Half a day in Mount Gambier

19/10/19

Hubby just had some work to do there hence, I went with him. I convinced him to stay over-night. With our short half a day, we managed to explore the town and surprisingly, there were so many things to visit near Mt. Gambier’s centre, Caves, Sinkholes, Lakes. They were all worth visiting. Hoping to explore more of it in the near future.

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Tasmania Get-away

July 2019

We arrived in Hobart early morning. We decided to hire a car and we drove around the city as we weren’t sure if we were able to check-in that early. After brunch, we tried our luck, and yey! to Wrest Point as they let us check in early.

We had a short rest and we headed up to Mr. Wellington. Unfortunately, due to snowing, parts of the road going up there were closed. We just walked around the nearby trails. We then drove down and looked for a place to eat dinner and found a seafood restaurant near the pier. Oysters were yummy but expensive.

20190719_120328_HDRThe next day, we took the ferry to Bruny Island. The island was full of nice views and viewpoints. My favorite, of course, was the lighthouse as it was serene up there.  They also have an oyster restaurant there which unfortunately we couldn’t visit. I checked their website and found out that their prices were a lot cheaper than anywhere in the mainland, even cheaper than the one in Salamanca Market.

 

The next day, we went to Salamanca Market. It was an open market by the pier which only operates every Saturday. There were a lot of food, music, and crafts. It was an interesting walk. We then drove to Launceston passing via Mount Fields.

DSCN3268There were innumerable trails to choose from in Mt. Fields with different levels of difficulty. Of course, we, for now, chose the easy trail, which was a trail that would pass through their 3 rich and beautiful waterfalls. They were stunning. Trails were also very easy to navigate. Next time, we promise to ourselves that we would try other trails. Hopefully, the one with snow.

Russell Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Lady Barron’s Falls

 

Driving to Launceston from there was a long and vertigo-eliciting process. After their amazing sunset, the road was very dark and windy. We could see a lot of dead animals on the streets because of this. There were very little possible stops for toilet or food along the way. So, fill up your fuel and empty your bladders before driving from Mount Fields to Launceston.

We then reached the city and headed for a nice meal by the pier, again. I wanted oysters again but it was just too pricey for me, so I had to control my urges.

The next day, T’s friend pick us up to show us the majestic Cataract Gorge. T was already complaining because there were more trails up there. I particularly liked the vastness and quietness of the place. We then went to a pub to watch their team play, then dinner. Our last activity was to visit a church for a short prayer.20190721_120453_HDR

I was happy and content.

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Yarra Valley Get-away

July 2019

To begin our mini-honeymoon, we went to a Japanese food buffet, Okami. They were ok, only the waiting time for the food to be served was quite long. Then we drove to a secluded place in Yarra Valley called Deville Healseville and spent a couple of days there. We used their spa every night to relax.

On our first day, we went around the town, looked for a church, viewpoint and we found this interestingly named restaurant called the Innocent Bystander.  We were hoping for a juicier story behind the name but unfortunately, it was all about wines. The owner wanted to make people’s wine experience more accessible and more enjoyable for people, hence, they decided to be a ‘bystander’ instead of a competitor.

20190711_152626Next day, we randomly decided to go to Lake Mountain. Without proper attire and preparations, we went to a snowy hill. This is T’s first snow experience and I was too excited for him. To enjoy the trip better, despite we were on cheap mode, we hired winter wears that cost us $108. We tried to convince ourselves that we paid for the experience. We did.

On our third day, we went to the Chocolate Factory. Of course, it was crowded. The only thing I enjoyed there was the free-taste of Choco. They were yummy of course, but a little bit pricey in my opinion. Then we drove around Yarra Glen. Then, we found Kinglake’s Mason Waterfalls.

It was a short trail walk from the parking space to the waterfall’s viewpoint. It was a small one, unlike those of the pictures from the internet. I just enjoyed the fact that T and I walked together using a trail. =) We then had Indian Food for dinner.

The next day was checkout, sadly.

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Wedding Suppliers and Finances

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For those multi-cultural couples out there, we spent less than $15000 AUD for everything already. Including my parents’ flights, our accommodations before and after the wedding, 55 persons with 3-course meal.

