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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Sometimes, Things Just Have to Change

There used to be a place where I would hideaway whenever my soul would feel tired and weary. However, last December, I had to bid my heart’s home farewell. I did realize, however, that even if the place was gone and things had changed, what it had brought to my life would never, ever change.

Despite that realization, however, I must admit that there are moments in time when I need to take a time out from the hustle and bustle of life to take a time out and just converse with my soul. While my beach weekends always brought me back to the core of me, I realized that these short trips I would take to just listen were just as meaningful to me. Last year after a particularly painful period of my life, I took a little road trip to Bag of Beans in Tagaytay and there I found the peace I was looking for. The drive, and everything that happened during the drive and in my brief stay there, really brought so much growth and healing to me. Since then I had found myself driving back to that coffee shop several times and each time I did,  I took away such precious gifts from it.

About two weeks ago, I found myself with that same restlessness once again and so I did what felt right. Right after yoga class, I got into my car and drove. I didn’t think I would end up in Bag of Beans (I had wanted to sit by the water in Nuvali instead and feed the koi) but the old familiar stirring in me just kept at it and so I went all the way to Tagaytay.

When I got there I was a wee bit disappointed because once more, they had rearranged the place and things were not the same. Not that it wasn’t nice, but I was looking for the comfort of the familiar. Sure there were bits and pieces that were the same, the food and hot chocolate was just as yummy, but still there was something different. I sat there for a good three hours,  occasionally having a tear or two roll down my cheeks, just listening to my soul and having my heart warmed with a few messages and reminders from some very special people in my life.

After about three hours, it suddenly started to rain, and I took that as a sign to pack up and leave. I left Bag of Beans less settled than I usually do and I tried to let that be but I guess I wasn’t paying too close attention to what it was telling me and because of it I messed up so many other important things around me by saying stupid things and doing things I knew better not to do. But then now, I guess, all I can say is I’m deeply, deeply sorry and that while I can never take it back (after all, as the saying goes, you can’t un-ring a bell), I can try to move forward and learn from those mistakes. It isn’t easy learning, but I’m sure I’ll get it someday.

In the meantime, I have to remind myself that sometimes, things just have to change. Perhaps that’s what my soul was trying to tell me that day I went to Bag of Beans and felt annoyed at the change that the place had once again. It was reminding me that I can’t always hold on so tightly to the familiar and keep running back to it when things aren’t good. In the same way, it was telling me that although there are certain facets that may change, what is essential, good and true, that remains steadfast and real, as long as I let it.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

A Nurturing Summer’s End at the Nurture Spa Village

A few days before my classes officially started, I was given the best writing assignment ever: covering Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay’s re-launch for The Philippine Online Chronicles, an online publication I write for. I was a bit nervous about going, to be honest, because it was going to be the first ever event I would go to without my usual group of blogger friends. As I approached the designated meeting place with a bit of trepidation, wondering how the trip would end up. I almost jumped for joy when I saw Eric, aka Byahilo, standing in the curb! That eased my anxiety a wee bit…but I was still feeling insecure and out of place since the others seemed to know each other.

Shortly after, we headed off to the Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay. It wasn’t hard to relax and put my guard down because all the other bloggers in the van were such a blast to be with! Besides the very relaxing and fabulous spa treatments I experienced, getting to meet and get to know many of the bloggers I used to hear about was a reward in itself.

my new found blogger friends with Mike and Cathy Turvill, founders and owners of the Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay

Being a spa noob (yes, despite my love for massages and the fact that I pamper myself with one almost weekly!) I never really went through the whole spa experience. I used to say it was just a glammed up massage and that spending excessive amounts on something I can get for Php 250 at home was a luxury I could live without. Plus, I would rather spend my money on a weekend at the beach rather than the spa. I recall I even quipped to one of my companions that “kulang na lang dito dagat, tapos perfect na!”.

However, after being in the calming and serene setting of the spa, I realized that spa’s were more than just good ambiance, it is really a healing and “love yourself” experience.

I fell in love with the Nurture Spa Village! While I do still place the sun, sea and surf at the top of my list, I got to feel the quiet positive energy flowing from such a soul nurturing place. From the trees to the flowers, the butterflies and even the ants crawling about, it felt like I was tapping into something so primal and true to the core. Add to that, of course, it the world class facilities the spa had to offer! It definitely is no ordinary spa. In fact, it is heralded as one of the 28 Most Relaxing Spa’s in Asia by CNN Go.

