Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Spirit

As soon as we arrived from our vacation the first thing my kids asked me is our Christmas tree. They kept on bugging me to start decorating as they are eager to help me put the ornaments and Christmas lights. They are really waiting for this moment as they've seen Christmas decorations during our Philippine trip. I decided to get them in the garage. Voila, finally it's up after our 2 days arrival from the Philippines. But this photo you are looking at was taken only today that's why there are already wrapped gifts.

Our Christmas tree with presents already

This ornament is made by Mayumi from their school artwork

These 2 ones are their little stuff toys that they would like to be a part of decorations

At the bottom of our Christmas tree I have put the artwork of Sébastien that you see from your left (a candle shape green and silver color) and the red card with the star that goes with. The Christmas card with a silver Christmas tree was made by Mayumi together with the green box with cookies and chocolates inside. Those are very special ornaments that I will keep and will always be a part of our Christmas tree wink.

Socks I have put near the entrance

The Star as a sign of Nativity

This little cute one was given by grandparents 3 years ago and it's always there attached to the branch of the Christmas tree hiding behind the glistening lights. Isn't it cute biggrin !

This is the 2nd Annual OTWOMD Christmas Tree Blog Parade 2008 Meme created and conceptualized by OTWOMD of Bluepanjeet.Net The purpose of this meme is to enliven the Christmas spirit by showing to the world our very own Christmas trees. They say that it is on the Christmas tree that best describes how a person celebrates his or her own Christmas.

This meme was originally conceptualize in order to:

  • Promote the spirit of Christmas around the blogosphere
  • Spread awareness of the true meaning of the Christmas Tree
  • Encourage the family members to have a bonding around the Christmas tree
  • promote Christmas cheer and camaraderie among bloggers
Well, I think it's too late to tag someone here. But I am still curious how Joanne decorated her Christmas Tree as I saw great Christmas decoration in the US.

I am wishing everyone a Blessed and Joyful Christmas in spite of global crisis. I am sure we could surpass this difficult event that is happening around us.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's not all about gifts

My husband attended a two days seminar. There were among other 25 Cadres (25 Managers) who were present. This time he was on his best suit made by my Uncle especially for him. When suddenly, all his colleagues gazed at him as if it was their first time to see husband wearing a suit. Suddenly, colleagues started to praise him. Wohoa, t’es bien là dedans! (You are good in that suit). J’adore ton costume ! (I love your suit). Superb ton costume! (Your suit is excellent.) Then it was pretty awkward for him with all the compliments thus, he smiled at them and said , “Arrêtez,.vous me mettre mal à l'aise!” Stop, that’s enough you make me feel uneasy.

Well, I am not surprised since he has few suits that he bought many years ago and the style starts to get old-fashioned. Just to give you recap from our Philippine trip. I asked my uncle who has a tailoring shop that makes especially made suit only for men. We personally chose the fabrics and colours. We had 2 suits and 1 Barong for husband made in the Philippines. From now on, I will not include suit in my list of shopping. It is not practical to buy a custom made suit that doesn’t make the person stand out except for those signature ones. Husband went to the seminar sharp and renowned. I am proud of my Uncle’s talent that made hubby feel confident.

Before the seminar ended, the coordinator asked them a quick and simple question what do they think of Christmas ? Some says. “Ah, c’est les cadeaux! (It’s about gift ). Others says, C’est que pour les enfants. (It’s only for children). Husband said, Partage (to share). Everyone was teasing husband. “Oh c’est mignon!” (Oh that is cute). Ca c’est Bernard, tout ça! (That’s all Bernard is). Before husband left the coordinator thanked husband for his presence especially for sharing his thoughts about Christmas. He secretly told husband while shaking his hand " Enfin, tu nous as mis à un certain niveau
" ! (Finally, you have put us at a certain level).

It is surprising how people think about Christmas. It should not be about gift receiving nor it’s only made for children, it’s for everyone!
Other view Christmas as merely a decoration . But there is a much more profound meaning behind those Christmas trees, glittering lights, and beautiful ornaments. Christmas is for the young and old, poor and rich, black or white . Christmas is all about sharing and giving. Whatever your beliefs are Christmas will always be a wonderful occasion of the year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Trip - Part 2

Who says there’s nothing interesting to see in Manila. I am not talking about the big malls which is the easiest place to go. And because my husband does not support to stay in Manila our plan to hang out for 2 days was religiously followed. Morning of our arrival we went directly to my parent’s house before going to the hotel near their place for easy access. My father passed by Fort Bonifacio Global City and I remember this place late 1987. Fort Bonifacio used to be a part of armed forces base camps where Ferdinand Marcos incarcerated hundreds of his opponents. My vivid memory from many years ago of Fort Bonifacio was the military headquarters, the detention hub, barracks, army bureaus and training fields which are now long gone. At present, it turns out to be the location of an expansion of the economic quarter. The rapid construction of residential buildings, offices, trading businesses and a dozen schools are rising in hasty progression. I observed that in spite of global crisis economic is trying to improve its state.

At that same day, I knew that my brother (who lives in Cebu) will come together with wife and daughter to meet up with us. The last time, we went to visit them in Cebu. Normally, Filipinos love to go Malling just to eat and not spending to much, to get away from the heat , window shop, people watch and I would say, because it’s a less expensive way to do during free time. Moreover, the Philippines was reportedly the second largest market of karaoke and almost all Filipinos indulge in that activity. Manila is known to be a capital of nightlife of the Philippines, thus for dancing crowds who loves loud music, disco and bar hopping too are one of them.

However, among the things mentioned we didn’t do anything not even malling. Now, don't ask me how big Asia Mall is rolleyes!! Since Ate (elder sister) took a 2 days off she had a brilliant idea of inviting us to Club Manila East located in Taytay Rizal. It was our first time to discover an enjoyable resort proximity of Manila. Generally, to find a resort it could be out of Manila. It was a sort of an advance Christmas get together of the family. Okay, I have to tell you that the resort prohibits bringing food inside as they want to maintain the cleanliness of the vicinity which is comprehensible.

The moment we saw the resort we were undeniably impressed because of its cleanliness and architectural construction. It’s not exceptional but satisfying to see. The amenities include 19,000 square foot giant wave pool for surfing, it is a business and leisure resort, with 70 air conditioned rooms and fully furnished bungalows. They also have kiddie pools and fountains and waterfalls, adult pool with a giant 3-looped slide, the kayaking area, lap pool, covered pool and the bean shaped pool. If in case you are within the Manila area try to visit this place. Overnight accommodations are available at a very reasonable price of P2,900/night.

Given that bringing food is not allowed we went out to the nearest fast food restaurants and had the food taken out. We just assembled everyone at the parking area and had lunch there. Don’t worry, the parking is a private area with closure. It’s clean, few cars and guests since it was not a peak season. Probably, we only spent 30 minutes lunch break and then get on with our gears and swimsuits. These 2 days stay in Manila was such a memorable period of my vacation with family. Time maybe short and brisk but eventful ! There's much to appreciate every details whether it's a comedic and silly jokes or the beautiful sunset.

On the third day, we went to Sariaya, Quezon Province to visit my other relatives. I consider Quezon my first home as I spent half of my childhood there. I don’t recall how many summers, holy weeks and family get togethers I spent during my early years but I can only tell you that memories are still alive and unsullied razz. Those recollection gives me comfort and eternal bliss throughout our stay. When I saw my children playing non-stop with other kids I can’t help but remember my beautiful childhood souvenir. Souvenir that I can go back on and on. Climbing the Mango trees, picking up guava in the forest, asking chicos or caimitos from relatives were absolutely delightful and amiable story of my early days. Not to mention, playing all the local games of my epoch until the sunset which I enjoyed every bit of my youth. Enough of that, I feel old when I talk about my younger years lol.

