The historic cross of Mt. Samat in Bataan is a popular destination during the Holy Week. The spiritual theme combined with that patriotic ambiance is a perfect reflection of the Filipino culture and tradition. The 'Dambana ng Kagitingan' (Shrine of Valor) is on my list of places to visit. I was lucky enough to visit this shrine twice in two months and believe me, wanting to visit this place again will never grow old.

It was a long drive to reach the shrine. The place was secluded that only the sight of the cross from afar was our only guide to how near we were. But you will never get bored traveling since the view of that mountain becomes nearer as the iconic cross looked small at a distance. I can feel the excitement as our ride reached the entrance of the mountain. Driving all the way to the top was like riding a roller coaster. The sharp turns going up the mountain only gets steeper the more we climbed the top.

You can park your car at the main entrance of the Shrine and walk up the remaining steep turns to the top or if you are brave enough, you can drive to the top. But I suggest you walk the last few (I would not say a few since it still is pretty far from the shrine) kilometers going to the top so you can enjoy the view while walking the road. As I climbed that top, the cross gets bigger and the view below gets more amazing.

Almost there. Picture taken at a resting spot.

The view only gets better as you climb higher
But that long climb to the top was worth it when we reached the shrine. The cross stood in the middle of the shrine which towered to the sky. The cross was overwhelming in size. The place was peaceful, clean and serene. The cool mountain air made the place comfortable besides the hot climate. Just the presence of the place brings you back to that time when the Filipino and American soldiers suffered in the hands of the Japanese. It was a marriage of religion and culture. A breath-taking realization as I circled the foot of the cross where images of war heroes encircled the cross; a constant reminder why the shrine was built.

Images of war heroes immortalized on the concrete walls of Dambana ng Kagitingan

If you think standing at the foot of the cross was an amazing sight, wait until you reach the top of the cross where the viewing decks on both arms were located. An elevator inside the foot of the cross can take you the fastest way to the viewing decks. The small elevator can only accommodate up to  9 people at a time so the queue can be long if you decide to visit on the weekends. That short elevator trip brings you to the viewing decks where a more amazing view awaits you. 

The two viewing rooms are both arms of the cross. The white spacious rooms are surrounded with windows that let the cool breeze rush inside. Chairs are placed to enjoy viewing the almost 360 degree birds eye view below. It is the perfect spot to pray, meditate, or enjoy the serene environment. 

A circular glass window at the end of the viewing room gives a good view of the scene below

Chairs are positioned facing the glass windows for better viewing

The amazing view on top is really worth the long climb. I got to experience the feeling of being on top, with the wind on my face, having a good time with my friends and enjoying the moment that can be only experienced at Mt. Samat.But one thing that I forgot to do during my two visits is to check out the museum. I guess I was too preoccupied to get to the cross that the museum completely left my mind. Oh well, it gives me a reason to go there again.  I will be definitely coming back again.

*My traveling tips:
-Entrance to the site upon arrival is 30php per head. I think there is discount on students and senior citizen. The ticket they will be giving is your entrance pass to the musuem.
-You need to pay extra 10php per head if you will be going up the elevator to the viewing decks.
-Bring umbrella if you decide to walk the last turns going up the mountain, especially in the summer.
-The shrine is open until 5pm so go early if you want all the time to enjoy the place.
-Refreshments are sold in stalls near the foot of the cross.



Everytime our family goes to Olongapo for the weekend, we make sure to stop by at Texas Joe’s to satisfy our cravings for American meals. We go here at least once a month just to eat at Texas Joe’s. It is quickly becoming a hotspot in Subic since the place is incredible and the food is really good.

And did I mention that the best ribs in Subic (if not the whole country) are served at Texas’ Joes? Oh yes, every rib platter served here is packed with humongous ribs grilled to perfection. It is flavorful and tender that it falls of the bone. There is an array of side dishes to choose from the simple mashed potatoes to the savory baked beans and corn bread. It is literally a hungry man’s feast! Diet is not an excuse when eating in this place!

The country inspired theme of the restaurant adds an authentic American Saloon feel to the place. There is a billiards table where you can play a game while drinking beers with your pals; an awesome bar and a stage where bands can perform. Even your table can entertain you! Tables are covered with a huge brown sheet of paper and crayons are provided so you can doodle away while waiting for food to be served. The servers are dressed as cowboys and cowgirls. Texas Joes’ is an all-in dining and entertaining experience. You have to come there while in Subic.

Texas Joe’s is located at Waterfront Rd. cor. Mc. Kinley St., Subic Bay Freeport ZoneOlongapo, Zambales, Philippines


I've never had a facial before. I'm used to my usual beauty routine of just using my favorite facial scrub, astringent, moisturizer. Sometimes I buy pore strips to remove whiteheads and blackheads around my nose and that's about as far of a facial I have done. My co-workers have been talking about having facials once a month and how nice their skin had become.

Curious, I decided to go for a facial. In the mall, there are a handful of establishments offering facials from simple cleaning to other complicated stuff like wraps and masks. Since it was my first time, I decided to go for the simplest (cleaning only). Apparently, 'Let's Face It' offers the cheapest facial starting at P245.00. It is a reasonable price for someone like me so I decided to go for it.

The good thing I've learned about having a facial (at least for this establishment, that is) is that I don't need to get an appointment to get a facial. I went there after office and saw a few people hoping to get  facial too. The session lasts for less than an hour and turn-around time was about 10 minutes before I was called to be serviced.

Despite the crowded look from the outside, the ambiance on the inside was pretty much okay. The set-up was quite constrained, having three beds in a row. These beds looked like the ones found in the dentist's clinic; white and narrow, except that these are flat and don't have arm rests. These have lamps on the sides (kind of like your dentist's chairs).

After laying down on one of the beds, the facial session started. It was a relaxing atmosphere with the soft instrumental at the background, and the dim lights inside. Though it was awkward to be sharing a room with  people laying on beds with their faces covered just like corpses, we were all a few feet apart from each other.

The first part of the facial was cleansing my face, probably with this sponge or something soft and foamy. After wiping it off, it was time to steam my face. The hot steam was not so bad at all but my nostrils got a facial too, lol. The painful part of the service was removing my blackheads and whiteheads. I have a pretty high tolerance to pain but my tears pretty much rolled out while the blackheads are extracted, especially around the nose area. It was pretty painful but it was all worth it when the esthetician  showed me a tissue almost filled with little piles on white pus she had extracted from my face! no wonder it was the most painful 15 minutes of the facial! It was totally worth the pain! One the nose pricking was done, it was time for the vacuum to do its job. Finally, a good amount of moisturizer was applied and the facial was done.

I was advised to wash my face in the morning. The esthetician also said that I had too many facial warts that needed to be removed. I'll probably take that advise though. I'll probably have my facial warts removed next month. I heard it would be not as painful as I thought it would be.

The overall experience for my first facial was pleasant. I'm definitely hooked to it. I washed my face this morning and noticed that my skin is smoother and has improved its appearance. Though I have a few warts sticking out, atleast my face undergone the general cleaning that it has been longing for in years. Though the esthetician discouraged me to do it every month, I think I will be getting facials quarterly. And I will be coming back to 'Let's Face It' soon to try their other services.

'Let's Face It' is located at 2nd floor SM City Pampanga
visit their website at http://www.letsfaceit-spalon.com/