My Nurture Spa Village experience definitely ranks up there with my favorite things ever. If I may, let me invite you to read more about the spa with my article at The Philippine Online Chronicles’ Wellness section. Check out my photos of the trip on Flickr too :-) Watch out too for my feature on the Amu’in body products and that fabulously delicious Lychee Lemongrass Martini soon :-)

Beach getaway hang-over

I still have a beach get-away hangover. I woke up this morning eager to head out to the beach again only to remember that I’m back home and the only thing waiting for me is a pile of paperwork to accomplish. Nevertheless, much as I wish I was still on vacation, I’m glad I got to have a brief respite from the hustle bustle of everyday. It’s been so hard to free up my schedule to go on a weekend trip to the beach, what with my preschool classes, my teaching load in the university and my writing jobs. I actually thought I wouldn’t be able to see the beach anytime this summer. Finally, I was able to squeeze it in.

Along with my family and a good friend of mine, I spent two days in Punta Fuego in A huge 7 bedroom house, just a street away from the beach, complete with a sun deck and a jacuzzi. I couldn’t use them though because the hot tub was kinda clogged with sand. All that was missing were walk in bathtubs. It would have been great for a nice relaxing bubble bath after a leisurely lounge at the beach.

It was paradise! Sure I had to lug my work with me, but checking papers and grading essays by the beach was still so much better than having to be stuck at my desk, right? It came at just the right time because lately, I’ve been feeling down and burnt out, which tends to be the case when I take on too much work or have too many things on my mind. There’s something about being in the beach that really rests not just my body, but also my tired and weary self. So now I’m all dark and toasty on the outside and on the inside, so bright and shiny all over again :-) Happiness.

Going on a summer road trip!!!

Don’t you love how things often just fall into place? Just last week, I told a friend of mine that if I was able to seal the deal I was working on, I would take my Bubba on a summer road trip back to the beach. Lo and behold, less than a week later, I got it! I’m really looking forward to getting in my car and heading off to Laiya. Bubba loves getting in the car, but sometimes, I wish I could plan for longer road trips with him so we can go to different places. It’s just kind of difficult to plan it all out because most resorts and hotels do not allow pets. Plus he’s gotten so much bigger already so the front seat, where he prefers to sit, has gotten quite cramped for him.

can't we get a bigger car Mom??? It's too cramped in here!!!!

If only I had an RV or even one of those used motorhomes that will allow me to travel with him more comfortably without having to worry about accommodations, we definitely can travel not just in comfort, but in style too!

Coron: My Must-Visit Travel DiscOVIry!

A few days after my Coron trip earlier this month, I came across several calls for entries to the OVI contests hosted by several bloggers. I quickly scanned my set of photos taken from the trip and selected a few then sent it in to Maki of makieduardo.com.

A few days later, I got the great news! I was the Week 2 Travel DiscOVIries Winner!

I sent in my entry via my OVI email, which is one of the mechanics of the contest. As far as I know, there’s still a week or two in the contest run, but the themes change per week. Anyway, here was what I shared with Maki and why Coron is definitely a Must-Visit Travel DiscOVIry:

There are so many gorgeous places in the Philippines and I was lucky enough to be able to go to Coron, Palawan for a second time this year. This island, which is part of the Calamian group of islands, is definitely a Must-visit travel destination!

kayangan 1

When in Coron, one must definitely go see Kayangan Lake. While the trek to the lake can be a bit physically demanding, it definitely is worth the effort. Half-way through your climb you can detour a bit to the left from the rest area where there is a cave and across, the fabulous view of the island. When you finally make it to the top, you will once again be greeted by serene blue waters and beautiful greens all around.

kayangan 2

Island hopping is also a must-do in this must-visit travel destination. Snorkling in Siete Picados is amazing, but even more than that, there is an actual shipwreck of an old Japanese war ship in what the boatmen would call Skeleton Island. If you look close enough and the waters still, you can see the bow of the sunken ship from your banka.

sunken ship

For a beach bum like me, Coron is an island paradise.

atuwayan 1

Atuwayan beach is a little strip of beach near the shipwreck site and it is a perfect destination for a liesurely afternoon soak in the sun, or sea if you’d prefer. There are many other beaches to go to (last year I went to Banol Beach) but what I liked about Atuwayan is that it is really isolated and quiet. The water is so clear that even if you don’t have snorkels, you can see the fish swimming around you :-) Be careful though as there are some sea urchins around.

atuwayan 2

Any trip to an island would not be complete without catching the sunset. Coron is definitely no exception. By the pier, all you can do is sit back and watch the amazing beauty of nature right in front of your eyes.

sunset

There are still so many other beautiful places in Coron, like the Twin Lagoon, Maquinit Lake and so much more, but this entry is longer than a blog post already :-) Let me end with saying, however, that for me, Coron should be your next must-visit travel destination.

