, during my high school field trip. It was no surprise that there were a lot of people last Saturday since it was a weekend and students are now on their summer vacation.
My little sister and I were able to use our student IDs to avail of EK’s discount (ticket = P450/student). The regular rate for adults is P500 for weekdays while P600 for weekends. We were disappointed to know that EK removed the ticket rate for adults who wish to enter EK but do not have any intention of riding any of the amusement park’s attraction. My aunts and uncles had to pay P600, too. 😦
The first attraction we went to was the Grand Carousel. We felt like kids again even though my little sister and I are already in our 20s. Obviously, we were surrounded by kids but who cares. My parents also rode the cute horsies. Kids at heart!
The three of us decided to separate from our group so that we could ride any attraction we wanted. My parents, aunts, and uncles went with my nephew and niece to see what attractions these two kids could ride.
Dodgem!!! It was my first time to drive a bump car. I was a bit nervous since while I was waiting for our turn, I saw a few people who were stuck at the sides and could not move their cars. My cousin told me to just keep on turning the steering wheel until my car moved. I was glad that I did not get stuck and I was able to drive my car. *happy dance*
Roller Skater is the roller coaster for kids and for adults who cannot ride the Space Shuttle (like me!!!). I was shocked with this attraction because we only went around the track once. Hindi man lang nag-init pag-upo namin. I know that the last time I rode this was eight years ago but back then, we went around the track two or three times. Now that would make the ride more worth it, right?
We were not able to ride this because of the loooooooong line plus my relatives wanted to go home already when we decided to fall in line. 😦
Hello to the random people in those pictures. LOL. During our ride, Ate Sandy, Chippy, and I talked about how we should smile (or at least try to) when we reach the last downhill part of the attraction. There was a camera at that portion of the ride and you can opt to have it printed on a photo paper or tumbler. Jungle Log Jam was still fun to ride but we were frustrated when we saw our picture. It was too dark! It was already past 5PM but I think that is not a valid excuse. They should have activated the camera flash at that point.
At around 6PM, our group met with the rest of the family since we planned to ride
Rio Grande Rapids. When we arrived at the attraction, the line was the longest I had seen that day. It extended even outside the attraction. We decided not to ride this anymore and headed to Rialto instead so that my nephew could watch a 3D clip.
Talk about another disappointing attraction. The movie clip EK showed was from Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, specifically the part where Dwayne Johnson and his gang were riding bees and were being chased by abnormally huge birds. I haven’t watch the film but I did not like the movie clip. I would have preferred cartoons or animation films over it. Well of course our seats moved forward, backward, and sideways to let us feel as if we were also part of the film but no, it just didn’t work.
I love amusement parks at night because the place becomes more magical with the colorful lights. Anyway, meet Flying Fiesta, one of my favorite rides in EK. This attraction is located just right in front of Rio Grande. Whilst the line for Rio Grande was looooooooooong, there was none at Flying Fiesta. Hooray! If we had more time, I would have ridden this three or four more times.
Our last ride was the newest attraction in EK, the Disk-O-Magic. I convinced my cousin to ride with me and my little sister since I thought that this attraction was fun. Not much screaming as compared to EKstreme Tower… or so I thought. When it was our turn to ride, one of the staff asked us to leave or bags at one corner. No seat belts for this ride but there is a cushion for the back, which magically pops out from the bottom of your seat.
So what happened to us during our ride? Screaming and screaming and screaming. The first three seconds were still fun. All of us were clapping our hands to the beat of the EK music but after that… Damn. We were spinning then we were going from one end of the ride to another. I thought I would be thrown out of the ride any moment (but I knew that I was safely tucked in my seat). At one point of the ride, I just had to close my eyes because I could not scream anymore. After the ride, my hair was all over my face. But, I swear this was really the BEST ride I had that day. I made a GIF of Disk-O-Magic to show how the ride works: click HERE!!!
After Disk-O-Magic, we left Enchanted Kingdom and went home. It was a tiring day but the happiness I felt that day made me forget how tired I was .Weekends are really the best when spent with the people you love the most. ❤
Pamana Restaurant: Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City (near the Tagaytay rotonda)
Enchanted Kingdom: San Lorenzo South, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna
DISCLAIMER: I am not connected to NBI or any of their employees. I am sharing my experience in order to help others save themselves from the hassle of doing the whole process in any of the NBI offices.
