Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

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35th | Middle Earth

September 4, 2019

Photo set | Northern Island, New Zealand

I stopped celebrating my birthdays when I turned 20 for silly reasons most people wouldn’t really understand. Not that interesting so don’t be curious.

Every year, on my birthday, I leave and go on an adventure and for the last leg of this quarter life crisis, I went to Middle Earth. 12 days full of missed flights, stairs, bottles of wine, herds of cow, flocks of sheep, steak, steep trails, fish and chips, broken luggage, sorting baggage, magnificent views and loads of fun!

Flew Qantas. Flight from Manila was delayed so I missed my connecting flight and was stranded in Sydney airport for a few hours. Booked the next available flight to Auckland. Fortunately, my Wellington flight got moved to a later schedule so I did not miss it. Good thing there was also free booze on board, good enough compensation to the exhausting sprint I had to make to my connection only to arrive to a closed gate.

After 13 hours of flying…

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Arrived in Wellington, finally, to homemade burgers and local beer at my cousin’s house. Yes, my cousin and her husband make their own bread and patties!

Northern Island winter road trip

The places we went to on our 10-day road trip from Wellington to Auckland.

Wellington

My cousin and her husband cooking me up a feast at their new home and what a coincidence that a friend of mine from way back also lives in the same suburb as them! She saw my Instagram stories arriving in Wellington and messaged me. Chance meet up of course and she also brought me 3 bottles of wine haha!

Cape Palliser

Road to Cape Palliser, such picturesque views outside my window!

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We passed by some wild seals too! Stopped by the side of the road and took some pictures of these cuties. Careful enough not to get too close as some curious pups were growling at me haha.

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250 steep steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse despite the really strong winds and without exercise since February…

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…knee-breaking climb to this amazing view!

Mount Victoria lookout

360-degree scenic views of Wellington. Always chasing sunsets.

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Te Papa Museum

Did not finish exploring and will need to go back!

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Weta Cave

When you love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you just have to visit this place. Home of the talented people behind these amazing conceptual designs and visual effects.

Martinborough – Poppies

Passed through this town going to Castlepoint. The town features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the village square.

We stopped here for late lunch and some wine tasting. I am not a wine person but this place is definitely a must go to. Wine and food, superb.

Castlepoint

This small beach-side town on the Wairarapa coast is just beautiful.

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Instagram husband

Dessert Road

Road crossing to Ruapehu district. Landscape of the Northern Island is so diverse. Majority of the road trip, all I see is lush green forests and cattle and sheep ranches. Then we come to this. Both sides covered with low scrublands and snow capped Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe as backgrounds.

Mount Ruapehu

It was snowing when we arrived and first snow fall experience for these kids in the 7 years they’ve been living in New Zealand haha! Pretty winter wonderland.

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Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Parked our car by the hotel. We took a bus up to Mount Ruapehu as the road was very slippery and we did not bring chains.

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Happy, wind-burnt and freezing faces!

Taupo

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Huka Falls

The Huka falls—largest falls in the Waikato river. The flow rate from the water drop of the falls could fill up 8 olympic size pools in roughly a minute. Amazeballs.

Wairakei Terraces

Relaxed in the silica enriched thermal pools as we were dead tired from all the walking and hiking. There is also a walk where you get to experience a recreated Maori settlement, said to have settled some 1,000 years ago, drawn by the thermal activity and the abundance of food. They believed that the hot pools contained healing powers and therapeutic benefits. Amazingly, the houses are so small and considering that most Moari are largely built people.

Rotorua

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu (Māori for sacred waters) is an active geothermal area by the Taupo volcanic zone, some 27 kilometers south of Rotorua.

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Lady Knox Geyser

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Champagne pool

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Devil’s Bath

Whakarewarewa Forest – The Redwoods

Magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees in this beautiful forest.

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Lake Tikitapu is also known as “Blue Lake” because of its gorgeous sapphire waters.

Rotorua Museum

This magnificent structure used to be an elegant spa retreat called the Bath House in 1908 and was later on converted into a museum and art gallery. Sadly, this beauty closed in 2016 for seismic strengthening and remains closed til now.

