Tag Archives: vacation

Hong Kong Highlights Part 3

Ok, guys.  This is the last post in my Hong Kong series :).

We scheduled an 830pm flight out of Hong Kong so we practically had the whole day to explore and shop for last minute pasalubong.  I love that our hotel room came with an option for late check out, so that really enabled us to make the most of our remaining time there :).

First up on our agenda was a semi-late breakfast (Marco Polo has a wonderful buffet selection!), and then a trip to the Peak Tram.  In all the times I’ve visited Hong Kong, I’ve never quite made it to this top tourist destination.

Getting there was pretty easy.  We took the MTR and got off at Central Station, then walked uphill towards the Tram’s Lower Station.  We actually got there just in time as lines were already starting to form (actually, I advise an early start if you plan on riding the tram.  I think we were just lucky that day that the lines were not that long :))

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The trams arrive every 10-12 mins.  After about a 40 minute wait, we were able to get on board!

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It was pretty cool riding this very traditional means of transportation.  I didn’t feel all woozy even though we were climbing up to such an incredible sight, and the views of the harbor were truly breathtaking!  A enjoyed it very much too!

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When we finally got to the peak, we took a couple of minutes to look around and take pictures.  We decided against going up to the observation deck as we felt we would practically be seeing the same thing, just with an unobstructed view.

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If we had more time, I would have loved to go around the mall (apparently there was a Coach outlet there!).  This time, however, we opted to head back down to Kowloon side so we could go back for some last minute purchases, and we could have lunch somewhere closer to our hotel.  We got back just in time to do both. And that pretty much was how we ended our Hong Kong holiday– or so I thought!

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Unfortunately, because of the bad weather in Manila, our 830pm flight was moved to 3am.  When you are traveling with a child, 3am flights are practically impossible!  I almost started to hyperventilate just thinking of waking up early and dragging my sleeping child to the airport.  Such a hassle!

Instead, the hubby and I decided to spend the night in Hong Kong, and to re-book ourselves for a 9am flight going home.  Sounds more reasonable, right?  But expensive too!  Hahaha!  While we were lucky that there was an available room for us at the Marco Polo Gateway, we could no longer get a discounted rate because of the short notice.  At that point, however, I didn’t really care anymore. I just wanted to get settled in, have some dinner, and get some rest!

Having an extra evening in Hong Kong, proved to be a blessing.  First of all, we heard that some flights that departed were diverted to Clark, Pampanga because of the heavy rains in Manila.  If that happened to us, I would probably be freaking out!!!  We also heard that many passengers had difficulty getting cabs that evening because of the floods.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to deal with that!

Instead, we were able to stay another night in a very comfortable room, and had dinner in a nice restaurant–BLT Burger–to celebrate the eve of the little one’s birthday :).  In all the years I lived in New York, I unfortunately never had the chance to try this restaurant out.  Funny that I finally did– in Hong Kong! Hahaha!

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Although the burger was nothing extremely special (we got The Stripper aka a burger without the bun), it was seasoned well, and you could tell the beef was of really good quality :).  And by that time, I was a bit tired of all the cantonese food we had eaten, so this was a welcome break and hit the spot–especially the french fries! :) Hahaha!

This trip to Hong Kong was a bit quick, and I have to admit, it was the first time that I actually felt bitin about our stay.  Hopefully next time, we’ll be able to plan something longer–there is still so much to see and do!

It was a much needed vacay, though, and I’m glad we had the chance to leave Manila even for just a couple of days.  While I honestly cannot say I feel rested and recharged, I think what’s more important is that I feel truly blessed :).

Hong Kong Highlights Part 2

While I was glad (and lucky!) that my family was out of the country during the time typhoon Maring battered Metro Manila, we were actually not spared from rainy weather in Hong Kong either.

On our one and only full day to go around the city, it showered for most of the morning, and into the early afternoon!  Boo :(.  But eventually, the sun started to peek through the clouds, and we were off to explore the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery at Diamond Hill.

I love that Hong Kong is such an easy place to teach children about travel :). Because it is convenient to commute and go around via MTR, I took the opportunity to make our journey a ‘teachable moment’ for A.

A at the MRT

She learned about maps, and enjoyed pressing the screen to choose our destination…

A inserting the MRT card

…and she also loved inserting the MRT card to enter and exit the station :).

Finally, we arrived at Nan Lian!

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A at Nan Lian

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A in front of the Pagoda

For those of you who have not been here, it is a must-see that I highly recommend :).  It’s kind of like a hidden patch of green, amidst the tall buildings and concrete jungle that is Hong Kong.  It’s a wonderful place to stroll through and enjoy at a leisurely, relaxed pace.

The highlight of the park is this golden pagoda, built in the Tang Dynasty style. The striking orange bridge that leads to it makes it even more of a sight to behold!  Very picture worthy!

I also read that each element in the 3.5 hectare garden (as in every rock, plant, hill, body of water, tree, etc.) was meticulously placed according to very specific rules and methods.  Talk about discipline!  But the results are a beautifully manicured space for the public to enjoy :).  And we certainly did!

Right next to Nan Lian is the Chi Lin Nunnery.

A at Chi Lin

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The nunnery is basically a huge complex filled with temple halls, Buddhist relics and lotus ponds.  The vibe here is very serene.  Some people were there to pay tribute to Buddha, while others simply soaked up the beautiful, elegant wooden architecture.  It was lovely, and I can say my family truly appreciated every aspect of this place.  It was unfortunate, though, that because Chi Lin is a place of worship, photos were not allowed inside the temples :(.

As dusk started to settle, we left Chi Lin and headed back for Tsim Sha Tsui. After a quick, early dinner at Ippudo (this is a MUST for the H), we headed for the Victoria Harbor waterfront, to catch the Lights and Sounds show by the promenade.

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Since we were also already in the area, we decided to cap off our day with a walk along the Avenue of Stars.  It’s basically similar to a Hollywood Walk of Fame with statues of various movie paraphernalia and sculptures of famous Chinese actors on display.  Along the path one can also find hand prints and autographs of stars set in cement.

A in front of the Movie Reel

A in front of the Movie Clicker

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A on Bear

A with Bruce Lee

While we didn’t really know or recognize many of the stars that were honored along the Avenue, we did enjoy the stroll and the view of the Hong Kong side skyline :).  So many beautifully designed buildings!!! :)

So that’s basically what we did during our second day in Hong Kong.  I love that everything we did was new, and not part of our usual Hong Kong itinerary :).  In my next and last post, I’ll talk about what we did on our last day.

Wait for it! :)

Hong Kong Highlights Part 1

August is always a good month to escape Manila.  There are a lot of long weekends to choose from, and it also happens to be my daughter’s birth month :).

Last year, we took the little one to Hong Kong.  We took her to Disneyland, went food-tripping, and did some shopping.  This time around, we decided to make the trip a bit more educational, opting to sightsee, rather than to spend our time at a theme park.  Ofcourse shopping and eating are always part of the itinerary :).

A goes to Hong Kong

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We decided to take an 8am flight out of the Philippines, and arrived in Hong Kong at 930 in the morning.  Everything went smoothly from the moment we left our condo, to the minute we arrived at our hotel for the next 3 days, the Marco Polo Gateway.

It’s been years since I last stayed at this hotel, and I was glad to see that everything was nice, modern, and newly refurbished!

I also super love the location!  Because it is on Canton Street, not only is it just across Silvercord Mall (home to Din Tai Fung, Ippudo, and near H & M), but it is also conveniently connected to the Harbor City Mall!  All the shops are practically a stone’s throw away!

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When we got to our room, I was happy to discover that it was a nice size, perfect for our little family.  I was thrilled that the bathroom looked so clean and brand new!  It totally passed my standards with flying colors!  Hahaha!

