Tag Archive: Sydney



Why not?  Yeah, it’s cold but NOT “sufferingly cold”. And for Cebu Pacific’s basic return fare (Manila-Sydney-Manila) of only PhP13,000, how can you go wrong? Even inclusive of those add-ons (food, baggage allowance, seat assignment, etc), it’s still a steal at US$350 or so! Again, why not? 

 

Check out these links for the winter time I spent visiting family in Australia:


Of Roadtrips, Train Journeys & Flights

Back In The City (Sydney)

Househunting: Katoomba

A 3rd Visit to Watson’s Bay

Sydney’s Barracks Museum

Lake Conjola Weekend

Flaneur On The Loose

Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta

Mayfield Garden

Coastal Walk from Bondi to Coogee

Gold Coast 


Food Trips

The Grounds of Alexandria

Salt Meats Cheese

Dining: Cupitt’s Winery & Restaurant

Tandoori King

Donto Sapporo


Enjoy, mate!



This is a sequel to last year’s blog summary (IN AND OUT OF SYDNEY). Some favorite sites were revisited and explored further, and unlike the earlier blog, I’ve thrown in a list of food trips (including some from 2013 archives)  for you to consider. Have a good trip, mate!

 

 

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Bondi Beach

 

 

 

Day Trips From Sydney

 

A Weekend in Lake Conjola


PARAGON CAFE: Oldest Cafe in Australia


BERRY As Pitstop On Way to Jervis Bay

 

Blue Mountains’ Many Walks and Lookouts

 

Leura and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains

 

 

 

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Darling Harbour

 

 

In And Around The City

A Few Good Spots Around Sydney

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge 24/7

 

Bondi On The Pacific


Watsons Bay


Powerhouse Museum

 

 

The Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley

The Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley

 

Food Trips

 

Leura Gourmet Cafe

 

Heritage Bakery


NANDO’s Peri Peri Chicken

 

How About Some Burgers from Charlie?

 

WatervieW in Sydney’s Olympic Park

 

SUSHIRO In North Sydney

 

Two Skinny Cooks from Berrima (2013)

 

The Old Bakery Cottage In Berrima

 

Mira Japanese Resto In Manly Beach

 

Lindt’s At Cockle Bay Wharf

 

Nick’s At Darling Harbour

 

That Famous Robertson Pie

 

The Friendly Inn @Kangaroo Valley

 

 


Late Autumn Indoor Swimming

Late Autumn Indoor Swimming

This photo blog (phlog) comes with more photos than text. The photos speak for themselves. More so with young grandchildren who are totally uninhibited in expressing their feelings. A kiss here. An ouchy look there. A playful mood. A “begging” stance. A proud moment. Boredom. Excitement.

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Buddies. The 2 youngest.

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Kuya and Bunso. Gigil?

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Let’s go to Hungry Jacks please. And let’s not forget, Time Zone……

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Mom, I don’t want to milk a cow ever again. So kadiri! Yuck….

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We have a plan. Oh oh.

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My Ate Patricia smells like strawberries!

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Is this formal enough, Mom?

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Hu Hu Hu. I want my own shake. No one elses’s spit on my shake please!

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Ever since Ate arrived, Mamu became “laos”.

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Hurry up with that shot, you camwhoring Mamu!

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I love ate ❤

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WHY NOT?

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Unica Hija in OZ

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Errrr, shall we try it? Sign says “shallow water”.

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Ok guys, stay together. No jumping over the fence.

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But Ate can jump…..

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Jump down? Or climb up?

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Go Kuya. You can do it!

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Thank you, Nongkie, for the shakes.

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A Moment.

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THAT’s ALL, FOLKS. —– Elvis, the beloved family dog.


Power up at the Powerhouse Museum! Sydney, NSW.

Power up at the Powerhouse Museum! Sydney, NSW.

A Day In The City: Well spent in the Powerhouse Museum.  Just $35 for the 3 of us. 2 adults+1 kid.

A Day In The City: Well spent in the Powerhouse Museum. Just $35 for the 3 of us. 2 adults+1 kid.

