Posts Tagged ‘cousins’

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35th | Middle Earth

September 4, 2019

Photo set | Northern Island, New Zealand

I stopped celebrating my birthdays when I turned 20 for silly reasons most people wouldn’t really understand. Not that interesting so don’t be curious.

Every year, on my birthday, I leave and go on an adventure and for the last leg of this quarter life crisis, I went to Middle Earth. 12 days full of missed flights, stairs, bottles of wine, herds of cow, flocks of sheep, steak, steep trails, fish and chips, broken luggage, sorting baggage, magnificent views and loads of fun!

Flew Qantas. Flight from Manila was delayed so I missed my connecting flight and was stranded in Sydney airport for a few hours. Booked the next available flight to Auckland. Fortunately, my Wellington flight got moved to a later schedule so I did not miss it. Good thing there was also free booze on board, good enough compensation to the exhausting sprint I had to make to my connection only to arrive to a closed gate.

After 13 hours of flying…

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Arrived in Wellington, finally, to homemade burgers and local beer at my cousin’s house. Yes, my cousin and her husband make their own bread and patties!

Northern Island winter road trip

The places we went to on our 10-day road trip from Wellington to Auckland.

Wellington

My cousin and her husband cooking me up a feast at their new home and what a coincidence that a friend of mine from way back also lives in the same suburb as them! She saw my Instagram stories arriving in Wellington and messaged me. Chance meet up of course and she also brought me 3 bottles of wine haha!

Cape Palliser

Road to Cape Palliser, such picturesque views outside my window!

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We passed by some wild seals too! Stopped by the side of the road and took some pictures of these cuties. Careful enough not to get too close as some curious pups were growling at me haha.

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250 steep steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse despite the really strong winds and without exercise since February…

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…knee-breaking climb to this amazing view!

Mount Victoria lookout

360-degree scenic views of Wellington. Always chasing sunsets.

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Te Papa Museum

Did not finish exploring and will need to go back!

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Weta Cave

When you love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you just have to visit this place. Home of the talented people behind these amazing conceptual designs and visual effects.

Martinborough – Poppies

Passed through this town going to Castlepoint. The town features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the village square.

We stopped here for late lunch and some wine tasting. I am not a wine person but this place is definitely a must go to. Wine and food, superb.

Castlepoint

This small beach-side town on the Wairarapa coast is just beautiful.

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Instagram husband

Dessert Road

Road crossing to Ruapehu district. Landscape of the Northern Island is so diverse. Majority of the road trip, all I see is lush green forests and cattle and sheep ranches. Then we come to this. Both sides covered with low scrublands and snow capped Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe as backgrounds.

Mount Ruapehu

It was snowing when we arrived and first snow fall experience for these kids in the 7 years they’ve been living in New Zealand haha! Pretty winter wonderland.

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Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Parked our car by the hotel. We took a bus up to Mount Ruapehu as the road was very slippery and we did not bring chains.

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Happy, wind-burnt and freezing faces!

Taupo

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Huka Falls

The Huka falls—largest falls in the Waikato river. The flow rate from the water drop of the falls could fill up 8 olympic size pools in roughly a minute. Amazeballs.

Wairakei Terraces

Relaxed in the silica enriched thermal pools as we were dead tired from all the walking and hiking. There is also a walk where you get to experience a recreated Maori settlement, said to have settled some 1,000 years ago, drawn by the thermal activity and the abundance of food. They believed that the hot pools contained healing powers and therapeutic benefits. Amazingly, the houses are so small and considering that most Moari are largely built people.

Rotorua

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu (Māori for sacred waters) is an active geothermal area by the Taupo volcanic zone, some 27 kilometers south of Rotorua.

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Lady Knox Geyser

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Champagne pool

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Devil’s Bath

Whakarewarewa Forest – The Redwoods

Magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees in this beautiful forest.

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Lake Tikitapu is also known as “Blue Lake” because of its gorgeous sapphire waters.

