I recently shared with you how our summer went.  There was one other event I went to, which I wanted to make a separate post on.  I’m talking about my trip to Laguna to go to Balik Bukid Country Fair.  I’ve been wanting to check this out in the past but there was always a conflict in schedule.  Last May 11, I was able to go…finally!  And I was all by myself because that was the day the girls will be flying back to Manila from Bacolod from their marine camp.  I purposely stayed behind so I can go to this fair and Mike didn’t mind being the one to pick up the girls in Bacolod.  Let’s just say that it was a Mother’s Day treat for myself 🙂

I left Batangas City before 8:00 in the morning and got to Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate after about an hour (maybe even less).  It was on a Sunday and so, the trip was stress-free.  I really wanted to get there early so I can have more time to go around before the day gets too hot.  By noon, it really got too humid for me and so, I left for Alabang Town Center to meet up with Mike and the girls.

My refreshing drink!   Fresh buko juice!

My refreshing drink!
Fresh buko juice!

Although I knew beforehand that there will be vendors showcasing and selling their unique products which are mostly handmade, homemade, natural, healthful, and organic, I was excited to actually SEE them!  Just the idea of seeing something NEW got me so curious and it’s also been a long while that I went to a fair that’s not the usual bazaar I’ve gone to in a city setting. I’ve also heard about the farm, also in Sta. Elena, which could be an alternative venue to celebrate special occasions such as kids’ birthdays.

My stay at Balik Bukid may be brief but I was able to take some shots to share with you.  I refuse to do enhancements or edits because I wanted to also keep them pure and natural. Just the way I saw them 🙂

Before I share my photos, just a final note.  I’m glad I was able to make time to check out Balik Bukid this year.  Here are my take home notes from the Fair:

  • It’s good to know that we have unique fairs such as this, PROMOTING LOCAL PRODUCTS (or at least, LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS), mostly geared towards WELLNESS.  Though it still is a slow movement here in the Philippines, it’s a good start!
  • AWARENESS and EDUCATION is what we need to be able to make a successful campaign on switching to a more healthful lifestyle and making more healthful food choices for the entire FAMILY.
  • Families should SPEND MORE TIME OUTDOORS.
  • It was nice to see families on a banig (woven mat), a kid on a horse or kalesa, feeding animals, and children just playing their kind of fun with natural outdoor “toys”.
  • Children should SPEND LESS TIME ON GADGETS and ELECTRONICS, and MORE TIME to FEEL and BE in NATURE.  Parents should really be INTENTIONAL in their parenting nowadays to make sure that they give these opportunities to their children as a natural experience in their entire lifetime, and not just a snippet of their childhood.
  • Old school as it may sound, let’s GO BACK TO NATURE.


Now, for my no-filter, unedited photos!  I’ve chosen only some as there were too many!  I hope you’ll get to feel the vibe of the place!  It just felt relaxing for me to be in the midst of so many trees, surrounded by GREEN, and with farm animals and outdoor playground not too far away!

Though it was one hot summer day, the sun and everything around me was refreshing to the mind and senses and reminiscent of how I would spend my vacations in my childhood days.  It makes me so proud to be part of that generation! 🙂

I hope to experience THIS with my family more often.  The unhurried lifestyle.  The family bonding and real connection.  The outdoor.  The green.   The NATURAL.  Balik Bukid inspires and reminds me to take the earthy experience to my everyday life and put more of what’s pure and natural in my daily encounters and living.

How about you?  What do you think of the idea of spending more time outdoors and going back to nature?  Which do you prefer,  urban living or laid-back lifestyle in the countryside?



These will always be our favorite summer companion 🙂


I can’t believe summer’s over!  I’m in denial!  It’s June 8 and panic is kinda crawling over me because I haven’t planned well enough for this school year.  I feel there’s still a lot of room for improvement to make this year better than last year but I just haven’t found ENOUGH time to really think, plan, and strategize. Believe it or not, chores, household management, house repairs, maintenance and servicing have taken over my life these past months! And all those were happening while we continued doing the usual things during summer which included a beach trip, marine camp (Both required plane rides and hotel bookings which meant a considerable amount of time spent on research and planning), another watercolor workshop for me, and Arielle’s college review classes and Kayla’s dance classes, as the two added activities this year.

But before I succumb myself to stress (which I think I already did lately!), I’d like to look back at the fun things we did in Summer 2014 and remind myself that there is a time for everything. (And yes, I have to tell myself that it is that time of the year to officially start another homeschooling schoolyear!)

FAMILY BEACH TRIP:  We went on our yearly family beach vacation with my BFF and her family from the U.S. and this time, we went to Dumaguete.  This is our 4th year in a row of doing beach trips together.  First it was Bohol (Amorita Resort) in 2011;  Cebu (Bluewater-Sumilon Resort) in 2012; Palawan (Club Paradise) in 2013;  and then, Dumaguete (Sta. Monica Beach Club).  

