family weekend | happy b-day P

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In March, we marked Kuya P’s 8th birthday but since it fell on a weekday most of us have work –the kids have school, the parental were likewise busy with errands except for the dogs who probably don’t mind the supposed celebration at all. So, that weekend the fambam went out to an early dinner to have a little party for our baby boy. Kuya P despite his built is still a baby. 🙂

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For a change from the usual pick we drove towards Skyranch and took our chance to explore the new line-up of restaurants we haven’t tried yet as a family. I decided for Uncle Cheffy because I’ve been craving for bbq ribs and UC’s won’t disappoint I was thinking.

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Uncle Cheffy at the Skyranch was spacious –perfect for big groups like us, modern yet minimalist and well-ventilated, except for the rays of the afternoon sun that’s naturally coming in at some part of the resto. Because I’m not new to UC, I can pinpoint right away what I want other than we have kids in tow plus we have seniors so we need to consider their preferences.

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We had Mini Ukoy with Visayan Sauce, this one I think from Kuse menu which is another restaurant of the Uncle Cheffy Group. It was crispy and flavorful, everyone loves it.

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Grilled Prawns & Pomelo Salad in Roasted Sesame Vinaigrette, a personal favorite only that I was a disappointed with the small serving and undersized prawns. I think restaurants who’d consider branching out should also consider standards, like quality and quantity among others because regular customers would normally compare. Considering also Tagaytay’s abundance of fresh and cheap lettuce harvest I was expecting a generous serving of greens.

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My much raved Pork BBQ Ribs, we got a whole order to share. The best part of ordering this dish is it already comes with a big bowl of rice.

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Because UC is known for their oven-bricked panizza I didn’t skipped getting one tho I’m not really impressed with their version because I’m forever partial to C’ Italian.

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I already forgot the panizza flavor we got, it’s cheesy but was lacking the crisp and it’s too messy to roll plus there weren’t any alfalfa sprouts. 😦

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For the kiddo we had an order Spaghetti Alejandro, kiddie style because we requested to adjust the flavors for it to be kid friendly.

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Pancit Lucban from Kuse menu, I know aside from our Mini Ukoy appetizer this seems not to blend with the rest of our orders but this tasted good according to the parental.

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As an added treat to our birthday boy he was allowed to enjoy few rides at the bordering Sky Ranch.

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It may be a simple birthday celebration other than the happiness from our birthday boy was genuine.

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In a few years from now he will start to go out with boys of his age, gone are the days he’d bug us about Tagaytay and Starbucks, he would soon transform, so while he’s still child-like and clingy we’ll savor every moment there is. Happy Birthday Kuya P! ♥

 

 

Uncle Cheffy & Kuse – Skyranch | Skyranch, Tagaytay City | T. +63 9053013480

 

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family weekend | palm sunday

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My family loves Sunday lunches because it’s the only time of the week that we’re complete and could eat together like the old times. I remember we used to eat together during the much younger years because my grandparents would oblige us to join them, I remember as well that we used to sit together on that long wooden bank seat and old dining table as we savor my Lola’s pinangat (as if I was eating the dish, hehehe). Tho life was tougher way back that time, we have lesser issues and troubles then. Life in a broad-spectrum is easy. Anyhow, I believe there’s nothing wrong with change and the changes we had had 3 decades ago.

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On Palm Sunday, Tatay treated the fambam to lunch at Josephine after Sunday mass. It’s one of the usual lunches only that this time we’re partly celebrating Tatay’s retirement from his beloved office of more than 30 years. I wish I could retire like him, with pride and money, and celebrate the same milestone.

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When Tatay is treating we absolutely go nuts because its means order anything you like and he’s paying. Hehehe. So we really indulge, to the max!

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We had Crispy Kangkong first while waiting for the mains. Water spinach covered with a light tempura batter and deep-fried to a crisp served with mayonnaise or spicy vinegar.

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Baked Talaba (Oysters). Oysters topped with finely minced garlic, butter and cheese.

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Followed by the family’s all-time favorite Crispy Pata. Pork legs and knuckles, after hours of gentle simmering with spices, are deep fried to a crisp outside and juicy inside. Served with garlic vinegar.

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Two orders of Crispy Pata seem not enough to fill our hungry fangs, so we had another Crispy Pata, this time Kare-Kare style. This time sautéed in homemade ground roasted rice and peanuts, garnished with a variety of native vegetables and served with our secret bagoong (shrimp paste).

