Ponderosa at our leisure

Ponderosa at our leisure

Ponderosa Leisure Farms in Silang, Cavite is a gated community. To enter, one has to either own a property there – or know somebody who does. Every time we come home to the Philippines, we visit Ponderosa. It’s almost like part of the pilgrimage back to homeland. And the wonderful part is, the whole family is there, plus the cousins, too. We often stay half a day and just laze and eat. My daughter loves this place. There’s a nice swimming area, playground, eating area, picnic area and Japanese- inspired park. People don’t come in the clubhouse during the weekdays, so that’s when we come, to monopolize the whole swimming area. My mother plans to stay there in her older years. But right now, she still enjoys our noisy crowded street in Guadalupe. We have many good neighbors in Guadalupe – and that gives a sense of security in itself – even if not is not...
Parasailing made me feel for throwing up

Parasailing made me feel for throwing up

I almost threw up on my sister as we parasailed. I swear this was one of the longest 30 minutes of my life.  A colorful parachute, a good view of Boracay’s white shoreline, to be up, up in the air. I mean, who would say no to this experience? So I said I’d take the chance. Hubby and his brother didn’t like the idea. And my sister, well, she was forced to come along because of me. We left early morning, skipping breakfast (as per instruction). We had our guide taking us on a boat that was exclusively for my sister and me, and there was a staff of around six men to assist us. It felt safe. But then I felt for backing out at the last minute, but it was too late, because the parachute whisked us away up into the skies. Now I know how it feels to be…a kite. We were rocking back and forth and sideways because it was windy that day. And by God I felt my stomach turning. “I am going to throw up!” I warned my sister. She gave me the angry Garfield look. “You are aware that the wind blows much my way?” she said with an even tone. If I threw up, she’d pretty much get a splatter of last night’s dinner on her somehow. I tried to shout and signal them to let us down, but we were too far up to be understood. And the wind was somehow loud. At that point I wished I had a plastic bag to throw up into. I did my best to...
Fire dancers warmed the night

Fire dancers warmed the night

I burned for the fire dancers on the island Boracay in the Philippines.  But ironically, prior to the show, I actually underestimated them. Something like: it didn’t matter if I saw the fire dance show or not. But it mattered, after what I saw! These dancers were not just “Oh, look at me, I’m sexy”. I mean, Philippines is unfortunately known for that kind of sexy shows. But these dancers that we saw were not that type of performers. They danced – not to seduce – but to impress. They danced seriously, professionally, and with fire. As the numbers got harder, I was almost praying that they wouldn’t hurt themselves. And what a stage. It was on the beach, under the stars. with the waves in the background. Nightlife on Boracay is wonderful. Restaurants lined the beach, we ate and drank al fresco, with the moon and skies as our ceiling and the sand as our floor. And how the lobsters tempted...
On chocolate hills

On chocolate hills

In the picture above, these thousand hills are green. But when the grass dries up, they turn brown like mounds of chocolates. I saw the Chocolate Hills in Bohol for the very first time in old family pictures. My mother and aunt were there as young women, posing happily in the 1970’s. Since then, the Chocolate Hills was in my list of places to see. It took many years until I set foot on Bohol. I’ve been to other countries and places, but I came to Bohol when I was 40. It was a childhood dream come true. My new dream regarding Chocolate Hills? I would actually like to stay a day or two in a nipa hut on the foot, or atop, one of these hills. With my family. And hopefully some friends in Bohol coming over. Like my professor friend Alfredo. Some of the hills were damaged after the earthquake of 2013. But I will always remember the Chocolate Hills as simply perfect....
Flowers in the menu

Flowers in the menu

We ate lots of flowers in Bohol Bee Farm. Dozens of it.  Healthy lunch was what we were after when we visited Bohol Bee Farm, which is located atop a cliff on Panglao Island in Bohol. We ordered seafood, brown rice, spaghetti made of coconut flesh, and lots and lots of flowers. More about Bohol Bee farm in this Wikipilipinas link.  And more pics and blog entries about Bohol in my Sarimanok...
Tarsiers up close

Tarsiers up close

While in Bohol, we visited some tarsiers. It’s one of the most endangered primates in the world. Before, tarsiers were spread in Europe, Asia and North America, but now they are restricted in just some islands in Southeast Asia like Sulawesi and Sumatra (both in Indonesia), Borneo (Brunei and Malaysia) and the Philippines. They are tiny, just slightly bigger than my fist. And they have a very keen sense of hearing. I’ve heard that the Philippine tarsiers are also loners and extremely shy. We were not allowed to touch them. We’re happy with that condition. We’re happy enough to have seen them up close. For more pics from Bohol, check out my blog...
Serenade on Loboc River

