All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. πŸ˜€

I did mention in my previous articles I have quite a pile of article drafts for editing and publishing and I am in a rush to publish them all (hopefully) while I am in a period of waiting and time is still on my side.

The summer escapade for me and hubby along with his family for this year was in the cool breeze of Tagaytay. We just had to take advantage of the summer season before the rainy days start to fill the last quarters of our calendar. It was a short holiday break thus the rest of the family members were all free to have this short family time and get-together.

It always is a privilege to spend some quality time with the family despite the busy schedules and varying demands of priorities in life – something that is far too precious to waste. My parents are in Bicol which is a 17-hour land travel to get directly to our hometown. Now that is something that I don’t have the privilege to do. Going to my hometown meant allotting 1 day for travel time then another day to rest which, after doing the Math, requires at least a week if you want to make the most and the best out of your family get-together. Simply put, visiting my family in Bicol is synonymous to careful planning ahead of the scheduled visit.

But well, this is the part where I need to thank God for technology. Skype made the term β€œhomesickness” just a term. Again, family time meant quality time and this requires we set aside time for this despite the busy schedules. If most of us have the same free time, my family and I are able to Skype with one another once a week. And Skype-ing in the family means this – the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! πŸ˜€

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our β€œhigh” conversing with one another. Well, that’s for us, women in the family. For the men, 2 hours is the maximum and they bid their β€œgoodbyes” in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? πŸ˜€

Anyway, going back to the Tagaytay escapade, we tried the Pamana restaurant with its awesome overlooking view of the Taal Lake and the food was superb too. I only captured shots of some dishes though, the long trip sure made us all pretty hungry.

I also loved the interiors which exude the ambiance of an old Hispanic house. Indeed, the concept of the restaurant matched with its name β€œPamana,” a Tagalog term for heirloom/inheritance.

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Captivating, isn’t it?

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We also scouted for anything new in the area which includes this food park called β€œStrEat.” We didn’t get to try the food stalls though as it’s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. We’ve been traveling without a destination actually and we came to that point of giving up and just head back home because all the resorts we’ve inquired were fully booked. Well, it’s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort that’s not so jam packed with visitors but the place was nice (and budget friendly) enough to bond with the family. Hotel Monticello was indeed “heaven sent”  hubby and I actually thought it’d be perfect for a wedding reception too. We couldn’t spend overnight though as we’re only geared up for a day tour. When we arrived, we had all the pool to ourselves which means this – LOTS OF SELFIES! Hahaha πŸ˜€

Nope, don’t get me wrong, I seldom take selfies. You can actually check my Instagram account for that. I just choose moments best for selfies and those moments that are not. And I only take selfies when nobody’s around, not even my hubby. πŸ˜€

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Selfie moment. My ever seldom selfie moment. 

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But really, when it comes to moments, there are just those that a camera snap isn’t enough to capture them all. I guess that’s the reason why God created our memories, an infinite storage at the back of our heads where every single memory is captured and safely stored.

So this one article is up in the memory of my head, but in case I have amnesia days or years from now, I have WordPress to retell and rewind them for me. Ah yes, the joys and perks of blogging – your online journal indeed. πŸ™‚

P.S.

WordPress, please don’t ever shut down. Like, EVER. πŸ˜€

Oh and check out this amusing video of my hubby and sister-in-law. Reminds me of my brother and I – siblings moment, they are. πŸ˜‰

 

 

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My Kind of Summer Swimwear: Nonconformist

So you must be wondering why I am oh-so-fueled with energy to write more than 1 post for this month. πŸ˜€

Answer: I am making the most of my idle and waiting time lest I become busy the following months – again. We can never tell so I am letting those ideas out in the open. Oh and yes, before I forget them. πŸ™‚

Anyway, this is a late post since summer is already over and the rainy season has welcomed its way already here in the metro and some provinces. Last summer getaway with my husband and his family, I was thinking about what to wear for my swimwear. I sure have a lot of two-piece swimsuits but I am not sure if I could wear them and swim without nothing on top.

