Tuesday, August 26

Our Melting Pot: You Can Never Go Wrong With Kindness

Nowadays, it is rare to find a place we can truly call home aside from the one where we grew up in.  For those living in the city, we sometimes find ourselves yearning to commune with nature to attain peace and solemnity even just for a while.  

Melting Pot Hostel in Tagaytay is one such kind of a place. Serene and peaceful - almost like a beach house to me. You might think that this one in Tagaytay is a resort because of its color.  But hey, I guess that pretty sums up what kind of vibe this hostel is trying to get across.  A place where we can truly relax and just be ourselves.

Our Melting Pot hostel facade

Early in June we were give the privilege to attend the housewarming of its Tagaytay branch. The hostel looked just like the homes surrounding.  Entering its doors was like going to a neighbor next door.  You will feel instantly welcome and at home.

Some of these coins are in the US currency!

Mr. Ronald Tepora, one of the founding owners, greeted us with arms open wide and gladly shared with us how they started. While waiting for lunch to be served, we learned the humble beginnings of the hostel.  What really stuck with me is that part of your rent will proceed to their chosen charity.  No explanation needed.

Hostel gazebo
Ground floor double-bedded room with private toilet and bath

Do consider staying at the Melting Pot Hostel if vacationing is more than what you have in mind.  Here you can not only gain new friends, but you can know yourself better once more by doing things with purpose and reason.  

Facebook:  Our Melting Pot Tagaytay
Address:  No.75 Smokey Hill Maharlika Subdivision
                  4210 Tagaytay, Tagaytay, Philippines

Mobile:   63915.105.9459

Introductory Rates:

Tuesday, August 19

Sagada: A Lazy Day All By Myself

Third day in Sagada.  It was a bit quiet as new friends were already leaving that morning.  We woke up early and had our first and last breakfast together. Jaja and James, the uber-sweet couple, were already at Strawberry Cafe while RJ and I followed suit later.  

We ordered tummy-filling pancakes topped with strawberry jam.  I split it with my friend as I was sure I would not be able to eat all of it.  At P 99, that pancake was one of the yummiest I have ever eaten.  
Strawberry Cafe's Pancake with Strawberry Jam, Php 99

Tuesday, August 12

Sagada: Of Dark Caves and Waterfalls

My visit to Sagada was sandwiched by two storms.  But that did not stop me from aiming to scratch this heavenly place off my bucket list.  Armed with little knowledge, I knew perfect adventure awaited me up here.

Second day in heaven was spent exploring the famous attractions namely Bomod-ok Falls and the caves.  My friend and I trekked in between lush green rice paddies.  I was so happy upon seeing nothing but mountains all around me.  I pondered a bit on how the locals lead their daily lives.  I realized then that simple things are often the best things in life.  All we need to worry about is that we have good food to eat, a sturdy house to live in and family and friends to share good memories with.  I felt a little envious of them but felt very proud at the same time.  I am a Filipino and will never exchange that for another citizenship.

Fidelisan Rice Terraces

Trekking Bomod-ok Falls, or Big Falls as referred to it by our guide Kuya Mac,  was a no-brainer as long as you have prepared yourself for it.  He said that this was the hardest to reach among all the falls in Sagada.  With that in mind, I was imagining a buwis-buhay climb.  But our trek to the falls was easy as 1-2-3.  It was a bit tiring but we were reinvigorated at once as soon as the Big Falls came into view!

Emerald everywhere!


On our way back, we met a couple, Jaja and James, who were free in the afternoon.  After a brief introduction, we agreed to go as group in exploring Sumaguing Caves (more savings for me, yay!).

L-R:  James, Jachelle, our guide Dani, Cristina from Spain and me :-)
Taken after our cave exploration!

Before entering Sumaguing Cave, we dropped by at a couple of burial sites.  Our guide, Dani, explained to us so many interesting facts about their culture.  Sadly, the younger generation seems to be no longer interested in continuing the tradition.  He said that present families prefer their deceased to be buried in the cemetery near the church.

Along the way, RJ met another rowdy group of men who were going to the much harder cave connection.  I was not ready to deal with that since I felt something was off the moment I looked into the mouth of the cave.  I followed my instincts for I knew what will happen once I enter the dark caverns.  I felt them everywhere.  

RJ split from us.  However, we met Cristina from Spain who was planning to go in on her own.  We gamely invited her to tag along with us.  She agreed and we had the best time ever.  We missed RJ but I was very happy that I met Cristina. 

Before heading back to town to have our dinner, I was ecstatic as I met a Sagadian cat.  Look at her intelligent eyes!  I quickly named her Saddie. 

with Saddy :-)

Other parts in this series

Part 1  Sagada: Love At First Sight
Part 2  You Are On It! 
Part 3  Sagada: A Lazy Day All By Myself

Monday, August 4

Freedom is Being In Love With the World

In travel I often ponder.  I am the silent-type of girl.  Those who don’t know me too well would assume I’m the snobby type.  I pity them for they judge me so quickly.   But deep inside, I am just a shy, sensitive girl who cries sometimes when the night wakes up and when the sun falls asleep. 

I am the sweetest.  When I am happy, I share my innocent musings to everyone.  I especially like the ones I write during and right after my wanderings.  Sometimes, something just hits me in the head and I would be writing like crazy for I knew if I didn’t all the radiant emotions within me will soon lose its luster.  I need to get it out, to write it down.  To read the words in my head for real.  Sometimes, I’d grab a pen and anything I could write on.  Somehow, when I run my fingers over the things I wrote, that surreal feeling of being there comes back again.  Alive.  Breathing.  And that would be the time I would believe that a dream has already become a reality.

A grazing carabao in Sagada

When you fall in love with life, everything negative seems to be a blur.  A faded memory.  Hazy around the edges.  For some reason, when you're in love with the world, you wake up smiling without any particular reason at all.  You grin when you look at the mirror.  You smile silly when you notice passersby look at you as if you've grown an extra head.  You would literally shine.  And I guess a smile from me would be more than enough to help lighten up this already crazy world.  

I travel solo now.  Why?  I wanted to come out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to grow up and be the woman I have always wanted myself to be. Independent. Smart but still sweet and loving at the same time.  Pondering Paodaolei will not be Pondering Paodaolei if she isn't loving at all.  I always see the need to be there, to be felt, to love and to be loved. 

Freedom is my mantra now. Freedom to choose to stay happy. Freedom to wander, to wonder, to ponder. And finally, believing in the freedom to love and be loved in return.

I am here.  Just waiting for the right moment.  I  know that there will always be the perfect timing for everything.  But loving is completely another world.  In my ponderings, it's best to just love. And always stay in love. With the world.