at dusk in salcedo village..


this is what we look at each night..i know, it's a hard thing.. :)

just another saturday..


this morning we met with my friend chris and her family for breakfast.

they live out of town, so they stayed at a hotel last night to spend some more time with us today! how sweet! :)

so around 930 they came by the apartment and we convoyed to a bonifacio high street, a new development just in taguig, outside of makati. WOW. it felt as though i was in california. so nice. so many malls, so many name brand stores, so much green space...soooo not the manila we know! :)

so we ate at starbucks, walked about some, shopped a little - i got a travellers size SCRABBLE..i'm OOOBER happy about that! - then we had a light lunch at a cafe which was so nice. and it was probably 38 degrees today...BRUTAL hot. :) but sooo nice!

we said goodbye, as they headed back to santa rosa where they live, and we went to MEGAMALL, the mall we frequented much when we lived here, to get me some new contact lenses! yeah!!

i get to the optical shop, for her to tell me that i need to rest my eyes from my contacts before they check my eyes to get my prescription, which is free HELLO. the dealio tho - i did'n' bring glasses. so there i sat, in the optical shop for an hour, reading travel magazines about 2 inches away from my face. NICE. :) i shouldn't have ushered j and the kids off so fast; they could have led me somewhere to eat or drink. but no, there i sat. i did read in the travel mags, some really cool tours in italy and greece that i am DEFINITELY gonna check out though, so all was not lost!

i got my contacts, a years worth for me, for a whopping P1500 - translation - $34. ya baby ya.

off to the truck we went for home, and the kids and nini and emma and i went across the street to swim at the makati sports club while the guys read. it was so cute to watch emma in the water!

and so now here i sit on my bed, after my 1 and a half hour hot stone full body massage - for a total of P800 or $18. dude, i could do that every week. it was heavenly!

so that's our day.. tomoro is church in the morning and then r&r for the day and get ready to head out to boracay in the morning on monday..yeah!!! :) :)


the saturday slideshow


a stroll down memory lane


today was a day of pretty much seeing old friends.. :)

it started with meeting up with one of my dearest friends, christine aka "friend" and her family at glorietta mall.
but first i had to go to philippine airlines to get our tickets issued for our trip to boracay on monday.

oh my gosh. almost 2 hours later, i walked out with them. i guess i forgot how EVERYTHING takes SOOOOO long here.
anyhow, it was a headache and i confess, i shed some tears when i got back inside the van from all the grief the sales agent lady gave me whilst my LONG stay at the PAL office. ugh..the joy...

anywhoooooo.. :) ... we met up with our friends and it was so cool to see her with her family of 4 now. when we left her and her hubby just got married! we ate together at TGI FRIDAY'S, where her sister, suzette, joined us (suzette came and visited us for a week in estevan once!!) and then we walked thru the newly built sections of greenbelt in so crazy how things change!

we then went SHOPPING again, this time to glorietta and landmark..altho this time rosie and i went off together and caleb and j went off.. we were gonna meet back at 230. well, my poor daughter, while standing in line to pay for her new flip flops, got her first "pinch" from a lady in line. you see, philippines are always mezmorized with "americanos", if not for their fair skin and long noses, then their blond hair...all of which my daughter has. so mother bear came out.. :) .. rosie jumped back, as it did hurt her poor cheek, and i riffled off in tagalog how i thought it was rude of her to do that. the girl kinda gave me this smug smirk, that made that "fighter" inside me go up. so i stared her down, until she said, well she's beautiful. and i retorted, you don't see me pinching you do you? and then she quickly submitted and turned away sheepishly. rosie, looked at me, smiled and never let go of my arm, from there on in. :) nothing like a pinch to instigate some mother/daughter bonding.. :)

and by the way, regarding the shopping - day 2 of not being able to find anything for me. argh.

we got home and then headed out to the church for a banquet at the church for the founding members ofthe church jonathan and his dad and another pastor founded 10 years ago, that his dad is still the head pastor of. talk about memory lane...whoa! the familiar faces were so many!! it was really cool..

so ya..that was today..

the day with christine slideshow

the banquet slideshow

this deserves it's own post


ok, those with a weak stomach, or of male persuasion, hold tight.. :)

this is ONE of the many things i love about the philippines - small quantities of ANYTHING.

this photo is a small little pack of 8 pantyliners for P20 - thats 45 cents.