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After we unpacked and had gotten settled in, lunch was in order.  We decided to give our friends at Din Tai Fung a visit, especially since I was craving for some soup dumplings.  They never fail to hit the hungry spot!  Hahaha!  I also needed to fuel up for the whole afternoon shopping session that was to come after our sumptuous lunch :).

A at Din Tai Fung

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A feeds herself

The Fam Bam

Since I’d rather not bore you with shopping details (I was on my best behavior! *Read : I didn’t really buy much :)), let me end this post by sharing about the restaurant where we decided to have dinner.

By this time we were exhausted and chose to eat close to home.  Prior to our trip, I had been researching the blogosphere for some recommendations, and this one came from Jin of Jin Loves to Eat.  We decided to eat at Canton Deli, located at the 3rd floor of the Harbor City Mall.

They serve very traditional cantonese dishes, and since we were in Hong Kong, we thought, “What the heck, might as well eat authentic Chinese food!”.  Hahaha!

While the ambience was nothing to rave about (although they did have these cute bird cages suspended from the ceiling), the food was quite good!  Since it was a bit late, the hubby and I decided to just share some soup and beef tenderloin cooked chinese style.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty everything was :).  The soup had a good amount of crab chunks and corn.  The beef had slices that were thicker than I was used to, but it was very soft and flavorful that I did not mind at all!  Definitely, we enjoyed our meal very much :).  I would have wanted to try other stuff on the menu, but because it was already very late, we decided against it :).  Hahahaha!

If you ever find yourself in the Marco Polo/Harbor City Mall vicinity, do give Canton Deli a try :).  While it’s not the type of restaurant that’ll blow you away, the food tastes pretty good, and it is very conveniently located as well :).  We walked away that evening with pretty happy tummies! :)

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Anyway, since this is already pretty lengthy, in my next post, I’ll talk naman about the places we visited, and the sights we saw in Hong Kong.

Hope you guys will stay tuned! :)

The Weekend That Was

It was a lovely, relaxing, albeit fast weekend.

My PIL (Parents-In-Law) treated us to an overnighter at Anvaya Cove.

It was soooo nice to get away from the city.  No fail, the scenic views on SCTex did its job of taking my breath away, and mesmerizing me.

I was once again reminded of how beautiful our country is and how the H and I should really make more of an effort to explore…

To get to Anvaya, we had to pass through Subic.  It was nice to see this familiar sight on the road.

Hahaha!  Some things never change :).

There were also a lot of curvy, twisty roads we had to maneuver but I was loving the forest-y and nature-y vibe.

Anvaya at last!

Isn’t it purdy? :)

The warm blue water of the swimming pool was so inviting.  And the lush landscaping made for a peaceful, relaxing environment.

The beachfront also looked really quiet, the waters still.  Too bad we ended up not having time to take a dip :(.

This was where most of my time was spent–the spa!

Two hours of pampering was just what I needed to start off the weekend on the right foot :).

Speaking of feet, I just love this basin of water and the native scooper used for feet cleaning.  So much more visually interesting than the usual faucet or shower head. :)  The yellow flower is a nice touch, as well :).

These are what some of the casitas look like.  We were at the bottom floor of a two-storey structure.  It was nice because all our rooms were adjoining, and we also had our own verandah.

This is our huge, comfy, king-sized bed.

Sorry, I forgot to actually take a picture of our room!  Hahaha!

Anyway, I am ending this post with some pictures of the little miss and her cousins.

They obviously had a blast!

Hopefully, this will be one place we will be visiting more often :).

The Weekend That Was

I am honestly still hung-over from a most amazing weekend :).

The H and I were invited to an out-of-town wedding on Sunday, so we decided to make a weekend trip of it, and brought the little one along for the ride.

Before getting to the wedding destination, however, we decided to spend the day in Tagaytay.  It’s been ages since we were last there, so I was excited to soak in the cool weather, marvel at the fabulous view (it never gets old), try a new restaurant, and give A a fun-filled, enjoyable weekend.

Looks like I wasn’t the only one who was excited!

 One of the weekend’s highlights was lunch at Marcia Adams.

