Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Road Trip: Vigan, Ilocos Sur

After Baguio we went to Vigan, Ilocos Sur and stayed there for three days (May 23-25, 2015). This place takes you back in time during the Spanish Era with the old structures of houses and the cobbled streets of Calle Crisologo.

We stayed in Cordillera Inn, which was really beautiful. Staying their really felt like you were in the olden times with the wooden furnitures and floors. Plus it is located in the famous street of calle Crisologo
Cordillera Inn

For more information about Cordillera Inn
Address: #29 Mena Crisologo Street Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
Cellphone number: 09273135616
Telephone Number: (077)-722-2727.

Mena Crisologo Street

This street is filled with shops where in you could buy a lot of souvenirs and food.

Vigan Catedral

It is a row of shops where in they sell Vigan empanada and okoy. The empanada and okoy was very delicious and filling. 

Café Leona

 We went to café Leona for sunday dinner and they serve Vigan delicacies like Vigan Express, Bagnet and Sisig. My favorite was the chicken sisig. It tasted amazing with the different spices and mixture of sweet and spicy. 

Kalesa Ride.
This takes you on a tour around Vigan. At it feels like you were in the olden days where Kalesa's were the mode of transportation then. 

Overall, I love the historical feel of the place and the food. And I'm so glad I came back to Vigan. 

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer Road Trip: Baguio

My family and I went on an eight-day road trip from Manila to Ilocos Norte. It was my second time doing this route with my first time 12 years ago. Our first stop was Baguio where in we stayed there from May 20-23. We checked in The Manor, Camp John Hay, which was as beautiful as I remembered it 12 years ago.

       The Manor was amazing. The staff was very welcoming and the rooms was super nice.

The following day we went on a tour around Baguio.

First we went to the Mansion

Then we went to the Wright Park was so beautiful because it was surrounded by many flowers, which was nice because you do not see that many flowers around in Metro Manila.

Next we went to Mines View Park, which has an amazing view of Baguio.

We also met this adorable dog-named coco.

Baguio Cathedral

La Trinidad Valley where we got to buy so many strawberries for a cheaper price compared to the ones in the markets and they were organic. We also got to try their strawberry taho.

Lastly, we went to the brewery where in they have a unique variety of beers like passion fruit beer and a beer that tastes like coffee. My favorite is their strawberry beer.

We also tried their stuffed peppers, which was so good. That it was gone after less than 5 minutes.

On the Third day we went to the Philippine Military Academy where we got to see the history of the Philippine Military, military training and equipment.

We also went to two of Baguio’s haunted places. First is the Dominican Retreat House, which is one of the top five scariest places in the world. The structure itself is scary and is in ruins but the view outside the balcony was fantastic. You can see the whole Baguio.

Next is Laperal House, which is also known as the white house. It is a Victorian styled house and the inside is full of wooden furniture.

For dinner we went out to Canto, which was really good. It’s not expensive and the burgers, chili fries and taco salad tastes amazing.

Overall, the trip was great because I got to see more of the Philippines and I got to bond more with my family. Baguio is definitely one of the must see places in the Philippines.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bookish May Challenge

I am currently doing the bookish may challenge in instagram and I was tagged by @r.eader. If you guys want to participate all you have to do is repost the picture below and follow the assigned topic for each day and use the hashtag #bookishmaychallenge. You can also tag me if you want so I can see your photos.

Here is the list
2.Became worse while reading
3.Hide and Seek
4.Bookish balance
5.Dutch flag (red-white-blue)
6.Bookish chevron
7.Completed Series
8.Book with stuffed animal
10.Book and Movie
11.Oldest Book
12.Book and merch
13.Book and drawing
14.Lovely memories
15.Most expensive book
16.Book and food
17.Set at a place you'd like to visit
18.Judged by it's cover
19.Less than 200 pages
20.Given Book
21.Fav reading place
22.Black and White books
23.In your garden
24.Book with a Witch/Wizard
25.Damaged books
26.Favourite villain
27.Song that fits the book
28.Bookish Eyes
29.Book with hat
30.May wrap-up -

Check out my instagram @IsabelSamonte for my photos :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Haul: May

* Disclaimer: This is not sponsored 
I bought this in three different bookstores (National Bookstore, Fully Booked and Book for Less) in the course of 1 week.

