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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!

Tips and Tricks Travel

5 Practical Tips in Booking a Rental Condominium Unit

How was your weekend? Mine was an absolute blast because it was (1) Kadayawan weekend and (2) one of my best friends, Christine, was home! We haven’t seen Tine in over a year as she’s been working as an English teacher in Japan so we were really excited to spend a weekend with her.

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The theme of our bridal shower was obvious haha
From left to right: George, Christine (the bride), me, and Hazel

We originally had a room booked at Banana Beach at Tagum. However, not all things go according to plan. We had to cancel our reservation at the last minute (thank you Hijo staff for being so considerate and awesome!) and I spent Thursday — 2 days before our get-together/bridal shower — looking for a new accommodation. A difficult feat. 

As aforementioned, it was Kadayawan weekend, which means Davao City would be teeming with tourists. Every hotel and rental condos were fully booked! Then I finally stumbled upon one condominium unit at Palmetto Place Condominium which was available. I immediately grabbed it and paid for it in full.

Well… let’s just stay that while the amenities of the condominium itself were great, our room left a lot to be desired. I have been booking accommodations for friends, family, even neighbours for years, but I learned a lot from that experience. Here are 5 things you should look for when booking a rental condominium unit.

1. Make sure you can easily contact the condominium unit owner.

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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

Hotel Lifestyle Messy Weekends Review Travel

A Weekend Stay in Hof Mansion Inn, Kidapawan

Hof Mansion Inn Review

When I attended my friend JM’s wedding in Kidapawan, my friends and I decided to look for a hotel on our own to avoid adding stress to JM. Their rustic-themed wedding was entirely DIY and she was already too busy. She offered her own home to us but we declined, knowing it would be teeming with relatives and well-wishers. So, the hotel hunting began!

After a series of phone calls and inquiries, we finally decided on a new hotel with good reviews that looked lovely but had reasonable rates: Hof Mansion Inn.  We booked the deluxe room good for 3 persons at P1,800 per night.

Initial Impressions

The hotel is quite far from Kidapawan’s centre; however, everything is accessible with a tricycle so it was just one tricycle ride away from the major establishments. From the plaza to Hof Mansion Inn, we were charged by the tricycle driver P20 per head. Not bad at all!

Upon arriving at the hotel, we were just awed at the place. The grounds were lush and wide and the structure itself was beautiful. It looked like a mansion, indeed, thus the name.

Hof Mansion InnIMG_20160221_095443 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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Travel

A Weekend Getaway At Jive Highland Resort in Buda

Jive Highland Resort

Yuri is having the time of his life at the playground right now (with his tito and lola), so I have all the time in the world to work on backlog. Woot! Here’s what I’m currently seeing:

A little downtime before the weekend officially ends (while the boy is at the playground teehee) #wahmlife #wahm #blogger #momblogger

A little downtime before the weekend officially ends (while the boy is at the playground teehee) #wahmlife #wahm #blogger #momblogger

Ah, my favourite time of the day is me-time. Haha!

Speaking of me-time, I had a fabulous vacation by myself last Christmas. Well, technically, I wasn’t alone as I was with my work friends, but it was the first night ever that I was away from Yuri. A little backgrounder: I was a little anxious that Yuri would miss me or would keep crying without me, but it turns out he didn’t even think about me at all. Yay, I guess? LOL!

Before I digress even further, let me tell you about that mini vacation. My workmates Jona, Sarah, Lenz, and I spent a night at Jive Highland Resort in Marilog District. That part of Davao is also known as Buda as it connects Bukidnon and Davao City. Yes, it’s still part of Davao City but it’s three hours away from the city proper — at least by bus. But it’s pretty far away.

Local folks call it the Baguio of the South since the temperature drops when you get to the mountains of Marilog District. Funny story: our trip was scheduled right in the middle of a storm, Typhoon Onyok, whose track included Davao and Bukidnon. However, we decided to push on with the trip believing that Onyok will dissolve overnight.

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Lifestyle Parenting Shopping Travel WAHM Diaries

Messy Wins: Aldub + Shopping with Yuri + Travel Plans

I love how time flies so fast when it’s Monday and then all of a sudden, it’s already Friday.

I hate how time flies so fast when it’s Friday night and then, you look away for a second, and it’s already Sunday night. Like right now.

But I don’t lament Mondays for being Mondays. I should be thankful I have a job to look forward to. It’s just the waking-up-early-to-get-to-work-immediately that I’m not very enthusiastic about. For those who don’t know, my work days begin in bed before 6 am.

So let’s just talk about the weekend before it officially ends. 

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Lifestyle Messy Wins Mixed Mess Online Shopping Shopping Travel WAHM Diaries

Mixed Mess: Whirlwind Week + Travel Itch + Other Stories

Travel Bug

Oh my goodness, the week is finally coming to an end! And I survived it!

I’ve been having straight busy weeks for some time now, but this week is a different kind of hectic because our family has to deal with a sickness, too. However, work was very hectic this week, too. Aside from training our 3 new hires, I myself have to learn new tasks. On top of that, everyone, especially the staff from Australia, seems to be getting sick. Even my co-pilot Lenz had to miss work the other day because she had a fever – and she’s absent again today because she’s going to Camiguin. Life is fair!

Which leads me to my first story…

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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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