Our Christmas Travels

There is something about the last year of the month that makes us a little bit sentimental and yes, a tad nostalgic.

Well, I have been thinking lately of the trips my husband and I had had the opportunity to have since we got married. On my part, remembering them is not just about being sentimental or nostalgic but it also gives me a quiet song of gratitude in my heart.

My husband and I have been married for 8 years now and this means we have spent 8 Christmases together 🙂 Out of the 8 times, 4 have been spent together while we were away on a trip.

Yearly travels. We always managed to travel almost every year since we got married (this will be a topic for another post soon) but only 4 of these trips were during the Christmas season. During such times it was both a challenge (so many people also travel during this time of the year) but also a treat. Here are our Christmas trips so far:

December 2009. Our first Christmas together was a mixture of sadness and joy. We were in Bohol to spend the season with my side of the family. But this was also the time when my father passed away due to cancer. We buried my father on the 21st of December. It was the 1st Christmas for me and my siblings wherein we no longer had any living parent. Thankfully, our late parents’ close friends invited us to spend Christmas evening and Christmas day in their home and in their family-owned resort in Loboc, Bohol.

December 2010. This was not originally planned but we ended up traveling to Bohol again for Christmas! This was a time when we really needed time to get away together as we had to work through some issues in our marriage. It was a breath of fresh air for us to be away together in a different setting. We had time to talk, explore more tourist spots in Bohol and get to see some family members as well. It also helped that it was just us staying in our ancestral house in the city so we had really time to talk through some of our issues and just to enjoy being together. It was my sister based in the US who encouraged us to take this trip.

Well, hello there, Mr. Tarsier 😉
Notice the still intact Baclayon church behind Daryl, pre-2013 Bohol earthquake.

December 2011. This time we traveled to Gen. Santos City to spend Christmas with my other sister and her family based there. This was Daryl’s first time to be in Gensan. We traveled by van from our city (Butuan) to Davao City first and then took again another van from Davao to Gensan. We also got the chance to travel to Sarangani with my sister and her kids. While we were in Davao, we met one of my good friends there.

One fine afternoon at a resort just outside Gensan.
On the steps of the Sarangani Provincial Capitol.

December 2014. Next to 2016, the year of 2014 is our 2nd most traveled year. On my part, including travels I had to take without Daryl, I counted 5 trips in a year. In 2016, I had a total of 6 trips, making it my most traveled year 🙂  This December trip gave us the chance this time to bond with Daryl’s side of the family. We traveled to the island of Camiguin for this and we had such a good time 🙂

Camiguin is where you will enjoy the sea, falls, volcanoes and much more 🙂
We also sailed to Camiguin’s famed White Island.

December 2017. We originally thought of traveling this month but decided against it as we have a coming travel by summer of 2018. We have to be watchful of our budget. We also want to build up a bit more on our savings, especially on our emergency savings fund which we really came in handy when Daryl had some medical concerns this year.

Perhaps 2018 will be the year to travel again for Christmas 🙂 But whether we travel or not, we remain grateful to God for the gift of each other and of course, the ultimate Gift and Reason for the season. Thank God for His amazing grace, His undeserved goodness to all of us.

3 Things to Do at Home During Rainy Weather

If you are not a homebody, it can be a struggle when the rain or the snow just takes over the day and you finally conclude that just this time, you will just have to stay home.

So what to do on such days? Actually, there are many things that you can do while at home but I’m just listing 3 here for starters 🙂

  1. Turn on your creative, artistic side. While you may not have paintbrushes to start painting, perhaps there’s a pencil in the home that you can start sketching with. You can even draw with a pen if you choose to. If there’s a musical instrument in the house, why not play a few chords, notes now? You can also just exercise your imagination and creativity by trying to write a short story or even a poem. And who says writing letters isn’t an exercise in creativity? Write some for your family, friends. If doing crafts is also something that interests you, then this could be the time to pick it up again. Perhaps you can even go ahead and continue that DIY project you’ve been meaning to do. 

  2. Connect with friends and maybe do some online fun. This is the age of the internet and social media. Use this time to connect with friends and loved ones via email, chat or via social media. There are of course, games you can also play online. There are plenty to choose from. Just keep the balance between connecting to people and your own personal play time. 

