Sweets haven in Bulacan

Looking for sweets treat this Christmas season? Then go buy assorted pastillas de leche in San Miguel, Bulacan and savor them alone or with your love ones.

Pastillas de leche is basically a candy made out of milk and sugar. It is rolled into thumb-size pieces, wrapped in white paper and then packed in different colorful papers.

The best thing about the pastillas de leche is that once popped inside the mouth, the partaker finds the grits of sugar and the slow, gentle melting of it in the mouth and offers a heavenly goodness of pure carabao’s milk. It gives not just sweetness but also creaminess and softness of a candy that one would crave for more.

Coming in different varieties, this delicacy in San Miguel town has become an addiction to travelers and most especially to its locals.

A gateway to Nueva Ecija and Cagayan Valley region, San Miguel town is a favorite stopover for travelers who crave for mouth-watering pastillas de lecheout of carabao’s milk.

According to Rafael Payawal, popularly called as “Ka Ape”, who is one of the oldest living residents in San Miguel, the pastillas industry in the town traces its history to the Spanish period.

“San Miguel as an agricultural area has many carabaos. Because of this, people thought of capitalizing it for other uses aside from farming activities. And so they came up with collecting its milk and developing it into pastillas,” Payawal said.

Due to growing demand, pastillas has become at par with farming as the main livelihoods in San Miguel.

Now, the number of commercial pastillas makers is growing in number. Among these are Ocampo Sweets, Sevilla Sweets, Andrea Sweets, Garcia’s and Ricmar’s. Their common secret? It’s the freshness of the carabao’s milk, which is pasteurized immediately upon delivery and uses it for pastillas making.

The Sevilla and Ocampo sweets products include the following:

  • Pastillas de leche. Soft and creamy milk candies made of pure carabao’s milk and sugar. Available in boxes containing 25 jumbo pieces and plastic bags with 24 smaller pieces.
  • Flavored pastillas. Pastillas de leche with langka (jackfruit), cheese and ube (purple yam) flavors. These are packed in plastic bags with 24 pieces each.
  • Assorted pastillas. An assortment of flavors in plastic container, namely; pastillas de leche, pastillas de yema, pastillas de ube, pastillas de langka, and pastillas de keso.
  • Ube pastillas. Thumb-size morsel rolled in sugar and wrapped in clear cellophane with ube as its main ingredient made tastier with carabao’s milk.
  • Pastillas de yema. A sweet, sticky delicacy made of condensed milk, egg yolk, cheese, sugar and lemon. Available in plastic bags containing 24 pieces.
  • Pastillas stick. It is composed of 12 sticks of yummy pastillas bound by festive yellow ribbon.
  • Cheese candy. Consisting of 12 sticks of cheese-flavored tied with yellow ribbon.

Other products include special polvoron, polvoron de pinipig, assorted polvoron, assorted macapuno balls, dried fruits, cashew tart, pili tart, lengua de gato, turon de casuy, pacencia white, uraro, and minarka.

Aside from being used as a favorite dessert on the locals’ and travelers’ tables, the pastillas products are also used as a present (pasalubong) or a gift during special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and Christmas because of its delicate, colorfully wrapped goodies.

“These milk products continue to live because of the strong patronage of the locals in San Miguel,” says Mayor Roderick DG. Tiongson.

In fact, Bulacan celebrated the first Pastillas festival on May 5-7, 2005 which highlighted the importance of pastillas in the lives of its locals. According to Mayor Tiongson, the province of Bulacan will set another pastillas festival in May 2011.

In 2008, San Miguel tried its best to be included in the Guiness Book of World Records for producing the “longest pastillas in the world”. The efforts involved the use of 12,800 liters of carabao’s milk and 1,600 kilos of sugar that produced a 200-meter long, five-inch diameter pastillas. The finished product, when cut into pieces, resulted in 500,000 thumb-size pieces morsels.

The effort, though, was not officially recognized due to some reasons.

Nobody can really claim where pastillas has originated.

But according to Caridad Sevilla, her mother-in-law Olympia Sevilla, more popularly known as “Lola Impiyang”, was said to be the very first resident of San Miguel who started the pastillas business.

