Hineleban Café Introduces Bukidnon’s Coffee And Adlai Dishes

On weekends, if I am not traveling, I stay in the bat cave and practice the art of being a hermit. Yesterday I thought of going out to visit a cafe but my lazy bum got the best of me. Today, as I soon as I got up from the bed, I decided that I’d go out and see humans, the result of which, you are now reading. I went to Arnaiz Ave., Makati and visited a cafe that shares a space with a bicycle and surfing shop, Hineleban Café.


What’s hineleban? I googled and found that it came from a local dialect of the Talaandigs, an indigenous group in Bukidnon. This is the first time I learned about them and the meaning of the name is pretty complicated. I’ll do my best to make it simple; based on my understanding, Hineleban is a sacred word for the highest mystical spirit of service leadership of the Talaandig-Higaunen tribe.

Hineleban was opened in April 2017 and it is owned by an entrepreneur from Mindanao. The cafe serves farm-to-table products, sourced locally from the indigenous communities of Kitanglad, Bukidnon.

I came upon a non-busy cafe, bathed in natural light coming through the glass walls. Further into the room, past Hineleban is the Gran Trail Cycles shop. Once in a while, I saw people coming in through the cafe with their bicycles to go to the back of the room. The bar is on the farther right side, there are a few cushioned seats, and some wooden tables flanked by single chairs. I liked the vibe and overall feel of the cafe, I didn’t mind that it is co-spacing with a bicycle shop.

hineleban-cafe-makati (3)
hineleban-cafe-makati (1)
hineleban-cafe-makati (4)
hineleban-cafe-makati (5)
hineleban-cafe-makati (6)


I picked the menu from the bar and took my time choosing what to eat. I originally set my heart on a pasta dish, the menu says that they use adlai instead of pasta noodles. I’ve no idea what adlai is, the barista lent enlightenment by going to the kitchen and bringing me a tiny sampler of adlai. The grain is white and looks a lot like white corn or what we call in Tagalog as binatog. I went in for a taste, half expecting it would taste like binatog. It’s slightly chewy but it tastes more like rice. I thought, if I would go ahead and try adlai then it’s better to order a dish in which it serves as a rice alternative. I quickly changed my order from pasta to one of the dishes, Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken (₱240 – $4.52).

I immediately consulted Google for more information on adlai as I waited for my order. Adlai is also known as Chinese pearl barley or Job’s Tears. Just like quinoa and caulirice, adlai is one of the healthier alternatives to rice. It’s high fiber, high protein grain, and gluten-free. It is grown locally (although not many people are aware of it, including yours truly) in some regions in Northern Mindanao, Cordillera, and Zamboanga. But you don’t have to make a long trip to buy adlai, it is available at Hineleban Café for ₱250 ($4.70) per 1 kg. Likewise, you may purchase it in some health stores.

Despite being curious about adlai, I wasn’t expecting much about my meal. The food was served on a big plate, the chicken placed on top of adlai, the grain looks more white than rice, almost like those fake food Japanese display that we see in restaurants. I went in for my first spoonful and was immediately blown away by how unexpectedly good the dish is. Adlai tastes just like rice and the chicken topping was simply delectable, sweet with just a little bit of spiciness. I loved it so much, I hurriedly shared a photo to my social media and pushed recommendation to my select friends.

Lately, I have been veering off from bread and rice to help lose the extra pounds I gained from unhealthy snacking. I know I can eat quinoa, but it is too expensive; I can eat cauli rice but it’s giving me gas. Now that I know about adlai, I think I can enjoy some of my favorite dishes again that only goes well with rice.


I have a rule when visiting a cafe for the first time, I always try their flat white. I have a mild case of lactose intolerance, thus I requested soy milk instead of regular milk; unfortunately, it’s not available. In the absence of soy milk, I usually just go for black coffee, but since this is my first time at Hineleban, the flat white rule prevails.

The Flat White (₱150 – $2.82) is bitter, but something that a teaspoon of muscovado can easily be remedied. It is creamy and full-bodied, just the way I like it.

I went at Hineleban armed with my books, hoping to review my French. Not sure if I mentioned this here before, but I’m already 1 year into learning French at Alliance Francaise de Manille. I can now write, read, and understand the language but I’ve a long way to go when it comes to grammar and listening skills. Problem is, I’m lazy. I haven’t been as committed as my classmates when it comes to memorization or exposing myself to French literature. So I sat there, tried to review, and was quickly disappointed by my hardly legible penmanship. I wished I’d brought my laptop, the WiFi at Hineleban was fast and anyway.

