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Lessons from Mr. Lim Pengkhun, our Tourist Driver from Cambodia


It was definitely destiny that brought us this man, Mr. Lim Pengkhun, that late night in Cambodia when we were looking for a ride to our hotel. Our hotel was not able to send us our pickup service (totally my fault because I was not able to give them the exact time of our arrival) and we were approached by this good-natured man who we have spent two days with as our tourist driver.

Mr. Khun is an amazing tourist driver. He gave us a lot of information and tips on how to go around the temples and he was always on time. He loved talking about politics and his people, the Khmer, and his country. He also loved to talk about his daughters and his wife, his parents and his mother-in-law (whom he appreciates dearly) and his past life experiences. He was always on his toes to give us cold water or soda every time we came back from a sweltering temple run. But more than his services, Edzel and I loved the positivity that he exuded. With the short time that he has been our tourist driver, I was reminded by his powerful words and this I will treasure as I come home from my vacation together with the wonderful memories of the temples we visited.

1. Always be thankful to our parents.

Mr. Khun was emotional when he talked about his parents– the love and sacrifices his father and mother did for their family. Growing up poor and as a son of a farmer, Mr. Khun has seen how his parents have worked hard for them to be able to go to school and have good lives today.

I could not agree with him more. I would not be where I am today without the sacrifices of my Mama and Papa. They have worked so hard all their lives to give us great education and I will forever be grateful for the person I have become because of them.

2. Education changes lives.

He need not convince me on this. Growing up, he lived in the rice farm. He was surrounded by the rice paddies where he had to wake u early to help his parents. He showed his “large fingers”, saying this is indicative of a farmer’s hands. He went to school during the day and when he went home, he helped cut grass to feed their cows. But his parents gave him and his five other younger brothers and sisters the gift of education an he was able to change his life from attending to the farm and learning English to become an English teacher to young Khmer children, and eventually (and until now, seven years later) a tourist driver. Now, he owns his own house and land and has his own car and sends his two wonderful daughters to school.

3. Always be grateful.

Mr. Khun shared to us that rarely do Khmer people travel because of their life’s situation and priorities. So when he said that Edzel and I were lucky to afford traveling outside of our country and having good jobs, I was really humbled. Sometimes, we take these little things for granted. The food on our table. The roof on our heads. The car we drive. Some people barely have enough and those of us who do should be content and grateful of what we have and share our blessings to others.

4. Dream and work hard for it.

His eyes lit when he talked about how he wanted to learn English and change his life. In Cambodia, English is only taught in school for 3 hours per week so not a lot of people are fluent in English. Mr. Khun shared his experience when he was inspired by an English-speaking Khmer interpreting what a European NGO representative was saying during one visit to the farm. He realized that he can have a better life if he would learn English himself. For a farmer’s son, I think this was a big dream. But no dream is really too big for a heart that desires and he is where he is now because of his hard work. He still has many plans in the future on how to expand his business and Edzel and I are sure that he will achieve his heart’s desires.

5. You can change the course of your life.

Poverty does not define you. A heart of determination and a strong desire to alter the course of your life will do wonders.

6. Travel and create memories.

Mr. Khun dreams of the time when he could travel to other countries with his family but he reminded us that we are lucky to be doing this as a couple now. For me, this resonated a lot because the truth is, memories are all that we wou1d have in the end and we should always feed our soul with good memories. While traveling is good, we can still create happy memories every single day that we spend it with our children and our loved ones.

7. Karma is real.

When you do good things, it goes back to you. Simple as that.

8. Always be kind to other people.

He reminded us to never assume about other people’s circumstances as we do not know their stories. We have to be kind to everyone, never discriminating about looks, race, religion, face or status in life.

9. Nothing is permanent.

Our riches, whether they may be in cash or assets, our health, our career, everything… none of them is permanent. That is why we always have to know what is important in our lives. Our children. Our family. Our well-being. Because in the end, this is what gives our lives meaning and happiness. Everything is fleeting so we have to do our best to take care of the things and people that are important to us because we will never know when we will be gone in this world.

10. Believe in a Higher Power.

We talked about religion and even though there is a difference between Christianity and Buddhism, there is a lot more similarities that we could have imagined. Doing good to others and karma, respecting our parents, not lying, not stealing. These universal laws that seem to have originated from one source and translated to many versions — it is uncanny.

Sometimes, people come into our lives in many unexpected moments to remind us of the many good things around us. I will forever be thankful for Mr. Khun for our first and ever-so-wonderful Kampuchea experience and will always treasure the golden nuggets of wisdom he shared with us.

Should you visit Cambodia, Edzel and I highly recommend Mr. Khun. Please support his business by getting in touch with him through his Facebook account: Lim Pengkhun.

Arkoun, Mr. Khun. Maraming salamat.

Weekend Getaway at Club Balai Isabel

The past six months have been grueling.

