A Never-Ending Love Affair with Unicorns

My fascination with unicorns started when I was in grade school. It was during those times when I would wait for one of my fave TV shows, “Starla and the Jewel Riders” trying to save Avalon while riding a cute mythical character tirelessly flying in the sky trying to stop the evil sorcerrer with the help of other jewel riders, Fallon and Tamara.

I never really had the chance to buy unicorn stuff when I was in school given that I only have enough allowance for my school needs. But my obsession with those cute, fancy-colored, magical unicorns did not stop.

Three years ago, I chance upon a stall in a nearby mall that sells unicorn merchandise. From bags to mugs down to head bands and pens they do have it. Every time I drop by at that store, I would stop at those cute stuff and find myself in awe each time I’d see them. I thought I already outgrew my love affair with them but then I ended up buying one item after another. Luckily, I have friends and loved ones who know how obsessed I am with unicorns and would end up buying me one as a present on special occasions, or simply, a token of appreciation. My heart feels very happy and I always get giddy every time they give it to me. And I would silently tell myself, these are the best gifts ever.” Because truly, they are. They bring smile on my face and happiness in my soul.

If you’re a unicorn lover just like me, let me show you my small collection who never fails to bring smile on my face only by staring at them every time I feel tired or stressed. Each unicorn stuff holds a special place in my heart. For one, it is obviously my favorite and of course, these are mostly given by people who are dear to me.

Okay, so let’s begin.

Meet Pixie.. My first Tokidoki unicorn stuffed toy.  Pixie is a gift from my fiancee. We saw it on Tokidoki’s Instagram page and little did I know that when one of his relatives went to Singapore, he asked them to buy it for me. He gave it to me few days before my birthday. And yes, I cried happy tears receiving this cute little creature.

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Pixie

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Another Tokidoki brand that melted my heart upon receiving is Bowie…  You heard it right, it  was named after David Bowie, the famous singer, songwriter. It has vibrant colors and exquisite embroidery making it a perfect plush not only for kids but also for the kids-at-heart like me. Bowie was also given to me by my fiancee and was purchased in the US with the help of his mom.

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Bowie
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Pixie and Bowie

Let’s all make way for this another cute creature (drum roll please), Violet. We bought it from a local department store for only PHP100.00. I liked this stuff toy, particularly, for its materials and simplicity. It is not the usual colors we see with unicorns. It is monochrome, fluffy, and has retained the magical looks the mythical creature has.

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Violet

I don’t have names yet for these cute LEGO minifigs. But of course, they are equally adorable and cute stuff that adds colors and characters to my collection. They were also given to me by my fiancee who is, by the way, an avid fan of LEGO minifigs and brick sets.

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Apart from stuffed toys, I also have unicorn notebooks and journals. The one on the left was given as a Christmas and a birthday gift of one of my closest friends. She personally created and chose the papers and carefully compiled them to become a notebook. Being a sentimental friend that I am, I decided not to write anything on it to make sure that it would remain as beautiful and neat as it is.

The one on the right side was a notebook I purchased to be used as a journal. But I can’t decide yet if I’m going to write on it… =)

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One of my personal favorites is this cute unicorn lamp. I use this when I just want to relax, turn the lights off, and listen to my favorite songs.

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Tadaaahh!!!!

I also have a unicorn card holder which was given to me by my fiancee’s aunt. Since I’m not into using big pouches or wallets, this one is a perfect idea to have my money and cards organized in one place.

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One of my most valued unicorn stuff is this mug. It was given to me by my best friend all the way from Singapore as a birthday and Christmas gift. It took me a couple of months too finally decide if I’m going to use it or keep it.  But I think my love for coffee and longing for my best friend win! So, yes, I’m using it every single day.

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Unicorn tears, anyone?

This hand-painted wall decal was created by my fiancee. His love for arts (and for me, I guess) has made him researched and designed this pattern. We made it simple also to save paint and to not overwhelm my small room with too many colors.

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Walls don’t have to be boring…

There you have it for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add some more in the coming days.

