Wow. It sure looks like a lot has happened since I last wrote something here. This will be my first ever November post and the blog editor looks different, but much better. I like it!
So November huh? Ain’t it my favorite month and time of the year!?! It’s almost Christmas, but not quite yet. The air is definitely cooler in the morning and most people have started to decorate. Malls are getting busier (even on ordinary weekdays) and Christmas trees are up on sale again, and so are Poinsettias! Yay! I spelled it right!
It’s also my birth month and this year, I got to have 3 days off from work! Woot woot!!
Last year, we traveled south to Cebu to visit my brother, but this year, sadly, he wasn’t with us to celebrate my 26th birthday. You see, it’s also the APEC week so most flights in and out of the country/metro have all been cancelled to make way for the world leaders’ arrival and departure.
We haven’t really planned anything for my birthday. Papa thought it would be nice to have lunch or dinner buffet (again), but a day before my birthday, I saw a pretty detailed article on Looloo on things to try up north. Papa told me he printed the article out (right then and there) and the next thing I know, we were driving along NLEX-SCTEX, heading to Tarlac!
Originally, we were supposed to try Sandbox before finding our way to Tarlac, but since it was a pretty busy and long weekend, it took us half a day just lining up on various toll gates, so we went straight to Tarlac. It would’ve been too crowded in Pampanga anyway, said the bitter girl.
First stop was the breathtaking and sacred Monasterio De Tarlac. Behind us on the third pic is a 30-foot statue of the risen Christ.
Among the 3 stops we were to make that day, the Monasterio was the farthest from McArthur Highway (we were counting on the km road signs to see how far it was going to take before we reached the monastery-30km from Tibag, if I’m not mistaken) and in going there, you would pass by Tarlac Recreation Park.
While traversing the almost endless and empty roads (and a single-lane bridge) across vast fields of green, one would think that the place wouldn’t be flocked by city-dwellers, but we were wrong. The parking lot was full, and the place was peppered with tourists. We even saw Fr. Jerry Orbos just before we left.
The place is a go-to hideaway in times when you have too many things going on in your mind. It’s quiet (except for some excited, shrieking tourists :P) and tucked within several mountains of San Jose, Tarlac.
You can also offer petitions and prayer requests and feel like whatever you put in there would be granted, so long as you wouldn’t lose faith.
Next stop on the itinerary was of course, the aforementioned Tarlac Recreational Park.
Here I was, obviously with feet itching, literally and figuratively. #slippersanddenimpamore!
You should get there in 10-15 minutes from the monastery. We got there at around quarter past 3. The 2 groups that registered just before we did signed up for kayaking and dune buggies and since they said there wouldn’t be enough time for us to drive buggies after the first group does, we opted to just bike around the place.
I must say, their bikes were all in good condition and probably well-maintained. They have trails that are shared by both bikers and buggy drivers and we found an easy-enough one (at least for beginners) just beyond the football field beside the oval.
Here are my parents flushed and probably with hearts racing at the time as it has been years since we biked together as a family, excluding that time back in May when we went to Bataan.
There weren’t a lot of guests that day (which I extremely love). Most of those I saw were young families who were there to swim, 2-3 pairs of biker couples, the 2 groups I mentioned earlier and a big group of about 25-30 students training at the oval. The place is huuuuge and there’s so much to do so there’s a very little chance of you bumping into the other guests.
An hour should be enough to go around the trails, thrice, but then we also needed time to take photos of each other. As you can see, we were there right during the golden hour! It was the best time to bring out all the cameras, including my newest, a Yashiflex TLR.
Here we were, the sedentary trio, an hour later, all parched and weak from biking uphill and on rough terrain, but not quite ready to quit just yet as we had one more stop to make before we called it a day.
After the obligatory feetfie and groupfie, off we went to our third and final stop…
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, it just did!
I remember I used to be friends with this girl back in grade school, whose dad races and who happened to be the only girl I ever heard of enjoying karting, to think we were only kids at the time. I mean, how can a kid drive a race car, right?
I’ve never tried karting in my 26 years of existence until my 26th year of existence, but one thing I know now for sure, I’d definitely do this again, over and over if I can!
TRIVIA TIME! Did you know that apart from zombie-killing and other shooting games, I also love playing GTA (just so I could drive around) and of course, Forza Horizon. I’ve always wanted to drive fast and I’m really good at it with a gaming console, but I’ve also had the chance to drive soooper fast in an express way once. Of course, I was still really cautious because I’m a girl. 😛
Going back, I think I definitely got the hang of it instantly. During the first few laps, I was “half-braking” when going around the curved parts, and was sooooper stiff too, but I learned to loosen up in the end.
I have to say, with an entire year that mostly sucked, I never thought I’d have a birthday as beautiful as this one. Like what I said, this was the only year I never asked for anything (at least none for myself). I just wanted to spend time with my family and God gave me more than that. So thank YOU.
I can’t say that I’ve been a good girl this year because I have been literally the opposite of being good. I have pushed people out of my life and I’m not going to blame anyone but myself for that. This is all me, but despite everything, I’m still thankful. Thank You, for never giving up on me and for giving me people who will love me no matter what. You are the reason why I am here and You have a purpose for me. Whatever that is, please, please help me find it. One more thing, Could you please never let go of my hand? Please?
So there goes another year and came another one for me to be thankful for, again! We can’t thank God enough and those who love us unconditionally. It was a happy birthday, indeed!
P.S. All photos were taken by my beautiful sister, Kat and yes, the title was patterned to be like those FRIENDS episode titles (I have been looking for and watching the Christmas episodes yesterday).