This Bird Has Flown

I just finished the book I bought on our first date. It was June. I was nervous. You were running late.

From shelf to shelf I looked for something I hope you’d enjoy, something I can lend to you after I’m done. I guess I liked you enough to think about afters. That was quite new and scary for me.

I put off reading it figuring there’s plenty of time. A second date followed. There wasn’t a third. We stopped.

Now it’s May and you’re nothing more than the guy I was waiting for the day I bought Norwegian Wood.

I left my heart in El Nido

I should really try harder to write about trips within two weeks from the time that they happen if I’m still going to use “relive old memories” as an excuse to blog. As days and weeks and months go by, the number of words I could type and details I remember become less and less. Jotting down notes helps but there are times when I no longer understand the stories behind random words written in haste.

Take for example my El Nido trip with Dai and Ariel a few months ago. I remember planning the post in my head — the conversations between me and the boatmen, how our group in one of the tours was composed of six couples and myself, why I craved for crepes for a month after leaving, why it’s best to visit during summer, how unforgiving the waves are during January, and so on. Now I barely remember anything except the fact that El Nido — its vibe, sidewalk restaurants, gear rentals, foreigners, beaches, limestone cliffs, and friendly locals — charmed me. More than anything, I now understand why people hail Palawan as one of the best islands in the world.

Dai has been inviting me to come with them since last year but I wasn’t sure about my schedule and also wasn’t too keen on visiting El Nido because Batanes and Coron were on top of my list. Honestly speaking, I only said yes because Dai, knowing her parents wouldn’t allow her to travel with her boyfriend without a chaperone, said she’d pay for my one way fare hahaha. Also, the dates coincided with my school’s foundation anniversary so no classes! Armed with a backpack and what’s left of my Christmas money, we explored for five days (or was it four? See, I can’t even recall -_-). img_1352We flew via Puerto Prinsesa Airport which was still a six hour van ride through zigzag roads to El Nido. I thought years of passing by Dalton Pass increased my threshold but I still felt nauseated during our land trip.img_1355Arriving past midnight, we had a hard time looking for our homestay amidst closed shops. Good thing a group of Brgy. Tanods helped us find the way. I like arriving at night because you have no idea how close you are to the water until you hear the sound of the waves. It reminds me of a scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien where the characters, after fighting the night before, wake up to a beach that fits the description of what they were looking for.img_1359Unlike Boracay where you can swim on the mainland, in El Nido, you have to go to the smaller islands for a dip because there are a lot of boats docked and the shoreline isn’t that long. It gets really crowded in the morning thanks to tourists waiting for their rides. There are 4 main island hopping tours available namely A, B, C, D which usually start at 8AM till 5PM. The rates are standardized with a discrepancy of a hundred or so pesos depending on your haggling skills.img_1375We availed of all four tours but weren’t able to visit Hidden and Secret beaches because it wasn’t safe. I thought my boat ride in Guimaras was scary but it was nothing compared to Palawan. The waves were big I was expecting to see some tunneling. At one point, everyone was silent and holding on for dear life.img_1399All tours are inclusive of lunch cooked by the crew en route to your destinations. They’re all pretty much the same — grilled liempo or chicken, shrimp sauteed in Sprite, squid, fish, eggplant ensalada, rice, fruits, and soda — even after four days of eating the same thing, I’m still not sick of the menu. In fact, I’m craving for it. Definitely one of the things we looked forward to hahaha.img_1385Tapos gawin mong sabaw yung sawsawang toyo, tapos magkamay ka, tapos nasa tabing dagat huhu.img_1593Matinloc Shrine.img_1464img_14601img_1538This was the entrance to the hidden beach. I know I always try to put on a brave front and say things like “minsan lang tayo andito, try na natin” but I was scared to even leave the boat haha. We were all Filipinos in our group that day with a kid or two and as much as we deny it, we’re not the most adventurous race so we just watched these brave souls swim to the tiny hole amidst crashing waves with awe and respect and thoughts of wanting to learn how to swim.img_1599To top it off, the boatmen had a hard time removing our anchor and after close to an hour of futile effort going round and round and pushing and pulling (which only worsened the situation) and the boat falling apart, they just cut it off to the dismay of the boat captain.img_1614If there’s one thing you need in your El Nido trip aside from sunblock, it’s aquashoes! It’ll make your life more comfortable. The sand is fine but once you get in the water, it’s another story. The going rate for rentals is 100 per day but I got mine at a discounted rate of 70 pesos since I paid for four days.img_1655I also learned how hassle it is to have a drone camera. Yes, the shots are amazing but it’s too much effort. One of our tour mates (not pictured below) even dropped his because the earlier versions don’t have the automatic avoidance feature so it collided with the cliff and fell into the water. Ouch.img_1668Payat tayo sa anggulong ito.img_1681Pizza and pasta from Artcafe. The pizza was good. The pasta, not so much. A bit overpriced.img_2694Entrance to Cudugnon cave.img_1985Another small entrance with the guide showing us how to roll.img_19993img_2094img_2096Lover’s in Snake Island. We arrived late so it was already high tide. Hence, the sandbar is not very prominent.img_2105An ingenious use of shells.img_2111THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.img_2129Tours A and C are the most popular and recommended if you have a limited time in El Nido but my personal favorite is Tour D especially Cadlao Lagoon. A crew explained to me why the water isn’t clear, something about the proportion of saltwater to seawater — another thing I forgot 😦img_2187img_2178img_2251In one of the islands, we climbed a cliff. For others, it might be a relatively easy hike. Heck, it’s not even Taraw Cliff, just a lesser version of it. But months of sedentary lifestyle plus X kilograms gained made it a lot harder for me I wanted to give up halfway but I didn’t have a choice. I am amazed by how strong limestones are! Even the thinnest didn’t crumble under my full weight plus the increased pressure of my trembling knees.4img_23207The view on top made up for all the scratches and bruises I had.img_2414img_2388Our days in El Nido typically went like this: Wake up early, breakfast care of our homestay, island hopping tour till 5PM, wash up, walk around while looking for food to eat and things to buy, go back to our homestay, play pusoy dos, sleep, repeat. I wasn’t complaining.

