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Farleys visit – Manila & Boracay

March 1st, 2015 1 comment

The beginning of September we finally got Matt’s parents out here to the Philippines to visit us and to meet their newest grandson, Blake. Matt’s brother Drew also came out to visit as well for a week during his school break. Then the second week his older sister Angela and her husband Peter joined the party. The first week we stayed in Manila and showed his parents around while Matt still had to work for a few days.

We ate at People's Palace a few times

We ate at People’s Palace a few times

We watched Matt play basketball

We watched Matt play basketball

Rosalyn found the grandmother of her co-worker selling vegetables at a local wet-market

Rosalyn found the grandmother of her co-worker selling vegetables at a local wet-market

We walked around the neighborhood of that local market and received many stares since foreigners aren't normally seen in that area

We walked around the neighborhood of that local market and received many stares since foreigners aren’t normally seen in that area

Matt and Drew spent some brother time wakeboarding

Matt and Drew spent some brother time wakeboarding

The boys also took their parents to Sky Ranch in Tagaytay so they can see life outside of Manila

The boys also took their parents to Sky Ranch in Tagaytay so they can see life outside of Manila

Grandpa magic with Blake to keep him happy

Grandpa magic with Blake to keep him happy

We waited to have Blake blessed until his grandparents arrived. 3 generations of Farleys in one photo.

We waited to have Blake blessed until his grandparents arrived. 3 generations of Farleys in one photo.

Drew convinced Peter to get a suit tailored made by the same tailor who made the 1980's James Bond suits

Drew convinced Peter to get a suit tailored made by the same tailor who made the 1980’s James Bond suits

Peter was able to do a presentation at The Medical City hospital that Angela and Matt were able to attend.

Peter was invited to do a presentation at The Medical City hospital that Angela and Matt were able to attend

After a week in Manila, we took a plane ride and then a boat ride and arrived in Boracay! We stayed at the Shangri-La in Boracay and rented 2 villas that connected. It was a perfect set-up for our families and we felt like royalty with our own personal butler on call. We have never been disappointed with any of the Shangri-La hotels, and our experience at Boracay was the best.

Our private pool at one of the villas which the kids really enjoyed.

Our private pool at one of the villas which the kids really enjoyed.

Beautiful ocean view as seen from the Shangi-La with wonderful weather while we were there.

Beautiful ocean view as seen from the Shangri-La with wonderful weather while we were there.

Farleys in the ocean and enjoying the white sand at the public beach.

Family in the ocean and enjoying the white powder sand at the public beach.

We had our own private dinner at our villa where enjoyed a 3 course meal and had some good conversations.

We had our own private dinner at our villa where enjoyed a 3 course meal and had some good conversations.

The whole Farley gang that went to Boracay!

Lost in paradise!

More photos of Boracay here.

Brothers and Sister-in-law visit

October 11th, 2014 No comments

In 2013 we missed the yearly festivals where our family in the Philippines live by a week. So, Matt really wanted to be sure to attend in 2014. However, I was about 35 weeks pregnant didn’t want to risk having a baby in the province. So Matt started contacting our brothers to see if anyone would be willing to come out to visit us and then go to Siquijor for the celebrations. One thing led to another and in the end we had 3 of my brothers and a sister-in-law coming out to see us! The boys stayed for 1 week since they had to return to school and work. My sister-in-law stayed for 11 days and we were able to have some girl pampering time together.

They arrived early Sunday morning and were jet-lagged the whole week they were with us. But, luckily they can sleep anywhere, like at the movie theater, restaurant & lounge (which my 17 year old brother did)

They arrived early Sunday morning and were jet-lagged the whole week they were with us. But, luckily they can sleep anywhere, like at the movie theater, restaurant & lounge

A morning of shopping at Greenhills where we bought knock-off purses and other souvenirs. And of course they got to see "lady-boys"

A morning of shopping at Greenhills where we bought knock-off purses and other souvenirs. And of course they got to see “lady-boys”

We had a nice dinner at The Peninsula and then went to the lounge to watch/listen to a live band

We had a nice dinner at The Peninsula and then went to the lounge to watch/listen to a live band

These guys flew to Dumaguete from Manila, and then took the hour long ferry boat to get to Siquijor

These guys flew to Dumaguete from Manila, and then took the hour long ferry boat to get to Siquijor

