Friday, April 18, 2014

A Weekend Retreat

My constant road trip buddies, my college friends frustrated from a cancelled flight to an island destination were determined to leave the city for another weekend getaway. Nobody wanted to unpack their vacation bags and by sheer determination, it took us less than hour over breakfast to plan this road trip to Batangas.
Laiya, San Juan, Batangas is an hour away from the Lipa exit of STAR Highway. I've often wondered why it's called STAR, maybe because the Governor of Batangas is our much loved Star For All Seasons, I thought. Well, after much Google-ing, I found out that it stands for Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, how unromantic!
From our van, we booked an overnight stay at the Coco Grove beach resort, the package that comes with free buffet meals was very reasonable. The tree houses were comfortable and one could just watch the waves from the balcony.
As we get older, nature becomes our best friend and confidant. Long drives and the laughter that goes with it works better than hypertension medicines. Prayers calm you more than Valium.
Happiness is a choice and sometimes just a Google away.

A refreshing sight, the road to Laiya, San Juan, Batangas lined with Mahogany trees.

Coco Grove

Tree house accommodations in Coco Grove.

Bukayo, sweetened strips of coconut meat.

My friend Beth braving the waves.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Mediatrix built on a 1.5-hectare lot banker/art lover/philanthropist Danny Dolor donated to the Parish of Lipa City.

The main altar of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mediatrix.

Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces, Carmelite Convent, Lipa City

The beautiful rose window of the chapel.

The garden where it is believed, the Virgin Mary appeared before Sr. Teresita Castillo.

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