Tucked away in a side street not far from Residence Inn and the Tagaytay Arch, Marcia Adams is a beautiful, rustic restaurant that can easily be mistaken for a Tuscan countryside home.

While the food is simple but flavorful, it is the ambience that is, for me, the biggest draw of this place.  Big windows that overlook lush, green fields showcase the Tagaytay countryside at its best.  Having just endured a hectic and stressful week, the serene landscape and relaxing ambience was just what the doctor ordered.

Prior to the wedding, we also had time to sneak in a visit to the Animal Farm at Tagaytay Highlands.

I was amazed that they had a pretty decent selection of birds and animals.

As expected, A had a really great time!  She enjoyed petting the parrot, was captivated by the eels and big fishes, and giggled when the monkey would make faces at her.  She is definitely an animal-lover like her dada! :)

Finally, after all the family bonding, it was wedding time!

My colleague A, tied the knot with the love of his life K, in a beautiful, intimate and very personalized ceremony.

It made me want to get married all over again–hahaha! :)

I love how A was involved in all the details, designing everything from the invitations, to the banners, to the tablescape.

As you can see, he did an AMAZING job!!!

And ofcourse, it goes without saying, my team had an AMAZING time!

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  But as we drove back to Manila in the heavy downpour, plans were already being made for our next out-of-town weekend–I can’t wait for it!

*Sigh*

I wish it was the weekend already.

To Alaska and Beyond!

My family loves to cruise.  Ever since our first one on the Mediterranean 7 years ago, we’ve been hooked!  Not only is it a great way to travel and to see different places all at once, but because you eliminate the need for making hotel reservations per destination, and are guaranteed food supply 24/7, then it is more bang for your buck as well :).

This year, my dad decided to treat the fam to another cruise.  While in the past we’ve always opted for some European itinerary, this year, we decided to do something more nature-y and different.  So off to Alaska we went, for a little bit of outdoor adventure :).

Our first stop was a town called Ketchikan.  I was amazed at how small and sleepy this place was!  My subdivision in Quezon City is not only bigger in size, but in the amount of residents as well!  Hahaha!

The main attraction of this town is Creek Street.  Formerly home to Ketchikan’s red light district (with over 30 brothels!), today it is basically a row of shops and galleries where tourists can sightsee and do some souvenir shopping.  In fact, Creek Street has earned the distinction of being the “Most Photographed Street” in Alaska.

Aside from this, Ketchikan also holds two other noteworthy titles.  It is the “Salmon Capital of the World”, as well as “home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world”.  Not surprisingly, there are more than 80 kinds of totem poles displayed throughout the city!  Not only do they serve as a reminder of the traditions and values of tribal culture, but are also an imposing and awe-inspiring example of Alaskan native art and craftsmanship.

According to our port guide, totem poles are either commemorative, memorial, or lineage poles that celebrate a tribe or family’s unique heritage.  I was surprised to discover that the most important figure in the totem pole is the figure at the bottom, and not the one at the top :).  I guess you really do learn something new everyday!  Hahaha!

Our next port of call was Juneau, Alaska.  It was a bit of a shock for me to find out that despite it being the state capital, there are NO access roads leading to Juneau.  To get here, one must go via boat or via floatplane!  Talk about hard to get to!

The downtown area is again very small, comprised mostly of souvenir shops and restaurants.  One of their must-do activities is riding on the Mount Roberts tram. It has the best view of the Gastineau Channel, as well as that of downtown Juneau.  At the very top of the mountain is a restaurant, where one is encouraged to have a meal, or to enjoy a steaming cup of coffee (Alaska is proud of their brews :)), while taking in the breathtaking sights.

The most popular natural attraction in Juneau is the Mendenhall Glacier. Nicknamed “the drive-up glacier”, it is about a 20-minute drive from downtown. Once inside the Tongass National Forest, the glacier is easily accessible by foot, allowing one to actually walk up right to it versus viewing it from the air or by sea.