* click the goodreads link for the synopsis of each book 

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

2. The Heir by Kiera Cass

3. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

4. Ignite me by Tahere Mafi

5. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Braken

6. The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

8. A Thousand Slendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

9: Reader's Digest selected editions vol. 282, 2005 #6
- No place like home by Mary Higgins Clark
- Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman
-False Testimony by Rose Connors
-This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scoppettone

10: Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling (Bloomsbury Edition)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

11. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Buy Books here:
Fully Booked
National Bookstore
Amazon Books
Book Outlet
Book Depository

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TBR: May

I know that I am so late with my TBR list but it is because I was skeptical of doing one this month. I have a lot of books to read and I don't want to follow a list when I'm reading, since my preferences changes a lot so it hard for me to follow my TBR list. Than I realized that I have a lot of series that I want to start (like the heroes of olympus, throne of glass, etc) and I just want to finish all my stand alone novels and series/trilogies that I have not finished. 

So the first pile is the books that I have already read this month. I won't go into detail since I'll be doing an end of the month wrap up of all the book I have read. 

1. Unravel me by Tahereh Mafi - It's been in my goodreads to read bookshelf since 2012 
2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - The reason why I started this trilogy even though my goal is to read first my other series/trilogy is that Leigh Bardugo is having a book signing next month and I want to finish this trilogy before I get my books signed. 
3. The Heir by Kiera Cass
4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I've been meaning to read this since July 2014
5. Trese 3: Mass Murders by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo - I read the first 2 novels of the series in July 2014
6. The Hardy Boys 4: Malled
7: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain 

The second pile are books that I have not read. Most are contemporaries because I am going on a family trip and I want easy fast books to read while on vacation. And contemporaries for my taste are great pool side/ beach side reads. 

8.  The wrong side of right by Jenn Marie Thorne
9. The probability of miracles by Wendy Wunder 
10. Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell
11. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins 
12. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi 

And for my random tbr from my tbr jar I got the book theif by Markus Zusak, which is what I am currently reading. So that is my tbr list for the month of may. Don't forget to comment down below your own tbr list. 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

            Ready Player One is a science fiction and dystopian novel. It takes place in the year 2044, where in the world is not a good place to live in and the people’s way of coping with the situation is by jacking into a virtual utopia called OASIS and wining a contest that the deceased creator, James Halliday, made. And most of the people are dedicated in winning the contest in order to gain Halliday’s fortune. Wade is the main protagonist and he lives in a crappy situation. He’s poor and living with his aunt who constantly maltreats him. In terms of characterization he is a type of person who is driven by emotion. Meaning, he lets his emotion clouds over his mind when making decision, thus resulting in stupid actions, which resulted with the sixers bombing his home thus killing his aunt and his neighbors. But this characteristic of his does not make him any less for me but it makes him relatable to the reader. Art3mis is the love interest of Wade. She comes off as someone who is independent and who does not to lose. Nolan Sorrento and the rest of the Innovative Online Industries is the antagonist of this film since they destroying the true essence of the game by cheating and their intentions to Halliday’s fortune is for greed, which would be against Halliday’s wish.

            There are two kinds of conflicts that are present in this book. First is man versus man where in parzival is competing with other gunters, and in the end it shifted to the gunters forming an alliance in order to defeat the sixers. We also see a man versus himself, with Wade trying to struggle with his emotions especially when art3mis breaking up with him that led to him losing focus on the competition. Furthermore, the irony of this book is that even though it is set in the future the characters are living in the 80’s. There are constant 80’s reference throughout the book because the James Halliday is grew up in the 80’s and he conceptualized the oasis with 80’s references and also, in order to win the competition one must have extent knowledge about that era. The concept of this is mirrored to the author Ernest Cline because he grew up around the 80’s.

The journey of the hero (Wade) is not an uphill voyage; he had some downs, especially with the search of the second key that almost led him giving up but his desire to defeat the sixers is what pushed him to continue in his quest and thus winning in the end. Also, he would have not win the quest without the other gunters who helped him. Moreover, this book presented how consumerism and how industries take advantage of this and it also presented the bad side of technology, which is that it is addicted and it makes people not be aware of reality. I have to admit that it is nice to get away from reality once in a while and I realized that if I am not aware of reality for a long period of time and I am just locked away in my room reading books I miss out on things that I could have experience or moments that I would’ve cherish forever. Furthermore, in terms of feminism there is an equality of between men and women shown in the book with Wade admiring Art3mis’ knowledge and capabilities. We also see her in the competition joining with the men and even placing first place during the second level. This just shows that there is a shift in terms of gender traits, with Wade showing some traits of femininity and At3mis masculinity, and also with Aech who happens to be gay and living in the OASIS as a guy, so it goes with the queer theory and that gay people are not free and are forced to express who they truly are closeted.

               To assert, I really enjoyed this novel to the fullest. The world building was phenomenon to the point that I was dreaming about being in the OASIS in my sleep, and characters growth was great. I am just in love with this book. There was a perfect balance of action, romance and comedy. I feeling of reading this book is like what I feel when playing a mmorpg game like the world of warcraft

Rating 5 stars of 5

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