Island Hoppin’. Week 1.

day-to-day. wandering.

After being gone for awhile, there’s nothing like coming home.  We recently returned from two amazing weeks in the Philippines, and I can’t remember the last time I was away from home that long.  You start to forget you have a normal life to return to!  After a few days, the inevitable thoughts of “I could get used to this..” start to creep into your head, which is usually immediately followed by “Don’t get too comfortable.”  All good things must come to an end.

The arrival of October brought with it this much anticipated trip for a family reunion to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday.  Two weeks of food, family, and disconnection from our every day lives.  We were so excited.  Michael came along and got to experience his first Southeast Asian country.  Reasons why I love him, even more after this trip:  he’ll try anything once (including native food even I won’t try), and he gets along with everyone.  From my 86-year old grandpa to my 9-year old cousin.  I got a good one.

We spent the first week in Quezon City, where my family is from.  Quezon City is near Manila, the capital of the Philippines on the island of Luzon.  The second week was spent in Bacolod located in the Western Visayas, a different grouping of islands south of Luzon.  Our constant travel buddies on this trip were my brother, Brian, and his fiance, Rachel.  The four of us managed to make our way to, through, and from these crazy cities together, laughing constantly and finding as many San Miguel beers as possible.  We couldn’t have asked for better company.

Arriving in Manila, Philippines
The geek squad. We’ll blend right in.

Manila is a crazy, crowded, busy city.  There are people EVERYWHERE.  On foot, in cars, in (and on top of) all public transportation vehicles.  Traffic laws and individual driving lanes do not exist here.  Drive, and walk, at your own risk.  Much of our first week was spent driving around Manila to meet with family.  I still have much of my extended family living in the Philippines, so we had a lot of people to see.  There were endless lunches, dinners, and in between meals too.  Filipinos love to eat.  The days revolve around meal times.

We managed to get one beach day in during our first week, with a trip to Tagaytay.  About three hours from Manila, we spent a little time in paradise.  Complete with lobsters bought on the beach and cooked to order.

Some photos from our first week~

Our tourist badges, courtesy of my parents.  A sad necessity with the relentless mosquitos.

Tagaytay, Philippines


Photo courtesy of Brian J.


Lychee fruit
Photo courtesy of Brian J.

Lechon, a Filipino favorite.