While the rest of the world during summer is revealing too much skin with its very daring two-piece swimsuits (praying for a change), I can only be grateful to God for fashion designers who opted to create a swimwear that will preserve the dignity of women and not be treated as sex objects with their skimpy outfits by coming up with a comfortable and yet fashionably elegant outfit.

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I personally LOVED these swimsuits because they are made from a swimming material so they easily dry up, they are light-weight, securely padded, have an undershorts/bikini attached underneath, and they’re made of silky fabric that glides and never sticks on the skin even when sweating.

Of course, who likes to change outfits often right after swimming if you don’t like to walk around in your two-piece swimsuit?

I can wear this around comfortably, no cover-up needed, which can serve as a dress for a lunch date too at the resort without the whistles, the catcalls and the β€œheavy” stares. If you know what I mean. Oh and yes, it’s very convenient too if you want to travel light for your summer getaway – a swimsuit and a dress in one, no shorts and no cover up as added extras in your baggage. πŸ™‚

P.S.

I purchased these swimsuits at SM Department Store and Farmer’s Plaza (Cubao) flea market at almost the same price (a reasonable one) – 500 php. I saw similar swimsuits being sold online and they tag them as three-piece swimsuits.

[Paul said,] β€œI want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” – 1 Timothy 2:9

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: The Celebration

Hola, my dear beloved readers! πŸ™‚

I’d like to start this very LONG article with a note of gratitude to God for making things possible from provisions, clear weather, safe travel everywhere and everything else in between. I’d like to thank my dear husband as well for every small and great thing he did for us. I do not intend though to share every wedding anniversary celebration that hubby and I have as there are some moments that make it to social media and there are those which do not. But I thought I’d give credit to our first year wedding anniversary considering that the first year for newlywed couples is the hardest when it comes to adjustment and settling of differences.

Thus, this article will be a testimony on how the grace of God manifested in our first year as a married couple but most especially how God made our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration extra special.

As it is written,

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

Amazing it is when a couple makes a really big and extra effort in putting God at the center of their marriage even though circumstances and schedules permit otherwise. If you are to ask me what are they, I’d give a few instances. One would be temptations. Numerous situations will tempt you and your hubby to behave in a manner that is not right with God. This does not just pertain to temptations of the flesh like lust but other temptations like fits of rage, harsh words, doubts, impatience and a whole lot more.

Another would be priorities. I believe most of us are guilty of this: prioritizing those that shouldn’t be. One example was when hubby and I were so engrossed watching movies or checking out social media stuff and then when it was time to hit the hay, we’re both too sleepy to pray. Or that moment when we’re supposed to go to church but we kind of miscalculated our schedules, we ended up doing household chores first.

For us, these were mistakes and/or realizations on how to put God at the center. Going to church is not enough. In fact, we learned that putting God at the center of our lives meant every single thing that we do whether at home, or in work or in school whether we are with each other or with other people, God should always be included. It has to be Him whom we should think about first and consider whether it would be pleasing and honorable to God or whether it is in accordance to God’s will.

I have shared in my first article regarding our 1st year wedding anniversary (1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: Mister and Missus) the nitty gritty details of our lives as a husband and a wife. But in this article, it’ll be more of the “greater learning”  that Brian and I have gathered in the 1st year of our experiences together. I haven’t mentioned yet the really not-so-good-stuff that he and I went through although I thought I’ll just give an overview on how most of them went – never good, always bad and sometimes worst.

The worst so far is something that you could think of as unbearable. Not just for us but for those who loved us too which made them intervene so it wouldn’t turn out to be THE worst. I am referring to our parents and our families. They are our mentors in this season. They’ve been there with us since the first day that Brian and I got married.

I couldn’t imagine my life as a wife and we wouldn’t be where we are now after multiple attempts of separating if it wasn’t for God sending these mentors and for all the advice, the encouragement and words of wisdom that our families have shared especially on my side. I felt I had to share some of the tough times that Brian and I went through with them to seek for counsel right away lest I become too emotional over matters and I would overlook important and necessary things.

It has always been my belief to seek wisdom in a matter of different perspectives and never one sided only. Relying on one’s own interpretation of situations could lead to a clouded judgment and in decision making, it is crucial that we get to see the bigger picture of what really goes on. Being a woman, my emotions tend to get in the way thus accountability partners are very much well appreciated on my part.

