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Taken at: UnionBank Plaza in Pasig City, Philippines

We had the Halloween celebrations at work today. Our floor’s theme is Super Mario Brothers! It was a relatively easy work day because of the festive atmosphere in the company.

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Go Hard Baguio: Ghost Hunting Day 2

It’s the morning of another day. I had a peaceful sleep because of the wonderful weather. And this view greets me as I open my eyes.

What a view.

And, yes, I was on the extra bed. There was five of us in a family room of 2 queen sized beds. I didn’t mind being on the extra bed because I will not be on the direct path of the wind from the outside. Most of us got up late because of the exhaustion of yesterday. We managed to be prepared by 9 AM to go look for breakfast.

Breakfast buffet!

We went to Citylight Hotel for their breakfast buffet. The hotel is just a few walks away from the Baguio Cathedral on Upper General Luna Road. I must admit that I am happy with this breakfast buffet. They have a wide selection of food from viands, to pancakes, to siomai and siopao, and even bread. I will say that the price is worth the goodies. I definitely had a blast enjoying the buffet. After we are all done, we went back to the hotel for the others to take a bath.

We decided our fate for the day and wanted to go to the strawberry fields!

I see fields of green!

We go outside of Baguio City to the town of La Trinidad to go to the strawberry fields. It was sad, though, that there are no strawberries to pick because it’s not yet their season. The experience would have been better. We didn’t go home empty-handed though because we bough vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and Sagada oranges.

The midday will be spent on souvenirs and pasalubong so we went to Good Shepherd for their delicacies. Good Shepherd is on Gibraltar Road. My office mates wanted me to buy Alfajor and Choco Flakes. However, the shop ran out of Alfajor so I had to buy them at the market. We were just able to buy Ube Jam and Lengua de Gato. Both of which are also tasty.

And just across Good Shepherd is Mines View Park. Mines View Park is a view of the Amburayan Valley and it never fails to take my breath away.

Always a beautiful scene.

We had to put down all the stuff we bought at the hotel before we continue with our adventure. And by good, or not, chance, it rained. They were a bit apprehensive about continuing to the haunted buildings while it was raining hard. I said that it would add a creepier twist to what we will be doing. Also, we don’t want to go there during night because, honestly, I won’t.

Creepy!

I was so excited to see it when we arrived at the gate. It is raining and the place is abandoned. What more can you ask for?

This is the Diplomat Hotel. It’s a long way from Downtown Baguio. It was once a vacation house for the Dominican Order of the priests. It was later turned into a refugee camp for those escaping the Japanese during the World War II. The Japanese bombed the place at a later date. It was then turned into a hotel after it was reconstructed. Now, you’d understand why the place is haunted.

However, it is now turned into a tourist spot with the hotel remodeled to be a function hall. I don’t really know why they did that. I just hope that they’d leave it to its original state but still have security for it. And of course, we turned it into a good photo shoot opportunity.

Photo shoot.

We toured the place and I was sad that we weren’t able to get to the top of the building. It would have been an awesome view.

After we were done with the place, we went directly to another one of the haunted places in Baguio City.

No other house creeps the hell out of me.

The outside gives me the creeps. That will not make me want to enter the house. But, as we were in Baguio for this, I joined in. The Laperal White House is found on Leonard Wood Road. You can easily see it adjacent to Teacher’s Camp. It is isolated in the sense that there are no establishments to its left or right.

The Laperal family is one of the largest clans in the Baguio area. And like how most ghost stories started, the Japanese made this a garrison during World War II. There were a lot of torture and torment that some of the souls weren’t able to cross to the other side.

The first floor is now turned into a Bamboo Carving Art gallery. The other floors are free for the tourists to explore. We were there when it was almost sunset. So, you can just imagine how terrified I am by that time. I wasn’t staying away from the group because I was so afraid.

A photo at the attic.

I wasn’t so keen on taking pictures because there might be surprising effects when I see them. And all of the feelings inside the house made me all hungry.

My sister was raving about this place called the 50’s Diner and it’s a good thing that it’s just near the area.

Old school!

50’s Diner is a place on General Luna Road. It’s not far from the Laperal House so it was accessible to us. We had to wait, though, for a free table. We were sixth in line and that just added to my hunger. I was supposed to order yet another burger but further inspection of the menu brought me to pasta and garlic shrimp. Yes. Probably, a good choice. Plus, a strawberry milkshake. Because when in Baguio, you never run out of stuff you can add strawberry to.

