Wedding in Siquijor

February 20th, 2014 No comments

A couple of weeks after we left Siquijor for Christmas, we returned again. But this time it was for our cousin’s wedding.  Matt and I were asked to be sponsors, Kalani was a flower girl and Mason was an escort. It was a fun experience to see how they do weddings in the province. And the day before the wedding was our little cousin’s 4 year old birthday party as well…it was a short trip, but full of fun and memories.

We finally stayed at Coco Grove Beach Resort and wished we could have spent more time there. The downside is that this resort is an hour away from our family

We finally stayed at Coco Grove Beach Resort and wished we could have spent more time there. The downside is that this resort is an hour away from our family

The whole village from where our cousin is originally from showed up for the 4 year old birthday party

Many villagers from where our cousin is originally from showed up for the 4 year old birthday party

The Filipinos love lechon and a "free" meal

The Filipinos love lechon and a “free” meal

We had to leave the resort around 6am to get to our cousin's place to get hair and make-up done

We had to leave the resort around 6am to get to our cousin’s place to get hair and make-up done

The 12 passenger van we rented, turned into an 18 passenger van as we transported many people to the church

The 12 passenger van we rented, turned into an 18 passenger van as we transported many people to the church

Our family is ready for the wedding to start

Our family is ready for the wedding to start

Our lovely flower girl who had to wear a different dress since the other one was the wrong measurements...she is growing up too fast

Our lovely flower girl who had to wear a different dress since the other one was the wrong measurements…she is growing up too fast

Our handsome escort was bribed to behave for the 2 hours we were at the church

Our handsome escort was bribed to behave for the 2-3 hours we were at the church

Right after the parents walked down the aisle, it was our turn

Right after the parents walked down the aisle, it was our turn

During the wedding they had live singers and a chruch choir

During the wedding they had live singers and a church choir

The bride (our cousin) and groom with the flower girls and escorts

The bride (our cousin) and groom with the flower girls and escorts

Since we were the "sponsors" we got to sign the marriage contract

Since we were the “sponsors” we got to sign the marriage contract

When we arrived at the reception location, the village people were already eating before the wedding party showed us...its a different culture

When we arrived at the reception location, the village people were already eating before the wedding party showed up…that was very different than what we are use to

These boys wanted a photo with our kids...not sure if it is because they are "white" or because they are cute. I'm not ready for these older boys to be taking photos with our daughter

These boys wanted a photo with our kids…not sure if it is because they are “white” or because they are cute. I’m not ready for these older boys to be taking photos with our daughter

At the reception we found more relatives...these sisters are my second cousins

At the reception we found more relatives…these sisters are my second cousins

More photos from the wedding here.


Christmas with family

February 7th, 2014 1 comment

The month of December was packed and full of fun. We had a full house and a lot of memories for Christmas 2013. My parents finally came to visit us and it worked out the best to have them here for Christmas. They only had 10 days in the Philippines, but I think that we packed it pretty full to make sure that they had enough to do and also time to relax. One of the highlights of the trip was taking my dad to the island where his dad (my grandfather) is from (Siquijor) and meeting his half sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. We also had Matt’s brother, Drew, come visit us since he served his mission in the Philippines and speaks Tagalog. After Christmas in Siquijor, we brought our cousin Sherwin with us back to Manila for a few days. It was his first time to Manila and his first time on an airplane!

We hosted a Christmas party for our help and their family and gave everyone gifts

We hosted a Christmas party for our help and their family and gave everyone gifts

We took Matt's brother, Drew, to Divasoria to buy some gifts to take to our family in Siquijor

We took Matt’s brother, Drew, to Divasoria to buy some gifts to take to our family in Siquijor

We spent an evening at Republiq Dance Club with friends

We spent an evening at Republiq Dance Club with friends

Less than 24 hours of my parents landing in Manila, we took them to Siquijor to see our family. Our cousins hosted us for lunch/dinner many times

Less than 24 hours after my parents landed in Manila, we took them to Siquijor to see our family. Our cousins hosted us for lunch/dinner many times.

One cousin opened a Sari Sari (store) and Kalani spent a lot of time there helping to sell items and acting like a security guard

One cousin opened a Sari Sari (store) and Kalani spent a lot of time there helping to sell items and pretending to be the security guard.

