” My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.”

Billy Graham

It was almost noon time when we arrived in GarinFarm, our journey to heaven. Garin Farm is a slice of heaven on earth. I’ve heard a lot of comments and read lots of reviews about this place, so that I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

GarinFarm is a 14 hectare inland resort located in the town of San Joaquin Iloilo. There are no buses in the town of San Joaquin. Buses passing daily in this area are those coming from and going to the province of Antique and of Iloilo. A number of tricycles operate within the municipality. The most common mode of transportation in the poblacion is trisikad ( The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport; it is also known by a variety of other names such as bike, pedicabs, cyclo or trishaw).

GarinFarm is a perfect place for family, friends or people who love nature, outdoor activities and educational travel in matters like farming and agriculture. This is a great place to relax, retreat and meditate as well while bringing yourself closer to nature and to our almighty creator.

Upon entering the gates, you can smell the smells of the farm life. Along the way you can see ducks, chickens, goats, rabbits and water buffalos as you walk through the pavement of their hanging gardens. The uphill walk inside GarinFarm leading to the heart of the place where the pavilion is located was a bit tiring but fun. Walk, smile, and think of happy thoughts as we continue our journey to heaven. As we all know, entering the gate of heaven will not be easy. ūüôā

Hanging Gardens


After the long walk, your eyes will be in awe by the breathtaking view of the place. There is a wide swimming pool for adults and children and a large artificial lagoon for kayaking, fishing, horse-back riding, all terrain bikes, ziplines and a lot more.

Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.


One of the main attraction of the GarinFarm is their Pilgrimage site located at the heart of the farm. It has a huge stone fa√ßade leading to the 456 steps towards the Divine Mercy Cross. Going up to the Divine Mercy Cross would be a great way to lose some calories and fats. ¬†As I climb the steps my legs are a bit shaky but keep on telling myself go Tess go..You can do it. It was hot and the angry sun started to cause my skin to feel hot as if it was burning. I almost wanted to give up. But there’s no reason to give up. Our hardest time often lead to the greatest moments of our life.¬†I should try to take the most of it. As we reached the top I was sweating but with a big smile on my face. Hurray! Finally we made it! I made it!


A breathtaking view at the top


As you climb take time to stop and meditate on different scenes of ¬†Christ’s life.

Reaching the top was a very satisfying moment for us, as we finally reached the inspiring Divine Mercy Cross and seeing  the big image of the Divine Mercy was a great relief.


From here you need to enter the meditation tunnel leading to the gate of heaven.


As we step inside the meditation tunnel you have this feeling of being drawn into darkness. It was total darkness. We can not hardly see each other, I need to grab the hand of my friend as she leads me towards the end of the tunnel until reaching a realm of radiant white light.



Towards the end of the tunnel.

As the light appears and the tunnel takes you toward the light and into heaven. HEAVEN ON EARTH! The place is so bright that we could hardly open our eyes. I had to shield my eyes from it until my eyes adjusted to the brightness. The light filled me with rapture of love, peace and joy, it was so intense and so beautiful.

There are angels blowing their trumpets who stand beyond the gate of heaven as you can see the Throne of Light and Glory. The heaven is so beautiful, my heart felt very peaceful.


Our trip to GarinFarm was truly a memorable one. A beautiful, idyllic slice of HEAVEN!


From Iloilo International Airport:

  • Take the Shuttle Bus going to SM City, Iloilo
  • From SM City, Iloilo, take the SM Manduriao jeepney and take a stop at the nearby intersection under the overpass and ride the Oton bound jeep going to the jeepney terminal located in Mohon, Oton.
  • In Mohon Oton Terminal, there will be several San Joaquin jeepneys ready to take you to GarinFarm for PHP60.00.

From Iloilo City Proper:

  • Take the San Joaquin bound jeepney from Super terminal, Iloilo City.
  • You ¬†can also take buses going to Anini-y or Dao Antique in Molo Terminal. Tell the bus driver conductor to drop you off in San Joaquin

From San Joaquin Town Proper:

  • Take a tricycle ride and tell the driver to take you to GarinFarm, Brgy. Huna. Brgy. Huna is a 2-minute ride from San Joaquin town proper.