As I mentioned in my previous post>>, yes, we are pregnant! But along with the joy of having another of God’s blessing, I was also on a rollercoaster of emotions. I was put on bedrest the first two months of carrying our baby. Worse than that, I was still suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum>> up until the fifth month. The toilet was my best friend; I could not eat without barfing them all out. It was terrible. 

On the latter part of the second trimester, I was feeling a little better. Traveling (and eating) became more manageable so when we finalized that we were going to our friend’s wedding in Tagaytay last week, I also planned a weekend vacation for us.

At last, a little breather!!!

Super early brunch! Hahaha 😂😂😂

A post shared by Ernalou Del Rosario (@balotdelrosario) on

We had brunch first (bulalo, of course!) before we headed to our destination – Club Balai Isabel. I chose this property because of Santi. We were celebrating his 18th month so it was a nice treat for the little boy to be back in the water. Swimming gives him so much joy even if he only stays at the pool for 5 to 10 minutes, haha!

I have been to Club Balai Isabel many times. 

When I was still with Canon, we held some of our business planning sessions here. It was nice to see that they have kept good maintenance of the place.

Club Balai Isabel

The Room

I got the room from Agoda but when I received the reservation policy, it was from booking.com (I don’t know how Agoda does that unless they belong to the same company). I got the Deluxe Room with a View with a maximum of three (3) occupancy. It already included breakfast for three people and I did not have to pay any surcharge.

Balai’s Deluxe Room is more expensive than the Superior Room at rack rate but I was surprisingly pleased when I got a cheaper deal getting the Deluxe Room with a 3-person occupancy than getting the Superior Room with a standard 2-person occupancy, then having to add a surcharge of PhP1,500 for the extra adult.

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

The room is located on the fourth floor of Banga building (there is an elevator) and is spacious with a loft that has two queen beds. On the first level, there is a day bed (where two people can stay), a kitchen, spacious room cabinets, television, the bathroom and the terrace. The window is also fronting the beautiful Taal Lake.

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Check-in time was at 2:00 PM and check-out time was at 12:00 NN.

The Amenities

This is a fairly new recreational facility in Balai – the Aqua Park. Too bad I can’t do anything because of my big, bulging belly, LOL.

Club Balai Isabel Aqua Park

Club Balai Isabel Aqua Park

Club Balai Isabel

Santi with Nanay Neneng at Club Balai Isabel

Santi with Nanay Neneng at Club Balai Isabel

There are three pools in the resort although we only got to enjoy the one nearest our room – Kumintang Pool – since it was already hard for me to really roam around the place.

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Kumintang Pool
Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Talisay Pool
Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Terraza Pool
Photo courtesy of Balai Isabel

Club Balai Isabel

If you are looking for adventure aside from the Aqua Park, there were many other things to do like water sports and booking a trek to Taal Volcano.

For more laidback feels, you can just roam around the compound, play tag at their expansive lawn, visit the church or play some billiards!

The Food

Ok, so carrying a toddler everywhere makes it impossible for me to take photos so I am soooryyy! However, Balai’s menu is not bad at all.

We had afternoon merienda, dinner and breakfast there. For merienda, we had their pizza and it was light on the pocket (less than P300 for two people) and so yummy on the tummy. For dinner, we had their sisig and sinigang. The breakfast that came with the package was served buffet-style.

The Staff

Their employees, from the front desk representatives to the servers, were very attentive and well-trained.

All in all, we had a great short vacation at Club Balai Isabel. If you are looking for a place near the metro, this one is just right for you <3

Map direction to Club Balai Isabel

Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo – A Weekend Getaway

So as I mentioned in my last post, Edzel and I decided to have a short weekend getaway. We decided to stay at Loreland Farm Resort, Antipolo City with Traveloka as it was one of the more popular resorts in Antipolo.

Antipolo At Night

Antipolo At Night

This was where Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa was located (the spa that I wanted to check out).

Loreland Farm Resort

 

The resort facilities were okay. Loreland Farm Resort reminded me of Mambukal Resort in Bacolod. There were many  guests in the resort, locals and foreigners alike. This resort is around 2.6km away from Pinto Art Museum.

This is where we stayed.

Rooms at Loreland Farm Resort

And this is how it looked like inside.

Superior Room with Queen Bed at Loreland Farm Resort

Superior Room with Queen Bed

There were four swimming pools around Loreland – perfect for your kids this summer!

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If you are looking for a resort with a lot of things to do, then this resort may not be for you. It is perfect for those who want to commune with nature and experience some rustic vibe in the middle of this summer heat.

Edzel and I have this tradition of tasting two usual main entrees of the restaurants that we visit – sisig for him and liempo for me. Haha! So healthy!

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Sisig at Verde Restaurant in Loreland Farm

Their sisig is a must-try!

 

 

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Their liempo, too! Yum!

We also tried this fried suman but I didn’t really like it. Not because it was not good but I am really not into kakanins. 

