the French experience - my Epic Weekend

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


My sister and I decided to bring the kids to a short trip over the weekend. We hired Taipan tours agency for this tour for convenience since our destinations are predominantly french-speaking places.  This was besides the recommendations by my friends. Aboard this big nice coach we headed for a 9-hour ride. (butt hurts!)



I am happy to have experienced a little of what to me is a French influence in these parts of Canada. We headed to Ottawa on our First day – "Canada’s capital city - a home to many of the world's cultures as thousands of immigrants from around the world have settled here". We went to the Parliament – a castle-like building where the prime minister’s office is. Around it are old big buildings made of bricks the looks of those in Europe, I would say.



            Then we went to this Canadian Civilization Museum. We’ll I am no fan of museums really but it paid coz we had the chance to take a photo of this beautiful scenery outside the museum doing some jump shots with the kiddos. 


Baby Thea and I are just so happy! Haha!


We capped the night at the Lord Burri’s hotel located at the city. We got an upgrade – yahoo! Thea slept beside me and she is the cutest thing on earth for me – so sweet and playful. I can spend all day playing with her.


We spent our second day in the lovely Quebec, "Canada's second most populous province after Ontario and is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level". First was in Montreal - "the largest city in the province, the second-largest in the country (after Toronto)" where we visited several big old churches to include St. Joseph Oratory (left below) where I had my first snow experience ever while Thea was taking a picture of me; and Notre-dame basilica - the church where Celine Dion held her wedding ceremony in 1994. 





We had our last stop for the day at the old Quebec City where I was awed by the beautiful sights of the old edifices, which to me looked like the ones in Europe. The tour guide said it's the little Paris in that part of Canada. I love the romance in the air and I felt like Italy would be just a little more romantic than the place. At the very center you will see the city's magnificent castle-like hotel which has been considered as one of the attractions already as it is sitting on top of a slope overlooking an equally wonderful sight of fully lighted houses and establishments with the river running in the middle. 

Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, Old Quebec 


One of the lovely sights at night


Goofing around with Baby Thea


Love Love Love the Christmas Spirit!


There were these narrow streets at the very heart of the city where little and big Christmas trees lighted up every corner. Christmas songs played and I can really feel the Christmas spirit all over the place. Everything was wonderful to look at. 


At dinner time, we headed to stroll by the streets further and looked for a fine resto where we can sit and wait for the next 1.5 hours. We found this nice little resto with free wi-fi. I tried the famous poutine - fries topped with ground beef in tomato sauce and it tasted so nice that my niece Chrissia just had it all to herself. Beside the fine meal, the people in this place are very warm and welcoming really. I can be as chatty as they are there. There is something in the atmosphere there that really captivated me - something like romance you'd feel even when you are alone walking in the streets. The city just makes me want to visit Europe all the more!

Then we headed onto our hotel which according to the itinerary is located at the country side. But voila! When we got there the hotel didn't even look like the one I expected - old and boring. Well, well, well. It had an indoor pool, Jacuzzi and the rooms are clean and big with the free wifi and a bathtub. Baby Thea wanted to swim at the pool and I wanted to take a dip too. But I didn't bring any bathing suit - well, how would I know that it is possible to go swimming at a pool on this winter season?! So I went to the reception and asked. The 2 gentlemen attended to me. (ahem!) So I went to ask, "Hi, do you have a boutique nearby that sells swimsuit?" And the other guy sitting (cutie, guessing he's around 25-28) smiled and responded, "that's an interesting question." chuckles. Then his face turned serious realizing perhaps that I was their guest. "sorry we don't have swim... blah" he stuttered and made face and couldn't even pronounce s-w-i-m-s-u-i-t. haha! his face looked funny but cute as he proceeded to correct what he's saying. My niece Chrissia who acts and thinks older than her age whispered to me, "tita, maybe he couldn't pronounce correctly coz he was imagining you on swimsuits already." and I laughed aloud like "haha!" 

On Sunday morning we headed on with the tour and were greeted by the snow flakes outside our hotel.



Then off we went to Kingston, Ontario for our last stop and visited the Parliament there.




