May 25, 2012

TGIF Laughs

headphones on, world off

May 14, 2012

Monday Inspiration

Whether big or small ...

photo credit

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday's Mother's Day celebration was a simple but special one. My girls greeted me as soon as the clock struck midnight.

There were no handmade cards this year. Times have indeed changed. But I am nonetheless appreciative of their efforts. They gave me chocolates after breakfast. Much better than roses, I thought. And the hubby cooked Wagyu steak for lunch.

Life is good and I am so grateful.

May 11, 2012

Cagbalete Island Camping

Ever since I watched an episode about camping on Oprah about a couple of months ago, I "obsessed" about taking our family on a camping trip. Since then, I searched the internet for nearby camping sites. I considered Anawangin in Zambales but got too scared when I read about horrifying boat mishaps on the rough sea to get to the island. An office colleague then suggested Cagbalete Island, off Mauban in Quezon province and when I saw the reviews and the availability of resorts on the island, preparations for our "roughing it up" experience was underway.

We reserved a hut at Villa Cleofas Resort in case the girls won't sleep in the tents. And also to make sure that we would have a proper bathroom. (Let me get ahead of myself by saying that the hut didn't have its own bathroom and we had to use the common restrooms and shower stalls.) I bought tents, an additional sleeping bag and a rechargeable light with fan. I also packed our cooler and portable stove.

The "obsession" became a reality last April 28.

The drive from Manila to Mauban took about 4 hours. We passed by the towns of San Pablo, Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya and Tayabas before finally reaching Mauban. We easily reached the port with plenty of time ahead of the 10am boat departure.

Suffice it to say the the port administrators need more organizational skills. On top of the boat fare, an "environmental fee" was also charged per passenger. At around 9:50 am, a local lady presented an alternate option to hire a private boat. It seemed that there were more passengers that could no longer be accommodated on the regular passenger boat. I immediately spoke to the other passengers who were to stay at Villa Cleofas Resort. In the end, we split the P 2,500 one-way fare with two other groups. (This option saved us from a 1.5 kilometer trek from Sabang Port to the resort which I read in other blogs.)

This was the banca which took us to Cagbalete Island. I almost backed out when I saw that there weren't even decent seats available. But I just took a deep breath and told myself that this was exactly what I signed up for. All 20 passengers Indian-sat on the deck, carefully distributing our weight to keep the boat balanced.

After 30 minutes on the boat, we saw a first glimpse of Cagbalete Island. Even from afar, the sand glimmered under the bright blue sky. 

Getting off the boat was another adventure in itself. As the tide was low, the boat could not reach the shore to unload us. We all got down on thigh-deep water, lugged our belongings, supplies and rations and walked about 750 meters to reach the shore. Under the scorching heat of the sun, I must add. But then again, I shut my mouth and did not dare complain. I just took it all in and summed it all up as part of the "roughing it up" experience.

Up close, the sand wasn't really pristine white and powdery. But the blue sea and sky were more than enough. We were finally on the island and away from the city jungle.

We set up our camp after we ate our prepacked lunch. The littlest one was our "tent master." Daddy just assisted her in setting up the tents.

 Once settled, these two wasted no time and scoured the beach for shells ...

 ... and delighted at the abundance of hermit crabs. Again, the littlest one bravely picked up the crabs while the ates freaked out.

After a quick nap, we all trekked to Bonsai Island. It was just a few meters off the shore of the resort. Though the tide was very low, the corals made the walk very uncomfortable. Halfway there, the husband and I almost gave up and wanted to turn back. The littlest one exclaimed: "We're Sulits! We never give up!" And so we trod on.

A number of photo shots later, we headed back to camp.

Dinner was grilled pork and fresh squid. We let the girls roast hotdogs. Too bad though that we didn't get to light a bonfire because the wind was very strong. Entertainment was provided by the littlest one (yet again) as she sang and danced. As I laid inside the tent that night, I heard my girls exchanging stories with each other. That put a contented smile on my face.

 The morning greeted us with a glorious sun rise. Waking up to this was pure bliss.

This was our humble camp. I have no qualms in doing this again. And I vow to buy portable chairs and a table for our next camping trip. Perhaps another of that sun dome tent because it had more ventilation.

I don't care much about my disheveled hair. I more than survived our adventure. Fact is, I actually enjoyed it. That smile on my face is enough proof that I live for bonding moments like this with my family.

May 4, 2012

TGIF Laughs

Have a happy weekend, everyone!