Our dinner in one of the paluto along the beach.img_2399A lebanese food I got curious with while walking.img_2408Summer (even in January) isn’t complete without fresh fruit shake.img_2401During our trip to small lagoon, we saw a boat on fire while the crew were cooking their guests’ lunch. For a minute there I was scared because the boats were docked very near each other it’s not far from reality for them to catch fire too.img_2492DCIM101GOPROG0412612.My favorite destination next to Cadlao Lagoon is Small Lagoon where you can rent a kayak and explore the place. While paddling, I couldn’t help but thank God for letting me witness the beauty of His creation.img_2528img_2538DCIM101GOPROG0422759.Big Lagoon.img_2571DCIM101GOPROGOPR2836.Fearless.img_2578Third wheelin’DCIM101GOPROGOPR2854.Thanks Dai for always holding my hand whenever we snorkel because I couldn’t swim even with a life vest on. Labyu!DCIM101GOPROG0482999.Usually, we don’t talk with our fellow tourists in a tour group. We just mind our own businesses. But on our last day, everyone was cooperative and in the mood to socialize. We had lots of fun.DCIM102GOPROGOPR3270.Water fight!DCIM102GOPROGOPR3278.We even went reverse train train on our way back to our boat 🙂DCIM102GOPROG0553290.A recurring theme during our trip is me asking our boatmen for their real names because they were giving me things that are obviously fake. Then one of them slapped me with the truth: “e kahit naman sabihin namin, ‘kuya’ pa rin ang itatawag niyo kaya wag na lang“. Now I feel guilty for not remembering a single name of the fun and competent crew we had.img_2608I miss walking these streets. Not much is happening. It’s developed but not too developed. There are stores where you can buy necessities but there’s no loud party on every corner. I hope it stays this way. I hope it doesn’t lose its charm when I come visit again.img_2653Best burger in El Nido from a corner store near the beach. img_2657And I craved for crepes because there’s an abundance of stalls selling one. Even the butter and sugar variant is so good after a day of swimming but our favorite is the Nutella banana. After arriving in Manila, I visited Crepes and Cream to satisfy my craving but it’s just not the same. Luh!2This was our view every single day for breakfast at the rooftop of our homestay. The food was basic — tapsilog, tocilog, hotsilog and another log I forgot — but Kuya was always a welcome presence. I don’t remember his name as well but I do recall that he was originally from Manila (he worked in one of the restaurants in Binondo) until he decided to settle on this island.img_2942We bypassed PPS to explore El Nido so the underground river would have to wait. But we had lunch at Ka Inato restaurant where their inclusion of PWDs in the staff gets a plus point for me.img_29653Ms of a good meal: Masarap. Marami ang serving. Mura.img_2970Pusoy dos while waiting for our flight which was, of course, delayed. We had separate flights going back. Dai and Ariel still with AirAsia while I flew with Cebu Pacific.img_2984The famous Ube Hopia from Baker’s Hill. I think we finished one box while waiting for our flight hehe.img_2985Thank you El Nido! I promised myself I’ll attend this year’s school festivities because I’m (hopefully) graduating but I don’t regret anything.DCIM100GOPROGOPR1074.

Food Photodump 10

Since I have this habit of procrastinating during critical moments (i.e. finals week aka now), let me make myself feel a little better by posting another food photodump to make it seem like I did something worthwhile today. I promise to finish the laundry later. And read a page or two so I can reach today’s quota of productiveness. Pardon if this post is unusually incoherent, mema, and sabaw.

Two classic favorites: Kenny Rogers Solo B with Mac n’ Cheese and Sour Chives Potato as sides. And every Filipino’s favorite, Chicken Joy and friends! Over the past months it has surfaced that you can actually ask for extra sauce for Jolly Spaghetti free of charge. I tried doing so in one branch but I was asked to pay 14 pesos to which, of course, I declined. On another occasion, I tried again at a different branch (because I like my spaghetti masabaw) and the crew gladly obliged. Now I don’t know what’s true anymore.food4I’ve been frequenting the food court at Harrison Plaza because the stalls there offer decent, affordable choices. If you’re not too snob about authenticity, there’s Korean, Japanse, Filipino, Filipinized shawarma and siomai, and my current favorite: Vietnamese. I always order beef pho and spring roll. Sulit because they’re under 150 bucks and that includes softdrinks!img_4912Last year, the Aristocrat along Roxas Blvd offered buffet breakfast for less than 200 pesos! I thought it was too good to be true but of course there was a catch — it was only available every Friday from 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM. While reviewing for finals (naks), Nicole and I dropped by after CBTL Adriatico closed for the day. The spread consists of Lugaw, fried rice, adobo, scrambled and sunny side up eggs, tocino, bangus, and tinola. As far as I can remember, there was no free coffee but there was unlimited soda, just the kind of drink you’d want in the morning haha. It’s not the best breakfast buffet but for the price, I really have no right to complain.food1Buddy’s at Fishermall. I appreciate that the pizza had a lot of toppings, Lucban longganisa is always welcome, and the pork viand called Hardenera was a pleasant discovery. It’s like pork and other innards plus egg in a llanera.img_4633Event though there are already a lot of decent Korean places in Malate, one night with TLW, we still decided to go all the way to Makati (not exactly far but still…) to try Dong Won because it is allegedly one of the best in the area. It looks like a house converted into a restaurant and Korean products like frozen beef and packaged seasonings are also sold.

We ordered two meat variants and dolsot bibimbap. First off, the banchans were disappointing and they weren’t even refillable. We didn’t get to cook our meat and they were kind of dry. I think we could have had better with the amount we spent on other restaurants.img_5907The bibimbap is another story. We don’t always order this because we usually settle with meats, tteokbokki, and ramyun. At first we were grossed out — the ground meat and egg yolk were raw and the stone bowl didn’t seem hot enough. We mixed everything but it still looked unappetizing. However, after one spoonful, we were converted. It was unexpectedly delicious! We ended up strictly following the order of whose turn it is to have a bite, para walang lamangan.food7Wingstop! I personally think it’s too expensive for wings because it wasn’t exactly the best I’ve had (Flaming Wings Taft pa rin mga ulol). The only reason I’m going back here is to avail of my buy one take one coupons from the Coffee Bean planner 🙂img_5311Teresita’s at SM Manila. Still better than Razon’s in terms of food. In terms of halo-halo, well, I have a soft spot for the latter.

Pictured right is Bangus in Mall of Asia where we had dinner during schwester’s first Manila layover. Ironically, one of their specialties is Crispy Pata and it was really good. The only bangus we had was bangus lumpia and it was my least favorite among everything we had haha.food5Irish Potatoes. You know how when some fries get soggy you no longer want to eat them? This one is the thick variant. Maybe it was because of the cheese sauce, bacon and mushroom, but for some reason, even though it became soggy after a while, we still enjoyed eating it ala mashed potato. If you got curious about the name and assumed that these particular potatoes are Irish, they’re not. Read about it here.img_6143Sometimes you think most restaurants serving Filipino dishes are not very different from each other. Then you come across Manam. This place brings comfort to comfort Filipino food. It’s recommended for both the adventurous and the careful because the menu is divided into into “Classics” and “Twists”. Plus, I love that their servings come in three sizes — Small, Medium, Large good for 1, 3, and 6 persons respectively — because customers can be alone or in big groups.

