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US Visa Applications- How to nail down your Interview

I know it’s kinda intimidating to apply for the US Visa, especially for the first-timers. When I planned to apply for the US Visa, I started reading forums like what are the requirements I have to provide, what are the usual questions to be asked by the Consul and the best I shall answer and the likes. Reading a lot about these including the long list of the mentioned requirements like bank statements, credit card statements, salary slips, and stories of failed interviews from people unable to establish their ties in their Countries made me wonder, what are my chances to be approved?

But wherever you are, my advise is as simple as-  when you come for the interview, just be confident as possible, remain calm and answer the questions straight to the point without elaborating much giving them the chance to ask another question based on your answer.

When I went for the interview, the first thing I noticed is that everyone in the hall could actually hear the Consul’s questions as well as the answers on the microphones. Although it made me a  little bit nervous, it helped me think in advance of the best answers when asked the same question.

Ik, Interview may vary depending on which Country you are living, and also from the Individual personal circumstance, so don’t be surprised if you see others pass while some others failed even without the Consul looking at their supporting documents. Sometimes, it also depends on the Consul whims. To be honest, they never asked me to show any supporting documents and if they happen to check my bank statement that time, they will find only BD50 left in my account, (something like  PHP6k)- haha! Seriously, so, it really doesn’t matter anywayI guess they will rely on the consistency of your salary and not the amount of money.

To help you prepare for the interview when you are a Filipino Citizen living overseas, here are the few questions usually asked by the Consul and your best answer.

Note:  When your number is called, always greet the Consul with a smile and “Good morning”. Remember to smile always and try to hide your nervousness as much as possible, Otherwise, they might take it against you thinking you are not stating the truth.

1. How long have you been here?

Give them the exact figure.

2. What do you do for a living here?

Just answer your Job Description and the name of the Company you are working with only. Do not mention your salary if not asked.

More often, the Consul won’t ask you to provide hard copies of your documents and they will mainly base to what you have stated in your DS-160 form but then you must have to make them ready in case.

a. Employment Certificate and Contract

b. Salary Certificate/ Salary slip for the last three months

c. Bank statement

3. Have you been to the US before?

If not, answer truthfully. They will know it anyways.

4. Have you traveled outside the Country?

Say yes if you did and if they asked you where, enumerate all the Countries you’ve been to. Again, answer truthfully and do not lie.

5. Why do you want to go to the US?

Since you applied for a tourist visa, just say “for tourism purpose”– and that’s it, simple as that. Be specific and do not answer what is not asked.

6. Where are you going to the US?

If you are going to visit a friend or a family, tell them the exact address of your contact in the US. Remember to memorize their names, your relationship with them, their exact address and mobile numbers and their occupation in case they asked you.

7. Are you traveling alone?

Say yes if you’re alone and if traveling with anyone, say with a Company.

These are the actual questions asked to me when I went for the interview, (along with some other side comments, like you don’t look like your age, how old are you and etc.) But overall, these are the most important questions you must prepare to answer. It didn’t even take me 5 minutes to stand there on the booth and he smiled to me and gave me the stab with the date when to collect my passport with Visa on it.

Please note, I don’t have a huge amount in the bank at the time of my interview and I never bother to put any amount just to show that I have money, I guess the Consul knows the bank scheme and all. More so, although I have Relatives in the US which I mentioned in my application form, I don’t have an invitation letter from them.

 But I did it and so are you hopefully!

I got 10 years multiple entries to the United States of America!

Here are some other possible questions from the Consul and try to prepare for the best answer.

WHICH PLACES ARE YOU PLANNING TO VISIT?– Not bad to start searching online for the places to go to the state you are visiting.

HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE USA?– You can depend on your answer to your itinerary.

HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK WILL IT COST YOU TO STAY IN THE USA?– You have to prepare your answer accordingly. Better have a proof of your Salary Certificate, Salary Slips, Bank Statements, Credit Card statement and the likes. If you are going to stay with a relative, better say:  I will not spend much as I would be staying with my relative during my vacation and I would only go on short solo day trips within the area if they are not available.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS OF WORKING IN THE USA– Definitely a NO-NO! Never ever give them the idea even if they asked you confusing questions like “What if anyone offers you a job in the USA or what if anyone offers you marriage in the USA or what if you win a jackpot in the casino or anything like that to intimidate you or expect your VISA rejected.

