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Gusto kong matutong mag-drive

Published May 15, 2013 by Diosa

Have you played a song in your head over and over again? Or perhaps do you have a theme song for your current endeavor?

Four years ago, I got my driver’s license but didn’t drive. I’m proud to say that I went through the whole legal process. For some unknown reasons, I just didn’t drive. Last January, our car was left in my care. I have no choice but to drive it. Lucky me, right? I did learn how to drive (thanks to A1 and my dad) and going to Pampanga put my skills to the test. And now the song plays on, magda-drive ako buong taon,magda-drive ako habang buhay, magda-drive ako hanggang buwan

Well, here’s my first long drive or overdrive…

on the way  to arayat

just exiting NLEX at San Simon. A scenic drive turned nightmare when we got lost.

I decided to go to Gintung Pakpak Ecopark because it had been raining and it wouldn’t be safe to go to Biak-na-Bato (that’s what I was told) Since I heavily depended on maps, I searched our way to the park with Google map. I totally overlooked the map on their facebook account which is why I followed a different way. Together with my aunt and friend, we made our way to the park. San Simon Exit was not a bad choice after all. We drove through the greens of the fields while heading to Mt. Arayat. We even caught a glimpse of their old church. The nightmare began when we went back and forth a rough road. At first, we were told we would get there once we passed by the municipal hall. It was just unfortunate that we were passing along the wrong town. The park is at the foot of Mt. Arayat but not in Arayat town. We had been circling the same route when I decided to stop at a gasoline station. The seller didn’t know the park but fortunately knew the barangay. She gave us the right direction but I also asked two soldiers outside the store just to be sure. When we reached the end of Magalang Road, we saw a sign of Gintung Pakpak Ecopark. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel was now in sight!

We just followed the signs and went though narrow and steep roads and behold the park is real.

Welcome!

Welcome!

When we got there, we saw some students and the parking space was full. I was just so happy we could eat. I was nibbling on crackers while driving because I was just starving. We paid the P200 entrance fee and went right ahead to find the restaurant. P50 goes to the environment fee while the remaining can be consumed at the restaurant. We ate sinigang and seafood. I love the spicy and hot seafood but did not enjoy the sinigang. I just don’t like too much oil in my food.

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IMG_1691After the satisfying meal, a staff guided us with a tour in the park.

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line of bonsai

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with my aunt and friend

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the dorm

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tables and chairs, coffee and cream, stories and friends

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one of their beautiful villas

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inside the villa

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the park’s cute pool or big basin

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we found my friend’s wedding venue 🙂

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at the restaurant

The park provides a place where you can really feel peaceful and commune with nature. I just felt connected with nature and somehow relieved from the noise of the city. After walking along the park, nothing quenched my thirst but their tamarind shake. I swear it’s the best fruit shake ever!

my tamarind shake

my tamarind shake

It was a long drive home but the experience of getting lost and going back the right path had the trip all worth it!

How to get to Gintung Pakpak Ecopark:

1. Visit their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gintung-Pakpak-Ecopark/104946462922843?fref=ts

2. Call 09152375915 or 09288107701 or 09424545019.

3. Check their website http://www.gintungpakpakecopark.com

4. Have fun!

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Expendable me

Published August 28, 2012 by Diosa

I turned 32 today and this is my first post for the 365 posts I promised to myself. I don’t know if I can keep up with this blogging but I might find it worthy of my time. Why expendable me? Expendable means

  1. (of an object) Designed to be used only once and then abandoned or destroyed.
  2. Of little significance when compared to an overall purpose, and therefore able to be abandoned.

