Our last two days have been pretty bi-polar. Friday was devoted to our first (of two) day trips. We were off to see Hidden Valley Springs, a stunning rain forest paradise a few hours from Manila. Both of us were excited, as the website said it was only 1.5 hours away (and this was a first-time visit for me as well). As is typical of our Manila life, that 1.5 hour estimate wasn’t very accurate. In fact, it was actually 3.5 both there and back. Which left exactly 3.5 hours for playing in the Rain Forest.
We climbed out of the car in a pretty sour mo0d, but watched our frowns turn to shouts of glee as we took in the beauty of this lush paradise! We had 6 fabulous spring water pools to swim in, a hike with a waterfall at the end, and cheap massages to indulge in. Life was grand and we weren’t going to waste a minute of our 3.5 hours!
We managed to be quite successful. We took a dip in all 6 pools, made the hike, enjoyed our lunch and even managed to get 1 hour massages. It was a glorious day and despite the nightmarish traffic, we both agreed that we’d do it all over again.
Now fast forward to Saturday, where we’re back in the city, far removed from the sounds of birds chirping. Yet all was not lost, as there’s plenty of magical experiences here as well. We started our day with a trip to the Salcedo market, the closest thing we have to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market. Then it was back home to shower and change for our afternoon of High Tea at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati.
This is one of my absolute favorite activities and it never fails to enchant my guests. Sarah was no exception, oohing and aahing as the 14 piece orchestra played in front of us. And when you layer on a flourless chocolate cake and a beautiful tea service, we’re nearing perfection again. Truly, that is what I most enjoy about our life here. We’re able to get such varied experiences without having to travel very far – I LOVE that I’m able to expose Sarah to the Yin & Yang of Manila life while she’s here. It helps her understand the richness and complexity of this culture!
There are lots and lots of photos awaiting you at SMUGMUG. Do take a moment and check out the ones I couldn’t showcase here.
Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of our wedding. To celebrate, we’re taking a day trip to Subic Bay to cross off one of the must-do’s on our Bucket List – a swim with a dolphin! Seriously, I’ve been wanting to do this for years and it just so happens that it was at the top of Sarah’s list too. If we’re lucky, we should have not only some fun pictures, but a little video as well! Stay tuned…