Overall, I just fell in love all the more that I could say, I have "rediscovered the romance in travelling" myself. Before I came over here in Canada, I really prayed for a blessed journey with God. I know He has prepared all these for me to experience Him through the amazing places and wonderful people I encounter. I am so blessed for this epic experience. :)

 Reference: Wikipedia

Orpus day.. Chatty Chatty...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


So I woke up rather late this morning .. the usual routine, took breakfast with my babies.. bring them to school.. came back and prepare to go out with my sis. Then I suddenly wanted to break my abstinence from whatsapp so I opened it after a week of silence and got glued to it for a while then Pops and I had a catch up on the latest happenings in Singapura or her life, that is. Haha. Just gave me goose bumps when I just read her sms saying she wishes to have an out-of-town escapade and guess what? I had the same thought while I was taking a shower. So this made me call her on roaming charges. Haha! Mahal ka tlaga pops!

So yeah, then I and my sister went again to our shopping spree to Orpus, where everything is at the lowest prices – name all kinds and brands I guess you can find it there. While on the bus, my ate was still blaming me for the missed supposed-to-be meet-cute yesterday with this guy. (the one I blogged about the other day) She said she saw him trying to make his way to get near me and so she thought of intentionally going ahead so he will have his time. But yeah, being the insensitive me, I put on a loud music with my earphones on. So now, she just could not stop blaming me for the chance that I (he) just missed. This made me resolved to not use earphones next time while I am out here. Somewhere. Just annoys me with those “what-ifs” and they’re killing me. Boo to me bigtime!

Moving on, first stop - we went to an all-shoes shop – and yeah, I’m so predictable again, I ended up buying a10-dollar pair of cute flats, 2nd pair of shoes bought in a row. Then we spent like 1 hour looking for a dress I was thinking of wearing at either the Thanksgiving or the Gangnam Party. There was this kind lady there fitting her white long gown and she was like asking for my opinion and blahblah and am glad she’s happy to buy my choice for 320 dollars (no way! That’s like 12,000 php for me!) So there I was looking around for the perfect dress fit for my budget. I love putting on dresses that show my curves. (now those dresses are hard to find or too hard for those dresses to find in me. Haha!) And was really touched when this same lady actually helped look around for the best fitting dress for me. There’s this black dress I wore with the peacock feather on which looked so nice on me priced at 60 bucks but my sister opted for me to get the other one on sale at half the price of the first one. Well still, that’s way cheaper than in Singapore where nice dresses I could find would cost usually 80 bucks. So off I got my black dress. Hope I’d still fit in it after a week.

We went to a Korean resto for lunch and while feasting on my salmon teriyaki (favorite food ever!) an old lady approached us asking about how the food tastes and what we can recommend for her to have. But while she was just nicely chatting with us the resto waitress came over and shooed her away asking her to get a table instead of asking us, the customers. So this poor oldie told the waitress that "no, I was just asking them and they are kind people courteous enough to answer my questions while you are not. and you are driving me away." then she smiled at us and walked away. Now that's kinda off for the resto staff to do really. Just made me think how insensitive people can get here. hhmmm..  


Then we went to look for my sister’s tops. Would you believe oxygen and other brands like new look are just 3 to 5 bucks in these outlets? Jaw-dropping prices really! And for shopping-addicts like me the place is like heaven. But no! Just gotta buy what I need. I had bought some presents for my family and friends. Guess it’s the Christmas spirit that’s taking over me these past few days. (O c’mon blame it to the Christmas Spirit! Duh. Haha!)  

So while we were on our way to the bus stop, thought of going back to the last store coz I wanted to buy my sister a nice blouse and surprised her. She waited just outside looking tired. But I told her as we head on that I actually got her a blouse I love to see her wear. And she just smiled at me. See, it’s that kind of moments I’m so loving – simple surprises. Priceless reactions.

Then on the bus on the way home, there were these 2 ladies – one in her 40’s another in her 60’s, I supposed, sitting beside me. And the younger one casually asked when she saw me pulled out my phone, “excuse me, is that Iphone 5 or 4?” I said, “it’s 4.” And she goes on saying that all she ever wanted is a functional phone – able to send and receive messages and make calls. That’s it. This made me think of what if, there isn’t any phones or internet connections. People would be more appreciative of someone’s efforts of reaching out and going out of his way to get the message across. Now that’s cute. Think I should cut down all my communication media (whatsapp, FB, Twitter and Viber, Line, etc.) to see who will really go out his way to reach me, after all if that person really needs to talk to me, he will at all cost. Sweetness!