Had the opportunity to dine in their Greenbelt branch with Trishia last year (yeah everything here happened last year, told you I’ve been slacking).

We had House Crispy Sisig, Pancit Molo,  and Turon of Mango and Kesong Puti with Ice Cream from the Classics while we chose Ensaladang Namnam from Twists.img_5345Everything was delectable but my favorite is easily their dessert. It was salty and sweet, hot and cold, crunchy and soft. I think it’s one of my favorite desserts ever and I’m not  a desserts person.

I haven’t been back since because their branches aren’t exactly places I frequent and I’m no longer the type of person who goes to a faraway locations with no other agenda except to eat at a particular establishment. But I’m already excited for my second time and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be adventurous enough to try their famous Watermelon Sinigang.food2Ate Meg told me that the best Takoyaki she ever tasted was from Osaka in Japan where the snack was first popularized. I didn’t know that 10 years ago when I was in Osaka and I’m not returning anytime soon (no budget huhu) so I’ll settle for Hokkaido Takoyaki in SM Makati. They’re so good and filling you can order six pieces and make them a rice meal substitute.img_5364BLK 513 is a yogurt place famous for their charcoal yogurt (I think). It’s really good plus there are a lot of toppings and syrups to choose from. And there’s the novelty of eating black yogurt.

It has long been known that the Japanese can appropriate food and make it better. I’ve seen from watching animes that the characters are fond of eating Japanese curry and I remember all the ready-to-eat curries in supermarkets but my first actual taste of it was only late last year. In true Japanse fashion, I went alone, sat on one of those high stools facing the kitchen, and ate using only a spoon. Thank you Coco Ichibanya for opening a branch at Robinsons Manila! I hate that you’re expensive (need to shell out 300-500 for a complete meal) but I love that I can still taste the curry when burping even after hours. Whenever I eat here I promise myself never again because I get too full and it’s too pricey for a single meal but then when the craving kicks in, I succumb to it anyway huhu. Pictured below is pork cutlet with egg but the one with mushrooms is also good because also, I like shrooms now.food3Last December was one of the few instances when I traveled outside Manila for the sole purpose of eating out. But then again, I met with college friends who I haven’t seen in a while so it was forgivable. Besides, I’ve been curious with The Frazzled Cook in Tomas Morato — it was consistently in the Top 100 of Booky, the app I use for checking out restaurants (works offline too!). Since it was Christmas season and none of us thought of reserving seats, we had to wait more than an hour for a table, the restaurant was full even on a weeknight. Good sign, bad for patience.img_6786We were only 8 but we ordered the set meal for 10 hahaha and there was an unfortunate incident involving the health of one of us so we weren’t able to finish everything which was unfortunate because the food was flavorful — from the mushroom soup, herbed chicken salad, pizza caprese, tenderloin nuggets, grilled salmon with mango salsa, and spicy shrimp pasta. That dinner was costly only because we shared for what’s supposed to be divided by 10 but I think the overall price of the menu is acceptable, a steal, even. I wish someone invites me to eat at Frazzled Cook again so I’ll have an excuse to commute for more than an hour.

Thankfully, we were given a private room because nothing has changed, we’re still boisterous and I’m sure other customers would have been irritated by our crassness.img_6795Since some ramen places are too expensive, I am thankful for Ramen Kuroda! I’ve tried all three of their broth variants and my favorite is Aka, the spicy one. Least favorite is Kuro because of the garlic oil. It’s savory and the noodles are thin and firm. Plus the eggs are cooked just the way I like it. I have no complaints. Stick with the noodles though because their curry sucks 🙂food6A restaurant opened in my hometown and of course it generated a buzz because the place was sosyal, it was right smack in the middle of rice fields accessible through Maharlika highway, and the food was allegedly delicious which justifies its Manila-level price point.

The place is called The Simple Table and I visited last Christmas vacation with high school friends. It occupies the whole 3-storey building and I must say, it was aesthetically pleasing. The air conditioning is also strong which was very welcome (and almost unheard off apart from Jollibee) where I came from.

When it came to the food, uhm, trust me, I tried to really like it because I’d love to have a place to recommend to visitors or celebrate special occasions in. But it was a miss or meh for me. Especially considering the price. We had two pastas and a pizza. They were average at best. I guess I’ll be back to order their bestsellers which were unavailable during our visit or too expensive for students/young professionals. I’ll bring my mother with me next time. Not my father because he abhors overpriced food haha.img_2117Their saving grace is the Matcha cheesecake. It was so good it can rival any other cheesecakes from the big city!img_2121The young pro with three students.img_2157Wala lang, singit ko lang ‘to dahil namamalengke kami minsan sa Lipa at bigla ko itong naamoy. SINUUBAN!!! SOBRANG BANGO, SOBRANG SARAP IULAM SA MAINIT NA KANIN!img_2317And I only found out last year na iba pala ang buko sa macapuno. Yung macapuno ganito ang itsura pag hinati sa gitna. Mindblown!img_2328Much as I hate it, I need to end this post on a sad note. I was walking along Adriatico last year when I saw this. I did not believe it at first. I checked whether I was on the right street and asked a security guard how long has it been closed, if it was only closed for renovation or for good. It was for good. And I was heartbroken. Still a bit heartbroken.

Good thing I haven’t been frequenting that area. Goodbye ChickenCharlie, thanks for the memories, the good food, and the friendliest store crew ever. I don’t even know her name but I hope to meet her again somewhere. Her smile is like sunshine.img_4971

Rani’s Adventures in Skincareland

Discovering skincare is like falling into a rabbit hole and being transported into another realm where hyaluronic acid, no matter how sinister it sounds, is a good thing. And if you’re not careful, it can become your idol like how it became mine.

I believe the genes controlling my skin are pretty good (thanks parents!) because all my life, it was the least of my concerns. Never crossed my mind that my blog would have a beauty section. I eat a lot of unhealthy foods that will make Gwyneth Paltrow faint, I use the same soap on my face and body, I don’t put anything apart from Pond’s rosy white day cream, I’ve never had a facial. Heck, I don’t even wash my face before bed yet I can count on one hand the number of times I had a breakout. And even I am surprised when I get a pimple which would eventually leave without any trace. Safe to say, my face is pretty low maintenance (and neglected). All I did was wipe it with my first menstruation and I’m set for life hahaha.

