December 29, 2012

From Surigao to Bataan

Hi! I am back to the civilized world. LOL! When I say civilized world, I mean a place with internet. Everywhere else becomes uncivilized if there's no internet. Just kidding! I actually love being disconnected to the world for some time. It gives me time to think about the more important things in life.

We spent Christmas at my hometown, Madrid, Surigao del Sur. Yes, our town is named after the famous city of Spain.

According to our town's history, it was a priest who named our town from the city he came from.

Anyway, the six days we spent in the province was spent cleaning our old house. Nobody lives there anymore, so imagine the cobwebs and the dirt it has accumulated over time. The last time we stayed there was last May when we came for a visit.

We found a snake egg in one cabinet and a small snake in another. I can't imagine what we will find next time if we did not clean the whole place. Horrors!

We actually burned a lot of papers, clothes and some old stuff that has just gathered dust. We did not burn my mother's clothes though because according to the helper it is not good. So we just put my mom's clothes in the compost pit and let it decompose on its own.

Now we're here in Samantha Farm, my brother's resthouse/farm in Bataan.


{Samantha Farm in Morong, Bataan}

Internet is also intermittent here but at least I can work a little. I am just having a little problem with my macbook air. It's become slow and I couldn't open some files. I am not sure if it is because of the huge amount of pictures I have recently saved in my hard drive.

I should definitely get a backup online at backblaze.com the minute I go back to Manila. It's necessary and it's very affordable.

In the mean time, I will enjoy the serenity and peace this place offers. We will be back in Manila in time for the New Year.

Enjoy the holidays, guys!

December 17, 2012

Beautiful Haneda International Airport

I love airports. I guess it's connected to the fact that I love to travel.

My favorite airport so far is Changi International Airport in Singapore. It's beautiful, clean, huge and with all the comforts a traveler could ask for.

The worst airport experience for me would have to be at Charles de Gaulle International Airport. There was not enough chairs at the boarding lounge (we were flying Emirates) and not enough dining choices inside.

Anyway, I am here to talk about Haneda International Airport.

When we arrived at Haneda airport, I wasn't able to fully appreciate the place because we were in a hurry to catch our bus to the hotel. But I already noticed that it's huge and orderly.

When we were about to fly out of Tokyo, we had ample time to roam around the airport.

Hubby and I loved the commercial area of the airport. It's so Japanese (of course!). Here are some of our pictures.

Haneda International Airport

DSC_0367

DSC_0371

DSC_0368

They have an observation deck which we weren't able to check because we stayed too long having our dinner. LOL! I would have loved to explore the rest of the airport but we had to check-in already.

For me, Haneda International Airport has just joined the list of my favorite airports. Where is your favorite airport?

December 16, 2012

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas!


We're flying to Manila on Tuesday. I thought it would be nice if we have a family picture with our Christmas tree here in Phnom Penh because I am not sure also if Tatay has put up a tree in our home in the province.

So yesterday, we put on our nice clothes and had a fun pictorial at home. At first, EJ wasn't in the mood. I had to help him put on his clothes. But just after a few minutes into the activity, he was already having fun!

Let me share our photos.

{Serious at first}

{Mr. & Mrs. shot}

{EJ getting into the groove}

{I love this shot}

{My favorite shot}

{EJ knows how to pose. Talo kami! LOL!}

{Gotta have my solo picture!}


Merry Christmas to one and all! I wish we all have a happy and meaningful time with our families this Christmas season.

December 15, 2012

'Tis the Season

..for shopping, dining and merry-making!

Credit card companies know this, so they're out on full force to inform you everyday that they have a promo here, a promo there and everywhere. LOL!

Instead of being annoyed with the everyday email reminders of their gimmicks, I am actually taking note of everything so I can take full advantage of their promos.

Here is one example of Banco de Oro's credit card promo that we "might" be taking advantage - 30% off on buffet at EDSA Shangrila, Manila.


I booked our hotel in Manila by taking advantage of the extra 5% discount from Banco de Oro credit card. I saved a couple of thousand pesos by doing that. It's awesome!

Hubby said, that's the beauty of having a credit card and the irony of borrowing money (using credit card).

With all these wonderful promotions, it's so easy to get carried away and just swipe our credit cards. But please remember, if you cannot pay the the whole amount at due date it is still wise not to spend even if you "saved" something from that purchase. I've learned that lesson a long time ago.

With that said, don't delete emails from credit card companies right away. You'll be delighted at the discounts and freebies you'll get.

Happy swiping! :)

December 13, 2012

The Tooth Fairy Visits

One of EJ's front lower tooth came off yesterday while he was in school. It was "wobbly" for several days now and he was excited that finally one of his milk tooth is coming off.