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August 6th, BIRTHDAY!

Matamata – Hobbiton

Where else to celebrate the last leg of my quarter life crisis but at the lush pastures of the Shire in Middle Earth?

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

I swear we went. They just did not allow us to take photos. According to our Maori guide, the glowworms are sensitive to light and sound which is why they prohibited use of cellphones and cameras and also, said gadgets are expensive and they do not want to be spelunking the caves just to retrieve these.

Grabbed some pictures from Google Images (maybe back when it was still allowed to take photos, I dunno).

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This stunning view is the Cathedral Cavern known for it’s awesome acoustics. Our guide even asked one from the group to sing. It’s been witness to many concerts and weddings too. Photo: Google Images

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We descended the cave and rode a boat in total cold blackness to see the glowworms. This picture is the closest I could find that best resembles what we saw. It was so cool! Like a trillion stars lining the ceiling of the grotto. Photo: Google Images

The only photos we were able to take — exit of the cave and the entrance to the souvenir shop.

What an awesome day! Ate truffle burgers and truffle fries for dinner, lazed at our Airbnb by the lake and downed 2 bottles of wine. Happy birthday to me!

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35th

Coromandel

Cathedral Cove

These familiar scene out of Narnia. Shorter way by boat, Longer way by hike. We took the latter. Even found a few blooms of Sakura. View was worth it.

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Hot Water Beach

An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at this beach, thus it’s name. Visitors can dig large holes and soak in the thermal water.

Hamilton

Disney on Ice

Because we are never too old.

Auckland

Last stop for this trip. Met up with friends who are based here and was so happy they celebrated my birthday with Korean food and ramen!

SEA Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

Killed time and went to the aquarium while waiting for our Korean dinner.

8 Colors of Korean Bbq Buffet Restaurant

Thank you for indulging my Korean obsession!

Sky Tower

It was really nice that the guy by the escalator going up the tower told us to check the skies first before deciding to pay more than $20 and just be disappointed. It was raining nonstop and was really cloudy. We did not go up. We went shopping instead lol.

Last day (huhuhu)

Breakfast at Kreem

Went shopping at Dress Smart and had dinner at Ramen Takara because it’s my last night and everybody knows how much I love ramen hahaha.

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Homebound

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Early morning flight to Sydney, had to leave some things as I was over-baggage (my quinoa and honey), arrived on time in Sydney but they closed one runway and had to stay inside the plane for an hour because no available tube to park. Sprinted (again) to transit and to my gate only to find that my flight was delayed. Seriously Qantas you need to sort your schedules and stop with the tight connections. My feet hurt from running around the airport.

Arrived around 10pm in Manila, stayed at my best friend’s place, was so exhausted fell asleep the moment I went to bed and was snoring. Went to church the next day (thank you LORD for my awesome vacation), had lunch at Soru (always) and flew home to Bacolod in the afternoon.

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And I feel like I’m still hungover.

Thank you to Krissy and Alvin for my room (haha) and for going on this trip with me, Micmic for seeing me in Wellington and bringing vino, Aubrey for meeting me in Auckland, Ching and Patrick for letting us stay at your ginormous place and Ilaine and Bambi for coming out for ramen and dessert. 12 days is tooooo short! I wish I was on vacation 24/7.

Photos from:

Krissy & Alvin of Knotting Wong Photography

My DJI Osmo Action camera (yes I switched from GoPro)

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Bye friend!

xx

DMV

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Infinite Apologies

December 19, 2017

When apologies fall on deaf ears and reconciliation is overlooked by blind eyes.

A half smile.

I felt the distance in your voice when you asked how I was as I sipped my coffee; it left a bitter and sour aftertaste of pride and anger and hurt.

Quiet dead spaces.

I am sorry.

I keep wishing these three words could restore the fault lines I moved that quaked our existence and paint the cracks I created with gleaming peace.

And I will not stop.

Because I understand my mistake and I am pained just the same.

Because you are invaluable and beautiful and loved.

We live through a multitude of things, from life changing experiences to extraordinary adventures to immense sorrows and uncontrollable laughter.

