Chosen Land: Two

2AM MLP livestreams are definitely bad for sleep. I end up staying for the encore show and go through the various episode discussions that by the time I turn off the lights and hit the bed, it’s almost 3:30 already.

Totally worth it for the show though, haha. Shall resist talking about the episode and get on with the post.

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“The Ballad of Applejack’s Last Round Up [derpy mix]”
edwardkyomoon
Yes more pony music, deal with it. I felt some part of the songs dragged a bit musically, but it’s really awesome nonetheless because it has a country flair to it and cherry chimmy chonga kumquat picklebarrel.

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Day Two

Much to my surprise, waking up didn’t prove that difficult. Maybe because I was half-freezing, hmm.

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The French toast left me disappointed but the other fare was good!

After breakfast we simply waited around in the hotel lobby for the rest of the party to arrive, since we had booked a tour and the driver was to pick us up at the hotel.

It was a minibus and the traffic was considerably good and all but this was in the morning so really, I wasn’t fully awake during the most part. We did get off at Starbucks at one point to grab some coffee and some munchies. I got a latte, I think, and a sugar-frosted donut. Didn’t really matter since it takes some time for caffeine to kick in for me.

Also my coffee kept trying to escape, i.e. bumpy ride, so the serviette was all soaked before I even got a chance to use them, haha.

When I did get kicked into some form of consciousness, I noticed us passing by a soft drink factory. They had wrapped the huge storage vats to make them look like giant-sized cans of the very drink they contained. I imagined Batman and Red Hood (Joker) fighting on the non-existent walkways. Yes the vats weren’t open-topped; no I don’t care, hush.

I was busy trying to not get hot coffee splashed on my crotch so I apologise for the lack of photos.

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These were taken at Tagaytay Ridge, overlooking Taal Lake and the volcano islands. It’s a popular tourist spot, as you can imagine. Luckily for us, off-peak season! Due to the high altitude, it was really cool and windy, unlike regular Philippine/Singapore weather. In other words, a perfect spot to place one’s home.

In the second photo you can see Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) Crater, which we initially assumed to be the active volcano we were heading to. Turns out, that is actually the dormant one. And my awesome crest-of-hair in the third, like a frickin’ Roman Centurion, hell yeah.

Our vehicle then made its way downhill via the narrow winding roads, much to my glee, before finally arriving at our first destination. The three photos I took there were crap, but I just received the set my friend took, so I’ll put those in the last post.

We had to take a boat to cross the lake, which I was fully aware of. By “boat” I had thought we were employing a ferry or something similar but boy, was I wrong. We were to take a banca, a motorised outrigger. “We’re going to cross the lake in that?”

I had absolutely no love for the sea but it didn’t meant I was allergic to it — it’s very much like being around someone you dislike. My only concern were my belongings but the tour operators were obviously prepared for it so we were all given plastic bags for it. Oh and life jackets.

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The ride itself wasn’t unbearable. Some splashes of water here and there and a few small waves. I just went along with it and made use of my imagination:

Manila_2012-02_Day02 (5)I kid you not, that’s what the water looks like after we reached shore and walked a couple of meters down the beach.

We passed through Talisay Village, with me paying particular attention to the horses. There were also lots of poultry abound, clucking or just minding their own birdy business.

Soon enough we were on the trail and the very first thing all of us noticed was the horse poop. Poop everywhere! So much so that we spent most of the time with our eyes on the ground watching our step and not looking at the scenery. I’m no botanical expert but I’ve seen enough South East Asian woodland areas and this didn’t look too different from what I’ve seen, so eyes on the ground it was for me.

This being a volcano, it was a predominantly uphill trek. Stark reminder of how out of shape I was but I was glad we opted to go by foot! My sole reason was that I felt bad for the horses having to lug usually fat humans up and down the trail — if it was flat open ground I’d ride one, if it didn’t mind. (Mayo logic.)

If anything, I’m definitely happy I wasn’t lugging around a backpack, a load-bearing vest, semi-automatic rifle and boots. God-Emperor forbid being part of a two-man machine gun squad…

We came across other tourist groups, who were mostly mounted. Only one other group had opted to go by foot, and we met them near the peak.

Manila_2012-02_Day02 (6)Crater Lake and Vulcan Point, if I’m not mistaken. Ours was the “Light/Easy” trail option, so this was the furthest we would explore, as did most other groups. Other packages had you going deeper, even all the way down to the lake for a hot swim! One of the guides mentioned that you could even cook eggs in a matter of minutes.

It’s really unique since this is, quite literally, a volcano inside a volcano. Or, in Vulcan Point’s case, ” the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island, i.e., Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, on Taal Island within Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon.” [Source]

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Yes I was wondering what its Cutie Mark would be. *ahem*

Half our party decided to ride down, so it was just me and someone else trekking down. It was far more pleasant and we chatted about Philippine socio-political issues and, of course, the Church. And books! Not everyday you get to hear about books being discussed. I have so much reading to do and so much more ahead of me.

