26 January 2011

Let's go to the beach!

One of the primary things in my checklist while vacationing in the Philippines is that we should spend a day at the beach. It doesn't have to be Boracay, any other beach will do. It's just that I find the waters at Wellington quite cold and I longed for our warm waters.

This almost did not come to fruition but thanks to my good friend Leo, who started planning the trip when he learned that I wanted to go to the beach. We soon found ourselves in a rented van enroute to San Fernando, La Union. Yipee!

I'd like to share some photos from that trip.

The really nice photos were taken by Leo, which I currently do not have copies of, unfortunately.  Will post some when I get the chance.

We had so much fun!  Thanks Leo and friends!

20 January 2011


It's something that every Filipino kid remembers from their childhood: asking for small change from the parents or older siblings or from the "unfortunate" uncle or aunt who happened to drop by the house, and then run off to the sari-sari store to buy sweets or a toy.

I wanted Jo-Lo to experience that as well and so when his pamangkin (nephew) was asked to buy some eggs from the store, I decided to let Jo-Lo join in and buy things he likes from the store.

"Pabiliiii!" Gumatang ak man!

Good thing I joined them because they forgot the eggs; they went straight to the cookies and candies!

Bayad po!

Off we went to the other store to buy more goodies!

(Actually, I also enjoyed this little excursion. haha)

14 January 2011

our ZestAir experience

When we were planning our itinerary for our Philippines vacation, we have already thought about taking a plane going to Baguio City.  However, our research has revealed that our options are really very small.  Only one, in fact.  And that is, to fly to La Union and take the rest of the trip by land to Baguio.  And even in this instance, we have only one option: ZestAir (at this stage, SeaAir's route to La Union was not operational).

I googled for news about ZestAir's service and unfortunately most of the news we read as not favourable.  Delays mostly, and postponements to schedules that were nonexistent.  And so we were deliberating on doing the Victory Liner route instead.  But when we spotted a travel agent in the mall, we decided to give ZestAir a try.

The lady in front was also taking photos of the plane... perhaps she's also a blogger...

The flight was already 2 days away and so the tickets were already a bit pricey.  We managed to get one seat at 1,300+ but the two other seats were already at 1,700+.

To make long story short, we arrived at the domestic airport two hours before departure as advised.  We had a five-minute boarding delay because of aircraft maintenance, and a further 10 minutes delay because of airport congestion.  But apart from the 15-minutes delay, the trip was smooth sailing.

As a budget airline, food has to be bought.  I read somewhere that since this is owned by fruit juice corporation Zesto, there is unlimited juice served in the plane.  I'm too lazy to search for that article again, but this is not true.  You have to buy the food on board.

We also had nice and friendly stewardesses.

We also read that there is a complementary shuttle trip to Baguio.  We requested for this when we checked in.  And sure enough, a van was waiting at La Union to take us to Baguio.  That was really very nice.

We had a pleasant experience with ZestAir, and we look forward to another smooth ride when we take their service going back to Manila on 28 January.

ZestAir's website is at www.zestair.com.ph

The only thing I could not forget in this trip... and this is not ZestAir related... is that a middle-aged lady tried to cut-in the line in front of me when I was queued up for lunch.  She had with her her two grandkids who are apparently from the US because they were conversing with an English accent.  I asked her, "excuse me, nakapila po ba kayo?" to which she replied "Oo, kanina pa".  Which was a blatant lie because I have been in the line for over 15 minutes already at that time.  I said "I don't think so" and I moved forward.  Ang kapal ha.  Teaching her grandkids to cut in line and thinking she can do away with it just because they're from abroad.  I wish I could have taken her picture and posted it here.

06 January 2011

Balikbayan (part 2): Malling in a wheelchair

We were going to the Mall of Asia (one of the largest shopping malls in Asia) primarily to watch a movie in iMax. So after a quick lunch, we were off to MoA.

Even though we knew it was the peak season as people are in a fevered pitch to shop for gifts and spend time with the family, we were initially overwhelmed by the huge crowd! Sure, MoA is quite huge, but the crowd managed to fill every nook and cranny just the same.

So that my wife will not get tired with having to walk all over the mall, I decided to rent a wheelchair for her. The rental place is near the skating rink, the cost of which is P180.00 for the entire day.

I learned about this wheelchair rental service from Toni's Wifely Steps blog. It's really nice having this in such a huge mall. We met a number of people also on wheelchair, so I guess business is brisk. You only need to leave a valid identification and pay the fee, and you're off.
Look at the name of the wheelchair service... what a coincidence!

As you can see in the above photo, there are even fun carts for your kids!  It can be such a hassle when your kid gets tired and you have to carry them the rest of the day.  P180 is sure worth it just for the convenience.
The mall was in full Christmas swing!  Very busy and lively.

I was concerned about where to leave the wheelchair when we're going to watch at iMax but a quick inquiry from the guard revealed that they actually have space allocated for such stuff! I left the wheelchair with them and I was given a stub for claiming it back later.

We watched Tron: Legacy on 3D. It was awesome. Jo-Lo watched intently the whole time. When I was trying to get his attention to see if he was sleeping, he leaned over and whispered, "Daddy, just watch the movie, ok?" and then went back to staring at the screen.

We had a fun day at the Mall of Asia.  Next stop: Baguio!

to be continued
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