DIPOLOG CITY | Big Joe’s Cafe Sinful Pork Binagoongan

Hi Ma! If you’re reading this post, soon, you would know that I have not been keeping my word. But before any further reading, let me assure you, I brought medications during this trip. And no, there was no tell-tale signs of any allergic reaction. You would be proud to read that what I lack in self discipline for good-tasting food, I doubled up on popping that pill before I get those rashes, and nasty cough attacks — to put it lightly. Can I use the same argument, for Big Joe’s sake, that desensitization is the key to overcoming food allergies? And yes, that anti-histamine got me to sleep well that night after some nights of being the worrier that I was. Please don’t place blame on Big Joe’s, the only spite I could say about them is how warm the ambiance was inside, they make good food too hard to say no to.

Before we get into that. Have I told you how nice I found the cafe was? The screaming warm red walls, and the tightly lined up seats by the side is like sleep under my sheets. Warm, comforting, and fuzzy. It made me feel like I was in some familiar cafe back home, except I was 8-9 hour drive away. Maybe I was hungry that my taste buds were all too happy at the sound of plates lightly placed on the tabletops, and the smell of food that wafted in the room. Maybe I was too tired that temptation got the best out of me. Or maybe, I was both. And Big Joe’s dinner invite not only satisfied those but also made a good impression in on me.

We were invited to get a taste of the bestsellers on the menu. And it was no wonder that apart from our crowd were families, group of friends, and some couples having dinner out at Big Joes. The muffled conversations tells you that it’s a place of gathering, and laughter. And why won’t it be, after all, it offers good food, hefty serving sizes, at a small price.

Apart from their burger steak, which they are best known for, the Fish served that night was mostly the fave of the group. It was light, tender, and moist, and before anyone could get some second serving — Puft! — all gone.

My personal fave was the Binagoongan na Baboy (Pork Binagoongan). It was tender meat to the bite, and well seasoned shrimp paste that did not overpower the dish. The tangy taste of tomato, and calamansi balances the saltiness of the shrimp paste. It is a lutong pambahay that I am never allowed to recreate. For now. So when I do allow myself, I rarely find a good Pork Binagoongan, so understand that I could go on forever with this.

So there’s my story in a blog post Ma. One day, you can use it against me. Or I could dance my way around it. Though I wish one of these days I don’t have to take the pill, or a shot just to enjoy those I’m supposed to say no to. But I promise I will be careful, and that should we find ourselves outside of Big Joe’s doors — we should go in, and it will be my treat.

+ The place can be packed during dining hours, better go there early if you’re a large company to get enough seats for everyone.
+ The burger steaks are what they are best known for, try one with rice, or challenge yourself to finish off their Grilled Half – Pounder Burgers.
+ They also do offer breakfast meals should you be in town early.

Big Joe’s Cafegerald_concha@yahoo.com
Gen. Luna St., Dipolog City, Philippines
+; +
Coordinates: 8.585861,123.340477
Location Map : HERE

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw 

{ Sole Diaries} A Date With Self At A Museum

The Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Cebu City

Post-Sinulog Festival 2013
January 2013

Maybe growing up in a large family, and always surrounded with good friends allows me to take look for another form of comfort with myself as a company. After traveling from Dumaguete City, Apo Island, and Siquijor, we found ourselves at Cebu City to witness the Sinulog Festival, and I finally had a few times to break off from the group I was traveling with. To find some me time. A time that I do not have to worry if I’m boring, or wasting somebody else’s time but my own. Do you feel that too? That sometimes you run off to be by yourself? Or is it just me?

DIPOLOG CITY | A Century-old Cathedral

I do not know why I like cathedrals, and when it started that I do. Other than a house of worship and it being an architecture that maintains the doctrines of faith, and morals. Maybe because it’s a bit of the past still standing in the present, bold witness to time, and to remain when we might not in the future. I somehow find that romantic. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary at Dipolog City is one of the few churches I like. Less adorned, yes. But massive, and holds history even after a century has passed.

The front facade may have been given a face lift but the church is a mix of both modern, and old. Erected sometime in 1895 by Spanish friars, the cathedral still has its hand carved ceilings intact up to this day, and an altar designed by the national hero, Jose Rizal.

I like how each arch caves in another until it frames the doors of the cathedral’s main entry.  It makes it look more massive, if I can’t be more redundant as that.

I like how the yellowish brick stones reflects sunlight making the cathedral beam from the across the street with trees trying hide it with it mass of foliage. Nothing could stand as dramatic as this cathedral despite all the greens, and the busy pedestrians feet, and motors passing by. Maybe that is why I like it. Of the sea of greens, and everything else stands a proud cathedral, not drowned out by what surrounds it. Like faith. No matter what life throws at you, one’s faith should not falter. It should stand there amidst all chaos.
+ Try visiting the cathedral early in the morning or mid to late in the afternoon. The sun would not be so high up. I hope you also get to visit it in the evening. I often wonder how it would look at night when I go through photos of it. I wish I got to see darkness looming over it. But it only means that there’s a next visit bound to happen. *grinning*
+ The Magsaysay park across the street is also an ideal place to visit and let the young ones run around, and for you to rest those tired feet.
+ And, how about trying to hear mass if you have time.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary at Dipolog City
P. Ramon St. Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte
Coordinates: 8.586082,123.345475
Map Location: HERE

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated.
You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.
— David Lloyd George

DIPOLOG CITY | Shy Introduction at Galas Beach

Because I wanted sunrises as much as sunsets, I suggested an early morning invite to the rest of the company before our visit at Dipolog City would end. Good thing the guys were up for it, Karen [Karenade] suggested the Galas Beach for that, and the rest was okay for an early wake up call. It was no pressure for anyone to join, but an early wake up call was required — sunrises after all never wait for anyone anyways. 
Unfortunately, so did the driver of the pedicab we hailed. Like a visitor would not argue with the pedicab drivers (on specific instances — only, I should add), it was hard to tell the old guy to speed up his just-woken-up turtle speed. It was, to date, the longest shortest pedicab ride I ever took. I would’ve snapped off at the driver, and bit his head off, it was testing our patience and mine was near to asking to him stop so I can get down, and  outrun him drive. Have I said it was the longest shortest ride ever?

Not long after we got to the stop, and man were my companions were in a hurry. Everyone looking for the direction the sun would peek out. And when I was expecting the sun to shyly introduced himself at the sea horizon. He surprisingly peeked from the mainland’s direction. The sun’s bright colors was all it took to cheer up the early morning despite the heavy clouds looming over. How can you not sacrifice a bit of time for that?

Since one of us left her memory card back at the hotel, I handed mine after I got some few shots. There’s always a time for play. You know why I like sunrise, and sunsets much — like a good book it teases you , and keeps you captivated with how things begin. Makes me look forward on the in-between’s —- where the good, and the bad, and the surprises happens. Eventually leaves you with a good ending of the day, and a bit hopeful of the day coming after.

Galas beach is, when light revealed, was an expanse of dark grey beach that is conducive for family, and friends gathering, a quick swim, and some fishing, and selling fishes after. So when we decided to visit Galas Beach for a sunrise, we got to take a glimpse of community life by this sea front.

You know what I would not trade for the Galas beach morning? That manong driver who had a world of his own, and made me feel I was just in it for a joyride. More than anything, it taught me to keep cool, and entertain funny, and animated thoughts instead. Hey! The world after all does not always revolves around us. Sometimes, it revolves around a pedicab driver who decided to take his passengers in a what he thinks is a leisurely ride of a speed.

I did tell you how I love sunrise because how it jump starts the day, right? Like sunrises, some few first of the day is a mild way of introducing with what’s coming around. Sometimes introductions and getting-to-know-you’s are not all in your face, and so upfront. Sometimes they are slow, shy, and not minding anything else. Of this travel, I was always in a hurry, I needed a reminder to take things slow — on travels, with people, and with myself.

+ Take an early wake up call. A good 20-30mins before expected time of sunrise is good enough. But then again, go at a time you prefer.
+ Keep your cool should you fall prey of seriously slow-driving drivers. It’s not nice to argue, or point a negative early in the day. So resort to previously mentioned above. =P
+ Linger a bit even after sunrise. And go where crowd forms, usually you can get a good deal of freshly caught fish. Buy some to consume for either breakfast or lunch. Come on now, how about helping the local economy, and get people to do honest living. *grins*
+ Bring extra clothes should you decide to take a swim. The beach is clean, and the water is clear — surprisingly. Surprisingly because with a place so accessible to people, you would expect it otherwise.
+ If you’re brave enough, and not as klutzy as I am, ask some locals to teach you how to fish. Now please do not lug on those rods if you feel that you’re already killing their time. These fishermen do it for, either, a living, or fishing for family consumption. Be sensitive.
+ Please care after yourselves. Let other people discover Galas beach like you did. Clean.

Galas Beach, Galas, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte
Coordinates: 8.559549,123.32855
Map Location: HERE

Travel teaches tolerance.” – Benjamin Disraeli

{ Sole Diaries } Three is to One

Iligan – Ozamis – Dapitan – Dumaguete
Transit with the Boys
January 2013

Why I decided to travel with these guys was a sweet memory that I have now forgotten. He was a college heartthrob, he was everybody’s best guyfriend with words as sharp as a knife when called for, but as sweet as cotton candy anytime when you need it, and he was the younger brother who bakes a mean chocolate cake everyone never had, and I was just in it for the experience.

