Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A summer to remember

FORGET the raging political war, it’s time for me to scribble my latest summer experience. I don’t qualify myself as a globetrotter since I don’t travel a lot. I just love going to different places. And every time I get home, I’d make sure that my adventure box is chokeful of experience.

It was a stroke of luck going with the class in a ten-day educational tour last April. I thought it was impractical (thinking that I would be spending thousands of pesos while I can content myself by conducting my OJT here and could purchase a new camera phone instead). Anyway, the main reason for holding the trip was to visit manufacturing plants, semiconductor and telecommunications companies in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces such as Laguna and Cavite. One thing that I knew about Laguna was the cornucopia of hot springs and private swimming pools that some residents made business out of. Luckily, the resort where we checked in was opportune to have a giant pool which relieved our body from the exhausting all-day sitting in the bus. The visit to Laguna was never exciting without the exhilarating ride-all-you can at the Enchanted Kingdom.

Thanks to the strategic location of our hotel while in Manila, we never missed to stroll in Baywalk at Roxas Boulevard, the aromatic cuisine from the flanking night bistros in Malate and the historical glimpse at the Luneta Park. Also an anticipated destination in our itinerary was Baguio City; even the previous meningo outbreak didn’t bother us from nibbling sweet strawberries, rowing at the Burnham Park and bustling at the famous ukay-ukay. The climb to the Grotto located at the top of an almost 300-step stairs was a tiring yet worthwhile experience and the side trip to Benguet provided us the chance to hand-pick fresh strawberries at the Strawberry Farm. In Benguet, we ventured on a rare mine tour where we experienced real dynamite blasting while inside the Balatoc mining tunnel.

The astonishing sights and relaxing climate at the Palace in the Sky in Tagaytay didn’t fail to amaze us while some of us satisfied themselves with taking pictures and scurrying over the best souvenir buys hoping to keep a memento of the place. What a rare opportunity also to see endangered, exotic flying foxes inhabiting the trees and brown monkeys dwelling within the lush forests in Subic. My vacation did not end when the pack went home. For two months, I experienced the life in Manila when I stayed to conduct my OJT. But I knew that the first week of June would spell another escapade for me here; I wished I could return earlier!

The usual Boracay getaway by the Pub Pipol during summertime had its change of plan this time. The three-day Nagarao Island trip in the southern part of Guimaras was the place of our annual evaluation and strategic planning this year. It’s a fascinating place blessed with bountiful mini-forests and the serene ambience, private luxury, and the mouth-watering seafood could make you feel the wonder of nature. It was fun being with the Pub Pipol breaking the tranquility of the place with our boisterous laughters.

Last on my adventure list was the unexpected visit to Roxas City. An hour away from the city, we took advantage to clamber at the peak of Mt. Agtalin in Pilar, Capiz to see the 85-foot Blessed Mary statue, the tallest Marian Statue in Asia.

Truly this is one unforgettable summer, a break from the usual hustle and bustle at school and a story that is of envy to my friends.

(This article was published in The Augustinian, Aug 16-Sept 30, 2005 issue)

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