Bongabon is another Municipality in Nueva Ecija. It’s just another place in Nueva Ecija with numerous Resorts and staycations. If you love nature, fresh air, and silence, you can find loads of them in Bongabon.
Unfortunately, we tried to walk into any available resort to spend the night on Christmas day 2021 but we didn’t find any as most of them are fully booked! We ended up just taking photos in the mountainside and spend the Christmas day just driving around until the evening.
Carron Dream Park is the biggest Amusement Theme Park of the North located in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija which is fortunately just an hour drive in Cabanatuan City. Yes, we also have it here in Nueva Ecija, you don’t have to travel to Pampanga or Tagaytay or Cavite if you want to take the kids to the Theme park. It’s like a smaller version of Enchanted Kingdom or Sky Ranch but it also offers a wide range of fun rides for children and adults as well.
The entrance fee is Php100 and Php350 if you want to avail the Ride all you can and opens daily at 4-9 PM (that was before when we go, I think they extended it from 3-10 pm afterward.)
We’ve been there on 13th December 2021, and it was fully packed. I never thought my toddler would truly enjoy the big real rides- we only used to take him to kids arcade here in BH and he would only ride the kiddie car/ horse/train or carousel. But in Carron, he even tried the Gondola Ferris Wheel and didn’t even feel a thing.
It’s actually rotating slow but having to be lifted up in the sky is a little bit scary for the toddlers but no, he is not!
He tried almost all of the rides (that are allowed for kids) in there and really enjoyed it- he even doesn’t want to go home. He may only look bored in the pictures (no reaction as always haha) but whenever we will take him out of the ride he will surely cry/shout in disapproval.
More so, there are so many food kiosks to choose from in case you get hungry inside. From streetfood, to snacks, to sandwiches, all lined up in a row, and food tables to sit or wait for convenience.
Needless to say, he really cried for about an hour and it took quite some time to calm him down when we went back home in the evening.
Is there any other better than spending your Christmas Holidays home with your core family?
Since, we stayed a little bit longer in the Philippines, from August- to December 2021, we had the chance to spend the holidays, once again with my family!
This is just one of the small advantages I got from extending my annual vacation turned- sick leaves 🙂
I know Christmases in our second home, Bahrain with our extended families would be as enjoyable as we are in the Philippines, but it’s still glad to be able to refresh yourself and have it celebrated here in my own native country where I was born and raised up.
These are just some of the photos taken on 24.12.2021. My son surely enjoyed the second time he spent Christmas in the Philippines- once in December of 2019 and 2021.
Trying to find a place like a home away from home? Do you wanna relax and enjoy God’s beautiful creation and yet you don’t wanna endure the long traffic and leave far from Nueva Ecija, or to book so much ahead of time not to mention that you have a budget to look after and getting a hotel room/villa/resort in the other known vacation cities like Tagaytay/Baguio/La Union/Cebu/Palawan/and all- would be very costly?
If you do, then you have to start browsing and search for nice places to visit in Nueva Ecija! And yes, whatever you prefer, we all have it here in our Hometown, Nueva Ecija!
I know that there are a lot of beautiful places to go for a staycation/nature trip in Nueva Ecija but I had only visited a few as we always choose a place that is long drive from our city way back then.
This is the only vacation we had that we tried and explore our very own “Byaheng Nueva Ecija” for a change. We do not have to go that far to enjoy the same nature tripping I’ve always wanted to see since we live in the desert and enjoying the serenity of being close to nature is really heartwarming. This pandemic vacation made me travel near and enjoy the beauty that my hometown can offer, and yes, I do not regret it and I plan to visit more places nearby in the future.
We have tried checking a lot of resorts nearby as we planned an out of town get away from the City and as we found a lot of options, we decided to book in a place called Rea Bamboo Resort located in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija not only for the beauty of the place as seen on photos, but also, it has one thing different from the others- they offer pick and drop service for their guests which is very very much convenient for all of us.
Rea Bamboo Resort is set in a big garden overlooking the beautiful mountain of Sierra madre. Just nature. No other recreation but just to enjoy the nice crisp weather, go and sit outside and look at the stars (too bad it is a cloudy night that time as the rain just stopped in the afternoon) eat whatever you prefer and they will cook it for you and enjoy the night sleeping in these typical Filipino traditional houses called “Bahay Kubo” with no AC and only fresh air!
On 18th December 2021, My family and I rented three kubos at the same time, we are total of 9 person and a baby plus our nanny and one house helper and then two other friends of the kids joined in. They picked us up at around 11am as agreed, and from there we drove at about an hour and half from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija to Gabaldon.
We had the biggest kubo with private toilet and hot/cold shower, and the other two smaller kubos with common bathroom. It is not far anyways as the toilet is just in between of the two other kubos we rented.
I brought my child to stay here so he could enjoy nature before we travel back to the desert and from all of our travel adventures, I would say that this is one of the most memorable events as it made me feel closer to nature.