 

 

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Room rates are as follows:

Loreland Farm Resort Published Room Rates

You can also opt to avail of their day tours and rent some cottages. For more information about Loreland Farm, check out their website here>>

I also suggest you call their hotlines instead of filling out the online reservation form.

Telephone Nos.: 696-0101 to 03
Mobile Nos.: 0917-8352000 / 0908-8734220 / 0932-8857351

The Pretty: Luljetta Signature Massage! Hahaha (check out our Luljetta experience here>>)

The Ugly: It was a little noisy where our room was situated. It was near Phase 2 where there was videoke service and… you know what happens when there’s videoke, right? Haha

Have you ever been to Loreland? How did you find it? Share in the comments! Thanks, loves!

x

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Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

The third part of our Antipolo trip that deserves a separate post as well is our visit to Luljetta’s  Hanging Gardens and Spa.

Check out:

Part 1: Pinto Art Museum

Part 2: Loreland Farm Resort

So you probably know by now that I am a sucker for promotions. I saw this sponsored ad from Real Living about a hanging garden and spa that is just right in the metro. Without much convincing, I invited the husband for a weekend getaway as I felt we needed to just break way from our normal rut.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is actually located inside Loreland Farm Resort. It is owned and managed by the child of the resort owner.

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Here are the things that you can do at Luljetta’s:

1. Soften your calluses with Dr. FishSPA. There are two fish spas here – one with smaller fishes and the other with the much bigger ones.

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There were no people at the ‘big fish’ spa (probably because they look scary and humongous) so that’s where we went.

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The husband is awfully ticklish and he shouted (literally) when a big fish nibbled on his toes! Wahaahaha! He warmed up to these big scary fishes after a while. I didn’t.

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2. Burn those fats in the jacuzzi and sauna. This is probably what I enjoyed the most. I love saunas and the jacuzzi was also a treat.

3. Dip in the pools. There are several pools inside Luljetta Spa – infinity pools and hydro pools if you want some water-pattering massage.

4. Meditate at the Hanging Gardens. After we explored the pools, we went to the Hanging Gardens. There’s relaxing music all over the place and it was really meant for you to commune with nature. Soo relaxing.

5. Get the Luljetta’s Signature Massage. After around two hours of exploring what the place has to offer, we capped our experience with their signature massage. In all fairness, the therapists were really good (I say this with conviction because Edzel and I get massages all the time and we know what a good massage is) –

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There are several huts but we opted to stay at the massage room because we wanted to doze off and not be disturbed by other exploring guests, haha!

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The rates are a little overpriced in my own opinion. You have to spend a minimum of almost PHP1500 to avail of the whole amenities and get a spa service.  Anyway, since we were there already, husband and I decided to get the Cleanse Package boosted by Phase 2 (Dr. Fish Spa, Hydro Pool, Hanging Garden) access. So in case you were wondering about the packages, you can visit this link here>>

The Pretty: I love the ambiance of the Hanging Gardens. I love the small details, the inspirational quotes scattered all over the garden and I LOOOVEEE THE MASSAGE. 

Luljetta

The Not-so-pretty: It was sooo hard to contact their landline and their text line. The receptionist told us to be there 15 minutes before our scheduled massage or else, they will deduct the “wasted time” from the massage duration. We arrived twenty minutes before our schedule but they were the ones who were late. Our schedule was at 5:15 and we started with the massage at around 5:25. And as I mentioned, the price could have been a little more affordable.

Have you been to Luljetta’s? How was your experience?? Share in the comments!

x

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Pinto Art Museum

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“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Last weekend, husband and I had a short vacation at Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo. Since we were in the vicinity, we decided to check out Pinto Art Museum.

From Paranaque, it will take you around an hour and a half to reach the destination. We passed by C6 to avoid the traffic. While there were not much vehicles in this route, not all the roads are paved so brace yourself for some bumpy ride.

Pinto Art Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

We got to the gallery at around 10:30. It is located inside a village and looks very unassuming from the outside.

I looove the entrance.

Before you start strolling around, you have to register and pay for the entrance fee. Entrance fee to the gallery is at PHP150 per head. Discounts are given to senior citizens and students.

(Update as of August 2016: Regular ticket: P200, PWD and Senior Citizen: P180, Students with Valid ID: P100)

I loovveed the place. It was so quaint and picturesque.

Here are some of the snippets of our Pinto Art Museum visit with my reluctant model.

And few shots of my own —

After strolling for more than an hour, we got hungry and had late lunch at Pinto Cafe.

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We got Basilica pizza (PHP375) , Devil Roll (PHP325) and pink lemonade and raspberry iced tea. (probably around PHP80 each, sorry, can’t remember, lol) —

Pinto Cafe

Pizza was oh, so yummy!

 

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This is spicy tuna, cucumber, spinach deep-fried in wasabi batter.

If you have the time, do visit this beautiful place! Totally worth the trip *sighs*

Have you been to Pinto Art Gallery? Did you like it? Hit me up in the comments. Thanks, loves! Happy Tuesday!

x,

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