2013 | No Holding Back

Dear Reader,

I’m starting 2013 with thoughts of the fisherman’s wife I met months back. And because it could not start any better if not with her. It was an early weekend of June. I took a shower, and shoved my stuff in my pack hoping one of my ZaNorte travel companions might have changed their minds for this early side trip. The hallway was empty with only light creeping in from the glass doors  greeted by the hotel night staff wiping sleep from their eyes. I thought I heard snoring from the end of the hall but I wasn’t sticking long enough to distinguish whose snoring  it was. I do not even know if I could but I can bet on it that it must be that of C. Just kidding.

And as I headed out — I mentally kicked myself, I’m heading off without a plan, again. I was not surprised. I had a wallet and a pack to get me by, and everyone knows charm is always an essential.  Travel full of it in your pockets. You will need it when you bank on people’s soft spots, and charm them into thinking you’re harmless. Which you are, I hope. It’s both a gift, and skill, and never just the other.

The bus halted at a bustling morning market scene. Dapitan City. I decided, beyond the makeshift stalls of fresh farm produced was an unmistakable blue horizon, — it would be my stop.  I was instantly surrounded with men in sleeveless shirts, if not  shirtless guys. I wished I accidentally walked in on an all-male-model photo shoot. But no, I was brought back to reality when, they, in deep masculine voices pestered asked me to take their outrigger boats for an island trip before my feet even hit the concrete road. For the locals the obvious visitor is always a target, and potential customer. But I can hear the waves despite the loud bargain of prices from these men. Unfamiliar faces has become so familiar. You get them of different sorts, and it is always best to look at them in the eyes, and smile when you refuse an offer.

Walking down the beach length, I saw an old lady was sitting on an irregularly shaped bench worn out from use, working on some fish net of some sort. She looked up, and smiled at me, and I took it as an open invite. Yes, I know. I am, probably, that kid that can be lured by anyone with adorable hamster-looking eyes.  Old folks are nice to talk to, and yes, you start off a conversation like you would with someone you were just introduced to. You state the obvious, like how lazy the Sunday was, hoping they would agree. And start from there.

Absently, “I wonder if I would regret not going to Aliguay Island”, thought escaped from me. Writers makes lousy anythings. At some point you’re incapable of shutting your thoughts up, if you are not quick  enough to pen them down.  She looked down at me, and asked who was I with. “I’m here alone”. It slipped before I could bite my tongue, and regretted the moment I said that because she then ask the dreaded 1 word, 1 syllable follow-up question solo travelers dance their way out to answer. “Why?” I wanted to answer, “why not?” and wish that the word why would suddenly vanished from the dictionaries, our brains, and she would have asked something else instead. I hate it when I have to mentally construct decent answers, the kind to make the old feel comforted. But before I could answer, she said, “Dili angayan mag-inusara ang babae magbyahe. Balik dinhi, kanang naa na ka’y kuyog.” placing a warm wrinkled hand on my arm like a grandma telling a girl should not be traveling by herself, and to come back with someone traveling with her. I needed no probing at that.

We talked more about her life, her hands that knew which nylon cord to pull out, and tie without even looking at it, and fishing that brought her to meet her husband. The latter soon she explained that it was never about fishing, it was about the man. Never about what one does, but who he is. Never about how your life would be, but how your life would be should you decide something else. Her smile was gentle, like she wanted to tell me something I already know of but, maybe, forgot.

So what about for 2013?

to say NO more often, so I can have time for myself

— because I know I need rest more often than I let myself. Also, so I could stop going away solo for a break from routine, because I’m too stubborn to wait on anyone to join me.
— and also because we get so wrapped up on what we do, what we want to achieve that we forget to check how we are. Read as: Take care of yourself more, until someone else does. And,

to try to not hold back too much” 

— other than getting my adventurous spirits up, I do not know if it means anything more.
— but for some reason I think my heart does.

2013, for sure, is a year to work, travel, live, and love more. What, how, when, and with whom is yet to be known of. After all, what’s a good life’s story without something to leave us wondering, and to excitedly look forward to. *gulps* Kidding. *grins*

*Points cursor to the Publish button. Closes eyes. Hits Enter key*

Your trying-not-to-hold-back,

“I’m not shy. I’m just holding back my awesomeness. Do not intimidate me.
– Anonymous

Pinay Travelista shared her new travel mindset for the
 Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival.

An entry to PTB January 2013 Blog Carnival 
hosted by Roj Braga | The Adventures of AdventuRoj!
on the topic “New Beginnings”.