Sunday, June 17, 2012

White Beach Puerto Galera 2012

white beach puerto galera sand at day
I used to go to Puerto Galera a lot. I was thereon averageonce a month when its beauty was still a secret to most of the Filipino population. During those days, I can easily satisfy my beach fix by spendingmore or lessP2,000. Though I have a friend to split the rent, food and booze expenses with and that was five to six years ago, that was still very affordable. 
white beach puerto galera sunset
White Beach, Puerto Galera sunset
white beach puerto galera night life

I was just back at Puerto Galera—after so many yearswith my boyfriend Paulo because of the same reasons I used to have whenever I went there: to relaxwhat else. The trip was also our last hurrah to enjoy the beach and the sun, before I start my new job and before the rainy season kicks in. 

We both had new shades! 
puerto galera-esay querubin
I always found it fascinating that beach-goers could wear skin-baring outfits or swimwearlike being in undergarmentsand it's all good. 
white beach puerto galera
White Beach, Puerto Galera at day
Coco Aroma was a good choice of place to hang outday or night. 
coco aroma hangout-white beach puerto galera-esay querubin
Paulo even performed onstage while the house band was in between sets.
coco aroma hangout-white beach puerto galera
But Coco Aroma's roomsunfortunatelyare old and badly need renovation. We had to transfer to the next door resort called Bienvenida Beachfront even though we already wired and paid our two day booking fee worth P4,000. The P2,000 per night rate at Coco Aroma was expensive given the current state of the place and room. 
coco aroma rooms-puerto galera
The 9-square meters room was like that of a forgotten house that you see on horror films--you wouldn't want to spend a night in it and you'd try to escape the soonest possible. It has a creaky floor; an unusually low ceiling--like on attics--that has patches of unpainted wood that may have been there because the original planks were destroyed already; and a Tetanus-infested electric fan.

coco aroma rooms cottage-puerto galera
Same with the surroundings--it was depressing. Clearly, it needed maintenance. What bothered me the most was the stagnant collection of water that had collected a  frustrating amount of trash at the back of the cottage. 

Like what I said, we ended up in a cheaper resort--P1,500-per-night-- called Bienvenida Beachfront. The cottage was new, big and fronting the beach. We were really happy we found it.

Buenvenida Beachfront-puerto galera

How to go to Puerto Galera, from Manila—the easiest way:

1. Get on a Batangas Pier bound bus. There are bus stations in Alabang, Cubao and Pasay. Bus fare is about P250-P300. 

2. Upon reaching Batangas Pier, choose your destination. You may opt to visit White Beach—where I went. White Beach is known to be the poor-man's Boracay with its more affordable bars and cottages; and nice white, but bigger grain sand than Bora's. Or visit Sabang, La Laguna or Muelle—these places are more for divers. No nice beach fronts to hangout on these three.

3. Choose your bangka (boat). As a common practice, you will choose the bangka that will leave the soonest. But beware, these bangka operators—in the hope of getting more passengershave a tactic of putting and promising the earliest time of departure, but will adjust that if the bangka is not yet full. This happened to me far too many times already. Different bangkas—Minolo and Father and Sonssame style. The next thing I knew, the promised waiting time of 10 minutes had already been an hour. One-way bangka ride is P150. 

Budget for a Puerto Galera get away:
  • Transportation- one-way including the bus and bangka ride, P450
  • Meals- per meal, P70-150 
  • Souvenir- for a shirt or sarong, P100- 200; accessories, P20-300 
The prices indicated may depend on your spending habits. If you are used to order more than one viand; then consequently, your bill will be higher. The transportation and souvenir costs were based on the prices when I was there.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Facial Skin Care for 30 Something Women

Oh, yes, I am 30. And 30s is the new 20s!

Being 30 may mean that you are years ahead in terms of wisdom compared to other people; but unfortunately one downside of "aging" is that your skin follows, too. Larger pores, more visible lines, brown spots and the now-showing-signs-of-sagging cheeks.

Taking care of our skin is a responsibility--it requires discipline, investment and time. 

