January 25, 2016

Majayjay Bed and Breakfast

“She was an oasis for my parched and lonely soul.”
- Minyong Ordoñez

It is a short but expressive quote by an advertising icon perfectly apt for Majayjay Bed and Breakfast (MBB), a charming and homey place in the old and quaint town of Majayjay in Laguna. But it was actually meant for his beautiful wife, the former TV star Encar Benedicto.  Together, they built the bed and breakfast place (originally meant to be their retirement home) with an inspiration they got from staying in a Victorian bed-and-breakfast wooden house in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts during one of their holiday vacations. 

I was actually hoping to meet the amiable couple who owns the MBB but I was surprised and a little saddened to find out that Minyong already passed away. A year ago to be exact. He might have penned Jollibee’s “Langhap-Sarap” slogan but I think his greatest legacy would always be this bed and breakfast place.

Located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, beside a babbling brook, MBB is a five-hectare sanctuary for those who want to recharge and simply get away from the city stress and traffic. It has a rustic charm with bountiful views of the lush greenery and mountains, and expanse of clear blue sky.

The three-bedroom main house is decorated with traditionally designed Filipino furniture, made with native materials such as bamboo and rattan. In the living room, family mementos and memorabilia are proudly displayed.

Contrary to its name, the bahay na bato-inspired Lumang Bahay looks sparkling new and has a  Baguio-feel to it. Small wooden horses are prominently displayed in the silong and the living room. They must have been the favorite of Minyong.  

The Bahay Kubo, overlooking a ravine, is the coolest among the accommodations. The modern bamboo cottage has a pabitin, which reminds me of my childhood whenever I visited my grandparents in the barrio especially during fiesta.

The garden and backyard of MBB is gifted with an extraordinary view of nature surrounded by countless trees, bamboo groves, terraced rice fields and some tamed animals. It also has a rattan hammock under the shade and a bamboo-roofed Indonesian papag, making it a perfect place to snooze or cry over All the Bright Places.

MBB serves buffet breakfast with pandesal and white cheese, fried garlic rice, egg omelet, longanisa, daing na bangus, fresh fruits and juice. But of all the delectable dishes, I must say that there’s nothing compared to their pork adobo atsuete na sobrang sarap.

After having a good night rest and a sumptuous meal, the next best thing to do is explore the other natural and cultural jewels of Majayjay from its century-old church to rainforest, rivers and waterfalls.

Time flies way too fast. How I wish it knows how to slow down. I want to enjoy more the provincial hospitality of the people behind MBB, the cool mountain breeze, the soothing sound of chirping birds, the yummy adobo, the moments I had in this place that maybe I could never experience again. But somehow, it gives me comfort that in the end, it’s not really what people take that matters, but it’s what they leave.

Majayjay Bed and Breakfast
Brgy. San Miguel, 18-B Gozo Subd.
Majayjay, Laguna
Tel. No.: 0918-9181416

January 19, 2016

Dreamland Arts and Crafts Café: A dreamcatcher’s dreamland

By sheer serendipity, I stumble upon this place where dreams and reality collide, and where even broken crayons still color.

Indie green salad in a jar

Spaghetti with meatballs

Mint strawberry lemonade

Dreamland Arts and Crafts Café
#149 Yakal St., Villa Lourdes Subd.
Brgy. Tambo, Lipa City, Batangas
Tel. No.: 0916-6498271

January 14, 2016

When to drop the “What are we?” bomb?

But just another beautiful quote from Kim Quindlen:

All I am saying is that when you really, really like someone, when you feel like they’re the only person you want to see at the end of a long day, when you’ve really gotten to know them and you feel like they’ve gotten to know you, ask them. When you’re no longer interested in pursuing other relationships and other people, or when you’re ready to focus your attention on one person, or when you feel like you can’t stop smiling because this person sparked something within you, ask.

Be the bold one. Tell them what you want. When you’ve picked up enough pieces of them – enough to know that they might be the right person for you – then ask. And don’t apologize. Because it’s not a bomb. It’s just a question, and you have the right to know the answer.

