Muncie Local: Water Bowl

Here’s another attempt to explore Muncie and see what it has to offer. For the past few days I’ve been craving for Vitamin Sea and I’m almost positive there isn’t a legit beach close by so I started googling swimming holes, public pools or lakes within the area and after a good while I finally came across Water Bowl. I’m surprised it’s not one of the first few things that came out in Google search considering that this place has been here for awhile (since 1970). Let’s just say I found a local commercial for this place on youtube from 1988…that’s just 2 years after I was born and on there they say…

“Come Join us here in Water Bowl, the hottest place in Muncie”

And it did seem very enticing, possibly “the place to be” in the late 80s to early 90s but I guess the hype eventually died down maybe due to people getting tired of it, or bad marketing strategy or there wasn’t enough publicity, maybe there was a change of management or it lacked maintenance…one can only speculate but it’s still there, its open, they still have events once in awhile and its been running all these years so in a way they must be doing something right. I was just a bit surprised that there were only a few people there considering that it was still summer.

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Online they have a good rating of 4+ stars and to be honest, the place was actually pretty good. Come to think of it I was pleased that it wasn’t packed, I’ve noticed that I’ve developed a disliking for super crowded places, I don’t know of its my age showing. Haha.

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There were lounging areas surrounding the swim area and they didn’t charge for those so you could occupy as much chairs and tables as you wanted, I guess they’re banking on people being considerate of one another. Admission was reasonable too, here are the current rates from their FB page.

Admission Prices for Fishing and Swimming
$5.50 per Adult
$2.00 per Child (13 and under)
Children under 3 are FREE

Camping Prices
$10.00 per Adult
$5.00 per child (13 and under)
3 and under are FREE

Season Pass Pricing
Single Pass $150.00
Family 4 Pass $250.00

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Pregnant mama concealing her bump. ūüėÄ

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The main area and the snack shack.

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The sand there was pretty okay but it could still be a lot better if they imposed rules like “no pets”, “no eating” and “no smoking” close to the swimming area (or maybe they had them but weren’t strict enough to reinforce them). I noticed 2 cigarette butts close to where we were hanging out (i’m sure you’ll see at least one if you stare at this photo) and a woman got away with not throwing her burger wrapper which eventually flew into the water and I had to pick it up. The swing area had one dog poop probably because they allowed pets within the vicinity.

I’d be more confident to have my baby play on the sand and build sand castles if they paid more attention to cleanliness. In my opinion, the water was pretty clean though.

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Me with my mini-me

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The pirate ship was a pretty cool attraction for kids but it wasn’t running when we were there. The slides are supposedly water slides, I could tell based on the holes on top of the slides. She still had fun playing on the ship though.

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Oh yeah, they have fishes swimming by the shore and these are the small ones so if you wiggle your toes they come closer thinking its bait or worm. I think if you go further down you can even fish. I saw a boy with his fishing pole and he caught a fish twice the size of my hand.

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To those interested to visit Water Bowl, here’s the

Address to Google: 6811 North Old State Road 3 Muncie, Indiana

Those who use Waze, I suggest you use Google Maps for this place because Waze hasn’t updated their map and I got lost twice, It kept making me miss a turn and I had to drive 15 minutes more when it recalculated.

But to sum it all up, it was a fairly good experience, a perfectly relaxing day for me, Marie and Cassie. If the weather is right and you should happen to be in the area, make sure to drop by.

~Rhea

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Photo Diary: A Day with the Lujans

Filipinos by nature are very much family-oriented, if they could live with all their aunts and uncles and cousins they would, and in one way or the other that was how my childhood was. There was never a dull moment because I grew up being close to both sides of my family, I got taunted, teased and semi-bullied (a lot by my kuyas). Yes, it was one of those “Ugh-I-hate-you-but-I know-you’re-pestering-me-coz-you-actually-care” type of relationships and it was true, they teased me a lot but I knew they had my back and that they loved me. But of course everyone grows up and life takes us to our own paths sometimes away from those you grew up with.

Today, I ¬†got to spend time with my kuya Giancarlo, his wife ate Dulce and their 2 wonderful kids Isaiah and Jude. I’m glad that amidst the hectic Christmas season our families found the time to meet up. From a very-filling¬†barbecue lunch at Lucille’s to a stroll in Laguna Beach to a Gingerbread display at the Ritz and a dinner at a local Korean soup place we found ourselves catching up and talking about random things in our current lives, a day was definitely not enough but it is what it is, I’m just happy that we were able to push through with this meet up. Lujans, thank you so much for spending time with us and taking us around AND for spoiling Cassie with her new toys, we don’t know when the next time will be but we will definitely be looking forward to that.

Here are some photos from today:

(Wish we had at least one photo with all of us together)

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Cassie and her kuyas, Isaiah and Jude

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They gave Cassie her favorite, Minnie Mouse in her Christmas-themed outfit

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The Lujans

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Beach art work

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The whole display was edible. How yummy is that!

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~Rhea

Anvaya Cove

July 27 – 28, 2015

When in Manila and you want to plan a last minute out-of-town getaway people usually settle for the usual Tagaytay, Subic and Bataan to name a few, depends on what activities you’re interested in doing. Tito Tommy, Rachel, Sophia and Eva being here on vacation from Florida was a perfect excuse to go out of town¬†with the (Ruiz de Luzuriaga) family and mami being the super mom that she is secured us a few rooms at Anvaya Cove in Morong, Bataan (see, what did I tell you…Bataan, haha).¬†For a last minute trip with top of the line accommodations, of course we were beyond ecstatic. The Luzuriagas only had a few more days before flying back to the US and as much as I wanted Marco to come with us so we could spend time with his family, he also just had a few more days before his USMLE Step 1 exam so he stayed behind.

Usually the travel time from Manila,¬†or specifically Alabang (since that’s where we were coming from) to Bataan takes around 3-4 hours but we totally forgot about the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial celebration that was happening that day so traffic caught us by surprise and it was not in anyway funny. Buses, cars, jeepneys, trucks…all sorts of vehicles were parked along NLEX leaving the 4-lane express way into a one-lane traffic jam. NLEX in an instant just became their own private parking space, How is that legal?!? Anyway that totally messed up the plans for the day and we had to improvise, our 3-hour drive became a crazy 6-hour one.

Anyway here are a few photos of our short trip:

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To make up for that crappy traffic jam was an enjoyable lunch at Meat Plus, when in Subic¬†it is a must to stop by and enjoy their reasonably priced Baby back ribs, steak and whatever else they’re known for.

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We finally made it to Anvaya and this baby was the happiest, haha. Awww, Eva you’re too cute!!!

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Here are photos of our room accommodation including the bath area

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The pools were inviting but we wasted no time and headed straight for the beach.

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Rach and Eva. I love this mommy and baby photo.

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Eva

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Sophia

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Negotiating with Abu if she could get a chocolate milk shake.

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And Sophia’s wish came true.. Haha. ūüėÄ

Day 2

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Sophia feeding the fishies after our breakfast ūüėÄ

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It’s a beautiful day for a sun tan.

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With my partner in crime, Pilica. Thanks for assisting the “pregnant lady”, lic!

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Pretty much a summary of what we had for lunch- comfort food, need I say more?

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Bye, Anvaya. It was good while it lasted.

Btw, I’m ending this blog post with a fun fact…I did one of the first TVCs for Anvaya Cove ages ago when Ayala was still trying to market the resort. I played a teenage daughter for one of the families, haha.

~Rhea

Destination: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

April 18 – 19, 2015

Since the entire family (The Mendezonas) was present, Mami thought it would be¬†best to go on a last-minute family outing but the question was where. It was a weekend during the summer season so we knew it was going to be fully booked everywhere. We just wanted to go some place near Manila but Papi requested to go to the beach so clearly Tagaytay or Baguio was out of the question. Subic was meh,¬†we already went there the last time so we ended up checking out places in Cavite and Laguna, there really was nothing available and if there were it was either they didn’t have enough rooms to accommodate all 15 of us or the rates were really jacked up.

