Idyllic Ybonita

Idlellic Weekend

Yes, dear grammar nazis. I know how to spell.


Why is the word idle taken negatively so often? Try Googling it and you will encounter a lot of articles and quotes about how being idle can lead to depression, how it can open up your mind to evil thoughts, etc.

Do not disturb. I’m too busy doing nothing.

Do not disturb. I’m too busy doing nothing.

Like everything in else in life, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Keep the idleness at bay and I think you should be good, correct? I, for one, know that I definitely need to be more mindful about finding time to just be.

Free from life’s worries even if just for a few hours.

Free from life’s worries even if just for a few hours.

Life is busy and we all know it. I work from home and even if my bed is a few tumbles away from my workstation, I don’t bum around in bed during work hours. I keep myself busy and always moving because I feel like busy means productive. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I’m now teaching myself to work smarter. Delegate stuff, don’t micromanage.

Pace myself, I don’t have to finish everything in one day. Find time to work out, play with the kids, and watch TV because work will always be there waiting for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stickler for deadlines. But I don’t have to finish early if it means it’s going to stress me out. If my body needs to take a nap, then I’ll do it.

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Vacations are always welcome as it gives us an opportunity to slow down and recharge in a different setting and I’m so happy that my best friends and I finally got everyone’s families together for a short but sweet adventure. As Ana said, our last out of town trip together was back in high school when we had our retreat in Baguio. That was more than two decades ago! We’re all so happy we got to spend a slow weekend at Ybonita Farm and Villas in Calatagan, Batangas.

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Second floor of the Yvatan Villa. This is the biggest house on the farm which has eight (8) beds and can accommodate 12-14 heads. This is also the perfect spot to wait for the sunset!

Second floor of the Yvatan Villa. This is the biggest house on the farm which has eight (8) beds and can accommodate 12-14 heads. This is also the perfect spot to wait for the sunset!

Sunset photo taken from the second floor of the Yvatan Villa.

Sunset photo taken from the second floor of the Yvatan Villa.

When you’re done taking sunset photos from the villa, rush to the main dining area and hope for a sunset backdrop!

When you’re done taking sunset photos from the villa, rush to the main dining area and hope for a sunset backdrop!

More reminders to myself — make the mundane moments extraordinary. Remind yourself to look out the window and day dream. Do NOT fill up every space in your calendar (my guilty pleasure - I get so much satisfaction when I see lots of entries in my calendar). Learn how to meditate. Don’t ignore your Apple Watch when it reminds you to breathe. Because being more mindful of my rest and being less busy actually helps me be more productive even if I spend some time just doing nothing. It’s true, doing nothing is really an art. It’s so difficult but you have to do it!

The sunset was the perfect backdrop for our al fresco dinner at Ybonita.

The sunset was the perfect backdrop for our al fresco dinner at Ybonita.

Being idle anywhere and everywhere is something we all have to learn to do. Waiting in line for your milk tea? Resist the urge to grab your phone, and instead, observe the people around you. Waiting for your kids to finish playing at the park? Close your eyes while enjoying the fresh air.

But if you want to take slowing down to the next level, Ybonita Farm and Villas can take you on that idyllic state in an instant. No wifi, spotty signal (for Globe users), and greens all around are the perfect ingredients for a slow weekend.


Slow living

Our first day at Ybonita was spent slowing down our thoughts and our bodies to be one with nature. Time spent on the hammock under the mango tree was so precious especially for me, as I felt that it was the perfect place for me to relax and focus on one thing — how to move forward with Get Lost. Just like most passion projects, this blog takes a back seat whenever it’s crazy at work or at home and I really can’t be consistent in coming up with content for the site.

Look for the huge mango tree, get one hammock (there’s only three so you have to hurry), and find someone to push you every so often. I caught myself snoring in this spot a few times.

Look for the huge mango tree, get one hammock (there’s only three so you have to hurry), and find someone to push you every so often. I caught myself snoring in this spot a few times.