HOW CAN YOU ASSURE THAT YOU WILL COME BACK HOME?– With this question, you can say that you don’t wanna spoil your travel records as you plan on visiting other countries in the near future.

I hope this helps! See you USA in a few months!

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First time in Nueva Vizcaya- BAYOMBONG & STA FE

Nueva Vizcaya is a province of the Philippines located in Cagayan Valley region in Luzon, though it is geographically and culturally part of the Cordilleras. Its capital is Bayombong. It is bordered by Benguet to the west, Ifugao to the north, Isabela to the northeast, Quirino to the east, Aurora to the southeast, Nueva Ecija to the south, and Pangasinan to the southwest. The province is cultural, linguistically, and geographically part of the Cordilleras, but was put in the Cagayan Valley region by American occupiers in the early 20th century. Quirino province, later on, broke away from the province as it was more related to Isabela province in the north.

These breath taking aerial photos were taken in Sta Fe- just as we ended the long Nueva Ecija stretch. We stopped by  for a little warm up early in the morning in seems to be like an eco-park.  You will see the magnificent mountains in front of us. We went up to the park but unfortunately the zip line was still close and will open at 8am. We just stretched and took photos in this amazing view and went back driving going to the City Proper of NV.

Sorrounded by North Luzon’s three large mountain ranges, Nueva Vizcaya is generally mountainous, varying from steep mountains to rolling hills, with some valleys and plains.

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Continue reading First time in Nueva Vizcaya- BAYOMBONG & STA FE

IFUGAO

RICE TERRACES

Info: Sometimes called by locals as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, the Ifugao Rice Terraces begin at the base of the mountain range and extend several thousand feet upwards. Two of the terrace clusters in Banaue, namely Bangaan and Batad, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage inscription.

 

The Banaue Rice Terraces (FilipinoHagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe) are terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The terraces are occasionally called the “Eighth Wonder of the World“. It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) above sea level. These are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps were put end to end, it would encircle half of the globe.

It was in 2017 when RJ and I went to Banaue Rice Terraces which is about 3 to 4 hours drive on a steep mountain (in a very nice view along the way) from his place in Nueva Vizcaya.

We left his Town in Bayombong in the morning and reached there before lunch. Along the way, we passed by this beautiful tiny little restaurant to have a brunch, picture uploaded.

 

These amazing photos were taken from my cam phone only.

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Nice view.

And if you are a nature lover, you will definitely love the serenity of the place, the green fields, and the smell of the air.

Cute little restaurant along the way made of bamboo sticks.

THE ULTIMATE BUCKET LIST

As RJ and I will start ticking off one of our Bucket List starting this year – that is to explore the 81 Province of the Philippines to start with during our Phil vacations at any time with no particular order and no particular duration, then I’ll move forward to other International destination starting in Asia and eventually will move further to other Countries, given the chance.

But my goal as of now is to step my foot on all the 81 provinces of my Country. As I’ve visited some places in the past alone, with family and with RJ, I’ll just continue the journey and document each of the places I’ve been in my blog until we completed them all.

The fun race to complete the 81 provinces of the Philippines is becoming the ultimate travel goal for backpackers. Ik, finishing the list shall be a great achievement for everyone but can only be attained by a few… hopefully, we will!

 

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ITSUMO- JAPANESE RESTAURANT BAHRAIN

So, finally, we have tried Bahrain’s Korean/Japanese Restaurant in Bahrain. Actually, I’m a fan of grilled barbecue but the problem with me is that I only eat a small portion of anything and I get full easily so I don’t usually get the unlimited offers, I’m just the one-serving kind of person. 😂 And yeah, to be honest, Restaurants that offer Buffet or Eat all you can be very happy to serve me 😊

But since my husband invited me to try ITSUMO and to see how’s the bigbebe boy at work at the same time, we had our dinner there last night. We were only craving for Ramen but we ended up ordering Samgyeopsal (Three-layered meat-Korean Pork Barbecue).

So we had this samgyeopsal set (Pork and chicken) for Bhd10.5 which includes 1 kg of mixed meat & Chicken, ( you can select whatever you prefer- all meat or mixed with chicken) selected Korean appetizers, rice, noodles, and hibiscus ice tea.

