Archive

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Aunt & Uncle Visit Philippines

April 22nd, 2015 1 comment

I have an aunt that is only nine years older than me. She took great fun in making me scream/cry as a child, but now we have grown to be the best of friends. We lived with her family for six months while we had our home built in Texas in 2007. And when we moved to the Philippines over two years ago, we really wanted them to come visit us. Finally they were able to come out to visit us for two weeks at the end of January. We packed in a lot of fun things and made some wonderful memories during their visit to the Philippines.

My uncle had to go to Taiwan for work for a couple of days, so my aunt and I did some girls things. Like take a sugar cookie decorating class with some of my friends.

My uncle had to go to Taiwan for work for a couple of days, so my aunt and I did some girls things. Like take a sugar cookie decorating class with some of my friends.

I celebrated my 36th birthday with my aunt by going to see the musical play "Beauty and the Beast".

I celebrated my 36th birthday with my aunt by going to see the musical play “Beauty and the Beast”.

We showed our aunt how we watch movies at home...by having a massage therapist massage your feet, back, arms, head, neck, etc.

We showed our aunt how we watch movies at home…by having a therapist massage your feet, back, arms, head, neck, etc.

I took them to Tagaytay so they could see the countryside. Here we are with Taal volcano in the background.

I took them to Tagaytay so they could see the countryside. Here we are with Taal Volcano in the background.

And we enjoyed sometime at Nature Spa which was so relaxing.

And we enjoyed sometime at Nurture Spa which was so relaxing.

We made them work out with us at Focus Athletics. We had to burn off some calories before we hit the buffets and restaurants.

We made them work out with us at Focus Athletics. We had to burn off some calories before we hit the buffets and restaurants.

Our uncles enjoys seafood, so we took him to a Dampa seafood place where we chose different seafood to buy and then took our purchases to the restaurant and told them how to cook them. It was all delicious.

Our uncles enjoys seafood, so we took him to a Dampa seafood place where we chose different seafood to buy and then took our purchases to the restaurant and told them how to cook them. It was all delicious.

Magnum cafe is always a favorite since you get to make your own magnum bar.

Magnum Cafe is always a favorite since you get to make your own magnum bar.

We took a plane and then a boat ride on the Coco Princess to get to Siquijor island.

We took a plane and then a boat ride on the Coco Princess to get to Siquijor island.

We stayed 2 nights at Coco Grove on Siquijor. We were so happy to be able to show them the island that my grandfather came from and the beauty that island holds.

We stayed 2 nights at Coco Grove on Siquijor. We were so happy to be able to show them the island that my grandfather came from and the beauty that island holds.

We were able to enjoy dancers while we ate outside one evening at Coco Grove.

We were able to enjoy dancers while we ate outside one evening at Coco Grove.

We had so much fun being all together again.

We had so much fun being all together again.

 

Here is a great video that our close friends who also came to Siquijor with us created of our time there.

Singapore Again

April 1st, 2015 No comments

Since we weren’t able to go to Singapore for New Year’s Eve, we decided to get out of the Philippines while the Pope came to visit in January and head to Singapore. We were able to be there for four nights and booked a tour guide. Last time we went to Singapore, Matt had to work and I just found things to do with the kids on my own. Unlike other SE Asian countries, Singapore is relatively easy to navigate without a tour guide. But, it is just stress-free if there is a tour guide telling you where you are going and the history and they know the best time to be at certain areas. Again we booked through Viator.com and this time ended up with two different tour guides for the two days we were there. Both guides were very good with our children and easy to work with. And then we spent our last day on our own exploring Sentosa Island, although we didn’t take many photos of all the fun activities that we crammed in (iFly, Luge ride, Adventure Cove).

Inside the Fullerton where we stayed and had this amazing view while going to the elevators

Inside the Fullerton where we stayed and had this amazing view while walking to the elevators

The Fullerton staff spoiled our children and gave them their own plate of sweets. We love how friendly the Asian people are to our family.

