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I will always LOVE you!!

 

MOA Eye, vinneve foto

I found this quote and somehow it is true for me.  “A HOME is not a place, it’s a feeling!” which is why I keep coming back to my birth Country, THE PHILIPPINES.

No matter where I go and lived, I keep coming back to my roots and of course, my old friends and remaining family and relatives are mostly living here.  This is where I experienced a very good childhood though we are not rich!  A childhood that was gadget-free but full of real knowledge about the world we lived in.  A warm welcome every time that I keep coming back for more!

Taal Volcano, Tagaytay, vinneve foto

Wind Residences, Tagaytay, vinneve foto

We spent our time in Tagaytay province in Southern Luzon.  Just 2 hours away from Manila depends on traffic.  It’s always my destination for relaxation and family bonding where my father can spend his time with his only grandchild.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the City.  Manila is BIG. Where I grew up PARAÑAQUE (click the link to know more) also a big city that is part of Metro Manila.  Tagaytay weather is cooler than Manila.  Fewer people, less traffic.  I love the feeling of being in the provinces because of their laidback way of life.

Rhapsody Residences, Muntinlupa City, vinneve foto

After 10 months of temporarily living in Muntinlupa City (above and below photos), I felt connected with this City (South of Metro Manila).  So yes, obviously I came back here for the second time. I found new friends in 2017 that make it worthwhile to stay here.

Landmark/Festival mall Alabang, vinneve foto

“HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS…”

S Maison mall, beside MOA, vinneve foto

I recently discovered this mall which is very handy connecting to a Convention Center, Conrad Hotel and SM MOA (one of the biggest malls in the World).  It’s smaller compared to other malls but it is spacious and lots of branded products.  They are hosting 2 tourist attractions which are:  DESSERT MUSEUM and LAKBAY MUSEO (will post next time!)

SkyRanch, Tagaytay, vinneve foto

Aerial view of Manila, vinneve foto

I cannot understand why I feel sad that soon I am leaving again as this is only a quick vacation (with a purpose).  I guess I will always love this country no matter what.  I agree with our national hero JOSE RIZAL quote He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”  

So for all former FILIPINOS whether legally you are not entitled anymore, surely will agree with me… I will always love you, my Philippines!  We are happy and proud when we hear something good about you and sad when we hear bad words about you.  There is no perfect in this world.  Even to a place where I will come back to after this.

PAALAM, Adios!!

 

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Heydar Aliyev Museum, Azerbaijan

Finally!! I know some fellow bloggers have been waiting for this. Sorry, it took me longer to have time to write as some of you know… I have my own business now to take care of. If you be kind to browse LIKE and share my website I will truly appreciate your support. http://www.evemerchstore.com

Alright, back to blogging 😂.  For some of you know where we’ve been last July school holiday, Azerbaijan was a nice surprise for us and I have 2 posts before this so please check them out if you haven’t done yet.

Heydar Aliyev Museum is a beautiful, very clean and spacious museum with full of things to discover and yes lot’s of photo ops so be ready always with selfies or two-fies with your loved ones. The architect of this building was the famous woman ZAHA HADID who also built the Abu Dhabi famous bridge – Sheikh Zayed Bridge, among other things and places around the World.  As per The Guardian of London, she was the “Queen of the Curve”.  Her biography is also a great thing to read about. Just click the link on these names and it will bring you to another tab to read for later because you have to finish my blog first haha!

You perhaps can now sense why she’s the “Queen of the Curve” isn’t it obvious as shown in the photos above? 

The Museum is fascinating! I guarantee that you will learn a lot! things that you never heard before or known things before this. For example like they have so many dolls there as below.  Some are weird and some are really interesting!  I remember I did recognize a few dolls there that perhaps I have seen either in books or a movie?

Below are the places that we didn’t get the chance to visit in Azerbaijan.  This is just a miniature what more if you see the real-life size of these buildings?!  I cannot put it all here so there are some more in my album that I cannot share here, sorry.

If you are going as per the hop on hop off tour bus better make sure you ask the driver for the arrival schedule at the museum.  Have 2-time options as it can take more than an hour to see it all plus they have a nice garden coffee shop on the ground floor but I don’t recommend if you are really hungry.  Only little snacks and coffee.

It’s best you see this for yourself one day.  They are really worth the trip when you are in Baku, Azerbaijan.  I hope you like this post for all those who love museums like me.  Thanks for your time, like and the comment will be much appreciated. Cheers!