Unicorns, though I know were just mythical creatures, will always be my favorite. Not only because they remind me of my childhood but also of the innocence I have of wanting to save the world. I know I am not Starla and the other jewel riders. Hence, I don’t have powers to fight the evil sorcerers but I can always make other people believe in the magical power of kindness and a good heart. I may not have wings and pixie dusts but I can always make them see the beauty of life in my own little magical ways.

I hope you do enjoy reading this blog as much as I did showing my small, valuable collection. What about you? Who are the characters that make you smile? What other creatures that make you wonder, hence, believe in magic? Share your thoughts on the comment section. Til my next blog!

 

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Five Important Reminders I Hope You Hear When You Feel Sad or Depressed

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Few weeks ago Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain shocked the world with their untimely death. Undeniably, both of them are successful in their respective fields. While Kate has etched her name in the fashion industry as one of the most ingenious designers of her generation, Anthony, on the other hand, was a famous chef, author, and host who travels across the globe to showcase not only his cooking expertise but also share his thoughts on business, life, and even politics in his show, Parts Unknown.

I’m not a fan of Kate neither Anthony. But when I heard about the news, I must admit that I was struck not only with the manner of their death but of the reality of how depression has become a silent killer over the years. That it is not merely sadness, but a condition that can happen to anyone without apparent signs. Hence, it is difficult to recognize someone who’s struggling from this situation because its symptoms are not always visible. We need to realize that depression doesn’t only hide the truth and conceals the pain, it is an everyday struggle one often faces alone— and the battle to quiet the demons in your mind who steals not only your self-esteem but your sense of purpose is a fight where you can’t always win.

The fact that Kate and Anthony are at the prime of their careers when they experienced depression signifies that there are more than what meets the eye. That we have to realize what a smile can hide and that success means different to each one of us. But one thing is for sure, everyone we meet is fighting battles we know nothing about and that we all have to be constantly reminded of these important things:

1. You have a purpose. We have different struggles in life and I can’t say that one’s circumstances are better or worst than the other. It is true that we have crosses to bear that’s why it’s important be reminded that there is a sovereign God who’ll not only help you carry your cross but will also lighten your burden. When you’re feeling depressed, have faith—even if things are blurry. Hold on to that still voice in your heart that pushes you to go on. Know that you are here for a reason because nothing in life is an accident—not even you. Take that baby steps and choose to push through. It doesn’t matter how long it takes… just take heart and pick up the pieces until God reveals his bigger, grander plans in your life.

2. You don’t have to be perfect. Comparison is truly a thief of joy. With all the overwhelming things we see on social media and mainstream scenes, it becomes so easy to get disconnected with your inner core. We become too obsessed in finding our worth on fleeting things that we sometimes forget that our flaws are what made us human—that though we are not perfect, we matter. We are easily defined by this world and other people’s opinions. We long for acceptance that we’re too afraid to make mistakes, to be rejected, to be left behind. Let me remind you that its ok—it’s ok to be silly, to have fun, to take chances, to be yourself… because truly, we are all flawed and scarred and its ok because you don’t need to be perfect, you only need to be true. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes and you’ll be surprised on how this world will give you enough room to learn, to heal, and to be the beset that you can be. Let them see who you truly are and you’ll be surprised with the amount of love and happiness your heart can truly hold.

3. Life isn’t always sunny. Whatever the weather is, you need to bring your own sunshine, because yes, there will be gloomy days and things will fall apart. There will be moments where you’ll need to drag yourself out of the bed ask what does it truly means to be alive? Or simply feel that there’s a whole in your heart that aches when you breathe—and sadness, your long lost friend is here to be with you again. You might even wonder how is it possible to live and die at the same time? Take a deep breath… It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever. Life may not always give you all the reasons to be happy, but learn to at least hold on to that one reason that makes your heart sing. And soon, you’ll forget about the storm and rather appreciate the calmness it gives you after its downpour.