The place is well maintained and clean, they provided us a nice and clean complete beddings and towels. We asked for a nice lunch, and they offered us Sinigang pork (Pork in tamarind soup) and vegetable.
We rested for a while inside the kubo and prepared to go for a swim in a nearby resort but unfortunately, it rained. We went back to the kubo and used the steel pool instead and rest again (which I love the most) and prepared ourselves for a super heavy dinner of grilled liempo and fish as we requested.
We stayed outside after dinner for a while, had pictures in the garden set before we bound to bed- I super enjoy the “sleeping in the kubo” feel with just a fan and nature. I worried for a while my son wouldn’t sleep well without AC but to my surprise, he slept comfortably and soundly and so am I!
I woke up the next day with the sound of rain falling on the roof. It’s raining hard and that itself made me feel lazier I wanted to sleep more. I don’t want to get up and if I could extend for another night, probably I would.
We had a nice breakfast in one of the cottage-like kubo outside with fried dried fish, egg, sardines, and fried rice.
Then later we had pancit and pakbet for lunch before we pack our stuff to go home.
One night is not enough if you really want to rest but as the holidays are coming, we still have a lot more other preparations to do so an extension wouldn’t be beneficial, and some other guests for the same kubo we rented will also check-in.
I don’t have any other things to say for the resort as it fulfilled our expectations as what they informed us prior, the owners are very polite and approachable as well as the staff. Homely and comfy. But then, if they will have a real pool someday, it would be more relaxing!
So if you prefer a place to get away with just you, silence and the nature, in Nueva Ecija, I would highly recommend you to stay in Rhea Bamboo House.
Clark is a modern City in Pampanga. It is also known as Clark Freeport Zone.
Have been several times to Pampanga, different cities like San Fernando etc, and I could say that Clark is one of a kind, it’s a modern city and at the same time rich with natural resources- resorts, waterfalls, and others – but we had no chance to visit them as we were only there for a day.
Just a day visit to Clark will take you to a lot of places- variety of fine restaurants to choose from, we tried the Pampanga’s best native local restaurant for a change, shopping hubs and recreations, supermarkets- Oh I love the Puregold Duty Free so much, I bought some imported items-kitchen stuff at a very reasonable prices not to mention rows of hotels/staycations if you want to spend the night, you would actually see rows of them while driving around the vicinity.
We went to Clark recently (December 2021) not for travel and leisure but some work-related purpose so we had no much time to roam around as we spent almost half the day for my errands.
We finished at almost lunch time, while trying to find a place to eat, we passed by and stopped at several places I found good for photography and had some 🙂
We tried “Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine” restaurant named Matam-ih for a change- and had the usual, Chicharon Bulaklak and grilled chicken ass for starter, Crispy pata, Kare kare, inihaw na hito (grilled) for the main course. I like the way they served the steamed rice wrapped in banana leaf.
The food is good and quite reasonable- we paid around Php2k + less the two senior card discount for that sumptuous meal.
We didn’t stay for the night as I’m in a rush to go home to see my little one, – that’s it- a day in Clark.
One of the popular place to see these days in Gapan Nueva Ecija is Little Vigan. It is just less than an hour drive from our place in Cabanatuan City. It’ s best to visit the place in the evening so you can actually see the beauty of the place when all the lights are on.
The place is actually called Lumang Gapan- Nueva Ecija but they named it “ Little Vigan” as it almost the exact image of the Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Yeah, it actually reminds you of the Calle Crisologo seeing these old ancestral houses, cobblestone streets, ornate street lamps that are really fascinating at night, benches everywhere.
So if you are still not comfortable to go out that far this pandemic but still want to drive around and see other places to change your environment, this is the best place to go.
We haven’t rounded that much as I’m not still capable of long walks in this cobblestone street but residents said there’s also a night market near the church- there are also restaurants/ cafeteria surrounded the vicinity in case you get hungry.
2 weeks later after we arrived in the Philippines, we went to the province of Nueva Vizcaya to spend some time with my in-laws. Few days prior to my freak accident in NV, we had the chance to roam around and visit some nice and magnificent view in the province.
We had long scheduled to see the spectacular picture perfect sea of clouds on top of the mountain located in Ambaguio, Dupax Nueva Vizcaya since the day we finalized our Phil trip.
From what I’ve heard, the sea of clouds is a rare sight that only appears after heavy rain-pour and appears only for a few hours early morning before sunrise or in the afternoon and there were also days that the tourists/visitors won’t even catch the glimpse of the clouds.
Ambaguio is about 1hour drive from my in-laws place in Masoc. We started from home at around 4am just in time to reach there before sunrise.
We parked somewhere on the outskirts and started walking our way up to the mountain to get the perfect spot to see the clouds. The almost one hour walk going up to the mountain is a bit tiring, set aside that we were not wearing a proper hiking shoes. Tbh, I’m about to give up half way the walk as going up the stony, wet and hazy path is really energy consuming but glad I continued and made it to the top, I had the chance to see this magnificent God creation.
