La Belle BORDEAUX Part II: Château Roquetaillade

Roquetaillade (meaning, ‘Carved in Rock’) is a French castle dating back from the Middle Ages, one of the seven that were constructed by Pope Clement the Fifth when he became the first French Pope in Avignon. Located on a limestone plateau in the heart of the Graves wine area in the south west region of France, the first wooden “Fort” was believed to have been built by Charlemagne in the 8th century. Overtime, wood was replaced by stone and after several rounds of fortifications and improvements, Roquetaillade has established itself as an important fortified town and castle in 14th century.

Welcome to Château Roquetaillade.

Welcome to Château Roquetaillade.

We visited the Roquetaillade castle one sunny winter afternoon of February 16 and I was struck by how beautiful and solid it still stands despite the centuries that have passed. They say that the castle survives to this today for numerous reasons and perhaps mainly due to the pragmatic diplomacy of the owners – shifting loyalties according to events.

Trip down medieval time at Roquetaillade.

Trip down medieval lane at Roquetaillade.

Interestingly, the estate has never been sold. It’s been passed on to the last of the family, in this case usually the females, who got married and brought the castle in their dowry. Hence, the change in family name of the owners. According to history, five families have held Roquetaillade since the 10th century: The Lamothe (for around 500 years), Lansac (150 years), Labiorie (50 years), Mauvezin (50 years) and the Baritault family who still owns it today (200 years). 

The Roquetaillade design (similar with the other 6 castles commissioned by Clement the Fifth) is said to be at the peak of military defense techniques  before the arrival of gunpowder and canons.

The Roquetaillade design (similar with the other 6 castles commissioned by Clement the Fifth) is said to be at the peak of military defense techniques before the arrival of gunpowder and canons.

This day, you can still see parts of the old castle – the 11th century keep, the lord’s housing, the gate tower and the village chapel which is still being used by the family today. You will notice that the ceiling of the chapel adapts an oriental style because at the time of restoration in 1875, Orientalism was in.

In the ‘new castle’, French architect and theorist Viollet le Duc (VLD) who was commissioned for the transformation of Roquetaillade, transformed the medieval postern or hidden door to the secret passage into a draw-bridge that leads to the dining room. Other parts of the new castle to take note of when you do do the tour are the family coat of arms, drop bridge, defensive toilets (in case of siege), murder hole to drop stones and hot water, the courtyard without windows or doors (just arrow slits), and many many more.

All openings in the castle that have been put by VLD were stylised to resemble the original 14th century windows on the keep with 2 gargoyles underneath, similar to those that he put on Notre Dame of Paris, which he also designed.

All openings in the castle that have been put by VLD were stylised to resemble the original 14th century windows on the keep with 2 gargoyles underneath, similar to those that he put on Notre Dame of Paris, which he also designed.

Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the castle so you really have to soak in the beautiful elements that were incorporated by VLD such as paintings, sculptures, a 350kg oil lamp mounted from the13th century vaulted ceiling (love this one!), 16th century chimneys, family furniture and artefacts, Louis 13th armchairs, and plenty of other VLD’s creations, without getting distracted by people whipping out their cameras and phones to snap photos of everything. 

My favourites are the Pink Room, which is the guest room in the castle that is fully-equipped with bathroom, toilets and water reservoirs; and the kitchen which was designed by VLD to have the stove in the middle of the room, with a 360-degree work surface. The kitchen is also equipped with a 17th century barbecue system, an ice cream maker and beautiful copper pots and utensils which apparently are being cleaned by the family members once a year – to this day.

The Church is still being used by the family today.

The Church is still being used by the family today.

The tour is conducted by volunteers and more often in French. I got by because my mother-in-law and husband were there to translate what the tour guide was explaining as we moved from section to section of the castle. Otherwise, they do have a pamphlet which you can get from the information centre where they also sell souvenirs, and it’s written in English.

I give the Roquetaillade tour five brilliant stars and a handstand.:)

I give the Roquetaillade tour five brilliant stars and a handstand.:)

In the brochure, it says that Roquetaillade needs over 1.8 million Euros to save VLD’s unique creations. With no direct public support, the entrance fee to the castle (around 10 euros per person) form part of the repair funding. Donations are welcome and so is the purchase of bottles of their own Château Fort wine. And please don’t hesitate to tip the volunteer guide on your way out.

