vacation

Camping: Lake Powell

This is what camping on a 100 F weather in Arizona looks like. Everything is bright and clear till 8:30 p.m. Welcome to Wahweap Campground in Lake Powell, Page, Arizona! This is Lake Powell Resort’s campground area. The view is amazing & relaxing. It was a busy season. Glad we made a reservation just in time. Given some more years and the trees will grow much more, providing bigger shades and it will be perfect. lakepowell

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Here we pitched our tent carefully because it was super windy that time. We saw some flying tents around! And while it’s still 100 degrees, we went to the resort’s lounge to have dinner and avail of their wifi. How can I survive with my GPRS cellphone signal?  lakepowell2

At 9:30 p.m. we were swimming under the stars. Cool! Yes, we needed this to relax our tired bodies from the long drive. Resort amenities are also open for campers. Yay! But the problem with swimming, you have to take a shower, dry up before you go back to the tent and sleep. Complex task!
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Our first night was awesome. The night sky was clear and stars were very visible, we even saw the Milky Way! For the first time, I saw a shooting star. :) It was nice to just lie down on a beach chair under the bare sky and watch the stars till you get sleepy. Adrian was busy with his telescope that night.
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At 6 a.m. I woke up to this calm view and prepared our breakfast composed of baked salmon, pork tocino & quinoa multigrain rice mix (wow fancy! fancy leftovers 😉 )…Everybody was able to sleep well. Thank God for camping fans. It’s rare that we get to use fans in camping. Yes, because it’s summer and we’re in Arizona. :)

lakepowell5This is Lake Powell. The gorgeous Lake Powell. We went exploring the area, in the next blog coz it’s too much in one blog. See yeah!

 

St. Regis Monarch Beach

St. Regis is love ! This premier resort in Laguna Beach, Dana Point has so many to offer for the entire family. Named after the Monarch butterfly, St. Regis Monarch has championship golf course, private beach, kids activities, spa, butler service, and more. st regis orange

Refined. Luxurious. Private. This resort is also popular for weddings and honeymoon. st regis orange9

This massive fountain is magical at night, romantic for a night walk.st regis orange2

Chocolates with butterfly wrapping, teas and cookies with gold dust were some of the welcome treats that we enjoyed!st regis orange3

It was summer when we stayed there. St. Regis boasts of more fun activities for kids than any luxury hotels. They held this “Butterfly Release” every Saturday that summer. It was to commemorate the breeding ground of monarch butterflies which is within the resort’s property. It started with a little procession from lobby to the ocean terrace. Then the butler read the story about the legend of monarch butterflies. Then butterflies were released. Some kids are afraid like this little boy. Some kids want to catch all. st regis orange4Another butler walked around giving butterflies in envelope to kids. He told Michelle to make a wish and then release the butterfly. Welcoming the adults to the venue, there were unlimited champagne offered by the servers. Cheers! st regis orange5

At night, kids and parents alike are treated to some storytelling and unlimited s’mores. Awesome night for guests!st regis orange6

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Pools are big, warm and has music underneath the water. Really cool! Mich didn’t want to go home.st regis orange8

To go to the private beach area, you have to schedule a golf cart service. It’s quite a drive going to the beach and one can’t just go there by foot. It’s so nice that even toys and sand buckets are provided for each child guest. St. Regis, one of the best! Till next time. :)st regis orange10

Four Corners USA

Interestingly, there’s a place in the US where you could be in four different states at one point. It’s called Four Corners. Since we love to explore and we love geography, we took the time to visit this place. There’s not much to see but to feed your curiosity and experience how it’s like to be there is enough.
4corners6 Most of the Four Corner regions belong to native Americans like this one, Navajo Nation. So when we entered this area, we are in a semi-autonomous native American governed territory. According to wikipedia, The Navajo Nation has one of the largest and most involved North American tribal governments, with organic institutions that include a judicial system, and large law enforcement and social service agencies.

