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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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maria

Ka Treasure Water Terraces Mountain Resort: A humble place to de-stress

Making a name in social media is Argao’s very own Ka Treasure Water Terraces Mountain Resort. The place is known for its natural water terraces formation that resembles Abra’s Kaparkan Falls. With its picturesque tiered pools backdropped by nature’s greenery, one could not help but say their oohhs and aahhs.

But more than its immersive view, what makes Ka Treasure interesting — at least for me — is its humble beginnings. What began as a couple’s farmland dream led to the discovery of a hidden gem. The young owners, Sam and Mary Ann, are ordinary Argawanons who once decided to trade urban living for a life in the mountains. Who would have thought nature has more in store for these two?

Since April 2021, Ka Treasure has been a thriving getaway spot for Cebuanos and non-Cebuanos alike. Guests are given two booking options: day use or overnight stay. James and I decided to book a Friday night so we can enjoy the pools before the busy weekend where there are more people.

For now, Ka Treasure only have three cottages for overnight stay, eached priced at Php 1200 for two people (500 per excess head). Camp-loving individuals can also bring their own tent and pay Php 300. Meanwhile, day users just have to pay Php 100 for adults and Php 50 for kids.

Like Durano Eco Farm and Spring Resort, Ka Treasure’s waters come from a nearby spring. Through their DIY project, the owners improved the limestone terraces and cleared the area for better experience. Guests can choose from the 14 pools which range from 2ft to 8ft in depth — with the lowest tier being the deepest.

There are also two mini falls connecting the water from the top tier to the lowest. Usually, more people play around in these areas to get a free massage from nature. Obviously, James spent most of the time here. 😂

As for me, I’s say the best time to dip in the pools is early morning (6 am to 7 am). On a good weather, the cool water + the warm sunlight set the perfect mood for that #sunkissed vibe. 🤩

For food concerns, their resto offers simple silog meals where you can order from 6 am to 7 pm. No corkage fee for those who want to bring or cook their own food.

Animal lovers will also be glad to know that this mountain resort has four dogs and a cat. The youngest puppy is named Terraces and is the people-pleaser of the gang. But guests need not worry since at daytime, the pets mind usually their own business. They are also quiet at night.

Overall, Ka Treasure is indeed a very humble place to de-stress. It is a place for those who want to immerse in nature and let the fresh water wash away your unnecessary thoughts.

P.S. The road to the resort is under construction and can only accommodate motorcycles. This mountainous part of Argao has no network service but they offer piso WIFI connection or an all-day connection for Php 75.

Remembering Mt. Apo: Part 1 (A fantasy turned reality)

Luck — a force that brings fortune or adversity. One that causes good or bad things to happen. Some people get good luck handed to them; some get a second chance. Some get it by pure coincidence while others have to work their ass.


Most hikers, if not all, dream of climbing Mt. Apo. At 2,954 masl, it is the highest point in the country. The closest any Filipino could get to the sky. So naturally, my friends and I want to set foot on it too. But we all know what happened in 2019.


Fast forward two years later, with the lingering global pandemic and political turmoil, here we are back at the airport, on our way to the same land. We were one of the few groups climbing Mt. Apo before its annual closure. Save the best for last indeed.

A fantasy turned reality

Coming along were familiar faces from our Kala-Wiji climb, with the exemption of our two SMS (tito) heartthrobs, CJ and sir Arc, Zan (who was still hangover with his Palawan trip), and John (who found love in the sea). Despite this, the fun continued since we finally got to climb with the SMS big three, Chiarra, An and Sandy (who were back in Mt. Apo for revenge), Kim ( the munyeka behind thestrollingmind), Analyn (the songerist behind themountainpoet), and Karl (the passionate PT behind karliciouso).

Our original route was supposed to be via Sta. Cruz – Bansalan Trail. However, as it has been two years since our first registration, Bansalan LGU “lost” our papers and won’t honor our downpayments anymore. We thought we’re doomed for misfortune since we’ve had this this kind of plot twist before, but I guess it’s true when they say that “a bit of bad luck is a blessing in disguise.” Our new route was through the Sta. Cruz – Century Tree trail circuit. Finally, a chance to see the majestic Lake Venado!


The first part of the hike involved a steep ascent to the jump off area. This was also where Kim, who’s on her first major, learned the value of preparation and pre-climb. With the weight of fullpack working against the unending assault, she made the good decision of opting for a porter.

We reached Sitio Colan, an ancestral domain of the Bagobo-Tagbawa tribe, at 12 noon. There, we had our lunch and orientation with the DENR. Quarter to 2 pm, we started our ascent to the first camp at Tinikaran I.

