I’ve visited pain inflicting places I swore I never would. Dove down to hurtful memories and surfaced out of breath. I’ve listened to tear stained songs I thought I couldn’t bear to hear. Laughed like a crazy woman between mundane circuses. I’ve danced tirelessly on the dance floor since after I thought my bed was my only comfort. I’ve opened up to new faces when I swore I will never trust again. I’ve apologized for things I wish I have never done, things I wish I have never said. And I’ve forgiven myself for all of it.
You will heal. I promise. In time, you will heal.
Photo is of my 96 yo grandma’s place, totally devastated by typhoon Odette. First floor of her house was entirely submerged in flood, water stayed for 2.5 days. Road to is not yet cleared, had to park the car on the roadside and walk going in carrying supplies that would last for a month. No electricity, no clean water available, they have to go to the nearest town just to secure. Despite all, still thankful they are safe. Much repair is to be done, but we’ll get there. We’ll get there.
* I started writing this post in July but I don’t know how I just can’t get around to finishing this, or anything that I’ve started recently, even just finish a Kdrama or a book or whatever it is. I feel so uninspired (to write) and just plain lazy.
I felt nauseous when I rode the ambulance, it was driving too fast, my stomach churned as I tried to sit still and not topple over. It took less than 20 minutes to get to my destination out of town.
It was a gloomy afternoon, rain threatened to pour, gray clouds loomed over towering trees and the rumble of thunder can be heard from a distance .
I was met by nurses in space suits when I arrived at the mountain resort turned quarantine facility, briefed of the going-ons of the place and was escorted to my room. And that was just the time my situation started to sink in. I did not know if I wanted to cry or be mad or laugh like crazy so I dropped myself on the single bed by the end of the room and slept.
It was just one party, I say, and I let my guard down. 3 days later I was coughing my lungs out, my throat itched and hurt like hell, I was catching my breath, it was so hard to breathe. 5 days later I lost my sense of smell and taste. My swab result turned out positive.
Somewhere, somehow, I knew it was Covid even before testing and it scared the hell out of me. I have asthma and cardiac arrhythmia but that did not really matter, I was mostly scared on how I will affect the people around me, the people I interact with daily at work and at home. I have senior and sickly parents, I have an asthmatic kid, I have a diabetic boss, I have a pregnant colleague and another one in remission from thyroid cancer. It was too overwhelming, I felt like falling into depression.
My mind was blank. I slept away my first week, my roommate started to worry. I did not feel like interacting with other people or seeing the nurses or consulting with the doctor. Insisted even when it wasn’t allowed and went down to the river because I just wanted to be alone and away.
It was the longest 2 weeks of my life.
This pandemic, it’s indescribable. It has changed the way of our lives beyond recognition. It’s widely stigmatized and discriminated, I had to tell the ambulance driver to not turn on the siren when they picked me up so my neighbors won’t look.
But I’ve learned so much in the 2 weeks I was quarantined, that there are still so much that I should be grateful for.
I am grateful that the strain I caught was not deadly and I was able to overcome the disease. I am grateful for the nurses and doctor who looked after me at the facility. I am grateful for the community I was able to get to know and embrace in the 2 weeks I was there, it made my quarantine stay more bearable. I was able to laugh, share stories, binge on zombie movies and indulge in delicious food even when it tasted bland on my end.
I am grateful that the people I left behind at home and at work are well and safe despite being close contacts.
And that I was able to get some rest. Mobile reception was bad I unintentionally did a digital detox, away from social media and just de-stress. I was able to just laze around, not minding the time, and even finished 5 books during my stay. I consider myself lucky that my workplace took care of me, accommodated me in a conducive facility as compared to others in the province, and everything was for free.
I realized that we’ll never go back to how it was. It’s been almost 2 years and the pandemic is still here. A lot of people are still in lockdown, unable to go to work, unable to go to school, unable to meet in public places, struggling in isolation stations from the lack of hospital beds, dying in the ICU, people everywhere are dying because of Covid. And during times of existential uncertainties, we instinctively desperately strive to be with family, but we can’t. I missed my kids so much during the 2 weeks I was away from them.
This Covid thing, we are confronted with the true uncertainty of human existence and the true vulnerability of human life.
That its’s such a terrible waste of time to drown ourselves in an endless unwinnable war for wealth and status and power and not recognize the value of people [our families, our friends, our colleagues, even acquaintances and strangers], instead.
That this forces us to appreciate the value of freedom — the freedom to move, to be with those we love.
That this braves us to stop procrastinating and push ourselves to pursue those things we’ve always dreamt about, because we may run out of time. But this also allows us to pause and bask in the moment, soaking in the mundane and rest.
I had Covid and had so many realizations at that despite the fear and anxiety, and luckily, thankfully I survived.
And just to put this out there, get vaccinated people.
It’s been a very busy year but we managed to squeeze in some time to get together despite the chaotic schedules.
Annual getaway with my forever dates!
Photo set | Manggapuri DSB
Whole place to ourselves! Manggapuri is located at Prk. Mangga, Brgy. Igmayaan, Don Salvador Benedicto, a little over an hour’s drive from Bacolod City. Arrived late afternoon, settled in and munched on a lot of junk while waiting for the sunset.
There are 7 cabanas I think, good for four or two people. Very spacious and comfortable. The rooms have floor-length windows with spectacular views of the mountain, the shy Mt. Kanlaon, and of course the flood of sunlight in the morning.
