What's up guys!?

September is almost over! Woohoo! We only have three more months left for this year, how are you guys doing? My August was a bit chaotic and melodramatic due to the never-ending family drama, personal issues and a little bit of disappointments at work and let's just say they all rolled into what seems to be the Millennials' most commonly used word and number one enemy - STRESS!

What's a digital damsel got to do? A quick escape of course!

My body has been craving for more quality time with nature ever since I went hiking last July. I had to impatiently wait towards the end of August to finally go on this quick trip to San Rafael, Bulacan. I decided to take a break from adulting and visit my Grandma because I haven't seen her since May. I also got curious as hell when I found out that there's actually a hidden haven at my grandparents' hometown. I don't have much leave credits, so, I can't go somewhere far for now. I also have a very limited budget but my feet are itching to go anywhere outside Manila. So, I took advantage of their rainy day promo and got a 31% discount for the Glamping package for two!

What the hell is glamping? I hear ya! 

It's a combination of glamour AND camping! We can call it 'glamorous camping' perhaps. It means traveling while breaking the norm. By norm, I mean checking into a fancy hotel and going on guided tours. Yeah, you should know by now that I'm not much into that. I'm trying to be frugal here! And yeah, I may be a city girl by birth, but I'm a hardcore country girl by heart. I like being comfortable most of the time but I also like exploring new things, doing epic shits and going against the flow from time to time. That's exactly what I've experienced at San Rafael River Adventure.

Now, I've been to other resorts before and I've been impressed by a couple of places like Punta Riviera in Bolinao and Hacienda Escudero in Laguna, and I had a great time visiting those places, but I'm sorry because you might think I'm giving a biased opinion here but this resort really has its own charm and I've never seen anything like this before! It's like an all-in-one recreational place, yo!

I've been nagging my friends to come and join me as I explore this place, but most of them are too busy adulting on a daily basis and we have different days off too. Most of them are from that town, so, they were not as stoked as I am when I found out and told them about it. I was actually prepared to go alone had I not taken the chance to nag one more friend. That's the thing about me, if I set my mind on something, 99% of the time, I'm prepared to go and do it with or without anyone. I also wanted to really take some time just inhaling fresh air, walking at night without the city lights and appreciating quiet mornings. 

So, I was ecstatic as shit when I was able to drag my high school best friend whom I haven't seen for almost a year. The last time we saw each other was at my Grandpa's wake late last year. When Grandpa had an operation sometime in 2016, she granted me a really huge favor that maybe I can never ever repay in this lifetime. I was living and working in Baguio that time and I remember trying to control my hysterical sobs as I talked to her on the phone, asking if she could go to the hospital and stay with my grandparents until we could find someone who can be with them. Most of us are living outside that town and my grandparents are pretty much on their own without extra cash for hospitalization. (Imagine my hopeless face here!) But if there's one thing I've learned from that horrible situation, it is the fact that hard times would reveal your true friends, the ones who have your back no matter what you go through. Though my recent past has been a bit painful, I'm still very grateful for how things turned out.

Flash forward to August 29, 2018...

I couldn't wait to get off work that Wednesday afternoon and head straight to the bus terminal. My high school best friend and I kept chatting the moment I got on the bus. We met at Dunkin Donuts at the town market, the exact same place where we parted last year. I remember having coffee with her at that store as we talked about life's greatest blows. That's pretty much the same thing we did this time.

We dropped by my grandmother's place and had a quick dinner before we headed to the resort. My uncle (my mother's cousin) took us to that place using just a motorcycle. It was an awesome night drive! Imagine the adrenaline rush of back-riding at night time with a whiff of country air, yo!

We were actually about an hour late for our check-in time, haha! We got a bit lost on our way there!

When we got there, we were warmly escorted to the reception area and we were introduced to our friendly butler for that overnight tour. I was exhausted when we got to our tent, I almost literally collapsed on the bed after we dropped off our bags on the floor. We stayed in our tent for about half an hour before we decided to freshen up and change into our pajamas. 

I asked quite a lot of questions from our butler before he signed off that night. He talked about the activities that we can do the next day as well as the DO's and DONT's around the resort. He also asked us if we prefer to have our free breakfast at the restaurant or served at our own dining table near our tent. I obviously chose the latter. 

I had a really good sleep that night; I was pretty much knocked out even before midnight. I usually get up at 2 AM during my work week, so, midnight is waaaay past my bedtime! I woke up to the sound of real roosters crowing.

We took a shower at around 7 AM, I asked our butler to serve our food at around 7:30. Though he told us the night before that it's best to do the outdoor activities first thing in the morning, my friend and I chose to have a very slow breakfast instead. Hahaha! We've got almost a year of stories to catch up on! Though we normally chat on Facebook and exchange stories through text messages, sharing stories in person is still way too different. It reminded us of our good old days in high school, when all we did was try to make it out alive after every class so we can still see our crushes and give them love letters the next day.

After the epic-long breakfast, we decided to roam around the resort to get a good look of the entire place. We also started shooting and posing for Instagramable photos. I also took this time to record video clips that I know I'll be using for my next Youtube travel vlog. 

My favorite part has got to be the giant hammock. I had a great time posing for photos while we were chilling here. I was actually tempted to take a nap but then we still have to check out the pool and other water activities. 

After wandering and chatting for about an hour, the scorching heat drained the hell out of my throat, so, we decided to take a quick break at the resort's restaurant. We actually just had pineapple shake, then, we headed back to our tent to change to our swim wear. 

So, the real fun started when I took my best friend's dare to walk around the resort wearing my two-piece swimsuit! 

Well, I didn't actually walk around the resort wearing just that. I'd pull my denim shorts over my string bikini whenever we need to move to other spots. 

At around late afternoon, the skies went from bright and shiny to a light shade of gray. So, when almost all the guests took shelter from the incoming rain, we decided to head back to our tent as well. It rained like crazy while were taking a shower. We were stuck in the restroom for about 20 minutes with nothing but wet swimsuits and towels. We only decided to make a run for it when I started to feel cold and hungry. What is one minute of walking (I meant running!) in the rain in exchange for dry and clean clothes AND food?

While we were packing our stuff, ready to head back to my Grandma's place, our butler asked us if we'd like to check out the Stilt Cabins near our tent. The guests just checked out, so, he gave us a quick tour while we were waiting for my uncle to pick us up and boy it was reaaally good and quite huge!  

It would be nice to go back and try the other accommodations as well, but right now, I just can't afford those villas and cabins. I'm pretty much fine with the tent and I think it's the best way to get closer to nature - camping with a little bit of comfort!

Though I Googled about this resort and I obsessively followed their Instagram page prior to my reservation, it's still SO much different once you're actually right there and living it. From the moment I saw their horses that Thursday morning, I knew I'd have a hard time leaving the place. It's just so peaceful out there and everyone seems so kind. It is totally different from my life here in the city. I live for simplicity and serenity but it seems like I'll never really find that as long as I'm living in the city.

If you'd like to visit this place, it is located at Barangay Talacsan, San Rafael, Bulacan. It's about 2 hours away from Manila. You can check out their website and Instagram page too to see their latest promos. 

If you still have some time, here's the vlog version of this mini-getaway! Enjoy watching!!!


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