Lent was more a month ago but I haven’t posted anything of our vacation due to being swamped at work (it’s kind of a happy busy). Anyway, we still went to the same resort we went to last year, but new memories were created! Maxine is bigger now and able to really enjoy her surroundings more.
But we vow to come back again because one, service is kinda getting slow; two, facilities are getting old and not improved, and three, there are only two options for dining: Max’s the lone concessionaire, or the not-so-sulit barbecue buffet. You probably wouldn’t mind if you are prepared to grow wings because of having fried chicken over a 3-day vacation. You have to go out of the resort and into town if you want to keep your food sanity.
We also met up with my aunt’s family whose middle daughter, my cousin, and her family, including her American husband, were here on vacation.
I know that I have let slide again my blogging for the past couple of weeks. There are a LOT of drafts pending, and hopefully I will not forget anything to document. Much as my love for writing was my primary purpose when I first started blogging, lately, my aim was just to put on record happenings in our family life so I could go back to this blog later on.
Anyway, Mczy’s party happened about two weeks ago. Even though this fell on a weekday, we gladly went after enrolling Mischa for Grade 2. What, she’s in Grade 2 already??? Sometimes I feel like I need a good slap in the face to wake up to the reality that the kids are growing so damn fast.
Back to the party…the theme was a combination of Transformers and Minions. And although Mczy was the main celebrant, his cousin who lives in Canada but is here now for a vacation, also celebrated with him. As always, it was a good time to meet with our friends from AJV (Mischa’s old school). And what’s unique with this party was, for a children’s party, it had a live band, and Transformers mascots who I took pity on because they could hardly move. It must be hell in there (inside the costume), and they seemed to be having a hard time lifting all their body parts, particularly the extremities.
And Mischa’s becoming so awkward with dancing with boys. lol.
Our summer getaway usually happens during the Lenten season break. This is the only time that we are all free from school and work, and our schedules jive. When we were younger, we just stayed at home. But ever since I had kids, we have started making it a tradition to have our family outings. All for making good and happy memories!
Before we got to our final destination, we stopped by Tagaytay for lunch as we know it will be quite a while before we could check in and eat at our resort. I suggested Balay Dako because I had been reading many good reviews about it especially its breakfast buffet. But since we got around 11:00 in the morning, we just had to make do with their lunch fare, which does not disappoint.
Balay Dako is part of the chain of restaurants of Antonio’s so I was so sure that a visit would be terrific. It was a good thing we got there early enough because the restaurant began filling soon enough that it was a a frenzy by noon. Most vacationers and tourists trying to get out of Manila began pouring in Tagaytay by then. We were lucky enough to get a good table right in the middle of the room, which was designed for big groups or families. The whole place was bright and airy, and was not air-conditioned. Only the lovely Tagaytay breeze, passing through large windows, albeit covered by a net against flying insects, cooled the entire place. I have said this about a gazillion times throughout this blog but there is something to be said about old houses turned restaurants. There’s nothing but love for me for these places.
But as expected, what with it being a holiday, the service as a little slow. We patiently waited for everything as we can see that the hands of the staff were full.
We just ordered a package good for 10 persons (although we were 12, excluding the kids). I wished we had their specialty Sizzling Bulalo, but there’s always a next time. Everything was good.
Inihaw na liempo
Sinigang na bangus
Beef steak Tagalog
Avocado ice cream
I have dined twice in Buto’t Balat in Iloilo City. Beyond the unassuming entrance, one would be surprised to see a garden restaurant right at the heart of the city. And for visitors like me, it is always refreshing to eat at local stores that offer more than fast food fare. It serves mostly Filipino favorites aside from the usual Ilonggo specialties.
Most of the decor are also native. However, the lights are a little bit too dark if you ask me, and since the area is open, you sometimes get visited by flies or mosquitoes. It must also sizzle during the summer months.
But all in all, I like the place, and I probably would go back if I am staying anywhere near for my next visit. I have lost the number of times I’ve been to Iloilo for official activities, and eating has been the only times I could consider “touring” this wonderful city with the people with the malambing accent.
Adobong native chicken
A few weeks ago, we had our annual teambuilding in Clark Special Economic Zone in Tarlac at the now famous Green Canyon Eco Art Resort. I believe its popularity rose after the resort was featured in the morning show of Kris Aquino. Anyway, we were supposed to have our activity at Club Balai Isabel in Batangas, but a week or two before the schedule, the resort bumped us off and accepted another bigger group. What a bummer.
So we ended up at Green Canyon, and we were all happy with it! Nestled in a secluded area in Tarlac, the resort is on a huge property, which used to be a lahar-covered landscape. Although surrounded by rich foliage and greens as far as the eye could see, the place is still hot and humid. The resort features the hotel, symphony and wave pools, a hanging bridge that connects two parts of the resorts, function rooms and restaurants, a huge oval with a playground amidst well-maintained gardens.
Inside the buildings are art works of all shapes and sizes. And being no art connoisseur, I wouldn’t be able to describe in detail each of the pieces and why they are fabulous. I just think they were! Each masterpiece, mostly found in the hotel lobby, speaks of excellent craftsmanship and use of natural wood.
I also like that the guest rooms are made up of wood and stone. It has a modern, edgy, but still homey feel to it. I was glad we were given the morning of the second day free so we could lie in! Much as I love sharing the bed with the kids, I am happy every time I go out on business trips or trips like these so I could have the bed all to myself. lol.
Much as I adored the place, I am not sure if I want to go back, especially if I were to bring the family here. Everything is great, although the food is a little so-so, but it is quite far from our place, and the heat! Oohhh