Caridad relates that Lola Impiyang was then a vendor of coffee with fresh carabao’s milk. At the end of the day, she still has overflowing liters of milk. With this in hand, she applied what she has learned from her ancestors, and that is cooking the carabo’s milk into pastillas. At first, she would just give it to her neighbors but eventually turned it into a family business when more and more locals became patrons of her pastillas.

Today, more than 200 households in San Miguel town are engaged in pastillas making. They sell their products in the town and other places.

The production of pastillas de leche in San Miguel, as a business enterprise, is expected to grow, not wane, as the years go on.

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/sweets-haven-in-bulacan/

The pristine beauty of the South

Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines 

I have always been a lover of natural wonders and a great fan of adventures. Since I was a child, to have my feet stepped on the lands on places which offer such was a profound longing.  The fact that I work with people who are equally enthusiastic of such happenings, we packed our things up, grabbed our cameras to complete the ensemble of our getaway, and geared for a three-day exciting and riveting escape to the south.

Having with us two great photographers, our spellbinding side trip to Tagaytay City was immortalized in impressive, worth-displaying photographs, and are indeed worth bringing home as a priceless memento.

The gateway to the People’s Park in the Sky. The sky seemed to dance in a halo as it welcomed us to this beauty bound place.

This place can’t get any fuller having these three lovely dahlins gracing its pathways to the sky of breathtaking scenery.

The stunning sky connived with our photo shoot made possible of course by a master photographer, Kuya Carlo. This scene brought us to the Pantheons in Rome.

And there we go, the sole evidence that we were at the People’s Park in the Sky!

The Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love came to life as we allowed ourselves get engrossed in this historical, holy place.

We were totally mystified at the sight of this place seen from the view deck of the park. It made me feel like wanting to have my rest house built here. The ever-lovely green landscape is just enchanting!

And yes, this place is a perfect place for a photo shoot for any occasion! I might even have my pre-nup here one day!

Finally, the most anticipated spellbound panorama, the stunning, jaw-dropping splendor, Taal Lake!

And here I am, completely engrossed with this wonderful gift of nature. Lovely, isn’t it?

More photos from the South coming soon that will surely entice you to put these places on your list for your next backpacking tours!

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/the-beauty-of-the-south/

There’s no other perfect place but the beach (Lemery, Batangas)

Being the adventurous and free-spirited that we are, I and my family decided to take a week-end get-away to the beach which is also a celebration for my brother’s 24th birthday.

The beach presented itself a grandeur formation of crystal drops that are seemingly coming from the hovering grayish-blue sky above. The sun, on the other hand, seems to be over friendly as it hides it scorching heat sparing our skin to get burned.

Even though it wasn’t a white-sand beach, at least there’s a li’l boat that can be used for some wave adventure. Plus the view from the other side is just equally magnificent.

What’s also good about being in the beach is that you can write anything with your bare feet and it looks utterly cute and dainty.

My slippers are having a good time, too.

What else is good about the beach is its being so friendly with kids who can freely play around and while being constantly amazed why the waves keep getting back and forth.

And yes, how about some kicks and acrobats in the water?

These folks just caught a school of fish! Yipeee!

No, these fish did not come from the beach. We bought it from the market. We could have tried fishing, though. But we’re just too busy playing and enjoying the waters that we didn’t mind getting to the middle of the sea to catch fish. Plus, it would be impossible anyways.

And what else is more fun spending a week-end trip with family?

It’s also a perfect place to just stare at the endless horizon of the sea while allowing the waves to be the only sound echoing through. It’s simply magical and a wonderful breather.

And of course, it’s also a perfect place to take some pretty pose. After all, I’m on a vacation.

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/there%E2%80%99s-no-other-perfect-place-but-the-beach-lemery-batangas/

Red Fort, India

I promised to make a blog about my very first travel abroad which is India but my schedules have been very unforgiving. So to start off, here are some photos I took (and some friends) during my visit at Red Fort.

As a first-time traveler abroad, I was overly amazed by every building I saw during my tours around New Delhi. When we were approaching Red Fort, I was stunned looking at the stretch of the fort, which according to accounts, Red Fort is perhaps one of the most magnificent specimens of Mughal architecture which portrays their creative and artistic genius to the fullest. In fact, it took several decades to build this extraordinary monument.

The Lahore gate

I, together with co-Action Partner, went to Red Fort basically to watch a show. We were expecting some surprises about the show. And guess what? We did get a surprise.

