I’ve always imagined myself living in a coast close to nature. A beautiful beach cove just a stretch away, mountains surrounding my home and cool fresh air naturally in abundance. I got to experience what is like to live in a community as such when we visited Pico Sands Hotel in Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Batangas. An exclusive private residential development, the Pico Sands Hotel caters to guest and club members within the area.
It’s a sad sad moment when I was about to leave El Nido. One reason is that I will definitely miss the way of life there and the people I already know. It’s so different from the metro that I know it’ll be a major adjustment. Another is that i somehow failed in my attempt to live there longer. I was willing to live a provincial life but I guess fate has other plans. There were work and opportunities back in Manila that I can pass. And I was really slated to go back home somehow this month of March since most my relatives and siblings will be back home for a reunion. A rare time all siblings will be together.
It’s one of those trips that I just said yes without knowing exactly where I was going. I was yearning for a downtime after a somewhat busy week that I was ready to escape anywhere. It was an invitation to check out a resort in Batangas but I only knew of the details that day when I got into the car onto a road trip down south. We were going to Balayan, a town virtually out of the radar among four of us in the car. So following a crudely drawn map, a series of instructions and some pictures landmark as puzzles, we rolled on with a sense of adventure to find the resort named Blue Dolphin.
(This is an advertorial). A slew of reggae music blared through my portable speakers at the front seats of the van. It was Deng, our driver’s playlist, interplay of songs from Indio I, Coco Jam, Tropical Depression and Popong Landero to keep him into his driving groove while we head to Batangas coast from Tagaytay. At the back my cousins, mom and brother were amused by the two toddlers own song performances during the drive. We were already mid-way through our 6-day vacation and everything was going well.
I never thought I would be excited to look for some cat poop in the middle of a forest. Here I am on a narrow trail in a dense forest of Mt Malarayat, Batangas, carefully watching each step mindful if there are any animal droppings in path. Not to avoid them this time but to take a closer look. Yes it’s poop! But it’s not an ordinary poop since each set of these cat droppings is worth some serious money. I found a small pile still stuck together. The stuck up beans isn’t as offensive as I thought it would look nor does it smell like ordinary cat droppings. So this is how a Civet Cat poop is like. So this is where the world’s most expensive coffee came from.
Aside from the Taal Basilica found at the heart of Taal Town, there is another church worth a visit nearby barrio Labac (also known as Caysasay). From Villavicencio House, we followed the ancient steps called Hagdan-hagdanan built by Father Celestino Mayordomo that led us to a smaller but charming butter-colored walls of Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine. Petite but full of character, the church was was built on the foundation of miracle by the image of Our Lady of Caysasay.
Gift is such as special word. And in this holiday season, gift giving even becomes a more popular practice. From small items, to shiny gadgets or expensive clothes, people have different ways to express their gratitude or love by giving gifts. And for a man during the Spanish times like Eulalio Villavicencio, it is giving a house was the perfect gift for his bride Gliceria Marella for their wedding. Built in 1871, the symbol of their love surely stood the test of times.