Image

Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi

I told myself that we will go to this amazing palace even for my last time as you now know… We are now going back to New Zealand for good. There’s a lot of photos actually but I cannot put it here as I don’t have enough space.  I made sure that we will experience all the beautiful places in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  FYI, as some of you get confused with the two Cities… both have their own interesting places but Abu Dhabi is more of a family-oriented place.  No traffic unlike in Dubai and more parks.  It’s a year of tolerance too!

I got a neck ache as I keep on looking up!  Even the ceilings are amazing!  So if ever you want to go in transit via Abu Dhabi make sure that you get the chance to get out.  It is so worth it.  FYI, Emirates Palace is also just a few minutes away from this place.  Though this Palace is located at the back so a van is included to bring you to Qasr Al Watan. It’s that big!  Cheers!

Image

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.

Image

Melbourne Streets

This is a long-overdue travel backlog since July as for some reason I didn’t get the chance to write about this beautiful city in Australia.  The last time we were here my son is only 4yrs old and very impressionable as what most children are. He is now 11.  So yes, Melbourne is one of my fave cities in Australia.  Each City has its own identity.  So without further ado, I just pile some photos of each street we went and just a walking distance to our hotel which is IBIS Swanston.  It is a good location and just a walking distance to Melbourne Central.

IBIS Swanston, vinneve foto

RMIT, vinneve foto

img_8424

vinneve foto

img_8433img_8436img_8440img_8439img_8441img_8434

Melbourne Central, vinnevefoto

Image

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!

Image

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!!

 

Image

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. 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!

Image

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!