Summer Dreams 2014

coming soon

Granada Nicaragua

In Search or the Perfect Ceviche and other adventures out soon in my TravelOkcity column, Leisure+Adventure Magazine, and here.

Marshall Islands

Got Wasabi? (A deep sea fishing adventure in the Marshall Islands)

Prairie Dog Town

Adventures in the city of Oklahoma and beyond in my travel column, TravelOkcity.

Hefner Lake Park

Adventures in the city of Oklahoma and beyond in my travel column, TravelOkcity.

Huahin, Thailand

The warm hospitality of a boutique hotel in the beach resort town of royalty in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We are currently under repair. Please bear with us.


We are currently under repair. Please bear with us.

Meantime, you can view:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Late Bloomer (Spring 2014)

Late Bloomer (Spring 2014)

Once again the seasons escape like water through my cupped hands. At the start of the year, I had vowed to put the spring banner up before summer comes. But summer is starting to pack up for the colder days.

I have no excuse. It is always the same story: busy, busy, busy, and life has a way of derailing you, throwing curveballs at you – mostly pleasant surprises, but still unexpected. We always plan one international trip and one local trip every year, but God saw it fit that I should cross borders twice this time.
Escape the Spring Break crowd in Tulum, Mexico.

Our first international trip was to Tulum, Mexico. It was a beautiful escape to kick off another exciting year. And as planned, I had my fill of ceviche, margarita, sun, sand, and sea. It also gave us a good dose of culture and history as Tulum is home to one of the best preserved Mayan ruins. Tulum is also the place to go to avoid the Spring Break crowd. While Cancun is overrun by American college kids, Tulum is quietly dotted by hipster Europeans who prefer to soak in the sun in silence. There is a price to pay to avoid the crazy crowd though as everything was pricey, including the shopping.  
Shopping is part of the joys of travel, hoo-hoo! Oh, I love owls too.

We like to fill our home with stuff we had picked up from our travels. For this trip, we bought a beautiful black and white Talavera water dispenser and the fish plate featured on the banner which I use as my ladle rest. I also got this gorgeous Mayan weaved necklace bib made from Chiapas. I like to fill my wardrobe with statement pieces that tell a story, and I’m excited to wear this one on a date night.
My Animo family: Reunited in the Philippines, 2014.

Our second international trip was to the Philippines to visit my ailing mother. Although we had come home expecting the worse, it was surprisingly pleasant in spite of the circumstances. It was the first time that we were reunited (save for my husband who had to stay home because of work) as a family in a long while as we all live in different cities now. We bonded once again as a family, gathered around the table, celebrating family and food (Because in Bacolod, all you do is eat and eat. And eat. And if you have nothing to do, you eat!).
Barber bonding between grandfather & grandkid: priceless.
I could have made the trip without my boy, but my husband had insisted that I bring my son along, knowing how important it is for the little one to spend time with his Filipino family. I am most grateful for that, for a husband who wants his son to form a strong bond with his Filipino heritage. And although we missed my husband’s birthday and our anniversary, seeing my son do everything with his grandfather, made it all worth it (In honor of our anniversary and my amazing life partner, I included the head wreath on the banner. It is my wedding wreath which I wore during our reception, handmade for me by our Marshallese friends.)
Snuck in a little bit of beach time (Carbin Reef, Negros Occidental)
Father and grandson went to the barber’s and the bakery together. Every weekday Tatay would drive my son to school although it was within walking distance. He would sit patiently while the toddler ran around the playground and while I paced, impatient and ready for lunch. We had been home for over a month now and every day, my son would say, “I want to go to the Philippines.”
My son's teachers at Creative Beginners.
And yes, he went to school for a couple of weeks. I thought I would deal with some crying once I left him at the classroom, but the moment the classroom door was closed between us, he forgot about me. I also enjoyed the whole experience as much as he did (because I knew the owner, every now and then I was allowed to watch unobserved even when parents are really discouraged to.) The letter F on the banner is one of his little projects at school, and of course, it stands for his name and “family”.
My Mother's Day backyard breakfast prepared by my boys.
Like the birds who had been banished by winter and returned at the last frost, spring also saw me tweeting to celebrate the blooming of life. Twitter was another time suck that I didn’t have the time or the interest for, but I joined it for a project which I later abandoned. Although the project was shelved (maybe for now), my Twitter account soared. As of today, I have over 9,000 followers and close to 900 fans. Not bad, for a fledging Twit, I think. And if you want to know how I did it, email me. I’ll be more than happy to share my secret. In fact, I might write about it soon.

