Posts Tagged ‘it’s more fun in the Philippines’

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Winging it | El Nido 2019

October 31, 2019

It’s true when they say that the best laid plans are no plans at all. This very spontaneous trip for us first timers and I swear, I had so much fun!

Only high tides and good vibes!

Photo Set | El Nido

Day 1

Pretty sunrise outside my window.

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Woke up at 4am to catch my flight to Manila, transferred to Puerto Prinsesa, endured the grueling 5-hour van ride to El Nido, arrived at 8pm feeling nauseous and sick. Planned to just stay at the guesthouse we checked into because everyone was not feeling well but damn we needed to eat.

For budget travelers, we stayed at Sophia’s Beach Guesthouse in Corong-Corong, El Nido. It’s a beachfront accommodation, can accommodate families or groups, ours was a room good for four with free breakfast, free wifi, a/c and hot and cold shower. Quiet place just a few minutes away from the town center.

Decided to go to town to have dinner and maybe a few bottles to knock ourselves out. We went to Happiness Beach Bar for light food and some drinks. They serve a delicious variety of healthy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food.

The manager also gave us free shots! After a few beers, we asked where most people go on Saturdays and they suggested Sava Bar or Pukka Bar. Yep, this was the plan of people who were feeling sick and wanted to stay in, lol.

Ended up in Pukka Bar and Pangolin, met a few friends and wasn’t really expecting to have so much fun!

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Went back to our accommodation at 3am, swam under the moonlight, and was locked out (hahaha).

Day 2

Pretty much lazed in bed half of the day, only time was forced to get up was to buy Jampong from the convenience store across the street, will be our best friend every morning for the next few days, so good for that “mild”hangover.

They say Corong-Corong has the best sunsets so in the afternoon, after we decided it was time to really get up, we went to Panorama Beach Club for happy hour. Actually, being our cheap selves, we brought a bottle of scotch we bought in Puerto Princesa and just paid for corkage, lol. We did buy pica pica.

Then this spectacular sunset.

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Bar hopped for a bit, checked Outpost just beside Panorma and Sava Beach Bar in El Nido town proper.

Day 3

Finally woke up early for our island hopping tour. We took Tour A, the popular one. It’s P1,200 per person inclusive of lunch and features 5 islands. You also have to pay for a P200 environmental fee and entrance to the Big or Small Lagoon.

So this is how El Nido town looks like in the morning, lol.

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Seven Commandos Beach

I love that the white sand here is fine and the water is not that salty, crystal clear too. Picturesque beach lined with coconut trees against the dramatic backdrop of limestone cliffs. There is a resort on the island, has quite a few stores and beach volleyball.

A little bit of history or maybe folklore, the beach got it’s name because of the 7 soldiers who got stranded on the island during WWII.

Big Lagoon

As they say, the highlight of Tour A — a wide stretch of emerald waters dotted with dark limestone cliffs. Such a beauty. We had to rent a kayak to go in. There’s also a hidden tunnel inside the lagoon.

Simizu Island (Shimizu Island)

The island was named after a Japanese diver who was trapped in an underwater tunnel while exploring the waters of El Nido. Tragic.

Anyhow, the island is a popular lunch spot. Good thing we arrived late so it was just us and another group on the beach, not that crowded. There were lots of monitor lizards and snakes too! Totally harmless, just don’t go near them.

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South Miniloc Island

One of the popular dive sites in El Nido, our fourth stop for some snorkeling. But the waves were quite strong and the water was too salty.

Secret Lagoon 

Our final stop for the tour.

The entrance to the lagoon was quite challenging, it was really rocky, like sharp rocky that you would definitely need aqua shoes. As you approach the cove, there is a small hole on the left that you’d have to crawl into that would lead you to the secret lagoon. It’s a hidden pool of water inside a limestone cliff.

And on the opposite side is just this surreal beach paradise scaled by towering limestone walls and dusty white sand. THIS was the highlight of my tour. I swear I could not stop saying how beautiful this place was.

Thank you Kuya Nathan and Kuya Blondie (guy far left) who lost 2 environmental fee receipts resulting to us leaving town to start the tour really late and baking us under the noon sun (hahaha). Good fun!

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After the tour, we were famished and ate for a bit, rested for a bit then went to this full moon party at The Gardens in Nacpan. Was not really the greatest experience. The ticket was for P1,000: entrance, 1 free drink and free round trip shuttle service. The transfers were chaotic, with everyone pushing to get into the van that supposedly leaves every hour. Take note that it takes around more than 30 minutes to go to Nacpan and they only had a limited number of vans. They had to hire random ones just to accommodate. We left around 11pm and arrived at the venue quite late, I was expecting it to be like at the beach or something, it was not, just literally by the pool, lol. The music was not that great either. Like a jumble of rave, house, rnb, pop and budots. The 35 foot slide was kinda cool though. Wasted 1 grand, should’ve just went on that date instead, might’ve been much more fun, hahaha.