January 11, 2016

Kalaw Place, Puerto Galera

I think I just died and had a glimpse of heaven when I entered Room No. 3 of Kalaw Place. I’m already getting ahead of the story but surprisingly, I discovered another hidden paradise that exists just four hours away south of Manila.

It all started with a simple longing. Gusto ko magluto ng alimango at sugpo, my two favorite dishes in the world. I missed myself cooking for my loved ones. And I thought it would be best to fill that yearning at Kalaw Place, with some of my friends.

Nestled on a hilltop, amidst a three-hectare lush grounds overlooking Puerto Galera Bay, the eponymous Kalaw Place started out in 1979 as a small weekend cottage of the family of Kiddo and Rosmarie Kalaw. As the years went by, additional structures were added to accommodate its growing guests who want to momentarily escape the SSDD city life, and simply enjoy the seclusion and quiet beauty of the place. It now offers nine different types of rustic accommodation ranging from suites, rooms and native cottages.

For our weekend get-away, we were given Room No. 1 at the Main House. The two-storey traditional Filipino house mainly made of bamboo, wood, rattan and nipa hut with wooden furniture and some antique accessories, seems like a bahay kubo mansion.

At the Main House veranda with Ate Jane, Jheng, Deanne, Ivanya and Doc


Dining area

The friendly German shepherd of the resort

Mini library

Antique hanging lamp  

Our Room

My bed with a refreshing forest view

Room No. 2

Staying in our room was already such a pure joy that not even the fire dancers of the White Beach could lure us away from our home. Mag-Spotify lang, mag-kwentuhan, at matulog sa hele ng malamig na hangin, masaya na ako.

The main house is surrounded with hardwood trees, palms, bamboos, anahaw, cactus, hibiscus, bougainvillea and other flowering shrubs, a sight that is so relaxing and pleasing to the eyes. The cacophony they make when the wind blows is also music to the ears.  The owners are nature-lovers that they kept the greenery pretty much untouched and just let the trees and exotic plants grow in beautiful chaos, everywhere.

The kind staff of the resort, Ate Grace and Ate Senia, showed us the annex building where the much coveted Room No. 3 is located. The rooms in this three-storey house offer an unobstructed and stunning view of the Palangan Bay, Boquete Island and nearby beaches.  

Room No. 3 main bed

Room No. 3 window bed

View from the sala of Room No. 4

View from the outdoor lounge area

Another view from the outdoor lounge area

View from Room No. 3

Waking up to these heavenly sights, who would ever want to leave Kalaw paradise?

Since our room comes with a kitchenette, we opted to cook our meals from breakfast to dinner. We just went to the market, a five-minute tricycle drive from the resort, to buy seafood (without the sugpo), meat, canned goods, vegetables, fruits, kutkutin and drinks. 

Dinner feast – crabs, steamed vegetables, red egg, mangoes and grapes

I cooked these crustaceans

Hearty breakfast – Spam, hotdog, tuyo, scrambled egg, and fresh fruits  

Express lunch – sweetened ham, sardines and some left-over of our breakfast

Though Kalaw Place doesn’t boast of a white-sand beach, it has its own little cove (lined with thick mangroves) and private lagoon, which is also suitable for swimming, sun-bathing and kayaking.

The Bar
The pier

Floating sun deck

Surrounding area is blessed with corals

The use of kayak is complimentary

Just sitting there by the wooden docking area, before dusk and after some pictorial, I asked Deanne about her ex “Na mi-miss mo pa ba siya?” And she honestly replied “Na-mi-miss ko na lang siguro ang company ng someone. Pero hindi na siya.”

Kalaw Place is truly a haven for reflection and inspiration, and maybe moving on. And even if we haven’t left the place yet, deep inside, I miss it already.

Kalaw Place
Palangan, Puerto Galera
Oriental Mindoro
Tel. No.: 0917-5322617