grand palladium beach resort
This vacation was some sort of a gift for our daughter’s 18th birthday as well as high school graduation. We have planned this way ahead of time since she does not like to have some sort of an 18th birthday party like most of young ladies do. At first it was a trip to Rome or something but it proved to be expensive for five people (including their auntie).
My wife found a deal at groupon.com. It was unfortunate, though, that our son was not able to make it due to summer class and we have to eat the cost even though we purchased travel insurance. The insurance did not include such excuse, contrary to what was explained by the travel agent.
This was my second air trip this year considering I don’t like flying a lot or should I say I don’t like flying at all if all possible. The flight was okay compared to the 14 hours flight from Chicago to South Korea.
Touching down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic was an experience. After the plane touched down and parked we were ushered down the steps and waited for a bus to bring us to the terminal for customs and luggage. Lucky for us, I was able to convince my wife to travel light and just had one hand carry per person. But I always need to carry my camera bag with me regardless.
As soon as we cleared customs, which by the way we need to pay $10 per person, I realized that I made a mistake. I did not have any travel documentation from the travel agent, I found out that they were supposed to email those to me two weeks prior. We were able to talk our way through getting in on our shuttle as well as getting admittance at the resort.
After we settled in our rooms, well the ladies went to check out the beach before dinner. I went along and took some pictures, click here to see other pictures or the picture above.
My daughter is simple. She does not like to have a big party held in a fancy place and big expense. She just asked us to celebrate her birthday in the park with friends, and so we did. This celebration was for her birthday as well as for her high school graduation rolled into one.
My wife and a friend called the management for the Washington Lake Park in Sewell, NJ to reserve the a covered area. They were told that for this year there was no reservation and it will be first come first served. There was no reason why it was no reservation because it was clearly stated in their website that there was a fee to use the facility.
Last weekend, everything was set, food were ordered and will be delivered on site at a specific time. A cake was ordered and will be picked up just before lunch. We woke up early that one weekend morning and went to the park to setup the place. There were eight tables in the gazebo. As we were setting up the park ranger approached my wife and told her that if there will be a party later on showing a contract that we were to leave the place. The park ranger explained that the reason for the no reservation for the gazebo was because someone lost the reservation book last March and somebody might have reserved for the place before it was lost.
We gambled and continued with the celebration. We had all the food and cake, we started the celebration and had the candle blowing because the cake was melting. The celebration was going smoothly till the mid afternoon when another party came and demanded for us to leave. One person was respectful while the other was just plain rude. But before we left we asked them to show the contract which they did have.
We packed and transferred to the nearby tables (without cover and under the trees). The kids were playing somewhere in the soccer field and did not witness the scene. They were just surprised to see we were no longer in the covered place. We still managed to continue our celebration and after a while guests took home food and we called it a day.
My daughter opened her gifts back at home and she was thankful for those who attended and gave gifts. She was happy and I guess that was all that mattered. You can click the picture of the cake, which was actually beautiful, or just click here to see other pictures and a video.
lake at monroevilleNJ
We were invited at Elijah Nepomuceno’s birthday celebration at a lake in Monroeville, NJ. We went to this park before for just a simple picnic. It was a short ride from our house in Sewell via Route 55 South and I believe you need to exit at Buck Road.
It was a good size lake but I believe the $9.00 per person (adult) is a steep prize considering that there was no shower to rinse after you dip in the lake. Picnic tables are more than adequate and for special occasions you can reserve a covered area, there were a couple or a few. There were paddle boats, canoe and kayak that you can rent for $6.00 per half an hour. There was also a playground for young ones.
The Nepomuceno’s had a huge spread in addition to the grilled food they did on site, there really were a lot of food. Thank you for the invite.
Click the picture above to see the pictures and videos I have taken during the occasion using my Sony Alpha 99 and GoPro Hero 3+, just click here.
high school graduation
My daughter just graduated high school from Deptford High last week. Another milestone in our lives and in hers. In a few months, she will be embarking on another chapter in her life, college. It will be a new experience for her and I know that she’s up to the task as God will be with her constantly.
