Tungao and Lawigan: The Road Less Traveled

An invitation to a new destination is music to my ears.  If you give me an opportunity to visit a new place, I would get excited even at the thought of exploring it. It does not even matter what kind of transportation it takes to reach a new place. I say yes to adventure!

That is what happened two fine Sundays of August.


Tungao is last barangay in Butuan City before you reach Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte. It is a 45-minute trip by public transportation. And public transportation is a very large jeepney.


It is so spacious that we can stretch our legs inside. We thought so. As it turned out, we were in for an experience. See the bench?  They would put the bench in the middle and allow passengers to occupy the bench.


So if people occupy the middle, how does the konductor collect the fare? The answer: through the window.


The konductor climbs through the side railings of the jeepney and taps the passengers to collect the fare while the jeepney is in motion! Yes, we have a real-life spiderman in Butuan. I should mention that this jeepney had passengers on top, too! Only in the Philippines!

We really did not have an itinerary. We just wanted to check out what was in this place and just explore.

We found a nice wall in church so my friend, Titit, posed for a photo.


We met a durian vendor. We did not buy because he was going to the city proper anyway.


One major improvement of this place is the road. The road to Tungao is all paved. Years ago, it would be very difficult to get there. Imagine their type of transportation in a rough road.  We were lucky we get to visit the place using better roads. Now, I hope they would do something about the transportation.



During the last week of August, my friends and I got invited to a fiesta! The family of my friend, Mau, came from this small barangay in a town in Agusan del Norte. The place is Lawigan in the municipality of Tubay. It is their annual fiesta. She invites us whenever she visits the place but we never had time until that August.

Look how pretty!


It was challenging to reach this place. This is the remotest barangay in Tubay. To get here, we have to ride a bus for Surigao City and asked to be dropped somewhere near Jabonga. Mau had arranged a driver to pick us up at the intersection.  The driver was a motorcycle driver.  Yes, motorcycle. Two wheels.  My friend and I hopped behind the motorcycle driver. No helmets. Halfway, the road was paved. However, there were areas that remained dirt roads. We had to cross the mountain before we reach the coastal area.  There was an area where we had to walk because the road was slippery and inclined. Did say  it took us an hour to get there? An hour on a motorcycle. Oh, the things I do to feed my wanderlust!

Good thing the place was postcard pretty.


After we devoured the fiesta food, we took a stroll along their beach.


They have big boulders. Perfect for photography.


It was a fine weather while we were strolling and hopping through these rocks. It started to rain on our way home. Imagine two of us behind the driver sharing his raincoat. We remember those signs we saw along the way: “Landslide-prone area”.  Oh, the things I do to feed my wanderlust!

Lawigan can be reached via a jeepney from Cabadbaran City but there are no trips on Sundays.  One can also opt for a boat ride from Cabadbaran. Small boats. No lifejacket.  I cannot swim. I will try when weather is better.

Bedroom Makeover Tips: How I Redecorated My Room on a Budget

I have always said that I am my father’s daughter. We just loved to keep things simple. (Eat, sleep and watch TV were our routine.) My mother was of a different breed. She kept herself busy by making our home beautiful. She could move furniture at a blink of an eye. There were times when my father left for work and came home to a completely different house.  Hahaha If my mother had a choice on what she wanted to be, she would have been an interior designer. But they were poor and she worked her way to college so she finished a degree in commerce.

I am blessed that my parents left me a roof over my head. Ever since they passed away, I always feel guilty for not taking care of it as well as my mom did. This year, I had the home repaired. We were infested with termites and we had to replace several walls. I also had the roof fixed. I asked my uncle to repaint my walls. One thing led to another. I decided to redecorate my room.

This is how my room looked after I cleaned it last year.


This idea of redecorating my room has long been in my head. I have collected photos of home interiors in my Pinterest. When Ikea released its catalog this year, I fell in love this layout and color.

Source: IKEA Catalog-2015

Source: IKEA Catalog-2015

After seeing this spread in the IKEA Catalog, I wanted my wall to be gray. I asked my uncle to paint the wall gray. Well, not just gray but dark gray to which he initially protested because he said that dark gray would … well, make the room dark. But I insisted. He was not even convinced even if I showed him the IKEA catalog. He had no choice. It was my room.

I knew my accessories and sheets would have to be white to make everything lighter. I was planning to hang a painting of mine to make the room truly my own. However, I cannot find a canvas large enough to use. Beside, I do not know how to do oil painting. I do watercolor painting which means I need a large thick paper which is not available here. My next option was to have one of my black and white photo printed and framed. I asked for the quote and it would cost me a lot since large format printing is priced per square inch. Good thing I found these picture frames for Php 1K. I think it is a perfect contrast for my wall. I also picked photographs that I like.

I knew I need cabinets as storage. I used to  have those plastic drawers which, I think, do not look good with my gray wall. I found 2 black and white cabinets for  Php 1.9K and Php 1.4K.  I bought plastic boxes to organize my things.