and you can get a small pack of laundry softener, or tissues, or m&m's, cheez whiz, crackersor toothpaste.. you name it, you can get it - i shot sizes.. soooo not cool for the environment (don't get me started about the NON green thinking here) but definitely really cute and handy. :)

this blog is called, "greenhills: some things are better left the same"..


today was greenhills day...

do you ever wish you didnt' put in your mind one thing, to then find out it's totally different??

that'd be what greenhills was to me...

when we first lived in the philippines, waaaaaay back in '96, it was our mall of choice.. our post office box was there..there was always some kind of barengketa, or flea market type fair going on, where you can buy every knock off (and sometimes UNknockoffs) at OOOOBER cheap prices...the unimart was there, where we could, at times, buy "western" food and treats..cell phones were VERY cheap there..yes it was a wonderful place.

before we left, it was cute - emma was using a printer cartridge and was saying "click" and was taking pics, just like her ate trace.. good girl.. :) we also had the kids playing music..the recorder session was intense.. then caleb went to the piano and figured out the song he was playing on the recorder that he learned at school, on the i hear a self taught-playing by ear pianist on our hands? time will tell.. :)

after j and i quickly walked down the block from the apartment for a starbucks coffee (there are 3 whithin a block - take your pick!) so we packed up ourselves - us and nini and emma - for the mall in the morning and headed out, into the always thick traffic. the billboards onthe way there ALWAYS amaze many, SO visual senses totally on alert!

we first, however, made a pitstop at another mall, shangri-la plaza, where mom had to find a certain plush puppy for emma and where you can't wear flip flops in and have to pay for restrooms that have toilet paper.. :) while we waited we wondered over to the dentist to see how much it would cost j to get his tooth that he and scott participated in to chip (guilty by association scooter!). so he went in to see, what we thought, how much it would cost. i asked the receptionist how long he'd be. "oh, only maybe 30-45 minutes ma'am to get it all done". apparently he was getting it done NOW! so while we were at the mall, grabbed a starbucks (yes there are a zillion of them in the philippines!), and walked a bit, he had his new tooth! and for a whopping P910 or $20. seriously, we could have NEVER gotten that done at home. and he got his teeth cleaned, which we 3 are getting done next friday, for another P875 (or $19ish). SO crazy.

when we turned the corner, at once i knew it was different. ok, i'll be honest..i'm not one that is good with change. or shall i rephrase that - i do well at change, however the inital reaction to change is, at times, hard. so with that said, i looked at what was once an open parking lot, to see a new 4 story parkade with store on it.. whoa. what the heck!? it used to be so open and nice..but that wasn't it..the whole place had so much more expansion and so much of the "open space" had been built on.. oh yes, change, growth...using more space. my poor heart.. :)

i barely recognized the dear old mcdonalds that we would go for breakfast on jonathan's day offs..the redeeming factor is that it is still in the same location!

first we needed to eat - and off to CPK - or california pizza kitchen..a chain that caleb and i frequented when he was little and we went to the mall (that's what mom's and their little toddlers do, you know..go to the mall during the day!!) caleb ordered his pizza, as usual..rosie ate some pasta and i ordered a personal mango tandoori chicken pizza..oh baby ya. :)

after we were sufficiently fed, into the greenhills mall we proceeded.."well, let's go inside", i thought..."the inside must be the same.."

and for the most part, it was.. :) my heart smiled about that.. :)

lines of stalls, bags upon bags, watches upon watches. clothes upon clothes.
caleb went wild buying basketball jerseys at whopping P450 pesos (that's just over $10) each...rosie scored a nike bag, the ones that go across your shoulder diagonally - she was very particular about the KIND of bag she was looking for - for a whopping P300 (just under $7) and then the little diva found some sweeeeeet PUMA shoes..for P300 (again, under $7). score rosie! i happened upon a lovely COACH knock off for a discounted price of P800 (or $18!!!) it was cool.

i was looking for some great buys on clothes..but then slowly became really discouraged, as i recall the reason why i didn't shop for clothes for MYSELF at greenhills - the large for an asian is about a small for a westerner. ugh. so after the 4th really cool thing i wanted not fitting, i was done. :) i'll go shopping at the mall tomorrow at SM MEGAMALL, another familiar stomping ground for us! :)

once we got home, we got ready to have some co-pastors of the church when we first started it with J's dad 10 years couple, daniel and emma villa, that was coming for supper, now lives in Hong Kong and the other couple, dr t and ate zonia still reside in makati down the block from mom and dad.