Too dramatic and gruesome right? As of yesterday, I had my moment of feeling old, dramatic, and tired of the usual routine. I’m still living with my parents (with no space for privacy) and missing my sisters terribly. Have you read Veronika Decides to Die? Well, I was pondering and relating very much with her ordeal. My mom was pushing me to clean the house and calling me very lazy. My dad was under acting and pretending to be doing all the cleaning. I gave up arguing. I don’t want to point the obvious that we actually have house helper. And how much dirt can 4 people could actually accumulate? I’m not lazy because I work almost 10 hours a day during weekdays plus 2 half-day Saturdays. I was so upset so I scratched my wrist. (It’s so stupid, I remember saying to myself “para kang tanga.”)

hindi ako suicidal, nagdadrama lang

I just shut the hell up and then they were nagging me to go out with them and watch a movie. Really, it’s a losing battle whenever I try to resist them. I took a bath and went out. Surprisingly, they gave me a wonderful treat. My dad treated us with my favorite tenderloin steak and my mom bought me swimsuit cover up and snorkeling gear. (My sisters can’t believe it either!) After that, we watched “Expendables 2.” OH, how I LOVE Expendables 2. My action heroes are altogether in one movie. Yes, I was one of the people who clapped after the action-packed scenes. (1. when Chuck Norris saved them first 2. when they fought for the village (Jason Statham is soooo hot! ) 3. when Arnold S. (yeah, it’s hard to spell, don’t want to google it) drilled them out 4. when they all fought together at the airport 5. and yes, another applause for Chuck! ( I never appreciated his movies but I sooo liked him in this movie) Van Damme did well in playing the man we love to hate. I could rave all the lines I love:

1. “When was the last time you did that?, I forgot.” while watching Billy the kid breezed through the steep forest.

2. “I’ll be back” / “You’ve been back enough.”

3. “That belongs in a museum.” / “We all do.”

For a movie that’s supposed to be used only once, I don’t mind having a part 3.

The whole day totally soothed my grudge and sweetened my disposition.

Going back to philosophizing the meaning of expendable, well, we all live once. The day we are born is the day we start dying. We need to fully live our lives. The world does not revolve around us. We are just part of the big picture. After falling off the calendar, I reflected on the days when I can’t wait to grow up and be an adult. I wanted to rush things and constantly worry about the future. This time, I wish for the time to slow down. Live each day. Smile for a moment. Laugh a lot. Cry a little. Get mad. Travel more. Walk farther. Drive now. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.Hold tight. Let go.

Though my parents drive me crazy at times, I would still love to spend time with them. When I was in my 20’s, I decided that I should be married at 30. And then, I don’t see marriage an option anymore. I dreamed of being a teacher and then, I dream to have another dream. I hope to build something. But the truth is, I really don’t know what chances I’ll take. I just pray that I have the courage to actually take the chance.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. It’s actually a good start. I was early at work today. It was smooth traffic all the way to school and no bad men trying to slash my bag. My colleagues greeted me. We ate lunch on time. I was less irritated. I taught and learned. I realized why I love and hate my job. One preschooler had a very high-pitched voice. A grade school student concluded, “you must hate your job, she’s so annoying.” That remark actually calmed me down. I have been teaching her since she was in nursery now she’s grade 7. It was fun teaching her and after 3hours of studying, I told her “you must hate studying with me.” Then we laughed out loud. Well, my luck ran out and I got stuck in traffic. I got off and walked home. My mom and dad waited me for dinner. They might have took an hour earlier to realize that it is my birthday today but they did make up big time.

I feel loved and I’m thankful.

*** I’m grateful to my family and friends that greeted me thru text. I just felt more important and I was touched.. really. Tata, Karen, Tito Ago and Tita Magie, Tita Liset, Made, Tita Baby, Ama, Janet, Rica,Beng, Ian and for my starbucks coffee,

my fave espresso frap

Mae, AJ, Arnold, Liza, Tita Susan and Mabel and Jen. My facebook friends, more than hundred people greeted me! Even my highschool crush who never talked to me.

And my sisters who called me, I just miss you so much. We’ve been celebrating birthdays separately for too long.

My trip to Legaspi, Daraga, Donsol, and Cagraray

Published April 9, 2012 by Diosa

In every travel I take, I rely on the internet for information heavily. I’m guilty of not being able to say thanks to those who took time and put their itinerary on the cyber world. I hope this will be the first of many travelling tips and guides I contribute in the net.

