June Staycation: How I enjoyed my own home and neighborhood

All the traveling last May calls for a break. My wallet agrees with that idea.  Besides, I never equate happiness with having deep pockets.  There is something new to discover and sometimes these things can be found just around the corner.

And sometimes, you have to ride a jeepney to take you there. Well, in my case, not all the time. The first week of June, my friend dropped by my city from a road trip. They traveled from Manila to Iligan by land. It was Sunday when we arrived and they wanted to go to some tourist attractions in the city like the museum and the Balangay Shrine. I have experience in this aspect. Alas, every attraction we went to was closed. My last hope was the Bood Promontory. It is a public park with no gate but we were in the area where we need to cross the river to get there but there was no boat! Nevertheless, I got this view.


A local ice cream factory is just 5 blocks away from our house. Whenever we crave ice cream, we just walk and buy a half gallon ice cream. I always love it when we pass by this house.

This house is a favorite of mine since childhood. My cousin and I would dream that Cinderella lives here. I am glad this house is still in good condition.

My aunt and I decided to use a different route going home. We took the a detour near the river. This area used to be full of informal settlers. They have been relocated years ago.

My aunt got creative with the ice cream. She tried to create a ‘healthier’ version.


My cousins went on a trip on the second week of June. They left this cutie in my care.


My aunt got tired of our adobo-prito-guisado recipe cycle that she requested afritada. Good thing there are mixes available in the grocery. I used UFC Afritada sauce in this one and followed instructions in thepackaging.

As I was looking at my June photos, I realized I did a lot of cooking last month.

I cooked palitaw (sticky rice dumpling with coconut).


The stormy days called for guinataang bilo-bilo na may mais (Sticky Rice Balls with corn in Coconut milk ). IMG_9214

This mushroom soup is a regular dish in the family but it is usually my aunt who cooks this dish. This is the first time that I made this myself following the instructions from my aunt.


Not every dish I made was a success. I tried Connie’s perfect custard cake. I think I have undercooked this one. It looks perfect on this side. IMG_9094

It actually looked like this! Fail! IMG_9099

So we ended up freezing it and it was delicious. IMG_9104


I also tried to learn how to draw a realistic eye.

I still need to practice more. This is the Youtube video if you want to learn, too.

Oh, we have a new cutie pie in the family. IMG_9203

The fact remains that this other cutie is still the biggest baby. I am referring to the dog, not me. 945046_483679871719663_703139485_n

How was your June?

Staycation: Banza Church Ruins

I read the first entry in my journal for this year and I wrote:

I also know that working hard and working smart are two different things.

I want to work smart and live well. Living well entails making the most of what is given to me. So instead of a vacation over the Holy Week, my cousin and I explored our own city.  I live in Butuan so I might as well explore what Butuan has to offer.

If you happen to get a tourism pamphlet when you arrive in the Butuan airport, one of the tourist spots listed there is the Banza Church Ruins.  My grandmother is from that area yet I can only count in one hand the number of times I have been to that part of the city.

I already saw this area when we went on a boat ride to Magallanes.

I got curious. My aunts were not interested. They have been living in this city for too long. This mini-adventure does not seem to excite them anymore so I found a kindred spirit in my younger cousin.  On Holy Wednesday, we went on a little adventure. We walked to the terminal for tricycles going to Banza. We were lucky that the Banza residents who were in the same tricycle with us were helpful. I already started to lose trust in the driver for he wanted to take advantage of our clueless state. One passenger, a young woman, was helpful enough to tell her neighbor who was also in the same tricycle with us to give us directions. He lives near the site.

It only takes a 10-minute leisurely walk from the main road to reach this place.

It is not a world-class tourist destination of sorts. It is just an open area with a marker and a reconstruction of a ruined church. The actual ruin is wrapped inside that Balete tree.

Goats grazed the open field.

It may not be a grand tourist spot but I love the place.  It is peaceful and calming. Agusan River, the third longest river in the Philippines according to Wikipedia and the longest river in Mindanao according to Encyclopedia Britannica, showed its gentle side.

The afternoon sun basks in its glory.

Indeed, the best things in life are free.


This is Day 17 of the 30-day blogging challenge.

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