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Archive for the ‘road trips’ Category


I know, I know, this comes a bit late again but I just have to post these two pictures that I took of one of the lovely places I went to with the whole family. The Farm at San Benito is located in Lipa, Batangas, a three-hour drive from our place in Rizal. One thing I do remember so well is the night swimming at their Secret Pool with the lush green all around. It was so relaxing and it makes me smile thinking about my reaction to the place when I first saw it, the “oohs and aahs” and the excited anticipation of exploring it.

...then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

…then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

...and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

…and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

 

 

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I miss going on road trips. I haven’t done any this year yet but I remember the joys of seeing countryside scenery in all its glory. I love the feel of morning air and the fresh scent of some places far from the madding crowd, so to speak. I found these photos taken about three years ago on our road trip passing by SCTEX going to Olongapo City. SCTEX (Subic – Clark -Tarlac Expressway is a  93.77-kilometre (58.27 mi) four-lane expressway north of Manila adjoining the North Expressway. It ends up at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.

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My son who took the wheels when we reached Subic was fined P200.00 for traffic violation back then. The traffic regulation they have there is quite different from what we have  in Metro Manila. If you rely on the traffic light here in the metropolis, in Subic, it’s a first come, first go basis even if the traffic light turns green on your end of the road. If you are not a resident of the place, you’ll surely won’t know that you are violating any traffic rule.  That’s traffic discipline, so they say.

It takes simple things for one to enjoy life and going on road trips is one.

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This post came a  bit late but I can’t surely ignore it, can I?  Mine says Dreams and Escapes (with an S at the end).  There are several pictures  I took that would exactly describe what the word escape means to me but the following three shots stand out.

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CALERUEGA. This is one of my favorite places. I could stay here and just listen to the silence or write a journal while admiring the view and feeling the cold breeze touch my cheeks.  That’s my daughter busy with something. I remember, we brought that tripod and three digital cameras,  mounting  one permanently to the former while we were exploring the place.

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PUNDAKIT BEACH, SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES.  I remember those days when we used to go on road trips discovering new places . If only for the serenity of the place, I would come back here and see the sunrise or admire a wonderful sunset.  Beyond those mountains is Anawangin and overlooking this one is Capones Island.

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TANAY. December 27, 2009, my first trip out-of-town after six rigorous sessions of chemotherapy.  Can I endure the exhilaration of going down these trails and climbing up the mountains of Tanay? I did it with flying colors, a brief escape from the fact that I was so depressed while undergoing treatments.

The beauty of nature gives us that feeling of oneness with the universe, a form of escape from pain and heartaches.  I always love this phrase posted  in  every corner at Caleruega which I have adopted in most of my blogs, Close To Nature, Closer To God.

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I haven’t gone on road trips for  more than a year now. The last time I did, we visited  the 71-foot statue of Mama Mary in Tanay which I shared here in a blog. I love visiting religious sites where one could savor the peace and quiet and get in touch with  one’s inner self and strengthen one’s faith.  I dreamed of visiting  Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban, Quezon but my ever adventurous son beat me to it. They spent the weekend in Lucban and visited the Shrine. Kamay ni Hesus is a  50-foot statue of resurrected Christ  on top of a hill. And just like Regina RICA in Tanay, you have to climb more than three hundred steps to get to the top. I borrowed some pictures from his cellphone. Hopefully, one of these days, I will be able to visit the place too.

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One thing more that makes me long to see Lucban, Quezon is I want to get in touch with relatives there.  My paternal grandfather hailed from that place but our generation never got to know our close relatives there except for  his cousin and his family whom we used to visit in Quezon City when I was in high school.  The surname Abuel is pretty common in Lucban. How I wish that one day I could discover our family tree and get to visit the place. All I remember is the name of my paternal great-grandfather  that my late Dad told me before he died.

May 15, 2013 is another big celebration in Lucban. San Isidro de Pahiyas Festival is another event that I want to witness in Lucban. I wonder what kiping tastes like. It is inconvenient for me to travel solo so I’ll save the best for last – going on a trip to Batanes and attending the Pahiyas Festival.

By the way, son brought home Lucban longganisa, a roll of yummy Yema cake and a big pack  of meringue. The latter I think is one of their famous products.

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Here are my own interpretations of what the word Beyond means to me in pictures. Come to think of it, I always look forward  to this weekly photo challenge because somehow you get to look  once more at some pictures which at the time you took were just pleasing to your eyes and senses. Sometimes though, they acquire a meaning and you wish you could capture the essence of each view and place you see.

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Beyond this mountain is my provincial home which I haven’t visited  in quite a while. My old memories of this places is tied up to the river running below this mountain where we used to catch fresh-water fish during the early parts of rainy months. And yes, the impromptu picnics  beside  the river and taking a long soak after.  Fresh, unpolluted running water and lovely river stones that sometimes my cousins and I used to bring home  for our Piko games.