For Private Transportation:

  • San Joaquin is the last town in the southern part of Iloilo
  • Driving ¬†along Iloilo-Antique National Road would get you in San Joaquin in about an hour
  • There will be signage and billboards directions along the highway going to GarinFarm to guide you.


  • Bring umbrellas, hats, ¬†sunblock, shades and other protection you can against the sun. However, I suggest better to go there as early as possible before noon time. Noon time would be so hot. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while climbing the stairs going to the Divine Mercy Cross.
  • Bring extra budget if you plan to try their leisure activities. The entrance fee is not consumable.
  • Enjoy the scenery


  • PHP150.00 per person excluding children 1-year-old
  • Senior citizen discount; applicable to cardholders only. Strictly no outside food and drinks allowed.) Food and drinks available in the pavilion.

From the entrance you can walk going up to the pavilion and explore the agricultural products along the way ( just bring your umbrella). For those who can’t afford to walk under the heat of the sun, you can take a ride in the Golf Cart (3 pax/ride): Entrance to Pavilion is PHP60.00; Pavilion to Cross: PHP90.00.


  • Executive Conference Room (15-20 pax): PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Swimming Pool – PHP80.00
  • Hilltop Horseback Riding – PHP60.00
  • Biplane (300 meters -2 rounds): Sitting -PHP250.00 and Superman PHP350.00
  • Hilltop Boating: (Single Kayak -PHP40.00; Double Kayak – PHP90.00; Pedal Boat-PHP90.00; Rubber Boat – PHP120.00)
  • Hilltop Fishing: PHP30.00/kilo
  • Billiard: PHP60.00/hour
  • Restaurant
  • Canteen
  • WiFi Access
  • Laundry Service
  • 24-Hour Security
  • 24-Hour Electricity


  • Hilltop Family Room: PHP3,500.00
  • Hilltop Twin Room: PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Single Room: PHP 1,500.00

***Extra Bed: PHP350.00 with breakfast; PHP250.00 without breakfast. Available for Family and Twin Rooms only and limited to 2 extra beds.

*** Check-in guests have complementary breakfast and a free use of the hilltop pool.

For inquiries and reservations please contact Garin Farm San Joaquin

  • Telephone Number: + 63 033 314 75 55
  • Mobile Number: + 63 916 667 6851

or visit their Facebook Page: Facebook.com/GarinFarmInlandResort

Website: http://www.garinfarm.com



Bacong is a small town in the province of Negros Oriental, 10 minutes ride south from the City of Dumaguete. The town founded in 1801 by the revolutionary Filipino hero Pantaleon Villegas, better known as Leon Kilat. Leon Kilat monument stands in the little park and became the landmark of Bacong. The town’s name comes from the local dialect word “Bacon”, which means stand up.

Photo not mine. Taken from the internet


Only in Bacong can you find an old church known as the church of San Augustine with the tallest belfry in all of Negros Oriental and is one of 26 colonial churches within the country selected for restoration by the National Commission for Culture and Arts. It has the oldest altar with gold-bearing and painted friezes and a pipe organ from Zaragoza, Spain, installed in 1898 shortly before the revolution against Spain broke out in Negros Oriental. The only pipe organ of similar provenance is Bohol.


Photo not mine. Taken from the internet
Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

Lots of expats live in Bacong including me and my partner and it became our adopted home after my partner decided to retire from his work in Australia as a Geologist. My partner did a lot of research and reading about Bacong and he  fell in love with this little town.  My partner loves the country side of living while I am a city girl and have always enjoyed diversity of the city, so there was a big adjustment and transition on my side.

Bacong¬†became popular destinations and retirement haven for expats. It’s tranquil small-town life by the sea. It is known for its beaches. Here you can find an array of beautiful resorts and cottages along the coastline. There are plenty of apartments, houses fully furnished ¬†that you can rent for long or short-term which is very affordable.





The town is accessible by jeepneys, tricycles and private vehicles.  The best way to tour around Bacong is by foot or tricycle because it is such a small town and most of the sights are only a few minutes away from each other.

