Friday, June 12, 2009

Pics from the Philippines!

Hi bellas!

WARNING - Pic Heavy!

So I finally got my pics up from my recent trip to San Francisco, CA and the Philippines. It was definitely a great experience. It was my first time since I was a baby so I met relatives I had never known before and experienced my culture first hand.

I hope to go again and experience some of the other parts of the Philippines I didn't get a chance to visit.

Take a look at some of the pics! First stop, San Francisco.

My bro graduated from Law School...which explains our first stop in San Fran. We're so proud!

Family shot! I did my mommy's makeup too :) They were selling these really pretty orchid lays for the grads. My brother is modeling one :)

Here's my brother's cat Nelson and my mom :) The cat is 17 pounds! His name is Sam and he has polydactyly...meaning extra toes on each paw, lol.

While in San Fran of course we had to stop at Costco's to get lots of goodies for our Balikbayan Boxes (boxes many Filipinos bring back to relatives filled with goodies)...this is only one of the multiple carts!

While in San Fran I requested we make a trip to Japan town. They had two malls there where my bro and I and some of his friends took some fun pics at pikapika.

I love these pics! You take them in some really fun booths with multiple backdrops and designs and then get to add decorations at the end. It was crazy in there, lol. There was a lot of directions and timers, we were a hot mess, lol. Luckily one of my bro's friends was half japanese so he could read the directions, lol. Click on the pic to expand.

Here's a pic of me and the fam outside of Japantown.

Sunday night we headed to the airport for our 10:30pm flight. Here we are in the line at Philippine Airlines. Check out everyone with their Balikbayan boxes ready to bring to their family in the Philippines! We were due to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday at 3:30am! The 15 hour flight was definitely the longest flight I've ever taken!

We landed in Manila and immediately went to my dad's family's house in Malabon...about 40 minutes from the airport. After eating breakfast, we left most of our luggage there and headed back to Manila. I took this shot from the cab.

Sounds weird, but we actually stayed at the Manila Adventist hospital for the first week. They had a wing of guest rooms. This is the same place where my mom went to nursing school. One of the reasons my parents went to the Philippines is because they planned on getting lots of dental work done. Getting it done in the Philippines even without insurance is about 90% cheaper than the states.

One of the first thing I was excited to see in the Philippines were the Jeepneys! These are little jeeps that fit about 15-20 people on two benches in the was only about 7 pesos (less than 10 cents) per ride. Those jeepneys were always packed! They were painted so are two I snapped.

There were street markets everywhere I went! This one had lots of fresh veggies.

Here I am in the market with a brightly colored straw fan I brought everywhere! It was so hot you used the fan indoors and outdoors! I bought 25 of these fans for 225 pesos...less than 5 bucks! I'm giving them out as souveniers to my friends.

Divisioria was a huge street market in was packed and hot!

Here's a shot of my mom in Divisioria trying on a traditional Filipino dress. She got it to wear to her Filipino church back home.

My mom was super pumped about bringing back dried fish with her to the states, lol...again not really my cup of tea. It seems like everyone was trying to sell food in the markets...they even came up to you in the middle of traffic. Here is my mom checking out some fish.

My dad got the infamous Filipino delicacy Balut off the street...he loves it! It's basically an egg where the chick is half parents made me try the yellow tasted the same as normal boiled egg yolk...but there was no way I was going to slurp down the little chick.

We also made a 3 day trip to Baguio to visit my childhood pastor. Since it was in the mountains it was really nice and cool...we needed it after super hot Manila!

Shot of some houses in the mountains. My mom shared with me that her dad used to work in the mines there when she was young.

For the first time I was there I saw Filipinos in native dress. You can see them sitting down on pic to expand.

My dad paid a taxi driver to give us a 4 hour tour of baguio for like $10...good deal! I would have had more pics but my camera died and I didn't have an electric converter to charge it :( Here we are in front of the Mansion...I think this is where the President stays sometimes?

Back to Manila (these pictures are a little out of order but I tried to group them together to make sense)!

One thing the Philippines does not lack on are Super Malls. We went to the Mall of Asia which was a 10 minute drive from the hospital we were at. We went there a couple of times because they had everything! Here are me and my mom in front.

In the mall they even had a separate ice skating rink and hockey rink.

