I didn’t expect that my wish to visit Graceland would be granted so soon. I believe The King of Rock n’ Roll heard me. It’s right in this country: Graceland Estates and Country Club. In Tayabas, Quezon Province. Our travel (going and back) took us more or less 12 hours because – guess what – of the insane traffic at where else, Metro Manila (and Cavite, when we went).
But, the moment we entered Graceland our exhaustion including our very sore butts were forgotten. Our terraced rooms screamed bliss (mine overlooked the lagoon/boating area). It felt like we were on vacation instead of going in to work (only it’s far from our offices). The beds are the kind recommended for people with scoliosis which I have, only mildly. Considering I’ve been sleep deprived the past weeks, I was greatly tempted to stay in bed through the workshop. Ha! As if I can! Still I did wake up last, last to breakfast, last to go inside the hall, first to drink the unlimited brewed coffee like it was water. On the first day thank goodness the host team had been thoughtful to send each table with refillable bowls of local fruits – rambutan and lanzones – which we snacked on and kept us awake through the morning.
Day after day I promised colleagues I’d wake up an hour early so we could all go explore the grounds but I guess I was that “brain dead”. Of course, this didn’t stop them from exploring the place. There is even the Memphis Garden Cafe and Grille!
It’s a 220+ hectare property and where we were – clustering of buildings smack somewhere in the middle – is the area of activity. The rest is a vista of rolling plains which one can explore on horseback.
There’s no Internet connection. Just yourself and nature. Truly grace…land. But since we were there to work we brought with us our office broadband devices so that at any given time 10 wifi networks are displayed. I believe what many did was to post in their tablets on Facebook selfies and groupies the minute after shooting them. Imagine if we are this efficient with work– incompetence would be irrelevant!
One evening replete with dinner and small talk, as we made our way back to our rooms. we heard deep moo like sounds around us. We nearly jumped out of our skin. We thought giant cows had invaded only we couldn’t see them or that we had just gone crazy. Turns out, the sounds came from bull frogs apparently hidden in the bush plants. There’s always a first time for everything, we were reminded.