Sunday, 7 February 2016


Hello,  well it has been awhile since my last blog post since all my writing has been focuses on  I will be uploading some of my recent adventures to my blog soon.  Watch this space.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Around Manila

Around Manila

We are melting!  So if you are looking for something different to do which will take you out of the city heat, Maya and I discovered some fun places to take the kids which are not too far by car.

Hidden Valley - Cavite
Hidden Valley is a true little gem of a place to explore.  It is only 2 hours max from Manila and is a peaceful haven set a long way back from the main roads of natural hot springs.
Maya adored scampering from pool to pool.  There are many to explore all set within a natural lush jungle.  The pools range in temperature and there are also waterfalls you can shower under.  A true paradise.
It is 2,000php entry and well worth it.  This includes lunch and a snack (merienda).

We went with a group of friends which made the trip festive and fun for Maya as she could show off her newly acquired underwater swimming skills.

Subic Bay 
This is such a strange place I felt as if I should not like it.  For the most part a disused US military base, still harbouring military ships and retired US marines complete with weathered tattoos and beautiful young wives.
However, there was something peaceful about this pocket of Asia which had become entrenched in military history.  Maybe it is the Zumbales mountains that surround the bay, or the sleepy town vibe which appealed to my need for a slower pace.
We stayed at the Lighthouse, which is a great little hotel serving delicious food, with a great little pool.  However, we could not keep away from Texas Joes, which is a brilliant US eatery serving the best ribs ever and gorgeous milkshakes.  I am not really a texmex girl (more sushi and soup) but this place had me converted!

The following day we treated Maya to a day at the local Safari Zoobic, which is really well organised and interesting.  She stroked a python, held an owl and watched as her Daddy fed a chicken to a crocodile.  The tour takes around 3 hours as you wander from exhibit to exhibit.  There are loads of refreshments on offer to wade off the summer heat, but I would advise taking a little hand held fan too.
Subic is about 2/3 hours from Manila.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Ifugao - Road trip

Hello, just returned from a trip up North to Ifugao to the rice terraces of Batad and Hanging Coffins in Sagada.  It was a magical trip.  Totally stripped of our creature comforts we stayed in a traditional Ifugao Hut and hiked the one hour trip down the mountain (and then up again) to the remote rice terraces of Batad.  I was very proud of Maya at only three managing the hike, singing along as she jumped over rocks and navigated streams. 
 Sagada was equally beautiful and a lovely place to gain some tranquillity.  The surrounding hills are breath taking.  A great place to repose, gain inspiration and feed your creative soul.  
Both destinations are pretty far from the beaten track as there is no airport nearby and the only way to get there from Manila is a long trip by road.  I have now embraced the road trip - being in the car was all part and parcel of the fun especially when there is a group of you to chat to, stop for yummy food, and sing our own improvised Kareoke. 
Native sculptures in Batad

Early morning mist

Traditional House

Pottery in Sagada

The Dream Team 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

2014 Time to explore and review

I have been very quite since my last post. Christmas and New Year took over in a flurry of celebrations.
Talking of Christmas.  Manila really comes alive at this time.  Despite the hot weather it was so festive.  We took a plane to Boracay Island in order to relax and take advantage of the school holidays.
Ahhh Boracay, busy busy Boracay.  A great place however to take little ones as there is always something going on.
We spent the days kite surfing and swimming in the sea.  I say busy, but since my daughter wakes up at 6am the beach is pretty quite till about 10am. The evenings come alive with fire dancers, elaborate sand castles filled with candles and holiday makers frolic in the sea under the moon.
I have now honed my sand castle making skills and can now happily spend at least an hour building a palace next to the sea.
We took at tuk tuk to Puka beach - a sleepy beach at the top of the island where Maya collected shells and played with local kids under the shady trees.

On our arrival back to Manila we still had a few days to explore our adopted city.  Maya loved our tour of Intramuros, Fort Santiago and The Mind Museum at the Fort.  We also treated her to a trip to Kid Zone at the Fort.  A giant guinea pig cage full of trampolines, sponge balls, huge slides and soft play adventure.  Paradise for a 3 year old. Parents can stay outside and have a little rest - ahh bliss!

So where next?  I have a road trip to the rice terraces in Banaue planned for February.  I will be going with a girl friend - Thelma and Louise Philippine style with 3 kids in tow.  I can't wait.

Saturday, 30 November 2013


Someone I know was concerned that we would be travelling around a disaster stricken country.  So I just wanted to comment on this briefly.

The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands.  Six islands were hit by typhoon Yolanda.  It is terrible the destruction which this has caused.  However, we do not intend to be passing through the six affected islands.

Manila was not physically affected.  However, the hearts and minds of the people in Manila have been.  On every corner people are clubbing together to organise donations of clothes, shoes, tinned food as well as financial contributions.  The stage at my daughters school was crammed full of bags of donations and even the car sales garage was collecting.  It is fitting for a country which exudes so much kindness and faith.  People of the Philippines I salute you!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Settling in

After 2 weeks in Manila I am getting settled little by little.  Counting up the lists of pros and cons in my head to figure out the answer to the question I am frequently being asked 'do you like it here?'.  So here goes so far.
Friendly people
Amazing choice of food
Intramuros - history of the old town
China town for cheap shopping and ambience, ohhhh and Japanese cakes
They love love love kids here.  Everyone is sooo lovely to my little girl (Maya)
The spa - so when is my next facial?

Traffic, traffic, traffic - go everywhere before 8am and it's ok.
It's very very hot - but you can dive into the mall or pool for a blast or air con or cool water
Mosquitos - leave my bum alone

Well I think I can conclude it is tres bon.  The best thing is that Maya loves it here.  She is spoilt for choice and has no shortage of fans.  Today we went to the Rockwell health club for a spout of soft play, followed by a swim and then her first ballet lesson later this avo.  Fingers crossed she stays awake for the duration.

So when do I take her to the slum to show her how jolly lucky she is?  Maybe she is too young at the moment.