And this is free from the Chef 🙂

Wanna know a little secret? The fact that I have been in Japan for less than a year and I came from a Chinese family but I do not know how to use chopsticks. Yeah, seriously, that’s right, I’ve been practicing a lot years ago but got tired of it so I just ended up eating with a spoon and fork instead whenever we are out in a Chinese/Korean/ Japanese Restaurant.

But since they have this chopstick for the starter, I tried using one, and will surely get one in the future!

My experience in the restaurant? Surely, will definitely come back and try their other menus!

Highly recommended for its wonderful ambiance,  warm staff, good service  and great food for a very reasonable price. You will get your money’s worth!

ITSUMO BAHRAIN Located in:  Bldg 1446 Road 2728 Adliya

Phone: 1723 0669

A Quick Tour of BH- Part 2

BAHRAIN BAY

Bahrain Bay is a Commercial and Residential area located in the Island of Bahrain. It is a sophisticated wide waterfront walkway that goes around the Island.

We went there one weekend with friends to walk around and waited for Iftar to have coffee in Caribou- this side of the park is a very nice place for the kids to play where they put up a small kids play area with a fountain, slides, spiral slides. see saws, and swings for big and small kids just opposite the coffeeshop where you can sit at the tables outside and enjoy your coffee while watching your kids play at the same time. We usually go there for an hour or two during weekends but only in the kid’s play area just for my son and it was only this weekend we walked around the whole park.

Since it is my first time to roam around the park in full, I find it very fascinating and relaxing with a very nice weather since it is very near to the sea, (oh well, it is actually an island surrounded by the sea), a garden (loaded with different type of plants- I had few photos in there but didn’t feel like uploading it), the small food shops lined in a row facing the sea (where you can also rent a private little boat that will tour you in the vicinity rounding from The Avenues to Bahrain Bay back and forth- but you can also enjoy watching these boats passes by from the alleys). The place is very neat and tidy, with trashcans everywhere and clean toilets in every corner. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed and biking inside the vicinity as well.

And the nice Bahrain Skyline at night, with the view of the Four Seasons Hotel at the back. This was taken at past around past 6pm so you get to see Bahrain at night with all the lights turned on.

And then my fave turtle mocha from Caribou, and the baby!

BAB AL BAHRAIN

After coffee, we went to BAB AL BAHRAIN- it is a historical building located in Manama where you will find the Manama Souq- A traditional stores also called the old bazaar in a narrow street and alleys with red bricks where you get to find a lot of small stores close to each other selling traditional items, Bahrain handmade items, traditional spices, Shirts, electronics and a lot more. It is one of the most popular place for the tourists to visit in Bahrain, surely when you get to travel to BH, this will be one of your bucket list.

This is how we spent Pancit 2nd day off in BH- touring around the City to get him familiarize with the area, and take the bored little toddler as well.

A Quick Tour of BH

So as we have a permanent visitor coming to BH- we had spared some time to go for a quick BH tour for the weekend.

At the BH International Airport

Our first stop from the airport is to a traditional local Restaurant named Bukhari and we ordered the best seller machine grilled chicken and oven grilled chicken with Bukhari and mandy rice along with kuboos and hummus and mixed salad as the side dish.

This food has always been a favorite for the desyerto first-timers- as they offer machine and/or oven grill chicken or both on top of a large (as in super large) plate, not to mention unlimited rice. The crushed tomato sauce that comes with it is perfect! You can also have two diferent varieties of rice in one order.

With that, you can have the kuboos (type of bread- organic and homemade), to be dipped in hummus (made of certain beans) as a starter. You may not like it at the beginning, but as you get used to living in the desert, you will surely love it later on.

Our original plan if it’s not yet the beginning of Ramadan was to have breakfast in Tasneem and drive to the far away petrol station in the middle of the desert (the place seems to me like our traditional bus stop/travelers stop in the Philippines where you can stop and take a break and eat from the variety of restaurants in the area. Sometimes I think of the place as the ones we usually saw in the movies like you get to travel long distances and will stop in a small old gas station in the middle of nowhere with a small cold store to freshen up and turned this all to a scary movie) but again, since it is the first day of Ramadan, people are not allowed to eat outside, no restaurants are open either, even ex-pats are not allowed to eat outside from morning till 6pm.

Instead, we went out for a little ride outside the main city the next day, and we drove to the Zallaq Springs- it is open but unfortunately, as it is the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, there were no visitors at that time, and only us. We had a few sets of picture taking and left.

