Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” ~George Sand~

I’ve been hearing a lot about Cintai Corito, photos I’ve seen whenever I come across it is so inviting. I first thought it is not in my country. The place used to be a private sanctuary for its’ owners, especially for the wife (and mother). This place was dedicated for her. Like a local “Taj Mahal”.

It has been open to the public for the past 10 years, and it was only later that I was able to convince my foodie/ travel buddy to accompany me to witness its’ grandeur.

True enough, it is very beautiful and so relaxing. Everything is green, it brings you closer to nature. You hear birds chirping, pretty flowers,

and even peacocks making sounds like they’re trying to communicate with you. These peacocks are the first and primary reason why I included Cintai in my places to visit. I have this certain fascination with peacocks. They used to roam around according to my friends who’ve been here. When we visited, all of them are inside a huge cage then.

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There are areas to meditate, pavilions for events, picturesque villas and a Balinese themed restaurant: Abadi.

There’s a special corner for a spa, swimming pools in varying sizes and a TV room too.

We arrived in Lipa, Batangas a little late than expected, still, we were able to catch their buffet spread.

After which spent all the afternoon roaming. I truly enjoyed it and breathe easy. Everything I see, hear and smell are all pleasing. The place is good for all the senses like a serene refuge. I also had this great admiration that everything were executed in meticulous details.

This would surely be one of your choices to stay when you’re heading to Lipa. There are also equally nice establishments in the vicinity, which made me want to go back soon. It is more or less (depending on the traffic – I do not recommend leaving on Saturdays even in the morning – as you’ll get stuck in traffic) than 2 hours from Manila.

In the midst of seeing mostly several images of Buddha, this image of Mother Mary brought solace to my heart. Our Lady of Guadalupe seems to be showing up to me lately mostly in unexpected places and time. I hope to see her in Mexico one day. =)

By the way, “Cintai” is the Indonesian word for “Love.” You can contact them thru their mobile: 0917-833-1508/ 0977-811-9593. Or email them at: reservations@coritosgarden.com. They are located at: Sitio Pandayan, Malabanan Balete, Lipa, Batangas.

 

   

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Purple Beetle…

PURPLE BEETLE

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”~Tony Robbins~

It all started with this photo.

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Courtesy of: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1276837540570395942_1725691340

This is probably one of the most beautiful dream catcher that I’ve seen. It isn’t a painting, it isn’t a drawing, but a photo of a real dream catcher (s). Not just one but several dream catchers put together creating a very beautiful masterpiece. I’ve always thought and assumed that it is somewhere not near, maybe in a different country.

Then one day, while browsing for hotels to stay out of town, I came across this cafe in Lipa, Batangas. It’s called Purple beetle.

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A graffiti of a native Indian struck me, with all kinds of dream catchers surrounding it. Colorful feathers here and there. As I went further, a very familiar window captured my attention. It was that window with the dream catchers I’ve seen months ago. I couldn’t believe that it is here in my country.

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If I can only “DIY” this! ❤

As if running out of time, I immediately asked Jen to visit Batangas because I really wanted to see this cafe. There have been many blogs about it, though I really wanted to see it myself.

We were able to squeeze it with our busy schedules. Just recently, we decided (finally – after contemplating if we can do it) to go to the gym regularly. Adding up another activity that we try to manage inspite of our conflicting schedules tons of work in the office and at home.

We took a bus from Alabang, and it took us less than 2 hours to reach Lipa, Batangas. I must not forget to mention that I admired the town for its’ cleanliness, the roads are very organized, bus stations are situated in just one location giving comfort to commuters and tourists alike.

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Lipa City never felt like a province to me. I saw McDonalds one block after another, I saw a total of 3 McDonalds in Lipa. It was funny, because in my own hometown, I am happy that our village is in front of McDonalds, however, the next is an hour ride from its’ location. Very province right?!

The main roads in Lipa are a bit wider too, and before we reached our destination. It was inspiring to discover that Purple beetle is sandwiched by known restaurants like Army Navy, two very popular coffee shops: CBTL and Starbucks, and you will be surprised
to witness that despite of the competitors surrounding the place, their tables were seldom empty. When we arrived, we even have to wait for some tables to be vacated and we never had the chance to choose spots we like. I don’t mind, I’m just after that window with the dream catchers.

They also sell boho stuff: of course dream catchers in all sizes, hairdresses, boho tops and dresses, tasseled bags, shawls, and mandala spreads.

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Let’s take a look at their menu:

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We opted to have nachos salad and quesadillas which they called “Pizzadilla” because it has toppings too. I had my purple slush and Jen had coffee.

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Much as I do not want to be too transparent in my blogs. The place is just hype, famous among Millennials (Coachella type), but they need to make another study when it comes to the food that they’re offering.