The Fullerton staff spoiled our children and gave them their own plate of sweets. One of Matt’s co-workers has a sister who works at the hotel and played a part in this. We love how friendly people are throughout Asia.

Day 1

Our first destination was Jurong Aviary where we watched 2 different bird shows and got to see lots of different birds.

Our first destination was Jurong Bird Park where we watched two different bird shows and got to see lots of different birds.

We ate lunch like locals at the hawker stations

We ate lunch like locals at the hawker stations

Kalani got a henna tattoo that lasted about a week

Kalani got a henna tattoo that lasted about a week

We spent the afternoon at Gardens by the Bay

We spent the afternoon at Gardens by the Bay

Cloud Forest with the tallest "indoor man-made waterfall"

Cloud Forest with the tallest “indoor man-made waterfall”

The Flower Garden was decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year

The Flower Dome was decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year

Day 2

The "wet market" in Singapore is found in one building in Chinatown

The “wet market” in Singapore is found in one building in Chinatown

We visited a Hindu temple called Sri Mariamman Temple. The outside roof is full of character

We visited a Hindu temple called Sri Mariamman Temple. The outside roof is full of characters

The ceiling inside Sri Mariamman Temple is full of paintings

The ceiling inside Sri Mariamman Temple is covered in paintings

Our tour guide took us to this model of SIngapore. It shows what developments they plan on making in the next 5,10, & 50 years!

Our tour guide took us to this model of Singapore. It shows what developments they plan on making in the next 5,10, & 50 years!

We got to ride in the Singapore Flyer and get a different point of view of the country

We got to ride in the Singapore Flyer and get a different point of view of the country

We all were able to fly a plane with a real pilot in "Flight Experience". We chose what airport we wanted to fly to and then were given different flying experiences (daytime, night time, bad weather, engine out)

We all were able to fly a plane with a real pilot in “Flight Experience”. We chose what airport we wanted to fly to and then were given different flying experiences (daytime, night time, bad weather, engine out)

To end our 2nd day we took a ferry boat ride and did the River Explorer

To end our 2nd day we took a ferry boat ride and did the River Explorer

View of the Merlion of Singapore that we saw on from the ferry boat

View of the Merlion of Singapore that we saw on from the ferry boat

Day 3

We spent the last day on Sentosa Island

We spent the last day on Sentosa Island

iFly Skydiving Experience was awesome. It is for 7 year olds and older, so Matt, Tia & Kalani participated.

iFly Skydiving experience was awesome. It is for 7 year olds and older, so Matt, Tia & Kalani participated.

Our last night we went over to Fullerton on the Bay hotel and had some snacks and drinks at "The Lantern".  The brother-in-law of Matt's co-worker is the manager and spoiled us.

Our last night we went over to Fullerton on the Bay hotel and had some snacks and drinks at “The Lantern”. We had a wonderful view of the Marina Bay Sands light show and were spoiled by the restaurant manager who is Matt’s co-worker’s brother-in-law.

More photos of Singapore here.

Categories: Family, Travel Tags: , , , , , ,

December/Christmas 2014

March 30th, 2015 No comments

We were lucky enough to convince my brother to come back to the Philippines for Christmas and New Years. It was wonderful to have him around again and he remains Mason’s favorite uncle. And he went back to Siquijor with us for Christmas and got to experience Coco Grove Resort. It was great to see family again, but our time in Siquijor was extended 3 extra days since a typhoon came through and we couldn’t leave the island! Ironically, this happened to us 2 years ago when we visited the same place with the same brother. The island just loves him too much to let him leave! However since we got stuck in Siquijor for 3 extra days, we missed our flight and reservations to Singapore for New Years. (but we were able to reschedule that trip for February)

We made hygiene kits at church and then Matt and Robbie delivered them with other members from our church.

We made hygiene kits at church and then Matt and Robbie delivered them to the city jail with other members from our church.

We went to the province to celebrate our cousin's 1st birthday party and all of these guys wanted a photo with Matt and Robbie before we left.

We went to the province to celebrate our cousin’s 1st birthday party and all of these guys wanted a photo with Matt and Robbie before we left.

