May 29, 2013

Ilocos Adventure: Places Visited

From May 17 to 19, Celine and I, along with her high school best friends Deci and Lik, went to Ilocos for a weekend tour. I had already blogged about the food we ate during our trip. In this post, I'll list the places we have visited in Ilocos.

Calle Crisologo (Vigan City, Ilocos Sur)
We arrived very early on Friday morning so we had a view of the street when it was still dark and there are not much people. On Sunday noon, we went back but didn't have enough time and it was so hot to walk around and check the stores there.

Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad/St. Augustine Parish (Bantay, Ilocos Sur)
Apo Caridad (Our Lady of Charity) is the Patroness of Ilocandia. We visited the church, the Chapel by the Ruins inside and the Bantay Bell Tower outside.

Baluarte (Ilocos Sur)
Baluarte is a zoo that is open to the public. There are still parts that are under construction though.

Marcos Museum and Mausoleum (Batac, Ilocos Norte)
The Mausoleum is where you can see the body of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. The museum has an entry fee of fifty pesos. It showcases the life of Marcos, along with some memorabilia.

Paoay Church (Paoay, Ilocos Norte)
It is one of the oldest church and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one best examples of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines. We went inside and in the garden.

Malacanang of the North (Paoay, Ilocos Norte)
Malacanang of the North was the official residence of Former President Ferdinand Marcos in the North.

Museo Ilocos Norte (Laoag, Ilocos Norte)
Museo Ilocos Norte is a simple museum that showcases the history and life of Ilocanos.

Tobacco Monopoly Monument (Laoag, Ilocos Norte)
It is a landmark constructed as a symbol of the forced planting of tobaccos during the Spanish colonization of the country. Tobacco is one of the products of Ilocos.

Sinking Bell Tower (Laoag, Ilocos Norte)
It is said to be sinking because it has been literally sinking at about an inch a year.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (Burgos, Ilocos Norte)
We climbed until the base of the tower. From there, we can see a good view of the South China Sea.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation (Burgos, Ilocos Norte)
You have to walk a few minutes but what you will see is worth it. The rock formations created by nature is just wonderful.

Bangui Windmill (Bangui, Ilocos Norte)
The first and largest in Southeast Asia, the Bangui Windmill provides an alternative source of electricity.

Kabigan Waterfall (Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte)
After around thirty minutes of trekking, we reached the waterfalls. It wasn't that good when we saw it. However, it might only be because there were too many people. The water is cold though and looks clean.

Patapat Viaduct (Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte)
It is a bridge that was built along the mountain.

Bantay Abot Cave (Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte)
Bantay About Cave is another marvel created by nature. Bantay About means a mountain with a hole. The hole was created by an earthquake and the waves.

Blue Lagoon (Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte)
We were able to take a short swim here. The sands are white and the water is clear.

Paoay Sand Dunes (Ilocos Norte)
Paoay Sand Dunes gives you a glimpse of what a desert is. We tried the 4x4 adventure for about thirty minutes. It was one great and thrilling ride!

Note: All the pictures shown above were taken by Celine

May 25, 2013

Ilocos Adventure: Food Trip

Celine, her high school best friends Deci and Lik, and I went to Ilocos from May 17 to 19 for a weekend trip. She had always wanted to visit the Spanish era-style of Vigan and try the authentic Vigan empanada. They chose Explore Island Philippines Travel and Tours' packaged Ilocos tour. Here are some of the places where we ate while in Ilocos. I'll be posting another blog entry about the places we visited.

Cafe Uno (Vigan City, Ilocos Sur)
We had breakfast here. Celine ordered longganisa and hot choco while I had the beef tapa and coffee that wasn't hot.

Sikat-Tuna Inihaw & Restaurant (Batac, Ilocos Norte)
Our stop-over for lunch on Friday. Most of their food are grilled seafood. Their restrooms even had sea-related designs, like shells as faucet switch and tissue holder. We tried their tuna lumpia and tuna tapa.

Dap-Ayan Ti Ilocos Norte (Laoag City, Ilocos Norte)
We went here to try the empanada and find out it is different from the Vigan empanada. There were different stalls there too. They had a special empanda that has hotdog and other meat. We ordered that special empanada, some isaw and C2.

Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant & Bar (Laoag City, Ilocos Norte)
We ordered Pinakbet Pizza and Poque-Poque (an Ilocano eggplant dish) Pizza to take out as our dinner on Friday. While waiting for our pizzas, we had dessert (yes, dessert first before dinner). We ordered Kalti, an Ilocano fondue. By the way, according to the waitress, Saramsam came from Sarap na Inaasam-asam

Jun & Carol Beach Cottages (Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte)
This was where we also stayed during Saturday night. We checked in at lunch time of Saturday and had pinakbet with bagnet, chicken adobo, and sugpo.

Villa del Mar (Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte)
On Saturday night, we found out that the restaurants close at nine o'clock in the evening. Thankfully, the restaurant in Villa del Mar accommodated us. We had boneless bangus and chopseuy because there are not much left to order.

Apo Idon Beach Hotel (Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte)
This is another nearby hotel where we had breakfast on Sunday morning. Celine ordered bread, bacon, potato wedges, and eggs while I ordered the Vigan Longganisa meal with coffee.

Vigan Empanadaan (Vigan City, Ilocos Sur)
There were different stalls selling empanadas. We were able to try the authentic Vigan empanada and okay. The Vigan empanada really tastes good and the ones they sell in night markets was nothing compared to it.

Tummy Talk (Vigan City, Ilocos Sur)
After eating Vigan empanada, we went to Calle Crisologo to eat. The other restaurants are already full of people. We ordered Bagnet Rice and Vigan Longganisa. Too bad the waiter wasn't able to list our order of Kare-Kare Bagnet so we weren't able to try it.

Note: All the pictures above were taken from Celine's foursquare account.

May 20, 2013

Android at Google I/O 2013

Google I/O is an annual developer conference by Google where they showcase their products and innovations. This year's event was from May 15 to 17. Aside from keynotes, there are also sessions about Google and open technologies, including Android.

As an Android developer, I was looking forward to updates about the Android operating system and ecosystem and the Android sessions. Here are some of the highlights related to Android during the Google I/O 2013 Keynote:
  • In 2013, there is now over 900 million Android device activations.
  • Over 48 billion apps have been downloaded from Google Play to date, with over 2.5 billion app downloads in the last month alone.
  • Samsung Galaxy S4, with Google's latest software and services, will be available on Google Play starting June 26.
  • The announcement of Android Studio, a free IDE for Android which is based from IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition. It will simplify Android apps development.
  • Google Play Services; Games Services, Locations API, GCM Enhancements
  • Google Play Developer Console Updates: Optimization Tips, App Translation, Revenue Graphs, Analytics, Referral Tracking

For details, check this blog post from the Android Developers Blog.

There were different sessions related to Android and the videos have now been uploaded to the Android Developers Youtube Channel. There are more than 30 videos and they made a Youtube Playlist that contains all the Android Sessions. Aside from this playlist, they also grouped the videos into four different playlists: Android Design, Android Development, Android Distribution, and Google Play services for Android.

Android Development - All the design sessions from the Android track at Google I/O 2013.

Android Design - All the design sessions from the Android track at Google I/O 2013.

Android Distribution - All the Google Play, distribution, and monetizations sessions from Google I/O 2013.

Google Play Services for Android - All the Google Play services sessions from the Android track at Google I/O, including games, location-based services, and Google Cloud Messaging.

Aside from these videos, they're also making the sessions available for listening via the Android Developers Live podcast.

May 13, 2013

Google I/O 2013 Extended

Can't go to San Francisco for Google I/O 2013? Get the I/O experience by attending Google I/O Extended events being organized by Google Developers Group worldwide. In the Philippines, there are seven (7) Google I/O Extended events: ManilaBaguioBacolodCebuCagayan de OroDavao, and Sagada.

We'll be at the GDG Philippines' Manila I/O Extended at Center Stage Family KTV & Resto Bar (Jupiter Street, Makati City) from 8:00 PM of May 15 to 03:00 AM of May 16. Aside from viewing the keynote and other sessions, there will also have a show-and-tell of apps.

If you can't attend any of the I/O Extended events, you can still watch Google I/O at or follow the Google Developers Google+ Page.

Below is a live blogging gadget from Google Developers. If you want to add one to your own site, create your own here.