Whenever I think of application for government-issued forms, clearances, IDs, etc., the first thing that comes into mind is the loooooong line in the government agency. It may take you the whole day to finish processing your application, or worse you have to come back the next day to finish the process. This is not the case with the NBI clearance, or at least in my case.
I finished getting my NBI clearance a while ago and I can attest that applying online will save you from
stress, hassle, and long lines. Let me share the things I did to get my NBI clearance. 😉 By the way, there is also a PDF file for this which can be found here.
1) There are two ways of paying for the NBI Clearance — either through GCash or Pinoy Pera Padala. I was more familiar with GCash so I opted for this mode of payment. For GCash, one method of doing this is paying the clearance fee with the “cash” in your GCash wallet. The other method (which was the one I did) is to go to any Globe business center then pay through the cashier. I did my transaction at the Globe business center in TriNoma. Since my purpose for getting an NBI clearance is for local employment, I paid P140. By the way, there is an additional fee of 20 pesos for each transaction done in Globe business centers.
2) After paying, you will be given a receipt which contains the date of your payment and the reference number. These two details are needed when you validate your payment online. The Globe personnel was kind enough to mark the reference number in my receipt so that I would be able to spot it easily.
3) Upon accessing the Internet, go to this website where you will be asked to do the following: type your e-mail address; choose how you paid for the clearance; type the reference number and date of payment; choose the purpose for getting an NBI clearance; and type the alphanumeric codes at the last part of the page. After doing this, click the VALIDATE button.
4) A few personal details will be asked from you, which includes your full name and date of birth. MAKE SURE that all of the details you will place there are SPELLED CORRECTLY. After clicking the “next” (or I think it was an “ok”) button, you will NOT be able to
edit those details. Read each detail three times just to make sure everything is correct. What happens if you misspelled or entered the wrong information? You will have to PAY AGAIN since this was your mistake and not of any NBI employee. In other words, you would have wasted P140, if ever.
5) After another click of an “OK” button, you will have to fill up a few more personal details. You can edit this any time you want. After submitting the details, a QR code will be generated and given to you. You have to PRINT this to serve as the proof of your successful online application. An e-mail will also be sent to you, which contains the QR code.
6) You can now book an appointment via text/SMS in this format:
BOOK <space> Ref# <space> LocationCode <space> MMDDYYYY <space> HHMM <space> Name
Then SEND your text to 0917-563-8054.
- Ref# is the reference # from your GCash or PPP transaction.
- LocationCode refers to the NBI clearance outlet which you find as most convenient for you to go to. Find the nearest NBI clearance outlet to you by clicking here.
- MMDDYYYY and HHMM refers to your preferred date and time for getting your NBI clearance. You must input military time (e.g., “0700” for 7AM, “1600” for 4PM).
I did steps 1 to 5 yesterday (April 1) so I had my appointment booked for today (April 2) at 2PM. The outlet I chose was Robinsons Galleria since this is the only outlet nearest to my home. Upon sending my request for appointment, I immediately received a text confirming my request, including a confirmation number.
7) I went to Robinsons Galleria this afternoon to get my clearance. DON’T FORGET TO BRING A VALID ID, by the way. I was not surprised to see long lines there. At the outlet, there are 4 steps to follow in order to get an NBI clearance. I skipped steps 1 to 2 since I already did them online. I went to step 3 and the NBI employee in this counter asked me to write in my QR code printout the type of valid ID I brought, ID number, my work/occupation, nickname, and cell phone number.
8) After this, my QR code was scanned to confirm my transaction for the clearance. Biometrics and picture taking followed this. The NBI employee told me to wait for my name to be called. Waiting time is estimated to be twenty minutes. I decided to just wait there instead of walking around the mall. I actually waited for just ten minutes before I got my NBI clearance. While waiting, I kept on praying that there would be no “hits” for my name. If ever you have a namesake, you will be asked to come back at a specified date. I suppose they will check to make sure that you are not the person in their database who has a case or whatsoever. Anyway, my prayer was answered so I got my NBI clearance today.
I highly recommend applying for an NBI clearance online! You only have to spend less than thirty minutes at the NBI outlet to get your clearance. Goodbye to stressful long lines! 🙂
Holy Week for 2013 just ended. Last Good Friday, my family and my relatives were supposed to do the Stations of the Cross in Via Dolorosa. It was just a ten-minute drive from the home of my relatives, which made it very convenient for us. Finding a parking slot was not difficult but what surprised us was what we saw near the entrance of Via Dolorosa. There was a horde of tourists waiting for their turn to go inside the place. “Horde” might actually be an understatement. Devotees were divided into batches, according to who came first. My aunt decided to postpone our activity then suggested that we go instead to Kamay ni Hesus (Hand of Jesus) the following day.
