Monday, January 21

a journey with no destination (part 2)

(continued from here)

on day 2 of our agenda-less drive, we joined ixi and mikeli in visiting carmela at villa escudero.  it was a cloudy day, rain threatened to fall from the grey skies as we followed mother and daughter on the road to tiaong.

once again, the orphaned travelers were welcomed with open arms by our friends. the rain had started to fall even before we reached san pablo, and it looked like it was going to be a lazy day hanging out with friends.

rainy days =  lazy days

thankfully, the riverside cottage had a great view of the main pavillion and the river, and offered the ultimate in dude-birding: birding from the hummock while: a) munching, b) drinking, c) chatting it up with friends or d) catching up on some snooze time (not necessarily in that order!)

the spiral ginger just outside our cottage was the favorite perch for a common kingfisher who didn't seem to mind the rain. 

pacific swallows took refuge in the wooden beams above the cottage

we had a late lunch and the rain let up a bit so carmela took us to see her long-term guests: the rescued laguna pit bulls. excited barks greeted us as we approached, and many of the dogs wagged tails, picked up their dishes, jumped up and down in their cages in various attempts to catch our attention.  it was heart-breaking to think of what these dogs had been through!  many of them looked so sweet, pressing up against the cages for a little head and tummy scratch.  hope springs eternal for these saved canines for as long as people like carmela and mikeli strive to better the dogs' lives.

as rain began to pour again, we retreated back to our cozy cottage, where we stayed for rest of the day, save for a short trip to the pavillion for late dinner.

the next day was no different, skies were still grey and overcast. when the sun decided to peek through the clouds, after breakfast, we hurried to the waterfalls for some quick birding.  a fruiting tree was noisy with flowerpeckers voraciously devouring the tiny fruit. 

red-keeled flowerpeckers zipped back and forth picking up and swallowing fruit

other birds were out enjoying the bit of sunshine, preening and drying themselves out in the open.

this brown shrike was joined but 20 or so sparrows drying themselves of on a bougainvillea bush.

as we headed down to the iconic eating area, we quickly spotted the star bird of villa: a male indigo banded kingfisher perched on the railings across the river!  too bad it quickly moved into the darker area upstream as the place came alive with activity from people preparing for lunch.

quite a horrible picture of the star of villa escudero!

we were not left without avian companions though, as a pair of oriental magpie robins displayed themselves quite well.  one of them came close enough for us to see that it had an ant (most probably dead) attached near its eye.  oooh how i wanted to reach out and pinch it off!

argh!  if i could just reach out and remove that ant from the  corner of the eye of this friendly magpie-robin!

alas, the sunshine didn't last for very long, and the rain chased us back once again to our cottage. how we filled up the day i can hardly remember now, time passes so quickly when you are with friends and having fun!  sooner than we would have liked it was already 5pm and we had to go!

we thanked our gracious hosts for the past three days in calamba and tiaong and began the drive back to the city. after all, every journey will eventually have the travelers coming home.


  1. Wow, rainy day in a Villa Escudero cottage! Sarap! =)

    1. Sarap kumain, matulog, mag kwentuhan, tumanga lang... it's a good thing the birds came to us - least effort and maximum comfort! :-)

  2. the best combination: birding and friends! pagka-ganyan never mind the weather. :)