Europe Sampler Trip

We know it’s tiring, but we did it anyway. 🙂 If not now, maybe never.

So my dear husband and I got this crazy idea to tick off all those remaining things in my ‘40 things before 40” list. So we’ve given birth to our #CapanzanasEuropeSamplerTrip hoping that we’ll be able to figure out which is the most suitable city for our families to visit someday and to visit those places that I’ve seen in my hand-me-down encyclopedia when I was 4 (#NotJustAPageInEncuclopediaNow). ❤️

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck 🤪

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our marriage from this trip. To God Be the Glory, forever! ❤️

Here’s a short teaser of our trip:

Our Europe Sampler Trip includes the following places:

Quite like this. 1) Athens, Greece 2) Rome, Italy (of course, Vatican!) 3) Munich, Germany 4) Amsterdam, Netherlands 5) Brussels, Belgium 6) Paris, France 7)Barcelona, Spain

Some of my favorite memories are the train rides– we got to catch up and bond a lot!

Well, the flood in Athens was so memorable! 🙂

 

The sudden cold weather in Germany was sure memorable, too!

The trash cans in Amsterdam…

The good food and beer in Belgium.

Of course, Churros in Spain!!!

 

Some places I thought I’d only see in movies and books like… Sagrada Familia…

And of course, Eiffel Tower!

And this view. 🙂

 

 

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One of the best road trips in the Philippines: Legazpi (Bicol)

“Let’s go home. I miss mommy and Daddy.”

“I miss Madam Amelia, too.”

And we were off to Manila from Singapore. Stayed a couple of hours in NAIA Terminal 3, then flew straight to Legazpi via Cebu Pacific to meet my family and in-laws.

I grew up in a province 4-6 hours from Manila and possibly, 4-6 hours as well to Bicol, where this gem is.

You don’t need to hire a tour guide to explore Bicol (specifically, Legazpi). There are so many articles about it online and all you need to do is to hire a van, list down the places that you want to visit and get ready for the long fun and song-filled road trip to Bicol.

Of course, the first thing that you should look out for is the perfect cone-shaped active volcano that’s usually found in history textbooks in the Philippines. 🙂 When we visited in July, the clouds were all around it, but it was still very beautiful.

If you’re ready to explore Bicol, here’s a quick list of the “must-go” during our family getaway.

Cagsawa Ruins

They say that you’ve never been to Bicol if you don’t visit the Cagsawa Ruins. If you want to see the Mayon Volcano up-close and chill with some halu-halo, this should be one of your stops.

Cagsawa ruins are the remnants of a 16th-century Franciscan church as per Wikipedia. It was originally built in 1587 but was burned down by Dutch pirates in 1636. It was rebuilt but was destroyed again during the eruption of Mayon Volcano in 1814.

Daraga Church

If you didn’t see the beautiful Mayon in Cagsawa, try snapping a photo of it in the vicinity of Daraga Church. Though this church is on top of a hill, it’s beauty is worth the climb. It was also built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773 and is definitely a living proof of Bicolanos unwavering faith.

Embarcadero

If you’re travelling with your parents or older family members, it’s expected that they’ll get tired of the long road trip. Embarcadero is definitely a good place to stop by, get some balut and walk around.

Kawa-Kawa Hill & Natural Park 

If you’re a Catholic (which is the religion of the majority of the Philippines population), you’ll be in awe seeing this hill and park. This is where the famous life-sized last supper is located. The view on top of the hill is breathtaking and you can go on a spiritual journey as you explore the entire place as it has 14 Stations of the Cross.

But regardless of your religion, this place has the best view of Ligao and is very serene and worth the climb.

PS. It will be challenging to push a wheelchair up so be prepared for some piggybacks!

Sumlang Lake

If you’re up for some fresh air and just want to chill and chat, try spending some time in Sumlang Lake. It has a beautiful view of Mayon, nice hammocks and benches, plus, plenty of local products to shop!

Bicol ATV Adventure

Spare a day or two to do the fun activities in Bicol (cause there’s a lot to do!). Because I think I’m lucky to have fun in-laws (HAHA), we’ve spent a day under the sun exploring Legazpi in ATV.

Black Lava Trail 

After lots of turns, uphill and downhill slopes, river crossings and beautiful scenery, we’ve reached the end of the trail which is also the  Lava Wall.

Be prepared for a bit of rock climbing if you fancy trying this out.

Zipline  at Lignon Nature Park 

This was where the magic all happened. 🙂

According to many, for many years, Ligñon Hill is known only for the PHIVOLCS observatory located on its flanks and an old lighthouse on its summit. Today, it has become one of the city’s prime destinations for sightseeing and countless of fun activities. The war tunnels during the Japanese era is here!

So when our parents and aunties got bored with just sightseeing and eating, they tried something that they said they never thought they will never do- trying out the zipline!

If zipline is a little less-exhilarating for you, try this one!

Don’t forget that this region has the spiciest dishes in the Philippines! So of course, we’ve tried the Sili Ice Cream. If you haven’t been spending time with Filipinos, you won’t know that they are the bunch who don’t really enjoy spicy food as compared with the other Asian cultures. So, this is really a hit! 🙂 It has different spicy levels so try it depending on your preference.

Plus, my brother in law woke up one of the nights wanting to explore the nearby towns…so we went to Sorsogon. 🙂

We concluded our trip with a visit to Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine. I thank Him for a beautiful family, I didn’t know what I’ve done to deserve them. 🙂

I’ve put together in less than 3 minutes, the gang’s adventure. Have fun!

“Kayraming gustong puntahan” by the Mister

After Church #FeelGoodSunday.

The mister suddenly remembers the song he composed when I decided to go for a 15 days solo backpacking trip in Japan years ago out of nowhere. 

I’m keeping it here so I’ll not forget the lyrics and will eventually teach it to our kids.  🤣 #Capanzanas

🎼 Gusto kong pumuntang Japan, pero ayaw kong tumira dyan.
Gusto ko din Paris, Italy, at makilala ang mga French.
Sa Brazil ako’y magsiswim pero ako ay uuwi rin. 

Pag pumunta ako ro’n mamimiss ko sila- Si mommy, si Daddy, lalo na si Cyra. 😍😍😍
Ang dancing lugar na gustong magpunta, pero Mas gusto ko sa piling nila. 🎼

 

#MartinCyraGiveThanks: The Rustic Garden Wedding

I’ve been receiving messages from friends and strangers asking about our wedding suppliers and some tips on how to pull off a rustic garden-themed wedding in the Philippines so I thought of writing about it.

As you know, we’re both based overseas but it was never difficult for us to plan for our wedding with all the information readily available online. Plus, Email or Facebook as the quickest and easiest way of communication with our suppliers. They’re angels! Our hearts are still full and we hope your hearts will be, too.

Church: Calaruega

If you’re eyeing this tranquil chapel to be the special place to manifest your long-life commitment and you think your family and friends will enjoy the long drive, listen to what everybody’s saying, book in advance, esp if you’re like us, which the dates are non-negotiable (our wedding date is in-between our birthdays). Advance means a year ahead if possible. 🙂


Reception Venue: The Forest Barn

This is the perfect venue for us- rustic with a huge dance floor. Our families love singing and dancing so we made sure that there’ll be a huge space for everybody to exploit. Haha. The venue has nice drapings and can fit 400pax. Their management and staff are the best- very friendly and considerate to us. Special thanks to Ms. Maricres, Ms. Dimple and Ms. Laden.  They are more than just an event place, they’re like angels who’ll make the moment extra special- they have helped us with our catering, florist, band, lights and sounds and they strongly believe and work hard in making their clients happy.

If you’re considering this venue, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Ms. Laden or Ms. Dimple at theforestbarn@gmail.com.

We thought our guests might need these (below screenshots) to keep them longer on the dance floor so we DIY them! Special thanks to the woman whom I trusted my entire wedding (haha), Dianne.


Catering & Styling: Passion Cooks Catering

The Passion Cooks Team has magical powers (shout out to Koni and Nariz!). They saved us from all sorts of stress and hassle. We reserved another caterer initially (had the payment forfeited also!) and we worried non-stop. After our “final food tasting” with the caterer we reserved, me and my husband decided to just change our caterer because of their bad service and bad food (my husband’s palate is hard to please).  So we rush to talk to Passion Cooks since they’re our first choice (we tried about 5 caterers!) and it was one of the best decisions we had. After talking to them, all worries went away and it was kinda of sad that I only needed to talk to them on the wedding day because they’ve prepared everything perfectly for us. Haha. We opted for basic styling and they delivered beyond our expectations.

The event managers are experts, respond promptly, very customer-oriented and I can attest that they know what they’re doing. Don’t settle for less. Food is one of the things that your guests will remember the most (Trust me, my foreign friends changed how they look at Filipino food after the wedding and kept talking about how everything was perfect).


