For Niklas’ birthday, we went to Panglao Island in Bohol, Tagbilaran to celebrate. It’s the first time I boarded a plane after Hanoi and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we now have a daughter, Tara Freya. She is exclusively breastfed (we are a co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering and breastfeeding kind of family). But, it’s not always that a private space is available when the little one is hungry. So, as I’ve done in the past, no other option but to ‘strike anywhere’, a common term among breastfeeding moms which means breastfeeding your child on demand, whenever and wherever. Only this time, we did so at the comfort of Bohol Beach Club’s lounge chairs (convertible to beds!) while the ocean lulled Tara to sleep. And we did it a couple more times in the casitas by the pool!
This is the second time I’ve seen Manila Bay sunset while at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. But this is the first time that I did as a staying guest and with Niklas. I actually almost missed it, as I had to breastfeed Tara and pump some milk out so they have some ‘baon’ (take home) in case Mom and Yaya Annie got stuck in traffic heading home (first night away from Tara, #sepanx). But luckily, as it’s summertime already, the sun takes longer to set and we had enough time to watch its beauty together — while talking about our little family’s future. 🙂
(Staycation was such a great idea, let’s do it again! And though Sofitel creates a deep hole in the pocket (good thing it was his birthday gift to me. hehehe), it’s worth it!).
A three-hour drive from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, will bring you to the calm and charming Ha Long Bay. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin in northeast Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has withstood the test of time, and yes, naval battles and legends. Literally translated as “Bay of the Descending Dragon”, Ha Long Bay offers visitors a majestic view of naturally-formed limestone pillars and, if you have much time to spare, over 1,600 islands and islets. A popular way to enjoy the scenery is by taking one of the numerous Ha Long Bay cruises through glass-like waters (although it was a bit too green for me!) aboard these ships that looked like the ones used back in the 1900s era (my first thought was the Huckleberry Finn cartoons!), giving it an old world feel. We spent two days and a night aboard one (and I was happy to see two very able Filipina crew managers) and although we were actually working (yep, no kidding!), in that short time, I really got to appreciate the calmness (so unlike the 2Go weather fiasco!), majesty and beauty that Ha Long Bay offers to its visitors.
I know it’s already five months overdue but still, I would like to write a personal post about my 26th year, highlighting the travels I’ve had and the people I met along the way.
Contrary to my 25th year’s travels which were mainly as a solo backpacker or with a travel buddy, 2013-2014 was more of a group travel kind for me. It’s also during this span of time that I’ve met several important people in my life — from CouchSurfing acquaintances to really great friends, and from total strangers to favorite companions and partners in crime. And yes, ’twas also late last year that I met someone whom I’m looking forward to have more travels and adventures with.
It’s been a while since I last had a long vacation (last ones were in Hong Kong and Macau in January and Baler in April) so when the chance to go to Coron came up, I just couldn’t let it pass. Palawan is known as one of or probably the last frontier here in the Philippines in terms of it’s natural beauty, picturesque landscape and rich marine biodiversity. And, Coron and Busuanga, due to its relatively more difficult (read: tends to be more expensive) accessibility by flights and ferries, remains to be as such.
Unfortunately, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) already ravaged a lot of its magnificent corals and fell trees. There were reportedly 6 casualties and some islands’ structures succumbed and totally collapsed. Nevertheless, Busuanga and Coron remain to be a beauty that everyone needs to see. And like what E and I probably said all the time during the trip, we are in our happy place!
So, through this quick Instagram Travel post of our vacay (Aug 22-27, 2014) let us (the self-proclaimed Cool Kids Club, aka CS Weekend Escapists, aka CouchSurfers and friends) take you to our happy place!