Today, we let the teens rule. We’ve been doing the beach and mountain destinations lately and the teens so badly need a break. Maybe a technology break? Nothing some retail therapy and a day out in the city won’t fix. And this is what they chose as activity for the day in the city.

 

 

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Teens In The City. Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

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Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.

 

 

Just next door to the Darling Harbour, it can be found along Harris Street in the Pyrmont area. Kids and teens would certainly love this arts and design museum. Fun, interactive and yes, a strong wifi too! We took the train to Town Hall and walked along George Street, turning right in Hay Street, and naturally not missing Paddy’s Market. 🙂

 

 

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A permanent exhibit of Sydney public transport is so well-curated.

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Oh yeah, that’s Martin’s Place! Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

 

 

Known for its use of technology to educate the masses, the Powerhouse Museum displays a diverse collection of science and decorative arts. Truly a center for learning and innovation. There is an impressive exhibit of Sydney’s public transport, evolution of fashion, complete with observational and hands-on experimentation and play areas.  Wiggles, anyone?

 

 

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Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

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Very well-organized and curated this Museum. After 3 hours, we grew tired and found the Museum well-appointed for weary visitors. We claimed a leather sofa by a corner to re-energize 😉 The strong wifi was a bonus. Then we moved to the interactive play area that even I couldn’t resist.

 

 

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Choo Choo at the Powerhouse Museum. Just a stonesthrow from Darling Harbour.

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Not the kind you’d use on Syney’s many bike lanes. Powerhouse Museum.

 

 

Blame it on The Wiggles. This Australian children’s music group formed in Sydney, New South Wales in 1991 is a byword among OZ kids. And today’s adults “grew up” with them. Think Hoop Dee Doo, Yummy Yummy, and more! There is a sizable area dedicated to sapping children’s energy. It sapped mine too 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tired, after 3 hours. Who wouldn't be? Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

Tired, after 3 hours. Who wouldn’t be? Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

Never Too Old for The Wiggles! Powerhouse Museum.

Never Too Old for The Wiggles! Powerhouse Museum.


While there are ferries to take you from Circular Quay to this charming bay, we drove. I had a most authentic OZ experience here the last time I visited. Picnic mat, a bottle of shiraz, fresh seafood on the foreshore and a view to die for. This visit, we found ourselves back for some “unfinished business”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Watsons Bay

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Pelicans Off Watsons Bay

 

 

Sun’s shining and we just had a blast in nearby Bondi Beach. Skipped Coogee Beach and decided a better lunch could be had in this oldest fishing village of Australia. Of course it’s now far from being considered a fishing village. This area across Sydney Harbour Bridge is the perfect destination for a relaxing lunch with many activity options after.

 

 

 

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Doyles On The Beach. Watsons Bay.

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Doyles for fresh seafood!


But let’s deal with the first order of the day. LUNCH. A famous harbourside restaurant has been serving fresh seafood here for ages. DOYLES ON THE BEACH offers both fine dining and takeouts to lay on any of the beach tables or on a picnic mat. Calamari, fish and chips, oysters, salads. Doyles is an institution here and for good reasons. Spell that Y.U.M.

 

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Yummy Seafood lunch from Doyles!

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Thank you, Shelly, for the lunch and for bringing us here! Watsons Bay.

 

 

Watsons Bay is largely a residential area now but as earlier mentioned, a visit here offers many activities and pleasures. Speaking of pleasure, there is a legal nude beach located in nearby Lady Bay. 😉 But I digress. Or maybe not? Seriously though, any visitor can choose many walks including a coastal walk with ocean views of the Gap. The Gap is a well-developed and well-secured ocean cliff with superb views of Manly and the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

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Alice Doyles, you’re the best! Doyles on the beach.

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The Gap. Pacific Ocean. Watsons Bay.

 

 

And if you’re done with the harbour view, filled up on Doyles, and felt less guilty after a good walk, how about checking out some of the gelaterias around the corner? Take that cone (or cup) back to the wharf for one last look of this sheltered bay across the bridge. Lovely!

 

 

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An unobstructed view of the city skyline. Watsons Bay.

BONDI ON THE PACIFIC


My first time in Bondi wasn’t exactly uneventful but I’ve got to say what stood out as a memory was being there in my winter outfit. Leather boots, woolen shirt and fleece jackets. NOT my idea of a beach outing. This time around late autumn in Sydney, we chanced upon a sunny break with temps hovering at 20 Celsius. Warm enough to take a dip or stretch out in the sand, under the sun. We grabbed the chance and off to the beach we went!

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The teens with us braved the cold waters but promptly struggled out to join us by the shore. Toes digging under the sand, we set up our beach chairs, munched our chips and surfed the Net instead. Oh yes, there’s wifi in Bondi!

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The crowd was manageable this time of year. Serious swimmers and surfers we are not, but we enjoyed the beach scene. After all, it was just lovely to jump out of our fleece and into our cotton shirts and shorts this Season. The teens love the graffitti and wall art scene as much as the sun, sand and surf. Me? I enjoyed my long black coffee while people-watching and repeatedly reminding myself to enrol in swimming classes when I get home. Ahhh. La dolce vita!  

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The bridge from a hotel window. Sunrise. On a clear sunny day. Late night. How good is that?

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Harbour Bridge at 6am

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Harbour Bridge at 11am

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Harbour Bridge at 12mn

We booked a room at Harbourview Hotel in North Sydney and the hotel truly lives up to its name. I stared in awe at that lovely vista different hours of the day. At night, I noticed the lights were on way past midnight. The view is worth every cent of the hotel room rate.

 

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Room With A View

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The Hotel

What makes it even great is that the hotel is just a couple of hundred meters away from the metro and a skip and a hop from Sushiro Gourmet Fusion Restaurant where I had a delicious lunch with my elves. The dining place opens at 11:30am but we were there as early as 11am. We waited while we decided on lunch.

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Sushiro Japanese Fusion Resto

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Nice Touch.

We picked sashimi and sushi from the belt which weaved around the bar. We ordered from the menu too and also indulged in our fav green tea ice cream. Then off on a train ride back to the city. Voila!

 

 

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SUSHIRO

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Green Tea Ice Cream


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I’d say it’s about a 10 minute walk from the Waverton Station which we passed on our drive towards the Balls Head Reserve. This hidden treasure offers an intimate view of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the city skyline. All these WITHOUT THE CROWDS!

 

 

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Thanks for this photo, Lin & Greg!

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Think about it. You’d be lucky to have a photo of the Opera House without tourists with cameras on outstretched arms. And if you’re thinking of snapping a photo while on a ferry ride, do remember you need to compete with many ferry riders with the same idea.  Balls Head Reserve is a good spot to take photos of those iconic landmarks.  

 

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Less than one kilometre from Waverton Station, Balls Head Reserve offers a sanctuary for those meaning to spend a quiet morning or afternoon. The Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the city skyline across turquoise waters are a bonus. Such an unexplored gem. A hidden treasure, if you like. And if you still have the energy for a good stroll, move over to the Mosman Bay area where you’d find lovely villas lining a wharf area. The boats parked here will tell you it’s a busy jetty. 

 

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Now, to get even “more intimate”, reserve a night and head to The Rocks area right under the bridge from where you view the Opera and Luna Park across the waters. Away from the restaurant and pub rows. There’s a tiny park right under the bridge with an illuminated view of Luna Park across the waters.   Just lovely. And quiet. Not sure if we just chanced it, but there was hardly a crowd here when we visited.  Nighttime is best to appreciate these Sydney icons all illuminated….. Speaking of which, check out Vivid Sydney from May 23 to June 9. The Opera and the Harbour Bridge, along with the city skyline should look more impressive here.  Maybe lovelier, but can’t bet on the “quiet” as the event will draw in more tourists for sure.