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Getting ready to take our cousin’s boat to Salagdoong Beach (on the way they snorkeled from the bamboo arms)

3-man jump from the platform at Salagdoong

3-man jump from the platform at Salagdoong

My 17 year old brother about to jump off the platform in the tree at Cambugahay Falls

My 17 year old brother about to jump off the platform in the tree at Cambugahay Falls

They enjoyed their time at Cambugahay Falls and made friends with the locals that were also spending the day there

They enjoyed their time at Cambugahay Falls and made friends with the locals that were also spending the day there

They played some basketball with cousins

They played some basketball with cousins

They enjoyed the decorations for the "Coconut festival"

They enjoyed the decorations for the “Coconut festival”

And they danced the night away with cousins and new friends

And they danced the night away with cousins and new friends at the village disco

Photo of cousins at the disco

Photo of cousins at the disco

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is now on the island of Siquijor and they were able to attend worship service and classes before heading on the ferry and plane back to Manila

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is now on the island of Siquijor and they were able to attend worship service and classes before heading on the ferry and plane back to Manila

Our siblings enjoyed our club pool and gym that we have at our condo

Our siblings enjoyed the pool and gym at our condo

After the boys left, my sister-in-law and I did some girl things...like attending a baby shower that they ladies from church threw for me

After the boys left, my sister-in-law and I did some girl things…like attending a baby shower that the ladies from church threw for me

And I threw a "Pamper Me" Party at our condo and had some friends over and each person had their own massage therapist for an hour

And I threw a “Pamper Me” Party at our condo and had some friends over and each person had their own massage therapist for an hour

My brother Robbie was also here, but had to stay in Manila with me since his online Master's Program started that week. But the kids were happy to spend more time with him

My brother Robbie was also here, but had to stay in Manila with me since his online Master’s Program started that week. But the kids were happy to spend more time with him.

We love spoiling our family when they come to visit us and to show them life in the Philippines. And they took full advantage of this opportunity to meet our extended relatives and see how ex-pats and locals live in this 3rd world country

We love spoiling our family when they come to visit us. And they took full advantage to meet our extended relatives and see life in a 3rd world country

A favorite phrase from my 17 year old brother: "I can't, I'm only 17!" And he posted this photo that lets us know he had a good time with us...now he just needs to learn how to spell Philippines, or at least use spell-check!

My 17 year old brother wrote this on a photo he took to let us know that he had a good time… now he just needs to learn how to spell Philippines, or at least use spell-check!

Christmas with family

February 7th, 2014 No comments

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

Rest in Peace, Cousin Diana

July 30th, 2013 1 comment

In May while my sister was visiting us we met some cousins that moved from Siquijor and are now living in Manila (click here for the original story of our unexpected Filipino family reunion). First we met Marites (pronounced maurie-tess) and her boyfriend, Jay, at the mall. She also contacted her sister, Diana, and got her to come as well to meet us and bring her two kids, Christian age 13 and Dana age 12. We noticed that Diana was pregnant and found out that she would be giving birth around August.

First time meeting cousins, so we treated them to dinner at the mall.

First time meeting cousins, so we treated them to dinner at the mall.

A couple of months passed and we knew that it was getting close to the time that Diana would be giving birth. Then, this past weekend Marites texted us saying that Diana gave birth to a baby girl on Friday, July 26, but Diana had some kind of infection and was bleeding. We were asked if we could help since she needs some blood and medicine. Matt and I went to the hospital and entered the ICU. With my siblings and all the craziness that they do, I have seen my fair share of ICUs at hospitals…but this was NOT an ICU in America, Diana was in the “charity ward” of UERM Medical Center. Charity wards do not have the same level of care as the rest of the hospital. The ICU was a room about 20’x20′ and had 3 patients in that small area. Diana was swollen with tubes in her mouth and a scared look in her eyes. She wouldn’t let go of her husband’s hand while we were there. The doctors/nurses finally said that there were too many people in the room and that only one person at a time could be in there.