Photo & Video: Ailette&Pierre Photography

Our brief was to never miss a beautiful moment and they captured everything perfectly. I felt like I’ve seen everyone’s emotions and they’re all perfectly stored on my hard drive. They were our first and only choice and there’s no doubt why. Even though the weather was quite bad that day, they still tried to take some aerial shots so that they won’t miss anything. Hands down to “AP boys,” really. Thanks to one of best friends, Ailette, who did our SDE though she just gave birth. Haha. Talk about dedication. 🙂

HMUA: Katchie Mejias

You might have seen her in fashion magazines. Oh, or you might have passed by her beauty supplies shop at Robinson’s or maybe you remember her in Mega Fashion Crew’s episode!

Katch is one of the most genuine and true talents that I’ve met in my life. She transforms everyone into a princess in an instant. Want an avant-garde look for your wedding? Just whisper it to her, everything’s possible with her makeup skills! 🙂

Oh, when she’s in the mood, she might even serenade you with her beautiful voice (ask her if she can bring Wolfy, her dog, along to sing something romantic on your wedding. Haha)


Flowers: By Joel Faller

Joel gave me a perfect rustic bouquet though I requested for his service last minute (because the florist that we reserved was not responding after giving the downpayment) and didn’t even meet him ’til now. Haha. I just sent him my brief for the flowers for the entire entourage, flowers in the church, car and my bouquet via Facebook and he delivered everything exactly how I envisioned them to be. Hope to meet you soon, Joel!

Invitation (Design): Sheila

She’s a part of me, probably that was why our wedding invitation was perfect. She’s not just a hot bridesmaid, she does websites too. Check out her portfolio by clicking her name above.


Bridal Gown and Groom’s Suit: Leslie’s Bridal

Leslie’s Bridal was heaven-sent to us. A friend of mine promised to do my wedding dress and I entrusted everything to her. 9 days before the wedding, and there was still no update from her. So I requested for a photo of my dress and it was not up to our expectations. 😦

Diane looked for a ready-made dress for me and suit for Martin the next day and Leslie’s Bridal team just came to rescue me, my husband and the rest of my entourage. In just a week, they realised my dream dress and I was really speechless. We’ll always be grateful that they saved our day!

Band (Ceremony & Reception): Appetite Music by Ryan Fortaleza

Whenever I think about our wedding party, Ryan and Appetite Music come to my mind. Martin was in charge of the band, and he said it was very convenient for him because Ryan just presented a long list of song choices for him to choose from. We opted for a violin for the wedding march in Church and it was so romantic. Martin couldn’t help but notice how meticulous they were to start singing at the right time as they look at my steps when I was walking down the aisle.

As you see from the video below, our wedding party was a blast because our family and friends couldn’t get their feet off the dance floor. Martin sang with them too!

Lights & Sounds: Stohnenky Pro Sounds and Lights (“bright lights, clear music”)

Didn’t have any problem with them and Sir Sonny was very prompt in his responses. They know Forest Barn well and that made everything so easy for us.

Cake: Entremet Boulangerie Patisserie + Cafe (Thanks Zha!)

It wasn’t just pretty, it tastes so good! They have nice bacon sticky bun that’s really awesome i their cafe in Oritgas, by the way!

Bridal Shoes: Vivian Westwood (Thanks Zha!)

Bridal Car: Pepay

Wedding Favours: Mom (if you want flowers as wedding favours, Amy’s Garden can help you, please feel free to reach us anytime)

Prep Venue: Discovery Suites Tagaytay

I love that all their rooms are suites and their team was very helpful. They have an additional fee of 5,000Php for wedding preps so don’t forget to factor that in your budget.


Overall styling & Coordination: Dianne Marie Combalicer (together with the best Maid of Honour in the world, Charmaine)

Everything was perfect because of Diane. 🙂 From my “foreign guests relations team” to all my props and coordination on the day.

I think the key to wedding planning and coordination is to assure the couple that everything will be alright so they can focus on what matters. Diane helped me in all the nitty-gritty DIY stuff that I wanted to do like the Kid’s table, signages, insect repellants, slippers, etc. She went to Divisoria when I was away and even stayed late at my house 2 days before my wedding just to do the checklist and assure me that I can sleep well.

On the day Coordination: Istudyo Juan

My college friends, Aiza & Juan, made sure that everything was perfect during our wedding and that we were well taken cared off.

Host/Emcee: Krist Atienza

For a perfect rustic wedding, hire an emcee as stylish as Kris. 🙂 Our friendship has come a very long way after that meeting at the airport on the way to Siem Reap, roughly 5 years ago. Kris is not just a hottie, without him, our guests might probably have fallen asleep. Thanks love!

More photos from our thanksgiving. 🙂

 


 

Happy wedding planning!