And moving along, we stumble upon people who shape us and lift us out from the weighted burdens of life.

Some leave an indelible mark and these are the ones who are most fragile to keep.

We are not invincible and our hearts will shatter. Theirs will too.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Because what we had (and I’m hoping we still have) was real, I was as real as you were but I admit I am not infallible and so is everyone else.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Because despite hits and misses, we grew the same roots and bent the same shoulders and broke the same bones and it was okay; our thoughts in place, our intentions clear.

You had me, I had you, and somewhere in between, that was enough.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Because I hold you close to my heart and I will not wait until the dam is full and our waters overflow and will no longer be contained and our heartstrings become tangled and yanked and torn, no I will not wait.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Because I will not let this pass only to be buried and ignored. I will take my chances.

Your presence resonates a rare comfort that lulls a restless soul and I kind of miss that.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Even if you feel agitated and this becomes a vicious cycle of me stepping in, voicing out, just so you could hear and see that I am truly sincere.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

Not until you grace me with a full smile that will revive an ebbing fire.

What we shared was the rasp that carved me into this odd sculpture, imperfect but beautiful nonetheless.

I would not have been whole if not for you, that is how much you mean to me.

I am sorry.

And I will not stop.

xx

DMV

 

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31st

August 14, 2015

The initial plan was to climb Mt. Pulag for the weekend but then the weather did not permit us to do so. Was devastated, maybe a bit. Thank you so much Hanna! Will have to reschedule this one some other time I guess.

So what went down…

Since we already had tickets, Pam and I flew out to meet the other half in Manila.

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This was the closest we got to that sea of clouds we were supposed to see that weekend.

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So it was Friday and when we arrived everyone was still at work. Dropped off our stuff at Joby’s place since we were crashing there. Was famished, roamed around BGC to find somewhere to eat that’s just near. This was late lunch at Persia Grill, the interior was very pretty, food was good.

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Had coffee and chilled for a bit at the nearest Coffee Bean before we went back to Joby’s condo. I finished my book while Pam caught up with work before we met up with everyone else.

Friday night tip: should make reservations waaaaaaaay ahead if you want to get a table. Had ours at Barcino. Wine and Spanish food. Complete attendance!

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I can’t quite remember what food we ordered but I believe it was good. What I remember though was having two bottles of really good Shiraz at 13%. Though this may be normal for wine, it’s actually below average for a Shiraz, I’m a lightweight so 13% is pretty strong for me. Don’t judge.

Not sure what was going on here but yeah, blaming it on the wine.

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That’s my very pretty friend right there. She and her team made the most recent Nestle Chuckie tv commercial and I’m hella proud of her!

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Passed by Reserve and Tipsy Pig but was on wait list. Ended up at Burgers and Brewskies. No more wine for me, just my ever reliable Jack D. (On a much sober note, their burgers are really good, like really really good. Big, fat, juicy, generous, delicious, gaaahd.)

Ended our night with Ministop chicken and fried wantons and sharksfin for takeout. I miss! I think this was the highlight of my night (hahaha).

Road trip the next day, off to Tagaytay for lunch.

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Played heads up to kill time. Traffic was not that heavy. Passed by a number of lambos on the way, might have been 6 or 8 of them, not sure if they were from a show. Twas cool to watch as they drove by really fast, one after the other, in different colors. It was really foggy when we arrived, but then again there’s a storm so, yeah. No view, all we saw was fog. I think everyone’s fog lamps were on. Sky Ranch was off the list, what a bummer.

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BUT! lunch at Breakfast at Antonio’s made up for it.

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Blueberry Heaven! I die.

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Had coffee at Starbucks after, the one on Calamba Road beside Country Suites, where it’s supposed to have an incredible view of the Taal lake and volcano. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good photos because 1. It was packed and we didn’t have a decent spot for a view and 2. It was really foggy.

It cleared when we were homebound, round 5pm-ish I think.

The mandatory Taal volcano picture. That’s an active volcano right there.

Went straight to Draft when we arrived in Makati. That’s a liter of beer for each of us. Or was it just me and Joby?

