Posted by: rorenz | February 24, 2013

Cambodia Day 1: Angkor National Museum, Siem Reap

Estan‘s advice to start our Siem Reap experience was to start at the Angkor National Museum to be able to have a quick history of Siem Reap temples, religion, gods and kings. It is worth starting there especially when you don’t have time reading about Siem Reap before your trip.

There are around 8 Galleries to look at and your time at the museum will depend on how deep your curiosity is in understanding Angkor. There really is too much information to take in, just a half day for us, so it could be too overwhelming for some. And of course we had Milo with us who still has a very short attention span so we couldn’t just stay still and read the gallery descriptions. All we were able to read were just mere introductions, then we have to run after Milo or bring him to the next scene. Here are just some of what I can remember:

  1. Gallery of 1,000 Buddha Images – Calling the Earth to Witness, Meditation, Why buddhas were carved in stone and then later in wood, Siddhartha & Milo kept putting his hands together and saying “Amen”.
  2. Gallery A: Khmer Civilization – Churning of the Ocean of Milk
  3. Gallery B: Religion and Beliefs – Hinduism & Buddhism, Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva, Ganesha as the one with the elephant head who is the Remover of Obstacles, Naga, Linga
  4. Gallery C: The Great Khmer Kings – Jayavarman & the rest of the great kings with -man at the end of their names
  5. Gallery D: Angkor Wat
  6. Gallery E: Angkor Thom
  7. Gallery F: Story from the Stones – lintels and how artistic are the early Khmers
  8. Gallery G: Ancient Costume – we had too much already, walked past this gallery and headed for the store & the exit. J had to skip this to start feeding our hungry Milo.

It’s all that and it’s more than enough to get us excited to start exploring more of Ancient Angkor.

Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the museum so we don’t have any pictures of our museum visit.

In the afternoon we made a side trip to the Cambodian Cultural Village as suggested by our tuk-tuk driver. There’s a lot to see there but it wasn’t too interesting for us. Plus the fact that it was scorching hot so we had no desire to walk around under the sun. We just watched one of the cultural shows (which Milo apparently liked enough to sit still through) and then headed back to our hotel for a rest  to cool off with A/C and swim in the pool.

first taste of sugarcane juice

first taste of sugarcane juice

Milo sitting still to watch the Apsara show.

Milo sitting still to watch the Apsara show.

Cooling off in the hotel swimming pool

Cooling off in the hotel swimming pool

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Posted by: jiamsy | January 28, 2013

Apo Reef, Mindoro

We like to travel and we like to take pictures. These didn’t change when we had a baby. So now, we like to share with the world our travels with our baby through pictures. Most of the time, we post smiley faces with scenic backgrounds and I think it may make it all look a little bit too easy for some people. The truth is, it’s a lot of work to raise a baby and it’s a lot of hard work to travel with a baby. For us, it only works because we truly co-parent. I would be so lost if I didn’t have a husband who was an equal parent in every sense of the word.

Our smiley faces on scenic backgrounds

Our smiley faces on scenic backgrounds

I start off with this because our trip to Apo Reef in Mindoro was by far, the hardest travel we’ve done with Milo so far. A 3 hour drive + 3 hour ferry ride + 3 hour bus ride + 3 hour boat ride = 12 hours of travel time just to get to our destination. We couldn’t sleep most of the time because even when Milo was sleeping, one of us had to pry our eyes open to watch him and make sure he didn’t fall off whatever temporary bed we placed him in.

The Sleeping Prince

The Sleeping Prince

When we arrived on the island, Milo had a blast playing with the sand. He just never got tired of scooping up the sand and letting it fall through his fingers. Again and again and again. He truly is a beach baby. We camped on the island for our overnight stay. There are no resorts so this marked the 2nd time Milo slept in a tent on a beach. He must’ve been really comfortable with sleeping above sand and listening to the waves because he had a good, long sleep that night.

He wanted to go down to run and explore the lighthouse. He wasn't scared, we were.

He wanted to go down to run and explore the lighthouse. He wasn’t scared, we were.

