SUMMER'S gone in the tropics but it is just beginning out here in the Western world.

Yes, I am in the land of Uncle Sam at present with the hubby for a three-week breather. We feel lucky that this year we've had the chance to experience two kinds of summer. Though sizzling hot, the one we spent in dear old Cebu was thoroughly enjoyable. As of now, we're having a wait-and-see attitude on how summer will unfold here in the East Coast.

One of the highlights of our Cebu summer was the exhilarating weekend we spent at the farmhouse of Gabby Leyson in Taptap up the hills of the transcentral highway. The cool, cool air was so refreshing and invigorating. What's more, our gracious hostess Tina Jordana left no stone unturned to have everything in perfect order—from the well-coordinated schedule which included a foray into Balamban and a tree-planting activity, to the weekend's menu which featured farm-raised fowl, homegrown veggies, and different kinds of mushrooms cultured by Gabby.

We began our Saturday adventure with a look-see at the different farm facilities developed by Gabby. Then we proceeded to the hilltop resthouse of Albert and Tetel Chiongbian in Gaas, Balamban, where they treated us to a yummy lunch. What a beautiful hideaway! It gives you that top-of-the-world feeling!

With former Balamban mayor (now Provincial Board Member) Alex Binghay and his wife Vice Mayor Rosie B on the lead, we went to the new Aboitiz campsite project in Balamban called Canso X for coffee and drinks, after which we went to their homey resthouse. Another breathtaking view unfolded from their balcony. Merienda of bodbod and chocolate was at the neighboring Adventure Cafe, courtesy of Alex and Rosie B who co-own the place with Albert and Tetel and a group of friends.

Shortly before dusk we went "home" to Gabby's all-concrete farmhouse which sits prettily on a promontory overlooking a lush valley. From the terrace we had a bird's eye view of the vast expanse of green down below.

Dinner time found us at Cafe Bayer (another project of Gabby and Tina) perched on a little nearby hill. Tina prepared a sumptious spread of stuffed duck, humba, everything-mushroom, native chicken soup, sweet corn and more. And she added a colorful detail to the place settings by putting fresh flowers on the plate liner.

The guys woke up bright and early the next day for a farm inspection. After breakfast, everyone got ready for the tree-planting session. We all planted guayabano trees with the hope that they will bear fruit in a few years.

Lunch was set at Las Nubes, a private clubhouse not too far away from the farmhouse. The place gave a sweeping view of Mandaue, Liloan and Mactan. Once again Tina prepared a feast that had all of us "filled to the brim."

Time flew and before we knew it, goodbyes were in order. The weekend was a productive one. Not only did we learn a bit about mushroom culture and farming from Gabby, we also got the chance to plant a tree and commune with nature. Definitely a summer weekend to remember!