From Dagupan to Bataan, with my beloved relatives! (LPT)

This blog entry is part of my “Late Post Travels”, geez! I needed to quote that since my backlogs are piling up.

So, these photos were taken last April 20 and 21, 2013 – our Sta.Ana Family Summer Reunion. We visited our Lolo and Lola at Dagupan before heading to Bataan. It was a long road trip but of course one of the happiest. My family from both sides (Aralar and Sta.Ana) have this insane sense of humor and we had a long list of topics to laugh and talk about while on the road.

I can’t recall when was the last time I visited my relatives at Bataan, maybe ages ago? Now, I have cousins taller than me and my oh my our family has grown bigger. Since it’s summer time, where else did we plan to go? The beach of course! That’s a given!

The photos below showed how we enjoyed our time as one big happy family. We arrived at midnight at the island, pitched the tent, ate a sumptuous dinner (Spell SEAFOOD!) then rested. Honestly, it was hard to appreciate the place since because it was pitch black except for our flash lights and torch.

Dawn came and the skyline was filled with tiny bits of sunshine until the sun finally made it’s way out.

Now who wouldn’t appreciate the place when you see its full glory? See for yourself 🙂

One of the happiest couples I have ever seen :)
One of the happiest couples I have ever seen 🙂
Meet my relatives from my Mother's side, the STA.ANA clan.
Meet my relatives from my Mother’s side, the STA.ANA clan.
Ready to ride that boat?
Ready to ride that boat?
Boat ride
Boat ride
Pitch that tent
Pitch that tent
They won't stop playing
They won’t stop playing
Dinner time
Dinner time
Yes? Survivor!
Yes? Survivor!
Dad checking the morning water
Dad checking the morning water
My parents ♥
My parents ♥
Small, medium, large
Small, medium, large
Family relatives
Family relatives
Book handy
Book handy
Sis in action
Sis in action
I was here
I was here
Caitlyn and Rose with the stones
Caitlyn and Rose with the stones
Caitlyn and Thania
Caitlyn and Thania
Hello there Mr. Sunshine
Hello there Mr. Sunshine
Jelly fish
Jelly fish
Low tide
Low tide
Can you see me?
Can you see me?
Swim swim?
Swim swim?
Collecting stones
Collecting stones
Nature at its finest
Nature at its finest
Kids playin
Kids playin
Mom and my titas
Mom and my titas
Family shot
Family shot
Wacky family
Wacky family
Everyone enjoying the beach
Everyone enjoying the beach
Siesta time
Siesta time
Lovely cove
Lovely cove
Chillin at the beach
Chillin at the beach
Beach must haves!
Beach must haves!

To the Moon Garden and back

Work lately seems a bit stressful. It happens I know and this is one of the few moments where you just want to fly to the Moon and never return. Biggest thanks to Jona for inviting Dredd and I on one of her happy place, the MOON! Nadah! The Moon Garden also known as Lily’s Pond. We don’t have a car but who can stop us, pede naman mag commute right? Kung kaya ko lang talagang mag bike baka ginawa ko na. Haha! Forgive me if I’m gonna tell my story the Tag-Lish way. Some happy things are easier to explain in Tagalog words.

1One, two, three… let’s do this! The two Dora girls are Jona and Dredd (please follow and check out their blog din), sila ang kasama ko sa weekend getaway na ito. I have traveled once with Dredd when we attended a wedding last January, as for the three of us, this is the first. Maya maya ko na ikwekwento ang mga qualities nila. Lol! As we go along na lang.

Back to Moon Garden, once you get to the area, you will be greeted by colorful flowers and yes, super duper green plants. Look, may heart pa sa halaman! How cute diba?

2Hindi ako matigil sa kakasabi ng “Ang ganda naman ng place na to”… and when Bong (the caretaker) opened the door of our room, my jaw dropped open. I was speechless for a split second and before I knew it, I was screaming like a child with delight. I tell you, you have to visit the place to feel how wonderful it is to be there. Just standing in the middle of a nature inspired room makes me wanna sleep all day or write poetry.

