Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Davao Travelogue

It's the Chinese New Year season once again and it's a good time to take advantage of the long weekend to spend the holidays on vacation.

Last year, Tiger Airways launched their first flights to Davao City, Philippines. They fly direct from Singapore so it's really convenient especially for families with a toddler like us. Not to mention they have promotional fees as this route is new. Jane's cousin Emily and her family (Emily's not Jane's) also live in Davao. So for this year's holiday, our choice of destination is Davao - an island paradise and a busy metropolis in one.

So I filed for a three-day leave and the additional two public holidays and a Sunday made it a six-day holiday trip for Me&MyGirls!

For this trip I have reserved three hotel rooms (the most I have booked for a single trip to date). One near the airport, one is a beach resort and one which is located at the city center.

Day 1. Our first day begins by traveling from Singapore to Francisco Bangoy International Airport. The flight took about four hours. Reaching Davao, we had an unpleasant surprise because it's raining quite heavily and our hotel pickup didn't show up. So we need to take a taxi to Hotel Tropika, our first hotel. It was about eight in the evening when we got there.

Hotel Tropika. Built just two years ago, the hotel is still new, you can feel the pristine appearance once you enter your room, all are new and in good condition, everything’s clean, not to mention their Cafe Aseya serves very good dinner. However, we didn't enjoy the buffet breakfast much because of the limited menu choices. And they definitely have to improve their airport pickup services, which was a complete turn-off on my part. But for the record, I would recommend this hotel for those who are looking for a place to stay near the airport and would love to have a spacious and clean room.

By the way, we met Jane's cousin Emily, her husband Matt and son Elijah the morning after. They were so generous to keep our biggest luggage so that we can travel light to our next destination. After breakfast and some picture taking, we parted ways. We headed to Pearl Farm Marina Wharf for our Day Two adventure.

Here are some of our favorite shots for Day 1:

All set!
Aboard Tiger Airways and
headed to Davao
At Hotel Tropika
The Cousins, Elijah and Ashrie
Me&MyGirls with the Triggs

Watch out for the next phase of our vacation on my next post.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jurong Bird Park

Our first visit at Jurong Bird Park was during my brother's first visit to Singapore. After almost five years, my wife and I are back at JBP, this time together with our daughter Ashrie, my brother (again) and my parents. And it has changed a lot. There are new features like the Bird Discovery Centre and the newly launched multi-million dollar attraction called Birdz of Play, among others that we did not have the chance to visit because of our short visit and because of the weather.

The weather however did not dampen our moods. We enjoyed wearing the brightly colored raincoats (it's not every day that you got to wear those) and still have a blast even for a short while. We are certainly coming back.

And here, as always, are some photos.

Ashrie in her long gown
Happy Feet!
Pelicans exiting the stage
Show Stealer, in the good sense of the word
Close encounter of the "feathered" kind
A display at the Bird Discovery Centre
Me, Mom, Dad and AR

Friday, January 13, 2012

School Girl Ashrie!

Third of January 2012 marks an important milestone in our lives. Not that it is the first working day of the year but it is Ashrie's first day in playgroup. It's a bit early if we are to compare it with her cousins back in the Philippines wherein most of the kids start day care at around 4 years old.

For the record, she did not cry on the first day. I think most of the kids didn't! Simply because the parents were with them inside the room for the first three days, that's why! And came the fourth day and Ashrie cried (probably until her tears run dry) like any other normal kid.

Both MyGirls are stressed on being apart for two hours. But it's an ordeal everybody who attended school has to face. It's all part of growing up. And looking at these photos I can't help but to be emotional. She has grown...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tris and Jieyin's Wedding

When Weiyang invited me over Facebook months before his wedding, he got my "yes" right away. I requested to bring Jane along and he said "Of cos!" It was our first invitation to a non-Filipino couple's wedding so we were rather clueless on many things, what to wear, what to bring, along with a major concern- who would look after Ashrie while we enjoy the wedding banquet?

You see, Ashrie has never been away with at least one of us (my wife and I) for probably more than three hours. The last time we left her with another person was during her Auntie Ann's (Jane's sister not the pretzel shop) visit. Jane and I managed to have supper "alone" in a nearby Japanese restaurant that time. Anyway, we thought that it would require a strategic tactical operation during the wedding dinner itself, some major planning, and a team of trusted individuals who can really deliver. And I'm definitely not talking about the wedding but about babysitting!

So night of the wedding dinner came. It was New Year's Day. We went to Orchard together and we thought that it is best for Ashrie to be in the playground because it’s one place that she would not want to leave and it should be near the hotel where we are in. The serving intervals worked well with us because we took advantage of it by checking out on our daughter, who by the way is together with my brother and mom at a shopping mall playground. Midway, when I called my brother and asked if Ashrie would like to talk to me, my daughter refused. And that's a good thing because it means she's busy and perfectly fine.

After those elegantly-served dishes and after long hours of playing for Ashrie and company, we all met again at the lobby of the hotel, excited to see each other after hours of separation. Ashrie was indeed delighted to see us, more so the wedding bell favor! She also had a glimpse of the newly-wed couple and exclaimed that the bride's dress was pretty! We'll for the record we thought so too. We enjoyed watching their video (even without subtitles), and admired their pre-nup photos as well.

And back to my story, going down the winding staircase we needed to explain the definition of wedding, because that's new in her vocab.

In the cab, she told a short story of her evening and drifted off to dreamland in my arms, tired and weary but indeed happy.

I'm pretty sure that the beautiful couple that we cheered for that night was tired, weary but happy too. Weiyang and Jieyin, Thank you for inviting us on your very special day. May your relationship be a growing friendship each day and may our God bless you with abundance, good health, and more friends.
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