The toilet is also clean, I have to mention that because a clean restroom is one of the things that I look for in any establishments.

I’m not sure how busy Hineleban can get on regular days. But I like it enough to say it’s worth leaving the house this Sunday.

Hineleban Cafe
830 Arnaiz Ave. (former Pasay Road),
Makati City
Open 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Mon – Fri.),
9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Sat – Sun)

Beauty, Fitness, and Wellness Lifestyle

Back To Basics Retreat – Coming Home To Oneself

In the weeks leading up to this event, I was not in the pink of health. In between work and family-related stress, I suffered an entire month of sleep difficulty, an uncontrollable appetite for junk food, and physical pains, such as migraines, diarrhea, and fever. My mental health wasn’t any better; my mind riddled with thoughts of grief and anxieties. I needed a reset, the universe had the answer. One day, I received an invite to join a transformational retreat in Zambales called Back to Basics. I clicked and read the description; I think I found the cure for my month-long malady.

What is Back to Basics all about?

Back to Basics is health, crafts, and rituals for cleansing travel retreat that aims to help promote a deeper understanding of mind-body-spirit interconnection. It’s the first project of Longer Dawns founded by Faye & Lovey, in collaboration with Hide Out and AbeAbe Yoga. According to Faye & Lovey, the idea to organize this event came about after they joined the Liwa Earth Fest in February. They got into talks with Ian Limbonis, owner of Hide Out who offered his accommodation as the home base for the retreat.

“In alignment with our mission and vision, we wanted a gathering that would be parallel to ‘coming home to ourselves’ and there is no better way to do that by first ‘going back to basics’,” Faye & Lovey shared.

There was a registration fee of ₱5,200 ($97.62) inclusive of a round-trip transportation from Quezon City to Zambales, 3 meals, shared-room accommodation, yoga with free use of mats, guided meditation. Lecture on healthy and vegan lifestyle as well as yoga philosophy, pranayamas, DIY crafts, individual reiki healing session, and beach clean-up. I signed up for the early bird promo and paid only ₱4,900 ($91.99).

In an interview with Faye & Lovey, they shared that the goals of this retreat are as follows:

  • To share with humans artful and organic cleansing methods and deeper perspectives on mind-body-spirit interconnection
  • To commune with Nature and with the same-soul community, cleanse, and return to our respective lives feeling refreshed and more positive
  • To integrate this wisdom into the cleansing methods/perspectives into our daily living and lead a healthier, more mindful life

Who are the organizers of Back to Basics?

I first met Lovey on a heritage tour in Kawit, Cavite years before. She, together with her friend, Faye founded Longer Dawns, which they described as an unexpected (super organic!) passion project. The duo goes way back as thesis-mates in a university when they were taking up BA European Languages. Both are French majors.


Faye is a French teacher to Filipino high school students and an ESL teacher to French professionals, while Lovey is a French data analyst by mid-day, a writer at late nights until dawn and in between work breaks, and an organizer of writing workshops/poetry exhibits and travel retreats.

We have a mix of similar and different interests and activities – Lovey is a traveler and runs a blog called Art of Movement, co-founder of a photography & poetry passion project called The Echoes, and she’s currently unleashing the Italian in her as she’s learning the language. Faye enjoys doing sports, outdoor activities, singing & dancing, and is also a wellness enthusiast. What brings us together is our love for seeing and experiencing new and old places, chilling and enjoying nature (especially the sea), talking about spirituality, our interest and involvement with Reiki, meditation, and holistic wellness, meeting people from all walks of life, and our openness to constant and continuous learning.”

In January 2018, after receiving Reiki attunement, the Longer Dawns idea was born,

We thought it would be nice to do it near the sea or in an environment where you feel bare and stripped off of all your inhibitions, all-natural, back to basics. And organically, everything else followed. We suddenly found ourselves organizing/co-creating wellness and transformational retreat,” said Faye.  

The two collaborated with Ian and together they shaped the idea of having a wellness retreat that offers Reiki, yoga, and discussions on healthy living. Ian happens to know a person knowledgeable about yoga and a healthy lifestyle, thus introducing the fourth person to join the pool of organizers, Kara Basmayor, a certified yoga teacher.

