It is a beautiful area surrounded by green, rolling hills and mountains. From a distance the mountains reminded me of the Smoky Mountains in the States, but as we got closer we could see that the trees were nothing like the Smokies- these mountains are covered in palm trees!
After living in the city for seven months our kids were definitely not used to riding in the car. I couldn't believe it when I heard, "Are we there yet?" in a distinctively whiney tone after only 45 minutes or so.
The retreat center was hidden down at the end of a little dirt road but when we went inside it was beautiful! A huge pool beckoned to us to jump in. When we did we were startled to discover that it was a hot springs pool! What a wonderful idea for a cooler climate! One nice part was that when we got out the air felt cool. The girls love to swim and didn't complain once about it being warm.
We hadn't been swimming in about 2 months even though we have a pool at our apartment complex. I never thought I'd say this, but swimming isn't too attractive during rainy season here! It isn't that it is cold outside, it is just that it is coldER and it doesn't seem fun to swim. Saturday was sunny and warm so the conditions were right for a swim.
In between dips in the pool we snacked on our picnic food. It was fun to see what Filipinos eat on picnics! I did see some sandwiches, but it was mostly bbq-ed meat and rice. Our church friends were so generous- they kept bringing over their food to share. At one point Button asked me, "Why do people keep bringing us food?!" And it really was fabulous to see how much they shared with each other. It definitely was different than North American culture.