Tag Archives: asia

Boracay!

As I mentioned before, as we are getting ready to leave the Philippines (in 25 days!!!), I was sad that we had never been to Boracay, the most famous beach in the country.

Stories of crowds and the partying atmosphere might excite some, but actually kept us from going there. Personally, I hate crowded beaches – I like my space, my quiet, my peace. To add to that, tickets to Boracay are just as expensive as international tickets, so we chose to go to places like Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta, Shanghai, Brunei, Kota Kinabalu, Seoul, Bangkok, (etc, etc) instead.

But splurging for a 5-star stay at the Shangri-la in Boracay sounded like the perfect way to end our time in the Philippines, plus an easy first trip with a newborn!

Ellie did great on her first plane ride, I nursed her on the way up and down, as everyone recommended in order to keep her ears cleared, and she slept the rest of the time.

IMG_53383

We got to the resort, and immediately fell in love…

IMG_53537

The view from our room didn’t hurt…

IMG_53583

IMG_54027

IMG_53783

We spent the next few days at the private beach in front of our room, the water and sand were gorgeous!

IMG_54937

P10001633

P10001643

P10001923

P10001993

P10002063

P10002073

P10002276

P10002163

P10002447

And as Karl and Ellie took a few naps at the beach, I was able to explore the grounds and check out the pool (which oddly enough, was heated, so it was super uncomfortable in this sunny weather…).

P10001683

Boracay-12

I also visited the other private beach, which was much smaller, but being next to the pool, also much busier…

P10001763

But from there we could see amazing sunsets… (No filters needed – actually, for any of these pictures, everything looks exactly as it did on my camera!)

P10002803

P10002833

P10003013

Traveling with Ellie was great too! I wore her on my Beco Gemini, which instantly makes her pass out, so we were able to go out to dinner every night, and she was completely oblivious to it! (I’m getting really good at eating above her head…)

P10002393

IMG_54707

And to add to my joy, Ellie loved being on the beach!

IMG_53723

P10001653

IMG_54323IMG_54913

P10002523

P10002543

P10002573

And she loved the water too!

P10003113

P10003142

P10003192

P10003233

(Except when Karl held her…)

P10003216

We took advantage of the free shuttle and checked out the “real” Boracay as well…

P10002313

P10002323

P10002343

P10002363

But around the beach area, and specially the boardwalk, it was all so noisy and crowded, we were relieved we decided not to stay there!

The only hard part of the trip was leaving this behind…

IMG_54997

P10003273P10003313P10003363P10003593P10003663

I’m so happy we went to Boracay, and despite the extra expense for the flights and to stay at the Shangri-la, it was absolutely worth it! The place was paradise, and it was a super easy trip with a newborn too (after all, Ellie wasn’t even 8 weeks!).

We have one more trip scheduled before we leave, spending a weekend in Puerto Galera (which involves a drive + boat), and I ended up scheduling a trip with the girls from MADS back to Siquijor – 6 moms, 7 babies, 1 yaya. Now THAT should be interesting… Stay tuned… I’m also hoping procrastination to pack will give me a chance to finally catch up on all the trips I’ve taken in the last few months and failed to blog about!

2 Comments

Filed under Asia, Foreign Service, Philippines, Pictures, Travel, Travel Review, Traveling in Asia, Trips!

50 Days

We’re officially in the “leaving Manila” countdown.  In 50 days, we will hop on a plane with our baby, dog and cat, and say goodbye to this place that has been our home for the last 2 years.  A place we might never come back to.

We arrived as newlyweds with our pets (Lily was still tiny at 5lbs!) and will be leaving with a 3 month old baby…

I have very mixed feelings about leaving.  6 months ago, I couldn’t wait to get back to DC, the fact that my pregnancy hormones were flying high, also meant that my patience for the Filipino-way (“wait a while, ma’am”) was at a minimum. 

Since then, I have made incredible friends through the MADS playgroup, and know a ton of other moms with babies around the same age as Ellie, and it would have been SO much fun seeing them all growing up together!  Plus, since our baby was born in the Philippines, it now holds a special place in my heart as well. 

We still have a lot to do.  I know I want to do some shopping prior to leaving (sorry, Karl…), and I am off to Divisoria for what will likely be the last time next week.  Hope to add another trip to Greenhills soon too!

There is still a lot of sorting to be done (what comes with us?  What goes in the air shipment to DC?  What goes straight to Brazil and we can live without for a whole year?).  We need to sell our car, I need to start going back to the gym if that Marine Corps Marathon goal will become a reality, the pets and baby need their last immunizations (both due in a few weeks), baby still needs to be put on our orders (so she’ll “exist” to the State Department) and once that’s done we can finally book her ticket.

