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Summer Destinations

Summer Summer Destinations Travel

A Summer Day Trip to Mati + Lupon

Three weeks ago, on Black Saturday, we went on a day tour to Davao Oriental. It was a semi-spur of the moment decision since it was just mentioned during Good Friday when a good neighbour of ours invited us to her hometown, Lupon. She was in charge of her town’s salubong so a number of our other neighbours were going to help. We didn’t have anything planned for Holy Week-end so we decided to go on a day trip.

Also, I haven’t been to Mati yet, and it’s a booming tourist destination, so I was excited!

Nope, we weren’t cramped into the back seat all the time. When we started driving, Yuri transferred to the second row with his grandparents. My sister and I commonly take the third row seat when the car is a full-house.

The municipality of Lupon is around a 3-hour drive from our home in Davao City. However, we got there early and our neighbour didn’t even arrive yet, so we decided to go to Mati City first, which is another 30-40 minute trip.

Mati

Sleeping Dinosaur

Mati Baywalk

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Summer Summer Destinations Travel

Messy Blogger Goes on Vacation

Woah, it’s been 28 days since I last wrote a post! I was still wondering why it was already March then, but tomorrow it’s already April. Whaaaat!

My self-imposed hiatus was supposed to end when I wrote my last blog post, but life happened and I didn’t have time to write again. March remained to be a fantastically busy month because we were scheduled to go on a 1-week vacation. Thus, I had needed to complete tasks for my day job and schedule/attend all the necessary real estate-related appointments before I went on leave.

Let’s pretend you’re interested in my life hahaha because I’m going to tell you about it — again.

So, we’ve gone on vacation last week. It wasn’t particularly spectacular — we didn’t even go out of the country — but it was a memorable one because we were able to visit a lot of places. We just went on a road trip to a number of provinces like Bulacan, Zambales, Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite. I’m a true-blue Davaoena so these places are far from me haha.

This also big deal for me because the last time I’ve been on a plane was in 2015 pa. My work life is so hectic and though we enjoy paid leaves, I just couldn’t take a leave anytime I wanted because of the responsibilities that will be left behind. Still, I’m hoping for more opportunities in the near future where I can travel and work at the same time (read: a vacation that won’t require me to wake up at 6 am everyday and follow an itinerary!).

As a family, I don’t think we’ve ever gone on a trip where all we did was stay in a resort and just dawdled. This is because my father is really really fond of going on road trips. He doesn’t want to go abroad or go on shopping trips or do extreme activities; all he wants to do is sight-see and discover places.

On the other hand, I’m the type of person who enjoys staying in bed the whole day, so staycations are my favourite kind. I also love shopping. But you can say that this trip was really for the resident senior citizen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I mean, during this particular trip, he was able to visit his birth place, Macabebe, Pampanga, again after more than 20 years. We even went to the church where he was baptised; he was also named after the patron saint because he was born during the saint’s feast. It was a really special moment for him. Continue Reading

Summer Destinations Tips and Tricks Travel

My Top 6 Tips for Budget Travelling With a Toddler

I used to think that being a mother marks the end of my travelling, gallivanting days.

To be honest, travelling with a child in tow does come with limitations. However, these limitations don’t necessarily mean saying good bye to treks and trips because it is possible to work around them. In fact, ever since I became a mum, I’ve been travelling even more!

It is challenging, but travelling with kids makes a trip even more fun and memorable. Don’t worry; I’ve been there. My 4-year old has already gone to different places in the country including Baguio, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cebu, South Cotabato, Maragusan, and Tagaytay. This summer, we’re planning to visit Bataan and Subic. All on a budget! If you want to know how I did it, here are my top 5 tips for travelling with a toddler on a budget.

1. Organise the trip ahead of time.

It’s funny but I organise trips several months — even a year — ahead of time. Not only are we able to book cheaper flights, we are also able to look for affordable accommodations. What I do is check online travel websites for great deals. Since we’re planning to stay in Subic next summer, I already started looking for a good accommodation in the area. I found this hotel:

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Charming and quaint — affordable, too!

2. Arrange a “journey pack” that will entertain them on the road or during your flight.

Backpack, backpack!

Backpack, backpack!

My son always has his small backpack with him wherever he goes. When we travel, I fill it with things that will entertain him such as snacks (try to avoid too sweet stuff though – they go hyperactive), books, toys, and gadgets. This way, he wouldn’t get bored and at the same time, I wouldn’t need to buy him food and toys all the time.

