Posted in Dates and Events

Tagaytay Love

​Some time in November 2016 we had our first “long drive” to the south to attend a friend’s wedding. Three hours of driving is long compared with our daily 1-hour travel to work.

It was not my first time in Tagaytay, but my only recent visit there was during our educational tour back in my 4th year high school. That was a blurred memory, plus we got there via the bus so I might as well consider this one as my first time going there by myself, with my husband of course.

Travel to Tagaytay

We left Caloocan, Metro Manila  at 7 o’clock on that Saturday morning. There was a bit rain as we left. We traversed Mindanao Avenue, then Congressional Avenue, on to the long C-5 until we stopped over at Petron McKinley for some refreshments.

After that we exited C-5 on to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). It was a thrilling ride since it’s the very first time that my husband will drive on an expressway. Thank God for the protection.

Here’s our route, by the way. I prepared this with the help of google maps.

We took the Santa Rosa Exit, and traversed the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road. Traffic was mild and bearable, although it went a little heavy upon approaching the intersection going to Tagaytay-Calamba Road.

Check-in at Hotel Dominique
We reached Hotel Dominique, where I booked an overnight stay, at around 10:30 AM. I chose this place because it’s one of the reasonable and not so pricey hotels that is midway between the church and reception venue. 

Check-in time was supposedly 2PM, but we were able to enter our room by 1PM as it is ready by then. We tasted the Restaurant’s pancit canton and red velvet cake while waiting.

Pancit canton was delicious and fresh, with just the right amount of salt (so little). I can say that the ingredients are freshly cooked, love it! The red velvet is just right, though I didn’t like it that much.

The room was nice and altogether reasonable except for minor things like the smokey smell and no heater in the shower. That is overpowered by the balcony, presence of vault for important things, and the spacious parking lot that can accommodate all guests’ cars.

The Wedding Ceremony

At 2:00 o’clock we were on our way to the wedding ceremony. By this time the wind is getting colder each minute, with some fine showers from time to time. Traffic was bearable on the way, but parking at the Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish Church was already full, we had to park by the road side. 

We witnessed the lovely ceremony and at around 5:30PM we were ready to head to the reception.

The Wedding Reception

We drove westward along the Tagaytay-Calamba Road to reach the Bali Village Hotel Resort and Spa. By then it was getting dark and so cold it’s as if we’re in Baguio City!

Parking area at the venue is good so we were able to park easily. The place is lovely too! We were there for the whole reception until 9PM.

Our Stay at Dominique Hotel

We slept soundly in our room and in the morning we were able to buy sweet delicacies just across the street before we packed our things and drove back home. Although there are swimming pools in the vicinity we didn’t take a dip because it’s really cold.

We weren’t able to visit the Taal Lake or the famous Sky Ranch during our stay because we needed to leave as soon as possible, but next time we’ll make it a point to visit those places.

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Posted in Dates and Events, Home and Family, Of Thoughts and Emotions

8th Birthday Present

Today is my toddler’s playmate’s 8th birthday. We met her (let’s call her Vee) since we moved to our temporary home two months ago. She lives across our unit and since she came to know my son (who is nearly 6 years younger than her), she would come to our house at least once a day to spend time with him. 

She have become my son’s best friend. They would play games, watch TV shows, dance along the latest tunes, have snacks together, just hang out! My son would scream in glee once Vee is on the door, and he would pout his lips for a kiss with her as she would leave. 

A few weeks after meeting Vee, my son came to know other kids along our new/temporary street, but Vee remained to be his favorite. 

I’m amazed and inspired by their friendship. Indeed, Vee has invested a lot of time for my toddler, which resulted to their extraordinary bond. 

So for Vee’s special day, I bought a pair of leggings and a matching top which I wrapped up and let my son hand it to her. 

I hope that their friendship will go on throughout their growing up years. I am so happy for both of them. 