Château Roquetaillade had served as a location in films like Fantômas contre Scotland Yard (French) and some parts of the Hollywood film Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Thirty Three.

There comes a time in your life when you stop thinking about your birthday and I think I ceased obsessing about mine a long time ago. In fact, my birthday is the last occasion I would look forward to with excitement – not even a speck of it. Last year, though, was different. It was romantic and special because at one point after our dinner, C got down on one knee and with tears glistening in his eyes, asked me to be his wife…and I said yes!

Before that, my birthdays have all just been a haze of billowing cigarette smoke, fun, sidestitch-inducing moments of hilarity, and fifty shades of drunkenness – but there was no singular moment that really stood out. I think, perhaps, age has a lot to do with it: this mellowing out. The wanting to just be with a few people you feel most comfortable with. People who allow you to just be.

And that’s how I celebrated my 33rd, cruising Palawan’s famous subterranean river national park (aka Palawan Underground River), named as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of Nature early this year, with Atche Noel, Jay, and C. We had to wait for hours on end to get on the boat that would take us on a 1.2 kilometer river ride inside the cavernous cave, but it was well worth it! I told C that in a way, we’re truly blessed to have traveled to a few places together despite living miles apart and having individual careers to manage. C and I may be poles apart in a lot of ways (and I’m obviously not just talking about our complexion, accent, and passports), but if there’s one thing we both love to do, traveling would be it.

After our Underground River adventure, we wanted to see more of Puerto Princesa and so the four of us decided to go to Isla Pandan and just chill before boarding the 5:30pm flight back to Manila on Sunday. At this point, we were ever so glad that the sun actually came out after a gloomy Saturday on account of tropical depression Ferdie that submerged some parts of the country in floodwaters, so we happily sunbathed until it started drizzling again shortly after noon. I had wanted to try stand-up paddling but there were only two boards and they were unavailable at the time of my asking.

Once back in Manila, I immediately threw myself into work as there are about a million and one things to be done still before  we fly to Jakarta for our biggest annual event on September.

Palawan for my birthday wasn’t such a bad idea. I wish I were more relaxed, though, but it was quite tough because my mind was just running at top-speed, almost nonstop, thinking about work and projects still sitting on my plate. In any case, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I had great Palawan memories – Kalui’ being one of them. Food and ambience are top-notch in this famous Puerto Princesa restaurant, you’d be crazy not to pay a visit when you’re in town. Meanwhile, those looking for fun live band entertainment can opt to hie off to Tiki Bar, where incidentally I spent the eve of my birthday sipping red wine and trying to make sense of one of the showband girl’s bad singing.

So this is it. I’m 33, all-woman, and soon-to-be bride/wife to the most loving, patient, understanding, (and a few more things) man I have ever known. And oh, incidentally, with zits the size of Jupiter I would put any acne-sporting 13-year-old to shame. I’m surprised that C can still look at me adoringly and call me mon amour even with these unsightly marks on my face. This really must be love.

Happy birthday, psychogirl.:)

TRAVEL: BOHOL, beautiful!

So, thanks, in no small part, to my current state of preoccupation I have not exactly been livin’ it up in many areas of my life. Well, apart from super fun trip to Bohol with C for his birthday, I haven’t done anything exciting or sexy lately. Unless you are just like me, someone who thinks work is sexy. At least I consider mine to be. Maybe because I am passionate about what I do and the many opportunities that are still to come. Just this afternoon, Kas and I were having a private conversation on Twitter about how our respective social lives have ceased to become social, so to speak. Mainly because we have not been doing any form of socialization unless it involves work. Like I said, the only places I ever see now are the interior of our office, the mall close by where I would often have my lunch, and my shoebox apartment. And lately, I have been going home late nights because of so many projects we need to deliver by September. And most of these projects are simply too big to fail, so there’s very little room for F-ups.

So anyway, Bohol. Perhaps one of our best trips together. Well, come to think of it, all of our travels have been nothing if not fantastic. It’s just that I realized that apart from the two trips we made to Boracay in 2010 and 2011, C has seen very little of our country. We travelled to Banaue and Baguio once with friends but it was one disastrous trip it hardly counts as an adventure.  In fact, he would always remind me of it whenever the subject my ‘travel planning skills’ would come up. Now I can safely say that Bohol became my redemption. It was also my first trip to the island so it was double fun for us!

