Christmas Day this year was filled with surprises!
My sister Jennifer started it all when she arrived as our personal Santa Claus!
|My sister Jennifer —we call her Faye— playing Santa Claus to the kids. We didn't know she was to visit us on Christmas morning!|
After meals, we surprised her by tagging her along with us to our planned Christmas Day viaje to Tunasán Baywalk in nearby Muntinlupà City! She didn't know that we're leaving that day.
It has been like a tradition for my family since 2009 (the year me and Yeyette both became very active in social media) to stroll on Christmas Day. And we've learned our lesson never to go to Metro Manila, not even to Tagaytay, Cavite, on that day because of the horrible traffic. Last year, we were at Pila, La Laguna where traffic flow to and from San Pedro was a breeze. This year, we thought of going somewhere near yet seemingly far because of the idyllic vista...
|Welcome to the spacious greenery of Tunasán Baywalk! Picnics are allowed here so long as you keep the place clean.|
Tunasán Baywalk is situated along the northwestern banks of Laguna de Bay's West Bay (because this lake is a trilobate lake, the only one in the world). I have no data available when this place was developed, but most likely it was only during the last decade. There is also a similar setting in nearby Barrio Bayanan. I think they also call it with a similar name (Bayanan Baywalk). We'll visit it one day.
|Young but already sturdy ipil-ipil trees (Leucaena leucocephala) line up the paved promenade.|
|That's Mount Maquiling to the south. Flocks of migratory swallows are everywhere this time of the year.|
|Flowery vegetation right below us, floating above the waters of the lake.|
|The Alas ladies: Krystal, Yeyette, and Faye.|
|The Alas boys playing like monkeys. Momay and Juanito are right below me. Jefe is trying out another tree. Behind us, beyond the green field, is the Muntinlupa Science High School.|
|Ms. Jennifer Alas is a top-rate certified public accountant who works for an international bank in Macati. That makes me not just a proud husband and father but also a proud cuya. :-)|
Many outdoor activities such as biking, kiting, throwing frisbees, etc. can be done here in Tunasán Baywalk (just keep the place clean as it should be). Or you could simply pass away time while enjoying the serenity of Laguna de Bay and its environs, the largest lake in the Philippines. The only complaint that I have is that the promenade has no benches.
|That's Jefe and Momay. They had to be careful not to fall on the other side because the vegetation won't save them — it's nothing but lake water underneath.|
It was fun watching the kids run around the grass and climb trees, enjoying themselves to their heart's content as the cool December breeze from the lake blew upon us. These are things that they couldn't experience in our cramped neighborhood. The best things in life are awfully free here at Tunasán Baywalk!
|Krystal, Jefe, Momay, and Juanito: our infinity gems. Next year, they will become five. :-)|
After several minutes of running around, we then explored this building...
|The Muntinlupa Sports Complex is within the Tunasán Baywalk grounds.|
|At the entrance to the facility, several Christmas lanterns or farol (now spelled as parol) made of recycled products were on display. There appears to have been a farol-making contest held here recently.|
|We then entered the facility. The place immediately reminded the kids of those basketball games they see on TV.|
|This facility can seat up to 3,500 people. A basketball court may be the only thing you see here, but the place also can also be used for other public activities such as concerts and political gatherings.|
|Laguna de Bay as seen from the second level of the Muntinlupa Sports Complex. It was a breezy Christmas afternoon!|
We could have stayed a bit longer, but we didn't bring any food. There were supposed to be street food vendors in Tunasán Baywalk. But it was Christmas Day, that's why all of them were absent. So we had to get going early.
|Arnaldo's house is currently undergoing some artistic renovation. A portrait of La Familia Arnáiz at lower right.|
It was already dark when we reached Barrio Alabang and the South Luzón Expressway. Surprisingly, the traffic flow was perfectly smooth. So we reached our "rockstar" friend's home in no time! And yes, he too was surprised when we invaded his room. He didn't even recognize me since I cut my long hair (the last time we saw each other was during my wedding last September). And when we got there, we caught him watching some cartoon show on cable TV, LOL (lo siento, señor; pero tengo que decir esto, ¡jajaja!). We then proceeded to a pizza parlor near his place and had a Christmas Day feast while discussing our favorite topic: Philippine History. Of course, Yeyette, Faye, and the kids had a conversation of their own, LOL!
|La Familia Viajera meets With One's Past and Filhispánico! And no, we are NOT in McDonalds.|
We hope that we delightfully surprised you by showing another side of highly-urbanized Muntinlupà on Christmas Day. So trust us on this: whenever we say that we go to off-the-beaten tracks, we mean it. :-) Click here to view more photos of our Christmas Day afternoon stroll!
Merry Christmas, everyone!