Yvatan Villa. Photo taken from our private lanai.

Yvatan Villa. Photo taken from our private lanai.

The first floor of the Yvatan Villa has two beds that can fit four people.

The first floor of the Yvatan Villa has two beds that can fit four people.

This little nook has shelves under the seats where you can store the bags.

This little nook has shelves under the seats where you can store the bags.

There are two toilets and baths on the ground floor of the villa. The sinks were at the common area and it offers this very nice view of the outdoors.

There are two toilets and baths on the ground floor of the villa. The sinks were at the common area and it offers this very nice view of the outdoors.

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The adults were pretty much happy to just lounge around, chat with each other, and indulge in some drinks and snacks. But we were with four hyper little humans so we had to make sure they had something to do so as not to get bored.

We had our own lanai which was a few steps down from our villa.

We had our own lanai which was a few steps down from our villa.

Aside from running around in the vast and open space of Ybonita, the kids can feed the animals, climb trees, have a bonfire at night, and hang out at the lanai with the sungka and their own toys.

Erin absolutely loves this game!

Erin absolutely loves this game!

It seemed like there was no specific time for feeding as the manongs stopped whatever they were doing whenever the kids asked for some leaves for the goats.

It seemed like there was no specific time for feeding as the manongs stopped whatever they were doing whenever the kids asked for some leaves for the goats.

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I made sure to request for a bonfire so that the kids can have s’mores and some hotdogs. What I didn’t think of was we would be adding to the heat of the already hot summer night. Haha! The kids enjoyed it still but it was too hot for them (or anyone else) to actually stay in front of the fire. So it’s Tito Chris to the rescue! He poked the sticks on the soil close to the flame so that we won’t have to stand too close to the bonfire. The s’mores kit were provided by Ybonita and I requested for us to be allowed to bring in the hotdogs. They said yes, for as long as we order two s’mores kit from them.

I made sure to request for a bonfire so that the kids can have s’mores and some hotdogs. What I didn’t think of was we would be adding to the heat of the already hot summer night. Haha! The kids enjoyed it still but it was too hot for them (or anyone else) to actually stay in front of the fire. So it’s Tito Chris to the rescue! He poked the sticks on the soil close to the flame so that we won’t have to stand too close to the bonfire. The s’mores kit were provided by Ybonita and I requested for us to be allowed to bring in the hotdogs. They said yes, for as long as we order two s’mores kit from them.

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Just breathe

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Day two was basically a repeat of day one’s slow living except we did our activities on a raft. Ybonita can take care of everything for you, from booking the raft, to lunch preps, and even bringing you from the farm to the loading area of the boat.

This was supposed to be a sandbar tour but the tide was pretty high that day. No worries though, we had fun swimming, napping, and eating (on loop for about 4 hours). The gentle swaying of the raft really did a number on these two in particular!

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Some tips — bring your own snacks and water but if don’t have any, just ask the manongs to buy water for you at the port. There are also vendors going around selling ice cream, ice candy, etc. and it was a treat to buy something in the open sea especially for the kids. It gets so windy though so please make sure your waste is disposed properly before it flies off and ends up in the water.

Bring a ukulele, guitar, or speakers for entertainment. Just keep the volume low so as not to disturb the others hanging out in the different raft/s. Also bring more than one floater because we were fighting over the one piece that I thought of bringing with me. I thought I’d be the only one who’d want it but I was wrong. Haha! The raft has life vests though but the kids wanted my floater.

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because you asked for it . . .

…here are more tips to help you plan your Ybonita experience.

It’s the kids’ opportunity to run free! But they’ll be with the usual bugs like mosquitos, ants, etc. so bring repellant and have them wear leggings or pants if they’re prone to bites.

It’s the kids’ opportunity to run free! But they’ll be with the usual bugs like mosquitos, ants, etc. so bring repellant and have them wear leggings or pants if they’re prone to bites.