Mason with the 1 year old birthday girl.

Mason with the 1 year old birthday girl.

Annual Light Show at Ayala Triangle

Annual Light Show at Ayala Triangle

Life-size gingerbread house at the Peninsula Hotel

Life-size gingerbread house at the Peninsula Hotel

Manila Airport was a mess on Christmas Eve. Luckily we found a place to wait to board the plane on the floor in front of a TV

Manila Airport was a mess on Christmas Eve. Luckily we found a place to wait to board the plane on the floor in front of a TV

We were able to ride on the Coco Princess from Dumeguete to Siquijor. It is Coco Grove's private boat that goes straight to the resort.

We were able to ride on the Coco Princess from Dumeguete to Siquijor. It is Coco Grove’s private boat that goes straight to the resort.

We enjoyed our time at Salagdoong with cousins

We enjoyed our time at Salagdoong with cousins

Mason got dropped off the platform at Salagdoong. Later he ran and jumped off on his own while other adults were too nervous to do the same.

Mason got dropped off the platform at Salagdoong. Later he ran and jumped off on his own while other adults were too nervous to do the same.

Because it rained the day before, Cambugahay Falls wasn't as clear as it normally is. But still beautiful and we enjoyed our time there.

Because it rained the day before, Cambugahay Falls wasn’t as clear as it normally is. But still beautiful and we enjoyed our time there.

We explored more of Siquijor and found another waterfall after walking through the "jungle"

We explored more of Siquijor and found another waterfall after walking through the “jungle”

While hanging out with family, the kids played in this "tree house" that was built for our 5 year old cousin.

While hanging out with family, the kids played in this “tree house” that was built for our 5 year old cousin.

The children who live near our cousins welcome our children to play with them whenever we arrive.

The children who live near our cousins welcome our children to play with them whenever we arrive.

The boys always seem to go to a cock-fight in Siquijor

The boys always seem to go to a cock-fight in Siquijor

We got to listen to Island Melody Band on Christmas Eve. Due to the rain they had to move the show indoors.

We got to listen to Island Melody Band on Christmas Eve. Due to the rain they had to move the show indoors.

We arranged to have our family to Coco Grove to have dinner with us. This is the first group of people to arrive to the resort.

We arranged to have our family come to Coco Grove to have dinner with us. This is the first group of people to arrive to the resort.

We tried to see how many cousins could fit on the circular bed at the Penthouse.

We tried to see how many cousins could fit on the circular bed at the Penthouse.

All of our cousins and 2 sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who came over to have a catered dinner with us at Coco Grove.

All of our cousins and 2 sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who came over to have a catered dinner with us at Coco Grove.

We were able to attend church in Siquijor with our friends from Manila.

We were able to attend church in Siquijor with our friends from Manila.

Finally on December 30th, we were able to return home and the kids could open their Christmas presents.

Finally on December 30th, we were able to return home and the kids could open their Christmas presents.

Matt and Robbie went out dancing with friends 2 nights.

Matt and Robbie went out dancing with some of our Filipino friends

2014 was a wonderful year for us and we are looking forward to 2015 and all the adventures it holds for us.

2014 was a wonderful year for us and we are looking forward to 2015 and all the adventures it holds for us.

Northern Luzon Roadtrip

October 11th, 2014 No comments

The kids had a 5-day weekend in August so we took advantage of that and went on a road-trip. I must confess that I was a bit apprehensive since Blake was only 8 weeks old and was colicky. But, Matt did a wonderful job planning this road-trip and all of the kids did great. I really like spending time with my little family and exploring more of this country.

The route we traveled in northern Luzon in 5 days. We discovered once again how beautiful this country is outside of the big city

The route we traveled in northern Luzon in 5 days. We discovered once again how beautiful this country is outside of the big city.