Or so I thought. I forgot one of the biggest enemies of mankind, one we’ve been obsessed with since i-don’t-know-when, and one which causes women to part with their moolah faster than light: aging!

I think it was last year when a friend pointed out that I had wrinkles around my eyes. Due to the fact that I was trying too hard to blend in with teenagers, the comment deeply unsettled me. I began searching for ways to minimize the lines I already had and prevent the ones I’ll eventually have. It lead me to the use of sunscreen. Since I’m a newbie with no experience whatsoever, I sought the help of strangers through online reviews and after a few clicks, I found myself in beautymnl‘s website. Just like what a song in High School Musical says, it’s the start of something new.

My first ever purchase included Biore UV Aqua rich watery essence, allegedly Japan’s #1 sunscreen, and KissProof lipstick just because it’s cheap.

I fell in love with Biore. It had a powdery finish, citrus-y smell, and is super light I don’t have to wait for it to be absorbed by my skin. In yet another proof that humans are beings of habit, I can no longer go out in the sun (never liked it in the first place) without putting sunscreen on — it feels like I’m committing a heinous crime. Yes, even when I am only going to buy something from the nearby 7eleven, I have to put on sunscreen!IMG_5549As for the KissProof, it’s super matte and also super dry. Even though it doesn’t smudge, I won’t buy it again.122312You know how, when you first discover something, you are so eager to try and know everything? I was amazed with the new door that was opened. There were things like toners and essences and ampoules etcetera. There was a product and recommended ingredients for flaws that I never even knew were flaws. Most of all, I was mindblown when I found out there’s a 10-step korean skincare regimen! And people are actually diligently doing it! I spent hours reading through Google results and a reddit thread specifically for Asian Beauty! I couldn’t wait to try everything and see the results.

Thank God for the limited funds because it taught me to prioritize. Hence, my second BeautyMNL haul included safe choices.

There’s no way in hell I’m doing the 10-step we’ll never know so I settled with three — water cleanse, tone, and moisturize. The Tony Moly cleanser lasted close to one year which was super worth it because if I remember correctly, I bought it for less than 200 pesos. Meanwhile, Celeteque is a good brand that I still go back to time and time again. Plus, it’s cheaper than its Korean brand counterparts.IMG_6015The nose pore strips and eye zone mask I did not buy again.IMG_6021As I dug deeper, I got curious about about face sheet masks and how they work (something about forcing your skin to absorb the essence faster because of the wall the mask is creating). The first flavor (?) I tried was this one from SkinFood. It was relaxing, all right. Perfect after a long day. You just put it on and pamper yourself.img_8819Then I tried another brand, The Face Shop. I was enticed by the word “firming” given that I started this all out of a wrinkle comment. I also got curious with face mists so I tried the green tea variant. I may be exaggerating but it was like discovering a stream in the middle of a desert. I love spraying it on my face especially in this unbearable heat. Before, whenever I see people spritzing this, I roll my eyes and think it’s just water. I TAKE MY WORD BACK IT IS NOT JUST WATER BECAUSE HOW CAN IT BE SO REFRESHING?!?img_9397It was during that time that The Face Shop had a buy 5 get 5 promo on their face masks so of course I hoarded. There are a lot of different ingredients I get dizzy reading about them but I don’t remember feeling anything special from using this bunch, just your regular face mask sheet. I use them twice a week. Once if I get lazy because of course I still get lazy I’m not a robot.img_1142There was a point when I decided I’d crossover to make-up, another world different from skincare. I tried the tinted sunscreen of Belo Essentials because I read it doubles as make-up primer, whatever that is. Ekkkk I wasn’t even able to finish this tube. I’m not ready for that world because I hate the stain on my uniform’s collar. So I still stick with my first love in skincare, Belo SunExpert SPF 40 sunscreen, and use it alternately with Biore. img_9156The thing about skincare is, the more you know about it, the more flaws you see in yourself. Take for example blackheads. I didn’t think much about them before. Duh, they’re nothing more than clogged hair follicles? I’ve tried nose strips sporadically and honestly speaking, I only do them because seeing the blackheads on the strip afterwards is oddly gratifying. But some Korean brands aren’t satisfied with one strip alone, their version has three steps: for opening the pores, removing the blackheads, and minimizing the pores. If there’s so much fuss about such a tiny detail then it must be important. So I became conscious. A good one-step strip if three is too much is this Jeju Volcanic Lava Nose Strips from The Face Shop.img_1796My three-step routine expanded to include serum and eye cream. And I was too impatient for the BeautyMNL delivery that I tried buying at physical stores.

I recommend the Avalon Organics Facial Serum because it did brighten up my face. However, I am not a fan of the eye cream. I didn’t see any difference after using it for weeks, it just stung the eyes. I remember getting teary-eyed the first few times I used it. I read somewhere that skincare products especially organic ones like these two last longer and are more effective when refrigerated.

I’m a sucker for sale so when Nature Republic, another Korean brand, had a 10+10 promo on face mask sheets, I impulsively bought two boxes huhu. I prefer the royal jelly over blueberry. I also refrigerate them only for the sole reason that they’re more soothing when cold.

The SkinFood Strawberry Black Sugar Mask Wash Off is something I use once a week to exfoliate. Just like everything from this particular brand, it smells so good! img_1706Even though I buy new products while the ones I’m currently using are only half-empty, I still make it a point to squeeze out every last drop before I start with another. An exception is the Avalon eye cream because I think it got bad as evidenced by the strong citrus-y smell after I defrosted our refrigerator.

Anyway, I was looking forward to the day I finally ran out of the Avalon facial serum because I was excited to try the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream. Snail secretions are a thing in Asian Skincare I think almost every brand has a different variation of this ingredient. You might be grossed out by the thought of putting mollusc slime on your face but sometimes, the wilder something is, the more you’re convinced that it works because it has to, right?

Speaking of outrageous, the weirdest ingredients I’ve read about are Placenta and Snake Venom face mask sheets. Yes, Placenta. Uhm, I’ll stick with my menarche, thank you very much.

But I digress. I recommend the recovery gel cream because I don’t know, it might be psychological, but I really end up with a more refreshed face in the morning no matter how little sleep I have (eye bags are another story). Plus, it comes in a cute pink tube and lasts long I’ve been using mine for months.