Though there was communication barrier, my kids managed to play as children do. We had an enjoyable stroll at the village. Merely talking with the neighbours on how the village has changed a lot. Before there we few houses near my grandparents house. At present, new houses are springing up like mushrooms after the time and so the population is definitely expanding. Eating buko (young coconut) and fresh fruits like Pomelos and bananas were one of the highlights of the day. Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to shares pictures of foods because we were spontaneously promenading and did not consider to bring the camera arrghh!

In between days, our feet brought us to Province of Marinduque as I would like to see my Auntie who’s in the Monastery of St. Claire. I’ve been wanting to see her from our previous vacation but the time didn’t permit us since we needed to take the ship going there which a bit risky because of heavy rains. Imagine, I haven’t seen my Auntie over the past 10 years or so.

This post is lengthy. I think I need to continue on my next post. Hang on there biggrin .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The trip

I know it’s been a while that I have not updated my blog. It’s not that I disregard the existence of this blog, it’s just difficult to beat the jet lag. And still thinking where to start what we have left at home. The house is in a terrible muddle. Nevertheless, all are now in place and I have some time to write about our trip to the Philippines.

We supposed to leave April but since we have had a lot of renovation made the last time it is necessary to checked out on the budget. So we decided to pushed through theoretically December but it is out of question that we pay 5,000€ for the ticket eek. It was a way too expensive for us. Good thing, husband has a lot of benefits from work and fare ticket is one of them. The company has a list of agencies in which all employees are entitled to have a less 30% from the ticket valid every after 2 years travel anywhere. I would say, not bad after all. We have checked around 4 agencies and compared the ticket fare. We were able to get the less expensive for 3,700€ for 4 tickets, back and forth and we flew with KLM. Fortunately, it was with KLM because the individual televisions definitely helped us to get occupied while travelling. If in case you what to know, the kids managed to sleep even if they were tempted to watch all the cartoons series and films.

Who wants to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning? No one, but we are talking about vacation here. Along with that, I don’t know if the kids like getting up in the middle of the night. You know those weekends when you want to stay at home in the couch drinking a hot cup of your favorite tea. However, when I woke them up they were so excited to leave. I have never seen them whining nor crying. Normally, when they know the need to wake up early they are very cooperative. Leaving France at 4AM is not really encouraging especially when it’s freaking cold outside. We left at exactly 4 in the morning and thanks to our friend Laurent who proposed us to accompany at the airport otherwise we didn’t have a choice to take the taxi. Lucky us, he’s really nice to offer us a ride.

From Marseille to Amsterdam the trip was okay. The kids managed to sleep a little bit. We had to wait 5 hours before the flight to the Philippines. Luckily, it was a direct flight and no stopovers. In that 5 hours at Schiphol Airport, we had breakfast, enjoyed our lunch and shopped at duty free to kill the time. Concocting a trip is never easy but we were able to plan ahead of time. We have made the complete itineraries and couldn’t help imagining and anticipating the trip. I could already feel a magic moment being home. I knew this was the great instant for some serious enchanting moment. But before my imagination went off rambling into that perfect trip, it was time to get on board razz.

Arriving Manila, the kids were fuelled up as they have been sleeping almost half the flight. At the NAIA, we only spent 20 minutes to claim the luggages, passed thru customs for verification and everything went okay. When we went out from NAIA I thought I was just dreaming when I saw Dad waiting for us outside. I took a few belly gasp and said wow, am I really HOME?? Then, I looked around and heard Tagalog speaking, people waving, OFW's with all their big boxes of Pasalubong for the family, smiling faces, the sun though we had a rain showers, good customer service. And because my son Sébastien asked me “Maman c’est ça les Philippines?“ (Maman, this is Philippines?) which I proudly answered “Oui” mon fils !” (Yes, my son) “Ah je sais! Parce que il fait chaud ici !”. (Ah I know! Because it's too hot in here!). Now I realized it was not a dream this is indeed real biggrin !

Surprises await you…..