Our first stop was to Baler where we stayed at Coasta Pacifica. We stayed here for 2 nights and enjoyed the swimming pool, beach, having a tour of the area and getting out of the car. There were 2 routes to get to Baler and we took the route that goes through the mountain which tacked on 3 extra hours...thanks Google Maps for the recommendation

Our first stop was to Baler where we stayed at Coasta Pacifica. We stayed here for 2 nights and enjoyed the swimming pool, beach, having a tour of the area and getting out of the car. There were 2 routes to get to Baler and google maps recommended we take the route that goes through the mountain which tacked on 3 extra hours.

All of the kids on a surf board. This was Blake's first time in the ocean/pool & Kalani's first time back in the ocean after being stung by a jelly-fish

All of the kids on a surf board. This was Blake’s first time in the ocean/pool & Kalani’s first time back in the ocean after being stung by a jellyfish

Our "city tour" took us to Cunayan Falls. The kids were a bit disappointed that they didn't have their swimsuits, but we told them they could swim in their clothes like the locals and that made them happy

Our “city tour” took us to Cunayan Falls. The kids were a bit disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits, but we told them they could swim in their clothes like the locals and that made them happy

We got to explore the "Millennium Balete Tree" where you can walk through it since there is a path "carved out". And the kids could have stayed here for a couple of hours climbing all over it

We got to explore the “Millennium Balete Tree” where you can walk through it since there is a path “carved out”. And the kids could have stayed here for a couple of hours climbing all over it

We left Baler and the only road to get to Tuguegarao was a bit scary at times with it only being dirt roads and even some roads were washed away

We left Baler and the only road to get to Tuguegarao was a bit scary at times with it only being dirt roads, land slides and washed away in some places

On this road to Tuguegarao we saw some of the descendants of the very first people in the Philippines called "aeta"

On this road to Tuguegarao we saw some of the descendants of the very first people in the Philippines called “aeta

After a few hours in the car we made it to Tuguegarao and met up with our friend Mavis. She and our driver Juan joined us exploring the C caves

After a few hours in the car we made it to Tuguegarao and met up with our good friend Mavis. She and our driver Juan joined us exploring the Callao caves

There are 7 "openings" at Callao caves and in the 2nd opening is a "church" that holds services once or twice a month

There are 7 “openings” at Callao caves and in the 2nd opening is a “church” that holds services once or twice a month

We said our good-byes to Mavis and continued driving north to reach Cagayan Resort. This is the place that Survivor 2012 was located

We said our good-byes to Mavis and continued driving north to reach Cagayan Holiday & Leisure Resort. This is where the Survivor Cagayan crew stayed

Cagayan Holiday & Leisure Resort has a bunch of homes (5 bedrooms & private pool) to rent out, a casino & private airstrip...mostly caters to Chinese clients

Cagayan Holiday & Leisure Resort has a bunch of homes (our had 5 bedrooms & private pool) to rent out, a casino & private airstrip…mostly caters to Chinese clients who like to gamble

On our way to our next destination we came across the "Filipino Family Vehicle"

On our way to our next destination we came across the “Filipino Family Vehicle”

We stopped at Padgudpud beach and enjoyed the powder white sand and beautiful scenery

We stopped at Pagudpud beach and enjoyed the powder white sand and beautiful scenery. They call this place the Boracay of the north.

Our hotel on the north/west of Luzon was at Fort Ilocandia and it was wonderful. There was so much to do/see at the resort

Our hotel on the north/west of Luzon was at Fort Ilocandia and it was wonderful. There was so much to do/see at the resort that we will most likely go back since we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to

We got in this jeep and went on some sand dunes as a family

We got in this jeep and went on some sand dunes as a family

Mason really liked sliding down the sand dunes

Mason really liked sliding down the sand dunes

Kalani went horseback riding around the resort and on the beach

Kalani went horseback riding around the resort and on the beach

She also tried out archery for the first time

She also tried out archery for the first time

After staying at 3 wonderful hotels, our last hotel, in La Union, would be considered a dive. But, we enjoyed a walk on the beach and were now only 6-7 hours away from home

After staying at 3 wonderful resorts, our last hotel in La Union would be considered a dive in comparison. But, we enjoyed a walk on the beach and were now only 6-7 hours away from home.