It’s Gonna be a Hot, Happy Summer!

Last Wednesday, I finally bid my preschoolers farewell for the year and yes, summer’s here!!! Much as I love teaching, I really love the reprieve summer brings because a.) I don’t have to wake up so early and b.) I get to do a lot of lounging around with my Bubba, which I don’t often have time to do when there are classes.

For this summer, I hope to be able to take Bubba back to Laiya for our summer bonding trip.
pageyes, yan ang bonding namin. sana nga matuto na siya mag-picture para ako naman nasa shots!

Being part Labrador, he enjoys running around in vast open spaces and he also loves swimming in the water and he’s so cute when he does it!

I really hope we get to go do this soon, maybe for my birthday weekend? :-) Anyway, this is my official entry to Earth’s Blogversary and  Thanksgiving Treat Giveaway where I hope to win a Neutrogena Wave for me and the Pawnaceal All Natural Paw Balm. These two items would be great after the beach trip, too, wouldn’t you think? The last time we went to the beach he ended up with cracked and sore paws because of the hot sand and the rocks that he climbed. I bet that balm would have been a great relief for him. Just take a look at how pitiful he looked then:

Bandaged feet ;-(

As for me, I’ve been dying to get a Neutrogena Wave since I first read about it in Rowena’s blog post a few months back. Earth, the host of this contest, also raved about it both in her blog and during our surfing trip last August. I have not yet gotten one because every time I go to Watson’s to try to get one, it’s either I don’t have enough spare cash for it or there was none. So, now that it’s summertime, I hope that I get this prize so I can care for my skin better and keep it moisturized and thoroughly clean so Bubba and I can continue to have great photo moments like this:

se 004don’t we just look so relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated after our last beach adventure?

Sa Gitna Ng Kaguluhan, Ang Kasagutan sa Lahat ay Payak (In the Midst of Chaos, the Answer is Simple)

Hayaan niyo sana ako mag bigay ng konting katutuwan sa ating tema ngayong linggo. Nung iniisip ko kung ano ang gagawin ko para sa Linggong ito, naisip ko dumalaw sa isang palaruan para makakuha ng litrato ng mga batang naglalaro dahil para sa akin, sila ang tunay na kumakatawan sa ideyang lahat ay payak.

Ngunit habang nakaupo ako sa harap ng aking lamesa kaninang umaga, nakita ko ang litratong ito at napatawa ako sa pagalala ko sa nangyari nung araw na iyun. Ang kwento kasi diyan ay habang kami ng aking mga kabarkada sa Davao, napadayo kami sa Eden Nature Park. Sa kasamang palad, maulan nung panahon na iyon ngunit gusto parin sana naming mag-trekking. Sa kabila ng paalala na “not advisable”mag trekking nung araw na iyun, nagpumilit kami. Inabot kami ng malakas na ulan at tatlo sa amin ay nadulas ng katakot-takot sa pagakyat ng madulas na gubat. Nabagok pa nga ulo ko nung nadapa ako. Pagdating namin sa kapatagan, napagpasyahan naming wag na ipagpatuloy ang trek at humingi kami ng tulong sa mga namamahala ng parke.

Itong litratong ito, kahit nakunan bilang isang katuwaan (obvious ba at nakaposing lang ang kasama ko!), ngayon ay nagsisilbi sa akin bilang isang paalala na madalas sa buhay, haharap tayo sa kahirapan o kaguluhan ngunit ang solusyon o kasagutan dito ay payak basta ba’t bukas tayo sa ideyang humingi ng tulong sa iba.

Please allow me to attempt to put some fun into our theme for today. When I first thought about what I should do for this week, I thought of going to a playground or a park to take pictures of children playing because for me, they are the embodiment of what is simple.

However today as I sat at my desk, I came across this picture and it made me laugh remembering what we went through that day. There is a story behind this picture, you see. This was taken when my friends and I went to Eden Nature Park in Davao City. Unfortunately, the weather was not good and it was raining for most of the day but we still wanted to go trekking in the park as it was said to be quite nice. Despite being warned that taking the trek was not advisable, off we went. We consequently got caught in a heavy downpoar and three of us even slipped on the muddy forested area. In fact, I even hit my head on the ground when I fell. When we got to a relatively flat area, we decided to not pursue the rest of the trek and called for help from the management of the park.

This picture, albeit posed, now reminds me of a small fact of life: often times we will face adversity and difficult times, but in the midst of all that chaos, the answer is simple, as long as we’re willing to ask for help.

Drop by for more Litratong Pinoy here!

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