In the Philippines, we have a lot of sari-sari stores — small stores that sell all sorts of stuff. My posts are stories of all kinds of stuff that I experience or learn, most especially while being a woman, a wife and a mom. :)
Christmas is always a busy but really fruitful and meaningful season for us. We enjoy doing Advent activities daily, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. One of them is writing down what we are thankful for for the year. This time, we did it by month. I wrote down in my March box our trip to Hongkong.
Yes, I love traveling with my family. Yes, I love going to Disneyland. But what I loved most about our trip was that I had one on one time with each member of my family. Precious memories. ❤️
King and I went out alone for a walk, to see what were in the shops and where we could take the kids. Thankfully our hotel was in a pretty good location, and my mom was with the girls. It’s refreshing to just chill and spend alone time with the hubby, even if it’s just for an hour. The weather was nice and cool too. 🐽
Noelle was sick on day 1 but I think it was day 2 or 3 that we had a chance to take a walk and shop for some things for herself as well. It was a blessing in disguise that Danae was too sleepy to come along that Noelle and I had some time together. 🐼
Danae and I also had some time checking out stores, while King went into a separate store. She got to buy ice cream from an ice cream truck.🍦
And then on one evening, she came with King and I to Temple street for the night market. She and I walked back to the hotel alone while King waited for some yummy take out food — Yang Chow, Spicy Pork, Lemon Chicken, Steamed fish and broccoli! 🥘
And then Disneyland. I love Disney. I love Mickey. I love Disneyland! It makes me all giddy inside. BUT… I doubt I’d enjoy it at all if my family was not with me. And it was Gianna’s first time — a dream come true for her! She was so excited to go to Disneyland that once when we were going to a mall, she asked if we were going to see Buzz there. She kept telling me she wanted to go to Disneyland, until my mom said she’d take her there. What a blessing my mom is! 😇
Gianna and I enjoyed riding Slinky together! Danae and Noelle rode together. I wasn’t sure how Gianna would react, since her ate Noelle cried when it was her first time, but she didn’t! I was so proud of her. And of Noelle too because she didn’t get scared this time. 👏🏼
King and Danae went on the Star Wars Space Mountain ride, so I took Noelle and Gianna to meet one of the Star Wars characters. It was R2D2! I loved how Noelle was beyond excited to have her picture taken with him. 🤖
Danae and I rode the new roller coaster in Grizzly Gulch. It was soooo much fun! I thought it was mild enough for Noelle to ride at first, but boy was I wrong. I was laughing the whole time, while Danae was screaming 😂
Thank you Lord for our Hongkong trip, but most of all thank You for my family. None of us is perfect, and our relationships are rocky at times, but You have blessed me indeed. Every year, I will be grateful for them. ❤️
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
One of the things that Ardy Abello reminded us about during his session in the Couples’ Getaway was that NO ONE DELIBERATELY PLANS TO FAIL…THEY SIMPLY FAIL TO PLAN.
I was again reminded of this as we tackled our second day in Singapore. I thought I had a plan, but it wasn’t well thought out at all. I just planned for us to go to Singapore Zoo at a certain time to follow the suggested morning itinerary. I did not bother finding out how to get there or how much time we needed to get there from our hotel. I did not study the maps beforehand. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I thought it would be fairly simple. Was I wrong.
It turned out that the zoo was an hour and a half away from Sentosa! We were already late for the morning itinerary, so we decided to see what we could do IN Sentosa Island itself, before we proceeded to the zoo. We decided to check out the Underwater World Singapore. Due to lack of planning again, we found out as we got there that we had already missed the morning show. Tickets are 1 entry only, meaning you can’t decide to come back later once you’ve already gone in & gone out. We decided to head to the zoo then. At least we got to see peacocks and huge turtles outside. At least we got their schedule. And at least we got to see what else was there and what we were interested in as we rode the tram going back to the Sentosa Express station.
When we left Sentosa, it was sunny. I thought it would not rain and I left the girls’ rain coats in the hotel. Well, it did rain haha. We had to buy rain coats in the zoo. Thank God it didn’t cost much. We got to see nearly all the shows. We loved the elephant & the sea lion shows. We missed a few animals, but it was okay. The kids’ water park was closed! The very thing that I planned and prepared for, with the kids’ gears & all, was a bust haha.
