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Glitters in Black Gold

This is in response to the Daily Post: GLITTER

Fortune is like glass - the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken. - Publilius Syrus

True.  Be careful what you wish for, for it may come true… it depends on who you are or who you will become to be when you get what you want in life.  Some become greedy and want more.  Some are just practical and just taking the opportunity as it comes and some just think that their life will never change be it good or “best” here in the land of opportunities.  Come to think of it… this is not permanent.

Life as an expat here in the desert with full of black gold (Oil) can come as a fairy tale to many.  From having lavish brunches, villas that look like a mansion, fast cars & so many benefits that included in salary package that you never had before back home.

Fame and fortune never stays for long. Beware… life is like a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel that goes up and down.  Not all that glitters are gold as what the old saying goes.

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Global village, Dubai. vinneve photo

Perhaps it is best to save some for rainy days.

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Destination: Zurich, another home.

 

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Zurich old town

Now may I continue my blog about our mid-year holiday (sorry backlog) from my husband’s turf this time.  From the south of Switzerland, see this for LUGANO and LOCARNO for the past blog. We head back to our base which is in north central of Switzerland famously known for as Zurich.  Just a few hours near the border to Germany.  Obviously, they speak German here but their dialect is Swiss German which has a softer tone and every City like Bern (Capital of Switzerland) also have their own. I have been to both but will focus about Zurich for now.  Our holiday was not about being a tourist.  We came because we have families and friends there so I will show you around as what the locals usually do and where they usually go.

We came back just in time for Swiss National Day (August 1st) and it became very festive late afternoon to midnight.  The feeling is similar to New Year Eve’s party! so yes there was some food stalls, overflowing of beers, live bands, dancing and fireworks and Swiss lanterns for children to hold on to.  We went to 2 different locations and the one below are the place we have stayed until midnight.  It was a different feeling as I am the only one in the family who is not a Swiss… yet.

 

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bonfires for Swiss Nat’l Day, vinneve photo

Lots of parks around Zurich and this one is just 10-15 minutes away from our place near Uetliberg (famous mountain and park with a panoramic view of the entire city of Zurich and the lake). 

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Wildnispark Langenberg, vinneve photo

 Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg is huge and good for people who loves to walk plus there is a mini zoo everywhere and perhaps judging by the looks of the photo below you now understand why “wildnispark“?  The wild deer freely roaming the other side of the mountain and just a short fence that separating them to us while walking.  Even the bears are just a few metres away from us.  We got lucky they came out from the forest (as last time 3yrs+ ago we didn’t see any of them) and now the mama bear have some baby bears to show off!  😉

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Wild deer on the way to the other side of the park, vinneve photo

Now since I mentioned about Uetliberg, here are some photos from our previous travel. Photos may not do justice to it as I have an old simple digital camera on hand.  Please click this LINK so you will know more about it from their official website.

I have a fear of heights so I didn’t dare to go up on this tower.  My brave son and his grandpa did though although I may say it is hard on the knee for an old man to go up this high using just a stairs… it shows how much his love for his grandson to please him.  Below pics are some of the beautiful sights even on the ground if you don’t want to try going up in the tower.

Do not worry as there are some restaurants from the bottom of the hill as well as up there.  You can either go by train or by car to go to this place.  

It is really better to travel around Switzerland with some locals so you will enjoy some tourist spot but not crowded and something that is not usually on the tourist priority list.  Come and follow me as I still have some more to post about Zurich, Basel and Zug.

For the meantime, why don’t you check and click the link to my other post around Switzerland on this LINK1, LINK2 & LINK3.  Thanks and see you again next time.

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Aesthetic beauty near Taal Volcano

This is in response to the Daily Post Challenge via Daily Prompt: Aesthetic.

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”  by Alfred North Whitehead.

Before going up north as per my earlier post under this LINK, we head down to the South of Luzon.  TAGAYTAY is one of my favorite destination in the Philippines.  The second summer capital of the Country.  The beauty of nature speaks for itself.  

Can you see that?  It is the 2nd active volcano in the Philippines see Wikipedia. So many stories about this volcano that killed thousands of people as early as 1572.  Even my late mother told me a gruesome story of what she knows from the story passed from generation to generations.  A volcano inside the lake within a lake. Interesting.

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Taal Volcano, Tagaytay

We visited Museo Orlina as I always love museums and have been to many Countries that are famous for their museums so finally I saw what this can offer.  It is a simple one but it is enough for the family even with kids to explore the grounds and it’s art inside and out. 

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Museo Orlina exterior facing the volcano, vinneve photo

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Museo Orlina garden, vinneve photo

These are just a few to show you.  You better go and see it for yourself to really enjoy the beauty of  Mr. Ramon Orlina art, it is better to see to appreciate it. There’s also some vintage cars in the garage and perhaps not many people know about it as it is hidden underground.  Here you go!

Aesthetic and natural beauty indeed.

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My Daily & Photo Challenges thru our holidays in Baguio, Philippines.

ANTICIPATION of pleasure is a pleasure in itself” by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

This is true.  Just a few days before we go to our holiday back to my birth Country I was dreaming of going here and there. Somehow by day dreaming about it I can almost feel the pleasure of what I hope to expect.  Hoping that it will be better than before. Well, sort of.

I was seeing myself RELAXING and just overlooking this beautiful surrounding, eating warm freshly made strawberry taho, (silken tofu with syrup either with strawberries or the original vanilla caramelized brown sugar plus a sago. Taho is rich in protein that you can find a vendor where there’s a gym nearby and of course around residential areas mostly in the morning) see this LINK for a photo, sweet purple yam (Ube), and other fruits, smelling some fresh air… 

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Then suddenly I have to wake up to the realization that, hey! it’s a holiday and so more people abound everywhere and we cannot do anything about it unless we go to a secluded spot where few people can go but alas! we chose to be in a famous place for tourists and families so yes, here it is folks.. people everywhere!!

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crowds @Mines View Park, vinneve photo

Going up north to BAGUIO after X’mas I thought will be a good idea but no, people are still in holiday mood and tourists go to the same place that I want to go too!  It’s been a long time since I have been in these places and while the bus was CROSSING the bridge I found some interesting view.  Happy children playing, swimming, FLOATING in the little hole that’s left of the lake or river I am not sure of as it is now being reclaimed.  Nevertheless, it is always nice to watch outside the window and see the landscape that I already forgot and some interesting people along the way as our bus trek up the winding road to the mountains.

