June 18, 2013

A Perfect Weekend

The barren land that we are on is only visible in the middle of the year.
The rest of the year, it is under the lake.

We were blessed enough to have another shot of a great summer weekend when an old friend of ours decided to celebrate his birthday in Pantabangan Lake in Nueva Ecija, which is a good 3.5 hours away from Metro Manila. He and his lovely wife invited our little family for the weekend, and despite our superheavymega-grabesobrangdami workload, we decided to go for it since school was about to start for my teen.

And we are so glad we made an effort to go. It is surely one of the best weekends we ever had.

Our two planned summer vacations (Subic and Bali) were a bit hard for us because, as luck would have it, on both trips my boys were really sick. I thank the Universe for giving us another chance to enjoy ourselves under the summer sun with great friends, great food, and a mind-blowing view.
My husband, who is always within the confines of The Big and Nasty Corporate World, melted on the hammock and couldn’t get enough of the view of the seemingly placid lake. I was so happy to see him relax and truly enjoy. He stared at the wild animals which were all grazing within his view, amazed by the dogs that were instinctively herding wild beasts (horses, goats, and cows). I have never seen him so relaxed and happy! My husband is quite the Negatron and quite the ever-paranoid, ever-stressed kind of guy. To see him chilling under the trees brought joy in my heart. He truly deserved that. 

Sitting on top of what is left of an old church, part of a submerged town. Visible only when the water level is low.

My teen soaked up the fresh air and the grand view and decided almost instantly that he loves the place and even declared that he wants to spend his birthday there (too bad this is not possible, his birthday is on New Years Eve). At first I was afraid that my teen would sulk all weekend since adults and three little girls surrounded him. I was wrong. Completely forgot he’s a nature-boy despite his head being full of World of Warcraft, DotA, and MineCraft. Also, his “Kuya-ness” kicked in, he truly enjoyed playing and chatting with our friends’ super cute, super loveable, super adorable daughters.

My baby also had a grand time! He enjoyed exploring a new terrain. It was his first time to truly walk on grass and dirt. At first I thought my control-freak husband would get mad at us for letting the baby sit on the dirt but he was all smiles! He even chuckled when our son did a Jack tumble on a small slope! Our toddler went crazy with the pine cones, he picked (and threw) every cone he saw despite its thorny nature. 

We enjoyed the food which were all lovingly prepared by the birthday boy and his family. We had an array of food - from fresh green salad with Japanese sesame dressing to roasted suckling pig to lobsters from the nearby sea to Tom Yum Gai (Thai hot and sour soup) which were all lip-smackingly good. We even had goat in the form of caldereta (tomato-based stew) and dinuguan (blood stew)! 

After a relaxing full body massage, I had the chance to sit down with our friend and we capped the night with great conversation. Before sleeping, my husband and I talked and reflected for a bit and we agreed that it was only just then we realized how much we missed our friend.
We planted a tree before we left. See you soon, our dear tree!
It is probably general knowledge that when you are a mother, your happiness greatly depends on the happiness of your husband and children (although I am all for the school of thought that we are our own captains of ourselves, therefore SHOULD BE in complete control of our own happiness yadda yadda, but as far as motherhood goes, I guess you get what I am trying to say).  Suffice to say my boys were all really happy = I was really happy. Their happiness mean so much to me and I am really glad that I chose this trip over working non-stop for the weekend. I knew my Monday would be hell (why hello there big-pile-of-work-that-was-neglected-over-the-weekend!) but it was worth it.

I am happy that my husband and I made time for our friend and his family. Weekends like these don’t come everyday (err, every weekend). Don’t be a slave of your “busy schedule”, children grow up too fast, and yet work will always have the same intensity and rhythm. Learn when to say “no” to work and when to say “yes” to an opportunity such as this. I believe they’re gifts from the Universe. Accept graciously, sit back, enjoy.


Thank you to our friend who invited us. Please extend our thanks to your wonderful family. We really had a perfect weekend and we owe it all to you.

Click 'read more' for more pictures!

Mandatory pensive shots. Hehe.
Believe it or not, these are wild animals.
Enjoyed the water slide with the kids
Pine cones, bird's nest, pebbles...

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