Mid-January 2015, the Pope visited the Philippines which meant three days of vacation for employees, like me, in NCR. Being a person wants to get away whenever she can, I grabbed the chance to take… More
Danielle and Joseph
March 9-12, 2017
“True love is not a hole you fall into – it’s a mountain you climb everyday of your life. It’s a decision you make and continue to make day, after day, after day.”
So, this is us, this is love,
Looking for another charming place to visit south of Manila aside from Pansol and Tagaytay? Visit the Lakes of San Pablo, Laguna! A colleague brought us here some two years ago for some fresh hipon and pako salad lunch aboard a balsa while cruising Lake Pandin, one of the seven (yes, there are seven) lakes in San Pablo.
We were only able to cruise Lake Pandin and see its twin lake, Yambo by going up a little hill from the banks of Pandin. We were not able to swim since we didn’t trust the water which got murky from the rain.
We then went to the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan the next day.
Since the Philippines is a country rich in folklore and horror stories, this cemetery is haunted according to locals like all the other cemeteries in the country.
Until the next balsa ride,
After two hours of riding a bangka on Camarines Norte waters, islands called Calaguas welcomed me with their white sand and pristine waters and I couldn’t say anything. Calaguas literally took my breath away, and all I could let out were muffled shrieks of wonder and delight as I splashed the crystal clear and cool waters.
I will once again fail to document this travel in words but I tried during my short stay, capturing the beauty of these shores.
Experience this paraiso. You have to go to Calaguas. Here’s a little guide:
How to get to Paracale, Camarines Norte : Ride a bus bound for Daet/Paracale from Cubao or Turbina.
How to get a boat to Calaguas from Paracale, Camarines Norte and find a tent: Call Mang Boy at 0908 546 0683.
Where to stay : Pitch a tent under the stars.
What to do : Gaze at stars. Swim the turquoise waters. Climb the hill overlooking the islands and sea and try to fathom how tiny you are in this universe.
Enjoy life in transit,
Back in April 2014, we watched the sun set in La Union. I’ve got only one word to describe it and one photo of it that just can’t give it justice.
Til the next sunset,
It was a beginner’s trek, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Mount Makiling in Laguna stands at 1,090 meters above sea level, which I only found out in 2016, and we climbed this mountain in January 2014!
Now, let’s talk about that trail.
The first few parts of the trail was a thick foliage. Trees labeled with their scientific names, after all the trail to Mount Makiling’s starts near the Forestry area of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, flowers in colors I only see on the internet and moss on rocks and trees here and there.
The middle parts of the trail is where the guides ask you to wear your jackets. They asked us to bring light jackets since Mount Makiling is a rainforest, but they asked us to wear our jackets for a different reason: creatures which they call “limatik” were said to fall randomly from trees as they’re attracted to warm bodies! Vampires! I didn’t know what limatiks were, but I wore the jacket. I saw one fall on a fellow hiker’s arms and it was, in one simple word, icky. It’s a skinny little leech! When I saw it crawling, which looked more like standing on its mouth or sucker, and sort of began burrowing its body on his skin, I knew that this trail was no trail for beginners. What trickery?!
Anyhoot, the last parts of the trail was the forest which they fondly call “wilderness zone”, and that area really lives up to its name. Without a guide or expertise in climbing mountains, one can easily fall off a ravine or get lost in the undergrowth. Branches with thorns you can’t grab on to, ladders made of bamboo that you have to cling on to for dear life and mossy mud that sort of swallows your shoes and feet, not to mention the strain on your legs while climbing. The last parts of the trail were steeper than steep. My then-crush, now fiancé (kilig), slipped and grabbed one of those thorny branches. Ouch! Of course I helped him remove the thorns. Eep! *wink*
We got to Peak 2 at around 2pm, had our lunch, rested, took pictures, and started to re-think why we’re up there that day and if we can still walk back. The view from the peak was a little bit of Laguna Lake and some parts of Laguna, I think, but due to the thick shrubbery, the view was not all that grand for me but being on top of a mountain, for the first time, gave me the chills. I made it. I climbed a mountain. I knew that day that the Makiling trail will just be the first of the many trails I’ll tread.
Til the next mud covered trail,
Let’s go again?
Since I started my personal project, which I fondly called Tour de Pilipinas, I have found myself asking this particular question every time I plan a trip: Are weekend overnight trips worth the trouble? This question, myself answers every time I start packing for a trip: Yes. They are.
I started this project when I started building my career. Each workday, as the millennials say, “the struggle is real” were the very words that explain how I felt and weekends? Well, they were the days where I live my actual life. Weekends should not be days where you “live life” though. Everyday should be all about living, but I’m writing in the sense that “living life” is taking a break from the hustle and bustle and … oh you get what I mean. Weekends mean rest! Vacation! A breakaway from the computer screen and the tick-tock-ing of your keyboard.
This particular weekend in January 2014, was a Mommy-planned-Groupon-worth-the-trouble-overnight-trip. This was a weekend getaway in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro with my mom and my sister.
A 2-hour boat ride from Batangas Port will take you to pristine white beaches and islands where you can lounge around, play frisbee, snorkel, watch fire dancers and eat seafood!
One of the disadvantages though of overnight weekend trips is that you only get to see few places resulting to just-enough-photos-all-tabingi-and-blurred and less adventures. But, nonetheless, seeing and exploring a bit of a beautiful place even just for a few hours, for me, is all worth it. And you can always return. It’s just a few hours away!
Til the next sleepy-exciting trip,
For what are we without God’s grace? What would our life be like? What would we look like if God did not change our face by grace? Yes. Probably like a hermit. Wandering, displaced, dirty and homeless. But by His grace, our wrinkles of worry, shadows of shame and doubt are all brushed away and we become portraits of grace and trust.
Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
Still in awe of His grace,