Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boooo! LOL! I'm back... A little about where I've been...

Hi there everyone! I just wanted to check in before people started to think I fell off the face of the earth... LOL!! I know I've been MIA for several weeks.... but with good reason. ☺

I was recently presented with an opportunity to visit the Philippines, my parents and grandparents homeland. Although I'm Filipina through and through, I was born and raised in Northern California and had only traveled to the Philippines once before when I was 17 years old (yup, that was almost a gazillion years ago! LOL) So when my Mom said "grab your passport, we're going!" I didn't think twice! My grandmother (Lola Mering, my Mom's mother) has been falling ill off and on the past several months (she is 96 years old going on 30!) She is such as strong woman, I want to be her when I grow up!! What a wonderful opportunity this was to spend time with the woman who came to California when I was a small child to help raise me! I kept telling myself this might be the last chance I get to see her and spend time with her... make EVERY second count!

I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip with you. My 10 year old son Jarrod came on the trip, as well as my older brother, Mom and Dad (my hubbs stayed home with my 2 youngest boys.) I'll include some text with each of the photos below for detail...

This is the Bay Bridge at sunset on the way to San Francisco International airport... gorgeous right?! :-)

Here's a pic of me and my "men" at SFO... OMG, how I missed the ones I left behind! 2 weeks was too long to be apart!! :-(

This is me, my Lola Mering and my Mom... 3 generations!!

This is my Mom and Lola at lunch, cliff side, at Gerry's Grill in Tagaytay, Philippines

This is the cliff-side view at Gerry's Grill (me with my son Jarrod.)

Awe, Lola Mering and I... she kept saying "look at how old I look and how beautiful you are in comparison." I kept telling her how beautiful she is INSIDE and OUT! Love you Lola!!

My son Jarrod and I on a carrabou ride at Villa Escudero Resort.

Starbucks is located on every corner (sometimes right across the street from each other!) in Manila. It was nice to have some "home away from home" stuff... oh, and don't let the prices fool ya (it's in Philippine pisos)... the cost is comparable to what we pay for Starbucks in the US. LOL!

Lightweight champion of the world babeeeee! Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines!

Here's Manny's store at the Mall of Asia in Pasay, Manila.

Here's me at Villa Escudero... at the end of the falls are picnic tables where you can eat with your feet in the water! Here's a better pic (me with Jarrod)...

Here's a glimpse of the native Filipino foods we ate... grilled BBQ chicken, pancit bihon, beef mechado, grilled fish and for dessert a fried banana on a stick with brown sugar. Yummo!

Now the following are some pics of a mini "tourist"vacay my Dad's sister took me, my brother and Jarrod on... I think the views say it all.... PARADISE! Taken in Bohol & Cebu...

This is where we stayed for the first 2 nights. My aunt and I visited the spa and did the massage thing... OMG, how relaxing and FUN!

This is the view from our Bungalow... WOW!!!

This is called the "Infiniti pool"... can you guess why? :-)

Called "Chocolate Hills"because they look like Hershey's chocolate kisses!

We climbed over 200+ steps to vista point at Chocolate Hills for this view. Can you believe these hills were created as a result of a Geological occurrence?! Amazing!!

 My brother and my son zip lined across this ravine in Danao, from one mountain to another... I nearly fainted when I looked how far down the mountain went!!!! But what a view!

Butterflies eating mangoes at the Butterfly Conservatory in Bohol.

Me with butterfly wings!! hehe!

Known as the world's smallest primate -- the Philippine Tarsier of Bohol. 
These little guys can fit in the palm of your hand!

Jarrod at the Inifini pool at Panglao Island Resort.

Aaaaah, paradise!

White sand beaches for days and water so clear you can see the fish and coral below.

Yes Jo and Ri ("paperdrama" and "scrapstress")... I go "curly" in humid weather. LOL!

 Plantation Bay... our last stay and stop in Cebu. Paradise... its one of the top 20 places to stay in Asia.

Lola Mering, my son Jarrod, me and my older brother... Lola did not want us to leave... she started crying... :-(

To end on a funny note.... here is Jarrod and our friendly Philippine Airlines Stewardess! 
Mabuhay (Long life!) LOL!

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my memorable adventure with you all. I'm back to work and OMG, so wishing I could be scrappin' right now (if you ONLY KNEW!!) LOL!

Miss you all... and hope you had an AMAZING Thanksgiving holiday~

Have an awesome weekend!!


shatril said...

Looks like you had a great trip, thanks for showing us the pictures. Hope to see the scrapbook pages.


Aaawww I LOVE this post Ar. Your Grami is adorable - she's so tiny and cute. Love all your pictures....looks like you had a great time. These moments are priceless my friend. I'm sure you will treasure them forever. BIG HUGS, T

Carlene said...

ARLENE!!! WELCOME BACK. I didn't realize the Phillipines was so beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing those pictures! Now, I am adding the Phillipines to my travel list right after Japan. :> Sending you tons of love!! Carlene :>

RuthAnn W said...

Welcome Home Arlene! What an awesome and memorable trip. Your Grandmother is incredible, so cute and tiny. Looks like she is still getting around fairly well. What an incredible opportunity to take Jarod to his family heritage homeland ( he is so cute, not to mention how very beautiful you and your mother are and love the curly hair!) You are your mothers daughter :-) Thank You for sharing your journey and picturs with us..and now it sounds like you are working hard to catch up :-) Hugs, RuthAnn

602redroses said...

Thanks for sharing your great pictures. What a wonderful trip for you and your family to take.
Your grandma is so cute.

JoAnn V. ( said...

Great pics, Arlene! You're super lucky that you were able to travel to the Philippines! I haven't been since I was about 10 and I'm thirty-something now! *lol* I'm living vicariously through you and your lovely pictures! Love them all! Your Lola is so cute! :)

AtStudioD said...

WOW Arlene, these photos look amazing. I'm so happy you shared your memories with us. I had no idea it was so beautiful there. Now it's going on my "Must Go" board on Pinterest... lol.

x0, Damaris

Joanna Wiƛniewska said...

Beautiful trip.

Shana said...

wow, what an opportunity for you and your son to travel back to homeland. I am sure he will never forget, (because you will have an awsome scrapbook).

Leanne said...

Arlene, I am so glad you had this opportunity to visit your Gram, what an amazing lady. Your pictures are beautiful. But it is nice to have you back.

Mommie2Quads said...

Hey Arlene, Welcome Back!!! I am so glad that you are back and well. I am especially happy that your trip was a good one and for good reason, time spent with Family and exposure to your Son's other heritage, what a wonderful experience!!!!!! I'm glad your trip was a great experience and you and your Son are home safe. Thanks for sharing your pictures and experiences with us.

Aissa's said...

Hi, Awesome pictures. You Family is so cute. Its wonderful you were able to spend time with your Grandma. That is a priceless gift. Can wait to see what you create and what goodies you brought back with you.

Jody Morrow said...

WOW! Looks like you had an amazing time. What beautiful things you saw! So glad for your awesome experience. :)

Geraldine said...

Looks like a fantastic trip, how great to see your family, thanks for sharing, best wishes.

Bobbie Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing vacation photos with us. Looks and sounds like an amazing place.
Blessings and wishing you and your family Merry Christmas.

Mrs. Pancakes said...

looks like an amazing time!!

Leilanie said...

Aww Ateh Ar! You make me want to visit the PI! My sister in Law-is on vacay there right now and my inlaws leave Christmas. Our kiddies are still to young to take to enjoy it, so in a year or two maybe. Yummy food too heehee =o)

PaperCraft Paradise said...

OOHH Arlene I love this post it is such a sweet story I love the one of you in the water with the waterfall behind what gorgeous scenery I am so glad you went and saw your Lola Mering she looks so cute. I hope you have taken back lot's of precious memories from the Trip.
Hugs to you and Thankyou for sharing.

Adrienne said...

Hi Arlene,
TFS your great pics looks like you all had a super time and a very special one with your grandmother.Our DIL is from the Phillipines and has been back just the once as she came to New Zealand when she was 12yrs
* Adrienne*

JustaFewDesigns said...

Oh Arlene...what a beautiful country! I had no idea, thank you so much for sharing and what a great chance to visit home and spend time with your grandmother! What a blessing huh? Well once again...thanks for sharing..

Jo said...

awww I miss the PI! I so went to Bohol and saw the Chocolate Hills and those Tarsiers, glad you had an awesome time with your Lola.

EverydayNorma said...

Arlene, thanks so much for sharing your countryland with us, what an awesome opportunity you had to be with your Lola.. Beautiful memories to cherish and share with your son. Welcome back!


Barbara said...

what beautiful pictures Arlene and your grandma is so tiny im sure you visiting made her so happy.What great memories Jarod will have of this special time

Sugar Cards said...

ooohhhh I miss the Philippines! I haven`t gone to visit for a couple of years now... =( I wish I could go again this year... *sigh*
But it looks like you had a great time =) Thanks for sharing the pics =)