An hour later, we passed by a farming community where we were met with mist and fog. The sky was gloomy with a hint of rain. Soon enough, it did. With our rain covers and rain ponchos on, we continued the hike to a forested trail that serves as the entrance to Mt. Apo’s forest cover. It was past 3 pm when we reached the first rest area, Basakan E-Camp.

Quarter to 4 pm, we reached the Bugha-anan site — a stopover station along Sta. Cruz trail that is famous among bisaya hikers for its colloquial meaning.

Another hour later, we passed the Big Rock E-camp. The rain had gotten lighter at this point but our enemy is the fading light. Dusk was rolling in. We needed to get to Tinikaran I before the sky turned pitch black because (1) there were other groups climbing Mt. Apo and we need to secure a good spot to pitch our tent; (2) we need to get as much rest as we can for challenging the second day.

At 6 pm, we reached the campsite. It was dark and we were just as wet and muddy as the ground. Pitching our tents on a cramped space was a challenge, but we were thankful still that it stopped raining.

So… if I were to sum up our Day 1 in one word, it would be YES! Yes, this is finally it. Yes, we’re climbing the country’s highest. Yes, no more plot twist (and hopefully no coming bad luck). Yes, we’re all hungry and happy and a lot of things in between.

Until next time! Stay tuned~ 💛

P.S. Also check out this full blog from Junji of wanderingfeetph. 🤩

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Genre: Historical Fiction/War/Young Adult
Copy: Online
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌗

Short Synopsis: 

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.

What I liked:

1. The POV. This is the first WWII novel I have come to read that is not centered on the plight of Jews during Hitler’s regime (which just reminds me again that I must not call myself a well-read person). It gave me a glimpse of the side of war that I have not paid close attention to before: the struggles of the lesser known European countries during Stalin’s rule. One will have to read this novel with a lump in their throat. From the first page to the last, there were suffering and misery and death. There were moments of hope, too, sneaking in and out of their gray days. But as with all wars, nobody truly wins in the end.

The POV from a teenage Lithuanian girl is also a welcome take. And the use of art (drawing) to reveal the truth and to connect with others is powerful move. I find the bittersweet flashbacks of Lina’s family life before the war a breather. It reminded me of the real humans before they were turned into a walking ghost.

2. The characters. Each individual is a gem, from the likeable to the unlikeable. The characterization felt real and I found it easy to jump from one shoe to another. It was an emotional rollercoaster living the lives of these characters. Their pain, frustration, fear, anger, madness — I felt it all. The only thing that felt distant to me is their resilience (perhaps reading the book in these anxious times made it so).

Continue reading “Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys”

The More Loving One by W.H. Auden

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.


Here is something that we all need in these heartbreaking times. May we find the much-needed pause from all the hate and greed.

Driftwood wishes and indigo dreams

Someplace else, I find myself mid-air. Suspended like a bewildered ghost; a half-read poem filled with hope. Here, there is no time or space. There are no relics of your presence leaving me disconcerted – breathless.

I am a a riot of color; a burst of light. I stomp my feet on pretentious laurels. I cut ties with sharpened tongue. Here, in the midst of the night, I am not a misplaced fragment. I am sought, not seeking.

But daybreak is such a jealous lover. It comes with ticking knives – stripping each layer of my disillusionment. I am back to my boring flaws. I plead for another second of peace; press my cheeks on the pillow. By no means. Reality struck me with all its hate.

And the stars weep.

I find myself on tiptoes. A danseuse on high relevé; the second half of a poem filled with woes. Here, there are no more tulips beneath my feet, and feelings don’t wilt as quickly as flowers do.

How do I marry dreams and reality? Can the laws of nature bend for a sappy miss who got courage as her only feat?


Today, I found myself scrolling through someone’s IG account. She’s been one of my closest girlfriends and it’s a wonder how our different personalities kept us binded for many years. As I look at her pictures and read its captions, I am reminded of how bad of a friend I have become. I hid behind lame excuses (time zones and distance) but truth is I got too caught up in the troubles of the world that I fail to see the troubles of those most important to me. I feel sad that the strong person that I know she is, is fighting the emotional and mental battle on her own. And I feel worse that I don’t have the best words to make things better. This one is inspired my some of her captions.

A reminder after each fall

time may be a heinous thief
this blood-washed land is filled with greed
if mornings are without the song of birds
and men and pigs march in herd

begin again—

like the sun behind a thin cloud
reappearing, warming them
or the blue sea breathing in and out
along the pebbled verge

begin again—

like the green-cloaked trees after Odette
drenched in fresh, comforting warmth
or the butterflies and their dusted wings
dancing to the yellow sun

so long as there are seven of the same moon
and love roars and purrs with the same passion
until happiness leaks out of your very soul
begin again after each fall


Today, I woke up to a notification from WordPress celebrating my seventh anniversary of blogging. I would not call the last three years “good blogging” as I have been in and out of WP most of the time. But I will forever be grateful for this very day when a naïve girl decided to pour her heart out through words for the first time.