If there’s one prayer that I have for now, it is that God would continue to protect our marriage and continue to prepare me and Brian and provide all that we needed holistically so that we would be ready in any given circumstance when the enemy strikes. We always remind each other during a heated discussion that it is not one another that we are against but the forces of evil in this world.

I can only love and thank God that through our very trying times being married, God answered our call for help. All those desperate and hopeless times felt like there’s no better way to go through them but to quit and yet God never fails, His love never fails – He always remained faithful and true to His promises and His reminders are always there.

Thinking back of those times when we thought we were the cruelest, most selfish of people going through the most challenging situations ever did God teach us all about humility and submission. Forgiveness makes a whole lot of difference most especially if it is accompanied with sincere apologies and sincere actions of change.

Ahhh yes, those days were over. If they do come back, we know how to deal with it. We may not deal with it completely as perfect as how we should deal with it, but I know and I am positive there will be changes. This is God’s way of perfecting our faith in us. There will be more to come, but looking back, all I ever saw was one set of footprints and that is enough assurance that I have such a powerful God who can lift me up in whatever circumstance I am going through.

Now on to the testimony of our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration, I just don’t know how to express my gratitude and my happiness on how the Lord our God moved in behalf of us. AMAZING. Though this is not enough to describe it, that is the only word from my human vocabulary that I could think of to describe what transpired over that weekend.

August 17 was our anniversary date. It fell on a Wednesday. Brian and I planned our celebration the 1st weekend after that date. I was the one who made all the arrangements as Brian was busy at work and I, on the other hand, had an ample time to spare to inquire about this and that. I was also in charge with the budgeting and it is only Brian’s income that we’re relying on so I need to make sure we won’t go over the budget. So there was me searching all kinds of great but budget-friendly options.

The plan: have a dinner cruise in the evening, then an overnight-stay at the hotel. So there were only 2 items in our itinerary. Then came the cancellation of the dinner cruise as yacht was under maintenance so we were given options to choose among the dates they have offered and August 28 was the nearest from our wedding anniversary though it’s already 2 weeks away from the actual date.But I thought it wouldn’t matter anyway as it still falls on our anniversary month. I am not really particular about dates I even forget them, the special ones included. *wink*

So came August 17, and I thought we’re gonna treat it as a regular day since we’re going to celebrate it anyway. But lo and behold, to my surprise, Hubby arrived home from work braving the heavy rains and all the traffic with something in his hand – a bouquet of assorted flowers. Okay, now he and I had an agreement that I will only receive one flower from him in our entire lifetime together and that will be the first and the last as I will be preserving it – a memorabilia on preserving our love together as a couple. This was the rose that he gave me on our first Valentine’s day date back when we were still dating.

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When I saw the bouquet of course I smiled my widest, gave him a tight hug and a sweet kiss and then told him that he doesn’t have to. His answer was that he knew I will like them. So I teased him that now I have so many flowers to preserve and I am running out of glass canisters to put them. lol

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Well, I guess both of us knew what each of us wanted because I also made him a video which was a compilation of our wacky shots since we first met up to now. I showed it to him that night as well when he gave me the bouquet.

So now came the week before our final schedule for the celebration. That week had a pretty rough weather we were really running out of hopes that we’ll be celebrating the anniversary with a clear weather which means our plans will be ruined or we’ll make do of what we can. I never thought about canceling our plans but Brian wanted to move it to a later date.

Unfortunately we have limited options in doing so so I assured him to have faith, be patient, trust in the Lord and that we’ll continue praying. Come Thursday Brian was having pressing moments at work. I was sure he will really appreciate being able to do some adventurous stuff knowing the sporty person that he is. So I thought about coming up with another item in our itinerary – go to Rizal and have some nature and adventure fun in Daranak Falls. It was so out of the original plan but I checked the budget, we’ll still make it. I suggested the idea and he approved, excitedly approved actually.