At the 2nd bus stop, there’s this black lady sitting beside my sister. After sometime of taking over the phone, she exclaimed, “why do people think money just becomes available in December like you can just get it anywhere?!” and I and my sister just laughed at her sentiments. So we began having this conversation of comparing the cost of living here and in Singapore which made me realize she sounded like it’s really harder to make a living here than in Singapore. Felt grateful for the job that pays me and afforded me the kind of life I have at the moment. Then she asked my sister, “is she your daughter?” pertaining to me. And I was like “Haha! No! I’m her youngest sister!” Then I just gave that teasing smile at my ate. Now that made my day! At least I look younger than my age. Say what?! Ok change topic.

Still on the bus, my ate gave me this look. We were still talking about that guy at the subway. And she goes by saying, “if you are meant to meet again, you will. Wherever it may be, whenever.” And that made me go like “waah! That’s serendipity if that happens!” Hi Universe! Do you hear that? (Smiley)

And now I’m gonna cap my night with a wish. And a smile. J It happened before. It can happen again. J Think I’m gonna like to stay here forever. Haha. 

30 things I wish for….

Monday, November 19, 2012




My 30th birthday is coming up.. and I was thinking of how I have lived my life all these years.. of course, I had my ride of the roller-coaster too, got broken and fixed and what ill-fated event there is out there. But hey, I think I made pretty good deals with life. I was blessed with loads of experiences I’d treasure forever! To name a few: (happy to have done 2 items in my to-do-before-i-die list) My travel tips got featured in a travel magazine by Philippine’s largest flag carrier airline (for 2 consecutive issues); Dared myself to do a cat pose that shocked my family and friends especially my Mama (yikes! more of like a “coming out”); Immersed myself in my 2nd passion (to loving, of course!): Photography – think my (amateur) shots got better now than when I first started. Haha! At least I can say that to myself; Travelled a lot – to capture amazing sights and immortalize moment by writing about them. But perhaps my most important fulfillment is becoming a better person all through these years – more loving of God, people, myself and life..  think people who know me closely can say that at least..

So here’s the thing now - I already spent 29 years of my life – which is like already half of the total average life expectancy for females – and I feel like there are still more that I can get and give to life over my remaining years. I was thinking of what other 30 things I wish to do or experience… and randomly I thought of: (now these may not all be realistic. Haha!)

  1. Stand to testify for God’s love to a thousand
  2. Celebrating a birthday at Mc Donald’s or Jollibee with my little angels.. (both groups.)
  3. Do some extreme sports like mountain climbing  (Mt Apo) or sky diving
  4. My crush singing and/or cooking for me.
  5. Bring my Mama to Pilgrimage in Jerusalem or to Europe and get closer to the Pope
  6. Be one of the participants in the World Youth Day  (Brazil!)
  7. Write an inspirational book (title would be: “No Dramas, Just Meaningful Lessons learned” or “How God writes a Beautiful Love Story”. Haha)
  8. Bake a cake
  9. Re-celebrate my 18th birthday – but this time with my gown and cotillion de honor. (Haha. Now this is more like a dream now!)
  10. Do a mission to Africa, Somalia or other areas where children need help
  11. Be in 2 places at one time
  12. Meet Ellen Degeneres or Oprah Winfrey
  13. Record a Song
  14. Travel to at least 3 more continents (Australia, Europe and Americas) and capture more beautiful sights
  15. Have a star named after me.
  16. Paint a Picture
  17. Get my own Dream House with bathtub and pool and oh! My own walk in closet!
  18. Imprint myself on someone for the rest of his life.
  19. To be wed to my God’s Gift.
  20. Honeymoon off to a Caribbean Cruise.
  21. Give birth to our baby angel.  (of course with a legit father. J)
  22. Make special people I love extremely happy.
  23. To grow my investment portfolio.
  24. Hit my target savings by the age of 35.
  25. Send a scholar to school – paying forward what my generous benefactors had done for me.
  26. Go for a silent retreat.
  27. Travel alone.
  28. Sweet dance with my love.
  29. Sponsor/Host fund-raising activities for my beneficiaries.
  30. Write a beautiful eulogy of myself. Leave an indelible mark on my loved ones.


So yes, I guess I have most likely enumerated all of my life’s wishes here. Think you have just known one-fourth of myself here. I will revisit this from time to time to check which ones I have realized. Haha. Good luck to me on that!