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)
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.
More photos from our road trip here.
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.
We actually saw and did more than I showed in this post, but the rest of our photos can be found here.
The last country we visited during spring break was Brunei. We were excited to visit this country since the only cousins from the Philippines that we had not met yet live in Brunei and we were anxious to meet them. Matt booked us a wonderful tour guide through Viator. Esjay was a great fit for our family and easy to work with, and without her I don’t know how we would have gotten around since there are NO taxis in Brunei. We only had 2.5 days in Brunei and at first the kids were done traveling, but they had a wonderful time meeting our cousins and seeing the sites of Brunei.
More photos of Brunei here.
Burma, officially the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar” (commonly shortened as Myanmar) was an adventure. We had 4.5 days there and went to 3 different cities via airplane. So basically everyday (except for one) we were on a plane and visiting a new part of the country. The Myanmar government hasn’t been very open to tourism tour in the past and only in the recent years have they made it easier for foreigners to come visit. And because it has had “closed boarders” it is a country fairly untouched and well preserved in its heritage. We booked a tour guide through Tint Tint Travel but were not that impressed with our guide. She spoke French, some Spanish, plus the native language, but her English was very poor. It was easier for us to understand her in French or Spanish than it was in English. I would also eavesdrop on other tour guides in Spanish to figure out what exactly we were looking at and why it was important. So, the tour guide wasn’t awesome, but we still had an enjoyable time in the country.
It’s also worth noting that our vacation happened to fall during “Thingyan” — the Buddhist New Years Water Festival. The entire country celebrates for 3-4 days by engaging in non-stop water fights, concerts, disco dances, parties, etc. It was an unbelievable spectacle, and we had a blast participating!
More photos of Myanmar (Burma) here.