Friday, August 1, 2014

La Luz Resort Birthday Getaway

I consider it as my birthday getaway.  But if truth be told, we’re just obliged to visit the place for the Clan’s (DH’s side) forthcoming grand reunion.  La luz has long been in my bucket list but never had the chance to visit.  Glad that we were tasked to inspect the place which pressed DH on to grant me my birthday wish.  That is, spending my birthday in La Luz Beach Resort.  The simple ocular inspection turned out to be our brief vacation.  An accidental birthday getaway!  Our nephew came with us along with his wife and son. They were our guests cum co-inspectors! But unlike us (DH, DS and DD), this young family chose to stay only for a day.

La Luz Beach Resort, for all I’ve heard of, is one of the most beautiful if not the best resort in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas.  It isn’t too far from Metro Manila, (just about 4 hours drive more or less )  and it offers packages that could suit our reunion’s needs.  Thus,  the getaway! ..   Or rather,  the ocular inspection! Armed with the clan’s go signal, we were set to pay the fee to reserve.   But we had to call it off .   You’ll find  the reasons why!

Heaven gifted us with a good weather that Sunday, my birthday!  La Luz was reached swiftly at the expected time.  A guard stationed on a makeshift gate directed us to park on a spacious but bumpy parking lot.  DS, our driver, wasn’t aware that the rough ground have deep sunken parts every here and there...  resulting therefore to the car’s frequent thump and thud.  
 the bumpy car park

 the pebbled "reception hall"

Not too far is the reception hall.  It’s a “hall” of pebbled soil flooring and bamboo benches to rest on while sipping the Gulaman welcome drinks.   The welcome drinks are included in our food package that cost P1,350./pax for overnight guests and P900./pax for day tour guests.  After registering on the resort’s log book, we headed down the steep stairs leading to the resort proper.  While stepping down, I thought of my MIL, the clan’s grand matriarch, as she would certainly have to exert extra effort climbing up and down that high steep stairs.  We are 100% sure, she would complain.  

 the stairway down to the resort proper

Our reserved Premium room is A-okay. I would say, not bad for P4,500./night for 6pax/max.   It has 2 semi-double beds(one with pull out bed), a big nice bath room complete with toiletries and almost new white towels. Beddings are sparkling white. No TV nor ref though.  They purposely omit those to maintain the natural ambiance according to their website.  For beach lover that is me, it’s all right.   All that matters is the beautiful beach! 

 our reserved Premium room

 the beach and sand/pebbles

 my lunch plate

The beach is nice from afar. As they say, picture perfect! I wanted to try the waters right away, but our growling tummies were more excited for the buffet lunch!  … Excitement that turned to total disappointment upon seeing the food.   Buffet food offered consisted of veggie salad, the ingredients of which I can’t remember, fried tilapia, over cooked sauteed squash and string beans with shrimps and pork adobo for the main course.  For dessert are fresh pineapple and papaya and iced tea for unlimited drinks.   I’m a non-pork eater so I had to content myself with the soggy fried tilapia and the over cooked squash and sitaw with shrimps .  Our nephew wasn’t able to eat lunch as the buffet counter was already hidden when he came back from the beach.   Nephew said he doesn’t have the appetite anyway!   Well, who would have the appetite with those very ordinary home cooked dishes?!  If only they allow guests to bring in food, we wouldn’t have starved that much! After filling up, we ran to the beach forewarned by nephew of big sharp stones.  Indeed, we couldn’t walk on the beach without hurting our feet, especially under water.  The beach sand isn’t sand but pebbles.  Moreover, walking on the sand(pebbles) is laborious since feet sinks in with every single step made.  I wore my slippers as I walked back to the shore but pebbles that get in between my sole and slippers brought forth more pain on my feet.   