Rotorua Museum

This magnificent structure used to be an elegant spa retreat called the Bath House in 1908 and was later on converted into a museum and art gallery. Sadly, this beauty closed in 2016 for seismic strengthening and remains closed til now.

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August 6th, BIRTHDAY!

Matamata – Hobbiton

Where else to celebrate the last leg of my quarter life crisis but at the lush pastures of the Shire in Middle Earth?

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

I swear we went. They just did not allow us to take photos. According to our Maori guide, the glowworms are sensitive to light and sound which is why they prohibited use of cellphones and cameras and also, said gadgets are expensive and they do not want to be spelunking the caves just to retrieve these.

Grabbed some pictures from Google Images (maybe back when it was still allowed to take photos, I dunno).

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This stunning view is the Cathedral Cavern known for it’s awesome acoustics. Our guide even asked one from the group to sing. It’s been witness to many concerts and weddings too. Photo: Google Images

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We descended the cave and rode a boat in total cold blackness to see the glowworms. This picture is the closest I could find that best resembles what we saw. It was so cool! Like a trillion stars lining the ceiling of the grotto. Photo: Google Images

The only photos we were able to take — exit of the cave and the entrance to the souvenir shop.

What an awesome day! Ate truffle burgers and truffle fries for dinner, lazed at our Airbnb by the lake and downed 2 bottles of wine. Happy birthday to me!

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35th

Coromandel

Cathedral Cove

These familiar scene out of Narnia. Shorter way by boat, Longer way by hike. We took the latter. Even found a few blooms of Sakura. View was worth it.

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Hot Water Beach

An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at this beach, thus it’s name. Visitors can dig large holes and soak in the thermal water.

Hamilton

Disney on Ice

Because we are never too old.

Auckland

Last stop for this trip. Met up with friends who are based here and was so happy they celebrated my birthday with Korean food and ramen!

SEA Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

Killed time and went to the aquarium while waiting for our Korean dinner.

8 Colors of Korean Bbq Buffet Restaurant

Thank you for indulging my Korean obsession!

Sky Tower

It was really nice that the guy by the escalator going up the tower told us to check the skies first before deciding to pay more than $20 and just be disappointed. It was raining nonstop and was really cloudy. We did not go up. We went shopping instead lol.

Last day (huhuhu)

Breakfast at Kreem

Went shopping at Dress Smart and had dinner at Ramen Takara because it’s my last night and everybody knows how much I love ramen hahaha.

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Homebound

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Early morning flight to Sydney, had to leave some things as I was over-baggage (my quinoa and honey), arrived on time in Sydney but they closed one runway and had to stay inside the plane for an hour because no available tube to park. Sprinted (again) to transit and to my gate only to find that my flight was delayed. Seriously Qantas you need to sort your schedules and stop with the tight connections. My feet hurt from running around the airport.

Arrived around 10pm in Manila, stayed at my best friend’s place, was so exhausted fell asleep the moment I went to bed and was snoring. Went to church the next day (thank you LORD for my awesome vacation), had lunch at Soru (always) and flew home to Bacolod in the afternoon.

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And I feel like I’m still hungover.

Thank you to Krissy and Alvin for my room (haha) and for going on this trip with me, Micmic for seeing me in Wellington and bringing vino, Aubrey for meeting me in Auckland, Ching and Patrick for letting us stay at your ginormous place and Ilaine and Bambi for coming out for ramen and dessert. 12 days is tooooo short! I wish I was on vacation 24/7.

Photos from:

Krissy & Alvin of Knotting Wong Photography

My DJI Osmo Action camera (yes I switched from GoPro)

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Bye friend!

xx

DMV

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Weekend | Garden of Luisa

July 3, 2019

Photo Set | La Castellana

Somewhere in La Castellana, this just a little over an hour road trip from Bacolod City will lead you to the Garden of Luisa, a farmhouse turned resort, surrounded by lush greenery and a scenic view of the very active Mt. Kanlaon, for your perfect staycation.