On Sunday, after having lunch at JT’s, I met up with Mary Rose at Market Market to buy some stuff for the kids. We got stranded in High Street, it was raining really hard and found a bit of an excuse to have coffee and catch up on the latest gossip, though I was running late for dinner.

This was dinner at Miel’s Tita Chiqui’s pad. Yellow Cab and four bottles of wine. Was trying really hard to get my senses intact.

Though what we initially planned, due to unforseen (raaaar) circumstances, didn’t push through (no Mt. Pulag, no manghuhula), I had an awesome birthday weekend because what really mattered was getting together with the other parts of me.

I had five cakes on my birthday!

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And celebrated with those closest to my heart ❤️

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xx

DMV

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Weekend Getaway

September 23, 2014

Since a friend of mine is going back to the US on Thursday, we planned to have a farewell get-together out of town during the weekend. Initially, we planned on going to Dumaguete or Sipalay but due to our busy schedules, we decided to go somewhere near.

We ended up at La Vista Highlands, a mountain resort in San Carlos City. It’s more or less an hour’s drive outside Bacolod City.

The owner is an architect from Bago City, he is currently based in Cebu. We made reservations with him and he was very accommodating.

We took the route going Murcia since the distance is shorter. Road going there is well paved and traced with the scenic view of pine.

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We hit jackpot when we arrived because it was just us for the night; we had the whole place to ourselves!

The Asian-tropical themed resort has very captivating landscape and architecture. It is surrounded by cabanas and huts that overlook the 24-hectare area.

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Their rooms are varied to suit clientele capacity. Ours was situated at the Garden Villas, good for eight persons at P9,600/night inclusive of room amenities, swimming and breakfast. It has awesome interior, the beds were really cozy and the pillows were super fluffy. The terrace has a dining/lounge area and a hammock with a great view of the surrounding mountains.

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Other resort amenities include a full-menu restaurant, a minibar with activities such as billiards, table tennis, darts and foosball and a lounge area.

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The place also features two swimming pools. The big pool is 6 feet deep and the small pool is 3 feet deep; it’s also used as a heated jacuzzi. (Underwater shots were taken with a Sony Xperia Z2)

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The resort also offers outdoor activities such as horseback riding and for the more adventurous ones, the zip line and cable car.

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Overall, it was a truly great experience. The kids especially enjoyed the stay!

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La Vista Highlands Mountain Resort
Contact no.: +63917 320 0211 (Anne) / +63917 321 6704
Email: lavistahighlands@yahoo.com / albertbg@pldtdsl.net

On our way home, we stopped over at Pandanon Valley Resort to go see some monkeys. The place is fairly known for wild monkeys roaming loose.

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They also boast of their natural spring water. There are cottages alongside the spring and they also have a restaurant and a swimming pool. Costs of the cottages and food are fairly cheap.

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That’s us waiting to see some monkeys. We got to see a few but at a far distance. According to the staff, the monkeys usually come down from the mountains to the resort and the guests could see them up close and feed them.

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Pandanon Valley Resort
Contact no.: (034) 434 9463 / 433 5527
Email: pandanonr@yahoo.com

Weekend well spent.

xx

DMV

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Remembering a Friend

March 27, 2013

God looked around his Garden and found an empty place.
He then looked down upon his earth and saw your loving face.
He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest.
His Garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best.
As the days come and go and the world moves on,
I know you’re still here, you’ll never be gone.
On the night the Angel came and
took your hand,
We cried as you left for an unknown land.
But Heaven rejoiced as you came into
sight,
For your soul was a diamond, shining so bright!

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It has been eight years since you’ve gone, but it feels like you’re just here somewhere, maybe on eternal vacation. Your view must be amazing with the powdery sand, the blue sea and the awesome sunsets.

We miss you Maiks and I hope you enjoyed when we came bringing you pizza and barbecue and ice cream because we certainly did! 😄 (not to mention all the juicy gossip)

Because you are always remembered..
Because you are forever loved..
Because you are greatly missed..

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Michaela Marie Gatchalian
1984-2005

xx

DMV

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