Having never seen a glacier before, I have to admit that for my first sighting, Mendenhall was pretty impressive :).  According to my research, it is about 12 miles long, half a mile wide, and about 300-1800 feet deep.  But unfortunately, because of global warming, the Mendenhall Glacier is not as massive as it used to be.  It has  been slowly retreating since the early 1700′s.  Size aside however, this glacier has been able to survive much longer than other glaciers in the North American region.  The geography and unique climate of Juneau contribute to this.

Though I dislike gloomy weather, glaciers are actually best viewed on overcast days.  We were “lucky” that this was the kind of day we had when we visited Mendenhall.  I thought that the bright blue glow that the glacier emitted was very pretty and magical-looking :).  Apparently, this is caused by the ice’s absorption and reflection of light :).

Our third port on this cruise was Skagway, Alaska.  It was actually my favorite among the Alaskan ports.  It was also the most modern-looking and the least deserted–the streets were bustling with tourists exploring the town, and scouring the shops for souvenirs.

Interestingly, Skagway is the least populated of the Alaskan cities we visited. Year round, it only has about 750 residents.  During cruise season, however, this number swells immensely.

Another interesting fact about Skagway is that it is considered the “Sunshine Capital” of Southeast Alaska.  Unfortunately, the morning we landed, the sun was nowhere to be found :(.  Hahaha!

As for attractions, Skagway’s must-do for visitors is the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway ride.  It is basically a 3-hour scenic ride up to the Canadian border. The railway was built during the era of the Klondike Gold Rush, and took 35,000 men 26 months to finish under extremely treacherous conditions.  This engineering landmark climbs up to 3,000 feet, and is held in the same esteem as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the Panama Canal.

Even though the train ride itself costs a pretty penny, I think the experience itself was worth it.  I thought it was interesting to hear stories about the railway’s history and to learn more about life during the Gold Rush.  It certainly made me appreciate all the modern conveniences I now enjoy.  It also made me appreciate the work that went into building the structure, considering the materials and equipment that were available during that time.  Factoring in the weather conditions that the men had to endure… *shudder*…definitely this railroad is an amazing feat!

And the views? Ofcourse, they were nothing short of spectacular–nature at its finest!  There were parts where we saw lush green forests, flowing streams, snow-capped mountains–a little bit of everything!  We even saw a baby brown bear and a mama black bear scrounging around for food!  Now that was pretty awesome, especially to see them in the wild :).

Skagway was indeed a wonderful way to end our short tour of Alaska.  Our next and last stop was Victoria, British Columbia.  While it was the prettiest port in our cruise, sadly, it was where we spent the least amount of time :(.  We only had 4 hours!!!  Waaah!  But I guess cruises are really meant to give tourists just a taste of a particular place–enough to make them want to come back for more. And from what we saw, I definitely want to visit Victoria again someday :).

Victoria holds the distinction of being the most “English” city in British Columbia.  Its charm is evident in the architectural landmarks that can be found along the Inner Harbour–both the majestic Fairmont Empress Hotel and the stately Legislative Building are truly a sight to behold.

Considered a National Historic Site in Canada, the Empress is one of Victoria’s oldest and most famous hotels.  In fact, it has pretty much become an icon for the city itself.  I just love its ivy-covered brick walls and enchanting facade! Had we had more time, it would have been nice to enjoy some high tea at the historic lobby, where it is said that many members of royalty and other dignitaries have had their share of scones and clotted cream :).

Constructed in 1893 in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Legislative Building is a must see whether during the day or at night.  We were lucky to catch views of this impressive structure during both times, although I must say that it is definitely more wonderful to see at night.  There are about 3300 bulbs that illuminate the entire building, making it look even more striking and captivating.  I had a field day capturing it all with my camera!  Hahaha!

Sadly, all trips must come to an end, but I’m glad we ended this one with such beautiful and extraordinary sights.  It made me wistful of what more I could have seen, had we had more time.  Oh well…I’m sure there will be a next time :).

