Back in Guimaras

I’ve looked forward to this trip ever since we booked our ticket early this year. And even when we didn’t have a ticket yet, I’ve always wanted to come back to Guimaras. Though I can’t understand Ilonggo very well, Guimaras felt like home. People even speak to me in Ilonggo, which I pretend to fully understand. Makaintiende ako, pero gamay lang po. But maybe because I loved it here since… it feels like home away from home.

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We were at the Iloilo International Airport at around 10:30AM and headed straight to Plazuela de Iloilo to have early lunch. We were raving about how it was so quiet, even when we were at the city. Hay, how tiring it is to live in Manila, really! We had chicken inato, just because it was the first thing we saw and that we got so hungry because of the heat. I was with Mica and Michael, my childhood friends and pseudo siblings.
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After lunch, I couldn’t hide my excitement anymore because we were only just 30minutes away. We rode a jeep to Ortiz Wharf, where we are taking a 15-minute pump boat ride to Guimaras. Before we got dropped off, manong jeep driver even told us ‘halong’ or take care in ilonggo. We were the last passengers in the pump boat and everyone was looking at us because we had back packs and because we had to sit at the back. Halatang turista.
During my previous visits, I didn’t get to stay long in Guimaras but now I’m so happy and giddy (kanina ko pa sinasabi na happy ako) that we get to spend the night. I’m so excited!
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If you’re taking the public transportation, tricycles are a good option. Although the mini van is okay too. For us though, we had my friend, councilor Vic, pick us up at the port at noon (thank you :*). ‘Hi, welcome to Guimaras!’ (Thank you for going out your way :*) I’m so happy that we’re not in a hurry and that we were having a chill trip so far. We went first to the Trappist Monastery to pray and buy pasalubong (~mango tart forever~) and travelled another 30 minutes to Nueva Valencia. We stayed at Raymen Beach Resort — next to the more quiet Alobijod Cove.
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We rested for a few hours and watched videos and went to the nearby Villa Igang Resort to look around. We passed by the bamboo bridge where the mangroves are and to the bay walk (?) where we talked about how relaxing it was to just be sitting there. We went back at around 5PM, freshened up and had dinner at Alobijod Cove. Dami naming kinain. The menu said that the food was good for 3 persons — we were four —  but it felt like the food was for 7! Haha. I wish I didn’t have seafood allergy so I can eat as much shrimp but yes, there are constraints. After dinner, we stayed at the beach to relax. We talked about how many islands were on sale around Guimaras. I’d shell out Php 55M if I can! Haha.
Love the wind coming from the sea and the company too, best therapy yet.
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The next day, we woke up early to explore the islands around Guimaras. After having breakfast, the angels from the canteen at Raymen taught me a few ilonggo words (which I always forget!). Haha. I love ilonggos — they’re so sweet and always smiling. Salamat gid!
We started at 7:30AM and was with Jun 1 and Jun 2. Haha. Our boatmen’s names were Jun and Junjun so we just made up the 1 and 2. Love them for being good photographers.
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We spent most of our time in Natago Beach, one of my favorite places. So sad it was still high tide, so the mini sand bar wasn’t that visible. I even tried to argue that it’s low tide during the day, but no. I was wrong. Haha. (You win :p) The other islands we went to were Lamurawan Island (where we got the amazing view of the seven islands), Ave Maria Island (where my friends cliff dived) and the Baras Cave (where I slipped so.many.times).
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For lunch we had mango pizza and carbonara at the Pitstop. Nami! Super sarap. My seatmate was super takaw too. :p
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After lunch, although it was raining, we still passed by the windmills in San Lorenzo. So many windmills at 54MW! And so many nice views. We  also listened to 90s music during the long drive. We passed by the Roca Encantada, the rest house of the Lopezes before heading straight to the Buenavista Wharf to take the pumpboat back to Iloilo.
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I wish I had a house overlooking the sea. It was so beautiful. Thank you for taking us there. 🙂 The Roca Encantada is facing I think the Iloilo Strait. Negros island can also be seen from there. Someday. ~someday~
From San Miguel in Jordan to Buenavista, it felt like we went around the whole island. Although Vic says that there’s still so much more to see. So many winding roads and so many beautiful views! Buenavista was far so madamo gid nga salamat for driving us around, Vic! It was my first time to take the pump boat from Buenavista to Iloilo. It felt weird to be the only turistas. And saying goodbye (to you mostly) felt weird too. 😦 Guimaras is too beautiful! Really one of my favorite places. I can’t wait to come back again (and again, and again a g a i n).
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Special thank you again to dearest Vic — thank you for touring us around the island and spending time with us. We’re very happy and ~kilig~! See you very soon. :*

Lakawon Hangover

Thank you to our bosses for giving us some time off after three tiring days in Negros. After the successful inaugurations of our solar power plants in Bais City, La Carlota City and Manapla, we were priviledged enough to visit Lakawon Island in Barangay Viejo in Cadiz.

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Cadiz City is an hour and a half bus ride from the north bus terminal in Bacolod City. One way ticket costs Php 95 and the trip will take you through the beautiful towns of Silay, Talisay, Victorias and then Manapla. The bus left the terminal at 9:30AM and reached Cadiz by 10:45AM. It took another 15-20 minute ride past scenic sugarcane plantations and rice fields before we got to the port.

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At the port, we met Manang Bibing who gladly ushered us to the boat going to the island. Special thanks to one of our bosses for making the special arrangements. 🙂
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From the boat, we can already see how beautiful Lakawon island is. The water is crystal clear and the sand is so fine it tickles your toes. We were in the private part of the island so we literally had it all to ourselves. There’s a mini sandbar at the tip where we can see Panay Island in the background, as well as the vastness of the open sea. Just being in the island and seeing its beauty makes you just exclaim, ‘Ang ganda sa Pilipinas!’.
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The island is not yet well developed but on the other side of the island there are a few cottages that can already be rented out during the day. Food is also already available in the island. The lychee shake was the best though because it was really really hot.
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Out of 7,107 islands, who would’ve thought that there’s a tiny one in beautiful Negros island? We’ve only known of the most famous beaches in the Philippines, but isn’t it amazing that there are a few of these in provinces you never thought would have one? Ang ganda eh. Sobrang ganda!
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We literally just laid in the sand for hours until we had to go back to the mainland at 3:00PM. It was a wrong idea though because the waves were already mad and it felt like we were already surfing but nevertheless it was so much fun!
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After the boat ride, we went ahead to the terminal to wait for the bus heading to Bacolod. I love free days. Thank God we got to enjoy one in one of my favorite places: Negros 🙂
See you again in October…Masskara Festival!

Lost in Zambales: Potipot Island Getaway

*January 16 – 17, 2016: late post*

Five hours away from Quezon City is the beautiful town of Sta. Cruz, one of two jump-off points to Potipot Island, our destination for the weekend.

IMG_8690IMG_0088Potipot is a small island surrounded by clear waters and almost tingly fine sand. One can go around the island in around twenty or thirty minutes – this without the picture taking involved.

We camped out for the weekend. Each of us paid Php300 for the entrance fee. We brought our own tents so we saved up a few pesos plus our own food since there’s no store in the island itself.
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Our trip was the definition of roughing-it-up. It’s been awhile since I slept on a tent, bathed in a common restroom in the dark and just spent the hours of the day doing nothing but stare at the beautiful sea.
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I always feel at home when I’m at the beach. Although I’m not a good swimmer, the sight of the waters always calms me.It’s really the view worth taking in if you live in polluted Metro Manila.
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After a tiring day of swimming, we spent the night lighting up wishing lanterns and bonding over drinks and chips. Since there was no electricity, and really no other distraction other than our phones, spending the night in the island made us closer as a barkada.
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 The next day, we went around the island and took some more photos. It’ll be awhile again before we get to see the beach again. Looking forward to our next trip together.
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Tips:
1. It’s easier to get to the jump-off point going to Potipot Island by private transportation. We took the longer route which is in the town of Sta. Cruz. The other option is in San Antonio, Zambales.
2. The island is a 5-minute boat ride from the Dawal Beach Resort in Sta. Cruz. A two-way boat ride costs Php400, good for 5-6 persons.
3. It’s advisable to buy food in the mainland before going to the island. There are no stores. There are grills available where you can cook your food.
4. For the ultimate outdoor experience, pitch a tent in the island instead. Rental is Php400, but it’s always better to bring your own. There are cottages worth Php1,500 for overnight stay.
5. Bring rechargeable lamps/flashlights if staying overnight since there is no electricity in the island.
6. Take a lot of photos!

Birthday

I haven’t slept much this weekend. I’m afraid I might miss too much of my birthday so I decided to spend it wide awake, aware of every single good thing that has been happening. I’ve never been one to express my feelings personally because I prefer to always write it down. I feel so overwhelmed and so happy that earlier today at 5am, I was just looking at pictures, and was just wide-eyed. I can’t help but say thank you, and tear up a little bit. I really am a cry-baby when I’m alone. It’s been a great year, where I came from my saddest to my happiest. My heart is filled with so much emotions and I don’t know if I can even handle it right now but I’m handling it the best way I could. Thank you so so so so much for a great weekend, and a wonderful year. It’s been a year of answered prayers, and I know that You will continue to answer my prayers because I believe. I know You will make people stay when they should, You will give me problems because I can handle it and You will offer me the best that this life can give.

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Maraming salamat.

To everyone, cheesy as it may seem, but I just had the most wonderful birthday ever. Thank you for allowing me to spend it with you, and for making me feel special.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

When Will I Meet You?

I know that you’re out there and it wouldn’t be long enough until I finally meet you.
I know you’re also waiting, and praying.
I know you’re working hard on yourself, to be the best version you can be, for you and me.
I know it’s taking a bit of time, but I am patient, we both are.
Eventually, we will meet and it’ll be like magic.
Maybe right now, life is hard for the both of us and God is still working on us.
Maybe right now, our hearts are not yet ready.
Maybe right now, we still haven’t discovered much about ourselves.
Maybe right now, we have not loved ourselves enough.
Maybe right now, we are contented where we are.
So  until then, I will wait.
I know you will be worth it.
You’re my missing puzzle piece.
My other half, the only one my heart will love.
When we finally meet, I know that we can compensate for the time we weren’t together.
When we finally meet, I know that there’s nothing that can stop us.
Until then, please take care of yourself.
Please don’t get sick. Sleep early if you can, drink if you must and dream while it’s possible.
Until then, I can promise you that I will be here. I will wait for you. I will pray for you.
When we finally meet, I will like you and I will love you.
I will support you.
I will fight for you.
I will stay.
When will I meet you?
Tomorrow?
The next day?
In the future. You and Me.