4. You are loved. One of the reasons suicides become rampant is the dilemma that other people perceived depression more as a “mental condition” rather than lack of love and compassion. A lot of times, a person with depression don’t come to us to fix their situation but rather see us as someone who’ll show them sympathy and appreciation. They only need a trusted person who’ll make them feel that they are not different—someone who’s patient enough to remind them that what they’re going through may not be easy, but things will soon get better. They need someone who’s bold enough to tell them that negative self-talk wont help and loving enough to share listening ears and warm hugs.

5. There’s hope.- When we lose hope, we go back to things and people that inspire us in what we do—the reasons why we started in the first place. A person with depression will most likely forget about these things. That is why it’s very important, that as a friend or a family member, to consistently remind our loved ones that they’re not alone regardless of what their battle is. For one, there is a good Lord who’s just waiting for us to find rest in Him; and that there is hope—that they don’t need to figure things out because life isn’t only to be discovered but to live, to be cherished, to be shared… We need to remind them that they are loved even at days when they can’t even love their selves.

Depression isn’t only a state of mind or a figment of our imagination. It is real. It is happening and might be experienced by your loved ones  whom you think has the  sweetest smile or has the most sound, cheerful laughter.

The death of famous personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade is a reminder that even the strongest, successful people we know are not an exemption. Their fate is a perfect example of how our thoughts affect our whole being and that what we think about transcends in our lives. On that note, I hope you’re feeding your mind right.

If you or your loved one is experiencing depression, don’t be afraid to tell it to someone you trust. You might think that no one understands what you’re going through, but help will only come when you recognize that there’s a need for it.

Life is not perfect. It has its fair share of bumps and rough roads, lows, and blows. When you hit rock-bottom or feel that you’re at the lowest point of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up, but most importantly to look up. For there is the Almighty healer who restores everything—even your most broken heart.

5 Reasons Why It’s OK to Cut Negative People Out of Your Life

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We face different struggles in life everyday. From the moment we wake up, we think about how to make the most of our days. We anticipate what to do at work, how to fulfill our tasks, and ponder even about the most mundane things that require our time and  attention. With all the challenges we need to overcome, it wouldn’t help to expose ourselves with negativities, particularly, negative people who loves to complain just about everything and makes a minor set back a big deal.

We all know someone who can effortlessly dull one’s sunshine. That colleague who rains on your parade, a friend who hates to see you succeed, or simply an acquaintance who doesn’t want to see you happy. Here’s the thing, life alone has its complexities, so we don’t need to carry extra baggage from toxic people who sees problem to every solution. Let me tell you why its ok to cut negative people out of your life and how it will make a difference.

They hate to see you happy-  Happiness is an inside job and negative people would rather ruin someone’s mood than focus on appreciating what they have. They also love to compare—the exact reason why they feel they don’t have enough. We all deserve to be happy and enjoy life. That’s why if you surround yourself with negativity, you’ll miss the beauty and other surprises it has to offer—things that will not only help you grow emotionally but also allow you to discover more of yourself.

They are emotional vampires- Negative people sucks out all the happiness and the goodness in you. They will drain your energy as they try to make you feel that you’re the one who’s at fault of their miseries. They feel sad because of you. They are lost because of you. They are left behind because of you. They will never realize and acknowledge the fact that their feelings are a product of their choices, perspective, and actions.

They love dramas- Toxic people loves to be the center of attention. Don’t get me wrong. We all go through bumps and rough times in life every now and then and would need someone to vent out our frustrations. But to relish on the same thing for a long time without finding ways to improve the situation just because you love the idea of having someone to “listen” to your rants is so lame. We all need to move on and do all the best that we can to be better than yesterday. Sad to say, negative people would rather waste their time for a pity party than to pull of a game face on and think of ways to overcome life’s obstacles.

They make you feel less of a person- Negative people has their ways of making you feel less in your career, life, and relationships. Because they love to be the center of attention, they’ll make you feel that everything is about them. That their situation is worst or way better than the others. They’ll put up a show and give you something to be sad about. What’s even worst is that they can make you feel guilty when you don’t respond to their selfish acts.

