Summer 2015 at the Surf Capital of the North… La Union, Ph!!!

We were all decided to spend our summer getaway for 2015 at the Puerto Galera. It’s a whole lot nearer as compared to our Caramoan trip last year and will definitely be a lot cheaper.

But however rare I watch TV, it was one of those rare nights that I was flipping through channels when a very handsome guy—mulatto with a set of perfect teeth and yummy abs, caught my attention. Whoah! Gosh, hotness! My curiosity was piqued when he talked about surfing and their outreach activity in his resort: free surfing lessons to kids with special needs. Awww, who wouldn’t fall inlove with a sporty man with compassion? May malambot na puso, ahahay!!! I didn’t know I was looking for love until I found Luke Landrigan. Lol! The surfbeast, their word not mine. For me, he’s hotness overload!

I suddenly had a desire to see him in person so I told Gaby that we are going to learn how to surf this summer. Surprisingly, she told me that she thinks she knows how to surf and even demonstrated how to balance in a surf board. Apparently, she saw on TV that Bimby, Kris Aquino’s son, was being taught how to surf (by Luke). And she thought she wants to try it too.

This gorgeous man inspired me to go to La Union, instead of Puerto Galera.

This gorgeous man inspired me to go to La Union, instead of Puerto Galera.

And so to make my long story short, I was able to convince my travel buddies to go to La Union instead of Puerto Galera.

Before I knew it, we were a huge group already: our consistent travel buddies, Reymar and Roxanne, and Jenny and for the first time, her husband, Bong. Julie and Jay for their second time with us. The first timers were Kuya Rhandy and his whole family: Ate Weng, Hannah and Drake and the last but not the least, Janine.

Team "El Yu"!  Done with our breakfast at Jollibe - Rosario, Pangasinan. All ready to take - off to La Union again.

Team “El Yu”!
Done with our breakfast at Jollibe – Rosario, Pangasinan. All ready to take – off to La Union again.

So our 3-day, 2-night summer get away started:

Day 1. May 22, Friday 
We rented a van and left Lipa at 3am. The travel was smooth since there was no traffic and we mostly traversed through express ways: Startoll, SLEX, (Edsa was also clear), NLEX, SCTEX and by 7 am, we exited TPLEX.

It took us another 1 1/2 hours before we saw a Jollibee at Rosario, Pangasinan and had our breakfast. By the way, we earlier agreed to have a foodtrip and try out local delicacies since we had package deals inclusive of food in our previous travels. But since it was our first meal in this travel, we reckoned to forego with being experimental yet.

By 11am we reached our resort, the Sebay Surf Central at Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. Imagine how my heart leaped when I realized that it is right beside Luke Landrigan ‘s San Juan Surf Resort!

Where art thou, my Luke?

Where art thou, my Luke?

Sebay Surf Central is not inferior of Luke's resort. It is affordable and homey too, even though we chose a room that could house all 13 of us.  Sebay is backward of the owner's family name "Yabes".

Sebay Surf Central is not inferior to Luke’s resort. It is affordable and homey too, even though we chose a room that could house all 13 of us.
Sebay is backward of the owner’s family name “Yabes”.

Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, Ph... where all the fun begins...

Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, Ph… where all the fun begins…

But anyways, since check-in is at 2pm, we had to kill time at the resort’s restaurant at the beach front.

My POV at the beach front while waiting to check-in. Sizzling out there!

My POV at the beach front while waiting to check-in. Sizzling out there!

Gaby went gaga seeing the waves and insisted on swimming at once. And me, I let myself complied with her whim.

Gaby, so eager to conquer the waves.

Gaby, so eager to conquer the waves.

She was not alone on being too excited to hit the beach because Drake also pestered his daddy and finally, they both braved the huge waves of the West Philippine Sea at the height of scorching mid-day sun.

Gaby, Drake and Tito Rhandy... Atats!

Gaby, Drake and Tito Rhandy… Atats!

We had lunch at around 1 PM of a boodle meal composed of grilled squid, grilled pork, sisig, fried tilapia, pansit and veggies-eggplant and kangkong. Yup, it sounds sumptuous but it’s too pricey for its taste. From there, we agreed to try other restaurants in our next meals.

Boodle... Fight!

Boodle… Fight!

Grilled squid... grilled pork... sliced tomatoes and white onions...

Grilled squid… grilled pork… sliced tomatoes and white onions…

Sisig, pancit, and okra...

Sisig, pancit, and okra…

Immediately after lunch, Gaby and Hannah tried out surfing and wohoo!!! Was I not stoked??? I was actually reeling! I was so excited for Gaby and Hannah. They were so good at it.