Come travel with me aboard a different vehicle!
And just as @wwwAnaViajera took flight, it also opened some doors for me. First, it connected me to kindred spirits: writers, photographers, artists, and dreamers. It gave me the venue to share my photos and to earn some approval from fellow artists. I am overwhelmed and surprised by the number of Retweets and Favorites that my photos have been getting (the ones from fellow writers and photographers give me the most high). I also have a couple of established photographers emailing me to discuss my work. On top of that, my posts have been featured in a few travel sites like Geotravellers, Bluegreenresorts, and another travel site that currently slips my mind. In all the spring madness, there are so many things that have escaped me, and there are probably several milestones that I fail to include here.
My photo was featured on Blue Green Resorts and a few other sites.
But I digress. Through Twitter, I was also invited to write for Editorial IV, a news website for leaders and movers, a venue for intelligent debate. I was honored to be invited as guest contributor and thankful to be given the opportunity to share my thoughts on the equation of success.  You'll find the article here.
Another new writing opportunity presented itself to me through, a site that inspires Filipina women to shine. I appreciate how the site allows me to write about issues that are close to my heart. Read one of my stories here.
Easter is like Christmas for this family.
And as always, spring bloomed for us without fail. My son continues to blossom as he celebrated another Christmas in Easter. Yes, Easter is like Christmas in our household, which I figure is appropriate, because according to Christian teachings, Easter is a more important holiday than –eep- Christmas. Yes, you read it here.
After all, it is Easter that gives Christmas it’s meaning. Without the empty tomb, the significance of the cradle in the manger would be just as empty. Not many are aware that the Easter season is actually observed for 50 days until the seventh Sunday of Easter. And so it is that we would have several Easter egg hunts and treats throughout spring in our household. And looking at my son eye’s shine every time he gets his Easter treats makes me feel like a child on Christmas morn all over again.
The children’s classic Guess How Much I Love You, represents our Easter celebration. It was something I’ve always wanted for my child, even before I got married. It is a recordable book from our beloved Aunt Tracy. We also have a smaller travel version, a gift from friends during one of my baby showers (I had two!).
Another book on my desk is A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski in honor of - you guessed it – St. Patty’s Day, another important holiday for this family. I may have mentioned this before, but my boys are part Irish. I also love everything Irish. The first Irishman I met was a priest who officiated one of our masses in St. Scholastica’s Academy back in grade school. I can’t remember how he looks like. All I remember vividly was his ruddy cheeks, his engaging sense of humor, and his lilting accent. He also said the Irish loved to drink. I thought then that the Irish were the most interesting people in the world. Oh, and did I tell you that I love U2?
Almost everyone in my husband’s family has already been to Ireland, so our first European trip will more than likely be to Dublin and Galway to find Finnegan’s forefathers (just putting it out there in case the universe is reading).
Spring saw me another year older and wiser. I got my wish too!
And finally, Twitter got me waxing poetic and inspired as every now and then I would compose my own quips and quotes about travel and life. I know I am no Dalai Lama and I probably have no business composing inspirational rhetoric, but these are thoughts and observations that I’ve picked up along the way through my journeys, some I may have unintentionally and subconsciously picked up from enlightened beings and made my own.
I’ll be leaving you with a few lines that I think best suit this blossoming period of my life:
There is no such thing as true love. Love that is not true is not love at all. Love is love. There is no other kind.”
“Love is a travel story. Travel is a love story. What's your story?”
And because it is good to be home:
“The best destination is home.”
Some of the spring blooms in our backyard - Zinnias!

More spring blooms. A gift from a friend.

As the seasons change, so will my desktop banner. I will be adding little touches to it, moving the items around, and customizing it for the season. I will archive its transformation on My Desk. 

Read more about how I put the banner together and how my real writer's desk looks like at My Desk. And tell me how your desk looks like, and I will tell you who you are.