Front part of the UERM hospital

Front part of the UERM hospital

What it looks like behind the hospital

What it looks like behind the hospital

So, we left Diana and her husband to go look at the baby. This hospital is about 4 stories and the ICU was on the 4th floor and the “nursery” was on the 2nd floor. No elevators were seen and the hospital looked like it could have doubled for a WWII prison. We didn’t have to check-in as visitors, and everything was in Tagalog…good thing our relatives know some English. So we enter a small closet area to look into what we think is the nursery. But, it must have been the NICU. I have never seen such small babies in person before. Baby legs about as big as my thumb and 3-4 incubators with newborn/preemies inside. It took awhile and some talking to a nurse, but she brought over a 7 pound baby girl to show us. So that was so nice to see a “healthy” baby.

NICU or Nursery or both?

NICU or Nursery or both?

Healthy baby girl weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz.

Healthy baby girl weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz.

We left the hospital and gave our cousin Marites some money to pay for bags of blood and medicine for Diana. Marites broke down in tears and just hugged me so tight. This money was going to make things better! That was Saturday. On Sunday night we get a text message from Marites saying, “L0rd God plz help my sister diane 2 survive.” We responded that we would pray for her…not much more we can do late at night. We go to bed and in the morning receive a text that said Diana passed away.

Text message we received about Diana

Text message we received about Diana

We were in shock with this news. Our experience with being sick and being in the hospital means that you get better since the trained professionals are there with the equipment to make everything better. Well, that is the experience you get if you are at a “nice hospital” and have insurance, or money, or live in a 1st world country. At the very least, the doctors can help you survive a bit longer and prolong the fight. We can’t help but think that if she was in a better hospital this tragedy could have been avoided. We said that we would help with whatever we could, so we were asked to bring some food over for the vigil. I am not accustomed to Filipino vigils or death in general, but sadly our house help knows too well what is needed. We loaded our car with bags of food and drinks and took them over to Diana’s house where her body is there for people to pay their respect.

A few blocks away from our cousin's home...very different living conditions than what we have in the Philippines.

A few blocks away from our cousin’s home…very different living conditions than what we have in the Philippines.

The streets were a pretty tight fit for our car.

The streets were a pretty tight fit for our car.

Diana passed away around midnight and we got to their home at roughly 6pm. The body was already in a coffin with make-up and lights and candles around the coffin for people to pay their respect. We were shocked to see how quickly things were done given the fact that Diana was still alive 18 hours ago. Diana’s body still looked swollen in the coffin and not like the person that we met back in May.

What the front area of the home now looks like and will stay like this for about 2 weeks while people pay their respect.

What the front area of the home now looks like and will stay like this for about 2 weeks while people pay their respect.

Our cousin Diana laid to rest

Our cousin Diana laid to rest

We spent about 3 hours at the house with family and friends. We got to meet Diana’s other sister (Devina), and her “common-law husband”. We also met other cousins of our cousins. It is hard for us to comprehend how Diana died so quickly at the age of 31, but her husband, children, and sisters could smile and chat with us. We assume that they are smiling on the outside, but crying on the inside. We know her son stayed up through the night in tears and hadn’t slept yet. I wish that I could take away their pain and sorrow. I take comfort in The Plan of Salvation that our Heavenly Father has for us where families can be together forever. There is possibility that I may have to speak before Diana’s burial since I am a relative; and if given the chance, I will speak and bear testimony of God’s plan, and that they can be reunited as family again in heaven.

Meeting new family members and gathering their information at Diana's vigil

Meeting new family members and gathering their information at Diana’s vigil

Wish we could have taken this photo of the sisters while Diana was alive...Tia with her cousins Devina and Marites.

Wish we could have taken this photo of the sisters while Diana was alive…Tia with her cousins Devina and Marites.

Diana passed away 2 days before her 31st birthday

Diana passed away 2 days before her 31st birthday

This is the way that I will remember Diana...how I saw her on our first meeting.

This is the way that I will remember Diana…how I saw her on our first meeting.

 

Categories: Family Tags: , ,

Philippines 2012 – Days 1 to 4: Manila

June 30th, 2012 3 comments

Our agenda (specific details were added after the fact)

 

Table of Contents:     (links will be created as posts are published)

  • Days to 1 to 4: Manila
  • Day 5: Taal Volcano
  • Day 6: Pagsanjan Falls & Mall of Asia
  • Day 7 and 8: Basketball, Shopping, and Church
  • Days 9 to 11: Bohol & Panglao
  • Day 12: An Unexpected Family Reunion in Siquijor
  • Day 13 and 14: More fun in Manila
  • Days 15 to 17: Coron Island
  • Day 18: Wrap-up

 

After several business trips to the Philippines (June 2011, Sept 2011, Feb 2012), I was successful in convincing Tia that we should spend our summer vacation there (without kids!). As mentioned in the first post regarding this vacation (Day 12), it would give us an opportunity to see some amazing sites and attempt to explore more of Tia’s family history.