I also wanted a lamp for the room. Good lighting creates drama in a room. However, I cannot afford the lampshade I saw in a home store. I found this star being sold as Christmas decor. Since it is white, it fits into my color scheme. I just added the Christmas lights. I was glad I found this star; it has better outcome than the expensive lampshade. The other lampshade was a gift from my cousin.  It was a little bit small for the room . By adding the star, it looks larger.

I notice that the key to a good makeover is to keep the space clutter-free. I know I have to do something with the cosmetics I use. I found these black and white dustbins (those on top of the computer table).

Those dustbins hold my grooming stuff.

I put everything together and this is the final look of my room.

Oh, the huge K is a DIY project. I got the idea from this photo.

I do not think I can jigsaw a wood to form the letter K. Instead, I bought a 1-inch styrofoam board, cut the shape and wrapped it with a cloth using a staple gun.


I am happy with the outcome of my room makeover. I vowed to maintain the cleanliness of my room. I can now say I am my mother’s daughter. I hope I made her proud.

Here are some tips in planning a home makeover:
1. Find home photos that you like. My favorite sites are Apartment Therapy, Pinterest and Dwell.
2. Go window shopping. My aunt and I were hopping from one home store to another. It took me weeks to decide on buying the cabinets. I opted for affordable ones.
3. Innovate. Since I cannot afford the lamps, I used Christmas lights.
4. Re-purpose. One product may have different uses. Dust bins are turned into cosmetics holder.
5. Find alternatives. Try the DIY route.
6. Have fun.


31 Reasons Why I am Thankful for October 2014

October is a steady month. I did not have a tight schedule but it was a memorable one nonetheless. When you have time for reflection, you get a clearer picture of what you want to accomplish. I am still in the process of knowing what I want to accomplish in life. There is one thing I am sure I want to do. I just want to enjoy life and embrace whatever joys and trials that come my way.

This year, I embarked on being grateful. I started a gratitude journal and I blogged every month on the things I am grateful for. This is is my 10th month in this process. I am happy and grateful for each blessing. Not everyday is a good day but I am also  grateful for the lessons that little misfortunes have given me.

Here are the reasons why I am grateful for October:

1.  New recipe.  My aunt was sick so I volunteered to cook dinner for the family. I wanted to cook something new. I remember that my aunt loves Chowking’s orange chicken so I googled and found Panlasang Pinoy’s recipe. It was a hit in the family. I posted this photo on Facebook and one friend asked for a recipe. She tried to cook it for her family. Her family loves it, too.


2. Spanish Sardines.  This is a staple food in college. My roommate introduced me to Spanish sardines and I love it since then. Since I was the designated cook for the family during this time, I served Spanish sardines because I was not able to research on what to cook. Ha!  Every time  I eat Spanish sardines, it always brings me back to those happy memories with my college roommates.

spanish sardines
3. Opportunity to help. I was invited to join a medical mission to a remote barangay in my city. I was assigned to be the pharmacist together with some volunteers. We dispensed the free medicines according to the prescription of the doctor after the patient was checked up. It was my first time to join a medical mission and it touched my heart when I saw one woman cry upon receiving her wheelchair.

4. Meeting my adorable nephew. My cousin, Ghia, and I have agreed to meet regularly to catch up on our lives (and eat out).  This time around she brought her nephew, Dirk, and brother, Papat.  Dirk was so adorable. He easily warmed up to me and engaged in a conversation. I grabbed this photo from my cousin’s Facebook.  Follow her on instagram:  kristineghia.  She posts inspiring photos. She is my instagram idol.


5. Road trip with friends.  It is almost a year since we last visited our friend, Jen.  She lives two towns away and she is always unavailable when we invite her to our get-together. “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” So off we went to Nasipit, she has a small farm with plants like dragonfruit and passionfruit. Too bad, the passion fruit is not ripe yet.  We also went swimming since her aunt has a beach property.


6. Report completed. I had a pending report and even if it was declared a holiday, I was working. Glad there was somebody who also reported for work to help me accomplish the report.

7. Call from my cousin. My cousin called to inform me that she will spend some vacation time with us.

8. Motivation to workout. I started exercising this year. I was doing it regularly until May came where I got busy with alumni homecoming, fiesta and a trip. Exercising took a backseat. Once in a while, I exercise but I decided to get my butt to exercise regularly again since Christmas is near and I am sure I would not be able to resist all the food.

9. A lesson on being careful. We watched ‘Gone Girl’ and it was the first time that my uncle was able to watch a movie at the new mall. I was the one who suggested the movie and I was glad my uncle and aunt loved it. The last time I suggested a movie, they were not happy with it. hahaha The day went well until late in the afternoon. I accompanied my other aunt to the dentist and after the appointment, we dropped by a Taiwanese store. I was wearing a sling bag and we were busy choosing umbrella for my aunt. Little did I know that a pickpocket was beside me and was already stealing my wallet. I went from ‘Gone Girl’ to Gone Wallet. We asked to look at the CCTV footage and was surpised at how easy it was for an old woman to steal my wallet from my bag. When I found out I lost my wallet, she was just standing right next to me! Good thing I did not bring a lot of cash.  I do not have a lot to begin with. I lost Php400. Not a lot pero dami na mabibili niya.  I hope she put my money to good use. ‘Wag mo ibili ng drugs, Lola. I was worried about my IDs and ATM cards.  I immediately called the banks to cancel them.