We stayed at the beautiful Bohol Beach Club and I could not have chosen better, if you ask me. The resort was just perfect for what C and I needed – some privacy, good food, fun amenities, and a long stretch of white sand where we can run barefoot on. The resort staff were very nice and accommodating and everywhere you look there’s always someone sweeping the ground or picking up dried leaves. Bohol Beach Club is such an amazing place I recommend that you make it your first choice when planning a trip to Bohol.

Now one of my favorite places in the country, Bohol Beach Club!

We were only there for the weekend but we managed to do a lot of things and visit a lot of places. Thanks to our local guide recommended by Atche Noel. For 2,000, our local guide took us to the touristy places in Bohol and all things considered, I’d say it was well worth it!

1. Blood compact. Our first stop during the tour. This is supposedly the site where the then-Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi entered into a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna to crystallize the friendly relations between the Spanish conquistadores and the natives sometime in the 1500’s. The site itself is really not much to look at as it was just there by the roadside and one could hardly call it a marvel. But I guess it’s what the stone sculpture of the Spaniards and Datu Sikatuna represents that merit some form of acknowledgment in this case. So, hooray for friendship and alliance! Much good it did us, ‘no?

The Blood Compact.

2. Baclayon ChurchAnother colonial religious architecture dating back middle of the 16th century. The church interior has that kind of ornamentation that’s similar with a few other old stone churches still found in the Philippines. Although I think some of them failed to withstand the test of time and natural calamities but Baclayon Church, thankfully, is not one of those. There is a museum attached to the church but we did not go anymore because we rather pressed for time. I heard the museum itself is loaded with antiques and other beautiful art pieces, so looking back, it would have been nice if we made a pitstop there as well.

The interior is actually fascinating…and a bit sad. It carries a lot of history in it, for sure.

So there you go. I guess C and I have not ‘really’ been to Baclayon…

3. XZOOTIC Animal Park. For only P20 entrance fee, you get too see a few exotic animals such as the ostrich, civet cat, asian leopard, bear cat, monkey, porcupine, and the main attraction: the two pythons each weighing over 200kgs! If you’re feeling brave, you can have your photos taken with them inside the cage. Don’t worry, they’re fed well enough (two live chickens we were told) that they’re usually asleep or digesting during the day. Looking at those animals though, you’d somehow feel distressed because they are kept in such tiny cages you just know they feel very restricted and unhappy.

Norio the ginormous reptile. Caretaker told us he weighs about 203kgs. And no, i’m NOT that brave at all. It’s just that he’s sleeping, as you can see. If he were awake and hungry, I will be in another city or country, that’s for sure. LOL.

With Milo the Ostrich.

4. Loboc River Cruise. In truth, there was nothing exceptional about this part. Sure, it was relaxing to be on board a mid-sized boat while enjoying your lunch. Well, it would have been if only fellow passengers were not moving around too much taking photos of each other every two seconds and blocking your view in the process. Food was okay and for Php300 per head for the one hour river cruise with buffet, you could say it’s not that steep. At some point during the cruise, we made a pitstop so the young Boholanos can serenade us with folk songs and wow us with their folk dancing skills and dexterity. Oh, watch out for the waterfalls, too. And I mean REALLY keep your eyes peeled because it’s so tiny you’d miss it if you just blink.

Cruisin’ for Bruisin’

The Tinikling. I performed this once before in a school program back in the province where I came from. Ako na ang katutubo. LOL.

Dig in!

5. The TARSIER Conservation Area. Definitely one of the two highlights of our tour. Oh just to see those cute primates is already a fulfilling experience in itself! Too bad we are no longer allowed to get too close to them, much less pet them, because I really would have wanted to put them in my palm and just nuzzle their furry little bodies with my nose! The place itself is about three acres (according to the watchers) and it is home to 129 tarsiers, each one of them watched very closely by the caretakers – all of whom are ready to pounce on unruly visitors who would insist on taking photos with their camera flash on and/or touching the sleeping tarsiers. They’re nocturnal animals, by the way, so they’re sound asleep during the day. Although we saw one who was struggling mightily to sleep and he kept blinking his very big eyes until he finally tuned out the world. C was especially enamored by the tiny primates he wouldn’t stop gushing about the until after we left Bohol!