And this.

This is the effin highlight of my trip. Kept going back to that store behind Pukka bar.

Chaolong (Beef Stew)

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Day 4

Our last full day on the island. Spent the afternoon at Maremegmeg Beach Bar in Vanilla Beach.

Such beautiful sunsets.

Capped off the night at Havana Beach Bar with Mike and the Wolf and freakin 280 shot tequilas.

Day 5

Exhausted and home bound lol.

Thank you so much El Nido! I seriously enjoyed this super fun and spontaneous trip with the best girls!

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xx

DMV

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Weekend | Lantawan

May 19, 2019

Weekend at the mountains. Mahjong sesh leveled up 😂

Hearty lunch, happy hour started at 12:00 noon and even if I lost at mahjong, twas a really good weekend away from all the noise of the city.

xx

DMV

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First of Summer | Boracay 2019

March 4, 2019

Photo set | Boracay Island

This world-renowned tourist destination was closed last April of 2018 for rehabilitation due to irresponsible tourism and reopened on October of 2018, 6 months after, accompanied with lots of drainage constructions, demolished establishments and investment restrictions.

Side trip from work and even if I was feeling sick, I decided to tag along, just really curious to how this beautiful island looks now.

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Such a busy route, trips to the island are 24/7.

Although there are a lot of construction still going on on the island, it’s generally clean. Haven’t swam in these waters for the longest time as it was infested with algae, it’s like green muck all over.

But now…

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Water is really clear! I certainly took a dip despite the scorching heat and my runny nose.

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White Beach

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I get off days too!

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Puka Beach

There are still lots of tourists coming in but I guess it’s more controlled, no longer congested like before where you walk shoulder to shoulder with everybody else. It’s also really dim and quiet at night now.

Lots of leg room here.

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And of course, the island still boasts of its pretty sunsets.

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No filters needed.

Lots of sneezes but no regrets. Going to the beach was a good idea.

 

xx

DMV

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34th | Keeping up with the SObelles

August 13, 2018

If you weren’t there, you won’t get it.

Spent my 34th with these crazies in breathtaking Siargao.

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Day 1 | Cebu

And off we go!

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We had to wait for April to arrive from Manila so we killed time at the Casino just across the Mactan Airport.

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Winning! 😎

Literally pigged out at a Yakiniku for lunch

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and chilled at Politics Cafe for the night.

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Day 2 | Siargao

Almost 1 hour plane ride from Cebu to Sayak Airport and we went straight to our first stop for the trip (which is just like 5 minutes away). We booked all our tours with Galatea.

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Kawhagan Island

Pit stop for lunch since eating/cooking and drinking is no longer allowed at the Sugba Lagoon.

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Sugba Lagoon

Very picturesque turquoise waters. Definitely a must see. Nice that when we went, it was not that crowded.

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We left around 4pm to go to General Luna which is like 45 minutes away from the airport and checked in at the Bravo Hotel.

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We had dinner at Harana and at 9PM they cleared the dance floor. Apparently, every night there is a different party at a particular venue. Saturdays are for Harana.

Day 3 | Siargao

Woke up around lunch time and headed off to Kermit. Food is really good, did not disappoint.

And we started our salubong sesh by the beach. Sundays are for Bravo. Super fun night, thank you friends!

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Day 4 | Siargao

Party boat by Galatea. Happy birthday to me!

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Daku Island

Clear blue waters, fine white sand, beer in hand, soaked up the sun. Lovely.

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Birthday lunch 😋

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Corregidor Island

Island is not as crowded compared to the others. You could snorkel and hike here too.

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Naked Island

Toilet break.

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Cloud 9

Regularly rated as one of the top 10 surf sites in the world. Bonus for beautiful sunsets.

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WILD. But we’ll keep that to ourselves.

Thank you universe for yet another year of awesome.

And thank you too to this crazy bunch. Hugs!

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xx

DMV

 

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Long Weekend | Holy Week 2018

April 3, 2018

Family time during the holy week down Southern Negros.

Photo Set | Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort

Day 1 | Good Friday

On our way to Hinoba-an, we passed by Campomanes bay at the Amity training camp. Thinking of letting our kids join the second batch some time in May, training on basic survival skills.

Juancho also got to take a picture with his favorite fire truck and ambulance!

Included with the camp is this view.

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Arrived at Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort just in time for lunch. We booked the Master Suite, very roomy with 2 queen beds, a sofa bed, clean bathroom and a terrace with a view. I could just live here lol. Rate is P5,000 per night (peak season), room could accommodate 6 people.

Time for a swim!