The pizadilla, since it has toppings and fillings at the same time, tasted nothing but salty. No feel of the other ingredients due to its’ saltiness. The tortilla wasn’t able to balance it, apparently, my palette normally requires salty taste from time to time, but this one I couldn’t tolerate.

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In all my travels, several times I’ve proven that a picture can literally speak a thousand words. One can look so beautiful in pictures, when in reality, it is not that pretty if not disappointing. Honestly, the photos enticed me. The likes of Sonya’s Garden, Prado farm weren’t that pretty in reality. They were pretty in their own terms, but they didn’t have that “wow” factor. That feeling of satisfaction that you’re happy you came.

Jen was too positive to tell me that out of the many travels we’ve made, the disappointments are very few. That most travels made us happy because it surpassed our expectations. One piece of advise is to seek opinion of those who saw a specific place already. And you’ll never go wrong. Besides, it is always been a part of the adventure. Usually, it is not the place, it is the adventure itself.

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PURPLE BEETLE  is at Ayala Highway, Lipa City, Batangas Philippines 4217. You can send them email at: hello@purplebeetle.com.ph with telephone number: 0998-855-7732.

 

CAPE SANTIAGO- Calatagan, Batangas

CAPE SANTIAGO – Calatagan, Batangas

“Truly it is not what you’re getting away from but what you’re getting away to.”

I looked up to this weekend in great anticipation.

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Courtesy of: http://www.mycondo.com.ph/playa-calatagan-ad472.html

Eyeing two lighthouses in Batangas (One is Malabrigo in Lobo) is definitely exciting since the rest from my list of Lighthouses (here and abroad) are thousands of miles away from me.
Unexpectedly, it also took me 5 looong hours travel from my house to this lighthouse in Calatagan, Batangas. Two vans passing by Tagaytay which made me and my foodie buddy be able to eye new and exciting places to visit, and 1 tricycle (rented at p300) from the town proper to the “parola” as they call it when we asked them to “please bring us to the light house.”

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We’re so near and yet so far…lol!

Kuya Junior as people calls him is already warning us and apologizing in advance that he can no longer accommodate us when darkness sets in. It’s already half past 5pm when we reached the town proper. The information that the travel will take us only 3 hours is never true.

Kuya Junior by the way is the official care taker of the light house. According to him he is taking care of 15 more parolas though Cape Santiago is the most visited and the one that was restored and claimed by the government as one of Batangas’ Heritage sites.

My eyes are fixed on the road waiting to see that arrow signage that says:“Cape Santiago”. Upon reaching where it used to be, a new bigger signage was installed and the smaller one that I often see from most blogs was placed under. I assumed they can’t afford to throw it away.

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It used to be on the right side of the road..

The strict kuya Junior that we thought of is very friendly and accommodating in person. As our vehicle is climbing up the road to the entrance gate. We saw two bonfires and upon plight I called out “Kuya Jun!!!” As if we’ve known each other like decades. He instantly replied:”Yes maaam!” And we were laughing when we met him face to face.

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Oh there it is! ❤
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(–,)
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Kitchen..

It is very evident that his patience with guests taking photos of almost anything is something that is ordinary to him. He is used to it. I missed some interesting subjects and he was the one to remind me not to miss taking them souvenir photos.

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Entrance..
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A stray bullet during the war hit one of the balusters..
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Can’t get enough mode..

He is well informed of the lighthouse’s history. He enumerated the turn of events while simultaneously pointing on the frames and signages to validate his claim.

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He made me do the math! Ahahaha!
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Written in Spanish.. I just saw the sailor logo..
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Entrance gate..

He is the third generation to take care of Cape Santiago. Personally, he shared with us that now he doubts if his son would want to continue the legacy as he can’t see any sign of interest. We asked him if it’s okay with him and with a smile that I could not define. He told us that he is just there to support whatever plan his son is up to. Hmmmm. Typical father. (–,)

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back hallway

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Entrance door to go up..
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History in front of me..

After taking pictures on the ground floor,

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Windows have always been beautiful subjects..
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Locked…
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From the hallway..
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From the backyard..
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And doors too!

I am very impressed with his spiels while we were climbing the spiral staircase for us to reach the top.

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Dizzy spells..

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stairwell

Honestly, I felt dizzy because it was too high but with the stories that he is narrating while we’re climbing, I forgot about my dizziness. He would pause as well if I am taking photos as if he knows that taking pictures requires concentration. I recalled how my papa taught me how to take photos, bought me a book on basic photography and I could not forget him telling me to hold my breath if I want to capture an almost perfect shot. I have been doing that ever since.

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Kuya Junior enumerated the # of steps, how many floors, the full height of the lighthouse while we were climbing and I jokingly asked him to repeat all the numbers that he mentioned later when I’m no longer dizzy. Ahaha!

wow legs

awed

 

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At last!

