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Taal Volcano, Philippines

 

It’s with sadness that I am writing this to you that my favorite holiday destination in the Philippines is now experiencing hard times. You probably heard by now in the news that Taal volcano in the Philippines erupted but still on alert level 4 which means we are all waiting for it to fully erupt to level 5. No, we really don’t like it to happen but it’s inevitable and will happen one day! It’s even harder waiting as the more it stalls the longer the people cannot move on with their life!

img_1044As you can see… Taal Lake is big and the volcano resides in the lake within the lake. A very unique feature and lots of tourists were amazed by the beauty of it close up. From riding a horse to hiking it and eventually seeing the crater with your own eyes and it’s a very green sulphuric lake which one vlogger LINK experienced it, an experience of a lifetime. I don’t think I will do the same thing as it’s scary for me even though the volcano was calm at the time. But nobody knows that just after a week… it will get angry and gives a frightful smoke and thunder within itself not coming from the sky.  As of today writing this, the green sulphuric lake has now dried up!

Another fact that in our days we knew that the Taal volcano is that “Binintiang Malaki” as shown and taught in our school.  Lot’s of people are now debating about this today that why only the old people (who are survivors of the past eruptions) know about the truth?  Why they haven’t corrected us that the real Taal volcano is the one sunk in the middle which you can’t see from afar? (see above photo).  This past week we learned a lot about this small volcano.  There is a saying “small but terrible”.  It may be small but it is one of the deadliest among other volcanoes in the World (fully erupted).

Unfortunately, most of my relatives from my mother’s side we’re living within the radius of the danger zone which is within 14 kilometers around the famous lake & volcano. That province is called Batangas. It’s so beautiful and full of nature. I had an old post LINK1 & LINK 2, about it if you want to read it too.

It’s a great thing that FAMILY is a big part of our lives. It’s a big deal and I am proud to say that we are a close family up to 2nd degree of consanguinity. When I was a child I was about to finish College/ University… I knew & met my relatives on my mom’s side up to the 4th degree of consanguinity. I even call my grandma’s sisters and brother’s grandma/grandpa to that time they were still alive. The longest grandpa lives for about a 💯 year old.  Since I do not live in the Philippines anymore and only come for a visit my knowledge of my old relatives and their families dwindled as I do not see them when I visit the province when I stay for about 2-4 days maximum.

So in times like in this situation. Relatives don’t have to go to a relocation/evacuation center as the “family” contacted them to let them know they can stay at their home away from the danger. They’re more than happy to welcome them and help. I am proud of knowing they’re safe!

I am glad too that my father and siblings were alright safe and further away from the danger as they live within Metro Manila. The only inconvenience they get is the ash fall.

FYI, the ashes from the volcano are a health hazard. It’s not good to breathe it as it will cause some lung diseases and it’s microscopic that it’s not visible in the naked eye and so a mask N95 is necessary to get. Unfortunately, having it is harder to find as people panic buy and some pharmacies are out of stock. Some bad people also manage to sell it at a very expensive price! Yes, the government is giving it to evacuation centers for free but it’s never enough.

Anyway… some good things come out of this. It shows humanity and unity. Lots of people from other provinces who also experienced calamities in their lives came to support and give help in kind or donations (foods, clothing, sanitary items, etc.) even some celebrities and famous vloggers go their way to help!

I hope once this is over, there will be a rainbow in Taal. That someday it will prosper and show its beauty again for the people to appreciate and be proud of once again. It may not be easy to start again from scratch but the hope and the will to rise up within these strifes will overcome all the hardships. And yes, of course, believing there is GOD to help us stand up. Filipinos have been through all types of calamities already and I believe Filipinos are a bunch of resilient people.  At the moment, the volcano seems resting.  We do not know what will happen but they are now ready.  God bless all the people from all over the country and the World who are helping them.

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Dessert Museum, A unique way to sweeten your day!

