Puerto Princesa, Palawan

November 10th, 2015 No comments

It took us nearly three years, but we finally made it to Puerto Princesa in Palawan (along with some friends)! The Underground River was the main attraction and reason for our trip. So we decided to stay at the Sheridan which is near Underground River, but it is a two hour drive from the airport. The weather was not the best since there was a typhoon in the country, which meant we got some heavy rain. However, that didn’t stop us from having fun and doing everything that we wanted to do. We were able to stay for three nights and had a wonderful time.

Our flight was delayed in Manila, so to pass the time the kids shared the iPads.

Our flight was delayed in Manila, so to pass the time the kids shared the iPads.

Sheridan resort had nice rooms and friendly staff, but the food wasn't great...we discovered Daluyon Resort/restaurant nearby that had AMAZING food

Sheridan Resort had nice rooms and friendly staff, but the food wasn’t great…we discovered Daluyon Resort/restaurant nearby that had AMAZING food

The clouds were coming in, but we still stuck with our plan to do the Underground River

The clouds were coming in, but we still stuck with our plan to do the Underground River

The kids waiting for the paper work to be completed before boarding the boat for the Underground River tour.

The kids waiting for the paper work to be completed before boarding the boat for the Underground River tour.

Other people waiting to board the boat for the Underground River asked to take photos with Matt.

Other people waiting to board the boat for the Underground River asked to take photos with Matt.

On the boat ride to the Underground River we could see the "Sleeping Giant" in the mountain.

On the boat ride to the Underground River we could see the “Sleeping Giant” in the mountain.

We made it to the Underground River.

We made it to the Underground River…Blake stayed at the resort with a babysitter.

Our group is ready to enter the caves of the Underground River.

Our group is ready to enter the caves of the Underground River.

Bats and sparrows where the cave.

Bats and swallows were in the cave.

After a huge downpour, we all decided to go swimming. The kids really liked this trench and spent a good portion of their time here.

After a huge downpour, we all decided to go swimming. The kids really liked this trench and spent a good portion of their time here.

The dads did boogie boards and had some pretty decent size waves.

The dads did boogie boarding and had some pretty decent size waves.

After swimming we decided to do the zipline over the ocean. Mason was a bit scared and probably too young as well to ride by himself, so I went with him

After swimming we decided to do the zipline over the ocean. Mason was a bit scared and probably too young as well to ride by himself, so Tia went with him.

Kalani got to ride the zipline by herself and we bought the photo the company took of her.

Kalani got to ride the zipline by herself and we bought the photo the company took of her.

We did a mangrove tour and saw 2 different snakes in the trees...and we got wet with another downpour.

We did a mangrove tour and saw 2 different snakes in the trees…and we got wet with another downpour.

We waited for the rain to stop and then used these umbrellas for the tour which came in handy since the rain started up again. Tia's three-year old friend had a nice nap towards the end of the tour.

We waited for the rain to stop and then used these umbrellas for the tour which came in handy since the rain started up again. Our three-year old friend had a nice nap towards the end of the tour.

Dinner buddies...this little three-year old LOVES Tia.

Dinner buddies…this little three-year old LOVES Tia.

We went to Daluyon Resort for lunch and saw a monitor lizard. The kids were all very impressed.

We went to Daluyon Resort for lunch and saw a monitor lizard. The kids were all very impressed.

The walk between the Sheridan and Daluyon was along a dirt road and the kids had a great time exploring.

The walk between the Sheridan and Daluyon was along a dirt road and the kids had a great time exploring.

Palawan 2015 was nice and we are so glad that we were able to be with friends.

Palawan 2015 was nice and we are so glad that we were able to be with friends.

More photos of Palawan here.


Sumatra – Indonesia

November 9th, 2015 No comments

We came home from Thailand on a Sunday in June and the very next day on Monday morning Matt, Blake and I took another airplane to go to Indonesia! We flew from Manila to Jakarta and then to Sumatra. While on our layover in Jakarta, Blake received a lot of attention from the airline employees. Once in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, one of Matt’s co-workers picked us up and showed us around a bit and took us to dinner. We were able to stay at the Chevron compound at another co-worker’s home since he was out of the country. The co-worker graciously let us use his home for the three days that we were there (and he had his maid stay to help us too!). We received such wonderful hospitality from the Indonesian people.

All of these ladies loved Blake at the airport while we waited for our next flight

All of these ladies loved Blake at the airport while we waited for our next flight.

