After the stressing week of midterms and the releasing of results heartbreaking and not results. My friend, classmate, neighbor and the person I always walk whenever going home with decided to escape from law school and everything that has to do with it. As well as the work and the daily life. Since both of us are probinsyana girls or those who grew up in the country side we decided that the best way for us to be filled with positivity is to be with the environment we grew up, the nature. The comfort it offers reminds me of home and the warmth of it. And coincidentally we both have on our bucket list to go is the Sirao Garden and Temple of Leah. With my favorite playlist on! We hit the road for an hour drive.
First Stop Sirao Garden
Mountains. Greens. Trees. Flowers. Fresh Air. It’s really the best healing place for my soul who had been occupied by the pressure of law school. The dizzy life of the city and the fast pacing environment around me. The moment we are out in the city and the mountains and trees are anything I can see. That was really the moment for me realize how much I miss home.
The garden’s flowers are not the rare type. In fact I can almost see this in my hometown but what make’s it stand out is that it was properly arranged in rows, taken care of and how they have grown. Plus the fact that it was already in mountains and cold fresh air is surrounding you with endless greens and trees as well as clear skies it makes the place more astounding. No big cities. No busy life. Just carefree moment. Just a peaceful moment where I can hear the bird and feel the wind kissing me.
And I’m actually embarrassed too. Talk about being too carefree I was wearing my headphones and Most Girls by Hailee was playing I was even dancing and singing and the foreigner couple who was near me told me such a cheerful girl and was smiling. I’m not really good in handling compliments it makes me shy and awkward but I’m glad people can still see the happy virus in me. That I can rarely show my classes as professors always taught I am not serious and not dedicated enough.
There is a small cafe in there and you can order simple dishes even your favorite coffee might be on the menu as well as some delicacies of the place was also there. For me I order sikwati (Cacao chocolate) and Puto Maya (Sticky rice?). Both taste heaven as you sit in there small yet fancy cafe and rest your feet from walking around the garden.
Second Stop Temple of Leah
Going down from the mountains is the next stop the Temple of Leah. I really thought that this temple was preserved due to it being a relic of history only to find out when I got there that the temple was created for the love of the husband to his wife. He build the temple for his love to his late wife as a signed of undying love and faithfulness. The temple was inspired in Greece temple along with statutes that you only find in Greece. All I can comprehend is that she is a goddess in the eyes and heart of his husband. The best feature of this temple is the overlooking view of the city.
It was holiday last Monday so I got the privilege to spend and spare some time off (Law school and work got me chained on a fixed plan and schedules.) and went to the 10,000 Roses Cafe here in Cebu. It’s kind of far from Cebu City but the place is actually nice and small. (Though it’s hard to appreciate if there are lots of tourist and locals and its pretty small compared to what you could have expected.)
The 10,000 Roses Cafe made it’s official announcement of opening late month of 2016 or the early 2017. (Not really sure, I forgot. It’s just it was on my bucket list.) The cafe is affordable like any other cafe’s you see in the city but the main attraction was the 10,000 roses. Such a creative idea to have lights in the form of roses. It attracts both locals and tourist alike and from neighboring city.
The location site is really well thought of. The cafe is situated at the sea side over looking the opposite site and well lighted view of Cebu City. (Yup, you can clearly identify the Crown Tower.) You can really relax and have a good talk or you just want to be left alone.
But my advice do not go there in a holiday or any day that everybody is free. The reason, you can’t fully enjoy the scenery due to the place being overcrowded. You can stroll the area but definitely you can’t go to the center of the roses to have your picture taken.
A private car or rented car you can just drive straight directly to Cordova. (I’m not sure to specifics of direction but you can asked the locals of the place. Just make sure you had GPS so you won’t get lost.) Anyway, my friend and ride a V-hire or van in SM City Reclamation (Not the SM seaside, the one beside Radison Blu Hotel) it cost around 50 pesos if you go straight to Cordova. However, we made a stop on Lapu-lapu to pick the our friend. So via Lapu-Lapu City its only 35.00 php. And from there we rode a jeep which is only 9.00 php. Once we reached our stop that we asked of the driver we rode a tricycle that cost as 10.00php each staright to the 10,000 Roses. We arrived there around 7pm in the evening and really lots of people are already in there.
There is also an entrace fee of 20.00 php. I guess the government officials of the place use the toll to maintain the cleanliness and order of the area since lots of people are really coming.
“Just wash them and eat.” My annoyed sister (Fun fact: My sister Danielle is a incoming 4th year Agriculture student she majors Horticulture minoring in Plant breeding.) told me after asking the same question if this wild berries and cucumbers she found is edible for the tenth times. We are tending the garden and cleaning up all the grass to plant the seedlings she had brought from the university when she found familiar wild plants. (I may love going on food trips but I definitely not the person who eats unknown plants. Plants I cannot identify. Plants I haven’t see. I am not a dare devil when it comes to food.) But stubborn as she is she shove one to my mouth because nothing has happened to me. So I’ll tell you my tale. (By the way, I’ll describe it based on what I have taste and it personally looks at me.)Like what the pirates say “Dead Man tell no Tales.”
The first one was a Physalis. It can be commonly identify as lantern berries. It is a fruit with husk. It is light green and the texture is like a tomato(it’s like a mini tomato actually)as for the taste reminds me of strawberry, or pineapple, with mild acidity. But there is other color such as yellow. To eat it you have to peel to reveal the fruit.
The second one is Creeping Cucumber: Melothria Pendula. A plant I have been seeing my whole life yet ignoring it at the same time because I thought its just nothing but a wild grass creeping in a tree or in the fence with some weird green and black fruit. Accordingly, only the green ones can be eaten while the black one which are ripe are not edible. My sister told me that this plant has a big reputation and in fact they are breeding this on their green houses. And because I have written I can say it is completely safe. ^^
“Time is almost up! School bells are ringing, calling us back. But before you fold your bikinis, tuck you surfing boards, and move on from summer. Give your self one push for the summer of 2017. Be it on your favorite beach, on the solitude of the forest or just at home having a barbecue party with the family. It’s your call. End it with a blast. No regrets.” – Aly, at somewhere Island, 5-28-17.
After four months (not years.. haha) of not seeing each my friend and I decided to meet at her favorite cafe – Cafe Sarree. (An american type of casual dining. She calls for the place as I owe her a dinner.)And to my surprise the prices of the food rip me off and my poor wallet. (Basically because I resign on my job and just back at being plain student.)She recommend me her favorites but unfortunately I do not eat ham. We decided to have her all time favorite Fancy Loaded French Toast and Omellete 3 Cheeses-O.
Fancy Loaded French Toast was her order and I actually take a slice. (Nyahaha.. can’t help it. I just slice on the side so I won’t eat the ham.) It was sweet crusted, filled with ham and cheese, served with whipped cream and spiced cinnamon and nutmeg syrup (I thought it was honey syrup.) While mine was Omellete 3 Cheeses-O. (It was 9 in the morning and I’m very hungry. Can’t blame me.) It was with gyuyere, cheddar and feta all folded into the egg served with toasted bread with strawberry am and cream. (I love cheese but I guess I have too much this time. And I have no idea about what is gyuyere cheese.)But I need to finish the food. I don’t like to have leftovers on my plate (actually as well as other people’s plate)because that is a blessing that not anybody can have the opportunity.
Overall, the place has a nice ambiance and the food is heaven. (Well, my friends actually doubted when I say delicious because ‘all foods I can eat taste like heaven to me’ according to them.) So if your in Cebu City you should give it a shot. As for the prices for two people it would range around 600php.
“If I take this shot (soju) will you go out on a date with me?” I must be drunk if I am spouting this nonsense in front of my friend(He is the closest friend I have and knows me too well the most.)The feeling that I was the one suggesting to have korean barbecue for our dinner and one bottle of soju and I got light headed with just two shots crush my confidence in alcohol tolerance. (I don’t get easily get drunk. I already test my limits before but the first time with soju I might reconsider it again.)
How was it? Soju has a clean taste but at the same time it taste like a medicine for cough. It does not burn your throat, no strong smell unlike any alcoholic drinks we usually have for casual dinners. And to be honest I used the coke as a chaser.I can’t handle the taste. (So embarrass! And I’m actually thinking I can do it with style like in Korean dramas.)And after two shots I became talkative. (The firsts sign I’m getting drunk. The next sign I yawn and then sleep.)
It was past midnight when we are done and he brought me to the coffee shop a two block away form the restaurant. He said I needed coffee and a cake. How’s your first soju experience?
I’m cleaning my phone gallery when I saw pictures of my trip in Lake Apo. So I want to share with you the beauty of this place. Spring on the mountain is really a breathtaking view. It’s not rare scenery but its definitely one of the best nature had given to us. Being a wanderlust this is a bucket list. Personally I prefer to be on mountains than on the sea. I don’t know but being surrounded by greens is a soul healer.(That is why when I have enough money I will buy a property similar to Twilight house setting. I so loved that kind of place. I don’t mind the drive going to work. I know living away from the city is my medicine. ) This place is a tourist area. You can actually google lots of pictures and directions. I’m just posting my own experience and let you see things in my view.
Hidden Treasure: Lake Apo
Unlike any adventure you are thinking this one does not need for you to pack up hiking gears. In fact you can bring anything you like and drive your car. The only thing that would really be your enemy is the road not(Not cemented – off road. For me who has not drive in this kind of road it was really a challenge. Since it’s my friend’s car he practically wants to grab the wheel because according to him it will take us forever. On my defense I am not familiar with the road.)and the dust(Imagine the cleaning when you got home, oh well, it was not my problem anymore.) You will not be passing trees instead plantations of pineapples and pineapples and I guess some bananas and mountain views.(Almost all areas on the way is brought and turned into plantations by a big company or so I was told by a friend who was a resident of the barangay where the lake is located.)
Lake Apo has been visited for many reasons. I saw pictures in google that it has been for pre-nuptial weddings, birthdays and mostly when you wanted to chill out with your friends. And really its very ideal for that kind of events. The place is timeless. (Oh, by the way, a university is just located below the mountains other side – Central Mindanao University. It’s one of the biggest university town in the Philippines and top performing too.) According to my grandfather and my friend, the lake is both private own and government own.(Just across the lake you will find a house. People cannot own lake so I guess the land on the other side is what is private. As the lake itself is maintained by the barangay officials.)The vacation house or lake house is private but I guess you can go in there to take pictures. (Not really sure, because on my latest visit we didn’t go there. I just keep jumping on the lake. Ahaha).
By the way, if your swimming skills is crappy you better put on life jacket. There is a current and the lake is deep, very deep. But you can hold on to the rope of your cottage.(Kawayan cottage.)The floating cottage is what makes the place stand out and visited both locals and tourist. You can be in the middle of the lake. How cool is that!
The entrance point is Valencia City, Bukidnon. No planes. Just land travel from Cagayan City or from Davao City.(If you are really not from this places of neighboring places. Bukidnon is actually located in the middle of this two big cities in Mindanao.)Once you reach Valencia City the two ways to go there, if private car you can straight drive as for directions you can asked the local.(I’m so sorry I haven’t paid attention with the streets since my friend is their and I’m quite familiar with the city.)The second one is rent a single motorcycle or if you are many you can actually hire a multicab with the right price. (But if I remember correctly another entry point is in the town of Maramag. But I’m not familiar.) And yes from the city it is quite a distance. An hour drive. No traffic. You’ll just meet big trucks loaded with harvested fruits.
There is no entrance fee. The only thing you shall pay is the cottage fee which is 200php. And that is good for the whole day. And because its quite far the place is not crowded. Three to four families/friends we saw.
You can where your swimsuits who cares this is a free country. Just be prepared for the awkward stares by other people. Haha.. Too bad when we went here (Bukidnon) I didn’t expect we will go to Lake Apo. It was just my whims and he actually said yes. (We only plan to hike mountains.). So along with my other friend we went. Oh well, as they say unplanned moments are the best!