We passed by Bahrain Circuit (one of the famous tourist points in BH- as this is where the Formula 1 racing is happening every year at the beginning of the season)- but again it’s closed and will open at 7PM.

We went back to the City and go to Bahrain Fort in Seef. It is previously called Portuguese Port. It is one of the oldest heritages (Military port) in BH.

The next stop is at Bahrain Bay and let my son play in the kid’s play area until we wait for the restaurants to open for dinner time.

We had our dinner in Supreme Broasted. Broasted is a crispy deep fry chicken but in a different way, everyone will surely love it. It is best to eat it like that without the need for rice. It usually comes with chips (french fries) and kuboos. It is one of the food here in BH I always love and never gets tired of eating.

This was all for the day as we all have to get back to work the next day.

We went out again the next week after,  we went to the Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House in the next municipality but although it’s open, it is under construction so we went for a little grocery shopping instead and had dinner at the grill restaurant nearby, where we had mixed grill- tikka, kebab, shish tawook (chicken bits) and biryani, with hummus.

MIXED GRILL

DINO PARK

Must go- DINO PARK IN BH.

BH  is hosting a Dino Theme Park with lots of Dino Theme Adventures for kids and adults as well and is located in Prince Khalifa Park- Muharraq.

This park was open a few years back and the last time I’ve been in that park was around 2010- 2011.

The only recreation you can see at that time was the pedal boat that you can hire for 500fils and ride on the lake and bike for rent.

It’s also a perfect ground for family picnics where you can bring your picnic blanket on the well-maintained/cleaned and child-friendly vicinity- along with the kids’ playground and food stalls around.

But recently, when we have Jan Francisrain,  I asked my husband that we should take our son to see the park and we found out that it was temporary converted to a Dino Park (probably just for the winter season where everyone can enjoy a nice walk outside) with just 300fils each entrance fee and you can enjoy a lot of DINO themed adventure and other activities for kids and adult inside.

You can check a lot inside the park including a lot of mechanically operated moving Dinosaurs, a Dino band, a Dino eggs area to take pictures too.

There are also some other activities like the big trampoline for bigger kids, the inflatable playground, and a lot of kiddie rides with a fee.

For Adults, I have seen that there is a big ground for airsoft play.

 But aside from that, there are also free kids play areas for babies and small toddlers like swings, slides, see-saw, still rings, spiral slides,  among others in a soft rubber matting- your toddlers will surely enjoy., a big fountain, and a  deck view where you can see the whole lake. My son loves the swing and he can sit there and be pushed for hours without getting tired.

Walking inside the big park- you can also find a lot of food trucks of your choice.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon until early evening restlessly walking inside the huge park- the weather was so nice on 18.02.2022, and gets a bit colder only in the early evening we decided to buy dinner and go home.

Check these lovely photos we have in DINO Park. 🙂

A quick get away swim and overnight in the City

Lamarang Hotel and Restaurant is a Resort located in the heart of Cabanatuan City. It’s a complete package with these amenities- a pool, a dine-in restaurant, and hotel rooms. If you are looking for a quick getaway overnight or just a day swim without a plan in the City, then try Lamarang Hotel and Restaurant.

And yes, this is actually not in our plan, but from all the other staycations/going outs/gathering/ we planned previously, this is the only occasion we have had without any obstacle in between-like it never rained, (it rained on Jan Francisrain outdoor 2nd birthday party that we immediately rent a tent and it also rained when we went to Gabaldon), we had a vehicle available for all of us, we got an available room immediately even upon last-minute inquiry, everyone is available on that date, and all.

As I have posted prior to this, we faced a lot of hindrance since early morning on Christmas Day, from not being able to fit in the Fortuner, we are all nine and the vehicle can only accommodate max of 8 (a little bit tight though) so they decided that instead of bringing the other small red car, the other three people will just go and follow us by motorcycle. Just as we thought that everything is gonna be fine now, we found out that every single vacation rental place in Bongabon is fully booked on Christmas day, we just gave up rounding and decided to go home.

And then we came up (my sister and I) with an idea to just take Jan Francisrain for a day swim the next day, 26th December 2021. Actually, I didn’t plan on staying overnight as I thought that we won’t get any available room since it is still holiday break and all must have been fully booked-but luckily we got!

