Coron, Palawan 2017

My third trip to Coron is a bit remarkable compared to my other trips.

Since I had folks visiting from the US, we stayed at a more decent place, Busuanga Bay Lodge (I usually stay at boutique hotels that are less pricey 😊). This place was established in 2013 by its Canadian owner and his Filipino  partners. They picked a great part of the island with an amazing view.

We had this part of the property to ourselves, that’s our room at the corner.


All rooms have a view of the bay. We got one right by the shore.


Instead of the usual island hopping trips, we took the recommended trips by the hotel which only included three stops – Lusong Gun Boat (ship wreck from WWII), Coral Garden and South Cay Island.

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We rode an outrigger boat to the islands

We snorkled about a mile of lavish coral reef with plenty of fishes with varying sizes and colors. Too bad I was not able to bring my underwater camera with me.

South Cay Island was exclusive to guests of Busuanga Bay Lodge. We were lucky to be the only guests at the island the entire Saturday afternoon. It was such a wonderful experience to be on a beautiful island by yourself. There were some rainshowers throughout our stay but it was enough to cool the place down from the hot and very humid weather.

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We had a view of the other beautiful islands around South Cay

Apart from the new sights and places, the most remarkable about this trip is being able to experience it with someone special. Thanks, Gabriel, for being with me on this trip ❤

Helping Land with Project Pearls

Peace. Education. Aspiration. Respect. Love. Smiles.

Project PEARLS is a non-profit organization that aims to help marginalized children, especially the urban poor. One of the communities they help are those in Helping Land, also called Garbage Land, in Tondo.

This is where the trash from the metro are dumped. And this is also home to some urban poor who rely on food they get from the trash to live.

My friend, Hope Vega, was so gracious in inviting me to join their feeding program to celebrate her birthday, along with her friends. We went early morning on a Sunday and took various public transportation from Cubao to Tondo, Quezon City.


  
  
  

Tried talking and interacting with the kids while waiting for the program to start. Many of them attend school in nearby communities. They get help from the Ate’s and Kuya’s of Project PEARLS who visit them on weekends.
  

We started the day’s program with a prayer and praise.

Part of the feeding program was some art activity to help develop the kids’ creativity. The day’s art activity was to create a Christmas Card for the kids’ parents.

I hope the parents got to read their kids’ heartfelt messages.

On our walk back, these kids gamely posed for a picture.

I hope there’s more that can be done to uplift the lives of the people in Helping Land. As a start, I hope more will consider sponsoring a day’s feeding program which costs about Php 8,000.

For more information, please refer to Project PEARLS’ Facebook page.

P.S. My left eye looks a bit weird since I had vitrectomy seven weeks before for my detached retina. Eye was not yet fully healed but I felt well enough to be part of the activity.

Visit to Anawim with Power Mornings

Anawim has served as home to abandoned elderly for over 10 years now. It was founded by Bro. Bo Sanchez and is located somewhere in the Rizal provinces.

Power Mornings, which is a prayer group attendee by professionals in Makati CBD visited Anawim last August 15, 2015. The visit was organized in coordination with DZMM and ABS-CBN. They provided medical services and entertainment to the elderly.


  
  
  
It was fun interacting with the elderly who always looked forward to visitors.


  

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!

One

At this moment, there are 6,470,818,671 people in the world. Some are running scared. Some are coming home. Some tell lies to make it through the day. Others are just now facing the truth. Some are evil men, that war with good. And some are good, struggling with evil. 6 billion people in the world. 6 billion souls. And sometimes, all you need is one.

Sometimes, when youre young, you think nothing can hurt you. It’s like being invincible. Your whole life is ahead of you and you have big plans. Big plans. To find your perfect match. The one that completes you. But as you get older, you realize its not always that easy. It’s not until the end of your life that you realize the plans you made were simply plans. Because at the end when youre looking back instead of forward, you want to believe you made the most of what life gave you. You want to believe youre leaving something good behind. You want it all to have mattered…

– From One Tree Hill.

