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    Posted April 10, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Eye on the Philippines

    Our recent trip to my former home...Philippines

    We flew back to Calgary, Alberta Canada last friday (April 6th) after visiting the Philippines for three weeks. The last time we were there, our eldest daughter Sam was 5 years old, and our youngest Asia was 3 months old. Now they are 9 and 4 years old.

    It was almost like a first time for Asia. She met some of my family and friends. My kids requested my Dad to cook them Tilapia (fish), and buy mangoes. They loved it, there was never a day that they didn't eat mangoes.

    We visited Bacolod City because I have some cousins living there, and Cebu City to visit my brother and his family, and also to meet one of our sponsored child from World Vision.

    Since our schedule was tight, we squeezed in a day trip to Subic Bay in Olongapo City, where we took the kids to Zoobic Safari. That was probably the highlight for our girls because Zoobic is like the San Diego Wildlife Park, but the difference is we all got to interact with the animals. The kids fed the goats, camels, deer, and for a small fee, we got in this special made truck to go into the Tiger sanctuary with a guide. He had some uncooked chicken, so the tigers came close to the truck for feeding. At the end of the trip, the kids and I had our photo taken with a tame white tiger named Ice, he is 3 yrs old.

    We also visited Tagaytay City because we wanted to show our kids the smallest volcano (Taal volcano) in the world. It's about a two hour drive from our hotel - The Fraser Place Residences. I would recommend staying at Fraser. Some of their two-bedroom units are almost 3,000 sq ft sometimes for as low as $176 USD on Expedia. Most people staying at this condotel are expats, the staff are very friendly and the security is very good.

    The trip to Bacolod is never complete without trying the authentic chicken inasal with garlic rice. Some restaurants in Manila offer the same type of barbecue but nothing beats the real "inasal" of Bacolod. My husband said that the chicken alone is worth flying to the city for.

    We stayed in Imperial Palace in Cebu City, we were upgraded to an ocean view suite and it was awesome to be able to wake up to a great view. Like I mentioned, part of that trip was special because we got to meet Junry, our sponsored child. He is 11 yrs old and didn't speak english but he got along well with our kids. I was told by the staff that it was Junry's first ride in an elevator. We were all very happy to spend time with him and his mom, we took him to the mall and bought school supplies for his next school year, had lunch and said our goodbyes. We promised we would visit again someday.

    I hope that people who plan to visit the Philippines someday will not just see the problems with the squatters, corruption in government, and pollution. The Philippines has so much to offer, the hospitality of the people is exceptional. I grew up in Manila and left for Canada when I was 25. My Canadian husband loves my country. I've taken him and our kids to so many places, but there are still hundreds of islands to explore!

    For those who love the beach, consider going to Boracay. I have been to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, but I must say that the best white sand is in Boracay. When I first took my husband there, I told him to take off his sandals right away and feel the baby-powder like sand.

    My husband and I have already started talking about going back to the Philippines. The traffic may be the worse, the heat can sometimes be unbearable, but in my heart, it will always be my home.

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