Last Saturday, May 23 we were invited by my cousin-in-law =) (haha, my husband's cousin so she's my in-law!) to come with them to the Greek Festival. Our cousin's husband has the Greek descent that's why they celebrate the festival annually. I was lazy to bring the camera (I know it's a good event but I really didn't feel like it) so I just googled some photos to liven up this post.

It's a 2-day festival held by the Nativity of Christ, Greek Orthodox Church of Marin County every memorial day weekend. It features Greek goods and imports (I love the clothes), paintings, live entertainment, traditional dances and great traditional Greek Cuisine.

...Minoan Dancers...

We arrived a bit earlier for the Minoan Dancers presentation so we just enjoyed dancing together with others. Our cousin just snatched my hand and brought me and her kid son to the dance floor. The dance was actually a traditional Grecian dance in circular form and mostly of foot steps. It was fun trying it for the first time.

Look at the colorful costumes!

We enjoyed the Minoan kids, so cute! That girl in blue, she was so graceful!

After the presentation my husband and I went to check the church tour where we stayed like 15-20mins but it felt like an hour for me already. I wanted to go out and been asking my husband if we can leave to see the exhibit and imports down the hall but he was interested with what the Priest was saying. Well don't ask me what was it all about because I was very much least interested (but I admit, hearing parts and bits of the church tour was not a waste of time and indeed very informative) since my eyes had a glimpse of those cute stuffs they had in the exhibit. I'm a girl, even how boyish I may be I have one character girls love to do most.... Guess?

Yeah, shopping! =D

I'll have this next time =D

...Roasted Chicken Dinner...
The chicken, very tender and juicy;
The lemon rice and fresh feta veggie salad,
perfect to complete the dinner plate

Right after the church tour we went down to see the exhibit and grab some dinner. We didn't have to mind papa that much because he's enjoying his time with his dear niece. So much choices and it all looked good but we settled on the roasted chicken dinner. I wanted to get Gyros but I was already starving and had to get a complete meal. It's a bit pricey @ $11 but I think it's worth paying, it's a delicious half roasted chicken serving. Yum! Soon after the meal, we were given some sweet treats, loukoumades. Sounds complicated huh?

The crunchy fluffy dough with honey and cinnamon was irresistible,
couldn't stop snacking. Papa was happy seeing me enjoying the sweet treat he grabbed the last of the pieces and brought it with us on our way out.

It's almost 9pm and it's starting to get freezing cold so everybody decided to go home. Seeing and learning about other culture was truly a great experience. We can never tell where we will be or who will cross our path in the future. Being exposed outside gives us the chance to gain knowledge and socially immerse to different people and cultures. How about you? Have you been to any cultural festivity lately?

Happy weekend to all!
Sisig (hey, this is a perfect beer match!)

Last Wednesday my husband and I had to take a lunch off work to go to San Francisco International Airport for papa's (his dad) arrival. He stayed in Philippines for about 6mos for a visit and finally back here. The flight was on time and no delays with anything so everything went fine. We managed to be back home by 4:00pm so my husband decided to go to the office and do 2 more hours to cover up his time. I was a bit nervous because I was left with papa alone in the house even if I get along well with him. I knew he'd be checking everything at home the moment he steps in and so am I right! It was a total ease on me when he said the house looks good and he's happy to see me. He also noted that it's nice to have a lady in the house. Why? He stayed here with my husband for several years (haha can't leave his big baby!) before I came. I had to stay back in the Philippines for a while. =)

me and my hubs had this meal- pork sisig with tortilla, onions, tomato, cheese & lettuce

Papa was once a chef and he loves the kitchen so much. He really cooks a lot and somehow that gives me some pressure. Not that he's picky but when he doesn't like the food, he'll tell you right then and there. He likes the dishes I made for him back home but this whole "staying here" thought makes me think so much. Haha, am I being too paranoid? Papa's nice but his Latino tastebuds isn't that easy to please (he's from El Salvador). My husband would tell me whenever they go to restaurants he always has something to complain about the food. See, call it pressure!

Since papa's not too fond of sisig, I served him fish sticks instead.

He loved it, good! I knew that he missed tortillas so much that's why I prepared something that can compliment his craving. We didn't have all the ingredients that I wanted to serve (guacamole) but everything worked out pretty well.

This meal is not actually a traditional spanish or mexican dish, it's my personal reinvention of such dish. Had to be a little creative with the ingredients since it's incomplete. I'm happy that he liked the meal. We were so tired from the drive and work (yup, I also worked extra hours when we got home) for me to think and make some dish that needs long time preparing and cooking. This one was way too simple and easy to do. Do you think you'd like this meal or not?

