Tag Archives: Friends

Chapter XVII : The Circle Hostel

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After an amazing time at san fernando, we (Karyl, Aris and Myself) arrived in San Juan La Union to start our one and a half day vacation. we have a whole sunday planned ever since this trip was conceived – our plan to go surfing and be at the beach the entire day dominated our list.  in order to achieve our goals (since surfing costs approximately 400/hour), we agreed to look for a place to stay that is well within our budget and is a place wherein we can be comfortable, and not too ashamed to talk about or tell our friends about.

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The first i’ve heard of the Circle Hostel was when i attended an event our company sponsored (Travel Massive Manila). For quite some time i have been really curious on what can be seen, or what is special about the place. My officemate Karyl then told me that she stayed at the circle hostel during one of her surf trips and further reinforced the curiosity as she found it to be an amazing place to stay at. lo and behold, the night of saturday (January 26) welcomed us with an amazing discovery – an environmentally attuned haven – and a place that i concluded to be ripped out of a page from a fantasy game (think Kilika of Final Fantasy X , or Destiny Islands from Kingdom Hearts).

Upon entering you’ll notice that the Circle Hostel is composed of different structures made entirely of wood (which i later found out to be the common area, the restroom/showers, and the sleeping quarters). for 400 pesos, you can enjoy a bed that is very much social friendly and environmentally sustainable (no rooms, just a personal space for you) – the sea breeze makes it impractical to wish for aircon even, the only thing that you may actually wish for is an additional blanket. for those more adventurous travelers who wish to be like cocoons whilst asleep, a 350 peso hammock rental can also be availed in Circle Hostel. (considering my size, and my sleep moves,  getting a hammock is a no-no!).

Why i fell in love with Circle Hostel

1. It is Affordable – in places like san juan, visitors are expected to be away from the hotel/inn/hostel for the entire day. why pay 1k plus for a room that you would barely use anyway? pay 400 for a bed, bring a padlock for the locker, and prepare to meet new friends, – as this hostel is a place where walls does not exist.. you are bound to make friends – making 400 pesos a cheap investment for comfort, fun, and socials.

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(L) Stairway to the bunk beds, (R) my bed and personal space during the 27th

2. It is Eyegasmic!- appealing to the visuals. upon entering the area, colorful tiles surrounded by neautral colored pebbles will capture your attention. quotes and markings have been left by guests, hostel admins, to make the place more homy. every area is photo op worthy!

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(L) View from the common area, (R) me playing around the common area outside grounds

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(L) view from the gate (reception, residential, comfort room zone) (R)shot of me in the common area

3. Promotes Interaction – this is the place to be when you want to meet new people – – new friends guaranteed! when we were there last sat- sun, i felt i know the guests staying there at that time. heck, we even spent the entire afternoon together at bacnotan beach to surf, and was united when we opted to stay for more than two hours (more on this on my surf post soon!). i loved that all outlets are located at the common area, to increase the chances of making new friends, or hearing other people’s stories!

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(L) at Bacnotan beach with friends we met at Circle Hostel, (R) common area shot

Circle Hostel does not only offer residential answers, it offers opportunities! opportunity to meet new people, to experience freedom and the feeling of not being confined by solid blocks, opportunity to escape the normal and relax. definitely the place ill return to when i have the urge to surf at la union again!

–Behind Thick Framed Notes

1. Follow the Circle Hostel in Facebook 🙂 –> Circle Hostel Main Facebook Page
2. Check out Circle Hostel’s Website –> www.thecirclehostel.com
3. Some photos by Me, and some by my ever present and loyal personal photographer Aris Suarez, check his blog out –> Aris’ Narcissus Chronicles

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Chapter XIV : Touchdown Galera

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Rumor has it, that this was a cheap man’s boracay (to be honest, i can not really tell, as i’ve never been to both.), last year, december to be exact, My bestest girl friend Len invited me to accompany them (Vince, Eunice and Gab) to Galera, without hesitation (cause im easy that way), i said yes!