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The resort has 2 swimming pools, one where they have their diving lessons and one where kids could swim. They also have a mini bar by the pool, billiards and foosball. Other activities include water sports such as jet skis, banana boat, paraw sailing and island hopping.

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Lazed by the shore to wait for the sunset.

Kids writing names on the sand, playing volleyball and building sand castles.

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It was a Good Friday indeed.

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Day 2 | Black Saturday

Went Island hopping and the kids enjoyed! You could rent boats from the resort — big boat that could accommodate 25 people is P3,500 for 2 hours and small boat that could accommodate 10 people is P1,500 for 2 hours.

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The little kids were not scared, I swear (hahaha!).

First stop was Obong caves.

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There are many entrances to the Obong caves, 2 of which are dry entrances, the caves where we took the kids to and one that is only accessible by boat or by swimming as the entrance is from the sea. That cave we did not get to see because it was crowded.

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Arrived to people cooking lunch by the shore (lol). Sad that the cave walls are full of vandals and some leave their trash behind.

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Went inside the caves with the use of our cellphone flashlights and was greeted with stalagmite formations.

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The caves played a role during World War II, when the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese. The American Forces landed near Hinoba-an and used the town as their island headquarters. So glad to have the kids explore a little bit of Negrense history.

So there was a little bit of confusion with our boat booking that we ended up joining our friends on the big boat. All good.

Next stop was to a friend’s private beach where we were able to just relax and sip on some fresh buko. The place was awesome child friendly as the beach has shallow and very clear water.

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Kids were paddle boarding, riding jet skis and building sand castles while we adults were all talking about random stuff like young living oils and gallstones (hahaha).

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Went back to the resort to have late lunch, napped for a bit and waited for sunset but it started to rain really hard. View was still beautiful.

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Can’t diet in this place. Food is really good and sold at a very reasonable price. Overall experience at Nabulao is great! Very courteous and accommodating staff, very clean rooms and facilities, good value for money.

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Day 3 | Easter Sunday

Beautiful sunrise to cap the holy week.

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To old ends and new beginnings.

Grateful to have spent the long weekend with the most important people in my life.

xx

DMV

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Integrated Farming | Peñalosa Farms

November 28, 2017

9,000 sqm of heaven!

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No need to go far, this farm is actually just located within the city proper.

Since me and my sister are looking into maximizing what little farm space we have left (and sadly sugar is not doing so well right now), we were really interested with the agripreneurship trainings Peñalosa Farms hold so hoping we could learn a thing or two, we drove to Victorias City to inquire and see the place itself. And yes it was truly heaven. No wasted space here, the whole place was full of herbs and ornamental plants and farm animals.

We were welcomed with this tea made of 5 herbs (Ashitaba, Taheebo, Gotukola, Peppermint and Calamansi) sweetened with honey and I’d say it was really good considering I’m not really a tea person.

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I especially loved this space, a garden made with recycled materials.

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All around the farm, you get to see so much recycled stuff utilized as planters and even furniture. From used PET bottles and containers to used tires to used PVC pipes. Anything you could recycle, they use. Very ingenious.

The farm features aquaphonics, they grow a large variety of mushrooms, organic vegetables, herbs, ornamental plants and probiotic livestock. I was amazed to see the hogs were so huge even when they do not use commercialized feeds, they formulate their own.

As how the owner advocates that no Filipino should go hungry in his own native land, he offers transformational agripreneurship seminars to help farmers or would-be farmers start up an organic based business.

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Imagine what you could do with just a small piece of land. There is no unproductive soil so to speak. Excited to get my hands dirty.

 

Visit their website:

http://penalosafarms.com/

 

 

xx

DMV

 

 

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33 Yipee | Mt. Pinatubo

August 10, 2017

If everyone should know, my birthday falls on a month dubbed as tiempo muerto meaning dead time. August is that time of the year where your funds are low, harvest season is months away and skies are always gloomy. Chinese even believe it’s not the best time to move to a house, start a business or get married. I’m not Chinese though, but still..

I always have a hard time planning what to do on my birthday because what I usually want can’t be done during this time of the year BUT I always end up spontaneously doing something fun. 😄

So anyway, me, my sister and her husband booked a flight to Manila for the weekend to celebrate my birthday and since I like to hike every once in a while, I signed us up for a Tinipak River trip with Jeron Travel. So timely that we will be in Manila during the trip and I’ve always wanted to visit the place.

Day 1 | August 3

Since I’m with Chinese people, dimsum and congee in Binondo and of course can’t miss Masuki’s mami, yum!

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After that feast, we went to Banawe to my BIL‘s friend’s store to buy us some car parts to bring back to Bacolod then chill for a bit and from there we were talking about if he wanted to join us in our Tinipak River tour. Last thing I know, we booked a trip to Mt. Pinatubo for tomorrow.

