Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grateful Hearts Visit Pahiyas 2016

We, Filipinos, belong to such a grateful race. No wonder, we boast of a number of thanksgiving festivals. One of the more familiar festivities in the country is Pahiyas in Lucban Quezon, in honor of San Isidro Labrador, their Patron Saint. During Pahiyas, the locals decorate their houses with kippings and other harvests (fruits, vegetables, rootcrops), proving what one of the Jollibee posters mention: “The happiest farmers harvest the happiest produce”.

Pahiyas 2016
Pahiyas 2016

Straight from Isla Puting Buhangin, we went to Lucban, Quezon. We initially planned to go to Majayjay first, but because of the heavy traffic we encountered, we decided not to pursue with the plan anymore. We traveled from Padre Burgos to Lucban for around 3 hours, including traffic.

Prior to exploring the town, we ate “lunch” and freshened up at Milan’s auntie’s house. Lola Lita was there and she cooked the famous Pansit Habhab. Lola Lita was once featured on TV for her Pansit Habhab. Pansit Habhab didn't have much ingredients but it was very tasty! Aside from this, we were served with Pansit Malabon, and Puto Cake. We took a bath – the 11 of us – for another 3 hours before we went to the town. We visited another relative, Tita Jing, where we ate even more!

Pahiyas 2016
Lola Lita's famous Pansit Habhab!

Pahiyas 2016
I love Pansit Habhab! You eat it without utensils.
Devour it straight from the banana leaf!
Pahiyas 2016
The gang, ready to invade Lucban! Who's the best dressed?

Pahiyas 2016
At Tita Jing's house

Afterwards, we navigated through the colorful streets of Lucban and we were amazed by how the locals put effort into decorating their houses! Awards were already given to the winners, probably the night before. We never stopped walking until we saw the third, second, and first place winners. Of the three, it was the 3rd prize which impressed me the most. There were others which I thought should have been rewarded but did not make the cut.

Pahiyas 2016
Thousands of people flock to Lucban


Pahiyas 2016
3rd Place


Pahiyas 2016
2nd Place

Pahiyas 2016
1st Place

While I thought the look of the houses were amazing during daytime, wait until darkness blankets the sky! The houses became even more alive with the dancing lights accompanied by music! In every street, you could literally party with the people! There’s a party at the plaza, and a concert at Buddy’s, party there, party everywhere!

Pahiyas 2016
Concert at Buddy's

We would not want to go just yet but we needed to because of work the next day. Prior to leaving, we ate at the famous Chito’s and bought our pasalubong (broas, pansit habhab noodles, puto seco) from various stores.

Pahiyas 2016
The famous Chito's

Pahiyas 2016
Tiangge sa Lucban

Indeed, it’s an uplifting feeling to join these kinds of festivities. It reminds me to always be grateful for all the blessings that God has given me for the past years.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Under the Sun and Stars: Camping at Isla Puting Buhangin, Kuwebang Lampas, Quezon

Have you ever experienced camping beside the sea, under the sun and stars? I suggest you try it even once in your life! And if you are looking for an option, why not try Isla Puting Buhangin at Kuwebang Lampas in Quezon?

Affordable Island Camping
Isla Puting Buhangin in the morning, May 14, 2016

My high school classmates and some friends invaded the island on May 14, 2016, a day prior to the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban. We were 11 in all. We rented a van from Valenzuela for Php 10,000, which already included the driver’s fee, toll fees, and gas. We left Valenzuela at 2am and reached Padre Burgos, Quezon around 6am. From there, we rented a motor boat for Php 2,000. The same boat was what we used for the island hopping.

Affordable Island Camping
At the coast of Padre Burgos, Quezon

Affordable Island Camping
Groufie as we sail


The ride from the coast of Padre Burgos to Isla Putting Buhangin was around an hour. At about 730am, we’re already in the island. There were a couple of tents already put up, perhaps by those who camped from the other day. The sight of kids and adults alike enjoying the strip of powdery sand (just a strip, though) and the sea, brought excitement to us. We rented a cottage for Php 800 (overnight) and paid Php 200 for the space where we would set up our tents (Php 200 per tent, but we just paid Php 200 for the three tents; it’s a matter of negotiation).

Affordable Islang Camping
Our tents (Php 200/slot)

There’s not much activity there, though. Campers should be the ones to think of their “to-do’s”. Tips to enjoy your stay?

First, great food. For our breakfast, we had boiled eggs (chicken eggs and quail eggs), cup noodles, tasty bread and spreads. For lunch, we had rice, adobo and laing, and for dinner, we had grilled hotdogs, Delimondo corned beef, and grilled porkchop.

Affordable Island Camping
Items for sale/for rent


Affordable Island Hopping
Grilling hotdogs!

Affordable Island Hopping
Dinner: Hotdogs, Delimondo Corned Beef, Grilled Pork Chop

Second, music. Good thing, a friend brought his JBL Bluetooth speakers! We sang our favorites – “Hanap-Hanap (Jadine)”, “Dati (Sam and Tippy)”, and of course, “Mr. Right (Kim Chiu)” – and danced to our heart’s content!

Third, exciting day and night activity that would keep you up. During daytime, we played volleyball, visited Kuwebang Lampas, landed on Borawan Island for a while (since there was an entrance fee of Php 150!), and swam all we wanted! And at night, we played “1-2-3 pass”, enumeration game (ala-Family Feud), and King’s Game over wine! Playing King’s Game was probably the best game I’ve played using cards. In the King’s Game, each card represented a task or a condition, for example, A – shot one, 2 – buddy shot, 3 – shot all boys, 4 – shot all girls, and so on. If you got the first King, you had to drink one shot, and if you got the fourth King, you need to drink four shots! If your buddy got the fourth King, you also need to drink four shots! The only way to counter this was to get the “Jack”.

Affordable Islang Camping
Island Hopping
Bestfriend Harold and myself, Borawan Island. Entrance fee: Php 150,
So, we just had a photo-op there!
Affordable Island Camping
At Kuwebang Lampas


Affordable Island Camping
Underwater shot
Affordable Island Camping
Swimming...


Affordable Island Camping
...modeling...

Affordable Island Camping
...and having fun!

Affordable Island Camping
Never forget to bring cards on these occasions!

It’s always good to be one with nature from time to time. The challenge in this type of activity, though, is taking a bath and using the rest room. They had makeshift restrooms in the island. Each gallon cost Php 50, which was rather expensive! We asked the boys selling water about their daily income and they said that they earn more than Php 10,000 a day for selling water!

Affordable Island Camping
Shower areas (the better ones)
Affordable Island Camping
Campers before night time


Camping like this – in the absence of one’s usual conveniences – might not be one’s type of get-away, but it’s still an activity worth-experiencing.

Affordable Islang Camping
With my high school classmates/friends

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spend Happy Moments at Island Cove in Kawit, Cavite

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park
Nestling in Kawit, just a few minutes’ drive from our home in Lancaster New City, Cavite, lies Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park, which features recreational amenities for the ultimate family enjoyment. I booked an Island Cove overnight accommodation thru Agoda.com for Php 4,000+ inclusive of breakfast for two adults (kids were free of charge!). We celebrated Mothers’ Day there last May 8, 2016, and it was quite an experience.



The O Hotel

I love the Deluxe Room where we stayed. It’s clean with two comfortable twin beds, perfect for the five of us – my mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, my two-year-old niece, and myself. It had a balcony overlooking the garden and the playground. I love the bathroom that had a bath tub. For entertainment, it had a flat-screen TV connected to SkyCable. However, the cable signal during our stay was intermittent. Another concern was the very weak WiFi connection inside the room. If you wish to get connected to the Internet, you had to go to the lobby where the signal was the strongest (no wonder, a lot people were in the lobby!)

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Twin beds inside the Deluxe Room

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Toilet and Bath
Kawit Cavite Hotel
Shower and Bath Tub

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Balcony


The Oceania and Other Amenities

Island Cove boasts of Oceania, an enormous pool with several types of slides. Except for me, my family went swimming because it’s my niece’s favorite activity! I really think she was born to be a mermaid.

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Gigantic slides at the Oceania's swimming pool


Adjacent to Oceania were other amenities, such as the Maze (for teambuilding), table tennis facilities, firing range, among others. Bikes could be rented if you want to explore the resort in an “eco-friendly” way. Landscaping and the art installations scattered around the resort made strolling around the place really enjoyable.

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Bicycles for rent


Kawit Cavite Hotel
Maze Challenge

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Tennis Court and Basketball Court

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Table Tennis Facilities

Kawit Cavite Hotel
Firing/Shooting Facilities


The Sangley Point

We had our breakfast at Sangley Point where they offered buffet breakfast priced at Php 499/person, thus, we had to pay an additional Php 998 since the free breakfasts were good for two persons only. They had a wide selection of delectable breakfast from various types of rice, porridge, congee, Pinoy dishes, breads and spreads, pancakes, and salads, among others. It’s quite pricey, so you must ensure to maximize what you pay (Tip: eat brunch so you don’t need to spend for lunch anymore!)


Kawit Cavite Hotel
Food...

Kawit Cavite Hotel
...food...

Kawit Cavite Hotel
...and more food!

The Wildlife Sanctuary

My niece loves animals. In fact, when she celebrated her 1st birthday, “Zoo” was the theme. At the age of two, she can already identify the more familiar animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, cows, butterflies, and dinosaurs, among others. Thus, we made sure that we visit the Island Cove Wildlife Sanctuary before we left. The Tram (shuttle service) brought us to the Sanctuary. As expected, my niece was amazed at the sight of ostriches, sheep, snakes, iguanas, crocodiles, and monkeys! The sanctuary was so vast that it could accommodate more animals! Kudos to Island Cove for protecting the wildlife!

Kawit Cavite Hotel
The Tram (shuttle service)

Ostriches eating bananas from my niece's palm

Zookeeper holding a python

Herd of sheep

Sleeping crocodile

Family Picture!


We checked out at exactly 12 noon and went home, since we needed to go to Valenzuela to vote. Truly, it’s not the length of time you share with the people you love that matters. Rather, it’s the quality of the moments that you share together that really counts. I am happy that I found a place near our home where I can relax and unwind with my family.

Happy Mothers' Day, Nanay!


Visit Island Cove’s website, http://www.islandcovephil.com/