As I sit and write this post, it again hits me how lucky I am to able to travel and see different parts of the world.  I am so fortunate to be able to have new experiences that enrich me as a person, and that make life interesting for me. Most of all, I am extremely thankful to have such wonderful parents that I can travel with, and who continue to give me these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I am truly blessed!  I only hope that one day I can provide my daughter the same experiences that I have been so generously given :).

Starbucks One

There are two beans battling for importance and popularity in Seattle–the coffee bean and the cocoa bean.  Which bean reigns supreme? While in my opinion it is a pretty close call, I’d have to rule in favor of my every morning staple, the coffee bean.  After all, don’t we have Seattle to thank for giving the world such coffee brands as Seattle’s Best, and my personal favorite, Starbucks? :)

Yup, if you didn’t know by now, Starbucks had its humble beginnings in a small shop by the Pike Place Market.  For all you Starbucks lovers visiting Seattle, it is a MUST to drop by the place where it all began.

Surprisingly, when we got there, there wasn’t a very long line inside the store. While you can still order your cup of java from the counter, there are no more tables and chairs for customers to sit down and while the time away.  The Original Starbucks store is mostly a place to purchase souvenirs, memorabilia, and ofcourse, coffee.

I love how “Starbucks One” stays true to its original look, using its very first mermaid logo on the store signage and merchandise.  It is actually one of only two stores left in Seattle that makes use of the initial logo and colors (it used to be brown!).  So vintage! :)

As a fan of the Starbucks brand and experience, it was pretty exciting for me to be able to visit their very first store–yet another place of interest in the charming city of Seattle :).

Seattle Sights { Day 2 }

Bordering Downtown Seattle is the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square.  To take advantage of the extremely warm and sunny weather, the H and I decided to explore this beautifully-restored district on foot, as it was just about 12 blocks away from our hotel.

One of the pluses to walking around town is being able to discover many new and interesting sights along the way.  On our way to Pioneer Square, we passed by this really neat park across the street from the Westlake Mall that had trees painted in bright blue!  Eye-catching, right? :)

We saw a chess game in progress as well…

We also saw this massive glass structure–it’s pretty hard to ignore because it is one of the biggest and most modern buildings on the street.  Apparently, it’s the public library!  Ganda diba, and very impressive!  I’m really glad that despite the advancement of technology and its effects on bookstores, it seems that there will be a home for printed books in Seattle for a long time to come :).

On a side note, I was also drawn to this three-piece sculpture by Henry Moore called Vertebrae, right outside the library.  I must say, I was really enjoying all the street art!

As we were nearing Pioneer Square, we passed by the Smith Tower.  It was once the tallest building in Seattle’s skyline.  It’s observation deck can still be accessed to this day, and offers beautiful, sweeping views of the Puget Sound.

Finally, when we arrived at our destination, we were greeted by the sight of this beautiful, century-old pergola.

Pioneer Square was horrifically damaged during the Great Fire of 1889, so many of the structures that are erected in the area today are a result of its re-building. In the 1970′s, artists helped to further revitalize Pioneer Square, transforming it from what was once a place full of brothels, to an artist’s haven.  I guess that explains the abundance of public parks, outdoor art, and pedestrian-friendly streets :).

After getting our fill of photographs, the H and I decided to make our way back to the downtown area for some shopping! :)  This time, we decided to take a different route so we could see more of the streets and sights of Seattle.

We passed a bunch of interesting and beautiful shops, and we eventually walked past the Seattle Art Museum and its incredibly tall “Hammering Man” (his arm actually makes a pounding motion!).  Apparently, he works all day, everyday, except Labor Day.  Hahaha!  Kidding aside, I was really impressed that Seattle seemed to have a very nice public museum, and a pretty big collection of outdoor art installations.  Too bad we didn’t have time to see most of them, nor the exhibits.

By this time, and after all the walking we’d done, the H and I were in dire need of something to cool us down.  We wanted to sample some of the local treats, and were lucky to find an ice cream place right by Downtown!

After a heaping scoop of Molly Moon’s Earl Grey and Chocolate Ice Cream for myself, and an affogatto for the H, we were ready to do some major credit card damage! Hahaha!

