Discovery Shores Boracay

Our year-end office planning took us out of town, and we couldn’t have asked for a better venue than Boracay! It is one of my favorite places on Earth with its white sand, blue sea and skies, and that wonderful vibe. It is unfortunate though, that while this is the first time that both the husband and I were out of town at the same time, it is the time that Mischa got sick and had to be checked at the ER. Thank God it wasn’t anything serious but it was a gritting-my-nails (figurative because I don’t bite my nails but the feeling is akin to this) kind of worry. So essentially, we had to work, and although we were given some leeway to enjoy ourselves, it is half-hearted.

So here we are on the way to paradise…

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Had to put our heads together and work, work, work…

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But one thing about this outing, we were treated to A-class amenities! We were billeted at the Discovery Shores Boracay, which is way above the joints I have stayed in so far in this island. The first I noticed was how courteous and warm all of their staff was. I know it is part of their duties and functions to be polite and helpful to customers, but I really felt their sincerity in rendering service. It was as if it was really their pleasure in having us. I mean really! It does not feel perfunctory or forced.

So two thumbs and two big toes up for service!

The set up for meals are also pretty to look at, case in point is our exclusive table for our welcome lunch.

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And this is what our amazing suite looked like. Since there were four of us, we were given the 1-bedroom family suite. It had its own dining and living area, and the latter can be converted into beds for two. Everything, including the bathroom was just inviting, with their warm tones and soft hues. I could have stayed all day during our free day if only the beach didn’t beckon.

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Unfortunately though, I was not that satisfied with their food. It was only okay, and I was honestly expecting more for an ultra-rated resort. It was not bad, but it was a definitely a letdown.

But as I said, the amenities and the staff, more than made up for it.

And how could being on this beautiful place on this planet fail to lift one’s spirit up? Aside from being with my daughters, being on the beach, specifically this beach, are some of the best moments of my life. Digging my toes on its pristine white sand as the waves softly lap at your feet is one of greatest joys.

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And witnessing this sunset almost tops that!

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This is truly the life!

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Palawan: Third time’s a charm

It’s that time when I have so much stories to tell but so little time to do them. My life is like a rollercoaster nowadays but all is good.

About a fortnight ago, I was given another chance to visit one of my favorite places on Earth – Palawan. Although my main purpose of going there is purely for work, I have always been lucky enough to do side trips that always brings me to paradise. And this time is no different.

Palawan is still as beautiful as ever, with its clean neighborhood, pristine beaches and unadulterated surroundings. Unfortunately though, I did not have a chance this time to go to my favorite beach ever, Sabang Beach. But made the rounds of the islands in Honda Bay. And like a little kid let loose in a candy store, I played to my heart’s desire. Have to say though that I must be getting old! I tired easily during this trip, which is a total bummer.

Although I am far from being a swimmer, I am in my element whenever I am on the beach. Super love the beach to bits!

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Paradise Island Davao

After our official trip to Davao City (I was with one of my staff, Yumi), we went on a side trip to nearby Samal Island. I booked us at Paradise Island Resort, which I chose from among the hotels and resorts on Agoda. And I was glad I did. No regrets here.

I was surprised that it took us only 5 minutes to cross from the private pier of Paradise Island to Samal. And from the get-go, I was truly satisfied by the way the resort’s personnel took care of its guests. If I had ten thumbs, all would be up in approval for service.

Since we arrived around noon, we had lunch first in their open air restaurant right by the beach, while they were cleaning and preparing the rooms. The only teeny, tiny disappointment during our overnight stay was it took more than 30 minutes for them to give us our bill. And we were raring to go to the beach by then.

Otherwise, everything was A-okay!

The de luxe rooms were in separate airconditioned cottages, which have their own porch and garden. We had to walk a bit from the beach but it turned out to be a good thing because the areas where the cottages are are quiet, and the noise from the beachgoers were muted. The room where we stayed was large and comfortable enough. Of course, we didn’t get to sulit the room because we practically stayed at the beach the whole afternoon until evening during our first day. On the second day, we just had breakfast then we had to catch our flight to Manila before noon.