Judge me all you want but another product I succumbed to is the eyelash/brow growth serum. The first brand I tried was from Leiania House of Beauty and in my defense, I only tried it because it was on sale. Out of all the skincare (can’t really categorize this one as “care”, “enhancement” is a better term) I tried, I was most amazed by this because after only two weeks, I noticed my eyebrows did become fuller and my eyelashes, longer.

I also discovered the best chap stick ever which was Carmex! Walang sinabi ang ibang brand as in.Untitled

I only used the Hair Mask portion of the Intensive Hair Treatment and though it makes my hair manageable for a few days after use, it has no lasting effect.

Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack is hands down the best face mask sheet I’ve tried so far. It made me realize that not all are created equal. The sheet alone fits my face snugly unlike other brands *cough* Nature Republic *cough* where it’s too wide and doesn’t stay in place. If only it was cheaper I’d gladly use it at least once a week.

Skin Genie is a local brand known for the Lip and Cheek Stain Alive! It’s only 80 pesos a pop so I bought four and I like them all but have a soft spot for Tan Brown.

I’ve always wanted wavy hair so I was enticed by the Beachborn Sea Salt Spray. It works best when sprayed on wet hair which I then tie in a bun so it becomes curly when dry.

Since I was disappointed with Avalon’s eye cream, I’m having high hopes for Mizon’s Snail Repair Eye Cream because the reviews are promising. Can’t really tell if it’s effective because I always forget to use it.img_6326My last BeautyMNL haul was in December because they have 20% off on all items for birthday celebrants. Now you know where my Christmas money went.

Skin Genie’s Apple Cider Vinegar Toner has a strong smell but my face feels really clean afterwards. However, I think I’m going back to Celeteque or trying other toners after this because I think it’s too harsh. There are a couple from Body Shop and Burt’s Bees I’m curious about but they’re too expensive!

The Beauty Bakery Witch Hazel Facial Mist is a decent product that is also refreshing. I think I’m just biased towards The Face Shop because I tried it first.

I have a love-hate relationship with Skin Genie’s Healthy Sunscreen with insect repellant and moisturizer. Some days I love to use it because it absorbs easily, other days I don’t because it feels like I’m spreading margarine on my skin.

Cosrx’ Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is dubbed as the cheap SK-II (my dream product! I know I’ve made it in life when I go home with this haha). I tried it once or twice (because I’m still finishing my tube of Mizon Snail Repair) and one thing I can say is that it’s no doubt snail slime, it’s so gooey! I’m excited to use it in the next few months 🙂

Innisfree is known for their mask sheet. It’s better than Nature Republic but Benton is still my holy grail.

Bought Lip and Cheek Stain from Skin Genie again. I’m in love with Burgundy Wine! Thanks to Regina Belmonte, I learned that the best combination is Burgundy Wine plus a swipe of Christmas Red ❤

And another product from Skin Genie because I ran out of the Leiania serum. I prefer the latter.img_7650My Lip and Cheek Stains. I’ve since given away the others to friends and only have the Christmas Red, Tan Brown, and Burgundy Wine left with me. Another thing I learned about this whole thingamajig is to experiment on things, figure out what works for you, adjust accordingly, and build your personalized skincare regimen from there. Even in our kaartehan, we’re all unique hehehe.img_7656My face whenever BeautyMNL delivers my orders.img_7649This all happened in 2016. Since the year started, I haven’t been diligently doing my 5-6 step skincare routine. Most days I settle with three or four. The masks are still in the fridge. The tubes are still half full.

Writing this post, I was reminded of my realization sometime ago that there’s a difference between wanting to take care of yourself and being consumed by your obsession of looking young. I realized I was leaning towards the latter when I found myself staring at a mirror multiple times a day meticulously searching for flaws to kill. When I started preferring compliments that I look young for my age over anything else. It also sucked out my already dying productivity and has cost me to go beyond my budget many times. It took me a wake-up call from my leader. As much as I’m cultivating my outward appearance, I must not neglect what’s within for it is written, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. (1 Peter 3:3)

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against and no right to judge others who live by skincare. There’s no way I’m giving up sunscreen and the thought of face masks are still welcome (needed) some days. Personally, I just know that there was something wrong with my heart and my heart is my responsibility. Man looks at the outside but God looks at the heart and I live to please an audience of One. The goal is to glorify God by making sure I’m presentable and I take good care of the temple I was entrusted with, not to glorify myself by appearing to be effortlessly flawless.

So I’ve toned down to the essentials. My eyes still widen at the sight of products I want to try but by grace, I no longer go around impulsively buying goods I can live without (and can’t actually afford in the first place hahaha). Besides, those ads are Photoshopped and no matter how much elixir we put on our faces, we can’t stop the lines from coming. So I learned to embrace them. And realized I’m just really overreacting, I’m only 25 for crying out loud!

Lastly, I believe that for those who wait on Jesus Christ, there will come a time when “our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. (1Cor 15:54)“. And though I doubt that it will fit the beauty standards of this world (36-24-36, full lips, long lashes, spotless white, etc), I know that our glorified bodies will be well-suited to heaven, where we’ll spend eternity in perfect harmony with the One who loves us most.

Where money went

Hola! In 8 days it will be two months since my last post. I’d like to tell you that time spent away from the internet is quality time spent in the real world but that’s not entirely true. Despite my socially-busy calendar, I was still online most of the time — just unable to update this site because compared with endless scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and the real-time-don’t-overthink-just-overshare nature of said social networks, I put in a minimum of an hour per post in rovingrani (di lang halata dahil dami pa ring grammar crime).

March (and the half of April) was a blur. All my weekends were booked meaning I missed my Saturday class for the whole month plus an important seminar. Truth be told, I felt the academic consequences of my choices when I came back. Still hoping and praying that those consequences will not reflect on my final transcript haha. Anyway, academics aside, it was a month of love and grace most notably in the form of two weddings, two out of town trips, and two final examinations. Those stories are for another post.

In lieu of March being a blur, it can’t be denied that no matter how much I enjoyed the past few weeks, even busyness can become monotonous. There are days when I just long for rest, both in body and soul. I was planning on doing just that this Holy Week but alas, my will just wouldn’t cooperate because there are still other things that need to be done.

Hence, today, Black Saturday, I conducted a general cleaning of the studio, folded clothes so my cabinet wouldn’t look like a dumpster, and organized my messy study table among other things. It took me the whole day to do those because I woke up at noon, checked SNS in between, and squeezed in an almost three hour movie. I planned on capping the day with sipping the wine I bought from La Union that’s been sitting in the fridge ever since, finally listening to Ang Bandang Shirley’s new album, or finishing IQ84. But since I put “update blog” in my to-do list, here I am!

