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I Travel With My Childhood Friends

I know this is a chestnut, but still my favorite quote on traveling: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

About 5 years ago, during the start-up period of this blog, I wrote about one of my life’s blessings which are my friends. For those who have read my blog 3 years ago, you might have remembered (or not!) one of the travel adventures I did with my childhood friends too. So basically, you have an idea that I maintain a 25-year-friendship with my solid core.

Okay, for new subs, to give you a little backgrounder, I grew up being friends with a lot of people – Yes, generally I am friendly but I think everybody will agree that amongst all your friends, you have a core group. The group that you could go silly with or serious with or sneak out at night with. The ones who are with you through ups and downs. Yes, I have a solid foundation. I have been friends with my 4 girls who I fondly call “bru” ( short for Bruha – a Tagalog for witch) for 25 years now. Needless to say, I met these girls in grade school (First Grade to be exact).

I love traveling a lot and some of you have seen that in my series of posts already. Indeed, traveling makes me discover the unknown, thus, changes my perspective as a human being. It makes me humble having to realize that my niche in this world is just a tiny spot in this vast universe.  I am glad that in the last 3 years, I get the privilege to explore the world with one of my best brus , Joan. We went to Bohol, to Singapore, Hong Kong , Macau and our supposed travel to Malaysia (please read my “Why Malaysia Made me Cry’ here.)  not to mention our local travels together. Amongst all the places we’ve been to, I love our recent travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Why? Because we went along with another bru, Anna Marie – plus, they brought their kids (and husband). Yes, some of my friends have kids already and I am glad that we are turning the pages of the unknown world together. What makes me a little emotional is this: We were their age when their moms and I met. (oh boi, times do fly so fast).

Beholding the world in the eyes of my little God-children and looking at how happy they were in every Disneyland rides while, us, adults have gone crazy, in every expenses, responsibilities and “adulting” stuff that we talked about, I realize how lucky I am to have explored life with my childhood friends whom I consider my family ( by choice).  I wish and pray that these kids, 6-year old Liam and 7-year old Eanna, find a solid friendship as strong as their parents’ (and God-parents’).

I wish the same for my future little ones.

Soon, when they grow up, we will tell them how nice it is to turn pages of life, explore the world and rediscover oneself together with your solid friends. Just like their moms.

You may read my HK and MO travel thru the links below:

Four Days in Hong Kong
Day Tour in Macau

 

 

Of Walls and History

I have been to a lot of places. Yes, I have travelled Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and even a certain foreign country. I consider myself well-travelled ( as compared to other people my age, I supposed ) , but it was only lately that a reality hit me:  I was a  Stranger on my own land – this is how I was whenever I was asked about Intramuros; Fort Santiago and other land marks in the old City of Manila . What a shame, I know. I don’t even know anything about these historic places right at the center of  Metro Manila.

I know I’ve been here a long time ago, but hey, as a kid, what will I remember about war and history? All I could probably recall was the dirty Ice Cream I asked my mom to buy and the Calesa ride, of course.

Well, I was not alone; I have colleagues who haven’t been there too. ( Whew, what a relief! J ) . So, one Saturday Morning, we decided to go to the walled city of Manila – the Intramuros.  We also took the chance to tour our guest from India around.

So as a backgrounder, Intramuros (Spanish, “within the walls”) is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Also called the Walled City, it was the original city of Manila and was the seat of government when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire. Districts beyond the walls were referred as the extramuros of Manila, meaning “outside the walls”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intramuros)

So Why walls?

Well, history has it that the city was in constant danger of natural and man-made disasters and worse, attacks from foreign invaders. This has been attacked so many times which prompted the construction of the wall to protect the district.

Not only did we tour within the walls, we also went beyond to visit The Manila Cathedral ; San Augustine Church, museums and we even went across  to visit Fort Santiago. Touring around Intramuros and Fort Santiago made me realize how much part of the rich Philippine history and culture I was missing. I know I still have a lot to explore within my native land, but I am glad we have started this journey.  And I know for sure, this is just the beginning.

One side of the wall

One side of the wall

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Plaze de Gobernador - currently the COMELEC office but it was originally where the head of the state was residing

Plaze de Gobernador – currently the COMELEC office but it was originally where the head of the state was residing

Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral from afar

Inside Manila Cathedral

Inside Manila Cathedral

Kids enjoying the Calesa ride

Kids enjoying the Calesa ride

Jose Rizal- Philippines' national Hero on his prison Cell

Jose Rizal- Philippines’ national Hero on his prison Cell

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manilacathedral2

google images

Rizal's footsteps

Rizal’s footsteps

Intramuros Gang

Intramuros Gang

P.S:  Shoutout goes to my colleague Francis Lauron who took all the photos.

Featured photo : googleimages

Big Three Zero ( Tagaytay)

So, It was my Bday! And what better way to celebrate my #dirtythirty than have it with family?

Big sis with her Boyfriend, ‘lil sis and myself drove all the way to Tagaytay City to celebrate my #threezero on #10thofJuly.

A short background about Tagayatay City – ( source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagaytay )

Tagaytay  is the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations because of its outstanding scenery and cooler climate provided by its high altitude. Tagaytay overlooks Taal Lake in Batangas and provides one of the iconic views of the Philippines, the view of Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake, viewable from several vantage points in the city.

Tagaytay is relatively close to the capital city of Manila, only 55 km (34 mi) away via Aguinaldo Highway, providing an easy escape for the locals from the heat of the big city.

It is always great to have an escape from your daily routine at work, especially when it’s spent with your family and have it on your Big day!

