Sunday, January 13, 2008

At Home for Christmas & More

nothing beats in making my DH & i happy than being with our families. so when i learned that he bought for us pal promo tickets for the holidays, i was rather ecstatic. but a week before christmas, i found out that what we had were business class seats for the manila-tacloban route.

i consider myself a frequent flyer, but have never experienced business class, ever. on dec. 23, i realized that with the fare almost 4x the promo rate, comes many amenities like: no more queueing at the airport entrance & check-in counter, a business lounge to while away pre-boarding time with free internet access & buffet breakfast *LOL*.

i so love the mango crepe...yummmmy!

the feast didn't end at the business lounge, for aboard the plane
awaits a sumptuous breakfast.
i tell you, i am just used to the usual crackers *another LOL*.
after a 1-night stay in tacloban, we headed to home-sweet-home on dec. 24.

after celebrating 2 christmas parties: at my in-law's & ours, our family re-lived a christmas tradition: family portrait on christmas morning. ahhhh, i looked forward to this while i was young, i mean the girly young.

what is sad is that 9 family members are in far-away places. back home, we were a minority. and while we are used to dressing up to the nines for our christmas picture, we went laidback this time.

our backyard is so perfect for our christmas morning picture

on dec. 27, my DH & i, with my BIL & his family, & 2 SILs & their families started our un-planned travel to cebu via ormoc. our group of 7 adults & 4 kids were just enough the hired van from tacloban to ormoc (1.5 hours). in the nick of time, we boarded a huge boat, m/v heaven star. we occupied 2 cabins so that we can take a rest during the 4 hour-sail, but with 4 hyperactive kids, i wasn't able to shut my eye.

i was impressed with the physical facility of the boat. it's very unlike the boats in the '80s.

cool food court

no waves at all

what's so funny about our 1-day & 1-night stay in cebu is that, we weren't able to move around historic spots 'coz the kids' butts were glued at the malls *sigh*. the good part is that we were just enough in the huge family room of royal court business hotel adjacent to ayala mall. talk about bonding time at its best.

while lazying in our beds on our first morning in cebu, came the idea to move to bohol. so to bohol we go on board the speedy supercat (2 hrs.). i was surprised that pinoys were a minority on the supercat lift, a big number of travellers being foreigners. that speaks well of bohol's tourist promotion.

at the port of tagbiliran city, bohol. first impression: it's clean.

we were fetched at the port by a tourist van we hired while we were at the supercat boarding area of cebu pier.

the van was to tour us around bohol for 8 hours. from the port, our first destination was the majestic chocolate hills, and passed by the man-made forest and a private garden where we viewed tarsiers. from the tarsiers, we headed to a private house where my companions viewed a phyton in captivity. i said my companions 'coz i did not dare look. eeeew. we also dropped by the historic baclayon church and shopped at the aproniana souvenier store. we were too tired to go further, thus, the next stop was bohol tropics resort hotel for dinner.

we were not told that food service takes ages at bohol tropics. my DH & nephew couldn't hide their disgust. taste verdict: not good, either.

we at least hoped to stay at bohol tropics for the night. but there was no more room *sigh*, so we settled at the nearby hotel la roca, which is not as physically pleasing as bohol tropics.

after a much-needed sleep, i was again ready for a city tour.

by noon, we were at the pier back to cebu.

after 2 hours, we were in cebu. as we planned to take the boat back to
ormoc later in the night, we went straight to sm cebu to deposit our luggages.
a traveller's lounge is such a cool idea. huge hotel savings here.

by 10pm, we were headed to ormoc on board m/v heaven star, this time we took the suite room. and yes, all of us 9 squeezed in there. bonding time once again *LOL*.

my niece bea was too engrossed w/ her tarsier experience.
she climbed the pole all by herself!

to get myself to sleep, i took a peek at the only souvenir item i have of cebu: a cheap-y pocketbook i found at sm cebu booksale. now i can say i just bought a book in cebu *LOL*.

indeed one for the books

we reached ormoc by 2m of dec. 30. after a 1.5 hours road ride, we were at my SIL's house in tacloban. w/o being told, the kids continued their sleep, much to our relief. by noon, we headed back to home-sweet-home to welcome 2008 with our families.

during my sister's bday party on jan. 1, came the idea to visit our great-grandfather's island, around 5-minute boat ride from the town. the visit happened in the morning of jan. 2.

i so love the virgin green of the island....
....& the pristine waters facing the pacific.

3 male cousins took the challenge to find food, as if to relish how our
great-grandpa survived in his lonesone at the island. true enough,
barely 30 minute after, they came back w/ these:

by 3pm, my DH & i were on the road to tacloban. almost halfway to our destination, our tire blew. it could have been easy to replace the tire had the tire wrench been A-ok. but it wasn't and it was getting dark, and rain was starting to fall. fear struck. as if an answered prayer, the occupants of the only house nearby offered help to find a tire wrench in the next barrio. 2 hours after, our blewn tire was replaced. thanks heavens for kind strangers. lessons learned: check your tools & pray more.

who would have thought this huge tire would blow?

early morning of jan. 3, we were bound for manila, this time, to fly ordinary *LOL*

it was a 12-day breeze, and my only disappointment is that i wasn't able to finish the album i intended as christmas gift for my mother. now, i have yet to finish my 12 days of christmas mini album, and i have accumulated again holiday pictures to scrap. so help me God.

as i unfold our tree back in makati, my thoughts of the year that was
continued to play on my mind. i thank the Almighty for His many blessings,
and i continue to pray for His guidance.