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kids swimming, vinneve photo

While walking to go to Mines View Park, I have noticed this tree that was UNSEEN by many.  An art delicately carved into it seems to express its freedom. I guess not many people are looking up to see it but I did and took the opportunity to capture it though may not be in the best light to show it.

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Art tree, vinneve photo

Lot’s of interesting photos of old houses tucked behind some bushes and even an eerily looking abandoned house that INVITING you to look what’s inside if you dare!

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abandoned house?..vinneve photo

Anyway… at least something that is worth my time and effort to finally come to these places though it’s crowded, it eased away from the uneasiness when the family is around enjoying the AMBIANCE and seeing them happy, cherishing the moment together till the next holiday to come.

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On top of Mines View Park, vinneve photo

Thanks for viewing!

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Holidays, festivities and fiestas whatever you call it.. it sounds FUN!

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What makes Christmas and New Year so special?  

It is a time to celebrate with loved ones and far far away friends and to continue good memories with them.  All I know I am happy remembering my good old childhood years and celebrations like this made me go back to some happy years of my life!

You bet, I went overseas to spend again these holidays with them so please wait while I prepare some post though I have promised some backlogs trips (Switzerland) mid-year last year.  I hope you won’t be confused which one is a recent trip but, here are some teaser for this recent trip celebrating Christmas and New Year in the Philippines!  🙂

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Every mall around the country has X’mas decorations!

My favorite destination as I keep coming back to TAGAYTAY.  The 2ND summer capital of the Philippines (South).

 

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On top of People’s Park, Tagaytay. Vinneve photo

 

 

The 1st summer capital (North).

 

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Burnham Park, Baguio. Vinneve photo

And of course my good times in my own province in Batangas but most of it are private photos but I have some older post LINK here if you are curious.  Same good old feelings of my childhood.  Same people who love me even if I only see them once a year or two. This makes the occasions more festive, more fun and storing it in my son’s memory bank.  I want him to remember the other half of him… half Filipino and feel the love and unique as he can be.  

 

I wish YOU all a Happy New Year and thank GOD for all the blessings coming your way!

Cheers!

 

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Random views around Zurich

As per my recent post about our last trip in the South of Switzerland in this LINK, here I show you some views around Zürich.  It may not represent a lot about the City but I hope it will get you more curious until my next post.  I am short of time as these past months I become so busy with so many happenings and events we attended but I assure you I will post it here as soon as I can.  Watch this space. 🙂

One thing I am amazed about Zürich is… it is a City surrounded with mountains and very nice view indeed!  We stayed somewhere up the hill and I love it.  Only a few minutes and you are already down the town.  I will show you around next time, promise!

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 near the City Centre, vinneve photo

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The Lake Zurich, vinneve photo

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The bridge to go over the other side of Old Zurich, vinneve photo

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Somewhere near Zurich via train, vinneve photo

 

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The beautiful lake of Zurich, vinneve photo

 

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Somewhere in Zurich, vinneve photo

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Somewhere at the back road we went for a drive, vinneve photo

These are just a teaser.  Hope to see you next time when I have more time to spare!  In the meantime why don’t you check my other post about South Switzerland or other travel destinations under Categories or go check monthly posts if you have more time, I will truly appreciate it,  Thanks!

Tschuss!

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Discover Challenge: Finding Your Place

via Discover Challenge: Finding Your Place

I always see a quote “FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE” somewhere, anywhere.  But what if the place you thought was a happy place is not within your reach at the moment though you can choose to be in that happy place but would it be really a happy place without someone to share it with?

THIS WAS MY HAPPY PLACE.  Sometimes it is not that easy to stay if you are alone and your obligations place somewhere else.

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AKL City, vinneve photo

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PIHA, AKLNZ, vinneve

Current Place: A place for an adventure, Luxuries in life, Opportunities & feeling ambivalent at the same time.  A mixture of everything.  Still finding my place…

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MTop2, vinneve photo
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Locarno, warmest town in South Switzerland

Finally,  I am writing this late post now from previous travels last July and August as I have been so busy the past few months and so I can only participate in some quick and easy Photo Challenges, see previous post on this LINK and this LINK and so on, if you care to know more then you will make me happy if you all like it.

LOCARNO, is located in South Switzerland under the canton / region of TICINO just like LUGANO (see the LINK 1 & LINK 2 previous post to learn more)…  It is obvious that from the name itself it sounds Italian and yes, they speak Italian on that side of the border.  It is very near Italy as I make way traveling to MILAN as per this MLINK1 & MLINK2 I hope you would like those posts too!

Since we have a very long family vacation so it is a must that we rent a house to cater big families and that means 3 families in one house! Yep, must be a big house indeed.  But unfortunately, in Locarno, it is harder to book in advance for 3 families and we only get good for 2 families.  Just us and the parents in law, cheers! 😉

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View from our veranda

And now without any further ado… here are some beautiful photos we took while there.

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Veranda view while having breakfast, lunch or dinner. Vinneve photo.

You can see another angle of this church at the edge of the rock on my other post thru this LINK.  Feel free to check on it while you are here.  Click the photos to enlarge it.

If you are in Locarno you better visit ASCONA.  It is a small town under Locarno.  Some of you will probably have seen this place if you are fond of watching movies in cinema and thinking like “I wanna go there!” just like me haha!

Look how nice the place is for tourist though I am not sure if the residents will like it since it may be too crowded for them but good for the economy!  A long time ago, my parents-in-law said that people who visit here MUST wear formal clothing for dining or just strolling beside the bay view or browsing some antique and art shops in every alley.  Good thing they have changed it now to accommodate the modern generation as you well know nowadays, some tourist are just happy to stroll around in short shorts etc.  But never fear…I am always ready for that as I know Switzerland can be unpredictable.

I hope you have enjoyed some photos and thanks for your time reading and/ or browsing! Please be with me for the next post (when I have the time) about Zurich as we finished traveling from the South to go to North of Switzerland and around the City of Zurich. You can see most of our travels from the Category: Travel and Leisure OR browse my other categories for older posts.  Come travel with me slowly but surely 🙂  Thanks heaps!  Ciao!

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Photo Challenge: H2O in the Middle East

via Photo Challenge: H2O

This is in response to the Photo Challenge: H2O

I thought it would be nice to showcase some beautiful places I been to with water background.  I have read it somewhere that if you dream about water it can symbolize obstacles or deep depths of whatever you are going through right now.  But it is matter of you overcoming it and a fight to win!

I would like to show you some beautiful places around the Middle East with a body of water “H2O” around them.  Let me know what you know about these Cities by commenting.  Cheers!

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Al Ain Zoo, Abu Dhabi UAE. vinneve photo

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Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi fronting Yas Viceroy, vinneve photo

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DUBAI, Marina Bay, vinneve photo  

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DOHA, Qatar. vinneve photo

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Would you believe this is the DEAD Sea? It’s in Jordan. vinneve photo 

Unfortunately… I didn’t get any sea view photo from my previous travel to other Middle East destination.  Sometimes the weather (humidity or sandstorms) doesn’t permit you to take some nice photos!  So I leave you a nice quote below …

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Shopping destination: Milan, Italy

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, vinneve photo

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Exterior of the “Galleria”

Oh, MILAN !! What are you thinking when uttering this words?  Yes, shopping!

It’s a shopper’s delight, a fun and exciting place to go to especially in the month of July-August as I happened to find out by chance.  I always pay a visit (brief holiday) to my cousins living in Milan while I am in Europe, but it turned out it’s a strike two!  Yahoo!   🙂

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Yes, Indeed!!  from pinterest.com

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II.  A 18th Century structure, and yes! expensive restaurants and famous stores are inside.  It is easy to get to this place because of the METRO (Red/Green/Yellow lines subway) and so cheap compared to Switzerland, but of course, depends on where you are staying. Also, it is near the Duomo.  For me, I have to board a bus first then go to the Red Line. It will cost you as little as 1.50 euro for a day if you use it within 2 hours then you can even return home for just that single ticket including the bus, just don’t forget to scan it on first boarding.  For me as I have to go several times it’s best to buy a 24hrs which cost 4.50 euro for 24hrs. Like Switzerland, Milan Metro is also reliable and fast.

Of course, expect heaps of people around you and so this is not for weak heart or people who get dizzy easily because even in the early morning it tends to be overcrowded.  Also the fact that it is so hot at times!  You must have a bottle of water with you before you embarked yourself into a shopping spree.  It was up to 70% SALE on most items of all branded clothes in all department stores as far as your eyes can see.  So you can get a bargain from 3-8 euro only for basic shirts and blouses for most of Ladies & Men’s clothing etc.  This is a good bargain and the best gifts for X’mas for your loved ones.  Actually, buying clothes in a souvenir shop around are more expensive!

There is one sadness of it all, though… for every 5-10 steps, there are some beggars around asking for help.  Some are young and I wonder are they trapped and cannot go home?  Or is it just another stint and after dark, they are partying? haha!  Sorry can’t help to be cynical sometimes as it can happen you know.  Seriously, I cannot control my heart for feeling sorry for them (Oldies) and the last-minute I see I almost got drained of coins (I got heaps of them! Feel guilty of shopping without giving you know!) which are very important to have when traveling in a foreign Country not having English as their first language.  I happened to be a victim of not having a coin when I arrived the last time and yes, a handsome Italian student came to the rescue!  Otherwise, I will be in trouble bursting my bladder.  There you go for a tip.  🙂

Of course… Milan is not only for shopping.  Lots of architectural building and Museums and a Castle to see plus the Parks and yes foods!  Family in Switzerland loves Italian food by the way.  They are very grateful that Italian came to migrate and bring their dishes.

Before I go I’ll leave you another funny picture quote!  

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Next stop, Sightseeing around Milan on my next post.  Then back to Switzerland in Locarno so hope you stick around and wait for those.  

Grazie!

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Jump & You will see…

via Daily Prompt: Jump

This is in response to The Daily Post: Jump 

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions”  by Benjamin Franklin.

More than a year ago we were living in the beautiful Land of the Long White Cloud but almost live in somewhere else before the other opportunity unfolds as quickly as the snow melts in a hot sun.  Some people are shocked to understand why we have chosen to come to the Land of the Desert & Opportunities instead of The land of the Giants .  

As per the quote above and my older post LINK here… you gotta be quick when opportunity knocks on your door.  Not everybody can have this chance in life!  Let’s say it is the best chances we’ve got over the two “lands”, besides this is only temporary.  We will go back as soon as we finish here.  Try to be patient and be positive that’s the name of the game.

So why not JUMP in?  Besides….

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Cheers!  thanks for reading.  🙂

Photo Challenge: Edge. Sasso.

via Photo Challenge: Edge.  Sasso.

Madonna del Sasso.  Located in South Switzerland Orselina above Locarno, in the region of TICINO.  A famous place for pilgrimage, where in the year 1480 the Virgin Mary had appeared to the vision of Brother Bartolomeo d’ I vrea and was built 7years after that.

For more story behind this church,  please click this LINK  sitting at the edge of this sacred rock mountain.  Sasso means rock.  

 

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Madonna del Sasso-Orselina, vinneve photo

 

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Mt. San Salvatore, Lugano Switzerland

There is a cable train nearby to go up the mountain just a walking distance to Novotel Lugano where we have stayed before moving on to our holiday house with the whole families (mother in-law’s side).  You can click this LINK  from the previous post to know more.

Some men preferred to go UP by this cable train “Funicolare” one way and descend either with their mountain bike or by foot.    They must know what they are up to so Goodluck as it is really steep!  I do admire their strength and bravery!

To know more about going to this place please click this LINK.  There are some mountains you can also visit but we prefer this one at the time thinking we have our little boy with us.  

 

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On top, it’s worth it! vinneve photo

 

THE STREET VIEW ON TOP, LUGANO

 

Next stop… LOCARNO another beautiful place in South Switzerland Region of TICINO. See you again next time!  Ciao!