Home of the Tarsier.

Oh hello there, cutie!

The obligatory couple photo with the tarsier.:p

6. Man-made forest. What else can I say about this site except that it’s a forest made by, well, men. But seriously, the trees actually look pretty, slightly bent forward as they face each other so when you look at them from afar, they seem to form an umbrella giving shade to motorists and vehicles passing through. Nice place for photo op, too.

Man-made forest.

7. Chocolate Hills. Our second favorite part of the tour, next to the tarsier. What we found fascinating was the fact that these hills had actually been carved out from thin layers of corals and shell fragments as they were once submerged in water. As to why the nearly 1,300 mounds of earth were formed and shaped essentially the same is I suppose a happy accident. There’s also a wishing well at the viewing deck to which C and I made a coin donation each for our, uhrrrm, individual wishes. Oh, by the way, there’s some 200 steps you have to climb to get to the viewing deck, so I suggest you work on your cardio a little bit before you take the stairs.

The hills are alive with the sound of music…

Make a wish, baby…And our love will make it come true…

The two things we failed to do while there were (1.) Visit and dine at the Bee Farm, and; (2.) See the dolphins. C’est dommage! We actually made arrangements for a boat ride to Virgin Island, a known sanctuary for the dolphins, on our last day in Bohol, but on that particular morning it rained heavily we decided not to risk it. Seeing the dolphins would have been a perfect way to cap our trip. Instead, we decided to run barefoot on the beach for half an hour once the sky cleared; avail of our complimentary kayak ride; and get one last massage by the beach before finally leaving the resort.

Bye Bohol Beach Club!

All in all, it was an awesome awesome awesome adventure and we loved every single moment of it! I guess we will just have to go to Apo island one day to see the dolphins. But that won’t be anytime soon because we have Palawan lined up…

TOTAL FITNESS: Fun Activities To Tick-off Your List Before Summer Ends

Grab your own copy TODAY!

In a tropical country like ours where you don’t exactly have a choice when it comes to seasons, it’s fairly easy to mark summer as your default favorite. And why not? Here, we have some of the best beaches in the world and a few other interesting travel destinations, if donning short shorts and bikinis aren’t exactly your thing. But for those of you who can ill-afford to travel so much because of family and work restrictions, there are a lot of other activities you can do before summer is chased away by torrential rains.

1. Check out new dining places once a week and make your recommendations to friends and social media followers. Summer shouldn’t be just a treat for your (bronzed) skin. You must find ways to lavish your taste buds as well – without having to spend your entire life savings away. To make your gastronomic adventure even more exciting, try incorporating a theme into it.

2. Do a weekend movie marathon with friends. Start with your common favorite romcom or art film and then work your way through other movie genres. Don’t forget to serve up reduced-fat popcorn and healthy snacks so you can store up energy for a lively discussion during and after the screening.

3. Check out bazaars, flea markets, and ukay-ukay. Fashion need not be expensive and you can certainly look like a million bucks with a unique piece from ukay-ukay if you pull it off.

4. Travel locally. Whether by plane, bus, train, or boat, traveling has always been a panacea for all ills – except maybe that of your wallet. While it’s always enriching to travel abroad and getting exposed to foreign cultures, it is also equally important to discover pockets of beauty in our own shores.

5. Enroll in a language class. French, Mandarin, and Spanish are among the favorites and by the time summer is over, you just might surprise yourself – and your friends – with your multilingual dexterity.

6. Launch a garage sale. Rid your closet of clothes and accessories you haven’t worn in ages and make a bit of money you can spend on updating your wardrobe after. Now that’s a smart fashionista!

7. Visit a museum or check out the local art scene. Museums are one of the best places to learn about so many different topics ranging from space, to art, to natural history, and everything in between.  What makes museums so special is their ability to transport us to different times and places – at minimal cost.

8. Go to a basketball game or the local boxing match. Or any sporting event you’re a fan of. There is some wicked pleasure to be had in being part of a live action/crowd, and if you’re up for it, sign yourself up for some pre-game or half time festivities.

9. Sign up for a self-defense class. These days, it’s becoming increasingly important to learn the ways of defending oneself against criminal-minded people and dangerous situations. Take your pick from taekwondo, muay thai, or jiu jitsu and avoid looking like an easy prey.