For some reason Puerto Galera came to my mind, I think the last time my cousins and I were there was during my early college years—maybe 2004? At one point Puerto Galera used to be the “In” beach to be before Boracay became popular, that’s what I was told anyway. I had good memories of Puerto Galera so I suggested the place, mom actually thought it was okay and when we searched for accommodations there were a bunch of¬†hotels that had room availability for a party of 15 so with mom’s booking powers she found a wonderful place for the weekend, Out of the Blue Resort.

The road trip from Alabang to Batangas Port took more or less 2 hours. We had to take a 45 minute boat ride, usually the public bangka takes you to Sabang beach but we arranged for a private bangka to take us directly to the shore of Out of the Blue. The typical cost for a private bangka is P3, 500.

Out of the Blue, we see youuuuu

The view while going up the stairs to our villas

Mom got 2 villas to accommodate all of us and they were beyond spacious, couldn’t take a photo since we were all too tired and we started settling in

Poor Teo was happy to be out of that bangka

Good Morning, Puerto Galera!

The boys room

Our room. I’m sharing with Marco and Pilica

Our neighbor’s place didn’t look too bad either

The view from our villa

After having breakfast in Out of the Blue and and settling in, Mom arranged for a boat to take us to White Beach since the shores in our area weren’t really swim-friendly

Our boat mates for that trip: Camille and Javi

Papi and Marco

Mommy, Diego and Mikel chilling all the way in the back

When we got to White Beach some of us decided to jump right in

And others found it too hot…

Yep the sand texture was perfect but at that moment it was way too hot

Eating by the beach after swimming—the best thing ever!

Look at that smile, Teo’s happy he’s not swimming in the beach

Hanging out with his Ninong Javi

Wondered where Papi was after lunch and this is where he was, just right next to our eating place

… the rest of the boys followed suit. Haha.

While the boys were out getting a massage, Camille, Jessica and I explored the local tiangges

I find myself getting attracted to the local market—same in the Bahamas, same in Cambodia, same anywhere else. You¬†never know what interesting things you might come across in markets like these, although this one really didn’t have anything extraordinary. I did end up getting braided anklets.

The view while the girls and I stopped to grab some shakes

Classic Mindoro Sling—still the most traydor drink ever

People started coming in during the late afternoon and it was getting crowded. It’s a good thing we had our fill of sand and sea so we left for Out of the Blue and ended up swimming in the pool there.

We started Day 2 by taking a couple photo right by our balcony

Ready to leave for the beach

Paparazzi-d these two love birds. Awww..

Mateo putting sun block on Ninong Javi’s tummy

Off to the bangka we go

Sunnies pic…Jessica, Me and Pilica

Because yay Diday wouldn’t pose for the camera

The beach our boat guy took us to

Swimming was a family affair

Photo credits to Camille. Me and my baby bump.

The kids building their supposed sand castle

The girls and Diego apparently. hahaha

Pauline with teo who refused to swim.

We always have fun with jumping pics, don’t you agree?

Wacky, every single one of us. Photo grabbed from Camille ūüôā

After swimming, we packed up, dressed up and had lunch somewhere close by

Ending this family trip with us almost tipping the boat. Haha. Typical.

~Rhea

Honeymooning: Palawan

June 24 – 28, 2014

Day 1

We took the late night¬†RORO boat ( a cheaper alternative)¬†out of Bacolod straight to Dumangas Port in Ilo-Ilo. It’s a good thing Montenegro lines have scheduled boats as early as 12 midnight¬†and the best part is it only costs P128/ person (roughly $3/each). These boats may or may not have air-conditioning, I say ‘may or may not’ because they do have the AC system but most of the ¬†time they’re broken and it takes a while for them to have it repaired. Montenegro lines will tell you that the trip will take 2 hours but our trip only took an hour and 45 minutes so by ¬†1:45 am¬†we were already at the Dumangas Port and we had to wait ¬†10- 15 minutes for our van service¬†to arrive since we asked him to be there at 2 am. If you’re taking the first few early morning trips, I suggest you arrange for someone to pick you up because it’s hard to commute or look for service at the port going to Ilo-Ilo City (or wherever it is you plan to go) at that particular time. We were able to get the van at P1,200 for 11 of us.

