Extreme Family Adventures in the Sand Dunes of Laoag (video)

Extreme Family Adventures in the Sand Dunes of Laoag (video)

LAOAG CITY. MAY 2, 2014. – It’s the second and last day of our Ilocos family road trip. We just visited the bell tower ruins of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Our next stop in our very busy itinerary for the day: the sand dunes of La Paz in Laoag City.

We arrived in the sand dunes of Laoag City around 1:00PM. Not the ideal time to do any of the activities waiting for us in the sand dunes. We know that all too well but we really did not have much choice. That was the only available time for us to visit the place.

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Highest Zipline in Southeast Asia

Highest Zipline in Southeast Asia

DURING OUR family’s visit to General Santos City and South Cotabato last month (May 24-25) we got to visit the famous Seven Falls of Lake Sebu, courtesy of our good friends: Kuya Bob Gerada and the still honeymooning couple, Ryan and Liezel Briones.

Marielle and Nikka as they are about to take off in tandem.
Marielle and Nikka as they are about to take off in tandem.

Needless to say, Marielle (almost 11 yo) and Johan (9 yo) were ecstatic to find out that another zipline adventure awaited them in Lake Sebu.

And this is no ordinary zipline for two important reasons: Read more

12th anniversary notice

I found several of this posted on several walls, doors, and furniture inside our house a couple of days before December 8.

It was made by Marielle, of course. She’s quickly becoming an expert in desktop publishing.

Thanks a lot for this Marielle. Your mom and I appreciate it a lot.

Now you may remove them from the walls, doors and furniture. And don’t forget to clean up any marks from the adhesives you used.

A white-washed anniversary get-away

IT IS also known as Marinduque’s Elephant Island. Bellarocca is an island resort characterized by white-painted buildings and villas that has the look (and supposedly feel) of the famous Greek island of Santorini.


My family went to Santorini, I mean Bellarocca, to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary in December 2011 (almost exactly a year ago). It is an idyllic, picture-perfect place for a family vacation. It is the perfect place if your idea for a vacation is to lie down lazily under the sun or dip the whole day in the pool or in the sea while sipping margarita. Read more

All Strings Attached

FIRST, I have to give credit to Marielle for creating this cheesy but quite appropriate photo art (using Photofunia, I assume).

Marie is actually complaining about this photo. She said that to be fair, Marielle should have also used her college graduation photo. But that would not have made the photo right either, because although Marielle used my graduation photo (According to her it is the only decent enough photo of me that she could find. Ouch!), it was actually taken during my MBA graduation just about 5 years ago.

Setting aside our frivolous complaints, Marielle actually made a photo that perfectly captures the very essence of the last 12 years. Yes, it’s been 12 years that Marie and I have been stringed and attached together. As far as I can tell neither of us is complaining. Or maybe I should speak only for myself, LOL.

Our life together isn’t perfect and between the two of us there are still many dreams that are yet to be realized. But our own personal dreams have now been set aside in favor of our dreams for – and the personal dreams of – our two wonderful kids, Marielle (9) and Johan (7). I guess you can say that Marielle and Johan are the strings that bind us together, forever.


Revisiting PAHIYAS

I WAS married for just about half a year when I went to see my very first PAHIYAS Festival in Lucban, Quezon in May 2001 with my former girlfriend and now permanent ex-girlfriend, Marie. So I guess you can say that PAHIYAS was a big part of our HONEYMOON.

As you can see from our photos, the PAHIYAS seems an ideal event for honeymooners to go and see. At least it seemed that way to us some 11 years ago. :) Read more

Laughter and Gossip at Tapella. And food, too.

I haven’t been doing much of FOOD blogging for quite some time now. In fact I haven’t been doing much of ANY blogging at all since November last year. Time to break the dry spell. And what better subject to break a dry spell than food?

