We’ve always talked about going to Lake Pandin but it was only two Saturdays ago that we finally did. And it was a good decision to head out of Manila and venture to San Pablo in Laguna for a much-needed nature trippin away from the concrete jungle. I’ve heard about Lake Pandin from some friends and thought, it could be a good easy-breezy day trip. Imagine, a two-hour raft ride with a picnic lunch of fresh food prepared by men and women from the community. And it was. The 10-15-minute walk from the parking lot to the lakeshore was a good appetizer for our lunch of rice, grilled tilapia and chicken, fern (pako) salad with salted egg, butter garlic (mini) shrimps, bananas, pineapples and coconut water! A bit of swimming here, a bit of jumping there, a lot of eating and more of chatting — such a chill time! And baby-friendly too! I fully recommend for y’all to try going to this trip (except during really rainy days as the trek path might be too muddy/slippery) not just for the good lunch and scenery, but also to support local ecotourism at Lake Pandin.
This is the second time I’ve seen Manila Bay sunset while at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. But this is the first time that I did as a staying guest and with Niklas. I actually almost missed it, as I had to breastfeed Tara and pump some milk out so they have some ‘baon’ (take home) in case Mom and Yaya Annie got stuck in traffic heading home (first night away from Tara, #sepanx). But luckily, as it’s summertime already, the sun takes longer to set and we had enough time to watch its beauty together — while talking about our little family’s future. 🙂
(Staycation was such a great idea, let’s do it again! And though Sofitel creates a deep hole in the pocket (good thing it was his birthday gift to me. hehehe), it’s worth it!).
(It’s been a while — like a 295 days kind — I must admit. So, as I celebrate this blog’s almost 100,000 visits and change of domain name/address from theadwanders.wordpress.com to thediaristwanders.com, I’m finally blogging again!)
I’ve always loved sunsets — that’s known. But when you have a baby (yes, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!) who’s awake and lively at sunrise, you don’t have much choice but to get up and enjoy the morning sun too. So, on our trip to Anilao, Batangas (it’s actually in the municipality of Mabini), little Tara Freya decided she’d like to have some vitamin D while along the shores of Balayan Bay (we stayed at Arthur’s Place Dive Resort). Mommy needed some vitamin sea too, actually. 🙂 But, tell me, which do you think is a more beautiful sight — our smiling little one or the backdrop of her happiness? Anilao is a great place for sure but I won’t trade Tara and that smile for anywhere else.
When in Prague, it’ll be a total let-down if you did not (or at least tried your best to) cross Charles Bridge. Why, you might ask. Well, simply because Karlův most, as it is locally-known, is a historical 610-meter long architectural creation that is definitely worth the few minutes (or hours) you’d spend while walking through it. My first glimpse of Charles Bridge was in a windy winter afternoon, while taking Sandemann’s New Prague Castle Tour, after we took the free city walking tour that they offered. We were crossing Čechův Bridge, a vehicle- and tram-passable bridge connecting the Jewish Quarter and Letna Park, or the area where we took the tram to the Prague Castle complex, when I saw that old-looking bridge — clearly, I had no idea that it is the famous Charles Bridge. We actually crossed Charles Bridge (only pedestrians are allowed) at the end of the Prague Castle Tour, as it connected the complex to Old Town Square area. Our guide told us interesting trivia about the bridge and the statues lining/guarding it — the most famous of which is that of St. John of Nepomuk’s statue and the plaques under it. Apparently, if you touch the statue of the priest being thrown into the Vltava River, your trip back to Prague (and of course Czech Republic) is assured! 🙂
A three-hour drive from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, will bring you to the calm and charming Ha Long Bay. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin in northeast Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has withstood the test of time, and yes, naval battles and legends. Literally translated as “Bay of the Descending Dragon”, Ha Long Bay offers visitors a majestic view of naturally-formed limestone pillars and, if you have much time to spare, over 1,600 islands and islets. A popular way to enjoy the scenery is by taking one of the numerous Ha Long Bay cruises through glass-like waters (although it was a bit too green for me!) aboard these ships that looked like the ones used back in the 1900s era (my first thought was the Huckleberry Finn cartoons!), giving it an old world feel. We spent two days and a night aboard one (and I was happy to see two very able Filipina crew managers) and although we were actually working (yep, no kidding!), in that short time, I really got to appreciate the calmness (so unlike the 2Go weather fiasco!), majesty and beauty that Ha Long Bay offers to its visitors.