We always look forward to this time of the year (summer vacation for us and spring break for them) because it simply means SEA, SAND, SUN, SWIM! For me and my friend, it is also the time we so, so look forward to because we get to have our mommy-break from everything that kept us oh-so busy during the year and from the clockwork kind of life. (By this time, I’m brain-dead!) Plus, we get the chance to simply sit down and talk.   Talk about ourselves, our families, home management, our health, food and recipes, our new discoveries, our girly topics such as fashion, shops, hobbies.  To me, it’s more like making the clock stop at my command 🙂  

We always try to take a shot of the two of us in our trips (because we often forget about us and take shots of the rest of our families!)


Whale-sharks at Oslob for the second time

Go-Pro-ing at Tumalog Waterfalls

This time, there was already a balsa!

Mike ready to dive with his new toy!

Arielle ready to go down with his Papa at Apo Island 🙂 (I really do have a mermaid in the house!)

Kayla and Lauryn swimming with the sea turtles the whole day at Apo Island!

I myself couldn’t stop swimming with these creatures! Such a beauty to see them under water!

Lunch at Manjuyod sandbar…I love crabs!

Eating kamayan style!

Enjoyed watching these crawl off the ledge 🙂

Had such a relaxing day at Manjuyod sandbar and of course, posing with and like The Diva! 🙂

Human Oreo 🙂

What made this year’s trip more fun was we were with our schoolmate (whom I haven’t seen since grade school years!) as our tour guide in Dumaguete.  Because he just makes everything happy, fun, and fabulous, Angelo Villanueva is known as The Diva of Dumaguete!  Dumaguete has become Divaguete 🙂

So animated! 🙂

The Diva of Dumaguete 🙂

Lunch is ready!


MARINE & WILDLIFE CAMP:   Arielle and Kayla joined for the second time, Danjugan Island’s Summer Marine and Wildlife Camp.  This time, they were able to invite five more friends with them (four from Manila and one from Bacolod)!   Our girls are such water babies that they cannot get enough of the sea!  This camp was a letting-go moment for me.  Mike and I are just happy and comfortable signing them up for this camp because they get to leave their comfortable and gadget-filled lifestyle in the city, rough it up on a solar-powered island for five days,  learn more about nature and how to be good stewards of our natural marine resources.   For more pics of the kind of camp they have in Danjugan Island, you can check out their Facebook page

These girls are ready to go fly on their own to next year’s marine camp!


WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP:   Finally!  ME time!  I joined another watercolor workshop by Alessandra Lanot of Life After Breakfast last May 17 & 18 at Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay.  

A zoomed-in shot of Taal Volcano from Taal Vista Hotel

Excited to have new materials! :)

Excited to have new materials! 🙂

Arielle joined me because we are the art partners and it definitely was MY time to get away, learn, and play!  The first day was how to watercolor flowers and the second day was on lettering.  

My white flowers in watercolor
(Arielle’s work was sooo much better than mine, believe me,
but unfortunately, we didn’t take a shot of it)

Arielle's quote on watercolor (She could have chosen a short one but she didn't!  She's soooo good!)

Arielle’s quote on watercolor (She could have chosen a short one but she didn’t! She’s soooo good!)

And this was mine :) The weekend workshop definitely gave me a time  to unplug myself.

And this was mine 🙂
The weekend workshop definitely gave me a time
to unplug myself.


ARIELLE’S COLLEGE REVIEW CLASSES:   Of course, I don’t have any photo of Arielle in her college review class but I should remember to blog about our intention and plan to let her take a gap year before she enters college.  She’s in her senior high school year this year (Schoolyear 2014-2015) but she will take a break before finally going to college in 2016.  

KAYLA’s HIP-HOP DANCE CLASS:  Lastly, Kayla took dance classes for the first time at Orange Dance Studio.  We finally was able to fit this into our summer schedule and she enjoyed this soooo much that she wants to continue to learn how to dance as her P.E. this schoolyear.  I’m just hoping that we could sync ODS’s schedule with ours.  

Watching their dance recital/concert last May 31, I saw for myself the gift that God gave Kayla with her body and that this girl CAN dance!  If you have the time, watch the two videos on their dance numbers which I posted in Facebook.  Just go to my June 1 and 2 timeline to enjoy their performance!

Kayla's class at Orange Dance Studio (photo by Orange Dance Studio)

Kayla’s class at Orange Dance Studio (photo by
Orange Dance Studio)


So that was our Summer 2014.  As much as I’d like to spend more time doing “more fun” things and think less of academics, I have to shift gears and put on my parent-teacher hat once again.  This is going to be another challenging year with our two teens, one in her last year in high school and the other in 8th Grade 🙂  

How did your summer go?  Are you ready to go back to school?