My Bestfriend’s Birthday Weekend

It’s been four years since he last came home. Even if I saw him last February and last July, it was still different having him back in the country. And I’m glad my bestfriend, Edward, decided to spend his birthday weekend in Manila with me. Yes, I made him fly on his birthday!

I almost did not recognize him when I went to pick him up at the airport – the longer than usual hair, the mustache, the goatee. But I forgot to take a picture!

Took Edward to F1 Hotel where we stayed overnight. Picked it because I wanted a place close to Bonifacio High Street where Edward has never been to before. I booked a deluxe room. When we checked in, was pleasantly surprised that they upgraded our room to a suite!

First thing we did was to find a barbershop for Edward’s haircut. Glad we bumped into one of my officemates, Paolo, who showed us where the nearest one was. (Yeah, don’t have any idea where to find one.

2nd’s

Took Edward to one of the best restaurants in the area, 2nd’s. Got one of their bestsellers, beef steak, and Edward’s choice, lamb shank caldereta.

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Because we were so full from our heavy meal, we walked around the area and went to Market Market to buy me some medicines for my colds. Bad decision because it was raining hard and we had a small umbrella. We got really wet. Worse, on our way back, I decided to buy cakes for to go so we can eat the cakes while watching tv back at the hotel. Well, while walking at the parking lot, the 2 boxes of cake fell, only one survived. Yay, we still got to eat one cake! Lol

Breakfast

Had buffet for breakfast

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And took pictures by the pool

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My sisters picked us up around 10am for a trip to Batangas.

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Acuaverde

We spent the weekend at Acuaverde in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas.

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We were joined later in the afternoon by my friend, Quennie, and her family.

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Morning fun

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Lunch in Tagaytay

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And a rainbow to cap the weekend

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Pagsanjan Falls

Went to Laguna for a weekend getaway with my sisters in Pagsanjan to see the majestic falls.

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We stayed at a place called Villa Socorro Agri-Eco Village. It’s a cool, quiet place. They also have a banana plantation within their premises and a banana chips production plant.

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Since we arrived late in Pagsanjan, we decided to try some of the must try places in the area.

We tried the best halo-halo in Pagsanjan – Aling Taleng’s Halo Halo.

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And ate dinner at one of their popular restaurants – Calle Arco. We liked it so much we had lunch the next day at the same restaurant.

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The next day, we woke up early for a boat ride to the falls. We were told tha the best time to go is early in the morning.

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It was a very interesting boat ride. I will let the pictures (video to follow) speak for themselves.

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The Falls!

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Going Through the Falls

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Behind the Falls

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All wet on the ride back from behind the falls.

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On our way back, we filmed the boat ride.

Tree Planting

That same afternoon after we got back from the falls, we did our share of planting a tree in the Eco village.

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Did a little sight seeing, too. This shelter was apparently featured in some American movies.

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Lalaine and Russ: A Beautiful Wedding in Napa (Oct 2012)

Getting There

I arrived in Pleasanton the day before from my week-long trip in New York. As soon as Jazel arrived from Seattle, she picked me up at my hotel, we had a quick lunch at Stoneridge Mall, then headed out to Napa in time for the 4:00 PM wedding rehearsal. We can’t be late or else the beautiful bride will not be happy 🙂 We had a fun ride catching up on things. Well, I did not have much to share, not much has happened to me. Jazel had more exciting things to share that I cannot share here (nor with anyone else… haha, nang-intriga pa) 😉

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The Venue

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Mother and daughter walking down the aisle during rehearsal while Russ’ parents look on. Beautiful moment 🙂

Dinner with the family, close friends and entourage

After the rehearsal, the group went to this elegant Italian restaurant. Shared stories with old and new friends.

