Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A Year of Journeys, Not Travels...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Compared to 2012 where I had a dozen combo trips around the United States, Singapore, Germany, Indonesia, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Philippines, I have only been to a handful of trips within the country in 2013 and one might say that this year was a letdown in terms of traveling. I agree that I have fewer travels, but I still consider 2013 as my best year ever - as it has held a lot of "firsts" and tons of beautiful memories on the road with my then beau and now hubby Raymond. Those moments are far more meaningful than just seeing places!

Here's a look back at My 2013 Planner which I let you took a peek at the beginning of the year. Overall, I was able to achieve that one thing to do monthly but not really in the months that I thought it would happen - but at least it happened and I enjoyed the journey!

JANUARY 5, 2013. I have detoxified and started a healthy living when I accepted my boyfriend's Forever Living Products and frequented our visit in Nuvali, Sta.Rosa to lose some pounds and get rid of my not so lovable love handles around this evo-living haven. We drive here weekly to get a feel of what it's like to actually live there since Raymond owns a house five to ten minutes away. Nuvali is my best kind of place to enjoy a smell of fresh air, water taxi ride, fish feeding, silent moments at the park and oppotune times to recreate our first date in Paseo de Santa Rosa.

FEBRUARY 24, 2013. Yes it is the love month and have hinted flowers, chocolates, a romantic meal and a weekend get-away with Raymond! I didn't get those on Valentines Day, but received them nonetheless for the whole month of February, wrapping up with a travel to Tayabas, Quezon to attend my friend's birthday. This is the farthest drive that we have taken where Raymond is in the driver seat and I starting to get used to sitting in the front seat for that holding - hands - with boyfriend while driving peg!

MARCH 7, 2013
. Getting into His World. For this month of graduation and commencement, I stopped the "I" word and world by adding a new career and joining my hubby -to - be in his FLP business. We have driven around Subic, Pangasinan, Bulacan and Rizal to introduce our families and friends to health and wealth. I feel happy journeying into a new area, a foreshadowing of a new and exciting prospect of being together - forever (and in Forever Living Products!).

APRIL 30, 2013. Prioritizing. Instead of enjoying the peace and quiet during the Holy Week, April was all about Successes - as a lawyer and as a new recognized manager of Forever Living Products! But I still have lots of learning to do and one of which is definitely prioritizing myself over my family. It is the deepest desire of my heart to have my own family and have a baby!

MAY 11-12, 2013 . He's Getting Into My World. It's election time and we have done a great deal of traveling around the third district of Laguna - Sta. Maria, Mabitac, Famy, Luisiana, Pagsanjan, Sta.Cruz, Kalayaan, Pakil, Pangil, being the election lawyer for my friends Mayor Tony and Cindy Carolino. Raymond is getting a hand at lawyering!

JUNE 12, 2013. Getting Engaged. It was not with a diamond ring or the kneeling down wedding proposal you get to read on books, but our engagement is a promise to continue where we left off on the exact month and date 22 years ago and never to be without each other afterwards. Raymond and I met during an Independence Day rally inside UP Diliman in 1991. After dating for three (3) months, he had to leave for a voluntary mission for two years and promised to come back for me. But he didn't keep his promise - and we had our separate lives. We only met last year after being gone for more than 20 years. On our first date, we just knew, without having to say the words, that finally “we have found that spark that we never lost, but always been looking for.”(Ikaelelo Gaosengwe).We headed to Boracay and Bacolod to celebrate getting hitched and for our first flight together as a couple! We enjoyed helmet diving, swimming, sightseeing, eating out and just being together!

JULY 20, 2013. Our Pre-Nup Shoot. The birthday month of my hubby-to-be was the busiest in terms of road trips together. We were driving around searching for that Perfect Wedding Reception Venue which should be both affordable and available on our chosen date - September 21, 2013. We would like to commemorate the day that Raymond and I have last seen each other in 1991 which is also the anniversary of Martial Law and fell on a Saturday. With only a little over three (3) months before the big day and with a budget considerations, choosing Estancia Hotel Resort over choices like Love of Light and Glass Garden was the first and the most important couple decision we have made after getting hitched! The City of Tagaytay is a component city in the province of Cavite and only an hour or so away from Manila. Because of its cooler climate, stunning views of Taal Volcano in the middle of the Taal Lake(in Batangas), unique attractions and its proximity to our new residence in Silang, Cavite, Tagaytay is our runaway choice as venue for our wedding events. So on July 20, we had a super fun day - pre-nup shoot slash fiancee's birthday slash college GIRLFRIENDS reunion and slash Bridal Shower from Manila then Nuvali and Tagaytay!

