“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Family visit Christmas 2011

From Saturday 24 December until January 5, 2012, my mother, sister and brother in law visited us in the Philippines. It was there first trip to the Philippines.

Of course I made a photo album, which you can view if you like. Click on album and then on "Slide Show" upper left of the screen.

I went to the airport Saturday morning early, at 2 am, together with my nephew from Manila, who was staying with us for the holidays. We would then pickup his father in Manila and change driver, as he is very well known in the Manila area.

Unfortunately near to Mexico after a comfort break, the car didn't start anymore. I asked a boy from the gasoline station if he could help. He checked the engine and discovered that there was a diesel leakage. He suggested to call a mechanic, so we did. It was Christmas day, but he arrived within an hour, with his (girl) friends or relatives in the car.

He was a smart gay. He knew what the problem was and repaired it in half an hour. The diesel pump was leaking because one of the bolts was loose. So we lost about one hour. He asked for 1500 pesos, but I gave him 2000 pesos. I was so happy that we still could make it on time to the airport, I really didn't know what to do if we could not continue our journey.

When we arrived at NAIA airport, we still had to wait for an hour to see my family coming down to the pickup area. After kissing and hugging we went to the car and left for Sta. Barbara. Around 4 pm we arrived and finally they could take a rest after having showed them their room.
That evening we went to a Chinese-Philipino restaurant in CSI, but it was closed because of Christmas. Hence we went to Dagupan proper to see if the new restaurant "Hong Kong" was still open. It was and we enjoyed a perfect meal and perfect service from the well trained staff.

Next day was a relax day. They wanted of course to see our property, the back yard, fish pond, swimming pool and the house itself. Impressed they were. And the whether was good, not too hot, sunny and dry, for the 2 weeks they would stay.

For the first time after many years we had time to talk in a relaxed way. Before in the Netherlands I never had time to do so, as we were always busy with our work, hobbies, traveling and many other things. I think it is because of the way of living here and of course I am retired now and stillbusy but not in a hurry.

The next days we made some trips to shopping malls in Dagupan, we went to "Hunderd Islands" a touristic natural reserve just a few miles from the coast in the Gulf of Lingayen, only a 2 hours drive from our home.

Ans of course we had to prepare this first week for New Year, shopping and preparing the food, cutting a small pig for lechon - a Filipino specialty. And my sister would bake or fry Dutch "oliebollen" a specialty from the Netherlands, a kind of bread balls with currants.

New Year's day is a family day in the Philippines. We visited the family of my wife in another barangay and they would come to us later that they as they wanted to see - and use of course - our swimming pool. I was still filling the pool, so not to deep for them because usually Filipino's cannot swim.

That new week we went to Baguio and had a nice long trip through the mountains. It is really a contrast with our place, so many mountains and valleys and only 2 hours away.For them it was also a good place to shop for souvenirs, as it is really a place for tourists. And of course horse riding was a must for my sister, it's her number one hobby.

I proposed to go to Manila on January 4, as with my plate number I am not allowed to drive in Manila the next day, the day of their departure. We would stay for 1 night in hotel Copacabana, which is on EDSA and close to Mall of Asia and the airport. Halfway Manila we had our brunch in floating restaurant Isdaan in Gerona, province Tarlac. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone making a trip to North Luzon, as it is good food for normal prices and a nice ambiance.

In the afternoon we checked in in our hotel and spent the rest of the day in Mall of Asia. A good dinner, but a bit expensive, and a nice view by night over Manila bay, was our last activity.

Next morning we went to the airport to drop off my family. In the afternoon we went to BI in Intramuros to pick up my ACR card and do the yearly alien report in BI, see also my blog on 13A visa.


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