Tag Archive: holiday



Well …… it’s a 7 hour layover and we’re enjoying the food, drinks and huge shower room (my favorite corner here) of Al Dhabi Lounge in Abu Dhabi while waiting for our connecting flight to Manila. Still, it’s a seriously long wait and what better thing to do? BLOG ! Yes, before those memories fade. 


Palacio Cristal in Parque de Retiro


Travels have a way of emptying one’s mind of day-to-day concerns. Perhaps to make room for our fond memories. There is that giddy anticipation over new places, flavors and experiences. I delight in the novelty, discovery as well as in the rediscovery of past delights. Cameras make great memory-keepers but our minds play out varied reactions  with each discovery and replay of happy thoughts. Priceless. When I was growing up “alone” (busy parents, older sisters in college), I learned to read a lot and write down my thoughts. I completed many diaries and even named them. Dear Betty. Dear Jane. Dear Henry. Dear Kevin. Whenever I feel seriously sad, I write. Whenever I feel happy, I write more. Life is a celebration. And it’s worth writing about. If only to remind me of the many things to be grateful for.  No handwritten diaries this time. Thank God for blogsites where I can store my journals in cyberspace while drinking my cortado!


Mi favorito, Cafe Cortado!




Mi hermana. Mi sobrina. Mi nieto. Mi amigos y amigas. All together in dear Madrid, which is home for 6 years to my dear sobrina. I have visited yearly for at least a month to nearly 3 months. Left alone in our Madrid crib in times past, I’ve learned to appreciate Madrid’s many quaint alleys, tiny squares, specialty museums, roadside taperias, and many off-the-beaten paths. No tocar (don’t touch) rule in mercados doesn’t apply in my favorite fruit and vegetable stall. There, this “suki” can enjoy touching the zucchini, potatoes, carrots, spinach, asparagus, naranja, mushrooms, etc. The vendor simply hands me a bowl or basket to fill with my chosen greens and fruits. And the cheese store where I get to taste slices of different quezos — “para probar” (to try). Or ask the fish vendor to clean the fish I buy. Mercado visits are no obligations here, they’re actually delightful adventures. And walking without maps, missing turns and getting lost? There’s always a cafe bar or Iglesia to relax in, meditate, or simply sit out and while away the time. If you chance upon a wedding in the church, it’s your good luck. Cheap thrills! 


Parroquia de San Jeronimo. Behind Museo Del Prado.


And so our Spanish Holiday with sidetrips to Lourdes and Saint John Pied de Port in France is over. Temps rise as our plane lands in Manila. Our hair still a tad limp and wet from the shower we took in the lounge. Our bellies still full from the buffet spread. Our hearts warm with the precious bonding moments. Our minds filled with happy memories. Our leg muscles reminding us we’re no longer spring chickens. And our pockets dry and burned out. Tee Hee. 😉 It would likely take a week to recover our energy to prep for another flight Down Under. From the last dregs of winter to early spring to the intense summer heat of Manila before we catch the onset of Autumn in Sydney. Phew! 


Nap Time En Parque Retiro 😴


Adios, España. Hasta luego.


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Believe it or not, I have a very uneventful life when I’m back in the city, especially after a holiday. My room is my refuge. No, my sanctuary. Waking up late is a luxury I indulge in. And those mornings I wake up early and unintentionally (is it really age that turns up our body clock earlier than desired?), I putter around my room like a headless chicken. As soon as I take my morning pills and after saying my thanksgiving prayers for preserving me through the night, I get busy with my coffee.

 

 

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First Chore of the Day

 

 

I take pains preparing my coffee. Seriously. My friends gift me with bags of coffee BEANS (not ground coffee!) and past Christmas, I still have a couple of bags to grind and brew. As my coffee machine whirls to a familiar hum, I upload old photos to my Flickr account. It’s been awhile.

 

 

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Uploading in my Flickr account. All that for posterity!

 

 

It’s a good way to beat holiday hangovers. The sun and sands of Palawan still fill my mind, and travel plans for 2013 bug me like a bee. But these photos….. They reminded me of my romance with doors and windows. It’s a never-ending affair . Guess I love the sense of knowing there’s something — almost like a mystery — behind the doors and windows. Pretty much how I feel starting this new year 2013. Que Sera, Sera.

 

 

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A Door in Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain

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If you’re in Casa Batllo, Gaudi’s windows cannot be missed!

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Door to one of the stalls in The Collective. Malugay Street. Makati.

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Imagine looking out these arched windows like a monarch. Segovia Alcazar. Spain.

