Friday, March 28, 2008

The world according to MC and IC

I should have started listing them down earlier, but MC's and IC's rules just became so glaring when we were on vacation. Because on vacation, sometimes or most of the times, the rhytmns from home could be and should be forgotten.

And so it goes...

1. When it is daylight, we must wake up; when it is dark, we must sleep. And when the windows or blinds are closed, we simply need to open them for the sunlight to seep in :D

2. When the food is too hot, drink cold water then your tongue could tolerate the warm food.

3. Dont pour water in a glass while holding it, you need to put the glass down on the table. And dont drink while walking.

4. Two ponytails must always be straight!

5. A table napkin is a must on the dinner table.

6. Always knock before opening doors; and also, always ask if someone is behind the door, before opening it.

7. Pray before meals.

8. When alone at home, never answer the phone and dont open the door when the door bell rings.

9. Dont talk when your mouth is full.

10. Always wash your toothbrush, but before adding the toothpaste, make sure it is dry again!

11. Always pat your jacket from the neck down; and your socks and stockings should be stretched right; and the pair of shoes shining; before going out of the house.

12. Always put on a fresh underwear when you wake up in the morning; and before sleeping at night.

13. Pajamas should be worn to sleep and not just t-shirts.

14. Coke/Pepsi is only available during vacation; not at home.

15. Seat belts should be fastened at all times.

16. And why dont we need our car seats in Manila?

17. There should always be something to play with whenever waiting for food in restaurants.

18. Egg is a must for breakfast.

19. Clothes must be changed everyday.

20. Always lock the door when inside the car. But before closing the car doors, ask first if all the fingers and feet are already in the car.

I am sure there are more but here's the list of those that were repeatedly 'violated' during the vacation for one reason or the other :D


PMN: Home and Garden talks about Uses for Old Toothbrush and PMN: Travel's

Analyse shares her travel gadgets.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leaving Bangkok, Arriving Manila

We left the hotel a half hour earlier than planned; we were already eating breakfast at 5:30 am, even though the coffee shop should be open at 6 am, yet. But that was a good decision, though we had to miss Khun Jenny's invite to have breakfast with her.

That was a good decision though as the new airport is much further away from Evergreen Laurel Bangkok, which is located at Silom, than the old airport. Plus, we were not familiar with this location, too.

Well, we got lost looking for Thai Airway's counter and then we had to endure a long wait through the immigration. As in a very long wait where you could not even give the kids something to keep them busy because you have bags that are too heavy and you need to stay in line and you need to keep them on your line of vision as there were too many travelers that early!

After almost an hour of waiting, we got to move to our gate and on the plane. The kids, too excited and still very much sleepy, stretched out and slept. Good thing the flight was not full we've got the use of enough seats for us. But oh, the flight was real bumpy. I skipped the meals, and chugged down the drinks in one sitting as I dont want spills! And tried to sleep because a headache was really building up. And the kids slept thru the bumpiest flight I have ever been. Am glad it took only 3 hours!

In Manila, we were met by a Department of Tourism representative inside the airport's arrival area which made our walk through the immigration counter a breeze. We didnt get to join the long lines of arriving passengers. And although I wanted to meet my family immediately, we deemed it practical to arrange a hotel transfer from the airport so we could drop all our luggages and freshen up before heading home for dinner at the family home. That we did.

Photos on the left show the kids with their cousins and me with my siblings and our parents.

And here's the mouthwatering treats that assailed our senses as we walk through the streets to my parent's house: first photo is a vendor selling tokneneng which is really called kwek kwek to my amusement :D It is a battered, deep fried quail egg and the bananacue (second photo), which are deep fried bananas in caramelized sugar. Some of my delicious favorites and most missed things I am not allowed to eat anymore so I simply took photos.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter 2008

Last minute outdoor decor for Easter, done the day before Easter.

Coloring eggs

In between my reports about our vacation, let me share our Easter 2008, too.

We left Manila on Holy Thursday and arrived in Frankfurt on Good Friday. There was even a short discussion with my strict Catholic Nanay (mom) in Manila when she got confused over our scheduled flight. The conversion goes, we were on the phone:

Nanay: 'I heard you are flying on Good Friday. Are you not a Catholic anymore?'
Me: 'No, we are flying on Holy Thursday. Of course I am still a Catholic.'
Nanay: 'Okay, that is good to hear. Or else I would not allow you to leave.'