Gaby was coached by Kuya Atoy who’s very cool with Gaby and kept calling her baby. They really had a good rapport. He never ceased to encourage her and high fived with her whenever she had a successful glide across the water.

Kuya Atoy and Gaby, gearing to conquer the waves...

Kuya Atoy and Gaby, gearing to conquer the waves…

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here... at least to me.. :)

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here… at least to me.. 🙂

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here... at least to me.. :)

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here… at least to me.. 🙂

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here... at least to me.. :)

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here… at least to me.. 🙂

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here... at least to me.. :)

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here… at least to me.. 🙂

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here... at least to me.. :)

Gaby looks like a pro surfer here… at least to me.. 🙂

She was immensely enjoying herself that 1 hour seemed to have gone so fast. She pleaded for an extension but told her that we can’t afford another Php400 for the day.

We had our siesta after, since we were all deprived of sleep and went beaching again at 4pm. Every body had a good time dancing with the huge waves. It was quite intimidating at first but they had so much fun once they got the hang of it.

Gaby being chased by the waves... So happy here...

Gaby being chased by the waves… So happy here…

Gaby was so amazed at her Tita Roxanne having a grand time shrieking against the waves...

Gaby was so amazed at her Tita Roxanne having a grand time shrieking against the waves…

Surf boards for rent...

Surf boards for rent…

Bong was quite a “feelingero”, he rented a surf board and tried surfing on his own. Do I need to say that it was a huge mistake? Hehe… Itanong nyo sa kanya, anyare?

Bong... feeling like a pro surfer...

Bong… feeling like a pro surfer…

After his failed attempt to conquer the waves all by himself... He tried to assist Gaby and yes, you guessed it right... Failed!!! Lol!

After his failed attempt to conquer the waves all by himself… He tried to assist Gaby and yes, you guessed it right… Failed!!! Lol!

Bumming...

Bumming…

After fighting the huge waves... Roxanne was suddenly hungry and had balut!!!!

After fighting the huge waves… Roxanne was suddenly hungry and had balut!!!!

We had our dinner at the town proper because the restaurants along the resort were all too pricey for our budget but still we ended up in a Chinese restaurant that is quite expensive also. Like a 1.5 L Coke was Php100 so you can guess how much the food would cost. We didn’t have the appetite to take pictures of the food anymore.

Day 2. 23 May, Saturday

Flash back from the night before, we decided to forego checking out the Tangadan Falls at a nearby barangay, San Gabriel and considered to see the Macho Temple, the Ruins, and the botanical garden all located at the Capital of La Union, San Fernando. Such was because we were being charged of Php300 per person for the tour guide by a local we met at the resort.

Good thing, while a bottle of Empe Light was doing its rounds among the boys, Kuya Rhandy convinced the others that we push through with the original plan. He reckoned that it would be a waste if we will not see it and might regret when Tangadan Falls become known later.

Pretty morning on Day 2. OTW to Tangadan Falls...

Pretty morning on Day 2. OTW to Tangadan Falls…

And so, a little after 8am we arrived at a the drop off point at Brgy. San Gabriel to Tangadan Falls. It was a 20 minute drive from San Juan. Along the way, we met a local who offered his services as a tour guide at Php700 which Reymar haggled to Php500. O, nakatipid na!

Pretty sight at the drop off point to Tangadan Falls... Trekking starts now...

Pretty sight at the drop off point to Tangadan Falls… Trekking starts now…

We knew that it takes an hour trekking to get there but we didn’t expect that it was not an easy trek. Good thing, Jenny, as she is 3-month preggy with her little Bong – Bong, decided not to join us and just stayed at the resort.

It took us 1 1/2 – hours instead of the supposed 1 hour to get to the falls which is around 3.5 km from the drop off point. We traversed through rice paddies, balanced along narrow paths which sides were ravine or rocky river, pass through thick vegetations, steep climbs and downs, and crossed rivers. Exciting, right?

The hike was still easy here...

The hike was still easy here…

Single pile or you will fall...

Single pile or you will fall…

Achrophobiacs... yeah, that's what we are... :P

Achrophobiacs… yeah, that’s what we are… 😛

Everyone was huffing and puffing except me and Gaby. Kuya Rhandy also impressed us because he was carrying Drake on his shoulders all throughout.

That was Kuya Rhandy there, carrying Drake on his shoulders all throughout the hike.

That was Kuya Rhandy there, carrying Drake on his shoulders all throughout the hike.

First stop. People can already cliff jump here but none from us dared.

First stop. People can already cliff jump here but none from us dared.

It was all worth it when we finally got to Tangadan Falls. It was such a majestic sight! The water was little bit murky because apparently, it rained the other night. But still, the water was refreshingly cool! The falls itself I think is some 25 to 30 feet high and people are doing cliff jump from there.

