I was supposed to post this once I was done with 15 Days of Writing True, but I unexpectedly hit a road block from writing every day. It usually takes me more than one sitting to work on something I’d be proud of because my process is usually – write while I’m emotional/whenever the ideas are there and just hack out all the content I can squeeze out of me (the best example of what I can come up with whenever I use my emotions as a writing guide). Then I take a couple of days to reread and polish whatever it is I made because I tend to forget whatever I’ve written down while I’m in the zone. Two weeks of churning out material daily have gotten me so frustrated and I made the decision to overcome the last five writing assignments on my own timing. Unfortunately, I cannot always be emotional. It’s a double-edged sword as I am never lukewarm when I emotions come into play. I am either detached or I dive into head first. It’s also how I curate my relationship to everything – I try to only surround myself with people I can look up to and people whose feelings are mutual with mine. You can only imagine what it means when I call someone my best friend. My non-athletic self will literally try outdoor activities for them. Which is exactly what I did when Gin wanted to celebrate her birthday by heading to Inflatable Island.
Since my work week ends on a Friday morning, I just needed to finish up before we made the long drive to Subic. The roads were surprisingly not clogged, and we arrived in Mansion Garden Hotel in Subic Bay Freeport Zone two hours early. The hotel’s location was central and it was easy to walk everywhere (if you’re a big fan of the sun, that is). I’ve never spent time in Subic before, and would usually end up on less crowded parts of Zambales, so this was a new experience for me. Our first order of business was to eat brunch in the hotel’s quaint cafe, Garden Cafe.
We didn’t have high expectations for our meal. It was affordable (we spent less than Php 300 each) and the pictures on the menu weren’t appetizing. However, the serving was huge. It doesn’t look like it but we really took a while to finish everything and we’re fast eaters. There wasn’t a need for a dip for my pork chop, and chicken boy sang praised for the gravy that came with his chicken. We were so excited for the hotel’s free breakfast, thinking the cafe would be the one catering it (they were not) and was disappointed when we had lackluster food the next day.
The hotel interior adhered to its’ garden theme and incorporated as much wood and plants into their decor. I personally like this color palette as it is very calming. I’m a fan of unconventional lighting and want their ceiling lights for my own home.
I believe that Subic has a building regulation where structures can only have a specific number of stories which is why the hotel has expanded by adding another building connected by a bridge. Nonetheless, the nature theme carried over to the newer building.
We had the Standard Deluxe Room which was the smallest room available. It wasn’t too cramped, but the bed was not for made for tall people. At all. I’m of average height and if I wiggle a little, my feet will enter that damned territory of ‘within-reach-when-a-monster-under-the-bed-decides-to-say-hello’.
When I stay in hotels, I rarely bring my own soap and shampoo and work on the assumption that the hotel will already have it. They did have a few available but we had to ask housekeeping for more shampoo because of ~*my hair*~.
All their rooms had a veranda and ours faced another hotel annex in the making. Even with the ongoing construction, it was surprisingly quiet inside our room until you open the veranda door. It was not bad at all.
Once the birthday girl arrived, we headed to Inflatable Island for some body pain. Going in to write about this, I imagined myself writing about how unprepared I was for this activity in a sarcastic manner, only to sit here and just write it as it is. I am so not fit.
We only bought two-hour passes for 4-6 in the afternoon which was not enough to go through all the obstacles, but enough for me to go home bruised and scratched up. We deposited our things in paid lockers which were brilliant for whoever owned this because everyone is bound to place their things in lockers. 😛
I think aside from the obstacles, the hardest part is actually going back on the inflatables via the styrofoam board. People tend to sit on it and it takes time for everyone to get up.
Once we were done, we relaxed on one of the beach bags while sipping fruit shakes. The downside is that the food stalls close early at almost the same time the inflatable island stops operation (6 PM). Therefore, if you end up hanging out here too late and have the need to ingest something, you need to bring your own.
There was a queue for the shower so we utilized the outdoor shower, and laid out a waterproof mat on the car so we can just bathe in our own hotel rooms. Although instead of showering, we went and had drinks while taking a dip in the pool. Once we all felt hungry, we walked to 1925 Gastropub. As usual, we had low expectations for the food but EVERYTHING WE ORDERED TASTED GREAT. I cannot remember what we ordered but we were super happy with everything. Both our boyfriends had beers while Gin and I had an entire bottle of champagne to ourselves. We did some math and came to the conclusion that if we drink at least three glasses each, it would cost about the same if we get the bottle. We’re far from being alcoholics, but we have an affinity for the bubbly. That we did not finish and had to take back to the hotel. 🙂
Overall, bruises aside, it was such a fun getaway. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been part of Gin’s life for the past decade. We’ve gone through so much from being a couple of naive teenagers from the province. We’ve weathered fights, bad haircuts, a long distance friendship, really weird fashion choices, family problems, weight gain and weight loss (and we’re currently in weight gain again), messy breakups, health scares, spilling alcohol on bedsheets, and, times when our kilays were so not on fleek. She’s not just my best friend because she’s family. For her birthday, and the remaining 364 days of the year, all I wish for her is a life filled with so much love and happiness. <3
Mansion Garden Hotel, Dewey Avenue corner Bonifacio Street, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, Philippines
TEESH || PHILIPPINES