Serenade on Loboc River

Cruising on Loboc River in Bohol was sweet.  The boat was big enough for many customers, but my sister preferred to have the whole boat on our own. It was actually a good idea, because we danced without feeling shy in front of the singer/guitarist who played us songs. It was breezy that day and the world looked so green. We were served lunch, with coconut juice, seaweed salad and fried chicken and rice on banana leaf plates, among others. A group of local students also performed traditional dance and songs for us when we passed by their side of the river bank. I liked that day very much. We were shown Filipino hospitality at its...
A day with dolphins and sea urchins

A day with dolphins and sea urchins

Tuwa was two years old when she saw dolphins swimming in the sea for the first time. We were in Bohol. It was a wonderful sight, to watch dolphins swim. It was worth waking up at dawn for and traveling two hours by a small boat. I am far sighted, so I was also quite good at spotting them from a distance and yelling to our boatmen: “Dolphins!” and pointing my whole arm to the direction, so we could follow them. People say that kids can hardly remember trips, ergo no sense in tagging them along. But Tuwa remembers this trip even now. She wants to come back to Bohol. After whale watching, we went to a long and narrow sandbar, or shoal – right in the middle of the sea – and ate sea urchins raw, before traveling another two hours to get back to our hotel, Amarela resort. Here’s my blog link to...
The White Beach of Boracay

The White Beach of Boracay

Boracay is one of the world’s best island destinations and has one of the world’s best beaches, according to Swedish tabloid Expressen. All because of the white, smooth sand, torquise blue water and there are so many activities. All very cheap, too, according to the article. Swedes have been looking for an alternative to Thailand, which has become quite “average”. The journalist ends his article: It gives a feeling of being inside a postcard – but for real. The article was written January 2014. Here’s the link to the article. And here were activities our family did. (Many of the activities below are linked to my blog entries) 1. Snorkelling 2. Quad biking 3. A boat ride to Crystal Cove 4. Eating a lot and sitting on a hammock 5. Massage 6. Parasailing 7. Helmet diving 8. Dune buggy 9. Night life 10. Shopping We stayed at Sea Wind Resort during our Boracay visit in October...
Quad biking in Boracay

Quad biking in Boracay

We went quad biking in Boracay, Philippines. It was quite fun, but I don’t think I’d like to do it again. I suppose that All-terrain vehicle, ATV, is a streetlegal vehicle in Boracay, because many of  us were quad biking alongside tricycles and jeepneys when we were there. My sister and I quad biked for two hours, while hubby and his brother rode a dune buggy with our then two-year old daughter. We stopped by at an aviary and Ocean Tower, the highest point in Boracay with a 360 degrees view of the island. Ocean Tower is a roof bar/restaurant, so it was refreshing to drink and find shelter from the sun – after driving around in the middle of the day, breathing in exhaust gas. My body felt battered after driving. I didn’t like driving alongside jeeps in narrow roads. And the sun burned me sore and crispy brown. My face felt sandy, too. But sure, it was fun to experience it for the first time. But I am not quad biking in the street...
Fainted on Antonio’s floor

Fainted on Antonio’s floor

Anotonio’s in Tagaytay is a fine restaurant that serves expensive breakfast. It’s elegant and squeaky clean – the best place to faint 🙂 It feels exclusive – we were the only customers the time we visited. Or perhaps we were just the first to come that morning. Since I knew it was going to be an expensive restaurant, I did not eat breakfast prior to the visit, even if my mom told me to eat something light. I should have listened, because it took some time to get to Antonio’s in Tagaytay  from Makati. Preparing our order took also some time. While waiting, I suddenly felt dizzy due to hunger. I was back then breastfeeding my kid, and I needed food and energy fast! I was so hungry and dizzy – and it was also very hot that day – that I collapsed twice. The first time was in the washroom – thank goodness, the toilet was squeaky clean, almost as pretty as a bedroom. My aunt was there to assist me. The second time was in the hall, near the entrance, which also has a very clean floor. We were on our way back from the washroom to our table, when I felt weak and sprawled on the floor with the waitresses and my aunt assisting me. The owner of the restaurant was also there and asked us how we were. After a drink of juice, I found energy to rise. As I sat at our table, another guest came in. A VIP – basing on the helicopter that landed on the helipad where he came from, followed by an entourage. The bill...