Saturday, May 18, 2013

Travel tales 2013

“Travel tales 2013”
Sun.Star Davao, May 18, 2013

Refreshed and rejuvenated from their summer vacation, seven families share how they spent their much-deserved break.

These are their travel tales for 2013!


Where did you go this summer? 

Los Angeles and San Diego, California, USA, particularly, Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland California in Los Angeles, Legoland (California), Sea World, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Why did you choose this destination?

We would like to go to different theme parks this summer and also, to visit and stay with my sister-in-law's family in San Diego who also served as our "tour guide" for this trip. 

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?

*Our overnight stay at Legoland Hotel which just opened last April 2013. Before reaching our hotel room, the disco elevator we got in was complete with a mirror ball and blasting disco songs. Kids and parents had fun dancing inside!

*Visiting Legoland. My 6-year old son Miggy enjoyed different rides from Legoland.  We watched the new Chima 4D movie experience, joined interactive games, and, of course, shopping for his favorite Lego characters (Ninjago, Chima and Star Wars) at the Lego Shops. 

*Watching the popular Shamu show at Sea World.   Shamu is a killer whale, and was trained to do different tricks and entertaining acts. The kids had fun getting wet as Shamu splashed some water on people watching at the stadium.

*Princess hunting at Disneyland. My 8-year old daughter Bea and I waited, looked and ran after her favorite Disney Princesses and other Disney characters at Disneyland, taking pictures with them and getting their signatures on her autograph book.  Priceless!

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?  

*Be sure to prepare the kids’ medicines for anti-allergy, anti-asthma, fever, stomach ache and dizziness.  I visited my kids' pediatrician a few days before we traveled and asked for a list of medicines. Miggy is a "biyahilo" so I let him chew Bonamine an hour before every flight.  

*For long flights, let the kids wear jogging pants, sweat shirts, slip-on sneakers or rubber shoes with Velcro straps so that they can move comfortably in the plane and not get cold. Hand-carry their security blankets, favorite small stuffed toys, candies for chewing when their ear aches, and their favorite milk to drink before they sleep in the plane.

*Download the kids’ favorite application games, movies and TV shows on their iPads to keep them busy during flight. 

Why is travel important to your family?

Travel is important to our family because this serves as a break from our daily activities.  It is a break from doing my daily errands; it’s my husband's break from his regular job.  It is also the kid's break from studying.  It also increases their knowledge of new foreign places and of people.  It is also the time when we spend more quality family moments, relax, for keeping calm before the much-awaited shopping! 


Where did you go this summer? 

South Korea particularly Seoul, Yeongwol County in Gangwon Province and Jeonju City in Jeollabukdo, or North Jeolla Province

Why did you choose this destination?

The Philippine Academy of Sakya (Davao), where my daughters study, has been involved in an Exchange Student Program with the International Youth Community (based in Jeonju City) for the past 8 years.  Every January, Sakya parents adopt Korean students for them to experience life in Davao, while attending classes at Sakya for about a week or two. In return, Sakyans get to experience the Korean way of living during summer time.

This year, most of the participants including my eldest daughter Moira, were members of Sakya Football Club.  Though this has always been a “No parents trip”, Mary Tan, one of the so-called “SFC soccer moms”, persuaded her brother/organizer and also the brilliant brain behind the program, Roger “Atoy” Limso, to allow some SFC parents to tag along. So it became some kind of a “mother-daughter bonding trip” for me and my daughter, whom I have an “away-bati” relationship ever since.

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?
*Participating in the reenactment of the GUKJANG (state funeral) as part of the funeral cortege for King Danjong, 6th Monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. It was held as a highlight to the Danjong Cultural Festival. We all wore the traditional white funeral robe and had to walk about 3 kms. from Deokpo-ri, passing by Donggangdaegyo Bridge to Jangneung Royal Tomb, where the final memorial service was held. For someone like me who is not exactly keen on walking long distance, it was physically and mentally challenging, yet a truly memorable experience!

*Watching the Hyundai FC vs. Seoul FC game at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.  Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC played against the defending champ Seoul FC and won 1-0. 

*Witnessing our soccer kids meet and train with the Jeonju Yeungsaeng High School Football Team at Wansan Sports Park.  The team’s sponsor, Hyundai Motors, is said to spend about 1 billion won annually for the members’ education, board and lodging, training, uniforms, etc.  They are like Hyundai FC’s Junior team. They do take football quite seriously.  Our kids also got to play 3 games with the Kumsan High School’s football team and won in all 3 games. 

*Watching Fanta-Stick. It is a live Korean traditional musical that incorporated western percussion with melodies played on oriental musical instruments. All kinds of Korean performances and sounds including B-boy (breakdancing), percussion and string music made this a truly fantastic visual performance.

*Korean Food Trip. Experiencing Korean cuisine right at its very source….Kimchi and chili overload!

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?  

*Try to do a little research about the place you are about to visit.  That way, you won’t be at a loss if asked to do something.  This reduces embarrassing moments.

*Always bring some OTC medications.  It was a lot of help that I brought medicines, as some of our group members experienced fever, colds, tummy upsets.  It was difficult to go to a pharmacy only to find out that the attendants do not speak/understand even a bit of English.  If going to a place where you might experience cool weather, get a flu vaccine about a week or two before departure.

*Respect the culture/tradition and religion of the locals.  Be adventurous. Keep an open mind.  Do what locals do.  Eat what they eat. That is how you get the most out of your travels.
Why is travel important to your family?

Travel is important to me, because it gives me the chance to bond with my family, just us. It also gives us the chance to see something new and experience life beyond our very own.  It also teaches us so many lessons not found in history books.  It teaches our kids about being independent, and at the same time, looking out for each other, as some of the kids in our group went without any parent/adult companion.  It also taught them to manage their budget well.


Where did you go this summer?

France (Paris, Lourdes, Disneyland) and Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa & Rome)

Why did you choose this destination?

My mother-in-law’s lifelong dream has always been to go to Lourdes, France which is one of the Catholic faith’s most important pilgrimage sites. And since we were already in Europe, we decided to bring our daughter Lindsey to her first Disney experience as she’s old enough to appreciate it.  All the other places we went were offshoots of those two goals.

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?

*The first time I saw Paris. I was in awe of the architectural structures.

*Disneyland Parks Paris. Seeing my daughter's eyes light up and excitedly pull us to the entrance of Disneyland Parks Paris on the very first day we arrived there; and watching the spectacular fireworks in Disneyland with my family.

*My first shopping trip in Paris. My husband bought me my advanced birthday gift.

*Riding the gondola with my family in Venice.

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?  

*Bring a stroller if you have young kids travelling with you, this is really a MUST-BRING! 

*Bring a good camera to capture all those precious moments.  It should not be so big and heavy to lug around and not so small that it can't take good night shots.

*Don't forget to bring biscuits/cookies for the little ones which they will need in between meals as you may not have enough time to shop for it when you are on tour and they may not like the snack foods in the country that you are visiting.  Rice is scarce in Europe but I'm glad my daughter is not a picky eater. She was okay with french fries, pasta, risotto and gelato!  If your kids really need rice, there are Asian restaurants around.

*If you are not travelling with a tour group, make sure all the booking vouchers and/or tickets are printed and ready before the trip for convenience.

Why is travel important to your family?

I think travel just serves to focus the quality of time we spend together especially when traveling abroad. when we are here or traveling locally, our business and other every day concerns are always ever present and we are always accessible but when we are abroad, all we have is time for each other and time to have once in a lifetime experiences which become lifelong memories.


Where did you go this summer?

Bali,  Indonesia

Why did you choose this destination?
It's our first time to visit Indonesia and we thought it would be fun to explore a new and interesting place.
What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?
*Experiencing their Balinese massage
*Adventure at Waterbom, Bali’s best waterpark. Waterbom has more than 20 world class waterslides and leisure facilities for all ages.
*Shopping for souvenirs
*Trying out authentic Indonesian food

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?  

*Pack lightly

*Do research and arrange your itinerary ahead.

*Bring your most comfy shoes.

Why is travelling important to your family?
It's the time where you bond with your family.  You enjoy and learn new things together making you closer to each other. This particular trip is extra special because it’s our first time to travelwith my sisters and parents-in-law. It is also my son Jiro’s first time to travel abroad.


Where did you go this summer?

Siem Reap, Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Why did you choose this destination?

It was an incentive trip given by our business supplier.

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?

*Food adventures

*Seeing the hard life of the residents of Cambodia

*Visiting the markets. We loved Ben Thanh Market, a typical Vietnam market which sells fruits, silk, jewelries at low prices and Binh Tay, a wholesale market in China Town for best bargains.

*Going to Cu Chi Tunnel, an underground village used as a revolutionary base during the Vietnam War.

*The wonders of Angkor Wat and its majestic temples

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?  

*When visiting tropical countries, don’t forget to bring mosquito repellants, umbrella and lots of bottled water to keep kids hydrated.

*Bring iPad for the kids to take photos and play when they are bored in the tourist bus.

*Prepare an emergency kit with medicines, extra shirts and underwear.

Why is travelling important to your family?

We always travel for family bonding and for our children to see and learn about the difference and goodness of other countries/cultures that we may apply to ourselves. It is also what the kids look forward to every school break.


Where did you go this summer?

Singapore and Malaysia. This trip was made especially memorable because my children were able to bond with their BFFs.

Why did you choose this destination?

We wanted to check out Legoland, River Safari. SEA Aquarium, Hello Kitty Town and Johor Premium Outlet.

 Travel is a great way to teach kids how to be independent.  Aside from the bonding factor, it is also educational for them as well. It relaxes us from the stresses of our daily routine and in the process spend some quality and fun moments with our children.  

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?

*Breakfast with the orangutans at Singapore Zoo

*Being splattered with water straight from the elephants’ trunks at Singapore Zoo

*Roller coaster rides with the kids at Legoland

*Watching the crane dance with free popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, wine and photo op at Marina Bay Sands

*Craft time with the kids at Hello Kitty Town which included a free necklace

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?

*Check the weather condition during your stay so you would know the things to bring, clothes to wear, etc.

*Book a hotel that is kid-friendly. Accessibility is of utmost importance.

*Check the latest promos with airlines companies. Big savings go a long way.

*Pray as a family during the entire trip with evening devotions. It is really a great way to end a great day!

Why is travel important to your family?

 Travel is a great way to teach kids how to be independent.  Aside from the bonding factor, it is also educational for them as well. It relaxes us from the stresses of our daily routine and in the process spend some quality and fun moments with our children.  


Where did you go this summer?

This summer we took a trip to Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and Lake Como. 

Why did you choose this destination?

A couple of years ago, we started dreaming about a wonderful trip to Italy to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and almost at the last minute, events conspired to lead us there.

What were the most memorable moments of your vacation?

*Attending the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square

*Driving around Tuscany and visiting medieval hill towns

*Pilgrimage to St. Francis’ Basilica in Assisi

*Attending a concert in historic Teatro la Fenice in Venice

*The “Florence for Foodies” tour

What are your best tips when preparing for a family trip?

*When traveling with young children, preparation is key.  A lot of parents find it daunting, but it can be quite fun for everyone if properly planned, taking into consideration the children’s capabilities and interests.  We’ve always been independent travelers and I spend considerable time on research before finalizing our bookings.  The internet is a treasure trove of information and help from fellow travelers abound in sites like Tripadvisor and online forums.  Planning our itinerary ourselves ensures that we get to do the things and go to the places that we really want to.

*To make the trip interesting for our children, we try to make sure that they know a lot about the places we’ll be visiting, its history and culture, by watching movies, playing games, reading books and even trying out their recipes before we even leave home.  For our young daughter, the book “Madeline and the Cats of Rome” acquainted her with the sites of Rome and got her excited about visiting these too and our older son learned a lot about ancient Rome from “The Roman Mysteries”.  We also read a book about the life of St. Francis.  They loved the story about the wolf of Gubbio.  Our go-to travel guidebooks are the ones by DK Publishing because of their extensive and kid-friendly photos, drawings and maps.

*They say families should bond over meals and we certainly try to do that when traveling!  Our method of choice for finding good food is to ask the locals, and we’ve had our best meals in their recommended restaurants.  Finding ourselves surrounded by Italian families (and not fellow tourists) who eat for hours and really know how to enjoy each other and their food were our best dining experiences!

*As a family, we travel to bond and enrich ourselves through learning and experiencing the rich cultures outside our own.  Because of this, we try as much as possible to include stays in apartments and historic and traditional restored homes.  We try to experience local life by visiting the markets and doing our groceries and laundry and taking the local public transportation.  For our Italy trip, we decided to rent a Fiat and drive around Tuscany for 3 days and it was a real highlight of our trip.

Why is travel important to your family?

Travel is very important to us because it offers a wonderful opportunity to bond.  Out there, away from home, on our own, we find ourselves in adventures every day.  Travel teaches us so much about the world and about ourselves that books never can.  The world becomes our classroom, the learning together is immense, and the memories for our family, lasting.

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