Welcome to My Blog

This contains snippets of my journeys from the most mundane to the most exciting. This will contain some reviews as well, mostly of hotels and places visited. At times, this could be filled with gripes and frustrations but in all, it will most likely show how truly fascinating life is from my vantage point. My personal mantra, however troubled or distorted things may seem to most, is rooted from the movie "3 Idiots" - - All is Well. Thus, I am a fervent believer of limitless possibilities. Live well. Cheers!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pilipinas...Tara Na (Philippines...Let's Go)

developed by Mad Banana 
There is no other place in the whole wide world just like this. There is really something that sets our country apart from the rest of the world beginning with our hospitality. Having had the chance to travel to different countries, there's still no other place but the Philippines (in my opinion) where you feel genuine warmth from people, smiles, laughter, and kindness. That together with the country's rich natural resources and absolutely breathtaking sites to see make a perfect combination.  Whether the Philippines is more fun or not, and whatever new controversy that surrounds it in connection with its tag line's (It's More Fun in the Philippines) originality, the country is definitely the place to visit especially for budget conscious tourists who would like to have a good time without the steep price tag. Check out this video developed by Mad Banana. My daughter, Sophia (together with Alan, Maan, and Brie), is in this wonderful video that showcases the beauty of the Philippines. Pilipinas...Tara na!

My personal thoughts about possible tag lines:

1.  Pilipinas, san pa nga ba (Philippines, where else)
2.  Pilipinas, panalo (Philippines, winner)
3.  Pilipinas got talent (kidding)
4.  Pilipinas, ayos dito (Philippines, its ok here - - there's a site I think that is called ayos dito)
5.  Tara Na, Biyahe Tayo (let's go, let's travel)
6.  Pilipinas, tara na (Philippines,  let's go)

What the heck is wrong with WOW Philippines anyway?  Hahaha!  Either way, pay the Philippines a visit. It will be worth your while....the adventure of a lifetime. :)

Things that make me Shriek with Joy

Cuteness right?!
Dream Sites to visit for your storage fix -
kikki.K Stationery and Gifts
The Gifted Penguin
Ikea
I am a neat freak for organizing stuff so what better way to do so than in cute style

Aren't these pillows a dream?

I like this - - a way to better manage your finances
I love print, patterns and things that pretty much pop. For some reason, colors and designs brighten my day. It makes life more bearable especially whenever I feel low. I can't say that I am totally organized but I'd like to be more organized.
Cool Storage Box

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Love Boracay

We went to Boracay Last December 28, 2011 to celebrate my sister's 10th Year Wedding Anniversary and to spend our first new year in this beach haven.
First off, we rode the plane via Airphil and what have you, we were leisurely taking our time walking down the airport hallways when our names were called: "Paging blah blah Montinola, last call for boarding." We didn't realize that the personnel in the counter bumped our flight to an earlier schedule. So that was how our day started, in panic mode. It was a good thing that everything went smooth afterwards.
The plane to Caticlan was relatively smaller compared to the usual planes we use during domestic flights. Still, this is a better drop off point compared to Kalibo because its faster to go to Boracay via Caticlan instead of Kalibo which takes around 2 hours.
Kalibo Airport
We then headed to Boracay Regency Beach Resort where we stayed for the next five days. It's a nice hotel and our room was very near the beach front and one of its swimming pools. We were the first to arrive in the resort. My sister and brother-in-law arrived in the afternoon. My parents and brothers arrived the day after. The hotel seems to be divided into two parts - - the newer part and the not so new part. We stayed at the not so new part of the hotel.
Our hotel is on the right where the pool is situated. On the left is the newer part of the hotel with a massive swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a pool bar where people can get their drinks while in the pool.

pool near our room

Momsie with Adam

This is our room (photo to your right). The furnishings are not brand new but the place is comfortable in general as well as very accessible to the beach. The housekeeping staff is always very diligent in cleaning the room and is able to do so in an efficient manner. The only complaint that I have is that if you do not leave a copy of your credit card details upon checking in the hotel, it is required that room service dues are paid in cash. A second complaint is the the very expensive internet charges. 1 hour of use costs Php 150.00 whereas in other hotels, their internet use is usually free. Other than that, this hotel is a-ok.
a random shot of a father and son
The next day, we took an early morning stroll in the beach. It is always nice to commune with nature. It was really lovely seeing white, pristine sand and clean, clear waters. The only hindrance to this lovely opportunity to sight see are the vendors who sell their wares and services from hats, shades, down to island hopping and other activities. It gets a little annoying because they lurk in every corner saying "hats", "helmet diving", "henna tattoo", and what have you. I might have acquired a permanent scowl on my face just to show to them how I wasn't interested.
My family and I