We ate dinner at Soup Spoon in Vivo City. It was an interesting resto, and my mushroom stroganoff soup was both filling and delicious! We got back to the hotel past 9 that night, and just stayed in our room to get ready for Universal Studios the next day. We made sure that we studied the map/guide. The day wasn’t a complete failure, but we wanted to do much better with our time.
Because there was a plan, our Universal Studios day was spent well. We got in as it opened — of course it helped that it was walking distance from our Festive Hotel. We hit most of the shows and rides that we planned on hitting. The Shrek 4D show was cool, so were the stunts on WaterWorld. We enjoyed the dance performances we caught on the street, most especially the B-boyin of The Rockafellas! Steven Spielberg’s Lights, Camera, Action was awesome — movie magic! There was the rain factor again, which made us miss the Treasure Hunters ride, wherein the kids could have driven their own jeeps, but it was okay. The girls had a lot of fun getting wet at the fountain in Lost World. Too bad Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure was closed!!! We skipped the roller coaster rides and left Universal fairly early. The kids were able to swim at the hotel for an hour or so, which they were dying to do. We then decided to have dinner late, so we could still catch the Luge in Sentosa Island. Oh The Luge. It deserves a separate blog haha. We had dinner at Ruyi in Resorts World, then headed back to our hotel for another restful night.
We planned to go to Palawan Beach on the last day, Danae’s actual birthday, but we felt that the tram was taking too long and we’ve never been to that side of the island, so we didn’t know how far it really was. We decided to walk to Siloso Beach, the side we knew. It took us a while, but at least the kids were able to play in the sand, before we proceeded to Underwater World. We saw all sorts of sea creatures and watched the pink dolphin show. We were planning for King, my mom & Danae to try the Gogreen Segway after, but we ran out of time. To make up for it, King took the girls to Candylicious, this amazing candy store in Resorts World! Took a lot of photos already by the time I found out it wasn’t allowed. Oops!
We hurried to check out by 1pm. Thank God for our very nice cab & cab driver, who made our lives easier going to and coming back from the zoo, and going to the airport. It took us forever to get to our hotel when we arrived Singapore, riding the bus & the trains. Changi airport was nice. We had our late lunch at McDonald’s right by the check-in area, plus there was a playground for the kids. Inside the departure area, there was another playground, a coloring area, more restos and shops. The girls even made a cute new friend named Amethyst.
We really love traveling! If money were not an issue, we’d be doing it so much more. We love building memories with our kids. This is one birthday that Danae will never forget!
Two things I am grateful for relearning…
…..It’s hard to be the one planning, but planning can really make life easier and less stressful. It doesn’t guarantee perfection, but it definitely helps.
…..Nothing is impossible with God — you wouldn’t know that King had a slipped disc with how fast he walked and moved during our trip!
Our family loves to travel! I guess it started when my parents took me on my first plane ride when I was newly born. My mom gave birth to me in St. Luke’s, and flew me back to San Carlos, Negros Occidental where we lived then. As far as I can remember, we traveled yearly, whether on road trips, boat trips (and I mean Negros Navigation 2-night trips, sometimes in the economy section too!), or plane rides. Batangas, Baguio, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro were the cities we most frequented while growing up. My mom, because of her job, was provided by her company with free first class trips, which she almost always exchanged to economy tickets so we could all (my dad, mom, brother and me) travel out of the country. When I was older, we visited more tourist spots in the beautiful PI, such as Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Siargao. I’ve really been blessed to have the opportunity to visit and enjoy different places.
I’m sure it was part of God’s plan that He gave me a husband who also loves to travel. We got to experience it together for the first time on a road trip with my family to the North when we were still engaged. He and I first went with my peers to Pangasinan, then met up with my family in Baguio, then we drove to Vigan, then Laoag, and Pagudpud. Actually, he lived in Caloocan then, so every trip to my house in the south was a road trip! He proposed to me in Bataan. We got married in Tagaytay. Our honeymoon was in Camiguin Island.