 

 

Flickr uploading proceeds on cue as the machine grinds the beans. As brewing starts, I press to upload more pics. Before the cup is drained of my favorite bev, the photos are done. Before hitting the showers, I’ve decided how the day would play out. It should be another fine, boring day. 

 

 

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Door to a Nunnery in Bhutan.

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Door to A Crypt in Almudena Cathedral. Madrid, Spain.

Family Playcations!


I love my family. We all live in a condominium building where space is gold and where we feel cramped as the kids grow taller and the adults grow wider 😦

Over time, we spilled over 2 more units in the same condo building but share THE SAME SQUARE dining table I bought when I was still living alone. How we fit or take turns at the dining table is a practiced skill!

And so family playcations is a tradition in this family. Summers and Christmas breaks are popular holiday dates for us, but we’re one family who also make good use of long weekends.

We took a vote and came up with this list of top playcations for us. Thought I’d share it with you as suggestions for your next family adventure.

 

#1 CRUISING TOPS THE LIST

 

To this day, our 3day, 2 night cruise sailing out of Singapore for Melaka (Malacca, Malaysia) holds truly fond memories for adults and elves. Royal Carribean’s Legend of the Seas had this $306 per pax, twin-sharing promo rate which we grabbed. All 5 meals and snacks included!

 

READY TO SAIL! Kids board Royal Carribean's Legend of the Seas

#2 HONGKONG DISNEYLAND AND MACAU

 

The FIRST family playcation out of the country is of course nothing less than memorable. When the elves were 5 and 2 visiting Disneyland (Los Angeles, USA) for the first time, they were too young to appreciate it. This time around, they knew exactly what they wanted, and how many “teacup spins” they needed!

From HK Disneyland to Macau. What a horrible ferry ride!

#3 NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS IN HONGKONG

We were back the year after. The fireworks at the Avenue of the Stars fronting the lovely HK Harbour is the highlight of the New Year’s Eve revelry, but the dinner prelude was just as exciting. No mercy was our mantra, as we stuffed ourselves with Peking Duck and other Chinese dishes at the Star Cafe. Just as memorable was walking with the thick Chinese crowd in the middle of the road at 2am to reach our hotel.

HONGKONG DISNEYLAND

#4  SSSSHHHH…..KIDS GO AWOL IN SHANGHAI

 

Shelly and I flying in to Shanghai from a month-long trip in Turkey and Greece.  The rest of fam flying in from Manila.  What a reunion!

 

The Bund. Shanghai, China

#5  WORLD EXPO IN SHANGHAI

 

Can’t resist this. It’s the closest we can get to a world tour.  Very educational for the children.  Very satisfying for the adult gluttons. 🙂

World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China

#6 BUTANDING ADVENTURE

 

It was a weeklong holiday. A road trip. We booked only for our first 2 nights in Donsol, Sorsogon where I brought the family to experience this awesome animal encounter. After that, we sort of felt our way through looking for places to stay in Legazpi City and Naga.

 

ONE BIG HURRAH AFTER THE FIRST BUTANDING ENCOUNTER! YEHEY!

#7 ALL 12 ABOARD FOR A JOURNEY THROUGH ILOCANDIA

 

Yes, 12. My family and my friend’s family. We flew to Laoag, then cramped ourselves into a van, and then a jeepney around Laoag and Vigan. Food Trip to the max.  Gee, now I miss their Pinakbet Pizza

 

Walking out of Malacanang of the North. And yes, we were 12 in the group!

#8 ROADTRIP TO BAGUIO

Not our “usual” Baguio trip. This time around, we explored the lesser-known destinations and relished the surprisingly enjoyable vegetarian joints in this city. Even the elves loved their “kamatis (tomato) pasta” in Oh My Gulay Resto!

Taken at Bencab Museum Garden.

#9  NEW YEAR IN BORACAY. WHY NOT?

Who’d dare argue against spending New Year’s in the lovely island of Boracay?  We spent all of 5 days here. What a great relaxing way to welcome and start the new year!

SUN AND SAND TO WELCOME AND START THE NEW YEAR IN BORACAY

#10 A NEW DISCOVERY: CLUB BALAI ISABEL

 

Again, we were lured by the promo package offered by this lovely resort along the shores of Taal Lake in Talisay, Batangas. A weekend that’s really value-for-money. The rooms have 2 big-sized beds, the resort has 3 swimming pools, a fish spa, food is good, service is excellent, and THE VIEWS! C’est magnifique!

GOOD FOOD, GOOD SERVICE, MAGNIFICENT VIEWS!