Our Engagement Story – JR’s Best Prank Yet!

I’m sharing our engagement story. I will try and remember each and every exciting, annoying, and joyful detail of it.

Three months ago I said “yes” to my best friend turned fiancé. I had no idea that he was going to ask me in a traditional down-on-his-knee kind of way because we’ve had several conversations about getting married, all the while I thought there will be no formal proposal but instead just go straight into planning. My mom even gave my grandmother’s ring to JR just in case he would pop the question anytime soon. Truth is a month before we got engaged, I was already scouting for wedding suppliers in Manila and Tagaytay (assumera ang peg, mga memsh). I really thought that it was going to happen this year while skipping all the romanticism, “get married…” I thought, boy was I pleasantly wrong!

 

 

We have been together for 5 years and this website is a testament for our LOVE of travel. On our 5th anniversary, we celebrated it on a getaway trip as per usual. This year we opted to go to El Nido, we were thrilled because it was a first for both of us. Just like any other trip we had, I was the one in charge with planning the itinerary, budget, hotel accommodations, and booking the flights. I was so caught up with all these that getting engaged was the last thing on my mind. Also, with JR always joking about it and fake-proposing all the time got me thinking that he will never do it on our anniversary because it would be such a giveaway.  YES – he joked about it MANY A TIMES that I already convinced myself that I don’t want a proposal anyways, like… whatevs… hahaha. (charought, of course)

 

 

It happened on our third day on the island. Kuya driver, the same person who picked us up from the airport offered his cousin to take us island hopping. We got up early and was brought to the port. While waiting, JR told me to look around while they settle the payment, and so I obliged, not knowing that he was already plotting everything with Kuya driver’s cousin, our tour guide. When we got to the boat, it turned out that this tour guide was assigned to a different group, there was another guy taking us to this tour. I noticed JR getting antsy but I just shrugged it off as this was somewhat normal for him. I was so excited to jump in the water that it really did not matter who was taking us there.

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Our first stop was the small lagoon. JR and I took off in a two-person kayak with a small group. This was the hardest part because it was sooo hot and we had to paddle under the scorching heat. The scenic view made all the paddling worth it even though it was crowded. Our tour guide constantly checked on us to make sure we were comfortable, I felt secure right from the start so we stayed for awhile to take photos. After several minutes we all went back to the boat to our second stop, the big lagoon. We had to take the kayak again but this time, our tour guide offered a bigger kayak and paddled for us. It was such a relief because I was already getting tired and felt like I already had a wrestler’s arm (macho, bes!). All I wanted was to take a photo alone on the kayak and swim in the water. The big lagoon was gorgeous, it was even nicer because there were lesser people around. Luckily it was already lunch time and majority of the people were already having their meals, it seemed like we had the whole lagoon to ourselves.

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Manong told us to get off and take photos on the rock formation. I hesitated at first but he insisted, the struggle was real on our way to the rocks. He asked me to take a solo shot, I was already uncomfortable because of the heat, (I forgot to mention I had my monthly visitor that day too, over-sharing but girls will understand lol) I just wanted to get it over with. I was fixing my hair and when I turned around – JR was already down on one knee with the ring! I was in shock and my first thought was;

“Bakit mo dala yun ring dito baliw ka?”

I was so worried that he might lose it. This ring means so much to me because it’s an heirloom handed down from my late grandmother.

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I was so focused on the ring that I didn’t hear what he said, but I was pretty sure he was proposing so out of reflex (and having played this scenario a million times in my head) I said;

“Of course” (while laughing, mind you)

When I realized that it was REALLY happening, I was ugly-laughing so hard because everything felt unreal and silly at the time. “Iz this really iz it?!” I thought, I was in so much joy that I cussed and hit his outreached arm, the same arm where he was holding THE RING! That’s when he lost his balance (he was still down on his knee) and dropped the ring in the water, I was so terrified! I wanted to hit him more but then I remembered that I just got engaged, I had this silly worried look on my face but I just couldn’t stop laughing. I really can’t explain all the emotions I felt that time, I was about to get in the water when JR, lo and behold pulled another ring from his necklace! WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Everything started making sense, the conversation with the tour guide, the forced photo op on a rock formation, how he knew that I was a “hitter” – He actually had a plan and by force of nature and a bit of luck, the sequence of events in his head came to life! He succeeded on his best prank yet! It was such a relief seeing the real ring safe and sound. That’s when everything sank in, I heard JR say, ‘I love you’ and I answered with ‘labyohhhh’ hahahaha.

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So when people ask me if I was surprised, yes I was and so much more! I couldn’t think of a better proposal, befitting my best friend’s comedic and romantic charm. Reminiscing about it makes me laugh and smile like a weirdo, a weirdo in complete and utter bliss.

With everything that has happened in Palawan, we also decided that there is no other place to exchange our vows. In just three months, we’re already halfway through planning, all I can say is that I AM SO READY TO BE MRS. POSADAS!

 

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Watching Sunrise in Angkor Wat

It was raining when we visited Angkor Wat Temples 2 weeks ago, September 20, 2017. The good side about it is the lush greenery surroundings of the temple that replaced the usual sepia-like atmosphere.