Three months after we got married, we were set to leave for Hong Kong. That was the morning I discovered that I was pregnant. So even in the womb, Danae was already traveling haha! When Danae was 2 months outside the womb, her first plane ride, boat ride and first trip to the beach, and first Christmas were when we flew to Cagayan de Oro and visited Camiguin. Her first road trip was to Baguio at 7 months old. When Noelle was still in my womb, she also traveled to Cagayan de Oro. Her first road trip and trip to the beach was when she was 4 months old, in Dagupan and Subic. Her first plane ride and boat ride was at 7 months old, when we went to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin for my cousin’s wedding.
When Danae was 4 and Noelle was 11 months old, we went on their first international trip to Hong Kong and visited Mickey Mouse!
Traveling is really part of our design as a family. And I can see that in how manageable my girls are whenwe go on trips. Of course it was very hard the first few times, but because we’ve done it often enough, they’re pretty much used to it. They rarely cry on the plane, even as babies. They can be a little bit too excited, in fact. Imagine, I was able to fly alone with the two girls to and from Bacolod, when Danae was 4 and Noelle was 10 months old! They’re not scared of the water either, though Noelle was, during her first encounter. But no sea or motion sickness at all.
We are in faith that God will let us travel even more! It can be costly (but thank God for my mom who treats us and for Cebu Pacific’s piso fares and the like), but the memories are worth every centavo. It is always exhausting, but the experiences we have as a family, especially for our children, are worth all the effort. This year, 2 family trips down, and 1 missions trip for King and 1 more family trip to go. But as my friends encouraged me last month, I can’t wait for God’s surprises for us! There might be more! Woohoo! 🙂
SEPTEMBER 1, WE WOKE UP A LITTLE LATE, LEFT A LITTLE LATE, GOT TO THE AIRPORT A LITTLE LATE. WE MISSED OUR FLIGHT TO CAGAYAN DE ORO….AGAIN! Same thing happened last year when we went for my cousin’s wedding. Ugh! Good thing the bad start didn’t define our entire vacation. WE HAD A BLAST IN CAGAYAN!
Let me start with our family (my dad’s sister and family), who always always takes great care of us when we’re there. Ever since we were kids, we would spend nearly every summer in Cagayan. I learned to swim, bake, play tennis there. We even took English classes and the like. We grew up close to our cousins and would travel places together. There was even a time that my brother and I went to the US without our parents, but with my tita Lucile, tito Rolly, manang Baba and Rando. Today, my cousins and I are all grown up. Manang Baba is now married to a great guy, Desi Fournier, and Rando is dating this mystery girl (hahahaha). Many things may have changed, but the love still remains. King and my girls are experiencing the same love and care that I did growing up. They accommodated us and fed us delicious food in their home (which is really like a 2nd home to me), drove us everywhere, took us to great restaurants, organized awesome activities for us! Not only that, Baba & Desi baby sat the kids while we were out one whole morning, Wowa Lucile gave my girls vaccinations (3 each – yeouch!), and they gave us really really really nice Crocs! 🙂
Hot spots! The restaurants we went to were all in one lane in Lim Ket Kai (a mall). If you like delicious Thai food, go to Siam. I especially loved their bagoong rice, which had green mango toppings. The best I’ve ever tasted! If you want to taste authentic New Orleans flavors, go to Bourbon Street Bistro. The chef/owner is from New Orleans, married to a Cagayan local. I loved their shrimp popcorn, their grilled shrimp, and their baby back ribs with yummy mashed potatoes! For great desserts, salads, snacks and coffee, go to Candy’s, also owned by a Cagayan local. Practically everything I’ve tried there I like, but we always order this 4-cheese spread thing with pandesal and this ball of vanilla ice cream encased by chocolate cake. Really really good!