Please do contact me if you need help preparing your wedding. We got our stuff from the Philippines, Singapore (where I used to be based) and here in Australia.

For my own reference, and to help other couples have a rough idea about how much is it to have a simple wedding like ours, I’ve come up with a table of our Suppliers and their prices. I will share it if you need it.

SUPPLIERS
Ceremony Mr. Hobson, Port Melbourne
Celebrant Mimi Zaetta
Reception Mr. Hobson, Port Melbourne
Bridal Dress Manila, Philippines
Shoes Manila, Philippines
Scarves for Bridesmaids Manila, Philippines
Pouch Manila, Philippines
Wedding Rings 1 Binondo, Manila
Wedding Ring 2 Silver Works
Accessories Manila, Philippines
Flowers Facebook Sellers (second-hand)
Videographer MLB Media
Photographer Mel Imbi
Suit Ferrari Formal Wear
Hanky Ferrari Formal Wear
Vest Singapore
Shirt Manila, Philippines
Cake Old Hadies Bakery
Cake Topper Online
Wedding Favours Online
Make-up(4pax) Shades by Sheryn
Sounds and Music Simon
Arts and Crafts Melbourne

On how good the videos and photographs are, I can’t say yet as I haven’t seen the results 2weeks post-wedding. Why are they taking a bit long? I am not sure and I really don’t care. So long as I get them eventually. I am not sure about your own urgency, but I don’t really feel like rushing artists. =)

Mr. Hobson was great. Nice sunset view, yummy food, great people to deal with.

Cake, was super yummy and affordable. Mr. Hobson helped cut it as dessert and embellished it with jelly-like toppings which made it heavenly.

Shades of Sheryn was good. She made us look beyond presentable during the wedding.

Mimi was fun and easy to work with.

Simon is a friend to my lovely groom, so he didn’t charge us but to thank him for his help, we….. He’s very talented, seriously very very good!

To our suppliers, thank you so so much!

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Wedding day

6 JULY 2019

As I see my friends’ Melbourne posts on Facebook, it slowly started sinking in that, yes, I was getting married and they all flew here to celebrate this occasion with me.

Day before the event, we had to decorate the place. This was a family team-activity, mine and T’s.

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On the day, I was nervous, excited, scared, all emotions combined. We recited our vows, ate, danced and sang. Everything went smoothly. I was happy as almost everyone I cared about was present in  one place. I can’t explain it but it was just perfect.

Our Vows

Vows

Original Rings and New Rings

Original Rings and New Rings

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Fam in Melbourne

July 2019

After what happened to T, my exams, wedding preparations were all delayed. Initially, my plan was to take them around and have a good time whilst preparing for the wedding. But plans sometimes don’t work.

As we pick them up from the airport, I knew I won’t be able to tour them much because I had to prepare for my exams. So unfortunate that the exams were scheduled a week before the wedding, until Friday afternoon while the wedding was Saturday. Anyway, we did what we could do. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family.

Another misfortune was I realized the wedding ring my parents originally gifted us was gone. For some reason, it wasn’t where I originally placed it. Luckily, my sister was still back in the Philippines and was able to help us find a not-so pricey one. Our rings went from Gold to Tungsten, from fitting to too tight and from sentimental (cos it was from my parents and personally picked and fitted them in a shop in the Philippines) to a semi-sentimental one as it was bought via online communication.

Anyway, this post is about my parents’ getaway and explorations. I was impressed with their ability to walk in the cold. There was one time we walked 11km and they still wanted more. I just had to cut the walk as I had to study.  We managed to go around the trails of Dandenong.

We also did the Free walking tour by https://www.imfree.com.au/melbourne/ . As per all the free tours, they run by donation. It was an educational walk around the city. We also went to the Firelight Festival and enjoyed the free performances and fireworks display. This festival only ran for 3days and we are fortunate to have witnessed it. We also watched the sunset at Chelsea Beach one afternoon.

— Side story: Singapore Night Festival was as interesting. T and I ‘s first date involved enjoying Singapore Night Festival.

We also managed to buy an affordable tour to the Great Ocean Road with  ‘New to Melbourne’, a Facebook group that offers big group tours around Victoria for a cheaper price. Check them out as they’re more affordable than most tours.

