February 29, 2016

Pannzian Beach and Mountain Resort

Life is too short not to appreciate. Even if there are problems that come our way, there’s always someone or some place that makes living bearable. Like Pannzian.

Whenever Ilocos pops up in our conversation, Tita M would always tell me to visit Pannzian in Pagudpud. She said that I would definitely fall in love with its scenic beach and lush mountainous surroundings. So my curiosity got the better of me, and found myself one fine day riding a van from Laoag bound for Claveria. After two and a half hours, I arrived on the doorstep of Pannzian, which is just a stone’s throw away from my most favorite bridge, the Patapat Viaduct.

And I was happy to discover such simple yet breathtaking piece of paradise, which almost feels like home. I was suddenly inspired. It would be no wonder if tomorrow I start loving Mondays.

Anyway, Pannzian is a wordplay of Pancian, the coastal barangay where the resort is located. So far, it is one of the few great alternatives for those who want to get away from the madding tourist crowd in the white-sand beaches of Pagudpud. The sprawling area surrounding the resort has been family owned for more than two centuries, until it eventually became a private getaway for their beloved guests who want a place of peace and serenity.

Strongly committed with the concept of digital detox, Pannzian promotes digital technology-free getaway, giving guests more time to pause, reflect, interact socially with people and dogs, and reconnect with nature. There’s no TV or wi-fi in every room, and cellphone signal within the vicinity is almost non-existent. There’s a board by the registration area that prominently says “We encourage you to go out and play.”

But before I played, Ate was gracious enough to show me their rooms after welcoming me with a lei of red hibiscus. There are four distinct type of accommodation in Pannzian – Duplex and Cottages, Kayo Rooms and Lodging Rooms - good for couple, family, and barkada. Room amenities may not be high-end but they are good enough to keep everybody comfortable with their soft beds, air-condition, private bathroom and hot shower. Some rooms are overlooking the camp ground and the beach.

But I what I really found fascinating was the shower tree - an outdoor shower built around an old, sturdy tree.

To maintain the tranquility of the place, rowdiness is discouraged. Anyway, anyone could just pick up a David Baldacci or Daniele Steel from their bookshelf and read leisurely while relaxing on the hammock.

Dining is another wonderful experience in Pannzian. The food isn’t only beautifully plated with fresh flowers, but tastes delicious. The fresh fruit drinks are also refreshing.

The flora and fauna around the resort are also delightful. They have friendly dogs that kept me company while I stroll along the beach.

When people stop doing things for fun, they might as well be dead. It’s great that there are plenty of fun activities to do within and nearby the resort – swimming, bonfire, beach volleyball, river trekking, sunrise-watching.

There are a number of battles ahead. But by just watching the vastness of the shore, listening to the soothing waves of the disputed West Philippine Sea, and breathing in the fresh air from the mountains, give me a sense of tranquility and freedom. Such basic and unadorned beauty of life is more than enough to make me smile. And somehow reminds me that one day, all of these will just be memories, and I’ll be just fine.

Pannzian Beach and Mountain Resort
Brgy. Pancian, Pagudpud , Ilocos Norte
Tel. No.: 646-9020, 0920-9520662

February 26, 2016

Gypsy Art Café

Stay wild at heart.
Nourish your gypsy soul.

Passion fruit cooler

Salted egg shrimp

Seafood chorizo cioppino

Chocolate mousse 

Gypsy Art Café
#25 Don A. Roces Ave.
 Brgy. Paligsahan, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 662-0880 

February 22, 2016

Arca’s Yard: Café, Library, Bed and Breakfast Place

It is terrible to love something or someone that death can easily take away. But it is an inescapable reality that everyone must face or eventually go through.

When Ninja Sabado was mourning the death of her mother, their home in the almost remote and scenic Tip-Top in Ambuklao Road, became her refuge. The lovely view of pine trees, mountains, and the distant horizon up there somehow eased her heartbreak, and at the same time inspired her as an artist to create artworks. Her sadness eventually created something beautiful when she turned their home into Arca’s Yard. Arca by the way was her late father.

When I found out that Arca’s Yard was part of the itinerary my high school friends prepared for their supposed-to-be-chill Baguio weekend food trip, I decided to tag along. Lita originally wanted to book us in some cheap inn in downtown Baguio but thank heavens the odds weren’t in her favor hehe. So I took the rein and personally made the reservation for an overnight stay at Arca’s.

Arca’s Yard is a quaint and charming bed and breakfast place, café, library, art gallery and mini museum - rolled into one.

Every nook and cranny of the ground floor café is visually stunning, with all the art pieces and objects showcasing the Igorot culture. I would like to believe that the (Ibaloi) angel is in the detail. I was particularly impressed with Ninja’s wooden spoon collection that came from the various indigenous groups of the Cordillera mountain region.

We chose the most sought-after spot near the glass windows, to have our breakfast. I really enjoyed what I ordered, especially the arroz a la cubana and their signature dessert camote pie.

Those who want to feel the cool Baguio air or want a more romantic ambiance, may opt to dine on the balcony. Lovers who want to immortalize their love can also leave love locks on the railings.

The library is located at the attic. While waiting for food, diners can kill time by reading good books.  I got sentimental when I saw my favorite For One More Day, and recalled “You can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”

Our room for the night feels homey and cozy, especially with the chilly 16 degree-temperature.

Just a stone’s throw away from Arca’s Yard, is their Art Gallery, which looks like an Origami House. It is managed by Ninja’s daughter Valerie, whose adorable little son excitedly toured us around, even wanting to take us to off limits area. I love the creative artistry of this place, especially the flock of suspended paper cranes and the wine bottle wall art. 

It’s is not only art, culture, and good food that we savored at Arca’s but also the amazing view of nature and sunrise.

Though I never uncovered why Ninja was named as such, the bittersweet story of Arca’s reminded me that we can never lose the people we love even after they’re gone. Because all that we love truly, deeply, sincerely, becomes a part of us.

Arca’s Yard
#777 Tip-Top City Limit
Ambuklao Road, Baguio City
Tel. Nos.:(074) 442-9706, 0929-3251868