Come Snack time:  Pancit, LumpiangToge (mongo sprout), Banana cue, and Kutsinta (sticky rice cake) and Orange juice.  -   We were all full after the snack, not because we love the food but more of having been starved much at lunch time.  Satiated hunger via the banana cue at Kutsinta.  “Pwede na rin”!
blue coral's beach
the blue coral's swimming pool
one of their family rooms 

 We took time to see another resort nearby, the Blue Coral Resort.  It’s a far cry from La Luz.  Maybe slightly pricier but much more beautiful in all aspect of a resort , not to mention the big swimming pool.  Accommodation style is the same with packaged full meal.  We asked for their lunch on that day. Mentioned few are Chicken BBQ, Beef Kare-kare,  Grilled Fish, etc. How couldn’t we be envious? Lol! We would have chosen this resort for our venue but didn’t try getting into their beach. As it is located on the same area, we surmised the sand/pebbles is no different from La Luz.

 rice and penne pasta
 mushroom and young corn / steamed fish fillet
 white chicken /  pork hamonado
 cold buko with gelatine /  fresh pineapple and papaya

Back to La Luz, we’re pleased that dinner is much, much  better than what we had at lunch!  I found it unfair for Day Tour guests that those “ better” dishes are not offered at lunch. Nephew and wife were deprived of a good meal coz it’s not included in their food package. Can't help but feel sorry for them!

Breakfast consists of garlic rice, Tinapa, corned beef, butter and bread, and the only one I enjoyed, the mushroom, sweet pepper, onion omelet  sans the  ham for me.  Simple but filling!

At the end of the day, our La Luz Resort birthday getaway is not all dissatisfaction and regret after all!  We had one good time to bond. It’s a birthday wish well granted and being in a beach with my family is .. over and over I say, total happiness for me!  I’m grateful for it.  Likewise acknowledging DH’s plain and unfussy way of showing  ...he cares! Thanks to him!  

La Luz Resort for our reunion's venue?  An absolute two thumbs down! You think we'd come back?  No way!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birthday Surprise from NYC

Yes, it was my birthday last Sunday, July 20! Blessed, I turned another year older again! So grateful to God Almighty!  I was engulfed with happiness and joy with the avalanche of greetings from loved ones and FB friends!!   And my adopted “pamangkin”  from NYC never fails to greet me.   Her customized birthday card and the note on another cute li’l card she sent would be more than enough to make my day.  Yet, the generous fab lady of NYC didn’t stop at those.   I think she wants me to look good that’s why she gifted me with a pair of comfy Coach slippers, pretty  Coach mini case and a stylish shirt blouse ... Oh so sweet of you, my ever kind-hearted  “pamangkin” ! Thank you so much!!   Didn't know you are an excellent "manghuhula"! Why?!  Perfect sizes! Oh, they fit me well.  Haha..  ang saya!!!

J, despite my absence in blogosphere and the no show in your site you,  you never forget!   I know you have your own bits of trials but regardless,  you still stay strong for others!  Thank you so much for all the wonderful things you send my way.   The caring thought… I won’t ever forget!  Thank you, thank you!!   Sending you my loving spirit through prayers… always!   Warm and tight hug to you!  ' Love you, my Pamangkin!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trip to Lomboy Farm: A Big Disappointment

After seeing  Kris Aquino in her own Kristv program feasting  on luscious grapes hanging by the vines at Lomboy Farm, I got enticed to experience the same.   I do admit that I’m quite gullible some times.   I tend to believe that what is shown is true or real, especially on Kristv!  Well..  I guess, I am not alone on this viewpoint.  Many seems to follow the said TV show and been misled sometime, somehow!

Allured by the mentioned TV feature and adding the fact that I do miss the beach,  I pushed my family to travel the many miles to the north last weekend.   Coming along with us was DD's fiance. We headed to La Union early Saturday and  took pleasure in traversing the newly opened TPLEx (Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway).  With DS on the wheel, we reached La Union by late noon.  We checked-in at a beach resort named Cabaguan Seafront Resort.  It’s a budget resort so it’s not for those who want a stylish accommodation.  Nevertheless, the room is air conditioned and good enough to pass the night away.   The weather was quite a bummer for it prevented me from enjoying the beach.  No regrets though, coz the beach isn’t that attractive anyway!

