Thursday, March 27, 2008


My parents, same as they were 30 years ago at my dad's alma mater.

I've made a handful of trips to the Philippines. Several as a child since the age of two, and 3 trips as an adult. Except for a couple of days in Boracay, it's always just time to hang out with family. I've never seen any touristy sights of places of cultural significance. I laid the law down and it's time for a change.

We made a stop at Elmer's alma mater, the University of the Philippines. He hadn't been there since graduation.

This is where my dad beat the !@#*%!*@?!! out of some guy who was in a rival fraternity.

The business college, which is no longer the business college, but where my mom used to yell and scream and call for my dad and their friend. Now you know where I get it from.

If only gasoline came from the heavens...

Brian's first halo-halo, a super tasty ice creamy treat that's not hard to find if you haven't had it yet. Do it.

Some pictures at Intramurous, the walled city.


Intramuros, located along the southern bank of the Pasig River, was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century and is the oldest district of the city of Manila. Its name, taken from the Latin, intra muros, literally "Within the walls", meaning within the wall enclosure of the city/fortress, also describes its structure as it is surrounded by thick, high walls and moats. During the Spanish colonial period, Intramuros was considered Manila itself.



It was the coolest thing I've seen there. I'm a sucker for old stuff.




Sadly, the whole city was razed to the ground by bombings conducted by American forces when they recaptured Manila from the Japanese in 1945. Today most of the walls, gates and bulwarks have been restored, affording visitors a glimpse into the past.



We then went to the Ayala Museum where you can see the history of the Philippines in diorama form! It was great, since I'm dense and should know more than I do. But I'm eager to learn more about the history of my peeps. These poor people have been occupied by everyone under the sun, and the struggle facinates me.

We ate lunch and then Pep and I had to take off so I could get back to work. Lame. But check out where we ate lunch, for reallys!

Really?  We ended up eating here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Anilao, Day 2

Both sides of the family battle in Survivor: Sombrero Island.

I thought I was pretty good at keeping up with this blogging thing, but since this is a month overdue I better get crackin.

We got up early on Sunday and my uncle and some of my cousins went on a beginner scuba adventure. Then about 30 of us, my uncles, aunts, cousins, from both sides of the family took a brief ride to the little Sombrero Island.





It was cool because were stuck on this shore, and everyone was together. People weren't wandering off doing their own thing, cause there was nowhere to go but the water.

My parents, trying to stay in the shade.


You'd think that a people of an island nation would be of the beach-going variety, but that is not the case. It has taken my parents years of dragging the family to the beach to get them into the water. Some of my relatives still won't touch the water, but now my extended fam enjoys holidays at the beach. It was also my parents who brought snorkeling into the mix, and now a bunch of us do it, and some even scuba.



Then it was time to leave, and I was very sad. I don't particularly care for the city. It makes me not feel good sometimes. I missed seeing the leaping dolphins on our boat ride back, but Pepper saw it and that's all that matters.

Planet Dive and the family house.

We took one last dip when we got back, showered, and made our way out.

View from the bathroom - Anilao, Philippines
The view from my parents bathroom. No windows or walls!

We had to experience the shower before we left.

Me and Pepper's room.

The cottage where me, Pep, my parents and my Minnesota fam stayed.

The dining facilities.

Yeah. Then we left. And I was sad. We were on our way back to Manila, and then the car broke down.


After much to do, we hopped in another car, and my family that was in that car rented another one.

It's a good thing I wasn't packing any heat that day.

We got back late and had an AWESOME dinner. Had all the good Filipino dishes Pepper was craving, including just possibly the best eggrolls I've ever had.

We then spent the night at my aunt's unoccupied condo in this area called Eastwood, and we might as well have been at the Commons in Calabasas or any other new upscale outdoor shopping facility. It was creepy and I hated it because I fear in the future, the world will all just look like Westlake Village.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Road to Anilao

My cousin on a kayak.

We woke up early on Saturday, about a month ago, to begin our journey from Manila to Anilao. It was a 100 mile road trip and moderately exhausting as we dealt with traffic, road closures, and long stretches of dirt road to get to the family house and scuba resort.


My dad's cousin manages a scuba resort which is on the same property as a family house. It's a pretty basic kinda place that's more like camping, but it's an awesome place to spend a weekend. I'm not sure anyone would survive more than a weekend there, because it's removed from everything and since it's on a hill there are giant killer stairs everywhere.

The family house. The front has no windows, it's open to the water.





Another one of the cottages.

A really scary broke down bridge. And this is coming from someone who's crossed the Capilano suspension bridge.

By the time we got there it was already mid afternoon, so we only had a little bit of time to snorkel before calling it a day.

My parents in the water with the kids.

It was Pepper's first time snorkeling, and once he got into his groove, he really liked it.



After a shower and dinner, we broke out a little kareoke.

Since Asians take their kareoke very seriously, I decided to mix it up and put on Bohemian Rhapsody. This is my mom, aunts, and cousins rockin out.

Then we put ourselves to bed so we could enjoy our last day at the beach.

Good night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's a Green Day in HK

I didn't mean to lie to you. I promise more tales of exotic lands after I return from China. I just wanted to wish everyone at home a happy green day, from HK.

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Rachel and Natalie

Went out with the regular crew, and Rachel suggested I invite my sole co-worker Vicky out for her first St. Patty's day. It was also her first time at Lan Kwai Fong (the bar hub) and her first time at a bar, ever.

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Joel and the obligatory Guinness

I asked Vicky if her parents were upset that she was going out late on a work night, but they were actually thrilled that their little girl (who is my age) is going out and doing big girl kinda things.

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Vicky wishes you peace on St. Patty's day.

We went to a couple Irish pubs, and it occured to me that I've never been to a pub on St. Patty's just because it's too impossible to get in. Vicky was a trooper and got through 3 drinks and was pummeled. And somehow, we played a decent round of Jenga.

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Of course, the St P festivities kicked off over the weekend, and even though my Saturday started off kinda strange, it turned out to be a really fun night.

Alexis and Me at the Fong
Alexis N Me, wandering the Fong.

Me n Beth at the Fong
Me n Beth, wandering the Fong.

We wandered, we snacked, we took a taxi to a party of an unknown address. We got there exactly the same time the cops did, but I bumped into my pal Daven and that was cool. We took the party to Dragon-I, where I kindly helped myself to the two costco-sized bottles of Grey Goose on the table. The party was headed elsewhere, but me and Sebastien had our priorities. We stuck to the vodka.

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We shut that place down. And so did these folks. The details are kinda hazy, so I'm not really sure if this was two dudes...

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Go Green!