I checked out reviews and blogs about the place and we came up with an itinerary. A few hours before we left, heavy rains still poured every now and then that my husband had dampened spirits too. I cheered him up when we woke up in the morning and saw the sun peering out. But hubby still told me it might rain hard for the rest of the day. We’re going to be doing a lot of road traveling and sight seeing and doing it on a rainy weather is a no-no as roads are slippery and we won’t enjoy the view anyway.

I once again comforted him that God has already answered our prayer request for a clear weather which we’ve been praying for how many nights in a row already. I told him that we should never give up along the way as my mentors would always remind me to look at the bigger picture, never on the road block or the problem that’s blocking the road or the view and to continue focusing on the goal and not on the journey. Our goal was to enjoy our wedding anniversary celebration in whatever circumstance.

So we ate an early breakfast and started heading out. Indeed, the Lord was faithful. For the rest of our first day/part 1 celeb, we’ve been given a clear weather. We’ve enjoyed nature at its best on a sunny weather. Just right because the falls were cool. If it was raining that day, we wouldn’t be able to withstand the cold water for long. But since it was a sunny day, hubby and I just had the best time having a hydro massage at the mini falls across the huge one.

Usually the place is flocked every weekend since it is just an hour ride away from the metro. But I guess since nobody expected for the weather to clear up right away on that day, there was only a small crowd (about 10-15 people) who was enjoying the resort with us. You could choose to roam around downstream, the huge falls, the river bed, the two smaller falls and you’ll still get a space for a nice shot without a photobomber. *wink*

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The splendor of Mother Nature.

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A very beautiful specie of butterfly fluttering around me while trying to take a good shot of her – the first of its kind.

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Here goes hubby’s epic jump!

 

Here’s a short video of our escapade there (do watch it at 480p):

God is good all the time, eh? But wait, that’s just the beginning of our itinerary. Because the 2 events we originally listed became 8. Well, I couldn’t count exactly because it all just happened out of the blue. We’re like going along the flow whichever God would want us to do and want us to have.

So we got to visit the windmills farm, the parola beside the lake (which I thought was a sea growing up in a coastal area), checked out the old historical church nearby and tried some local cuisine for snacks.

Everything went perfectly well even with how we managed the time (and expenses) and no traffic! Ha! Hubby was sure glad to drive with ease the whole time being surrounded with all the greenery. The car we used was Brian and his brother’s as they have another one for the family car. They share in using it but I told Bri to let his brother use it as they already have a baby and commuting with a toddler is tad difficult. Told him we will just borrow when there is a pressing need like this anniv celeb which happens only once a year. So praise God that the car was good to go as well for this event. πŸ˜€

When hubby and I got home, we started preparing for the part 2 of our celeb the next day which fell on a Sunday. Of course, Sundays are meant for God so if there is an itinerary, ggoing to church should be the first priority or if not, it should be included. We planned to stay at a hotel around Ortigas area after our dinner cruise so I suggested we attend church nearby or along the way to Manila bay.

Searched the Victory church website and found one at Robinsons Galleria mall. It has always been a habit for me and Brian to find a church nearby if we have activities lined up on Sunday. It was our first time at Victory Ortigas and every Victory church has their own communion schedule if I am not mistaken. We missed having one in our home church at Victory Katipunan for the month of August. But to our surprise, on that Sunday, it was communion day for Victory Ortigas. Yaaaay! Oh, the goodness of the Lord just goes on and on. A blessed Sunday it was as the events lined up on that day was also the “meat”  of the celebration.

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Early birds at Victory Ortigas.

After church, hubby and I decided to go directly to Manila bay for our dinner cruise. Guess what too, the new yacht assigned to us caters only a small group of people meaning it will give the guests a more exclusive experience. The yacht looked great too. We were supposed to be served a full-course plated meal with iced tea but since the yacht was small, they changed the caterer and the sea was expected to be rough these months too so they served them in bento boxes. But I preferred it this way because I don’t like my food spilling over my plate when the yacht changed courses or worse, spilling them over my dress. That is my worst nightmare during a date. lol BUT the best part which was not included in the package was a complimentary refillable glass of wine being offered to guests. Yaaay again!

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Welcome aboard!

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Aboard M/Y Selina.