Mangroves Forest

Mangroves Forest

Camp Out

Camp Out

We knew that this was going to be a snorkeling trip and there would be instances where we would have a chance to be in the water in the middle of the sea so this time, we were prepared and brought a life vest for Milo. We wanted him to be able to be in the water (safely) and not be stuck on the boat.

With his new lifevest

With his new lifevest [Photo credits: Derick Paras]

We were blessed with wonderful travel companions and beautiful scenery that made the trip worthwhile. I’m glad we went and experienced Apo Reef at its finest. It was also a good camping experience for Milo and he loves playing with the sand but the truth is, I don’t think I would do that trip a second time especially with a baby in tow.

SMCnoys & Friends

SMCnoys & Friends

With sea stars

With the sea stars [Photo Credits: Derick Paras]

Just so you wouldn’t be rushing too much and have more time exploring and relaxing, Renz suggests that you take the Apo Reef Experience on a 3-day travel by staying at a resort in Pandan Island. Go to Apo Reef early morning on your second day and back at Pandan Island by sunset. Snorkeling is still best experienced at your own free time & pace rather than exploring the reef in a guided snorkeling tour. Are there snorkeling masks for 1-year olds? 🙂

Have a good one!

Posted by: jiamsy | January 21, 2013

Beach Weekend in La Luz, Laiya

We’ve always wanted to try La Luz in Laiya but the place is always fully booked. Finally, we had our chance since my sister wanted to celebrate her birthday weekend there.

yehey, La Luz, finally!

yehey, La Luz, finally!

Getting to La Luz is pretty convenient since there is now a direct connection from SLEX to Star Tollway. I think the entire road trip took about 3 hours each way. We timed our drive around lunch time so it coincided perfectly with Milo’s regular nap time. He slept in the car seat almost the entire time.

what a view!

what a view!

The waves of the beach in Laiya were still pretty strong so even though Milo really wanted to go for a swim, it scared him off. The sand was not that great and even a little painful on bare feet but he stayed on the beach and was content with playing there for the first day.

beach boy

beach boy

On the second day, Milo couldn’t resist the urge to go swim anymore especially since he saw his Daddy in the water. At first he was still scared but when Renz took him deeper (where it was not so wavy), he started to smile and had a good time. Milo didn’t last long in the water though because it was pretty cold.

Swimming in the cold water. Brr!

Swimming in the cold water. Brr!

Overall, we enjoyed staying at La Luz. We were fed really well (buffet meals), the room was nice and comfortable, and we liked hanging out in the open cabanas.

Posted by: jiamsy | December 27, 2012

Exploring Corregidor

There’s only one time in the year when the Ticsays are sure to be all together – during the Christmas holidays. To make the most of this time together, this year, we all agreed to go on a mini trip and we chose to go to Corregidor since there was a good offer on Deal Grocer for an overnight stay and aside from Renz, none of us had been there before.

with the Ticsays (except for Tito Ryan)

with the Ticsays (except for Tito Ryan)

Corregidor is an island a couple of hours away from Manila by ferry (Sun Cruises). Once we arrived on the island, there were several trams ready to take us on our tour of the island. Milo actually had a fever during this trip so he was not his usual hyper self. I think he still had a good time exploring the canons and riding the tram though.

trying to get on the tram

Milo trying to get on the tram

The tram took us to the different sights within the island and there was a really good tour guide who explained the rich history and significance of the sites we visited.

riding a canon

riding a canon

Aside from the day tour, the package also included a night tour of the Malinta Tunnels (aka ghost hunting tour), a sunrise tour, zip line, ATV, an overnight stay at their hotel, and buffet meals. Renz and I both managed to do the zip line and the ATV – we just didn’t get to go at the same time since one of us had to watch Milo while the other one did the activity. There was also a pool but we didn’t go swimming because of Milo’s fever and it didn’t look that clean.

Pacific War Memorial

Pacific War Memorial

Our conclusion from this trip was that more people should definitely visit Corregidor. It’s extremely convenient to get to, the tours are interesting enough, and the island is maintained fairly well.