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We also had Sinigang na Hipon (no good photo to share), Pan-grilled Squid and Hito. Hito is the fresh Philippine Catfish, a native delicacy which can be enjoyed inihaw (char-grilled) or fried to a succulent crisp. One of the best ways to enjoy this fish is the Filipino way, adobo. The catfish is marinated in vinegar, spices and garlic prior to long hours of gentle simmering in its own oil. By the way, this is Tatay’s favorite so naturally he didn’t share; he wolfed the whole fish by himself. Hehehe.

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As if we’re not yet satisfied with all the food we ordered the big kiddo got herself an order of Vongole, fresh sweet clams sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley tossed with pasta.

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And we got a small order of Seafood Paella, traditional Spanish Paella slow cooked the old-fashioned way using the Paellera, and topped with the day’s catch. We had fresh Buco to wash down everything.

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Its one serious habit that we love overstaying at the dining table, except for Tatay we’re all slow eaters, we love chitchats while eating because it delays us from getting a chock-full feel. So while Tatay and the little kiddo was exploring the place, we had our time, we’re like glued at our comfy seats.

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Can you guess who the new darling of the grannies is?

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By the way, if you’re visiting Josephine don’t miss to get a cone of their version of dirty ice cream, it’s creamy and one of the best ice creams in town.

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Before we left Josephine we had tons of photo, obligatory photos for this blog of course. 😀

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Thank you Tatay and Nanay for the lunch treat! 

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Everytime we’re home I wanted to maximize my time –go somewhere else, discover something new, bond with the kiddos, get fresher air, eat something deli, I want to push myself to the limit because I want to do things while I can and able.

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So, to cut the dramathon, we drove back to Tagaytay in the afternoon to date the two girls.

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Our favorite coffee shop has branch out anew at Twin Lakes, and was dubbed as the most beautiful Starbucks in the Philippines, so we couldn’t miss. We decided to dine al fresco because the weather that time was so inviting and the landscape was so serene. Since it was newly-opened and a bit far from the heart of Tagaytay diners was numbered that time, everything seems so perfect on this side.

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We stayed until sundown and the place simply transformed into a romantic spot –rustic, homey feel, bricks, softly lighted a reminiscent of a classic European setting. I LOVE.

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how time flies? no longer a baby but will forever remain a kiddo to me…glow with grace Ate! 

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and our darling little kiddo naturally shine in the presence of many ♥

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We can only wish it wasn’t Monday the following day so we could spend time longer  –January & Leoncio

 

 

Josephine Restaurant | Km. 58 Gen. Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlika West, Tagaytay City | T. +63 46  4131801

Starbucks Coffee Twin Lakes | Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Alfonso, Cavite

 

family weekend | valentine’s day

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V-day with the Lamban siblings

V-day this year was something new especially that I was out in the mall, yes, because it fell on a weekend and I’m home at the parental. Nothing like the previous years because I personally loathe going out and join the multitude as they display love in the open. Ze husband and I would normally have dinners somewhere else in advance or a day after to avoid the crowd and the chaos it creates other than for once this time I welcome the change and dated someone else. 😀

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G, from my high-school class, a certified bachelor up until this day, so ladies what are you waiting for? Mura lang, bili na! 😀  When it’s G around there’s no threat, he’s not necessarily harmless but what the heck we’re friends and I’m just happy that I can lounge with him anytime without being the subject of chitchats around the corners. He’s too boyish I guess, maybe it’s the reason also why until this age he remained unattached. O sadyang iba na talaga ang preference nya? Hahaha.

Anyhow, we didn’t really date as in date; I’ve been chartering him regularly to drive for me whenever I have errands and meetings for the batch reunion. I felt that it’s more convenient instead of getting a substitute driver, besides I don’t need to pay him –I just need to feed him. Tipid!

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That day we we’re supposed to go at the Metrogate office in Robinsons Dasma to reserve the clubhouse for our batch reunion but we changed plans after visiting the resort nearby. We thought the event place nearby would be a conducive option apart from its proximity to the town plaza. Just so when I thought there’s no need for us to drive to Dasma, G insinuate that we should push the plan and instead go to SM Dasma…to lunch. Kumusta naman di ba special ang request dahil V-day daw!

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I’m not so hard to convince plus we really need to visit the mall because SAM needs a sexy pair of shoes for her JS Prom and I was like assigned again to buy it, February pa lang parang Christmas na naman teh?

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feeding the big kiddo at Yellow Cab with G (not in photo kase me solo na sya, hahaha)

And even if I’m so nauumay to pizza, I have no choice because my party was so looking forward to eat at Yellow Cab. We have sorts –pizza, pasta & chicken to celebrate V-day.

