The (Much Needed) Vacation

I am seriously running behind this 363 blog post challenge and I have a very valid reason for being so, I went home for a 5-day vacation and spending time with my family is more important for me than to update this blog entry as it’s only once a year that I get to spend time with them. It was great! I usually have this nagging feeling of not wanting to go home because seriously, my pocket gets drained everytime I go home but as soon as I see my family – everything changes. I’m the one who usually wants to go out and have a meal in a semi-fancy restaurant or go to a mall to shop for them etc. etc. There’s nothing in the world much nicer than seeing my family having a great time.

Before I went home though, I was taking into consideration of moving back there for good and have been doing a lot of skype interviews for different companies and they are actually offering me this incredulous salaries that I didn’t even thought was possible. However, the 5-day vacation was enough for me to realize that going back home for good is not the brightest idea. What with all the pollution, poverty, congested roads, poor living conditions, a big failure of a government and your safety at stake – who would want to go back there? The tourism tag line: It’s more fun in the Philippines is just that, for tourism. As it is highly questionable for people who would want to settle down there. I’ll probably only live there if I have a house somewhere far away from the big cities and I know for sure I’ll steer myself away from the capital – Manila. Whenever I have a passenger going to the Philippines, I usually advise them to not spend more than a day in the capital as I didn’t want them to see the worst side of my country. Those who think I’m being a prima donna are delusional and are lying to themselves.

The highlight of my trip was the first two days, when we spent it at a beach house. It was wonderful, cozy and enjoyable. I told you it’s more fun in the Philippines for tourism purposes. 🙂 We get to have this almost entirely to ourselves for 2 days:

We stayed at Forest Cove Beach House which is a very family-friendly beachfront property in Nasugbu, Batangas. I’ll write more on that on the next entry.

After those two days, it was basically eating out and shopping for us all. One thing I love about my country though, shopping is highly recommendable. We went to Divisoria, a shopper’s haven. Well, it truly was, if you’re not after some branded stuff like I am (I really am not brand conscious, believe me) and the best part of it all was: you can even bargain for much lower prices. The downside is, Divisoria is kinda scary. I was practically hugging my shoulder bag for the fear of pick-pockets which is rampant in that part of town. If you’re not up for it, you can always go to SM or any other malls. Prices are relatively cheap but of course, you can’t bargain. :).

Binondo Church near Divisoria

Food was fantastic too! I think we only ate 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch at home the whole time I was there and for the rest of it, we were dining out. I went crazy on pork and seafood, since coming from Dubai there’s really not much pork options on any of the restaurant’s menus here and seafood will be on the pricier side. So I gobbled up all the pork and seafood my stomach can handle.

Another thing that I’m paying for since I went back home are the zits which have comfortably settled on my face. It’s probably the climate in the Philippines which triggered it which by the way is not so bad as what my colleagues who’ve been to the Philippines before told me. It wasn’t as hot as they have described it to be, maybe because the summer season was already almost over when I went back. There were some scattered rainfalls from time to time which I highly enjoyed! I have terribly missed the sound of the raindrops as it pitter patters on our roof. It’s a lullabye for me.

As much as I enjoyed seeing my family, I was greatly excited too when I saw our dogs. We have about 5 dogs, 3 of them are new and don’t know me but the other two went crazy when I called out their names as soon as I got home.


That’s Chanel up there, isn’t she adorable? She’s the lucky one who gets to spend her time inside the house. The other four are too hyper-active/big to be inside the house.


And that’s Boomer up there who’s more like a horse than a dog. He scares me, not because he bites but he will welcome you home by putting his two front legs on your shoulders which will then make you tumble down. My cousin usually guides him towards the garden and he will close the gate shut before we enter. So that’s him doing all that he can do to welcome me from the other side of the gate.

Leaving home is always a dreaded feeling, apart from the fact that I hate saying goodbyes, the formalities at the Manila airport is ridiculous. To start off, as an Overseas Filipino Worker, I have to validate my OEC at the OFW counter before going in for check in. The validation of the OEC was an easy breezy task, there were 3 counters – all working (surprisingly) so the line was moving fast. I think I only spent a mere 3 minutes to validate (I took the evening flight at 23:55, fyi to all the OFWs traveling :)). Then there’s the long queue for the check in which I managed to bypass as I was checked in online, a little secret for you all who wants to skip the long queue at the counters. Then there’s the travel tax counter which we won’t be paying as an OFW but the line will be long as well, finally the Immigration lane. Whenever I am in that part of any airport, Murphy’s law always apply to me: the other lane always goes faster. So if ever you see me at the airport, do not fall in line in the queue that I am at – that is, if you don’t want to get stuck for about an hour.

All in all, it was a fantastic vacation. Short but sweet. 🙂


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Welcome to my blog! My name is Noemi, a Filipina who caught the travel bug at an early age and has never been cured. I blog about travel, food and my extraordinary mundane life in London with the Greek Mister.

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