You deserve peace of mind– For me, this is the most important reason why its ok to cut negative people out of your life. You deserve peace of mind. You deserve to do and be at your best without someone who’ll make you feel that your emotions and opinions are invalid. You deserve to experience a vibrant, positive life. You don’t need people who belittles your ambitions, who don’t see your worth, or expects you to join them when they loathe in hopelessness. You deserve a kind of peace that allows you appreciate life even more. So, do yourself a favor and avoid selfish people who loves to find fault and have lots of excuses for every situation.

Toxic people might cause you stress that have a lasting impact on your emotional and physical health. That’s why it is important to know your core and always find a reason to smile. While it is hard to see the goodness in everything, train your mind to appreciate the little things that make life worth celebrating. Always choose to be happy no matter how bad the situation is. Find beauty in the ordinary. Embrace your flaws and appreciate what you have. Take things easy and give thanks to God and the people who always find joy having you around for these are the kind of people you should keep.

 

Dear Future Self, I Hope By Now You’re Proud of Me

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Dear Future Self,

It was quite a roller coaster adventure with you. And I hope by now, you’re proud of me. 

Remember my first day in school, when I was bullied by one of my classmates and I didn’t want to take up the exams anymore? I hope you’re proud of me when I had the guts to tell my parents about it and they told me to be brave and face my fears. I know you were there when papa told me that it is a cruel world, and at times, I need to be my own superhero who knows when to fight while keeping my feet on the ground. Someone who’s brave enough to speak her mind while keeping her eyes open to the goodness of others and her heart soft in doing what is right even if it means doing it alone. 

Do you still recall that moment when I cried so hard because I wanted to buy a fancy-looking pair of shoes but mom doesn’t have enough money in her purse? I cried so hard that I wish we have all the money in the world so we can buy anything we want. After few days, she went home with a big smile on her face while giving me a new dress just in time for my graduation day. I hope it made you happy knowing that I’ve come to realize that in life, what you  want isn’t always what you need;  and that money can’t buy everything especially a good mom and a happy family. 

What about the day when I felt so sad because my sister is getting married and my best friend had to leave to pursue her dreams in a different country? I felt so alone and lonely  doing things on my own and living life in a totally different perspective. But I hope you’re glad when I learned that letting go and letting your loved ones grow and find their happiness even if it means leaving you is a sign of unconditional love.

And oh, what about my first out of town trip? When I was so nervous on my first plane ride? When I made a promise to at least visit one place every year to experience a different culture and meet new people—I hope you’re happy because I’ve finally learned that life is meant to live out of my comfort zone. That I shouldn’t spend my whole life working only to pay the bills. I hope I made you smile when I gave myself the chance to explore the unknown, the scary, and the unfamiliar.

And who would forget the first time I fell in love and felt the butterfly in my stomach? It was an overwhelming feeling. More than getting giddy, it was an affirmation that finally, there’s someone who wants me to be a part of his life, someone who’d like to spend his days and dreams with me—or so I thought. I hope I made you smile when I finally realize that every love story is unique and that heartache isn’t always ugly but an important part of becoming a better version of myself and embarking a new journey in love.

Lastly, I hope you give me a pat in the back because I’ve finally learned to embrace the changing seasons of my life—-lost, joy, forgiveness, new beginnings, and beautiful endings. I hope you are at your happiest when I’ve come to terms with myself that happiness is an inside job and that I must live each day with a grateful heart.

I hope that as you look back on our journey you can say that I tried— I tried to be the best that I can with everything. I hope that as you look at me you’ll see someone whose scars and wrinkles have beautiful stories to tell. I hope that you’ll be reminded of how I braved all the trials life has thrown at me. I hope that you’ll see me as a person who has her fair share of pain and rejection but has chosen to go on. I hope that when you look at me you’ll smile and say—that’s my girl. I hope I made you proud… I hope.