I am going to miss this place, and I am going to miss living in Asia.  I truly hope we come back one day (not necessarily to Manila – I hope we get to live somewhere different, because that’s part of the experience, no?).  I am going to miss exploring new countries and exploring the Philippines beautiful islands.

Now that I have a little over a month to go, I am not ready to leave.  I am so not ready.  And it breaks my heart that Ellie might never get to see the place she was born in.

I’ll be leaving the Philippines in 50 days.  But a little part of my heart will be left behind.

8 Comments

Filed under Asia, Foreign Service

Life in the Philippines: Stuff My Staff Says

I have shared these on Facebook, but realized I haven’t really blogged about any of it.  Call it “third world problems” because, really, in the first world, we’re nowhere near the right income to be able to afford staff! 

So here are a few recovered gems, thanks to my Facebook’s timeline…

My driver said I look sexy today. FML.

So after I posted that, I was told that it turns out here in the Philippines, sexy means pretty – who knew?  Even then, having my 60+ year old driver telling me I looks sexy still creeped me out.

And another senseless conversation in the Philippines:
Me: “ugh, traffic”
Driver: “stoplight”
Me: “I don’t know, the driver of the bus next to us got out and is smoking a cigarette. He can probably see something we can’t.”
Driver: “Buses here are diesel, ma’am”
Me: …


The Philippines is really an interesting place.  Because people here speak English, but yet, they don’t.  A lot of the local expressions make no sense in English, or just annoys us. (Like using “wait a while” anytime they want you to wait a bit.  Or saying “enjoying” even when there’s nothing joyful about it, such as “you’re currently enjoying a one hour delay on your flight.”  Or using avail for everything “Are you going to avail of this promo?”  Or starting every sentence with “Actually…”)  I think it makes it specially frustrating for English speaking expats, more so than if you go to a country where English is not widely spoken – at least then you’re expecting some communication issues.

Here, people will rarely tell you “what, I don’t understand, can you repeat that?”  They’ll either give a reply for something totally random – like my driver above – or most often they will laugh.  Yep, just laugh in your face.  Now I know that when my driver starts laughing and I wasn’t telling a joke is that he has no clue what I said, so I just repeat it. 

Ah, life in the Philippines…. Conversation w my driver:
“On my way back from (working in) Libya I stopped in Thailand. But the women came to my room!”
“Rudy, I don’t need to know this!”
“Only U$24! But I don’t like. Afraid of AIDS”

No excuses for the conversation above.  Totally inappropriate if he was talking like that to Karl, much less to his female employer!  But Filipinos have no filter sometimes of what is really a boundary that you do not cross in the workplace.

I guess you realize your driver is too old for the job when at least once a week he totally forgets where you’re going. Less than 5 minutes after you told him and he repeated it back to you. Good thing I know my way around enough to go “uh, which way are you going?” “Hahahaha” “Rudy, it’s not funny, did you forget?” “Yes, ma’am, I forget!” *sigh*

Ok, so obviously my driver IS getting too old for the job (a friend even wondered if he ever gets somewhere then thinks “why am I here again?”), but the laughing as a reply?  A very very very Filipino reaction to avoid conflict.  It got to the point that I started saying “it’s not funny” or “do you see me laughing?” when I encounter that.  You can say I’m over this avoiding conflict thing, I just need to get things done!

Now those are my driver’s gems.  Our maid hasn’t had as many of those, thankfully.

“Ma’am, my husband complains I’m not sweet anymore, but it hurts!  I just do kissy-kissy now.  I told him to find a young girl instead.”

I totally nipped that one in the bud, and change the subject.  I’m so not going to be having a sex talk with my 56-year old maid!

My maid asked me today if milk comes out when I squeeze my boobs. What is wrong with our staff? I guess I should at least be relieved it wasn’t our male driver who asked the question?

A friend even commented “my doctor asked me that when I was pregnant, you’d be surprised!”  But my point was not the question that was asked, but who asked it – crossing a boundary here again, no?

And unrelated to the Philippines, but I posted this status during our trip in Laos:

Nothing like having the 3rd world slap you in the face, by ordering a coconut shake and having it arrive with a straw that has red lipstick marks on it. The straw that was already in my drink! Not only are they reusing straws but not even washing it first? So grossed out.

Yeah, it still grosses me out thinking about it. 

15 Comments

Filed under Foreign Service, Manila, Philippines, Traveling in Asia

Glee Season 2 Engrish Description

Saw this, and HAD to get a picture!  Click to enlarge – it’s worth it.  Did your school also have a choir fart?

IMG_1582[1]

3 Comments

Filed under Asia, Philippines, Random, Runs