Posted by: jiamsy | November 30, 2012

Big La Laguna, Puerto Galera

Thanks to Bonifacio Day, November 30 was a holiday in the Philippines so we had a long weekend! We decided to head over to Big La Laguna in Puerto Galera, Mindoro, for a beach getaway to celebrate Renz’s birthday. The last time we were there was about 6 years ago and we still remember the wonderful snorkeling.

We drove our car and parked it in Batangas Port where we had to take a boat to Puerto Galera. The boat was packed filled with people. It made it a bit hard for us and Milo since he was squirming to move around but didn’t really have anywhere to go. The waves were a bit strong too so I was getting sea sick.

@Batangas Port

@Batangas Port

In exchange for the wonderful snorkeling in the area, the beach in Big La Laguna is a bit rocky. Milo didn’t mind though and still walked around albeit, slowly and more cautiously. One of the main differences now with our snorkeling/beach trips is that we can’t swim together anymore. One of us stays on the beach in the shallow end playing with Milo while the other one swims and snorkels.

wheeee!

wheeee!

One day, we just hung around the small restaurant of Cataquis resort. We weren’t staying at this resort but their restaurant was on the best location because it was right on the beach. So the adults snacked, drank, and dipped in the water all day. Milo explored the restaurant, made it into his own, played with the beach dogs, played with the sand, and swam.

On the other day, we went island hopping and Milo was again, lulled to sleep by the motor of the boat. There were times when the boat would stop in the middle of the water and let us go in the deeper water to snorkel. Milo would cry whenever he noticed that either Renz or I would go in the water without him. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to go snorkeling with us so we can all go together.

Posted by: jiamsy | October 26, 2012

El Nido, Palawan

To get to El Nido, Palawan, you would usually take a plane to Puerto Princesa and then ride on a van/bus for 5 to 6 hours. We were worried how Milo would handle such a long van ride. We already warned our group for a ‘concert’ as we were almost sure he would cry for being in a van for such a long road trip. We were shocked and surprised though that after our lunch stopover, he fell asleep and only woke up when we were about to arrive!

When we finally arrived at our destination, we spent our days island hopping. Milo enjoyed swimming almost all-day long (when he was not eating, sleeping, or playing with the sand). He also enjoyed the boat rides – either letting the waves rock him to sleep or attempting to fearlessly explore the boat on foot.

All smiles while swimming

All smiles while swimming

toys from nature

toys from nature

The clear advantage with going on a trip with a group of friends is that there are plenty of willing hands to help out with the baby. Even with Milo’s separation anxiety, our friends made it a challenge to be able to carry Milo without him crying. This was a big help for us so we can have a few minutes baby-free.

plenty of Titos and Titas

plenty of Titos and Titas

Posted by: rorenz | September 7, 2012

Exploring the Islands of Hong Kong

On Kowloon Side

On Kowloon Side

This wasn’t our first trip to Hong Kong so this time around, we wanted to explore the other islands. To get to the other islands, we had to take the ferries. Fortunately, Milo enjoyed the ferry rides. Most of the time, the combination of the sound of the ferry along with the swaying of the waves lulled him to sleep.

on the ferry

on the ferry

One day, we went to Cheung Chao island and on another day we explored Lamma island. There are tourist maps all over the place so for both islands, we tried to DIY walking tours. Our arms were grateful to the Ergo for helping us carry dead weight since both times, Milo fell asleep on the ferry and was still asleep while we did our walking tours. When he did finally wake up, we let him walk around and explore as much as possible.

Exploring Cheung Chao Island

Exploring Cheung Chao Island

It was a nice opportunity for us adults to finally be able to see the other parts of Hong Kong.  I think Milo also appreciated being outside of the hustle and bustle of the city center where it was less hectic, less crowded, and more serene.

Posted by: rorenz | September 6, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland

People asked us what we were planning on doing in Hong Kong for Milo’s 1st birthday and we would reply “Disneyland!”. We would almost always get the same reply “Oh, he’s too young to enjoy Disneyland. You should just go there when he’s older.” In one ear and out the other.