Here’s Why Worrying About Tomorrow Spoils the Beauty of Today

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I overthink a lot. My mind is often clouded with thoughts and events that don’t even exist. A lot of days, I would find myself wondering and wandering— thinking about things that happened in the past while trying to figure out what might happen in the future. As time passes by, I didn’t notice that I’m loosing the bubbly, carefree spirit within me. Slowly, I become anxious about tomorrow that I forget how to live for today.

But life has its own way of teaching us lessons we need to learn. I suddenly stop thinking about anything one day. I realize that it is about time to bring back the smile and spark in my heart that I once lost. And that I can only do that by embracing where I am and what I have in the moment. I don’t have the power to change the past nor predict what the future holds… I only have today, and that alone is enough to focus on what it offers.

A lot of things that happened in the past has caused me to be wary. I’m not sure if I’m just protecting myself from being hurt or too focused in preparing for life’s surprises.

When I was young, I would always worry about waking up in the morning, going to school, and making friends with other students.

As a teenager, I would always think of ways how to have enough money to buy the books and clothes that I want.

My worries intensifies when I become an adult. Will I get married? Will I be able to build my dream house? Will I tick-off everything in my bucket list before my bones get weak and my hair turns grey? Sometimes, I would even worry with what to eat. You see? I worry about everything— and most of them are fleeting things.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in saving for the future. I believe in chasing your dreams, working hard until your success makes noise, and that our time is limited to accomplish everything that we aim for. But then, there is a different kind of peace that can only be experienced by living at the present moment. There’s beauty in letting go and  trusting  that what’s bound to happen, regardless of how  impossible or hopeless it may seem, will surely unfold its way.

Life has taught me that loathing gets you nowhere. There is no sense in worrying most especially when you have the capacity to change the situation. There’s no point of crying when you fail because you can always get up and try again. Stop thinking about what could have beens, maybe I shoulds, and what ifs. You only have enough strength for today and there is nothing more freeing than to take life as it is… imperfect, messy, unpredictable but oh so, beautiful.

I know that it’s not always easy to be at peace at the present moment when your job, family, and relationship demand more than what you can give. But you always have a choice to live in the now and make the most of it by realizing that there’s always, always something to be grateful for each day and you can make it as beautiful and happy as you want it to be.

I may not know what you’re going through right now, but I hope that as you read this, you find peace deep in your heart. A kind of peace that comes from submitting all your worries to God and believing that He makes miracles. I hope you find joy regardless of how hopeless you think your situation is. I hope you find love in what you do and that you become a blessing to others believing that just like you, today is a gift. Most of all, I hope you find life’s meaning as you celebrate each moment even if the future leaves you sleepless and wondering. I hope that no matter how blurry things right now, you’ll appreciate the beauty that each day holds for you.

 

 

(One Day) Life Will Give You Its Sweetest Hello

 

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I don’t believe in chasing anything or anyone. Whether it is in love or in life, I’ve learned that it is always more painful to hold on than to let go. But I am a firm believer of second chances. I know that the closed doors and missed opportunities are trying to teach me something the hard way. If you find yourself lost and confused, remember that the world doesn’t stop for anyone. So, choose to push through. Whether you want to stay or leave, cry or laugh, fight or give up, remember that mistakes make you human. Dust yourself off, pick up the pieces, and don’t let failure and sadness define who you are because you are more than that.

The world is a battle ground and you need to make important choices every time. You’ll get hurt and your heart will be broken a lot of times. You’ll never be ready when a friend leaves, so treasure every moment that you have. You’ll never be happy when you didn’t get the job but remember that there’s a bigger world outside. You might never be loved by someone who’s truly dear to you but you need to know that there’s more to life than love. In this world full of “you’ll never be….” I hope that you’ll always choose, “it’s ok because I can always be…”

In life, you won’t always get what you want. You’ll get knocked down. You’ll hit rock bottom. You’ll need to prove your worth time and again but its ok. If one door closes, take all the lessons it taught you and choose the bigger ones because truly, you’ve got nothing to lose. If you missed an opportunity you’ve long been waiting for, wipe your tears and keep your eyes on the goal. I know it won’t be easy but one day, life will reveal why it shuts you that door, and why it let those chances slip your hands. No matter how difficult it may seem, always choose to fight and go on.

Know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and there’s no need to hurry. While you’re trying to figure out what you want, don’t put your life on hold because you were damaged and rejected by someone. Life is beautiful so you must learn how to celebrate its small surprises so you can cherish the big ones. Don’t be afraid to smile most especially when it is the hardest to give it to someone. Trust that there are second chances and even a hundred more. For as long as you’re trying, one day, life will reward you its sweetest hello.

 

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Sweet Escape to Las Casas

It’s been a while since the last time I updated my blog. A lot has happened in my life these past few days and have decided to keep the not-so-good moments to myself. It’s a relief to know that we have our loved ones and friends who are always willing to cheer us up during the trying moments. Hence, God is so good to bless us with people we can count on and beautiful places we can visit where we can just enjoy and relax. Despite the difficult times, He will still give you moments where you can say, “Lord, thank You for the gift of life.”

Last September 8-10, my friends and I had the opportunity to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. For someone like me who considers herself an old soul, this place is heaven. I have seen a lot of photos of Las Casas on Instagram and have always been in awe of its beauty. Every corner of the 18th century-inspired resort is not only Instagram-worthy but definitely a breath-taking piece of art.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a 400 hectare estate that showcases architectural pieces of bygone era. It is considered as a living museum of Philippine heritage where noble-class mansions and wooden stilt houses were reconstructed brick by brick, plank by plank. The streets were also made of cobble stones which takes you back to the 18th century Philippines in a blink of an eye. To complete the nostalgic experience, the traditional houses were used as hotel accommodations along with a backdrop of majestic mountains, expensive rice fields, and a running river that flows to the sea.

Las Casas also has avenues for entertainment, relaxation, and recreation. The resort has spa, a swimming pool, a private beach, gaming center, restaurants, conference and banquet facilities, plus, cultural shows, and heritage tours.

Here are some of our photos during the 3-day 2-night trip. (Please forgive my photography skills).

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These beautiful statues will greet you at the reception area.
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This casa is one of my favorites. Its facade is made of bricks and painted with rustic colors that completes its pre-historic look.
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In this photo are my friends (Marga and Janno) showcasing their millennial pose in this “instagrammable” doors.
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Fun at the beach: My friends and I make the most of our time by enjoying every spot in Las Casas including the beach.
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Casa Binondo: We’re really curious what’s inside this beautiful casa and why its accommodation fee costs PHP150,000. Yes, a whopping 150,000.
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Casa Escolta: Another beautiful structure that served as our home during the trip.
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(L-R Me, Janno, Manel, Marga) La Bella Teodora: This Italian-inspired resto is where we had our first-day dinner. The food is great and the musicians add a relaxing vibe to the place.
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An over-looking view from the reception area where our free breakfast was served.
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Another interesting part of the tour is the Las Casas’ cultural show where traditional dances like Cariñosa are performed by equally-talented dancers.
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Calesa Ride: Have a quick tour at the resort for only PHP75.00.
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Dinner at Cusina ni Nanay Maria: Cusina ni Nanay Maria serves Filipino dishes at a very reasonable price. Their kare-kare is definitely a must try.

These are only few of the beauiful spots that can be found inside Las Casas. Though I must say that our stay is a bit pricey, the fun we had experienced in this trip was still priceless.

I’m very happy to have spent this trip with the people who are really close to my heart. Hence, sixteen years of friendship might be long enough for memories but quite too short to experience more of life with the people you love. More than the beautiful sceneries, good food, indeed, it is the people we travel with that makes the journey fun and memorable.

In this trip, I’ve learned that visiting places while you still can adds meaning to life. It enables you to learn new things from the locals, expand your horizons, discover different cultures, and more importantly, know more about yourself.

What’s your most memorable trip so far? Feel free to share it.

 

 

(Note: All photos are subject to copyright.)