3. Let them use their own cheap camera.

Taking his own pictures in Banana Beach, Tagum City

Taking his own pictures at Banana Beach, Tagum City

On-site entertainment can be cheap! If you have a cheap camera phone or a tablet, you can give it to your child (provided that he is old enough to carefully use gadgets) and encourage him to snap away. Three benefits: they are entertained, the photos will become memorable souvenirs, and photography is always a learning experience.

4. Don’t forget to pack weather-appropriate clothes.

Changed Yuri from a thick sweater into a casual shirt

Changed Yuri from a thick sweater into a casual shirt

Sometimes, this is obvious. Like, if you’re going to a beach, you will pack swim suits and clothes with breathable fabric. If you’re going to Baguio or Tagaytay, you will bring sweaters and thick garments.

However, pay attention to the weather. For example, one time, we were at the beach and the weather suddenly went gloomy. Thank goodness I also brought sweaters and jackets! And when we were in Tagaytay, it was so sunny it didn’t really feel like we were in Tagaytay. Good thing I brought extra shirts that were humid weather-friendly. This way, there won’t be any need for you to buy new clothes — unless you want to. *ehem*

5. Remember that a child-friendly accommodations are not always expensive.

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In my dictionary, a child-friendly accommodation doesn’t necessarily equate to playrooms or custom-built furniture. My definition of a child-friendly accommodation is simple. It is clean, secure, and convenient. A working elevator, friendly staff, a comfy bed with fresh sheets, cool air conditioning… you know, the basics!

I’m leaning towards booking our accommodation through Traveloka. I love that I can see the prices per night right away. But more than that, there’s also an option to look at various traveller reviews. As someone who always books her trips online, these online reviews are very valuable to me!

6. Don’t worry about things not going your way; just have fun!

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Resting at Bell Church in Baguio

Not everything is going to happen the way you were envisioning it — that’s the truth and that’s also the truth whether you’re travelling with kids or not. I’m terribly OC but I intentionally let go of my rigidity whenever we’re travelling. Just go with the flow and have fun!

What are your travel tips? Do share!

Lifestyle Places Resort Review Summer Summer Destinations

Summer’s Last Hurrah at Banana Beach

A little more than a month ago, just before June started, we had our huling hurit sa taginit in Banana Beach, Tagum City.

We were there on a daytour but we made the most out of it because summer was almost over! Wow, I do miss summer a bit. While I’m enjoying the rainy season now, I miss the carefree days of the past season.

Anyway, I digress. One of the most popular beach resorts in Davao Region (aside from the numerous resorts in Samal Island – which, by the way, is not under the jurisdiction of Davao City) is Banana Beach. I’m not 100% sure but I heard it is owned and/or managed by the same owner as Eden Nature Park. I’ve always been intrigued about Banana Beach but never found the time to go there, so this was a great opportunity.

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I’ll show you Banana Beach through a photo story!

Tourist Center

Banana Beach has a tourist center where the visitors gather and lounge while the staff checks or makes their reservations. They have bananas free for everyone (at least, until the last piece is taken) and the lounge area is comfortable enough.

IMG_3695

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Places Review Summer Summer Destinations Travel

A Summer Trip to Maragusan

This summer was just so hot. I know I shouldn’t be complaining as I live in a pretty comfortable house with access to air-conditioning, but during this summer, we had long brownouts almost everyday so we always experienced unbearable heat.

We had no time to organise a trip to Baguio or Tagaytay so we went local. Here in Davao Region, we also have a summer capital. It’s the small town of Maragusan, which is surrounded by mountains. Bukidnon is also a known summer destination, as well as Buda, but we’ve never been to Maragusan before and we were curious.

Maragusan

Anyway, we were desperate to cool down haha so we went there. It’s a three-hour trip from Davao City. There are several tourist attractions in the town and we were able to go to four. Here’s a mini photo-story of our trip! Continue Reading

Summer Destinations Travel

A Leisurely Diversion at D’Leonor Inland Resort and Wavepool

D'Leonor Inland Resort and Wavepool

One of the joys of living in Davao City (a big city with a suburban feel) is the proximity to different kinds of destinations. In the south where many of my friends live, a 3o to 45-minute ride will take you to cool highland resorts. If you want to go further, you can go to Buda, an even colder destination, which is still within the city (here’s a weekend getaway at Buda that I had last December!).

In the north, where I live, lovely white sand beaches like Villa Amparo are just 20-30 minutes away. When I was still studying, we would decide to go to the beach if we had a long vacant period and return to school just in time for our next class! Cool beans.

