Thanks for Putting Your Phone Down, Dad!

At around 9:45 pm, I came home from a long, tiring, and interesting day. To be more specific, something happened between 7:30-9:30 pm tonight that was special to me. I’ll probably share it in a different post. But, those two hours had a huge impact on my heart and I couldn’t contain the joy and peace that I was feeling.

I entered the Master’s bedroom to greet my parents, but my mom was already asleep. My Dad, however, was still awake and was using his cellphone (I think he was playing a game). When I kissed dad, he asked me how I was and where I came from and I decided to take a deep breath as I said: “Dad, I just had a crazy and interesting night. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Sometimes, before, whenever we had the chance to talk in their room at night, he would continue to use his phone while I greeted him or while we exchanged stories. But tonight, he did something that I deeply appreciated. Dad put his phone down a few seconds after I started to share what happened to me tonight.

For the next fifteen minutes, I relayed to him the details of my night as my eyes watered. I got teary eyed not because of pain but because my heart was overwhelmed with joy and amazement at how God personally touched me in my fresh experience. As I shared, Dad eagerly listened and even affirmed what I was sharing. He continued to rejoice with me when I rejoiced and he praised God with me when I acknowledged His goodness and perfect timing. He even gave me a sincere advice to support what I just learned and shared to him.

After our talk, I walked out of the room and shouted “Thanks, Dad, for listening! Oh, and thanks for walking and feeding the dogs earlier too!”. Not only did he do the chore that I was assigned to do tonight, he also made sure to give his full attention to me, his daughter, while I shared my heart to him.

I am guilty when it comes to using my phone while I talk to other people. Sometimes, I even prefer to use my phone instead of starting conversations with friends or family members. But, tonight, I realized and saw how nice it was for my dad to be so interested in what I was sharing. He postponed what he was doing on his mobile phone, put it down on the bed, and engaged in conversation with me.

Tonight, I just want to appreciate my dad for this seemingly simple yet very impactful act of his. From a daughter’s point of view, I know that parents do have a great influence on their children. Their words, actions, thoughts, and even body language can either build them up or discourage them. This is also the same for children towards our parents.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” -Philippians‬ ‭2:3-4‬

Although I know that we are not perfect, I believe that by God’s grace, we can continue to grow in our relationships with each other. Even through the simplest ways, we can show sincere love and care for each other. By God’s grace, Dad continues to grow and improve as an intentional dad at home and I really praise the Lord for this.

Thanks again, Dad, for our quick magic moment tonight! You were the first one to know about my special experience! :)

BANGKOK TOUR: Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri

After hours of walking inside the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, we continued our adventure a few streets away. This time, we tasted different kinds of food and drinks along Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri.

Here’s a quick itinerary in the afternoon:

3:30-4:00 – From Wat Pho, hire a tuktuk to Khao San road street market (estimate: 150 baht)
4:00-5:00 – food trip along Khao San road
5:00-5:05 – walk from Khao San road to Soi Rambuttri
5:05-5:30 – food trip along Soi Rambuttri
5:30-6:30 – stopover at Fifty-five massage parlor and enjoy your choice of massage. I suggest 30 mins of foot massage + 30 mins of full back massage.

KHAO SAN ROAD

This one-kilometer stretch of street food stalls, restaurants, shops, massage parlors, and hostels was a delight to see! Our first stop: finally taste the famous Coconut Milk ice cream served with coconut meat in a coconut shell which was topped with roasted peanuts and chocolate syrup. I opted not to have the syrup because I wanted to appreciate the pure taste of the coconut milk.

Then, we tried their Pad Thai and fried lumpia. I am not really a fan of Pad Thai, but I liked the taste and texture of the one we tried in Khao San.

We also got to taste their sour green mango with rock salt and chili. However, the mangoes in Bangkok are bland compared to the ones in the Philippines. I’m not sure why. But, I personally like the mangoes in our country.

Some vendors also sold fried chicken skin, chicken satay, pork barbeque, and grilled chicken balls. These streetfood were delicious! Their barbeques were extra tender and juicy too!

Another common sight at their streets is the display of fresh fruits served in cups or sticks.

SOI RAMBUTTRI

After an hour of touring Khao San road, we headed towards Soi Rambuttri, which was just 5 minutes away. By that time, we weren’t hungry anymore so we decided to walk some more and have a foot massage nearby.

Thankfully, there was an affordable massage parlor (55 Massage) in this street which provided excellent customer service. Our feet and backs were aching and numb, so we stopped for feet and body massages. Aaahhhh! It was amazing. The staff members were very friendly. They did an amazing job massaging our feet and bodies. Plus, they even served us snacks and tea while we rested a bit more in their parlor. If I would have the chance to go back to Soi Rambuttri, I will definitely have massages there again. It’s a must-try!

It was nearing dinner time after our massages were done, so we went back to Khao San road to catch an Uber car going to our hostel. But before we went home, we had our last snack in the area: Nutella banana rotee/roti! Yum!


All throughout our trip in Bangkok, we experienced difficulty in communicating with some of the locals because they didn’t speak English. But, despite this, it was fun and interesting to go around their streets, explore and taste their food, and document the experience.


3 Things I Learned from Winning Cathay Pacific’s Spiral Buffet Contest

It has been a week since I had my first dinner buffet at Spiral Manila. If you know me, you’ll agree when I say I love buffets. Every time our family stays at a hotel, my younger brother and I always come up with strategies to help us maximize the buffet. So, when I recently won two free tickets to Spiral Manila’s buffet, my heart (and stomach) leaped for joy!

The Challenge: Cathay Pacific posted on their Facebook page, “Share your favorite food shots from your #LifeWellTravelled adventures and include a short description of the dish to get a chance to win lunch or dinner for 2 at Sofitel Plaza Manila’s Spiral!”