 

 

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Daily Prompt: Complicated & Confused Switzerland vs. New Zealand

via Daily Prompt: Complicated

via Daily Prompt: Confused

Now that our long holidays are over… a piece of advice from some relatives and friends keep on bugging me and it is so hard to choose.  Really it is not that easy!

How can you choose between the HOME you come to love and missing so much and the other ONE that is very similar in looks yet far different in characters, values, and life but family wait?

Yes perhaps some of you who come to really know both Countries will find it hard as well to choose like me.  Both have their own merits and demerits.  It is almost poles apart in geography and I find it is indeed CONFUSING and/or COMPLICATED.

Perhaps I will wait until I get a sign from above?.. WISH.

NEW ZEALAND

SWITZERLAND

So now I leave you the quote below… Up to you if you agree.  Feel free to give some nice comment and let me know how you well know these two beautiful Countries and which one will you choose and why?

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My Daily Post Challenges in Switzerland

I am currently away on holiday with the family and visiting relatives from one Country to another, and I thought it’s better for me to do some unique way of joining the Daily Post Challenge.  I have some good themes that I specifically chosen and will connect to our holidays.  I hope you will approve and enjoy some photos and makes you dream and start to wanderlusting beautiful places on Earth.  It is never too late.

July 30th Admire – Please click the link about the place for more info.

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Zurich on top of the hill of LINDENHOF where it all began…

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Paintings from the outside walls of Fraumunster Church

July 28TH Unstoppable – These are the photos from our journeys via Regional (more stops) and fast train (express) and then finally to final destination in Zurich, Switzerland.

July 26th Shared Journeyswith families or VIP are the best!

July 25th Sanctuary – for me a place that makes you feel at home.

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Locarno, Switzerland

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July 24th Clock

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St. Peter Church

July 22nd Cherry on Top

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@Zurich

There isn’t any cherry on top literally BUT it made our holidays more especial by celebrating a birthday even it means eating a cake three times within a month as we celebrated it with relatives in 3 different places.   

July 21st Carefree  

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Birds have freedoms too!

July 19TH The Things We Leave Behindare the places that marks some happy moments into our holidays.

July 19th FEASTyour eyes with some burst of colours everywhere

July 14th STORM

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After the STORM in Locarno

We spent some family times in Locarno and though the storms came you can still see the beauty of the place.

July 13th Journey  

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Our late afternoon train journey from Locarno to Zurich

We are continuing our journeys and exploring the beautiful Country of Switzerland.

Thanks for your time!

The Door’s Castle

This is in response to The Daily Post:  The Story Behind a Door.

 

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Larnach Castle, Dunedin New Zealand

We were here in June 2014.  Just me and my small buddy which is my son.  Had a great tour around the grounds and the castle but yes in every castle there is a story behind a closed door.  So much history and it’s up to you which version of the story you prefer.

If you like Paranormal then click this LINK to know about what is happening in this beautiful small Castle in  a breathtaking surrounding.

If you just want a normal/ regular tour and history then click this LINK.  Surely you will not be disappointed and perhaps if New Zealand is on your bucket list then you would not want to miss this chance to go to Dunedin and  see for yourself the famous castle.  The more the merrier so you can also enjoy strolling around the grounds with your friends or loved ones. I tell you, there are so many photo ops in this location. Ehem! Peter Jackson? 

If you just want information or other FACTS then click this LINK.  What else? but my favorite Wikipedia.

At the end of the tour… stroll around the garden (top hill) and appreciate the simple beauty outside.

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At the hill, garden, Larnach Castle Dunedin, NZ

 

Thanks for your time!  Until next time 🙂

 

 

Near enough, Pure bliss.

This is in response to The Daily Post: Photo Challenge: PURE.

Utter contentment is my heart longed desire. PURE. SIMPLE. JOY.

Soon we will see you again. FAMILY. NATURES. SIMPLE yet ELEGANT life.

 

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Switzerland, vinneve photo

 

Update July :  See our past travel destinations HERE while still continuing to some places in the beautiful Country of Switzerland.  Thanks for viewing! 

 

 

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Arts at the (Emirates) Palace

PORTRAIT OF A NATION was on display when we decided to visit the Palace finally!  I was excited as the last time I tried to visit we didn’t get in without any prior booking to a hotel or one of their many restaurants.  I guess there was an event going on that time and/or fully booked and cannot accommodate an additional guest without permission. So here we go and see how luxurious it can be to visit and admire the Palace from top to bottom and how nice it will be to dine here, though I warn you to bring a bigger wallet if you get my drift?  Anyway… why not splurge once in a while since you are here in the luxurious Abu Dhabi emirates!

FYI for Abu Dhabians or visitors … there will be a new photography exhibition about retracing the footsteps of the Bedouin women and the journey is retold through the arts.  Please visit: womenheritagewalk.com  Or just go and visit the Palace from May 31st to June 14th.  

There are some great details that my poor old camera cannot capture so bear with me.

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The Ceiling!

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Different soil from the 7 Emirates

We saw a lot of interesting artworks on display but I cannot post it all here.  It is better to see to believe and you will appreciate it yourself.

THE GROUNDS OF EMIRATES PALACE

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Beautiful landscape & fountains surrounded with high rise buildings!

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Comfy seating outside

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So many lights!

 

 

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Enjoy walking with your loved ones beneath the lamp posts!

Thanks for viewing and see YOU again next time!  🙂

 

At Home
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Daily Prompt: Whisper

This is in response to The Daily Post: Whisper.

“Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper.  Life’s always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a SCREAM…”  by Oprah Whinfrey

Missing you a lot…. wish it is easy.

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This is TRUE.

So I better end this with….

 

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Destination: Ras Al Khaimah (RAK)

One of the 7 Emirates of UAE.  Here’s the LINK for you to know more about this rugged beauty.

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different soil and colour from other emirates

Hubby finally had a short break from work and our last escapades before the start of school (last week) so yes this is a late post indeed.

The Accomodation

With a nice view of the Golf course when you open your window or veranda

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Serenity at your doorstep

The Surroundings 

Some tourists from Europe mostly from Germany.

The sister hotel (5 star) as we only got the 4 star.  You can access the beach by coming to this place and enjoy the beauty of this luxurious hotel.  You might get confuse if you see the Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort side by side with  the Waldorf Astoria hotel which is among the luxurious hotel nearby. Here’s the photos.

