This was the trip we have been waiting and preparing for for the past month. The trip was everything I needed to kick-off my summer. Every day with the team was a new adventure and the endless laughter and conversations even made each day more special.
May 14, 2015
Our departure for Palawan was scheduled at 4pm but our team’s call time in the airport was 2:30pm, talk about being clingy and excited? We left Taft in Celeen’s car and shared about what we looked forward to in the trip. We couldn’t help but feel giddy as the we got closer to the airport.
A few of our teammates were already there and so we decided to wait inside for the rest. We started playing cards (which became our pastime during the whole trip and hence the “DLSUDBT Casino”) and not long after we were complete. We checked-in and waited for our departure. Sadly, our flight was delayed for 2 hours. We found a spot on the floor to sit because the airport was jampacked. We started eating snacks, playing cards, others slept, others lounged on the massage chairs and as the time went by we grew hungry. Rosal (our host for the trip and teammate) texted and said that dinner was already prepared. Everyone couldn’t wait and every time there was an announcement we kept still and quiet. At around 6pm we happily boarded the plane and set off for Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan!
Finally we arrived in Puerto Prinsesa! Rosal’s house was a little far from the airport and so we had to wait for the rented van to pick us up. But since there’s never a dull time with the team, we played charades and forgot shortly about our hunger. After around an hour, the van came and we left the airport with a trike in tow for the rest of the team who couldn’t fit in the van. We were welcomed by the Lims and their adorable dogs and of course, the sumptuous dinner as promised. The team met after dinner. The rash guards were distributed, house rules were discussed and we were showed into our rooms. The first night was a bit of an adjustment for me because I had a hard time sleeping but I know the next day would be so much better.
May 15, 2015
We woke up all happy and jolly with what was in store for us. We were told that the Dragon Boat Race was moved to Sunday so we had today as a free day. We all decided it would be the best time to go to the beach. After breakfast, the girls helped with preparing sandwiches for the trip. The Lim household is fond of making a lot of homemade products. One of the spreads we used for the sandwiches was their own mango jam along with the peanut butter, cheese and chese pimiento (which is also their own by the way). The bread we used were made by our very own, Rosal. She was commended by her dad for a good batch of bread loaves. We wrapped the sandwiches with colorful handkerchiefs and put them in baskets. Soon enough we were ready to hit the road and fit ourselves in 3 vans. The ride was less than 2 hours long. The road was bumpy and less than a kilometer away from the beach itself, one of our vans broke down and the back tire had to be changed. When all was right again, we literally ran to the beach and soaked up the sun.
We had the beach to ourselves and a few other people we didn’t know but we enjoyed every second we were there. Some played beach volleyball, others tried the paddle board, Steph tanned herself out, some played cards under the shade after feeling a little hot under the sun and of course others ate as much as they pleased.
We left the beach early, at around 3pm and headed home (the Lim Residence). While waiting for dinner, we played cards– all of us. There were around 4 circles and 4 decks of cards, it was some kind of bonding and exercising of the mind we did. I don’t remember all the food we ate for each meal but every meal was as good as the last one. This day was so much fun because we got to have a beach to ourselves, and release the nerves we had before the race.
May 16, 2015
Another day in the beautiful Puerto Prinsesa. Today after breakfast, we were just waiting for the go signal to train in the race site. Celeen, Nicole and I had something in mind to pass some time. We bought caged bikinis from Nudo Swimwear online and decided to take pictures wearing them. We asked one of our teammates to be our photographer and went around the compound to get some good shots.
A little after our mini photoshoot, we were given the go signal to train in the bay. We rode trikes by fours and went to the bay. While waiting for the others to arrive and for the officers to finish their meeting with the race officials, we raided the ice cream cart and bought a couple of ice cream cones. It was the perfect treat for the scorching hot day. And the day was just starting. We had a couple of rounds to practice. 1 for the women’s, 1 for the men’s and 1 for the mixed team. We had to estimate the distance because the buoys were still incomplete but it didn’t stop us from doing our race courses. We were able to get a feel of the water and went home a little tired and ready for lunch.
When we got home, we had our lunch and we prepared to go to the mall to cool off. There was a scheduled rotating brown out and Rosal’s mom suggested we go out and watch the movie. We all agreed to watch Mad Max over lunch so it was all set. We came right on time and had enough time to buy something to eat while watching the movie. We all liked what we saw and all of us kept on quoting and referring to the movie throughout the whole trip, even for the captions of our pictures, our chants, we even imitated their hand signals and everything. #furiosas #madmax #whatalovelyday #welivewedieweliveagain #etc We went home happy and ready to load up for the race the next day. We had a team meeting and all concerns and encouragements were raised and shared. It was normal for us to feel scared and nervous but we encouraged each one to turn it into something positive to also uplift the others. After all, we were a team and we have been through a lot of this and we know we trained hard for this. We slept early that night and prepared our minds, our hearts and our bodies.
May 17, 2015 (THE BIG DAY AND THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP)
We woke up early and had champorado and dried fish for breakfast (best combination ever!). Some of us had some brewed coffee to awaken our spirits. We had our rash guards, black leggings and game faces on as we headed into the race site. The race was set to start at 7 am but it didn’t start until 8 am. We had our pictures taken as a team and also with Tito Ernie (Rosal’s dad). I played a total of 3 heats (1 for the women’s team and 2 for the mixed team). The first heat was the mixed team. 5th for the men’s, 6th for the women’s (final round because there were only 3 teams), 7th for the mixed finals and another 2 more for the men’s. With God’s will, we placed in all categories– 2nd place for the women’s, 3rd place for the mixed and 4th place for the men’s team. Oh, what a lovely day! We all know in our hearts we battled our hearts out for this one. We may have fallen short by seconds, but we know we are getting there. Our coach was so proud of us even though he kept on telling us we could be champions. Nevertheless, he was still proud and was very glad about our improvement and success. We went home happy and hungry (as always).
Our lunch was special, we had crab, seaweed and whole lot more. We quickly prepared for our boat trip/ victory party because the boat was only scheduled until 5 pm and it was almost 2pm. We were brought to the middle of the bay, wherein we can snorkel and just chill in the boat. Two words for the whole boat experience: GOOD TIMES! I am thankful to be part of this team.
March 18, 2015
We left early for the airport because our flight was scheduled at 7 am. The second batch brought breakfast for us all from Jollibee. While we waited we watched our gopro race videos and we lost track of the time. Every time we watched the videos, we all felt goosebumps and the rush of adrenaline. Too much intensity! We boarded earlier and arrived in Manila earlier. Some of us had rides and others had to take cabs to get to Taft. The whole trip was nothing short of amazing and I’m glad I got to spend it with my team.