It was 4:30AM when our tuktuk driver picked us up at Day Day Inn hostel (see my boyfriend’s review of the place on Airbnb). You can ask your hostel or hotel to have a service tuktuk to take you to Angkor for one whole day or half day like we did. Ours was the same driver who picked us up from the airport the night before we visited Angkor Wat, it costs $20 for the half day tour. The ticket office is 30mins away from our hostel. Surprisingly there were already a crowd in queue but it only took us 10 minutes to buy a ticket for 2 each costing $37, for a single-day pass. The weather was perfect but we were not able to bring an umbrella and so we used our towels instead. Our driver dropped us on the side of the parking lot, we have to go inside the Angkor Wat by foot. We got there on time for the amazing sunrise. Since it was raining, we stayed at the first entrance facing the temple.

These photos are according to the sequence of its hues during sunrise. It’s truly majestic in person – like an eye candy of fire bursting in front of me.

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We waited until the rain stops before going inside the temple.

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48 Hours in Hanoi, Vietnam

One must travel smoothly, slowly and steady – that’s the total opposite of our Hanoi experience.

It was rough, fast and exciting! 🙂 Rough because there was only 1 flight available daily from Manila to Hanoi via Cebu Pacific – and it’s midnight! There was literally no sleep weekend for me and JR. Mainly me, because I’m very thrilled about this trip. I planned this several months ahead. I have this big vision of Hanoi in my head – it’s chaotic, colorful and tasty, It is indeed! Hanoi, particularly Old Quarter where we stayed is small enough for one day of sightseeing but it requires a lot of walking. But not to worry because the weather is perfect and it allowed us to roam around without sweat (March 23-25, 2017).

The City

It’s a mix of urban life and scenic greenery. Old Quarter is decked with quaint houses and establishments against the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake as its backdrop. There are vendors everywhere wearing their native hats, rushing motorbikes that won’t stop for you, and coffee shops in every corner. If you walk towards the lake, you will escape the small roads that will lead  you to Hoan Kiem District – it’s surrounded by parks. Alas! You’ve reached the heart of Hanoi!

Old Quarter

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Around 6 in the morning there are seniors doing aerobics/yoga with their red old-fashioned fans. During afternoon, it’s packed with tourists from different corners of the world. And in the evening it’s usually crowded in front of the Thang Long Theater for the Water Puppet Show.

Hoan Kiem District

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The Food

There’s an entirely different world of food beyond Pho. We opted to go for the top rated restaurants to make the most our trip. I had several on my list but we don’t have enough time to visit each one of them, Madame Hien and Essence Hotel Cafe made the cut. It’s the most accessible within the vicinity of our plotted itinerary. I can still taste the fried pork spring rolls from Essence – it’s crispy on the outside and so much flavor in the inside. They also have superb customer service. The fresh rolls from Madame Hien is a must try too! Don’t hesitate to try other cuisines aside from Pho, you won’t regret it!

Essence Hotel Restaurant

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Madame Hien Restaurant 

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Streetfood 

Never skip the vendors selling Banh Mi on the sidewalks, NEVER! The best grilled sandwich I’ve tasted for Php60.00!!!

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The Coffee

It seems like they have a coffee social scene – it’s everywhere! Hanoi is known for their unique take on coffee and it’s definitely something that you wouldn’t want to miss! In our short stay, we only tried 2, both have egg coffee as its specialty.

Giang Cafe

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Cafe Pho Co

It’s the definition of hole-in-the-wall. You have to walk a narrow alley to get to a house-like cafe. But what’s on the top floor will surprise you. Be sure to visit during sunset or at night.

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Temple and Pagoda

It’s possible to visit all temples and pagodas in one day if you start early. You can rent a motorbike for $10 for one whole day. We tried to squeeze as many as we could in 2 days and decided to pick a few – my favorite amongst them is the Temple of Literature – a very picturesque attraction in Hanoi.

Temple of Literature – Temple of Confucius

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Tortoise Pagoda in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake

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Ngoc Son Temple

Trấn Quốc Pagoda

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The Locals

If you are as jolly as Jr and I, who always wears a smile on your face, don’t change a thing. But don’t expect all locals to reciprocate. On an average of ten people that we greeted, only 3 or 4 responded with a nod or a smile. It’s not them being rude but it’s what they have gotten used to.

If you are traveling to SouthEast Asia, please give yourselves a favor and visit Hanoi.

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A Taste of Davao

If you’re looking for the best experience for you and your family, Davao is the best fit!

I couldn’t squeeze everything in 4 days, there’s so much to see with so little time.

We tried to have a taste of both lands and waters in 4 days. Here’s a peek of our trip 🙂

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 Secdea Resort, Samal Island

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Davao Crocodile Park

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My Life in UP

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I think it’s fair for me to dedicate one entry about my life in this university. Currently, as of writing, I allot one day a week of academe here at this campus. Where should I begin? I’m still overwhelmed, anxious and at shock that I’m doing what I think is meant for me since day 1.

I remember clearly how I badly wanted to be a student at this institution. I was in 4th year high school when I attempted to take the UPCAT exam. I can imagine myself walking at the streets of Osmeña with my wide bohemian skirt, holding a cup of coffee and a laptop on the other hand. I was clear and optimistic about my vision. I was going to be an eskolar ng bayan taking up whatever course in Mass Comm or Arts but life can be tricky, it took over and I wasn’t able to take my UPCAT. But hey, 10 years later, look where I’m at. I’m doing exactly what I thought I’d be doing a decade before. I’m taking up my MA in Film at the College of Mass Comm and I recently bought that boho skirt I’m eyeing for 10 years now, wow!!!

Everyday is new to me. Every new friends I meet, I keep it well in my pocket. Every lesson I learn I store it in my brains. I hope I will never get tired of this. I hope to maintain the same level of enthusiasm. I hope I’m making my Papa proud 🙂

Bohol: 4 Day Adventure

Right after we celebrated our 3rd year anniversary in Leyte, JR surprised me with a ticket to Tagbilaran for my birthday. I’m so excited to take this trip because I’ve always wanted to see the Chocolate Hills. I heard several myths about it when I was in grade school and I remember believing them too 🙂 I had 5 months to plot the whole itinerary and I’m so happy everything turned out as planned.

Let me walk you through our 4 day adventure.

Day 1

We stayed at Villa Formosa through Airbnb, it was the cherry on top of our trip. It’s a few minutes away from Dumaluan beach, away from the crowded Alona Beach. Staying on this side of the island is divine! Since we arrived in the afternoon on our 1st day, we decided to just stay in – the place is amazing! It’s serene – exactly what we ask for. If you’re looking for a resort that has lesser people,  this is the best place! We had the pool and jacuzzi to ourselves during our whole stay, it’s well-kept and clean. Their staff is very accommodating that catered to our every need. They’re friendly which made our stay very comfortable.

 

Book Villa Formosa through Airbnb or you can visit their website directly.

We grabbed our early dinner at  DBR Grill in Dumaluan Beach Resort which is a few minutes away from our place. They charge P25 entrance fee though. We ordered calamari and prawns – the food is okay and the view is great!

 

 

Dumaluan Beach

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Did I mention that this beach has creamy fine white sand and crystal waters?!

Day 2

And so our land shenanigan begins! For me, it’s definitely the highlight of our trip! We crossed out another adventure on our list. We rented out a motorbike for P500 for 24hours, the receptionist from Villa Formosa booked it for us. We drove from Panglao to Chocolate Hills in Carmen to Loboc River and back to Panglao. It took us roughly 2 hours to get to our 1st destination because we had to stop twice due to the sudden rain.

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Chocolate Hill, Carmen

 

360 degrees view of the Chocolate Hills – from Hilltop view. There are at least 1000 of these scattered hills in Carmen, Bohol.

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We had to stop for photos at the Bilar man-made forest.

Loboc River Cruise and Buffet

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img_4313For P400 you get to eat a Filipino buffet on a boat cruising Loboc River. It’s a must try! The river is so nice and calm, there are also local performers serenading guests during the cruise.

Day 3

We opted to just stay at the resort to relax and take a dip at Dumaluan Beach.  It’s not crowded and it seems like we had the whole beach to ourselves.

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We had our early dinner at Alona beach which is only a tricycle away from Villa Formosa.

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Day 4

At 6AM, we embarked on Alona Beach to Balicasag and Virgin Islands. It’s not what I expected but it’s always good to plunge into an island for the 1st time.  We availed a tour package that includes island hopping and lunch set meals. When we got to Balicasag we transferred to a smaller boat for snorkeling.

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Virgin Island

 

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Bohol Bee Farm

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We got back at the resort in the afternoon and decided to have an early dinner at Bee Farm. It’s only 4km away from our resort. Everything they sell is organic, my favorite would be the Salted Caramel Icecream on Cassava cone. The interior is so lovely, every corner is Instagram worthy! The food is delish too! I ordered Seafood pasta and it’s so good 🙂

We went back to our resort at 6PM and packed our luggage. It’s always heartbreaking leaving a nice place but every after an adventure a new journey awaits! 🙂

That wraps our 4 day Bohol escapade. Don’t skip this on your list. It’s truly beautiful and full of culture. There’s so much to see and experience.

Day Trip in Burot

I needed a reset button and I was badly in dire need of quick beach trip last week. This trip has been long overdue and finally all our schedules matched and we were able to push through.

We decided to head to Burot because, why not? It’s only a few hours away from a Manila and we only have 2 days to spare. We took the Tagaytay to Calatagan route on a Saturday morning. Everything went well as planned, except for the beach.

I didn’t expect it’ll be so crowded. The caretakers should’ve set a number of visitors allowed per day. It seems like the island is slowly losing its beauty because of the irresponsible individuals who threw their trash at the wrong places. There were plastics on the beach, food wrappers floating and even dog poop on the shore. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to take this trip with my friends. I didn’t take snaps of the crowded beach but instead I still tried to take photos of its attractions.SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCGNUL0291[1]