Don’t we always have the longing to feel like we belong? 
No man is an island, a certain fact based on reality. Endless search of finding the right group for us. We feel the need to join a certain group. A group that thinks like us and acts like us. The sense of belongingness is just part of our nature. We experience happiness when we find the fit group for us. They become our friends, or even one of the closest.
I’m blessed to find that kind of group since I was in 1st year high school. During my high school years, I joined our youth group at church. Back then, it was called “JZone,” now they call themselves “Elevate.” Luckily, I didn’t have to search for a group. What I loved about the people in our church, the effort mostly comes from their people. They invite you. The group I joined in invited me. The history is quite blurry now. What I remember clearly is that I clicked instantly with my group or what we call “dgroup.” Since 2003, they became my group. Up to this day, the friendship has continued, bounded by one common denominator we all have, the love for our heavenly Father, the one and only God we believe in.
One of the weekends last August, our dgroup or what we call “D12” now, finally pushed the plan to go out of town. The plans becoming rusty inside a closet finally wore its wheels and pushed through. We planned this kind of trip for how many years but the busy schedules we all had never hit the right calendar date. So finally, the group I had since 2003 marked out this weekend for us to get together and bond like we were in our high school years.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that O joined us, together with his friends from the same church.

First Stop: Jollibee

Breakfast at Jollibee
The two-day weekend started early in the morning at our meet-up place in CCF Main. Then, we took our breakfast at Jollibee, on the same way to the south.

Second Stop: Kawayan Cove

Shuttle Bus to the Kawayan Beach Club
Hooray for no traffic to Kawayan Cove, Batangas!
Thank you to Ate K (our dgroup leader), who prepared our first ice breaker game.
The complete group
Incomplete D12
I was worried the cloudy weather would bring pouring rains while we were at the middle of our beach time. Thank God the sun was just hiding but no tears from the sky fell down that time we were at the beach.
Obligatory jump shot at the beach with coordination by our resident teacher, Christine.
I couldn’t remember how many shots we had to get the perfect jump shot. After jumping and jumping, more than half of the group stayed on the sands, played beach ball games and sweat like running on a treadmill.
We moved to the pool after getting too sweaty from our ball games.
Before the clock hands strike to 6, we left Kawayan Cove and drove to Tagaytay.

Third Stop: Tagaytay

The challenge for the night was to have a mini cook-off. Divided in 3 groups, we were given time to shop for our own ingredients and create our own menu, all under a certain budget. It’s all up to us if we wanted to go lower than the recommended budget or go beyond it.
With our criteria – taste and presentation, each person needed to write down their votes on a paper and vote for the best under the said criteria. We couldn’t vote for our own group to avoid bias judging. The team who was able to cook an outstanding meal with the least expenses also had a recognition that night.
It was a tough decision to vote. I couldn’t believe the group is composed of amateur cooks. Having that kind of creativity, presentation and skills in grilling, I think everyone deserves a certificate of recognition. I wish you readers could be there to taste our cooked meals.
Our team, O, Vinz and I, created the winning plate! 🙂
Grilled burger with melted cheese, tomato, lettuce, potato crisps and caramelized onions, sided with egg salad on lettuce wrap and garlic potato crisps. 
Kudos to O for being a true leader in guiding our group on what to do to come up with this mouthwatering plate.
Amateur cook-off finished at 10:30pm. Our late supper filled our stomachs that it made us want to sit on the couch and rest to cap off the night.
Day 1 ended with a challenging yet fulfilling dinner. I’m sure everyone was proud of the meals they put together. We all slept soundly feeling like a ‘chef.’
How about you? Have you tried organizing a cook-off with your friends or family?
Share with me your thoughts, foodie! 🙂
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Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout