– by ChiChai@Empire –
I frequently travel to the Philippines to support my mom’s non-profit organization Project PEARLS. Over the years, those trips have turned the Philippines into another home for me. I can say I’m close to my family in the motherland and have friends there although we’re thousands of miles apart majority of the year. This is why it was so important for Chris@Empire and I to visit before our wedding. (Oh. If you don’t follow us personally, Chris@Empire and I are getting married lol.)
With our wedding coming up in the fall, Chris@Empire and I spent a week together in Manila and a concluding weekend in Tagaytay. My mom arranged a “pre-wedding party” for my family and friends but… before we get into that, we visited the “Palace in the Sky” with our friends Monica and Karen.
Tagaytay is a city perched on top of a mountain ridge that surrounds a lake that surrounds volcanos. You can read about Taal Volcano here And because we’re up in the mountains, cooler temperatures and a view like this is common when visiting Tagaytay.
The low-laying clouds had made the day eerie and this already unfamiliar land more of a mystery. But, visiting Palace in the Sky during this weather made for fun photos.
Palace in the Sky is a palace… that was never finished. This palace was meant for Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the 1980’s. As the Chicago Tribune put it, the unfinished “palace in the sky“ that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos erected on a windswept mountaintop here remains one of the best monuments yet to a lifestyle built on greed, excess and arrogance. The Marcos’ intended for it to be a vacation home in which US President Reagan could stay at. And– even after spending millions of dollars — they cancelled it’s completion when Reagan cancelled his stay.
30 years later, Palace in the Sky has become a tourist destination for its views of Tagaytay. You can see that we didn’t get much of landscape photos but we enjoyed playing with the gray softness.
I mean. How epic are these road photos?
Which reminds me… I did not know until this trip that Tagaytay had strawberry taho. Taho is commonly sold by vendors but I’ve only seen strawberry taho in Baguio since its cold enough there to grow strawberries. You best believe I bought one without hesitation!
I was so happy, that I asked for a solo photoshoot with my strawberry taho.
Now for the wedding pre-party party! We booked an AirBnB big enough for dozens of friends and family to party and sleep over. Look how gorgeous the design is!
My mom’s side of the family is non-traditional Filipino in the sense that we have no nurses or anyone in the medical or engineering field. Instead, my family is full of caterers that not only prioritize making (or ordering lol) yummy food but making sure the presentation matches. I mean, look at my breakfast made by my mom’s brother and plated by my mom!
My uncle led our friends in prepping the food for all of our guests. I wish I had photos of the finished masterpieces but trust me when I said the food didn’t last long.
Also, my mom surprised us with the cutest freakin cupcakes ever. Chris and I have several plants — mostly succulents — at our place so it was only fitting that our cupcakes matched our personal decor.
And, of course, this wedding shower included games
and family time
Thank you to everyone that gave Chris and I such a great preview of our special day!