Our first stop after getting off the airport was to An-Nur Great Mosque

Our first stop after getting off the airport was at An-Nur Grand Mosque.

We ate dinner the first night at a local restaurant. One half of the restaurant is enclosed and has air-condition. The other half is for smokers and is open air seating.

We ate dinner the first night at a local restaurant. One half of the restaurant is enclosed and has air-condition. The other half is for smokers and is open air seating.

We got to visit and stay at Chevron Rumbai Camp

We got to visit and stay at Chevron Rumbai Camp.

The home on the compound that we stayed at while in Indonesia

The home on the compound that we stayed at while in Indonesia.

These ladies took me out shopping and to lunch and just really made me feel welcomed.

These ladies took me out shopping and to lunch and just really made me feel welcomed.

So many different Batik material to chose from.

So many different Batik material to chose from.

Lots of different Indonesian accessories at a store I was taken to.

Lots of different Indonesian accessories at a store I was taken to.

Ancestral home in Indonesia

Ancestral home in Indonesia.

Lunch dessert was a type of sticky rice. It was good, but I like the Filipino Mango Sticky Rice better.

Lunch dessert was a type of sticky rice. It was good, but I like the Filipino Mango Sticky Rice better.

Blake got to experience a real play ground and he LOVED it. A boy with a stick is a pretty great day.

Blake got to experience a real play ground and he LOVED it.

Breakfast that was on the table waiting for us when we would awake.

Breakfast that was on the table waiting for us when we would awake.

Compound commissary had a descent selection of things in the store.

Compound commissary had a descent selection of things in the store.

All over the compound you would see monkeys

All over the compound you would see monkeys.

A super yummy treat is fresh and hot rotiboy!

A super yummy treat is fresh and hot rotiboy!

More photos of Indonesia here.


Bangkok, Thailand Again

November 1st, 2015 No comments

In June we were able to go back to Bangkok, Thailand for two nights. During our previous vacation in 2013 we were not able to go to the Chatuchak weekend market. And we also wanted to play with tiger cubs and bathe with elephants again. This time we stayed at the Shangri-La and had a fabulous time there. Again we booked our favorite tour guide,”Nok” in Bangkok as well. It was a quick trip but nice to get out of Manila for a weekend and enjoy the sites and culture of Thailand.

You can never go wrong with Shangri-La.

You can never go wrong with Shangri-La.

The ambiance, rooms, food and staff are all so great at The Shangri-La. Mason was able to grab a ride with the bell-hop.

The ambiance, rooms, food and staff are all so great at every Shangri-La. Mason was able to grab a ride with the bell-hop.

Day 1

We went back to the Damnernsaduak Floating Market. It is crowded with tourists and locals, but such a cool experience.

We went back to the Damnernsaduak Floating Market. It is crowded with tourists and locals, but such a cool experience.

They use these types of motors to power and steer the boats.

They use these types of motors to power and steer the boats.

We bought some yummy soup from this man right from his boat. You leave your bowl and spoon in your boat when you are finished and some how they make their way back to the vendors.

We bought some yummy soup from this man right from his boat. You leave your bowl and spoon in your boat when you are finished and some how they make their way back to the vendors.

We went back to the Tiger Temple. I was a little nervous to have our "not yet one year old" baby next to a big tiger, but it was fine.

We went back to the Tiger Temple. I was a little nervous to have our “not yet one year old” baby next to a big tiger, but it was fine.

Kalani got disgusted with how sweaty and "stinky" this tiger was while she held the head.

Kalani got disgusted with how sweaty and “stinky” this tiger was while she held the head in her lap.

We were able to go in a small group and feed and play with tiger cubs. Kalani liked to play with this two month old cub. Baby Blake was not allowed in this part and stayed with our tour guide.

We were able to go in a small group and feed and play with tiger cubs. Kalani liked to play with this two month old cub. Baby Blake was not allowed in this part and stayed with our tour guide.

Mason learning from his father how to feed a tiger cub.

Mason learning from his father how to feed a tiger cub.

We ended the day by bathing and playing with elephants.

We ended the day by bathing and playing with elephants.

Mason really had a great time with the elephants. He even did some "cannon balls" off of the elephant's head and basically saw the elephant as a "jungle-gym"

Mason really had a great time with the elephants. He even did some “cannon balls” off of the elephant’s head and basically saw the elephant as a “jungle-gym”.

Kalani didn't want to get wet, but we did take Blake out in the water and he got cooled off by an elephant.

