Winter Lavender, Hokkaido Japan

What to do in “Lavender Country” in winter? Smell the lavender! Tomita Farms is spectacular at the height of summer lavender season with seas of the purple flowers swaying with the wind. In the thick of winter with the barren treescape when snow covers the fields outside and the meandering mountain slopes beyond… …there remains…

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

VanDusen Garden is a sight to behold!  Named after Canadian lumberman and philanropist, Whitford Julian VanDusen, it is one of five parks in the posh Shaughnessy neighbourhood, occupying a parcel of the old Shaughnessy Golf Course. The man who designed the garden, R. Roy Forster, was given the second highest honor for merit, the Order…

Coal Harbor Morning Hike

“Nice bike!” a man on a bike hollered as he rode past! I was the only human within earshot so I soon realised that I had been hiking on the bike lane at Coal Harbor! Whether a straightforward “Out of my way” or a sarcastic “nice bike” was better, I learned to be mindful of…

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the top go-to places for Autumn leaf-peaking in Vancouver.  It used to be a forest with salmon-spawning creeks, making it a favorite hunting ground for bears, wolves, and elk.  In 1870 when Europeans settled here, they got rid of the wild animals, cleared the forest, and built pathways on the…

On Gardens and Good Friday

Gardens are one of the most refreshing places to visit with God’s unrivaled living art and science in the form of flowers in nature…specially during Hanami (Cherry Blossom) season!  From one spot alone at Ueno Park on a timely Hanami Season visit:In capturing the scene of this grand symphony of beauty, there is only one…

Casa Pam, Tali Beach, Batangas

As early as two months prior, Eric and Pam decided to host a weekend reunion for our high school batch at their beach house as batchmates were coming in from abroad. To make it to breakfast on D-Day, Olive, Vicki, and I left Manila at 5am. Here’s a sweet reminder for us from a bus…

Kota Paradiso: Get a Slice of Paradise

Kota Paradiso in Mabitac, Laguna is a hidden jewel of a destination for nature and farm lovers.  On the way here, you will catch glimpses of heaven with azure skies, lush tropical mountains, and the largest lake in the Philippines—Laguna de Bay. Energy mills pepper the route…… so do these mango trees which look like they’re…

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Victoria and Vancouver are such beautiful cities. A mere stroll across four days within a very small radius provides a feast for the eyes and senses. This is a sampling of the landscape, architecture, sights, and vibe.  Apart from God’s beautiful creation, it cost someone to pay for the buildings, plants, labor. But it’s free…

Butchart Gardens, Victoria

I didn’t get to see Arashiyama on my last trip to Osaka but my marshmallow test reward gave me something I like even better! Victoria, the capital of the Canadian province, British Columbia! Thank You, Lord for the blessing that comes with obedience to You! It started with a 35-minute seaplane ride from Vancouver Harbor,…

How to Be A Happy Travel Companion

 Many years ago, I bought this book called  1,000 Places to See Before You Die A Traveler’s Life List. I planned to cherry pick places to put on my bucket list as “worth seeing” so that I could say that I’ve lived. Given a choice, because of my excitement to learn, I prefer to travel to…

Home Decorating with Mejore

The problem with beautifying the home is that changing one thing sometimes causes a ripple, or even a ripping, effect on the wallet.  If the authority in your home wants a certain level of house beauty, you will realize that investing in the spaces they spend most of their time in ministers to them after…

Great Fosters Afternoon Tea

Sometimes when I have recurring prayer requests on matters that haven’t been answered, the counsel  I receive is to leave the things that I can not control in God’s hands; wait for His perfect timing, perfect way, perfect will. Certain difficulties need to happen for the benefit of what God is trying to do in…

Bordeaux Region: Real en Medoc Stay and Saint Julien Dinner

Many years ago, I visited Le Cordon Bleu (Pasadena) inquiring about taking up a course to upgrade my kitchen work skills. But because the course required several months of staying in California while my kids were still in grade school in Manila, the choice was easy: drop the idea and find other ways.  I then…

Through the Doors of Manila House

While I was at work, Aki texted me if I wanted to come with her to visit Auro Chocolate’s Pop-up store at the Manila House, a by-invitation members-only exclusive club at the cocooned beautiful enclave of BGC. I love Auro Chocolates. They use and promote local cacao beans; they seek to empower Filipino cacao farmers in…

11 Benefits of Adopting Cats

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. From being fearful of cats and pets in general, here I am sharing some benefits of adopting cats based on my experience: Low maintenance: Physical preparation. They just need a bowl of food, a bowl of water, a litter box (with litter sand). Low maintenance: Time. If I have time, they are…