Saturday, July 13, 2013

Part 2: Moalboal, Philippines

A little background...our trip is divided into 4 major parts:

1. Cebu (at Jen and Andrey's house), Philippines. I should note how we know Jen and Andrey.  Gary met Andrey at TWU about 20 years ago!
2. Moalboal: resort in the Philippines with Jen, Andrey and Ella
3. Bohol Island: island in the Philippines with just our family
4.  Chiang Mai, Thailand for one week.

This is sort of scattered but here we go...

Our photo sessions in Cebu went really well!  We got to learn more about the people and city by doing them so that was great.  We won't be sharing those photos (well, maybe Gary's?) but thankfully they did go well!  I also learned that people who live in the Philippines have very unique names.  Very.  They also like the combo names...think `Lougar' for our kids.  The vice presidents name is `Jejomar' for Jesus, Joseph and Mary.
Kai was desperate to try a coconut drink.  He didn't love it as much as he thought he would :) What we have been eating a lot of are mangoes.  Family favourite and so good here!
On Tuesday, we piled the 7 of us into Jen and Andrey's car and made the 2.5 hour trip to Moalboal.  In case you care, all the vowels are pronounced individually so it's `Mo-al Bo-al' :)  It was a gorgeous drive with greenery and rolling hills everywhere.  Oh, and a million little shops on the side of the road selling tires and bread etc.  A lot of that is on video.  It's tricky as we have the iPhone, GoPro, and our DSLR.  With three kids though, the easiest is the iPhone and GoPro.

We went to a gorgeous remote resort called `Club Serena'.  This was a pricier portion of our trip but it was totally worth it!  No car seats necessary for the kids as you actually don't travel very quickly.  Nya was definitely the most work as a car seat may have been good for her (and nice for me!!).  Travelling with a one year old is the hardest part of this trip.  Thankfully she is very easy going and we don't regret going, there's just very little down time with a toddler in general.
On the way, we stopped for some fresh coconut ice cream, so yummy!
Our hotel room was a treehouse which was really fun!  There was enough room for our bed, two mattresses for the boys and then Nya's travel crib (love that travel crib!!!!).  The AC was necessary, that's for sure.  The temperature has been in the low 30's but pretty muggy.  It doesn't bother us much.
The boys loved collecting coconuts and thankfully new ones kept falling daily to add to their stash. 

We spent about 3-4 hours a day in the pool and 2 hours in the ocean.  So awesome.  The rest of the time was eating at the restaurant.   Tough life I tell ya!  Other than Whistler, we haven't done a resort with our family before.  Three nights was perfect.
Gary and I each tried paddle boarding but uh, we weren't very good!  I blame the waves.
I loved the snorkeling and we just swam out a ways to the drop off and there were a plethora of fish, corals, etc.  Kai, Gary and Koen did get stung by jellyfish and Kai definitely got it the worst.  It was so bad that he actually refused to back into the ocean.  The only way we could get him in was laying on the paddleboard and sticking his head in to snorkel.
I have to say that the Philippines is much safer than I anticipated.  When I wake up every morning, I `smell' Kenya and it makes me miss it.  The roosters, open windows, heat, smoke etc.  However, it is much safer with way less corruption that's for sure!  The only thing I'm a little worried about with my millions of mosquito bites is Dengue Fever.
Feeding Nya to sleep in the cabana and catching up on emails while enjoying the view.  Wifi only available in that area.  Love my iPhone!!
Just one photo showing how clear the water is...I would go up to the drop off area but was somehow fearful to dive down at take photos.  There were bigger and bigger fish which made me think that other big scary things were there :)   It was a big scuba diving resort.  We have more underwater photos but not sure where they are right now...


We have one more night in Cebu and then we are off to another island without Jen and Andrey.  Time is flying by!  In less than a week we will be in Thailand!
We keep water wings on the boys and they are pretty confident in the water so that is good!  So far only Koen has had a bit of a sunburn on his face. Well, Gary and I also got a bit on our backs.


I love the the sand here, the grains are so large and white.  The anklet on Nya is a mosquito bracelet.  It doesn't really work on me or Kai but seems to be effective on everyone else.  Nya just got some ant bites on her feet.
Kai lives in his mask and snorkel.  Too bad there weren't fish in the pool:)
\
We could walk out so far as it was shallow for a long ways.
Jen, Andrey, and Ella waiting for dinner.
The Catamaran was where the drop off was.
Where we ate every day...right next to the pool and beach.
Andrey and Ella checking out the fish.  You can see how shallow it is!
Nya loved the border of the pool as it was just about 1 inch deep all the way around.
Gorgeous flowers everywhere.
We did a little hike which I miss.  We haven't been walking as much as we normally do so hopefully we do that soon.  I have a feeling it will have to be early morning walks due to the heat.  Talking about early mornings, Nya is up by 4:30 am most mornings. I am tired.  I can see why people bring nanny's along!  It's seriously a thought for next time...pay for a friends flight and then they help by babysitting a couple of hours a day?
Andrey taught me the perfect cannon ball entry!  The kids loved cannonballing!
A jellyfish that wasn't doing so well.
Fresh mango shake..mmmmm.  The food isn't actually much cheaper here...
We went for a little hike along along the beach and road.  
Found a sweet spot with thousands of hermit crabs and fun shells.
Tons of goats in the Philippines which Koen loved counting on our walk.
Koen eating some watermelon while watching the sunset.

So far, we are having a wonderful time and wouldn't change a thing.  Oh, Gary said he would bring more snacks and possibly an inflatable toy for the pool.

Highlights:
Nya: pool
Koen: mangoes
Kai: snorkelling
Louise: snorkelling and hanging out in the cabana RELAXING.
Gary: beautiful beach and time with Andrey and Jen


Lowlights:
Nya: lack of sleep
Koen: jumped in the pool without water wings and sunk.
Kai: jellyfish stings
Louise: early starts to the day.  Very early.
Gary: fatigue

Today we shopped for groceries for the next part of our trip.  Tomorrow we will take a two hour speed boat ride to Bohol Island!  Let's see how we do without Jen and Andrey's help!  I would say the #1 tip of international travel (if you are nervous or if you have kids) is to visit a friend who lives there :)

Hope you are all well!
Love, Team Chapman












4 comments:

  1. Love the pics. Don't like hearing how early Nya is up - that is a bummer! And so is Koen's lowlight, but the way you wrote it made me laugh. And it's so great that you would hardly change a thing.

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  2. So awesome! Thanks for updating/sharing.

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  3. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Yeah! So great Louise! Love hearing about it and the pics! Have a fun speed boat ride! :) Lyn

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  4. WOW - this is so amazing! LOving your updates :)

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