Date / Time Actvities Things to Bring Fee
April 4

6:40 am

8:40 am

9:40

1:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

Manila – Terminal 3

Terminal Fee

Manila – Legaspi

Via Airphil

Legaspi City Airport

City Tour and Donsol Transfer

Lignon Hill

Daraga Church

Cagsawa Ruins

Lunch

Embarcadero

Legaspi Blvd.

Go to Donsol

Vitton and Woodlands Resort

Standard Double

Deluxe

Register at Donsol tourism office

E-ticket. Valid ID. Credit card used

 

 

 

 

Comfy clothes and shoes

Mosquito Repellant

Sunblock

Water

P200/pax

P1918/pax

 

 

P20000/coaster/3 days

P20/pax (senior  citizen/ children below 3 feet – free)

Optional:

Zipline: P250 – 350/pax

P10

P250 (eat all you can)

P2640/night

P2400/night

*extra mattress – P300

April 5

5:30am

7:00 am

10:00 am

 

6:30 pm

Wake up

Whaleshark Interaction

Registration

Back to Resort

 

Firefly watching

Packed food and water, sun protection apparel and lotions, snorkeling gear, and underwater or video cameras, minus artificial underwater illumination devices or gadgets.  

P3500/boat

P100/pax

Optional:

Snorkeling Gear – Rental Fee P300/pax

P1250/5 pax

April 6

7:00am

9:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:00pm

Donsol to Legaspi City

Day tour at Misibis Bay

Roundtrip land transfers (from your hotel in Legazpi City/Hotel Venezia to Misibis Bay) Lunch at Spice Market / Dela Playa Restaurant

Non-motorized watersports activities like Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) surfing, Hobie Cat sailing,windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling

Use of resort facilities (Indoor Activity Center, swimming pools and fitness center)

Legazpi to Donsol

Sunblock

Camera

Swimsuit

Changing clothes

 

P4270/pax

(children 5 years and below – free, 20% senior citizen discount)

April 7

9:00 am

11:15am

1:15 pm

2:10 pm

Donsol to Legazpi

Legaspi Airport

Terminal Fee

Legaspi to Manila

Via Zest Air

Manila – Terminal 4 (Old Domestic airport)

E-ticket, Valid ID, Credit card used  

 

P30/pax

 

P1384.40/pax

 

Contact Numbers:

Albay Tourism Office: 052 4810250                                                  Vitton and Woodlands Resort:  annie.09279126313; 09178501771

Misibis Bay: 09175991590; 0524810888; 026618888                        Legazpi Tourism Office: 052 480-4956/57

Roam-travel: miggie.09175581494; 09228207954                            Legazpi City Tourism Services Unit: 052 4802698

Airphil: 052 480-7515; 855-9000                                                         Zestair: 855-3333; 052 4805005/55

Please use this as guide, don’t follow it. The travel to and fro Donsol is very tiring. If I could undo our itinerary, it was better to stay in Legaspi.

Hanging out with the Birds

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

If I would name one animal that I would remember in Dubai, camels would come in second. Birds would definitely be the first. Migratory birds from Africa to Asia and vice versa usually take the route here and Dubai is lucky to be visited by these fine creatures frequently. From walking around the parks, driving the road, or simply staring in the sky, I always get a glimpse of birds soaring freely. Their flock would instantly draw my attention and I catch myself watching them. It gets more fascinating as you would see different kinds of birds in one spot.

 

Dubai Creek Park is my favorite place here. Well, I might dislike it if I happen to go there during the summer. Anyway, I like it even more when I finally had a close encounter with the birds. We saw the people in the park feeding them and we were excited to see the birds catching the food, flying around, or wading in the creek. It was only a matter of time before we became part of the group that were feeding the birds. I was happy as I watched the birds but when I saw my nephews looking at them, it was amazing. I can’t explain how those small eyes can reflect humongous amount of awe, wonder, and joy.

 

 

Yehey!

 

Can you spot the difference?

