Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Celebrating a Full Life

The first quarter of the year is already over. Wow! It seems that everything happened so fast. I guess that's usually the case when we are so busy with many things. I thank the Lord for making me busy with the things and the people I love.
 
This month (April) is my birthday month. I have decided early this year that I will slow down on work this month so I can love myself more and let God fill my love tank more. The past year and the past quarter has been exhausting for me.
 
So aside from deciding to do less during Lent this year (which I wrote about here), I decided that this month would be perfect for a family outing. I searched the net for potential outing venues which were within my allocated budget. I wanted to simply rest and recharge with my family without breaking the bank. My research efforts paid off when we finally booked a reservation last week at Club Balai Isabel.
 
Posing in front of the building where our room was.
 
My husband and I were happy to get a good deal for our family outing. We got 50% off on our accommodation courtesy of their weekly promo and it already included our 2 kids and 2 helpers. We were able to get a room at Orchard Lane which has a cooking option. We initially wanted to get a suite but we were not able to book early enough to get that kind of accommodation. There were still 3 suites available around late afternoon. By evening, when my husband booked, only the rooms/units at Orchard Lane were left. But it's okay because we hardly stayed in our room anyway. We were usually outside walking, enjoying the scenery and swimming.

 
So, if you want to avail of their weekly promo, I suggest you book online as early as you can so you can get the room/unit that you want. Lakeshore villas are best if you want a room with a view of Taal volcano. They are also closer to the infinity pool. Moreover, you can avail of 70% discount if you choose an overnight stay on a Monday or a Thursday. We got 50% discount because we stayed there from Sunday (my birthday) to Monday. At least next time, we know better.
 
All set for our outing
after the Mass.
To also make sure that we stay within my allocated budget, I asked one of our helpers to cook chicken pork adobo early on Sunday morning so that we will just reheat it on Sunday evening for our dinner. We also brought the ingredients for our breakfast the next day aside from bringing food and drinks for our snacks.
 
My husband and eldest son gave me birthday cards when I woke up. I found out that my son made a card for me the day before while I was attending a workshop. Then, we celebrated Mass at 8:30 AM in the church near our house. After that, we headed for Batangas. We took the SLEX route going to the place. We arrived in Talisay, Batangas around 12 nn.
 
Posing after our lunch.
We ate in a nearby native restaurant (Milan) on Sunday for our lunch. We had bulalo, grilled liempo and pinaputok na tilapia. I had fresh buko for my drink.
 
Then we headed to Club Balai Isabel. There were a lot of people checking in when we got there around 1:30 PM so we went around the place and had our photos taken while waiting for a call from the front desk. We got our room key from the front desk around 3:30 PM after a couple of follow ups. As read in other reviews from those who visited the place before, check in time can be quite a challenge. I hope the Club Balai Isabel would work on improving their customers' experience in the future. Even their reservation staff weren't very efficient. I had to call several times to ask for an update even after I sent a message through their contact form and after calling their office in Manila a couple of times.
 
Swinging with the boys.
 
It was a good thing that we got to enjoy the view while waiting and that the boys enjoyed playing in the playground and running around in the grass.
 







Let me share some of the our photos that were taken while we were waiting. 




 
We got into our swimming attires as soon as we checked in and headed to the pool right away. Our little boys had a great time! They didn't want to leave the pool. We eventually convinced them that we need to go back to our room so we'll be able to shower before dinner. We told them too that they can swim again the following day.
 
 
  
After dinner, my husband showed us a video that he made for me for my birthday. Then, we looked at our photos for the day before we went to bed.
 
The following day, we woke up early enough to have breakfast in our room before walking around again to the other areas of the resort that we were not able to explore the day before. We also swam in a different pool this time. It was fun swimming here while enjoying the view of Taal Lake and Taal volcano.




 
 
We stopped swimming at midmorning to have some snacks while enjoying the view of the lake and the volcano again. We walked some more before going back to our room to shower and get ready for check out. 
 
It has been one relaxing stay for us. Would love to come back again in the future.
 
We took the Tagaytay route going home so we can buy some treats (ube tart, buko pie and  some fruits). The road going to Tagaytay was very steep. I strongly suggest that you take this route during day time only. The road is narrow and winding and there were many blind curves.
 
We bought ube cake at SM-BF before heading home. We ate the cake and the tarts for our afternoon snack when we got home. Then, I asked our helper to cook pasta for our dinner.
 
We capped the day by celebrating Mass again in the church near our home.
 
It was a simple family celebration but it was enough to recharge me. I praise and thank God for it! 

 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Imperfect Words that Created a Connection

I sipped salabat (ginger tea) as I read one of the recent books I bought. I have read a number of stories from the book before I came to this page with these lines that seemed to jump out of it to pull me in.
 
"They may not have been the perfect words, but they were the right ones. My words created a connection between writer and reader..."
 
These lines were from Chicken Soup for the Soul -- Inspiration for Writers.
 
 
 
I have received a number of encouraging words from my readers in the past. These messages were either comments in my blog, emailed to me or sent to my mobile phone. Others were spoken to me in person while there were some sent through my book's Facebook page.
 
These lines from the book reminded me that though the words in the books, articles and reflections that I write are not perfect, God has used them and is continuously using them to create a connection between me and my readers.
 
I feel blessed to be given this gift and this opportunity.
 
I believe that stories have a way of stirring our souls and this writer's story that I read in the book stirred mine this afternoon.
 
I thank God for the reminder to let go of perfection and to simply heed the call to write when it comes... for imperfect though we are and our words, He can use them to bless other souls.
 
Do you also struggle with perfection as you write? You're not alone. Many writers go through that. Feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment. Then, read those lines I quoted above a number times and write something from the heart.