Since the year began (and I am not exaggerating), my wallet has been empty but my heart, full. There are days when I scratch my head wondering where money went and there are moments like this, when I scratch my head thinking how I was able to afford these things.

*I wrote a paragraph justifying my unwise handling of finances given that other people my age are slowly building their portfolios/buying properties/preparing for retirement/being responsible adults in general to feel better but I cannot justify myself so I deleted it.*

In January, I watched Sa Wakas, a musical based on the songs of Sugarfree at Power Mac Center in Circuit, Makati. If you haven’t been to Circuit, I highly recommend the place! It’s still relatively peaceful. Before the show, we ordered food from Backyard Kitchen and Brew. All were decent but not the kind I’d crave for in the future.0 (6)Best of the bunch was their Pizzookie (not sure of the spelling). Imagine what warm cookie dough that’s not overly sweet, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup taste like in one mouthful and you’ll know what I mean.0 (3)I was not a big fan of musicals/plays because I am musically-challenged, I thought it was a luxury reserved for the 1% and the creative souls, and I was afraid I wouldn’t appreciate the characters bursting into songs when they could have said their lines and gotten it over with. But I’m a changed person now, thank God. I have a newfound love for plays and performers have my respect!

Sa Wakas is only my second (Rak of Aegis was the first) and it did not disappoint. It’s a love story told backwards — starting from the break-up working its way to the honeymoon stage which makes the latter more heartbreaking because you know it wouldn’t be a happy ending. Plus, the music is too familiar, from one of my favorite bands ever, Sugarfree (whose songs are really musicals waiting to happen).

Because this happened in January, some of my feels have dissipated and I already forgot the things I wanted to write about before but one thing I remember is how it made me feel — bittersweet (especially the yosi part 😦 ). One takeaway from the play is the importance of finding someone who is aligned with your purpose because no matter how much you love a person, if you are not looking at the same end goal, you either break him/her or break your heart.0 (4)I still believe that cheaters/two-timers have no excuse because actions doesn’t happen in a vacuum but it doesn’t mean they’re beyond forgiveness and the other party, beyond healing.

Cheers to the great cast especially to Gabbi, Lexy and Topper! If ever this show gets a re-run, I’d gladly watch again with a different set of cast 🙂0 (7)Also in January is the arrival of my BIGBANG merch from South Korea! Thanks to Dianne for arranging everything because she’s a pro. I just had to pick them up at the PhilPost office near the airport for payment of customs duty. I was anxious at first because according to Dai, taxes are very expensive. Good thing imports worth 10,000 pesos and below are tax-free as long as you show the officer proof of payment. Yay!0 (8)Huhu now I know the adrenaline rush that fangirls feel whenever their merchandise arrive. I only ordered the official 10th anniversary light stick and the MADE album but I was so so so excited to unbox them. Thank God Dianne, my enabler, is leaving the country and BigBang is on a hiatus otherwise I’ll surely succumb to the temptation of buying more. I am amazed at how the Koreans have studied the fans and almost perfected the art of marketing their stars! They can sell overpriced notebooks and folders and useless pop-ups and we’d still buy them.0 (9)0 (10)0 (11)In February, TLW went on a roadtrip to Tagaytay for Dianne’s despedida, bulalo, and AndgBandang Shirley’s gig. Talk about hitting three birds with one stone.IMG_3680Thanks to Chabsie and Tordsy, I discovered that the best bulalo is not found in restaurants along the highway but on the second floor of Mahogany Market. There’s no view of Taal lake and Volcano while you eat but it’s cheaper and you’re busy savoring every spoonful anyway.IMG_3686I forgot the name of the stall where we ate basta it has the green menu pictured on the left below 🙂IMG_3707Fire to keep the sebo from solidifying hahahaIMG_3709Crispy tawilis plus suka huhu ang sarap T.TIMG_3712And if you ask for more, they give you a bowl of bone marrow free of charge! Come on and clog your arteries nommm.IMG_3715Best eaten for dinner (even though you’re not supposed to eat a lot at night) because the breeze are coolest at this time!IMG_3885Afterwards we decided to grab some dessert and hot chocolate at Bag of Beans. I’m a fan of their blueberry cheesecake even though I don’t like blueberries. The consistency of the cake reminds me of ice cream and it passed my only standard in a pastry — not too sweet.IMG_3796Finally, on to the reason why we went to Tagaytay in the first place! A Valentine’s gig called Subway Love Story at The Junction Tagaytay!!! IMG_3805We initially went there solely for Ang Bandang Shirley but was pleasantly surprised by other performers namely MOONWLK and Banna Harbera and most especially Tanya Markova! Unfortunately, the place was almost empty and towards the end (close to 2AM), we were one of only two tables occupied. This makes me sad because these people and their music deserve a wider audience. I was expecting the place to be full given that it was the Valentine weekend and a ticket comes with unlimited beer. I guess it was not marketed effectively or the place was too inaccessible. IMG_3806ANYWAY ANG BANDANG SHIRLEY’S SET HUHUHU I LOVE THEM THANK GOD I WAS ABLE TO SEE THEM LIVE BEFORE SELENA LEFT AND I’M STILL HEARTBROKEN BECAUSE I WASN’T ABLE TO ATTEND THEIR FAVORITE ALBUM LAUNCH. We were singing along to most of their songs wapakels kung konti ang tao.IMG_3820Super appreciate Tanya Markova because they still performed at their 100% even though half the people already left before they went on stage. And they quadrupled the energy inside the hall. The optimist me just pretended that it was a private event for the four of us hehe.IMG_3840We will miss you Dianne!!!IMG_3688Towards the end of February, before the madness of March began, I impulsively watched Mula Sa Buwan, a musical based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac, on its last day. I really wasn’t planning on seeing this because Caredivas at PETA Theater was the priority but for some reason, it kept showing in my timeline. Naturally, I got curious.

I was hesitating up to two hours before showtime because there’s no one to watch it with and getting my hands on tickets was a pain. I tried purchasing online but the website says tickets for shows on the same day can only be bought at TicketWorld outlets. I went to Robinsons Magnolia only to be told that they’re already sold out. Despite my frustration, I decided to go all the way to Irwin Theater in Ateneo and just walk-in. If I’m not meant to see the musical then I’ll just eat my frustration away in Katipunan.

