Seven Days of Family Fun in Bali

Bali in Indonesia is one great southeast asian island to visit while vacationing in the Philippines . It is  only a 4 hour flight from Manila to Denpasar. A week in Bali spent  with my husband’s family is definitely one for the books. Traveling with kids, elderly and extended family is not without  some challenges; but it was special and unforgettable.

My sister in law did most of the arrangements: transportation, accommodation and activities. It is amazing how transportation can be pre-arranged via Whatsapp or Viber. It was easy. We rented a van/coaster for at least 10-12 people. The drivers were recommended by friends and  family who have previously availed of their services. It was nice to not worry at all about navigation and driving. We would message ahead of time if we needed it for the day. Taxi service like Grab is also a nice option for those short trips.

I love Bali. The people, most specially. Despite the traffic and the “busy-ness” , the Balinese people seem like calm and peace loving people; as if   they are not easily affected by the chaos around them and I mean that in a good way; not apathetic, but patient and  tolerant. I also  love how religious they are, offering food and prayers every day to their gods. Their dishes are tasty and the availability of tropical fruits reminded me so much of my province in the southern part of the Philippines.

Visiting Bali  mid- June is not a bad idea. Weather was great and it was not as humid as Manila this time of year.The   occasional rain showers  served to cool us down even more.

So here’s what we did in Bali for a week.

*First two days were spent in Kuppu Kuppu Jimbaran, a Hotel, Beach Club and Spa by L’ Occitane.  

Natural elements like bamboo and rattan were used to decorate some parts of the  hotel. The pool is gorgeous. It was close to the beach and a golf cart was always available to take us to and from the Jimbaran beach, for free! The free breakfast buffet  had decent  selections. I just wish coffee was unlimited.

Sunbathed and relaxed by the pool.

Enjoyed a Balinese massage treatment at The Bamboo Spa by L ‘Occitane

Frolicked and watched  the sunset by the beach

Ate fresh seafood al fresco, for dinner

Rented a  6 bedroom villa with a pool and a butler for a week.

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Philippines in 7 Days (or less)

 

It was a three week vacation, but because we had to  fit in  Hong kong and Indonesia, the time literally spent in the Philippines got  trimmed down to a week..

So here’s a list of activities that what we did in a week in Pinas.Next blog posts will be the time spent in Bali and Hongkong.

1. visited the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene known canonically as Parish of Saint John the Baptist, and also known as the Quiapo Church

We were warned not to visit it on a Friday or Quiapo Day. For lack of time, we had no choice but to visit it on a  Friday. The car trip from Parañaque to Quiapo, Manila took more than 2 hours because of heavy traffic along Roxas Blvd.  on a high noon, we braved the thick crowd, heat and humidity just to get to the church. Love the wonderful and colorful religious products sold by different vendors outside the church though. Great place to get religious articles  like rosary, and santo ninos,love the  fresh sampaguita and ylang ylang garlands which perfumed the car for at least a week , even fans, clothing and other household stuff. We lit a candle and offered prayers for some special intentions. Why Quiapo church? we thought it was quintessentially Filipino,  and we wanted the kids to see that.

2. next, we stopped at the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat

A nice follow up to our visit of the Our Lady Of Montserrat in Barcelona last April and because we said our I do’s here. This time we visited it with the kids. The ceiling is still amazing!

We bought a few of the St Benedict’s Medal to bring home to the US as pasalubongs to family. While we were waiting for our St Benedict medal  to be blessed, we chanced  upon Vince’s high school Principal , Father Narciso (and it became a  reunion of sorts) which    made  our visit more special . He showed us the special part of the monastery where Benedictine monks and priests  are buried.

3. passed by San Beda College

Vince’s high school alma mater. It used to be a high school for boys . Now it only offers college degree courses.

4. and because we were in the hood, we visited Vince’s old house in Sampaloc.

 

5. spent a weekend in the Southeastern part of the Philippines, Butuan City.

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Barcelona in Three Days

 

We will be back! for sure. A quick tour of this beautiful region in Spain and three days is never enough to explore this city. I lost my cellphone to a pickpocket in Barcelona, but even that is negligible compared to the wonderful experience we had there.

We took the late night flight from Marrakech, so we arrived Barcelona’s  El Prat  at around 2 in the morning. Utilizing the not so comfy airport benches, we tried to catch some zzz’s while we waited for the car rental to open at 6:00  in the morning. It was uncomfortable, but it was one of those money saving efforts we did for this trip. We rented a car via Costco for 2 days which cost us 27 euros per day, saved us a hotel cost for a night and allowed us to visit other places in the Catalunia region at our own pace.

First stop so early in the morning was the beautiful city of  Tarragona.

The Castle of Altafulla or Castell dels Montserrat is a castle palace of the Tarragonès dating from 1059 . It is not open for public viewing.

Esglesia de Sant Marti d’ Altafulia is built between 1701 to 1705

Clear skies with a few clouds,a gorgeous view of  the Mediterranean sea from the Tarragona amphitheater ruins, a plate of black seafood paella and just walking aimlessly in the the alleys of the city square was our idea of a good time.

Tarragona Amphitheater

Tarraco Arena Placa

Pont del Diable

After devouring that delicious black seafood paella, we headed back to Barcelona to prepare for our most awaited activity of the night. We really worked hard to get tickets for this game and even cancelled our booking in Cadaques just to watch Messi and the FC Barcelona play against Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou. Every night we checked the website for ticket availability. Finally got a couple of tickets  2 days before the match. This is when I lost my cellphone in the train (we took the train from our hotel so we didn’t have to worry about parking, etc) and DSLR battery died! Photos here are from the Iphone but I’m glad we decided to watch them.  Just being in the crowd of passionate soccer fans, joining them sing and cheer for Barca, hearing the curses and praises; that was a great once in a lifetime experience.

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