The mall had soooo many restaurants and stands. Here's a pic of some really yummy chicken we got at a place called the noodle house. It was cooked adobo style and the pot was steaming! It was super yummy. While I was in the Philippines I was surprised that I never could find adobo was either adobo pork, fish, etc....the only time I had actual adobo chicken was on the plane. I was kind of disappointed because this is my fav!

They had stands selling Babinka (not sure if I spelled that right), one of mom's fav filipino deserts.


In the mall we hit up the famous Max's restaurant.

For dessert I got my favorite, Halo Halo! It means mix mix and it's a blend of shaven ice and a lot of sweet treats like ice cream, ube, leche flan, and fruits. This version had cheese in it...I could have done without it.

In almost every city we went to there was always the giant SM supermarket which had everything from clothes, to appliances to food. It was like a giant Wal-Mart. I think we went nearly everyday, lol.

SM had a really great selection of fruits and veggies. My parents always got different fruits that they hadn't had in years. Here they are with fresh lychees.

Back to Malabon! Here are some pics of my dad's family.

My cousin is in the pink, her super cute daughter in the middle and my grandma on the right.

Here's Helene giving my dad a kiss...she was so cute!

My dad's brother on the left...he looks like my dad so much! Cousin, aunt and Helene. This if my first time meeting them as far as I can remember. My uncle kept telling me I needed to give my parents grand kids...gulp!

We also made a trip to Pangasinan to visit my mom's family.

It was about 4 hours from Manila (it took more like 7 though) and we took a private van to get there. On the way I took a picture of Water Buffalo aka Carabou...definitely one of the Philippines' national animals.

We stayed in DaGupan (did I spell that right?). We had to pick a random hotel off the street because it was getting dark by the time we got there.

I noticed a lot of the bathrooms don't have a barrier between the toilet and the shower...this means everything got wet, lol. I wasn't really feeling that. This hotel also only gave a ration of toilet paper each day instead of a roll. In fact, many of the public bathrooms didn't have soap and toilet paper. If you go to the Philippines, you might want to carry a travel sized roll in your purse. Oh...and be prepared to pay to use public restrooms!

We visited my mom's family in San Jacinto.

Super cute babies everywhere!

Family shot with my mom and me in the middle. They were so cute, they kept on wanting us to take pictures "for remembrance" as they said. Most of them didn't really speak english to me so I did a lot of smiling and nodding, lol.

While there, we made a 2 hour trip to visit 100 Island beach in Pangasinan.

This was the only day we went to the beach while I was there. Here's a shot of dad and me on one of the islands.

We took a 4 hour boat tour/excursion which took us to about 5 different islands where we could eat and play at the beach. This little boat took us was a rough ride, lol. I had to shield my eyes from the blinding salt water.

OMG it was blistering hot! Mom and I couldn't wait for my bad to take this picture so we could get out of the heat! The Philippines had a different kind of heat than I was used too...very hot but with high were soaked in sweat all the time!

Each island had a little's my dad at one.

Me and mom in front of the boats. You better believe we had life jackets on the whole time!

Shot from one of the caves on the island.

Our tour was given by a dad and his little son! Look how tiny he is steering the boat with a giant bamboo stick!

Mom and I in one of the caves.

When I was in the Philippines, I was shocked to see some of the poverty conditions. Many of the houses looked like delapidated stacks of tin and tarps. I saw many people bathing in the streets. It was definitely an eye opener. These pics were taken in Manila.

While I was in the Philippines one of my goals was to check out Asian cosmetics and skincare. I honestly didn't pick up a lot. A lot of the focus is on skin whitening and I wasn't really into that.

I did go the the Face Shop for the first time. I picked up 3 face masks and a lipgloss. The brow powder is for my mom...I had to check her on her eyebrows. She was filling them in all crazy with a pencil, but by the end she had the brow powder down! The lipgloss I got was a green color that came out sheer with gold shimmers. Most of the other makeup didnt really catch my eye and it was more expensive than I anticipated.

The last product I picked up was in Japantown in San Fran. I think I've seen this eyeliner on the blog scene before. I'm a huge liquid liner fan so once I'm out of my Eve Pearl I'll try this one out.