As fate would have it, there were still tickets available and I even had a choice between the first row and last row of the VIP area. I chose the latter to be able to see the stage overall. Needless to say, it was worth all the hassle and taxi fares and running around and being alone. Even though the first few scenes were a bit crowded and I couldn’t hear clearly what the characters were saying, it got better. It was funny and sad and happy all at the same time. I got goosebumps during the first scene of the second half and I ugly cried during the last few scenes. I also have a newfound appreciation for the beauty of language especially our language. Lastly, “Ikaw” still makes me smile ❤

Salute to everyone!!! Just like what I said a few paragraphs ago, if this show gets a re-run (and I hope it does), I’d watch again without second thought.0 (12)Of course I rooted for Cyrano. Unrequited love is my favorite trope!

I wanted to buy the official soundtrack but they ran out of stock 😦0 (13)So I settled for stickers which were so cute! I put one on my calculator, external hard drive, and power bank to remind me of the selflessness of love charot (we have the cross for that). The rest went to my planner.0 (1)Now I’m itching to watch musicals and gigs 😦

Baguio Balikan

Despite being born in a tropical country, I’m not very fond of the sun especially the heat and possibly cancerous rays that come with it. Temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius make me sweat like a pig which is annoying because I’m too lazy to take multiple baths in a day. Imagine how uncomfortable it gets during summer when temperatures go as high as 35 degrees in some parts of the country! I can’t concentrate because it feels like I’m being roasted alive (#RoastedRani huehuehue). I’ve actually fainted more than once because of the heat and though my obesity is partly to blame, it doesn’t make the sun (and the earth’s relative position at that particular time of the year) innocent. Not to mention it affects the mood of everyone around you. I’ve said this before: temperature is inversely proportional to patience.

However, as I grow older, I’m beginning to realize that the cold is starting to bother me. I used to pride myself in having Carabao skin — an idiomatic expression to describe people who can stand lower temperatures better than others. I could manage with only a shirt on even if everyone else  around me wears jackets. I used to dream of living in places with winter. But those days are over. Now I dread the thought of having to battle it out with negative temperatures.

What I like is cool, chilly weather without rain. Probably ranging from 15 to 23 degrees. Bedweather, they call it. The kind that makes you want to stay in bed but won’t freeze you to death. When the sky isn’t gloomy but the rays aren’t strong. Why? Well, to begin with I have an excuse to wear layered clothing. And I won’t sweat profusely meaning I wouldn’t have to take a bath everyday! And I only tell myself it’s nakakatamad but I actually am more productive because no time is wasted complaining how hot it is haha.

That’s actually  the reason why I’m writing this post. Manila had the perfect weather for me during Valentines’ week (incidentally also my midterms week) starting from Saturday. I could wear my jacket on top of my school uniform. It didn’t rain hard. I didn’t need air conditioning at night (so we saved up on energy) yet I still hugged myself to sleep. The little things! I even tweeted that I wished we had that kind of weather all year round. And I did not hesitate to share my contentment with the people I talked to. It used to feel like that during Christmas time but thanks to global warming, we’re experiencing it in mid-February. Better late than never!

Unfortunately my happiness was short lived. It started to get warmer after only a couple of days classmates are starting to wonder why I’m still wearing a jacket (answer: masikip kasi uniform ko lol). And yesterday, the sun was up in all its glory without clouds to mitigate its rays. I miss the cool weather. I want to go to Baguio where it hopefully is still cold but I don’t have the money nor time so I’m just going to reminisce about that day in January when my aunt and I went up north on a whim.

We left Manila around 11 pm on a Tuesday because I don’t have Wednesday classes this semester. I originally thought the travel time of the tickets I got was for three hours only (via TPLEX) but it was regular aircon. Hence, we arrived at around 5am. We tried to scout for motels around the area thinking we can stay for a “short time” just to freshen up and take a nap but that kind of accommodation is only prevalent in Manila, I guess. In the end, we decided to seize the day sleep-deprived 🙂baguio1Catched the 6am mass at Baguio Cathedral.img_0091Then off to Cafe by the Ruins for breakfast. They open at 7am so we walked first to a nearby park. I wanted to let her try the kamote bread but it was unavailable so we settled for duck mami and some sausage breakfast set which were both delicious.baguio2What stood out, however, is their ensaymada paired with hot chocolate. Just like what a popular expression nowadays says, “Uwi na, may nanalo na. Masyadong sinarapan!img_0125Even though Baguio is already highly urbanized, I appreciate that there are still a lot of parks. There’s Burnham, Wright, and Botanical garden to name a few. Sadly, they weren’t as beautiful as they used to be. An uncle who studied there during the 80s told me that you could to smell pine trees everywhere before and session road wasn’t as congested as it is now. Also, I’ve been told more than once that locals hate the Panagbenga festival. If that’s the price to be paid for being a tourist destination, I sure am glad there’s not much to see in my hometown.img_0138img_0140img_0142img_0181img_0206img_0261baguio3img_0269img_0385img_0422One can not leave Baguio without pasalubong so we went to the monastery to buy ube jams. While we’re at it we had ice creams in the cold weather because why not.baguio4Had lunch at Forrest House near Canp John Hay. It’s a bed and breakfast and the space is lovely though the location is not very accessible especially if you don’t bring a car. The chicken in white wine sauce was delicious though the chicken strips were a bit dry. Binagoongang bagnet was also good but being dipped in sauces, the pieces no longer have the crispiness inherent in bagnets. Carrot cake is my favorite so my standards are kind of high, this version did not meet those.baguio5My aunt wanted to go to BenCab Museum. It wasn’t included in the itinerary I made but since she’s the financer, her will be done haha. We had a hard time getting a taxi outside Forrest House. After more or less 30 minutes, a driver took our offer to bring us to BenCab as well as wait for us while we roam around with his taxi meter running all throughout.img_0455I do not agree with Duterte’s War on Drugs and I believe the Bureau of Corrections is meant to correct (duh) that’s why this exhibit  of pictures taken inside the bilibid tugged at my heart.img_0465img_0463img_0462While sitting and enjoying the view, my aunt and I wondered if the hill in front of us (behind the museum) is also owned by BenCab. And though I already have an inkling that he does (I learned from the movie Burlesque that good views come at a price), I was still amazed when it was confirmed by a staff. Also, the museum now offers an eco-trail for additional fee. It takes about an hour to finish it and though we badly wanted to go, we thought of our taxi driver who was probably getting impatient because we told him we won’t stay long.img_0489I learned from the mistress of the universe long ago that hanging water bags on windows prevent flies from coming because the reflection on the water and something about their insect eyes make them think that there are predators. Giddy about this new knowledge, I was eager to put it into practice in our canteen but no one believed me (except my parents who took my word for it, love them!). I am just affirmed to see these hanging in Cafe Sabel!img_0509We saw BenCab himself but were too shy to have our picture taken because he was engaged in conversation with a group. We just stayed a while longer and had their bestseller Spicy Tuyo pasta and Guyabano shake (I don’t eat guyabano but it was divine!).img_0516I’ve been to Baguio a couple times but I was a Camp John Hay virgin. Finally, pine trees! In fairness there’s a lot to see inside the camp. I imagine this was how the whole of Baguio looked like before tourism arrived.img_0601img_0542img_0553img_0568img_0670baguio6My aunt is so spontaneous I love her. I don’t think she ever made a fuss over planning and I like travelling with her because she’s easily pleased and always appreciative (ang ganda, ang sarap, ang saya, etc). Which reminds me that the most content people are the most grateful. And of course, she never complained about all the walking we did hehehe. img_0552Still high from Cafe by the Ruins’ hot chocolate, we went to Choco-late de Batirol inside Camp John Hay.img_0624The place was cozy. The food, forgettable. The tsokolate was okay. I just found out from my aunt that the sandy texture I feel is actually ground bigas. I don’t have a sweet tooth so I needed something salty to counter the influx of sugar.  Good thing Ta Maro bought me Lay’s from a retail store. These two were perfect together!baguio7Baguio Public Market for pasalubong. I love the smell of palengkes. And it’s like a microcosm of society. I know because I grew up in one though not as vibrant as Baguio’s.img_0650img_0638-3After loitering at SM foodcourt while waiting for our schedule, finally, rest! We were so tired we slept as soon as the driver checked our tickets. And just like that, we conquered Baguio in one day — had lots of fun, ate lots of food, and burned lots of calories hahaha!img_0661On our way home we rode the First Class bus where the trip was only for 3-4 hours because I have two quizzes the next day, Thursday. We arrived in Manila past 2am and while I was already feeling helpless because I haven’t studied and was thinking of pulling an all nighter as the dreaded exams loom,  I logged in on Facebook to the good news that one of them was postponed, so nakapahinga pa ako. 🙂