Majestic Tangadan Falls!

Majestic Tangadan Falls!

Gaby at Tangadan Falls... her first time to experience a water falls...

Gaby at Tangadan Falls… her first time to experience a water falls…

Enjoying the refreshing cool water of the falls.

Enjoying the refreshing cool water of the falls.

Selfie with the falls...

Selfie with the falls…

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Wohoooo!!!!

Wohoooo!!!!

Bong and Kuya Rhandy immediately dived into the cool water but decided to stop after that 1 try because they were told that someone had died there last May 13 after cliff diving. Hehhe… Scary.

There was a raft to ride to be able to get underneath and experience the waterfalls which charges Php20 per pax. They all tried it except me, and by their loud screams while they were showering underneath the falls, one can say that they were enjoying immensely.

Rafting...

Rafting…

Rafting...

Rafting…

Selfie with them... Promise they were there behind the cascades... They were screaming like crazy there, actually.

Selfie with them… Promise they were there behind the cascades… They were screaming like crazy there, actually.

After a couple more minutes, we immediately headed back to the resort so that we won’t be caught by the burning heat of the mid day sun and have our brunch. Yup! None of us had breakfast yet that’s why they were all whining of hunger already.

The trek back...

The trek back…

In the wilderness somewhere in San Gabriel, San Juan, La Union...

In the wilderness somewhere in San Gabriel, San Juan, La Union…

Brunch was ordinary but the price was a little bit pricey for its taste just like the other day.

We took siesta after that rigorous trek and hiking. At about 4pm we headed to the beach again. The waves were rougher than the other day. We learned that it was actually raining nearby because it was so dark at the western side and we heard thunderstorms.

Busy beach... It was dark at the east side. It was actually raining and there were thunderstorms nearby...

Busy beach… It was dark at the east side. It was actually raining and there were thunderstorms nearby…

But still, the beach was teeming with people. Families, friends, lovers, soloists, foreigners, local tourists, pro and beginner surfers, just beach bums, and sellers (ice cream, balut, grapes, taho, ripe mangoes,etc.).

Busy San Juan, La Union surf beach... There were surfers, pros and newbies, and beach bums everywhere.

Busy San Juan, La Union surf beach… There were surfers, pros and newbies, and beach bums everywhere.

Gaby's was the happiest kid right this moment.

Gaby was the happiest kid right this moment.

Just goofing while trying to cool down with ice cream on sticks...

Just goofing while trying to cool down with ice cream on sticks…

Gaby and Hannah wanted to surf again and good thing, there were no more available instructors since it was already around 6 PM. And the waves, in fact, were quite scary already.

Amazing sunset ala La Union. Day 2.

Amazing sunset ala La Union. Day 2.

Since our food trip was a failure we ended up at Mc Donald’s for our dinner. Ooohhh, it was the most satisfying meal that we had for the last 2 days. Never thought that Mc Do could taste that good! Lol!

San Juan, La Union is the “Surf Capital of the North”… 

Day 3. May 24, Sunday 

Sunrise ala San Juan, La Union... Day 3

Sunrise ala San Juan, La Union… Day 3

Our last day in El Yu but definitely not the least of excitement and fun.

Me, Gaby, Julie, Ate Weng, and Drake woke up at the break of dawn to capture the sunrise. We also had the beach all by ourselves and they had a blast. As usual, I was just ashore watching them and taking pictures. 🙂

Drake was already happy to be all by himself.

Drake was already happy to be all by himself.

Crashing waves... It's a free massage.

Crashing waves… It’s a free massage.

Ate Weng feeling on an open jacuzzi.

Ate Weng feeling on an open jacuzzi.

See that waves??? Like a wall going to collapse on you.

See that waves??? Like a wall going to collapse on you.

There it goes again!!!

There it goes again!!!

By 7 am, Gaby and Hannah tried surfing for the second time while Janine and Bong had their first. Roxanne also tried it. Among the adults, surfing was just like a breeze to Janine. Galeng!

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Gaby for the final recap with her surf trainer, Kuya Roid.

Gaby for the final recap with her surf trainer, Kuya Roid.

Gaby for the final recap with her surf trainer, Kuya Roid.

Gaby for the final recap with her surf trainer, Kuya Roid.

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My Gaby looks like a pro surfer here. #surfista

My Gaby looks like a pro surfer here. #surfista

We had buffet breakfast which was as usual, uneventful and left the resort by 11 AM.

Ready to our next destination...

Ready to our next destination…

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Ready to our next destination...

Ready to our next destination…

Ready to our next destination...

Ready to our next destination…


Ready to our next destination...