What else can I say? Well, our real plan was to fly back home on a Good Friday but there was no more seats available. I guess those people flying are also not Catholics :) I dont want to know what kind of argument would happen if we did got on a flight on that Friday.

I do have faith and I believe. Why I didnt really notice the significance of those dates escaped me, too.

We did get to celebrate Easter. In fact, the kids have been coloring eggs since January this year. Papa dont want the girls to miss this Easter highlight just because we would be in vacation. And I did get the Easter gifts ready before we took off.

the nests were all inside

The only thing they missed doing was the making of the 'real' easter nests; it was snowing and wet and cold when we arrived.

For the first time in six years, the nests stayed inside the house such that the egg hunting happened inside, too. Such that the kids were still wearing their pajamas while hunting.
And yes, we did go to church. Here are the kids showing off their loots.

And here they are receiving their treasures from Tante Ingrid. Oma and opa were on vacation though.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bangkok Talk

Here's a short cut of our three-day stay in Bangkok.

After a 10 hour flight, the chance to get out of the plane was really urgent! As the kids were still too sleepy, we were the last one out of the plane, though. It was our first time at the new Bangkok airport, I cant remember the name as it is too long and too complicated. As the airport itself, or am I just too attached to the old and familiar one? Maybe.

This photo's taken at the new airport.

The first people I met with, (see photo) my former officemates at the Evergreen Laurel Hotel in Bangkok. (I was working in Thailand for five years, not in the same place though) My boss, Khun Jenny (in green), who always gives special rates to us not to mention the other freebies :D and Khun Cristina, a Filipina who's married to a Thai and who I admire because she can read and write the Thai script! Not so easy. I tried to learn by myself but I only got into writing when Deutschland called me. Though I did learn how to write my name and read the Thai script of Silom where I used to live because I need to know how to find my way home after office, right?

And the first thing we did upon arrival? Swimming!

I also met with some Filipino friends in a Thai seafood restaurant. What was amazing was that they brought in some North Thai food and even sneaked in homemade Filipino food. My husband could only shake his head especially when they even started asking for extra plates to put on their sneaked-in food (plus the plastic bags needed to bring out the rest of the uneaten food). As for me, that's just another curious part of life, hahaha.

This is Tita Beth, with the kids, (see photo) a classmate from UST, who got enough courage to fly to Bangkok and start a career just because I urged her to try it. That was in 2001. And you know what, she's now driving her own brand new car and is planning to buy her own condo unit in Bangkok. Not bad, right?

It was due to Tita Beth that MC realized how hard it is to say goodbye. When she learned that we would be leaving for Manila the next day and that Tita Beth would have to stay in Bangkok, MC cried and she run in the bedroom to hide her sadness. We left her for a few minutes before going to her side. Tita Beth gave her a hug and assured her we would see her again. That calmed her.

Because the kids were always up at 4 am during our time in Bangkok, and since we were still so disoriented with the time difference; one day we hopped in a taxi and asked to be brought to onf of the shopping centers, Mabongkrong (MBK). The taxi driver was so confused he asked me again where we wanted to go. I spoke to him in Pasa Thai (yup, I could still remember the basic phrases) to make sure we understand each other. And then he explained that the shopping center all over town would be open in two hours yet! See how we lost our sense of time. He told us we could bring us instead to the Temple of the Golden Buddha and we agreed. I am glad our driver thoughtfully asked though, or else we would be standing in front of a closed mall.

The above photo is taken inside the Temple of the Golden Buddha. At first, I was hesitant to go inside because normally, mini skirts and shorts are verboten inside. But my husband told me a lot of Thai and foreign tourists were inside wearing such things. So I did and we got those lucky bracelets from the monk which we are still wearing until now.

And yeah, we got to shop. Here are the list of Bangkok shops.

Here's photos of our hotel suite. We've got two extra beds for the kids and they were placed right in front of the panoramic windows. My husband checked on the sturdiness of the glass, of course, he just cant help it.