10. Let your hair breathe. Before you know it, the humidity will cease and you’ll no longer have an excuse to not heat-style your hair when going out. Save time (and sweat) by using some texturizing spray in your hair before heading out the door.

11. Watch the sunset and take photos. Always beautifully dramatic, the sunset evokes a cornucopia of wonderment and emotions so much so that even if you don’t take good photos, you can always count on one or two of your captures coming out real good.

12. Stock up on fresh fruits. Make sure to put peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe and mango at the top of your grocery list, and keep them there as long as possible.  Suring summer, our skin tends to gets so dry especially when not cared for by moisturizers, so make sure to indulge in Vitamin A and E-rich foods and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

13. Sign up for a summer-savvy mani/pedi and spa treatment. Treat tortured tootsies and whole body to an extravagant TLC with a spa treatment finished off with a quintessentially summer shade like mint green or tangerine nail polish.

14. Have a fling. Whether it’s a guy with great surf moves or the girl down the hall with a shared love of long island iced tea, invest in the type of connection that runs on sun and laughter, and make sure to remain Facebook friends when the day gets shorter – for who knows what the following summer might bring?

15. Visit an amusement park. Pay tribute to your twelve your old self by hitting up all of the roller coasters at the local theme park. If living far from one, you might want to consider paying Tom’s World or World of Fun a day visit.

TRAVEL: Postcards from FRANCE

I’m finally back from my first ever trip to Europe (I’ve been told that the Euro side of Turkey does not really count as Europe, too bad) and I could not have been more glad that the destination was France. To say that the country is beautiful and the cultural sights even more so, would be stating the very obvious. And we’re not even talking about the food yet. Those gastronomic delights in all their orgasmic glory. And because it was spring when we were there, the gardens that we’ve been to in Paris were all abloom with vibrant-colored flowers – bringing to mind my dear friend Cris C. who would probably take only half a second to put a name on each and every flower, him being a landscape artist slash wedding organizer and all. But this spring was not at all what I expected spring would feel like. And by feel, know that I am talking about the temperature which, at 5 degrees and sometimes less at night, is already too much for a tropical creature like myself. Although Eric reminded me that I survived Beijing at -2 degrees when we were there in 2010, still, it didn’t feel like it was any warmer. But perhaps if I brought along with me a more appropriate set of clothing – more thermal wear and thick jackets maybe – then I would not have suffered so. I keep teasing C that it was his fault making me believe spring was all pretty and such, weather-wise, and so I packed mostly short dresses and open-toed sandals – none of which I was able to wear at all during our stay. Thank God, I had half a mind to buy the white faux leather jacket at Cache Cache for my aborted trip to Jordan last year – at least they found their way to France and was greatly abused, might I add. Later you will see just how much I had maximised the use of that jacket – one of the only two keep-warm essentials I packed. Obviously not C’s fault because I have the reputation of being on perpetual summer mode – my closet will most certainly attest to that.

Traveling alone to Paris was in itself already an experience for me. Though I have traveled quite a few times alone, they were mostly in Asia and places I am more or less quite familiar with. I took Qatar Airways which has its stopover in Doha, where incidentally, we were delayed for two hours due to some technical problems with the aircraft. Good thing the airport had free wifi access for passengers so I was able to inform C of the delay via FB. I was literally on tenterhooks during the final leg of my travel that I brushed my teeth and washed my face in the aircraft lavatory four friggin’ times! You see, I was going there to meet C’s family for the first time and the idea kind of made me nervous and I am known to do strange things when I’m nervous. If I could only take a shower there, I probably would have done so as well.

So anyway, I finally landed at the Charles de Gaulle airport and C was there to meet me, looking all cute and sweet as always. We haven’t seen each other in nearly two months so it was obviously a very happy reunion, with a capital V. We took the TGV to go to his sister’s place up North and the journey was c’est magnifique on so many levels. Ask Atche, he knows. *insert suspense soundtrack here*

I didn’t have time to fix myself up as the whole family was already at the train station to meet us. I’m pretty sure I looked like a hobo with my hair all messy (not that my hair looks great in other weather conditions) and face all dry, thanks to the freezing temperature and mad gusts of wind. Up until that time, I had only seen C’s nephew and niece on photos and I fell madly in love with them on sight! Both of them are so beautiful, well-mannered, sweet, and smart it was quite painful for me to leave after only four days. C had to find ways to entertain me on our train ride to Paris because I was so overcome with sadness after I hugged the kids for the last time just as the train started to pull away from the station.