We like having breaks don’t we?

The past two months were a blur. Since December, it has been a cycle of one gathering to another, sleepless nights (non-school days yet I have to wake up before 11AM), diminishing savings, lots of pictures and procrastination. I’ve been running around from one destination to another, filling my calendar as much as my schedule and meager money allow me, asking myself why I’m doing it but doing it nonetheless. I promised I’ll organize come February. I’ll hole up in my room and not meet with anyone for a day or two just to recharge but my efforts in the first five days of the month proved futile. And since midterms are coming and procrastination is still a problem, I don’t think I’ll be doing the holing up anytime soon. But I still need a break so I decided to post about the last decent and high-quality sleep I remember having before I start reviewing for two quizzes tomorrow later.

Last December my family checked-in at La Luz Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas. A family-owned property which was developed and opened to the public a few years back, it was recommended by an uncle who has been to the place. Since I read online that they seldom allow walk-ins especially for overnight stay and they get fully-booked easily, I made our reservation as early as September and even then, the rooms I initially wanted were no longer available.la-luz-1We stayed in three premiere lofts and though the published capacity of this type of room is only seven, I think it can easily accommodate 10 (or even twelve if there are kids).la-luz-2la-luz-3I don’t have high standards when it comes to accommodation. I’m easy to please since I’m used to staying at cheap hostels. Give me a space to rest my head on and a decent bathroom and I’m good. Needless to say, I was happy with our home for a day. The air conditioning was strong (I like being woken up by the cold, increasing the temperature, and then going back to sleep 🙂 ), the sheets were clean, and the pillows fluffy. When we first arrived, me and an aunt lied down and decided we didn’t want to leave our beds. Just thinking about it now makes me want to sleep. Oh, there are no televisions and refrigerators inside and the Wi-Fi signal is weak, tulugan lang talaga.la-luz112/15 with nanay There are a lot of places to lounge at in the resort. I remember there were board games, a billiard room and a giant chess set but catching up and sea-staring (?) is a better alternative.la-luz-10My favorite are the cabanas because (1) they’re facing the sea (2) there are power outlers and (3) the Wi-Fi signal is strong haha.la-luz-36The shore in the resort is not of the best quality, it’s no Boracay. Heck, it’s no Laiya. The water is clear (not crystal) and the sand wasn’t fine. Two cousins got a bruise from the rocks and you’ll have a hard time walking without aqua shoes on.la-luz-8la-luz-9First time trying kayaking and it was tiring but fun. We raced each other and I’m so proud that our kayak did not topple. But the activity was painful in my non-existent abs.la-luz-11la-luz-12La Luz is pretty secluded compared with other resorts I’ve been in in Laiya. And the thing about secluded places is that your body thinks it’s pretty late when it’s only 7PM. Almost everyone went to bed at 8 right after dinner even though we planned on having bonfires and playing cards.la-luz-14I woke up at the crack of dawn *insert whoa emoji*. It went against my night owl nature but I’d be lying if I say it wasn’t refreshing. Grabe, is that the kind of feeling morning persons have? Is that why they’re not grumpy? I’m envious!

We walked along the seashore past the boarder of the resort.la-luz-20la-luz-17la-luz-18Went back and climbed the rock formation.la-luz-24Ate taho and watched the sun rise from one of the cabanas in front of our room.la-luz3I watched Sakaling Hindi Makarating yesterday and I remember Alessandra de Rossi’s character saying, “Iba’t iba ang sunset sa bawat parte ng Pilipinas pero iisa lang ang pakiramdam: lahat maganda“. Same goes with sunrise, Cielo.la-luz-29la-luz-30la-luz-34If you stay overnight, you’re also required to avail of their food package on top of the room rates. I think it’s a good deal especially if, like us, you’re a big eater (mga tatlong balik, ganun). It’s inclusive of buffet lunch, merienda, dinner, and breakfast. It’s actually one of the reasons why we chose La Luz — the oldies didn’t want the hassle thinking about what we’ll eat. I wasn’t expecting much from the spreads but they were pretty decent and filling. Can’t believe I’m saying this because I don’t usually eat breakfast but it was my favorite!la-luz-37Made the most out of our remaining time before our noon check out. It was too late when I discovered this duyan. Before we know it, it was time to leave. Sobrang bitin! la-luz4Ok, I’ve procrastinated enough it’s time to face AudProb 😦