Category Archives: life

First month in Manila

We’ve been living in our new home for more than a month and I finally got to sit down to write a post about our new life. Part of the reason that took me so long other than I’ve been busy is that I didn’t feel or still don’t feel settled down. Well… I don’t have our furnitures yet! If we’re lucky, they’ll be here in two weeks.

Life in Manila, or to be precise, Bonifacio Global City is good overall. It’s a newly developed neighborhood, only 15 years old, very modern, like Singapore according to many, and where all expats live. It doesn’t look or feel like living in a 3000 USD GDP per capita country. Not the real developing country experience I was expecting, but it’s so much more convenient here than the real Manila. Just the traffic and pollution will kill us.

About our new life. The good:

  • I can walk to office in 5 min. That’s a life changing experience. So convenient. I can even go home for lunch, put Lizzy for a nap and go back to office.
  • Our condo is beautiful and big. We have an amazing pool that the girls go everyday. A well equipped gym that Tony and I go 5-6 days a week. The people working there are so friendly and kind. And we got a golf course view from the 32h floor. Also, most of people living in the condo are expats, we have a we chat group that share all kind of information and organize playdates for the girls.
  • We have a lot of help. We have a live-in-maid that works from 5:30-7:30pm five days a week and half day on Saturday. She cooks all our meals, clean, do laundry, and take care of Sofia and Lizzy when Tony and I are not available. We have a full time driver 6 days a week. And a part time helper that comes 5 half days a week. We are so spoiled. Life is good when you only have the work and enjoy your kids because everything else pretty much taken care by others.
  • Service is cheap. Tony and I both got a personal trainer twice a week for an hour. We love Erika. She “kills” us every time but we love her. I get to do a lot of pampering. Mani, pedi, massage, foot massage, you name it. Everything very affordable and good service.
  • We can travel around Asia. Everything is few hours away from Manila. We already have plans to visit Shanghai next week, then visit Bohol end of november, Taiwan end of december, then shanghai again for the new year in January, followed by tokyo for the marathon. We plan to visit many more in the coming years, at least somewhere every 2 months. 🙂
  • I love my new job. My coworkers are really nice, the office environment is good, job itself is super interesting. I find a lot of professional reward from it.

The bad:

  • Availability of food is limited, especially vegetable selection is disappointing. Greens for salad is basically lettuce and romaine, no kale, no arugula. Tomato is always underripe. Haven’t found frozen corn that I like. I can only buy kabocha in one store and half of the time is not good. Seafood selection is large but Tony would prefer more. Overall, food selection is limited and relatively expensive, sometimes even more expensive than the US such as broccoli, cauliflower. So crazy. I was hoping we’d spend less in groceries, but no, almost the same as in the US.
  • Traffic is bad. Sometimes 5km takes more than an hour. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with it often as all our life is in BGC and we have a driver.
  • I can’t run outdoor because it’s hot and humid 24/7. Also, there’s no trails as in DC. Recently I found an expat running group that runs on Sunday. I’ll join them soon as I need to start training for Tokyo 2018 marathon! oh.. yes, I don’t know if fortunately or unfortunately, I got into the marathon.
  • Lack of friendship. That’s no surprise that we left all our friends in DC. Making new friends takes time. Fortunately we’re four and we entertain ourselves pretty good and don’t feel lonely as a family.
  • Tony is not working. He resigned his job and doesn’t find a job here. He’s not complaining yet because he finds things to do. But ideally it’d be good to find something for him. We’ll see.

Overall, I think we are happy with this move because the bad things are all manageable and would become easier as we get used to them.

Now… some pics of our life in Manila

Tony gets to spend a lot of time with Lizzy

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she has became a little person with strong opinions and demands

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Sofia has became a lady… having mani/pedi for her birthday

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ridiculous hello kitty restaurant/cafe

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Sofia goes to international school of manila. This year she goes to preschool 4, from 7:30-12:30pm. She takes school bus at 6:48am and gets home around 1pm. She loves her new school, with 19 other kids and 3 teachers.

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we went to her class to celebrate birthday with her new friends

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bought cupcakes to share

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her chosen birthday toy was princess puppy from Troll

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we had dinner at a japanese restaurant that night

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loving my 5 years old… such a nice age

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since Sofia has free time in the afternoon, she goes to math, mandarin, and art class in the afternoons. She also takes swimming lesson in our own pool, and zumba once a week. She loves all her activities.

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she’s slowly making new friends. This girls is from our condo… who’s family used to live 5 miles away from our house in DC, and now they sit together in the school bus.

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our new tradition on Sunday (the day Elgie our main helper takes off) is to go out for breakfast. Their favorite place is McDonals so far. sigh…

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on weekends we visit museums

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spend a lot of afternoons in the pool

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best activity ever because I get to relax while girls have fun

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Lizzy started to go to daycare, from 8:30-11am. For the first two weeks she cries a lot when we drop her, but not anyway. She really enjoys it.

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loving this view from our condo

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since it’s hot outside, everything in Manila happens in malls. So we visit malls every weekend for the indoor playgrounds

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until next time. 🙂


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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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Life: May happening

Summer has finally arrived. Loving dressing the girls during summer time.

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When I stay at home on Fridays, I take Lizzy to playground as often as possible. She’s starting to getting it

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My poor husband had to take out wisdom teeth and had bad swelling for almost a week. I couldn’t hold laughing at him

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During weekends, Sofia likes to cook with me. We made sushi one day

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We did drawing

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and we went to Vienna Day together

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It was Sofia’s third year to go there

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still enjoying the rides

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Lizzy couldn’t go to most of rides but she was happily watching around and eating her lunch

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her first experience in the caroussel

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Sofia loves it too

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every time I see Tony with the girls, my heart moves and I love him a bit more

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My latest breakfast combo

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Life is good. 🙂

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