my family decided to push through with the planned holy week outing, though feeling very tentative: two of our daughters [the eldest and youngest] had issues; jikki [the middle daughter] struck her thumb, dislodging her thumbnail the night before our trip; skyler, our 2-yr old “baby boy”, tripped while running, his gums bled and his lower lip broke open, also the night before; ryan almost couldn’t come because of a prior commitment; and marco was nursing a fever. BUT, thank God, we all pushed to make the trip to casa lilibelle happen. and the rest… is now… history
just search online for casa lillibelle — it’s in cabangan, zambales, a 2-3 hour drive [or 6-8 hours if you travel on holy week!] from manila via SCTEX. ang nagma-manage ng beach resort, ang mag-asawang si joanne calica at MJ ungco.
“calica…” i said, “calico, calica… ok.”
“yes, with a ‘c’,” joanne said.
“ungco,” i said, “with a ‘g’… ‘u’ ‘n’ ‘G’ ‘co’?”
at the resort, MJ is so easy to find. he’s that [stand-out] caucasian-looking dude na balbasin. joanne is the pretty “zambal beauty” with darkish complexion.
“MJ has caucasian features,” i said.
“‘kana’ ang mommy nya,” joanne said, “but his dad is chinese… ungco.”
“ikaw, are you from here?” i said.
“yes, just before the steel bridge coming here.”
“you are a zambal beauty.”
joanne was very thoughtful of our situation. we were only booked for friday and was scheduled to leave and look for another place to stay that saturday morning. lumakad na mga kasama namin [marco, dea, ryan, and jikki] that saturday morning, to make an ocular inspection of the other resort, and book it for an overnight stay; while jane [my wife] and i packed our bags and brought them to the hut. they just got back, around 11 am.
“papa, wag ka na mag prepare ng lunch,” our eldest daughter dea said, “dun na tayo magluto sa kabila.”
“ahh, ok,” i said.
just then, joanne came to our hut to tell us that a reservation for that saturday cancelled; but instead of giving out the now available room to their friends who just arrived and were looking for a room; she remembered our predicament and decided to just let us stay for another day in our room to spare us the trouble of moving to another resort.
“si daddy nga kanina, nung sumilip ako sa kubo, mukhang nagdadasal na kung saan kayo magse-stay after eh,” joanne said, “mabuti na lang may nag-cancel.”
of course, we were all relieved and very grateful! ryan raises two fists in the air!
the large air-conditioned room we occupied, comfortably accommodates 8-10 persons [we were 8 adults + a 2 yr old toddler], with cushioned beds; a spacious bathroom; a beachfront terrace; and ample space to walk around inside. beach huts had individual grilling areas. they have gas stoves [for rent] provided with saucepans and ladles. you can order basic food items from the counter, like coffee, beer, eggs, ice, etc. but there’s also a sari-sari store nearby if you want to go for an adventure into the small community.
the resort is quite secure. we were assured that our belongings would be safe in the hut overnight. we just left them there… found them the next morning just as we left them.
joanne and MJ made sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed: they would check on us every now and then, to see if everything was alright.
“ano, sir, ok ba kayak ride,” MJ said, “nakapag workout ka na?”
“oo,” i said, “ang lakas nga ng hangin, kinokontra ko, tinatangay yung kayak eh.”
this was my second time to go to casa lillibelle. and it was my first choice when my family decided to go on this holy week getaway.
as the terminator would say, of course… “i’ll be back!” 😋😋