I had the most beautiful time up north despite the crazy rainy weather which lasted pretty much the whole weekend and extended all the way until our departure for Paris. The sun only came out for a day and we spent it walking around Ardres, which was truly beautiful, by the way, with its little shops, church, boulangerie, restaurants, and beautiful houses and chalets. The rest of time, we were just indoors playing with the kids and chatting with the grown-ups. Yes, I do speak French very fluently you wouldn’t think I’m foreign at all! NOT. Because I spent so much time with the kids, my French vocabulary has expanded to now include the numbers 1 to 10, some animal names, and a few expressions. Yey!

My impression of the North? It was just as the saying C shared which goes a little something like this: The people in the north have the sun in their hearts which they don’t have in the sky. They’re such sweet people and it’s a shame that the weather can be so horrible sometimes, if not most of the time.

Now Paris on the other hand is sublime. Elegant, captivating, intoxicating (I may have had one glass too many of all sorts of wine, teehee)  are only some of the words I can think of right now and even then I fear that they’re not enough to really capture the enigma that is Paris.

Ever the sweet and loving fiancé, C made sure I absorb as much of the city as possible given the limited time we had. He took me to a lot of touristy places and fed me loads of French food so that I may never have to go and hanker for fastfood and junk anymore. Oh you must see how C cringes whenever I would lather my French croissant with an unhealthy layer of Nutella and butter! I’ve been told it’s almost tantamount to desecrating the famous French bread. Yikes. Unfortunately on our last full day in the city, he came down with high fever and we had to make some adjustments on our plans for the day. But even when debilitated, he still took me to Musée du Louvre so I can go and see the Mona Lisa (how very original of me, right?) and other glorious works of art and be swept away to another period in time. He really is an absolute darling and he knows me too well already, I couldn’t help but love him dearly. Yiheeee.

Anyway, these are all my memories of France and the City of Lights (oh, incidentally, I never got to see Tour Eiffel at night so I guess I will have to tick that off my bucket list next time – along with a more exhaustive tour of Musée du Louvre since we only got to cover a small portion of one section because C was in such a bad shape due to his fever) and I know there’s still so much to see and experience. I hope you will love the photos as much as I loved every bit of my time there.

Windmills in the north. Here with my one true north. Naks naman.

Beautiful lake in Ardres.

Ardres in the Nord-pas-de-Calais region

With the beautiful Claire

Spring fashion. Kuno.

From the North, we now go to Paris – where to love and being loved in return is really the most glorious thing that can happen to any person. How very Moulin Rouge. With that, let me first give you…

Sing it with me: Voulez vous couchez avec moi ce soir (oh dear, I hope I got the words right, haha)

Musee du Louvre

La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre

Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees

Notre Dame and Jardin du Luxembourg

Musee du Louvre with C. Finally, a different jacket!

Le Square des Batignolles

Tour Eiffel

And of course, some of the food I have tried and salivated for over and over and over again. But one thing I noticed though – and was extremely happy about, mind you – was the fact that I didn’t go home as fat as I had anticipated, despite the unreasonable amount of food and sweets I devoured day in and out. I must’ve gained only 2lbs or so and they all seemed to have gone on my arms I could’ve sworn they looked like Johnny Bravo’s or Popeye’s after he’s had spinach in some photos. LOL. It must have been all the walking and uhrmmm, yes, definitely the walking, which we did a lot of while there.

One thing I regret and I learned just the expression for that – c’est dommage – is that I missed the Paris Marathon!!! I didn’t know that it was on the 15th of April – the same day C and I were to fly back to Singapore. We saw the banners when we were at Tour Eiffel and it was such a heartbreaking moment because I packed my running gear: Reebok and C-WX were just sitting prettily atop my luggage, lonesome and unused. Had I known, I would most likely sign up and join because my fellow runner who’s based in Paris said they actually opened the registration slots last minute and I could have joined a few Pinoy runners there! C’est dommage indeed!