As in any organized event, Faye & Lovey had their share of challenges during the planning stage.

It took us three months to prepare for it. We encountered so many learnings and challenges along the way especially since it’s our first time to organize such a collaborative type of event. There’s a boo-boo that was scheduling the event on Mother’s Day and with less than 3 months to promote it. We just tried to work around the situation as much as we could. We also struggled somehow with the costing since one of our aims is to provide events with reasonable prices without compromising the quality of what we can offer. The last-minute changes with the activities (i.e. having the film showing in place of the Balingcaguing organic farm visit due to election concerns) was also a challenge. But what we constantly learn is that being calm is the key. Everything will still turn out fine despite the unexpected happenings! 🙂 As we say in Reiki, don’t be attached to the outcome. Let go and let it flow.”

What activities are involved at Back to Basics?

Our time in Liwliwa may be short, but we were not short with activities. The Back to Basic retreat’s list of activities is as follows:   

  • Yoga and Meditation – Sunset and sunrise yoga sessions were also part of the main core of the retreat. It was essential in the journey to being in touch with the mind and body and spirit. Pranayamas, meditation, and other yoga principles were also infused in the sessions.
  • Reiki – This is part of the main core of the Back to Basics retreat. One-on-one Reiki sessions were offered to each participant for relaxation purposes towards the end of the weekend retreat, enabling a balance in energy chakras which might be blocked. A background of Reiki was also discussed to introduce this type of accessible energy healing practice to more people in the Philippines.
  • Film showing – An environmental documentary called “Cowspiracy” was rolled out, provoking questions on our lifestyles and opening our perspectives on sustainable living in a planet plagued with climate change and rapid growth of population.
  • Beach Clean-up – This activity is to create dynamism in the retreat. It also served as our Karma yoga where we had the chance to show our love for Nature which is giving us so much than we ask for.
  • Dreamcatcher making – This is to add a creative blend to the Back to Basics theme. The activity encouraged interaction with fellow participants and organizers and allowed everyone to be “in the flow” of life in a very creative approach.
  • New moon intention ritual – This is to impart a basic yet very helpful ritual in manifesting our desires and tapping our power which can be easily done in a little corner of our home.

How was the Back to Basics Experience?

12th May, we assembled at our meeting place in Katipunan where I met the other 3 participants and the organizers. We drove to San Felipe, Zambales in a rented van for 3 hours until we reached our place of accommodation located in a secluded spot in Sitio Liwliwa. Surrounded by nature, a bit far from the beach and away from the rest of the resorts in the area is an accommodation I could only describe as rustic and Arcadian, Hideout. We were greeted by a long-haired woman with a radiant smile and a soft-spoken guy with a deeply tanned skin. Introductions revealed they were Kara and Ian.

What follows is 2 days and 1 night of partaking in soul-enriching and lifestyle-changing activities, such as…

Guided Meditation

Years ago I read a book, The Silva Mind Control Method and learned how to properly do a meditation. I have gotten so good at it, I once reached the Theta stage. Unfortunately, meditation became one of my forgotten or neglected habits as I got too consumed with the daily nuances of life. Knowing the benefits of meditation to my psyche, I was excited to get back to it.

Kara led the guided meditation. She asked us to find a spot in which we could rest our backs. In a low soothing voice, she led us to a deep state of relaxation. A few times, she told us to change positions like lying on the bed. When I heard her last instruction, I got slightly confused when I saw everyone in a sitting position. I asked Lovey if they had been lying down, she said that they did, but it seems like I slept. I was like, oops.

Film Showing: Cowspiracy

The most enlightening but unfortunately, my least favorite part of the event is the film showing of a documentary titled, Cowspiracy. It’s a feature-length environmental documentary that follows the investigation of Kip Andersen on the biggest environmental issue the world is facing. The facts that this film is claiming is staggering, the biggest and most controversial of which is that 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. I say that this is my least favorite part of the retreat, not because I didn’t like the movie, in fact, I learned so much from it. It’s just that the film ran for 1 hour and 30 minutes and I was in dire need of sleep. The whole time it was playing, I fought so hard to remain awake.

Lecture on Veganism

Kara provided a lecture on veganism, specifically the diet based on Ayurvedic principles. What you choose to eat significantly affects how you feel or think. She told us about 3 doshas, energies that define every person’s being; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. 

  • Vata – with qualities that reflect the elements of space and air
  • Pitta – with qualities reflect the elements of fire and water
  • Kapha – with qualities that reflect the elements of water and earth

It’s possible for a person to possess 2 qualities, as in my case, a Vata-Pitta. You can take an online quiz to determine your dosha here.

This year, I became a semi-vegetarian eliminating pork and beef meat from my diet. It’s neither due to animal advocacy nor a medical condition that requires food restrictions, I honestly just want to start eating healthy. But I haven’t gone fully vegetarian; I couldn’t quit chicken and seafood.

That weekend, however, we were fed nothing but vegetarian dishes. Being a fan of spicy and salty food, I found this to be very challenging. While everyone seems to be enjoying their meals, I had to fight down the urge to ask for some condiments. On our second day, I did a little better and managed to enjoy the meals that they served us.

Beach Yoga

We had two beach yogas, a sunset yoga at Liwliwa Beach and morning yoga at Cabangan Beach with Kara as our yoga instructor. The routines were not as intense as my past yoga experience, the movements and the pacing was slow. It was hard to maintain balance when my feet keep sinking on the sand. Likewise, the beach was busy when we went to Liwliwa that trying to keep in a serene state was a challenge.

The yoga in Cabangan beach is a different story. It’s about 20-min away from Liwliwa and it’s not a touristy beach and it’s a site for a quarry. We found a secluded spot where we had the beach all to ourselves. We have gone through the routine smoothly with the sound of the waves for our music.

Beach Clean-up

After our yoga at Cabangan Beach, we started doing a beach clean-up. You wouldn’t believe the amount of trash that we picked up for under an hour. There were flip flops, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic bottles and caps, plastic bags, diapers, and discarded clothes. It was quite saddening. I just can’t believe how many people can be this undisciplined and disrespectful of the environment.

back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (13)
back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (1)

We turned over the sacks of garbage to the municipal hall of San Felipe.

Dreamcatcher making

My most favorite activity out of everything that we did is the dreamcatcher making. We were taught by Meg Fernandez and Princess Mae Tapec and the materials are provided for. I’d been wanting to learn how to make a dreamcatcher, thus I was looking forward to this activity. Years ago, I spent days on end creating friendship bracelets. The skill that I gained from all those hours spent on knotting threads helped me finish wrapping the hoop with the hemp cord in no time.

back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (8)
back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (9)
back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (7)
back-to-basics-retreat-zambales (10)

By the way, this activity inspired me to start this small business that I have, called, Marahuyo Accessories. I am now making and selling handmade dreamcatcher earrings and if you want to check out my creations, here’s a link to the Instagram account.

Reiki Healing

Years ago, in the midst of my depression, I consulted a life coach and signed up for her one-on-one sessions. This is how I first learned about and experienced Reiki, a relaxation and stress-reduction technique that originated in Japan. It was my most favorite part of our sessions because the effect is instantaneous. I haven’t taken another Reiki session since then, though I’ve always wanted to. The thing is, life coaching may have helped me, but it was hella expensive.

Faye and Lovey led Reiki, the last activity of the retreat. They are now reiki practitioners after completing their Reiki healing attunement from White Space Body and Mind Wellness Studio. With Reiki, the practitioner rests his/her hands over a person’s body and passes on the energy.

The feelings one gets from reiki vary from person to person. With the life coach, I remember a warm, tingly sensation, kind of like a static. With Faye who performed my reiki, I felt completely relax and sleepy.

Is there going to be another Back to Basics retreat in the future?

Faye & Lovey answered in the affirmative. They plan to hold it on an island. Likewise, they aim to have talks/discussions, bazaars, and other wellness events in the future.

Actually, one of our long-term goals is to have a wellness center/farm where we can hold retreats/events and where we can serve healthy, organic food, too! Where basically, people can come home to themselves,” shared by Faye & Lovey.

We are looking at holding a retreat in a different province in the Philippines. Hopefully, it will come to fruition. For now, we are open to giving Reiki sessions to future client-friends! And having a meet-up with our Back to Basics participants just to catch up on one another’s’ mindfulness journeys, discuss interesting books we’ve recently read, and flow with our realizations in life.”