So we went there the next day, had our room cleaned, we had a Family Room good for 5 people with two twin beds and one extra bed, a TV monitor (with only two or three unknown movies saved), a small kitchen with a sink and utensils including electric kettle, no refrigerator, no internet, (they said they are still working on it since we are near the pool and the wifi won’t reach there), one toilet and another separate bathroom- with hot and cold water, fully airconditioned with balcony for Php3000 overnight. It’s not very affordable though, but these rates are quite normal in the City, particularly in Cabanatuan which is a little bit high compared to others. We also took an extra bed for my son’s nanny at Php300.

Upon checking in, ordered late lunch of chicharon bulaklak, chicken cordon bleu, and rice, (we paid around Php800 for these) then I asked to bring some bottles of beer from outside, and then I relaxed by the pool while watching my super happy toddler swimming.

He didn’t want to get out of the water yet but as it is almost late noon, I asked his nanny to take him out of the pool and bathe him.

We went back to the room which is very near the pool and ordered dinner- buttered chicken and a big platter of pancit that costs Php1200. I walked with my son out after dinner with the plan of taking some photos but as soon as he saw the pool again, he wanted to jump I couldn’t control him with the slippery floor and my condition so I took him back to the room and we lay down and watch tv.

This is what I love most about staycations- just be in a room, eat all you can and sleep all day, drink, watch TV or play the internet, cuddling with bebe, no usual cleaning (no need to get up early and do the daily routine even once in a while but to just relax all day! TBH, a one-night staycation isn’t enough for me, so given the chance, I will always take at least a minimum of two nights in every staycation.

The peaceful and relaxing night passed so quickly and the next day I have to move on before lunch as I have some family visitors coming.

5 BEAUTY ESSENTIALS I KEEP ON BUYING

So, this is not about any of our travels, adventures, restaurant hopping, and all, but just wanna write down some of the beauty essentials I keep on purchasing.

1. SWISS MICELLAR WATER- After I discover the benefit of Micellar water on my face when I tried Ponds which I bought in the Philippines – and I super liked the after effect, then I searched for it in Bahrain and didn’t find any until I found out that one of my favorite beautifying product from Switzerland named SWISS have it as well, so I bought 2 and I’m now using it regularly after work- and will surely purchase again when it’s finished. I super like the soft and clear feeling like I just had a shower after rubbing it with a cotton ball on my face.

2. NIVEA SHEA SMOOTH DEEP MOISTURE SERUM AND SHEA BUTTER LOTION- Switching from Vaseline to Dove to Local Papaya lotions, to Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body (I still have those, btw) but one thing I liked about Nivea is it is not only moisturizing but it’s also good as sunblock lotion whenever we are taking our toddler to the beach.

3. MAYBELLINE FIT ME LIQUID FOUNDATION MATTE– Staying fresh without getting an oily face even after a whole day in the office won’t be possible if it’s not for my favorite brand- Maybelline Liquid Foundation. Just apply a very very very thin layer (even smaller than a pea-size) on your face and will get you a matte look all day long. Also, you won’t even able to finish the full bottle for a year as you only needed a dot size on your finger to spread evenly on your face. Tbh, I still have a few unfinished bottles of them in my cupboard. I just got tired of using the same over and over again as it looked old to me and I want a new one of the same brand. Every time I go out for shopping in the Philippines, I make sure to get one, and replaced the old one.

4. MAYBELLINE FACE POWDER, LIPSTICKS, CRAYONS, AND LIQUID MATTE LIPSTICK– I always love Maybelline when it comes to face beauty essentials. I have been a fan of Revlon as well but later stick with Maybelline more. This hypoallergenic brand never gave me an itch. It’s always good for any type of skin. 

5. NENUCO AGUA DE COLONIA– I Have been a Nenuco user since College though I never buy it from my own pocket (kind of expensive for a regular College stud at that time) and when I got one as Christmas 2021 gift from my sister, I remember how I always refill it in a small perfume container in my bag during College and College Memories came flooding back- yes Nenuco smells like WU-P! It smells like a baby. Good for everyday use without the super harsh smell. Stays fresh all day!