After nine months of living in Bacong we decided to move to my hometown Silay City, Negros Occidental where life is highly urbanised . It keeps a breast with development yet still keep up the laid back lifestyle. For the time being we are enjoying our life here in Silay City.

Living in a small town like Bacong was one of my best experience. My partner and I enjoyed our time there and one day we will be¬†going to visit. We miss our friends that makes the town what it is ” A great place to live”.



It was 2008 when we went to Puerto Galera. The trip to Puerto Galera was part of the company Team Building Workshop. I was pretty excited then. I was so thrilled that the  night before our trip I already prepared and packed my things and be sure tha I have everything I needed before going to bed.

Puerto Galera is just a few hours travel time from Manila, it can be reached by boat within 1-2 hours from Batangas Port. This gorgeous collection of bays and islands is one of the country’s top destinations, known for having a lot of beaches and is cheaper than a Boracay vacation.

A view of Boat children diving for coins from Batangas Pier ferry passengers going to Puerto Galera!



The town was popularly known as “Puerto Galera” in Spanish ” Port of the ¬†Galleons” which was given by the Spaniards who used the island as a safe haven in the 16th century. The town later became an important trading center and became the capital of Mindoro Island in the 17th century. In 1903, however, Calapan was named the capital as it remains to the present, and Puerto Galera became but a barrio there. On December 7, 1927, Puerto Galera was declared an independent municipality through Act 3415.

There are several pocket of beaches where you can choose and stay. We picked the White Beach over Sabang. White Beach is more family oriented and thinking that White Beach would have a white powdery sand but we were quite disappointed because it is not really white, the sand is coarse with broken corals and small pebbles. But this place has an array of restaurants, resorts, bars, souvenir stores, tattoo parlors thus, it is a convenient place to stay since everything you need is here. During the day, people enjoy their time playing beach volley ball, sun bathing, massage, swimming and there are lots of water sports to choose and enjoy such as jet ski, banana boat ride and kayak. At late afternoon you can lay out your beach towel and watch the sunset from the side of the island while sipping and enjoying a nice cocktail. But after the sun sets, life in White Beach does not stop at all.  Expect more fun and partying all night. At night you can watch the fire dancers which is very popular in Puerto Galera especially at White Beach. Most of the bars around the place has their own fire dancers to attract visitors.



Banana Boat ride
Sunset in White Beach, Puerto Galera
Fire Dance
Mindoro Sling

I really don’t drink but occasionally I would sip for a try to one of the favorite booze in Puerto Galera which is Mindoro Sling.¬†It is a cocktail drink of rum, orange, mango juice, sliced apple and Sprite. They said it is a deadly concoction and ¬†be consumed slowly. ūüôā

White Beach is very popular and expect the place to be crowded and a bit noisy during holidays especially Holy Week!

Sabang on the other hand is known as Puerto Galera’s Red Light District with a busy night life and bar options. But no beach at all! The main street lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. Sabang focuses mostly on the girly bar scene. If you like bar hopping with each bar being within a minute’s walk of the other and nightlife activities, Sabang might be the perfect place for you.

There are a lot of activities to do in Puerto Galera however, we only stayed for a night so I headed to our room and have a good night sleep as we will be heading back to Manila the following day.

¬†Note: All photos are not mine. Photos are taken from internet. I lost all my photos from my old phone during our trip in Mindoro, Puerto Galera. Bummer! ūüė¶


Temple of Leah was constructed in the year 2012 as a tribute of Teodorico Adarna a business tycoon that owns the Queensland chain of motels and the grandfather of actress Ellen Adarna to his wife Leah Villa Albino -Adarna whom the place is named after. He made this Temple possible to show his unwavering love to his wife.


The Temple of Leah is a work in progress  when we came to visit. It was a little dusty and cluttered, hopefully I am looking forward to visit the place again and able to see its final look. The temple was built on the hillside of Barangay Busay, in the Queen City of South (Cebu City). The area varies from steep slope in the upper part to gently rolling slope in the lower part. This barangay has rugged hillsides and topographically/shrub land area.