The following Sunday morning, everybody’s up early.  We moved few more kilometers up north and we reached the main objective of our long road trip: The Lomboy Farm in Bauang La Union.  The big signage of the farm along the highway is not hard to notice.  We pulled over alongside the many vehicles parked ahead of us.  It maybe one proof that not only me believed the Kristv  feature of said farm. They admit, they have a sudden influx of visitors.  This, I think is enough evidence that I wasn’t alone in getting a leg pulled. Lol!

Initially, I went in alone to look for the owner whom I had previously communicated with through text messages, Mr. Ave Lomboy.  He introduced himself and found him friendly and accommodating. I was cheerfully dealt with and given a fragment of information about him and his farm.  I was told (and also learned from the TV program) that  we would be guided and assisted and that a tour fee of P200.00/pax will be collected.  "It’s for the people in the farm", he said.   We were 5, thus I shelled out P1000. (Though I should have paid for only 4 coz DH didn’t join in). My excitement heightened when they handed me 5 Eco bags (with Lomboy Farm print).  It meant to me that I’d be filling those up with fresh grapes harvest I’d pick straight from the vines.   (Unmindful whether the cost is cheap or not for P150/kl.)  Just something for a thrilling experience.. .  or so I thought!   I readied myself to a long walk in a massive vineyard and huge guaple plantation.  Got thrilled as we were led by a boy on a bike to the farm.  But that thrill was only short lived.  Our trek stopped to a small plot of what seems to be just a small backyard grape farming. There were grapes alright but not ripe enough for picking and only on a short stretch of plot.  "Is this it? .. Is this the Lomboy Farm?" The big kiddos asked.  Who could give us the answer?  We were left hanging with our questions.  There was a couple of elder ladies we wished to get answers from but they were busy selling their grape seedling plants.  The residents of the neighborhood appeared to be overwhelmed by the turn of people coming in their community by big groups.    Contrary to what was mentioned by the owner that we will be assisted and guided by somebody who would answer queries along the way, no one appeared!  .. And by the words "assisted farm tour", who wouldn't imagine a vast vineyard and a massive guaple plantation to tour?  Whew!  I felt kinda deceived!  What's the 1000php I paid for? "It's for the Eco bags, Ma!, They gave you Eco bags, remember?"  That was DD's reply to my question, with a wide grin!

Oh well! ...  Mr Lomboy took my number.  He said he would inform me of future offers of the farm.
If you were me,  would you care to give a damn?  ... Hmmn   ..your answer is as good as mine!

There's only one good thing I had, I was able to visit Agoo Church.  My first time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Husband's Frightening Diagnosis

Hello to all! I'm back from many months of hiding!  Hopefully I'd stay here in blogland again for good. Anyways, I just thought of sharing our recent experience for the benefit of those who are concerned with DH’s current health and medical status. Here goes:

Weeks ago, after DH’s biking accident, he has bouts of headaches. Worried that it is the result of that previous bike crash, I went with him to see a neurologist in St Lukes.  The neuro doctor took his medical history and the circumstances prior to the headaches.  After which he gave his presumption that he has brain blood clot.  Nothing much to worry he said, it’s easy as it would only take a size of 25 cents hole be bored on his head.  But to see where the clot is, he has to be admitted and undergo CT Scan. I was very scared then, but tried not to show.  His advice was followed, then CT Scan showed no blood clot.  He asked for a repeat CT Scan but with dye this time. Just to see everything clearly. Again, praise God, it showed negative for brain blood clot. However, they saw something abnormal in the nasopharynx.  Since it is no longer a neuro case, he referred DH to an ENT specialist. The ENT doctor advised another CT Scan, (it's the third!) this time to specifically focus on the lump/inflammation of the nasopharynx area . The latter sees it as sinus inflammation but asked for biopsy to rule out malignancy.  Nevertheless, the Neuro doctor has already a different conclusion on his hand.  He called me outside DH’s hospital room while DH was anxiously looking at us.  At the corridor, he forthrightly  informed me of his findings.  “I have to let you know, … your husband’s CT Scan showed a nasopharyngeal malignancy.”  Instantly, I was numbed!  I was tongue tied. The words made me dizzy… my chest tightened, ..  and I slumped on the floor.  He opted next to call son who was also inside the room.  The son might be stronger than me, he said. But I opposed.  It would only make DH realize something is really wrong.  And he asked me for my opinion if DH is strong enough to hear the bad news. I nod…