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I could see how my parents are having a great time and looking at them happy makes me want to take them to more places. Unfortunately, because of my life choices, I can’t do that as much as before yet. I know, I will be able to eventually.

The remaining days they were here were spent preparing for the wedding (mum helped arrange the flowers and make/design the souvenirs. I couldn’t have done it without her help), helping Tim and I and having occasional meet-ups with my sister in the city.

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Pre-wedding Challenge

Friday : He came home flushed. His spasms were worse than before. He sat on his favourite chair, watched the footy and had pineapple for dinner. We then slept, while he kept his phone music on as he couldn’t sleep because of this unusual amount of spasms he was experiencing. A lot more than before.

Saturday: I tried to wake him up for meals, medications, and drinks. He only grunted every time. I thought he was resting and didn’t pay much attention when he refused to take anything. At 6pm,  he got up, walked around the house with his boxers. He was saying “Baby….mumbles” I couldn’t understand what he was saying but I could hear baby. He lied down on the lounge again and walked to the bedroom saying the same stuff that I couldn’t understand. I started to worry. I called my friends who lived close by. No response.

He started taking off his boxers and now, he’s completely naked. Joey called back and helped me get my act together. He asked me to call a locum doctor. They didn’t pick up soon. I had to use their online booking system which was faster. After less than one hour, Joey came to my house and the locum doctor came too.  T refused to be touched. He wasn’t himself already. The doctor then recommended for me to call the ambulance.

As I was trying to dress T up, Joey, helped me call the ambulance. He passed the phone back to me as the ambulance hotline people were asking some questions, or possibly, they were just trying to calm me down while waiting for the ambulance. I couldn’t dress him up, the ambulance came.

Two paramedics came into the house. I told them again what happened. I asked them to please do not touch his nape. I was afraid that they might force him into the ambulance as he was being too uncooperative. They have been gentle despite T being a little rude and asking them to Fuck off. He wasn’t my T anymore.

They asked for back-up. Now, 4 paramedics in the house. They were asking me to move aside as I was somehow panicking and possibly interrupting their practice. I was crying. Joey was calming me down. Finally, after 1 and half hours of trying, they decided to inject him with a mild sedative, I think. They were able to make T get into the ambulance.

We were in the Emergency Department. They put diapers on him. He was still refusing touch. T is a strong man and it was hard to calm him down when they were putting on IV, taking blood and those electrodes on his body. By then, I was already talking to his whole family. I was waiting for his results the whole night. They informed me about lumbar puncture. Though it is a normal procedure, I knew T wouldn’t let this as he refused touch. The word puncture was also very intimidating to hear. I was like, I don’t think I would want that for myself either. I asked his family if they’re ok with it, they said yes.

We were transferred to the normal ward by 4 or 5am. They were quite nice to me there. By 10 or 11 am, we were transferred to ICU. They wanted to sedate him for his lumbar puncture test. My aunt came for a visit and gave me food. His friends started to come. And Sunday night, his family drove and flew to us to support me and of course, to care for our beloved T.

He was occasionally opening his eyes, but he was not able to talk, move and recognize. He was just looking blankly. There was no soul. There was no reaction. I cried lots. My family back home wasn’t sleeping too. They were right beside me despite they were far away.

Every time, T woke up, and moved, I was running to his face and I would talk to him. Trying my best for him to somehow wake up more or connect. I played his favourite music and made him see footy interviews despite not knowing if he heard them. I am somehow certain it would help. This disposition went on for 4 days. No reaction from my sweet T was so painful. The way he refused people’s touch, the way he looked. It was just too painful to see and watch as he used to be a very passionate and funny individual.

The doctors suggested MRI for him. After investigating his history, they managed to finally decide to go ahead with it. I could finally see some reaction in T’s eyes and t wasn’t a pleasant one. His eyes spoke terror. He was scared to go into the MRI room. I couldn’t stop crying as I couldn’t do anything. I could only take him there, but I couldn’t go inside the room with him. Unfortunately, this first attempt was not as successful as he did not cooperate very well.