Foodgasm part 1

Foodgasm part 2

Foodgasm part 3

We also spent time with some of C’s couple friends and both couples were just lovely! The conversations were just as good as the food, if not more. Here we have the sweet couple Rene and Carmen whom I first met in Phuket in 2010 when C and I were on Christmas holiday and they were on their honeymoon. Unfortunately, we didn’t take photos with Vanessa and her husband who invited us over to their lovely home for dinner the previous night. I especially enjoyed listening to them talk about their University days and how C had always been so freakishly neat and clean and organized. One of the many things I love about him, by the way.

Lovely couple Rene and Carmen

But of all the things I have come to love and cherish about my trip, these are the ones I miss the most. The kids, especially, were my source of ardent joy in all those days in Calais. Sometimes I could hear their cheery voices in my head saying ‘Vicky! Vicky! Vicky!’ and egging me to play hide-and-seek or just cuddle with them.


Thank you for everything! You guys are absolutely wonderful and loving I felt right at home.

Je t’aime enormement mon amour!

PS: ALL original photos, by the way.:)

Picstitch: Because I’m too lazy to do a proper blogpost…for now.

The weather is cruel at 5 degrees with rain showers and strong gusts of wind so we had to abandon our plans for staying outdoors and doing outdoorsy things. But, we made up for it by spending more time on the dining table and playing hide-and-seek with the adorably cute, incredibly smart, undeniably sweet kids named Raphael and Claire. I mean, seriously, with kids as beautiful as these two, who would need dolls?

All things bright and beautiful...

All creatures great and small...

All things wise and wonderful...

Obviously I’m too lazy to do a proper blogpost so i’m letting these photos do the talking…for now. I’ll be back once i’m properly acclimatized. In the meantime, we have one and a half more days to spend with Chris’ family before we set out on our own Paris adventure. I have said it once before and I’m saying it again: All things considered, I know I got a good man right here. Yes, Salt n’ Pepa, a mighty, mighty good man.:)


Paris Rendezvous.

In just a few hours, I will be with C in his home city/country. It’ll be my first time to meet his family and can I just say that I am a ball of shaky nerves right about now? In large part due to the fact that C and I haven’t seen each other for over a month and I’m traveling alone to a foreign country, a continent I’ve never set foot before. And of course, there’s the usual – and perfectly normal, might I add – mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety of meeting my fiance’s family. But they’re nice and sweet I’m pretty sure I’m gonna love them on sight – especially the kids! Speaking of anxiety, I am actually more worried about the weather. C told me it’s still pretty cold in Paris even though it’s spring and sunny during the day. This morning, he said, temperature was 8 degrees. If you know me, then you would know how absurdly low my tolerance is for cold temperatures. And being a tropical baby through and through, I am in perpetual summer mode – hence, my somewhat interesting fashion picks. If I could wear a bikini to work, I don’t think it’ll take much prodding for me to turn up one day in an animal print beach ensemble. I’ll make sure to wear bumblebee shades so no one would recognize me. hahaha.

Anyway, I’m about to board my next flight in a few minutes and really, there’s no better airport one could get stuck in than Changi. I just love, love, love this airport! Everything around here is shiny, pretty, clean, and there’s free wifi everywhere! Just now I wanted to test it by Instagramming while brushing my teeth in the loo but it being inappropriate, never mind that it can still be somewhat funny, I decided against pressing the ‘done’ button. I still am a lady, after all. *wink*

Soon, it’s Paris with my one great love. Can life be any more magical than this? Thank you Lord for the gift of love and commitment.

Travelbug fashion.

Livin' la vida loca.:)


Race Event: National Geographic Channel EARTH DAY RUN

If you love Mother Earth and are into running and keeping fit as well, then National Geographic Channel has just the perfect thing for YOU: The NGC Earth Run 2012 happening on Sunday, 22nd of April, at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig.

The EARTH DAY RUN, now on its third year, is a celebration of the Pinoys’ collective desire and concerted efforts to GO GREEN and make significant contributions in saving the environment. This year, thousands more of students, professionals, athletes, health buffs and celebrities are expected to participate in the 3k, 5k, 10k, and 21k race categories.

So get ready to hit the road and make a resolute stand for Mother Earth.



In other news, on this day, C and I are celebrating three beautiful years of being together as a couple – growing madly in love with each other no matter the distance and my erratic mood swings. There is nothing more beautiful than being loved and adored by you. And you? You are beyond wonderful. See you soon, mon amour. Je t’aime enormement!