Let me be honest here, I was not so stoked on going to the Philippines for two whole weeks in April. I didn't want to go, but I figured it would be nice to make new memories with my husband and to experience the Philippines together. (It was my first time going, but Jerome has gone a few times). The flight was about 18 or so hours, and it started off fine - we each got a row to ourselves in business class - until a lady from economy class literally threw her bag onto my legs and took over my row. I was super annoyed and got maybe an hour of sleep, but it was alright because Jerome was sweet enough to wipe his boogers on her while she slept.
When people tell you that the Philippines is hot and humid, they're not joking around. It was crazy hot and I don't think it was even summer yet. Lemme tell you about Manila traffic: it's the freaking worst. I got car sick 9/10 times we drove anywhere because it's just stop and go traffic for hours and hours. Our drive from the airport to where we were staying took 4 hours when it should have taken like 1. No joke. AND drivers there don't follow the lanes so it's just seriously so bonkers.
We stayed at Jerome's family's house here and there, and it's super cute and reminded me of my late grandparents' apartment with so many knick-knacks and memories. I loved how colourful it was from the outside. I wasn't too keen on being woken up early in the mornings with men yelling, "TAHO!" but I'll admit, taho is pretty good. I think I did a good job of trying a lot of Filipino foods I haven't even heard of before.
During the first couple days of the trip, we took a drive to Baler in Aurora Provence. The drive wasn't too bad at first, but I did get more carsick towards the end. Our first stop in Baler was to Mother Falls, a waterfall. It was a fun hike to get to the waterfall because we had to trek through rivers - I wore the wrong shoes and kept slipping so I had to borrow slippers from Jerome's mom's friend; a little awkward but a total life saver. There was so much spray coming from the waterfall that I didn't get many photos of it because I didn't want to ruin my camera or my new phone.
We then drove to Ermita Hill and climbed a ton of stairs to get to the cross at the top. History says that a tsunami hit Baler and this became a place for people to retreat to should there be another tsunami or storm. It wasn't entirely worth the climb for me.. but Jerome brought his drone and he got all the good shots and footage haha.
A lot of people wouldn't know this about me: I love swimming, but I'm terrified of drowning. That being said, I rarely say no to swimming especially at a beach because I love the ocean. Getting all sandy, the salt water burning my eyes, catching hermit crabs, looking for shells, being tossed by waves - all of it! We went to a beach owned by a senator in Baler. The water was a bit chilly at first, but it was so hot out so it was refreshing. There were just enough waves closer to the shore and pretty calm waters just past the peak of the waves. It's always relaxing floating on my back with my hands behind my head with the water drifting me away a bit.
There were so many stray dogs at the beach. They were so cute just relaxing in the shade.
We went to Balete Tree which is a 600 year old tree. It was the biggest tree I've ever seen. We were able to climb inside and shimmy through the branches. It was pretty cool on the inside, but there were so many spider webs that I was in and out pretty quick.
On our way back to Manila, I got so so car sick. We stopped by Chow King for dinner and I couldn't eat because I was so nauseated - I couldn't even take the smell of the restaurant so I had to sit outside and had a bit of a cry haha. The next day we just wanted to relax so we got massages. I've never gotten a massage before and it was definitely not the best start; it was soo painful. We also did cupping which was very scary. The lady didn't do much on me because every single time she lit the cotton, put the cup, and released it, I jumped. It just made my back really ticklish I guess! It also didn't hurt, it more just felt like something really heavy crushing my ribs haha.
Most of the photos in this post were taken on my iPhone because I screwed up the settings in my new camera.. Oops.....
Part ii coming soon!