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Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort

May I add that RAK is more conservative than Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so please mind what you are wearing.  I have seen the locals giving a negative look at the woman with a boyfriend in tow holding her shopping bags, who was oblivious of her “dress code” in short shorts!  Remember ladies, you are in a different culture than yours so please mind your manners and clothing.  If you respect their cultures they will respect YOU too.  Just a friendly reminder.  It reminds me too when I first arrived in Dubai and on Ramadan season I have seen a very daring clothing from some Women who doesn’t bother to read the signs from the doors of every establishments and even on hotels leaflet see this LINK to my old post please check it out if interested and want to learn more about the life here in UAE.

Anyway this saying goes….

pinterest.com

Thanks for your time reading this.  🙂

 

 

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Daily Post Challenge: Contrast

This is in response to The Daily Post – Contrast.

” Contrast is what makes photography interesting.”  By Conrad Hall

A few collection of photos from my previous travels.  No filter just using a simple camera.

 

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Paris, France

 

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Sydney, Australia

 

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King’s Park, Perth Australia

 

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Marina Bay, Dubai UAE

 

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Qatar, somewhere in the City Center

 

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Kumue Farm Show, Auckland NZ

 

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Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi

 

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

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Mt. Santis, Switzerland

All photos are mine.  A great travel experience while taking these simple photos, I hope you LIKE them.  Thanks till next time!  Cheers 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abu Dhabi: Activities Galore!

If feeling blue and need some actions then head outside and look for some activities that are currently on offer in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  To be honest my son and I needed this to be sane especially in this school holiday season!  I have compiled some events that we went to and still on-going.  So hang on in there. 🙂

PUT IN ON THE RITZ... “If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go to fashion sits? puttin on the Ritz”.  Have you heard about this song? well we didn’t dressed fashionably for the occassion, besides there is no dress code for this Venetian Festival.  Of course as what the song inspired for … The Ritz Carlton AD Grand Canal website is HERE for you to peruse as my photos and other details may not justify the beauty of it.  I only use my dutiful Samsung mobile cam.

Anyway, check out the photos and you decide for yourself.  There are many restaurants lined up inside the Venetian Village and the view is the opposite of my earlier post that links HERE please check it if you haven’t seen it yet. The festival is now finished but you can visit anytime and may I suggest this is another “romantic avenue” you can go to.

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One of the many restaurants lined up inside the Village

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Now to the next one… MON “Mother of the Nation” website is HERE for more details and yes you can still GO as the last day is tomorrow from 4pm-Midnight.  For other readers people here are nocturnal so we have to learn and adapt this way or you will miss the FUN!

Yes lots of activities for young and old. The problem is the looooong QUEUE!!! for the duration that we were there (4:30-10:30pm) unfortunately we have only been to 2 activities to my son dismay.  Perhaps we went on the wrong day or it is what it is because it’s school holidays and though this events has been going on for about 2 weeks now there is no decline of people going but the location is huge so you don’t have to worry about bumping with each other.  There are some live shows to watch and we have enjoyed it at least we were sitting down nicely.  Do not worry of getting hungry either, lots of stalls and they even have a restaurant set up on the scene for people who don’t want to eat with the crowd with a beach set up table and chairs.  I find our food delicious (chicken paratha) for ten dirhams!  Up to you if you are good in scouring the long stretch of the beach to find a good deal.  I am used to doing so when I travel to South East Asia.  Here are the photos.

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LAST but not the least… International Motor Show Abu Dhabi 2016 link is HERE for more details.  Last day is tomorrow April 2nd and the venue is in ADNEC where you can always find some activities to go to every month.  Another form is from the informative ABU DHABI WEEK magazine free for all every Thursday in AD.    My son loves motorsport so it’s no brainer that we have to go and visit this and make my son happy.  He is only 7.

There are some more to see and do in Abu Dhabi but I guess I have to stop and only showing the ones we went and will go to.  For all adrenalin junkie out there, there is YAS WATERWORLD and of course, FERRARI WORLD and not to mention the coming theme park WARNER BROS. construction is now on-going in Yas Island and expected to be finished by 2018.  Still long to go but hey, at least, something to look forward on to, yey! Yap this is in response to Dubai new theme park which is also under constructions and will open in October hopefully!  LEGOLAND AND BOLLYWOOD PARK.   Gosh so many! how about the small to medium entertainment?  I cannot count anymore, sorry.  I am excited like a KID.

I leave you now with some smile on your faces, I hope!  and knowledge is POWER!

Thanks for reading until next time.  Cheers!

 

 

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Sadiyaat Island & it’s Turquoise Sea

Yes, our next family adventure goes to this currently developing island near Abu Dhabi City.  Though we are not too far from this place (approx. 30 mins. away) we still don’t find the time to get here so finally last weekend I managed to persuade the hubby to drive to here without any plans just to have a look around and what it can offer.

Sadiyaat Island means “Happiness Island” in Arabic according to my fave Wikipedia. 🙂  To know more about this beautiful Island please click the LINK here and I am looking forward to coming back again when we have more time to explore the Island and its international standard beautiful beach where the endangered Hawksbill Turtles return annually to lay their eggs and the only unique Grey species of mangroves that can only be found in the UAE.

Our little troll peanut, accompanying us to our destination.

We managed to stop and admire inside the very posh St.Regis Sadiyaat Island Resort.  It is surrounded not only the pristine Turquoise sea of the island but also a golf beach club and gosh! everything is like so luxuriously simple for people who can afford to do so.

While admiring the view… why not have a cup of coffee or tea on one of their many lounges, each has a different theme.  Up to you which one you prefer.

Have a great relaxing school holiday for those parents like us and wander away!

 

 

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Destination: Qatar

Late post.  One blogger knows I should have posted it several months ago, as I have met her there, Hi Tiffany! 🙂 but I thought I could wait and perhaps come back there again for a longer trip but it never happened so I resigned and here it is now posting.

I cannot say much about Qatar but I do love the airport as it is really beautiful and has an award to prove it.  Also some unique and interesting buildings around and their famous landmarks. Nevertheless, we have enjoyed our family time and also hubby’s business meeting.  Not sure if we will be back there this year, though.