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dating the big kiddo at Mocha Blends

After lunching the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes begun, at this point I felt G was like Tatay getting impatient of our shop hopping so to end his looming annoyance I sent him home. Hehehe. I told him we’ll manage to go home by ourselves minus all the conveniences of having him around to wait.

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Besides SAM and I plan to window shop after buying her shoes and lounge in a coffee shop after to kill time. It’s V-day and we wanted to be “in” tho the mall goers that day were really an eyesore. By the way, we survived the Dasma-Indang trip albeit the scarcity of public transport, kami na ang makipagsiksikan sa bus mapanindigan lang na we could go home by ourselves!

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The following day, the fambam minus Tatay went on a short trip to Good Shepherd in Tagaytay for the famed turon, lumpia and arrozcaldo. We thought it’s a good flee from all the booming commercial destinations along the ridge aside from the fact that they sell a lot of goodies for take outs.

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Tagaytay weather was still chilly that time, and windy as always. V-day may not be as festive as other occasions for us other than I’m thankful that ze husband is no Grinch to steal the spirit of it. Maybe I just need to remind him time and time again that I’m expecting a little something every 14th of Feb? 🙂

 

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P.S. Despite the commonness of this day, I’m happier than anyone else because I was home with my loves…and I’m showered with so much unconditional LOVE ♥

 

revisiting kapitolyo

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Before the first quarter of the year ended we’ve finally find the time to revisit Kapitolyo –the food haven of Pasig. The first time we visited we’ve tried Mad Mark’s and Lia’s, and the former left a good impression –cheap steaks, cheap eats. While the later wasn’t that bad, the cakes were neither impressive too, of course this is my opinion only.

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Anyhow, during our second visit we were able to maximize our time and stretch our tummies. We came really hungry this time. The first stop was RUB Ribs & Bbq after ze husband told me that they serve ribs at a very affordable price and for that I’m solve. And I was pretty convinced especially that diners were overflowing that Sunday for early lunch. We actually had to go in queue for some good 20 minutes before we were given a contracted seat, very typical hole-in-the-wall resto if I may add other than I have no problem with that. I like the mood because it’s cool and people can go in flip-flops and shorts and tee.

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Down to our first meal of the day, we both had a single order of Raki’s Bbq Ribs; it’s Ribs + 1 Side + Rice. I got Bacon & Potato Salad while ze husband had Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato; I like his choice of side because mine was bland and a bit uncooked. I also barely touched the rice because it’s hard like left-over rice, kanin lamig or bahaw in short.

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The ribs, of course we went there for the ribs, sorry but Mad Mark’s better because MM was meatier and seasoned-well, price-wise it’s in fact the same at P220 so I’d rather go to MM again.

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Because I wasn’t really happy with meal no.1 we looked for another place to dine and ended at Silantro –a Fil Mex Cantina.

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ze husband had tried the resto before together with their pâtissiers, so he had recommendations already.

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We got Beef Nachos and Silantro’s Quesadillas which both came in big servings, plus plus points!

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The quesadilla was oozing with gooey cheese and I can’t contain my happiness, it was indeed a happy food for a cheesy person like me.

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The nachos were also good with generous helpings of pulled beef. Burp! We didn’t really finish the food and had the most wrapped, the only downside we weren’t able to preserve the crispness of the nachos anymore.

We passed by Cab Café only to find out sooner that they offer cakes and coffee, the best in Bacolod according to reviews. But it’s was too late to turn back, at least we have something to come back next time. We drove to the nearby Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons to wander and in a way to burn all the carbo and calories we’ve consumed but the timing were perfect because the favorite outlet store was on sale. Hehehe.

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I scored “few” pieces and window shopped the rest of the afternoon.

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As if our activity at the mall was exhausting, we can’t afford to pass for dinner and go home just like that. For dinner, I personally picked Jipan, foremost because I’ve been buying at the shop for the longest time and yet I haven’t dined even once and secondly, it somehow brings back old memoirs –peanut butter and jam sandwich, which I lovingly prepared for a year or so. Hey you, if you happen to read this you’d remember it right.

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I wanted a light dinner so I had Miso Ramen only, thinking that the serving would just be enough to warm my tummy instead I was served a big bowl which I end up sharing with ze husband who had a filling bowl of Seafood Don. It was a lovely dinner despite the mall-ambiance, and I really don’t mind the people and dogs around. Yes, dogs are allowed inside the Estancia Mall, tho I think it’s the small breeds only. I wish the mall would allow my big B too because she’s so harmless you know except that she have this thing to bully smaller dogs. Hehehe.