For this year’s birthday, the original plan was to go to Masungi Georeserve but they have a minimum number of people per group and it was only three of us. If we wanted to pursue, we have to pay for the minimum number of people so it was quite expensive. Next option was Mt. Pinatubo but a couple of tour operators I inquired with do not book tours from July to mid October because of the rainy season. They wouldn’t want to risk because bad weather would mean sudden landslides and flash flood so those two were off the list. Tinipak was a blessing and I was like–I get to do something cool for my birthday this year.

While we were talking about Tinipak and other plans, Pinatubo came up and RC, my BIL’s friend’s secretary said that she knows someone who could give us a tour. I was like I’m game, is everyone else game? And wow, they all said yes. 😂Lucky me! Imagine, Pinatubo and Tinipak back to back! So we parted ways, got things prepared for the hike and slept early.

Note: These people haven’t exercised for a long time and it would be my sister’s first time to hike in her entire existence. 😂

Day 2 | August 4

Left for Capas, Tarlac around 3:30 am, stopped by 7/11 for coffee and Mcdonald’s for breakfast then headed off to Tito Danny’s place.

Registered at their tourism office, signed a waiver and off we go.

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Trek to the Pinatubo crater consist of an estimated 1 hour jeep ride and 2 hour hike.

And the views were just awesome!

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There is an aeta community living in the area, they usually watch cattle of ranchers who bring them there to feed. Our guide, Kuya Ricky, told us that some Koreans have set up a church and school to help them out.

After the more than 1 hour jeep ride, we start the 7km hike to the crater.

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Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, making it the 2nd largest eruption of the 20th century. The eruption produced high-speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, giant mud-flows, and a cloud of volcanic ash hundreds of miles up. Volcanologists said that this eruption had a worldwide impact and has caused global temperatures to drop temporarily.

Trail up the crater was lahar covered, soft and rocky (lahar is a mix of volcanic ash and rocky fragments) and mountain walls showed traces of landslides. I remember slipping a couple of times because it was raining. Crazy weather because well, it’s rainy season. One minute it’s scorching sunny (yes we got sunburnt) and next thing you know, it’s pouring.

This was our first stop. There is a little hut of an aeta family and they sell food, drinks and souvenirs. I asked Kuya Ricky what they do, if the children even go to school since I notice a lot of little kids running around. Our guide said they are different from the aeta community we passed earlier with whom the Koreans helped out, these ones usually harvest wild bananas to sell. They sell really cheap and since Mt. Pinatubo has become a tourist spot, they set up their little tiangge where hikers/tourists could rest and buy food, drinks and souvenirs. Other than that, they live a very routinary life. They wake up, sit, laze or play around, sleep. They don’t have electricity. I’m not sure if they have support from their local government. There’s an ongoing dispute between the locals and the military from what I’ve heard.

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This was our second stop. They set up portalets and cottages where you could rest. From this point, it’s just 20 minutes to the crater.

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My buddies brought with them a ton of food hahaha. Like literally too much for a day hike, can’t go hungry. I was even joking to sell some at the crater since everything costs a hundred bucks.

The trail up isn’t lahar covered anymore, more of river streams.

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Just some of the flora we passed along. I didn’t really see many flowers.

Then steps to the crater, not sure how many steps there were.

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Then this.

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Pictures just can’t do justice to what my eyes saw. It was magical even if it was raining. What more on a clear day?

You can actually go down to the crater but you are not allowed to swim. Wanted to go down but the fog was setting in and they advised against it because it might start pouring and we could get stranded.

I was so happy that I got to hike up a volcano on my birthday weekend! Been wanting to since last year hahaha. And so happy everyone was game despite the crazy weather.

* We paid P2,000 per person for the Mt. Pinatubo trek, that’s already inclusive of the Jeep rental, guide and permits.

Reward! This place was featured in Rated K so we decided to try it out. Sisig did not disappoint.

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Day 3 | August 5

We missed our Tinipak trip the next day because everyone was sore and feverish. Sorry! ✌️✌️✌️ We roadtripped instead to Tagaytay, had breakfast at Breakfast and coffee at Starbucks, the one on Calamba Rd.

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All homemade.

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That mandatory Taal volcano photo. Would’ve gone volcano hopping if weather wasn’t bad haha! 😂

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Foggy view but at least they spelled my name right (because the barista asked how it is spelled 😂).

Stopped by the Marcos Mansion for some buko juice on the way back. It’s actually become a sort of bike rest stop.

Then for dinner, thank you Arnold and Christine for my salubong feast! 😂😂😂

No plans are the best plans. Thanks for an awesome birthday weekend!

Day 4 | August 6

Flew home for my birthday. Had lunch with the most important people, blew my candle and spent the rest of the day lazing around with my boys. 😊

 

xx

 

DMV

 

 

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