Time to rest

 

 

 

Home Away From Home

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

**This had been my home for almost 6 years and truly honed a big part of me. I could still remember the first time I came here to register. After confirming my admission, I asked my mom to enroll me in UST. Laguna was very far from home and I was sure I will be homesick. Incidentally, my slot in UST was already forfeited. I had no choice but enroll in UPLB or in any colleges. I dreamt of studying in UP but definitely not Los Banos. I vowed that I would be trasferring to Diliman but it never happened. I did shift to a different course but not to another campus. Somehow, Los Banos crawled its way to my heart and I came to love UPLB. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot of lessons. I missed my friends from my hometown and got really jealous when I knew that they still hanged out together but I made more friends who also taught me a lot. I terribly missed my family but I became independent and took care of myself. It had been truly my home away from home.It didn’t only teach me lessons to earn a college degree but lessons in life. Here’s a trip down the memory lane where I came back to my alma mater after years of thriving in my young adult life.

When I was in freshman, I would either commute from Buendia bus terminal or my dad would drive me all the way to Los Banos. The trip usually took three hours from Bulacan to Laguna. I would be finishing one movie when I rode the bus. Sometimes I got pissed when I didn’t finish the movie because I had to get off at College. Since it was a long trip, I met different people along my trip. Sometimes, there would be old people abusing my kindness but most of the time, guys that were hitting on me. Modesty aside. It was funny when they would write their number (text messages were not yet available then) and give it to me so I’ll call them. And LRT had no separate coaches for male and female then. It was nice when we interacted with people like before. Well, if you didn’t like them, you could always transfer. By the way, ticketing in the bus had gone techie. Before the bus conductor would rip lots of paper to give your fare rate but now it would come out from a gadget. Plus, I didn’t bump my head on the tv because they are now using flat tv. I didn’t bump because I’m tall. I do admit my baby height.

Here’s the kwek kwek tower. If I remember correctly, it was built in 1999. Seriously, I don’t know the official name of this structure. I researched the name of this tower and it was more identified as the kwek kwek tower. (Official name is UP College of Agriculture Academic Heritage Monument)The burning fire had faded and rumor has it that it will be replaced by the Oblation. I think a lot of people would agree with me that its completely an eye sore. I really don’t have any fond memories of this place so moving on… (but this shot really looked picturesque)

**When I was studying, we researched in the library or borrowed the handouts and photocopied it. Now, you could just go to photocopy centers and look for you subject and wala, your own copy.

**My teacher in several subjects. We did catch up but she has to go to her class. I think she didn’t grow a day old. I forgot to take a picture of my other teacher who is now the dean of our college because I got too excited and talkative. I’m really happy to see them. They’re so nice, warm, and down to earth.

The college offices. I’ll always remember Tita Lorna better than the dean or college secretary. She was nicer than the officers in CAS where I was originally enrolled. We also used to wait for our class at the lobby here.

The Humanities building. I took my com, humanities, soc sci, philo classes here. I still remember during class debates when our opponent were about to lose, she said “puta” instead of prostitute and she said it very angry and looked directly at us. What else, I was afraid of Soc Sci II teacher. I enjoyed Hum II under Dr. Zafaralla even more when we went to Ilocos. It was the best summer ever. And how could I fail to mention the Oblation run. When I was freshman, I was embarassed to watch but eventually I went to Humanities building to watch. It is tradition!

Here is my college building. It is formerly entomology building which explains why there is an insect in front. UPLB has a very big campus. When ask how big? In my very Ms. Universe way, I would answer upper or lower campus. But the reality is, our college hasn’t acquire or build a new building unlike CAS.

My favorite waiting shed. at PhySci building. I used to wait here for jeepneys or meet my friends. These days, jeepneys don’t pass this road anymore. I took my Math, Physics, and Chem classes at this building. And yes, including Math review classes. I really had a hard time during freshman year that I eventually dropped the subject. I retook it the next sem and finally understood it. I almost convinced myself that I was stupid in Math but proved myself wrong. I had my retake with my favorite blocmate, Mark and it was fun though at the start embarassing. Our teacher repeatedly told us that she was supposed to teach only few students but since we failed, she was forced to teach us too. Math 26 was my redemption. I topped the class and it felt so damn good. I’m not stupid. Yay!