Since cousins are home from abroad, we decided to spend one weekend out of town and we ended up here. The perfect excuse to laze, have coffee with a view, and even celebrate a birthday.

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The garden is home to a wide variety of flora and you could even find propagated ones, truly a haven for plant lovers (like me). They also have a pool with a diving board, the kids loved it! Swam the whole day and were totally baked. Juancho still sporting his toddler’s life vest, the one he used when he was just 2 years old (hahaha!), poor kid.

We also celebrated Lily’s birthday in advance. Happy 5th little girl! Perfect excuse for cake and spaghetti.

And even if it rained… Rain is rare in UAE (lol). Nothing is gonna dull this experience.

It was fun that we were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company, bonding over good food, excellent coffee, a magnificent view and of course, bottles of soju (lol). Definitely indulged everyone with my Korean obsessions.

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Family time is always the best time!

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Kids knocked out on the way home. Too much fun.

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Garden of Luisa is located at Bagonawa-Isabela Rd., La Castellana, Negros Occidental, Philippines, a getaway home destination located just an hour away from Bacolod City. Day rate is P5,000 for 10 pax and 300/pax in excess. Overnight rate is P8,000 for 8 pax. Rates are for exclusive use of the facility. Perfect for your next staycation!

xx

DMV

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Local | Negros Occidental

January 7, 2019

There’s so much to see in our province honestly. Day trip bonding sesh with my cousins the few days they were home.

Photo set | Murcia & DSB

Lunched at Mambukal Resort, one of the popular mountain resorts in Negros Occidental located in Murcia and rests at 1,200 meters above sea level. It’s been the go to if you want a feel of the mountains since I was a kid. Can go hiking up to the seventh falls, kayaking in the lagoon, camping, watch the gigantic fruit bats or go dipping in the sulfur pool.

Passed by the viewing deck going to DSB overlooking a wide stretch of terrains and plantation.

Coffee at La Guada cafe. It’s a cafe resto with a marvelous view and guests can also stay overnight. They have a variety of rooms that could accommodate just you, a couple or family or you can opt to bring a tent, set up camp, make a bonfire and grill some barbecue. Can also go river trekking with their local guides.

Capped off our day at this pine tree haven in DSB.

Best times always with family.

 

xx

DMV

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Birch tree sisters go to Bohol

November 16, 2018

It’s an inside joke, you won’t get it.

Long overdue bonding sesh with my cousins, finally got the chance to do an out of town trip after 3 years!

Photo set | Bohol

Left Bacolod for Dumaguete at 3:00am to catch the 9:50am trip for Tagbilaran.

If you bring a car, travel time from Bacolod to Dumaguete is 4 hours (with coffee in between). We took the fast craft to Tagbilaran ~ Oceanjet takes almost 2 hours from Dumaguete and fees are P700 for tourist class and P1,020 for business class. Trips are 9:50am and 2:30pm daily.

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Day 1

Arrived Bohol just in time for lunch. Soooo hungry.

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Since we still had half of the day to kill, we went to a couple of tourist spots in Panglao before heading back to my aunt’s place in Maribojoc.

Passed by this old church (forgot the name) that has a well inside, Mama Mary’s well they call it, where they get holy water. I think this was built in the 1920s, I’d have to verify with my cousin since she was the one who got a brochure of the place lol. Very pretty interior AND the ceiling was hand painted by someone.

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Bee Farm

Just ate ice cream here actually. They moved their colonies to a different place since they opened up accommodations and kept one for demo purposes. Bought honey to bring home.

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Hinagdanan Cave

Amazing how this is so well maintained! And the water is so so so clear.

Day 2

Loboc River

Tried the Loboc river cruise, early lunch for us so to avoid the crowds. We had a good boat, it had a deck and was sat with a good view, great for taking photos haha.

Wildlife and Nature Park

This opened 5 months ago, fairly new, just a few meters away from the tarsier conservation and they house around 25 exotic animals. Will definitely be back with the kids next time.