 

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Out A Third Of The Year 2013


In 2013, I spent nearly 2 months in Sydney and even slightly longer in Madrid. A good third of 2013. And that excludes those weeklong trips to Mongolia, Phuket and 2 trips to South Korea. I blogged like crazy ….. Just like when I stayed nearly 3 months homebased in Madrid back in 2012. Whenever I get back to Manila, I always long to do a trip to some exotic place. Preferably those sites below the tourist radar. There is a long list. So much to cover and discover in our own backyard. And as always, the local trips draw more hits!

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Trek to Mount Pinatubo.

 

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Batanes

 

 

I struck off Batanes, Sagada, El Nido, MassKara Festival, Transfiguration Monastery in Bukidnon, Divine Mercy Shrine in Misamis Oriental and a trek to Mount Pinatubo off my bucket list which continues to grow longer. That list has its own life! I made a few “insignificant”, impromptu daytrips just outside Manila to entertain friends. And I’m surprised such trips drew much more attention and appreciation. Perhaps because many, like me, thought they were “insignificant” and were later pleasantly surprised. Maybe because they’re very doable and demands less planning and time. Or it could also be because these out-of-town trips were really good finds — a discovery that many (like me) have initially dismissed as “ordinary”.

 

 

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Half-Buried In Lahar. Bacolor, Pampanga.

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MassKara Festival. Bacolod. 2013.

 

 

The travels abroad have acquired a certain “routine”. Sydney and Madrid meant “family time” and homebase for many day and out-of-town trips. Twice doing it in Madrid, yet the 2 experiences can’t be branded or dismissed as “the same”. Because the 2nd time was timed with the Christmas Season, I enjoyed immersing myself in Spanish traditions and culture. In both Sydney and Madrid, my day trips were to such sites below the tourist radar. No crowds. Great sites. Reasonable prices.

 

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Winter in Australia.

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Autumn in Korea

 

 

My Seasons also got me confused, swinging from summer in the beaches of El Nido and Phuket to Philippine winter version in Batanes, to “end of winter-early spring” in Mongolia to “mild winter” in Sydney back to sweltering summer heat in Bacolod’s MassKara Festival to autumn in Korea down to honest-to-goodness winter in Madrid. You can say I’m done with winter last 2013.

 

 

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Christmas In Madrid

Christmas In Madrid

 

 

From Traveller to Storyteller. That’s moí. In groups, out with friends, home with family or ALONE. I do enjoy my travels. I realize some of my friends do wonder why I continue to wander. I wanted to say I have not lost my capacity for joy and discoveries. I wanted to share that I continue to believe and trust and enjoy life’s simple joys, appreciating the kindness of strangers, and discovering how “little” I know of the world around me. Good health, joy in solitude paired with the unceasing thrill of meeting “angels” in my solo travels, these are God’s gifts. I appreciate them, and my gratitude expresses itself in the joy I feel. I remember meeting a Brazilian couple in the lovely town of Chinchon. They said nothing happens by accident. We got on the same bus because we were meant to spend the afternoon enjoying the medieval town and the village folks. I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

Three Kings Parade. Madrid. 2014.

Three Kings Parade. Madrid. 2014.

Football Game at Estadio Bernabeu.

Football Game at Estadio Bernabeu.

 

 

The year 2013 was marked by many firsts. Too many to list here without running the risk of boring you. It is also the same year I turned 60 so maybe, that calls for a separate blog. Like 60 “firsts” as I turned 60. How about it?


This 2013, my year ends 7 hours later. Madrid has been home since November but in a few weeks, I should be flying back to Manila. When I tried to recall how the year went, I automatically searched through my blog archives to check what has kept me busy. So…… my life has been a blog series of sorts. Nice 😉 And complete with photos too! These are my memory aids, and they work.

 

 

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We “baked” under the sun here in Nacpan/Calitang near El Nido, Palawan.

 

 

Our family commenced the year 2013 with a trip to El Nido and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. All of 5 days basking in the sun with sands in between our toes. A pleasant detour was the day spent in the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. In this photo, we felt we were the only tourists but for this couple of Caucasians by the beach.