What about you? What are your favorites? 🙂

What I miss in Cabanatuan City in 2021

  1. Seeing Bebe in the house– Who wouldn’t miss our daily routine in Cabanatuan City for the past 5 months? We spent most of our days in the house during these months, but as we established our regular schedule from the morning until night, it became a habit and I got used to it, I felt like I don’t want to return back to work anymore, haha. This is not just about being able to spend 24 hours a day with my toddler without worrying about going to sleep early to be able to wake up early morning the next day to prepare for work, there’s more to it! Being jobless for months (Annual leave turned sick leave) means having the opportunity to prepare meals outside and eat a very slow breakfast while watching my son in the stairs playing with his ball, playing with the old telephone turned to a toy, running and jumping around all morning, going up and down the three-step staircase to the garden before he takes a bath. Who else won’t miss our scheduled lunch at exactly 12PM, then our nap time from 1-4PM and snack time afterward, play with the computer or watch Netflix until dinner time and then, sleep time again, then repeat the next day and the next day after. I really miss just being at HOME with Bebe.

2. Weekend Lunch with Family– So my sister and her son would always come regularly on Saturday lunch every week and we will set a table outside to eat with my mother and the pets. Some Saturdays we will come up with grilled pork chop and fish with buro, or pork sinigang or monggo, or mussels, or adobo, or spicy chicken neck adobo, and then some Saturdays we will have kare kare and langgonisa or pan-fry vegetable among others- whatever we crave to eat and then nap time afterward!

3. Waltermart– Our weekly trip to the Supermarket became a regular routine for us. I just love Waltermart among the other supermarkets we have in Cabanatuan (we almost have everything, Savemore, Robinson, Puregold, NE) as I got familiar with the stalls and I already know where to get something without rounding much, not only that they have everything on my list. It became a routine I always wait for the Grocery day and fill my cupboards with full groceries and stuff! Haha, this has become one of my simple happiness during our vacation. (Photo not mine)

4. SM- Who doesn’t love SM Mall? Shopping is never a problem if you have SM City in your place. Although we do not go much that time due to restrictions and all plus my condition, we also do once in a while particularly if there is an upcoming occasion. I started wearing my boot cast sometime in October 2021 and it took me quite some time to practice wearing those but still, I had the chance to go once before my son’s 2nd birthday party to buy him an outfit for his Safari Themed birthday. And the next visits are a few times in November and then a few other times for Christmas shopping in December 2021. 

5. Shakeys– And of course, I also missed my favorite restaurant in SM. I even got their Shakeys discount card as I really love their bunch of lunch meal package with a soup and salad, mojos, 2 pieces fried chicken thighs ( can’t figure out what is the secret recipe for this yummy chicken), and pizza for only Php300.

6. Traffic– Cabanatuan City, also known as the Tricycle Capital of the Philippines. It’s a little annoying seeing these tricycles racing with each other one after the other on the highways but fun at the same time knowing you are in Cabanatuan City! Also, one good thing about it is you will never ran-out of a vehicle even in the middle of the night anywhere else in the City as there is always a tricycle near you.

7. Christmas Celebration in Cabanatuan City– Not only in Cabanatuan City but Christmas in the Philippines is super fun. Celebrating Christmas at home with all members of your family is always something to look forward to. And this year, I got the chance to celebrate it with them. Who wouldn’t be merry walking in the mall with Christmas songs playing out loud in the speakers, looking at the toys and clothes, people walking wearing genuine smiles on their faces, buying Christmas presents, traditional Christmas caroling, preparing Noche Buenas, and waiting for 12midnight to eat, and most especially, exchange gifts! When you have a toddler, the Christmas season is extraordinary special.

The saddest part is, Life must go on and I can’t always sit idle and relax every day, I have to go back to work and earn money for our expenses. It isn’t always party time. I know it’s convenient and relaxing to be idle doing nothing but eat and sleep and then eat and sleep again and repeat but we have other obligations to fulfill so whether I like it or not, we have to travel back to Bahrain. Can’t say anything but looking forward to our next vacation next year- hoping for good if we get the best opportunity. But for now, all I can do is to keep these good memories in my heart.

Time to fly, see you again soon, Philippines- See you soon, Cabanatuan City!

Where to eat in Clark- Matam-Ih Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine

So, as soon as I finished my travel-related errands in Clark Pampanga, we drove around the area trying to find a different place to eat. We do not want to eat the same old fast food in the mall or just another usual restaurant we have gone to already whenever we are traveling to any City. We were trying to find some kind of Authentic Kapampangan food. It’s known that the Kapampangans are very good cooks and have a real talent in that area that most of them usually succeed in the food/restaurant business as it is also called the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.