SUGAR? No thanks, I’m sweet enough!” anonymous 

What is the best way to sweeten your day? Go ahead to Dessert Museum.  Yes! you heard me right.  Though it’s not really a Museum in the true sense of the word but it shows to appreciate what makes this appealing to kids and when there are kids there are families in tow… and in the Philippines, the family is a big deal.

 

 

It is located beside MOA, Pasay City (a part of metropolitan Manila) which is true a City within a City.  Another tourist attraction is LAKBAY MUSEO which is just beside it inside the S Maison mall which is connected to MOA or Mall of Asia as per the previous post. Click this LINK.

Anyway, this Instagram-able place is a bit pricey for most Filipinos especially if you have 2 or more kids which are normal in the Philippines.  Nevertheless, they even have a time they’re fully booked.  It is better to buy tickets from KLOOK as I realized too late as it’s cheaper online. Also, my father’s ticket is free because he’s celebrating his birthday this October. So a better plan, when there are 1 or 2 people in the family, has a birthday coming.  FYI… at least you will be getting some sweets 5-6 pcs per person in every room that has a treat (though not all the rooms have it).  Of course, kids love it!

We spent two hours I think inside as the kids explore other activities while eating their sweets, and the adults posing selfies, two-fies or the whole family!  So you see this is the only Museum (sort of) where you are allowed to eat your sweets! At the end of the day… one happy kid is all that matters!  Soon he may not truly enjoy this kind of thing so I might as well savor the moment with him.

Thanks for checking my blog or this new post, truly appreciate your time.  A LIKE, FOLLOW and/or comment will be good too.  Enjoy LIFE while we can!

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Destination: Louvre Abu Dhabi, beautiful architectural Museum

 

img_4978.jpgMy son and I went to Louvre in Paris when he was just 5 years old. He’s my travel buddy ever since and we both love the same things except shopping of course haha!  You may wonder what is the meaning of Louvre anyway?  Here as per Google meaning “overlapping strips in a window (to let in air but keep out rain)” first recorded 1550s. The form has been influenced by apparently unrelated FrenchLouvre , the name of the palace in Paris, which is said to be so named because its builder, Philip Augustus, intended it as a wolf kennel”.

Our love for Museum keep us together in every Country we have visited through the years. He is now 10 years old and this time it’s a must to go and see another LOUVRE but here in Abu Dhabi where we currently live as an expatriate and before we go home to NZ.  According to Google, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a beautiful architectural “Museum for arts and civilization”.  See below some beautiful arts and paintings.img_5064

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And some bizarre ones below… 

And that was ME,vinnevefoto

Beautiful scenery outside restaurant and coffee shop. There’s a lot to see actually in and out of the building. We thought we have seen it all but was surprised to enter another side of the building and saw another collections. If you have a kid with you there’s also a Children’s Museum and some extra activities for them to do. If you are an AD residents it’s better to buy an annual pass. They usually change some arts and crafts as well as featuring special arts or paintings from another Country every 3 months or so.  For Museum enthusiasts you can easily spend the whole day here.  Lovely calming scenery outside, to sit down at the stairs /benches with someone or just be by yourself facing the sea or even touching the water below.  Children must be supervised.

Cheers!

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Destination: RAK Glamping by the beach

 

RAK stands for Ras Al Khaimah. It’s one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE 🇦🇪. DUBAI is the most known Emirates but actually the capital is Abu Dhabi. RAK is one of a kind destination that perhaps not many of you know what or where it is.  Here is the LINK for you to browse about this part of the Emirates.

I had an older post on this LINK at our first time to this place, so please check this out to know more. For now… it’s about our last escapades outside Abu Dhabi before we go back home to New Zealand 🇳🇿 after living here for more than 3 long years without going on holiday back to our home Country.