 

 

Paete Church, one of many around Laguna de Bay.

Paete Church, one of many around Laguna de Bay.

 

 

Then friends based abroad came a-visiting and we decided to do a roadtrip around Laguna de Bay. From SLEX through Calamba through the coastal towns of Pila, Paete and Pakil, then heading home via the Manila-East Road. We never thought we could do all that in a day.

 

 

We conquered Mount Pinatubo!

We conquered Mount Pinatubo!

 

 

I’ve always wanted to trek to Mount Pinatubo while my knees and legs would allow me. My nieces and a couple of friends joined me. We didn’t trek the whole way, and you may call us cheats, but still, I can’t say it was easy.

 

 

The northernmost island province is a must-destination.  Trust me on this!

The northernmost island province is a must-destination. Trust me on this!

 

 

Aaaahhhh….. Batanes. The place is magical. I intend to go back. I’d love for my family to see this enchanting place and meet up with the very kind, welcoming locals. I’ve had some pretty amazing domestic travels early in the year, like striking off from a bucket list! Batanes ranks high up in that list and for good reasons.

 

 

Speedboating and island-hopping in Phuket and Ko Phi Phi

Speedboating and island-hopping in Phuket and Ko Phi Phi

 

 

And then Phuket happens. We didn’t plan on it, but the idea of speedboating and island-hopping in Thailand was simply too tempting. Images of James Bond sailing away on a speedboat and Leonardo di Carpio’s “The Beach” crossed our minds. We also enjoyed the luxury of a villa with a plunge pool while we were there. And this was just less than 2 weeks from our long- planned trip to Ulaan Bataar. A couple more off the bucket list!

 

 

RAW, unspoilt Mongolia

RAW, unspoilt Mongolia

 

 

By midyear, I felt I’m done traveling until my scheduled holiday by yearend in Madrid. But it’s June, and I joined some of my friends flying to Cagayan de Oro to celebrate a dear friend’s 60th. Sidetrips to Maria Cristina Falls, the Divine Mercy Shrine and the Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon were soon arranged, and voila!

 

 

Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon

Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon

 

 

July-August till the first week of September found me in Sydney, Australia. Absolutely unplanned, but I needed to be there for my eldest sister and only surviving member of my immediate family to deal with her health travails. Thankfully, my sister beat the odds so it was a good celebration after 5 weeks of ordeal. God is truly good and merciful.

 

 

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

 

 

Before long, I’m back home. This time, eager to experience a local festival. The MassKara Festival in Bacolod was timely as kin based abroad arrived to join me in celebrating a milestone in my life. Six–oh! Soon after the MassKara frenzy, we were partying on a safari theme, and moved on to Seoul, Korea for an extended celebration. Phew!

 

 

MassKara Festival in Bacolod City

MassKara Festival in Bacolod City

In seoul, we feasted on Korean food like there was no tomorrow.

In seoul, we feasted on Korean food like there was no tomorrow.

 

 

And since November, I’ve called Madrid home. Certainly a break from tradition (and the rest of the family) to spend Christmas and New Year’s here in the midst of winter. It’s a great experience for me to hear Misa de Gallo — complete with singing of Christmas carols (in Spanish of course) in a country that christianized us and passed on many of its traditions. I have grown accustomed to lunch at 2pm and dinner at 9pm. No siestas for me. Yet. But Misa de Gallo at exactly midnight, Noche Buena at past 1 am till 3 am is a tad difficult. Many Madrileños celebrated till 5am. No wonder Christmas mornings in Spain are very quiet and peaceful. Everyone is still on bed!

 

 

Christmas In Madrid

Christmas In Madrid

 

 

A couple more things. Christmas here is more about BELENES. There are Nativity Scenes in churches, museums, palaces. The center of attention is the Child Jesus. Not Santa Claus or a Christmas Tree. And gift-giving? NOT on Christmas Day. Rather, it’s on the Feast of 3 Kings who introduced the idea of gift-giving. The kids have to wait. Feliz Navidad!

 

 

El Belen de Salzillo

El Belen de Salzillo