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ocean

It was awe-inspiring upon reaching the top. It awakened my sleeping soul. And while the scenic views are taking my breath away. Kuya Junior is still talking. He was very informative and I see a sense of ownership from him. Even the roofs are clean, there isn’t a single trash or dry leaf on the roof, the land around the lighthouse base.

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Clean roofing…

It is so clean and well-maintained. He also volunteered to take our pictures. And he’s good at that!

So here are the numbers that he enumerated a while ago. The lighthouse is equivalent to a 5 floor building, the steps that we took are 65 steps in total and the elevation from the sea level is equivalent to 4 floors making it a total of 9 floors. The halogen bulbs are working well however to cut on cost, they alternately use the led lights to serve as guide for the seafarers.

Much as we want to chat more with kuya Junior, another group of guests has arrived and he is still expecting one more group. He told us that they usually came from the neighboring resorts in Calatagan. Visiting the town is incomplete without experiencing history from this epic lighthouse.

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tree

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He kindly directed us at the back of the perimeter to get a full length view of the tower as if it is the highlight of the tour. And he was right. You need to see how mighty it stands tall. You feel the rich grandeur that is in every lighthouse like an innate enigma.

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cape

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Dreaming awake, I can’t wait where my next lighthouse will be. =)

Rediscovering Batangas…

Acua Verde – Rediscovering Batangas…

“Balance is not something you find, it is something you create.” -Jana Kingsford-

It is vacation mode. A few days back, all the shades of excitement are in our faces. We all know, that in a fast-paced corporate life, a time will occur that there’s a need to reconnect with nature. Be recharged. And be alive. The best time is? Summer!!!

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Road trip…

Going to Acua Verde, Laiya, Batangas on a road trip that took us less than 4 hours en route the newly constructed Star toll way.

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Guide map
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An ads that I borrowed.
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Acua Verde…

We arrived a little late for lunch and we headed straight to the restaurant.

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Cocina is Spanish word for kitchen…=)

The sumptuous buffet were waiting for us. The free flowing coffee is what I love best. Without guilt, I took advantage. Instead of the famous “tamarind juice” that they served as welcome drink, I had coffee over lunch. I do not want to be sleepy when everyone is basking under the sun. After taking some photos, we headed to each of our rooms and snag our forty winks.

The place was such a lovely site to behold. It’s a vast resort – Filipiniana theme, made use of bamboos as posts and cogon grass as finish for the roofing.

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(–,)
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The trees are part of the deal..
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And of course the beach front.

Our suite was at par, with 2 pieces of soft pillows and sheets and towels that smells ultra sweet. There is a hot and cold shower, hair dryer and personalized stuff. The personnel themselves are very friendly and assisted us with grins on their faces.

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Our place..
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Complete sets of toiletries.

Those huge trees that were lined up left and right, back and forth made me confused to decide who among them is the prettiest like a muse. I ended up surrendering to admitting that each of them inherits individual beauty.

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So pretty..
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Trees are heaven’s gifts..
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Giant bonsai..
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Loved the skies…

I devoured on where my feet are stationed and revel on the loveliness that’s all around me. The trees are truly welcoming. The wind softly blows allowing my hair to prance on my shoulder and whether they came from the north or south, I do not have the slightest idea. I only knew two things. I am free then and happy being with wonderful people. It made me forget the not so good things part of everyday life.

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We had bonfire during the night…and some booze.
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The bar is open 24 hours.

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Good company..
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Girls just wanna have sun!
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Great view..
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One of my favorites..
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And this one too.

When the sun is still capable of kissing our skins, we didn’t mind going around and explore the surroundings. Me and my bff as usual are natural explorers with our feet, eyes and cameras always ready.

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Me and my soul sis..
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She took this shot..

We’re like hunters for picture perfect subjects and didn’t get tired taking photos in all angles, appreciating the beauty of almost anything that captures our attention, in return, we capture them too. Fortunately, there were plenty.

I have collected these stunning panoramas.

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Boats are pretty subjects, I just realized lately..
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So stunning..
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Good times!
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I bought a biri hat..

For 2 days, short as it is. I have come to savor the incredulity of being with one with nature and good friends. Beauty from both. Captured. It is liberating. It was comparable to an emotional outburst of being free.

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Heaven and earth..
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Pink skies..

There are some activities that are too attractive to miss. We played like kids on the crystal clear water before riding on the banana boat.

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Crystal clear..
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More please..

It was so much fun!

The jet-skis are like begging for us to ride on them. So we did!

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Sis on it!
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My turn..

The ride created a lovely base for summertime. I have yet to find a more amusing way to describe the ride. It’s just so addicting, you wanted to do it again. Even in some other time.  I noticed my skin (or our skins) getting darker due to the heat of the sun, but what else can be lovelier If we would not enjoy being under it so much if we didn’t sizzle?

It is so worth it and getting a tan won’t hurt just to be able to bid this specific Summer goodbye…It’s already June anyway.

So long Summer of 2014, looking forward to Summer of 2015! I just can’t wait! =)

PS

I am taking this in as my finale… (–,)

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Mushroom omelet please!

Acua Verde is located at San Juan – Laiya Rd., San Juan, 4226 Batangas. You can get in touch with them at 02-651-5967.

Have fun! =)

 

Balai Isabel – Talisay, Batangas

Balai Isabel…

Take time to do what makes your soul happy.

I have declared for several times, that I am lucky (or blessed) to be near Tagaytay or the Batangas area. As list of destinations from here is endless, places that will take your breath away. Even if it’s just a day or two.

You will have a hard time choosing, or probably, list them all and visit each if chance permits.

I was having my caffeine fix the night I was packing for an overnight trip to Balai Isabel. There’s a natural feeling of excitement and I found myself smiling.

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The place has it all. (Though they need some enhancements to do. If your place is getting more and more popular, maintaining it is actually a must). The place has a hotel, Mediterranean styled villas to choose from, cottages, there are 3 swimming pools, restaurants, a spa, basketball court, tennis court, water sports facilities (kayaking, jet-skiing and there’s pedal boats too), a church (ideal as wedding venues – We learned that there are few celebrities who have exchanged their vows there), there’s a lot of activities to do at Balai Isabel meant for friends in groups, families and companies to hold their annual outings,just like what we did. What it boasts – is being strategically in front of the smallest volcano not only in the Philippines but in the world. The Taal volcano.

The entrance of the place looked promising. There are interesting stuff lovely enough to behold and capture.

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So serene…

Greens are everywhere creating a special scent especially when the winds are blowing. There are dainty flowers all around and the signages are my favorite.

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So seldom I see a white Gumamela nowadays..

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Giant keys????

The place felt serene. Even if as expected, there are other guests during our visit. I felt peace. Or maybe because my mother was with me, I do not need to think of her while I am away from her. I am meant to enjoy this particular weekend with her. =)

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Mama! (–,)

We stayed at Frijas. It’s a 4 bedroom villa with a loft that fits us all.=)

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Frijas…
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We stayed at Frijas…Pronounced as Frias…
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Where mama spent her whole time here…
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From the loft…

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Not unpacking my stuff yet, I went into a “Can’t get enough” mode of taking pictures of the tiniest volcano sitting calmly in front of us. I especially loved the lamps in colored glasses which happens to be all over the place like a unifying element to achieve a theme.

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b12 lamps

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From this, you’d get the best angle of the Taal…

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There were plenty of food, enough to satisfy our hunger in exploring the place. My mom, by the way, spent the whole time sleeping. Ahaha!

Her prize for sleeping the whole day is my treating her of a massage. She can no longer walk that long, so we had to ask the attendant to do it in our room. Me and my soul buddy had ours in the spa. Dimly lighted with a soothing piped-in music played to better the ambience and relax us. There are also a few candles lighted which I got worried of that might burn, but the strokes done to me made me forget about it. T’was one of my best Saturday nights.

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After the massage, it’s bonding time with the rest of the group. There are singing, eating, drinking over conversations of interesting topics, even scary ones. Ahahaha! We dozed off past midnight I guess. I do not want to sleep so late, I am looking forward to wake-up early and explore the other half of the place.

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After a hefty breakfast, me and my buddy readied ourselves for another tour of the place. We were restless. We went to the church, tried finding the old one as declared, but to no avail, we can’t find it and we ended up swimming with this specific pool all to ourselves.

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Just in time, one group was about to make use of that pool, we’ve had enough of the water.

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We also bond with the girls deciding on traversing that enticing island on the other side where the Taal is sitting.

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We found a boat, it’s a 30 minute ride for us to get to the other side. The roar of the engine and the sound of the water slapping against the boat and the serene vista we were leaving made me sleepy… Though the view of the Taal volcano wakes me up from time to time as it gets bigger and bigger until we are already in front of it.

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The squeaking footbridge was a sight to behold. I’ve seen several blogs featuring this subject and I can’t help but admire it’s allure. I finally had my shot at it.

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Footbridge…

It was such a unique experience, I used to bring my telescope, as young as I was, I was 12, just to be able to get a closer glimpse of its’ beauty. Admiring it from afar. All these years. But this time, up close and personal.

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With the girls…

We can even get nearer if we wanted to, but horse-back riding at noon isn’t such a good idea besides it’s nearly lunch and everyone might be already hungry. We are all looking forward to have “bulalo” (beef shank soup) for our lunch.

Being physically there, relishing the moment is more than enough.

Why oh why all weekends can’t be like this? (–,) Such thing makes me look forward for the next one. Till then. (–,)

ps

For those interested. Here’s a link that you can make use of.

http://www.balaiisabel.com/