I guess one of the reason he is excited or should I say the main reason he is excited is the possibility of a visit from the tooth fairy.

I told EJ that if his tooth fell off while in school, he should wrap the tooth in a tissue paper and bring it back home so we could write a letter to the tooth fairy.

EJ brought back the tooth yesterday. So I guess he listened to my instructions. Hehe.

I told him to write the letter and here is what he said:


I laughed at the last part. He was not sure if his tooth was clean. LOL!

In fairness to EJ, his teeth are really healthy and white. He doesn't eat much of candies and sweets and he always brush his teeth two times a day. He doesn't have any rotten tooth.

We put the letter and his tooth (wrapped in paper) under his pillow and excitedly slept early.

When he woke up, he forgot about his letter and tooth. I had to remind him. He checked under the pillow and this is what happened.


{What have you got in there, EJ? Did the tooth fairy come?}


{Oh, a letter and some cash? Cool!}


The tooth fairy gave EJ $5 for the shiny tooth and reminded him to visit the dentist regularly and to eat healthy snacks all the time.


Show me the missing tooth, baby. Awww..you are still handsome! And don't worry, a new tooth will come out soon.

EJ had some questions afterwards:

"Mom/Dad, how come we never heard the tooth fairy when she was here?" Well, we were fast asleep.

"Mom/Dad, how does she know my name?" The tooth fairy has a list of kids with good teeth. Just like Santa does. They only visit kids who are nice and who have shiny white teeth.

December 9, 2012

Planning the Future

As parents, you always want the best for your child. If you could give the moon and the stars, you'd do it. But that's of course exaggerating.

When I say I want the best for EJ, I am talking about the best health, the best environment and the best education possible for him.

And speaking of education, we don't have an educational plan for EJ yet. We have a little investment here and there but we really haven't invested anything for EJ's education.

I am not that worried yet but I know we should start looking into it now while he is still in grade school.

Like I said, we want the best education for EJ and I feel every parent feels the same way. I think it's one of the best gift you can give your child.

Hubby and I have this dream of sending EJ to either a US or an Australian university for his college education. I know it is a tall order but who says you can't dream big?

Hubby and I need to work hard, save more and invest smartly to be able to make this dream for EJ a reality.


Some of EJ's passport pics through the years. The one in the middle is the 3D picture from when he was still in my womb :)

Before I get carried away, I want to emphasize also that it is still EJ's decision where he wants to study or pursue his education. We will only guide him because in the end he is still the master of his own life and dreams.

P.S. EJ says he wants to be a rockstar, a race car driver, an inventor, a teacher and good daddy when he grows up. Where do you send a child to get these degrees? ;-)

December 8, 2012

Mornings and Breakfasts

Rise and shine, Saturday!

I love having breakfast outside with my boys on an early Saturday morning while most of the population are still on dreamland.


Breakfast at Brown's Riverside

I have always been a morning person and I guess I will forever be one. Mornings are magical and are full of hope and promises.

It goes on without saying that I am also a breakfast person. While weekday breakfasts are mostly fruits and coffee, weekends are for indulgences. Give me the works - egg, bacon, toast, cream, etc. I love it!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend guys!

December 7, 2012

One Too Many

I am a happy camper today. It seems like the rashes and itchiness has permanently left my whole body. I was able to exercise without any rashes breaking out. Yay!

Anyway, I woke up pretty early today. I think it was only about 2:50am but I couldn't bring myself to sleep anymore. So instead of forcing myself to get some more shut eye I just woke up and became productive.

I took my laptop and did some work - check the Marine challenge coins my brother asked me to, organized my gift list and shared a little of my blog earning to the Pablo victims in the Philippines thru Redcross. If you also want to donate some money, you can visit their website (http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate). I also sorted out my handmade jewelries and I have decided to give some of it as presents to families and friends.

Then, I did a makeshift countdown page and posted it in our bedroom wall. I am sure a gradeschooler can do better than this. LOL! I have no creativity whatsoever! I will ask EJ to make this one prettier if not make a new one.


Yup, it's 10 more days before our flight to the Philippines. We are just so excited! Everything is planned and booked. All we have to do is show up. Hahaha!

I don't know, there's just something different about this Christmas. Maybe because we are finally celebrating Christmas in the Philippines after six or is it seven years?

We always go home but for some reason or another we don't go home on Christmas time. But this year, we planned it and made it happen.

I am sure this 3-week vacation will just fly by. But I am definitely certain I will enjoy every moment of it. Can't help being positive, I probably had an overdose of positivity this morning when I woke up really early. LOL!

