Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday, March 06, 2014

T H E   R E U N I O N   G E T A W A Y

T H A T   C H A N G E D   M Y   L I F E

My college friends were all huddled inside the van for a road trip and a visit of a resort called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, Luzon, just 3 hours away from Manila. We were coming from Quezon City and had cups of hot coffee at a fast food in Munoz for our morning meetup.

At Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, Luzon
The Quirky Characters

It was a trip that was planned to happen before one of our friends was scheduled to permanently stay in the US. Although some did not make it to the excursion, the characters present were enough to make the trip interesting. There was a loud mouth, a control freak, an introvert, a miscellaneous, and then there was me. I’m describing each of them with fondness as I remember how their weaknesses made the trip interesting.

Messing With The Map

Unfortunately, I managed to screw up checking the map for a slight turn to a residential area before arriving at our destination. We were miles away from the correct turn before one of our friends realized that based on the map we were way past it. Mayhem erupted. Loud Mouth came off to speak her mind. Control Freak questioned my place at the front seat next to the driver. Miscellaneous laughed hysterically. Introvert tried to control the situation with pacifying words. The driver, an employee of one of our friends, held it all in. I ended the verbal chaos by saying that the turn looked like a footnote on the map that's why I missed to direct the driver about it.

Meetup at Tropical Hut, Munoz
Misled Further

We made several stops asking locals for direction and we would always be misled by incorrect information. We were starting to wish for Bataan to have a train station to Manila instead!

If there was any consolation for getting lost, it was being able to breathe in fresh provincial breeze, seeing rice fields that can't be found next to a Jollibee or a 7-11. I actually got fond of talking to local residents about their area and they would inject information that had nothing to do with my concern but I found it charming.

A few minutes after making so many more false turns, the necessary u-turn was made somewhere near the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. We were heading back where we were almost an hour ago, but this time we were targeting the right turn.

One of the massive rock displays at a field in Las Casas De Acuzar
Photo opportunity at the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Shrine in Bagac, Bataan
Making The U-Turn

The condition inside the van this time was seriously silent. Everyone went into personal caves. No one was speaking to each other until the right turn was made. And then we were all giddy with each other again.

A Stopover At A Friendship Landmark

We got more excited when we saw a massive tower in Bagac. Called the Bagac Friendship Tower or the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Shrine, the landmark was erected by Japanese Buddhists, so I was informed by Introvert. We had fun taking a few pictures and then we were back on our trail to Las Casas De Acuzar which was just 1-2 minutes away actually.

Spotting a wedding pictorial at the resort

The swimming pool at the resort

Experiencing Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar

Staying overnight at the cultural resort was unforgettable. I had fun with friends in another setting away from coffee shops and mall parking areas. We took to the beach, dipped in the swimming pool, engaged with the tour coordinator during the tour and even availed a costume play package. We had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in our rich Filipino culture thanks to the tour guide. It was actually like one of our Fine Arts field trips in college.

The package that our group chose to avail at the resort was called the Familia/Grupo De Amigos (Family or Group of Friends) Package. The package included an overnight stay at one of the lofts with very spacious restrooms, set meals at the resort restaurant (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), use of the facilities, including the chance to kayak for 30 minutes, a souvenir group photo with frame and a calesa (calash) ride within the property of the resort.

After The Excursion

The months that came after that saw us slowly ebb away into our tight office schedules, challenging family needs, and personal issues. We suddenly did not have time for each other anymore.

A wall in one of the replica heritage houes
I was just glad that I had the opportunity to bond with long-time friends the way I did. I consider it as a wonderful point in my life when I had to venture more on my personal needs away from all of them as I got displaced in the province for local commitments. If anything, the experience provided me the chance to enjoy the time with college friends at a different setting and at a time when so many things were starting to change in our lives.

Read more of my Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar reunion-outing:

Overview of My Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Vacation (pricing and travel points)

Water Fun At Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (water-based activities inclusive in the resort package)

The Ornate Casa Lubao of Pampanga

My costume play pose for the tour package

My travel stamina partner, Laminine   +   My personal blog, New Self    +   Pasig City Natin


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