Note: this is a late post. As in nag-1st anniversary na ang Batanes trip namin before ko pa ito matapos haha! But as they say, better late than never. This blog post series has been in draft for a looooong time and I feel that I won’t be able to move on in posting my other travels without publishing our Great Batanes Dream. So here goes… Happy New Year! 🙂
Our journey to fulfill The Great Batanes dream started 10 months before our December flight after we nabbed a seat sale via PAL Express. It wasn’t super low at Php 8k but enough to spark us to push through with the trip. Fast forward to 10 months later and after hours of online research and group chat discussions, we were finally ready for our trip last December 8 (2016 haha).
One of the challenges of visiting Batanes is that the weather plays a big factor in your trip. Flights can get cancelled and you get stuck there for days, or it rains when you’re there which makes it difficult to visit the other places. So we were monitoring the weather days before our trip. Although the weather forecast mentioned some rain showers, there was no reported typhoon so we still hoped for the best. The flight is at 6AM with boarding time of 5:30AM. When the boarding time arrived, we were told that the flight is on hold due to bad weather in Basco. After an excruciating 1.5 hours, we were informed that our flight is “definitely cancelled” 😥
Batanes gave me the experience to see not only breathtaking landscapes but also old infrastructures that took me back in time and made me appreciate our country’s diverse culture more. The boat ride to Sabtang is probably the most intense I’ve ever experienced but exploring the island made it all worth it.
On our third day in Batanes, we spent one whole day doing the South Batan Tour. From the homestay, we passed by Paderes, a long wall along the road which is also the surname of the architect who built this. There was an ongoing installation of street lights that time which was proof of the continuous development of the area to cater to the growing tourism.
Our first stop was the Chawa view deck which has the oldest uplifted coral. According to our guide, Chawa came from “kawa”, meaning rock. It’s like a viewing deck built beside this gorgeous coral formation. Even if it’s our third day already, we were still in awe with Batanes. We admired how the turquoise sea water splashed into the corals below and how the sea seems to have a lot of different blue and green colors.
Chawa View Deck
Unlike the South Batan Tour which is a whole day tour, the North Batan tour only takes half a day. We did our North Batan road trip in the afternoon of our Day 4. We met our guide at the Pension Ivatan where we had a hearty lunch of different Ivatan cuisines. Due to its popularity, you need to book a reservation here especially during peak season since the Ivatan platter tend to run out of stock.
Ivatan cuisine at Pension Ivatan
As the Batanes tourism flourished, homestays also became more popular as a cheaper option to hotels. It is also a great way for tourists to get to know the locals and interact with them closer.
When doing our research online, most blogs mentioned either Marfel’s or Nanay Cita as budget lodging options. We decided to book at Palangud Inn a.k.a. Nanay Cita’s homestay. She’s also more commonly called Nana Cita in different online forums and blogs. I contacted Nana Cita via text few months before our trip. She confirmed that there’s available room and didn’t even require any deposit. Despite the limited telecom signal in Basco, we were still able to communicate with her without issues especially when we told her that our flight got cancelled. She adjusted our reservations without any hesitation. Continue reading
“Life is meant for Good Friends and Great Adventures”
As we bid goodbye to 2016, I look back at how the past year has brought me to awesome places and taught me life lessons along the way as I travel with friends and family. Lessons that honed me as a person, a friend, a sister, a cousin, a daughter, a mother, and so much more. Lessons that not only helped me but helped those dear to me as well.
My first roadtrip of the year is to the South of Cebu as I joined in the birthday celebration of a dear friend. It was with a group of friends from my previous team in Cebu and this journey reminded me that it doesn’t mean that friendships end when we stop spending (working) time with each other. It was also the time when some of my new team mates joined the older group and a good opportunity to build new friendships as well.
Dalaguete road trip with Sasuke; Osmeña Peak sunset
Having to deal with government offices here in the Philippines is challenging, to say the least. It’s one of the errands that I personally don’t look forward to or try to avoid as much as I can. That’s why I’ve been dreading having to renew my driver’s license. What with all the horror stories I read online such as waiting for 3-6 hours just to complete the transaction and getting just the receipt in the end. Yes, one piece of paper instead of the driver’s license card.
I tried to hold off my trip to the LTO. But it sort of had me “trapped” at home with nowhere to drive to, and it’s not good for a lakwatsera like me. So I literally dragged myself to LTO to get it done. I originally planned to renew my license at SM North Edsa but upon doing more research I found out that there’s a District office near my where I work. So this morning, I just dropped my things at my office, took a 10-minute cab ride and arrived at LTO Pasig.
I was never a hardcore gamer and would conservatively call myself a casual one at that. The only gaming accomplishment I’m most proud of is completing Diablo II in PSP a looooong time ago. Well, aside from getting 5 stars in Just Dance. Haha.
With this I would say that Yui’s Minecraft addiction and gaming skills didn’t come from me. But as a supportive mom, I’ve grown to love the game as well and by watching her play, I came to realize that there are actually life skills you can get from playing Minecraft.
For her 7th birthday, Yui wanted a party so she can celebrate with her friends. At first she wanted a Minecraft themed party, then changed her mind and wanted Descendants instead. I was already searching the net for ideas when she asked if she can change it again. I told her that as long as we haven’t started the actual preparations, she still can. Her third, and thankfully the last, theme is Tangled – the Rapunzel movie. I got excited as well since I LOVED that movie too! I immediately told my friends Rog, Wendy and Ivy so we can start the preps. We spent two months for the planning, Divi shopping, and DIY-ing the decorations and other items for the party. Complete with a detailed workplan, help from other friends and our hyper-mode excitement, we were able to pull our DIY event styling.
Our DIY moments
Here are the things that we DIY’ed for the little girl’s party. (Apologies for the long post, I just wanted to chronicle our labor of love ❤ hehe!)
Pulled out my Photoshop skills to create her invite. Since we’re digital, go green and all, this wasn’t printed anymore but was just posted in the FB event
Created 40 of these lanterns in 3 weeks
I was there at the back of the boat looking far into the horizon, the sun beginning to set on that late afternoon. I was staring blankly at the waves when it suddenly hit me. Here I am, spending a day in a far away island with friends old and new, still alive and enjoying life. It’s been almost two years since the day that he went away. September 22nd, Sunday twenty five after nine. In the doorway with his case, no longer shouting at each other there tears on my face. We were letting go of something special… (okay, enough with the M2M pun) 😂
I’ve spent the last two years trying to rebuild my life and building a new one without that someone I thought would be here for forever. Well, walang forever so anong nakakagulat? Haha! Anyway, it is a very educational experience. I needed to spend time to reflect on what was, what is and what will be. It was hard, very hard. But slowly I found myself smiling again, then laughing again. With the help of my family and friends, I’m here alive and kickin’.