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God is so full of surprises, ain’t He? So hubby and I were enjoying our dinner cruise moment and 1 hour was just not enough especially if you’re gonna take photos around the yacht, eat and drink. Or maybe we were having so much fun we totally lost track of the time. *wink*

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The view of the bay from the yacht.

So final verdict? We’re definitely going to relive the experience but on a summer night AND when there is a pyromusical event at SM Mall of Asia. Now that gives you an idea how you could spend a romantic date with your special someone too. Let’s share the love, shall we? We say, cheers to that! πŸ™‚

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After dinner we went to SM Mall of Asia to catch pokemons. lol But nope, I am no pokemon go player. My husband tried it out of curiosity thus tried to catch some while we’re still in the area and ordered our favorite fraps at Starbucks located along the boulevard. Now it was late already when we got to Richmonde hotel where we will spend the night away.

Entering this classy hotel will make you lost in translation. I was totally loving the hotel’s elegant interiors probably because I like earth tones when it comes to color choices and gold never fails to magnify the sophistication of every item like black. It was actually the color motif of hubby and I for our dinner date – yellow/gold and black.

We went inside our room which was very cozy by the way and it matched the elegance of the hotel’s lobby. Since we were dead tired because of the previous events especially hubby who was diving and swimming his heart out in Daranak falls, we’ve thought about having a massage. We tried the 90-minute Swedish aromatherapy massage at Nuat Thai near the hotel and I found myself giggling, not because of the massage, but the snoring client beside my room. lol

Well, I couldn’t blame him. The massage was so good, so therapeutic and relaxing it’ll really make you doze off. I am not really a massage lover but I appreciated it so much in a way that it made me so calm and relaxed after the session. Hubby said that he, too, fell asleep. Hmmmm, was he the one who snored?! lol πŸ˜€

I didn’t know massages can make you go hungry. *wink*  So afterwards, we went ahead and had a tapsilog meal at Rufo’s. When we got back to the hotel we were just so drowsy and we understood why, it’s already 1am! Okay, it’s really time for taps.

The next day/part 3 of the celeb we had our sumptuous and delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel’s cafe. We had no photos as we don’t want to break the sophisticated atmosphere with us taking selfies everywhere. We felt like it’s inappropriate especially when expats were eating beside your table. *wink*  We then decided to take a swim at the hotel’s heated pool and we couldn’t capture a pretty decent shot lest some of the guests might be irritated if they’d find out their faces were included in the photo without their permission. I happen to have one taken but a lady just made it in time as a photobomber. lol No offense though, it oftentimes happens. *wink*

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His signature squint, my signature pout. πŸ˜‰

By the time we finished our morning dip at the pool we headed back to our room and prepared for the check out. We decided to have the car washed, loaded up and went on our way home sweet home. Then, it began to rain. πŸ˜€

Alas, we’re now finally at the comfort of our quaint little home. This home of ours was a little apartment that my siblings and I shared starting when we were all studying in college. When my eldest sister and brother got married, my second sister worked in Norway and my third sister went to our home province to be with our parents, I was left alone. So now my hubby and I are occupying this place.

I always tell my husband that it is such a privilege for us to live in this minimalist and simple home. We had nothing to worry about the stuff that we needed and my siblings and I used to take turns in doing a house makeover every now and then. So many memories are in here thus it is always a reminder for us to take good care of this humble abode. I used to hate cleaning but I love it now especially when I see the aftermath. We do have plans of getting our own house but we’ll have to wait and trust God and His right time with that. πŸ™‚

The events during the weekend went on smoothly and we’re still right on track with our budget. The provisions of God do overflow when you share what you need to give and you have faith that only God is the sole provider of everything. Besides, it’s better to give than to receive anyway. *big smiles there*  Everything was planned out perfectly because God planned it that way. I am just extremely thankful for everything. We just have a great God, haven’t we?

I couldn’t imagine how Brian and I managed to celebrate it with so much ease, no worries and no hassle knowing we were relying on his income alone for our expenses; secondly, his schedule at work was difficult to arrange and lastly, the weather didn’t go well a couple of weeks prior to the celeb. It was a combined celebration of simplicity and elegance, adventure and sophistication, nature and man-made – the perfect balance.