The Judges: Eight members of Cathay Pacific Airways screened the entries and chose two winners for this food photography contest.

The Winning Entry: I submitted a photo of Coconut Milk Ice Cream in a coconut shell while I was cruising along the Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

By God’s grace, a few weeks after I submitted the entry, Cathay Pacific’s marketing team sent me a message on Facebook saying that I won! Woohoo!!!


THREE THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS:

1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY

In my 20+ years of existence, I have never won a prize from joining contests online. I figured that it would be difficult for me to win since it would mean competing with hundreds or thousands of people. But, for some reason, the moment I read about the mechanics, I immediately joined the contest and submitted my best options.

If I belittled or doubted at that time, I would have missed out on the privilege of winning tickets to a buffet for the first time! Because of this experience, I am learning to step out of my comfort zone once in a while and take more risks in trying new things.


2. PRAY AND WAIT EXPECTANTLY

After submitting my entries, I knew that it would take a few more weeks before they would announce the winner. So, I literally couldn’t do anything more about the contest except to pray and wait. I remember telling God that I didn’t have any experience in winning from online contests. But, I also told Him that if ever He does allow me to win this time, I want to honor Him with it.

Lifting dreams and desires up to God helps me remove any worries or discouragements. It also allows me to have opportunities to trust and hope that He is able to provide, if He thinks that it would be for the best.

3. SHARE BLESSINGS WITH OTHERS

While I was thanking the Lord for the surprise blessing, I remembered my friend, Hiro, who was leaving the country in a few weeks. Instantly, I knew that he was the one God wanted me to share this prize with. So, to celebrate this simple victory and to serve as my friend’s despedida, we ate at Spiral Manila’s dinner buffet.

The place was beautiful. Of course, the spiral staircase will capture your attention. But, the details of each cuisine in the buffet area were impressive. Not to mention, the servers would always make sure that our glasses were filled with cold water and that our napkins were neatly folded on the table while we were getting refills of food. We couldn’t believe that we were enjoying the dinner at Spiral Manila without paying a single centavo that night — not even the parking fee. All by God’s grace!

I loved the variety of food in the place. I couldn’t help but compare it with the other hotel buffets that I’ve tried in Manila, so far. No doubt, this has the most number of cuisines available. Also, they made the experience pleasurable by using unique plates, platters, and bowls for their food. They even have a room dedicated to all kinds of cheese and cold cuts. Oh my. Hahaha! Unfortunately, our stomachs couldn’t take in everything we saw that evening. But, it was definitely a wonderful and relaxing experience.

We went there at 6 pm and stayed until 10:45 pm, just before the buffet area closed. Towards the latter part of the evening, we were also serenaded by beautiful and classy music from a live band.

Hooray! Thank You, Lord! Thank you, also, Cathay Pacific Airways for making this possible. :)

 

THE BONUS

Before the night ended, I even got a bonus from my friend. He wanted to congratulate me by giving me a gift and encouraging me to develop my skills in photography. It was funny because he first gave me a clue (“relaxation”) and asked me to guess what it was. Immediately, I said “The Spa GC!”. He laughed at how specific my answer was and then he continued to joke about it and asked me to guess again. I explained to him that going to The Spa for a full body massage was my guilty pleasure. I wasn’t really proud of it because I knew that it was expensive. But, every time I think of relaxing, I really imagine going to The Spa. Hahaha. After a few minutes, he got his wallet, pulled out a gray card, and gave it to me.

IT WAS A 2000-PESO GIFT CARD FROM THE SPA!

AGAIN, I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT WAS HAPPENING. Hahahaha! Of all the gifts!!! I told him that God really knows my heart’s desires. Haha! Down to the last few moments of our evening, we exchanged more gifts (song, photos, and a book) and stories with each other; thanking God for the buffet prize, our friendship, and for His goodness and faithfulness in both of our lives.

Well… Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. But, in any case, I realize that it still boils down to how our hearts respond when it happens. Because He graciously allowed me to win this time, I sincerely want to publicly acknowledge His goodness and grace.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬

Until the next contest! :)

BANGKOK TOUR: Grand Palace and Wat Pho

On our second day in Bangkok, we decided to do a Do-It-Yourself tour since the locations were already in the city. In the morning, we visited the Grand Palace. Then, in the afternoon, we went to Wat Pho, one of the famous temples in Bangkok. The second day was very interesting for us because we had just visited the old grand palace the day before. Seeing how the current palace looks like definitely gave us a new perspective on the culture of Thailand.

Here’s a summary of the first part of our itinerary for the second day:

8:00-9:00 – Grab/Uber ride from the hostel to the Grand Palace
9:00-11:30 – tour inside the Grand Palace
11:30-1:00 – walk along the restaurants located near the entrance/exit of the Grand palace and have your lunch.
1:00-1:30 – walk towards Wat Pho. We used google maps to direct us towards the temple. But, if you ask the locals in the area, they are very helpful in pointing the direction. Also, there are also street signs that lead towards the temple.
1:30-3:30 – tour inside Wat Pho

Here are some of the photos from our DIY tour. :)

GRAND PALACE
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Open: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Dress Code: NOT allowed – Slippers, shorts, Clothes that reveal the shoulders and chest, Jeans with ripped parts or holes, Skirts or dresses higher than the knees, and leggings or tight fitting jeans.
Entrance Fee: 500 baht (One ticket includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.)


WAT PHO
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Open: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Dress Code: NOT allowed – Slippers, shorts, Clothes that reveal the shoulders and chest, Jeans with ripped parts or holes, Skirts or dresses higher than the knees, and leggings or tight fitting jeans.
Entrance Fee: 100 baht