The Temple is an edifice of Roman architecture and Greek methodology inspired as you can see from the sculptures, columns, and high pillars. People who visited the place felt that they stepped into ancient Rome.

As you entered the Temple you would be greeted by a gigantic lions lying on each side of the stairs that will guide you to the door step where you can see a staircase with angels made up of brass and the Queen of the Temple in a 10-ft statue with crown and flower.


The brass statue is the representation of Leah Villa Albino-Adarna the late wife of the business tycoon Teodorico S. Adarna. Leah crowned matron queen of her alma mater, the University of Southern Philippines. The plaque at the bottom base of the statue reads ” May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and gentleness.



The Temple has an art gallery, museum and a library where all the favorite things her wife owned keep. Outside there are¬†benches where you can sit down, relax, nibble some snacks and drinks while enjoying the panoramic view of Cebu City. I can’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful scenery and intricate works of art, wondering how will it look like once done.













Temple of Leah is one of Cebu City’s important landmarks that invites and welcomes visitors to see its majestic beauty.


Address: Roosevelt Street, Barangay Busay, Cebu City

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP per person

Parking Fee: FREE if  outside the premises, but limited slots only. 100 PHP if parked inside Temple of Leah

Contact Number: 632 233 5032

Other Fees: 2,500 PHP for photo-shoots

Opening hours: 24 hours a day and 7 days a week


The Ruins or the The Taj Mahal of Negros, yes you heard it right the counterpart of the Taj Mahal of India. Too many people raise their eyebrows when they heard about it, me myself wonder why so. From the way you look at it is far different from the Taj Mahal of India.

It was time for our tour and our tour guide show us the place while telling us the love story of Don Mariano and Maria the couple who owned the mansion and the reason behind why the place was known as The Taj Mahal of Negros.


The mansion is located between the borders of Talisay and Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. The mansion owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, who visited Hong Kong often along with his friends during his younger years. On his visit to Hong Kong, the  sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson met a beautiful young Portuguese woman from Macau by the name of Maria Braga. He fell in love with this beautiful lass and eventually the two felt in love with each other and got married.

The couple lived in Talisay and started their own family, blessed with 10 children and two of them became government officials. However, when Maria was pregnant with their 11th child, she slipped in the bathroom and started to bleed. The transportation during those years was a horse-drawn carriage from Talisay to the town of Silay, where a doctor lived and it would take two days before the doctor could reached the mansion.

So by the time the doctor arrived at the Mansion on the fourth day, Maria and her baby were already dead. Don Mariano was so depressed during this time. Saddened by Maria’s death and his undying love for his wife, he then planned of building a mansion in honour of his wife and his unwavering love for her. He told his idea to his father-in law and he agreed ¬†and even went as far as supporting him the best way that he could.

Don Mariano’s ¬†father-in law¬†was a captain of his ship during that time so many of the items in building the¬†mansion was imported¬†from Europe and China, ranging from machuca tiles, chandeliers and china wares carted to Talisay. His father in-law even brought construction workers from China to help build the mansion.

It took three years constructing the mansion. The finishing touches on the walls and posts were a mixture of pure concrete with egg whites, resulting in a marble-like finish which can be seen and felt even to this day.

In 1911, the mansion was the largest residential structure ever built in the area. Built on  a 440-hectare farm. When World War II broke out, Don Mariano and his unmarried children left the mansion leaving everything behind.

When the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines came to the area, there were some rumours that the Japanese forces might have used the mansion as it headquarters. To prevent it from becoming such, Don Mariano asked the Filipino guerrilla fighters in Negros to burn his mansion.

It took three days of burning of the mansion to consume all the  roof, ceiling, floors, doors and windows Рall of which were made of hard wood. When the flames finally died down, only the following withstood the fire: the pillars of the mansion, the grand staircase and parts of the two-inch wooden floors on the second storey. For many years, the remains of the mansion were abandoned in the midst of sugar plantations. Until the owners decided to fix it and put a landscape around the ruins.




















Today The Ruins are a historical landmark, open to public  since January 2008.

Now, The Ruins has a  Mediterranean restaurant that operates from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Ruins has a souvenir shop and an 18-hole Mini-Golf course where you can have fun recreation activity with your friends and or family.