it was so cool to see them..catch be with each other..seems like another world far, yet as we talk, like it was just night is the founding members banquet at the church..i'm sure that THAT will be a walk down memory lane!

in the morning tomoro we're meeting some of our good friends from when we lived's been 5 years since i have seen my friend, christine, who her and her hubby now have TWO kids! :) fun fun!

the greenills day slideshow


papa and nini's beach


ah, yes..jet lag..when we had decided to leave by about 10 am, we had already been awake since 4 am!! whoa! none the less, we headed to the foreign exchange to get some pesos, and off on our adventure we went!

the view from mom and dad's apartment in makati is beautiful (as you will see by the first few pics of todays slideshow)..the buildings surrounding each other..but the views on our way out to their beach front property, in the barangay of san diego, in batangas..they get even better... :)

from the bamboo scafolding on some HUGE popcans at a building, (an apology - there are some out of the window car shots, cuz my dear fatherinlaw doesn't like stopping.. :) ) to the lovely royal taal hotel, tagaytay, where we had a buffet lunch at "cafe on the ridge", that included some stuff squid that i just could NOT get enough of! the food was wonderful..the fruit..oh baby, the fruit! and they had sushi, and the wasabi was carved into a fish..crazy! there was a 3piece band playing while we ate, and they eventually came to our table and sang.. mom even requested a song! :)

after we looked at the view - lake taal is the oldest inactive volcano in the middle of lake taal - which was so incredible, and by the way a huge pomagranate tree, we continued our journey to the beach property. as we were pulling out of the hotel, a guy was outside the car trying to tell us to come for a boat tour..i took his picture and he giggled..

on the way out to the beach, the scenery is full on rain plush and full..just from the car window do it NO justice!

the road on the way to the beach had some flooding from the rains..enough so that we had to walk a bit to the property. rosie was like, "how come everyone's staring at me?" which led into a discussion of the rarity of natural blond hair and that staring in the philippines isn't rude as it is in canada..i think she understood.. :)

yes, the beach front.. it was lovely... the banka boats there... so many and colorful.. there was a mountain on the one side that was gorgeous.. wow. we visited a property down from theirs that a member in their church is building already - "sands of san diego" is absolutely resort/spa like! dad described what their beach house will look cool..they'll start building in a couple months, money willing! right now they have a fence around their property.. oh, and while we were walking to their property, amongst all the garbage washed up on the shore, there was a NEEDLE! mom was SO not impressed. it even had the needle still in tact.. oh dear..

the waves crashing on the shore is something i could get used it..but then again, i LOVE the beach and water, so.. :) after a nice walk on the beach and surrounding areas, a little visit and some pictures taken mostly of little emma :), we then headed out..can't wait til we see the beach house the next time we come back.. :)

on the way back into tagaytay, while passing thru the little town of lian and passing tons of trucks full of sugar cane for the factory there, there are little stores lining the roads - and not just in 10 stores that sells plants, then 10 that sell flowers, then ten that sell fruit, then ten that sell trinkets. we stopped at two - one for flowers and one for bamboo painted wind ornaments for the kids.. :)

i had read on the internet that in tagaytay is a place now called PEOPLES PARK IN THE SKY. it used to be the PALACE IN THE SKY, which was the unfinished guest house of the former president and wife, ferdinand and imelda marcos. they had started building it for the visit of the then president and mrs reagan, who turned out not coming over cuz of the unrest inthe country. so it never got finished..and it's so run down..its so sad..chuckle, one of the stair cases, out of wood branches they made F's and I's..those marco's were so vane, no? :) it could d be such a nice park for the made my heart sad at the factor. the views were far up, such a haze over the land fromthe clouds..and much cooler! i dont think i mentioned the heat it's been about 30 degrees or hotter. so up there was a nice 25. :)

we then had dinner back in tagaytay, at good old filipino JOLLIBEE! ah, take me back thru m memory lane!

we finally arrived home just after 8, the children passed out...and ready for bed!

what an amazing and fun day we had! tomoro is shopping at greenhills and who knows what else! :)


papa & nini's beach slideshow


change of plans!

it's 6:15 am here on wednesday morning..we woke up at 4.. hee hee..the joys of jetlag.

we're not going shopping today..that's for tomorrow now, as we just discussed and we're going out to the beach property mom and dad bought and will be building a beach house on..yeah!!

it rained this morning..keeps everything fresh, and clean and HUMID! looking forward to our day out to the province to the beach!!!


we have arrived in manila!