I transferred at Raymundo street with my friends from Men’s dorm in 1999. We rented an apartment and shared it with 6 other housemates. Each housemate was assigned to cook so we also went to market. This little market is very clean and has a variety of goods. I like buying here because the sellers were nice and they called me “Claudine Barretto.” (talk about me being vain) I remembered when one of my housemate cooked something that was not really tasty she walked out of the house and we were really worried. Lesson: Never argue with the cook. Aside from cooking duties, we also cleaned the house, washedour clothes, did the dishes, etc.

Unfortunately, our house was replaced with this establishment. It was a very nice duplex. It was airy and spacious. It had two bedrooms, a big space for the living and dining rooms, and a kitchen. A lot of memories happened in that house. It was the silent witness of our joys, friendship, fights, long hours of studying, disappointments, love, and a whole lot more. I still have a vivid memory of that place and my housemates, Liza, Ga, Lani, Irene, Gelai, Ate Icar, Nalce, Ces, Ate Cha, Jomari, another Cha, Verl, Jo-ann, and two other housemates I forgot. It had been an extension of UPCES org house. We had them in the house like any time of the day. I remembered two names, Ramil and Ramel, and I used it to call any of them. 🙂

C and Y centrum is the only establishment aside from the market that reminds me of the time that I lived there. My friend Rouselle lived here. But even their own internet shop was closed now. No one can really stop change.

This used to be a rough road but functions the same, a parking lot. During my time, econ students were the rich ones and who drove their own cars. The love of my college life, Dan, was one of them. After our STS meeting at night, I would really catch up with him so we could walked together in the dark. It was disappointing he didn’t try anything. LOL!

SEARCA, SouthEast Asian Research Center at marami pang iba, I don’t know what’s A. But I do know, it served the best rice in the campus!

At the back of humanities. They seemed to be obsessed with benches!

The library where I researched and photocopied my homework, paper, lessons, reviewer, etc. It now shares its space with the office of the chancellor.Sometimes, I spent my day just sitting inside writing and reading the same thing.

I should have crossed the road and pretended its abbey road. Behind the cotton-like tree is the tambayans of orgs in UPLB. Once, I saw a group of male drinking there at around 4 in the afternoon. so true.

Before, its only Mariang Banga who has clay jar. Now, it’s everywhere.

The Student Union Building. This was the first building I went in. During orientation, this is where the freshmen’s mind were set to love UP and be proud of being UP student. From games like standing up everytime UP student is mentioned to answering questions lik: What are the universities in the Philippines? UP and others. UP is the only university worth mentioning as for others, well, they’re others. Do they still do this kind of orientation? I swear, after this orientation, I was so happy and proud to be a UP student. Only to be defeated by homesickness, which I had overcome… eventually. This was also where I got to know and made friends with my blockmates. I’m sorry if I forget someone but here I go, Aileen, Arcadio (I had no story right now but he is fun to be with), Lennon, Dave, Cherry, Jing (my dormmate too then my neighbor when I rented an apartment who I also borrowed chem and physics lab answers) Bernadette, Cloudette, Diane, Eliza (still bored? Remember when we just hang out at the field after classes?) DJ (I was scared when he called me at the PMA grounds, I thought I was caught doing something wrong.) Gerwin, Chip, Gemmar, Roy, Rex, Pam, again my fave Mark, Marjorie, Fatima, Ofel, Frel, and Cathy (my coGordon’s Gin fanatic & closest blocmate)

Yes, 7-11 is now opened in SU building.

Don’t you just love the smell of freshly cut grass?

Men’s – Coed Residence Hall or Men’s Dorm was my first home in UPLB. I cried the whole first night. and the night after that. and after the night after. Anyway, I met my good friends here. Ate Madz, Kwen, Liza, Mia, Ces, Rose, and Aimee. I don’t know what’s with the attraction of our room but they really liked hanging out there. Perhaps its the cool big fan. 🙂 It was here I started reading novels and talking the whole night. We even have our names written under my bed. I wonder if it’s still there. We experienced one month brownout, dorm’s sportsfest, eating canned goods, forced to eat at Mother’s, overflowing CR, and a whole lot more. We shared great memories until sophomore year. I took a leave of absence at the same tim Aimee and Mia did. I came back to UPLB. Mia transferred to UP Diliman. Aimee never came back. My 18th birthday wouldn’t be as marvelous if they were not there.