These are the rules in accepting the award: Deliver this award to eight bloggers who then must deliver it to eight more and include the following text into the award. "These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends they are not interested in self aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propogated." Please give more attention to these writers. "I would like to honor the following bloggers." As noted in the text above my aim is to find them as friends.

I'm new to this blogger community and it's nice meeting and interacting with the bloggers everywhere. Thanks Monica & Lina for this tag!

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post.
3. Post this in one or all of your blogs.
4. Answer the four questions following these Rules.
5. Recruit at least seven (7) friends on your Blog Roll by sharing this with them.
6. Come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at http://bloggistame.blogspot.com and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List.
7. Have Fun!

Questions & Your Answers:
1. The person who tagged you: Monica and Lina
2. His/her site’s title and url:
Urutora No Hi (Japan Mad Family) @ http://urutoranohihi.blogspot.com/
3. Date when you were tagged: April 17, 2009
4. Feel free to grab this tag!

This one's another tag from Lina & Luna
The rules are simple: Tag and link back to the person who tagged you. List six (un) important things that make you happy. Tag six bloggers and let them know they're “it”. We all feel this blogging community to be one of inclusion and friendship.

Here are my 6 important things:

1. Bonding time with my husband doing simple things and relaxing
2. Chatting and hanging out with friends
3. Travelling
4. Eating out, watching movies
5. My afternoon walks
6. Going to spa and getting a full body massage

I'm not tagging names, everybody's free to play these tags. =)
I take advantage of the sunny days here and usually goes for an afternoon walk to relax a bit after a long day's work. That gives me an opportunity to snap some photos in the neighborhood. I love carrying the camera with me despite its bulk, it's worth the effort because I get good lighting and bright colors when the sun's shining graciously. What I love in our area are all the lovely trees around. So many fruit bearing trees all over like lemon, lime, orange, apricot, apple, cherry and others.

Walking along the perpendicular street of our block, I came across these tempting oranges. How come? The photo isn't tricking your eyes, the tree is really that short. Tempting isn't it? Here you'll get to see trees full of fruits and yet none of the homeowners get it. All fruits are just there, some which fell are all over the lawn. There are times that I wish to pick the fruits and bring it home but I might be charged of trespassing. No way! I'll just buy in the farmer's market or grocery than be charged of such mischief. You'll rarely see people around to ask for permission so that most that you can do is just admire those tempting fruits.

This one is not from the same orange tree. I took this walking along going to my husband's office. Sometimes I get carried away walking alone searching for photo subjects and wander off too far to the extent of 3-4miles. Do you usually take a leisurely walk that far too?

This one on the other hand is a full grown tall orange tree. Whenever I pass by that street I always gaze up to that tree even when I'm driving around. Perhaps the view of the fresh fruits with bright colors hanging on the tree simply catches my sight.

I get to explore and encounter a lot of things outside during my walk, nothing too bizarre but more of simple things that draw me closer to nature. It's so nice living in a city and yet it feels homey. By the way, we all know that eating fruits is good for the body for it's health benefits. It will be good to include it as part of our diet. Here's more about oranges for your extra reading.
As a continuation to my previous post "Missing Summer Fun" I gathered some photos of the family during our island hopping trip before we left home (migration). I mentioned about pools, the hot springs of Laguna is what I miss most. It's been so cold here lately I always bundle up to keep myself warm. No wonder I'm missing the hot springs that much.

Our island escapade was not really on a hot summer season but just right after new year. It wasn't the planned date to go to the Hundred Islands but we had to take advantage of the last weekend of the Christmas break. Everybody goes back to work, school and commitments. and there's no other time left. All that was needed was an OK from me and my husband to make the trip work.

Destination: Hundred Islands @ Alaminos, Pangasinan (Philippines)
Travel time: 4-5 hrs

Stop over: McDonald's Tarlac City (our little girl had to do her stuffs and grab a bite)

...Elisse so excited and all smiles...
Of course I have the camera on hand to capture this little girl's excitement.

Our stop over was just halfway our destination and it's still a long way to go. After we all finished our business there, we gathered back in the car and hit the road. About another 1-2hrs, we arrived at the main port area. To our surprise, there were many tourists and that means competition! Worrying about a place to stay since we didn't have any reservation, mom dragged me to go with her to check the tourist information area. We inquired for the port hotel facility and luckily a family just checked out in a room that can accommodate us all. Somebody actually booked for that room already but never confirmed...mom and I did our magic and there, we got a nice big room for the family. The hotel admin helped us with the boat rental so it wasn't a big deal at all. Almost lunchtime, everybody's hungry and some locals were selling freshly caught live crabs. Dad bought a bucket full of crabbies and had it cooked there by the eating stalls. I'd love to share this part of the story but no photos this time. I'll leave it all up to your imagination! I was anticipating the crab feast that's why no cameras allowed (can't eat crabs and take pictures the same time, haha). Seafood is what I love most in island trips.

