I’ve heard of Balay Indang from my church friends. It’s a popular destination for retreats, camps and even weddings. In photos, I initially thought it was a small, quaint place only to be surprised by the lush floral gardens and spacious lawns. If you want time away from the city and feel the need to reconnect with God in a peaceful place with no technological distractions, Balay Indang is worth the visit.
Looking at my calendar for the month of May has made me realize that I am in dire need of more nature time. Growing up in Rizal, I loved waking up to the sound of birds chirping, the cool air and the sight of lots and lots of trees which unfortunately, I no longer get enough of since we moved to the concrete Kingdom of Makati. There’s something about communing with nature that calms and heals the frazzled soul. I remember in college, I’d always look forward to days when my classes would end right before lunch because that meant I’d have time for a nature walk. Leading naturalist Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle says “We can be happier, healthier, and smarter if we weave more nature into our lives,”
I was so delighted to receive an invitation from the sales team of Sandari Batulao to check out the sprawling residential mountainside community which is quickly becoming a popular destination for camping, outdoor activities and weddings. Conveniently situated at the foot of Mt. Batulao and Mt. Talamitam, the temperature and wind feels noticeably different despite the hot summer weather.
The Event Hall, Club Ananda
The Event Hall can accommodate up to 250 guests.
The patio of The Event Hall
Check out my VLOG below and fall in love with the place!
Club Ananda has an Event Hall where special events and weddings can be held while the beautiful river pool area can also be the perfect backdrop for outdoor weddings.
I had the wonderful privilege of hosting Human Nature’s S.O.S. Coastival which was held at San Juan, La Union. It’s been more than two decades since I last set foot in La Union (shame on me). I remember snippets of when I was two and running around barefoot with my cousins. My dad says I was so scared of swimming in the ocean probably because it was unfamiliar territory. Of course, I’m good friends with the sea now! Heck, I enjoyed my last scuba diving trip!
Human Nature brought together media friends and influencers who can help get the word out about the current state of our oceans, our animal friends and the environment as a whole. Can you believe that even if we live in the city, our daily habits affect the ocean? That’s why you have to be more mindful of the products that you use. Plugging and endorsement aside, we should make it a habit to check the labels on products.
SLS/SLES (or: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate) are found in shampoos and soaps. It’s a skin irritant and toxic to aquatic organisms. Axe SLS & SLES. Switch to gentler, plant-derived cleansers.
Plastic microbeads (or: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate) are found in facial scrubs and toothpaste. They stay up to 50 years in the environment, plus trillions of microbeads pollute our waters, get eaten by fish, and make their way up the food chain. Yes, to you and me. Ban the bead and scrub with love – use biodegradable exfoliants.
Oxybenzone (or: butylparaben, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor) is found in chemical sunscreens. Toxic to corals at the ratio of 1 drop in 6.5 Olympic-size swimming pools. Cease coral killing. Use physical sunscreens that contain reef-friendly zinc oxide instead.
Mineral oil (or: petroleum, petrolatum, paraffin) is found in makeup, lotions, conditioners and moisturizers. It’s a non-biodegradable by-product of fossil fuels, classified a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Ditch mineral oil and moisturize with plant-based oils instead.
Aside from the learning sessions, attendees also joined artist AG Saño in the creation of the 180-meter sand art which did not use any paint or cement.
There were also various booths from participating partners like Save Philippines Seas, WWF for Nature Philippines, CURMA, La Union Soul, Meg Magazine (I loved their free buko and of course, a free magazine!!), Bayani Brew and Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit. We also had our dose of exercises for the afternoon as Planet Zips‘ Paolo Soler led the poi workshop, Corey Wills took care of the yoga class while Formado Pirulito of Escola Brasileira de Capoeira stretched our muscles and challenged our coordination skills with the capoeira workshop. Check out my VLOG below:
I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! Maria Ozawa in the flesh! It was so nice of her to support my campaign to be the #ChosenJuan for #JUANDERLUST | Thank you Maria! Check back on my Youtube channel and make sure to subscribe! I’ll be uploading the full interview we had with her. 😀
Please continue to pray for my Juanderlust journey. Whatever the outcome is, may it teach me spiritually and emotionally and may God be glorified!
The Fabulous Baker Brothers Tim and Herbert Henry were in town a few weeks ago and took some time to support my campaign to be the #ChosenJuan! Thank you Tim and Herbert! I hope you and your family can come back soon for that beach trip you asked me about! 😀
Don’t forget to catch The Fabulous Baker Brothers, Wednesdays 7:30pm on TLC! Subscribe to their YOUTUBE channel HERE.
The Fabulous Baker Brothers were also in town for the TLC Festival! I got to interview them and taste their delicious cooking. 😀 They were kind enough to express support for my journey to be the #ChosenJuan for #Juanderlust.
My interview with them will be uploaded on my Youtube channel soon. Catch The Fabulous Baker Brothers on TLC, Wednesdays, 7:30pm!
Hey it’s October! It’s Museum and Galleries Month in the Philippines and that means FREE ADMISSION to all museums and branches (The Planetarium, National Art Gallery, Museum of the Filipino People and the Museum branches all over the Philippines). The trip was organized by my friend Clarice and we all decided to go on a hot Saturday afternoon. The museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. You don’t need to book ahead of time but take it from me–weekends mean the entrance lines get really long. I’m happy we were able to get a free parking spot near the museum but the midday heat can just immediately drain your energy.
WHAT DO I BRING?
Cameras, mobile phones, tablets and wallets are okay. No food and drink can be brought inside the museum and you have to deposit your bag at the baggage counter by the entrance. Belt bags or small sling bags are allowed though. If you’re parked a bit far, bring a fan, an umbrella and some alcohol/sanitizer. You can pack these items in your small bag or choose to deposit them since the gallery is air-conditioned. If you plan go without a bag, please bring a pack of issues, spray sanitizer and paper soap. I don’t know if all restrooms have no tissue but the one that I went to had zero and no hand soap. 😉
WHEN I GET IN…
You register first. If you’re visiting with a group, have one representative line up and write all your names and then you can proceed.
We started our tour at the Old House of Representatives Session Hall which has the huge Spoliarium painting by Juan Luna as the welcoming centerpiece. Juan Luna worked on the Spoliarium in Rome for eight months and submitted it to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes where it won the First Gold Medal (1884).
I enjoyed the next gallery which is composed of various prints of plants and flowers from the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.
We then went to the gallery that held the works of Fernando C. Amorsolo, the first Philippine National Artist.
The gallery has over 100 drawings of seascapes, people, daily life and events.
HOW DO ARTISTS BECOME NATIONAL ARTISTS?
According to the website of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts, nominations come in and are screened by the NCCA and the CCP. They then submit a list of recommendations to the President. The President issues a proclamation conferring the rank and title to the recommendees and then they are awarded during ceremonies organized by the secretariat.
The Award honors Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters. – National Commission for Culture and the Arts
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