We took my parents to one of our favorite places, Combagahay Falls

We took my parents to one of our favorite places, Cambugahay Falls

We also found new places that we had not visited on the 3 previous trips we took to Siquijor. Like Infinity Resort where the view was breath-taking

We also found new places that we had not visited on the 3 previous trips we took to Siquijor. Like Infinity Heights Resort where the view was breath-taking and we were glad to share it with our many cousins.

Of course when you find a beautiful place the Filipinos take photos! Here Kalani is taking photos with a cousin

Of course when you find a beautiful place the Filipinos take photos

Drew at Lugnason Falls...a new area we hadn't been to before

Drew at Lugnason Falls…a new attraction we hadn’t been to before.

On Christmas Day our cousins rented a karaoke machine

On Christmas Day our cousins rented a karaoke machine.

Also on Christmas Day the boys learned how to prepare lechon (pig)

Also on Christmas Day the boys learned how to prepare lechon (pig)… from slaughter to table, we got the full on Filipino experience.

The boys also went to a cock-fight where our cousin had a rooster fighting

The boys also went to a cock-fight where our cousin had a rooster fighting.

We couldn't leave Siquijor without a basketball game...or 2 or 3 or 4! Matt was invited to play with the police against a club team one evening

We couldn’t leave Siquijor without a basketball game…or 2 or 3 or 4 games! Matt was invited to play with the police against a club team one evening.

Our cousin/tour guide takes us around in this rented car every time we come to visit. And we pack as many people as we can inside since not everyone has transportation

Our cousin/tour guide takes us around in this rented car every time we come to visit. And we always pack as many people as we can inside.

We love spending time with our cousins

We love spending time with our cousins.

My dad and his half-grand-nephew were similar is various things...even how they slept. It is a good thing they caught up on their sleep in Siquijor since the fun didn't stop in Manila!

My dad and his half-grand-nephew were similar in various things…like where they slept. It is a good thing they caught up on their sleep in Siquijor since the fun didn’t stop in Manila!

While waiting for our plane to arrive we spent some time in Dumeguete shopping mall with our cousin Belinda who lives there

While waiting for our plane to arrive we spent some time in Dumeguete shopping mall with our cousin Belinda who lives there.

Our cousin ready to board his first plane and spend 5 days in Manila with us

Our cousin ready to board his first plane and spend 5 days in Manila with us.

Our first meal in Manila was at the mall near our home where we had some yummy ramen noodles

Our first meal in Manila was at the mall near our home where we had some yummy ramen noodles.

We took the group to the Mall of Asia where we watched the firework show and also people ice skating

We took the group to the Mall of Asia where we watched the firework show and also people ice skating.

I don't know if Sherwin had ever seen a mall this size or as many malls as we took him to before

Sherwin had never seen a mall this size.

We had a wonderful buffet dinner at Manila Peninsula and Drew's "friend" joined us...who Mason liked to be with

We had a wonderful buffet dinner at Manila Peninsula and Drew’s “friend” joined us…who Mason liked to be with all the time.

One evening we invited the cousins living in Manila over to our home so Sherwin and my parents could see them

One evening we invited the cousins living in Manila over to our home so Sherwin and my parents could see them.

It was beautiful weather, good company and a lot food while everyone was visiting us for Christmas.  We felt truly blessed to have our family with us for the holiday season

It was beautiful weather, good company and a lot food while everyone was visiting us for Christmas. We felt truly blessed to have our family with us for the holiday season


M.C. Matt Daddy

February 3rd, 2014 No comments

As an expatriate, Matt was expected to perform at the work Christmas party his first year here. He did a wonderful job last year and can read more here. Now that this would be his second Christmas party in the Philippines, he wasn’t expected to be in the show. However the Filipinos had other plans for him. He was asked to co-host the evening with a local radio J.D.

The MSSC Year End Christmas Party was held at Sofitel Hotel. Since we got there early we took some photos in the lobby

The MSSC Year End Christmas Party was held at Sofitel Hotel. Since we got there early we took some photos in the lobby

The decorations were spectacular inside the hotel

The decorations were spectacular inside the hotel

Carnival Delights was the theme

Carnival Delight was the theme

Mimes were present to add a little something extra to the evening

Mimes were present to add a little something extra to the evening

We were one of the very few people allowed to enter early since Matt had to meet with people to figure out what he was suppose to do for the evening. And every seat in this tent was taken

We were one of the very few people allowed to enter early since Matt had to meet with people to figure out what he was suppose to do for the evening. And every seat in this tent was eventually taken

Matt getting briefed on the schedule while finishing touches happened in the tent

Matt getting briefed on the schedule while finishing touches happened in the tent

Show Time!

