you know what i realized with this one? a nature getaway for the weekend is really really possible! plus, i got to know the limitations and capabilities of our car, weaving through the ‘bitukang manok’ (chicken intestines) of the foothills of Rizal!
so, this is the weekend getaway/birthdaycation gift to two of the important men in A’s life: our little bundle of kulit, and her father!
our first stop was the Antipolo Cathedral, a.k.a. the definitive destination for your car blessing. we didn’t go there to have the car blessed, but to hear mass. unfortunately we were a bit late leaving the house (as is common with pinoys, eh?) so i opted to go to adoration instead, albeit a quick one as the little guy was getting fussy outside the chapel.
TIP: let yourself be guided to a parking slot if you are unfamiliar with the area. they’re really hard to find. we easily were found by one and offered us their homemade goodies. not sure if the prices were a bargain but the quality seemed pretty good as was the taste.
our next stop was the actual gift to the main celebrant: Pinto Art Museum. my father-in-law has a great appreciation for the arts, often looking at (and sometimes buying) paintings. no, these aren’t those “branded” ones — just the ones that he fancies (although i really think he wants one of them. i just don’t know yet his actual preference/ taste in paintings).
it was my first time in Pinto Art Museum as well. we still had our guide with us, leading our way in a scooter. we gave him P50 for the trouble although he didn’t ask for any. entrance to the subdivsion (road user’s/parking fee?) where the museum was located is P20.
at first, you would think, ‘yeah. this is nice and cozy.’ but once you explore it, you’ll need half a day or more to fully appreciate everything. and because it’s in antipolo, you have to be prepared for a lot of stair climbing. but the cool breeze and numerous resting spots help you get through the entire museum. we even had a snack in between our exploration of the entire place.
TIP: apparently, there are guided tours. perhaps when the little one isn’t little anymore, we could go with a guided tour to better explain the entire museum to us. i overheard a couple with a guide and the little trivia you’d here about the place would surely enrich the visitor experience a lot.
TIP#2: if you plan to eat at the restaurant, order in advance as cooking may take quite a while. have a quick tour of the nearby exhibitions and come back after 15-25 minutes for your freshly cooked food.
finally, being way past lunch time, we head for the resort, about an hour away from Antipolo. for this one, i had to use Google Maps to find. but seeing we would make it a bit late in the afternoon, we had to make a lunch stop at Jollibee. 😛
Bakasyunan is a resort-cum-conference destination with places for recreation and team-building activities. although horseback riding, zipline, and ATVs were available, we stayed most of the time in our room and swam in the pool the next day. the place is huge and a leisurely walk around the grounds is good enough exercise. and being high up in the mountains, the cool breeze was refreshing. our room (Carneros 3) had a good view of Laguna de Bay as well as the Pilillia WInd Farm. the only negative point i could think of was that the pocket garden wasn’t maintained. a quick trim of the grass and ornamental plants would’ve done. oh, and lighting along walkways could be improved a bit near our area. the pool/restaurant area was fine. but those going to the rooms, a bit too dark. or maybe that’s just my poor eyesight.
in the evening, having no energy left to explore for a restaurant (also, the roads seem to be not-so-well-lit so i would vote against going outside anyway), we ordered dinner at the resort. and boy was the food good! simple, cheap, traditional, but really good filipino food. if you are going to bakasyunan and thinking of going outside for dinner, think twice.
TIP: try to book for weekdays for fewer guests. the place is a lot quieter then. because on weekends, it’s a really popular destination. by the time we left, parking was full and resort-goers already filled the pools.
after checking out, we made our pilgrimage to Regina RICA, where a 71-foot image of Our Lady of the Rosary stands. we were hoping to hear mass but the schedule would cause us to leave a little too late in the afternoon. so we simply made a tour of the grounds and a quick adoration. i wasn’t in a particularly prayerful mood because 1.) the weekend brought in a lot of visitors making a lot of noise, 2.) that made me lose focus and concentration on what we were really there for, 3.) the seemingly commercialization of the faith.
i have issues with this but that’s for another entry. but the takeaway from this is that i should return to this place to retreat, perhaps best on a weekday, for it to be a really prayerful and fruitful religious experience for me.
on our way home, we make a final stop at Marison’s back in antipolo. this was a bit on the upper-scale restaurant but it did deliver. for the price, you get a small serving but really flavorful food. it’s not gerry’s grill OK? A and i shared dessert since i was too full. i would’ve loved to try their other dishes but maybe that’s for another adventure — when my stomach and wallet are ready. 😛
using Waze, this time, to look for the best route to go home was a whole different adventure altogether. instead of having us go back the way we went to Antipolo, Waze recommended the southern route going through coastal C6 and some inner roads i’ve never been to. we made it home… barely.
the route given to us had a lot of unpaved and broken sections with large craters (i refuse to call them potholes) coming at you left and right! it was a test of patience and driving awareness. “it was a good decision to have bought that iced coffee before we left marison’s” i mused to myself. and at around 7pm, we finally arrive home.
i know this was a long post but i just wanted to cover everything in one go, lest i forget or get tired and not finish another ‘series’ again. i hope the pictures make-up for the long read! thanks for coming along this blog post! 🙂