We scheduled to go to Disneyland on a weekday. It was September and Summer had just ended for the school children so that meant that the park was not too crowded. We took this picture of Milo right before the afternoon parade on Main Street. Everyone else was busy trying to get a good spot on the street for the parade so this gave us a very nice empty-looking shot in front of the castle.

exploring HK Disneyland

exploring HK Disneyland

Even with a baby, we were able to go on a few rides/attractions. We rode the train that went around the perimeter of the park, we rode the jungle cruise, watched the parade, saw the Lion King show, explored the Toy Story area, rode on Dumbo, and rode It’s a Small World. I think there were others but I can’t remember right now. The rest of the time was spent sight seeing, taking a lot of pictures, and trying to avoid the heat by going into the souvenir shops.

Main Street, Disneyland

Main Street, Disneyland

So, was Milo old enough to enjoy Disneyland? Definitely. His eyes lit up so often, he laughed so much, and  he had a great time exploring. He may not remember the details of this trip years from now but we can tell that at that point in time, when we were there, he had a blast.

Unfortunately, it rained in the early evening and we decided to call it a day and go home. No fireworks for us this time around – maybe we will just have to go back when he is older.

The truth is, going to Hong Kong Disneyland was more for J than it was for Milo since she’s never been there before.

riding Dumbo

Can you tell who’s happy to ride Dumbo?

Posted by: rorenz | September 5, 2012

First Airplane Ride

We knew all along that we wouldn’t have a big 1st birthday party for Milo. It’s just not our style and we think that he’s just way too young to appreciate such a grand affair. We decided to celebrate his birthday the best way we knew how – to travel!

All onboard and ready for take-off!

All onboard and ready for take-off!

Our chosen destination for our first International trip with Milo? Hong Kong – so we can join our friends who were also there and so we can visit Milo’s grandparents who are based there. Getting to Hong Kong meant that we would finally be able to have our first experience on an airplane with a baby.

We were worried about how he would handle being restrained in such a small space, whether or not his ears would hurt from the cabin pressure, and whether or not everyone on board the plane would hate us by the end of the flight because of our screaming baby. We got all sorts of advice from well-meaning people. Some even suggested we drug give our un-sick baby medicine so that he can be groggy and hopefully, end up sleeping through the flight. This was a tempting idea but decided against it because we wanted Milo to really be able to experience his first airplane ride whether it be good or bad for us.

first airplane ride

first airplane ride

Well, luck was on our side because we happened to pick a flight that coincided with his regular morning nap. He happily played around the airport gate before boarding, he nursed during take-off, and he slept all the way through the flight!  He woke up right on time for the descent and we nursed again to try and make sure that his ears wouldn’t hurt from the pressure.

So the main lesson here is, tire out the baby before boarding, make sure his tummy is full and happy, and try to schedule for a flight during nap time. Whew. Now we’re excited for more airplane rides.

Posted by: rorenz | September 2, 2012

Backpacked baby at Taal Volcano

J’s friends went here in the Philippines for a visit all the way from California. They’ve always wanted to checkout Taal Volcano when they saw it from Tagaytay in 2010. We were also excited to bring Milo along for a trek for the first time but of course it will take us forever to reach the view deck if we would let him walk so we “backpacked” him on an Ergo baby carrier.

Backpacked

Instagram: backpack #miloeveryday #trek

Milo had a lot of fun going up. He always found it funny when we play “catch me” – we run while others pretend to run after us to come and get him.

We had an option to ride a horse up to the crater – the locals offering horse rides were really very annoying and followed us for a while. They tried to convince us to ride their horse instead of walking since we had a baby with us. We insisted on walking though since we think it’s a better experience to take our time to enjoy the view.

Halfway Up

Instagram: Halfway up #miloeveryday #trek

Taal is now very different since my college days when we went there to camp at the crater. There are too many horses now and too many stores at the peak. I honestly think there are better ways to make this a tourist spot but still be able to preserve the beauty of it.

Raylan & Lauren

Instagram: Raylan & Lauren

Milo usually takes short naps 2x a day but when we carry him on a baby carrier, he sleeps longer and was sleeping the whole trek down the volcano.

Sleeping milo while trekking

Instagram: sana pwede din akong nakapikit mag-#trek #miloeveryday

Special thanks to our SMCnoy friend Joyce and her daughter Royce Ann for joining us and making it easy for us to get a boat ride across the lake.

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