Her graduation was held in the school’s football field late in the afternoon early evening but it was so hot and humid. Our parking was not great either, it was a long walk to the stands. We were seated in the middle part of the stadium which was strategic for taking pictures if not for the official photographers blocking the view since they were in the field for a closer shot. Most of my shots was using the Sony 200 mm F/2.8 lens on a Sony Alpha 99.
The speeches were not long, I guess in consideration of the weather. The school’s principal, superintendent and the town mayor gave their inspirational speeches as well as the graduating class president, salutatorian and the valedictorian. What I liked the most was the salutatorian’s speech. It seemed impromptu and it was lively, not boring since it was down to earth kind of speech.
You can click the picture above to see other shots and a video or just click here.
hershey park – part 2
We went back to Hershey Park two weeks ago because we were given a rain check. Last year we went to the park but soon after lunch the rain just poured down and we decided to go home close to 4 or 5 PM. My wife went to the customer service before we headed home to ask about our visit that day and was told that they can give her a rain check to be used within the year.
Some of us were able to get the return vouchers while others who went home earlier were not able to.
There were about 4 or 5 families went that day. This time we brought Cooper with us since we knew that there was a kennel in the park for only $10 for the whole day. I just need to go back and walk the dog.
Click the pictures above to see the rest of the pictures I have taken that day or just click here.
We met Sister Vilma at Saint Margaret Church in Woodbury Heights, NJ. She was one of the sisters in their parish. She’s a Filipina and she has been serving our Lord for 25 years. She has also been assigned in various countries as well as states here in the US.
That day was her anniversary. The parish priest has prepared a celebration for her, inviting her family as well as people who has been so much part of her life. Our prayer group was also been fortunate and was invited in the celebration.
We attended the mass wearing our traditional Filipino attire and brought native dishes to share in the celebration. Our children performed a couple of native dances and they were great.
Click the above picture to see the pictures and videos or just click here.
We were invited to a Santa Cruzan in Philadelphia held at Ukranian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. This was the same venue for the last year’s Santa Cruzan. This event is one of the many Filipino tradition that immigrants from the Philippines brought over here to the United States.
I believe there were a lot of attendees last year compared to this year because I saw several sashes that were left in the basket at the church’s entrance. Since I have started with this comment, I would like to add that it was kind of lacking police assistance with regards to the street parade. Last year there were police cars assisting traffic or blocking the streets. This year I was asking a fellow attendee about the traffic police, none to be seen.
Last year both my kids were participants in the Santa Cruzan whereas this year, it was just my son. I guess my daughter just wanted to be a spectator this time. I was also able to test out my GoPro to take videos in the event. Click the picture to see other shots and videos or click here.
2014 seniors awards night
Every year Deptford High School has an awards night for graduating students who received some form of scholarship(s) from various groups or organizations towards their college education. This was held at the school’s auditorium and it was a joy to see students who excelled so much academically as well as in athletics.
You can click on the picture above or click here to see other pictures I took during this event.
I was on time coming back home to the US because after a few days my daughter had the spring concert. She plays the flute for the wind ensemble, however, during that concert she also had to play with other group for the combined performance.
I commend the music program of Deptford because the music teachers are so dedicated. Even though the budget had been slashed for multiple years now, the teachers used their own resources to make due for their respective programs. Click here to see the pictures I took and videos of their performances.
lolita’s balcony view
After dinner at Kanin Club in Makati, we dropped off my cousin Lolita in Sofitel but she told us to come up to her room. I have not seen the rooms in the hotel and honestly I did not see anything breath taking for a five star hotel, well the lobby was more than okay.
Tita Rosita came down to see us in Lolita’s room and we hung out for a while. I believe it was good to say our farewells and goodbyes here rather than at the airport. We let Tita Rosita taste the fried dinuguan from Kanin Club, she liked it. If ever you will be in Manila, please don’t forget to visit Kanin Club, I believe they have three locations: the original one was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; and the other two were in Makati and Alabang.
The shot above was a handheld shot at Lolita’s balcony. I only did a few shots and these were the last pictures I took in this visit to the Philippines, click the picture or click here to the rest.