Kalani didn’t want to get wet, but we did take Blake out in the water and he got cooled off by an elephant.

We ended the day by eating dinner next to the river and watched a cultural dance during our dinner.

We ended the day by eating dinner next to the river and watched a cultural dance during our dinner at our hotel.

Day 2

Klong Ladmayom Floating Market is more of a food area where you can buy food inside on solid ground, or outside by boat.

Klong Ladmayom Floating Market is more of a food area where you can buy food inside on solid ground, or outside by boat.

I had these small coconut pancakes the first time that we went to Bangkok and loved them. I was happy to find them again at Klong Ladmayom. They are small bit size snack.

I had these small coconut pancakes the first time that we went to Bangkok and loved them. I was happy to find them again at Klong Ladmayom. They are a small bite size snack.

There is a wide array of food options...Squid anyone?

There is a wide array of food options…Squid anyone?

We got to experience Chatuchak weekend market. Here we bought some "Thailand" pants that really only tourist wear.

We finally got to experience Chatuchak weekend market. Here we bought some “Thailand” pants that really only tourist wear.

Matt bought our "Thailand painting" from these guys on a previous trip. Besides painting canvas art, they also paint shoes.

Matt bought a Thai painting from these guys on a previous trip. Besides painting canvas art, they also paint shoes.

Chatuchak weekend market also has an area where there are dogs and cars for sale. Blake was very excited to see all of the animals.

Chatuchak weekend market also has an area where there are dogs and cats for sale. Blake was very excited to see all of the animals.

By the time we were leaving the Chatuchak, Blake was exhausted.

By the time we were leaving Chatuchak, Blake was exhausted and my make-up was running.

Matt and I had a quick date with Blake riding the free ferry that Shangri-La provides to Asiatique that is just up the river.

Matt and I had a quick date with Blake riding the free ferry that Shangri-La provides to the Asiatique Night Market that is just up the river.

View of Asiatique as seen from the ferry.

View of Asiatique as seen from the boat. There is a ferris wheel and lots of vendors there.

We only spent two full days in Bangkok,but with our wonderful tour guide Nok, we were able to cram a lot of things in. Nok is super easy to work with, has good English, great with kids, mixes up transportation between private cars and public so you get to experience everything. If you go to Bangkok, try to book Nok as your tour guide.

We only spent two full days in Bangkok, but with our wonderful tour guide Nok, we were able to cram a lot of things in. Nok is super easy to work with, has good English, great with kids, mixes up transportation between private cars and public so you get to experience everything. If you go to Bangkok, try to book Nok as your tour guide.

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More photos of Thailand here.

 


Limary Family in Siquijor

October 19th, 2015 No comments

My grandfather is from the Philippines. He left the islands when he was in his 20’s and left behind a wife and two sons (read the full backstory here). My father and his immediate siblings (except for the youngest) had never visited the Philippines before. But since I moved here in 2012, we have been able to convince my parents to visit us here twice. This past May my dad’s sister came out to visit us as well and she got to see where her father came from. It was a really special experience for us to be able to show our family (parents, aunt, cousin, sister, brother) the island that grandpa came from (Siquijor) and introduce them to our long lost relatives.

Matt picked up my parents and brother from one airport terminal while I took everyone else to another airport terminal. We finally got to see the whole gang at the airport and relaxed a Cinnabon before our domestic flight.

On the day of our departure to Siquijor, Matt picked up my parents and brother from their international arrival, while I took those who had already arrived to a different airport terminal. We finally got to see the whole gang and relaxed at Cinnabon before our domestic flight.

Kalani got to hang out with her aunt Kalani, whom she is named after for a week.

Kalani got to hang out with her aunt Kalani, whom she is named after for a week.

Welcome to Coco Grove in Siquijor. It has become our "other home" in the Philippines!

Welcome to Coco Grove in Siquijor. It has become our “other home” in the Philippines!

We showed our family where our cousins live and how they live in Siquijor.

We showed our family where and how our cousins live in Siquijor.

Salagdoon beach with the whole group

Salagdoong beach with the two of our Siquijodnon cousins.

We took the family to the nearby beach where our family lives.

We took the family to the beach across the street from where our Filipino relatives live.

We went to the lookout tower that is the the middle of Siquijor Island.

We went to the lookout tower that is the the middle of Siquijor Island.

View of Siquijor

View of Siquijor from Triad Resort

More than 20 of us woke up by 5am to take a boat to Oslob to see whale sharks.

