Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sipalay ...Again and Again...and Forever!

It may sound like an exaggeration, but I really do love Sipalay forever and ever, again and again...for its one particular strip of lovely sugar-colored sand beach that I want to go back to, again and again. This is Sipalay's Sugar Beach.

Let me start with a not-so-brief description of my latest (and 7th?) trip to this city. With a friend, I spent a couple of days swimming and resort-hopping around Sipalay last October. I booked us a hut at a new-ish resort outside Sipalay proper. It was a good spot for a base. It's called Perth Paradise Resort. We got there via a Ceres bus plus a hired tricycle that we also used as our transport service for our two-day vacation. 

We left Bacolod just before 4AM and got off at the public market of Sipalay at around 9AM. It took us about 5 hours of fairly comfy travel since we started off in the wee hours of the morning. After we jumped off the bus, we got breakfast from the seaside strip of grillers, Sipalay's Food Park. It was there that we hired Manong Rommel as our tricycle driver/bodyguard. We didn't need to hire a tour guide. I was our tour guide. HAHA.

First on our agenda, after stuffing ourselves with inasal nga manok so early in the day, was to locate our resort and check in. It wasn't rocket science. We just asked a few pips along the way and finally drove up to the resort gate without any incident. Check in was a breeze. Simple introductions, cash upfront and we were shown to our "room".

We chose the native hut nearest to the restrooms and reception area, being the only patrons checked in for the day. We had the place to ourselves. YEY. It was really fortunate that we decided on taking just the fan room instead of opting for air-conditioned accommodations. The climb to those quarters would have ruined the whole trip for me! 

After unpacking, we met with our migo driver who was very polite and courteous to us. We decided to hit up all the resorts we could that were along our way. So, our first stop was the Punta Ballo Beach which has about three to four adjoining resorts sharing one long strip of creamy white sand beach. I had been here before but it was my friend's first time.  
I didn't recommend any of the resorts here because the beach was shallow. So, all we did here was check out the beach, the resorts, and take pictures. All we left were our footprints. Love the earth, eh?

 On our way to lunch, we decided to drop by Tinagong Dagat Resort. I was curious about it eversince I saw an aerial shot of it, with a long bamboo bridge that connected the resort to a rocky island. 

We paid P30 just to see and walk across this bridge. It was kind of scary, crossing an old-ish makeshift bridge made of bamboo and wood. It was reassuring to see that it was supported by concrete pillars, though. With my curiosity satisfied and expectations unmet, we decided to leave the crowded resort and find some refreshments in the city. 

Manong driver recommended a place, and we proceeded with great enthusiasm. We were not disappointed.

We were greeted by a host of servers despite our cat-dragged-in looks and were seated immediately in an airy dining area of La Veranda By Sipalay Suites. The place opened up to the nearby pool and garden.

 At one in the afternoon, the resort was deserted, so we lounged around and played in the garden swing till our orders of halo-halo came. Speaking of halo-halo, this is the best I have ever tasted in my whole life. And I never liked halo-halo. But for this one, I'd travel 5 hours again. 

Satiated and refreshed, we continued our tour. We were finally off to Sugar Beach! Also called Langub Beach by locals, this cove is quiet and may seem isolated. It is not. We needed to drive a few miles through a barangay and swamps before we could reach the point where boats could pick us up and carry us across to the island. 

Fortunately, the tide is out at 2PM that afternoon. It took us about 60 seconds to cross the island by boat. Yes, just sixty seconds. HAHA. Lucky, right? We paid the boatman P5.00 each. 

We wound our way through small nipa homes to find ourselves facing the sea. And what a sight it was for sore eyes! We, of course, rejoiced. We thanked the Lord, again and again that we were finally HERE. 

Screaming with joy at the top of our lungs, we ran and plunged into the waters. What a feeling! Indescribable. Heavenly. Peace. It was like we died and went to heaven.

We had the beach (again) to ourselves. How blessed were we? Indeed, very blessed.

For two hours, we savored the joy and utter happiness that only Langub Beach can give. The saltiness of the sea. The soft lapping of the waves. The gentle sun on our bare shoulders. The stillness of the air. The serenity of being nowhere. The freedom of not caring. 

But alas, at four o'clock, it was time to leave. We sadly rose from the sea, like beautiful mermaids (naks!), to go back to our real world. Trudging back the way we came, we found our boatman waiting to carry us across.  

Our spirits were lifted when we espied a fishing boat with fishermen selling their fresh catch. We went closer to inquire about the possibility of buying our dinner fare from them. We got a deal and a bargain with a kilo and a half of mameng for a fraction of its market selling price. We left the beach happy and proceeded to Sipalay Food Park once again. We requested our driver's distant relative to grill our fish and ordered some rice for supper, as we enjoyed the sunset from our table by the sea. 

