day 4 of our 2013 orlando vacation

let the magic begins

let the magic begins

Technically this was still part of the day 3 since we did not leave Magic Kingdom yet, however, since it was past midnight then it fell on the next day.

I believe we left the park past 1 AM and there were still a crowd, specially getting back to the parking lot. This time we chose to use the monorail since we used the ferry yesterday morning.

The picture above was take at the same place we took the “Let the Memories Begin”. But this time there was a good lighting and people were rushing to get back to the parking lot. Please click the picture or just click here to see other pictures and videos of the closing parade at the Magic Kingdom.

day 3 of our 2013 orlando vacation

magic kingdom

magic kingdom

I am just being true with the website, I am posting now the continuation of our Orlando, Florida vacation from last year. This was our third day and we decided to spend the Christmas eve at the Magic Kingdom. We also had a dinner reservation at the Crystal Palace, overlooking the the famous castle in Disney. However, not from where we were seated. During our booking, my wife was told that they will be controlling the people getting into the park and they will prioritize the people with dinner reservation. They lied. When we arrived at the park that morning, we took the ferry ride (the picture shown above was taken during the ferry ride), and we found tons of people getting into the park. There were no crowd control, there were nobody screening for parties with dinner reservation. We could have just opted out of the dinner reservation and ate some place else. We took obligatory pictures at the main entrance, Let the Memories Begin. It was crowded that we literally had to wait or just cut out the pictures in the post process. Inside the park was even crowded, you can barely move. Lucky for us we all have cell phones, the kids are older and they went their own ways. They were doing the rides, my wife and myself were just strolling and taking the scenic attractions. We just had a big mistake waiting in line for a picture with the pixies, we were stuck and just sucked it up after waiting for a while. It was a nice experience all in all discounting the insane crowd. Now, I can add this to the Disney’s that I have visited: twice in Euro Disney; once in Tokyo Disney and not Magic Kingdom in Orlando. It was our first time together here, their second my first. I took pictures most of the time and videos towards the closing of the park using my trusted Sony A99. Check them out here.

30 april 2014

dinner at king bee restaurant

dinner at king bee restaurant

My mother’s birthday continued the next day at King Bee Restaurant in Santa Rosa, Laguna for dinner celebration. It was organized by my mom’s friends from the church where she serves as usherette, they booked the place and invited mom’s friends and we just invited relatives over from my mom’s side as well as my father’s side of the family. It was unfortunate that others were not able to make it.

There were no planned program for the small celebration but my brother and I just took the mic and the stage to say something on our mom’s 70th birthday. Of course we thank our Lord for gracing our mom her birthday and praying for more to come. We also, thanked our aunties, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends,and priests from their parish who were in attendance.

I guess it snow balled into people coming forward to say something. I did not know that my father can dance even for a bit when he asked my mom to dance after he gave his thanks. Her friends also brought a birthday cake for her, that just showed that her sons knew nothing about organizing or planning something (we are guys and we know nothing of sorts, well i need to have an excuse).

Of course before, during and after dinner, as always pictures were taken. Above was family picture of those who were able to attend, click the picture or just click here for other pictures.

29 april 2014

sofitel luncheon

sofitel luncheon

Tita Rosita and the rest of my cousins from Australia has arranged a luncheon on my mom’s birthday at Sofitel. I could not thank them enough for what they have done on my mom’s birthday and the expenses that came with it. The occasion also was the reunion of Tita Rosita’s brothers and sisters minus Tita Cristy, Tita Lolit and Tito Boy and their families.

It was a buffet lunch and I kid you not, my stomach could not have picked a better time to be upset. I was not feeling well that time and I could barely eat anything. I would have killed the sushi but it was their lucky day.

Everyone was enjoying themselves and getting themselves full, I envied them. Tita Lolit made an appearance during lunch via Skype, we were able to talk to her for a long time, thank you internet.  After lunch, we moved our get together outside at the pool side. Grabbed some tonic water to calm my stomach, while my brother on the other hand ordered buckets and buckets of beer. I told Peter that he did not have some sleep yet and he started drinking beer when he got home from the airport.