Show Time!

One of the four performances of the evening

One of the four performances of the evening

Each performance was then judged by some professionals and given feedback

Each performance was then judged by some professionals and given feedback

There were also co-workers that performed in the band during the evening

There were also co-workers that performed in the band during the evening

Everyone said that Matt did a wonderful job and held his own as a host.  I wonder what they will want him to do next Christmas Party!

Everyone said that Matt did a wonderful job and held his own as a host. I wonder what they will want him to do next Christmas Party!

 

 

 

 


Taiwan Vacation

January 26th, 2014 No comments

A few weeks after returning from California, Matt and I had a “couple’s get-away” to Taiwan. His birthday is in November, so we used that as an excuse to get away for a weekend. One of the perks of having trusted house help is leaving your kids for an extended “date night(s)” in a neighboring country! We have really come to LOVE having a tour guide when we visit countries since they know the language and how to get from place to place. So, we found Donna on Viator and were happy with all that we were able to see and do in the 3 full days that we were there.

Day 1:

First impression of Taiwan is that it is clean.  This lady was mopping the sidewalk outside of her store!

First impression of Taiwan is that it is clean. This lady was mopping the sidewalk outside of her store!

If you are going to stand on an escalator, stay to the right...everyone follows this rule

If you are going to stand on an escalator, stay to the right…everyone follows this rule

Some street food that we tried that was pretty good

Some street food that we tried that was pretty good

Traveling with a Tech-Savvy guy like I do means checking out electronics.  However this was not like Fry's.  Many small electronic stores, but at least they were all near enough to each other at 3C

Traveling with a Tech-Savvy guy like I do means checking out electronics. However this was not like Fry’s. Many small electronic stores, but at least they were all near enough to each other at an area called “3C”

SCORE!  We found the padfone...one of the reasons why we chose Taiwan as a get-away.

SCORE! We found the padfone…one of the reasons why we chose Taiwan as a get-away.

Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Anniversary...all in one with a new phone and dock/tablet

Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Anniversary…all in one with a new phone and dock/tablet

Dinner at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House.  Really yummy food and a pretty famous restaurant

Dinner at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. Really yummy food and a pretty famous restaurant

We asked our tour guide if she knew where the "Mormon Temple" was at and she took us right to it.  We have a friend serving an LDS mission there now, but sadly we didn't see her

After dinner, we asked our tour guide if she knew where the “Mormon Temple” was at and she took us right to it. We have a friend serving an LDS mission there now, but sadly we didn’t see our friend.

Ended the day by watching a puppet show and opera at Taipei Eye. We got to take photos with members of the cast at intermission

Ended the day by watching a puppet show and opera at Taipei Eye. We got to take photos with members of the cast at intermission

Day 2:

Started off the day by visiting Mengjia Longshan Temple

Started off the day by visiting Mengjia Longshan Temple

Outside of the National Palace Museum...no photography allowed inside

Outside of the National Palace Museum with our guide…no photography allowed inside

Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall grounds. He was the former president of the Republic of China

Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall grounds. He was the former president of the Republic of China.

We were able to watch the changing of the guards in front of the Chiang Kai-shek statue

We were able to watch the changing of the guards in front of the Chiang Kai-shek statue.

Beitou hotsprings. You could smell the sulfur and supposedly you can boil an egg in seconds there at the main source

Beitou hot-springs. You could smell the sulfur and supposedly you can boil an egg in seconds there at the main source.

We opted for our own private hotspings at Villa 32...and it was a perfectly romantic location; away from the free and/or public hotsprings

We opted for our own private hot-springs at Villa 32…and it was a perfectly romantic location; away from the free and/or public hot-springs.

Last stop of the day was at the Shilin Night Market. We have so much fun trying to get the best deal on things

Last stop of the day was at the Shilin Night Market. We have so much fun trying to get the best deal on things.

Day 3:

We rented a car and drove north-east to the mountains and ocean. The wind and water created these cool rock formations

We rented a car and drove north-east to the mountains and ocean. The wind and water created these cool rock formations.

From the minerals in the water, these are known as the "Golden Waterfalls" in Jinguashi

From the minerals in the water, these are known as the “Golden Waterfalls” in Jinguashi.