three reasons why i did say yes!
1. i love the beach
2. never been to galera
3. i was with the most awesomest people ever!

remember when we were kids, and our parents brought us to toy stores, candie shops, comic book stores – – have any of you remembered how you moved, acted, spazzed in anticipation? i was all of that on the day that we were supposed to leave for galera. i was very much giddy, to the point that i acted like a little boy holding his very first lego box! haha

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but galera was nothing spectacular in my opinion. there was water, sand, structures, stores, visitors – – just an ordinary beach hyped by rumors and stories. but the beach is still the beach for me, in the end, it was us (me and the party) who made this trip extraordinary!

a destination is just a destination (in my opinion), what makes it memorable are the people who were with you at that time!! and being with these clowns, and nerds were all i needed at that time (aside from the sun, and sand, and super clear waters of galera!)

Vince, Me, Gab, and Len

with Len 🙂

with the gang! galera 2012! gab. myself, eunice, moshen, vince, and len

more beach adventures this year guys!! see you soon!

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2012 in Retrospect

this time, no fancy banners shall accompany this flashback entry. 2012 has been really cruel to me (well especially the first half). i started the year wrong, i started it with a notion that i can be happy with an emotion that wasn’t in place (yeah cupid, this shits on you!), i also met the year with a very long fight between people i really care about – and in the end, ended up taking one side when i attempted to stay in the middle the entire time. and ALL of this issues happened in the first couple of months! sad, i know.

but slowly, things were picking up, and i was starting to see something i couldn’t see before, – hope! my birth month always brings me happiness, and that was when i found spyder (or when spyder found me). i started working, taking my mind of things that shouldn’t even be consuming my time in the first place.

First event with Spyder Phils with new office friends!

Spyder not only gave me work, it gave me new friends, new insights, and a brand new outlook towards myself.  It also got me biking, and running, and aiming to be better physically. the opportunity was probably what i needed at that time.

aside from work, this year, despite its flaws, dramas, and trials proved to be worth it because of friends that i met, and those that are constantly there when pickles manifest. i hate dealing with things alone, and true friends always are there whenever you need them. it makes going through all those shit easier because of those clowns i usually call on when i am down, and for that i am truly grateful!

a lot of lesson were learned during the last year, a lot of adventures happened (some of them will be put into writing soon. i promise!), a lot of love was shared (mostly friendship), and a lot of experiences that i can never un-experience (whether i like it or not). all in all, it was a rough year for me, but several people made it easier to traverse the everyday. i feel 2013 is a good year, and i plan to keep it that way! here’s to a great 2013!!

YEAR HIGHLIGHTS! :

with Rona and Abby, two of my most loved!

Cycling with office mates!

Team London 2015 plus the binder! haha

i was bald, and i played a gay headmaster in a play called “AVSVME : A Very Snape Valentines Musical Extravaganza”

Went to galera for the First time with my Bestest Girl Friend 🙂 Love you forever frond!

became a dad for a day! and a volunteer at the same time!

Helios will always be part of my life!

my 2012 may have been a disaster, but in the end, events like these made it worthwhile!

The Adventure continues! hello 2013!

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Chapter XI : I Surfed, and bid a “See you Again” to Baler (Day Two)

Sept. 30,2012 – Following the events that happened the day before this ( photo shoot, me missing the sun, and a hellova fun with my friends), i find myself waking up early because today was the actual start of our vacation. our top most agenda was to learn how to ride the waves and discover how awesome it is to do so. after prepping for the surfing activity before us, our party of 5 (since je and daisy stayed at a hotel near sabang beach) proceeded to our ever favorite “Rolling Store” for breakfast.

Rolling store is a collection of two-three different karinderyas in one area with affordable yet super yummy food selection. (this has been our source of meals when we were at Baler).

This is me, being cranky and waiting for food to be served.

Right after Breakfast, we proceeded to go to Sabang Beach to plan our surfing activities. we decided to walk to sabang beach from rolling store. Baler is a very quiet and peaceful place, it really is an awesome place to escape the everyday hassle and chaos of manila.

after about 10 mins of walking, we finally reached “Mahdox Surf School” along sabang beach.

Mahdox Surf School

For a moment there, i hesitated in trying surfing out. i was wearing my contacts and have this feeling that i might lose them when the waves eat me. but since, my friends were so insistent, (contact lens or blind) i then pushed through with it!

Sabang Beach filled with Surfers and Surfer-wanna be people (like us!)

Wearing my DLSU shirt since i haz no rash guard

Prior to many wipe outs and achieved long rides 🙂

Oh, and did i mention that my Surf Instructor’s name was Bin Laden? talk about learning how to ride the waves with a man named after a terrorist! but Bin Laden was really cool, and patient, and very encouraging! after a series of wipeouts, and not being able to stand on the board, we finally discovered the method on how to stand on the board without wobbling or losing balance! and because of that, i opted to extend my surfing lesson for another hour. (BTW, in mahdox, you’ll have to pay 350/hour with board and instructor).

Aris, Errol (Aris’ instructor), Bin Laden (My Instructor), Me

Sooo. no utmost form, but fun nonetheless!

Long ride with Aris Suarez

After oh so many attempts, me and my Friend Aris got the technique (although we still fall at times)

So Yeah, Wipeout!

So after our two hours of Surfing, i was determined to perfect this super fun activity the next time i set foot in baler. oh yeah, and i lost my Right Contact Lens, so yeah, i was half blind for the rest of the day. but heck, it was all worth it – as this is something i can never do in manila. with every ounce of excitement within, i vowed to come back soon!

This probably ends the Adventure in Baler, as our last hours in Baler was spent in last minute photo shoots, souvenir, pasalubong hunts and inuman with the group.

The Over-all experience is something irreplaceable and unforgettable. i had fun, and learned a lot about my companions. this is something i would want to repeat with them (although a few, i could do without! haha).

SEE you again Baler!

— Behind Thick Framed Notes:
1. Some photos taken from Aris Suarez’s phone, and some were taken by Aris Trinidad using my camera. so thanks guys!
2. click Mahdox’s Surf School to see their page , do check them out! and add them as a friend! cause they really are friendly!

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Magic Works! The Magic Continues!

The Christmas season is upon us! my Group, Hogwarts Philippines (yeah, i’m a geek that way! and HEAD BOY!) is currently organizing an outreach program for the kids at Hospicio de San Jose. check the poster out (by Abby Sanchez)

currently, volunteers are limited to members of Hogwarts Philippines (register here). But you too can help us out, as we are accepting donations, preferably TOYS (gift wrapped) that we can give out as gifts to the kids and/or prizes to some of our planned games.

should you want to donate, feel free to message me here (so i could coordinate with the proper PHP-MAgic Works committee) or send me an email @ francis.romero15@gmail.com

additional LUMOS — for those not in the know, PHP currently celebrated it’s 10 years of existence in the Philippines. We are also usually (NAY, the ONLY group) invited to be present during important harry potter releases in the country (Book releases, Movie premiers, Book Discussions). some of us (yes me included) also appeared on national television to share our experiences, and goals in the community!

so with that! i urge you to help us cast LUMOS to dispell the darkness, drive away those emotion-sucking dementors and cast plenty of cheering charms for the kids, so that they too, could have an awesome magical Christmas!

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Exactly one year ago..

I just noticed that my Blog : BEHIND THE THICK FRAMED GLASSES  has reached one year today! this would be a good opportunity for me to thank people who have been with me during my one year of blog writing (although so slow, and filled with many hiatus moments).

to start,  i would like to thank Franz, Justin and Jaypee for being with me during the first days of my blog.
Len David and Donna Kiritharan for accompanying me in my food trips and many blog rant episodes.
Aris Suarez for my new photo and blog signatures, logos, and my header (which will be done soon! right aris?) and for also being my photographer.