It actually doesn’t matter what are the particulars when it comes to celebrating special moments with a loved one. The good and bad memories that you and your spouse build every single day are enough to remind you of the love that you have for each other which is more important than any celebration in every marriage. Love rules, love wins, and love is all that matters. (I think I heard myself singing that. lol)

But the truth of the matter is that a marriage requires this – FAITH. When it comes to faith, I only have these two to think about:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. – Hebrews 12:22

Keep the faith ALWAYS too, my dear brothers and sisters! ❀

Much love,

Tin and Bri

Hidden Paradise: Bicol’s Virgin Beaches

If I will be allowed to be proud of something, that I will reserve for the beautiful beaches that my hometown offers. I grew up in the province and as a kid, summertime with family means scouting local beaches and nature hopping from rivers, falls to springs and mountains.

It is through this that I got to appreciate nature at its best in its original beauty. Yes, that kind of beauty that is not tampered by man or any modernization. I have somehow developed this kind of appreciation when it comes to what is beautiful and having gone to commercialized beaches such as Boracay, I must say that I wasn’t fascinated that much at all compared to the ecstatic feeling I get every time my eyes lay upon the sight of paradise in its original state – how God created them and not how man created them.

It was this appreciation that taught me to love nature and care for it as if its part of me. I actually wanted to promote in our province, in light of this, an advocacy to tourists and locals alike how to enjoy nature’s bounty and yet at the same time, preserve its natural beauty. Commercialization of beaches as tourist spots means a flock of tourists which is also equivalent to more use of resources as well as more litter. The latter is what becomes far too common in all commercialized beaches.

I do not mean to be selfish and enjoy the luscious and diverse beauty that nature can offer just by myself, and yet it saddens me to know the fact that not all tourists have the same kind of appreciation and concern as I do. Seeing a single trash along the seashore is enough to make me furious and the first thing that goes into my head is this – how irresponsible the person who threw this trash is. Now this is something I should not do, for it is not right – judging and thinking negatively about any person. It is similar to committing a crime in God’s standards.

Instead of that accusing thought though, I might as well divert my thoughts how I could partner with the local government units in preserving local beaches which include but is not limited to informing the public (tourists and locals) about a policy that will implement stricter discipline when it comes to taking good care of nature. And I mean STRICTER DISCIPLINE.

I told my husband that this summer, instead of going to commercialized and expensive hotels and resorts (being the practical me), I suggested we visit my family in the province, celebrate Mother’s Day there and scout for local beaches which is what my family would usually do during summertime. So we went to this beach which is a 30-minute drive from home and we usually spend our family outing there during the summer and once during Christmas. What we saw next was the ultimate paradise deal.

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Mt. Bulusan in the background, the province’s active volcano.

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Combination of patches of seaweeds and sand.

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This beach is an inlet rich of diverse marine ecosystem and at the end of the reef is the Pacific Ocean. Pretty deep this ocean. So if you are not a swimmer like me, better stay a little closer to the shore. My husband is adventurous and yet when we both saw the different sea creatures we found in the reefs, we were fascinated and yet a little scared at the same time. He started joking that there might be a great white which somehow got inside the shallow reefs as there were plenty of other sea creatures to feed on.

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Something pink underneath.

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There’s the edible seaweed.

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My foot was here.

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Funny hubby with his signature wacky pose.

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There’s me introducing the rock.

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Well, it is a possibility, I told him and yet it should not hinder us from exploring what else does that inlet could offer. Besides, my family and I have been there a couple of times already and we never encountered or heard any incident about shark attacks or a jellyfish sting even. Although we saw this jellyfish-like sea creature which we could not identify whether an eel, a variety of a jellyfish or a sea snake. It looked harmless as local kids were poking it and covering it with sand. We tried to uncover it after they left but we couldn’t find a solid object to remove the heavy sand away. Besides, it is heaving so we know it is still alive.

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Local children covering the slimy sea creature with sand.