We bought a family “glamping” package thru a Groupon website as mentioned by our family friend and seeing they cater to your needs complete with mattresses and other necessities inside of your chosen type of tent, we didn’t hesitate though hubby worry a bit about his back (he got some extra pillows though).  This is our first time being in a tent considering we live in Nz famous for hiking, beach and yes camping.  It’s a long story why. Anyway, the staffs we’re all attentive and glad that it surprised us that we didn’t have any problem or complaint at all throughout the 2 days we we’re there. We just enjoyed our family bonding with friends and used their facilities and free activities for kids.

 

Dining tables as per guest number, vinneve foto

 

Dinner (cooked meats & grilled seafoods) and breakfast with unlimited drinks were included and yes free alcoholic drinks from 7-10pm. Some people are so happy about it. We are a casual drinker so we don’t have to binged. We appreciated that we don’t have to worry about our kid asking for sweets or even popcorn as it’s also provided at the open air cinema as well as marshmallows for the many bonfires provided whether for everyone to use or for relaxing sitting beside with your friends or family chatting what to do in the morning.  My boy went crab hunting and swimming at the beach. He can do kayaking or paddle boarding but in a lake or around mangroves not in an open sea though there’s some lifeguard there… still I’m a bit protective alright. Adults were the ones eager to use it including jet skiing and so much more.

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Above water obstacle course should be on the water but because it’s a bit windy so it’s safer that the kids play on this on the land.

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They have petting zoo as well as per schedule only. Swimming pool is fun for kiddos especially the small ones.  They have another pool for all to enjoy.

RAK Longbeach campground is really a good place for family who want to experience catered camping.  We leave with good memories.  Cheers!!

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Hotel review: Sheraton Creekside Dubai

 

 

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It’s been awhile since I did a hotel review because we usually go to the same hotel and did a review before so it’s a redundant to do again.

Sheraton is under SPG but it happens that Marriott group merge with this group as well as the Ritz Carlton so yes 3 in 1 big group program are better than one. More diversity and our membership can go a long way.

This hotel has a nice view considering it’s along the Creekside and it’s actually a tourist spot and nice to walk along the promenade and enjoy the multicolored lights around from the walkway to the ferries plying the waters. You can easily spot some touristy places to go just nearby hotel by looking at the view from hotel windows. They have a very small opening for smokers but I guess it’s part of balcony in the old days but now renovated to make the room bigger.

One tip though, try to avoid congested area around Deira if you could as though Sheraton location is good for tourists, unfortunately for drivers it’s a nightmare as you can get stuck in heavy traffic so better to have a GPS with you to navigate you out of the situation otherwise you may end up stress before you even begin enjoying your day or night out.  If you are not familiar with Dubai roads & motorways you may end up getting lost without a map.

When it comes to accommodations the hotel may be established in the 70’s but it has been refurbished as it looks modern now and clean with good polite staffs everywhere. The foods for breakfast varies and cater from Western, Asian and Arabs. I am very satisfied so to say except for the swimming pool which is a bit ordinary and small but it’s ok since we don’t stay just for that.

Fortunately hubby’s platinum membership get us some perks by having free upgrades so our room is located on the Club lounge on 11th floor, along with free fruit basket and can enjoy free access to the Lounge at level L with free drinks & nibbles but happy hour evening to 8:30pm children are not allowed because of alcoholic drinks.

I recommend this hotel for people who want to discover the past and for people who loves to walk around day or night. Experiencing Dhow cruises and Arabic foods. It’s one of the safest Cities compared to other famous Countries. Of course, having a wit with you is a must anywhere in the World you go!

There’s a lot to discover so try and come to UAE and visit all 7 Emirates you will return home with full of insights about this desert Country.  I bid you goodbye and till next post! Happy Holidays!!  A like and a comment will be appreciated. Thanks 💗

 

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Warmer Christmas 🎄 & a Chilly New Year!

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from readers digest

Yes that’s what we have around here in the land of the desert 🌵 the land of opportunity and multicultural society!

My first time to stay home in Abu Dhabi for Christmas and New Year my current City for the past 3 years but minus some months as I live in and out of the Country for personal reason. Some of you can only guess but maybe my loyal followers can understand. If you’re curious why don’t you read my recent post it’s a hint. I’m sure some can relate in every situation.

