WE’re moving to the Philippines!!!

This has been on hold for few months now, but I’m finally sharing it with you all because it’s REAL!!! We’re moving to the Philippines for three years!!!

Let me explain. Sometime in March this year, the idea of going to a country for a field assignment came to my mind. Tony and I discussed it, we analyzed, the pros and cons, the challenges and why we should consider it. Then we decided that we could do it, we wanted to do it and that the ideal place would be in East Asia, ideally close to Shanghai so we could visit family often. I started applying for jobs there so narrowed it down to Malaysia and Philippines. Mid-june, I was given the offer to go to Manila. We happily accepted the offer.

During the two months of waiting time, Tony got promoted and had a great prospect in his current job. But we thought that this opportunity to live abroad, expose to ourselves and the girls to a new country, developing country, is unique and precious. Now that the girls are young, we can afford to move around easily without having to worrying too much about their education. So, even if it means Tony’s career would suffer, we’re willing to pay that price considering it as a family adventure that we can only do now.

Of course, this kind of moving involves a lot of logistics planning. We need to be in Manila by the end of August, that’s two months for the Big move. First, Tony and I went to Manila alone for 1 week to check out the city, find a place to live, and schools for the girls.

we stopped in Tokyo, had ramen

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24 hrs later, we arrived Manila. We were both tired but excited

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we check-in airbnb place close to my future office

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we woke up at 3am due to jet lag. We waited until 7am when restaurants opened and we went out to have breakfast

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just two blocks away from the airbnb, there were many western options for dining. We went to Wildflour. Had a philippino empanada to start

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and both had omelet as entree

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then we walked around and check out my office

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at 9am, we met with our rental property agent and started the house hunting. The first building we checked was just in front of the airnbnb we were staying, and 3 blocks from the office

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as soon as we entered the building, we fell in love

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then when we entered the condo and saw this view, we were 99% sold

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not only the condos are immense (3000 sq feet for 3 bedroom + den), it also has an amazing condo area including an adult pool and kids pool, playground, gym and meeting room.

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we saw 7 or 8 properties in the same building and chose top 3. Then we went to check houses in a private village. They were disappointing to say the least. After seeing 4, we decided to go with the condo. Then the agent took us for lunch and we had our first philippino food

green salad with salted egg and shrimp

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a miso sour spicy soup with cat fish and veggies

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a coconut drink with bubble in the bottom

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bbq chicken a la philippino

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a rice/coconut/cheese cake which turned out to be the best of the meal

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we had fun trying them out, but my palate told me I wouldn’t love it to have everyday.

To have something more familiar for dinner, we went to a hong kong restaurant TinHong Wan.

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so much better! 😀

As we walked back from the restaurant, we explored the city at night, so lively!!!

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The third day in Manila started with buns… one filled with salted egg custard

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and one with bbq pork

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after breakfast we went to the office for some briefing and went to a “healthy” restaurant “Green Pasturer” close by for lunch.

appetizer: marinated saltines, baked brief and toast

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an avocado salad

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and a cauliflower rice sautéed with shrimp, dried friend pork rings and egg, which was really really yummy!!! Tony loved it!

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we spent the afternoon checking one more condo unit at the same building, two daycares for Lizzy of which one we really liked it. Then it was time for a nap as we kept waking up at 3am.

For dinner we met with a colleague and his wife who’s also moving to Manila in August. Since his wife is german, they suggested to try out german food.

Love ordered the biggest piece of pork feet in a plate I’ve ever seen!

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and I had a tuna salad

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As we walked back… we saw a famous restaurant in Shanghai!

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Thursday morning I met with a colleague who’s leaving the country and looking to sale her SUV. We chatted office gossip and a little bit about her car. Then Tony and I went to a local supermarket to check groceries and household necessities availability. I made note on things to bring.

Then Tony and I headed to the restaurant we saw the night before for lunch

these are soup dumplings filled with zucchini and shrimp. They were delicious!

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wonton in sauce

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noddles soup with wonton

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spicy sour soup

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and two kinds of sautéed greens

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really enjoy the food there and will definitely come back for more later.