The three of us explored Jinguashi mining grounds

The three of us explored Jinguashi mining grounds.

We walked through the crowded Jiufen market

We walked through the crowded Jiufen market.

We walked around Ping Hsi "Pingxi" branch rail where we saw people "play sky lantern." They would write sayings or wishes on a paper sky lantern and then release it.

We walked around Ping Hsi “Pingxi” branch rail where we saw people “play sky lantern”. They would write sayings or wishes on a paper sky lantern and then release it.

We walked to Shifen falls and it was lovely. If it was warmer we may have been tempted to swim there, but it was a chilly day.

We walked to Shifen falls and it was lovely. If it was warmer we may have been tempted to swim there, but it was a chilly day.

We ended the day by having dinner at Taipei 101.  We had this whole room to ourselves for about half of our 7-course meal

We ended the day by having dinner at Taipei 101. We had this whole room to ourselves for about half of our 7-course meal.

Taipei 101 is super tall with 101 floors...we ate on the 86th floor (or there about)

Taipei 101 is super tall with 101 floors…we ate on the 86th floor (or there about).

Good-bye Taipei, Taiwan.  It was a wonderful weekend get-away

Good-bye Taipei, Taiwan. It was a wonderful weekend get-away.

More photos of our Taiwan vacation here.


California Fun – Part 2 “Sac Town”

November 22nd, 2013 3 comments

When I found out that I was going to California I made an agenda to be certain that I did everything that I wanted to. Once my siblings found out that the kids and I would be in California a couple of them made the trip out to see us from Utah. We were feeling very loved and special!

My schedule for California

My schedule for California. Shopping was very important since I needed to stock up on items not found in the Philippines to last me for the next 1-2 years.

The home I grew up in is surrounded by 3 rice fields and a canal in the back.  My dad, uncles and grandpa built our home about 28 years ago.  Now my brother and dad are building an "Ag Building" that will be converted into an apartment.

The home I grew up in is surrounded by 3 rice fields and a canal in the back. My dad, uncles and grandpa built our home about 28 years ago. Now my brother and dad are building an “Ag Building” that will be converted into an apartment.

The joys of living out in the country.  Exploring for critters with your uncle.

The joys of living out in the country. Exploring for critters with your uncle.

Cousins having fun on the trampoline ages 9, 5, 5, 4, 1

Cousins having fun on the trampoline ages 9, 5, 5, 4, 1

Mason LOVED playing with all of the toys at grandma's house.

Mason LOVED playing with all of the toys at grandma’s house.

We had a bonfire at my parent's house a couple of times and even roasted some marshmallows and made smores

We had a bonfire at my parent’s house a couple of times and even roasted some marshmallows and made s’mores.

I had lunch with my grandma.

I had lunch with my grandma.

Dinner with my friends who I have known for over 25 years...I brought them a "bra organizer" from the Philippines.

Dinner with my friends who I have known for over 25 years…I brought them a “bra organizer” from the Philippines.

Afternoon at a pumpkin patch to choose pumpkins to decorate.

Afternoon at a pumpkin patch to choose pumpkins to decorate.

Dinner with ALL of my siblings and their spouse who were in California for the week.

Dinner with ALL of my siblings and their spouse who were in California for the week.

My brothers...just missing Seth who is the youngest.

My brothers…just missing Seth who is the youngest.

My sisters...just missing Lei who is number 4 sister.

My sisters…just missing Lei who is number 4 sister.

Ninjas are invading the house.  Both kids wanted to have the same ninja costume this year.

Ninjas are invading the house. Both kids wanted to have the same ninja costume this year.

Ready to go Trick-or-Treating with cousins.  We only lasted about an hour or so, but everyone was happy with their loot.

Ready to go Trick-or-Treating with cousins. We only lasted about an hour or so, but everyone was happy with their loot.

The family who watched Jeffrey's football game.  He scored 4 touchdowns that night!

The family who watched Jeffrey’s football game. He scored 4 touchdowns that night!

The kids thought looking at the stars and running around with other kids was more fun than sitting in the bleachers and watching the football game.

The kids thought looking at the stars and running around with other kids was more fun than sitting in the bleachers and watching the football game.

Before we left my sister took photos of the kids per my dad's request.  Here is our Hawaiian princess.

Before we left my sister took photos of the kids per my dad’s request. Here is our Hawaiian princess.

Our Big Kahuna!

Our Big Kahuna!