BTW’s Summer Girl Series: Mac
If summer could be personified, Mac would be the perfect image of it. A timeless beauty with a smile that could light up your day, she stuns even the most jaded with her positivity, and calls to mind all the incredible memories that you have of your favorite season.
In this installment of BTW’s Summer Girl Series, Mac takes us on a digital island hop across the Philippines. She reveals that taking a trip somewhere isn’t just about where you’re going, but who you’re with as well. We also get to meet her gorgeous family here, and see why being a mother can elevate your travel experience, and deepen your connection with the sea.
1. What was the most memorable trip you’ve had? For that particular destination, what makes it unique from the other parts of the world?
Our recent beach trip to Camotes Island (Or simply “Kamote” according to my youngest. Haha!) as a family is one for the books. Travelling with kids is not a piece of cake but this trip was just hassle free and straight out of a dream.
Back in 2005, one of our real island getaway as a couple is in Camotes. I can vividly remember that it was just us, and this German journalist.
Life stood still for five days.
It wasn’t much of the destination but the people I am with. Camotes Island will always be dear to me.
Destination wise, it would be Siargao. We first went there November of 2010. My husband and I seriously considered moving there. Had I not been pregnant, we would have gone apartment hunting in a blink. We were just completely enamored by Siargao. And it is still in my bucket list to move there for a couple of months. I promised myself that one day we will.
This was my answer when I was asked this similar question a few months back.
“I’ve been ranking Philippine beaches I’ve been to and Siargao, in its entirety, is an unwavering favorite. It is just a whole gamut of wows. Lagoons, falls, lakes, uninhabited islands, pristine beaches, world-class surfing sites, coves, mangroves and a whole lot more to discover. When my husband and I first went there we promised we will move there for a month or so. Had I not been pregnant with our youngest that time we would have hunted for an apartment right then and there. Kalanggaman Island in Leyte is my second pick followed by White Island in Camiguin.”
2. What are your top 3 favorite spots in that place, and 3 things to do?
In Camotes, we spent hours in the shore, doing nothing, waiting for the sunset. And we finally had the chance to go back with our little pumkins. And it topped our first trip there!
It was as if we were just hanging out with friends, laughing at the silliest of things, paying no mind to sunburn (which we regretted later). The beach was empty too! We had the long stretch of white sand all to ourselves. If I could freeze time, I would have frozen it right then.
3. How do you usually prepare for the sunny season there? What top 3 tips can you give to people who’ll visit it for the first time?
The best thing about the Philippines is it is summer all year long!
For first time visitors, prepare to be floored! I know I am biased but once you get to know the Philippines by heart you may never want to leave.
One of the tips is get to know the people, the locals. One thing that makes the Philippines exquisite is the happiness our people exude and it makes the experience more remarkable. It can also be pretty contagious, I tell you. Another tip would be is to go beyond the surface.
Go to places that are not too crowded.
We have a handful of virgin beaches that look as if they are straight out of a painting or a postcard or a hand-painted postcard from heaven! I find the raw places in the Philippines more appealing. Last, is go during the dry season as there are some islands which are not accessible during the rainy season and you wouldn’t want to miss out on those. The harder to get to, the better!
4. What life changing memory can you share with us? Something that really struck you and changed the way you saw the world.
Oh, gosh. I have a handful. But probably the most powerful is that of motherhood and the adventure it entails.
It just gives you a whole new perspective on everything. It gives you strength and happiness that you cannot possibly equate to anything in this world. Also, when I started traveling with my little boys, every trip became life changing.
5. About traveling in general…Why should we travel while we’re still young?
I actually do not believe in traveling not just when we are young. I say, travel at any age! It is never too late for anybody. Adventure awaits, no matter how old or young you are.
Brave the waves,
From Coast to Coast
The Philippines has some of the most stunning coast lines in the world, with the fringes of its islands laced in white. I love driving by coastal roads, and seeking out quiet coves, where you feel the thrill of seeing the shore just go on and on. A place like this deserves to have you explore the fine stretch ahead of you languidly. To forget words for a moment, and allow your thoughts to run free.
I went on another visit to Baler with my friends to surf, but because the waves were flat, we decided to check out Dicasalarin. We whiled away the rest of the day there, had a boodle fight lunch (which was all kinds of awesome), and went on a short hike.
All Sundays should be like this.
Brave the waves,
Go on A Stroll, See Everything Anew
It’s mighty optimistic of me to believe that I can stumble on new ways of looking at familiar places. (Even ones that I’ve gone to since I was a kid.) But I really think that if you pack an open mind, along with your other essentials for any trip, your usual getaways can still manage to surprise you.
Shang ri la Mactan is one of my super favorite beaches in the planet. If you save up or get lucky, and you get to visit it year after year though, its wow factor can tend to dull your senses. One habit that I picked up from my years of traveling was to clear my head, take a stroll, and prime myself to view everything with fresh eyes.
Once you’re near that crucial point of feeling like you’ve seen it all, pause, and choose to appreciate what lies ahead of you. The world is too kind for us to allow ourselves to get used to beauty and wonder, don’t you think so?
Brave the waves,