Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So many things...

...have happened since I last wrote an entry.

And here is an attempt to go over what has been happening in the last 8 months! Wow that's a long time for not writing a single entry! Well, what with all these facebook stuff and blogging has become a thing of the past for me! No, i shouldn't say that. I do like blogs, i am not just one of those prolific bloggers.

Right, I think the best way to start writing again is just to share you all an idea where I have been traveling to in the last 8 months.


... Paris (in August 2008) where I fulfilled my dream of seeing and climbing The Eiffel Tower and was loving every moment of walking around the city and saying, "merci", "oui" and "s'il vous plait".

... Amsterdam (in August 2008) where I found myself in awe with the architecture, the canals, and became so enthralled by the works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh and thought it would be fun to live in this city!

... Rome (in September 2008), where I agreed to millions of travelers that Rome has got to be The favourite city in the world. I couldn't get over how beautiful this city is!

... Florence, where I had intensified my love of art and had to trade the time to go on a quick trip to see the leaning tower of Pisa to que to the museum to see 'David', the greatest sculpture of all time.

... Venice, where the moment I saw the gondolas and crossed the Rialto Bridge that I thought, this has got to be the most romantic city I've ever been to.

... Marrakech and Zagora (in November), where gastronomic experience at the Djamaa El Fna and riding a camel to cross the Zagora desert were the highlights of this sub-Saharan Africa holiday.

... Philippines in December!

I will be filling you in with more details on my upcoming blog entries.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


"If there's a word to describe you, it would be talawa..."

I asked what it meant. It's being feisty.

I like that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Race for Life 2008

For the people who really know me, they will be surprised and I think happy for me for knowing that I've enlisted to join a run for a cause here in London! They know I couldn't even run a one-kilometer distance without stopping! So how the hell could I even finish a 5K course??? I was telling my friend Dada last week that the closest I've ever got myself to a running activity is an "alay lakad" (walk for a cause) which I've done many times in my country. And those weren't even running!

This coming July, I will be running with thousands of other ladies for the Race for Life of Cancer Research UK. My race will be held in Blackheath. With the invitation of my friend Opalyn, I have joined her and three other ladies to raise funds for our race to support Cancer Research UK. To date, we have already gone beyond our target amount to raise so we are all very thankful to all our friends who donated for this cause.

I've started my jogging last weekend and as expected, my legs were achy for the next couple of days. Sign of an unfit Ava! Not even the everyday running for the bus were enough to keep me fit! The training is doing me really good because the aches in my body are telling me to "run Ava run, be fit and keep exercising!"

If you are reading this blog and want to have a look at my team's website, please visit:

Of course you are very welcome to support our cause!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dasol Mangrove Rehabilitation Project

Here's a more scholarly me =)

Not a travel entry this time but here's a paper I've co-written with Tom Byers (of Washington State University) about our mangrove rehabilitation project in Dasol, Pangasinan, Philippines. This project was one of my highlights during my work in Tanggol Kalikasan in the last three years. This has been made successful with the co-management of the local government unit of Dasol then headed by Mayor Angelita Jimenez and her very reliable municipal agriculture officer Ms Vilma Nifas.

I presented this paper during an international conference of small-scale forest managers last year in Leyte, Philippines. Please follow the link below for the paper:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Maxine By The Sea

When in Alaminos, don't miss the gastronomic experience which is to my knowledge best had at Maxine By The Sea! Try their antipasto (my new favourite!) next to their famous calamares and pinakbet! mmmn yummy!

I must say that my craving for Filipino dishes particularly authentic ones have all been satisfied to my heart's content with the meals i had at Maxine!

I was asked by the lovely Liwy (owner of Maxine) and her equally lovely cousin and my very good friend Bulgee to extend my stay in Alaminos so I can have dinner with them at Maxine. How can i pass such a lovely offer! And to add to their treat to me, we had breakfast the following day again at Maxine and tried for the first time Fr. Uly's favourite - Maxine's pancakes! I must say I have signed up as one of the fans of these lovely pancakes as soon as my first slice of pancake started melting in my mouth. of course, the gastronomic experience is not complete without having Alaminos longganisa, my all-time favourite!

For lunch, I had bangus and sinigang sa miso. Try also Maxine's pancit, as it is one of their best sellers! Ah, but what is not, I think everything in the menu is truly a treat!

For more info on Maxine By The Sea, visit their website on or call them on (075) 5512537 and ask for Liwy (owner and manager) and feel free to name drop me! No, don't ask for any discounts please, you'll find the price to be reasonable for the quality of the food, the freshness (we are talking about fresh catch of local fisherman here!) the way it's presented and not to mention for eating in a place where you have a fantastic view of Hundred Islands!