I love the view. I could even see the old apartment house where I used to live while working in the hotel. What's more, you could see, hear and feel the real Bangkok from up here. The big buildings and the honking of vehicles and the walking tourists sometimes until 3 am. I didnt get much sleep when I was in Bangkok, I savored the scene from up there.

What was weird though was that since last year, they have scheduled the selling of alcohol beverages in Thailand. You could only buy a bottle of wine in stores in a given time. Whoa... And then, I wanted to buy a newly wed friend a promised book as a wedding gift. I searched most of the bookstores, the familiar and unfamiliar ones, looking for an erotic book to perk up a newly wed's night -- to no vail.

On our last day, I finally asked the owner of one bookstore and he/she (I dont really know coz she looks so lovely and he because the voice is a bit doubtful and such encounters make Bangkok more colorful) if there's such books available and I got a tearful explanation: 'those books were his bestsellers but now they are completely verboten in Thailand.' Oh well...

Check out PMN: Travel on Megamom's tips as a traveling mom and PMN: Home and Garden on greymom's version of a dish garden.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stress-free airport ride and wait

IC and MC getting busy

Off to the airport after ticking off our list of things to do.

We had three luggages, two big ones and one small. Actually, we have a secret weapon as we were planning to shop til we drop: one big, sturdy bag is folded inside one of the big luggages. We arrived at least two hours earlier before our flight and as expected, the check in counter for Thai Airways was already open.

There was a slight snag though, the kids, having only their temporary kiddie passports from Deutschland; were not allowed to fly to Bangkok using those passports. There was a change in policy in Thailand which our 'friendly travel agent' never even bothered to inform us, duh! My hubby was prepared to skip Bangkok and fly direct to Manila but then I reminded him that the kids have also their Philippine passports. Problem solved! But next time, we told ourselves to check everything and not rely on our travel agent.

We waited for at least two hours but we were prepared to wait as I have filled the backpacks of both girls with crayons, papers, card games and toys. And of course, there were the restaurants. Plus, we got to play penpen de sarapen; a play involving only the fingers and knowing the words to the 'pen pen de sarapen song.' We were the hit while waiting for boarding. Imagine the girls talking in Deustch and English and singing and playing a purely Tagalog 'pen pen de sarapen'? There were confused smiles and questioning glances.

In case you want to know the lyrics of 'pen pen de sarapen', here goes:

Pen pen de sarapen
de kutsilyo de almasen
how how de carabao

sipit namimilipit
gintong pilak namumulaklak
sa tabi ng dagat

sayang pula, tatlong pera
sayang puti, tatlong salapi

timpalok, timpalok
sampung manok!

And the game goes like these: Everyone who wants to join simply needs to spread their hands while singing and the appointed leader of the game would simply point and pass on to every fingers. When the song ends in a particular finger, that finger would have to say goodbye and would not be counted for the next song. This would go on until all the fingers said goodbye. The kids love this.

And oh, we also did the 'ilong, ilong' (nose, nose) where you need to point the nose two times and try to confuse the players by saying a part of the face/body yet pointing to the wrong part. We had fun and it was not boring for the kids while we waited for two hours. After all, we had to sit for almost 10 hours on our flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok.

Most important things to have a stress free airport ride and wait:
1. We loaded up our luggages in the car a day before our flight.
2. We were ready at least an hour before driving to the airport (the kids were ready three hours before our scheduled pick up!)
3. My hubby took care of checking the last minute list; I did the re-checking
4. The kids got a load of things to do on their respective backpacks: crayons, papers, card games, toys and some extra, sweets.
5. We arrived early so we skipped the long line at the check in counter
6. We took time for a stroll, for some snacks, for an art work, and to play

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What to do upon arriving home after a long vacation

Actually, I dont really know how to start blogging again. Too lazy to sit down and think; too busy to sit down and think :D

Here's a confession though: I thought I would miss blogging during my non-blogging vacation in Bangkok and Manila; but how could I miss blogging when I had more fun meeting my newly found blogger friends? I would talk about those EBs in my future blogs, for now, I would try to organize my thoughts by listing down the things that I did as soon as we arrive home from a five-week vacation.