More than 20 of us woke up by 5am to take a boat 3 hours away to Oslob to see whale sharks.

We are already to make memories together by snorkeling the whale sharks.

We are already to make memories together by snorkeling the whale sharks.

Hello whale shark! There were 6-10 sharks being hand-feed at Oslob.

Hello whale shark! There were 6-10 sharks being hand-fed at Oslob.

After seeing whale sharks, we headed to the nearby Sumilon Island to snorkel, swim and play in the ocean.

After seeing whale sharks, we headed to the nearby Sumilon Island to snorkel, swim and play in the ocean.

Since it the festivals were taking place, our family feed us a couple of different times at their home. We would eat at a private area on the second floor of the home as guests of honor.

Since the festivals were taking place, our family fed us a couple of different times at their home. We would eat at a private area on the second floor of the home as guests of honor.

While waiting for the festival performances to start, our family took naps since they were jet-lagged.

While waiting for the festival performances to start, our family took naps since they were jet-lagged, and the performance started an hour late.

We took our family to the famous Balete Tree and they were able to experience a "fish spa".

We took our family to the famous Balete Tree and they were able to experience a “fish spa”.

One cousin from California and the other from Siquijor. Same age and built similarly.

One cousin from California and the other from Siquijor. Same age and similar build.

Siblings spent a lot of time together "talking story".

Siblings spent a lot of time together “talking story”.

Before we left Siquijor the girls wanted a photo with a jeepney.

Before we left Siquijor the girls wanted a photo with a jeepney.

Good-bye Siquijor. Until next time.

Good-bye Siquijor. Until next time.


Limary family in Manila

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Every May, the town of Maria, Siquijor holds their annual festival. Maria is the place that my Filipino family is from (on the island of Siquijor). Last year I was not able to attend since I was 35 weeks pregnant. This year the whole family attended and we also convinced my parents, sister, brother, aunt and cousin to join us. It was a full house with many memories made. The first week only my sister and cousin were in Manila and we kept them busy exploring the various sights. My sister came to visit us last year, but didn’t get out of the city really since I was about to give birth. This year we made sure she experienced more outside of the city. After our time in Siquijor we were able to show the rest of the family around Manila and have some fun.

My sister and cousin's week in Manila

My sister and cousin’s week in Manila before the rest of the family flew in.

My cousin had a direct flight from LA, California. We let her put her suitcase down and then took her to Matt's basketball game. She didn't last the whole game.

My cousin had a direct flight from LA, California. We let her put her suitcase down and then took her to Matt’s basketball game. She didn’t last the whole game.

The boys quickly accepted our cousin and would spend a lot of time sitting with her on the couch.

The boys had never met our cousin before, but quickly accepted her and would spend a lot of time sitting with her on the couch.

Jet-lag is brutal. These two would fall asleep around 7pm every night when they first arrived.

Jet-lag is brutal. These two would fall asleep around 7pm every night when they first arrived.

My sister came from Texas, so we loaded her up with goodies to bring here for us. Many of these treats went to friends and co-workers. The people here really appreciate sweets from the states.

My sister came from Texas, so we loaded her up with goodies to bring here for us. Many of these treats went to friends and co-workers. The people here really appreciate sweets from the states.

I took the girls to Pagsanjan Falls. Blake and I stayed at the resort while they went to see the falls.

I took the girls to Pagsanjan Falls. Blake and I stayed at the resort while they went to see the falls.

The girls went to Taal Volcano while I stayed home one day. It is always nice to get out of the city.

The girls went to Taal Volcano while I stayed home one day. It is always nice to get out of the city.

We tried out the trapeze and my cousin was really good at it.

We tried out the trapeze and my cousin was really good at it.

We went back a second time to do trapeze with the whole gang.

We went back a second time to do trapeze with the whole gang.

Matt took my youngest brother out to do wakeboarding one morning.

Matt took my youngest brother out to do wake-boarding one morning.

We had to take them to Mall of Asia.

We had to take them to Mall of Asia. In 2006 it was the largest mall in the Philippines, but now it is the third largest in the country.

We also took the crew to Soffitel hotel which is on Manila bay so they could experience Spiral Buffet.

We also took the crew to Sofitel hotel which is on Manila bay so they could experience Spiral Buffet.

When it was just my sister and I at home, Matt had a hard time telling us apart. Do you know who is who?

When it was just my sister and I at home, Matt had a hard time telling us apart from the back.