After dinner, we headed out to look for a spa that can accommodate all of us. But, lo and behold, we were defeated. No spa is open at the hour and since it’s a holiday, there weren’t really open in the first place. So, we came back to our place and I was so tired that I didn’t have time for before-bed bantering with my friends. I just laid there until I fell asleep.

Go Hard Baguio: Ghost Hunting Day 1

So here’s the gist of why we’re going to Baguio. We’ve been ‘ghost hunting’ for two years now. When the calendar says it’s November 1 we’ve been going to places where there are rumored ghost sightings – just for the thrill of it. This year, we’ve elevated that activity and go to the city with a lot of ghost stories: Baguio City. Also, people needed time to get away from the city, so we have another pressing reason. We caught the 2:00 AM bus to Baguio at the Victory Liner Bus Terminal at Cubao, Quezon City. I was happy that the bus was on time and that it was easy to connect to the bus WiFi. To be quite frank, it was an easy ride and we arrived at around 7:30 AM and it was just 16 degrees. We took this list and thought of the places we’ll be going to. Where we are we stayed. Case Vallejo is on that list. It is also one of the reasons why we decided to book in this hotel. Rumors has it that there are ghosts of the owners that lurk in the bathrooms. In my two nights stay in the hotel, no ghost ever appeared. We just dropped our bags so we could tour around the city. But, first of all, breakfast. Friends with good taste dine at Good Taste. We ate at the new Good Taste Cafe and Restaurant building at the Baguio Center Mall. It was a recommended place by my friends and it almost didn’t disappoint. Almost, because I ordered the breakfast longganisa meal. It was a bit bland for my taste and I expected it to taste like Vigan longganisa. But, the coffee is nice and it’s a plus. After we are all fed, we went straight for Camp John Hay. We wanted to drop by the surplus shops and hope to find good items on sale! That didn’t come through, though. But, we had a lot of fun in taking pictures in the hills and under the trees. Jump! The time shift burst functionality of my camera was put into good use! We didn’t mind the sun because the weather was very comforting. I hope that Manila has weather like this. We walked around Camp John Hay and got to this beautiful house at the top of the hill. This house was built in honor of General Franklin Bell who participated in the Spanish-American War. The Bell House Then it was a quick visit to The Mansion and Wright Park. These are common tourist spots in Baguio. The Mansion is the president’s official residence in Baguio. It holds a lot of international conferences. It’s just sad that people can’t come near the building. It would have been nice to see its architecture. So we just settled for pictures across the lawn. After the tiring morning, we went back to the hotel to check in. People were also tired because we didn’t have enough sleep. We decided to chill for the rest of the afternoon and go out when it’s time for dinner. Food! The Ketchup Food Community is kind of a communal eating area. It’s a group of 5 restaurants. You can sit anywhere and order from any of the establishments. However, you must order at least 50% of your order from the restaurant you’re sitting in. We even had to change tables just because of that rule. But, it’s good because they have affordable prices and the food tastes great! At around 7:30 PM, we finished dinner. We wanted to go to the Laperal White House to give ourselves some spook. However, it was already closed at that time. Maybe it was to shield the tourists from the harm a night at a haunted house could bring. So, instead of going home directly, we dropped by Beans Talk for some drinks and coffee. We just sat there talking because that’s what you do when you have your friends with you. Plus, the Koreans sitting across us are cute. And the view is nice. Session Road at night. After the drinks, my friend remembered that there’s an ongoing night market in Baguio along Harrison Street, just across Burnham Park. We tried to scour for good finds but, lo and behold, we found none. I don’t even know what I’m looking for so that must be the reason why I didn’t buy anything. There were a lot of people so it’s tiring to look at the things that gets your attention. I didn’t realize that Baguio had that number of people. Night market! It was my first time in Baguio after almost 10 or more years. I don’t even remember it being this commercialized. However, I am happy that people still has this discipline when crossing the street. Sleeping in the hotel also gives me the creeps. I do hope that my imagination won’t challenge me tonight.