yea!! we are here! we waited for papa and nini and emma to come get us from the airport.. ah yes, the ninoy aquino greeted us with the humid heat and SCADS of people EVERYWHERE! talk about bring back memories!! we put all our luggage in the back of the van and off to their place we went! it was so crazy seeing so many recognizable things.. the road to our last home in manila..the highways.. emma was a bit unsure of our bunch..but has currently bonded with rosie.. so, so cute.. :)

we had a lovely lunch at home..then the boys (dad, j and caleb) went to see INDIANA JONES this afternoon...and we girls went to the park across the street from their condo. the buildings all around are huge, then you see this park right smack dab in the middle of it! so cool! on the way home we had some good old banana que - also known as bananas fried in oil and brown sugar.. SO not good for you, but OH so good to eat! :)

we then came home and had some lovely pancit (filipino noodles with chicken and vegetables in with them) and are now on our way to bed, as we're going to greenhills tomoro!! can someone say SHOPPING!?!?!?! :) then some swimming across the street at the makati sports club.

click below for today's slideshow!

may 27 - manila, philippines



day 2...or is that day 3?

Have you ever thought to yourself that you lost a day somewhere?

We pretty much didn’t see much of Monday.. chuckle..

We left YVR just before 1am on Monday morning, to get to HK at 3:45 in the morning..on Tuesday. Hello. Hence..we lost our Monday.. ☺

The four of us got to sit together – yeah! We passed out for about 6 hours – double yeah! And then I was awake..altho the kids and J didn’t wake up until just after 9am Monday (YVR time).. good snoozing all around! It wasn’t until just after we were awake that we discovered that one of the tv’s (the one in front of rosie) wasn’t working.

So, I traded with rosie..and pretty much watched the map in front of me for the better part of the last leg of the trip to HK. Hence the play by play screens below..chuckle..what’s a girl to do?? ☺ not only was I totally aware of the air temperature outside, the speed at which we were flying and the altitude we were at the ENTIRE trip, I was feeling a little claustrophobic now in between the kids instead of being on the end! Boy, who got shafted this long haul flight??? ☺

However, rosie and I had a hoot doing crazy hairstyles for her..there are some of those too! she also played "hangman" on the screen while i was drifting in and out of consciousness..however, every two seconds, "mama, can you help me?"..yes WE played hangman!

Breakfast was served – probably an 8 out of 10. And then we started our descent upon the wonderful city of hong kong. Ahh..i love hong kong.
We arrived at 4:40am on Tuesday –that’d be 1:40 pm on Monday for you in YVR. Pretty much nothing was open in the airport. Our connecting flight wasn’t until just after 8 am. The kids were hungry and the vast amount of hard chairs was a little much to take in. then my lover had an idea. You see, his dad booked his ticket, using his “marco polo” number registered under DENNIS HEPPNER, that allows passengers into the cathay lounge. Are you trackin with me yet? Oh ya baby..the name on the marco polo account and j’s ticket ALMOST matched..just no jonathan on the marco polo account. They didn’t seem to mind.. ☺ So we got to sit in nice cussy chairs, food and saweeeeet bathrooms, here on in referred to as CR’s. lover was indeed proud of his accomplishment and we were all glad his middle name is DENNIS. ☺

So after some nice light breakie, a lovely iced cappuccino and some expresso’s and after caleb played his psp SOME MORE and rosie was diligently journalling, we thought it was about time to head to our gate.. it’s amazing what an hour and a half can do to an airport; it was busy as a bee, for 7am.. wow! and some crazy cool bathrooms and signs i tell ya..

We arrived at our gate, which was packed, and went to an empty gate kiddy-corner our gate. Jonathan decided to go see when preboarding was. When he returned he said to me, walking towards us, “you’re gonna so love me..” Long story short: his ticket got bumped to business class and because I got shafted on the long haul flight – he gave it to me.. so here I sit..sipping drinks, eating better food, putting my feet up..ah the life. Ya, its only an hour and a half flight, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers right? ☺ talk to you later!

Ok – so a post script – for real: after I ate my delightful breakfast up here in business class, I decided to turn on and watch a bit of tv before we land in manila. Well wouldn’t’ ya know it…the tv in seat 16D here, in business class…it ain’t workin either! i am so not kidding! So I am thinking that’s a sign.. chuckle.. so I will sip my peppermint tea, eat my kiwi grapefruit yogurt and enjoy just “being” in business class. Before we land in manila, the land of sweat, tons of people and crazy traffic!