I had an earlier post about our Hotel review in Qatar please check this LINK.

Pleased to present to you QATAR.  Just click the photo to enlarge and thanks for your time perusing it.  Again, thank you! dear readers, for your time checking my new post.  Until next time, cheers!  🙂

THE AIRPORT – there is a dedicated area for kids and even us parents liked to hang around.  The whole airport is spotlessly clean and very easy to get around in.

 

AROUND THE CITY

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THE SOUQ WAQIF (Souk/ Market)

 

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Window of Opportunity

This is in response for the Daily Prompt: WINDOW

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”  by Tom Peters

 

Dunedin

Overview of Dunedin, NZ (from one of my domestic travel around my home Country)

 

That is why we are here in the land of the desert. PERIOD.

 

 

 

 

In France

Unforgettable Misstep in Paris

This is in response (though I am very late to post this, sorry!) to the Daily  Prompt: Misstep

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Gare de Lyon Train Station, Paris

It was a very memorable and unfortunate day of September 2013 that I will never forget as for the first time in years I thought my 5yrs old son will be in a terrible state when he took a wrong step on the pavement in front of Gare de Lyon.  It was like a slow motion seeing it on the movie when it happened just  hours before we depart.  I cannot believe it, I thought it’s nothing until I saw his blood gushing on his lower part of the left lip.  Unfortunately, his misstep caused us an instant panic and inconveniences.  He got a very deep cut under his lower lip and it even the doctors get worried that they need a specialist to see him before they can decide what to do and finally after cleaning him up and taking care of his cut we are just lucky to be on time for our 4 O’ clock train ride to Zürich, as you can see from the picture above when I took it was quarter to 1pm so we went to have lunch.  It was an hour before the accident!  Now I wonder why my photo seems gloomy.  Perhaps a sign of what was to come.  A misstep that makes me understand about “humanitarian aid” or sort of.

First, as some of you may know that French is not fond of talking in English, PERIOD.  I do not know the language and just using my brain to understand some words here and there as we go. It is not too bad, just pay attention and look for some landmarks so you won’t get lost as the signage are mostly written in French and of course the good old fashion of hand signals and logical thinking.  Few people are of great help and some just as if they’re blind, can’t be bothered to help or get involved which I understand.  It’s a long story to tell so I won’t bore you with the details.  My hubby told me I have a memory of an elephant which I take as a compliment haha!  🙂

Needless to say, we learned a lot from this experiences.  Fortunately after more than 2 years finally his scar is “almost” gone.  Perhaps someday we will go back again…. will see.

“Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.”                       by Susan Taylor

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Destination: Dubailand

It was sunny but amazingly cooler weather (than now it is getting warmer!) when we went to these places a month ago just 30 minutes away to Dubai City Centre and only less than 2 hours away from Abu Dhabi.  So yes it is not too traffic going there even though lots of cars are heading the same way like us.  The roads can accommodate us easily, but be warned better to use a GPS as so many exits that you can get confused and missed the exit to both.  We went to Miracle Garden in the afternoon then Global Village at night as this particular themed park is a must at night to see the glorious lights of each villages.

I wonder what had happened to these places now since the recent BIG storm that hit both Cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  It is rare to even have a rain in this desert country, what more have a storm!  but alas, it happened and lots of people were shocked.  I just hope both themed parks are still ok so other tourists and local residents can still enjoy while we can still walk under the sun!  Please click the images to enlarge.  Enjoy!

MIRACLE GARDEN

GLOBAL VILLAGE

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So many choices of foods but the one I take fancy is the Turkish sweets.  I like it so much if it’s not expensive I can eat a whole box of it by myself! 🙂

So what are you waiting for?  Go now and enjoy!

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The Daily Post: The Road Less Traveled

This is in response to the daily prompt with this LINK.

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”  

Well… where shall I begin?  so many things in my past that I am thinking that is appropriate for this theme. 

OK let me begin with the 1st time I have traveled alone overseas in my early twenties. Perhaps my life will be very different if I didn’t take that chance.  I will probably be staying in a place where I used to feel ok but not satisfied and not looking for much growth and success.

In my late twenties… If I succumb to my stupidity of “love is blind” then I am most probably be in a desperate and unfortunate situation where I have lost a lot of chances.  I am so glad I took refuge of knowing GOD is still with me and finally, my eyes have been opened to new possibilities of a different life that I much prefer.

Recently… not even a year ago.  IF we decide not to pursue the big opportunities that come our way to be where we are at now in UAE then perhaps we are in the comfort of our own home, same routine everyday… not a lot of future prospects and a bit unsatisfied. Perhaps we will only blame ourselves why we pass this chances.  BUT who knows really??

photo credit: pinterest.com

 

 

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Chinese New Year in U.A.E.

UAE is very open minded to other cultures and traditions and so we also celebrated the Chinese New Year Festivals.  Every malls and hotel have their own gimmicks to attract the people’s attention.  So here are the two places in Abu Dhabi that we went to last week to joined in the festivities!  

Please click the photo to enlarge.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get good shots on these Abu Dhabi locations as it is crowded and unlike our last CNY Festival in Auckland, NZ last year … there is no event coordinator who can tackle this issue so everybody can have their fair share of the views. Perhaps I cannot compare it to NZ as there are so many Chinese living in NZ and China brought their own dancers from mainland to perform the shows to be more authentic.

YAS MALL @ YAS ISLAND

THE GALLERIA @ AL MARYAH ISLAND

 MALL OF EMIRATES, Dubai.   Incidentally…we are at the right location and right time when we see these acts.  Sometimes you don’t have to expect something then it happens!

2016 is the Year of the Monkey so it is inevitable that there’s somebody dressed in a monkey suit “monkeying” around their show as per photo shows.

Thanks for your time!

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Destination: Jordan – religious journey or just a trip?

I am really behind in doing this post but I think it is a better time to do it now since The Kingdom of Jordan is now in the limelight and I want some readers to know how generous this Country to help millions of refugees from Syria.  The other way to show appreciation and to help their countrymen is for more tourists to come and enjoy what this desert Kingdom has to offer.

Some of my dearest readers already have seen my post about the HOTEL in Amman that I reviewed but for some who doesn’t… please feel free to click this LINK.