We enjoyed the beautiful countryside on the north

We enjoyed the beautiful countryside of Norhern Luzon

More photos from our road trip here.

Hong Kong get-away

October 5th, 2014 1 comment

I have been to Hong Kong twice for a church conference, but wasn’t able to do a ton of sight-seeing. And since Matt had not been to Hong Kong yet, we decided to take a little “Baby-moon” to Hong Kong before I got too far along in my pregnancy and the airlines wouldn’t let me fly. We took advantage of the May 1st Labor Day holiday and spent a long weekend with just the two of us while Kalani and Mason stayed in the Philippines with Helen and Marilyn (our house help). As always, we booked a tour guide through Viator and found Frank Law. We felt like he showed us all of Hong Kong and gave us good information on the things and places that we were visiting. He was fun, enthusiastic, and tailored the tour to meet the needs of a very pregnant lady.

Day 1

We booked a room at the Intercontinental Hotel and had a spectacular view of the Victoria Harbor

This is our room at the Intercontinental Hotel, which had this spectacular view of Victoria Harbor

We took a tram up to Victoria Peak

We took a tram up to Victoria Peak

BIG groups of Filipinos were gathered at parks since they all had the day off

BIG groups of Filipinos were gathered at parks playing games since they all had the day off

A local market in Hong Kong

On our tour of Hong Kong Island we stopped at a local market

Over 1,000 people live in this apartment building. There are many of these apartment buildings all over Hong Kong

Over 1,000 people live in this apartment building. There are many of these apartment buildings all over Hong Kong

A nice quiet area on Hong Kong Island

A nice quiet area on Hong Kong Island

Heading back to our hotel, we passed this "ship" that is really a department store inside

Heading back to our hotel, we passed this “ship” that is really a department store inside

Day 2

We took the metro to head to Lantau Island. We were headed to the Big Buddha, but these girls were going to Hong Kong Disney

We took the metro to head to Lantau Island. We were headed to the Big Buddha, but these girls were going to Hong Kong Disney

Heading up to the Big Buddha by cable car

Heading up to the Big Buddha by cable car

Our tour guide arranged for us to have a glass bottom cable car going up to Big Buddha

Our tour guide arranged for us to have a glass bottom cable car going up to Big Buddha

From the cable car we could see construction of a bridge that will give another access to mainland China

From the cable car we could see construction of a bridge that will give another access to mainland China

Off the cable car and we see Buddha in the distance and a bunch of western type of shops for the tourists

Off the cable car and we see Buddha in the distance and western types of shops for the tourists

Buddha (34 meters high) is blessing us as we climbed the 268 steps to reach the statue

Buddha (34 meters high) is blessing us as we climbed the 268 steps to reach the statue

Across from the Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery. Here are statues of Buddha as Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Across from the Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery. Here are statues of Buddha as Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

We hit up the "Ladies Market" to buy some cheap gifts for the kids

We hit up the “Ladies Market” to buy some cheap gifts for the kids

We also went to the Night Market to have a look, but they basically have the same things as the Ladies Market

We also went to the Night Market to have a look, but they basically have the same things as the Ladies Market

Day 3

Our last day we started out visiting the beautiful Nan Lian Garden

Our last day we started out visiting the beautiful Nan Lian Garden which is right in the middle of the city

Chi Lin Nunnery was just across the bridge of the Nan Lian Garden

Chi Lin Nunnery was just across the bridge of the Nan Lian Garden

Guardians of Buddha

Guardians of Buddha

People get fortune sticks at the temple and then go to these fortune tellers to find out their future.  There are at least 2 dozen of these fortune tellers on site

People get fortune sticks at the temple and then go to these fortune tellers to find out their future. There are at least 2 dozen of these fortune tellers on site

We had a wonderful time spending time together as a couple and really enjoyed our tour guide and driver

It was wonerful to spend time together as a couple and we really enjoyed our tour guide and driver

We actually saw and did more than I showed in this post, but the rest of our photos can be found here.

Categories: Family, Travel Tags: , , , ,