Shot at Caunayan Falls in Baler, by Aris Suarez

Logo digitized and enhanced. thanks again Aris Suarez

HAPPY BLOG-IRTHDAY BEHIND THICK FRAMED GLASSES! MORE ADVENTURES SOON (I PROMISE!!!)

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Chapter X : The Awesome Baler Adventure (Day One)

if you have been following me on instagram, you may have seen a series of pictures containing a countdown to the “Baler Trip” that me and my officemates planned. our adventure was somehow a first for me because i never, yes, NEVER went on a trip (for fun) with officemates in the past (this says a lot!). part of this trip was a “pro bono” photoshoot of my officemate jerald, so without hesitation and apprehension i was in! thus excitement kicked in faster . (beach.surf.friends.shoot- what more can i ask for?)

Sept. 28, 2012 – as the clock reaches 5:30pm, me and 4 of my officemates twitch in anticipation as we ready ourselves to depart come 2:30am the next day. some of our dilemmas includes “not finding the perfect boardshort”, “must buy tanning lotion and sun block lotions”, “where will we buy booze for the two nights” and other petty and vain needs that is really inconsequential to the experience that we are about to face.

Sept. 29, 2012 (2:30am) – our party of 7 (me, bill, karyl, aris s., aris t., dada and baba) departed for baler via the joy bus (genesis terminal in cubao – along edsa). the bus was pretty neat, it was spacious, has reclining seats, readied snacks, blankets, and has an extremely frigid atmosphere (perfect for making a popsicle out of you!)

after 5 hours of travel and (deep) sleep, our party reached the Central Baler Terminal. first thing i noticed was the lack or inexistence of jeepneys – i am not sure if this applies to the entire region, but the terminal was populated by tricycles and buses. after disembarking, our party (divided into two tricycles) proceeded to Rolling Store for brunch. After the meal, we then proceeded to our host’s house to prepare for the shoot commencing in an hour (our team was on a very tight schedule, we wanted to shoot in 4 different locations, with 4 outfit changes.. and we wanted it done on the first day of our trip!).

1st Location : Sabang Beach
This beach was deserted (i don’t know if this is the case everyday) but it was perfect for a planned shoot by the shore. Aris and Myself are not really adept at taking staged photos, like this prenup that we promised our office mate,  but i think we took shots that we think our “client” wants.

We were going for “Simplicity” – Featuring Daisy and Jerald

Awesome waves and scene at Sabang Beach

this is practically my first time to try a prenuptial shoot. my knowledge on conducting a shoot like this is practically zero, and the poses and shots were based on some pegs me and my office mates found on the net. but the only thing that made us smile at the end of the first scene and layout was the remarks given by our “client” and those with us. (and i think, thats the only one that matters at that point.)

Our Second Location was at Digisit Beach.

This Location was practically Love at First sight for me. The awesome rock formations and terrain was enough to make me squeal in delight as photo ideas came rushing to my mind. Aris and myself opted to have our own shoot as we enjoyed a downtime from the pre-nup shoot that we were doing.

a Stolen shot by Aris Suarez. at Digisit Beach

narcissuschronicles.wordpress.com (Aris Suarez)

vanity came first as we near the half of our shoot (the pre nup shots will be featured in a different entry). right after absorbing the beauty of Digisit Beach, our party of 7 went back to the city for lunch. we also took this time to prep for our last location change and shoot for the day.

3rd Location : Caunayan Falls

The travel to this spot consumed about 30 minutes from rolling store. we traversed a very bumpy ride via a tricycle (imagine the situation of our butts).

the falls wasnt that “ultimate sight” to marvel on, however, this also was a perfect location for our last shoot for the day. aside from shooting our “client”, both Aris and i decided to do a separate shoot for the benefit of our blogs. (ill just create a photo dump entry after my day two of baler post!).

the Falls at Caunayan!

photo by Aris Suarez

right after some shots, we decided to call it a day, and head back to Sabang Beach for a night of “kwentuhan” and “inuman”. although we werent able to achieve the best drinking session that night, we were hyped to welcome tomorrow as our awesome baler adventure is just halfway done!

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