At dusk, we called it a day and went back to our resort to shower and recharge for the next day with a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we woke up early for a morning dip in the pool. Finding the pool was easy. Just follow the winding steps up till you get to the highest point of the resort. The view? It was awesome. 

Swimming around the infinity pool, we got a great 180-degree unobstructed view of the islands and the green waters surrounding the mainland of Sipalay. 

A couple of hours' swimming got us hungry, so we hunted for food and our resort's restaurant. Food was good and filling at affordable and reasonable prices at our resort, so we were happy campers as we packed for home.

Our trusty driver came for us again and we were off to the bus stop after checkout. We had a little wait at the bus stop but what are digital cameras for, if not for selfies? HAHA. We also got some rice puto from a lolo who was selling them. They were still warm when I bought them for the long bus ride. I had some regrets that I only got one pack, coz they were good!

The bus arrived soon enough and we were on our way to Bacolod. But not before I got some yummy kalamay-hati from the bus-climbing vendors! NYAHAHA.

The Budget Estimates: around P1,500/person
Ceres Ride (one-way) P200
Breakfast (Rice & Chix meal) P 75
Fan Room (one night-for 2+1) P1,000
Tour/Tricycle Ride w/tip (8-hrs) P600 + 100
Halo-Halo P100
Boat Fare (one-way) P5
Dinner for 4 (Rice & Fish inc.service) P380
Brunch (Chorizo-log) P140
Tricycle to Sipalay/Bus Stop (for 3) P100
Puto (10 pcs) P20
Kalamay-Hati P10

* * *
If you were you, and you're not me, would you go to Langub Beach, too? :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Dreams Fulfilled

Today, as I sit and lazily look upon my quiet life, I am surprised at how many of my dreams have been realized. 

I have not been consciously or actively seeking to turn my dreams into a reality because I have had no opportunity to do them. So I have pushed them back into the recesses of my mind and given them up as part of my past, losing interest and hope.

Lately, with the event of technology and internet, opportunities that weren't available 15 years ago have presented themselves recently to me! Surprisingly, and fortunately, my little efforts at writing and research have paid off. I am very grateful for the people who were instrumental to my "big break". More importantly, I am thankful that my God up above has deigned to grant me what my heart desired after years of waiting and days of praying. 

Yes, years of waiting and just days of praying. I am ashamed to admit that I am not a regular "pray-or." I try, but I always feel lacking in my prayer life (that's another story). But I am proud to say from experience, that this will never stop Him from answering quickly. Even with underlying fears, I guess now with God, I can start dreaming again --- and dream big! 

So, what were my secret wishes? Nothing big, just a little wishful thinking which I will leave up in the air for you to guess. But the real lesson I've learned here is, to WAIT and NOT give up. There is always a time for everything... even BIG dreams!


What are your dreams? Have you waited and prayed about them?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's My Birthday Again!

What better time to re-start my blog than on my birthday??? Hello, again :)

I have always loved celebrating my birthdays. When we were smaller (and younger), my sister and I often had parties together. She invited her guests, and I invited mine. Even when we were financially strapped, my parents always made it a point to make our birthdays extra special. I remember giving out little "agogo" plastic bags filled with candies on my birthday because that was all we could afford. I didn't mind that my other classmates usually had grand parties in class. Nor was I ever embarrassed or bullied for having no money or new toys those years. I always just loved the idea that my birthday meant I was the "star" of the day at home. 

Growing up as the middle child, I shunned attention and was content to live in my own little world. But on that one special day of the year, I embraced the love and attention showered by my family and relatives on me. Mama always made sure to get us new clothes, or go shopping for a new pair of pants on special occasions. Birthdays are one of those "new outfit" days. We would wear our new attires at our birthday celebrations, then later for Sunday masses.

Now all grown-up (and hopefully, more mature-thinking), I can appreciate birthdays more than what it used to mean for me. It isn't about growing older now. It is about a new beginning. It means a fresh new start when I can reset the button for new goals or alternative solutions. I find it a blessing that I have July for a birth month because if after six months, my New Year's Resolutions haven't yet materialized, I can make little tweaks and adjustments by then.

This year, I have nothing to ask for except the continued good health for my loved ones. There is that proverbial saying that "health is wealth." I only now recognize its truth. As I go forward in my life, I encounter death in all its different forms. I realize my mortality and of those that are around me. I am humbled by this daily fact, and yet I am in awe at the idea that it has spared me to this very day. My end hasn't yet come because my God hasn't willed it yet. He still has something in store for me. And I bet it'll be a grand surprise.

Happy birthday to me. For the 39th time. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY: To-Do List Memo Pad

Another DIY, whew! my creative juices are just flowing since last week! so, no further ado....