A great love story with a not -so- happy ending and a mansion built by romance and love once filled with beautiful memories before it became into a ruins.


If you are coming from Bacolod-Silay Airport and plant to visit The Ruins, just tell the taxi to pass by The Ruins.  If you are from Bacolod or nearby town, you can ride in a tricycle at the North Ceres Terminal.  Fare  from the North Ceres Terminal to The Ruins is PHP50.00 per head.

The Ruins is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m from Monday through Sunday including holidays.

All of the photos were taken by myself.


Valencia is a first class municipality in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines. It is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) west of Dumaguete City, the largest city and capital of the province. The municipality¬†voted as “the greenest and cleanest” town of Negros Oriental in 2007.

We used to live in Dumaguete for nine months and every Sunday morning we travelled to Valencia which is about 5 to 10 minutes ride for their  Sunday market. Valencia Sunday Market takes place at the municipality plaza.

Nearby the park, there are some small eatery and coffee shops owned by expats that offer breakfast and coffee.

Oval Field
The Municipality Church
Sunday Market in Valencia
A small park in Valencia
A nice pathway
Acacia Trees all over the plaza


Valencia grows many kinds of plants, flowers and vegetables due to its cooler climate, because of this Valencia supplies most of the fruits and vegetables found in Dumaguete City and surrounding areas. Agriculture is the town’s main industry aside from geothermal energy.

Large Cauliflower field
Farmers of Valencia
Cauliflower Plantation
Here you could buy fresh cauliflower in a very cheap price like Php80.00 per kilo or USD 1.65


If you are an adrenalin seeker  rock hopping and climbing, trekking the river of Forest Camp, Valencia  would be perfect for you. Forest Camp Valencia is a mountain resort about 20 minutes by tricycle (a three-wheeled motorcycle) from Dumaguete. Entrance Fee is Php80.00 per person with the money going for upkeep of the resort.

Forest Camp is a popular for picnic destinations. Cottages, picnic huts and rented tables scattered around the area for rent where you can lay down your picnic baskets and enjoy the day with your family and friends. The place has its own restaurant as well and a tilapia pond where you can fish for your own lunch. You just have to pay your catch and have them steamed or grilled for you by the staff.

The place also offer accommodation for those who wish to stay over night or a days in the mountain resort.


If you want to escape from the hustles and bustles of big city life. Why not plan a vacation here someday? Include Valencia in your next destination and you would surely enjoy the simplest life and close to nature.


El Nido is a first class municipality in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is about 420¬†kilometres South-West of Manila and about 238 kilometres North-East of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. It is known for its white sand beaches, coral reefs, limestones cliffs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago.

El Nido is now ranked #1 Conde Nest Traveler’s list of “20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World”. CNN International has called it the Best Beach and Island destination in the Philippines for its extraordinary natural splendor ¬†and ecosystem.

We flew via Philippine Airlines from Manila to Puerto Princesa our gateway to El Nido, Palawan. The flight took us about 65 minutes. Once we disembarked I saw an impressive view of Puerto Princesa sunrise out on a plane window. A thrilling journey in the quest of a beautiful sunrise.

We stayed over for one night in a small inn in Puerto Princesa close to the airport before heading to El Nido, Palawan the following day. We took the van which we booked ahead and arranged with the driver to pick us up at the inn. The van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido cost about Php750 each. You can rent the entire van all to yourself but a bit pricey or share with other passengers if you are in tight budget but be ready, you packed  like sardines in a tin.

A trip going to El Nido was a roller coaster. The zigzag road, the countless twists and turn of the driver trying to maneuver the unpaved road while texting, got me butterflies in my stomach. I wanted to snooze but I couldn’t, the long and winding zigzag road kept me awake and the beautiful scenery along the side of the road. After 5 to 6 hours roller coaster ride we finally arrived in our destination.

I was totally enchanted by the beauty of El Nido. Who wouldn’t be?¬†El Nido is a dream destination for everyone who would like to experience a paradise within paradise away from the city’s busy life. The tranquility, the beautiful scenery of a small town, ¬†lush trees and nature all around.

