Philippines - Baguio

Drive and Hike to Mount Sto. Tomas of nearby Baguio

September 04, 2017

School break is about to be over, where we spent 1.5 months of it back home.

This year's Baguio stay is mostly about being with families, discovering food, walking under the pine trees and basking in the rain.

The monsoon rains though quite limited us from getting around. Of course this was what we traded off to the desert heat..

So now, first to share on our nature activities is our drive and hike to Mount Sto. Tomas.

The radars at Mount Sto. Tomas seen from the lower elevations in  Baguio City

Where 'La Presa' is, the setting of a tv series

A close look into 'La Presa'

Mount Sto Tomas is known to be home to the two radars visible from most parts of the city (Riane calls it fans as most joke it as Baguio's aircon source). Recently, it has become a tourist destination as La Presa, having been home to a tv series.

As we drove up and reached the radars site, our interest got diverted to the sight of the telecom towers visible across the other mountain peak, on a higher elevation than the radars. We moved further and parked just below the steep slope and began to walk up.

Across the other mountain peak, telecom towers at Mount Sto Tomas

The telecom towers welcomed us one after the other. There was some sort of joy reaching one and we kept walking further. Riane was our sort of break, slowing us down for each flower/ leaf/ bush/ wild berry that caught her fancy and she has to get hold of, after all, these are beautiful things and rare for her to marvel on.  This allowed us to rest and recover to keep walking further up

Riane is happy with the nature classes, and Lola is happiest getting to hike up. Notice the steep incline of the road.

Road barriers on both sides, with steep slopes below.

Reaching the top is a prize itself to get a birds eye view of surrounding Baguio on one side, and La Union/ Pangasinan/ and the sea on the other side. There's also the rawness of nature that is still visible along the steep parts of the rocky mountains. There are a few houses, and vegetable gardens too.

La Union and Pangasinan and even the sea as seen above Mount Sto Tomas.

A view far below as seen from Mount Sto. Tomas

Riane calls it being part of her nature class.

A magnificent creation: rock mountains at Mount Sto. Tomas.

By the way, the mountain is now restricted for entry with a checkpoint at the foot manned by DENR and the police. We got to the checkpoint by around 7am, when the police outpost was still locked and unmanned, however, as we slowed down on the make-shift hump, an Uncle who has just along the line in his house clothes tending to his grandchild asked us "Papanan yu?" and the Husband answered "Undavas kami ga, kami nin manpasyal" and he answered "a-ah".. and that started the wonderful drive and hike to Mt Sto Tomas.


Here are photos of Baguio that we took along the road:

A bird's eye view of Baguio City taken from Mount Sto Tomas.

A bird's eye view of Baguio City taken from Mount Sto Tomas.

A bird's eye view of Baguio City taken from Mount Sto Tomas

A bird's eye view of Baguio City taken from Mount Sto Tomas.
While Mount Sto. Tomas is not always in someone else's to go list while Baguio, it is still worth driving up to for some quiet time on a mountain top.

UAE - Fujairah

Photo Stories : Beaches and Date Fruits in Khorfakkan, Fujairah

June 09, 2017

 The hot weather does not stop us to go on long drives. And often times, we arrive to unexpected treats.

Our summer drive to Fujairah this year treated us to wonderful communion with the sea breeze and to beautiful sights of date trees.

We are sharing you some of photos of our drive here:

It's date fruits season!

The date tree and Fujairah's beach line, blending beautifully

Those date fruits dangling majestically deserves a photo (in Fujairah)

Fujairah's sea shore

Fujairah's sea shore lined with stones and rocks

Fujairah's Khorfakkan beach line : chasing the waves

Fujairah's Khorfakkan beach line : challenging the waves

Fujairah's Khorfakkan beach line : a perfect walk path for father and son

Kids have a special place too here at this slides (Fujairah's Khorfakkan beach)

UAE - Dubai

The perfect beach spot for kids near Burj Al Arab

April 30, 2017

We were to meet friends at the beach near Burj Al Arab on Saturday morning. We reached the beach at 7:30 am. But coming from inside an airconditioned car, it already felt hot outside, a confirmation that summer is here to start.

The stretch of the beach was a bit clear with less beach goers although with occasional bus loads of tourists dropping by to take photos of the iconic seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab.

We did not have plans of letting Riane swim apart from expecting her to walk along the beach side to collect sea shells, hence she came in a dress.

But as they went nearer the beach, it was low tide and there was a long stretch of shallow water. She started wading in. Kalel, meanwhile was too eager and swam towards the farthest side he was allowed to go.

Riane's friend came and they shared giggles and laughters playing in the water and chasing each other.

People started coming by around 9:30am as we also prepared to leave.

We have to buy Riane her swimming clothes soon. We just know both kids would be pleading for more beach time. And we knew it would be healthy to catch the Vitamin D out there.

~ Little kids giggles are at the happiest when shared with their playmates
~ We think sunrise is the perfect time to start dipping toes in the beach, just enough time to get tired by around mid-morning when the sun gets hotter
~ Saturday mornings has lesser beach goers, if we want to take photos of the clear beach and have less chance of getting others in the frame.

Let's all have a happy summer with the beach!


Burj Al Arab beach summer

UAE - Dubai

How to Enjoy Legoland Dubai with Kids

April 24, 2017

I've finally got a chance to write about and piece together a video of our Legoland Dubai family experiences in Oct'16 (during the soft-openings) and in Jan'17.

Kalel and Riane has the perfect heights to be able to make the most of the ride types for them. At four years old, Riane exactly hit those of the 105cm height restrictions.

Do check our video below. There's more of rides and attractions not taken in the video though.

How to enjoy Legoland Dubai, as we thought:

  • Legoland closes quite early (not 10pm as most play areas in Dubai does, unless this changes), so the earliest kids can come, the better. There is much to be done, and if there are no queues and kids get tireless, one full day, if not more,  is needed to try all the rides.
  • Plan your route, get a park map.
  • When it's hot on mid-day, it would be good to start with the indoor attractions at Miniland; watch the two shows at Lego Studios 4D and Ninjago; or create towers and cars at Imagination and Lost Kingdom. Mid afternoon can start with all the outdoor rides, unless kids are already used to running under the sun.
  • The best day to visit is when there are less guests, most likely on a working day or school day, when there are less queues.
  • Buy some Lego stuff at the retails shops! Shopping is best done before you leave to avoid carrying extra bags when going around. Also, there's a lot of stuff to drool on, it may take your rides time just by choosing what to pick.
  • For smaller kids, parents could check first the areas in the park that their kids can play in, checking with the staff if their kids can be allowed to ride before they join the queue. We saw frustrated parents queue-ing with their little kids for 30 minutes, only to be dis-allowed to ride.
  • Have enough water for the kids as they run in between rides and attractions.

Miniland in Legoland Dubai -- gives a quick tour around Dubai

The Grand Mosque at Legoland Dubai

Dubai Airport 'mini-fied' at Legoland

More Legos inside Lost Kingdom

Visiting Egypt Outside Lost Kingdom

Little Kids love this ride at Dragon's Apprentice
Happy kids!


UAE - Al Ain

Sweihan Drive - Camels, Trees, Gliding by High Dunes!

April 23, 2017

Desert camping and driving has been part of our weekend routine over the past four years. The regular camp where we meet is located in Lahbab. But early this month, the group planned on going a different place, so off we went to the desert dunes of Sweihan in Al AIn.

Sweihan is regarded by some as the Little Liwa with the type of dunes it has. One amazing thing of Sweihan is seeing a part of it with trees growing in the middle of the wide desert.

We were not able to follow the convoy leaving Dubai, so we kept track of the Google Maps location sent to us. As we reached Sweihan, at the end of the road entering towards the dunes, one of our mates came for us whom we followed to where the group had set camp. We had a happy and hearty late dinner at 12 midnight. The guys continued to share stories until around mid 2a.m. It was an unfamiliar place, and nobody seemed to have brought extra guests, such that nobody really pitched a tent, and instead everyone slept inside their cars. We have long been sleeping inside our car when we camp, and especially this time where the place is unfamiliar to us. I mean, I am still not comfortable in case some animals may think of coming near where we are sleeping.

Then morning came. At around 6:30a.m., somebody honked his car to get everyone up. We had to start early for breakfast before the drive. We got up with a visit by camels, with one coming near us, and Kalel receiving a nose rub. Yes, camels are friendly!

Here is a video of our Sweihan drive:

- Camels, and more camels
- Cars gliding by the dunes and splashing sand
- the high dunes of Sweihan
- Gaf trees in the middle of the desert
- A line of cars

-  A really long and wide plot of land that seem to have been cultivated with lots of trees 

Location: Where we camped for the night: A camel farm was just nearby. In the morning, the would be out walking. Where I was taking the video at the high dune overlooking the cluster of trees:

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