Ready to our next destination…

We headed straight to Caba, La Union for “grape picking” at the Manguerra’s Farm. You see grapes are not normally grown in tropical countries like the Philippines. And sure enough, Gaby was so excited cutting the fruits and I had to remind her that we don’t have money anymore so we cannot possibly pick every grape that she wants.

Hungree for grapes!

Hungree for grapes!

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Fresh tropical grapes, anyone?

Fresh tropical grapes, anyone?

We had a late lunch before TPLEX at Ulo-ulo Restaurant. This time, the food was reasonably priced and almost everyone of us enjoyed the food, sinigang na ulo ng maya-maya. The thing, however, they don’t have softdrinks… so the meal was bitin in some way.

We arrived safely in Lipa at 8PM…

Well, until our next getaway.

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I have been a bad mother.

I’ve been reading many blogs lately, mostly about love, relationships, motherhood, and almost always, something in me is struck like I am the bad(dest) mum to my daughter, Gaby. Yes, for the past 3 or more months, I have been so so bad to her. It pains me and it hurts more today because it’s Valentine’s Day. I know I should make it up to her. But I can’t… just yet…

Last November I became so intent on falling and I fell in love. Because of this new found happiness, I was enjoying it immensely, without realizing that the quality time I normally spend with her was reduced. I started to miss her bedtime stories and her weakly massage because I was busy on the phone talking to him until she already fell asleep or I would be home so late because I had a date.

Until last month, I decided to end the pseudo-relationship to leave a little of my self-worth. Yes, I love him but I realized that what was going on between us is not for forever as I wanted it to be and it would not be fair to me. I knew I should love myself first because I have a daughter to prioritize and not any “player” like him. But still, I am so devastated. Until today, the hurt I am feeling is still as intense. Maybe this is valentine’s sickness and will pass away after the season.

But the fact remains that I have neglected my baby so much. There were nights that she would complain that I missed her bedtime stories and she misses it already. I don’t massage her anymore and always I told her I was tired and promised to read or massage her the next night. But then, I still didn’t.

Two weeks ago, while I am readying Gaby to church, out of nowhere she asked, “Nay, naalala mo yung nagbe-bedtime stories tayo nung may tumawag na lalaki na sobrang tagal mong kausap, hanggang nakatulog na ako di mo natapos yung story? Sino yun, Nay?” (“Mum, do you remember the night that while you are reading bedtime story to me, a man called you (on your cell phone) and you were talking for so long until I fell asleep, you did not finish the story to me? Who is that man, mum?)

I was stunned because afterall, she did not forget. That it was a big thing to her that she missed her bedtime stories. She pestered me who the guy was. I just promised her that the guy will no longer call me again and I will never miss her bedtime stories again.

There was also one Saturday afternoon that she literally dragged me out of bed and complained that I have been in our bedroom for days and I should go out. That I don’t play with her anymore. I felt guilty and tried to spend time with her but I ended up snapping at her because she was so “makulit” (pesky).

Last night, she asked again for her bedtime story but told her I was tired and she just turned her back to me feigning sleep. I hurt her again.

I felt guilty. I am guilty. But what can I do. My mind and my heart is still so full of him, I could not concentrate on my daughter. I have been telling myself over and over to get a grip of myself. I am trying. So hard. But not yet.

All I could do now is cry. Cry for my lost love. Cry for my pathetic self. And cry for my baby, who should be my priority. I used to be so sure of myself that no one can come close to her in my heart. But what is happening to me now? I am bad. So bad. How can I redeem myself to her? I need time, but for how long?

Today is Valentine’s day. I hope this really is just a Valentine sickness. I hope this will pass tagging along my senseless musings on the player who broke my heart into pieces.

I want to be back to whom my heart should solely belong. My Gaby, please wait for me. I am coming back, promise…

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Surviving

My Angel...

My Angel…

Day 4.

Last night was hell. I almost called you up to say I terribly miss you and I am sorry for pushing you away.

I was crying silently. Gosh! How will I get through the night? How long will I stand this?

I asked God, why can’t I find happiness? And then as if an answer just hit me!!! I have my Gaby! She is all I have. She is all I need!

I am sorry that I am getting out of focus. I am sorry that I was so intent on falling in love, I almost missed the most important person in my life.

I held Gaby’s hands while she’s asleep and I can’t stop my tears from falling. I am so sorry I lose track of myself.

I am sorry I almost forgot my priority. But I assure her, no matter what happens to her inay (me), I will never ever lose sight of whose on top of my life again. No man can displace her in my heart.

I may still grieve for a love that is lost. But I will never allow myself again to forget. It is me and Gaby. That is all that matters most.

As for you, I may be far from getting over you yet. But I am getting there. As a friend always says: “shit happens” but always it is moving on that follows.