I hope you guys enjoyed my pics! It was definitely a great experience. Till next time, Ciao Bellas!

Atlanta Makeup Artist


~tHiAmErE~ said...

you went to lots of places...
that's cool!
you went to divisoria?!

i live in malabon!

Mae said...

i know this will seem REALLY creepy. lol but i've been a fan of yours (youtube and all) and absolutely love watching you.

and then i look through your philippine vacation trip and noticed that your mom is from pangasinan (which my parents are too), then i see your family pictures and i recognize one of the girls in there is my 2nd cousin. she's the one on the far left in the picture with the 3 girls with babies her name is mylene (i'm not sure if you knew what her name was). but that's just crazy that we MIGHT be related. which i'm not surprised because i know there have been lots of family i haven't met yet that i'm related too.

anyways, i thought that was just a fun fact that might have been interesting to know.

ning said...

3rd pinay to comment!

I've been following your blog and your youtube channel because i love love the bright colors, and i am so glad to see a make-up guru with my skin color!

did you get to go to that huge make-up store at Mall of Asia?

hope you enjoyed the Philippines!

Natakue said...

awesome pics! you brought back some memories...halo halo, max's: the house that fried chicken built (or something like that, haha!), mall of asia, the stifling heat. looks like you had a blast. congrats to your bro again.

if you don't mind me asking, do you understand tagalog? i'm a first generation american myself and my dad told my mom to only speak english to us because we're americans (and also because his cousin's son didn't speak until he was 5...but when he did he spoke 3 freaking languages! helloooo! smh) my mom still spoke creole to us but we only responded in english. now i understand creole and french but can barely speak it (my accent is horrible and embarrassing). i was wondering if it was the same with you. i guess i like knowing i'm not alone, haha! =P

Brittany said...

my parents are jamaican and i think the philippines are kind of like jamaica b/c some places are poverty stricken too, and the streets are PACKED with ppl walking around selling things lol. looks like you had fun though!!

Steph said...

oh wow! you were able to go to divisoria. :) as for the skincare products, most filipinas are really into whitening products so don't be surprised to find a lot of em here. i remember my male cousins from the states asking me why in Philippines, women want to be white and pale while filipinas in the US want to be tan. lol.

Jo said...

i enjoyed looking at your philippine pics. they're beautiful. thanks for sharing!

i have yet to go to divisoria myself. i heard about it after my trip 2 years ago :( but i am looking forward to paying it a visit when i get to the phils!

mayaari said...

great pics of your trip back to PI :) if you can ever plan a trip in the winter, you should definitely try - it's soooo much nicer going there in December (still warm, mid-80s or so, but not as humid) and the US pales in comparison to the way they celebrate Christmas in the Philippines!

lol gotta love all the pasalubong and balikbayan boxes - when I was younger my mom would buy the tiny dried/frozen fish and pack them in MY suitcase because she didn't want her clothes to smell like fish >.<

*sigh* I need to save up for another trip to PI, lol

Tahnee said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures!! I was adopted from the Philippines and came to the States at 3 months old. So i've never been back...but i really want to go!! I enjoyed this a lot! :D

Queen of Random said...

Thank you for sharing!!

Askmewhats said...

so many photos ! :) i love it that you shared your experience to your readers, gosh you are so brave go to divisoria at this type of weather, super hot! but just last week it was raining like crazy here, so its better hot than typhoon :)

ellamejia2001 said...

OMG Ren thanks for sharing ur pictures with us. I love pictures from home. Makes me home sick lol.

SPECiAL x GiRL said...

your trip looked really fun! & congrats to your brother.

Ethereal Prey said...

wow looks like you had fun! omg balut! I have always wanted to try that just to try it and to say i did try it! Jeepneys! LOL! I always hear my friend talking about them, but I never got it until now! OMG that halo halo looks so good! food must have been awesome there!

DENiSE said...

nice trip...awww it makes me want to go there.i want to eat all the fruits they have there..drools lol.
my family is from pangasinan!
You went to baguio, dagupan and san jacinto...i've been there how cool! i love baguio the most!

Jamilla Camel said...

Thanks so much for the pics!! I feel like I've had a mini-vacation in the Philippines and got a chance to meet you whole family!

Great experiences!