As brainyquote.com say, Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.

I thank God for thirty good years full of wonderful memories with people I really care about.

Today, I’m making more memories with my sisters, one of the greatest gifts I ever have.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay

Sky Ranch Tagaytay- It was a rainy afternoon, so fog is all over

Bulalo to beat the rainy weather

Bulalo to beat the rainy weather

Sky Eye covered with fogs

Sky Eye covered with fogs on a Saturday afternoon

a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine

a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine

Sisters goofing around

Sisters goofing around

Smile with sissies!

Smile with sissies!- At the Most Beautiful Starbucks place in the Philippines – Starbucks Twin Lakes

Dinner at Carlo's

Dinner at Carlo’s-Pizza and pasta are great

The cold didn't bother us

The cold didn’t bother us

Breakfast at the hotel - affordable and yummy beef tapa

Breakfast at the hotel – affordable and yummy beef tapa

They know I'm not into sweets so I'm having a mini cake on my Big day

They know I’m not into sweets so I’m having a mini cake on my Big day

Our Road to Big Three – Zero ( Singapore)

With us turning 30 this year, also marks the 24th year of our friendship.

It has always been a part of our bucket list to travel abroad before we reach 30. Amongst the “brus”, as we call one another, only Annalyn has the chance to go out of the country for several times already with her family.

It was Joan’s and my first time to travel a foreign land and SG is our first destination.

Sharing with you our Singapore Adventure- The first destination on our road to big Three Zero!

Singapore Flyer: The world's tallest Ferris Wheel

Singapore Flyer: The world’s tallest Ferris Wheel

Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus

Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus

Bugis Junction Area

Bugis Village Area

Trying out local food with my Bru

Trying out local food with my Bru

A pose with Merlion, ofcourse

A pose with Merlion, ofcourse

Marina Bay Sands at night

Marina Bay Sands at night

Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo

Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo

Goofing around like true-blue foreigners :-)

Goofing around like true-blue foreigners 🙂

In a land of Far far away

In a land of Far far away

Giant grove at gardens by The bay

Giant grove at gardens by The bay

We were like Kids again

We were like Kids again

We saw panda bear

We saw panda bear

Taken by my beautiful travel buddy

Taken by my beautiful travel buddy

Singapore Botanical Garden

Singapore Botanical Garden

Life’s Best: Travel and Girlfriends

Traveling is one of my hobbies. It gives me a bizarre experience, a feeling of independence and a chance to appreciate world and its beauty.

When I’m not travelling, I love spending time with my friends. Being with them makes me feel happy, at peace and our time together could take us down memory lane. – remembering everything that we went through as kids, as teeners, asstudents, being adults, and for Joan, Motherhood.
I recently got the chance to hit two birds In one stone – an out of town vacation with two of my treasured girlfriends, Annalyn and Joan.

I practically grew up with these ladies, along with other childhood friends. 10 years of being classmates, a lifetime of being friends, and now, travel buddies. What else could I ask for ?
In an ordinary blog, I would probably be sharing with you my travel itinerary, budget breakdown and practical tips on exploring Bohol island, but now, I will give you a snap shot of my treasured moments with my girlfriends of 24 years at the beautiful island of Bohol.
This is just a start of our travels together.

The next time I reminish with them, this travel is surely a part of of wonderful memories that we will always go back to.

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River

what's a trip to bohol without a visit to  our little friends?

what’s a trip to bohol without a visit to our little friends?

Butterfly sanctuary

Butterfly sanctuary

Driving an ATV

Driving an ATV

chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

Camera 360 Camera 360

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy

With Annalyn : this is has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.

With Annalyn : this girl has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.

Man-made forest at the background

Man-made forest at the background

Shell Museum

Shell Museum

I love these girls

I love these girls

just like the old times

just like the old times

being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

My SuperMom

 20 years ago, when I was just about 7, I regarded you as the antagonist in my own story:

  • A woman who woke me up early everyday
  • A woman who nagged at me when I went home late from school
  • A woman who required me to pay respect to ALL people even when I don’t feel like doing it ; even if they are mean
  • A woman who would scold me when I get home with bruises and cuts from my irresponsible- childish games
  • A woman who violated the anti- child labor law by forcing me to make my bed; to clean the room; to wash dishes and worst of all, by forcing me to learn how to do the laundry.
  • A woman who forced me to stay at home when I feel sick
  • A woman who turned off the TV during exam days even if our favorite show is airing
  • A woman who made me wear clothes I don’t like wearing at all
  • A woman who made an inventory of how I spent my allowance  for the day by making me recite everything that I bought

My list was never- ending. I could go on and on pointing out  all that I hated in you when I was growing up.

But you know what? I miss all of those things now.

Now that I have grown into a fine woman, living my own life, all I can say is, thank you to the WOMAN who made me into who I am today.

 Thank you for teaching me to develop a pattern of waking up on time every day, it taught me how to value not just my own time but of others too.

 Thank You for training me how to make the bed and for  forcing me into doing the laundry. I am now living on my own and surviving because I can do all these chores.

 I am on my way to reaching my dreams because you didn’t give up on me and my siblings. We are living life to the fullest now because you raised us well.

 Just when I thought you were just simply being difficult to us when we were growing up, you were patiently giving us your tough love. You only wanted the best for us.  And I have long realized that.

Thank You for playing a very important role in my life, Nanay.

You are the best woman in the whole –wide –world. And I’m taking  my word back 20 years ago.

 I meant to say, you were, you are and will always be a Superstar in my life story!