The organizer of our conference who brought us to Red Fort told us there will be a great show which starts at 7pm. So when we arrived it was already dark. The sight of the fort, however, is just magnificent as everything around is dramatically shed with different colors of light.

The entrance going to the ‘show’. I’m quite not sure what they call this gate.

We spotted our seats and waited for some surprise from the show. We were anticipating a real good show as the surroundings is in total darkness. Until different colors of light were coming through and sounds (like that of a war) echoing around.

Then we saw these:

And this:

For the first 10 minutes of the show, I was turning my head to every direction where the voice (rather sound) was coming through only to realize at the end that the show is portrayed through special lights and sounds alone.

Now I understand why we were greeted with rainbows of lights when we first entered the fort. It was a fantastic light show, though. Plus the voice overs sounded like real people doing a theatre play.

I had fun! 🙂

Coming next: Sikh temple 

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/red-fort-india/)

At Enchanted Kingdom, the magic lives on

As a getaway to the south away from the subtle and bustle of office routines, I and my friends (who are also my officemates) planned to give a surprise visit for our dear friend (ex-officemate) in time for her birthday last June. Alongside with this, we also went to the Enchanted Kingdom (EK) to fill our bloods with exciting treats.

EK, as most describes it, is a perfect place to visit for another level of excitements. The place enthralls the throng with its seemingly magical kingdom. It is engulfed with various venues where the height of exhilaration keeps on going a notch higher with every experience.

Let the magic begin…

The gateway to the magical kingdom. Our friend, Leslie, celebrated her birthday with us here at EK.

Upon entry, EK greets you with its stunning fountain.

We also had an enchanting moment with Eldar the Wizard and Princess Victoria.

Anchor Wat. One of the best rides ever! I kept on roaring during the entire ride I nearly lost my voice! It was uber fun, nevertheless.

Flying fiesta!

Roaming around the kingdom and feeling every inch of magic flowing through our curious nerves.

It also offers exciting games where you can shoot exciting prizes such as huge, huggable stuff toys. My friend here just won a cute giraffe.

The giant ferris wheel!

For exciting mumble rides, Rialto is the way!

They also perform live shows when the moon starts to peep through the kingdom.

The Space Shuttle Ride

I was nervous, and twitchy, and scared beyond words! It was the first time in my life that I literally felt my soul departed from my body! For the whole duration of the ride, I was praying hard saying: God, if I won’t make it out alive today, please take good care of my family and please, please, let EK management burn this shuttle ride to save more lives! I was cursing the whole time my life was in peril!

So glad we made it alive! And I realized I just had the ‘bestest’ ride ever!

Bump cars!

Where there is magic, there is treasure.

And oh, the lovely carousel…

The EKStreme tower ride. So extreme I didn’t dare to ride. I’ll try it when I gain enough courage though. I am crossing my fingers and toes.

The magic was in full circles as fireworks splashed through the dark sky. It was simply captivating.

We bid goodbye to the magical kingdom. Our fantasies which ran free in our dreams for years were made real. And as the EK motto puts it: The magic lives on. And so it does.

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/at-enchanted-kingdom-the-magic-lives-on/)

12 best places I visited in 2011

Capping my 2011’s wonderful and worth-reliving moments won’t be complete without giving them justice through photos.

Being an innate adventure-quencher that I am, I have been to several places around the Philippines as well as outside the country. While most of the places I have been in 2011 were more of a duty,( as part of my job so I can gather stories), I always took time to capture the beauty being offered in every place I set my feet to and immortalized them in photos.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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2. Bangkok, Thailand

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One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. :)

One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. 🙂

Enchanted Kingom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the 'magic' enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the ‘magic’ enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

4. Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park , Kawit, Cavite

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you'd love to keep your body dipped for hours!

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you’d love to keep your body dipped for hours!

5. People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay City

People's Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It's a sure eye-treat!

People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It’s a sure eye-treat!

6. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort (Border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo City, Laguna)

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

7. Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

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8. Katigbawan festival in Catigbian, Bohol

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! :)

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! 🙂

9. Blood Compact Site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

10. Streets of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

11. Davao City

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12. Chocolate Hills, Bohol

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And there you go—the best 12 places ever that has completed my 2011 and made it even better. Plus, this is my 70th post. Hooray!

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/12-best-places-i-visited-in-2011/)