Wednesday: I’ve slept beside him the whole time as I didn’t want him to wake up alone and clueless. I wanted to be there when he wakes up and I wanted to be the one explaining to him what happened. Every time, he moved, I was awake, and I kept on running to his face.

At 3am, he moved, as usual, I walked in front of him. He asked, “What happened?” I was happy as he was somehow back. I told him the whole story. Then we fell asleep again at 7am. I was updating his family and friends the whole time. In the morning, they all came and he recognized them. There were some memory lapses like the dates and year. But he was generally getting better and better.

He was calm and patient addressing his memory loss and inability to text. I was like, if this was me, I wouldn’t stop trying to regain my memory the soonest. I would keep on memorizing and practicing. But T was different, he was always positive, and he just won’t stress on things. My complete opposite.

Today, they also decided to send him for MRI again. He was understanding better, hence, the assessment went more smoothly.

All results were apparently normal. There was no formal diagnosis however, they treated him with antiviral and antiseizure and somehow, one of them seemed to be doing miracles.

Thursday: We were discharged from the ICU and we were sent to the normal ward. He’s getting better despite still a little unstable with his gait. The funny T was slowly coming back.

Monday: We were discharged as he wanted to start working the soonest.


After 5days in ICU and 5days in the normal ward, he is finally home. It was an experience I never even imagined happening to me/us. It went as if we were in a movie. It felt unreal.

Looking back, however, I feel somehow relieved that we were able to surpass such a challenge. Not all couples can have a pre-wedding challenge/bonding like that. I shed tears, I prayed, and I allowed myself to be weak and vulnerable. I asked and welcomed hugs, help, and kindness from everyone. I usually will try to keep doing things myself but last week was different. It felt good to be with people.

I was overwhelmed with everyone’s kindness and love for Tim and myself. To my/ his family, and friends, thank you for all your help and prayers. I didn’t only fall in love with him more, I also fell deeper for his family and friends. I now know that Tim’s heart is so amazing because he has been surrounded by wonderful people.

I feel so blessed to be part of his life because I know I will become a better human being with him. That is bigger than travelling 50 percent of the world.

This month, we will not be doing the usual wedding preparations, instead, we will ensure Tim gets his strength back to enable him to enjoy our Big day (and to make sure I pass exams I requested to delay because of this interesting turn of events)

To my friends and family, I can’t thank you enough as well.
I am grateful! VERY BIG THANK YOU to all of you!!!!!!

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Update

I haven’t journaled in a while. Yes. I have moved. I am no longer based in Singapore. I decided to take a break from working as a clinician and be a full-time student in Melbourne, Australia. So far, aside from my current flu, everything else has been doing well.

School is tough, yeah, as expected, but I think I am surviving still. There are a lot of individual and group assignments. There are concepts and subjects I’ve never encountered before but I will fight and try to understand them.

I am starting to miss my favorite foodies in Singapore. I am starting to miss running in the heat. I am starting to miss traveling. I am starting to earn my own money. Don’t get me wrong, T has been good support for me here. However, working and being productive while being paid has its own sweet feeling of accomplishment for me.

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Singapore, My Second Home

Thirteen years passed rather quickly. Looking back, I told myself, I would only be here for 5 years but things didn’t happen as I originally imagined it. It unfolded differently. I suppose it went on for the better. If I have a chance to go back to my younger years, I would still choose to accept the opportunity here in Singapore. There are so many things about Singapore that I am grateful about. There are so many facts about Singapore that I will miss and treasure.

I am thankful that I am and was able to interact with other cultures. If I were back home, I would only know about my own traditions and culture. In Singapore, I wasn’t able to escape exposure. I learned to mingle with people of different beliefs and religions. I learned how to eat their food. I had favorites that I am already craving for them. I wore all sorts of costumes. I attended weddings. I gained friends not only from Singapore but from all over the world.

The first time I came here, I was so scared to converse as I was struggling to understand Singlish. Phone conversations were daunting as hell as I couldn’t even read lips. As I stayed here longer, I managed to cope. I started falling in love with Singlish as it was easier and convenient to use. Where else can you find a place that, like a salad, mixes 4 languages together with sauces of “lahs, mehs etc.”? Whilst a single “Aiyoh” speaks of complete disappointment? Singlish is an art, uniquely from Singapore. It’s dynamic and it’s beautiful.

