Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Break

So now we're settling into our routine here in the Philippines. We've got all of our stuff, our car, the boys have celebrated their birthdays, we finished the school year, and started soccer camp. We are now busy planning weekend trips to destinations that were once far flung and expensive to get to, but are now easily accessible. It's been a while since the last post, so let's catch up...

We are lucky to have a huge resort style pool at our building. We spend as much time as we can in it, unfortunately with the rainy season upon us, lately it's been less than we like.

For Mother's Day we took another trip to Tagaytay, but just drove through the actual town and spent the day at a place called Calaruega. It was nice to get out of the city for the day.

On the swinging bridge.

On the way home we passed a jeepney full of pineapples.

Shortly before school got out we took our first flight off the island of Luzon, to Iloilo. In Iloilo City we took a fifteen minute boat ride over to Guimaras Island, which turned out to be our favorite adventure in the Philippines so far.

Above ground cemetery

Here comes our boat!

The view from our truck on the way down to the beach.

Our guide.

We passed a resort that rented out these little huts for about fifteen dollars a night, something tells me the AC may not be ice cold, but the view probably makes up for it.

Here we are wondering how we are going to fit through the opening of this cave. With some tricky maneuvering we fit through, and the boys were thrilled to learn it was full of bats!

Checking out the sea turtles at the sea turtle sanctuary. For the equivalent of twenty cents they will pull one out of the water for a closer look.

The boys pooped out on the ride back to catch our boat.

Both of the boys are a year older! Henry turned three, and had a very fun birthday party with his friends. He was so happy to have be the center of attention for a whole day! I would post pictures from his party, but a certain someone (starts with S ends with teve) accidentally deleted the pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it that a great time was had by all, and the blueberry-strawberry-chocolate cake with sprinkles was as delicious as it was beautiful. Here are a couple of photos from Tru's birthday.

Tru's actual birthday was the day before his party, here is the big seven year old with his birthday peach cobbler.

A 7 cake for the party

We were lucky that the weather was nice and Tru and his friends could swim, not that it did anything to burn off any energy...

It just made them hungry! The boys made pizzas and ate tons of sugary cereal, topped off with cake and ice cream. Truman picked out seven boxes of cereal while we were still in the U.S. to bring with him for just this occasion.

Last week we took our first international trip from Manila to Singapore. Singapore is a beautiful, modern, clean city and was the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation. We wandered around the Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the play equipment on their grounds, especially since there is a serious lack of parks here in Manila. The zoo was definitely the highlight. Immediately upon entering the grounds were surprised by free ranging monkeys in the trees overhead, and soon learned there were plenty of animals that were free to roam.

I was in charge of travel plans for this trip. I was so excited about the great deal I got on tickets that I failed to notice I booked our flight at a tiny airport three hours away. This is the sign pointing our way to the main gate, and helps explain how we got lost on our way there.

Our first stop was for Tiger beer, Tiger root beer, freshly squeezed limeade.

Next, the botanical gardens.

Why yes, that is a durian tree sprinkler with a light up durian fruit hanging off of it.

Go ahead, you can drink the water!

If this picture had sound, you could hear Henry screaming at Truman that that's his leaf. Just kidding, only chirping birds and wind rustling leaves, totally, completely peaceful.

Steve checking out a China town menu, and confirming that the big crates of live hopping bullfrogs we keep seeing outside the restaurants in Chinatown aren't really people's pets as our boys surmised.

The first animal we saw at the zoo was a big hit.

Mommies with their babies.

We walked into the butterfly exhibit, expecting just to see butterflies. Then we walked up some wooden steps to this platform, and found dozens of these funny guys hanging around stuffing their faces with fruit. You can't totally make it out in the picture but this one's cheeks were bulging with fruit as he was chewing up a big chunk of mango, you can see it sticking out of his mouth here.

As we're standing on the platform, this little lemur came over to say hello to Truman. I was so surprised, I didn't get a picture until he was already walking away.

We also saw this guy not far up in a tree right over our heads, it's a two toed sloth in case you can't tell.

There was an Australia exhibit and the kangaroos and wallabies were just hopping around out in the open, as were the emus (ok, the emus weren't actually hopping). To be honest, it didn't feel completely safe...of course Truman and Henry would totally disagree with me.

Being driven around by a crazy man in the Australian outback.

The tiger had a tall wall and a wide moat between us and him, but I remember thinking he could probably get at us if he wanted to. It was only after we returned home that I heard this charming story.

There was also a "pets" section of the zoo where the favorites were these cute little guinea pigs. Henry was in love with them!

Henry feeding his friend a green bean.

We found this lizard (or is it a baby komodo dragon?) wandering around a park bench outside the restaurant where we ate.

The whole time we were walking Truman was busy finding interesting creatures. Here's a big fat red centipede he was enjoying teasing me with.

Singapore has very nice, clean taxi cabs. All of them with seatbelts even! Here we are at the airport to catch our 6am flight and Steve is harassing our driver over the fare.

That brings us up to date. Now we're on summer break! After Truman complaining daily that he doesn't like school and can't wait for it to end, right up to the very last day, he then had the nerve to declare (on the first day of summer break) he wishes school was still going. Summer break is short, school starts back the first week of August. Here are a few shots of Truman and Henry at ISM's summer soccer camp.

Truman and his team with Coach Rudy.