They also had a spa where I availed of a massage. It was good enough for the price of Php450 (with discount). I badly needed that. It seems like I haven’t had one in ages. When you have two needy kids below five years old, you tend to put yourself last in your list of priorities. So this was a good break for me. I was definitely recharged.

The beach was clean although they built the restaurant too close to it. It decreased the swimming and lounging area by a large margin, and it was short enough to be begin with. But a beach is a beach is a beach. And I love it. Period.

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I was a little miffed that it was cloudy on our first day there but I still had fun, of course. Next day, when we were about to leave, Mr. Sun shone in all his glory. Didn’t get to enjoy the beach by then but the summer-ness of it all lifted my spirits anyhow.

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Lenten beach trip

As seen in my previous couple of posts, our family went on a summer getaway in Nasugbu, Batangas. The before and after (read: packing and unpacking) of the trip was tiring, but we had much fun so it was well worth it. This was also Maxine’s first outing, and while she would not remember any of it, I would be glad to show her photos, tell her stories, and let her read this blog in the future.

We stayed at Canyon Cove Hotel and Spa in the beach coast of Batangas. And I gotta tell you that the beach here is way better than those on other sides of Batangas, such as Laiya. What makes for a great beach? Fine, white sand and clear waters – Canyon Cove has it all. Unlike in Laiya where the sand is coarser and strewn with so much pebbles and small rocks, and the water is a little muddy.

The hotel itself is grand (with a price tag, too). We got discounts courtesy of an aunt but our stay was worth every centavo. It was a little uncomfortable at first upon our arrival for it was a holiday and I guess there were just so many guests checking in. It took us a while to get our rooms and we were made to wait in the lobby for a while. I wished they had welcome drinks so we can stave off our thirst whilst waiting. But all’s well that ends well.

I made Mischa wait for a bit after we freshened up a bit in our room. She was just darn excited to jump into the water the minute she saw the beach area and pool. But the hot was striking hard at 4:00 in the afternoon and I didn’t want her to get burned. But after that, we let her play to her heart’s content for the next two days. I was a little surprised with her, though, that she was afraid of going to the deep end of the water when she had swimming lessons last year. I think she must continue with those.

We divided our time between the large swimming pool and the beach for the next two days. The husband and I actually preferred to stay on the beach because the water was cleaner but the kid wanted to be in the pool all the time so we settled on a compromise.

We also had our meals in the hotel’s lone restaurant, which was served by the famous Max’s Restaurant. I hope they have more concessionaires in the future so guests could have more choices. They also have a bar, but with two kids in tow, we didn’t have the luxury, and personally, the inclination to visit and have drinks. Me, I was just too conked out at the end of the day.

The rooms were clean and huge. The one we stayed in had two double-sized beds and a daybed on the side. It was just perfect for our family including my parents who roomed in with us since the hotel had limited available rooms. The husband and I slept alternately with each kid. Mischa had a minor issue when I slept with her sister on the second night. At almost 6, she still prefers Mommy beside her. And I gently explained to her, and was firm (even though it broke my heart that she cried over it) that Maxine needs Mommy, too.

We went with my brother, my aunt’s family and some friends, and the whole trip was a lot fun. If only money was not issue, I would have always planned for family outings and bonding like these.

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beautiful camiguin

posting pictures of side trips made in camiguin.  too bad i was starting to get sick by the time we came onshore.  i showed a little less enthusiasm than i would normally allude especially when placed in the vicinity of a sun-kissed beach.  i could’ve have jumped for joy considering we were under a small deluge of rainshowers in misamis oriental, the sun and sea should have brought more cheer but i was going under the weather myself then.

camiguin was breathtaking but i was too sick to notice, and i feel so sorry for the lost chance to appreciate the place deeply.  well, i sure hope i get the chance someday to come back, and do my rounds better.

