Birthday Weekend Getaway

January 23, 2012 at 8:37 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Travel, Writing | 5 Comments
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I just came back from San Juan, Batangas where I spent my birthday frolicking at the beach and relaxing at the resort. It was sort of an adventure trip actually. I traveled alone with no companion at all. It was my first time as a solo traveler and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. This was what I’ve always wanted – some time alone by myself.

This idea came about last year when I decided to do something out of the ordinary for my birthday this 2012. I said to myself that I’m going to treat myself this year and go out of town. And after a stressful month at work, I booked myself a resort room in Balai sa San Juan just in time for the long weekend holiday.

So last Friday, I found myself traveling to an unfamiliar place excited about spending time at the beach. The resort had this rustic feel to it and I loved that it was situated in a secluded area. My room had no phone, TV, and minibar at all. There was no WiFi either. And I was glad because I didn’t want any modern distraction. Part of the reason why I wanted to go solo was because I wanted to go back to writing. It’s been a long time since I drafted a short story, and the beach was the perfect place for me to write.

I spent my first day at the resort exploring and just walking along the beach taking in the fresh sea breeze and watching the calming waves. I intended to watch the sunset at the beach but unfortunately, the skies were cloudy that time and the sun remained hidden behind those clouds. I reserved the night just typing away at my laptop with a new story in mind.

The morning after was my birthday and I spent the whole day at the beach. It was a good thing that it was off season because there was hardly anyone at the beach. After enjoying a good few hours of swimming, I settled in one of the cottages along the shore and past the time alternately reading a book and writing. I stayed there until dusk but unfortunately no sign of the sunset again because the sky remained cloudy.

I checked out the next day but not before I had my last walk along the beach. It’s such a shame that my vacation ended so soon. I honestly was not ready to leave. In fact, when I came back to Manila I felt disappointed after I had my first glimpse of the skycrapers. The mountains, trees and lush greeneries of Batangas were gone and instead there were concrete and steel everywhere. I’ll take the beach any day if you ask me.

Misadventures in Laoag

March 26, 2010 at 12:43 PM | Posted in Food and Dining, Travel | Leave a comment
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The next day proved to be full of misadventures. My officemate and I went down early from our hotel room for breakfast. Though the service was slow due to undermanned staff, our breakfast was delicious. We attended to some business after that and once we’re done, the General Manager was nice enough to offer us assistance in touring the nearby local attractions. Unfortunately though, once the General Manager was out of sight, the Front Office Manager of the hotel refused to give us assistance and was reluctant to let us use the hotel shuttle to take us to Laoag’s central district. His excuse was that the shuttle was in the service of guests staying at the hotel. And since we weren’t exactly guests at the hotel – though he knew we were doing business with them – we weren’t given priority. The hotel is located far away from any public transport and since we couldn’t very well walk that far, we had no choice but to wait for the hotel shuttle to become available. My officemate as well as our other colleague and I were getting really frustrated. We felt like we were wasting so much time just waiting for the shuttle. There was no other form of entertainment at the hotel (unless you consider watching TV in your hotel room a fun activity) to pass the time. Food at the hotel bar and restaurant was expensive and we didn’t really want to hang out there.

Finally after hours of waiting, they let us use the hotel shuttle. The driver dropped us off at the central district of Laoag and we let the shuttle go back quickly to the hotel as we didn’t want to become a “burden” to them. My officemate and I just decided to explore the city on our own and hired a tricycle to take us where we wanted to go. We had a late lunch at Macy’s Diner, which my officemate and I found pretty cute and interesting because of its 60’s American-style theme. We headed off to San Nicolas after that where there was a small branch of Robinson’s mall. I got frustrated with my other colleague that time because she wanted to take refuge from the heat of the afternoon sun by malling. She said that we should just wait for the sun to go down then we could set out to explore the city again. My officemate and I weren’t bothered by the heat at all and we wanted to go out and do a bit more of sightseeing and not waste any more time.

St. Augustine Catholic Church in Paoay

See, this is one of my pet peeves when going on vacation. I don’t like to go on vacation with a companion who complains about little things like heat or the possibility of getting dirty. To me, vacation means going on an adventure and having fun even if it means you’ll get sweaty or dirty. Where’s the fun in worrying about the heat or getting dirty while you’re exploring an interesting location? If you’re the type who gets easily sun burned, then put sunscreen or wear a hat. Gulp down a chilled beverage if you feel the heat. Don’t go running inside an air-conditioned mall and stay there for hours. You’re not a vampire. You won’t melt under the sun.

sunset at Paoay beach

Anyway, after impatiently waiting for our colleague inside the mall, we headed outside and took a jeepney going to Paoay. We got to see an old church there and afterwards, we hired another tricyle to take us to the sand dunes in the area. We were disappointed when we saw the sand dunes because they weren’t that pretty. The area was just a small patch of creamy sand. We ended up exploring a nearby beach instead. We left the beach when the sun was setting and went back to San Nicolas. From there, we ate dinner at La Preciosa  where I sampled a delicious local dish with a rather risque name – puqui puqui.

We hired another tricyle to take us back to the hotel after dinner and that’s when something funny happened. The tricyle we hired was really small and my robust officemate, our colleague, and I were amazingly able to fit inside the small interior. Unfortunately though, while we were on the way back to the hotel, the tricyle gave a loud popping sound and the driver had to stop to find out what it was. We didn’t really know for sure what happened with the tricyle but I guess it conked out because we were too heavy. I had difficulty coming out of the tricycle and so was my officemate. And we all laughed about it. So there we were – the three of us in the middle of the road at night. The hotel was still too far away for us to walk and the place we got stranded on was just full of bushes, grass, and trees. There were a few houses here and there but other than that, the place was dark and deserted. It was such a relief for us then that another tricycle came along to help us out. He tried to help our driver revv up his engine but to no avail. We felt sorry for the driver we hired so we paid him good money while he waited for another help by the side of the road. The other driver assured him that he’d help him after he takes us back to the hotel. So the three of us hopped onto the bigger tricycle and went our way back to the hotel safe and sound.

Valentine Treat for Myself

February 3, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Travel | Leave a comment
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Nine more days to go before I head out to Matabungkay Beach in Batangas for some R & R. I’m already excited with my trip! It’s perfect timing actually. I will be staying there for two nights on February 14 and 15 with my friend Andy. So in a way, this vacation will be a treat for myself come Valentine’s Day. I also see it as an early summer getaway. I know that come March, vacationers will start to trickle to the beaches and by then the place will be crowded. I prefer quiet beaches with little or no other people around. That way I can have the beach to myself and my friends. I just hope that there will be few people around when Andy and I get to the beach. If not, the resort that we will be staying at – the Coral Beach Club – has a swimming pool so we have an alternative. I’ve never been to Matabungkay Beach
so this will be a first time for me. I can’t wait!

Palawan Getaway

March 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Musings, Travel | Leave a comment
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At last, I’m all set for my upcoming vacation in Palawan! Yey, I’m so excited! I already have a plane ticket from Air Philippines and booked a room at the Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa. I’ll be going with my housemate Marj on March 18 to 20. This would be my first time to go on a vacation during Holy Week. I mean, I used to just stay at home during Holy Week but now I’m raring to go out of town and have a real vacation! Gosh, I haven’t been on a vacation for a long time. For the past couple of years, I’m always about work, work, work! Now I’m determined to give myself more quality time for leisurely activities — and going to Palawan is part of that.

I’m most excited about going to Honda Bay beach. I haven’t been on a beach in such a long time. The last time I went swimming was on a resort with nothing but a swimming pool to swim in. Since then, I’ve been wanting to go swimming on a beach and be close to nature. I can’t wait to go to Palawan! I haven’t been there before so this would be my first time to go.

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