Love in Transit

Danielle and Joseph

Cebu, Philippines

March 9-12, 2017

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DSC_0489_finimage1DSC_0240_fin“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,

Danielle

Mountain

 

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.  img_1001

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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?!

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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*

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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.

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Til the next mud covered trail,

Deedin

Turquoise

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.

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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!

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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,

Deedin

Grace

grace

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.

~Job 10:12

Still in awe of His grace,

Deedin

Home

Seize every opportunity to  leave, travel and see places. One way and probably the best way to do it is to go with your family. It’s fun, funny, fulfilling and it’s free!

The holidays for me, always involved a 12 hour++ road trip (dad is our driver and he stops to sleep on the road a lot),  going home to see relatives in the province, smelling my lola’s old iskaparate (closet) in our little balay (house), walking the dingy but comforting alleys of the Rilanse (wet market), sprawling along the shores of Sabang Beach, eating lots of seafood especially kasag (crab), enjoying the company of childhood friends and eating more kasag.

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My dad was born and raised in probably the farthest, littlest town in Bicol: Bulan, Sorsogon and I already considered it to be my hometown too, even if I grew up and spent most of my waking days in Laguna.

Being in the province has always calmed me down. Time seems to be slower near the sea , the little shacks that line up that community and seeing hunched up para-uma(s) (farmers) makes me realize how richly blessed I am.

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IMG_0662We never leave this hometown without seeing other equally stunning places within the bongto (town) and in the neighboring bongto. This trip made me discover a Lake Bariis located in Sta Remedios in Bulan!

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And our visit would never be complete without getting our feet scratched on the corally shores of Sta Magdalena Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon.

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In all manner of speaking, going home is always worth the journey that takes more than a day. It has always been and will always be awesome.

Enjoy life in transit,

Deedin

 

 

Quaint

The quiet little town of Sagada in Mountain Province was my first out-of-town trip which I lovingly documented with my then-serious-now archaic-but-still-gets-the job-done mobile phone.

It was in February 2013 when some friends and I joined a three-day package tour to explore some rice paddies, waterfalls and yogurt. We slept through an eight-hour long and winding drive in a van that reeked of soiled socks and brake fluid. When we arrived in the morning, our trip provider looked for a transient house for us while we sleepily took off to take photos. The first day was a tour of the town’s old churches, houses, narrow roads, stone table and little cafes.

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Cafe Sagada

The next two days was pure adventure and a whole lot of walking. We had the privilege of walking along the well-tended pilapils of the mini rice terraces along the way to Bomod-Ok Falls and we got bat droppings on our hair inside Sumaguing Cave.

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Bomod-Ok Falls, Sagada

This Php 2,900++ package tour was the journey that spurred my interest in travel. It made me want to see more of the Philippines. It moved me to share how much beauty there is in my country. It made me crave for more mountains, more blues and greens, more sunsets, more colors and more life.

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It made me realize that as Filipinos, we should all try exploring Pilipinas muna, because really…

“It’s funny how you can live somewhere your whole life, but not really see it.”

Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures