Only my second trip to the beach this year, as I am getting really old (ding! ding! ding!) and do not have the energy to travel every other week like I used to, is a trip with my favorite travel friends. Four years of amazing friendship and counting, and we are growing old, growing bigger, growing in numbers through literal multiplication and addition of kids and pets and even travel gnomes and stuffed toys, and we are looking forward to more, more of this, more of that, more drinks, more music, more friends, more laughs, more crazy pegs, more memes, more ridiculous ideas to pass the time with! Our trip this time included two toddlers, two sets of parents, couples, singles and a jack russell terrier that Lia has renamed as Bingopopoipoy. It was a one of a kind weekend indeed. We were headed to Tambaron Green Beach Resort that our friends AJ and Maya and their family owned for nearly forty years.

Going to Tambaron Island in Bulalacao, Mindoro Oriental involves taking a bus from Cubao to Batangas, a ro-ro from the port of Batangas to the port of Calapan, a chartered van from the port of Calapan to the port of Bulalacao and a banca ride from Bulalacao port to the resort. We left Cubao at 1:30am and was at the resort in time for lunch – that’s nearly 10 hours of travel for a total kilometers of 255 (or 155 miles) from Manila to the town of Bulalacao. The early morning ro-ro ride was fast enough that it only took 2 hours, so we we’re able to stop for breakfast in Calapan.

I first packed Lia an individual bag filled with her things, only to realize that for a small person, she had way too many things and that it was a better option to just bring one big suitcase filled with all our stuff, in addition to my usual backpack and camera bag. Lia now thankfully can carry her own little backpack filled with some of her most needed items, like a face towel, a jacket, a bonnet, some cookies and candies, and a bottle of water. I love that! I had recently purchased packing bags from Travel Essentials and found them to be as useful as I thought they would be. Thanks Tessa for making these wonderful stuff for travelers like us. I love them!

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We’ve recently been fans of the newest fashion blogger Aaron, and well, he inspires us! Enough for us to do the following shots, while we we’re all standing by the road, waiting for our van drivers to change our ridiculously flat tire.

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Since I took this photo, I get my own shot. I’ve got H to thank for this Instagram shot. We’re all Android users and since Instagram was released for Android, there’s no reason not to use it.

The original photo though, shows me standing on the opposite side of the road, perched precariously in what looks like harmless grass, though there really is a deep crazy crack in the middle of where I was standing… but well, it was the only way to get everyone in the shot, what with my 50mm and all. My camera body and lenses are all badly in need of a visit to the shop for some cleaning, so I apologize for the less than sharp photos. Time, I need time! 🙂

We arrived in the little town of Bulalacao to buy some supplies at the store, like slippers, coffee, distilled water, beer, more cookies and other little stuff, before going to the port to board the boat. Here is our most inspired-by-Aaron shot.

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This is what I wore... Hardware bling bling edition.

We were met by a dog, who was undeniably K9 at the port, and who promptly introduced himself to our dog Popoy (renamed Bingopopoipoy for the weekend). In case you’re wondering, Bingo is from… Old McDonald had a farm… and in this farm he had a dog… and Bingo was his name! B-I-N-G-O, all together now, you know the drill. And the other show Boboiboy – a Malaysian animated tv series that airs on Disney channel.

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We took an hour long trip by banca to the island of Tambaron. Lia who is used to traveling by boat ever since she was a baby loved every minute of this trip.

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I love Lia’s hairstyle. She is too cool. I should take tips from her.

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Nearly the entire island of Tambaron is owned by the Fajardo family. They’ve had it in the family since the 70s.

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Maya, AJ and dad, Jimmy

I had my first cup of coffee of the day after lunch, with this view:

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I missed just sitting by the beach, staring out into the sea, with a cup of coffee, so that’s exactly what I did while I watched over Lia who was having a little swim out in front of me.

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The photos are somewhat hazy because I was trying on a cheap waterproof bag I purchased recently. It’s not a real waterproof case, and I was trying it out in the hopes of supposedly-taking care of my camera (though who was I kidding really?) after the abuse it has endured the past two years. And since I was not really in the water, at least not yet at this time anyway, I had it on to protect it from the sand.

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Shortly after this, we had an idea, and brought it to life, and that idea formed into something else and that something else deserves a blog of its own, so more on that later.

That crazy fun activity took all of our afternoon. The night was spent just hanging out, talking, singing, and drinking for the most part. Though I was not a participant in that activity because Lia and I were so tired, we fell asleep very, very early. In fact, Lia fell asleep while she was eating and didn’t even get to swallow her food. Poor little thing. We slept the entire night and woke up the next morning. This little fact probably explains, at least partially, my absence in the photos that AJ took. The other partial explanation is I’m just aloof like that, or more like, busy with Lia? Yup, a question mark there, since I’m not entirely too sure. 😛

The moment she woke up, it was “I wanna go to the beach!” and that’s where they were in the morning while we waited for our boat to arrive.

If you ask why the following two photos are the way they are, it’s because H took the photos and “instagram killed his skills”. He forgot to check and adjust my camera settings before pressing the shutter.

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After a while, he finally got it right, right enough so we don’t look like we’ve just all rolled over in flour espasol-style.

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Can I say I just love my sunglasses? This was a pair I was inspired to buy because when I look at it, I am reminded of the surfer boys in La Union. They always had really funky shades, and I always found it amusing. I like being amused, so in the absence of other people to amuse me, I make myself the object of my own amusement. How convenient, really.

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The boat was rather late so we we’re also late with our island hopping activity for the day. When we got to the first island, Silad, the sun was scorching hot!

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Silad Island - Welcome for coming!

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Yup, nothing’s changed! Photo on the right was taken at the Bohol Beach Club swimming pool on our last trip there when Lia was 19 months old. I’m glad that jacket still fits! Lia has outgrown her other floaters.

Maya told us there was a beach on the other side of the island, up that stairs, and on to the other side! That’s what we told Lia too, so she eagerly went.

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Silad Island - from the top of the stairs

Only to find out there was none! She was not too happy about that. She was begging to come down and back to the boat, where she could swim in all delight. We we’re on our way back when we were stopped for this little photo op.

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And thus, the protest.

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Lia's little beach, Silad island.

We we’re off to the next island, Target, where lunch was served. Can I say the eggplant in sweetened vinegar was unforgettable? We had buffet meals during our stay in Bulalacao and the food was always superb! Kudos to Lily Fajardo and her staff for making our meals always an island “dining” experience.

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After lunch, I laid a sarong on the beach in the shade for Lia, and she said, “Mama, is this for me? It’s like a picnic?!” She tried to fit herself on it as best as she could, asked for a bottle of milk, and with the help of the softly blowing gentle wind, fell asleep.

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Nap time at Target Island

We sat by her side as she slept and had little chit chats. That, is what I would truly call, baby sitting. You just sit it out with the baby.

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While she dreamt little beachy dreams and asked herself, “To swim or not to swim later, that is the question, hmmmm?”

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This, by the way, is my favorite photo from this trip. Or not. This is me practicing the “sad little smile” look.

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And this is the view of the beach, through somebody’s eyes.

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I had so much fun taking these photos. In my mind, the peg slash hashtag was “Instagram mo mukha mo!” I love it! Such simple joys in life…

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We we’re supposed to go to another island after this but the tide was getting really low, we opted to head back home.

I fell asleep the minute my back hit the soft bed and missed the opportunity to go swimming in another part of the island with the rest of the group. Lia, on the other hand, did not miss this opportunity and came back a really happy little girl. So happy and full of energy was she that she slept late that night, and woke up late the next morning.

I, on the other hand, woke up early the next morning and found some time for coffee with myself and a little trek up the hill on the other end of the beach so I could get a Globe signal and get on the internet. Even if the Globe signal on the resort itself is absent (Smart has a pretty ok signal by the way), my little trek up that slope afforded me some full bars and internet fast enough for me to watch a video on Facebook someone shared over the weekend. Cool huh?

Took this photo as I was on my way down the hill

Lia woke up looking for me. She was not too keen on going swimming at first. I watched her get her pillow, her Tutu and her sarong and do this. I was being a paparazzi mom myself.

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I love that little girl. She always amazes me.

It was soon time to go, but not before I took a photo of this beautiful raft. More on this raft in another blog.

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And finally, this. All you need to know about Tambaron Green Beach Resort. Though, they also have a website and you can check them out on the latest edition of Lonely Planet. They also have review/s on Trip Advisor, do check it out.

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For this trip’s details, check this post out.

Furthermore, Angel Juarez of www.lakwatsero.com has a travel guide on Bulalacao, check out his blog here.

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