And that, pretty much, concluded our sightseeing tour of Seattle :).  On to the shopping!!!

Packing Light

The H’s and my first trip of the year is coming up!!!  Woohoo!!!  With all this heat we’ve been experiencing in Manila, I’m definitely ready for some cooler climes :)

Because our vacay is fast approaching, I figure I need to start planning what I have to pack, since not only am I a notorious last-minute packer, but I also tend to majorly overdo it :(.  Hahaha!  I’m one of those gals who loves to dress up when traveling, and I hate it when I have one of those moments where I regret that I didn’t bring a particular piece of clothing.  Hence, my tendency is to overpack and make sure I have the right outfit for the right occasion.  Or in some cases, I’ll even bring extra clothes, just in case.  Most of the time, my suitcase is already filled–and I’ve only just departed Manila!!!

This time around, however, I plan to shop, shop, shop, so I definitely have to leave enough room in my suitcase for my purchases.  Hahaha!  This means I MUST plan my outfits verrrrry well, and stick to those that are practical and easy to mix and match.  I’ve resorted to googling different sites for some tips, and here are what I’ve found:

I love how this guide simplified the picking and packing process into 5 easy steps. The first tip is also very practical, especially when going to a place you’ve never been to before.  In my case, we are traveling to Alaska, Seattle and Canada.  It will be my first time in all those places, so knowing what kind of weather to expect will definitely affect my clothing choices.

This is pretty similar to the first packing guide,  but this one in particular divided the list by the type of item–Basics, Brights, Shoes and Accessories.  I’m already sensing a pattern here.  Definitely, a travel wardrobe should include basics in a neutral palette, then to keep things interesting, a few clothing pieces with pops of color should be thrown into the mix.  It seems that accessories are also key in extending wardrobe looks.  While I’ve always been an “accessorizer”, I tend to not really edit my selection of necklaces, and just bring a whole bunch of them with me.  Not only are they bulky and heavy, but I end up not wearing most of them anyway :(.  So this time around, I will definitely put more thought into my accessory choices :).

Lastly, just wanted to share with you this really neat illustrated outfit list/planner.  When I saw it, I was like, “Hey, this is something I would TOTALLY do!!!  Why didn’t I think of it before?”  Part obsessive compulsive and totally creative, I am super loving it!!!

Images via apair-andaspare.blogspot.com, betweenheandshe.com, underconsideration.com

Visita Iglesia 2012

I only recall one other time in my life when I did a Visita Iglesia.  I was living in New York and was invited by my friend B to accompany her on this yearly Holy Week tradition.  Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to tag along and experience what this ritual was all about.

And what it is is basically the practice of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday, and praying the Stations of the Cross at each church.  Recently, however, this tradition has been slightly modified such that people have the choice of dividing the Stations amongst the seven or fourteen churches they visit.

This year, because we wanted Holy Week to be more meaningful for our family, the H and I decided to go on a road trip to visit the churches in the province of Rizal.  For a while now I’ve been hearing about the beautiful, centuries-old churches in this area, and thought it would be the best time to finally see them for myself.

Friday was the designated day for our Visita Iglesia.  Days before I had already done my research on the churches I wanted to see, and the best route to take. Since we only had half a day to do the visita, I knew we were probably not going to be able to see all the churches on my list, but we would try to accomplish whatever we could in the short time we had.

With the little one in tow, we left our apartment with excitement and anticipation of the mini adventure that lay ahead of us that day. :)  Here are the pictures from our wonderful Visita Iglesia experience.  Enjoy! :)

1. Church of Cainta

2. Church of Taytay

3. Binangonan Church (Sta. Ursula) - My favorite!!! :)

4. Morong Church (San Geronimo)

While our visita only allowed us to visit 4 out of 7 churches, the experience was truly wonderful and inspiring!  I am amazed at the beauty that we witnessed that day, and I really hope that these towns in Rizal will realize what gems they have in these religious historical structures, and preserve them for even more centuries to come.