Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enjoying My Last Two Weeks

Here's a brief update.

Saturday, December 12:
In the afternoon, my aunt and uncle took my cousin and I downtown to watch the parade for Foundation University. Afterward, we went to Robinson's, where we went to the Moon Cafe, a Mexican-themed restaurant, for snacks.

Sunday, December 13 - Wednesday, December 16:
Absolutely nothing of interest occurred.

Thursday, December 17:
My aunt and uncle took my cousins and I to Robinson's to see Ninja Assasin. The plot was kind of lame and there was really no character development, but there was lots of gory fighting scenes that made it worth it. That's really the only reason anyone should see it - if they're just in the mood for lots of blood without having to think hard and concentrate on a storyline. Afterward, we stopped by Dunkin Donuts for snacks.

Friday, December 18:
Absolutely nothing of interest occurred.

Saturday, December 19:
My other aunt and uncle picked my cousin and I up in the afternoon and took us to Robinson's to see Avatar. We got there early, so we walked around for a little while and we grabbed some boba tea (my favorite!) before the movie. Avatar was actually much better than I expected. We only got to see the 2D version, not the 3D, but it was still good. I mean, the plot was predictable and cliche (think typical "man goes undercover, man falls in love with woman/culture/whatever, man abandons previous loyalties, drama ensues" kind of movie, like Pocahontas, Last Samurai, Fern Gully), but it was still really good. It was a lot of fun to watch. I've heard people say it was THE best film they have ever seen - I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I will say that as much as I thought I would hate it, I was happily disappointed. The concept was neat, and even being predictable and cliche, it was still a great movie to watch. It's one of those movies I wouldn't mind seeing again in the theater. I'd really like to see the 3D version. Anyway, after the movie, we went to Sans Rival and had lasagna and Silvanas, a delicious dessert that is one of their specialties. We walked around Robinson's a little more, then we went to the "Christmas house". I can't remember the guy's name, but apparently he's a really rich anesthesiologist who was already born into a great deal of money to begin with. He's loaded and has houses all over the country, and every year he decorates his huge, old Dumaguete home with lights and trees and all sorts of other stuff - inside and out - and charges people to go in and tour around. The visit was spur of the moment, so sadly I didn't have my camera with me. I'm supposed to be going back on Wednesday, though, so I'll be sure to take lots of pictures then. It's gorgeous. The house in itself would be so much fun to tour through just looking at all the old knick-knacks and photographs, but with all the Christmas decorations, it was awesome.

Sunday, December 20:
My aunt and uncle came back home from Cebu (they had been gone all weekend) Sunday afternoon. When they got back, they took my cousin and I to Lake Balanan, a lake high up in the mountains in Siaton. It was gorgeous, and a lot of fun. When you first enter the park, there's literally a pool in the middle of the road about six inches deep that you have to drive through with larger pools on either side of the bridge. People aren't allowed to swim in the lake itself, but they have kayaks and small boats that look like huts connected to a rope that's tied from one end of the river to the other. You can go on it and a person stands at one end of the rope and pulls it and it moves the boat across the water. There's also a walking trail you can take to get to the otherside, but the boats are more fun. We took a rowboat from one side of the lake to the other. On the other side of the lake, you get to the mouth of the river (more like a stream, by it's size) that empties into the lake. We docked the boat at the shore, then followed the trail along the river to a waterfall. It wasn't huge like Nicaragua or anything - just a small one, but it was still neat. The water at the mouth of the fall was shallow (think, the kind of waterfall where they take sexy photographs of models standing in the waterfall in bikinis), and my aunt wanted me to go stand in the water in front of it to take a picture. At first I didn't want to because I didn't want to step in the water and get wet, but I did. Once I got in front of it, I was tempted to join her in the waterfall itself to see what it feels like, so I did. Then, when I did that I took notice of all of the big rocks and was tempted to climb I did! It was scary because the waterfall current was kind of strong and the rocks were covered in wet moss, which made it slippery. I was also fully-dressed - I had brought a swimsuit to change into, but I didn't anticipate jumping randomly into a waterfall so I was still wearing my dry clothes. It was a ton of fun, though, and afterward my uncle told me the two girls who work there and were guiding us were surprised that I climbed the rocks because apparently no one ever does that. It surprised me because Filipinos usually do all kinds of crazy dangerous stuff, so I assumed the locals did it often. Not to mention foreigners tend to do crazy random stuff too with placed in a new location/situation, especially stupid Americans like myself. I enjoyed it, though, and it made for fun pictures. I wasn't able to climb all the way to the top, though, because my uncle was worried I'd fall and so he stopped me. After that, we walked back to the mouth of the river and to the lake and took the boat back to the entrance. We stopped by the gift shop, then we walked to the swimming pools they have there, which are fed by river water. We went swimming for a little while, then we dried off, changed clothes, and drove back home. It was a whole lot of fun.

Monday, December 21 (yesterday):
In the afternoon I got a call from Charm and April (my cousin's friends who I went out with last time) asking if I wanted to go out. We started off at Robinson's, so April could look for a birthday gift for one of her friends but she had no luck and gave up. Charm mentioned that she wanted to go grab a drink or coffee, so we decided to wander off elsewhere and debated where we wanted to go. We took a pedicab to Silliman University because Charm had a quiz to make up. Her teacher wasn't there when we arrived, though, so we walked from Silliman to the Boulevard and stopped by a bakery/cafe there to grab dessert. Afterward, we were still trying to decide where we wanted to go for drinks, but we ended up taking a pedicab to Hayahay, a restaurant/bar on the other side of the Boulevard (where I went with my mom, aunt, and uncle before). While we were there, we had sizzling sigsig (pigs cheek, onions, peppers, and egg grilled and served on a sizzling skillet - apparently the Filipino equivalent to American's peanuts or pizza, "beer food") and a pitcher of Mango Sling (mango juice and Tanduay rhum). We stayed there are talked for a while and talked. It was a lot of fun. Afterward, we were still hungry, so we decided to grab pizza at another place. I don't remember the name, but apparently it's a popular college hangout because the pizza is cheap and delicious. We took a pedicab to that place and ordered a pepperoni pizza, then Charm and I walked next door to a bakery (Tsokolate) because she wanted me to try their "oatikins" (or something like that). It's kinda like a cereal bar - it has layers of chocolate and oatmeal and it was delicious. Then, we went back to the restaurant and had our pizza and talked some more. While we were eating, there were people standing outside the fence asking alms, and I think they could tell that I have a soft-heart because instead of leaving after Charm kept telling them no, they still stuck around asking "Pleasssse ma'aaaam. Pizza pleasseee." It made me feel really guilty and made me lose my appetite. We ended up giving our last piece of pizza to him. After that, we tried to walk next door to the Christmas House so that we could take pictures, but it was closed for a private party. (We made plans to get together again Wednesday night one last time before I leave, and we'll stop by the Christmas House.) Finally, we took a pedicab back to my uncle's house, talked with him for a little while, then I joined him to drop the girls off at their houses. I had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, December 22 (today):
Today has been pretty uneventful. Iglo (my dress designer) stopped by, so I tried my dress on for him so that he could make alterations. He's taking it with him to Cebu today to work on it, then he'll send it back on a bus tomorrow. Aside from that, nothing else has happened. It's still early, though, so who knows. I'm sad to leave the Philippines this week, but I'm also kind of excited because this time next week I'll be with Bruno again. :)