...Elisse's first ever boat ride! She loved it!...

Governor's Island, the first stop.

Finally the boat docked and we had our feet wet walking to the shore. The water was cold but tolerable. Can't really expect it to be nice and warm on a chilly holiday season. What's there to see on this island? The perfect view! This island has the highest peak of all islands with a view deck about 100 steps to the top giving the most view of the islands. I never really counted it so i wouldn't know if it's true whatever the "bangkero" (boat operator) told us. There's another surprise when you reach the top...an ice cream vendor. Who wouldn't want a cold ice cream after a sweaty climb?

...our family snaps...

...Elisse couldn't resist to play, she ran to the water...

Next stop, the Children's Island.

Having a long stretch of low tide shore, this island was named ideally good for children. You can actually go so far from the shore and still the water's only up to your waist. Sounds too good to leave your kids playing in the water? Nah, not a good idea. The current gets quite strong at some point and the sandy bottom has a lot of spikey broken corals. Best way to enjoy without getting all the ouch is to wear a swim shoes. We stayed for a while just to ease Elisse's swim hype.

...Look, I'm floating!...

Finally after those two islands, off to Quezon Island which was our last stop.

The package we got for the boat was just 3 islands, it would be so tiring for our little girl to do so much island hopping. Three for a start was good enough for her. Most of the photos were taken here. We spent more time and he rest of the afternoon there eating meals in between. Some people were there also but not that crowded for us to settle there.

...everybody's busy, so am I with the camera!...

...Sitting on her throne, too bad she messed up the handrests...

...It's Banyang, the rabbit! Sis made a sand bunny for Elisse...

...We (yes, I'm part of the team) burried kuya (older brother) in the sand, had to make it fast or else Elisse will throw a fit...

...And she did! Look at her crying, she was so mad that we burried her dad (she thought he's dead). After Elisse uncovered kuya (with our help...yeah after I burried him I couldn't bear to see my niece crying so bad), dad and sis trying to throw some sand to her feet and she got really mad. I'm so proud of you baby, I keep telling you to be tough so when I leave I know you'll be fine. We had a very good laugh at the expense of this poor 2yr old. Sorry baby, hehe...

...After calming Elisse, we just enjoyed the rest of the day swimming...

...I love seeing them so happy and having fun...

...a night to remember...

This concludes our trip. It was fun and very memorable. I thank my parents for taking the time and effort to make this trip work for us so we can have some fresh memories to carry on our flight.

my mom

my grandma

my mom-in-law

and to all moms,


Pools, beaches, family outings, fun, fun, fun... I miss all of these! Don't get me wrong, I'm also enjoying spring here but how can I not miss everything I grew up with all these years?

...Mom, Dad, Sis & Elisse...
See that long scar on Dad's chest?
That seals the memories of his painful bypass surgery
last January 2008.
I'm glad he did it!

Where's kuya?

Like what I've said on my previous post Easter Prayers, our family goes to the hot springs at least once during the summer season. Why hot springs on a hot humid summer? That's for health reasons:
  • Data show that hot hot bath can not only muscle, joint laxity, the elimination of fatigue; can expand blood vessels, promote blood circulation and accelerate the body metabolism.
  • In addition, the majority of hot springs are rich in chemical substances, on the human body have some help. For example, calcium carbonate hot springs to improve the physique, the restoration of a significant physical role; and hot springs rich in calcium content, potassium, radon and other components of the adjustment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, the treatment of diabetes, gout, neuralgia, arthritis, etc. have a certain effect; and sulfur Stephen keratinocytes may be softening, sodium elements have the effect of bleaching the skin to soften.
...Sis, Dad and Elisse having fun in the hot pool...
The water looks dark because of the natural mountain rocks
for the pool flooring.
Better than tiles!
That's a natural hot spring water from "Mount Makiling".

I love the soothing effect on my tired muscles and my entire body. Nothing beats a very natural way of relaxation and healing. I'd love to go to the hot springs here but where? The nearest hot springs here is in Sierraville, about 245miles away and 4hr long drive (one-way). Not worth for a day trip, it would be better if we'll get to stay for 2 to 3 days at least. Quite impossible, there's work to attend to. I guess the best that I can do is just to soak in the bath tub with warm water and mineral bath salt.

...Our little Elisse...
Isn't she so adorable?

My family managed to keep the tradition (first time without me). They went to the grotto early morning then drove all the way to the hot springs. My sister shared the photos one time we chatted so I have some fond memories of their outing.

....to be continued

Trailers of movies we have seen on the big screen!
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