Happy Friday everyone! Let's spread the holiday cheer around us.

December 6, 2012

Will You Buy This?

I saw these DOLE Pineapples in Lucky grocery the other day. These are from the Philippines and I almost put one in my basket.

Then I saw the price - $3.80! Opppsies.


I know these are imported but I don't think I can afford to pay that much. I can probably get a local pineapple for a fraction of that amount. Probably not as sweet and tasty but I bet it would have the same nutritional value.

Hahaha! I skipped it.

I remember I also saw mangoes from Australia in Lucky and a piece cost $6.50. Whoa! Hubby told me to get one so we could find out why it was that expensive.

I said, no thank you. I'll just buy the local one. Six dollars will get me a dozen or even more.

Am I stingy? Hahaha! Don't answer that.

But honestly, I also splurge occasionally. I buy some "expensive" items or food once in a while but I also have a limit.

A six-dollar mango is just too much. And an almost four-dollar pineapple is the same.


~ Happy Thursday, blogland! ~


December 5, 2012

Bullies

When I picked up EJ from school yesterday, he told me that he cried in school two times. I asked him why?

He said a certain classmate pushed him two times.

Did he do it on purpose or was it an accident, I asked?

EJ said his classmate did it on purpose.

This is not new to me. So I calmly told him, he has several options. One, tell his teachers about it. Second, tell the classmate to stop doing it. And lastly, if that classmate doesn't stop bullying/pushing him he should push back!

But that's not nice, EJ said.

Well baby, welcome to the real world!

No, I did not tell him that. LOL! This is what I told him: Bullies will never leave you if you don't fight back. If you just cry and and show him that he can push you around, he will do just that. But if you show him that you know how to fight back, they will stop bullying you. Do you understand?

He said, okay.

EJ is a really friendly kid. I am confident he doesn't start or provoke any fights. The problem is he doesn't know how to fight back. He just cries.

As a parent, I think it's important that our kids know early on that life has bullies in every form everywhere. You cannot just sit and mope around if someone stomps on you. There are times when we have to stand up on our own and just do what's right and that is to fight back!

I've never been a provocateur of any fights myself. But I will not take it sitting down if someone hits me below the belt (literally and figuratively). I am a fighter and I am a survivor. LOL!

~~~

Anyway, I am getting more and more excited about Christmas. We, especially EJ is counting down to our flight date. It's just twelve more days!

Are you excited about Christmas as well?

December 4, 2012

Day 4 in Japan: Tokyo Station, Imperial Palace and Ginza

On our last day in Japan, we wanted it to be in a leisurely pace because the past three days had been hectic and we were definitely running out of energy.

We woke up a little bit late, around 8:30am probably. Took a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks Shibuya and went to ride the train going to Tokyo Station.

Hubby, inside one of Tokyo's clean and efficient trains.

Inside Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station at the background, the prominent red brick building. Tokyo Station is one of the busiest railway station in Tokyo and home to a lot of high-speed train lines. It first opened on December 1914 and was destroyed during the world war in 1945. The present structure is undergoing renovation and is expected to be finished by next year.

After countless picture taking around Tokyo Station, we proceeded to Imperial Palace which is just walking distance from Tokyo Station.


The boys at the entrance to Imperial Palace

The Palace itself is actually not accessible to the public, only the park outside. I've read though that on the Emperor's birthday (December 23) and January 2 (New Year's Greeting), visitors are allowed inside the Palace grounds and garden and if luck is in your side, you might see the members of the Imperial family on their balcony as they make several appearances.

Are these bonsai trees? They look like bonsai but bigger of course.

View of the Marunouchi buildings from the Imperial Palace area

The Nijubashi Bridge, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds.

After Imperial Palace, we rested at this park in front of the Palace. The weather was nice and it was a good day to just sit back and relax. But the curiosity to discover Ginza prevailed more, so we headed there.

Ginza is where you should go if you have stash of money to spend because from what I read, everything is expensive here. Our guide during the Mt. Fuji trip said, Tokyo people just go to Ginza to window shop.

But of course, that did not stop us from going there. In fact, it has made us more intrigued.

Ginza

Printemps, the famous Paris based department store is also in Ginza.

Ginza Station

At Chou Dori. One of the main streets of Ginza. This is where the flagship store of Uniqlo is found. Of course, we did not hesitate to go there.



Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza, all 12 floors of it! It's a shopping heaven for budget shoppers like us! See, not everything in Ginza is expensive :)

Our last day in Tokyo couldn't have ended better - a little bit of history, parks, and shopping.