For inquiries, you may send an email to Faye & Lovey at longerdawns@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Mesmerizing Melbourne: 5 Things To See And Do

Is a trip to Melbourne on your bucket list yet? If not, it should be! While most tourists flock to Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne flights takes only a little more than an hour and a half so you can easily cram a weekend trip into your schedule. After all, Melbourne is an outstanding city in itself, with lots of life and happenings all year ‘round. To make trip-planning easier, we’ve compiled some of the most interesting things Melbourne can give you in a couple of days.

Feel Old Hollywood at the Astor Theatre

Open since 1936, the Astor is the last remaining single-screen cinema in continuous operation in the city. Showing both new and classic films, this has become a hub for both movie buffs and curious visitors alike. The screen is framed by golden curtains, perfect for this theater that often plays host to special events.

Wine and dine at Yarra Valley

This green spread is just an hour from the central business district and is famous throughout the country for its wineries and dining options. The area is best visited on weekends when the cellars are open. Aside from the wine, don’t miss Yarra Valley Dairy for some really good cheese!

Grab a hot air balloon ride

Melbourne is an awesome combination of the new and the old, the green and the gray. There’s no better way to appreciate this than from a hot air balloon, which flies over both the countryside and the city. You can even go up on one before dawn, just as the rest of Melbourne is still stirring from sleep! The routes may also change depending on the weather and other conditions, so you may end up seeing a new side of the city with each flight.


Buy real fresh produce at Queen Victoria Market

This open-air market is not for the faint-hearted. There’s a stirring passion in the air, from the endless haggling of buyers to the knowledgeable banter of the stall owners. This is the go-to-market of the locals for anything fresh, and you can even find stuff like clothes and accessories here.

Stroll through time at the Abbotsford Convent

If Queen Vic is too loud for you, head to Abbotsford for a change of pace. It’s like being thrown back to the past, as you explore the area’s history from the 1800s. It is a very artsy place and showcases the work of local artists. There’s also the curious but awesome Lentil as Anything, a vegetarian restaurant where you choose how much to pay based on the meal you get!

This is but a very, very small cross-section of what Melbourne has to offer. To really see how deep this awesome rabbit hole goes, it’s best to head up there yourself! You can easily book Sydney to Melbourne flights online, and choose from various carriers. You can go the budget route with Virgin Australia, for example, or indulge yourself with Sunstate Airlines and Etihad Airways. But however you choose to fly, Melbourne will be there to greet you with its unique character that you’ll remember for a long, long time.

Note: This is a guest post.

Hotels Philippines Travel

Sleeping The Weekend Away In This Farm Resort In Lucban [Villa Elma Review]

I woke up to an empty room feeling slightly disorientated, uncertain about the time. I got up and went straight to the toilet and did what had been constantly disrupting my sleep for the entire night. I was suffering from self-diagnosed stomach flu. I don’t know how I contracted the disease but it started a few hours after my very late dinner that Friday night. Hence the story of sleeping the weekend away in a farm resort, at least 4 hours away from Manila, Villa Elma.

It’s been a long time since I’d taken a blogger’s trip. My friend, Jerny, told me about a staycation in Lucban, Quezon that he had been trying to organize with other bloggers. Jerny, now a freelancer, relishes the freedom of not having a nine-to-five job. He gets to attend all blogging events, most of which, I couldn’t go due to work. His Instagram feed and story show the lifestyle that I once dreamed of when I was fiddling with the idea of going freelance. I have accepted though that I neither have the patience nor the discipline to pursue this path, thus I am back in the corporate, but I digress.

Jerny had been asking me several times if I was free to go to some of these blogging events but they always coincided with work or with another trip. When he told me about Villa Elma, the stars have finally aligned.

Getting there

Friday night, I traveled to Quezon with Jerny’s girlfriend, Jane who just got out of her class and another friend of theirs. We met at the Jac Liner bus station in Buendia where we rode a bus that goes to Laguna. From SM Calamba, we took one of the shuttles that travel to Lucban. We had the misfortune of being seated in the back part of the van where we suffered long and agonizing hours of a migraine-inducing ride.

We reached Lucban in the thick of the night and hailed a tricycle to take us to Villa Elma. I spotted a curly-haired guy with fair skin standing on the side of the road, donned in an all-black ensemble. He has striking facial features that I did a double-take.

The tricycle stopped in front of a pair of steel gates and saw Jerny waiting for us. He turned to greet the other person who has just alighted from another tricycle; it was the guy that I spotted before. Turns out he’s one of the bloggers who would be joining us in this staycation. His name is Joel Andrada and he maintains a travel and lifestyle blog. We now call each other, “roomie” because we were bunked together on the ground floor of the cabin where we stayed.

We entered the cabin and met the other bloggers who were in the middle of a drinking session. They were talking about the misunderstanding that they had with the staff during check-in. Apparently, the manager was not around and the staff seemed to have little idea what to do with us. In fact, they weren’t sure if breakfast is on the table for our 2 nights stay.

Room Accommodation

I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what was going on with the design of the room. Well, it had a “log cabin theme” going for it, the beams and walls were painted with rings and marks to simulate the wooden logs used in actual cabins. But the other elements inside the room confused me. There is a Christmas tree collecting dust in the corner and I wonder why it wasn’t put away when it’s already May. The decorative pieces were an eclectic mix of religious articles and paintings. There are florals and prints, bold colors that do not complement each other.

villa-elma-rooms-coffeehan (2)
villa-elma-rooms-coffeehan (3)
villa-elma-rooms-coffeehan (4)
villa-elma-rooms-coffeehan (5)

Joel and I slept on two separate mattresses, there is only one bedroom in the cottage and that’s where the other bloggers slept.

The Log Cabin is one of the room options at Villa Elma. The rate per night is ₱3,500 ($65.63) for 2 persons. They charge ₱350 per pax for additional guests, but kids aged 7 and below are free. The rate is inclusive of breakfast.

Other room options include the Twin House (₱2,000), Master’s Room (₱2,300), Tree House (₱2,800), Memorabilia (₱2,800), and Glamping Tent (₱1,400).

About Villa Elma

Villa Elma Farm Resort stands on a 10-hectare land on the foothills of Mt. Banahaw. It is also known as a pilgrimage site, built in 1992. It is owned by Magdangal Elma, a lawyer and former Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. The nature park opened to the public in 2016.

The park is a composite work of art and nature. There you would see a great number of sculptures placed on different spots of the resort, the works of sculptors, Eduardo Castillo and Rey Contreras. There’s a park in which you can find the superheroes, hanging steel bridges, gazebos, a Holy Trinity Statue, and a 98-ft tall sculpture called Christ the Redeemer made by Polish artist, Paul Lewandowski.

villa-elma-resort (10)
villa-elma-resort (4)
villa-elma-resort (5)
villa-elma-resort (7)
villa-elma-resort (8)
villa-elma-resort (9)
villa-elma-resort (3)
villa-elma-resort (2)

Under the steel bridges, is a pathway that leads to Mahiwagang Paraiso where you can find more of their collections of religious statues. It has all the facilities of a resort, but the area seems to be abandoned. The steel benches are all rusty, the restrooms seemed to be permanently closed, and the is now filled with dark, murky water. I tried to imagine how it looked in its heyday and wondered why the management seemed to have stopped all efforts for its upkeep. It looks like the kind of place that would attract many visitors, I wonder what went wrong.

Down with the sickness

Saturday morning, we went to Elsa Cafe, the in-house cafe of the resort. Things got sorted out that we were served breakfast. When the year started, I quit eating pork and beef meat, hence I could only eat egg in our longsilog breakfast. Having spent the better part of the night going to and fro the toilet, I didn’t have enough energy to get me through the day. I had no appetite and I was feeling lightheaded that I couldn’t finish my food. When I could no longer bear the nausea, I excused myself from the group and walked back to the cabin.

villa-elma-elsa-cafe-coffeehan (3)
villa-elma-elsa-cafe-coffeehan (4)
villa-elma-elsa-cafe-coffeehan (1)
villa-elma-elsa-cafe-coffeehan (2)

The other bloggers went about the day exploring the resort while I stayed in the room sleeping or making frequent trips to the loo. My excrement is all liquid. No matter how many bananas I ate and how many loperamide I popped, my health didn’t improve.

It wasn’t until in the afternoon that I was able to get up from the bed. I joined Joel to the town for lunch. Come night time, my condition worsened. I lost count of the times I woke up from sleep to use the restroom. The stomach cramps were so painful I almost roused Joel from sleep to accompany me to the hospital. The only reason I didn’t bother him is that I knew we won’t be able to get a ride in those hours. Thus, I endured my pain in silence and prayed that it would be over soon.

The next day, I didn’t want to eat other than bananas for fear that it would further aggravate my tummy. Throughout this whole ordeal, I made sure that I was kept hydrated. The thought of taking a long trip back to Manila caused me great apprehension. I mean what if I needed to use the toilet somewhere along the way, what happens then?

I felt a deep embarrassment to my companions for not being able to hang out with them during this trip. I wasn’t able to explore the entire resort and I didn’t have a decent photo of myself. Alas, these things happen and there is nothing I could do about it.

It was not funny at that time but now, I find it humorous that I went all the way to Lucban just to sleep… and to use the toilet. As they say, shit happens.

Note: This trip happened on 13th April 2018.

Villa Elma Farm Resort
Address: A. Mabini Street, Brgy. Palola,
Lucban, Quezon Province
Email address: info@villaelma.com.ph
Contact number: +63 9770496186 /  +63 9298388496

Lifestyle Product Reviews

Get Better Sleep During Long Travel With This Travel Pillow

I have many talents, one of which is the ability to sleep during a long land travel. I just need to sit by the window so I’d have something to lean on, then I’m good. I usually bring a pillow, not the u-shaped neck pillow as I find it to be quite uncomfortable, but those regular small pillows. What I do is, I fold the pillow in the middle then tuck it on the side of my neck for support. It’s good but it tends to fall off, especially when I get deep into my sleep. Then I saw this video by Insider about a travel pillow. My immediate thought is that I need it and I want one for myself. However, I didn’t know where to get it, until one day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw an ad that is selling the exact product. 

Before we continue, here is the video I was referring to.

It might have been the phase of the moon or the fact that I had a budget that I decided to click the ad. I was redirected to the product’s online store.

This product is made by the same company behind those inflatable air sofa, Globeebag. The product description of the travel pillow claims the following:

  • Strengthened Ribs provide scientifically proven head and neck support
  • Super Soft Fleece and foam is stretched to create a comforting hammock effect
  • Patented Design fits any neck shape, jaw and shoulder

I read through the testimonials of their satisfied customers and the one that drew my attention is this,

“I’ve had 3 neck surgeries and this is the first travel pillow that helps me! I’ve spent $$$ on other gadgets. But this one works! It even worked for my 5 yr old.”

I mean if a person who had neck surgeries approves of it, then it should work for me too.

Sometimes, the delivery fee is more expensive than the product itself, thankfully, this one offers free delivery. Also, they were having a 50% promo so instead of paying the original price of $53.99 or ₱2,881.45, I got the pillow for only $26.99 or ₱1,440.46.

So I clicked, clicked, typed down my information, and paid via Paypal. After which, I received an email from them confirming my purchase. Ordering was a breeze, but the waiting time was long. I placed my order on the 3rd of May and didn’t receive the product until the 22nd of June. I had to pick it up from Makati Post Office.

There was no fancy packaging, it was just in a plastic-wrapped in a product insert. The pillow is lightweight and made of soft fleece. It has a Velcro used to secure the pillow around your neck. Inside you can find the heart of this product; the spine or what they call the internal neck support system.


The first time I used it was during my recent trip to Mariveles. It was a 4-hour journey, I didn’t have enough sleep the night before because the assembly time was early. This means I had the perfect opportunity to test the product and find out whether it was a good buy or a big mistake.

[Related: A Day Trip Guide to Mariveles, Bataan]

It was easy to use, I just wrapped it around my neck but instead of securing it under my chin, I let it extend over my mouth. I positioned the spine on the side of my neck and let my head fall to the side. It was very comfortable to use, something that I didn’t expect. I woke up an hour or so later without the strain that I usually get on the neck from sleeping on a moving vehicle.

I used the travel pillow again, just last weekend when I went to Zambales for an out-of-town trip with my colleagues. This time I was on the back of the car, I positioned the spine of the pillow on my nape and rested my back on the side of the car. Again, there was no awkward repositioning of the pillow, no strain on my neck, and I fell asleep in no time. I must say I am very impressed by this product.

[Read: The Failed Search for a Hanson at the Circle Hostel Zambales]

The travel pillow is not that bulky and can easily fit into my bag. Moreover, it is easy to wash and doesn’t take forever to dry compared with the usual neck pillows. The only disadvantage I guess is that it is not as soft as the regular pillows, but I would argue that soft is not necessarily better.

I am so pleased that it lived up to its promise that I just had to write this product review. It’s one of the smartest purchases that I made and I’d like to share the good news.

Have you ever tried this travel pillow?