Destination: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

April 18 – 19, 2015

Since the entire family (The Mendezonas) was present, Mami thought it would be best to go on a last-minute family outing but the question was where. It was a weekend during the summer season so we knew it was going to be fully booked everywhere. We just wanted to go some place near Manila but Papi requested to go to the beach so clearly Tagaytay or Baguio was out of the question. Subic was meh, we already went there the last time so we ended up checking out places in Cavite and Laguna, there really was nothing available and if there were it was either they didn’t have enough rooms to accommodate all 15 of us or the rates were really jacked up.

For some reason Puerto Galera came to my mind, I think the last time my cousins and I were there was during my early college years—maybe 2004? At one point Puerto Galera used to be the “In” beach to be before Boracay became popular, that’s what I was told anyway. I had good memories of Puerto Galera so I suggested the place, mom actually thought it was okay and when we searched for accommodations there were a bunch of hotels that had room availability for a party of 15 so with mom’s booking powers she found a wonderful place for the weekend, Out of the Blue Resort.

The road trip from Alabang to Batangas Port took more or less 2 hours. We had to take a 45 minute boat ride, usually the public bangka takes you to Sabang beach but we arranged for a private bangka to take us directly to the shore of Out of the Blue. The typical cost for a private bangka is P3, 500.

Out of the Blue, we see youuuuu

The view while going up the stairs to our villas

Mom got 2 villas to accommodate all of us and they were beyond spacious, couldn’t take a photo since we were all too tired and we started settling in

Poor Teo was happy to be out of that bangka

Good Morning, Puerto Galera!

The boys room

Our room. I’m sharing with Marco and Pilica

Our neighbor’s place didn’t look too bad either

The view from our villa

After having breakfast in Out of the Blue and and settling in, Mom arranged for a boat to take us to White Beach since the shores in our area weren’t really swim-friendly

Our boat mates for that trip: Camille and Javi

Papi and Marco

Mommy, Diego and Mikel chilling all the way in the back

When we got to White Beach some of us decided to jump right in

And others found it too hot…

Yep the sand texture was perfect but at that moment it was way too hot

Eating by the beach after swimming—the best thing ever!

Look at that smile, Teo’s happy he’s not swimming in the beach

Hanging out with his Ninong Javi

Wondered where Papi was after lunch and this is where he was, just right next to our eating place

… the rest of the boys followed suit. Haha.

While the boys were out getting a massage, Camille, Jessica and I explored the local tiangges

I find myself getting attracted to the local market—same in the Bahamas, same in Cambodia, same anywhere else. You never know what interesting things you might come across in markets like these, although this one really didn’t have anything extraordinary. I did end up getting braided anklets.

The view while the girls and I stopped to grab some shakes

Classic Mindoro Sling—still the most traydor drink ever

People started coming in during the late afternoon and it was getting crowded. It’s a good thing we had our fill of sand and sea so we left for Out of the Blue and ended up swimming in the pool there.

We started Day 2 by taking a couple photo right by our balcony

Ready to leave for the beach

Paparazzi-d these two love birds. Awww..

Mateo putting sun block on Ninong Javi’s tummy

Off to the bangka we go

Sunnies pic…Jessica, Me and Pilica

Because yay Diday wouldn’t pose for the camera

The beach our boat guy took us to

Swimming was a family affair

Photo credits to Camille. Me and my baby bump.

The kids building their supposed sand castle

The girls and Diego apparently. hahaha

Pauline with teo who refused to swim.

We always have fun with jumping pics, don’t you agree?

Wacky, every single one of us. Photo grabbed from Camille 🙂

After swimming, we packed up, dressed up and had lunch somewhere close by

Ending this family trip with us almost tipping the boat. Haha. Typical.

~Rhea

Mami & Papi’s 30th Anniversary

It was quite a wonderful surprise that Papi could come home to the Philippines even just for awhile, especially since he and Mami were celebrating their 30th Anniversary. Instead of some lavish party and renewal of vows to celebrate this milestone, my in-laws decided to dedicate their time and commitment  to serve in BLD’s (Bukas Loob sa Diyos) Family Encounter. We thought this was going to be one of those times where  poor Javi, who’s all the way in LA, would miss out on all the family activities (like Mom’s 50th Birthday) but mom surprised everyone by sending him home. No one knew (not even Papi) except Yok2x who picked him up and Yaya Diday who arranged the pick-up from the airport. It was a wonderful and emotional reunion of all sorts and we have the big guy from up above to thank for giving us a chance to celebrate this wonderful occasion as a complete family, even for just a short while.

Marco and I were blessed to have been present at his parents 30th Wedding Anniversary with every single one of us there. Those few days I spent with all of my in-laws made me realize how blessed I am to have married into a big family just like my own with their own set of squabbles, their own quirks, their own issues—everything that I love about my own family. Let’s face it, I know a lot of people who complain about their in-laws, monster-in-laws and what not; not everyone who marries into a family gets along with their in-laws but I’d have to say mine have treated me like their own and accepted me and my maarte drama queen self even before Marco and I got married. I in turn have learned to love them as much as I love my own family, my sister Ann Marie even teases me that I might be enjoying too much with my “other family”, but seriously they are the easiest bunch to love.

Our move to Houston will be in a few months and it’s another blessing that Marco and I will be present for my own parents’ 30th Anniversary. I pray that my family too will be complete when the time comes, with the addition of our own “little one”. Who knows, Marco’s family of 9 and my family of 9 might just “inspire” us to make our own family of 9, hahaha. (Uhhh, in the US? maybe not.) We’ll see where God takes us.

So in the light of this very rare occasion, I’m sharing a few of our family photos. Nacho and Pauline surprised Mami and Papi with this family photoshoot session for their anniversary so it was a good thing everyone was present. These photos were actually taken a few days after their actual anniversary.

Meet my family. 🙂

Happy 30th Anniversary Papi and Mami!

With Marco and our “little one” inside me. We’re having our own little family too. 🙂

Nacho and Pauline

The Cuenca-Mendezonas: Nacho, Pauline, Diego and Mateo

Anya and Pilica—looking more like twins by the day.

The boys. I love how my godson is sticking his tongue out.

Our little gwapitos, Diego and Mateo.

Wacky Boys

This little rascal!!! love him to pieces.

And he loves his “nomnom” too.

The girls.

Peace out.

The Mendezona siblings

Love the faces guys, pang theater arts. Hahaha.

And where would we be without our ever-reliable manangs? (incomplete photo since the rest were too shy to be photographed)

~Rhea