Undas 2019

Christians celebrate November 1 as All Saints' Day. In the Philippines, it is referred to as Todos Los Santos, Araw ng Mga Patay, and Undas. It is also a holiday in the Philippines. It is a time for many Filipinos to go back to their provinces to visit the members of their families who already passed away. It is also a time for some to hold family reunions. Such is the case for our family. 

Atimonan Undas 2019
Undas 2019

For Undas 2019, we hit the road again going to my mother's hometown of Atimonan in the province of Quezon. Here's how we spent our 3 days in the province:

Day 1: November 1

My family and I left our house in Cavite at around 3:30 AM to pick up my cousins at McDo Southwoods. From there, we drove south via South Luzon Expressway then Star toll before continuing on to Quezon Province via the Maharlika Highway. 

Destination reached! De Gracia Beach and Leisure Resort in Atimonan

Oh! Are those my dad and uncle's pickup trucks?

...and there they are talking about the pickup trucks

The waves are rough... it's not the best time to swim

Time to give respect to our loved one who already passed away in Atimonan Municipal Cemetery - Atimonan, Quezon

The family mausoleum

Time to light our candles and offer prayers

We reached De Gracia Beach Resort in Atimonan at around 8:30AM. We then checked in to our room for the next two days, rested a bit, then drove to the town proper to visit the family mausoleum. 

Welcome to Green Park Atimonan

This is a nice place to relax and be one with nature

You can check out a bird checking out a bird...

...and a feline doing his thing

The pinais

The other dishes served during the mini-reunion

After giving respect to our departed loved ones, we headed to Green Park Atimonan for lunch. My mom already pre-ordered several local dishes like the pinais which was a dish made from hipong gubat (river shrimp) and coconut milk, adobong hipon, ensaladang pako, and several others. It was quite a feast as many of our distant relatives came to celebrate the day with us. 

Time to eat!

Happy birthday to the October celebrants - L-R My mom, Tita Pinky, my wife, and Tita Melinda

After the feast, we headed back to De Gracia Beach Resort and spent the night discussing our plans for tomorrow over beer and nuts. To sum it up, this day was a day of reconnecting with people we rarely see. It was also a day of remembering those who were not with us anymore. 

Day 2:  November 2 

The first thing we did today was to wake up early and stroll along the beach. Sadly, the beaches were covered with natural and man-made trash. When asked, the locals would explain that they clean their beachfront every day but the waves bring in tons of garbage to this side of Lamon Bay due to the Amihan or Northeast Monsoon. To cut the long story short, October to February might not be the best months to visit the beaches of Atimonan.

Amazing view of Lamon Bay from De Gracia Beach Resort

After breakfast, we prepared and drove to Barangay San Rafael "Summit", which is also in the town of Atimonan, to visit our relatives living there. After the usual catching-up chats and the awesome lunch, we proceeded to the highlight of today's activity -the skit ride. 

Heading to Barangay San Rafael, Atimonan to visit our relatives

Glad to see everyone again


What is a reunion without food?

A skit is a small wooden motorized rail transportation that replaced the regular trains in this part of Quezon. It has a capacity of around 10 people and a speed that can reach around 30-40 kilometers per hour.

Waiting for the skit

There it is!

We rented two skits (P300 per skit) to bring our big family to one of the hidden gems of the barangay which was Natulo Dam. To reach it, the skits would have to cross a river via the 60-70 foot high Tulay Buwaya. As part of the adventure, the skits stopped in the middle of the said bridge for us to take photos. Doing so would mean that you have to board down the skit and walk at the tracks on the trestle-type bridge.  

Ella and Junah is excited about this adventure

Our skit is here. Time to go!

Quick stop at Tulay Buwaya

The family visits Tulay Buwaya

When our adventurousness was satisfied, we then proceeded to Natulo Dam. It might look like a typical dam at first but it presents visitors with one hair-raising challenge -crossing it to get to the other side. To do so, one has to walk on a walkway on top of the 30-foot tall dam. The walkway measures about 40 meters long and 15-20 inches wide. 

Exploring Natulo Dam

Going own to Natulo Dam

Natulo Dam



Ella crossing Natulo Dam




However, take note that it does not have any guard rails to hold on to and there would be no nets to catch you when you fall. Regardless, we successfully crossed it, of course, even my 6-year old daughter.  

Here's our Skit Ride video

 

We didn't stay long though, we rode the skits back to Barangay San Rafael, rested a bit then headed back to De Gracia Beach Resort. From there, my cousins and I decided to head to the Poblacion (city center) of Atimonan to visit the cemetery and go on a food trip. However, since my uncle was heading there as well, we decided to hitch a ride on his pickup truck. 

Visited our relatives in Sacred Heart Memorial Park - Atimonan, Quezon

Visited our relatives in the Catholic Cemetery of Atimonan - Atimonan, Quezon

Inside the Catholic Cemetery of Atimonan

Atimonan Church

Attended a night mass at Atimonan Church

Food trip - Dimsum Panda - Atimonan, Quezon

Although it was a food trip, we first decided to attend the anticipated mass at Atimonan Church AKA Our Lady of the Angels Parish Church. Afterward, we walked around town looking for food to munch. Our first stop was at 711 (seriously), then dumplings and finally fries from a local carenderia. We would have wanted to look for more food but it suddenly rained. It was just in time as my uncle texted us that he was on his way back to the resort so we hitched back. That night we discussed our plan tomorrow. I suggested that we leave very early to avoid traffic brought by the influx of vehicles going back to Manila, to which they all agreed. 

Day 3 - November 3

This is it, time to go back home. We checked out of De Gracia Beach Resort and headed back to Manila. There's nothing much that happened during our drive back but it was a good decision as we did not encounter much traffic. 

Usual stopover at Mcdonald's near Villa Escudero

We reached home a little past noon and overall, it was a memorable two days. We are now looking forward to our next family adventure. How about you? What's your plan for this Undas?

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