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To support the native American businesses, we bought some souvenirs and the necklace Mich is wearing in the picture above. It took us a lot of time for her to pick what she likes best. That has always been the hard part every time we ask her to choose. She has a lot of things that she wants to buy including an archery set. No Hunger Games that time yet but she wants a bow and arrows. 4corners1

So when you visit a native American territory be sure to follow the rules. As long as you don’t violate their rules and you are kind and sensitive to their beliefs and culture you’re welcome to enjoy their land. Visitors are always welcome. navajonation 4corners2 This is the most important photo op. Adrian’s left leg is in New Mexico, right leg in Arizona, right hand/arm in Utah and left hand/arm in Colorado. How cool is that? :) We got here earlier than most visitors so we had the chance to have photos one by one.

4corners4But when it’s about time for family picture, there’s a lot of photo bombers.

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This rock formation is one of my favorite sight in our road trip that day. I remember after taking this photo, we saw a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere and we were surprised. It was time to recharge our bodies with fast-food and use our cellphones because mostly there were weak signals or none at all.

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Pier 39

A multitude of bees can tell the time of day, calculate the geometry of the sun’s position, argue about the best location for the next swarm. Bees do a lot of close observing of other bees; maybe they know what follows stinging and do it anyway.” – Lewis Thomas

A quick visit to Pier 39 includes people watching. We, or I in particular, love to see diverse people and observe what they do, what they buy, what they eat and many more. I love to see colors and life in every stores and things sold everywhere from souvenirs to candies at Pier 39.

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I would encourage our kids to buy local fruits than candies. But kids are kids. They’re attracted to candies especially the weird ones.

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Funny as it seems, the main reason why I want to go here was to see sea lions but we only saw one. A lazy looking sea lion. Looks like they all walked out. :) Maybe we missed the right time to see them here.

Anyway, to compensate the missing sea lions, here’s one of the best sunsets in the Bay Area. Dining to a very dramatic sunset was a treat!

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Yummy food from Pier Market. It was a long wait because of too much people that time…

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(2 years ago from the time of posting)

911 Memorial Visit

Eleven years ago, when my husband and I got home from an evening class in Taft, Manila, we saw on TV what seems like a scene from a movie. The World Trade Center towers collapsing, smoke coming out of the rubbles and tiny images of people jumping to their deaths were repeatedly shown. We could not believe that was really happening. 
 
Last year, my family watched History channel’s documentary of 9/11 tragedy. It was the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack. We can’t help but cry seeing different angles of the story from how the terrorists entered the US and trained to be pilots in American soil, to the security head of World Trade Center predicting about terrorist attacks.
I never thought that we would be able visit the site where the tragedy happened. It gave me chills to remember the scenes from what I watched that are forever etched in my memory. 
 
Here’s to remember the lives of innocent people and salute the heroes who gave their lives to save others.
 

The Memorial closes at 8 PM. We were late so we just took some photos outside. We planned to go back the following day.

The buildings behind us are almost finished. Several buildings are being constructed within the World Trade complex.

We’ve learned that names etched on the bronze parapets were arranged meaningfully by the designer of  the Memorial. They were arranged by relationships and affiliations.

This reminds me of the plane that hit one of the towers.

She was not even born when that terrorism happened. I don’t know what’s in her mind but she was pretty serious huh?

This pool with cascading waterfalls was built on the exact location where one of the twin towers was located. 

We bought this medal from the souvenir shop. This was minted and made available to the public for sale to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Obverse design shows Lady Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance. Reverse design (not shown) depicts an eagle symbolizing the strength of survivors, families and Nation, against a backdrop of cascading water. 

This is the Survivor Tree that was burned, twisted and almost died but with a little TLC it was resurrected to life. The tree was replanted in Ground Zero memorial park. Really amazing tree! Life is still beautiful even after the tragedy.

Empire State Building

Perfect weather we had on our first day of tour. It’s better to walk wearing layers than sweating a lot under the sun. Our friend  was surprised to see few people visiting the tower today. It’s a jackpot for us that we don’t have to experience long lines to go up. See? We managed to have a photo op here, otherwise we have to go up immediately.

We went up knowing that it’s zero visibility. That’s the risk we had to take if we want to save time and tour the city more. Here are some pictures of what we saw: