Last Day Heading to Airport…

Today we had breakfast at our hotel. We were able to pack and relax. Don’s dad and brother picked us up around 12 because this was when we had to check out. They told us that they were not planning on picking us up until 2 because they thought this was when check out was…

So then we picked up Tita Remy and Pong again. It was good to see them again, we had thought last night would be the last time. Then we headed to Angeles City to get lunch. In my head I was hoping and craving for something American. When we got to Angeles City (it was about a 20 minute drive) I saw a lot of Western Style Restaurants. In my head though I was thinking…we won’t be eating that.

I was wrong. We went to a restaurant called Rumpa. There were white people there! hahaa. It was American style food. And it was pretty good! I ordered a cheeseburger and fries. Don got fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Pong had barbecue and it was very good. We all tried each other’s food. It was a nice change of pace.

After we ate we all got back in the car. We then drove around and went by a mall. I did not want to go in the mall….ugh I hate shopping! For some reason we didn’t stop. We drove by Clark Air Base. It did not look like much. There were a few old airplanes on display. You could see the barracks where people lived. The area looked very American.

We were going to stop at a place called Nayo Ng Pilipino. It was basically people dressed up and showing the different cultures in the Philippines. We didn’t do it though because it was already 2 pm and it was so hot!

So on the way back we did stop at the mall. Don looked for a case for the new Samsung. We didn’t find one. Basically no one bought anything. It was so crowded and I was afraid someone would step on my injured toe. I was happy to leave the mall.

So then we made our way back to San Fernando. There was so much traffic! We dropped off Tita Remy and Pong and said our goodbyes. Then it was me, Don, Fiona, and Sean in the backseat again. Off to Manila to the airport. I don’t think I have ever been more ready to be back in the US. This was a long trip. I think it felt especially long because for the last half of it we were just being driven around. It was very nice of Don’s dad and his brother to take time off and drive us around everywhere. We saw things that would have been difficult to see on our own. And we were able to see family easily. I am appreciative of that. But it felt like weeks haha…I was ready to be back in my own bed and eating things without worrying.

Ahh…but the ride there was so long. The traffic in Manila is unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it in the US. It was also hard to see the poverty in the Philippines. It was very eye opening.

Once we got to the airport it was about 7 pm. Korean Airlines were not open yet so we got in a line. We were about 3rd in line and we were told they would open around 830 pm. So much waiting! The airport was crazy crowded.

We met a guy from Maryland. He talked a lot, so that passed some time in the line. Finally at 830 we were able to check in. Then we went through security and tried to find a place to eat. We had to eat right when we  entered after security because there were no restaurants at the gate. We found a crowded restaurant and got some food. I had a chicken noodle soup that was actually pretty good. Don got some pork rolls that we shared.

We went to the gate around 10 and waited because our flight was not until 1145 pm. We finally boarded…on time and left. 4 hours and we would be in South Korea. We had the tv screens again so I put on some documentary and tried to fall asleep. I don’t think I slept much though. It felt like a long flight…


Today we left the hotel around 830. We went to a market owned by Don’s family. The market was very crowded…and hate to say it but smelled very bad. It was definitely an experience. Don’s dad wanted to buy us flip flops.

Then we went to Tita Remy’s and picked up her and Pong. We were on our way to something called Poracay. Up until I saw the signs for it I thought they were saying Boracay…and we have been to Boracay island before and there’s no way that’s where we were going. But no it was called Poracay.

Poracay is basically the most un-touristy resort you can go to I think. There is a hotel if you want to stay or you can rent places to set up for a picnic. We rented a spot to eat. So we ate and then the kids were ready to swim. Basically Poracay is a bunch of pools. There is a lake where you can rent kayaks.

The kids loved it; it was definitely more for the kids. But that was cool. I think I’m the only white person to have ever visited Poracay and the stares made me feel really uncomfortable. We swam for a little bit and then we went over to the kids pool and took some pictures of them. They thought the underwater camera was really cool.

After hanging out with them for a bit we went back to the picnic area and dried off. Then we fed some bread to the fish in the lake.

We saw these cool airplanes…

I have to say I was relieved to leave Poracay. The trip is drawing near the end and I am getting tired.

On the way back we visited Don’s grandma’s grave. She had passed away since the last time we had visited. Luckily I was able to meet her.

We got back to the hotel around 8 and we said our goodbyes to Tita Remy and Pong. They thought this would be the last time we see each other. During this time I was standing behind Don when getting out of the car and he backed up on my big toe. It tore the nail back. I just went up to the hotel room because I wanted to cry it hurt so bad.

When we got up there I was in so much. Half of the nail was torn back and I had to cut it off and clean it out. Ugh it was gross. Don felt so bad.

Pampanga-Subic Bay

Today Boni and Don’s dad picked us up at 630 am. We went to Tita Remy’s to pick up her and her grandson Pong. So then we loaded up the SUV with all of us and picnic stuff. Tito Boni and Danilo (Don’s dad) were in the front. Don, me and Tita Remy were in the backseat. Then the kids (Pong, Fiona, and Sean) sat in the very back with all the bags and coolers. This would have never happened in the US.

On the way there, not even a half hour into the trip, Remy asked us if we wanted some noodles. It was like 730 in the morning, I wasn’t really hungry, but she insisted. So she pulled out a tub of pancit. It was very weird to be eating this at this time of day and in a car, but it was the best freaken pancit I’ve ever had. Delicious.

