Adventure’s in Boracay, Philippines – New Years Eve

Boracay Fireworks

One of the main reasons I decided on New Years Eve on the Filipino island of Boracay was to meet my best friend Josh and his wife, Christine.  They had been traveling islands in the Philippines for a few weeks with her family & friends (who happen to be Filipino).  Our reunion began in the afternoon of December 31st and promised to lead to a fun-filled week of reminiscing and making new memories.

We grabbed my bags from the hostel and dropped them off at our hotel before wandering down to the beach.  Christine’s brother Adrian joined us as we caught up while strolling through my mini island tour.  The main event was tonight and we quickly went back to the hotel to change for New Years Eve dinner!

We dressed in slightly above “beach attire” and went to the White House Hotel to check out the buffet and drinks.  There I was introduced to Tito Francis, Tito Rei, Tita Susan and Tita Anali.  They were highschool friend’s of Christine’s parents (Nancy & Rudy) who still lived in the Philippines.  Lucky for me that meant I was sure to get the authentic Filipino experience!

White House Hotel and the other resorts we visited were managed and owned by their old friends so we got VIP treatment.  Or perhaps it was just that they spoke Tagalog so the waitstaff didn’t inflate prices for us white-folk.  But enough of that, lets skip ahead to what we’ve all been waiting for.  FOOD!

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A great post about healthy living from a fellow blogger!

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out.

My favorite part

Being healthy and fit can help you see the world differently.  The planet looks different from a bike or a pair of skis than it does from a car or an airplane.  Out in the elements you have the time and space to notice details and meet people and remember smells and bugs and mud and rain and the feeling of warm sunshine on your face.  And those are the moments that make up your life.

Read this.  Live this.  Work out because you want to be a healthy person.  Be healthy not because of some social misconception of beauty but because of everything that a healthy lifestyle does to enhance your life!  Especially if you happen to be a role model for a wee one.

One of my favorite hobbies is fencing.  I know its eccentric but it gives me a damn good cardio workout a few times a week.  I can’t wait for ski season where I can go explore the mountains and access the inaccessible.  Use the month leading up to New Years to get yourself ready to make a commitment to healthy living!

via A great postabout healthy living fromfrom a fellow blogger!.

A new found sense of wonder for Dinovember

“in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.

Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.”

A couple that sounds like a great set of parents finished their post about Dinovember with that quote.  Dinovember is an annual event that they invented where their children’s dinosaurs “come to life” and wreck havoc on their house.  I love it, it inspires me to make my classroom even more fun and creative.  Anytime I hang a new spiderweb, decoration or piece of art I always pretend it just appeared the instant the students notice it.  I try to have them think of how it could have possibly gotten there and if there are some critters involved I turn it into a huge act, usually about how I’m afraid of said critter and they need to help protect me.  Then we always laugh and they realize that I just hung it up.   

As a parent, a teacher, or just someone who is around children it is essential that we help develop their sense of imagination and wonder.  They won’t be kids forever but if all of our children lose the creativity and imagination that comes with the simple naivety of being a child we are in bigger trouble than global climate change, oceans of plastic and all of the social injustices you can imagine.

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Still Brothers at Bulgogi Brothers

After a long day of hiking in Bukhansan Natonal Park my brother and I opted to get bulgogi for his last night in Korea. He tried many different dishes and all sorts of barbeque and easily declared bulgogi to be his favorite Korean food.

I asked my Korean friend, Sejun, for a restaurant recommendation near my house and he suggested a high end chain, Bulgogi Brothers. We took the train right there since it was on the way home and only a 5 minute walk from Mokdong station;we were seated right away.


Bread and a cold tea were brought out immediately. The “bread” was warm, fresh and a nice change of pace for Korea but it tasted as if it was made with rice. It was tasty but I hesitate to call it real bread like what I’m used to in the states.

The menu has pictures but unfortunately not a lot of them. They gave a general idea for what each type of meal was at the top of the page but the specific dishes below were all written. There’s an English translation but it is merely a phonetic version of the Hanguel. Luckily I have a dictionary app on my phone and we were able to pick out two bulgogi meals.  The waitress kept asking fus something but we had no idea what she was saying.  She covered her mouth, clearly embarrassed, and left.


The banchan came almost instantly with a delicious spread that included a spicy salad, kimchi, some sort of sweet potato mash, spicy peppers, what I think was almond jelly and a seaweed dish. I really liked the salad and seaweed; the sweet potato would have been better warm but the rest wasn’t appealing to my palate.
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Back to Bukhansan National Park

Ben and I decided that our last big excursion would be to Bukhansan National Park.  He had visited earlier in the week doing the same hike I did on my first time in Bukhansan.  We were excited to see if any of the fall foliage was popping its head and planned on heading to Songchu Falls.  I hadn’t heard anything about them other than seeing them on the trail map so we picked a route that led us to Obong peak after Songchu Falls.

We got up bright and early having packed our bags and picked out lunch already.  I was bringing Gimbap that I made in cooking class and Ben grabbed a meal at 7-11; we had plenty of trail mix and grabbed our camelbacks out of the fridge before jumping on the subway.  Just over an hour later we arrived at Hoeryong Station.  You could immediately see the mountain range and we started out for Hoeryong Crossing.



The hike started along a paved path; we were quiet surprised to share the road with a few vehicles, stepping aside as it grew more vertical.  Before long we came across a Buddhist temple at the end of the road.  There was a small celebration for what appeared to be a new monk with paintings and plenty of Koreans.  Ben and I focused on the gorgeous view in the background and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird in the garden.







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