Thursday, July 07, 2016

Malmo, Sweden

Glumslov and Lund

Glumslov was our home for the week in Sweden. The very first town center we visited was Lund. We walked the cobbled streets towards the cathedral. This is the town where Ate Rose goes to mass on Sundays but in a small chapel somewhere in one of the side streets. We attended the mass there when it was holy trinity Sunday. It was coincidence that the parish was having a special celebration. I remember the homily was about the "The Lover, the Beloved and Love". This is the first time that I heard how the holy trinity was described. God have always been our Lover, He loved us first. He is our Father. He gave His Beloved Son to us so that we can be saved and the Holy Spirit as Love. His presence every where. Thankful that I still remember these memories and moments during our trip. It was the Sunday we have with Ate Rose. That was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. After mass, we grilled some chicken in garden and spent that Sunday just at home in Glumslov remembering stories from childhood and just spending time with each other.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

An Angel in Paris

Whenever we travel, there will always be times that we had to figure out how to get from point A to point B, there were memorable moments, when we experienced the goodness of strangers helping us along the way. This post is dedicated in particular to the "angel" we met in Paris who helped us find our way to the airport. This is how it happened... we were rushing to go to the airport from Anvers to La Gare Du Nord going to Orly airport. We asked a guard in uniform where is the platform he said its below maybe 44 or 43. Upon arrival at the platform, we realized it is not the platform we were supposed to be. Then Amats asked a short haired lady with a pixie hair wearing cream soft feather down trench. It was raining a bit the sky was overcast still. We were afraid the trains might get stuck. It was raining like Ondoy in Paris during the days we were there. So going back...we were figuring out what train to take... being travelers we thought it would be easy just follow the TV screen monitors of arriving and departing trains... but the train system is as complicated as NYC and Tokyo! So there we were...Amats got some instructions from the lady. She said our train will be in another platform. But I guess we were a bit confused, we jumped into an arriving train together with our bags to the other platform opposite of where we are. The good thing is that the lady followed us and talked to us mentioning that if we want this to take this train, we have to change somewhere then take another. So we jumped out again because the train we need to get into was the other side meaning we have to go up the stairs and transfer to another platform all together. We were pressed for time and with the bags we had to take the lift. As we were running, Amats told me the lady took the stairs and followed if making sure we had the correct train. It was in the nick of time and we got into the right train and in the other entrance I saw the lady also get on the train as if making sure still we wont get lost. At that moment I saw her. Our eyes met and I waved her a "Thank you" wave saying in silence that we were alright. Then she took her seat on the same train. I think she was not supposed to take that train...but I guess she will change trains somewhere. I thought omg she is our Angel. (napaiyak ako nang ma realize ko ito.) That particular incident small as it may seem restored my faith in humanity. *****
In another how-do-I-get-there story: a good friend of ours from the Philippines also helped us arrive and take the right train in Paris. Thank you to facebook messenger, I was able to message and ask for information on what train to take because when we asked google-- nothing came up on our question of "How to get from CDG airport to Paris city center?". As a way of paying it forward to fellow travelers from someone on the receiving end, here are some information on how to get there.
From Paris CDG airport train to Paris City Center. From CDG Terminal 2, Take Line => RER B (Blue) RER B Train, Direction => Paris (Robinson, Antony, St-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse) Arrival Stations => Gare du Nord, Châtelet les Halles, St Michel/Nôtre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal, Denfert-Rochereau, Cité Universitaire Ticket => “Billet Ile-de-France” Aéroport CDG – Paris (Zone 5 -> Zone 1) Cost => 10€ (adult fare) / 7€ (children 4 – 9) / free (children under 4)
And yes, please don't forget: if you are taking the subway right after taking the airport train, (as in our case we need to go to Anvers station after arriving at La Gare Du Nord, you do not need to buy another ticket at the machines, you can just go through directly to the subway i.e. Line 2 if going to Anvers etc.) This will save you and your family the trouble of buying another ticket you will not need and save on time and money upon arrival. Safe travels. God bless. This post is a big "thank you" to all the travelers who helped us along the way. Little information goes a long way indeed! Keep on traveling! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Live Your Dreams!

Dear Isay, Today on your 10th birthday, as we celebrate it with a simple dinner at home with family and few close friends, my wish for you is to live out your dreams. Yes, live your dreams anak! I chose this photo of you from our recent trip because it was raining that day as it is today...complete with thunder and lighting and for a less than an hour the rains drenched the city. I was afraid that people might not be able to make it to our dinner at home. But the rains stopped and we had a good celebration. Today while I was preparing and cooking, I listened to a video of the Feast by Bro. Bo Sanchez. It was the last of the series of talks on the subject-- guess what? "Drenched". By a stroke of inspiration this hit me now... with the rains this afternoon and the messages received. My prayer for you --- may you be drenched in God's blessings in your life. May He bless you with the good things in life. May He continue to strengthen your spirit to overcome the trails that will come our way and wisdom to appreciate the permanent blessings in our lives. You are one of those blessings. Continue to be beautiful inside out. I see and experience a beautiful soul in you everyday. Thank you for understanding and being sensitive to your Nanay's quirkiness. You are a blessing to us in many ways. We love you very much always remember that. You remind me to be good everyday and to choose to do good. Remember that you have a unique quality to be gentle, yet strong in spirit. And today we are indeed drenched in blessings with the goodness of family and friends and of God's provisions. Build you hopes and dreams, nurture your faith in the Lord and hold that pure love in your heart always. We love you bebe mahal! <3 Nanay

Monday, June 20, 2016


I saw this window along one of the streets in Lund, Skane, Southern Sweden. The message is so clear and it called me out and spoke to me. You can barely make out the person in green jacket reflected in the window-- thats me :) This trip proved to be one unforgettable trip of a lifetime with family. It called on our inner courage to embark on this journey and go ahead visit those places that we wanted to see and experience. Visit love ones and spend meaningful time with them and experience what it is like to live in their chosen country.

