Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Rediscovering Tagaytay (1 of 3): At Ilog Maria

On Chinese New Year, Zoe and I went up Tagaytay with my librarian friends, Darrel, Grace and Audrey.

The itinerary for the day was a trip to Ilog Maria, Sentro Botanikos and Picnic Grove. Ilog Ilog Maria is a bee farm where honey, propolis and derivative products can be bought. Sentro Botanikosis a newly opened organic farm in Alfonso, Cavite where vegetables from the garden are harvested for cooking the dishes in the restaurant. A good view of Taal Lake can be seen at Picnic Grove. It was a day trip meant to commune with nature and to prepare us for the coming busyness of the next two months.

We all met for breakfast at Cafe Breton in Paseo de Sta. Rosa where the serving is hearty and huge. We expected a long, full day and with two teenagers in our party of six, they need the carbo and protein sa much as we do.

The drive up Silang road was easy though so, we arrived at Ilog Maria on time. It was my first visit there and being a bee farm, the place was fragrant, serene and relaxing. We did not avail of a guided tour, besides, the bee museum is not yet ready for visitors.

There were honeycombs all around and bees, both stingless and stinging kind abound. We saw their soap factory, walked the path where rainbow eucalyptus trees grow and bought soaps, repellents and scents from the store. The highlights of the visit in Ilog Maria were hugging and smelling a rainbow eucalyptus tree and meeting a group of retired teachers from BiƱan. My kababayans! They looked happy in their greying years. When I asked them the secret to long life, one replied to simply laugh at challenges and problems that life throws your way.

For a brief moment, I understood how it is like to be a koala. For a brief moment, I was reminded how humor and laughter can strengthen one’s soul. Plants rejuvenate. Bees need to be saved. And with true friends, I know I can get by.

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