Amina said...

thank you so much for sharing the pictures :)
they're beautiful!
I'd love to visit Philippines one day :)

Product Junkie Diva said...

Thanks for sharing your great pictures ren.

Product Junkie Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasmin said...

Awesome pics! It's been a while since I've visited. Looks so much fun! Love traveling. Have an awesome weekend!


two of my fave places ever: the hilippines and sf!! congrats to your brother. man law school? that's awesome!

i miss the philippines and my family there. i can't believe your mom is from pangasinan! my grandpa is from there but i haven't been there. i actually go to other provinces where my uncle and grandma lives. i've only been to baguio once but it's beautiful there. did you like the mall of asia? i didn't really like it. i like mega mall better only because it's kind of expensive at the mall of asia. next time you go you should bring your bf and go to palawan--a beautiful tropical island with lots of great resorts. so pretty! and yeah i don't agree with the public restrooms...i always would bring the flushable towlettes in my purse. it looks like you had lots of fun! thanks for sharing your pics.

ps: i didn't see it in the cart, but did you buy spam for the balikbayan boxes too??

Couture Carrie said...

Hi darling R2!
Long time no comment ~ sorry!
This post is so fabulous... like a lovely scrapbook! That purple ice cream looks so wild!


Joyce said...

hey sis! love the pics! and congrats to your bro.

♥ Kendall ♥ said...

Looks like you had a great & hot time seeing where your family is from. Thanks for posting so many pics! I love looking at pics of different places & I'm a little nosy too, lol

Eclecticldy said...

thanks for sharing your pics. i feel like i was just on globetrekker, one of my fav shows :) SM Market and the others look so fun. kudos to your bro!

jojoba said...

lovely pictures. thanks for sharing.

Riza said...

LOL, it's Dagupan, Carabao, and yes most of the time, the conditions of urban poor in the Philippines is really disturbing because of obvious reasons of drugs and other ways/means of exploitations.

Riza said...

Oh, I forgot, yeah, if you noticed, people here wanted to be white, and it has also been my frustration because although I'm not really dark, I don't want to be too pale either...and most of the cosmetics sold has whitening chemicals in them, so it's really not good..for me, i think...

girllovesmac said...

hello ren ren!

i love ur blog and all ur videos an d youtube.
u must be so produ of ur brother.
and thats cool that u took a trip to philipines. i have many philipino and phillipina friends here in Sweden. they are all nice people!!


Charmy said...

I LOVE Divisioria! Miss the philippines!!

Bombchell said...

oh wow great pictures!!!!

I remember some show on food delicacies that talked about Balut.

aww your street market reminds me of back home :)

♡ Nic Nic ♡ said...

aww congrats to your brother!!

Philippine looks beautiful and hot. Your parents look adorable!

makeupjunkie said...

hi renren, this is goddessella from youtube!
love the pics! and great descriptions.. one thing tho, the pinoy delicacy is bibingka. :D they usually just sell it outside the church during christmas season, right after the early morning mass or "simbang gabi"

anyway, you shouldve gotten fanny serrano cosmetics! he is a famous filipino make up artist who came out with his own line of makeup. he sells it pretty cheap, and it's decent.. amazing even! the foundation shades are made for filipinas and they have great colors as well! one lipstick is even mac's russian red dupe, and one blush on was actually an exact dupe of nars' orgasm.. i am not kidding! i have both and i can barely tell the difference!

i wouldve loved to meet you renren!
oh, and congratulations on your bro! i am also a law student here..

*~k~* said...

thanks for sharing your pics! :)
your family look like awesome ppl <3
i really like the color of the purple icecream! :P wonder wut flavor that is :P

Wes said...

Thanks for sharing!! I truly enjoyed your pics. I love seeing and learning about different cultures. Being an American is great but at the same time many of us lack REAL culture, some of us don't know our roots or where we really came from (such as myself!).

jessica said...

I liked this entry a lot. My parents are from Pangasinan, dad from DaGupan and my mother from San Carlos city. After reading and looking at your pictures on your entry, makes me miss the Philippines. I haven't gone since third grade and that was 9 years ago. That's true that most of their beauty products have to do with whitening, my sister always gets a lot of whitening soaps whenever someone goes to the Philippines.

Forever Yang said...

yay! i never knew you're filipino! :)