Now for activities that we crammed up in one day, as my husband has a meeting the next day so we haven’t seen enough and hoping we come back again and finally see PETRA.

Here are our activities that we planned according to location and nearest to each site starting just after breakfast and finishing up just in time for dinner at the hotel.

MADABA TOWN – (Wikitravel.org) A small town in Centra Jordan, located South of the capital Amman.  It is best known for “Madaba map” a 6th-century mosaic depiction of Jerusalem and parts of the Holy Land.

St. George Church – A 19th Century Greek Orthodox church.

MOUNT NEBO – This is where prophet Moses died. I feel lucky that I never thought I can come here in my lifetime but here we experienced it and feel the sacredness of it.  It is an important place for Christian pilgrimage.

Mt.Nebo as seen from the East photo credit:Wikipedia

In the Bible

Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land…. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendents.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day on one knows where his grave is. –Deuteronomy 34:1-6     (words quotes credit to : sacred-destinations.com)

The Stones and the surroundings on top of the mountain.

Then last we headed for DEAD SEA (It is the lowest point in the World at 1,269ft. below sea level) as you can see the landscape changes as we drive further.  

At last! seeing the sea itself is no different to any other beach visually as it is stunning especially on a weather like this but the fact that you will FLOAT even if you don’t know how to swim is amazing!  Some people put some mud all over their face and body before going to the sea, as they say, it is much better to put it on because of the high content of the salt in it. They said the sea has also the ability to cure several diseases especially skin diseases.

File:Dead-Sea-Floating.jpgThe hypersalinated waters of the Dead Sea make it easy to float and almost impossible to sink, according to Wikitravel.  Photo credit to Wikitravel.org

Then finally, we bid farewell to the place and hope to come next time!  On the way we turned back to go to the hotel, we found this lone camel happily munching its dinner.

I hope I inspired you to come and visit the Kingdom of Jordan.  Thanks for reading!  🙂

 

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vinneve photo, most photos are mine unless it stated and credited

 

 

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Philippines: The Countryside

TAGAYTAY CITY

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Picnic Grove, Tagaytay vinneve fotos

One of my favorite place to go out of Manila is Tagaytay City.  Cool but warm people welcoming you as they are used to so many tourists both foreign nationals and locals flocking to their beautiful City which is also one of the many provinces of the Country.

“Allow NATURE’s peace to flow into you as Sunshine flows into trees”  by John Muir

I always go to provinces and enjoy LIFE and SERENITY it brings.

PICNIC GROVE – Park, Picnic & Adventure.

SKY RANCH – Fun and adventure for the whole family

Places nearby.

BATANGAS CITY

This is my province on my mother side.  I am much closer to my relatives here so I am always visiting whenever I am in the Country.  Batangas is famous for beautiful beaches and rugged forest.  Here a glimpse of where I spent some of my childhood memories with my cousins and many relatives.  It changed though as nowadays the same road that I walked through when the road is made of lava stones are now a busy concrete road to a famous resort and to other “Barrio” district/suburb.  I found out that a big Corporation is buying out some big lands here and I knew having a land here is like having a goldmine so it pays to keep it for the next generation to enjoy than have this Commercial giant owned some pieces of it, nature will not be the same again.  As the younger generation leaves for Manila or abroad it is sad but it is inevitable this might happen.

And here where I spent some of our days with my favorite aunt who also takes care of me while I was a child.  Lots of foods to go nearby… pomelo, papaya, kamias for sour soup and I consider this as a fruit as I ate this so much when I was a child. So many fruits and vegetables here not to mention that Batangas is known for it’s coffee beans.

Kamias, also called bilimbi, cucumber tree or tree sorrel  photocredit: Wikipedia

And yes this is TRUE… for me at least.

 

photocredit: M.Robles/quoteslife143.com

I hope you like this post and please do comment, much appreciated. 🙂

Also please do not copy the photos without crediting me or mentioning my blog.  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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Philippines: Manila Activities

 

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Photo credit: Wikipedia click this link for more info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_Bay

To get some words from Lonely Planet, Manila sums up   As well as outstanding sightseeing, visitors who put in the effort will discover its creative soul – from edgy galleries to a lively indie music scene. Combine this with a penchant for speakeasy bars, artisan markets and single-origin coffees, it’s clear to see Manila’s not only one of Asia‘s most underrated cities, but one of its coolest.”

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/manila#ixzz3ydNqf8BX

So many things to see & do just in Manila what more if you get out of town?  Manila has a lot of options to all types of traveler.  For me, I have to think about my 7yr old son so you cannot find here anything about nightlife etc. those are for singles. The only nightlife I can do is eating out, malling and yes festivals & theme parks. Here are some of the photo’s I can share with you but please do not copy them without crediting me and this post.  Thank you!

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS @MOA (Mall of Asia) – Lots of free entertainment from all the malls and one of the famous are to be found in SM MOA, Bay City near Manila Bay.

MAKATI CITY TOURIST ATTRACTIONS – Aside from being the business district and has 3 huge interconnecting malls, with lots of bars and restaurants nearby, they also have the Ayala Museum for the whole family, a Park and lots of X’mas decor you can take a photo ops. We don’t have a lot of time so we only have these to show.  Being there for 3days is not enough but for my budget’s sake, it will do.  I find these two items below interesting. Most of the Filipiniana dress are made of Pineapple fiber and this makes it more expensive but beautiful isn’t it? And the nice wall frame I would love to buy but I don’t have enough space in my bag, pity they are very affordable compared to overseas.

 

CITY OF DREAMS MANILA / DREAMPLAY – This is for the whole family especially for kids who love to interact while playing.  You can buy a minimum of 2hrs pass and yes no foods allowed inside which is standard in any theme park though this one is inside this magnificent building which also housed three resort style 5star hotels (Novu, Crown & Hyatt), a “boulevard” of branded products for the moms and of course, a Casino for dads. Please see this link on Youtube.

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City of Dreams.vinneve photo

 

Museo Pambata – This means Museum for the Kids.  Unfortunately, it was closed when we arrived.  We can only take some photo outside.  This will be a must for next time as my son and I love museums wherever in the World we may be.

Art In An Island – They have a mini booth inside the Megamall and we gladly take some free shots though it is not as good as the real one in their location in Cubao please check this link  from AmusingPlanet.com so you may see what I mean.

