My Awesome Year of 2014

As I keep seeing on my Facebook newsfeed, this has been a great year for many people. I can enthusiastically say that I feel the same. I had so many highlights for 2014 that I can’t pick my favorite among them all. I only intended to go to two new places this year, but it seemed He planned for a more different and awesome year for me. I feel so blessed for the opportunities and adventures that came my way ❀

January. The first weekend of the year was spent traveling to Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan. I was so happy to discover a gem so close to home.

Patar Beach, Bolinao

Patar Beach, Bolinao

April. For her birthday treat, my sister took the whole family to Davao. I have already been there but the experience was totally different. I loved white water rafting!

Davao trip with the family.

Davao trip with the family.

I also finally took that trip to La Union with long-time friends and practiced my surfing skills.

La Union with La Tropa.

La Union with La Tropa.

May. Rhan, Shiela and I braved the eleven hour trip to Camarines Norte in order to see the beauty of Calaguas for ourselves. In spite of the punishing heat and the resulting sunburn, I love Calaguas and its pristine beauty.

A weekend surrounded by beauty in Calaguas.

A weekend surrounded by beauty in Calaguas.

September. I crossed out one item off my bucket list when I and my friends went on a trip to El Nido, Palawan. We left the place promising that we would return to that paradise soon.

Surreal vacation in El Nido.

Surreal vacation in El Nido.

November. I and my friends spent six days in Bohol. We had the greatest fun roaming around the place, lazing in the pool and puttering around the kitchen in our home.

Sunny days in Bohol.

Sunny days in Bohol.

Without intending to, all the trips I have been on this year were beach destinations or involved the beach in some way. I guess that trip to Patar Beach early in the January set the theme for the rest of the year. I absorbed lots of Vitamin D from my trips and it caused a few people remark that I’ve gotten a few shades darker. But I don’t give a lot of thought into the color of my skin now because to regret it would mean regretting all the trips and the memories I made this year. Besides, where would have been the fun into going to all these beautiful beaches and not swim in the inviting waters nor bask under the smiling sun? πŸ™‚

So, to the year that was 2014, thank you so much for the awesome year. I hope 2015 will be the same πŸ˜€

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Riding the Waves in San Juan, La Union (2014)

Out of the blue, one of my friends suggested we go to San Juan, La Union on the Holy Week weekend. It was the perfect idea since I would be in Pangasinan at that time, it was summer and I’ve been itching to try surfing again (and plan to succeed this time). This was a semi-unexpected trip because I only had a month to anticipate and prepare – I usually plan trips months in advance. The search for our accommodations and budget planning fell to me as the usual protocol during barkada trips.

My Companions

The most annoying part of planning a barkada trip is that I don’t know who would really go until the day of the trip itself. There were some who said No to this trip and ended up going, Yes which turned to not going andΒ Maybe’s who didn’t decide if they were going until the last minute. Such is life – full of uncertainties. Anyway, 8 was our final number. All of my companions were really good friends so I was looking forward to the fun times ahead.

meet the guys: Ian, Francis, Bernie, Jhodan

meet the guys: Ian, Francis, Bernie, Jhodan

meet the girls: Mae Ann, Zhorea, Ruby, Rose

meet the girls: Mae Ann, Zhorea, Ruby, Rose

The Roadtrip

Jhodan had his car so 5 of our number rode with him. The others had to commute to San Juan, La Union. It was a 3 hour ride from Pangasinan to La Union. There was moderately heavy traffic for the first half of the journey so we took longer than usual to reach our destination. I wish I could give the exact route, but I’m hopeless with directions. All we did was follow the highway. That is all I can remember. Please forgive me, it was still early in the morning when we left Pangasinan. My brain was still not functioning.

Our Accommodation: Normi’s Beachfront Resort

I searched for our accommodations 3 weeks earlier. My criteria for searching was the room could accommodate 6-10 pax and would not cost more than Php 500.00 per person. All the famous hostels and resorts which fit these criteria were already fully booked for Holy Week. Then more Googling led to me discover Normi’s Beachfront Resort where there was still an available room for 5 pax at Php 2,750.00 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Further inquiry revealed that in case there was more than 5 people in our group, we only had to pay Php 350.00 for each extra person. I immediately reserved the room for us with the hope that the room can accommodate all of whoever would be going on this trip.

I didn’t have to pay any downpayment or any reservation fee. All they require is that I call 3 days before we arrive to confirm our reservation. Otherwise, they would be giving our room to someone else. We gave the full payment upon check-in. This was not required but we decided to pay immediately so we don’t spend it on other things.

Normi’s is not located in the touristy part of San Juan, La Union (contrary to what I initially thought). We knew we finally arrived in San Juan when we saw many resorts, restaurants, parked cars and tourists along the road. But it was another 10-minute drive before we reached Normi’s, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.

all 8 of us comfortably slept here

a peek inside the Berlin room

a peek inside the Berlin room

2 of the 4 beds in the room

Our 5-pax room was spacious enough for all 8 of us. All we had to do was arrange the beds side by side and place an extra mattress or 2 so everyone has enough room to sleep.

Wandering around Normi’s, I discovered that they had 3 pools: a semi-olympic pool (10 feet deep), the usual 3-6 feet pool and the kiddie pool. The pools are heated at night so it wouldn’t be so cold for swimmers. We lounged around the pool until it closed at 11 PM.

signages can be found so we don't lose our way in the reosrt

signages can be found so we don’t lose our way in the resort

the semi-Oympic pool & some of the rooms

the semi-Oympic pool & some of the rooms

the 3-5 feet pool and kiddie pool

the 3-5 feet pool and kiddie pool

The breakfast that came with our room was a simple affair. It consisted of 2 slices of white bread, egg and banana.

breakfast ng nagda-diet

breakfast ng nagda-diet

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