1. Turn on the heater in full blast. It was snowing when we arrived! And after the heat of Manila, it is simply too much (I wanna go back home, really!)
2. Unpack those bags with the wet and dirty laundry.
3. Sort out the laundry (whites, colors, mild, etc) and start the washing machine;if you think you still have the time and the energy to work on it. (I did, we arrived at 5:30 am!)
4. When the bags are empty, air them by leaving them open for at least 2 days before bringing them into the storage to avoid mildews and bad smell.
5. And then I gave the kids a warm shower; and I enjoyed a warm bath!
6. Rest and of course, sleep, sleep, sleep!

It's been two days since we arrived but we are still catching shut-eyes and I am still doing the laundry. Help!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Germany, Here We Come!

Our last night in Manila and tomorrow we would be flying back to Germany. Time really flies when one is having fun!

The kids dont want to go back. My husband wants to stay, too. And I do echo my family's wish :D


PMN: Home and Garden talks about simple Easter gifts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Impressive Anilao

Did I say two weeks is too long for a beach vacation? Well, I could have stayed with the whole family in Batangas for much much longer.

I simply needed a trainer to help me shoo the calories I take everyday! Anilao, Batangas is the best. We left Eagle Point Resort, where we stayed for a week and enjoyed it too, to find a real beach shore. And we discovered Dive Solana. Actually, we were booked at Aguila Beach Resort -- but the place is a disappointment. I would talk more about this later.

We had to cruise the mountains of Anilao, Batangas to find a better alternative. We visited lots of resorts but fell in love with Dive Solana, despite the fact that they dont have a swimming pool.

And that decision to stay at Dive Solana impressed us more about Anilao. Anilao is a famous dive spot, but I didnt know why it was so famous until now! My husband fell in love with the treasures of the sea, the kids loved the beach and the facilities and the friendly "babysitters" (read: the resort's employees), and I love celebration of the Filipino culture that is a showcase at Dive Solana resort -- all of us agree that the food is great. Our clothes were getting a bit tighter, hahahaha!

PMN: Home and Garden features Easter eggs.

Monday, March 3, 2008

MC Learns to Sew

Inspired by the story of our neighbor who said that her sister started hand sewing her dolls dresses at the younge age of six, MC begged me to teach her how to use a thread and a needle. Knowing how extra careful she (meaning she avoided sharp objects as much as possible) is when it comes to nails, needles, scissors and such items; I was really surprised that she wanted to come in close contact with a needle!

She wants to learn to sew, just like that! Maybe she got more enthusiastic because she saw the result of our neighbor's creativity when it comes to sewing because from scraps of cloths, MC got a princess dress from her (see photo above).

Well, I gave in after a number of proddings from her. I gave her a needle and a thread and she got to experiment on an old pair of stockings with holes on them. Her goal? To make those holes disappear using the thread and the needle.

I told her to be very careful with the needle because it pricks. So I showed her how to slowly and carefully insert the needle and pull it out; without her hurting herself. But first, she made sure that IC is nowhere near her; she's afraid that IC would get hurt! What a sweet big sister. Now, those in and out movements came easier to her as she's got this toy wherein she gets to sew shoe ties in and out.

After getting the hang of it and finding that she's enjoying it, she asked for more. I decided to let her work on a pair of mittens for her doll. After cutting out the cloth for the mittens, she patiently sew them together.
It didnt take a lot of time and she was finished with both pair of mittens! Look at them on her doll's hands:
In this case, MC and I both were learning together. She wanted to learn how to sew and I was learning how to assist her, support her when she is enthusiastic about doing something; even though at first I was a bit doubtful about it.

PMN: Fam Pics March Theme is Learning.

Batangas Now!

I really enjoyed the EB with the PMN moms: Julie, Feng, Lynn, Cookie, Dine, Noemi, Rach, and Rowena: and of course got to meet the kiddie club consisting of Cookie's girls and Rowena's clinging bunch :D MC and IC wanted to play with them but were too shy!

We are now in Batangas: at the Eagle Point Resort. Manila's experiencing unusual rainy days but the sun welcomed us here! Food is great. Service is friendly. The resort is great. The kids got to meet some animal friends here: the lizards, the peacock, the fish 'nemo'.

And MC just went snorkeling with Papa today at the Sepoc Beach! Nope, I was asked to join but I dont have the nerve, yet!

Let's see later. We would be here for one week after all!

PMN home and garden features