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And the ladies went wild.

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One of our guides on the left. The village gets its power via generators and they don’t really have an emergency plan in event of an eruption. They normally look for signs or when the national agency issues a warning. It’s been a few decades since the last eruption, which was in 1977, but being in the Pacific Ring of Fire and with all the seismic activities as of late, it’s hard to not be a little concerned.

One thing’s for certain though: volcanic soil sure is fertile, and making a living at a tourist spot helps.

Manila_2012-02_Day02 (13)Absolute water.
Absolut vodka.
Very much amused.

We had our lunch afer our return crossing, which was far more bumpy and wet. I suspect it was requested or intentional, which is totally fine with me because it made the ride more fun (refer to imaginary setting picture). I had totally forgotten I was still sick with a cold — something I only remembered when I got back and read the post I made on Friday prior to the flight — so this and dehydration would get back at me at a later point.

Remember the sugar-frosted donut I had bought earlier in the day? Well, the heat didn’t make the frosting any prettier. I decided to get a little creative with it, a photo of which you will get to see in my last post.

After stuffing our faces and saying goodbye to the local dogs in the area (and ninja cat), we got into the minibus and headed back to Manila, stopping along the way to buy some local snacks, which I brought back as souvenirs for the family.

I didn’t get any souvenirs for friends, because I want to drag them along the next time, haha. How do you bring back cooked food and guns? Well actually the dragging part should be the other way round, seeing how broke I usually am. Hmm…

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Jeepneys, a popular mode of transport over there, usually stuffed to full. As in, hanging off the back kind of full.  Obviously these two were not in service — they don’t get to drive on pedestrian walkways. That would be quite cool. Terrifying, but cool.

We got back to the hotel in the early evening. We quickly freshened up, with me noticing that I had stepped on some poop after all, much to my dismay. I had bought a new pair of shoe-sandal hybrids the day before just for the hike!

I also noticed something else: I had a sunglasses tan on my face. I brought sunscreen, mind you, but I forgot to put it on because everybody else already had done so long before any of us even met up in the first place it would seem. It wasn’t that obvious and it gave me an excuse to wear my shades more often!

Our choice locale for dinner was Little Tokyo, which was hidden away past a short alley with Japanese design touches. We opted to eat at HANA, a restaurant which our local friends recommended. It was air-conditioned, had Japanese cable which aired really unique commercials and they knew the owner too, who came in not long after we settled down.

Turns out she lived in Singapore for a couple of months before moving to the Philippines, way back in the day.

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Yes, that’s a shot of a glass of Coke. Sadly enough, they didn’t have Dr. Pepper, which is about the only soft drink I’d readily drink these days. I couldn’t get a decent photo of either the curry rice or fish, sadly.

Upon dinner’s conclusion, we began to part ways under the light rain. Those of us remaining visited a few of the Japanese shops there were. Due to the Philippine’s closer proximity to Japan, they had imported goods at a cheaper price than we do here in Singapore. I’d be happy enough with just the simple strawberry Pocky and Colon biscuits and ALL that tea.

In the end I purchased a bottle of apple cider (not from the Apple family sadly /brony) and some snacks, in addition to the contact lens solution I had bought earlier before making our way to Little Tokyo, something I had forgotten to buy on the first day.

With that, we retired for the night. After long warm showers and wrapping up in comforters, my room-mate and I watched a couple of programs on the telly. My absolute lack of cable knowledge was made very apparent. We also learned that being a bounty hunter is a legit career in the U.S.A. and that a whole family was in on it! Don’t get on the wrong side of Dog.

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Honestly, I hate dust. I’ve said this time and time again but by the dark gods, I really hate dust. Setting aside a day simply to get rid of it from being plastered over every surface and in your electronics is such a waste of time. Necessary, but a major pain in the ass.

In contrast to what I had I mentioned in a previous post, if there’s one thing I do find useful about Facebook integration, its the “Like” button. Say what you will about it, it’s a really simple way to show someone you like something, especially when it saves you time from having to sign-up on some other site just to do so. Of course, I rather comment, send an email or a private message if it’s something I find extra special — it’s nice when you manage to have brief conversations with them.

The reason I brought this up is because of deviantART. I’ve always refrained from using it for a few simple reasons, one of them being I have nothing to put up. There also happens to be a user demographic that I don’t really fancy myself associating with. On the flip side, there are a bunch of really great contributors who do make dA their main front, some of them industry professionals too. Having a folder of bookmarks for their individual pages isn’t really the greatest idea.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe I do have an account. Shall go give it a shot once I schedule this.

I’d really like to start looking for a part-time job now but I don’t know my semester schedule!

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