Another hot spot in Cagayan is my cousins’ CROCS store in Robinson’s, in Lim Ket Kai. They’ve got great new styles for both kids and adults, and they’ve got this awesome promo going on with increasing discounts, the more you buy!!! They also newly opened this wonderful clothes & shoes store called BLISS, also in Ket Kai, that carries a lot of local brands. Very chic and stylish, yet affordable! Both stores are worth checking out. The times that we dropped by, they were almost always full of customers. I am truly proud of my cousins. 🙂
Cagayan’s town plaza is called Divisoria, which they turn into a night market every weekend, with music, food, and all sorts of other things. We weren’t able to try it then, but we did get to visit the SLERS cafe there. SLERS is famous for its yummy chicharon (pork cracklings) and delicious meat products. It’s locally owned and their products/brand has been around for decades. I enjoyed their pastrami sandwich, and we brought home some of their tocino, longganiza and chicharon! 🙂
Ptr Auggie Rabara took us to another restaurant called Sentro in Divisoria too. We just had a light snack there, but we actually enjoyed their chicken fingers. What makes it more interesting is the fact that it’s right across VICTORY-CDO. They’ve got a beautiful center and a growing congregation! Wish I had pictures to prove it. Wish I had pictures of King preaching that Sunday too haha. 🙂
Adventures! When I was still single, my cousins took us tubing on the Cagayan River. We went through the rapids riding those donut-shaped salbabidas that were strapped together, so we were actually on the water the whole time. It was really fun! I almost even went under one time haha. Oh, I forgot to mention that the starting point of that trip was near a steel bridge, and we had an option to jump off of it. Rando and I jumped off, of course. So I guess you know where Danae gets her guts haha. For our honeymoon, before proceeding to Camiguin Island, King and I went tubing as well, but neither of us jumped off the bridge. This year, we went white water rafting! We were asked if we wanted our ride to be mild or wild. Everyone was willing to go wild, including my 62 year old mom! But my good husband wanted it mild. I guess you know where Noelle gets her timidity haha. To be fair, King was worried about his dislocated shoulder, hence his apprehension to flip the raft a lot. And it was a good call because we saw what the other raft went through! We did flip once, and it was a major major flip! Our raft went up a huge rock before flipping over and spilling its contents (us, the guides and our things) into the water! When I went under, I felt someone’s body on me that pushed me further down. Turns out it was my mom haha. I drank in some river water, but it was cool. It’s not white water rafting after all, if you don’t experience that!
The day before we went white water rafting, we went up to Dahilayan Adventure Park. It was an almost 2 -hour drive, passing Del Monte farms even, but it was really nice! They have pine trees and very cool weather, almost like Baguio. That’s where they have the Zorbit, that big transparent rubber or plastic ball that you get into and roll down a hill. They also rent out ATVs, you can go horse back riding and wall climbing. What we did, however, was the amazing ZIP LINE!!!! The first one, which Danae was allowed to try but as a tandem with King, was long and high enough. The second one, which Danae did solo, was shorter and lower but also fun. The last one we went on was the longest and the highest! We had to leave the kids with my uncle because my mom (yes, my mom!), King and I had to ride this monster truck who had a monster driver haha (he drove fast and hard!), to go up to its starting point. Your blood starts pumping from the ride alone! Super fun! The zip line is 840M long, and it’s the longest zip line in Asia. Not only that, we weren’t merely strapped and hanging or sitting on our harnesses. We were on our bellies, like Superman! What a rush, whoo! Everyone who goes to CDO must try it. It’s definitely worth it! Check out the videos on the right side of this page! or click here.
For your white water and zip lining adventures, I highly recommend GREAT WHITE WATER TOURS! Jerome, who has been on tv quite a few times, and his crew have been the ones taking care of us ever since. They’re the best! What are you waiting for??? Book now! 🙂
We were scheduled to fly to Busuanga on July 6. A few days before, I was perfectly healthy. Then I started sniffling on Monday, July 5. What a time to get sick! My mom and King were waiting on me to decide whether we should push through or not, seeing that I had not packed and that I was feverish and feeling bad. I was telling King they could go without me, but of course he didn’t want to since the trip was actually to celebrate my birthday. So with barely 3 hours of sleep but with a burst of God-given energy, I got up the next morning, packed, and got ready for our flight. I only started feeling bad again at the airport and on the plane. Noelle, of course, was awake the whole time, while I wanted to lay down and just sleep. My head was heavy, I had fever, cough & colds, and my body was just aching and weak. Noelle also looked like she was pooping on the plane, but we were afraid to check because the smell would reek. I checked when we landed. Thank God it was a false alarm! I didn’t have energy to change her diaper in a public restroom.
On the way to and when we got to quaint Birang Lodge in Coron, I just slept. I did not go with my family when they had lunch. I felt cold, weak, and just terrible. Thank God we were not bound by a pre-determined schedule like that of a package tour. I was able to just rest. I drank meds and asked my mom to massage my arms. This whole time, I just kept praying and praying that God would heal me so that I could enjoy our vacation. By mid-afternoon, I already broke into a sweat. My head still felt heavy but my body was feeling stronger. I was able to give Noelle a bath. By evening, I was able to join my family with our friend Hilbert and his mom for dinner. Hilbert, by the way, cooked super yummy adobo and super yummy fresh lapu lapu! We were not only his clients, but also his guests, so he was kind enough to bless us with his delicious cooking. The next morning, I was up and about for our first trip to the islands! I still had cough & colds, but God totally healed me from the flu! I know it was God because with the way I was feeling, normally that would have lasted a whole week. Amazing!
Hilbert hooked us up with this big bangka (pump boat) to go to Malcapuya Island to swim and have lunch, then we went to Banana Island for some snorkeling. At first we thought it would be rainy all day, but the sun was out by the time we got to the first island. The next day, we took a smaller boat and went island hopping again, visiting this shipwreck for snorkeling, Banul Island for lunch, Twin Lagoon to take a dip in the calm, brackish water, Barracuda Lake hoping to get a glimpse of one barracuda (to no avail), and to the marine park Siete Picados to snorkel some more and see more corals & bigger fish. Though it was a bit rainy already on the 2nd half of our boat trip, it was so much fun for us all! Hilbert’s “people” prepared delicious food for us to bring on both trips. The boatmen were really nice to us. We enjoyed the beautiful beaches and the beautifully clear blue water. We especially enjoyed the fish feeding and snorkeling! Even Noelle was in on the feeding, totally unafraid. Danae at first kept saying that she didn’t want the fish to eat her, but when she learned how to use the snorkeling gear, we would hear her scream through the snorkel in excitement! She’s a water baby anyhow, so swimming alone makes her happy. Her deep tan speaks for itself. 🙂
By the fourth day, we moved to Darayonan Lodge because Hilbert’s aunt’s lodge (Birang) was already occupied by new tourists, and we still had 4 days left to enjoy Coron. Both lodges are affordable places and nicely situated in the town proper, but Birang is actually on the water. The boat “parks” right in front of the lodge. No need to take a trike, lug all your stuff including food to get to a dock. We appreciated that when our starting point for our last island hopping trip to go back to the shipwreck, Banul Island and Siete Picados, was Darayonan. We also had to look for food to bring for that trip, which turned out not to be that great. In Birang, it was easy, plus the food was good, except in our case, we had to tell the cook not to make too much haha. Their bathroom was big enough too, bright and clean, and their water supply with hot water, great! Darayonan was a good place to stay during the last days of our trip because it had a nice pool. King and the girls enjoyed it while my mom and I rested a lot. Their restaurant was big and also served good food, though some food on the menu were not available. There was also a little monkey in the store right across the lodge, which entertained my girls a lot, especially when Noelle was cranky already. She would get excited and say “ooh, aah, aah.”
There was a nearby pizza place called Bistro Coron, which we visited twice. We liked their pizza and pasta. It’s owned by a foreigner who’s married to a Filipina, and is a pretty popular place. It’s near a drugstore and the local market too, so it’s very convenient.
On my birthday, the 12th, Hilbert invited us over to their house for lunch. He cooked pork humba, grilled squid and crabs for us! We were so full! Even their rice was so yummy! Afterwards, Hilbert and King had a short meeting about how to help the incoming youth pastor jump start and nurture the youth ministry in Coron. Hilbert is involved in their church there and he asked King for advise. Later that afternoon, King also met with the pastor himself. It’s so great to be a blessing and help others in reaching the next generation! I’m such a proud wife!
All in all, our Palawan trip was a blast! Even though I was sick, and my mom and the girls had cough & colds, and even though Noelle had one night with fever due to her vaccination the day before we left, we definitely had fun and made memories that will last a lifetime! The islands in Coron are just breathtaking. They have the strangest rock formations, smooth white sands, water that displays all the shades of blue, beautiful corals & lots of fish. Coron is just another reminder of what an awesome Creator we have and of how beautiful the Philippines really is.
Still thinking about it? Stop thinking, and book that flight! Who better to fix your package tour or to fix your itinerary if you don’t want a package, than a local like Hilbert Enriquez? Add him up on Facebook, so you can personally get in touch with him.