10. Wallet found. A tricycle driver came to the house and returned my wallet. Thank you, God! I was worried about my SSS ID since it might take months before it gets replaced and being a freelancer and a non-driver, I do not have a company ID and driver’s license if a valid ID is asked from me.  I prayed that somebody will return my wallet. I prayed that the thief will not take interest on my wallet and just throw it somewhere and hope someone would return it to me. True enough, the tricycle driver found my wallet in a tricycle terminal. Good thing my cedula was in my wallet  so he knew where to return it.

11. Cousin visited. Since she promised to visit us this month, she called me that she is arriving. Ora mismo! I did not have time to prepare for her homecoming so when she went home, we went to the grocery and she did a lot of the cooking.  It was also a time to bond with my cousins and the rest of the family.


12. Photoshoot with friends. My friends had this makeup workshop. They hired makeup artist to teach them how to apply makeup.  They realized how expensive it is to hire makeup artists every time they attend weddings and other events. I was supposed to join them but my cousin was still in town so I only promised to be there later in the night when they are done so I can take their photos. Let me just say that my friends are gorgeous even without makeup. With makeup, they are as beautiful. Say hello to Eula Valdez, Maricar Reyes, Julia Montes and Bea Alonzo! 😉


13. Bonding with Tita. My cousin was still in town. My aunt got her to clean up the garden. Ha! We got her to work! It was our form of endearment. We missed her just being in the house. She gladly put her landscaping hat on.

14. Meeting deadlines. I have set aside some of the work I have been doing for family duties. This time around, I rolled up my sleeves and pounded my keyboard.  At one point I was  so sleepy, I dozed off. hahaha Good thing I was able to wake up and finish the job.

15.  Fitness talk. My friend, Grace, is into fitness and I have been taking tips from her on how to get fit. She is disciplined with her workout and the results are showing. I wish to do the same. Be motivated like her by following her on instagram: Gracegetfit.

16. Joyride. We spent the afternoon in my cousin’s car checking areas in the city inaccessible by public commute unless we hire a transportation for a fee. I took one of my B&W photos during this joyride.


17. Happy being me.   I am already in my late 30’s (I’ll be 40 in a few years!) and I realized that this is the decade I enjoyed most in my life.  I have a few insecurities here and there, yet this is the decade I am confident about myself. I still feel awkward from time to time but there is that little voice inside my head telling me that everything will be all right.  And I do not mind taking a selfie from time to time! LOL This is my humarap-sa-bentilador shot (face-the-electric-fan shot).


 18. Annual Pilgrimage. It was our annual trip to Magallanes. It was the feast of the Our Lady of the Rosary. We always try to go there every year to hear mass. It was in this church that my mother prayed that God would bless her with a child. God gave my mother her only child four years after she got married.

19. Sign to rest. I have a cough. I try to remedy it with warm water and Vitamin C.

20.  Gift. My friend delivered this to our house and it has my name on it. Thank you!


21. Photography Challenge. I was tagged for a photography challenge and I gladly  accepted it. I started posting the photos.

22.  Convenience of a tablet. Whenever I have a recipe to try, I search it on the internet. I used to write the instructions down or go back and forth to the room or wherever I placed my laptop. Now that I have a tablet I only have to take a screenshot of the webpage and  carry the tablet to the kitchen to follow the instructions.

23.  Goofy time with Adriane. It was my aunt’s birthday and my nephew came to visit. We goofed around, of course.


24. My first photography gig.  I got an ID to prove it.  Nah, it was just a simple request from my cousin who teaches at one of the schools here. They are celebrating United Nations Day and she wanted to have photos of the event. They did not hire an official photographer so she requested me to take photos. She asked for an ID for me so that I would be allowed to go near the  stage.


25. Cousin’s endoscopy. I accompanied my cousin for endoscopy. An endoscope is a device inserted into the mouth to see what is inside the stomach. Thank God nothing major was discovered.

26.  Movie time with friends. I watched ‘The Best of Me’ with friends.

27. Pool time with cousins.  My cousins and I went out of town to go swimming. He wanted to try the waterproof casing for his phone. You can see we had fun.


28. Health solutions. I have thinning hair. I am now trying shampoos and vitamins to make my hair healthier. I hope what I found works. I will talk about them once I get good results.

29. Free pizza. We took advantage of Greenwich buy one-take one promo.

30. Staying inspired. I thank God I still have the energy to do the things I want to do.

31. Finding an alternative. I made Black Sambo for my aunt’s birthday but the gelatin did not set. So I froze it  and turned it into ice cream.


 How was October for you?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...