Salamat, Alabat!

Also known as: Quezon trip with book lovers

I realized when I got back from Europe that I did not hit the beach this year. I don’t really count the one in Pinatubo because…well, I didn’t get to swim then, and it wasn’t really the ocean, so no sea breeze. I was feeling kind of sad about that fact, so when one of our book club moderators invited me to join them for the (now) annual Alabat, Quezon trip, I said yes1. Who was I to say no to the beach?

Okay, so it wasn’t entirely a beach trip the entire time, but I think we got to spend most of it there. :)

It was my first overnight trip with my book club friends, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, save for talking about books all day. But it turned out to be a weekend with more than books, and it was a very, very welcome getaway.

Alabat Year 2, at 3 in the morning!

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  1. Even if this meant I had to offset my sudden leave for the trip []

Because we’re hardcore like that

Also known as: The epic pre-birthday Pinatubo trip

I wasn’t planning on any trip for the month of March because March is usually the busiest month of my year, being my birth month and all. But my best friend had other ideas and decided to invite us all to go trek to Mt. Pinatubo.

Like I said, I wasn’t really planning a trip, so I thought of passing on this one because I usually have to many things going during March. But after my friends started confirming that they were joining the trek, I realized that if I don’t go there now, I may never be able to go there again because the people I usually go on trips with have already gone. Of course, I can always go alone or I can find another group to go with…but it’s really so much fun to be with these people.

And so I went. It could be a pre-birthday trip.

Trust my luck that I was on midshift the night before. I got off work as early as I can, met up with Happy, stayed up late talking then headed to the meeting place at 3 in the morning. No sleep, all ready to trek.

I know, it sound like a very bad decision, right? Especially when they asked us if we wanted to go do the shorter 30-minute trek for with an additional fee and we refused. Come on! It’s supposed to be a trek! It’s supposed to be long, climbing rocks, crossing rivers and all that! We refuse to go the 30 minute trek — we want the 2-3 hour one! We’re hardcore!

Yep, kind of a bad decision.

Welcome to Pinatubo, says Cookie.

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Agyamanak la unay, Baguio!

Also known as: The weekend in Baguio City
Translation (from Ilocano, a Filipino dialect): Thank you very much, Baguio!
Note: Photo dump coming up.

My weekend was spent in the City of Pines, a trip that I had proposed to my friends at the start of the year when we were playing picnic.  I’ve been to Baguio City thrice, four counting the trip last weekend, but the only time I was really able to appreciate Baguio as a tourist was once when I was about seven and the last weekend. The other two times were for a Kids for Christ conference when I was 12, and last year for a strategic planning for work. Both times I didn’t go around Baguio at all, and all I could remember of it was being homesick and enjoying the cold weather.

So last weekend is a trip that made me a tourist in Baguio again. I wanted to go because I really just want to make the most out of the cold weather, and I wanted to get out of the city. It came to a point that I was so stressed at work and with other real life stuff that I just needed a break — a mental health day if you may. So it was done. With my friends who achieve, and a foreign “delegate”, we trekked up last weekend to the City of Pines for a well-deserved cold weekend.

Where I try to act tourist-y. Not my best picture, but the sign behind me is really more important. :P

And now in bullets!

  • Baguio is easy to get to if you’re coming from Manila…but it is wise to get bus tickets in advance especially if you want to reach Baguio early. We got to Victory Liner station thinking it would be easy to get a bus, but the next bus available is at 5:00am. :O We decided to buy tickets and then line up as chance passengers.The 3:00am bus was our lucky bus, and as soon as the bus started moving, we were all knocked out asleep. 6 hours later, hello Baguio!

    Waiting for the bus
  • We stayed in PNKY Home, a quaint little Bed & Breakfast along Leonard Wood Road. Toni discovered this place but he didn’t have a chance to stay here the last time he was in Baguio, so we decided to book the place.
    They’re doing a bit of renovating so there’s the steel bars behind Cookie. Oh, and Cookie’s the official mascot of the trip, at least until the animal hats came into the picture. :D

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