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“Our First Christmas Vacation”

HELLO ADVENTURERS! Happy New Year to all!

How was your holiday? I hope you had a great time spending it with your friends and family. In this entry, I want to share how my family celebrated our Christmas last December.

As we all know, Christmas is about renouncing for Jesus our Savior and his birth in this world. Here in the Philippines, it has been customary to have big gatherings and parties during Christmas season. Even both sides of our family practice this tradition annually to stay connected with our relatives and friends. However, Jennica and I decided to start our own tradition last year.

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[Our Sagada trip back in December 2012. It was a week before Christmas.]

Since our first year in our relationship, we wanted to celebrate this holiday differently. Especially that Jennica’s birthday lands right after Christmas(she was born in December 26, 1989). Now we have started our own family, we figured that the best time to create our own tradition is NOW.

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[Old rusted gas tanks were recycled and welded together to create a post-apocalyptic looking gate for the parking area of the resort.]

And for 2016, we opted to go on a 3-day vacation at Prado Farms Eco Resort in Lubao, Pampanga to celebrate our Christmas and also to welcome Jennica’s birthday. Its our very first celebration that is set away from town.

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Hidden in the center of Prado Siongco in Lubao Pampanga is where you can explore this five-hectare, eco-friendly and bio-dynamic resort, which does not only boast antique houses and towering trees, it also has a big farm of its own. They provide organic vegetables and homegrown meat products that they happily serve to their guests everyday.

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We we’re blessed to have booked a room located on the ground floor. It is behind the common area where day-tour visitors usually hang. The room was spacious and the interior design was of classic wooden furnishing. Jennica loved its simplicity while I enjoyed the cozy bed!

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[This is ‘Malago’, a local carabao that toured us around the farm.]

At the back of the resort, you will find the resort’s farm. Here, they grow organic vegetables and free-range poultry. Ask the staff at the front desk and they will arrange a farm visit for you and your group.

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Speaking of which, near the front desk is Jennica’s favorite part of the resort: the thrift store. (As my wife’s favorite saying: your vacation isn’t complete without souvenirs!)

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Jennica went loony when she found out that they have teacup sets, japanese dolls and pre-loved bikes on sale at a very cheap price. And while Nanay was feasting her eyes on good finds, Tatay and Mori were feasting on something way better!

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They served us some authentic morning snacks. We had the tsokolate(hot cocoa) with pinipig(rice crispies), fried suman(rice cake),  pandesal(bread) with cheese on the side and organic ground pork with strips of egg and longganisa(garlic sausage). Though it was more like a sampler than a meal, every bite was sufficient to excite our tastbuds and introduce us to what Lubao’s unique array of flavors can offer.

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Mori had her share of the meal and ate a lot! Even if she was too busy playing and walking around, Mori kept on coming back asking for more. After Jennica’s thrift store shopping, she joined us and had a taste of the ‘good stuff’.

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While we were snacking, I notice these fishing rods and thought of giving it a try. I grabbed Mori and took some pieces of bread, we sat on the ledge and gave some of the fish a slice of Pampanga’s authentic breakfast!

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[No fish were harmed during this activity.]

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[This door leads to the place which I call the “bacon heaven.”]

That local snack was amazing. But here is the real deal! Our breakfast in Prado Farms were simple but nonetheless, it was majestic! Every morning, they serve pancakes, scrambled and sunny side-up eggs, fried rice and wait for it… UNLIMITED ORGANIC BACON! OH YEAH!!

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[ORGANIC BACON PARADISE!!!]

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[This was our first meal during our stay in the resort. They welcomed us with an exceptional meal set for our lunch.]

Lunches were always full of flavors. I forgot most of the dishes that we had during our stay, but my personal favorite is the one at the other end of the table; the homemade dumplings! Also take note of the refreshing lemongrass juice. Prado Farms serves authentic filipino dishes and use nothing but the freshest and healthiest ingredients that they harvest straight from the farm.

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This is my favorite part of the whole resort. It surely looks like a simple dining hall, yet why do I love this place?

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COFFEE! These old beverage warmers are always full of freshly brewed coffee and hot tea available for all the guests all day long.

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Most of our stay, if Jennica is busy prepping Mori to take her nap, I will be sitting on one of the tables, drinking tea or coffee as I read my book.

After a while, I noticed how they chose to design the place.

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I have a fetish for small details. It makes things feel more authentic. And their attention to simple detail with a minimalistic approach was evident in the whole vicinity of Prado Farms.

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Mori’s favorite part of the resort was the infinity pool. We usually went to the pool area at around four or five in the afternoon for a quick dip. Though the water was freezing, we were told by the staff that everyday, sacks and sacks of salt are poured onto the pool to maintain its water clean. Which explains why the water is a bit salty!

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[Photo by Jennica using my iPhone.]

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On the evening of Dec 25, we stayed longer to embrace the solemness of the area and enjoyed the relaxing view of the farm. As we were about to exit the water, something unexpected happened. We noticed a group of bats flying above us! So Jennica and I, along with little Mori, went back to the middle of the pool and watched as bats circled like vultures over our heads. The best part was when one of the bats swooped down and hovered on the surface of the water, like it was trying to catch a drink. It happened more than 10 times! It was an amazing encounter with mother nature.

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Our biggest thanks to the staff and crew that consistently pampered us during our stay in the resort. We will definitely visit you again soon! Thank you for making our first Christmas vacation full of warm memories!

MORE PHOTOS:

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Our overall experience of Prado Farms was magical, relaxing and refreshing! You can read more about Prado Farms by visiting their Facebook page here. I have more photos of our first adventure that I want to share to all of you. I’ll just post them on my social media*.

SEE YOU ALL ON OUR NEXT FAMILY ADVENTURE! 

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Alwyn Uytingco

I am an actor, a filmmaker and a family man.