For now, let me just recap my week-long stay in La Union.
25 October. Sister and I traveled to La Union, but not together. Our initial plan was to travel that morning, but the day before, she received a notice that she has to report for work for this day, so I traveled alone while she took the late afternoon trip, after her shift. I left Manila at 10:30am and arrived at my destination past 6pm. Slow bus, yes.
26 October. Sister arrived in La Union a little before 2am. It still gave her ample time to rest and prepare herself for a full day ahead, but because she was really tired and sleepy, we decided to take out the visit to Luna Church off the list of things to do. We left the house at 10am and went to the cemetery first to visit daddy's grave, then took a jeepney to the city where we had lunch. Mid afternoon, we went to Urbiztondo Beach to watch the Surf Break (now on its 7th year) 'til sundown. For dinner, we planned to eat at a particular restaurant, but the thought of traveling back to the city made sister suggest we go home instead.
27 October. Sister has to report for work that night, so she took the bus back to Manila at 10am. I was trying to save some money, and didn't plan to roam around like I always do whenever I am in La Union, so instead of using my money to eat out, I went to visit my cousin Mhai, whom I haven't seen yet after her wedding last April. She gave birth last June, and I was so excited to see my new niece. She and I share the same name "Jayne," which was my nick name while in High School and College. I spent my entire afternoon there - painting my nails, share stories with my cousin and my other nieces.
28 October. It was the last day of Surf Break, but I didn't go to the surf site to watch. Instead, I came with my Aunt Julie to a reunion party with her High School friends. Full story behind the event was shared on my food blog - Tara, Let's Eat!
29 October. Another rest day for me. I was able to turn on the router at the house, so having a very powerful WiFi signal, I went on to check my sites, update some of the blogs, and blog hop. I was also able to read a few pages off the book I brought here, that I forgot that I planned this day to be my day to do nail art in time for Halloween. Since it was already late when I realized it, I just continued reading the book while munching on some dalandan, a citrus fruit. I don't know what's it called in English. :)
30 October. Another day of relaxation, but in the afternoon, Aunt Julie and I went to the nearby cemetery to clean the graves (and the spaces of land around the graves) of my paternal grandparents. It was such a daunting task - scraping off old paint which turned brittle because of sun and rain for the past year, but we were able to 75% of it. As a reward, she treated me to some noodles, which also became our dinner.
31 October. In the morning, Aunt Julie and I went back to the cemetery to finish cleaning the graves. We went home for lunch, and after, they (Aunt Julie, Uncle Ces, cousin Weng, and nieces Ian and Michelle) went back to the cemetery to paint the graves. I didn't come with them anymore as I had to wash my clothes. No washing machine in our house there, so I had to do laundry by hand. When they arrived it was already near dinner and together we went to another Aunt's house - same house where I went to a few days ago to eat dinner. They slaughtered a goat that afternoon and we had an array of different goat dishes to eat that night. The picture above is called "Green Soup," which had chopped up goat's innards. It's the milder version of the Ilocano delicacy "Pinapaitan," which uses goat's bile juice to flavor the broth. This wasn't bitter at all, but yes, it was very rich, so I didn't eat much of it.
01 November. Sister arrived middle of the night. Again, we planned to visit Luna Church but wasn't able to, so we just waited until 2pm before we visited the graves of our dead loved ones. Here in the Philippines, the first of November is the day when families gather together to visit the cemeteries. We went to the nearby cemetery first to offer flowers and light a candle on grandparents' graves, as well as on the graves of Aunt Zor and her life partner Uncle Donato, who died last June (Aunt Zor died a few months before my dad died). There, we saw cousins Anna and Karen (Aunt Zor's daughters) together with their respective families. We stayed there for an hour - saying prayers and have chit-chats then we went to the cemetery where my dad was laid to rest. Some relatives were also there, so we just spent time together, watched the happenings (the cemetery lined up a few events) and left around 7pm.
02 November. Last day for sister and I in La Union. We went to the city for a tummy-filling lunch, then hit some shops to buy food items we would like to eat while traveling back to Manila. It was still very early that afternoon, so we stopped by surf site to buy a big cup of Jamba Juice, because we both knew they only had stores in Manila and seeing a mobile store just along the highway made it an interesting way of tasting Jamba Juice for the first time. I had Banana Berry while sis had Strawberry Surfrider. My drink was so good, but hers was quite sour for our taste.
We left La Union 10:30 that night. Actually, we were already at the bus stop at 9pm hoping a bus would pass by that time. Sister has to report for work at 6am the next day so we didn't have enough time to wait, but for some reasons, we allowed every bus to pass us by and took the bus that arrived at 10:30. She was a bit worried because she might be late for work, but we arrived at the bus terminal at 4:45am, giving her enough time to prepare for work.
A week away from home was both happy and sad, but in the end I was just extremely happy to be back home.
Such is not the case when I entered my room - so many mess around because the cats used it as their sanctuary while I was away.