The rough agenda had us staying around Metro Manila for the first week, including a few days in the office, and then island hopping for the final two weeks (returning to Manila on the weekends). The islands we visited are Bohol, Panglao, Siquijor, and Coron.  Each offered a variety of great experiences and memories which we’ll attempt to capture in this family journal through an ongoing series of blog posts.

Highlights from the first few days include:

Over the course of three weeks we visited Manila, Bohol, Panglao, Siquijor, and Coron. To get to Bohol and Coron we flew Cebu Pacific Airlines, but for Siquijor we had to take a 3 hour ferry from Bohol. Panglao was connected to Bohol via 1/4 mile bridge.

 

The Manila Bay Cruise included dinner and a live band. The total cost of the ticket was only 550 pesos / person (roughly $13 each).

 

Mall of Asia, viewed from the dinner cruise boat

 

Toto and Ava took us to the Manila LDS Temple on our way to Ateneo University.

 

Ateneo de Manila is a well respected private university known for its successful basketball program (among many other things). Toto (pictured here, rebounding) and Ava Jill took us on a tour of the university and surrounding area, followed by some pickup games at the main arena.  (30+ players showed up!)

 

Rainier, a good friend, co-worker, and x-PBA player took us to this double-header PBA match. In this Filipino equivalent of the NBA, ten teams (all based in Manila) compete in three rotating tournaments (called conferences). In two of the three conferences, teams are allowed a single non-Filipino on the roster (in one of the two conferences, a height limit is imposed on the foreigners: 6’5″). In the third tournament, ringers are disallowed — Filipinos only. Anyone who can prove partial Filipino blood, is considered Filipino by the rules. This results in a lot of “Fil-Am” players, or Filipino-Americans who were born and raised in the U.S., but are not 100% Filipino. Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines and is played even in the most remote villages (usually in flip-flops!).

 

Stopped for a picture at this monument in Makati, walking from our hotel to Church on Sunday morning. Makati is a very nice, clean, and safe area of Metro Manila.

 

Balikbayan Handicrafts is an amazing place for souvenirs. The combination of price, workmanship, and selection is unbeatable.

 

Airport Anecdotes:

* We ran into not one, but two, good friends at the Houston airport! One was an old family friend from Sacramento, and the other was a co-worker from Australia who was passing through on his way home from Miami to Perth.  (the same co-worker I met up with in Manila several times on previous business trips)

* On the plane from SF to Tokyo, we were surrounded by a group of young men in their 20’s dressed in basketball warm-ups. Turns out they’re a traveling Christian Missionary Team, and their coach is from my old highschool in Sacramento!  (he wasn’t a coach when I played for the school, but said he recognized me)

* At the Sacramento airport (we had an overnight layover, dropping off our kids with their grandparents), someone who had the same brand of luggage as me took mine by mistake (and left).  Luckily, I managed to locate his luggage and worked with the airport staff to contact him. He came back to the airport to exchange bags with me. Close call!

* Leaving Sacramento, upon check-in, our reservations showed an unknown error and would not let us proceed. The lady at the counter had to call headquarters not once, but twice, to get the mysterious error cleared. It was a pretty tense 15 minutes or so standing there with our fingers crossed (and even then, Tia’s connecting boarding pass from Tokyo to Manila printed out fine, but mine would not!  I had to get mine printed at the gate in Tokyo).

* The flight from Sacramento to San Francisco was delayed due to weather. If it was delayed more than an hour or two, we would have missed our connection to Tokyo (luckily it wasn’t).

* Returning to the U.S., I was denied check-in at the counter in Manila due to a red coloration in my left eye.  I knew it was being caused by a cold sore on my eyelid, but they escorted me to the airport doctor for examination. Despite my plea that it was a harmless cold sore on the eyelid (that I’ve had reoccurring since my teenage years), he still wrote conjunctivitis on the diagnosis form (which is highly contagious, pinkeye). Luckily, he also checked the box that says I’m clear to fly.

Categories: Family, Travel Tags: , , , ,