Archive for laguna

2010 in review

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, technology, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by mijodo

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 26 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 116 posts. There were 191 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 55mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 20th with 430 views. The most popular post that day was ANOTHER FAMILY UNIT (Aurora Loft), good for four with dedicated DSL and PHONE line, starting at P1450 per night.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for manila ocean park, imee marcos wedding, bianca gonzales, apartelle in quezon city, and fashion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


ANOTHER FAMILY UNIT (Aurora Loft), good for four with dedicated DSL and PHONE line, starting at P1450 per night February 2010


and then, there’s room for more (at again half the usual hotel price)! September 2008


hot pools of pansol August 2008


the great classic cotton shirt September 2008


the antipolo ambient March 2009
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Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, food, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by mijodo

kaleidoscope of colors

To say the least, there was much anticipation in getting to Lucban, Quezon afterall it was fiesta time (May 15).  And next to the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, the Pahiyas Festival has been drawing the most tourist crowd according to tourism officials. Tens of  thousands should be swarming the narrow streets of this town, about 5 hours from Manila.

Our driver, took the less popular route, by getting through the hills of Antipolo and Tanay, Rizal, and proceeded to the coastal towns of Laguna. With a brief stop at Lumban where jusi and pina cloth has been its  industry product for years, our family’s reliable Revo went directly to the first town of Quezon – Lucban.

It was not supposed to be the easiest company to have during this road trip, after some heavy domestic problems. But Mom was an eager tourist, ready to sample what this town could offer. This time, Mom and I had a nice ride, no family spats, no recurring “I told you so’s”, just the crackling of our laughters, somehow wiping out all the recent emotional crises, we just had.

As the car drove towards the town, we knew right away that it was a busy day as commuters packed the jeepneys and buses reaching the area. Our car could not parallel park on the usual avenues thus the driver had to drive it to the designated parking lot.

Mom, a family friend (Nang Bina) and I went to explore the numerous homes, fancied up for the occasion on the feast of San Isidro Labrador, Lucban’s patron saint. It indeed was just like what one gets to watch on tv, and read on the papers, many of the homes are wrapped in a cornucopia of colors.  Each participating house creates its own florid design, a veritable kaleidoscope made out of  farm harvests and the famous kiping – rice based wafers, dyed in assorted color, used either as a petal or leaf in creating ariticial floral pieces.

The tradition of presenting the town’s harvests as part of its decoration is a way of thanksgiving to the Almighty and San Isidro for continually blessing the town’s people with such bounty. Banana leaves, rice grain and the stalks, garlic bulbs, sayote and talong, stringed together are just some of the ingenious  and inspired ways the people of Lucban have fashioned to make the tourist smile and feel good about this town. Well, the P100,00 promised to the best decoratedd house from the local government can be a good incentive too.

The people of Lucban were warm and accommodating during the festivities.  They would let people go up even to the second floor of their houses so that travellers could have some pictures taken at the windowsills which usually were the focal points of the facade adornments.  There was a need for public restrooms though for tourists who might not necessarily know of anyone in the locale. Yet the owners graciously welcomed us to use their bathrooms. We were  just wondering a little why on the very feast day, at noon, many of the owners did not have significant food prepared for their respective personal guests, not that we strangers would gatecrash.

But of course, we had to sample the peculiar way of eating Lucban’s pancit habhab which had to be fetched by mouth directly from the banana leaf make-do plate.  We grabbed a bite from the numerous and crowded restos in the area. The pancit habhab was very similar to that of the usual pancit canton, although less spicy.  Mother and Nang Bina liked it a lot. I enjoyed more the fried lumpiang ubod.

After some photo opportunities, we went to the church where many activities were being  prepared until the early evening. But we knew our time had come to leave the area and head back to Manila, and we just had to get a kilo or two of the popular longganisang lucban as pasalubong. Amidst more laughters and good conversation inside the car, I got to see my Mother who had been adversarial and combative just a month ago in a different view – a vital and vibrant part of our small family. It was just a matter of focusing where one could get to really see the beautiful colors and shades of a person, again just like in a kaleidoscope.

paradigm redux: finally, a finalist!

Posted in events, lifestyle, people with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2008 by mijodo

The pictures above may look familiar. Apparently I took the pictures for a salon client,  made a short feature on it, and included some of the pictures, in this same blogsite(

But there was more to just having a pictorial with the client, Paradigm Salon. Apparently some of the pictures were submitted to a hairstyling contest sponsored by world reknowned hairproduct brand, Davines (  The main focus was on the hairstyling itself, but as a photographer I had to capture the right angles, correct haircolor and incorporate a certain mood to the pictures for editorial purposes. But obviously, it was still a team effort with the stylists and the management of Paradigm Salon.

Just last week, I found out that one picture I took was chosen as part of the finalists among the thousands of hairshots presented. And on the final night, the group of hairstylists  of Paradigm Salon needs to create the same hair couture for the ultimate judging. And the group hopes we get the plum prize, for some bragging rights.

Just the same even if we don’t reach the top, thank you, Mr. Mhel (Owner) and Tony (Manager) for the opportunity to work with you. Goodluck to Paradigm Salon. Goodluck to us.

into the woods of raptors and raptures

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, locales, nature, people with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by mijodo

It was a hurried sidetrip to the University of the Philippines, Los Banos with some balikbayan guests. It was a rainy afternoon, and we just had a few hours to spare to explore what could be interesting points in Mount Makiling, aside from the university itself as the campus is at the foot of the mystic mountain.

It was not my first time to trek to this mountain. I was in second year highschool then, when my class teacher had decided to bring his whole class supposedly to the top of Mt. Makiling. After hours of torturous foot ascent the whole class found out that we needed to still climb a tree to enjoy a panoramic view. We weren’t sure if it was worth the energy.

This time, I chose to bring my guests to the popular (among students of UP Los Banos) Forestry area. There we found out that there was an exhibit of live raptors up in the mountain. For a while I thought of creatures during the dinosaur era, but it turned out raptors were birds of prey which included eagles and hawks. After more than a hundred step hike, we were able to see different types of about fifty eagles, falcons and hawks in their supposed natural habitat into the mountains. There was only one hitch – all were caged. Since the rain pelted on us, and it was difficult to make good photos, we decided to go down again. The climb could have been worth it, if only there were no rains, and had plenty of time.

Next, I decided to bring my niece and her family to where artistry and talent abound – the Philippines High School for the Arts (PHSA). It was a steep and tortuous (not yet torturous though) drive for our AUV packed with adults. During our climb, I would wonder why in heavens Imelda Marcos whose brainchild was the PHSA had chosen such an isolated place for young students to stay in for a lengthy time. But if only to give the students the most ideal venue to teach the highest forms of arts whether in dance, drama, music and visual art then it is worth the vision and its actualization. The place can give energy to create rapturous artistic expressions indeed. Too bad some us needed to decompress and had to do some errands before retreating back at the rented villa at nearby Pansol thus we were not able to explore the campus grounds. And we were afraid that our vehicle’s break system was suspect hence our very careful descent.

Our sidetrip could have been better if conditions allowed us to get immersed in the places or maybe if only there was a “tree” for us to climb and see the total beauty of the the raptors and the raptures.

rizal’s calamba

Posted in architecture, artifacts, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people with tags , , , , on August 10, 2008 by mijodo


In Leon Ma. Guerrero’s biographical book on Jose Rizal, the author conferred upon him the title of being “the First Filipino,” an honor that bespoke the greatness of Rizal’s intellect, strength of character, and more importantly love for nation.

Thus during a short visit to Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna where the National Hero was born, it is fascinating to see the relic and the antiquities of a bygone era, most specially during the youthful days of Rizal. In the garden area, there is even a “bahay kubo” (native hut) where Rizal and his sisters supposedly had “bahay-bahayan” (playhouse).

In Calamba not only do we get to see the Rizal family manor, and the church where Rizal got baptized, but also the big clay jar, symbolic of the legend of Calamba’s name (“kalan-banga”).

hot pools of pansol

Posted in architecture, artifacts, lifestyle, locales, nature with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2008 by mijodo


The stormy weather these days should not deter one from taking a dip into a pool, most specially if it is in Pansol, Laguna. The hot springs from Mt. Makiling provide the soothing waters which envelop one’s being after wading into the pools.

Because of the warm waters, resorts have been long established in the area to provide relaxation and rejuvenation to many for a minimal fee.  Yet some homes have also catered to tourist trekking to the area who want to have the pool just for themselves at a slightly higher cost. Just drive to the main roads of Calamba, and one gets to see dozens of men with small “karatolas” (signages) which will direct you to these homes.

But one may call Mang Rudy (0919-8636952/0922-6398849) to show around the hottest resort homes of Pansol. They’re “hot” not only because of the heated pools, but because these places are the town’s poshest in terms of architecture, accommodation and amenities.

the flag to its nation

Posted in artifacts, events, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by mijodo
Author’s note: I am featuring an article I had done for the new website, (  I hope the readers here enjoy my other articles and the other articles written by my fellow writers in the said site.
The flag was just not cooperating. I was about to take this supposedly great picture for Philippine Independence Day, but the flag was too lifeless to create a searing picture that could stir up one’s patriotic fervor. Alas the wind  was not helping.
As it has been told, ours is the only National Flag that can convey that the nation is at war. Once the flag is hoisted having the red horizontal band as its upper part, then war is declared with another state such as when the Commonwealth was against the Axis Nations, like Japan during World War II (1941-1944). The red is known to mean courage while the blue section – peace and unity.
But in relatively calmer times, it has been a rallying point to many Filipinos, most specially in international sports and competitions. The victorious boxer drapes himself  in a cloth that had been  created originally by Marcella Agoncillo for Emilio Aguinaldo’s Declaration of Independence from Spain (1898). The Filipino audience sees the blue and the red, and claps for the new hero that has just made the whole islands of  Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao proud as symbolized by the three stars in the white triangle part of the Flag.
In modern history, the flag has been used to bear witness in creating social changes either made in peaceful revolutions or tempestuous conflicts. The need for reforms is made more consequential, once the National Hymn or even Bayan Ko is performed in public gatherings such as in EDSA or secret hideaways in the boondocks and hills of the provincial areas . Afterall, the flags eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces that revolted for independence in 1896. These were Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite , Batangas, Laguna, and Manila .
But to the youngster, it is where they make their solemn pledge of allegiance or “Panatang Makabayan” on a daily basis. After reciting a daily prayer to his Creator, the school kid stands up erect in front of the waving flag and makes the oath to be the good citizen that is expected of him by his family, his school, and his government.  And the flag’s emblematic sun shows how the Filipinos have shone through to build progress for their nation despite the incredible odds and chaos through the years.
And to just instill life to the flag for the photoshoot, I asked my assistants to toss the flag a little bit. Let their hands be the propeller of action to the almost motionless nation flag. Lo and behold, with the help too of nature’s wind, the flag started to undulate and reveal its glory.  The flag was able to make its own dance – carefree and confident. The Philippine flag was already ready for its own close-up.

paradigm shift

Posted in lifestyle, locales, people with tags , , , , , , on June 16, 2008 by mijodo

After 25 years of creating tresses in Metro Manila, Mr. Mhel Quita has chosen to settle in the swanky part of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, particularly in Paseo De Sta. Rosa with his salon, Paradigm. Effortlessly, the hair wizard makes the already beautiful ladies of Laguna and Tagaytay become even more exciting, even more stunning. With his expertise, Mr. Quita has developed a loyal set of clientele that makes his salon very popular, particularly during Saturdays and Sundays despite the high-priced services. Many habitues, both in Sta. Rosa and Tagaytay seek out Mhel’s personal hair treatment as part of their weekend vacation habit.

And in coming months, Paradigm will even switch gears by getting a bigger and better place in the vicinity, as the salon creates more superstar hairstylists, only Mr. Mhel can develop. To avail of the salon’s services, please call (049)5440394, and look for its able manager, Tony.