On Sept 28 I had a dinner date with five ladies at Tapella in Greenbelt 5. They are former colleagues of mine and I call them the xACIS ladies. Of course one of them happens to be my xGF, too. Read more

Destination: Marinduque

Trip to Marinduque

DECEMBER 2, 2011 – For our annual family vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year, my xxGF and I brought Marielle and Johan to a still undisclosed place somewhere in Marinduque (i.e. the kids did not have any idea where exactly we were going until we got there). Read more

A Taste of the ‘Suite Life’

MY FAMILY had a taste, albeit briefly, of the “suite life” one weekend in July 2011.  It was July 9, a day after Marielle’s 8th birthday.

About a month from that particular weekend my sister Kiddo gave us a Gift Certificate for an overnight stay in Peninsula Hotel Manila.  She didn’t know what she was giving away.  It was not for an ordinary room.  It was for a Premium Suite. We decided to use it on the weekend following July 8, Marielle’s birthday.

We did not stay in the Premium Suite, however.  Guess what?  We’ve been upgraded to an Executive Suite!!!  Holly molly wow!

Of course curiosity got the better of us and even while still in Manila Pen, using Manila Pen’s complimentary Super fast Wi-Fi, we googled the rates of Manila Pen’s rooms.

The original Premium Suite costs at least PhP 14,000+++ per room night.  Wow. But wait, we didn’t stay in a Premium Suite, remember?  So how much does an Executive Suite cost?

At least PhP 20,500+++.  WOW!!!  Even if we could afford it, and we couldn’t, we would not have paid for that room.  Thanks a lot, Kiddo!  We love you oh so very much. :)

PS>  View the complete set of our Manila Pen photos in my Picasa Web Album.


A visit to Villa Escudero. Finally

I’VE LONG wished to visit Villa Escudero but somehow never got the opportunity to do so.  Until May 22, 2011 that is.

Villa Escudero is not a new attraction.  I remember that the first time I heard about it (and planned to visit it) was like 15 years ago (that means I was like 7 years old then, LOL). Read more

A taste of Brazil!

(This posting is delayed by almost half a year.  I kinda lost the photos, and then found them recently when I was doing housekeeping on my old white MacBook.)

FOR our 10th anniversary dinner date my xxGF treated me to Brazil, Brazil in Serendra – Bonifacio Global City.

I had a great time and, shortly thereafter, indigestion from over eating.  It’s nothing new really. Read more

Bohol Resort Hopping. 2nd Stop: Amarella Resort

NO IT IS NOT related to Amorita, the first hotel we stayed in during our Bohol vacation.  Yes it is another beee-a-u-tiful resort-hotel.

I will have to tip the hat to my xxGF for finding great resort-hotels.  The credits are all hers. Not only are our resort-hotels in Bohol beautiful.  Their names even rhyme!  Beat that.

If Amorita has a great infinity pool with a perfect hilltop view of the dreamy and famous Alona Beach of Panglao Island, Amarella offers an idyllic atmosphere with its rustic and colorful indoor and outdoor ambiance.

The whole place is inspired by artworks and old-world amenities.  The furnitures and fixtures inside the rooms were made to look and feel like antiques.  The bed cover is crocheted.  Inside the bedroom there’s a cute little bath tub, a wood-paneled wall, and windowsill also made of wood.

Each room has a veranda, too.  Ours was overlooking a manicured garden with colorful tropical bouganvilla and gumamela flowers, the swimming pool, and the sea a little further down.

Amarella has its own little art museum, where the owner’s personal collections are apparently kept – and shared to interested guests.  There’s also a library with an interesting collection of both old and new books, as well as old and new DVDs.

There are artworks everywhere.  Inside the rooms, in the walls along the corridors, in the lobby, in the gardens…  The whole place may as well have been a big art gallery.

At night the breeze from the sea is so loud and calming at the same time.

Amarella also offers an access to the sea.  Its beach front is quite good.  The beach is shallow, flat and safe for kids.  It offers little beneath the surface, however.