And so, we did. We left for Quezon province at around 5AM. We got a bit lost since it was my tatay‘s first time to drive to Kamay ni Hesus. When we arrived at around 8:30AM, it was already hard to find parking spaces since apparently, lots of devotees were also there. Kamay ni Hesus, which was built under the initiative of Fr. Joseph “Joey” Faller, draws thousands of people especially those who are in need of hope and miracle. Upon entering the area (or even before that), I noticed that there were various stalls at one side of the pathway — there were hats, shades, bags, and of course, pasalubong. I regretted not buying a hat after our Stations of the Cross at the grotto. The heat was a killer! Later that day, I heard from the news that the temperature was the hottest for 2013. ヽ(#`Д´)ﾉ This guy was seated near the entrance of the shrine and whenever visitors enter the place, he would ask each group which city or province they came from. He would announce that the visitors were from whichever city/province then tell them that they would surely enjoy the place. Every minute or so, he would announce how to go to the comfort room. Probably lots of people kept on approaching him for directions.
We left my ama (Chinese for grandmother) inside the church since she might not be able to handle the crowd at the grotto as well as the number of steps to reach the grotto’s top. There was no scheduled mass for Black Saturday; nevertheless, the church was jam-packed. Piano masterpieces of Catholic songs were played and these were even heard outside the church.
One of the attractions that kids will love in this place is the Noah’s Ark. I did not get the chance to capture photos of all the animal statues they had at the garden because we were in a hurry to get to the grotto already. Children and adults alike were going from one corner to another in order to take their pictures with the animals as well as with the huge ark of Noah. If the public was allowed to go inside the ark, I would have stayed behind and explored the ark first. Hah!
View from the bottom of the grotto… Lots of plants plus the glaring morning sun!
I did my best to capture images of each station before starting the prayer for each station with my family and relatives. Upon reaching the top of the grotto, a huge statue of Jesus Christ awaits the devotees. People prayed here for their personal intentions; some even opted to place their hands at the granite pillar beneath Christ’s feet while praying. The heat of the sun and the number of steps we took were nothing in comparison to how much Christ suffered since He was arrested up to His last breath.
One of the things that annoyed me though is when people stopped at every station, or even every corner of the grotto, to have their pictures taken with whatever sculpture was near them. Most of the people climbing up the grotto only passed by each station; some did not even bother looking at the station. I know that I am in no position to tell these people to follow and do the Stations of the Cross properly but what they were doing took away part of the place’s solemnity. I guess it was more of a tourist attraction for them.
These are just some of the statues/sculptures you will see when you visit Kamay ni Hesus.
After the Stations of the Cross at Kamay ni Hesus, we decided to have lunch at Buddy’s Pancit Lucban. The two branches of this resto that I know are in Market! Market! (Taguig City) and Kalayaan Avenue (Makati City). Of course, the first thing we ordered was the Pancit Lucban since this is the resto’s claim to fame. You might be thinking that it’s the same as pancit canton. That’s not the case though. There are three things that make Pancit Lucban special (and my favorite!): 1) lechon kawali is mixed with it; 2) the dish is not totally dry [look at the picture since there’s sauce]; and 3) mixing their vinegar makes the dish more flavorful. I’m actually big fan of vinegar. *wink*
Since we were also in Lucban, I made it a point not to miss the chance to eat Lucban longganisa (longganisa is the Philippine version of sausages, BTW). It was a good thing that my uncle was also a foodie so he bought it right away. Yay! Buddy’s Lucban Longganisa did not disappoint. It was a bit garlicky so this was a plus for me. My uncle told me that Vigan longganisa was more garlicky though. Can’t wait to have a taste of it!
My little sister is a picky eater and she does not eat longganisa. She ordered Buddy’s Pizza Supreme instead to make sure that she would be full after eating. She was very happy with the pizza since there were generous amounts of cheese and meat.
Here’s a photo of me with my little sister. I still like to call her my “little sister” even though we only have a one-year gap and we almost have the same height. #oldersisterfeelz LOL. On another note, I must end this entry and start attending to my last college requirements. Leggo!
Kamay ni Hesus Shrine and Healing Center: Lucban-Tayabas Road, Lucban, Quezon Province
Buddy’s Pancit Lucban: 66 General Luna St., Cor C. M. Recto Tayabas, Quezon Province