More nap, met with a colleague, and went out for dinner. I wasn’t very hungry but Tony was in mood for japanese food. We shared fried oyster to start

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and each of us had a bento box

Our last day started with french crepe, delicious and filling!

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then our local guide took us to the real Manila. Where we were staying is called Fort Global City, which is like bubble where all expats live, nothing to do with the real Manila.  As we drove there, we saw a lot of poverty. Traffic got much worse and it was impossible to imagine driving there. We also got to visit Chinatown, which was interesting but definitely not a place I’d go everyday. Then it was lunch time and I asked the guide to take us to try street food. I pulled out youtube and showed her a video of street food that we saw before. It happened that she knew the place!

This place has been here for over 40 years!!! Many locals come for lunch

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it’s like a buffer where you order food to be served at your table

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I tried a bit of everything but Tony devoured them all. For dessert, we had fresh coconut water with meat

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The food was so heavy that we didn’t need dinner that day. The next day we went to the airport very early and had breakfast there.

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Meanwhile my girls were missing us and we missed them a ton

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This trip was a preview of our three years stay there and we were really pleased with what we saw. The neighborhood we will be staying is perfect! It is very similar to shanghai where both Tony and I are coming from, but a better version of it. It has tons of stores, restaurants, and living facilities, all at walking distance, and I can walk to work everyday!!! That’s a big plus! Although we will be living in the city, our condo is almost as big as our house, so it combines the best of two worlds. And there’s more, we will be having our own driver and live-in maid!!!

Let the adventure begins!!! 🙂

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Life: June happening

June has been a busy month. It started with my first marathon and trip to SD but then more fun happened.

Sofia had her last piano class

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performed two of her favorite songs on the recital (going on a picnic and see you tomorrow). She did great! Not nervous, not rushing, just right! 🙂

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Lizzy had fun witnessing her sister’s performance

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then we celebrated Father’s day… Sofia spent a week at class preparing the gift

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our celebration started with Run with Dad 5k race

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Tony made the last sprint to cross the finishing line

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then we had friends’ over for BBQ to celebrate together

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it was my mom’s birthday and Lizzy’s 14 months birthday, so triple celebration!

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we made the usual: corn, sweet potato, marinated chicken thigh, sausage, and beef

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we had a lot of fun chatting and eating

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then my little girl graduated from CCLC where she spent 4 years!

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some of her friends started with her… they formed a strong bound, but it was time to say bye nonethless

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Lizzy always curious to check around

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her best friends

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one day I took both girls to the doctor for check up

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they sure know how to entertain themselves

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this picture melts my heart

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I love these two to the moon! 🙂

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Travel: San Diego (Sea World & day 6)

Day 5: we went to Sea World

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I wondered how family with more than two kids manage to travel. One for each is what Tony and I can handle.

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we started with dolphin show first

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then saw sharks

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while the rest of the family took simulation flight, I hanged out with Lizzy. She was amused just by walking around

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we watched while dolphin

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and the highlight of the day was water roller coaster that Sofia and Tony took, TWICE! I’m too afraid to take it and so proud of Sofia being so adventurous. After the first time, she asked for one more time. After the second time, when they sit in the first row, she said she doesn’t want to go never again! 🙂

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for dinner I made crab over noodles…. the best! 🙂

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Day 6 (last day): our flight was 10:20pm so we didn’t want to get too tired during the day. We first went to Coronado hotel, exploring the beach

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Sofia got to play with sand once more

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then the girls explored the stores in the hotel

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and the hotel garden

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I can finally seeing them playing together… walking together… the sweetest thing EVER

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then we went to see the Cabrillo monument at Loma Point

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and had lunch at Seafood Point

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by the seaport

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many of the boats there were fishing boats

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we all took a nap before starting to pack. Our flight back was not as bad as going there because Lizzy slept almost the entire flight, while Sofia slept an hour in Tony’s lap. I love this man so much! He had to go to work the next day… while I got to take multiple naps during the day, although I had to go to office at 8PM for an interview.

It was an incredible trip!!! I loved every minute of it! 🙂 Looking forward to our next adventure. Be tuned for the Big Announcement!

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