Yup. #shetanginit talaga. Electricity can fluctuate in the area and the generator may not be able to handle all aircon units. Have a (huge) fan on standby, like this  Monchet Y Compania  fan.

Yup. #shetanginit talaga. Electricity can fluctuate in the area and the generator may not be able to handle all aircon units. Have a (huge) fan on standby, like this Monchet Y Compania fan.

Our little humans caused quite a ruckus the first morning. Since they were upstairs and the floor was very thin, I could hear everything from the ground floor. Invite them to play outside so that the rest of the group can grab a few more hours of sleep if your little humans end up awake at 6am (or earlier)!

Our little humans caused quite a ruckus the first morning. Since they were upstairs and the floor was very thin, I could hear everything from the ground floor. Invite them to play outside so that the rest of the group can grab a few more hours of sleep if your little humans end up awake at 6am (or earlier)!

We loved everything that they served us (make sure to pre-order your meals two days in advance). Our favorites were the chichavron (their specialty), the chicharon bulaklak, the bulalo, ensalatang mangga, and the sinigang. In case you over order (like us), just tell the staff that you’ll have it reheated the next day or you’ll bring the leftovers home.

We loved everything that they served us (make sure to pre-order your meals two days in advance). Our favorites were the chichavron (their specialty), the chicharon bulaklak, the bulalo, ensalatang mangga, and the sinigang. In case you over order (like us), just tell the staff that you’ll have it reheated the next day or you’ll bring the leftovers home.

Try to get the goats to eat from the top part of the fence instead of them poking their heads through the gaps. The gaps have spiky wires so the animals could get hurt.

Try to get the goats to eat from the top part of the fence instead of them poking their heads through the gaps. The gaps have spiky wires so the animals could get hurt.

Have your meals at different parts of the farm. You can choose from the main dining area, this spot under the mango tree, or your own lanai / terrace near your villa. Each space has something special to offer! PS. I love how my friends are giggling here. It’s a nice keepsake to help us remember what they were talking about. Hahaha!

Have your meals at different parts of the farm. You can choose from the main dining area, this spot under the mango tree, or your own lanai / terrace near your villa. Each space has something special to offer! PS. I love how my friends are giggling here. It’s a nice keepsake to help us remember what they were talking about. Hahaha!

And my favorite tip of all — take a lot of photos, especially during golden hour!


Just recently I started taking the Yale University online course called The Science of Well Being on Coursera. It is designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. Since it’s free (if you don’t need a certificate), it won’t take up too much of my time everyday, and I love learning new things, I signed up for it.

One of the exercises when I started the course was to gauge my happiness level through a series of questions from their app. The app also encourages you to log items under gratitude, kindness, connection, meditation, exercise, etc. I got an initial 2.5 happiness rating (out of 5) and after this course, hopefully that number will go higher.

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The course also tackles Social Connection as a major factor in boosting our moods. To quote one of the handouts — Research shows that happy people spend more time with others and have a richer set of social connections than unhappy people.

Hmmmm. My close family and friends always joke around about me hating people, except little humans of course. Introvert me says there’s truth in that joke! I’m thankful though that I have a small circle of friends that I can consider my second family.

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You got to start thinking like you’re blessed, talking like you’re blessed, and acting like you’re blessed. That’s how your blessing get activated.
— @prsuit
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Truth. Using that quote as a reminder for when my mindset gets a little cray cray and my mood starts going bonkers. And if you’ve reached all the way until the end of this very long post, thank you so much from the bottom of my cliched emotional heart. I labor over articles for four to five days so you don’t know how much it means to me when I get feedback about my photos and blog posts. ♡♡♡


Special thanks to Googoo and Gaga for Erin and Naya’s bodysuits!

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Workaholic and multitasking momma who absolutely enjoys what she does as Executive Producer for OTT.  Has faulty memory so taking photos of almost everything is part of her everyday life.