We spent most of our time by the pool taking pictures and talking while the kids were in the pool. Tito Boy made an appearance via Skype that time and we were able to talk with him and asked him to get himself on a plane to Manila. I thought he said yes, but that did not happen, too much work I supposed.

Later in the afternoon, my cousins on my mom’s side dropped by to join in our get together. I have not seen them in 8 years and I was glad to see them and finding out that they have families of their own. Time flies when you were having fun because sun was setting and it was another picturesque day by the bay again.

I only took several pictures compared to what my brother and cousins took that day. Click the above picture or just click here to see other pictures.

28 april 2014

laLoma North Cemetery

laLoma North Cemetery

The picture above was taken at the La Loma North Cemetery in Manila where my grandparents on my father side were buried. This was my second time to visit them in the cemetery and it was my aunt’s first time.

My aunt’s visit to her parents’ (my grandparents) resting place gave her some sort of closure. It was an emotional scene and her brothers and sisters as well as her daughters, nephews and nieces gave her comfort.

However, being in the cemetery also gave me some feeling of sadness because of what I saw inside the cemetery. The people were using the cemetery as their home. How can one live in the cemetery? I cannot wrap my head around how people use this sacred resting place to be their home, however, I do think that if they had a choice they would not have lived there.

It was sad because the government has no solutions for these people who were in essence squatting there. Or does the government still care for them? For most of us,  one would wonder how were they able to live in such conditions, where do they get their basic utilities?

Click the picture above for other pictures I have taken or just click here.

26 april 2014


manila bay sunset behind sofitel

It has been 22 long years since I have not seen my Tita Sita as well as my cousins Charmaine and Lolita. With my Tita was his husband, Bruce. With Charmaine were her husband, Peter, and two lovely kids, PJ and Serenity. Lolita was by herself. They all flew yesterday and they were all staying at Sofitel except for Lolita who was staying at another hotel nearby.

I arrived at the Manila International Airport close to midnight of the 25th of April 2014. I left Philadelphia 7:00 in the morning of the 24th of April 2014 then connected to Chicago to Seoul, Korea then Manila. The total flight time was about 20 hours. We have to circle for about half an hour above Manila before we landed. The landing could be better because the plane was trying to level itself until the touchdown. It felt like the plane would have tipped over during landing, either the pilot just got his license or it was windy.

Once you walked through the tarmac, the heat and humidity heats you. Damn! I was still wearing my hoodie from the flight and I had t quickly take it off. Then the dreaded crowd to the immigration, it took almost an hour to clear customs, I don’t know why but I guess there was just no organization or everybody just arrived at the same time. After customs was the baggage claim. Another hour or so was wasted. One of the passengers who was making the connection to Davao was yet to see his bags.

I was walking down the ramp to the exit around 2 AM. I was looking for my parents, who were picking me up that time. There was a mad dash to the parking exit and we were able to clear that ordeal after more than half an hour or so. We had to pay the penalty because my father misplaced the parking ticket and that was an automatic 500 pesos plus the 100 pesos parking fee (about $15 total), it was not bad but in the Philippines that was a lot of money.

It was still about an hour drive away to get home but we have to stop to grab some quick eat. When we finally got home, I unpacked and slept because a few hours later we will going to see my Tita and cousins from Australia at Sofitel.

The picture above was taken by the pool side of Sofitel hotel. The first thing I noticed was the stench of the bay (it was the smell of the bay plus the pollution). No hotel guests swam in the bay, as expected, but I could not say the same thing for others who reside near the bay.

The hotel was built on a reclaimed area where Imelda Marcos built the Manila International Film Theater back in their time (which I believe was no longer used). There were a lot of stories about this theater but that will be for some other time. I think they need to build in reclaimed areas because Manila is already crowded, they need to tear down a lot to build hotels like Sofitel.

Click here  or click the picture to see other pictures I took that day.