My current location is at home writing about my last year vacation in the Philippines and Vancouver.
I only go out to go to work for a few days; social distancing is highly implemented. Violation is costly so it is best to keep one’s distance unless a group lives in a common household.
My last post is about the shocking changes in the Philippines that I immediately noticed.
For this post, I’ll write about the things that I did on my vacation in the Philippines. Some went according to plan, while other plans were canceled. But all in all, I had a great time.
What Kept Me Busy in the Philippines
My activities wouldn’t be in chronological order but more of what I can remember.
1. I arrived at NAIA (Terminal 1). And wished there will be a new airport on my next vacation. The construction of New Manila International Airport is ongoing; in five years (2025), the airport will be in full operation.
It was so hot at the airport and eventually everywhere I go.
2. My siblings picked me up at the airport. I showed up unannounced, so everyone but my siblings were surprised. I finally meet our one and only Aspin dog. There are five of them when I left.
3. I spent my first day fixing my things. And trying to find a place for my luggage and Cabinzero backpack. Apparently throughout these years, my sibling accumulated so much stuff, mostly books, that came via balikbayan boxes that I’ve sent. So I’m partly to blame.
What else became an instant eyesore were the electronic waste. An old desktop. Then some paraphernalia all over the place. And my sibling said that she did a bit of cleaning.
Like what? vacuuming the little uncluttered space.
4. I went to cemetery. Before I leave for abroad, I visited my baby brother (born before me) at the cemetery so I made sure to visit him again when I came back. This will be my habit every time I go home for vacation.
Next, I went to see my thriving lola who is about to reach 100 years old next year.
I stayed mostly at home for two days cleaning and preparing stuff for our trip to Cambodia.
It was my siblings first trip overseas so I made sure they have all the stuff they will need like medication (my sister has allergy and my brother has high blood), passports, clothing, and travel insurance.
Related Post: Apply Online: Malayan Travel Insurance
5. We went to NAIA Terminal 3 for our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The airport is better than the old, hot Terminal 1. My siblings didn’t like the long walk to the gate.
I didn’t include meal on our Cebu Pacific flight so we ate at a ramen house. It was costly for me as I wasn’t used to high cost of living in Manila but the food was great. So I was glad we get to eat before the flight.
6. I was giving tips to my siblings on what to do during the flight. They were quiet during the take off with earbuds on. But once we settled, they act normal as if we’re not high up in the clouds. Ha ha.
7. We arrived at the beautiful Siem Reap International Airport. I wrote our experience on 5-Day Trip in Siem Reap. Make sure to read it if you are planning to visit temples (don’t miss Angkor Wat) or wondering where to go on your next adventure.
I was ecstatic to visit Angkor Wat with my siblings which didn’t cross my mind the first time I was planning my trip in the Philippines. With budgeting and becoming obsessed with Afford Anything podcast, I was able to save for my dream vacation, bought and repair a house, and invest in ETFs and Modified Pag-IBIG Program (MP2).
8. I had a general check-up after the trip. This is important and I could have done it before travelling. The result is quite interesting.
I can have a free laboratory and doctor check up because of Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) which is also free.
But I chose to have a general check up to be able to be assessed by our family doctor and have a Hepa B (booster) and pneumonia vaccine (lifetime, no need for recurring shots).
Such vaccinations are not free in Canada. But flu vaccination is; I get a shot every year (well, that’s the plan even though I dread needles except sewing needles for mending worn out clothing).
Do you know if there’s a way of getting discount for vaccinations in the Philippines? I discontinue paying PhilHealth for now.
9. I bought appliances. My sibling and I went to an SM mall to buy electric kettle and rice cooker for Php 6,000 using my Home Trust Preferred Visa Card to earn cash back. Spend some. Gain some.
We don’t use thermos in Canada unlike in the Philippines. Electric kettle is a must-have kitchen appliance. I use it to warm water for bathing; it feels weird to use tabo again.
I wanted to buy a toaster and microwave oven but we don’t have much space in the counter. We’ll have to do some rearranging of furniture. I wonder if IKEA will open this June.
10. I had a diarrhea after eating in food court. My sibling and I went to ate at Mr. Kimbob Korean BBQ where she had sisig. As a vegetarian I feasted on vegetables, egg, and rice.
Next dawn, I woke up with an upset stomach. I haven’t had diarrhea for a long time because I am careful after experiencing food poisoning which is a terrible experience. Constant vomiting and staying hydrated kept me from being hospitalized.
Getting sick is one of the things I dreaded to experience on vacation apart from going over budget.
11. I had constipation. Are you seeing a pattern here? My stomach when not consuming balanced diet can have opposite, extreme, digestive problems.
Brown rice has been a staple in my diet for years. I didn’t have any brown rice during my vacation but I still have oat meal and tea.
I mostly eat laing which I can eat every day. Tofu on the other hand is not-so-good as a leftover; better finish it in one meal.
12. I spent 3 days of cleaning out of a three-week vacation. You can tell where my priorities lie with how I spent my time. I can’t believe how much stuff my sister has and I recognized most of them.
We had a debate in getting rid of books. I threw some stuff without them knowing; I doubt if they will ever notice.
I was in a push-and-pull debate with my family as I organize the house. I was and still am the neat freak in the family so they should have expected me to go bananas in organizing the house.
After reading Goodbye, Things and listening to The Minimalist podcast, I am more intentional of what I keep inside a house.
And that includes our new house which was repaired. New paint, flooring, kitchen cupboard, TV stand (from Furniture Manila), air conditioner, etc.
Our house deserves to be treated well.
Sidenote: The Bissell vacuum is still working. My sister bought it from the money she received from Amazon affiliate program years ago. This could be a good side hustle together with blogging.
Related Post: Become a Blogger and Earn Money Working from Home
My dad and brother threw the garbage. They did it with questions and complains.
In the end, the house can breathe better (I empathize with things) with less clutter.
There’s more to be organized like my mom’s room; I bet she’s happy that I didn’t have the time to turn her bed upside down. Fortunately, I was able to clean the storage room where all the documents are stored.
My dad is still keeping a jeepney franchise. He said that it’s saleable.
Can you really sell a franchise? How much?
I’m afraid that those papers would mean nothing to us. We don’t know what to do with it other than throw it in the trash can. My sibling and I wouldn’t want to have jeepneys again.
We learned how expensive and stressful it was for my father who could have enjoyed his retirement (as a seaman) but we were still studying at that time.
13. I visited few of my relatives. We used to live in a compound with neighbours who are mostly our relatives. My cousins are close to my age and some have graduated (hurray) and have a family. Others are studying in universities. All is well.
We feasted on a cheese pizza and some were curious about my diet (vegetarianism).
My pasalubong were given before my visit so I came empty handed other than pizza. I gave things that they can use like T-shirt, organic tea, wallet, bag, hat etc.
My rule: I wouldn’t give cash. I am determined to go against the tradition of OFWs to spend like a millionaire.
I learned that it doesn’t matter whether I have something to give. The important thing is to spend time to catch up with each other.
14. We weren’t able to hike Mt. Oro in Montalban, Rizal. Bummer. I even brought my hiking shoes with me because I was so excited to hike with my sibling and relatives. Two days before the hike, we bought food for our baon. Then my cousin told me that we can’t use his car; it had some issues. Sayang!
That’s why we ended up going to Fort Santiago instead and had lunch at Tokyo Tokyo. I was so stuffed even though I skipped eating sisig and anything meat.
15. I gifted watches to my family. I bought a simple watch on Amazon.ca for my auntie (my dad’s sister) who always take care of my dad who needs to be dragged to the doctor or hospital whenever his sick.
This year I bought a watch for myself for the first time.
I’ve been gifting people with watches and forgot it would do me good to have a watch on my wrist. It will curve my impulse to keep checking time on my phone then proceed to checking email, watching videos. Wasting time is extremely easy if you have a phone with data.
16. My dad was hospitalized because of high fever. A few days after our trip to Cambodia, my dad had a fever and had to stay three days in a hospital. Fortunately, half of a not-so-high bill was covered by PhilHealth.
Before I leave, I made sure that my dad would become a lifetime member of PhilHealth since he is qualified anyway. All I had to do was to pass all the requirements. The benefits are worth waiting in a long line.
17. We went to historical places. My sibling and relative went to Fort Santiago. We also went to National Museum of Natural History.
It feels like a field trip; I will visit historical places every time I am on vacation. We don’t have to go so far to learn about our history and culture. I noticed that some entrance fees are quite high but worth it.
18. We spent Mother’s Day in a five-star hotel. It was our first time to spend Mother’s Day at Sofitel Hotel. When I booked two rooms, I didn’t notice that it will fall on a special day. Serendipity it is.
My mom and aunt (who is also like a mother to us) enjoyed our stay at the hotel. Guys if you have huge appetite, you should try Spiral Buffet at the hotel.
We didn’t try it but we had a nice dinner at a Golden Fortune Seafood across National Museum of Natural History. Would love to eat there again.
I’m Going Back Again. When?
Yes sir I will. But I will follow my plan. I have notes on my phone about what I will do for my next vacation. Sometimes an idea pops up in my head while writing, watching, or showering (it happens all the time).
Next time I’ll bring only a backpack. My 41L Cabinzero bag. My sister can lend me her clothes anyway.
That’s how I spent my vacation. There are lots of hits and few misses.
Either way, I achieved my goal which is to have fun with my family, friends, and relatives.
We get to make good memories we can look back on. Till the next journey.
What is your favourite place or activities to do in the Philippines?