It took about 2 hours to get to Subic Bay. It was US Naval Base at one time. We had to drive through some mountainous areas. We were looking for Zoobic, which was the zoo at Subic Bay. Boni stopped to ask if we were going the right way and the officer at the booth told us to pull over at the side because he hadn’t made a complete stop at the stop sign. So we thought we were getting a stop sign ticket. All I could think was…okay if this was the USA we would be getting a stop sign ticket, no seat belt tickets, too many passengers in a vehicle ticket…hahaha the list could go on and on. Boni talked his way out of the ticket, thankfully.

We got to Zoobic around 9 or 10 am I think. We bought tickets for everyone and I noticed there were tickets to feed tigers and crocodiles. I for sure wanted to do this but we found out you just pay for it later. I was excited, I couldn’t wait to feed the animals! I was ready to go on this safari, but of course we had to eat. I wasn’t really hungry but I had a cheese sandwich. Then we explored a bit around the few shops.
We found some pigs in the pet store.

The first exhibits of the zoo were walking ones. We saw a lot of different types of birds. For 10 php we were able to feed  parakeets.

We were able to feed camels for free, just by picking up leaves off the ground.

Then we got on this trolley type train that would take us around the zoo to all the destinations. The first destination was a cave. In this cave was a bunch of fake and stuffed animals. It was really lame.

The next destination was the main attraction: the tigers. It was like a safari so we got in this caged SUV. A trainer was able to feed the tigers through the cage. It was crazy! We got so close to the tigers! One tiger jumped on top of our vehicle and wouldn’t get down! I got a lot of good video and pictures. To check out videos from this trip check out my youtube page:

Next we went to where they kept the tigers. They were all in cages, the cages could have been a little bigger. I felt like it wasn’t the best living conditions, but the tigers looked pretty good. We could get really close to the tigers. This would never happen in the US!

We were warned while walking next to the tigers that if they turn their butts to us to watch out because they might spray urine!

The next attraction was watching a tribal dance. These were real members of a tribe from this area.

Then we went a walk to the crocodiles. Here for I think 50 php we could get a raw piece of chicken attached to a pole, kind of like a fishing pole, and feed the crocodiles. It was a really cool experience and I got some good video.

After this our safari was over. It was a pretty cool experience. Then we left and drove to a beach. We went to a place that looked like a resort on the beach. I guess it was a place where you could bring a picnic and use their beach. There really wasn’t much of beach you just took stairs right into the water. The kids swam and then we ate. The food was delicious. The best Filipino food I’ve had anywhere. After lunch we relaxed.

Then we started back to San Fernando around 4. I was tired and feeling so gross and sweaty. The drive home was very scenic though.

We went back to our hotel when we got back to San Fernando. We were tired and gross. We got cleaned up and then we went across the street to the Walter Mart. It was basically a mall. Don bought a new Samsung cell phone for about $80 to replace the old blackberry we use overseas. It was a good deal. Then we got some dinner at Shakey’s. It’s a fast food place. We had pizza. It was okay….nothing like the pizza we had in El Nido.

Los Banos to Pampanga

Today we had to check out at 11 am, but Don’s dad was not able to pick us up until 5. We didn’t know this until this morning around 9, we just assumed he would be there around check out time. So we left our luggage at the front desk and had lunch here.

After lunch it was around 1230 so then we just hung out by the pool. The internet wasn’t working. I mostly just read and relaxed. Don took a nap. I got in the pool a few times to cool off.

The internet did start working and I was able to check facebook. From facebook I learned about the Boston Marathon Bombing. It was so sad to hear of this. Who would think this would happen?

His dad and his dad’s brother, Boni, arrived at the resort around 530. Boni brought his 2 grandchildren, Fiona and Sean. They were probably around 7 and 5. This made the ride to Pampanga really crammed and it wasn’t comfortable. We were all sitting in the backseat. There was so much traffic when we got to Manila, it was unbelievable. We arrived in Pampanga around 8 and checked into our hotel.

His dad booked us a room at Hotel Gracelane in the city of San Fernando in Pampanga. We didn’t stay long at the hotel though because we left immediately to have dinner at Tita Remy’s. We have been hearing that people from Pampanga are known to be good cooks and this seemed to be true at the dinner.

We were really tired so we went back to the hotel around 9.  We watched a lot of news coverage on CNN about the bombing.

Los Banos 88 HotSpring Resort

Today I woke up around 8 and decided to get an early start on relaxing. So I went outside and read for awhile. I am re-reading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it and it is one of my favorites. I did a little swimming and then got cleaned up to go out to lunch with some of Don’s family.

We went to lunch with Tito Boni and his wife, Tita Doree, Tito Mar and their kids Eunice and Jonas. We ate a very cool looking restaurant. All of the tables were on their own little floating room. I have a picture that can show it better.

The food was good. We just ordered a bunch of dishes and shared them all. When we came back Tito Boni talked to us about our relationship with Jesus. He is a Christian minister and has his own church. It was a good talk.
Then we went out and explored our resort more.

That water slide was very slow! The first time I went on it, it was fast and fun. But then I would always be dragging down it haha. 
Once we were done swimming we decided to go out for dinner. We took a tricycle to a Max’s Restaurant. This time I had a chicken sandwich; it was pretty good. Don ordered breakfast. I then ordered a box of caramels. The way it was described I thought it would be like chocolates and caramel but it was more like a caramel brownie. Still good though.