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Christmas in Siquijor…4th time in a row

February 28th, 2016 No comments

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 Beach Resort really does feel like we are coming home.

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.

SIx year old Mason doing a flip off a rock at Cambugahay Falls

Six year old Mason doing a flip off a rock at Cambugahay Falls

Lugnason Falls got a major make-over from the last time we visited his place two years ago.

Lugnason Falls got a major make-over from the last time we visited two years ago.

Our kids love to ride on the motorcycle with their cousin Sherwin.

Our kids love to ride on the motorcycle with their cousin Sherwin.

We had lunch at our cousin's home and then sat around chatting and some people took naps.

We had lunch at our cousin’s home and then sat around chatting and some people took naps.

We had dinner at our other cousin's home.

We had dinner at another cousin’s home.

On the way back to the resort from our cousin's home we saw the moon shining over the ocean.

On the way back to the resort from our cousin’s home we saw the moon shining over the ocean.

Christmas Eve dinner party at Coco Grove we got to listen to these sisters sing.

Christmas Eve dinner party at Coco Grove we got to listen to these sisters sing.

Coco Grove fire dancers also performed.

Coco Grove fire dancers also performed.

Island Melody Band were the final number for the Christmas Eve party.

Island Melody Band were the final number for the Christmas Eve party. (we’ve seen them perform 4-5 times now and they’re always great)

Christmas Day we got on a boat and headed towards Apo Island. Our kids wanted to be in the front.

Christmas Day we got on a boat and headed towards Apo Island. Our kids wanted to be in the front.

Apo Island is in sight.

Apo Island is in sight after an hour boat ride from the resort.

We had lunch here and also went to the turtle sanctuary nearby to snorkel with some turtles.

We had lunch here and also went to the turtle sanctuary nearby to snorkel with some turtles.

Mason and Tia snorkeling while a turtle eats grass.

Mason and Tia snorkeling while a turtle eats grass.

Apo Island has some beautiful coral.

Apo Island has some beautiful coral.

We saw a sleeping turtle while scuba diving.

We saw a sleeping turtle while scuba diving.

Christmas dinner we had about 30 family members over and 4 missionaries from our LDS church. Dinner was delicious, the company was great and the entertainment was memorable.

Christmas dinner we had about 25 family members over and four missionaries from the LDS Church. Dinner was delicious, the company was great and the entertainment was memorable.

Missionaries shared a message about our Savior Jesus Christ to our family members on this Christmas night.

Missionaries shared a message about our Savior Jesus Christ to our family members on this Christmas night.

Nearly 30 decedents from grandpa Limary/Limatoc together for Christmas in Siquijor.

Nearly 30 descendents from grandpa Limary/Limatoc together for Christmas in Siquijor.

Wacky photo with everyone who was participating in our Christmas celebration...family members, missionaries, and resort staff.

Wacky photo with everyone who was participating in our Christmas celebration…family members, missionaries, and resort staff.

We love Siquijor and the beautiful people and scenery that fills our days there.

We love Siquijor and the beautiful people and scenery that fills our days there. (photo from our balcony at Coco Grove)

… and don’t miss this compilation video Matt put together!

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More photos of Siquijor here.

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.

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.

Summer 2015

August 17th, 2015 No comments

We basically stayed in Manila for the whole summer. There were a few days spent in Thailand as a family, and Matt and I had a get-away to Indonesia. I tried to take the kids out to play with friends and do something active at least once a week (besides swimming at our place). I think that they had a pretty fun summer; and they didn’t kill each other. They were definitely ready to go back to school when it resumed.

First activity of the summer was to go to a 3D art gallery called Art In Island

First activity of the summer was to go to a 3D art gallery called Art In Island

Art in Island is claimed to be the largest 3D museum in Asia in terms of the number of 3D paintings available, around 200 masterpieces. The kids had a great time running around the whole building since it wasn't crowded and taking silly photos.

Art in Island is claimed to be the largest 3D museum in Asia in terms of the number of 3D paintings available, around 200 incredible pieces. The kids had a great time running around the whole building since it wasn’t crowded and taking silly photos.

We spent a morning at Active Fun where Blake loved being around the big kids who joined him in the ball pit.

We spent a morning at Active Fun where Blake loved being around the big kids who joined him in the ball pit.

At the mall we went ice skating and the kids with friends had the whole rink to themselves for nearly an hour.

At the mall we went ice skating and the kids with their friends had the whole rink to themselves for nearly an hour.

Spent a couple of hours at Kidzoona where the kids were able to dress-up, make believe and play in the ball pit.

Spent a couple of hours at Kidzoona where the kids were able to dress-up, make believe and play in the ball pit.

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Kalani got to go to a hair salon and get her hair ombre colored.

Kalani got to go to a hair salon and get her hair dyed ombre.

We had beautiful weather and lots of friends to be with while enjoying a morning at The Fun Farm.

We had beautiful weather and lots of friends to be with while enjoying a morning at The Fun Farm.

We celebrated a mom's birthday at a restaurant before going bowling. The boys were all very well behaved once the iPad was pulled out!

We celebrated a mom’s birthday at a restaurant before going bowling. The boys were all very well behaved once the iPad was pulled out!

The kids survived the summer and they have completed a full week of school already.

The kids survived the summer and they have completed a full week of school already.