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The famous tarsier Bohol is so known for, these were wild and we found two in the area

 

Chocolate Hills

Another must see when in Bohol, was once declared as one of the seven wonders of the world. More than 1,268 cone-shaped hills spread over an area of 50 square kilometers or more and vary in size from 30 meters to 120 meters in height.

After going around these “mandatory” spots, we headed to Henann Resort to check-in and just in time for sunset and happy hour.

Happy hour by the beach, unlimited steak buffet at Amorita Resort and night swimming at the hotel.

Dinner buffet at Amorita Resort is P1,100 net, inclusive of taxes.

Day 3

Woke up to breakfast and ate until the buffet closed haha.

Was supposed to go dolphin watching and island hopping this day but we decided to just savor the hotel amenities and laze by the beach.

Already planning to go back in December with the kids. We fell in love with the place for sure.

We left late afternoon to go back to my aunt’s place and to this feast! Everything was soooo fresh and soooo yummy, I couldn’t stop eating!

Day 4 | Homebound

Took the 7:30am trip from Tagbilaran to Dumaguete, bought silvanas to bring home and lunched at Royal Suites for some bulalo steak.

Same rates apply to Oceanjet trips from Tagbilaran to Dumaguete. Schedule is 7:30am and 12:30pm daily.

So good to have spent the weekend with family, major sepanx already.

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Let’s plan where we go next!

 

xx

DMV

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Kids’ day out

July 4, 2016

Instead of throwing a party, me, my sister and her husband decided to take the kids to theme parks in Manila for Lily’s 2nd birthday.

 

July 1 – MNL Bound

All set! So many firsts for these kids.

From the airport we went straight to Enchanted Kingdom.

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Nice that we still got to avail of the weekday rate plus government discount plus student discount.

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Happy birthday Lily!

Enchanted Kingdom rates here.

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We had Lily’s birthday dinner at Mandarin Sky complete with birthday cake and Tagalog birthday song (haha).

 

July 2

Mark took the boys to buy car parts up at Banawe and had them try Mamonluk.

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Then we met up with fam for Lily’s birthday lunch,

And went to Dreamplay at the City of Dreams in the afternoon.

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Tired chipmunk (haha).

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Dreamplay rates here.

Sneaked in a couple of slots at the Casino while the kids were playing (lol).

Dinner with fam at Dampa and went home at exactly midnight.

 

July 3 – HOME

Our flight was supposed to be at 5:30pm but was very very lucky to be chance passengers for the noon flight. Yay!

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Such a great weekend! Kids really enjoyed, weather was really good, flight was a bit bumpy but we all got home safe and in one piece. Thank you God, thank you universe and Happy Birthday Princess!

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xx

DMV

 

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Oh October

November 6, 2015

That month when family was almost complete.

First up, my cousin’s wedding. Just some random photos.

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Special thanks to:

HMUA – Jan Nicole Puentevella Uy
Coordination and Event Styling – May Lee Wedding and Events
Photography – Digital Arts Photography
Video – Yellow Light Studio
Cake – The Cake Room
Photobooth – Mike’s Photobooth
DJ – Leandro Zayco
Acoustic Band – Aire Band
Host – Dani Dingcong

Official Photos and Videos:

Digital Arts Photography:

Photos

Onsite Photo

Yellow Light Studio:

Engagement video

SDE 

Next stop: chill at La Vista Highlands

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La Vista Highlands Resort

Eco-Translink Hwy, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental

+639228680463 (Manilyn) or +639173216704 (Albert)

Next Stop: Dumsville! Haven’t set foot since God knows when and finally.. Was supposed to go whale watching in Oslob but weather did not permit us so we stayed in Dumaguete City instead.

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Last stop: Pura Vida, Dauin

That much needed beach escape.

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And I’m missing my cousins and the rest of the fam already.

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xx

DMV

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A day at the farm

April 3, 2015

Holy Thursday at the farm.

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Time well spent with loved ones.

xx

DMV

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