The place also boasts of this more than a thousand LED tulips, perfect for that romantic night stroll.
Beautiful place indeed, perfect for that long overdue staycation.
And while waiting for our sumptuous dinner, prepared by their in-house Chef, happy hour by the Jacuzzi.
S’mores by the bonfire and late night gossip with crickets as background music.
Woke up the next morning to sounds of chirping birds and buzzing bees. So in love with quiet nature, I seriously wanted to extend my leave.
And these babies! Say hello to Daisy and Donald, these huge, Pyrenean mountain dogs.
Day trip to Danjugan on our 2nd day and since it’s habagat season, the waves were seriously crazy. I was just waiting for our boat to be wiped out.
But we made it!
Ramram, our guide briefed us about the island. It’s a 43 hectare island and marine sanctuary that is made up of 90% limestone forests. It was once a threatened and over-fished area but with the efforts of The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc., the island has been restored to maybe it’s purest form, providing asylum to many wildlife species.
Me and Jobelle trekked while Miel and Pam took the boat to Moray Lagoon.
And we went snorkeling! Saw some sea snakes, moray eels, giant clams and lots of different fish and corals.
We had a slight scare when it was time to go back when our guide told us that the winds were really strong and just to wait for advise from the boat operator if we could actually dock at the resort or divert to somewhere else. I thought we’ll be stranded. Thank God the waters calmed.
I’ve been best friends with these crackheads for almost 3 decades now. They’ve seen the best and the ugly and the great and the nasty parts of me. They have suppressed strangling me countless of times because of my stubbornness and my twisted way of thinking because we are all weird somehow, but I know despite, they will always have my back. They hear my silence, they see my shadows, and they never judge.
We may not always see each other or talk to each other, but we’ll always have August. (CHAROT!) Virtual hugs!
Somewhere in La Castellana, this just a little over an hour road trip from Bacolod City will lead you to the Garden of Luisa, a farmhouse turned resort, surrounded by lush greenery and a scenic view of the very active Mt. Kanlaon, for your perfect staycation.
Since cousins are home from abroad, we decided to spend one weekend out of town and we ended up here. The perfect excuse to laze, have coffee with a view, and even celebrate a birthday.
The garden is home to a wide variety of flora and you could even find propagated ones, truly a haven for plant lovers (like me). They also have a pool with a diving board, the kids loved it! Swam the whole day and were totally baked. Juancho still sporting his toddler’s life vest, the one he used when he was just 2 years old (hahaha!), poor kid.
We also celebrated Lily’s birthday in advance. Happy 5th little girl! Perfect excuse for cake and spaghetti.
And even if it rained… Rain is rare in UAE (lol). Nothing is gonna dull this experience.
It was fun that we were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company, bonding over good food, excellent coffee, a magnificent view and of course, bottles of soju (lol). Definitely indulged everyone with my Korean obsessions.
Family time is always the best time!
Kids knocked out on the way home. Too much fun.
Garden of Luisa is located at Bagonawa-Isabela Rd., La Castellana, Negros Occidental, Philippines, a getaway home destination located just an hour away from Bacolod City. Day rate is P5,000 for 10 pax and 300/pax in excess. Overnight rate is P8,000 for 8 pax. Rates are for exclusive use of the facility. Perfect for your next staycation!
There’s so much to see in our province honestly. Day trip bonding sesh with my cousins the few days they were home.
Photo set | Murcia & DSB
Lunched at Mambukal Resort, one of the popular mountain resorts in Negros Occidental located in Murcia and rests at 1,200 meters above sea level. It’s been the go to if you want a feel of the mountains since I was a kid. Can go hiking up to the seventh falls, kayaking in the lagoon, camping, watch the gigantic fruit bats or go dipping in the sulfur pool.
Passed by the viewing deck going to DSB overlooking a wide stretch of terrains and plantation.
Coffee at La Guada cafe. It’s a cafe resto with a marvelous view and guests can also stay overnight. They have a variety of rooms that could accommodate just you, a couple or family or you can opt to bring a tent, set up camp, make a bonfire and grill some barbecue. Can also go river trekking with their local guides.
Capped off our day at this pine tree haven in DSB.
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.
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!
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.
Lazed by the shore to wait for the sunset.
Kids writing names on the sand, playing volleyball and building sand castles.
It was a Good Friday indeed.
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.
The little kids were not scared, I swear (hahaha!).
First stop was Obong caves.
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.
Arrived to people cooking lunch by the shore (lol). Sad that the cave walls are full of vandals and some leave their trash behind.
Went inside the caves with the use of our cellphone flashlights and was greeted with stalagmite formations.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Day 3 | Easter Sunday
Beautiful sunrise to cap the holy week.
To old ends and new beginnings.
Grateful to have spent the long weekend with the most important people in my life.
When you want to escape the noise of the city for a bit, the mountains is always a good idea.
Almost 30 minutes from Bacolod City, Duyan Cafe is located in Sitio Lantawan, Brgy. Guimbalaon, Silay City. Approximately 21 kilometers from the Silay Airport, route is well paved and cafe is visibly on the side of the road, you can’t miss it!
Unwind and chill.
They serve sandwiches, coffee, tea and astonishing views. No entrance fee! The perfect weekend getaway. Even the kids love it!
Duyan Cafe is open Wednesdays – Sundays from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm.