by Renzie Baluyut
It’s the rainy season at around this time of year in the Philippines, so you can expect the usual downpour in the afternoons and early evenings. There’d be times when it would be raining all day, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll find yourself in the path of the occasional tropical storm.
It’s that time of the year when it’s most prudent to bring an umbrella with you everywhere you go. You take your chances if you’re planning an open-air event, and you always have to plan for contingencies when making out-of-town trips.
When I used to deal with events for the old radio station I was working for, this was the time of the year when we would plan a lot of indoor activities. I would have a preference for events and promos involving spas, restaurants, hotels, movies and lots of shopping. Of course, you do your best to come up with more creative executions of all kinds of below-the-line activities.
So if you’re looking for a few ways to just kick back and take it easy on a rainy day- something that doesn’t involve a PC or your workstation in any way possible- here are a few tips that might just hit the spot.
1. Catch up on your reading. Now when was the last time you read a good book? Personally, I found that my recreational reading preferences have switched from medieval/fantasy and sci-fi books to all kinds of publications on marketing and management.
Whatever your trip, you have much to gain from leaving the confines of your workspace for a couple of hours and just close off the rest of the world for a couple of hours with a good book. That way, you get some inspiration, a better appreciation of the world around you, and you even learned something new for the day.
2. Work Out. They say the best relaxation comes after a good workout. I completely agree with this. I usually just hit the bikes (treadmills and ellipticals are bad for my knees) and sweat it out for 30 minutes to an hour. Do some crunches, lift some weights, hit the floor for some aerobics or pole-dancing- whatever your choice of activity, you get a nice endorphin rush right after. Plus, you just managed to burn some calories and shed off a few pounds.
3. Listen to some Music. Not just the stuff you have on your mp3 player. Consider this as your own do-it-yourself music appreciation class. Ever wondered what the kids are listening to today? Or maybe you’d like to dig up some old 70’s music you haven’t heard in a while? Whether you’re into new wave, 90’s alternative, classic rock, or even easy-listening- take time to sit back and just listen. You’ll probably find a lyric that strikes a chord with you, or a song that tells your story so well.
4. Have a DVD Marathon. Watch your movies on your own terms. Whether you go for old Akira Kurosawa classics, create your own horror movie-fest, or just catch up on those movies you missed several months back, spending a couple of hours in front of a huge TV and a couple of friends is always a welcome treat. While you’re at it, break out the popcorn and soda, or the chocolates and wine- whichever you prefer.
5. Cook. Time to go all Food Network in the kitchen. Assuming you have all the necessary ingredients, a rainy day is the perfect time to try out that new pasta recipe you just saw on TV. Or go experimenting. You don’t have to be a Giada de Laurentiis or a Padma Lakshmi to whip up a storm. Even a total newbie can learn to make a few new sandwiches or even mix a few drinks.
6. Check out a new Restaurant or two. Deviate from your usual choice of food establishment, and actually take time to visit a new restaurant to appreciate new dishes and new kinds of food. You might be in for a pleasant surprise. Keep on doing this, and eventually, you’ll even be the go-to person for all the hot restaurants in town. So whenever your friends and colleagues ask you where they should take their date for some good food, you know where it’s at!
7. Do Some Shopping. Guaranteed to make any woman happy. If it’s going to rain all day, you might as well spend an afternoon in a mall with a purseful of credit cards, huh? Take the time to do some bargain-hunting, or checking out a store you’ve heard your friends talk about but never visited yet. Don’t forget to keep your man occupied by allowing him a little shopping on his own.
Me, I’d probably like to shop for more books, or those new gadgets I’ve seen on Attack of the Show. Or maybe even small things to spruce up the home a little bit. Even doing the groceries has this calming effect on me.
8. Get a Massage. Ah, how can you say ‘no’ to a good massage? The Philippines is such a great place as far as spas and massage services go. Your choice, really, you can go check out some of the better spas or call one of the better home services, and have your massage in the comfort of your own room.
Either way, get those knots worked on for an hour, and you’ll feel so much better. Even better if you had a few minutes in the sauna or steam room to go with it.
9. Soak and swim. If you feel the need to hit the water, then go ahead and do so. There are a lot of establishments in and around the city that have their own indoor pools and jacuzzis, anyway. You don’t have to drive several hours away just to go to the beach with the wife and kids- spend all that time instead in a nice little pool, so you can have more time to do things together as family.
10. Check Yourself In. Always works for me. With my busy schedule, I usually don’t have the time to go on a leisurely trip out-of-town. So if you find yourself without any more vacation leaves, why don’t you go ahead and book yourself and your significant other into a hotel and just chill for a couple of days? Makes for a great change of atmosphere without the hassle of traveling for hours.
If you’re lucky, you can find a place where you can do all the 10 things I just shared with you. I plan to do more traveling in the future, and somehow, as far as hotels and resorts go, I’d like to find those with a lot of options for recreation.
These pictures, by the way, were taken at The Linden Suites in Ortigas. I recently had the pleasure of visiting them just a few weeks back, and had a leisurely lunch at Azzurro with my good friend, Kristine. You should go check them out some time. Real great for business travelers, family getaways for the weekend, or just a place to take it easy for a change.