Ephesus is the Home and the city of the Blessed Virgin Mary after Jesus Christ died. Checkout the gorgeous ruins that can definitely leave one in awe!
Living the Dream. Life's checklist to ride my first and probably last hot air balloon... CHECK! :) Early early morning in the beautiful Flintstone's aged city of Cappadocia! :D We had to wake up at 4 am! But we all found it such an experience to be up there with such breath-taking unique view of rock formations! We were up in the sky for 60 minutes. We stood the whole time inside the basket. The temperature was close to zero. We were loads of feet above the ground. While on air, 60 other balloons joined us up there. Our ride ended up toasting to champagne and getting certified. King, Kay, and I plus our tourmates had such a wonderful time!
We touched down Troy in Canakkale, Turkey. Studied all these back in college under Sir Dave's class. It's just amazing to see all the remains and evidences right before me! We even watched Troy while on the bus to relive all the greek-trojan battles as they fought for Helen. There was a wooden horse that was recreated on site -- the so called gift given by the Greeks which caused firing up the entire city of Troy.
There goes my last offsite with the wonderful folks of AIA! We left early Wednesday on Feb 8, 2012 to head for our respective airport assignments. Despite the inevitable flight delay, that definitely didn't stop the fun from heading our way. When we touched down Palawan, we finally got reunited with the rest of the GIA-ers who took other flights. It was a 30 minute bus ride to the pier for us. This was followed by an intense 1 hour boat ride! I am grateful for good weather. Thanks to Serc, I survived! After glimpses of the countries virgin islands and the great vastness which surrounded us, we finally spotted our destination - Dos Palmas Island Resort. We were greeted with the friendly folks riding their kayaks. They were throwing pink orchid petals towards our direction. The background was filled with sounds and beats coming from the tribal gongs and other island instruments. We had a scrumptious seafood buffet waiting for us every meal which everyone enjoyed. We first nailed the learning pieces in the conference room. Then the intense competitive spirit already sparked among the 3 tribes even with just the indoor activities. It was a challenge between Team Samburu, Team Boganda, and of course Team Waka-Waka! We had to prepare for our performances for the Socials Night. We were greatly entertained by Chams & Ayo, our hosts. We ended the night lighting up and releasing 12 chinese lanterns up to the sky which contained our commitments, celebrations, and sentiments of gratitude. Some of which got stuck but hey it's the thought that matters! A night of drinks and fun awaited us until past midnight! Happy we got to celebrate Willah's Birthday!!! :)
Day 2 was loaded with a very pack agenda! The tribes raced around the island to deliver one challenge after another. From physical to mental. Lifting coconuts, kayak challenges, and even testing how well we mastered our brands and variants! Teams did the craziest things given their passion for winning. Hahaha! Extra proud to be part of the winning team -- Waka-Waka! Great teamwork and strategizing guys!
After all the fun and games, AIA headed for island hopping to Puting Buhangin for an awesome lunch picnic. The view was simply scenic. The team even headed for the beach to splash around and get wet. The rest of the time was devoted for specific AO-Agendas. It was always good learning for us. By late afternoon we took a break and rode the speed boat towards a floating hut for some snorkeling fun! Buffet dinner awaited us. The word sleep was forgotten since folks went for night swimming, karaoke, drinks, billiards, table tennis, and bonding.
Before I end, I have to shout out! Thanks AIA for the superb company! Props to Org Culture for all the hard work & preparation which exceeded expectations! Special thanks too for the accommodating Dos Palmas staff for making it an enjoyable 2 day getaway for AIA! :D
Check out the highlights of our Seoul City Tour! Seoul's own tower called the N-Tower which allows you to witness at 360 degrees view of the city. There's of course the Teddy Bear Museum meant to portray the Korean way of life. Can't miss the temples as well when heading for Korea! :)
Took a short break out of all the hustle and bustle. Good timing too since King was having his semestral break. We headed for Seoul, Korea. It has been 14 years already since my last visit. My brother wasn't even born during that time! Mom was still pregnant with him. It was in Korea when my dad threw a huge rock and wished for a baby boy. Well, lo and behold. It came true.
I was once a supporter of the Korean Telenovela series back in high school. I remember sleeping extremely late hours just to complete one episode after another and yes crying without even completely understanding the language. During this trip, I got the chance to check out Nami Island, the well-known place where Winter Sonata was shot. We were so lucky it was fall, the weather was perfect and the view was simply marvelous. I love the sight of red yellow orange and green leaves hovering the blue cloudy skies. :) Total relaxation mode. :)
We had to take a 5 minute boat ride to reach Nami Island. Nami Island was also known for Rice Threshing. We had the opportunity to try that out. Before I forget, we had good Korean BBQ for lunch!
After a taste of Nami Island, we headed for a hike up to Seorak Mountain. We even had to take a cable car to reach the peak. On the way up there we witnessed a bear statue, a gigantic Buddha as in really big, several bridges and temples plus of course more lovely colors of fall so the climb was worth it! :)
People take leaves to get a break / relax / enjoy. I personally thought of taking a break to spend some time with my mom. I haven't gotten the chance to do so for quite a while. So I thought I'd give it a go. Going to Guangzhou was not a breeze. We'd take long rides to what I'd call the Fabric Land. Whole days of feeling the fabric, analyzing the texture/thickness, looking at loads of designs from checks, stripes, dotted, plain (you name it!), and watching my mother select which designs she felt would sell. I could have just backed out but personally I wouldn't trade this trip for anything. I'm only further reminded of how hardworking & loving my mom is. How she never ever got tired of working for the love of us. Her passion for these fabric/clothes give her a high she'd always tell me. You would never see her in an exhausted state. I have no idea how she does it. I find myself seated resting every few hours. She has been doing this for more than 20 years now. And since I was a kid, I've been a witness to such great passion that continues to drive her until this very day. She's the best!
After work mode, we headed for some enjoyment. We witnessed all these beautiful city lights in Guangzhou and I just can't imagine how advanced the city has turned into after just a few years!!! This was such a de-stressing 1.5 hour boat ride. Mom have been wanting me to see this & guess what, I finally did! I highly recommend the experience! :)
All about the traveling Queen who wanted to share with the world the little and great discoveries that have brought her joy.