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My business and leisure

“Our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  by Walt Disney

It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to be successful in life.  At a very young age, I already have a goal in life, thinking ahead and hoping my dreams will come true!

After I resigned at the peak of my career in favour of family togetherness, I have experienced a lot of things in life, but mostly the ups and downs of emotional struggles about who I am back then compared to who I am now.  Comparing life living in different countries, different cultures and how to fit in.  

Fast forward, God is very good to me.  All my hardships in life paid off.  When there’s a struggle there is prevail in the end.  There are some good and yes there are some bad too but hey, life is like that.  Nothing is perfect in this world.  There is a famous line here in New Zealand that we Kiwis love to say… “If life throws you a lemon, make a lemonade!”  and rightly so… I am making lemonade and trying to sweeten it with my courage and ambition in life as well as trying to do what is best for our family.

So now I am presenting to you the fruit of my labour.  The fruition of my dream since I left my career to wonder and wandering around in favour of family life.  With this, I can still feed my hunger for being creative while doing mommy duties & occasional travel.

I am asking all of you, my dear readers, to help and support me spread the word about my online shopping business and I hope you may try one or two products, that would be great!!  Get online to: https://evemerchstore.com/

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See you all there!!  Thank You very much.

NOTE:  I am doing some changes in my store (end of the season) and changing my products at the same time.  So you cannot see much of it at the moment… sorry! 
From date today onwards… (until further notice) October 21 if you’re up there in the Northern part of the World and October 22 if you are the same hemisphere as we are in the South (Oceania).  FYI.

 

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Destination: Azerbaijan 🇦🇿

“I wish travel therapy was covered by my health insurance!”  by anonymous

Sightseeing, discovering other culture, taste their foods are always our agenda every time we go travel. But we’re surprised to know so little of this country.

Azerbaijan was under USSR and like other neighboring Countries they became independent.  So many places to discover and here I show you some.

Baku Airport(HeydarAliyev), vinneve foto

Discovering around the City of Baku

  1. The Flame Tower

2. The Maiden Tower.  Discover what’s inside.

3.  Discover the old world inside their medieval walled inner City.  Every alleys speak of history.  You will be amazed there are some similarities in Europe!

 4. Around Fountain Square.  Yes so many fountains around though I don’t show it here but I save those for later.

5.  The View on top  6.  Heydar Aliyev Museum. More of this awesome structure on my next post as it deserves it’s own limelight. Please wait for it.  Cheers!

7.  Milli Park at night is full of people with friends & families enjoying the sights and foods with so many restaurants around catering to locals & tourists.

8.  The Carpet MuseumYou will see this inside Milli Park. Beautiful architecture!   9.  And these are the places we haven’t got the time to explore, sad to say.

10.  The foods are mixed with some Asian and Arab spices.  Although mostly a Muslim Country, you can order some alcohol even in some restaurants inside the Park.  Surprisingly, they also produce their own wine!  They had a thriving wine industry dated back in the old days, second millenium BC.  Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to taste it but I read from one blogger that it has a sweet taste and she likes it very much!

Will I go back to Azerbaijan?  I would love to!!  But for all those who knows my “life story” so far I cannot say when, as our life seems in constant change!  Be it fortunate or not it depends on the person reading all my posts.  For now… I am grateful to be a wanderer.  My love for travels cannot keep me in one place only.  FOLLOW me and you will see some of my adventures ahead.  Thanks for all the follows and the casual checking from other bloggers.  I do appreciate it.

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Surprisingly! Azerbaijan

Not many people know this Country, they called “The Land of Fire”  unless you’re aware or good in history or geography like Mr. Hubby. Anyway, it’s never in our plan but yes surprisingly this place is AMAZING. So many things to discover!  If you for some reason can’t go to Europe, this is an affordable & nearest destination to be coming from the Middle East or Asia and AustralAsia or for us… we ticked all these boxes!

This is one of the best option when it comes to budget and travel time as it’s only 3 hours flight from Abu Dhabi.  Yes we came back just for a visit (school holidays) as hubby still working here.  It didn’t dissapoint us as this is our quick family bonding since March.