AUGUST 3, 2013. Wedding Invites & Food Tasting. We were busy driving around the Metro to hand out our CD case with CD wedding invitations to our friends. It is a D-I-Y Project that Raymond and I put together where we incorporated music in the invites. In 1991, Raymond used to bring me to Yamaha World Band Explosion concerts. When we met again last year, he serenaded me and composed songs for me that truly brought back memories of yesteryears. We used the song compositions as part of our CD and we traveled to Paranaque to record the songs. Before the month is over, we had series of food tasting for the big day and was back in Tagaytay!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2013. A Journey to Forever. "On this day", anniversary of Martial Law, we started out our life together like we always dreamed and started a new journey, a journey that would lead us to forever…

OCTOBER 1 & 21, 2013. First Birthday and Paper Month-sary. Who says turning forty is OLD and no FUN?Well it is very different but it is so much fun in the adult way as it was my first birthday with a hubby!We enjoyed our mini-moon at Manila Hotel and enjoyed lots of paper gifts that made us "lived happily FOREVER after"!

NOVEMBER 21, 2013. Cotton-Monthsary. Ok, it's our second month of marital bliss and our feet (and car) take us to different hotels for series of mini - moons.My travel companions? Raymond, Cream Soda and Combos!

DECEMBER 21 & 25, 2013. Leather Monthsary and Our first Christmas as a Couple. Yes, I still hit the bazaars (but not with a big tummy yet!)for those Christmas gifts. On our first Christmas eve as a couple, my whole family celebrated with us, as in all previous Christmases when I was still single.But this time, my hubby is in - charge!

This has been 2013 for me and for us!. But I know that "in the sight of God, it is not so much of what I have done or where I have been but much more to where I am willing to go"! (Elder Edward Dube). So,this 2014 we will continue to Look Ahead and Believe!

This is my contribution to Pinoy Travel Blogger DECEMBER 2013 BLOG CARNIVAL with the theme "Let the Curtains Close on 2013. A Year-End Post" hosted by Brenna Bustamante of The Philippine Travelogue.
Check previous post in Langyaw.com.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Celebrating Christmas With Our Family!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

On our first Christmas eve as a couple, my whole family celebrated with us, as in all previous Christmases when I was still single. This time though, the brother of Raymond,Paul and some relatives of Kuya Mike & Ate Amy's family also joined. We see to it that we have Christ in our celebration by having a two-part Family Home Evening program!

We had our own version of Christmas Symbol Sing - Along Program, where the ten (10) kids modeled/held the miniature angel, innkeeper, three shepherds, three wise men, Joseph and Mary while the adults read their parts/messages and sing all the songs from the hymns.

After the program, we had dinner. We decided to just have enough we could consume for the noche buena to avoid spoilage. We had three roasted chicken from Joel's poultry and stuffed fish, all cooked in our convection oven we got as wedding gift. We also have pasta with a choice of either spaghetti or carbonara sauce, fried siopao, fruit salad, and pork adobo. Everyone was filled!

We have an impromptu dance talent presentation - four groups of three. First group is Jay-A with Shan & Frannie dancing Whoops Kiri, followed by the group of Ian with Jay-M and James to the tune of What Does the Fox Say?, then by Alliune with Mitch and Shane also Whoops Kiri and last presentation was Gentleman by Kyle's group who was joined by her mom Imee and Papa since I only have ten nieces and nephews (coz Justin is too young). It was the wackiest part of the program (I'm sure you'll agree when you watch the videos). The over-all winner in the showdown is the group of Kyle (coz Red was biased lol). Special awards were also given - the group of Ian, Jay - M and James as the wackiest group, while the best dancer is Alliune for female and Jay - A as the best dancer for male.

Then we had our traditional family gift exchange Monito - Monita with a little twist. Instead of just buying gifts to the person they picked up, the giver also have to perform a service or make something for the person. Most of the younger kids said they will no longer tease or fight with the person throughout the year lol.

For the adults, we opted to have a gift exchange by couples instead of by individuals since I am already married. It was only because of me that we have individual gift exchange in the past so we all agreed to my sister - in-law Bhebe's suggestion.

We also raffled six gift packs for each of the family of Kuya Mike, Allan, Joel, Papa &Mama, one needy Relief Society and one needy Elders Quorum we have chosen! And last, I and Raymond as Santa gave gifts of sweets and cash to everyone present. For the kids though, we also got each of them a gift!

Truly a meaningful and merry first Christmas as a couple which I want to carry throughout all our married years!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas 2013: A Gift of Friendship...and Snow Balls & More!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Christmastime is definitely a time for friends and what better way for me to celebrate it than with a surprised visit of one of my closest friends - Leily Tumulak! It is Leily’s first visit here in the Philippines after five (5) years of staying in Colorado, USA. Sure, I have visited her in Aspen, Colorado in summer of 2011, but her visit here is more fun because it also means holiday time with our other common single friends – Jean Marcaida, Grace Gannaban and Ping Olivare. We bonded over food and salon pampering!

Luk Yuen and Snow Balls.

From the airport, we brought all of Leily's stuff (* and picked our pasalubong yeahey!) at Jean's place, and then proceeded to the nearby Cash and Carry where we found Luk Yuen inviting for our late lunch and early dinner. Leily loved and missed siopao so she ordered two servings, steamed pork siomai (4pcs. P100), yang chow fried rice (P150 each serving), sweet and sour pork (P240), peppercorn spare ribs (P240), hot and sour soup (small-P95), golden fried chicken (half - P260) and vegetables in season in oyster sauce (P100). We each ordered our fave drinks - ripe mango shake for my husbdand Red and Leily, green mango shake (for me!), coke (for Grace) and water for Jean (she's trying to reduce weight haha!).

And since our total bill exceeded P700, we were given six (6) snow balls for free! Snow Balls are little round - shaped palitaw filled with mung beans and tasted really yummy!

Salon PAaaarty Pampering!!

And now that our stomachs are filled, our next bonding moment is to take care of our feet, nails and hair! We headed to Jean's fave salon for foot spa with pedicure and manicure (P350) and hair cut (P120). For Leily, she also had hot oil. We stayed at the salon for about two (2) hours, chatting just about anything!

We wrapped up the night with our favorite Starbucks' choco chip cream and strawberry.

I can say that being with Leily, Jean, Ping and Gracey was pure pampering bliss and a gift of genuine friendship!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Our Mini- Moons and My Fave Rooms...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
As a newlywed, the rooms we occupied during our Mini-Moons [i.e. short and within the country vacation after the big day] would always be memorable for me and topped as my favorites. Yes, our mini - honeymoon destinations may not be as expensive and lengthy as our dream honeymoon vacation in Maldives or a long - haul planned getaway in Taipei, Taiwan (which both have to wait until my hubby has a passport), but our stay in Estancia Hotel Resort - Tagaytay and Manila Hotel truly made me feel welcome as a MRS. in a big romantic way!
ESTANCIA RESORT HOTEL - TAGAYTAY is located in Bgy. San Jose, Tagaytay and is less than a kilometer from the Tagaytay rotunda and about 60 kilometers or one and half hours drive from Makati. True to its resort feel, Estancia has a vast areas for gardens, pools, hanging bridges, entertainment room, a billiard hall, a playgound and various themed and colored room facades and its uniquely designed rooms - orange deluxe rooms, executive suites, nipa-hut inspired casitas and blue and white santorini family villas.
We had our wedding ceremony and reception at this resort hotel and our wedding package comes with free two nights first class accommodations at either - Santorini clusters or Executive Rows.
We opted for Executive Room because it is closer to the reception venue and is spacious enough for the wedding preps. The room has an air-conditioning, cable TV, hot and cold running water, telephones and minibar. But what I like most about our room is that it affords us a breathtaking view of the Taal Lake and the lush and beautiful surroundings of Tagaytay. It surely makes our first breakfast as a couple romantically blissful!
Sweet Deal: Php 6,500 with plated breakfast. We will definitely come back here whenever we want to come home to nature!
MANILA HOTEL is a Philippine landmark built in 1912. It has 500 rooms including the Mc Arthur Suites and Presidential Suites in 17th floor where presidents of different countries stay and get hosted. It was a dream - come - true to stay in one of its room [courtesy of our ninong Atty. Joey D. Lina] and have a taste of history!
We were billeted at a Superior Deluxe room, Bay side at the 17th floor. The full sized glass window panes allow us panoramic views of the Manila Bay and the hotel pool area, and of course the sunrise and sunset.
Our room has a Filipiniana feel (just like our wedding theme), but equipped with modern amenities like high speed internet access (both wired and wi-fi ready), signature contact-less electronic door lock, individually electronic-controlled air-conditioning, remote-control LCD TV with cable channels, fully stocked mini-bar, in-room safe, coffee and tea making facilities (which I used for my noodles) and MP3 player-compatible with AM/FM clock radio.
And what I really enjoy in our room is the spacious Italian marble bathroom boasting an over-sized soaking bathtub with LCD TV, a separate walk-in rain shower and lavish premium bathroom amenities and toiletries.
Sweet Deal: Php 8,500 for this Superior Deluxe room that comes with welcome fruit basket, bottled water and buffet breakfast from 6am to 10am the next morning.
This is my entry to the October 2013 PTB Blog Carnival "My Favorite Room" being hosted by Eileen Campos of The Super Tourists. Check out the previous blog carnival topics in Estan Cabigas of Pinoy Travel Bloggers Carnival.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Travel Souvenirs: Stuffed Toys and More...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