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Low tides are a great opportunity for me to explore what is on the ocean floor. Being a lover of Science (probably because my Mom used to be a Science teacher), I love exploring everything most especially when it comes to nature. I even thought that maybe I would’ve ended better if I pursued a degree in Biology. But that is not God’s plans for me. Or maybe it is, I just don’t know. Yet. Β *smiles*

For me, the sea is a huge exploration ground. Very ironic because I do not know how to swim. Now you must be wondering how did that ever happen. Well, I am wondering about that too. *wink* Β But I never let anything hinder when it comes to pursuing things that I am interested about.

So back to our seafloor exploration, we found a live snail, a small one and hubby and I enjoyed observing how it attempted to raise Β “himself” up back to its crawling position. I didn’t know that a snail has a tiny claw/hook of some sort and it is fascinating to know that that hook is strong enough to lift itself up considering the hardness of the shell. We wanted to take a video of it but unfortunately we left our cameras already as we decided to swim and explore and we didn’t bring any waterproof camera case with us.

Oh and this edible seaweed. We eat them raw and just dip it in lime juice. It is a perfect side dish for barbecues or grilled fish. We call it as Β “lato.” We saw local fishermen harvesting them during low tide somewhere before the reef ends and big waves from the Pacific Ocean hit the side of the reef or the wall of the continental shelf.

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The Pacific Ocean and the continental shelf.

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Our harvest.

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Harvesting a big one.

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We got to the beach about lunch time and after 2 hours, the tides begun to rise. Hubby and I waited as each small patch of dried seaweed start to be submerged in water again. We did swim nearby when the water level became high enough but because it was late in the afternoon approaching night time, we decided to take our leave and let nature have her rest too – it was feeding time for the sea creatures. Yep, we don’t want to be part of their food chain so out we went and just took photos around.

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High tide is finally here.

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White sand it is.

Indeed, right they are when they say that in order to keep things balanced with nature, you have to know your limits. Hubby usually is the adventurous type and is always on the go. But this time, it made me smile when I saw him learn to have this respect and love for nature out of awe and fascination. This was the same kind of awe and fascination that I first had when I was a kid which made me love and care for nature because I have learned to understand our relationship with it. We felt guilty though when we showed some locals the seaweeds that we were able to harvest and they said it was the right one but they usually pluck the stems out but leave the roots so it could reproduce. Β *insert sad face here*

But it made me smile still. It means that they already know their limits as to the proper use of nature’s resources and how to take good care of her and this will be very essential in informing tourists like me about the limitations/boundaries between man and nature. πŸ™‚

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God’s awesome creation, including him. πŸ˜‰

April Full

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An escape away from the city.

Yup, it was so full. Not about April Fool’s Day though. πŸ˜‰

If you have noticed, I don’t have an entry for the entire month of April. That is because I was swamped with a lot of activities last month, I only got to “breathe” and check my blog now. I still am a bit busy but not as hectic as compared with the sched last month.

So first things first.

My sister arrived from Norway and decided we have a family outing and relaxation this summer. But before that, we met one of our titos, my Dad’s brother, Tito Cesar and my cousin Arra for a get together/ lunch at Escolta then the day after it was followed by a family dinner with the family of my brother’s wife.

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Lunch with Tito Cesar and Arra at Escolta. πŸ™‚

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Dinner with the Silvestre family at Pinac restaurant. πŸ™‚

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Pinac Family Day

For our family summer outing this year, my eldest sister chose Luljetta Hanging Gardens located at Antipolo as she personally knows the owner and it is just an hour away from the busy metro.

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My eldest sister, Ate Faye. πŸ™‚

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One of their infinity pools. This one is the biggest.

When we got to the place, I fell in love with it. The scenery may not be as spectacular as I have expected but if you opt for a quiet place where you could commune with nature and be rejuvenated, this is exactly the place to be.

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He is…errr…uhmm….contemplating? Perhaps. πŸ˜€

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Side of the infinity pool.

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Restaurant that caters local and international cuisines.

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The Zen lounge.

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A place to sit and relax.

I recommend this if you, your friends or families intend to have a retreat. There are quotations and phrases that uplift the heart and soul as you pass by the trail.

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The garden.

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Love is….

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Uplifting quotations everywhere.