I gathered some old raffle tickets I had (I didn't win, huhu!)....these had no writings or printing at the back, so they were perfect! I also found some old ATM receipts I had stuffed in an envelope, and they were printed on thermal paper so through time, the print has faded and altogether disappeared. 

I also needed a clip and a same-sized card. I chose a yellow clip to match the shade of my Hallmark card. Besides, yellow is such a cheerful color :) 

Clip everything together in this order, from the bottom going up: the card (wrong side facing up, not the way it's shown in the photo), then the neat pile of raffle tickets (blank side facing up).

Write on your memo pad the list of errands you need to do for the day! Or make a grocery list! Or just doodle and daydream... on re-used and re-cycled paper. YEY! Love the Earth, it's the only one we've got! :)

back view
...and if you need cheering up, just turn over for a quick pick-me-up!


(Almost) Instant Sandwiches

Here're two things about me: I'm impatient and I love sweets :) No connection, right? Check out my own sandwich inventions, and you'll see the connection, instantly! 

Sandwich Invention #1: SMUUUUUSH-mallow Sandwich

You'll need a small bag of marshmallows and a couple (or make it three) pieces of bread. Place two pieces of marshmallows on top of the bread, toast for 3-5 minutes in an oven toaster, fold into halves, smuuush together and voila`! A yummy, sweet and chewy sandwich!!

Sandwich Invention #2: Yellow Sugar Sandwich

Sounds neat, huh? It's just a couple tablespoons margarine and sugar. hehe!

Whip together with a fork (or spoon, in my case!) and it'll come out creamy, like this!

Spread about a tablespoon on your kind of bread. 

Mine was wheat, the only thing at hand that time :(
Stuff into an oventoaster for 4-5 minutes. 

It'll come out looking sheen-y and golden like this!

Fold in half, then EATTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!! 

ALWAYS be careful! .......HOT marshmallows and butter will burn your lips and tongue.

I think these are perfect as midnight snacks :) 

* * *
What's on your midnight snack menu tonight??

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Part II: DIY: Dress, Skirt, Scarf, and Poncho from a Maxi Dress


To make the scarf/skirt/poncho,
 you will only need an elastic and a safety pin

and the scrapped left-over fabric from a maxi dress
(see previous post)
use a sharp pair of scissors to make a tiny slit at the hem
Make a tiny slit at the bottom hem of the scrapped fabric, just enough for your safety pin to get through. Pin one end of the elastic securely to the safety pin. Make sure to measure just enough elastic to fit your waist snugly, or around your shoulders. Next, thread the elastic through the hole, pushing the safety pin into the hem. Knot together the elastic once it gets through around the hem. Re-sew shut the slit or hole at the hem.

To see how I turned my tube maxi-dress into an asymmetrical dress, please click here :)

idea inspiration 1
idea inspiration 2

Part I: DIY: Dress, Skirt, Scarf, and Poncho from a Maxi Dress

I got a Christmas present last year from a cousin: a maxi dress. I loved the print but couldn't wear it because it was too long. I couldn't bear to give it away, of course!... and was too chicken to cut off the extra length lest I ruined it. It took me more than half a year to get my courage up and do something about it. So, finally tonight, I happily present to everyone: my new wardrobe! :) CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!!

my Christmas maxi tube dress in a very pretty pink print
First, find your desired length. I wanted my dress to fall just below my knees, and to have a longer back...just like one of those trendy asymmetrical skirts! So I just decided to cut off about 17-inches off the front. To have a longer back-skirt, I subtracted about 3-inches from that to make the slant or curve of the hem not too drastic.

ready to do the measurements? 
You'll need a tape measure, some pins, a tailor's chalk for marking, and a sharp pair of scissors. Turn your dress inside out so you can easily see your markings. Lay the dress flat on a table (or bed, in my case!) and find the middle fold of the front part of the dress. Fold the dress horizontally, with the sides right side up. 

Pin the hem together to handle the material better. 

Mark where you want the shortest length of your skirt to be (front). I measured 17-inches from the bottom. 

On the opposite side of the skirt, mark the spot where the longest part of the skirt should be (back). This  should be 3-inches longer than the front, or 14-inches from the hem. Measure that and mark with your chalk. Connect the two marks you have made with a gentle sloping line or soft curve. You may use a ruler or freehand it.
pin together near the length you want to cut
so the material doesn't slip or separate
and for easier cutting
Ready to cut?

 When cutting, do not pull or stretch the material. Cut from one side (longer) to the other side (shorter). Or vice versa. 
cutting halfway through

After cutting through the skirt, pull and tug at the hem to stretch the fabric. It will curl a bit and you will not need to sew or hem it.
this is how the hem looks! 

ta-dahhhh! my new asymmetrical dress!
this is the remaining scrap from the dress.
I will make it into a scarf/poncho/mini-asymmetrical skirt!
Please see next post here


So many possibilities!!!