On his bedside, the neuro doctor, smashed the bomb on DH. Bluntly, he blurted out “Your case is nasopharyngeal malignancy.”  DH looked at him, decipher what he heard, then his reply was.. “you mean cancer, doc?”  and without any reservation. doctor replied, ...”yes!” I have to refer you next to an Oncologist.  DH was stunned for a minute.   Showing no emotion, (well, that's his usual self), and his next question was, can I still go biking?  … and drink?  He sounded calm and easy.  But the big question is, could he really be?!  The next scene was …the hard rock patient almost always was under his hospital blanket. ..  the wife on the side, .. was very distraught!  It was like going through it all over again!  … Reliving her own shocking, unbearable moment 21 years ago when she herself was diagnosed with the dreaded big C.   Oh my!  Hah! (taking deep breath and exhaling!)  ... But allow me to continue.

So where was I?  Okay, a biopsy of the pharyngeal lump was performed as per request of ENT doctor. After lengthy agonizing waiting days, the result of biopsy was out.  According to him, it showed a cell that can probably be seen on Tuberculosis. Good news is, "No evidence of malignancy.”  Weeeh.. it's only TB!  I cheered! We all cheered!  However, it was only momentarily as the ENT doctor wanted another biopsy.  He might have missed scooping the right specimen. It does happen sometimes, the ENT doctor explained.  He’d  need deeper and bigger specimen this time.  What can DH do but do as he was told.  A tinged of doubt for malignancy still exists. Long sleepless nights and troubled days were all for me.  Am just  grateful  the big kiddos  and the hard rock patient were holding on positively.  Don't lose hope! The result isn't out yet! They claimed. Glad, I eventually did think the same and matched it with tons of prayers!  Until the excruciating wait was over! Result is out.  It’s confirmed!  No evidence of malignancy.  Yay! The ENT doctor nevertheless is not sure yet  if it’s really TB or not because the other TB test findings has yet to be seen .  It would take another 6 weeks to get the result, according to him.  In the meantime, ENT doctor referred DH to infectious disease specialist.  As the new doctor flipped on all his medical records, she questioned why DH was referred to her.  For what?  We repeated what the ENT doctor’s findings were, that he is attributing the found cell to TB.  No, no, no! Not necessarily,  was her reaction.  It can be Pneumonia.  Yes! I remembered his chest ray. It says there Pneumonia and not TB! (It was even witnessed by our friend, Susan while she was in the room, visiting!)  Let’s wait for the other tests to be sure.  You can get it now. No need to wait for 6 weeks! Whoa!  And we dashed off to medical records.  Lo and behold!  It’s clear as the water in spring!  “NEGATIVE FOR TUBERCULOSIS!” 

OMG! We would have been very happy with such TB diagnosis of the ENT doctor! As it sure isn't as alarming and as dreadful as the diagnosis of malignancy from the neurologist!  But here now, it’s nothing of both!  Woo hoo!  Saying it over and over..  All praise and glory to God almighty!

BTW,  the complained headache has greatly diminished, according to the DH.  The Hard Rock is back on the trail with his beloved bike!

PS: I pray that doctors be extra careful on giving out their diagnosis. I hope that they don't give out diagnosis without a substantial basis or the reliable medical results.  It's just  fortunate, our patient is strong willed! Although I had almost passed out!

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