The road from Dumangas to Ilo-Ilo¬†City proper was dark at 2¬†am, it took us ¬†45 minutes¬†up to an hour to reach the airport but the only problem was they wouldn’t allow us to enter the airport vicinity just yet. If I remember it correctly, we had to wait until 4:00 am (or maybe 4:30 am)¬†before they¬†let us in. The Ilo-Ilo International Airport was clean and quite impressive in terms of service there were some areas that had free Wi-Fi and the waiting lounge was cool and comfortable. We were way early¬†for our 7:15 am¬†Cebu Pacific¬†flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Hello, Puerto Princesa!!!

The honeymooners made it safe to Puerto Princesa! ūüôā

Ramas- Mendezona invades Palawan. Woohoo!

We stayed in a transient house that could accommodate all 11 of us. The owner who also is a doctor was referred by Ninang Ofel, my mom’s sister. Rooms were roughly P800-P1,000/ night, they vary depending on the room….not bad for a big family like mine.

The mall to be in Palawan….Robinsons.

Of course my siblings had to get their Potato Corner and Thirsty green mango shake fix.

He found a gigantic slipper and he just had to do this…IN PUBLIC!!!! Maaaaarrrrccccccoooooo. :O

We decided to relax the first day and just explore the city of Puerto Princesa which included buying groceries a.k.a chips and bottled water, going to the mall and eating in Max’s Fried Chicken. (haha, my parents were craving for Good O’l Max). We also had to get the permit for the Underground River tour we were planning for the next day, other people can have a travel agency process it for¬†them but it’s cheaper to do it yourself.

Make sure to visit the PPUR office at the City Coliseum, their operating hours are as follows:

Monday to Friday: 8AM to 4PM ‚Äď No lunch break.

Saturday & Sunday: 8AM to 12PM, 1PM to 5PM

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And here are the rates for the Cave Entrance:

Local

Adult (21-59 y.0)- P175.oo

Minor (13 – 20 y.o)- P100.00

3-12 y.o- P75.00

Foreign

Adult- P250.00

Minor- P150.00

During the night, we tried experiencing the Baragatan Festival of Palawan but there were too¬†many people and we weren’t feeling festive enough to deal with the crowd so we just circled the place quickly and went home.

Day 2

We took a service van from Puerto Princesa to Barangay Sabang, an hour and a half more or less from Palawan’s city proper and had a quick stopover at Barangay Buenavista.¬†They have a view deck overseeing the Karst Mountains and some rice paddies, it was¬†indeed a breath of fresh air.

Our quick stop to the loo…the¬†banyos¬†were pretty o.k.

Shopping for souvenirs already, Pauline?

Trying the ‘selfie pod’ with the family

A photo with the husband

We made it to Sabang Port in one piece.

This is the part where you take a 10-15 minute boat ride to the Underground River, you won’t even notice the length of the ride because of the spectacular sites along the way.

Boat A (AnnMarie, Angelie, Me, Marc and Nicole)

…and Boat B. (Mom, Pop, Paulo, Pauline and John)

Ramas-Mendezonas made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Eeeeeppp…excited for our turn!

Family photo outside the caves before heading to our bangka

Ramas-Mendezona bangka, all ready to go

Hello husband, SMILE!

Crossed paths with this other bangka inside the cave

My photos of some of the formations inside DO NOT give justice to the grandeur of the Underground Cave, sorry but my settings weren’t set accordingly and I wasn’t well equipped for the darkness. To those who want to capture this wonder of the world appropriately, I suggest you fix your settings in advance and bring the apt lenses needed.

End of the dark tunnel

Ann Marie and Pauline, clearly happy with the experience

And that ends the Underground Cave Tour

NOTE: Be careful of the monkeys, they like grabbing plastic bags or any tote that looks like its made of plastic. You might find them cute and they do like to approach people but I suggest to just keep your distance.

Ann Marie and her little friend

Here comes another one…..oh boy, this Komodo Dragon is a big one

The parentals and the boys making sure that we get a family souvenir

Crazy boys…Underground Cave conquered! John was too cool for a ‘thumbs up’

Last pic before heading back to the bangka

Lunch Buffet by the Sabang Port, pick one…there’s a bunch of local restaurants nearby

Spent some time at the beach, the kids had fun since it was low tide

Marco talking to the locals, asking them about the island tour scheduled for the next day

Used to play with these little crabs growing up

Stopped by a bunch of pasalubong centers on the way home to get souvenirs and our Palawan shirts

Day 3

And the adventure continues… Honda Bay Tour¬†today!

