Fox & Bear, Life Lately, Philippines, Photo Diary, Travel 34 COMMENTS

Photo Diary: A Weekday Getaway

weekend getaway cover

Ever since I came home from my two month stay in France, I’ve been craving a little bit of calmness, quiet and nature. You see, living in France for those two months, even though I was in the city, was still a constant getaway. There was calmness. There was quiet. There was nature. I loved that kind of life and I got used to it rather quickly.

I never missed the big city that is Metro Manila, I never missed any of the traffic, the unbearable pollution, the chaos — I mean, who in their right mind would? It couldn’t possibly be at all healthy for you physically, mentally and emotionally — but this was my reality, and a weekday getaway was the best we could do to get away from it all, even if for two nights only.

On the early morning of Thursday, Gab and I packed up the car with our bags of clothes, some groceries, my portable vinyl player and some old and new records to listen to. The night before we caught the last screening of The Revenant with his family, so we got home pretty late. We usually aim to leave for the beach by 4-5AM, but we tend to oversleep an hour or two. That morning we were on the road by 7 AM and got to their beach home in Lobo, Batangas by 10:30AM. I slept majority of the car ride.

Gab slept when we arrived, while I tried to get some work done with editing my vlogs on Adobe Premiere Pro, a video editing software completely new to myself. It’s the reason why vlog editing has been taking so long. Admittedly.


At an hour past noon, I quickly cooked some grilled vegetables and steak for lunch. The grilled vegetables were good. The steak was not. Gab and I have been struggling with cooking steak perfectly, for years now. Always a hit or miss. It’s honestly a lot harder than it looks. Damn Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey make it look easy on YouTube. Don’t be fooled. After stuffing our faces, I went back to edit my vlogs, then took an hour nap. Gab woke me up at 4PM so we could go snorkeling, but by the time we were in the water, the waves had gotten too strong and the water was already a bit too murky.

DSCF2924We decided to get back on land to just relax and watch the sunset instead. Gab finished his book, and I sat around taking photos of him and the sunset.


The next day we were up by 10, had a quick picnic brunch under a big tree to shade us from the sun with the view of the sea while jazz music played from Gab’s phone. We had sandwiches with french bread, cold cuts, and mozzarella cheese. I was enjoying the moment too much to even bother capturing photos, but I did get in a quick vlog or two. After waiting a few hours while listening to vinyl records, Gab and I decided to go for a swim and snorkel. And thank goodness for waterproof bags, I was able to bring my cameras on the raft so Gab and I could take some photos and vlog footage.

IMG_8499The water was crystal clear and still this time, making it ideal for snorkeling and just floating around. Gab and I swam and snorkeled for two whole hours. Every time we snorkel, we always see something new. This time we saw rainbow fish, neon blue and neon purple fish, a moray eel (freaked me out) and a weird creature I was saw on the weird part of YouTube — after researching when we got on land, it turned out to be an egg mass from a squid. I caught it on video, so it’ll most likely end up on the vlog too.

IMG_8525 (2)

After two long hours under the sun, Gab started to get hungry and as much as I hated to admit it, I was starting to feel tired from swimming as well, even though I’m always such a happy little camper when I’m in the water (must be cause I’m a Pisces?), so we headed back to shore to freshen up and cook an early dinner of steak rice — one of mine & Gab’s favorite meals. Quick, easy, tasty. Not at all healthy, but eh, what ya gonna do?

IMG_8569One of my favorite things about being in the province is getting to watch locals go through their everyday lives. In Lobo, we’re obviously always surrounded by fishermen. This particular fisherman was preparing for a night of fishing because the moon was going to be completely covered in clouds. That means artificial light can be used to lure more fish near their boat to be caught and sold in the early morning markets in town. Don’t worry, Batangas has a “catch & release” program where the fishermen are taught to release all the fish that aren’t meant for eating or selling, just to help preserve the marine life in the area.

cherokeeirish-2-2With the gloomy sky looming, the tide coming in and a new printed scarf, we were a little inspired to do a quick portrait session by the water. I don’t entirely know if Gab was inspired by The Revenant for these photos, but it reminds me so much of the movie… Mostly because when I look at the photos as a whole, I’m reminded of a Native American girl, and well, I happen to be a teeny-tiny part Cherokee-Irish.

IMG_8528-2I’ve always believed in the importance of discovering and knowing your history as a person, your bloodline from generations ago, where you came from… It helps explain so much of who you are today as a person.

Two years ago, I learned on my maternal side, I had a Filipino ancestor who was from Batangas too, was a katipunero, and had left an ancestral home that we could visit… and that me being related to the “Mercado” family meant I was somehow related to our national hero, Jose Rizal. I mean, how cool is that? I’m pretty sure they’d be rolling in their grave if they knew how much I wanted to live abroad, though. Sorry grandpa’s!

On my paternal side was the Cherokee-Irish ancestry, but all the information our family has stops at my 3x grandfather who came to the Philippines from North Carolina before the second world war. Someday I hope to visit North Carolina and start researching on my family history… It’s just way too interesting to pass up.

IMG_8541 copy-3This last photo reminds me most of an alleged Cherokee tale about two wolves that go like this, it’s become one of my favorites:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


After two whole days in Lobo, Gab and I packed our stuff back into the car to head home for Manila. We wanted to extend another night but had already made prior commitments for a dinner gathering with some friends and acquaintances. Besides, it’s only a few hours away and knowing Gab & I, another weekday getaway wont be too far ahead.


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  • Reply Aidx 8 February 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I feel particularly attached to this post as I have started going to the beach for calmness two years ago, fast forward to now I go every other weekend. This time last year, I went to Siargao to live there for almost a month and I was talking to this writer who lived a fancy life in Manila but left it for the sea and surfing. She told me, “try to keep swimming because there is truth in water.”

    • Reply Camie Juan 8 February 2016 at 5:49 pm

      That’s fucking beautiful. God, how I wish I could leave it all, but my plans for the next few years don’t fit the beach. Unfortunately. How’s siargao btw? It’s a place I want to visit. :)

      • Reply Aidx 8 February 2016 at 6:03 pm

        Siargao is fine and quiet, if you choose to live or stay at the parts where tourists don’t go to. If you’re up to meeting surfers from all over the world, you can stay at the touristy part of town (where it feels like you’re in another country because 75% of the people are foreigners.)

        If you’re up for it, here are some postcards from Siargao —

  • Reply P 8 February 2016 at 6:36 pm

    The Cherokee tale makes so much sense. Also gives an answer to a question always on my mind, is it really possible to have a twisted heart and mind but with pure intentions?

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 7:02 pm

      It depends on what you mean by “twisted” I suppose… But I think it would be a yes. It’s only human to be both good and bad.

  • Reply Louise Ramos 8 February 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Your photos are always so lovely, whether overseas or from here in the PH. I’ve read the Cherokee tale from a book before, and it’s one of those short stories that just gets me every time I read it.
    Caffeine Rush

  • Reply The Wandering Lass 8 February 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Ate Camie, I too love going to the beach for the same reasons! I get so much peace and inspiration just by looking at the waves. Seeing your post made me suddenly want to hit the beach in the weekend!

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Go for it! Batangas is the easiest to reach, I think… Laiya looks really pretty! :)

  • Reply Jamie Catt 8 February 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Love this Camie! And the photos are superb! Let’s hang out soon!

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Jamie! And yes please. Or let me know when your next adventure with Jeline is. I want to tag along!!!

  • Reply Karla Barbacena 8 February 2016 at 11:05 pm

    I love every detail of your blog, Camie. It’s like I’m reading a novel and the only difference is the story is in real life (which makes it more exciting). Great pics too. :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:58 pm

      That’s such a nice compliment, Karla <3 Thank you! :)

  • Reply Emily 9 February 2016 at 1:04 am

    What a beautiful place to be able to visit for a weekend. I love that you have a little Southern heritage :) I hope you are able to visit NC sometime in the future, too!

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Emily! :) It’s definitely on my list of places to visit. It really intrigues me knowing I have ancestors who lived there and I really want to find out what their lives were like… I kind of wish I could be on an episode of that tv show “Who Do You Think You Are?” where they feature celebrities tracing their roots. So fricken cool.

  • Reply Cae 9 February 2016 at 1:49 am

    Your photos are always so dreamy, Camie <3

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Cae <3

  • Reply Shannon 9 February 2016 at 5:44 am

    Your writing style in this post felt very relaxing. So nice to sit back and enjoy the (beautiful) photos with a cup of tea. <3

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks Shannon! I guess it helps that I just got back from the beach when I wrote the post. Haha

  • Reply Mei 9 February 2016 at 10:30 am

    Aahh, a peaceful and relaxing getaway is the best way to escape from the busy and chaotic Metro Manila! Haha

    It’s amazing how you’re able to trace your family history and it’s fascinating to learn about your ancestors. I wish I could do the same, because years back, I found out that my surname now should not be my real surname, because my grandfather used a different surname. I have to trace two different surnames if ever I get interested in history. Haha. Also, there’s one famous Brazilian volleyball player who has the same surname with me. So maybe we are somehow related to Brazilians? Hehe But the least thing I like is, there’s a disease named after my surname!!! Imagine, a disease? Why did the doctor (a Brazilian) who discovered it named it after his surname, duh? Haha But here’s another cool thing, there’s an asteroid named after our surname! Haha oh my, this is getting interesting, I might actually trace our family history!!! How do you do your research? Do you just ask your relatives?

    Anyway, hope you were able to spend a little time to breathe and get ready for another week of work in the city. Yes, it’s just near so you can always come back when you need to :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Our last name also isn’t really Juan, apparently. It’s some other name, sounds very Filipino actually, like Lakandula or something. HAHA I tried to Google it, but couldn’t find any information. I’m not entirely sure how legit or accurate the information is though.

      But yeah, generally you ask your relatives for information and you start from there! :)

  • Reply Trixielle 9 February 2016 at 4:22 pm

    How do you cook your steak? I suggest oiling the steaks instead of the pan, then marinate with your choice of condiments, I usually just use pepper steak and salt. =) Works well whenever I cook it. If you like your steak medium rare, cook each side on medium for about 3-4 minutes (if your steak is quite thin, 2-3 minutes) but if you like it well done, cook for 5 minutes or longer until you get your desired texture. Then afterwards, cover the steak with aluminium foil very loosely.

    • Reply Camie Juan 9 February 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Honestly, we’ve tried exactly how you dictated… Always a hit or miss. I don’t know if it’s the quality of the steak, or if the heat is too high sometimes. Generally I suck in the kitchen. Haha

      • Reply Trixielle 9 February 2016 at 8:52 pm

        Haha! I just watched your vlogs and you look like you’re okay in the kitchen! It’s probably just the quality of steak :)

  • Reply chrizzia binas 10 February 2016 at 9:06 pm

    This post is giving me the feels <3

    Chrizzia / Thistled Soul

  • Reply mathobject 11 February 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Try using thermometer for the steak. Pros uses em

  • Reply projectstopover 12 February 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Camie! I was wondering what camera did you use on your photos, and are they processed? Thank you! :)

  • Reply Augustin Ra 13 February 2016 at 11:44 am

    I paused for a moment by the time I finished reading the short story about the wolves. I was really touched by it. I even posted it in my FB account. A really good short story that would move people and reflect upon which wolf are they feeding in their entire lives. Thanks for sharing, Ate Camie! :)

  • Reply eccentricdamsel 15 February 2016 at 12:50 pm

    wow, you just know how to string words together and make it into beautiful paragraphs. BIG FAN right here :)

  • Reply Rej Relova 25 February 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I love the overall feel of the photos especially the last one! You really look like a Cherokee girl. The tale that you quoted in the last part of your post is also one of the tales I always love to read again.

  • Reply Kareen 11 March 2016 at 9:38 am

    Camie that’s awesome that your ancestry goes back to the Cherokees in North Carolina! I grew up in North Carolina and it is such a beautiful state, full of nature and friendly people. But when you grow up somewhere (no matter how beautiful it is) you always want to live somewhere else. Anyway, hope you’ll get to visit NC someday. Lovely photos and such a pleasant read this was.

  • Reply chessica 17 March 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Camie!! Your swimwear! <3 Love it!! May I know where you got it? Thank you!

    • Reply Camie Juan 17 March 2016 at 10:52 pm

      I got it from Wear Sundae on IG! <3

  • Reply Abhie Mateo 2 September 2016 at 6:04 am

    May I know what camera are you using?

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