 

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Manila Bay view from my hotel

At the end of the day, we go back to our hotel to where we are staying at that time as these activities are located in 3 different locations so I have booked 3 hotels as I have mentioned in my previous post.  Please click this link to read my reviews.  Just in case, you will visit the Country and it’s your first time then, at least, you have an idea where and what to book.  

UPDATE:  I recommend this blog for people who are curious about PHILIPPINES.  She is an expat from the USA and now living in Manila and I find her travel journeys wonderful especially for a mom like me as she is too.  Nevertheless, you will find out some fascinating places in the Philippines so please check her blog thru this LINK.

On my next post, it will be about “The Countryside”.

Also, please check out my page under category RED PLANET (hotel ) for a good budget hotel for all types of travelers especially going to some Asian Countries.  You may find it helpful and I do recommend it as I have experienced them myself (even before they have contacted me to do a page for them).  🙂

Thanks for your time reading this, much appreciated.  🙂

 

Destination: Philippines, old sweet home

This is true.

But I do love coming back to my old home, my birth country to see all my loved ones, relatives and friends who stay true to me all these years!

Christmas time and New Year makes it more special, more fun and more exciting in the Philippines.  Reliving the culture that I was grown up to, respect, love and happiness.  I love seeing the familiar faces so happy to see me not because of my gifts (that I am sure of) asking us about our old life, new life and new culture here in the UAE.  Over feeding us with so many dishes you can see on their long table until your stomach hurts. I miss those foods as it is uncomparable to where we are now.  I miss the laughter I hear from my friends and family.  The “Family” that can extend up to the 2nd degree of consanguinity!  I miss being a child as I visit every house of my aunt and uncles so many of them I cannot count on my fingers, playing with my cousins and for my child now playing with his 2nd cousins really bring some sparks in his eyes and sadness too when it is time to say goodbye until we meet again.  

Festival of Lights @MOA

Oh, how can I forget the love and sadness of their faces until we meet again?  I do love coming back to my old home.  Going back there reliving good memories of the past, I am blessed to have a good childhood and I thanked my parents for that.  Now I want to do the same for my son.  Though we don’t have family in NZ and now UAE, if we can help it we go overseas to see them and being in the moment and storing it in his memory bank that will last a lifetime.  Being an expat this is the only thing we can do to include families in this special events and into our life and creating good memories growing up.

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“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree”                 by Roy L. Smith 

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The Fast & The Curious

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“Today’s menu has two choices, TAKE IT or LEAVE IT”  

We almost made it to the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for its quarter-final race but unfortunately, for some reason the “precious” tickets were taken back a day before we attend (mistake from the sender) so we feel like as if somebody snatch our lollies away!  Well, it is more valuable if to be resale for those avid fans of this sport or some VIP that is desperate to get this.

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Give me back my lolly!

Unless you are lucky enough to have booked in advance for this event at the Yas Viceroy Hotel  (below photo) overlooking the Yas Marina Circuit which is perfect for people who is ok to watch at a distance (but still good enough) at your own leisure.

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Since the ticket was so expensive so we choose to opt out and hoping for next time.  There are other similar options for seeing the FAST cars thru Ferrari World.  Yes, you can have an exhilarating action thru a roller coaster (the fastest in the World) yourself compare to seeing the Ferrari’s race thru the circuit.  Plus the car display to view and other accessories you can buy.

And some malls have their own displays of fast cars too! Except the other one below which is made of LEGO haha!

Or to view a real life size of Transformer? FYI Optimus Prime as above.

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do”  by Walt Disney

There is no short of events here in Abu Dhabi as long as you are curious enough to know where and when it is happening.  It is fun and learning at the same time and it is also easy on the pocket.

Previous events: International Hunting Exhibitions at ADNEC and down below was the Science Festival at Mushrif Central Park & the AD Educational Council much earlier events about ROBOTICS on how to build your own robot.  Much to my surprise, my son’s team won the Bronze!

My son’s fave TV program is TOP GEAR and he can name the expensive car there is around especially the fast one, have ridden a camel and a big horse without fear,  he is also a keen explorer and curious enough to attend a Science Fair.  I can say he is “The Fast & The Curious” boy available around town and I am a happy mommy!  🙂

Thanks for reading!

** FYI, please check out the link in blue for more info IF you are curious.

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Adventure: Desert Safari

I have the luxury of choosing what I want for my birthday present and this is what I have chosen.  Since arriving in UAE I wanted to do this and this month is perfect to do it since the weather is cooler and Abu Dhabi is a windy City so it adds to feeling “Winter”.  It may be different to what you know about winter, but it is definitely cooler than summer here in this part of Middle East.  This season is a much preferred by expats as it is not too hot nor too cold unlike in the opposite side of the World where it’s snowing or raining!  Oh yeah, I prefer the weather here now.

Here are the photos and I hope this can inspire you to have the same adventure.  There are a lot of travel agencies who can help you with this and what theme you prefer as I have chosen the “Family” so it suits us, especially with a young child.

Don’t be fooled with these hilly sand dunes they are higher than you thought. Riding a 4×4, you will need a good driver.  Lots of bumping along the way and it feels like in a roller coaster when our driver goes up the hill and down.  A novice doing this sort of thing can easily make the car roll on their side or worst upside down, and I say if you are not an expert in sand dunes better not risk going up the hill to show off then ending up with the quad bike on top of you.  Some anyway are driving on a low hillside.

Riding a camel is a MUST no doubt about it.  Even a 7yr old child can ride so it is safe though the height is greater than riding a horse.

Sand boarding is also good to try.  Don’t worry there are some staffs who will help you to get started… pushing you down below the sand dunes!

Falcon show and Henna tattoo are also part of the program, Traditional clothes you can also wear and lots to choose from at your own leisure while waiting for your turn for the activities.  Arabian coffee & dates are included and eat as many times as you like plus the dinner buffet is the typical Arabian BBQ that makes you feel hungry by the smell of it.  You sit on their Arabian dinner table & comfy cushions surrounded by Palm trees and Arabian music then a complimentary show about UAE by the end of it.

Belly dancing and shisha can be offered by other agencies.  Your choice.

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