As we are roaming around the busy streets of Clark, we had passed some restaurants my mother has gone to before but most of them are already closed- probably due to pandemics (Corona V) that online food business became more safe and convenient as people will only order online and they will deliver right in front of your doorstep.

Yeah, some other restaurants wouldn’t be able to survive (with overhead expenses to run and maintain a physical store without regular customers) or compete with a much cheaper on-call ready to deliver food business.

And then they have come up with an idea to go to a place they’ve also been to before, a restaurant in the heart of Clark called Matam-Ih Authentic Kapampangan Cusine.

It’s a Pavilion-type Victorian-style indoor and outdoor dining with a Filipino/Hispanic-themed design that offers Kapampangan food in Clark. I have researched that Matam-Ih is an Aeta dialect which means “delicious”. So the name really complements the food although it’s a little bit pricey as the food is great particularly for the first-timer like me who always wants to try something different.

I didn’t ask for the best sellers as I already have my order in mind but here is the menu;

I have seen a lot of unfamiliar food on the menu and what interests me is the Bistek Kalabaw among others-I just made fun by joking around that I will order this exciting food but we ended up ordering the usual familiar food we know.

So we had grilled chicken ass and chicharon bulaklak for the starter. Kare kare, Crispy pata, and grilled fish with buro for the main meal.

The steamed rice in the banana leaves is really cute to see.

The food is good though it’s a little bit pricey as I’ve said previously (as the servings are also small with the small bowl of kare kare that is good for 1-2 person only is the same price for the 3-5 person from the other restaurants I have been to) and if you are just eating on a budget, this place is not for you, but since it is my first time to eat here I just went with the flow and ordered what I want to eat. We noticed that the crispy pata isn’t cooked very well when served as it is still soft on the inside and the skin is not crunchy so we had to ask the server to cook it again. But all in everything went fine.

We paid around Php2300k something for the full meal less the 2 senior citizen discounts we have.

I would still suggest this Restaurant if you happen to pass by Clark Pampanga- Philippines less aside the minor comments I have noticed.

See you there!

A day in the farm- La Fortuna Eco-Farm, Nueva Vizcaya

A day on the farm.

La Fortuna Farm is an Eco Farm Resort located in Buliwao, Quezon Nueva Vizcaya.

For everyone’s info, Nueva Vizcaya is well known as one of the popular eco-tourism destinations in the country. Eco-tourism means people that are traveling to see undisturbed natural areas, knowing more about conserving the environment while enjoying the beautiful untouched scenery at the same time. Having participated in the eco-tours, you will not only be educated about the importance of the eco-systems,  but this will also make the economy grow that provide income to local people without harming our natural resources and La Fortuna Farm is one of them!

We’ve been there once during our Philippine vacation a day before I got into a very serious accident. At least, I had the chance to visit the place right before I spent months recovering from my surgery and took a bunch of nice snaps for keepsake.

It’s just bad that we were not able to see and use the pool which was still under construction at that time but I have seen that it is already operating recently and offers a very nice tropical meal in floating trays to dine while enjoying the sun, and the weather. They only offer a light snack during our visit so we had a nice Filipino snack- Halo-Halo, it’s mixed of cubed/diced assorted fresh fruits in crushed ice and milk.

My son didn’t enjoy walking in the garden that much but the thing that has gotten his full attention is the small lake/ falls with water flowing from the mountain and he got very irate to jump in  – which is not intended for swimming- and of course, just like the previous tantrums- he cried for almost an hour not getting what he wants.

He really thought he could swim in that small lake and is not contented to just dip his foot and play with water, as usual. I wish we could go back again sometime in the future and take advantage of the pool.

Byaheng Nueva Ecija- Bongabon

Bongabon is another Municipality in Nueva Ecija. It’s just another place in Nueva Ecija with numerous Resorts and staycations. If you love nature, fresh air, and silence, you can find loads of them in Bongabon.

Unfortunately, we tried to walk into any available resort to spend the night on Christmas day 2021 but we didn’t find any as most of them are fully booked! We ended up just taking photos in the mountainside and spend the Christmas day just driving around until the evening.