3Not to waste so much time, we started out the photo session, haha! Yes, I love being with these two! Hindi kami matigil kaka selfie. Hindi ko na nga sinama lahat ng photos dito kasi feeling ko mauumay na ang mga mag babasa ng blog ko. Haha! Pero promise, I love them because they are so kikay… like I! 🙂

4Dredd was the one responsible for making our itinerary. First stop after checking in at Moon Garden was Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm. Commuting in Tagaytay was an easy one, kasi trike or jeep lang naman ang sasakyan most of the time. From the place we were staying, we just needed to ride a trike going to Rotonda and then ride a jeepney going to Ilog Maria. The heavens must really be on our side most of the time, when the jeep dropped us where the signage says “Ilog Maria” a family with a SUV said we can hop in since they are looking for the same place. Who can get any luckier than us right? Life is full of blessings! Buti na lang talaga at sinakay nila kami… kasi medyo malayo pala ang lalakarin in case. At malamang sa alamang, hulas hulas na ang make up ko pag nag kataon. Pero in fairness, since hindi naman ako masyadong pawisin, kapit na kapit pa din ang mahiwaga kong lipstick. Thank you mommy dearest at matibay ang gift mo! *wink wink*

5The place was not what I expected it to be. Sabagay, hindi pa naman talaga kasi ako nakakapunta sa bee farm. But I was thinking that it would be like a small place only with lots of beehives. It turned out, they have a small shop, a big green garden with bee hives and yes… ang ilog.

6As you can see, we roamed around the area first and then we decided to ask the guard where is the river. Good thing, may isang grupo din na gusto makita ang ilog so we followed them.

7It’s not a big one as you can see sa photo. Hindi na kami bumaba kasi baka hindi na din kami makaakyat. Haha! After a few minutes, we walked back to the store.

8

Eto na! Eto na talaga, ang mga temptations. I just want to buy all the soaps! Okay, kahit lahat na lang ng Lavander soaps okay na ako. But we are on a trip budget, so hinay hinay lang ako sa pag shop. I can always visit the place in the future naman once I decide to go on a solo vacay again. Ang ending, I bought three stuff from them, photo above, upper right hand corner (massage oil, bee pollen and lavander soap). Yes, I so love myself, I know how to fight with my other self na, three items lang nabili ko!

9

After our short nature trip, it’s time to bond again. One common denominator that we have? Coffee! We ended up having a long talk at the new Starbucks and yes, more photo ops. Night time came and it’s time for dinner. Sino ba naman ang aayaw sa Bulalo pag asa Tagaytay ka diba? Yes there are a lot of diner and restaurants that offer masarap na Bulalo, but one of them would be Leslie’s. Thank you Dennis sa napakaraming sabaw sana pala yun na lang ang inulam namin, haha!

10

Now that we are so full… it’s time to head back to Moon Garden. Look how cozy the place is! :p For me the bed is talking “Come and sleep dearie, look how soft and white I am” (Yes, I do talk to things at times).

11

Before sleeping, cam time muna! Ewan ko ba bat kami pinagsama sama ng tadhana. Mga  half-day selfie pede na samin. Hindi naman halata na maga ang mga mata namin from crying right? We had some deep talk and some realizations about life. It feels great to have real good friends you can confide with.

Dredd, what can I say? She was my first close friend when I transferred sa new Line of Business. She just came from her maternal leave at that time and I really had no idea how we became close, but as far as I remember, she and Rozzel were my constant companions back in the day. I do remember having funny and cool conversations with them. Funny how life separates friends and then bring them back together. Nagkahiwalay din kami ni Dredd because I needed to change Teams, now I say I am happy to spend most of the time with her ulit. We are currently under one team and same time ng shift. Hoping maka bond na namin si Rozzel soon, miss her so much!

Jona, Jona, Jona… this wonderful lady I just met because of a special project sa office. I knew from the start that she was smart and she can write her thoughts well. True enough, just read her blog and you will understand what I’m saying. She’s the cool kid on the block with super funny antics. Promise, I thought my antics were over the top hilarious! Yung kanya ibang level! I won’t spill them, baka hindi na niya ako kausapin, haha! Hoping to spend more time with her so I can get to fully know her.

12Here we are! Umagang kay ganda na! Ang comfy comfy ng bed, I swear I don’t wanna get up. I just wanna cuddle up all day! I just love my neon sports bra, haha! Feeling ko ang happy happy ko when I am wearing something bright.

13But that can’t be, breakfast is ready and so as our tummy’s. Ready to fight?

14And who would not squirm at the sight of these? Yumminess all over! Wala akong masabi, from the food presentation and the taste, masarap talaga! Super sulit ang price! And this I may say is one place na gusto kong mag breakfast for 5 hours? I am not joking, I can literally sit all day and not care just as long as I have a book handy.

15Of course, we needed to check the whole area again and take photos to share with you guys. There are other great blogs out there so be sure visit them for clearer photos. I just used my phone that’s why the quality is not that clear, I have to apologize for that.

16Walked some more, green na green lang talaga ang peg ng place na ito. Very friendly to the human eye I must say.

17We ate our sumptuous breakfast here (photo on right side). It’s surrounded by water and lilies!

18

More lilies? Here they are! You won’t ever wonder why it’s also called Lily Pond.

19

At ang aming mga mumunting kalokahan. Mag pa pic daw ba sa damuhan? Puno? at Birds of Paradise? 🙂

20

The place will invite the bookworm in you din. The owner himself placed a lot of books and magazines to read.

At this point, it’s time to leave and eat lunch. As much as we don’t wanna go and I don’t want to leave the soft bed alone, we have to. 😦

21Lunchtime before going back to Manila… we chose Bag of Beans. I’ll give the place a 4/5 rating, very nice but malamok ng konti (besides, kagatin naman talaga ako ng insekto, haha). The food, for me was the best. Medyo may kamahalan lang but the servings are big naman so I guess worth it siya.

22And the last thought I had in mind was the unforgettable BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE. I have loved them since college days but this one topped all the Blueberry Cheesecake I have ever tasted in my entire life. Hindi ako OA, just being true. It was not so sweet like the others and the mix of softness and melted Blueberry made me fall in love. It has been three weeks from the time I first tasted this to die for cake and I am very willing to go back to Tagaytay just to have a taste of it again.

To these two wonderful ladies! May our bond and closeness tighten as days continue to roll by. Cheers to the selfie momentos and those who says that eating will make us fat. LOL!

***If you want to visit The Moon Garden, check out their Facebook Page and feedback at TripAdvisor.***

Sisterhood of the Traveling Bikinis

College, what do I remember? Hmm… of course, syringe, IV transfusions, some bone parts and a lil’ bit of anatomy. But mostly, I remember singing songs on the hallway, not sleeping until we finish endless reports, partying until dawn after the finals and having a great time with these promising nurses of the future.

What does a weekend of four ladies, all energy driven and passion seekers hold? Read along!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (1) First time to travel by boat going to Nagsasa Cove during nighttime. Though I am a good swimmer, I was kinda afraid at first since we are braving an open sea. But when the boat ride started, I knew it would be a safe one. The water was calm and inviting, thousands of stars twinkle in the sky and it was a great sight.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (2) After an hour and a half (travel time depends on how calm the sea is) we finally hit the shores. Since it was dark, I wasn’t able to appreciate the place as a whole, all I know was that I felt at home. The sands on my feet felt perfect. As you can see, we pitched our one and only tent, arranged our groceries and played cards before going to sleep.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (3) Morning came, another miracle given by God! This was the morning I thanked Him not only for the life He has given us but also for his wonderful creations. Waking up to this scenery was fantastic and oh so ‘mood motivator’. I will introduce my friends one by one as I go along, here we are, dancing to some songs for our morning exercise.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (5) So this photo shows how much I love rock formations, lol!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (6) After some time we decided it’s best to swim and experience the water.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (7) I just finished making “enseladang mangga” and they were all busy with their respective duties. Mona and Lyza cooking something and Kai, not so sure what she was up to at this time, haha!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (8) Afternoon came, perfect time to shoot some solos. I have read somewhere that photographers wait for this time of day just to get the perfect kind of light. Hope we got that kind of ‘light’ they were pertaining to.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (9) Kai being the model of the group had an idea about being submerged into the water. We came up with these shots. All photos were taken using a point and shoot digital camera, I say they were great shots! 🙂