Spooktakular 2013

It is an annual event in the company to celebrate Halloween by having a workplace design competition between different units of the bank. This year, the floor was given a general theme of SciFi. The inner geek of one of our colleagues came out and we picked out Star Wars. Actually, we weren’t supposed to join because of the time constraint but they wouldn’t want to waste a good theme.

 

We decided to make use of the hallway instead of our own workstations because of the sparsity of props and decor. The area of our workstation will just make the number of props look less than we actually have. The hallway is the perfect place to put up the decor and have it concentrated in just one stretch of an area. We had tie fighters and some flying vehicles and stars. What would Star Wars be without the stars.

 

Throughout the last week, we had small factory sessions to manufacture our props. That was on top of our projects and work load. We don’t want to stay late in the office just to finish them however we had to do a Saturday session in order for us to finish what we need to finish.

In the cast of characters, I was named to be C-3PO. He is a robot designed to serve human beings. I am with my counterpart R2-D2. The thing missing are my yellow arms. We didn’t have much time because the judging was about to begin.

This is the best Halloween so far. In the past, I have been Jack Sparrow and a flagpole for Mario. When the judges came, I heard their amazement with what we have done and that I feel like we’re going to win this year. I do hope that we do because we may not have put a lot of hours in this but the quality of both the thought and the props were there.

Now, it’s time to give the children their treats.

Another Birthday Celebration

During the end of the month, we usually have a birthday celebration for the month’s birthday celebrants. Since the reorganization happened, I became the only person to celebrate in October. So, in essence, it was another birthday celebration for me.

YAY.

Actually, it was just more than a birthday celebration it was a “go to work and not work at all” kind of day.

At around 10:30 AM, we left the office and made our way to Katipunan for cake-hunting. I saw an Angry Bird cake at Shoppersville. Apparently, it was a made-to-order cake so that was out of the running. We dropped by Xocolat. I have always wanted to try their cake. And it was a great thing, too, that I was there to suggest it.

Xocolat makes you salivate. Even the box.

We ordered the red velvet one and the dark chocolate with the X on top one.

Them cakes.

They really look lovely. Don’t they? The red velvet one looks like the hat of the Mad Hatter. The thing is with their cakes is that they are not too sweet. Also, their cakes are not crumby so that when you eat them it’s not very messy. I love the cream cheese. It was heavenly. Both of them are heavenly.

I actually wanted to take pictures of our trip to Katipunan. But, knowing that I’ll be uploading photos in FaceBook, I’d rather not take pictures because ultimate boss will see them.

HAH.

Just covering tracks. That’s all.

The organizers for the birthday celebration asked what I wanted to eat for this party. I said spaghetti and chicken. I always want my birthday parties to have a children’s party vibe. It’s just that we must always remember to be kids again. Age is but a number, it’s the attitude that is more important.

Yummy chicken!

The lunch was great! I love the chicken from S&R. It’s too bad that we don’t have an S&R near our place. The closest is Chooks to Go. But, this chicken is just different. The taste seeps into the bones – even when cold! The skin is also very tasty. I must ask people to buy this for me.

After lunch, though, we had to go to Robinson’s Galleria to buy materials for our Halloween decorations. It could have been the rain that changed the way we think the rest of the day. We went through National Book Store, Ace Hardware and a lot of other stores for the materials. The real problem was the way home. It was raining hard and we were holding stuff wrapped in paper bags.

When we were almost near the building my paper bag ripped apart spilling all contents on the street. It was a movie moment when I went to the middle of the street and shouted “pusang gala” in the middle of the rain. I wished that was caught on video.

We arrived at around 3:15 PM. We were a bit flushed because of the hassle we went through on the way back to the building. Aside from that, we had a 3 PM meeting to attend to. So, without much thinking we went to the meeting and we were terribly late. They can’t blame us, though. It was just a volunteer type of work.

After the meeting, it was just Halloween design time. This Halloween, we decided to use Mario as our theme. And my personal project for this are the clouds and the beanstalk. And, I love how far I’ve come.

Cute clouds and beanstalk!

I do hope that we can finish this on Monday especially when the judging is already on Tuesday. We left the office at 10 PM. That’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in the office. Since it was not work, I thoroughly enjoyed it. We were only 4 people left by that time. I think that maybe we’ll be doing an over time on Monday again.

Fun, fun day. Cheers!