Tag Archives: CocoGrove Resort

Leaving Manila…

A very rare moment here in our place:  Ellie is asleep, during the day, in her crib (!!!) and I have two (TWO!) free hands.  Have I mentioned how much I miss typing with two hands?

So despite being late in updating a lot of things (like trips from almost a freaking year ago, how home leave in OBX was awesome, how my running is going badly, how the podiatrist said I will need surgery in both feet, etc, etc), I figured now it’s a good time as any to update on the last few weeks in the Philippines.

It was tough leaving Manila, I left a lot of amazing friends behind that I miss dearly.  As much as being back in the US of A is awesome (awesome!), I wish I could have packed up all my friends with me.

Before leaving Manila, I got to do a lot on that last month…  I said goodbye to my Brazilian friend and her twin girls (cannot believe they’re a year old now!).


I went to Puerto Galera for the first time and got to pack my diving stuff after a year away…  And yes, I got a couple of last dives in!  Yay!  Never got my 50th dive, but I did leave the Philippines with 49 dives under my belt – which is pretty good, considering there was a 9 month pregnancy in the midst of that.


We stayed in Buri Resort, and it was lovely…


Yep, we had our own plunge pool, and it was a two bedroom/2 bath/2 stories villa – which we shared with friends – with an amazing view!


Then 6 moms, 7 babies, one yaya all took a flight then a boat over to Siquijor Island…


And aside from a stomach bug I caught at the last night, it was lovely to spend a couple of days with them and to just relax and hang out with this view… 


And with this pool.  We got two villas in Coco Grove, each with two floors and two full bathrooms, and it was perfect!


Before leaving I ordered a Filipino quilt for Ellie at the AWCP Bazaar, since I wanted her to leave with something from the country she was born in.


After almost 2 years, Karl finally got his braces removed!


In the midst of moving madness, I thought it was a good idea to pull out this broken plug from our wireless router and electrocuted myself (I do not handle sleep deprivation well and make stupid decisions…).


I took more cute pictures of Lily and Ellie…


Our place got packed up and all we had left was ugly embassy furniture – and we won’t see our stuff for another year, until after we get to Brazil.


I got one last shopping trip done in Greenhills.


And had one last meal at my favorite restaurant in Manila, Alba.


The pets hung out on our ugly now-uncovered embassy furniture…


We went a few more times to Salcedo Market across the street from us.


Had more amazing ice cream at Merry Moo (Salted Caramel, Honeycomb and Cookies & Brownies are our favorite flavors).


Got more of the amazing fruit only found in Asia, like mangosteen…




Dragon Fruit…




I will NOT miss seeing the cow lechon every Saturday! (I’m a very much hypocrite carnivore – don’t show me the animal!)


I had the worst haircut of my life by the same stylist who had given me the best haircut of my life…  This was my 4th time with the same stylist at Hair Philosophie.  I left in tears (then took scissors to it myself a couple of days later so I could wear it down again).


Went to Legaspi market…


Ellie wore her Department of State onesie (that Karl’s coworkers gifted him) to represent!


I had a great goodbye party thrown by Una (sadly we didn’t get a picture with everyone later, we were too busy eating and chatting!).


Una also gave us this super cool Filipino painting.  I will not miss the jeepneys!


Una and Naomi came over on my very last day, and Naomi went all general on me and got me to get on to packing, and weighing every single piece of luggage I had, which means Karl and I actually had free time later for a foot massage and dinner.


We woke up at 3am and left to the airport to what was (and hopefully will always be) our worse travel experience ever.  Cely, our helper and yaya to our pets, said goodbye to Lily and Lucas through many tears.