Sophia's solo shot
 Boracay changed a lot. This is my fourth visit to this place and I've never seen so many foreigners in my entire life in a single Philippine destination. There were Americans, Europeans, and Asians everywhere. It made me feel good in a way because it means that tourism is boosting and the revenue sources abound. There are lots of shops to see as well as personalized items for sale from key chains, pens, necklaces to personalized t-shirts hand painted by artists.
another random shot
my sister with her husband and friends
 In the afternoon was Maan and Alan's thanksgiving celebration for their ten years of marriage. Maan's entire high school barkada also flew in to Boracay to celebrate this with them. It's nice to see how my sister and her husband were able to bring us all together not only to celebrate their 10 years of marriage but also to realize what truly matters in life, family and friends who care for you and of course, the Lord almighty. This made me even more grateful for all the wonderful blessings we have in life because a lot of times, people (including me) tend to count their worries instead of the many blessings that abound. So, here I am declaring to the entire world, especially the readers of my blog, that I love my family so much and I am so grateful for their presence in my life. Sobrang mahal nila ako and dama ko iyon (They love me so much and I feel it profoundly).
Sophia braving up to get a good shot
Day three was spent on this boat ride with my husband and kids. Usually, the charge for activities for locals is cheaper than what foreigners are charged so I was able to get a pretty decent deal for this ride. My son Adam enjoyed this ride a lot. He felt so relaxed that he almost fell asleep. It is really just nice to laze around and see the scenery.
Jay and Niko

Adam feeling quite sleepy in this boat ride
Day four was spent island hopping with not just my husband and kids but with my siblings and parents as well.


 Here, we got to see West Cove also known as Pacquiao's Resort (see right). According to our guide, friends of Manny Paquiao would usually stay here so it is pretty private. However, I found out that this is not owned by Filipino Boxing champ, Manny Pacquiao after all.

Boracay West Cove, a resort inspired by the world-famous destination Santorini is owned by businessman Crisostomo Aquino, who is a big fan and friend of the Pacquiaos. These island hopping guides better get their information straight. Haha!
 This next resort is Shangri-La Hotel in Boracay. I heard from the grapevine that if you go to this private resort, you don't have a reason anymore to leave and go elsewhere because everything is here. My daughter, when she went to Shangri-La in Mactan, Cebu said that the entire experience was absolutely gorgeous. Maybe next time, if I have wads of cash, I'll be staying in Shangri-La Hotel. A girl can dream right...limitless possibilities.  After getting to see this place, we did a bit of snorkeling. This is a fun activity for me because of the fish in different colors that I got to follow around. It's just too bad that the coral reef looked a bit dead. I got to compare it to my trip to Batangas where I was introduced to diving because even though it was just a wreck dive, the coral reef was full of color and the waters, so alive.
After snorkeling, we went to this restaurant that I am not recommending to whoever reads this. The place was really shabby and the food too expensive. The bench my daughter was sitting on crashed so she sort of fell down. The guy serving food spilled hot soup all over my niece. In all, my mom and dad scolded the people here for poor customer service and the tour guides for bringing us and other foreigners to this place. According to the guides, there are usually nicer places but they bring people here if there is a high tide. If you want to have a good eat, just go to the Talipapa in Boracay. It's just within the beach proper. You can buy your own seafood and have it cooked for a fee. I went here of course and had a feast eating shrimps. So now, the inevitable happened, I have allergies all over my body (my skin is sand paper-ish).

In the evening of our fourth day, we went to this dinner hosted by our hotel and there were several bands playing. Adam, my son, stood right in front of the stage and showed his appreciation to this band by clapping his hands and refusing to leave the area. I cracked up literally because he loves music so much. This boy isn't shy at all. 






here's all of us together....love it!
Maan and Alan
Jay and I

This is all of us getting set for the new year. This being only my third new year away from home, I felt a bit worried that I didn't get to go around our own house with my usual noise making in the entire place to drive evil spirits away but this beach retreat is a pretty cool alternative.
its party time
My siblings, daughter, and niece danced the night away. There were a number of foreigners who danced in a racy manner...all in the spirit of letting loose and having fun I suppose. Brie danced her heart out and enjoyed every bit of it. The buffet dinner we had was rather expensive but as it claimed to have the longest buffet line, so it did with lots of food choices to select. I settled myself with some crackers and cheese because I had several glasses of Margarita which tasted more like juice rather than alcohol. As the moment (new year) drew near, 3 bands played different hits alternately. Finally, as the fireworks display came on, I was really giddy with excitement. It was such a nice view from where we were seated. While I was enjoying this beautiful site, I was also thinking that maybe we can really just assign official places for fireworks display in the future instead of allowing people to buy their own firecrackers because of its obvious danger.

January 1st was just spent lazing around and finally on January 2, we had to fly back to Manila in the morning.
ceiling fan in the stop over area of the resort  



airport display
Happy New Year to all.  Happy 2012! Here's to everything that came and went. Here's to the joys and sorrows. Here's to every opportunity for growth and development. Here's to building worthy bridges and journeying towards a life of strength, peace of mind, and gratefulness.

I love Boracay...always have, always will.