Posted in Dates and Events, Home and Family, Of Thoughts and Emotions

My Weekender Delight

Last night we were two emotionally and physically-drained married persons. Tonight we are about to sleep as a husband and wife who are mentally and romantically-charged. 

You got me right. Last night we found ourselves unable to discuss some things well. And then suddenly I became emotional that tears became difficult to contain within my eyelids. Sadness and frustrations began surfacing in our conversation over matters of our daily routine where we found each other caught up with. 

And then, as usual, my loving husband would want us to talk over it further, but found ourselves both drained really. We were just hugging each other when the magic words came from his mouth: “Would you want us to have a leave from work tomorrow?

As in spend the day alone together, disconnected with our responsibilities and concerns. I did not hesitate and we slept, looking forward to how we would spend this Friday.

Being married means we share a lot of things. Well, we share our lives and at the same time we are growing a new life (our son). We’re building our family. This means that we can also experience burn-out together mainly because of things that happen in our individual selves that do not contribute possitively to the marriage. And for us, our temporary stay in a different house seem to be the culprit. The adjustment put a lot of stress in each of us and we really just wish that our house renovation will be completed soon so we can go back to our real nest. 

I’m just glad, and would really recommend to other couples as well, that we took this chance to unwind alone together. Yes we have our weekend affairs, Sundays in church, and Fridates. But just for this particular season, we used our vacation leave just to spend the whole day spontaneously. 

We left the house at the usual time that we leave for work. That is really early so while waiting for the malls to open, part of the itinerary around the vicinity was to check into a hotel where we stayed for two hours (like crazy lovers stealing every chance we can get). After that we had our halo-halo, then headed to the mall to see the movie The Achy Breaky Heart. I found out that the movie is best for single ladies in their 30s or beyond, but made me feel thankful that my husband fought for me and married me that I no longer need this movie to lift me up. We shopped for books and our little one’s diapers (can’t really get away with responsibilities after all). I’ll tell you about the books in a separate post because right now I can excitedly say that I need them and will surely love to share what I’d read about.

We had great food in between.  We were able to reconnect with each other and from here we can prepare to face the coming days with bright faces, both feeling loved and renewed. 

How sweet it is to be married! 

Posted in Dates and Events, Food

We Found Dory!

It’s undoubtedly the rainy season and with it comes this transportation woe that people who dwell in Metro Manila face… TRAFFIC!

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The rains add to the already burdensome travel.

For a year I had the benefit of carpooling with someone who works in the same compound as the company I work for. I get picked up at Shell Station at the same time each day and I will be dropped off at the office entrance. In the same way at exactly 5pm I ride the van to be dropped off at Novaliches Bayan at almost the same time everyday. From there it’s just a tricycle ride to our house.

There are several other carpoolers, and their daily routine had been going on like this for nearly thirty years, back to the time when the Fairview-Commonwealth roads were still uncemented. I hear their experiences from time to time and I’m just amazed at how they’ve stuck together all those years, through all that happened in each other’s lives.

And as the saying goes, every good thing must come to an end, the owner of the van is retiring from her 30 years of working as a government employee.

We knew this would come. We’re even lucky to have her spend the remaining months of her 65th year when she could retire the moment she turned 65. Next month she’ll be 66, and this is it.

Just this afternoon as we rode home we stopped by Dory’s Restaurant to treat her with an early dinner as our tribute to her.

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I can’t help but become a little sentimental. Of course there would be other means of transportation after carpooling with her. It’s just that I wish I had been with them for a longer time, especially as they reminisce their get-togethers and all.

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I’m just so blessed to have joined them and this July 15th, we are invited to the retiree’s birthday celebration at their residence. And I’m definitelly gonna look forward to that!

Posted in Dates and Events

Brigada Eskwela 2016

The company where I work participated in the Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela 2016. This program is a cleaning-up and beautification activity done by third party organizations like private companies to help public schools prepare for the upcoming school year.

The material can be downloaded here.

