2011 vacation

I know, this is a late post. Our vacation was 2 months ago, but it took me this long to finish this (it had been saved and edited so many times in my draft folder). I had to refresh my memory and remember some details, but finally, I’m done. Most of it will be about our journey going to the Philippines . Let's see if I get to finish the posts about the other stuff during our vacation (which reminds me, I also need to prepare a post about our experience coming back...oops!). Anyway, enough of my explaining. Here’s what happened...

I had called National Taxi (600543322) on the evening of August 30, specifically requesting for a Toyota Innova cab by 4:30am the following morning. With 3 adults and a toddler, each of us had suitcases (plus hand-carry bags) so we needed a big car. Sure enough, by 4:29am, I received a call from the driver saying he was already in front of our building, and yes, it was an Innova. By 4:50am, we arrived at Chelsea Tower to check-in our luggage, with my sister following shortly.
Since the first bus hadn’t left yet, we opted to go on that one instead of waiting for the one leaving at 7am (which we were originally booked on). The ride to Abu Dhabi International Airport took less than 1½ hours, with episodes of Just for Laughs shown on the screen to entertain the passengers who didn’t sleep during the journey.

At the airport, there was a big stuffed camel where Caila wanted to have her picture taken.
Then we had a quick breakfast before heading to the departure gate. On the way to the gate, we saw a sign saying that there was a kids play area, so to keep the little one busy, we brought her there. Fortunately, it was just a short distance from the gate we would be departing from. Naturally, Caila enjoyed herself with the small houses, slides, cars and bikes.
About 45 minutes before our boarding time, we decided to go to our gate, despite our daughter’s protests. Once she saw the big planes outside the window, however, she forgot about leaving the play area and became amazed at what she saw.
Finally, it was time for us to board our flight. Upon entering the plane, a flight attendant gave Caila a backpack in the shape of a bee with all sorts of goodies, which, as expected, she asked us to open right away. Having her own seat on a plane for the first time, she comfortably and proudly occupied the seat between me and hubby.
Through our travel agent, I requested the Seafood Meal for all of us (and the Children’s Meal for Caila). Compared to the standard meals that were served, ours was definitely better. So that’s a tip for you: seafood meals are delicious on Etihad flights (and Emirates as well, actually), and always request your preferred (special) meal types at least 24 hours before the flight so that you’re served before the other passengers.

Our daughter slept during most of the flight, lying on her back with her head on my lap and her feet on Hubby’s lap. About 2 hours before we landed, she woke up, so after she had eaten, I switched the screen on in front of her so that she could play games (err, more like fiddle around with the buttons on the remote) and watch Disney and Barney shows.
Thank God we didn’t have any problems at all with Caila. When I was a kid, every time I was on a plane, I would ALWAYS throw up. Fortunately, my daughter isn’t like that. She didn’t fuss around or cry or complain about her ears hurting from the pressure.

We arrived in NAIA Terminal 1 just before midnight on the 31st of August. The Immigration queues were pretty long, but we had a kid with us so we were allowed to go through the special lane. After getting our luggage from the baggage carousel, we headed out to the pick-up point where Mama would meet us. While waiting, Caila’s eyes fell on a sign and excitedly shrieked out “Joollibee, Mommy! Joollibee! Joollibee!” over and over while pointing at the restaurant and pulling on my hand. And if that wasn’t enough, she did the same thing to her daddy, my sister, and Mama when we saw her. Thus began our 3-week vacation in Manila.

The 20 days was spent shuffling between my family home in Paranaque and hubby’s family home in Fort Bonifacio. We spent 5 days with my family, 5 days with hubby’s, then 5 days again with mine, and finally 5 days again with hubby’s. Despite the distance (okay, I admit, it’s pretty short compared to those whose families live really apart from each other), it was still tiring, time-consuming, and a bit costly travelling to and fro. Every time we transferred between houses, we had to use a taxi because we always had a suitcase and other bags to bring; and of course, with a toddler in tow, it just wouldn’t be practical nor wise to commute on jeeps, buses and tricycles. Then there was the unpredictable weather; one minute it would be sunny, the next minute we had to run towards the nearest shade, shelter or mall to keep from getting wet.

It wasn’t bad though. The time was well-spent with our families, friends, shopping, relaxation from work, and some matters we had to take care of. The wedding of our friends from Dubai took place on the 7th of September, so we attended that. We also got to attend mass at the church near my place, have lunch at the Vera Perez home, and finally get our wedding portrait; all of which I blogged about here, here and here. And because hubby’s youngest sister’s birthday fell during our visit, he persuaded his other sister (whom he hadn’t seen for more than 7 years because she’s working at Singapore) to apply for a short leave as well so that they could have a sort of reunion. Of course our daughter enjoyed herself because she was practically spoiled rotten by her grandparents and relatives who missed her, especially from hubby’s family because she’s the only grandchild/niece from their side.

All in all, our vacation was good. It was stressful at times, but nothing beats going home to reunite with family and friends.

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