Christmas is the time of family celebration and here in my City it’s full of events! Most hotels have free events like X’mas lighting and if you’re lucky your kid can get free gift and parents can enjoy some nibbles & drinks. I’m sure some will agree going there before eating dinner. Consider it having an appetizers for free with shows etc. The malls have their free fun events for kids to enjoy like joining to make a gingerbread cookie and photo session with the famous man Santa 🎅 Yes, Abu Dhabi is a generous City! Even in the Parks lot’s of free fun things to do, including picnic at night with friends and family. Fireworks to gaze up in the sky and jugglers, magicians and even Alice in Wonderland grace the City.

free musical and dancing shows & other activities for kids.vinneve

Galleria mall outside.vinneve

X’mas Lighting @WestinAD.vinneve

You may be wondering how come a Muslim Country allows all these? It’s because UAE is a tolerant blessed Country. Where all religions can be practiced without any issues. In fact Pope Francis is coming next year in February to conduct a public mass! Imagine a Mosque side by side by a Catholic Church! One time I was inside a church having a mass and in time for singing you can also hear a song coming from the nearby Mosque. That is what called HARMONY!! isn’t it pun?!

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Corniche road, AD. vinneve

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!   Peace on Earth. 

 

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Cruising in Lake Zürich & stop at Kilchberg for chocolates!

It’s the time of the year again that we go back to Switzerland 🇨🇭 for our annual family holiday.

For the past 10 months, I hibernate on and off in the blogosphere. Some followers are gone and some remained loyal. Thanks so much for all those who stayed & waited for me to post wherever in the World I/we may be. Life oftentimes is like a cruise 🚢. Cruising from place to place. Whether it’s good or bad I always take the good part.

So now part of my life travels is to go and visit families (husband side) and friends in Switzerland. I will post some in here for sure and will try to give you good information and beautiful photos!

Zurich birds, vinneve photo

The word “See” pronounce as Seh means Lake. FYI.

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If you are staying for a month or even less its better to buy a monthly pass ticket in Zurich either in the main HB for more info or any ticketing machine. For adults, it’s SF97 (Swiss Francs) and for a child it’s SF30 only and you get a lot more from it from a bus, tram or train transport to cruising from Bürkliplatz to Rapperswil (long trip 2hrs) or to Bürkliplatz to Zurichhorn a total of 9 stops (short trip 1.5hrs).  What’s more, in some places you could also get a discount from a restaurant to a museum. Yes, it’s worth it. Transportation in Switzerland is one of the best in the World.

This was our 2nd time to cruise on Lake Zurich so we decided to stop at Kilchberg to visit Lindt Chocolate shop. Actually, to be honest, we thought we could visit the factory itself as they always mentioned a “chocolate factory ” and not just a shop. Though yes, of course, you will pass by the many buildings and factories where you can smell the chocolates from the outside air! But our first and last experienced visiting a real chocolate factory was in the Cadbury‭‬ chocolate factory (Dunedin) in our home country New Zealand. Unfortunately, Cadbury just closed its door! (click the link for info).

Inside the shop, you can taste some handful of chocolate samples plus eat their yummy gelato then, of course, you will feel like no more room for dessert later. They have lots of products on sale and yes cheaper than buying in regular chocolate stores in the City.

Once you are finished filling up your tummy with sweet samples and perhaps over buying gifts for your friends and families back home then you have an option to continue your short or long trip back to the ferry station OR go back to Burkliplatz where you have started. You can also take bus 165 just across the road near the factory.

If you want to know more about Rapperswil please check my older post last year on this LINK. This is for a long trip. You can also go to this place via train which is much quicker.

There’s a Tourist Information inside the main HB where you can ask more questions and recommendations and buy tickets. The customer service speaks several languages so don’t worry.

I leave you for now and please wait for my next blog and adventure! We are still here in Switzerland and we’re often away exploring so bear with me.  Tschuss!!