on holiday

it’s been three days since our supposedly relaxing 4-day beach holiday and I’m still recovering from exhaustion.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip with friends for months. I had visions of lying on white sand, of blue skies overhead, of catching up with friends. it would be roque’s first major out-of-town trip and I was excited to watch him discover and explore sand. I imagined him playing by the water, absorbed by the wonder of the waves, the sun gently turning his fair skin golden brown.

well, let me tell you, none of these things happened. none.

the resort we stayed at had a small strip of white sand right at its doorstep which appeared for a few hours each day during low tide, and it was all the sand I ever saw during those four days. you can bet I never once laid down on it.

other than traveling and staying in one house together, our friends and my family might as well have gone on two very different trips.

they went island hopping everyday and did all the things I looked forward to –clear skies, white sand, blue water.

alvin and I, on the other hand, stayed at the resort and made sure our 10-month-old took his naps and drank his milk, which sounds very responsible and commendable until you’re the one left behind while everyone else worked on their tan.

and nappies, we changed a lot of nappies.

so, no, it wasn’t the best holiday I’ve gone on, thank you for asking.

the little boy, on the other hand, seemed to have had a good time.

davao 01

multiple firsts: first plane ride, first bus ride, first roro trip. he handled the long travel from manila to samal island really well, especially considering we had to be at the airport at 230am for our 405am flight.

davao 02

the protests came when we picked him up to leave.

davao 03

he wasn’t lacking in attention and he knew it.

davao 04

he discovered stairs and doors. my back wasn’t amused at these discoveries.

davao 05


davao 06


davao 07

one plus one makes three!

captain hook’s red parrot inn. kaputian, samal island – http://www.redparrotinn.com/

bahay ni tuding. davao city – http://www.bahaynituding.com/

roque meets the sea

i had a bad wanderlust attack a couple of weeks ago and tito junet and tita melanie came to the rescue by lending us their beach house for the weekend.

the house was gorgeous, the food was yummy, and roque met the sea for the first time! 😀

00 the claw

the claaaw!

01 retro snacks+wine

retro snacks + wine

02 roque's stuff

roque’s overnight stuff vs alvin’s and my overnight stuff

03 first meal at tali

roque’s favorite spot in the house

04 roque

i don’t know about you but i’m going swimming!

05 house

brick kitchen counter and blue stairs

06 house

blue gas lamp

07 jingy

with and without jingy

08 house

here and there

09 house

whitewashed headboard

10 house

red sails

11 jingy and roque

jing and roque

12 food


13 roque with daddy

the boss

14 with mommy

the sea!

15 group photo


16 beach

roque at the beach!

17 stroller at the beach


18 elma


19 green door

green door

20 roque and the water

roque meets the sea

21 with daddy


boracay in boxes

before my ever-growing belly pops, alvin and i flew to boracay with friends (family, really) where we proceeded to do variations of nothing for six days.

day 01A

day 1: fresh seafood and jonah’s shake!

day 01B

day 1: real coffee calamansi muffin!

day 02A

day 2: while waiting for the natividads

day 02B

day 2: beach! beach!

day 02C

day 2: greek coffee

day 03A

day 3: super crunchy daing na bangus!

day 03B

day 3: alvin’s coffee fix

day 03C

day 3: more beach time!

day 03D

day 3: alvin+jona=big tummy

day 03E

day 3: the official boracay 2013 group photo

day 4A

day 4: pre-island hopping

day 4B

day 4: parked in the middle of the sea somewhere

day 4C

day 4: snorkeling, fishing, floating around

day 4D

day 4: alvin’s pregnant sand lady

day 05A

day 5: the day aj went mohawk

day 05B

day 5: ta-daa!

day 05C

day 5: tibraz crepes and mojitos!

day 05D

day 5: going japanese

day 05E

day 5: the. tempura. bowl.

day 06A

day 6: more tibraz crepes!

day 06B

day 6: happy!

lsm square residence, station 1: +63 36 288.1907, +63 918.559.7289

sunny summers

i would be the first to admit that i am neither the most sociable nor the friendliest person in the world. put me in a room full of strangers and, barring some sort of emergency, i would leave that room without having talked to anyone. don’t get me wrong, i’m fine with this, especially since the mere thought of having to come up with something delightful to say to someone i do not know is enough to make me nauseous.

despite my lack of social skills, i think i must’ve done something right in a previous life because i’ve been blessed with a wonderful set of friends. we’ve been in each other’s lives for almost twenty years now and will hopefully continue to be in each other’s lives forever. 🙂

jing and daniel’s joint birthday beach trip at virgin beach, batangas. 2007. (couldn’t find a group photo with daniel though, haha!)

the first screws’ beach trip alvin was a part of. quezon. 2008.

bataan. 2009.

daniel, jing and rt’s joint birthday swim party. makati. 2010.

at a bataan beach during a storm. 2011.

our first beach trip with a baby in tow! 🙂 batangas. 2012.

the last two weeks in photos

…because i’m too exhausted to go through everything that happened in complete sentences.

our house became a terrorist den for half a day.

i went traipsing around a coal power plant.

alvin and i attended a wedding where we met the bride and groom in person for the first time!

*then* we attended a christening where we also met the christenee for the first time! (yes, i invented that word)

we let jingy drag us to a delightful exhibit opening sponsored by goethe-institut where we, jingy and i, proceeded to get tipsy on some bubbly, hihi.

we were guests at a little girl’s 7th birthday party. *photo of the little girl from her mother’s facebook account.

we roughed it in a nipa hut.

we marketed and grilled.

alvin got his coffee fix.

we had really good carrot cake with pretty chocolate sketches on the side.

we only had coffee and cake, i promise you.

us and pretty paper lanterns from next door!

we gazed in awe at pretty, tall, pointy things.

we walked around a beautiful, old cemetery.

we headed home.

the annual cabugao holy week special

and for the third year in a row, the sunios spent holy week in the small, sunny town of cabugao, ilocos sur. somehow though, we still managed to find new things to do, like visit the ilocos norte museum in laoag and the baluarte in vigan.

staples during the annual homecoming are:

  • cheap, fresh seafood(!)
  • *the* ilocos empanada
  • *the* ilocos longganisa
  • lazy afternoons on the veranda
  • trip/s to the nearby public beach
  • visit/s to vigan

the cheap seafood alone is enough to convince me to pull my manila roots up and re-plant them in cabugao. i can still feel that piece of tuna melting on my tongue!

fresh tuna: 120/kilo. true story.

neighborhood halo-halo!

around town

love, love, love.

please vote.

instant family picture!

summer skies.

my favorite place in cabugao. 🙂

red, blue and green

grocery-shopping, palengke style

it's a bird! it's a plane! it's...hello kitty!

where mamang and tatang got married 80 years ago.

vegetarian ilocos empanada!

spot the usisero.

the local good friday parade.

little boy by the signpost.

sinait church

sisters and cousins

museo ilocos norte in laoag

excuse me!

we had no idea what was up with that moustache!

the annual pug-os beach trip!

at baluarte. there were ostriches, reindeers, tigers and even dinosaurs!

vigan ice cream!

el nido revisited

it was 2006 when i first set foot on el nido, palawan. arlie had just died and i had tagged along with a group of artist friends who were there for an arts festival because i needed to be somewhere new.

the view that greeted us every morning

back then, el nido was a small, quiet town whose streets were filled with friendly locals. there were a smattering of resorts and restaurants in the town proper but tourists who found their way to el nido mostly stayed at the expensive resorts offshore. the few foreigners we ran into were either backpackers or those who were married to locals and actually lived there.

the place has always been special to me; it was there where i first grieved freely and deeply, where i realized that the future wasn’t as desolate as it seemed, where i had gotten my tattoo and with it the start of my recovery.

our last night in el nido, circa 2006

six years later, i was back, the circumstances of my life as different as it could be from my initial visit. i was excited to show alvin the streets i had walked on, the mountains i had stared at, the quiet i had reveled in. to my surprise, el nido town’s transformation rivaled my own: the once-lazy streets were now filled with people of various races, resorts, restaurants, kayak rentals, travel and tourist centers; anything to help and amuse your everyday visitor, basically.

i felt a bit sad to see the el nido town of old gone, but i guess in the name of progress this was a good thing. after all, all these tourist activities should contribute a lot to the town’s economic development. what bothered me though was that most of the ‘local’ businesses seemed to be owned by foreigners. some would argue that without these establishments, locals wouldn’t have jobs at all, but, naive as it sounds, it would be nice to actually have filipinos own businesses on philippine soil.

while the town changed, the islands surrounding it remained as gorgeous as i remembered. the waters as deep blue, the sands as powder fine, the mountains as majestic.


around town

yellow dog!

ron & alvin: reunited

island hopping!

do you see the submerged muscle man?

there were caves!

alvin got stung by a jellyfish. contrary to how it looked, no amputation was necessary.

after-breakfast coffee at artcafe

latte and buko pie

lower left: the uruguay consulate, i kid you not.

dry docked

the local cemetery

the town proper's shoreline

our front yard for a few days

the making of the mosquito basketball team

palawan mangoes!


marina garden beachfront inn – brgy masagana, el nido, palawan. http://www.mgelnido.com/ +63917. 624.7722 or +63908.884.3711

fort wally shuttle service – puerto princesa, palawan.  +63917.276.2875

marj salvador the tour guide – +63920.642.3744