A Weekend in Lanuza

My friend invited me to a trip to Lanuza. It was a free trip. I would be with my good friends and I have not traveled with them before so this would be a new experience. How can I say no to that offer? I sent prayers to high heavens that I do not have to work that weekend. God answered my prayers so off we went to Lanuza one November weekend.

It was the annual surfing festival in Lanuza. Lanuza is a surfing town in Surigao del Sur. Their surfing season starts in November. My friend works for a company that is a major sponsor of the festival.

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We arrived at noon. The awarding of prizes for the champion surfers was scheduled in the evening so we had the afternoon to spare. Lanuza is a charming surfing town. You’ll meet kids slathered in sunblock carrying surfboards in the streets.

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Our first stop is the white house.

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This is a century-old mansion.

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A descendant of the original owners showed us around. We were treated to a rich cup of chocolate.

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Look at the dish dryer!
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We were all happy to see this plate. All of us had this plate at home when we were growing up.
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Our next stop is the Marine Sanctuary.

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We walked to a Bantay Dagat outpost.

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This is the view from the outpost.

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Our host took us to the next town in Cortez. He showed us photos of what we expect to see. We were convinced.  By the time we reached the site, we were blown away by the sight. It was an AWESOME place.  I have not seen anything like it before.

Friends, this is Laswitan in Cortez, Surigao del Sur!

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It looks like one but that is not a waterfalls.

It is actually a rock formation. Waves from the sea crash against those rocks.

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The waves overflow.

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When water drips down, it looked like this.

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You can actually swim in the lagoon. The unsafe area is cordoned off.

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We left at 5PM.  It is a beautiful place.

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It was so beautiful that my friend went back two weeks after. She told me that the waves did not crash against the rocks and the friends she brought there missed the experience we had.  I guess we were lucky to experience this phenomenon.

In the evening, we attended the award ceremonies.

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We went to Lanuza during the anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda. As part of the program, sky lanterns were released.

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We left Lanuza the next day but not before doing some activities in the morning. We were scheduled to do more sightseeing so we were not sure if we could try surfing. We spent some time on the beach to observe surfers.  Kids as young as this one already knew how to surf.

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We went spelunking in the morning inside the Campamento Caves. We spent almost an hour inside the cave.  There were lots of interesting formations inside. Can you see the bat?

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My friend took a dip at the Hubason River.

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We still had time to spare in the afternoon. So my friends took a short surfing lesson. Look at them!

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I was not able to try it because I got that monthly thingamajig.  :( So I just posed for a photo.

Thanks to my friend, Ernelyn, for inviting me to this trip.  It was one memorable weekend.

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5 Things I Will Do to Have a Meaningful and Memorable #MerrySMChristmas

♫♪♫♪♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ♫♪♫♪♪

Whenever I hear that song being played, I am filled with Christmas cheer. My heart smiles. My eyes twinkle. I become that giddy child waiting for Christmas day.  As a child, although we did not have the grandest of feasts, for as long as my family was together, Christmas was merrier.

Five years ago, Christmas took a different meaning for me. It was the year I did not make a fuss about Christmas.  My father was bed-ridden for 5 months. I saw his frail body being eaten by cancer day after day. I was numb to the Christmas spirit around me.  There was little I could do for Papa. I just hugged him everyday. Hugging meant pressing my face to his face as he could no longer wrap me in his embrace.  On Christmas day, I greeted him with a loud cheer. He smiled back acknowledging my greeting. And that was more than I could ask  for. My father died the day after Christmas. It was his way of giving me my Christmas back.

Since then, I was able celebrate Christmas with my family like that giddy child again. Being an only child, single and an orphan, family means my aunts, uncles and my cousins. Christmas becomes more meaningful. Here are ways I make my Christmas meaningful and memorable:

1. Feel the spirit of Christmas. I do this by putting up my tree.  Having a tree changes the mood of the house. This is a special tree because my mama and I bought this together with my own money.  It has been 14 years since we bought the tree. My mother had long gone and the tree still looks good. You do not have to buy a tree to feel the spirit of Christmas. Sometimes, listening to Christmas Carols will already fill the home with holiday joy.  You can also spend time at a park where twinkling lights make the season more festive. Malls have stepped up their game.  There areas for families to enjoy the Christmas season.

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2. Share your blessings. You might be surprised that it takes little to make another person happy. It does not have to be a grand gesture. You may share your blessings with your loved ones.  However, they say the best way to share your blessings is doing something for someone who cannot repay you in kind. You get repaid with their prayers and well-wishes. I am not really the kindest person around. I can be selfish but I have to admit that the selfish me can also see the wonders of being able to share my blessings to others.

3. Spend time with family and friends. My nephew is already 3 and I plan to spend some time with him this Christmas. My aunt and uncle will be spending their Christmas in Cebu but they will be back in the afternoon of December 25 so we still have a chance to celebrate Christmas together. I am compiling easy-to-make recipes so that I can still have a wonderful time with my family without slaving in the kitchen. I have tested one of such recipe. You only need cubed gulaman, cream, condensed milk and cubed mangoes. Layer the ingredients. Put them in a nice glass and voila! These ingredients are readily available in the supermarket.

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This year, a number of my friends will be home so there will be a lot of catching up do. For sure, there will be lots of laughter till our bellies ache.

4. Reward myself. Although I looked like I have not worked hard this year, I did. The best reward I can give myself is rest. I am dreaming on resting my head on a soft pillow while curled up reading a book. Maybe I’ll get a tub of ice cream and have a movie marathon. This is just me. You can reward yourself with that jacket you have been eyeing for a long time, that gadget to get in touch with family  or that massage chair  to ease those back pains for working hard.  It is okay to treat yourself to something you greatly deserve.

5. Remember the reason for the season. JESUS. Christmas is the season of advent.  Advent means coming. We prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus.  As Christians, it is a time to reflect on our lives and make changes in order to be ready for Jesus Christ. We do this by emulating how Jesus lives while He was here on earth (i.e. a humble  and obedient servant) and by following His commandments. We should really do this not only during Christmas but every day of our lives.  This is a part of my life where I need to improve on. God never faltered on me yet the sinner that I am easily forgets God’s greatness. 

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Each of us may have different ways in celebrating this wonderful time of the year. SM Supermalls have their way of celebrating this merry season. Drenched in the spirit of love, family, sharing and giving, SM Supermalls show us how #MerrySMChristmas begins. Adorable Cheska and Kendra Kramer and the delightful Elevator girl, Cheridel Alejandrino star in this short video.

If you want to make someone happy this Christmas and you do not know how, why not give an SM Cares’ Bear of Joy?
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SM Supermalls have a lot in store for you this season. Visit http://bit.ly/MerrySMChristmas for more details on their various #MerrySMChristmas events.

I wish you and your family a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

**This blog post is an entry to Nuffnang's blogger contest.

 

Lovely Palaui

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My friend, Barbara, and I had been toying the idea of visiting Palaui ever since she showed me a similar photo as this one. When we finally got the chance to go there in August, we wasted no time. From the airport, we proceeded to the bus terminal … [Continue reading]

30 Things I am Grateful for in November 2014

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It's almost 2015! Having spent the past 11 months with a grateful spirit, my heart is full. I thank God for making His presence felt in my life. My life has its own share of challenges but whenever I am down, something or someone cheers me … [Continue reading]

Tungao and Lawigan: The Road Less Traveled

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An invitation to a new destination is music to my ears.  If you give me an opportunity to visit a new place, I would get excited even at the thought of exploring it. It does not even matter what kind of transportation it takes to reach a new place. I … [Continue reading]