Scandinavia ~ Sweden, Norway and Denmark

After many years of dreaming and a few months of planning and communicating to the Universe to make our dream a reality, we finally arrived in Sweden and we took this train from Copenhagen to Helsingor to ride a ferry bound for Helsingborg to take us to Glumslov. I always write it as Glumslove ahaha which is appropriate I guess... because this is our major destination.
Arriving in Sweden. It was almost 32 hours trip since we left the Philippines, this includes stop over in Istanbul and Oslo.

Hampas Lupa Adventures

The beginning of our epic adventure of shoestring budget adventures across 8 countries in Europe. Keep on dreaming. As Alice said-- nothing is impossible. As in every trip the planning and challenges abound. But these were the moments that the kindness and love of God proved to us how blessed we are indeed. At the moment when I least expected it, the invitation to visit Sweden came in an email. Yes, we were talking and dreaming about visiting Sweden one day, next year then next year again. But when the email arrived in April this year, then I thought, this is really happening. It is not just me but Amats took the time to make the communications happen. In the past, it was always me who would plan this trip and that and make arduous research about everything. But this time, it was Amats who started the ball rolling to make this epic dream trip a reality. Our window of time for planning and making the trip is less than 3 months. Amats and I were all busy with work as well. At that time, we cannot lodge our Schengen visa application due to a business travel he has for Thailand wherein he had to keep his passport at hand. It was only last week of April that we lodged our application for Schengen. We prepared many many documents. First miracle of the trip, we got our Schengen visa approved within one week. It sounds easy but it took hours and many sleepless nights to prepare the online application and proper documents ready. We have scouted for tickets and visited travel fairs for promo fares and bargains. We chanced upon NAITAS and got the information on the anniversary sale of Turkish Airlines. It was only after we go our visa that we really bought our tickets. Since we are visiting relatives, we also decided to take our chance in applying for a UK visa. Many people would tell us this is one of the more difficult visas to apply for and given the limited time we have, people just wished us luck. Many friends and family also prayed for us. It was just 16 days before we leave and the chances to get it on time was slim as I did not apply for express processing (which cost more than the application for visa itself). But God is good indeed! We got our visas just in time, it was the night before our flight... a last minute photo finish. It was indeed a great blessing. We were granted multiple entry visa as a family good for the next six months. Unbelievable but true! It was by the prayers and the goodness of the angels of people who helped us along the way.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Daraitan-Tinipak River

It is good to be outdoors. It has been a while since I set foot in the mountains. My soul felt renewed with the sight of the mountains, fresh dew filled air and cold river water on my feet. It felt like coming back home after a long journey. Sitting on a rock in the small gushing river I lifted my head upwards and just stared at the clouds passing by and savored the moment. Silently prayed to thank God for this blessing.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

16th Tour of the Fireflies

Last Sunday, 15th day of November was the Annual ToF. Amats once again volunteered to be a Marshal. I was prepared to ride alone. But God is good at the last minute I heard that friends Iggy and Bernie our neighbors also planned to join. I was up early at 2:30 AM with Amats cursing me to be up an hour earlier than we were supposed to be-- cooked cheesey scrambled eggs on Pan de Manila for breakfast. We got our Peerless foldies and loaded the Vitara. Arrived at Tiendesitas at 4AM. I was totally unprepared for this ride. I was a bit sleepy still and I thought I would have time to sleep in the car first. This is the first time that I will be riding again Hannibal (my old foldie) in a very long while. Past year I was riding Peppa my mountain bike. As expected the beginning of the 30km ride will be uphill on Julia Vargas and on to EDSA- this is rare as I've never cycled on EDSA in the middle of the highway. I guess you can only do this with a peloton. Just as I was about to enter the highway, I had some back to back bloopers ahahhaha the seat cover just flew out (thanks Iggy for picking it up) and I just quickly tucked it in the carrier. Buses and cars on a stand still on EDSA waiting for us to pass by. Engines of cars and motorist growling waiting for a break in the peloton. I was on the thinning middle part as I made my way cheering out of J.Vargas someone called out that something is almost stuck on my rear wheels. Oh blooper number 2 but thank God no accident. My angels on high alert again that day. All this time I felt that the bike was set way too low for my legs. I kept saying and laughing I felt like riding a kiddie bike and my legs starting to ache. Had a thought of passing by the house at QC city hall to change bikes but I think the keys are with Amats. Sigh. Waited here a bit for Bernie to join in and met up at PNB then we made our way to Commonwealth ( a deadly highway limiting cars to only 60Kph I would not bike there alone). The second stop over was at the Marikina City Hall where we grabbed some gatorade and taho. Finally had the chance to adjust the foldie (yey!) such a relief. The rest of the ride towards Libis was better. I saw Amats do a Heneral Luna stunt shouting "Tulak!!!" to push the thinning peloton through a thick line of traffic. Iggy had to go and Bernie and I lost each other for a bit then towards the end the peloton became a single file Ahahaha. But what was nice, the marshals were all lined up near the finish line and just clapping and cheering the riders on to the final stretch. Then only at this point I realized I didn't wear my gloves. Ahahaha! Just goes to show how (un)prepared I was for this BIG ride as it were. But still happy sub-4 hours on very slow pace hahahaha! Padyak lang.
PS. The big surprise was Up Dharma Down was there live to sing my favorite "Tadhana". Something sweet to end a long ride :P. PPS Since today is a Thursday, I thought I would share a favorite post here. My first encounter with ToF here in 2005 ten years ago today 2015 Back to the Future :P.