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Russ thanking family and friends. Sorry, Russ I missed the beginning of your speech.
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Jessica. Russ’ beautiful sister.
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Listening intently to Jessica.

Bridal Shower

After dinner, Elaine suggested that we give Lalaine a bridal shower since many of us are from far away places (Jasmine from LA, Jazel from Washington, Aileen from Virginia, and me from the Philippines) and could not get together  weeks before. We decided to meet at Crush (and we got lost going there, haha!)

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Hello, sexy ladies!
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The bride with her bling!
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Lalaine and her beautiful girls!!! Me, Marie, Lalaine, Grace, Jazel, Elaine, Jasmine

Pictorial before the Ceremony

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Beautiful gown!
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The beautiful bride and her flower girls
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Katelyn. Love her smile and beautiful curls!
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Hi Lalaine! Luv ya!
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With the mother of the bride. Kanino pa ba magmamana ng kagandahan!
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Love this! Miss you girls!

At the Ceremony

Could not take pictures, but snuck this one 🙂

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Aunt Elsa: Take care of Lalaine, Russ! Walang solian!

Married!

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Lalaine and Russ ❤

Pictorial again after the Ceremony.

We tried to catch some of the light. Had a hard time going up and down the hill in my 3-inch heels. Well, Lalaine had a much harder time in her 4-inch heels! I should not be complaining.

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Jasmine did my curls, Aileen did Jazel’s, Jasmine did hers, Aileen did hers. I wish I can style my own hair!

Cocktails

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Hello!
Hello!

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Lalaine with brothers Ryan and Rommel
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Great idea, Lalaine! Keep the kids busy so they won’t get bored 😉
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Hey, Russ. I’m taking Jack’s picture.

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First dance as man and wife ❤
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Cheers! I wish both of you lots of happiness and beautiful kids 😉

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Change in outfit. Love the dress!
Change in outfit. Love the dress!

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Outtakes

What we did before going to Meritage for the preparations for the wedding.

Jazel, Aileen and I took a walk around the area and took some silly pictures, haha! We decided we need some exercise!!!

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Hot air balloons in the distance

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My Solo Adventure: Autumn in New York (Oct 18 – 25, 2012)

I LOVE NEW YORK! And I can’t wait to go back!

Planned a visit to New York a week before my friend’s wedding in Napa. I probably spent 3 months planning where to go and where to stay. Best decision was getting a New York Pass, but I hope I only got the 3-day pass instead of the 7-day pass. After the 3rd day, all I wanted was to go back to some of the places I saw in the tours I joined!

I am also glad I decided to buy a 7-day unlimited metrocard. I got lost a several times because my sense of direction inside the subway was so bad. I had to take several trains going to different directions until I got it right! Lol.

And the third card is my key to my humble abode at YMCA. Staying in this place was an experience in itself. Was scared at first and was surprised when I saw the room. Will try to show some pictures later, haha! But the great thing is its walking distance to Central Park and to the subway!

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DAY 1: Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, New York Skyride, Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Broadway

Took the NY Water Taxi to tour around the Statue of Liberty before we were dropped off near the 9/11 Memorial.

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Survivor tree

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My original plan was to get to the top of the Empire State Building for a view of the city but it was raining hard and they said it was zero visibility. So, I took the New York Skyride in the same building instead.

 

 

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I saw this big M&M store earlier in the day when I picked up my NY Pass. After NY Skyride, I dropped by the store while waiting for the TKTS booth to open.

 

 

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Madame Tussauds

Another one of my unplanned activities in New York. I decided to make the most of my New York pass and my last evening in the city to see the legendary wax museum. Some were unbelievably well done that I almost expected some of them to move.

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Central Park

The secret to having the place to yourself is to go on a weekday when it’s raining, lol.

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MET Museum

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Wallstreet

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World Trade Center Memorial

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Top of the Rock

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The tour has this cool mobile app that let’s you know the name of the buildings surrounding the Rockefeller Center.

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