about to board the ferry

the island province was so near, we could see it in the distance even if we haven't left the port yet

entering the ardent hot springs, just at the foot of mt. hibok-hibok

the water is soothing, perfect for an early night swim

my two companions relaxing

the pool at our first hotel where we took a dip the night before

us under a gazebo

sunrise at white island. we got up specially at 5am to be able to see this.

the mainland is just 10 minutes away

the sun has risen a bit higher

posing for posterity

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feet and footwear

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missing the beach

goodness! it’s been ages since i’ve been to the beach. i think all the brouhaha of weddings, babies, work transfers and search for greener pastures the previous year has something to do with the now almost absent out of trips that me and my close friends used to conjure. sigh! the price of settling down 🙂 gone are our carefree days when we could just pack up our gear in a moment’s notice to savor the sunshine, fresh air and of course, the water! i miss snorkeling, boating with the hair whipping my hair with only the hum of the motor slicing the still silence of the sea, being in your swimsuit, shorts and flip-flops all day, having a scrumptuous seafood dinner barefoot on the sand, sipping fruit shakes during the day and downing cold beer at night…

and i am forever in love with the waters and sands of sabang beach in palawan and puka beach in boracay.

boracay through my eyes

boracay through my eyes


soaking up the sun during my first time in bora

soaking up the sun during my first time in bora


with childhood friends in panglao

with childhood friends in panglao


on a rather cloudy day in subic bay

on a rather cloudy day in subic bay


bora is sweeter the second time around

bora is sweeter the second time around


puerto galera

puerto galera


on the clear waters of cebu

on the clear waters of cebu


my fave ever, sabang

my fave ever, sabang


honda bay with california friends

honda bay with california friends


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isla verde


club balai isabel, talisay

club balai isabel, talisay

this summer, even with the heat abound, i have not even been near any body of water. i seriously am having a case of beach-withdrawal (similar to nicotine-withdrawal, nyahahaha!). next year, baby and i will stop at nothing and strut our wares at a beach i haven’t been to, such as pagudpud, camiguin, davao or even nearby laiya. hopefully, i would have said goodbye stretchmarks by then. i can make baby wear those cute swimsuits. too bad for hubby who doesn’t like the sun. he can stay in the room all he likes.

ten things

with the baby coming up in a few weeks time, my recent bouts of boredom with work and domain issues at home (which is another matter i ought to take up in the next posts), and in view of my turning 30 in less than a month, my mind has been going a bit to overdrive because of constantly mulling over the things that i still wanted to do with my life. of course, baby is so top priority, nothing can change that. but i want to take stock of things that i want to accomplish possibly in the next five years or so without feeling guilty that you’re sort of abandoning your child in pursuit of your interests. this is normal, right? for an expectant mom to still feel an itch or two about doing things for herself. sometimes, you try to stop thinking about things you want to do because you’re having a kid. but if one can do both (being a mom and doing the things she likes that doesn’t have anything to do with the baby), why not? and it’s never too late to learn something new. and so, here are my “must do’s”:

1. take up photography – i envy my colleagues who lately caught the bug from frenz, and bought their own SLR cameras in view of the various trips they have taken. while a good equipment is a must, what i want more really is to take up a course on photography. i did a few years back, but had not really taken in much of the lecture given to us. i want the real thing, not just two hours of a photojournalist teaching you how to operate your camera’s manual settings. i want the whole works! in the past, i’ve pretty much just took pictures of some sceneries of the places i’ve gone to (minus the artwork), and let somebody else took my pictures being the vain individual that i am.