These are the photos I’ve taken during the visit. Glad that at least we caught the clouds right on time although it’s not full clouds but at least, just to stand there on top, breathe and feel the air, see this beautiful nature is worth the travel.
A little bit personal about my travel experience, 2021.
Never thought that the supposed to be “bakasyon grande” (grand vacation) would turn into a horrible tragic experience. I have read a lot similar experience from some other bloggers and articles but never thought we would experience the same.
And yeah, I’m still going through a rough and depressing time of my life and somehow it affects my rational reasoning, my emotional feelings, and mostly, my patience. It’s still at the beginning. I will still go through the lengthy process of healing, and that for sure is a test of faith.
I always do things on my own, and being dependent on anyone physically is super depressing. Everyone knows how OCD I am, and I love to organize things/ do a lot of house cleaning on a daily basis according to my way and that includes a lot of physical activity not to mention I have a toddler to take care of but since I got into this freak accident, I’m now immobile for the next few weeks after the surgery, and it’s really hard and frustrating.
So, just 19 days of our vacation, I accidentally tripped on the slope and broke my ankle while carrying my toddler in the mountain(my husband’s hometown).
We went to the mountain (Nueva Vizcaya) two weeks after we landed to the Philippines to go nature tripping. It’s evident how much I love traveling and sightseeing and mostly nature tripping, photography, and documenting the same. All are well planned. Everyone is excited. I have been looking forward to this Philippine vacation although it’s a little bit tight in the schedule as we have some other important tasks to do and the last thing you would wish when traveling overseas is an accident.
It was an exciting days ahead. We have been sightseeing in the province for the past 2 days, and even went on a terrain going to the top of the mountain to see the magnificent sea of clouds early morning, and it was super lovely! (details about this will be posted on my next update). We also went to see some of the nice places like the garden and the hanging bridge.
And that was it. Early morning the next day, we woke up early and planning to go to the sunflower garden until this freak accident happened. We were taking photos in my in laws front yard in Masoc, (which is actually built in the mountain, with a lot of fruit bearing trees and flowering plants), and tripped myself on the slight slope I didn’t notice. Yeah, it was just in the frontyard! The slope is not deep but the grass are wet at that time as it is always wet and foggy in the mountain particularly early morning and the impact on me was so severe, I broke my ankle. The next thing I knew is that I was rushed into the emergency by an ambulance.
I didn’t know how bad it was and I never expect it to be that bad since it’s not that deep but unfortunately it is, that the doctor advised me to have an ORIF surgery.
That’s the start of my now 2 weeks agony. The fall was so bad and very painful. We went back to my City and scheduled for a surgery.
I had it done on 6th September, which is just 3 days now, but the pain feels like forever now. Child birth is even more easier, I think. It’s very hard moving around the house, mostly going up and down our small staircase in the yard to our unit aside that my balance is very off I couldn’t even stand alone with the crutches. I feel like I have been disabled for a very long time. My patience to do at least small things/simple tasks are even more frustrating as I’m not used to depend on anybody. I’m just putting a toll on myself and everyone around me so I just decided to keep everything as it is, no physical work despite my heart is aching until I can do everything by myself again.
I’m glad that I have family around me who is now taking care of my child, bathing and feeding him, looking after him, washing him , and all the other things I’m supposed to do as a mother. We do not have a personal nanny, but we do have a helper whom I can ask to help around when needed.
One thing I learned about this accident is that we have to value our body and of course our health. We used to take it for granted but once you were into an accident, you would actually appreciate life more.
Needless to say, there were times that this accident gives me sadness, frustrations, and depressions. I know this would heal in time but it’s a lengthy process. I have to be on cast for one full month and then as the doctor said, I can put on a bootleg in a month’s time. Recovery is 4 t 6 weeks where I could slowly walk without so much weight but regaining the strength would be about 3 months. Just the thought of the wasted time, more money to spend for my recovery, and my inability to go back to work immediately (in case, I need more time which depends on my healing) plus the thoughts that our bills would pile up on top of the other is additional stress for me. Of course, not to mention that the money we spent for my surgery is not that small, it would rock our budget for the next few months or worse, even a year.
But to keep my sanity, I’m just looking forward to my speedy recovery, looking forward to the time where I would be able to carry my toddler again, to walk him in the park, to do my daily household chores again, and that is making me a little bit positive.
I’m also glad that nothing happened to our child, safe as he is, and for that, I’m truly grateful and thankful to God for not harming my child. Maybe, this happened for a reason, an eye-opener, or maybe this happened to spare me and my family to a worse one.
For now, I have to be positive even during the painful nights, those times I’m losing my patience when I couldn’t be able to go to the toilet myself without the help of others, those nights when I don’t know where to put my body so I could sleep a little bit comfortably… But still I have to, I must.
This is the exact example of the vacation gone bad, just put a humor on it. The grand vacation- (as I called it) turned out to be a super staycation!
Lesson learned: we all have to be extra careful. Accidents happen at any time, anywhere, even right in front of your house, so we all have to be very cautious, always.