The great travel 2011

My husband and I are planning to go back to Europe, this time bringing along not only Marcus but also Zach and Lia. We are planning to do it on May next year so that kids are on summer vacation. It was supposed to be April in time for our anniversary and my birthday but I thought it would be better to go after Easter. I am tasked by my husband to make the itinerary and to estimate our travel budget. Though I am now checking out some travel deals, I still find it too early to book flights and accommodation (not to mention the visa application). So I just noted down the planned date and corresponding location. I also have a rough estimate on the budget but I’d rather not post.

Initially, we were planning for a London-Paris-Germany-Switzerland-Italy trip. Then looking at the map, we realized that we could go to Greece by boat from Italy, so it became London-Paris-Italy-Greece. But then as I was checking out Italy, I realized that it’s better for us to explore that country first rather than tightening our budget and schedule to fit in Greece.

So the final plan, so far, of what I call the great travel 2011 is as follows:

May 2 – Flight to London
May 3-4 London
May 5 – Train to Paris
May 6-10 Paris
May 11 Train to Italy
May 12-18 Italy (Milan-Venice-Rome)

I still don’t have any idea if we’ll go back to Manila via Italy or we’ll go back to London so that we can just get a roundtrip Mla-London-Mla.

More so, I don’t know if I can handle 3 kids that long and that far. I don’t want to spoil the fun though of planning by worrying about that.

So, that’s it. I’ll make updates as soon as changes/improvements have been made.

To God be the Glory!

Discover La Union

La Union has been featured several times as one good surfing spot, but it was just recently when I had the chance to see one of their famous resorts. Located in San Fernando, Thunderbird Resort Poro Point is a place I surely would recommend. The 8-hour land travel (stopovers and traffic included) was way worth it. Our rooms, which were upgraded to suite, makes us want to just stay inside and enjoy the cabled TV, free wifi and jacuzzi. But with the beauty of the resort, we were definitely torn between the luxury of the room and the beach’s clear water and fine sand, not to mention their eternity pool. What more, we were spared from the noise of the crowd. The only thing we regretted was that we booked ourselves for just one night.

B&B Scotland

I’ve written a couple of B&B Paris’ paid reviews since last year. I was blindly writing those blogs because I never really had a first hand experience with bed and breakfast accomodation. Not until last month when we had a chance to experience bed and breakfast London and Scotland. I don’t want to talk much about our B&B London experience because I think that the room was not worth the money we paid for. The room has 1 queen-sized bed, 1 single bed, a small TV with only 4 channels, a small bathroom, a coffee/tea facility, a small cabinet, 2 small tables and 1 chair all cramped in a small room. We could barely move inside. And per night it costs us 90 pounds! Oh well, what do I expect, its in Kingscross London!

On the other hand, our B&B accommodation in Scotland which only costs 35 pounds per night was comparable to a 3-4 star hotel. We were provided with a spacious room with 3 single beds, large cabinet, coffee area / entertainment area (whatever it’s called), coffee/tea facility and a bigger bathroom. The Windows have those thick, elegant curtains to match the Pakistan-inspired comforter and chair covers. To top it all, the room has wifi.

Location wise, it’s a walking distance from Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, Parliament Square Law Courts and Palace of Holyrood House. We really were able to maximize our 2-day stay there. You can visit other places in Scotland by bus or train. Lastly, it’s just a walking distance from the train station and 20 pounds taxi ride away from the airport.

So I really do recommend York Place B&B at 38 York Place, New Town Edinburgh, UK. See for yourself! *wink*

Ten, Four, Zero

10, 4, 0… this is definitely not the combination of numbers I want to bet on. They’re actually the ages of our children we brought along during our last Hong Kong trip. I knew it was a courageous thing to do, but I wouldn’t want to leave any of my children at home. True enough, more than seeing Disneyland for the first time or experiencing a cable car ride at Ocean Park, I was so happy to see my children’s happy faces during the whole trip.

Bringing along a 10 year old isn’t difficult anymore. He was actually helping me look after his siblings. He was always willing to pull one of our baggage or carry a back-pack. Well, except for bullying his little brother at times, he can be treated as an adult already. And during our trip, he preferred the thrill rides more than watching shows or looking at animals.

Our 4-year old kid, on the other hand, was a handful. He literally runs everywhere, to his heart’s desire, without worrying about being lost. “Wait,” “in a minute,” and “almost done” are words that doesn’t exist in his world. If he’s tired, hungry, or has to go to the bathroom, there’s no room for negotiation. He even used our infant’s stroller because he refused to walk a little more. But his innocence and funny remarks make him get away with all of it. And unlike his older brother, he adores sea animals. He enjoyed seeing the big aquarium with all those fishes, sharks, sting-rays, etc. swimming around.

Lastly, bringing a 7-month old baby wouldn’t be too difficult if not for all the baby things we have to bring along. Milk formula, bottles, meds, vitamins, infant food, diapers, bib and extra clothes… just to name a few. She may not have any idea where she was at that time or what’s happening around her but I was so happy having her in my arms as the whole family explored Hong Kong.

The whole experience gave my husband and I the idea who to bring along where. As much as we would always want to travel as a family, we realized that there will be places that not everyone could be brought along.

Early Nativity?

Last March 1 was my eldest son’s 10th birthday and much to our luck (which turned out to be the opposite), it was the same day for Baguio’s Panagbenga Festival. From Pangasinan where my husband had a previous engagement, we packed our things on Feb 28 and went straight to Baguio. Our first stop was Mine’s View because I was hoping I could get some Ube Jam at Good Shepherd and eat my favorite grilled corn. And because the traffic was terrible, my husband was forced to just park the car elsewhere thus we ended up walking up hill. Next stop was Camp John Hay. We did a lot of shopping there and finally had our dinner. Have we thought of accommodations? Yes, we were planning to get one after a few more shopping at Camp John Hay. Finally, we left the place and started looking for a hotel. One by one, we went to all the hotels that Baguio has to offer. And one by one they refused to accommodate us because they were already fully booked for the upcoming festival. Being pregnant and all, I felt what it was like when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place that could accommodate them for the night. With my stomach bulging and my husband at my back, I was asking each receptionist if they have available rooms where we could spend the night. Getting all negative answers, we finally gave up and decided to just leave Baguio and go back to Pangasinan (at Gary’s family house) where we could spend the night instead. Frustrating and tiring it may seem, we still did enjoy the trip and hopefully next time we could get an early hotel booking.

Paradise Island

If I am going to write about the places I’ve been, I should have started blogging one to two years ago when I had my most number of travels. Thanks to my audit stints, I have been to different destinations in the Philippines (Wow Phils!). Anyway, I will try my best to remember the places I’ve enjoyed visiting, definitely not in my ‘katandaan’ moments aka memory gap.

Let me start with Davao. Being the largest city in the Philippines, it hosts numerous tourist destinations namely the Philippine Eagle Center, Crocodile farm, Eden Nature park, Campo Agua… to name a few. But to complete the whole Davao experience, one would definitely aspire to have the time (and budget) to visit Pearl Farm Resort. It offers breath-taking views of Parola Warf, Ylang Ylang Spa, villas and suites. Unfortunately, every little detail counts (for cost).

But do not fret, if what you are looking for is just pristine waters, powdery white sand and clean surroundings, Paradise Island is the place to be (not Cindys… haha!). Nestled on the quiet side of Samal Island, it is a mere 7-minute boat ride from the jump off point located near the old airport in the Lanang area. Imagine, you only need 70 pesos to get there (boat ride is 10 pesos and entrance 60). From a point of view of a beach lover, Paradise Island should definitely be on your check list.