My parents in law are so giddy with excitement as we told them that we’ll be spending the Christmas Holidays in their hometown, La Castellana, Negros Occidental. This will only be the 2nd time that they will see their first apo, Gabby. The first time was during Gabby’s baptismal. We left Manila via Negros Navigation on December 21. We booked a Business Class ticket. We had it so cheap coz i bought the ticket early. Parang i only spent around P6k for 3 adults, round trip (and Business Class pa). Let me just make kwento on my experience with Negros Navigation. At first medyo natatakot ako na something might go wrong with my booking ksi parang the price is too good to be true. But luckily naman, the room was ok. Although medyo luma na yung barko. Malinis rin naman. The Business Class in NN’s St. Joseph vessel is good for 4 persons. Bale 2 double beds (mini double beds actually hehehe). We had the room all by ourselves (me, Richard, yaya and gabby) kasi the 4th person to book it transferred to another room (to our delight hehehe). Mahirap din kasi na may ibang kasama sa room especially na malikot si gabby, and madalas magising sa gabi. Before boarding the vessel, we spent 2 hours waiting in the VIP lounge (it has couches, a dining table, and it’s airconditioned). Their VIP lounge accomodates guests who booked the Business Class, Admiral, and Suite. Nadelay for 4 hours ang aming FLOAT (LOLZ) for reasons i don’t know. Before boarding, a porter from NN will approach you para sila na magdala ng mga gamit nyo sa room (for a fee). Medyo i find this risky din kasi although we handcarried the important stuff (digicam / laptops), yung mga porter will just leave lang your things outside the room. So there is a big risk na may manakaw na bag. Luckily for us, wala namang nangyaring ganun. Nung pauwi lang kami nakulangan ng isang bag pero narecover naman kagad kasi naiwan lang ng porter sa pinaglagyan nya. The porters naman daw of NN don’t meddle with the business of other porters. So anyhoo, when we finally boarded and settled in our room, we checked out the whole ship. I won’t compare it nalang with Superferry ksi the last i tried SF is mga 10 years ago pa so talagang bago pa ang SF nun). It has a decent restaurant naman, it has a canteen, it has a store (na sobrang mahal ng bilihin), every floor has a common bathroom. Business class doesn’t have it’s own bathroom kaya medyo mahirap din, lalo na pag may bata. (We upgraded our ticket pauwi from business class to Admiral class where it has its own CR). Gabby enjoyed running around the hallways, kahit na at times e matutumba na sya dahil sa alon. Hindi naman kami nainip during the 20 hour trip.

My father in law and SIL, Cathy, picked us up at the port. They travelled pa mga 1 1/2 hours from La Castellana to Bacolod just to pick us up. Gabby’s lolo must have been really excited to see her. Since Gabby tends to be very quiet and aloof to people she meets for the first time, hindi sya kagad sumama sa lolo nya. Pero give her enough time (like mga 2 days LOLZ) at bubuntot buntot narin sya sa mga grannies nya. Every morning, they would water the plants with a hose, or walk outside to pick flowers or buy something from the sari-sari store. Since we are yayaless (as a Christmas bonus to Gabby’s yaya, we paid her trip to Negros and gave her a 2 week vacation), kami ang nagpapaligo kay gabby, nagpapakain (Gabby learned how to eat with a spoon in Negros), wash her pag may poopoo, wash her again before bedtime, prepare her milk, and magpatulog. And i’m telling you, it’s freakin’ TIRING!!! hahahah! hindi ko na kasi nagagawa yung mga yun since nagwork ako pero ok din naman. Tulungan namin kami ni Richard e. While he assigned me with the dirty stuff (wash poopoo) and magpaligo, he on the otherhand, ang nagpapatulog and nagbibihis sa kanya (complete with off lotion and powder). Pag tulog si gabby, yun naman ang pahinga namin. We would spend time watching That 70’s show series (thanks Cathy!) or play Monopoly or tinker with our laptops (we brought work!!!). The grannies find pleasure in spending time with Gabby kasi Gabby naman is so sweet and lovable. She would “bless” (or mano) everyone in the house in the morning and before bedtime, she would run like crazy around the house, she would talk and babble (complete with facial expressions) as if really having a conversation with us, she would dance, or sing (my Gabby can carry a tune, mind you! She could be the next American Idol for all we know, LOLZ), or sometimes, she could drive us all nuts dahil sa sobrang kalikutan nya. I remember during Christmas Eve, we were supposed to hear mass pero dahil she’s too kulit and maligalig that she doesn’t want to stay in one place, Richard and I had to go back home.

Gabby tried eating buntot ng lechon during New Year’s eve. There is an old superstition daw kasi na pakainin ang mga bata ng buntot ng lechon para hindi mabulol. I cooked Pesto pasta and fried chicken. Nung Christmas i prepared Carbonara (my specialty ehhehe) and mango float naman.

here are some pics i’d like to share during our 2 week vacation:

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Second pic on top shows the porters dancing to the tune of Pussycat doll’s Push the button before the ship left Manila (it’s their way to say goodbye LOLZ)

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opening Christmas gifts!

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gabby watering the plants, gabby with cousin chloe, gabby with her dad’s childhood medals

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gabby shows us the right way to eat buntot ng lechon

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from top to bottom (L-R): La Castellana at night, Gabby picking flowers at Lola’s garden, Bailes de Luces dancers (with the camera whores: me, verns and tonette)

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