It’s an activity for a cause that for a moment I’d just like to express my sadness over the government’s insufficency that our public schools still need voluntary works such as these in order to provide the education that the next generation needs. Had the system been that effective to convey the funds to sectors like education, we wouldn’t be needing to do this anymore.

Anyway, I gladly signed up myself for the activity since I’m really finding all the meaningful things that I can do with my office and non-office hours.

Second important reason is that we’re doing it in Bagumbong Elementary School, where I nearly live. I can leave home later than usual, and get back home earlier than usual.

So here’s the story: since I opted not to join the service vehicle that will leave our office at 7am, I planned my route. It’s a tricycle ride from our place, and some 1km walk based on the google map. I liked the idea of exploring that nearby area by foot. What surprised me was that somehow the google map was wrong and I needed to walk another kilometer. It was nice, though. I had my exercise that early morning plus I got to prove that people in the area are nice because they answered my questions well. They directed me to the school and 30 minutes from my home, I found myself at the Bagumbong Elementary School – Main.

Okay at that point it occured to me that there might be an annex, and that we could be conducting the Brigada at the Annex which means that I might have been lost. Where is the Annex?

True enough, the organizer called to inform me that they are already at the Annex and a service vehicle will pick me up from where I am.

Thank goodness I was finally able to reach the place with matching rainshowers that early in the morning (9am).

Our team of 17 personnel re-painted two classrooms and we finished the job at around 3pm.

From there I rode the tricycle to the main road, boarded a jeepney bound to Novaliches Bayan, then after some shopping, went home. I arrived home at 5pm.

It was a day of true labor, real sweat, worthwhile accomplishment. And to mention longer playtime with my little one at home.

So my escape from the office means a year-round nice classroom to incoming kindergartens. I wish for more activities like these.

Posted in Dates and Events, Raffles and Contests

Win a Trip to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

My husband and I are fond of joining raffles and contests and we have our hopes maintained to be high although up to this point we haven’t won any yet.

Yesterday I did my shopping at Robinsons Supermarket Galleria and upon paying at the cashier using my Citibank Visa, I saw this small notice at the counter:

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It’s a promo for Visa cardholders that purchased Php 1,000 worth of items in participating stores (single receipt).

I was qualified and I took that picture to be my basis on how to join the raffle.

When I arrived home I immediately registered my receipt at http://www.robinsonsretail-visario.ph and received a confirmation email that I now have an entry.

Good thing that the promo is until June 15, 2016 so I still have some time to earn more entries. Gotta buy at Robinsons stores for now, and hopefully win that trip to the Olympics!!!

Update as of June 14:
Sadly I wasn’t able to add an entry since I did my suceeding purchases in other stores. I’m still hopeful though for that slim chance of winning.

 

Posted in Dates and Events, Home and Family

My First Ace Water Spa Experience

Our wedding anniversary falls  on a Wednesday this year and we decided to just go somewhere nice within the city so we can maximize that one-day leave from work.

We just wanted something relaxing for the body and for the budget as well. We love spas and swimming, so we chose Ace Water Spa.

I just had to confirm the operating hours  by calling their hotline the day before. I found their contact details and everything else in their website.

I will summarize the things that I love about Ace Water Spa in the following list:

  1. Location is accessible. We chose to go to the Quezon City branch, as there is the other branch in Pasig. It is within the well-known Banawe Street, so it’s easy to navigate to whether one is commuting or riding their own car.
  2. They are open from 6AM to 10PM. This made our day so flexible that we decided to be there first thing in the morning so we can still spend the rest of the day for other things like eating. At around 9 AM we arrived and registered with the receptionist, whom I found to be not so friendly and accommodating. For first-timers like us, we were expecting a little warmth and enthusiasm but for some reasons we didn’t get that. Maybe they were a little hesitant to let me in as I have a suspicious bandage on my thumb due to an accident the day before. But hey, the wound survived being soaked for four hours!
  3. The entrance fee for adults is Php 550 per head. I think that’s under a promotion. Anyway, for a  4-hour session that’s worth the money. One can get a good 1-hour whole body massage for around Php 500, and this we get four hours!
  4. There is a restaurant right beside the reception area. We were advised to have a snack before indulging to the 4-hour spa. As we already had our breakfast at home, we got hotdog sandwiches (Php 50 each), a Coke in can (Php 60), and we paid for a 10% service charge.
  5. Appropriate swimwear can be rented or bought. As they are strict in implementing their rules on what to wear (should be spandex), my husband’s boxer shorts was rejected and he was left with two options. The first is to buy the swimming trunks for Php 600 or rent one for Php 100. He rented. About my two-piece swimwear, well, it’s definitely acceptable!
  6. There’s a variety of choices, depending on what you prefer: soft, moderate, and hard treatments  from waterjet-powered seats or beds. There’s also a the warm scented pools that you can dip in, and the  sauna and steam rooms!
  7. Privacy is kept. Use of cameras or phones to take pictures is not allowed, thus, I do not have a photo of us inside. But I love the idea of staying there and being left alone with the memories being recorded only in my (and the others’) mind.
  8. It’s indeed relaxing! After our whole session, I was too relaxed that the next thing I wanted to do was eat some and fall asleep! Even upon waking up the next day was too light for me.

I’d recommend this spa to anyone who wants an easy relaxation. I’m actually planning to go back together with my parents, and of course my husband.

Posted in Dates and Events

It’s the First of May!

Aside from its being Labor Day, it’s the first of May. How special this month is that there are a lot of things that come to my mind.

1. The First of May song by Bee Gees. I know this is one of my parents’ songs and I used to play it on my keyboards when I was young. It brings me back to those summer vacations when I was learning how to play the instrument. Speaking of summer vacations, the next item made them more memorable.

2. The first rain! In the Philippines it usually comes within this month. Since it is very long-awaited, many people consider this to be a blessing! But because of climate changes, the first rains of the year come in earlier months now. So this item is a thing of the past. I’m lucky to have experienced it.
The first rain refreshes the long-been-thirsty ground, plants, pavement, everything! As a result, that distinct May scent lingers as I watch by the window of our home when I was younger.

3. Fiestas are usually celebrated in the month of May. Not being a Catholic makes me an observer and not a participant in this.

4. Birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones… I’m greatly looking forward to these!

5. Election time. It’s just a week to go and it’s Halalan 2016! This is by far the most controversial and complicated election that is going to happen in the Philippines. I am a voter in my hometown, but for some reasons I couldn’t vote. Will just be praying for God’s will for our country!
6. Nueva Vizcaya Week. It’s a province-wide celebration of the culture, people and progress of the hometown that I lost…

7. May Day Eve short story by Nick Joaquin! Such a good short story about a love once upon a May Day Eve. We did a review on this in our English Class when I was in high school. And I’ll always remember it!

8. Pistay Dayat (Feast of the Sea) in Dagupan City Pangasinan. It’s a celebration of Dagupan’s beaches and their best produce-the Bangus fish. People flock into the Tondaligan beach for the festivities. Most people really set this time of the year for reunions and get togethers. I think I’ve been there one May 1, when I was a kid.

And this list is becoming long.
How about you, what are the things that you remember with the first of May?

Posted in Dates and Events

HaLOLan 2016

This is my second time to attend UP Samaskom’s Live AIDS performance and I am so priviledged to watch the 31st show of this longest-running live comedy show in the country.

This year’s show is entitled HaLOLan 2016, featuring political personalities and issues, which is so timely for the upcoming elections on May 9,  2016. 
 

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It’s my Saturdate with my husband and we were at the venue around 10 minutes before 7pm.

We waited in line and were able to be seated shortly after the entrance was opened.

The performances were entertaining and it’s a plus that we were seated on the 4th row. I was able to see the performers well – their makeup, costumes,  movements.

What I like best is the performance of Kaladkaren Agila.

Looking forward to seeing the show again next year.  ☺