May she find her way back to poetry one day…

slowly yet surely.

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another sireet,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night.


Sharing this piece from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost, who died on this day in 1963. Aside from The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Acquainted with the Night is infamous in its own right. This poem is an exploration of the dark side of the human psyche. It is about despair, loneliness and sadness — emotions that are often associated with the night. As we read this, may we find comfort as we stare at the “luminary clock against the sky.”

Book Review: Echoes by Danielle Steel 

Genre: Historical Fiction/War/Romance
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌖

Short Synopsis: Against a vivid backdrop of history, Danielle Steel tells a compelling story of love and war, acts of faith and acts of betrayal…and of three generations of women as they journey though years of loss and survival, linked by an indomitable devotion that echoes across time.

For the Wittgenstein family, the summer of 1915 was a time of both prosperity and unease, as the guns of war sound in the distance. But for eldest daughter Beata, it was also a summer of awakening. By the glimmering waters of Lake Geneva, the quiet Jewish beauty met a young French officer and fell in love. Knowing that her parents would never accept her marriage to a Catholic, Beata followed her heart anyway. And as the two built a new life together, Beata’s past would stay with her in ways she could never have predicted. For as the years pass, and Europe is once again engulfed in war, Beata must watch in horror as Hitler’s terror threatens her life and family–even her eighteen-year-old daughter Amadea, who has taken on the vows of a Carmelite nun.

For Amadea, the convent is no refuge. As family and friends are swept away without a trace, Amadea is forced into hiding. Thus begins a harrowing journey of survival, as she escapes into the heart of the French Resistance. Here Amadea will find a renewed sense of purpose, taking on the most daring missions behind enemy lines. And it is here, in the darkest moments of fear, that Amadea will feel her mother’s loving strength–and that of her mother’s mother before her–as the voices of lost loved ones echo powerfully in her heart. And here, amid the fires of war, Amadea will meet an extraordinary man, British secret agent Rupert Montgomery. In Colonel Montgomery, Amadea finds a man who will help her discover her place in an unbreakable chain between generations…and between her lost family and her dreams for the future–a future she is only just beginning to imagine: a future of hope rooted in the rich soil of the past.

What I liked:

  1. It is a story of war. Of war between races and war between faiths. Of war between families and war between selves. Of the war from within and the war from without. We are never short of historical fiction that portray life during the WWII — The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, All the Light We Cannot See, The Book Thief, you name it. In Echoes, Danielle Steel zooms into the very nucleus of society, the family, to illustrate the influence of war and its costs.
  2. It is a story of family. Three generations of women — Monika, Beata, Amadea — carried me on a compelling journey against the backdrop of war. Each of these women experiences internal and external conflicts, and confronts them in contrasting ways. Monika, weighed down by her husband’s domination, is unable to stand up for her daughter. Beata, who found courage in love but lost it upon her lover’s death, becomes a cowardly widow and a distant mother to her kids. Amadea, forced to mature at an early age, grows with a free mind and spirit but is thrust into the horrors of death camps. It was fascinating to follow how these women held the family together… and separately.
  3. It is a story of love. Echoes depicts love in all its phases and faces. Romantic love, familial love, enduring love, self love, agape love. The kind of love that takes you by surprise; the kind of love that takes its time. The kind of love that blooms because of shared pain; the kind of love that grows with patience. A love that hurts; a love that heals. In the midst of confusion and chaos, there was love at heart of the story.

What I didn’t like: None, actually. If there’s one thing I would have loved to know is what happened to Amadea’s mother and sister. But I do appreciate how Danielle Steel made the plot more realistic by not giving us that closure. Because back then, people were taken away… and no one never knew what happened most of the time.

Favorite quotes:

The essence of prayer is not to think a lot, but to love a lot.”

“Don’t hate anyone,” Beata said quietly. “It’s too much work. And it only poisons you.”

“I fear that once you put weapons in men’s hands, they don’t let go of them easily.”

Final Thoughts: This book is a reminder that we cannot escape the echoes of our past. But just as what Monika, Beata and Amadea did, we can always choose to live in the present and move forward. Overall, it’s an enjoyable first read for me. And I would definitely dare to try another Danielle Steel novel again.

Have you read Echoes? Did you like it as much as I did?

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