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Okay, the last and final resto that day was the dessert shop next to Jipan. Larcy’s Cupcakery Cafe is so hard to miss because of its pretty exteriors; it was too cute and sweet for words. By this time, I’m already bushed and all I could do was to sit and wait for my sweet treat, I can’t even afford a cup of coffee because I’m extremely full from all day eating.

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We had the velvets –red velvet cheesecake for me and black velvet for him.

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Thumbs up! Even if the price is a bit dear at almost P100 each I wouldn’t mind, I don’t get to eat delectable cupcakes as Larcy’s everyday so I think it’s reasonable enough to splurge a little sometimes…for a sweet ending.

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I don’t remember at what time we hit home, it was indeed a glutton kind of day out for us, and something we haven’t done for the longest time because we’ve been driving south on most weekends. Tho it doesn’t need to happen every so often I love it when we do not need to follow a schedule, we can just get loose and be cool and eat to our heart’s content. ♥

 

 

RUB Ribs & Bbq | 88 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig | T. +632 6252939

Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina | 75 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig | T. +632 6549657

Jipan & Larcy’s Cupcakery Café | Basement 1 Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig

 

2014 | PALAWAN

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It was mid-May of 2014  when I went my way and joined a trip, all by myself I braced the “timid me” with a good deal of guts, only that. It was actually the first trip in my 41 years that I will be away from family and friends, and colleagues without a steady communication, the very first trip I’ll be with people all strangers to me and the very first time I’ll spend more than a night aboard a ship. So how was that for the unsociable, non-swimmer, clingy me?

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Because I thought the trip would be a good avenue for me to set-foot at the famed Palawan without letting go of a single cent, I grabbed the opportunity despite the many what-ifs I had in mind. I was troubled for nights thinking of what will my 3-days would be, I was like backing out at the last minute but what the heck I’m no longer in my twenties and even thirties for this kind of panicky, I won’t be at where I am right now without that extra courage I’ve grown over the years, I won’t be at my toughest if I haven’t developed the spine, I know I’m ready for it and for all the challenges abound, so be it!

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At KM 0 during that humid afternoon participants for the immersion started to pile up, I was more than ready to start a short convo with people I’m seated at but something was holding me back, I was still shy about the idea. Anyway, during the shuttle ride at the port area, I was fortunately seated next to a nice lady who came all the way from Cebu. Like me she was on her own, so I assumed easily that we’ll gonna be buddies at that time. The tour at the port area wasn’t boring, it was rather educational for me because I don’t get to see that kind of scene everyday and yet my work requires that I need the important details of how we do imports and its kind. I was more than ecstatic after the tour as we board 2GO’s MV St. Augustine of Hippo. In the past I’ve rode roro’s and pump boat going in Mindoro so the boat ride wasn’t really new for me except that this time the ride will be more than 24 hours. Holy Cow!

I thought I was dog-tired already upon entering our cabin because the first few talks during the course was tiring already,  so I was telling the self I’ll probably doze off too early, I was so wrong because I remained wide awake the entire night. Sleep was nowhere and I was like floating in limbo waiting for the crack of dawn. At 4AM, I found myself hitting the shower to kill time and to avoid the queue soon as my cabin-mates rose up.

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Coron was mesmerizing, even from afar it captured my heart the very way Boracay did, tho Coron really stands out because of its lush covered mountains and blue waters, it was so serene and unsoiled and everyone aboard was enthralled.

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And a selfie is a must. Hehehe.

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We didn’t really spend too much time in Coron; all of us participants of the immersion were requested to get off the vessel for a quick photo op at the port area. Just that and we boarded back and continue the sail to Puerto Princesa.

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It took us another 17 more hours before finally seeing the city lights of Puerto Princesa, that far. And tho busy with the conference the entire day, I became impatient of this trip, at the back of my mind I wasn’t focusing anymore because I want to go home, I want to know what’s happening home but because we’re at the middle of nowhere the entire day, signal was very bad, mostly dead spot.

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One of the immersion speakers from REID Foundation

The topics also became redundant for me especially that I’m doing a lot of reading and self-study during office hours, insert the reason why I’m always browsing the internet, hehehe. I was expecting to hear new things and capture new ideas that I could probably apply back at work. The only topic that moved me from my seat and awakens my heavy-eyed was about the government infrastructures and economy; I was never interested of these things until then because the speaker was so lively and knows how to play his power point presentations. Sometimes, it really helps that the visual aid is well-thought-of. I’m just saying.