Nagsasa Cove Trip (10) One problem, my blood temperature has always been hot, a lot of times people have mistaken me to be sick but it’s just normal I say. Being hot-tempered (blood only) mosquitoes love me. I ended up having 9 big bites… not so good. 😦

Nagsasa Cove Trip (11) My favorite shot among all! Always wanted to be Ariel of The Little Mermaid, this was the closest I got! Haha!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (12)

And of course I needed a head shot! Thanks Mona for this one. 🙂

Nagsasa Cove Trip (13) Thanks to our sponsor Nivea, summer would not be same without you.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (14) Now it’s time to share some things about the people behind this happy event. Everyone, meet my friends, Mona, Lyza and Kai. All happy, single but we can’t escape some personal issues. I’m gonna keep them private (wink wink).

Nagsasa Cove Trip (15) Lyza, she currently works as a nurse abroad. If you don’t know her and she doesn’t smile at you, you might label her as a snob. Why? She has this almond piercing eyes that can look straight at you. But once you get to know her, you know she’s one of them ladies who knows how to have fun and keep it real.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (16) Sunsets remind us of another great day that we need to reflect on. Be thankful!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (17) Lyza and mine, the sand though grayish was as soft as Boracay. Just add up some twigs in it since the whole place of Nagsasa is covered by high pine trees.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (18) Trees, moon and mountains

Nagsasa Cove Trip (19) My three models!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (20) Reflection

Nagsasa Cove Trip (21) Kai, yes physically sexy and very good at dancing. When you talk about girl power, she’s one lady you can bet on. Not only does she photograph well, she knows how to model for real. Guess our love for great photos is our common denominator. She looks real pretty on the outside but oh so tough on the inside. Experiences make us independent at some point, like her case. I admire her for being frank most of the time and she knows it.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (22)Silhouette and friends

Nagsasa Cove Trip (23) Orangey horizon

Nagsasa Cove Trip (24) Now it’s time to finish what they started. I got to be a barista for a night! Yipee! Special thanks to Lyza for my coffees, she knows I can’t live without them. She placed so much efforts into these coffee of mine, it’s not a joke on how to boil water when you are on a camp site.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (25) Uno cards night! Uber fun! Sorry Mona if we asked you toooooooo many personal questions. 🙂

Nagsasa Cove Trip (26) Lyza bought some lanterns, so we wrote our wishes on them.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (27)And let them fly so high!!!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (28) Last morning before we head home, this was how our cottage looked like. Full of bikinis!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (29) (1)Save the best for the last? We have Mona, a lady who also live under books. We both love reading like religion. She also has this crafty side of her that I love so much. She borrowed my book one time and this was what I got in return. Emotions keep her real and she holds dear all the people around her.

Nagsasa Cove Trip (29)Notice how far we were from the shore?

Nagsasa Cove Trip (30) Just another narcissistic shot of the day

Nagsasa Cove Trip (31) My epic pose plus lovely girls!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (32) Thank you Nagsasa Cove, will be sure to come back. For those residing in the Philippines or anyone who wants to pay a visit, I have a good bangkero contact. Just email me and I will give you their number. Support local tourism!

Nagsasa Cove Trip (33)All travels come to an end, but it would be the experience that will never leave us. At the end of it all, it will make us better. Thank you Mona for calling me Aster, Kai for calling me Twinkle and Lyza for simply calling me Joyce 🙂 You know how I love each one of you, hopefully we will never lose our yearly tradition, travels and bikinis!

“Maybe the truth is there’s a little bit of loser in all of us you know, being happy isn’t having everything in your life being perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things. Making those count more then the bad stuff. Maybe we just get through it and that’s all we can ask for.” 
― Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Pilipinas Tara Na!

In my opinion, this video was great! The song was really inspiring and it’s good to see actors and actresses from different channels on one Music Video. Let’s admit it guys, sometimes actors and actresses do stupid things on national television, but this one! ONE of the BEST thing they have done for our country. Now, it’s up to us if we are gonna support them, let’s make the Philippines a wonderful country. Show some pictures or feature links on your blog like this one! Surely, we can entice the whole world and show them what we’ve got!