Monday, February 22, 2010

A Batangas Beach wedding

While most people would frown at the idea of traveling three hours to attend a wedding, hubby and I were super excited for two reasons; one, it was the wedding of our longtime friend, Joy and two, it was a chance for me and hubby to be alone together in a secluded beach. Ok, it wasn't that secluded but hey, it was like our nth honeymoon, so why wouldn't we be excited?

Also, it was my first out-of-town wedding after almost 10 years, so there I was at the wheel, eager to reach our destination.

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Joy and I worked together for our high school paper and became classmates in college. Like most classmates who grew up in a generation without social networking sites (heck, most people didn't even own mobile phones in college!) we lost touch when we started working. But coincidences of coincidences, Joy became hubby's officemate when we weren't married yet (yes I know, small world) and that's how Joy and I got connected again.
Joy was very hands-on with her wedding preparations, making sure every detail was true to their specifications. From the color palette of the invitations, to the souvenir wedding ribbons, to the flowers at the church -- Joy made sure this was going to be the wedding she truly wanted.
Joy and her now-husband, Benedict chose to have an intimate but fun wedding in the new summer place to be ---- San Juan, Batangas. Their ceremony venue of choice was the idyllic San Juan de Nepomuceno parish and their reception venue was at Acuatico, a resort on the Laiya shoreline.
Just look at Acuatico's photos and you'd be lying if you told me you wouldn't want to book a room right away.

The floating bar

The fountain fronting the restaurant

Acuatico's in-house cafe

The bed in one of the Executive rooms

Above and below, photos of the colorful bathroom, complete with toiletries (unlike some of the other resorts in Laiya)

Below, the entrance to the San Juan de Nepomuceno church.

The aisle that welcomed the bride and groom.

Couldn't resist taking a shot of the window as the sun was setting.

That's me and hubby waiting for the bridal march. We were to present the fruits for the offertory procession.
I had to wear a bolero to hide my not-so-conservative beach dress :-P

There's Bene, the giddy groom.

And there's Joy, the bubbly bride.

The ceremony was short and sweet.

Joy's family

The beach reception. Loved that the atmosphere was fun and casual.
Guests were wearing flipflops, 80's music was playing and grilled food was served.

Loved the souvenirs at the registration table -- sarongs for the girls!

Wasn't the cake and the canopy just beach-perfect?!

If there was anything that I didn't like about the night reception, it was that I couldn't get the right light to take photos of the gorgeous flower arrangements on the tables! They were a medley of all-white flowers, baby pineapples and reeds that looked like cat tails!

That's Joy and (my) hubby after he changed to beachwear.

Above, a morning-after shot of the sarong and below, the prizes hubby and I won during the couples' game. It's amazing how hubby and I always win prizes when we join wedding games. :-)

Because I couldn't take decent photos of the flowers the night before, I took them during breakfast. :-)

I think these are tube roses and green button mums.

White roses, of course.

Roses, calla lilies, button mums, the cattails and white snapdragons.

Below is a closer look at the snapdragons. Aren't they just lovely? I couldn't stop staring at them because they're rarely seen in Manila. They were arranged by Acuatico's in-house florist.

That's hubby, reading the ceremony missalette. My attempt at a silhouette shot.

To Joy and Bene, congratulations! Remember that marriage, unlike your wedding is not a destination, but a journey. :-)

And to those of you who didn't get their fill from my photos of the wedding, here's the on-site audio-visual presentation by their photographer, Bryan Yap who captured the true mood and tone of the wedding -- fun, fun, fun!

Benedict + Joy - SDE Photo Slideshow from Bryan Yap on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A late Valentine date at Lemuria

Valentine's Day was never a big thing with me and hubby. Every year, everywhere is always too crowded and too commercial -- movies, hotels, restaurants, concerts. Bah, humbug. :-P

If Valentine's Day is about you and your sweetheart, then celebrating it with a crowd is so not the way to do it.

What hubby and I do is wait a few days to celebrate the day of hearts. And this year, we decided to try out the restaurant named after a mythological island, Lemuria.

Before the restaurant became known as Lemuria, it was known as The Winery. It houses possibly a hundred or more wine varieties and was open to small parties half a decade ago. I even thought of having my wedding here but the lack of space for the guests and their cars made me cross it out from my list.

Located in a quiet neighborhood in Quezon City, Lemuria's main dining room can accommodate around 50 heads. There's also a function room which I believe can fit about 50 more. Hubby and I were hoping that we could have the place to ourselves that day, but a group of students from a culinary school were having their exposure trip of sorts.

Well, so much for a romantic lunch. :-P

For starters, we had raisin walnut bread and foccacia slices with balsamic vinegar and whipped butter.

Below, crostinis. Yum.

Both hubby and I decided to have soup. He ordered the soup of the day which was Cream of Pumpkin (above) and I got the Bouillabaise (below), which tasted a tad bit fishy (well, it was seafood soup but I wish the "fishyness" could have been tempered or masked by the "citrusness" of the orange).

Oh well.

For appetizers, hubby got the Prawn Saganaki (above) and I got the Seared Fois Gras with braised cabbage and fig glaze (below). I'm not particularly a liver lover and after a forkful, I exchanged appetizers with hubby who happily finished the Fois Gras. As for the prawn which was flavorful with tomatoes and basil, I could only wish the prawns were a bit bigger. Hubby and I love eating gargantuan prawns at home so seeing little shrimps was sort of a let down for us.

For the main course, I opted for the Sea bass, poached in saffron olive jus and braised fennel. Hubby ordered the Dutch Veal rib eye steak stuffed with duck liver, ancholade and port wine reduction. (Wow, that was a mouthful).

That's hubby's fork and knife attacking the veal. Well, maybe not "attacking" because admittedly, the veal was so tender, I almost didn't need to chew it as it slithered its way down my mouth.

For dessert, we had the Vahlrona Chocolate Souffle Cake with Lavender Ice Cream. I'm biased with anything chocolate so I can only say that I didn't give the cake a chance to sit on that plate too long :-)

Above, the glassware sold at Lemuria -- not surprising to find ridiculously exquisite crystal from a place where good wines are sold (below, the wine cellar).

Below, an adorable mailbox greets you just before entering Lemuria's dining area. Don't you just love darling details like these?

Overall, the lunch was ok. It's been a while since hubby and I went out on a real date so to me, the food was just secondary.

If there's anything that I loved about Lemuria, it was definitely the impeccable service. If only for that, Lemuria is worth going back to.

Lemuria now also accepts catering services for intimate, casual and formal lunches and dinners, cocktail parties and all sorts of functions. They even now have a partner venue, The Broadway House, conveniently located in New Manila, Quezon City. I haven't been there myself but I do plan to check it out one of these days.

5 Julieta Circle Horsehoe Village, Quezon City