This past school year was different for our family. We started the first semester of school attending a private school in the Philippines. The second semester we were back in the states and I was homeschooling the kids again. Life is never easy and things don’t go as you plan, but life continues and we adapt. Still, I think that our kids had an enjoyable school year and are enjoying not having to wake up at 6am every morning now.
6th grade Classroom Without Walls activity.
Kalani in math class.
Kalani’s group project on creating a new society.
Mason with his 9th grade buddy.
Math games with a parent and classmates for Mason.
Mason’s 1st grade class.
We visited the ER and learned about sprains, splints, and how to use crutches.
Home Economics class and cake decorating skills.
Attending the temple monthly with other homeschool friends.
Going to reptile shows.
Visiting the Natural Science Museum.
Visiting the zoo.
Participating in theater plays with other homeschool kids.
Spending time with family and creating memories.
Now that summer is here our kids still have to keep up with their reading and math skills. And if they get too bored there is always a paper that they can write or math sheets they can do. But, we also plan on swimming and playing with cousins during the summer. These children of ours are only young for a short time and I am glad that I get to spend most of my days with them watching them learn and grow.
Our long lost relatives live on the beautiful island of Siquijor, and we have been spending Christmas with them every year since 2012. So this year was no different. Again we stayed at our “home away from home”, Coco Grove Beach Resort. We love the staff there who know us by name. (Having a staff member be Blake’s nanny while we are there really means everyone knows Blake and we are just his family) And word has spread throughout the International School of Manila about Coco Grove Beach Resort, so our kids saw their friends and teachers at the resort. Our agenda is more or less the same thing every year with what we do around the island. This year was a little different in that we are now scuba certified, so we had a day trip to Apo island where we ate lunch, did some snorkeling with turtles, and had two dives around the island (Apo is one of the top dive sites in the country).
Our flight was delayed leaving Manila so we didn’t get to see our welcome sign until the next day. Being at Coco Grove really does feel like we are coming home.
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.
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 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.
On the boat ride to the Underground River we could see the “Sleeping Giant” in the mountain.
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.
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.
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 Tia went with him.
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 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.
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.
Palawan 2015 was nice and we are so glad that we were able to be with friends.
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.
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.
Welcome to Coco Grove in Siquijor. It has become our “other home” in the Philippines!
We showed our family where and how our cousins live in Siquijor.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 went back a second time to do trapeze with the whole gang.
Matt took my youngest brother out to do wake-boarding one morning.
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.