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The cool mountains of Tanay. I remember taking this shot three weeks after my six-sessions of chemotherapy ended.  It was a kind of litmus test how far I can go without tiring myself after such a life-changing treatment.  I miss this place, I hope someday I would be able to come back here.

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What lies behind closed doors, do you know? Dreams! Pockets of happy days!  Actually, I was fascinated by the stained-glass door. I seldom see this kind of window and door treatments except in places where they value old-age decor.

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There is always something that fascinates me in discovering places and looking beyond.  I took this in Caleruega, the hanging bridge was simply irresistible. And beyond this is a vast garden and an upward climb to a hill that gives a wonderful view of the Batulao mountains in Batangas. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

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This may come a bit  late for last week’s challenge  but you may have noticed that I don’t get to blog everyday nowadays. Just too busy catching up on things at home that blogging has become my least priority. Well, for one thing, I just set up another blog for my grandson so I am somewhat focused there.

I have only two shots that I want to include here, not because they reflect the challenge at hand but they remind me of the happier days when we used to go on road trips with the kids. These were taken at The Farm, a spa facility that boasts of large gardens and  nature at its best. This is located in Lipa City, Batangas, about three hours away from Metro Manila. Would love to come back here one of these days, God willing.

This is their Lagoon where I spent so much time reading and just looking at the ducks feeding nearby. Why not try visiting this place, they have some excellent reviews from people who’ve been there.

 

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Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness. –  Dag Hammarskjöld

I love this shot. It is one of several photos that I took  in Tanay during my first road trip two weeks after my final chemotherapy session almost three years ago. Time flies – but it holds a promise  that no matter how painful it is – life goes on!

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There are circumstances and events that live in one’s memory more prominently than the others and going on road trips with the family is one of them – remembering the happier days. I am transferring some of my family albums from Multiply which according to news will close in a few months and I can’t resist posting this particular album here since I loved the place when we dined there more than three years ago, a few months before I discovered that I had colon cancer. It changed my perspective about life because after my surgery, we have cut down on taking trips like this. It was replaced by regular trips to the hospital, diagnostic centers and my doctors. I am so grateful though that before  that life-changing ailment, I was able to visit here.

This was when I was still starting my love affair with my camera. I can’t remember now which one I used here, because I used to have a Pentax Optio and a much-lower-priced Samsung. I am using a Canon Ixus now with many added features. These are raw shots that were never altered, not even cropped.

Breakfast at Antonio’s (that’s actually the full name of the restaurant), is a high-end restaurant that serves breakfast meals all day long.  I remember the date, it was January 15, 2009. We came from our first road trip to Caleruega and we were on our way back to Manila. We were talking of where to take lunch even before we left Caleruega. And the kids were unanimous in saying that we will have it in Tagaytay so they could also enjoy the view of the Taal Lake. It was quite cloudy when we were there so I suggested why not try Breakfast at Antonio’s? It is about two and a half kilometers from the main highway but it is worth the time and the wait. We waited for about thirty minutes to be served. There were only about three occupied tables when we arrived. It’s gourmet dining at its best. Hubby was impressed. My two kids ordered chocolate milk drinks while  hubby  had tomato juice. I just had plain water because I had so much coffee while we were in  Caleruega.

It’s an architectural showcase, notice the high beams, it blends so well with the place.

While waiting for our food, we had one of the waiters take a shot of the four of us.

The fun part – eating! They call this Sausages and Scrambles.

Beef  tapa, a must have for a nourishing breakfast but we had it at lunch.

Ham and Swiss Cheese Roesti

Croque Madame

More than the food, I just love the ambience of the place.

This greets you at the reception area, a room full of antique items on the walls and as decors too. Even the floor entices you to go barefoot.

Ah, the Koi, we all love Koi!

Love that big pot of Anthurium, part of the charm of the place.

The main door stays closed but they open it for clients and diners.

My two kids….

A rare shot of the four of us – as always, we have to set up the tripod for this.

Love those paintings on the wall. This dining area has that airy atmosphere which is just perfect for a lovely chat.

I love that picture window and the garden beyond.

And this lush Koi pond….

The Koi fish are bigger than the ones they have at Caleruega.

Couldn’t resist these  lovely blooms….

Another shot of the reception area…

The garden in front…

That’s my son enjoying a few minutes of walking around the place.

I really hope one of these days, we could come back here and sample their other menu on the list.

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I took these series of shots in one of our road trips this year. We were on a long, long highway going to Tanay, Rizal and I was fascinated by the clear view of the countryside, but since we can’t stop and admire the mountains looming ahead, I have to aim the camera through the car window.

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