We stayed over in Greenview Resort in barangay Corong-Corong on a quiet beach just 3km from the town. I would highly recommend this place for everyone who would like to visit El Nido. The place is cozy and on the beach. The cabana are nice and cozy with excellent value for money. You can get a room for about Php700-800 a night.

Corong-Corong, El Nido
stunning sunset of Corong-Corong, El Nido. View over restaurant of Greenview Resort

What to do in El Nido:

#1 Watch the sunset of Corong-Corong, El Nido


The sunset in Corong-Corong was spectacular. There truly is nothing like watching ¬†the sun set over the sea, coupled with comforting stillness. Oh my oh my…the world is truly amazing.

El Nido is a beautiful paradise by hopping from one islands to another to see white-fine sandy beaches, limestones cliffs, jade-colored lagoons and sand bars. This is one of my reasons why I visited El Nido. I wanted to see the jaw dropping beauty of the paradise. So I took the Tour A & C arranged by Greenview Resort. Tour include a lunch of mouthwatering grilled fish, pork, chicken, rice, fruits, fresh salad and ice-cold drinks on one of the picturesque beach.

#2 Island Hopping: 

Tour A – Centered on Minloc Island and the two lagoons, Shimizu Island the 7 Commandos Beach

SWIMMING IN SMALL LAGOON  to get here you need to swim through a small cracks or riding in a kayak. Snorkelling would be fun too. The color of the water is absolutely turquoise blue. The lagoon enclosed  by a beautiful black rocks formations that revealed its stunning beauty.

Small Lagoon
Small Lagoon

GET STUNNED BY THE ROCK FORMATIONS OF SHIMIZU ISLAND ¬†known as Zimizu Island. It is an island located off the coast of El Nido. The island boasts a cream-colored sand beach. Shimizu is an uninhabited island. There’s no resort on the island and there’s no source of electricity or fresh ¬†water. According to the locals, the island named after the Japanese scuba diver who died near the island because of insufficient oxygen in his tank. The main attraction of the island is the narrow stretch powdery white sand and the beauty marine life just a couple of meters from the shore. Clams and school of colorful fish are just around the waters of Shimizu.

Shimizu Island
Shimizu Island

CRAWL IN THE SMALL  HOLE OF SECRET LAGOON to enter the Secret Lagoon one has to wade through waist-high surf then crawl through a small hole in the mountain face. It has a pristine sand hidden from sight by large formations of limestone cliffs.

Secret Lagoon
Small Hole going to the Secret Lagoon

IN AWE BY THE BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND CLARITY OF WATERS OF THE  BIG LAGOON  as you enter the mouth of the lagoon, you cannot help but be awed by the beauty of the limestone cliffs and clarity of the color of water.

Big Lagoon
Big Lagoon

RELAX  IN  THE SEVEN COMMANDOS LONG WHITE SANDY BEACH last destination after a long day tour. Seven Commandos named after 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived in the island as stragglers after World War II. The Island  has a long white sandy beach lined with palm trees.

Seven Commandos Beach
Seven Commandos Beach

Tour C Secret Beach, Matinloc and Helicopter Island.

VISIT THE MYSTERIOUS MATINLOC SHRINE this is an abandoned shrine with statue of the Virgin Mary and many other religious items. Getting to the top of the limestone structure is the best view of the nearby islands. The view is breathtaking!

TREAT YOURSELF TO PICTURESQUE VIEW OF HIDDEN BEACH tucked away behind the high walls of stone, it was named hidden beach, simply because it is a beach hidden between two beautiful rocks with a nice picturesque entrance.

Hidden Beach
View from inside cave
Cave entrance
Hidden Beach is ideal for those seeking tranquility in a natural paradise.

HELICOPTER ISLAND this island looks remarkably like a giant helicopter sitting in Bacuit bay. The island is home to a few beaches.It has a beautiful white sand beach stretching to some 300 meters.

Helicopter Island


Helicopter Island

El Nido is truly a paradise from its high ecological nature, blue crystal clear waters, jagged rock formations, lush forests, you will miss a lot if you’ve never been to this paradise.