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Sundown on 17 May 2014

By 11pm of May 17, finally we come ashore, it was too dark already and all I wanted that time is a nice and cooler room and a comfy bed. I’m so dying to have a decent sleep. I forgotten already the name of the villa we checked-in but not the commotion that happened while we’re trying to secure our room keys. I bet the owner of the villa missed Customer 101 and totally forgot that we’re customers, paying customers per se. For a while I worried that we might get kicked from this place and my delusion of sleep will be dismissed. Hallelujah for peace keepers!

The villa’s cold aircon was a nice retreat after almost suffering heatstroke from 2GO’s busted aircon the entire trip. Just when I thought I could sleep longer, we were advised that call time the following day is at 6am and we have to leave by 7pm, sharp! I remember getting a straight 3 hours sleep this time and the rest was like rushing things again, packing and getting ready for our supposed pleasure trip.

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Part of our 3 day conference was the Honda Bay Tour. Now, that was everyone was looking forward to. We we’re picked by a van together with our tour guide. At the wharf area, we went on different boats, I don’t remember how many but we’re 12 in our motorized boat. I feel safer despite the husband’s absence; I was telling the self to just enjoy the company of new-found friends.

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The first stop was the Pambato Reef, there was no land or sand to walk to here, it’s just a floating cottage with bamboo boardwalk. We had a quick briefing upon arrival and learned that the spot is a marine sanctuary with scenic underwater life –corals and fishes.

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They offer snorkeling and fish feeding activities, the former was tried by one of our colleagues and she was in awe telling us how beautiful it was. Well, don’t expect me to dive, I’m no swimmer and besides the operators told us about the sightings of sharks around the area but assured us that those mammals were vegetarians.

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Next was the Starfish Island, there’s was nothing much to see here except for the abundance of starfishes and pristine waters where you could swim. There was a sandbar too, I suddenly missed the husband at this point because if he was around we could stroll together and make funny pictures and I bet I couldn’t stop him from his usual nosiness.

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Sorry for my boring photos, I was a bit shy to our boatman. 😀

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The last and final stop of our tour where we had lunch was at Cowrie Island. Because we were all famished, we proceeded at the buffet area right away. Buffet rate is P250 and for lunch we had soup, salad, steamed rice, pancit, a vegetable dish (kangkong if I remember it right), mussels, shrimps (not the big one tho), pan-grilled fish, banana, coffee jelly and iced tea. I wanted to go back for a second round but the long queue of diners that day stopped me, plus I feel so sticky, I really wanted to go for a dip but our time was too short.

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Anyway, if you have the luxury of time while at Cowrie you can pamper yourself in an open air massage cabanas, you can also do water activities like banana rides, jet ski and kayak. There’s also a beach bar where you can hang out, and the place is perfect for group activities and even intimate weddings and gatherings. Because we couldn’t do too much we just walked around the island and played a bit with the crystal clear water, and took a lot of photos.

Before we were chauffeured at the airport we had a quick stop at the LRC 908 Market Mall; it’s a Pasalubong Center where you’d find all sorts from food, magnets, t-shirts and pearls. I hoarded cashew nuts because it’s cheap, and rewarded myself with a real South Sea Pearl in champagne. Happy because I get to shop a bit, hehehe.

Our flight back to Manila got delayed after some hiccups regarding our group booking, excess baggage and so on and so forth; I was so tired to mind all the happenings. All I can remember –I was seated at the waiting area, ate a delicious puto (steamed rice cake) given by one of our colleagues from Jollibee, airdrop photos to my seatmates who became my buddies (from Gothong, Magsaysay and Republic Chem) during the trip, exchange numbers and emails, rode the plane and had a great convo with Gel of MICT and before I knew it I was back to realism and my husband was welcoming me at the arrival of T3 as if I went away for years.

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The immersion may not be as culminating as I picture it to be, there were some so-so speakers and topics that I’m already expert at (naks!) other than the experience was a new whole thing for me and I was a revelation to my own self. I can in fact exist in a sea of crowd and make new friends easily, and a short convo with strangers actually were not that awkward. And just because I subsisted the challenge of travelling all alone I joined the 2015 immersion once again, tho uncertain yet again I made it, I enjoyed the ferry ride, I made new friendships and most importantly I collected new experiences.

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This time from from The Queen City of the South, Maayong Adlaw sa inyong tanan! ♥ 

 

P.S. Will write about Cebu soon…