Facial care tips for us--30 something--women:

healthy breakfast-fruit-apple-outmeal-juice-water1. Eat healthy. Specially foods with high level of antioxidants. Always keep in mind that you are what you eat. I am still a far cry from perfecting my diet but I am getting there. I already minimized my sodium intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, and drink a cup of green tea daily.

2. Water up. I drink four liters of water daily. That may mean that I take more bathroom breaks than most of my friends.  But I love being able to flush out toxins from your body. 

3. Vitamin C. I learned in grade school that Vitamin C is needed for tissue growth and repair, elevates the immune system, and is an antioxidant. So, I pop a tab of Vitamin C every morning.  

4. Sunblock. Even if you are just in front of your PC the whole day, application of facial sunscreen--at least 15% SPF--is advised before stepping out of the house. 

5. Soap and water. I now wash my face three times a day--upon waking up, mid-day and before going to bed. I use Oil of Olay and it is worth P220.00.

6. Toner and moisturizer. I just changed my moisturizer to Oil of Olay's Night Firming cream. It is P988.00--10 times the price of my old moisturizer--and so far it is fulfilling its promise of a more radiant and firmer facial skin.

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White: Grammar Basics

Up until now, I still find myself challenged with the English language--either by speaking or writing. Although I passed my Communication classes during college, I failed to fully absorb the intricate rules of the English grammar that I supposedly had learned. 

I am now in the process of revisiting and re-learning the English grammar. Strunk and White's Elements of Style has been very helpful. It is not as fun as how shares grammar rules but Strunk and White's handbook is easy to understand and follow. If you are having trouble in figuring out when to cut sentences, what preposition to use, when to use a comma, colon or semi colon, then this is the book for you.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spamu: Spam Sushi

Spamu is spam and sushi in one

Spamu is the money-makers' gift for foodies who dig both Spam and Japanese food. I am one those people and I loved Spamu--the taste and experience, but not the price. At P45 each, I think Spamu is expensive. Although it satisfied my sushi craving and the Japanese rice used was at top quality, the slice of Spam was too thin! I ended up opening my own can of Spam to add more.

I'd rather buy a can of Spam at P99 than buy a piece of Spamu--which has an itsy bitsy slice of Spam and costs almost half the price of Spam. The Spamu I tasted, someone bought it for me at a designated kiosk along Eastwood’s old movie house section.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Survived EDSA: Alone, at Night, and on Foot

Friday, pay-day and rain—the perfect combination to make going home at night a living hell. It took me almost two hourswhat usually takes me 15-20 minutes—to reach home.

Today was my first Friday at my new job—as digital marketing manager—for a company located in Emerald Ave, Ortigas. When I got out at 10:15PM, the street was already full of BPO company employees—including myself—trying to beat each other for the much-awaited taxi ride. It was hopeless—I am fair enough not to steal cabs from those who were there before me; and cab drivers chose this night to be snobs—four rudely turned me down giving me their "Ma'am pa-grahe na ako, eh." alibi. I decided to go to Robinsons Galleria in the hope of finding a systematic queue, but was also defeated. More than 30 people were lined up ahead of me and cabs arrived every 5-10 minutes. I just knew then that I had to walk if I wanted to reach home soon. And thankfully, I and my favourite Onitsuka Tiger sneakers were able to survive EDSA at night—11PM—and on foot.

Surviving EDSA on foot
It is hard enough to be in EDSA when you are inside a car; harder if you are on a bus; and hardest if you are plainly walking. What made it worst for meI was just by myself. 
So if ever you'll ever find your way in the same predicament, here are my tips:
  1. Be alert
  2. Walk fast
  3. Look fierce- try not to look scared even if you are. I was really scared but in my years of commuting, I learned that I had to turn on my fierce don't-mess-with-me face every time I am out in public. Before, I was the usual prey of the pick-pockets and lost five cellphones 
  4. Be vigilant- watch out of for shady people—there are a lot; be sure to keep away from them; and choose to be grouped with the nice-looking ones—although in EDSA you can never be sure
  5. Keep your belongings safe- put your bag in front of you and close to your body 
  6. Be ready for unpleasant sites and smells- I saw a malnourished family of four with a mother, infant and two toddlers begging for whatever you can give—definitely not an easy site for me; and the smell—smelled like sewer water mixed with piss and feces