2. learn how to swim properly – i love the water! i am at my calmest and most serene self when i am on the beach. i cherish the feel of being buoyant. but more often than not, i do not dare stray too far away from the shore, or if in a pool, i cling to the tiles on the sides or stay in areas not more than five feet. pathetic! i can float to save my life and do about 3 meters of laps (nyahaha). i can snorkle perfectly but that’s because of the vest enveloping me. but that’s about it. i want to be able to do the breathing thing, treading water, go across a pool and not have to gasp for breath when i could no longer touch the floor with my toes. i should’ve taken this up much, much earlier considering i am asthmatic and could’ve helped my poor lungs get the much needed exercise, thereby saving me from some attacks. swimming i think i can do with my kid as soon as i can put her in the water. her swimming lessons can be my excuse to attend them myself 🙂

3. be a really good cook / chef, if you may – fortunately (for my husband), i can cook. i can whip up those dishes in a jiffy or slave over the more complicated ones during weekends. i have naturally mastered filipino dishes, some pastas, chinese, etc. but what i really want to do is specialize in different cuisines. i want to try my hand at those french, mediterranean, greek, japanese food that i can only see on the food network and magazines. and also, one thing i haven’t done is bake, and do all those scrumptuous desserts. add to this, i dream for a really nice and fully-functional kitchen.

4. travel to europe – this should have been number 1 on my list for i have been dreaming of coming here for the longest time. i am quite the traveler. i love seeing and being in new places, trying out the food, walking through foreign streets with the locals, sightseeing. unfortunately, i have only gone to countries near the phils because of budgetary concerns. in the philippines, i have gone to lots of places of interest. still, my yearning for europe and its culture have not been extinguished. yeah, have gone to london but it only served to whet my appetite to be in mainland west europe. if only hubby and i had got enough money, we would have gone there for our honeymoon. but who knows, we might be able to get there sooner. keeping my fingers crossed.

5. exercise and lose weight – pregnant or not, i have always been on the round side. i really can’t call myself fat, but i am far from being rail thin. it doesn’t help that my family is on the short side. so you can hardly describe me as statuesque. well, you get the picture. and pregnancy of course, has not diminished my appetite, instead has more than doubled it as my young one is dependent on me for nourishment and energy. add to that is the knowledge that i will undergo a c-section so i kept on putting on the calories having in mind that i would not have to push baby out so it doesn’t matter if she gets big or not. but i know that i would have to pay for it sooner 😦 must keep in mind that i only not have to lose weight, but have to lose all those unsightly bulges, expecially around the tummy area. (hmmm, i wonder if they can do a tummy tuck while they’re closing my ab area after they take baby out..)

6. learn a foreign language – i tried to get into dfa’s free foreign language classes, which they offer for employees who are for posting abroad. obviously, didn’t get in. should look into getting this done soon. it’s my fondest wish to be able to talk in a different sophisticated language. i so love the way the words roll over the mouth when somebody speaks something different. my preference–french, japanese, greek, russian, italian, german, and all the nordic languages.

7. live in a beach house – why not? as i’ve said, i feel nature at its best when i am on the beach. so why not complete the picture of perfect contentedness by dreaming of spending weekends and vacations in your own tropical getaway. waking up each morning to the sunlight, walking barefoot down the sand, having your meals with the sound of the wind and water lapping on the shore, taking a dip, having a nap on a hammock in the front porch of the house..ahhh bliss…

8. do any or all of the following activities – maybe the adventurer in me longing to go out. or i just want the plain adrenaline rush.

9. read and write more – started on the writing part again. have to catch up on my reading, which i used to love so much. it would be better if i can get some of those earn-additional-income schemes by doing some writing online. if you could earn from doing that, then great! there’s no pressure at all because you work at your own pace. i wonder how you come across all that. and gotta buy those books i’ve been seeing on the shelves of my favorite bookstores. i am so behind in my reading. i’ve got books stacked at home which i have not opened or just gone over a few chapters. maybe i can do a little catch-up when i go on leave and am waiting for baby’s arrival.

10. save! – this i need to do straightaway. now i know that having a baby spells more expenses for the household. but this is a must to secure baby’s future. coupled with this, i guess is finding an additional sources of income or finding a higher-paying work. i don’t know how i could have gotten so lax with money in the last few years when all my life, i’ve been such a spendthrift. and the items i’ve listed above would likely cost me more money. oh well, time to realign priorities.