Speaking of salad, Singapore’s hawker center is among the most prominent and integral aspect of Singapore’s cultural heritage. Hawker center, just like the country itself, is a fusion of cultures. This is where the young and the old, the rich and the poor, Singaporean and foreigners mingle from then up to now.

That’s how diverse yet united Singapore is and I think, it is working very well for the country, for now. Singapore shouts culture, the Culture of Healthily Mixed Cultures! I love it!

Transportation in Singapore is amazing. It will take a long time before the capital of my country could do something like Singapore’s. It is efficient that sometimes, even food delivery services use public transport to deliver food. It may be crowded sometimes, but almost all the time, it’s frequent and it’s on time. I am grateful because I wouldn’t have known that efficiency if possible until I came to Singapore. I got so used to chaos.

Changi International Airport is really the gateway to the world or should I say, MY gateway to the world. A country’s airport really speaks about the country itself. Changi is an impression of a country as a whole. It is organized, it is improving all the time and it is beautifully and strategically constructed. The amount of budget airlines served by Changi Airport is immense, hence, even a cheapo like me started to get hooked to traveling. I wouldn’t have reached so many countries if not for (my pay in) Singapore and if not for the budget airlines in Changi Airport. By the way, if you have one day left and you’ve got nothing to do, try going to the airport earlier and you wouldn’t be bored. Lot’s to do at Changi Airport! Yeah, obviously, NOTHING COMPARES! 😉

The culture of listening to feedbacks and taking them seriously is also one thing I like about Singapore. The openness and dynamism make Singapore rich. You would see constant changes all the time. Sometimes, things still look good but they’re already changing it. Sometimes, a building wasn’t there, and like mushrooms, it’ll suddenly be there. Singapore is such a dynamic place. It’s too fast sometimes and it can make one exhausted. It’s a reality. It has its pros and cons. But still, if I were the costumer, I would be very happy as my comments are taken seriously. If in the future, I would have my own business, I would bring that openness to change in my biz. I think it is a trait everyone should have, to know when to listen, learn and act.

To get more specific, I am also grateful to my bosses, thank you for taking a chance on an FT to work in your department, to the families of my clients, thank you for making me a part of your families, to Singapore ICA and MOM for approving my work pass (though I think I will never be good enough to become a PR, it’s ok, I understand. I know you guys are just trying to protect your borders). If not for all of these, I wouldn’t have lived peacefully and joyfully in a foreign country for 13 years.

THANK YOU for taking me in and helping me have a second home. I hope to see Singapore and everyone again in the near future! THANK YOU!

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Papa’s Birthday!

30 Jan – 3 Feb 2019

I know I wasn’t supposed to travel as much anymore. I had to save up for the months that I will soon be unemployed but how could I resist my father’s 65th birthday celebration? The birthday of the man who treated us like his princesses for over thirty years? Despite the urge to save, I just couldn’t as my father is so important to me.

For this occasion, both I and my sister allotted this weekend to celebrate with my dad and mom. We went to a less populated beach resort in Lobo, Batangas. The owner of the resort became a friend to my parents already. The huts were very basic and so as the resort. It didn’t really matter because we were together. My dad kept on barbequing while we kept on munching on the nicely cooked foodies my mom and dad prepared for us.

The next day, we went to a historic lighthouse, Malabrigo. This lighthouse was built during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines and was popularised recently as it was part of the Philippine TV series called Araw Gabi.

We then passed by Lovers Lane. I saw that there were other places to visit in Lobo, like a monolith and more mountains but my mom didn’t want to explore further as she was scared to further ascend to the mountains.

We then headed back to the resort and ate and walked and slept some more. The remaining hours were just as fun. My parents’ happiness made us happy.

I know that this will probably be my last visit back home with a status of “Single”. The next time I head back home, I would already be married to my T. The fact that I won’t be able to head home as frequently saddens me a lot but I have to experience all these to see if I would be able to do it.

I was, am and will continue on to feel blessed as I know I have a family that will always support me in all my life endeavors. I love my family and my soon family a.k.a. T.

Some of the Photos:

 

 

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