Now, in the part of the city where I live, there’s this inland resort that opened a few years ago that’s just a literal 5-minute ride from my house. D’Leonor Inland Resort is a pretty big tourist destination since there’s no other inland resort and wavepool aside from it, but would you believe that I’ve never been to it?

Well, that changed a couple of weekends ago. My parents celebrated their 32nd anniversary (ZOMG I hope I got the correct number LOL!) and, for a change, decided to visit the resort instead of just going out for lunch. Of course we agreed!

It was quite a last minute decision so we didn’t have time to book a room. Since it’s just a stone’s throw away from home, we decided to just make a quick tour around the place.

D'Leonor Inland Resort and Wavepool
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Places Summer Destinations Tips and Tricks Travel

Ilocos-Baguio-Cavite Trip on a Budget: Itinerary

Ilocos - Baguio - Tagaytay - Manila Trip Itinerary

A couple of months ago, I shared this post about our trip to Baguio, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Cavite (with little bits of Manila in between) last summer. It’s not an extraordinary trip (though all of us enjoyed it!), but what makes it a fun trip to organise is that it was all done on a budget — of P3,500 per person!

I was really supposed to make a followup to that post for our complete itinerary, but it completely slipped my mind. Good thing my best friend George asked me about it yesterday. She’s trying to pull off a copycat move and embark on exactly the same trip. Tsk tsk. Love you George hahaha. Anyway, instead of writing her a copy of our itinerary, I figured out I’d write it on the blog instead. Here you go!

Day 1: Flight to Manila and Road Trip to Baguio

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11:30 am – Flight from Davao to Manila

1 pm – Arrival at NAIA, met up with Mang Leo our driver. Send me a message if you want the contact number of our service and please ask for Mang Leo. I highly recommend him!

Some of our companions (actually, my cousins) were quite late even though they took an earlier flight (long story) so instead of leaving for Baguio at 1pm, we were only able to leave at 2. 

2 pm – Start of our first roadtrip, which is from Manila to Baguio

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Lifestyle Summer Destinations WAHM Diaries

A Weekend Getaway at Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort

Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort | Joyful Mess

Hi everyone! *waves*

I think I have finally recovered from the weekend that was. From the way I was describing my aching limbs and muscle pain, you would have thought I was involved in extreme sports or something. Well, I was not. Anybody who knows me knows this for sure – I don’t have any interest in extreme sports (or any kind of sport for the matter haha).

I digress.

So I had a great weekend.

My colleagues (the Philippine team for stayathomemum.com.au) and I had our first outing slash bonding activity, and I was so thrilled. However, I was initially torn between bringing Yuri along or leaving him behind because, you know, even though I want him to enjoy the beach with me, I was also craving for some me-time. Eventually, I decided to just bring him along because my teammates want to (they did promise to look after him while I take a bath haha).

We decided to book a room at Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort at Samal. Because I called the resort at the last minute, the room/s we wanted were already fully-booked. I asked for the most expensive one, the penthouse, because that was our only remaining option. Unfortunately, the lady I was talking to said it was already tentatively booked.

But my ears picked up on the word “tentatively.” I said, tongue-in-cheek, if we pay now, can we have the room? She said she would have to confirm with the original group who reserved.

To make the long story short, after assuring her that we’re 200% sure, I was able to get the room. Yeah!!!

It was so fun. First, you should know that I’m a girl who loves to pack (I can volunteer to pack your clothes for ya) and had a fun time deciding which of Yuri’s things should come. Of course, while his things come first, I also made sure to pack all the essentials like sunblock, lotion, and perfume (because you’ll never know!). You can find the perfect scent from a selection of perfumes from Zalora.

Then there’s the resort. The resort was lovely (it could use some improvements but overall I was pleased) and I was in the company of girls who, paraphrasing the words of Pam, just could not stop talking. Oh well! By the way, here are pictures of our accommodations: Continue Reading

Summer Destinations WAHM Diaries

Sneak Peek of My Weekend

Hey guys! I’m just leaving this picture here. It was yesterday afternoon when we arrived from our fun frolicking at Villa Amparo with my virtual teammates, but my muscles are still aching! So I’ll still be needing my much needed rest. It’s no picnic bringing a preschooler with you to the beach haha!

Villa Amparo

Lifestyle Summer Summer Destinations

Baguio-Ilocos-Tagaytay Trip on a Budget

(Click on gallery above to view pictures.)

AKA How we toured (almost) half of Luzon for only around P3,500 per person

Last March, I took a week off from work (on second thought, I did not really work during February and March) and went to far places. Nope, we did not go outside the country, but we did have a grand time touring a far island: Luzon.  Well, half of it. Almost.

In a week, we were able to go to Baguio, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, and Cavite (Kawit and Tagaytay) — and little bits of Manila in between. Guess how much we spent for the trip? Roughly just about P3,500 per head. Add airfare and some pocket money, and the trip still won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

If you’re planning to embark on a similar trip, read on!

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Lifestyle Summer Destinations WAHM Diaries

Over the Weekend

Pearl Farm Resort Samal

Hi everyone!

How was your weekend?

Mine was uneventful. A little tiring but I’m still thankful it was uneventful.

You see, it was my maternal cousin’s birthday last Friday and they celebrated it at a quite popular resort here in Davao (Pearl Farm). We were all invited to come but my dad could barely get out of bed due to heavy medications and I had to work (no holiday for remote workers hehe).

I pray I can go to the beach, too…

My mum was going to turn down the invitation but my dad insisted we go. I told him I’d stay behind (and, by extension, Yuri) with him to be his nurse. And the rest was history. I was working on a holiday with a restless preschooler, and for the entire weekend, ran the household and tried not to get confused with what medicines my father needed to take at a specific time.

I couldn’t stand blood but sometimes I wish I took up nursing! Haha just kidding.

I also ended up filling up every possible container at home with water because there was an advisory of water interruption for 3 days. I guess I had an adrenaline rush (read: panic) because I easily filled up around 15 large Tupprrwares and Rubbermaids, 3 empty gallons of water, and a huge Orocan drum.

Guess what. We never lost our water. Oh well!

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Resort Review Summer Destinations

Pacific Heights Private Resort in Samal Island

Pacific Heights Resort Samal

You have been redirected from my review of Pacific Heights Private Resort on DavaoMommy.com.

Last Monday, I told you about our R&R slash supposed team-building with other village officers and youth. Which was promptly ruined when a group of gatecrashers, well, crashed the event. It was a good thing, though, that the resort we went to is a lovely one so our day wasn’t completely ruined. (It was also a good thing that they arrived at lunch and we were still able to have fun in the morning.)

Pacific Heights Private Resort

I’ve actually never heard of this resort before, which is understandable as it is quite new. As the name also implies, it is a village and the resort is supposed to be exclusive for them, However, for some reason, they recently decided to open the beach resort to the public. Yay!

I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures because, for the first time ever, we went to the beach yaya-less, So I was constantly running after a little 3-year old whom we shall not name, and I was also constantly wet with seawater. But here are some photos that we managed to take:

On the way – actually, on the barge
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Can you guess what they were playing? I told them that next time, we shouldn’t have medics in the fun run; we should have the medic in the teambuilding!
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
I just realized I don’t have a photo of the pavilion that we rented, so I borrowed this photo:

Via samalguide.com

It was a very clean resort and the sand was, like most Samal beaches, also fine and white. However, unlike Costa Marina, which we used to frequent, there were no big coral formations under the sea. Thus, you can swim barefoot without the risk of injury. In Pacific Heights Private Resort, there are also multiple water activities that you can do such as riding the banana boat and going “skin diving.”

How to go to Pacific Heights Private Resort

Go to Sasa Port, ride a ferry/barge (you can ride it directly or take your car with you). I was surprised with the speed of travel. A few years ago, crossing from Davao to Samal via barge took approximately 15 minutes. Now, it doesn’t even take 5 minutes! Upon arriving at the Samal pier, go right and just follow the road until you pass by Monfort Bat Cave. Pacific Heights Private Resort should be right ahead.

Pacific Heights Private Resort Rates

Entrance
  • Adult(Day Tour)- Php 100.00
  • Adult (Overnight)- Php 150.00
  • Kids (Day Tour) – Php 30.00
  • Kids(Overnight)- Php 60.00
Rooms with Aircon
  • Close Cottage(Small) Day Time – Php 1,500.00
  • Close Cottage(Small) Overnight  with 2 pax Break Fast- Php 2,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Medium) – Php 3,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Medium)- Overnight with 6 pax Break Fast – Php 4,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Large) Day Time – Php 4,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Large) Overnight with  10 pac Break Fast – Php 6,000.00
  • Open Cottages Day Time – Php 250.00
    Open Cottages Overnight  – Php 350.00
  • Green house (Dorm type without aircon) Php 350/head
Rates from SamalGuide.com: http://www.samalguide.com/resort/pacific-heights-resort

The rates above don’t include the pavilion, so let me add that the pavilion, for day use, is P2,500.