This is where we had our graduation. At the field right in front of DL UMali Hall. Graduation was a mixture of sadness and happiness. It was the culmination of the six years that I stayed in the university and signified the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

St. Therese Chapel. I attended Wednesday mass here especially during Fr. Gil’s mass. I still remembered when he sang “Don’t give up on us.”

Old UP rural highschool building. I went here for my Math 27.

Ankers was not like this before. We ate good food with live chickens at the side. They were watching us as we took each bite of their sisters and brothers.

The best chocolate cake ever!

With my friend, Ces, with whom I share this nostalgic and surreal experience.

**

Crossing Palma Bridge.

**

And yes, I still love to sit on the grass, hang out at the field, wait for the time to pass.

**Pictures taken by Ces Tarnate.

Big World

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

It’s a big world for this cute and carefree child. I could only wish that I could freeze time and have him just the way he is forever. His mama would get angry at me. 🙂

making playful pose

did he just get cuter?

more adorable?

another silhoutte

and the little boy did inspect the pictures. (all pictures were taken by my sister, dona)

Back in Bora

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

I could finally sing “nakabalik na ako sa white sand beach ng Boracay!” Both trips are so memorable for me. The white sand, pristine waters, and hot people all around make Boracay a destination one should not fail to go. I was here in 2005 and after going to a lot of Philippines’ beautiful islands, I wonder if Boracay is still one of the country’s top tourists’ spots. Well, whatever doubts I had, going back to the island cleared them all up. The beach wasn’t that crowded at this time of the year but still there are many tourists. I could complained about too many people or too many restos and bars or too many resorts but there’s still something I just couldn’t explain that draws me and apparently lots of people to the beach. I could actually sit there all day and just stare at the beach, watch the waves, feel the sand, and listen.

The trip going to Boracay proved to be an adventure for me. In 2005, I endured 13 hours of riding RORO with my colleagues which included sitting in the bus with some passengers that have live chickens with them, transferring to ferries, running for seats, and back aches that I kept feeling for 4 days. When we saw Boracay, I honestly could cry. I had the most amazing feeling on my feet when we finally stepped on the white powdery sand. This year, I took the plane. Thinking that it would be more relaxing, I was wrong. I went with my family this time and we took three different flights at three different terminals. My sister and I took public transportion to the airport where we would meet the others while they took the car. Since we were in a tight schedule, we called them every five minutes or less. My brother in law with my nephew were dropped to centennial airport only to be told that they should be at T3. They took the cab and transferred. Then, my mom and dad were supposed to be at T3. They did make it. Thirty minutes before departure time. My sisters, another nephew, and me needed to go back to domestic terminal but we had to park the car first. It was really stressful when you’re pressured with time. We finally found a parking slot and took the shuttle. The driver was kind enough to help us crossed the street. Hello, he dropped us at the other side. Yay! We got there just in time! (FYI, flights going to Boracay via Airphils and Philippine Airlines are the same which is why my brother in law needed to transfer to T3 terminal)

In 2005, we saw sailboats at the shore but this time boats dock at the pier at the other side of the island. It does make sense. The beach is free from gas leaks and people are free to swim.

 

we had ice cream then, I finally found Jonas. Their fruit shakes are so delicious!

 

 

Island Hopping

We enjoyed banana boat ride then I scaled into new heights this time, parasailing.

Just for fun with the kids, I rode the jetski on land with steering wheel :))

 

I went there with my shs binondo family then, my family.

 

The beautifully made and lighted sandcastles

 

at willy’s rock. no tattoo this time.

 

the waterfall stairs at regency

 

D’mall

 

My first airplane ride. No more roro. Thanks Mrs. C! Now, with my sisters, brother, and nephews.

 

I love Boracay! and I would love to go back again and again and again….