Turns out what we were dreading the most, going through NAIA, was the easiest.  We were very mistreated in Japan, and kicked out of the Delta lounge because we had pets (even though they were quiet, and we were allowed to be there with pets as long as they were in their carrier), Lucas broke out of his carrier and almost escaped, and I had to McGyver the thing mid-flight…


And this is how the inside looked like.  Somehow no one noticed and we went 7 more hours in flight with the carrier looking like this, got through a connection in Detroit and boarded our next plane with no issues.  He also pooped himself because he was so freaked out (Lily’s blanket that she had since the day she came home to us was sacrificed), broke his claw and had multiple cuts to his little nose.  I had to spend the rest of the time with a hand inside the carrier petting him.  It got very tricky when I had to hold Ellie with one hand to nurse her and had my other hand petting Lucas, with both Ellie and the carrier on my lap. 


Then we finally arrived in DC, bought a brand new car which we love, and headed to the start of our much needed rest in the Outer Banks, NC.

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Pictures from our home leave at the beach to come…

(And for the record, the last half of this post was typed mostly one handed.  This chick will not sleep for long during the day.  *sigh*)


Filed under Foreign Service, Manila, Philippines, Travel

Siquijor: Cambugahay Falls!

Yep, I went to Siquijor back in April (!!!) and only now I’m getting around to finally talking about the end of our trip…  As a reminder, Siquijor Island was beautiful, with gorgeous sunsets like this…

And we got lots of great diving done both
around the island, as well as in nearby Apo Island.

We couldn’t dive on the last day, and we only had a morning to spare, so along with the super-fun couple we met in Siquijor, we rented a Jeepney for P1,300 and had him drive us down to Cambugahay Falls, which was on my “must see” list of Siquijor.  We got what looked like a party Jeepney too!  It was sweet!


I was afraid of jumping off the falls at first (with these things, it’s not the height that scares me, but the depth of the water – I always wonder “is it deep enough or an accident is about to happen?” I know too many bad stories), but like a good wife, I got Karl to be the first guinea pig, and that’s all I needed, loads and loads of jumping into the beautiful water followed (no, seriously, I’m slightly obsessed with jumping/diving into water).


There were three levels of waterfalls, so after lots of jumping, we went to explore the other falls.


Ah, a natural tub including the back massage spray!


Yep, Dan, that’s how we all feel like at this place too!


Before heading back home, we had to jump in a few more times…


Then back to the party jeepney…  I wish Manila had this much green space!


After showering and getting our things ready, it was time to head back to Dumaguete on the boat…  Because of the delays getting us there on our arrival, the resort had its own private boat taking us back, which was so much more pleasant, specially when you wait for the boat with this view!


And look at this when you’re on your journey back…


I chose not to sit indoors because I get major motion sickness.  (So yes, I got majorly sunburned…  I never learn.)


Siquijor Island, should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit in the Philippines!  I would go back there in a heartbeat!  We stayed at Coco Grove Beach Resort, and I highly recommend it for a relaxing trip.  Here are a few other shots I took of the place…


Our home for the weekend…


And how can a private dinner here (all you need to do is reserve the table ahead of time), not be wonderful?



Filed under Asia, Philippines, Travel, Travel Review, Traveling in Asia, Trips!

Saturday in Pictures…

I tried posting this using BlogPress app on my phone, but it was a big fail.  At first, I thought it was the wifi at the resort (which sucked), but I haven’t been able to do it from home either…  (This post was originally titled “Today in Pictures” all the pictures, except for the last two, taken with the iPhone.)

Waiting for our ferry to take us to Siquijor Island (it was 2 hours late, ugh).


Finally boarding…


This doesn’t look too comfortable (and it wasn’t, luckily it was over within an hour).


We made it!


End of day in Siquijor… 


Beautiful sunsets…


Despite the travel hassle on our way there, the trip was amazing and totally worth it!  If you’re in the Philippines, I highly recommend a stop at Siquijor Island!  I’ll post more pictures about the trip, but here’s a preview of what else you get to do while there…



I also got dives number 42-47 done!  Only 3 more before I hit #50 (with only 9 months of diving under my belt!).  Diving in Siquijor wasn’t too exciting, but we went to Apo Island the second day and got some amazing drift diving done (visiting 2-3 dive spots each time since the current was so strong!). 

More to come…


Filed under Philippines, Pictures, Travel, Traveling in Asia, Trips!