got this Pinoy Teddy from a hotel resto in Cebu!
I love teddy bears! I could hardly imagine what my life would be like without these eager listeners, confidantes, and loyal friends! So when I started traveling,  I make sure to get myself or ask someone to buy me one of these teddies or animal stuffed toy to take home as souvenirs or Pasalubong. 

My collection of teddy bears grow, from one small teddy bear that my aunt gave me, to more than a hundred of various kinds and sizes from different countries. Because of my collection, I was interviewed and featured as stuffed toy collector in the Pasalubong  segment of Kara David in the  State of the Nation Address by Jessica Soho being aired in GMA News TV Channel 11 from 9pm to 10pm daily. 

I am fascinated with stuffed toys with the country name in it, or the airline carrier stuffed toy symbol. I also have the country animal collection, the   Shangrila Hotels stuffed toys that come in free with their drink of the month and some stuffed toys for the occasions like Christmas and Halloween.

Country-Named Stuffed Toy: 
I have to buy one in countries I visited and accept gifts from friends from other countries. I hope to complete my collections from the seven continents of the world - Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Antarctica though I know it would be a long shot (even a lifetime dream!). For now though here’s what I’ve got:

North America and South America
I have been to at least 25 states of the USA (but only have New York and Boston teddy bears) and also been in Canada but wasn't able to get a toy with Canada in it.

Asia and Africa
So far I only have stuffed toy from Bahrain, Qatar (courtesy of my CS guest Nabil), Hongkong, Vietnam and Philippines, although I have been to eleven (11) other countries of Asia – Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

I have been to seven (7) countries in Europe namely France (Paris), Sweden (Arlanda, Stockholm, Timra, Ackersjon),  Norway (Trondheim), Finland (Helsinki), Netherlands (Amsterdam), United Kingdom (England) and Germany (Frankfurt). I am lucky to have a stuffed toy in each country!
Australia and Pacific
I have been to Guam,  Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania) and New Zealand (Auckland, Hamilton, Hobbiton, New Plymouth and Waitomoo) and got a stuffed toy from each place.

Airlines Plush Toy Symbol:- British Airways, Continental Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Tiger Airways, Dragon Air, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, China Airlines and DOHA Air. The irony, however, is that the airlines where I am a mileage elite frequent -Northwest (now Delta Airlines) and Philippine Airlines both don't have one. Sad!

The Lobster Stuffed Toy From Shangrila
Shangrila Hotel Stuffed Animals: - I have 3 Ox, 1 tiger, 1 goat, 2 dolphins, 1 lobster, and 2 Dalmatian.

Various Stuffed Animals: -include a giraffe, panda, koala bear, tiger, black dog, kangaroo, elk, etc.of various sizes..

Teddies are really just like friends so I had a cabinet constructed for my teddy bears inside my room! On a sad day when I have no one to talk to, just looking at my collections drives the bad moods away.  I could easily count my blessings and see how our Heavenly Father has been so good to me so why feel discourage? I thought to myself.

This is my entry to the July 2013 PTB Blog Carnival Memorable Travel Souvenirs, Objects being hosted by Jun Baris of Galangpusa Blog

Check out the previous blog carnival topics in Estan Cabigas' Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival. 

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I've been to 660 cities in 26 countries
Mhe-Anne is an explorer that:
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