  3. Engage your mind. For me this means taking the time to read, not just the latest news but also commentaries, books. Watching a movie and then discussing it with your family afterwards I think is also one form of engaging our minds. I think it’s even a good idea to read or watch something that is not in line with your work so that you expand your perspective and views in the process.

Don’t let boredom kill you on a rainy or snow-filled day. You can still create, connect and engage 🙂

5 Things to Do on a Staycation (Without Breaking Your Budget)

My husband and I did a lot of travel last year. This year, although we would have loved to take a short trip or two outside our city, we decided to cut down on this as we have some extra expenditures this year (for one, my husband is pursuing his masters this year).

So what to do when you have a long break from work due to declared non-working holidays? Well, a little bit of creativity will help in making your “staycation” relaxing and interesting. Here are some of the things you can do on a staycation:

1. Catch up on your reading. There is always something interesting to read 🙂 Reading engages the mind and brings you to places and situations just by the power of words.

Aside from the Bible, I read all kinds of books. My major bias, of course, is reading poetry books. But one book that has recently caught my attention is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. While this is not a new book, it is something that I have not read 🙂

While you can purchase your books from shops, don’t forget that not only can you purchase them online but there are also free books including classics which you can access and even download for FREE online. Gutenberg.org is one site where I access free books.

 2. Watch movies. While it may not always be convenient to drive to the nearest theater to your home, you can always watch movies on cable TV or even through online. For us, we watch movies through cable but one other thing I do is also to check out movies that have been shared on YouTube. Should we decide to watch a movie from YouTube, we just connect my laptop via HDMI cable wire and we have the movie on a much bigger screen 🙂  Of course, if you have a Smart TV then there’s no need for that cable wire 🙂

Aside from movies, there are TV series which are also available online.

3. Indulge on a hobby or start a new one. It’s time to do it: cooking a favorite dish, doing gardening, playing that musical instrument, painting a new scene, writing a poem or a short story. If you have always complained that you never have time to do your hobby or things that interest you, then this is the time to do it.

4. Take time to play. Play sports with the family. A game of badminton or table tennis perhaps. You can even go simpler by just taking the time to play tag with your kids and yes, the dog 🙂 Play time can be a lot of fun but think also how it can get your body moving. So that’s fun plus some exercise as well. Board games can also be good. For my husband and me, we also play computer games to relax 🙂

5. Visit the park, the museum, the beach.  Public parks are free. Most museums will charge a small fee. As for the beach, this is an easy option if the beach is within driving distance from your place. Another alternative is if you have a swimming pool at home, you can schedule a pool day where you can also invite your friends and their kids over. Meal time or snack time can be done potluck style.

Worry-free Travel with Malayan’s Travel Master

One of the things that my husband and I enjoy doing is to travel. And while traveling can be such an enjoyable experience, it also has its share of stresses and challenges. For instance, a good friend of mine recently went on an international trip and it took her almost a month (!) before she got her luggage! Thankfully, we have not undergone such an ordeal in our travels within the country as well as internationally. But I would say that the bottom line is really to consider getting a travel insurance: #InsuretobeSure!

Insure to be sure is a good reminder from Malayan’s Travel Master. This travel insurance is a comprehensive travel insurance for you and me. One must take note that it is Schengen Visa-approved (hello there to everyone whose planning to apply for a Schengen visa soon, you will need this!), it’s available in dollar or peso policy and of course, it provides international travelers’ emergency assistance.

Malayan’s Travel Master Insurance coverage specifically includes the following: personal accident, emergency medical treatment, personal liability, recovery of travel expenses, travel inconvenience benefits as well as travel assistance benefits. But that’s not all. Malayan’s Travel Master also has value added features: free insurance coverage for damage to rented cars, medical treatment and assistance services for accidents resulting from sports activities. As accidents and emergencies do not only happen when you and I fly, Travel Master also provides insurance coverage for travel on ships, trains, and cars! Now, that’s what we can really call as the complete package! It’s all about worry-free travel and enjoying peace of mind on your trip with family and loved ones.

One more thing that I must to mention here is that it is not complicated to avail of Malayan’s Travel Master Insurance. While you may also contact their agent, be aware that you can also purchase your policy online! You can also find a lot of the information you need from their website. You can also visit their social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MalayanInsurancePH/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/malayaninsuranceph/

So here’s to safe and enjoyable travels to us all!