Azerbaijan is in Central Asia actually but the feeling when doing sightseeing is like you are in Europe! Amazingly I can see some similarities of every cobbled alleys to Italy and Switzerland. Their strip of boutique stores & hotels are similar to Paris as well as their hilly leafy side roads. Their building structures are both European and Russian influences as this Country used to be part of USSR. There’s more that surprises me is that majority is Muslims but they’re more open as if you are in Europe itself (within reason, no short shorts of course!) Sure, there are some women in their abayas but mostly they come from the neighboring Arab Countries and they also love to visit Baku according to some.  Their money is called Manat while in the UAE is Dirhams. So we always convert whatever we buy into dirhams to differentiate each and we found that some items like foods are a little cheaper in Baku than Abu Dhabi. Taxis are also cheaper but it’s not metered you need to haggle (just like in some parts of Asia!) or better ask the hotel reception or a local how much is the usual fare to and fro and agree with the driver before you enter their quaint cute violet cab or a converted normal car to a taxi. There’s Uber of course but we won’t be staying longer so if within 3-5 days we are ok to go and pay the usual taxis everywhere. They are either stationed outside hotels or tourist spots otherwise you can easily hail them anywhere. If you are planning to stay longer than 10 days asked the hotel or anybody to help you register otherwise you will be banned to come back here. I find that some tourist go Countries hopping because Azerbaijan is in the middle bordering Georgia, Armenia & Kazakhstan.

Baku City is surprisingly beautiful both old & modern architectural design adorned the City. Lot’s of historical sites within the City as well as the developed huge Milli Park where locals and tourist like us enjoyed strolling by day and night as there’s a huge modern mall and some themed Park fun activities for kids to enjoy! They have a very  long stretch of  bayside to stroll.  At night the Park becomes vibrant and lively with full of different colorful lights and landscapes and yes it’s relatively safe as long as you have your wits with you! It is interesting to discover Azerbaijan particularly Baku City. You must come to experience this yourself. Do not be afraid to explore other Countries you never heard before. Besides, there’s a blogger always there to discover it first so better check any information so you’re not totally ignorant about it.  I did, but I’m still surprised about this beautiful place, not to mention the Summer weather is so good. I can tolerate the peak hours heat and when the night falls it’s cooler that you may need a scarf or shawl otherwise it may be too cold for comfort especially strolling along the bay facing the Caspian Sea.  It can get very windy!

Stay tuned for more information on my next posts. I will feature every spots we went to and their significance. Thanks for the likes and comments if you have done so. Please click the FOLLOW button if you want to know more of our adventure Life as an expats, repats & travel addicts!

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Another home away from home!

Going back to Abu Dhabi after being away for more than 3 months makes me realized that I am actually missing my good life here as a mom and as a person. It took me awhile to adjust (not that easy) but I did and I started to be happy! I was busy with lot’s of things going on around me. School events, volunteering, watching my son doing his sports, meet ups with 3 groups of friends, family time, even errands I find it good as it’s my me time to be alone and do some houseworks and I do love cooking, little luxuries in life  (that we cannot do in NZ) like some brunching (in 5*hotels) with friends and family, theme parks, fine dining and more travels.

The lifestyle here that I became adjusted to really makes me wonder why life keeps giving us a crack after I finally settled in.  So yes, we’re back to New Zealand and so many things had happened while we were away for 4 years!! Life is not the same anymore or perhaps I am not the same anymore. (Sigh!)

Coming back here in AD for a quick visit so our family can be together again.  Life sometimes sucks being an expats but it also gives you a lot of opportunities and new perspective in life that we didn’t know before.

So shall we go back for longer period in the land of the desert and opportunity?  I don’t know.  Guess I just leave it for the fate to pick us up and go with the flow. It happened before so I won’t be surprised if it happened again.  So far all I know is… this is another home away from home!

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Hotel review: Novotel Lakeside, Queenstown NZ

 

 

backside of hotel fronting the lake, vinnevefoto

This hotel serves like a second home to us almost every year visiting Queenstown since living in New Zealand and before we leave last 2015. Now back home of course we visited first our favorite place & stayed in this hotel. It’s good for families though we saw a lot of groups filling up a big tourist bus. The hotel is fronting the lake, playgrounds & the Park. If you are keen to walk thru this Park there’s a way to Botanical Park so it’s a long walk indeed but full of beautiful nature and fresh air.

Restaurant, Parks and the Lake, vinneve foto

The bedroom and the views.

NovotelLakesideQtwn, vinnevefoto

Balcony viewNovotel, vinneve

Just a walking distance to a lot of tourist spots and restaurants.  It can get pricey so better book early as comes peak seasons this hotel can get full. If you are a member of Accor like we do they give you free welcome drinks and can enjoy it beside the fireplace.

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QtwnGondola, vinnevefoto

I have so many photos but I cannot put it all in as I need to save my space for later.  So this is it for now.  Thanks for reading and checking out my blog, appreciated.  Cheers!!