Yep, we’re that kind of couple…we buy those “I <3…” shirts. Hehe

Our First Stop: Starfish Island

Sporting “the Vintage” in Palawan

Going crazy with the starfishes. ūüôā

These folks look kinda hungry to me…haha

Woohoo! Lunch came with the Island Hopping Package. Delicious!

Goofing around with Marco after lunch.

Ummm…Marc, this doesn’t look right. Haha.

One of our stops: Isla Pandan

Had fun with the single and tandem kayaks for free, I guess it was still part of the tour. I’m not too sure about that but our tour guide said it was okay to use them, so we did.

Kissing with our snorkels on. Haha. How sweet.

Snorkeling with my sweetie, just love this guy!

More snorkeling in a diving site by Luli Island or maybe this was the island? Haha. The island got its name because it sinks during high tide and rises during low tide thus the Filipino term lulubog-lilitaw, Luli for short.

Supposedly our last stop: Cowrie Island, but everyone was kinda tired.

After the Honda Bay Tour, we went home and rested for a while. The entire family was scheduled to leave the next day, Marco and I extended one more day because we still wanted to go to El Nido, Palawan¬†which was more or less 5¬†hours away, so we talked to our contact in Puerto Princesa and he scheduled for us to be picked up by a van leaving for El Nido that night. We were scheduled to be picked up at 7 pm but the van didn’t arrive till 7:30 pm because he had to pick up¬†other passengers first. I’m not going to lie, the ride was a kinda bumpy but I still fell asleep anyway and I only woke up when we had a stopover at a carenderia for our late dinner. We didn’t get to El Nido until 12:45 am, from the drop off point we rode a tricycle to the transient house we were staying in.

Our home for the night, RicGem Place.¬†I know, I know… the name doesn’t sound so promising but we were just staying a night and we only had to pay P1,200 for the both of us with breakfast, in all fairness to the place it was clean and decent; small but decent. By the time we settled in, I came to a conclusion that I was coming¬†down with the flu I really felt feverish. NOT GOOD.

Day 4

I woke up with a fever but I forced myself to go, thinking that this might be a once in a lifetime thing, besides Im supposed to be honeymooning. Thank God for doctor-husbands, he gave me fever medicine and took care of me the entire time.

We were supposed to go with Tour C (they say that’s the best) but the weather that day didn’t permit it so we ended up with Tour A, they say that’s safer. We actually woke up to thunder and lightning, I didn’t think we could still push through with the island hopping at all.

Above are the current rates of the different tours in El Nido, Palawan.

Our Meet up place before departure, looks like a closed up restaurant. Well, it isn’t peak season after all.

Thank God the thunder and lightning stopped, still looks a bit foggy though but I’l go with fog any day.

Our first stop: 7 Commando

This usually is the last stop for Tour A but I guess our boatman decided otherwise, one thing I realized is they can play around with the itinerary and it can go in no specific order depending on the weather or boat traffic. Just make sure you get to go to all the beaches in that specific tour you picked, after all you did pay for it.

Go Pro—check!

Using Marco’s wedding gift. For our future adventures together, eh? Well, here we are sweetie.

Feeling cold and feverish, my crazy husband decided to draw a heart around me while I was sleeping

Marco’s…haha, he’s posessive too!

Next Stop: Big Lagoon

The manongs were preparing our lunch in the boat

Lunch at the Secret Lagoon

Underwater in Shimizu

Goggle marks—sign of too much snorkeling.

Little Miss Sick-Girl just chilling at our last spot, the Small Lagoon. I didn’t have an ounce of energy in my body to go swimming anymore.

This guy just¬†loves goofing around, it’s a good thing you didn’t fall sweetie.

After the tour, we headed back to our place, packed our stuff and took a van back to Puerto Princesa and stayed one more night at  the transient house we stayed in the last time. We left for Manila the next day.

Whew…that was quite an adventure! Happy Honeymooning indeed!

~Rhea