Guessing by its name, the spa and hanging gardens were carved and placed right on the side of a mountain. It was the architecture of the place that, for me, made it awesome.

But there is one restriction though that this place may posit – there are trails that are far too steep, it will not be convenient to those who are old enough to climb a hundred stairs.

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Steep stairs, by the cliff.

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Reading nook.

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Cabana

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The jacuzzi.

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Sauna and jacuzzi.

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The other infinity pool. This is perfect for kids.

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Inside the Buddha’s lounge.

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Intricate interiors made from raw local materials.

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The way to the lounge.

But the good thing is that if you wish to use the spa only, it is easily accessible by anyone. Only the infinity pools, the sauna, the hydromassage pool and the Dr. Fish are situated right down below the hotel. Their restaurant is also located at the terrace of the hotel.

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One of the Dr. Fish pools.

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Hydromassage Pool

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Hydromassage Pool

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There goes the heavy downpour! πŸ™‚

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Hydromassage pool.

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Bubbles are everywhere. πŸ˜‰

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Perfect for back aches.

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Lunch time.

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Adobo.

The hydromassage pool and Dr. Fish are new to me so it was the first thing that we tried when we got there. It was a very funny experience for us so I took a video of all the fun. πŸ˜‰

The hydromassage pool can be compared to a big jacuzzi and there are two bars that have rainshowers-like splatters pouring out. I wasn’t able to experience getting drenched under a heavy downpour, not even when I was a kid, so this experience was one of the most memorable I must say. πŸ˜‰

The place is perfect for couples as well on a honeymoon as geographically, you won’t be able to see other visitors coming here and going there except perhaps during the peak season.

We were able to have our spa session a few minutes before the sunset. So we chose the outdoor massage and they usually conduct the session in a nipa hut of your choice beside the cliff overlooking the cityscape. It is just the perfect time to relax before dinner time or in the case of my parents, they scheduled a session a couple of hours before bedtime.

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Our merienda, one of Antipolo’s delicacies paired with lemon grass iced tea before the spa session.

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Goodbye city life for now.

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It is spa time. πŸ™‚

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The outdoor massage nipa huts.

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Flowery

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The restaurant at Taktak Hall.

Another first-time experience that I had is being in a seat that goes up and makes a full 360 rotation. It is called Dream Twister and one of the newest attractions at SM Mall of Asia.

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Sunset walk before trying the Dream Twister. πŸ™‚

My fiance and I are always up for challenging activities and so I asked him if we could try it together. And of course, how could he say no? πŸ˜‰

So up we went and it was the most exhilirating experience I have had. I think it is even challenging than doing bungee jumping or sky diving because the seats rotate then goes up and down, fast and slow. Imagine being held by a giant while he is walking and he is swaying his arms – that is the exact feeling. It was so fun I definitely will try it again. πŸ™‚

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Let the FUN BEGIN!!! πŸ˜€

And of course, the highlight for the month of April was my brother’s military wedding. I have been one of their witnesses how their union as a couple started. They met through the singles’ getaway in one of our churches, Victory Fort, and as they say, the rest is history.

My sister-in-law is my brother’s first girlfriend and I have so much admiration for my brother for he stayed true to his commitment when he told me that his first girlfriend will also be his last as she will be the one he is going to marry.

Here are some photos during one of the best milestones of their lives together as a couple:

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Me and my sisters, Ate Ayn and Ate Abeden. πŸ™‚

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The princesses of the Ginete family. πŸ™‚

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All the ladies in the house. πŸ˜‰

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The Ginete fam bam. πŸ™‚

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My mom. πŸ™‚

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The Casis family missing the owner of the uniform. πŸ˜‰

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Me and my ever goofy fiance. πŸ˜€

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The retired civil engineer and retired grade school teacher – my parents. πŸ˜‰

I believe that it is also God who fulfilled that commitment for him until come that day wherein my brother is now in front of God making one of his greatest commitments – the Holy Matrimony.

I just feel blessed and grateful that I now look up to them as the couple who may not have the perfect relationship but persevered to keep it in reverence to the Lord and His beautiful promises for both of them.

Having said that, I will leave you with this video which captured their most special moment that no words could describe. πŸ™‚