Of course, you've not been to Alaminos if you've not been to Hundred Islands! So pack those bikinis, goggles, flip flops and sun cream and head out to the beach before the rainy season begins!

Oh yeah, back to me in London, if I don't reply to your text messages or don't pick up my phone, that's probably because i may be at work and can only access my work mobile phone which is: +447826938758, but do keep my other mobile number: 07525720477.

Friday, April 25, 2008

White sand of Cabalitian

a travel tip for those who haven't been to the beach this (Philippine) summer yet, try frolicking in the beach of Cabalitian, Sual, Pangasinan. this is my latest discovery of white-sand and unspoilt beach, courtesy of my very good friend Bulgee and Fr. Ed who invited me to their beach party!

the place is accessible by boat from this small docking area in the mainland Sual to the beach of Cabalitian. the boat ride takes around 20 minutes.

just wear your bikinis underneath and top it with a sundress or pair of shorts and shirt. don't even bother bringing any clothes for changing! you'll see what i mean as soon as you get close to the beach.

when we got to the beach i literally stripped off my top clothing and ran straight to the water. the clear and unspoilt water of Cabalitian was one of the most irresistible things i've encountered in the last 9 months! talk about being deprived of warm beaches when in the UK! hehe

after taking a dip in Cabalitian's pristine waters, grab a bottle of water, wear a hat and perhaps consider putting another layer of sun cream and take a nice stroll towards the cove hidden behind the rocks west-ward of the beach.

the cove is one of Cabalitian's hidden gems waiting for nature lovers out there to sample its relaxing waters and zen-like atmosphere.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Asin Hot Springs!

This entry is not for Baguio and Benguet residents who may well better be the ones writing this blog entry as they know better than I do about Asin hot springs!

The photos speak for themselves... So if you are looking for a nice rest and recreation place within Benguet, Asin hot springs is the place to go!

There are a number of new resorts now in Asin and far so much better from what we used to have when we used to frequent Asin during the old days. (Naks para akong matanda dito a!) My family highly recommends Riverview resort!

It costs Php70-80 per adult for an entrance fee. Our entrance fee included a use of a hut which was situated on the hill, so we had a good view of the swimming pools.

Be sure to take a dip in their hot springs located just near the swimming pools... There's nothing better than a soothing and a relaxing dip on those hot spring tubs.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There's no Place Like Home

I've been stuck in London for a long 9 months, and after a couple of unpleasant incidents that prevented me from traveling out of the UK, the thought of going home to the Philippines for a three-week holiday thrilled me to death!!!

I hadn't felt so happy being in the Philippines until I went home this April and felt at home the moment...

... the airport cab driver asked me for pasalubong! (oh my god)

... i ate rice for breakfast

... i stepped into SM and managed to shop for clothes and shoes less than half of the price of the goods I would've paid when in the UK

... my dad and brothers prepared pinikpikan for dinner!

... i was seeing the sunrise at Hundred Islands!

... i was swimming in the pristine waters of Western Pangasinan

... i was eating fresh seafoods and indulging in Pinoy food such as pinakbet, crispy pata, kare-kare, daing na bangus, longganisa! yummy!

... i was voraciously eating mangoes!

Home is indeed a litany of beautiful things life has to offer and as I write this entry from my desk in London, away from home... it is always nice to say, "there's no place like home..."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New lessons in life :-)

This is really strange... Sleepless Sunday nights is becoming a very bad habit! It's 3 in the morning and I am still awake! Drat! I need to be at work at 9am, but before that, wake up at 7am... that means I should be asleep by now to get at least 4 hours of sleep... but that's the problem, I went to bed at 12midnight and told myself, "hey i will be getting 7 hours of sleep tonight" but now I'm down to four! So now am tapping my laptop writing a boring blog entry in the hope that I will lull myself to sleep.

I just sent an email to my sisters Dada and Grasya and shared them my new lessons in life and they are:

* the test of a perfect pair of high-heeled shoes is when you can run in them
* the test of a working scream alarm is it emits the shrieking sound when you press the button
* the test of someone who likes and truly cares for you is when that someone rings you on your landline phone because your mobile phone was stolen

My New Rule of Thumb on Shoes!

I always used to emphasize that my rule of thumb for a good pair of shoes is comfort. Yes, of course style matters but comfort is the name of the game when buying a new pair of shoes.

Recently, I have added a new rule... my new rule of thumb for a perfect pair of high-heeled shoes is if you can run in them!

Seriously, it's a tough world out there, and because we can't stop ourselves from wearing sexy high-heeled shoes or boots, and the fact that streets are not that safe for anyone anymore... just be sure you can run fast when you are wearing your favourite pumps!