Shopping in a Yurt

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We have both agreed that this place is our new fave 🙂 With a whole floor of cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind fashion from brilliant local designers and celebrated Thai couturiers showcased in contemporary tree-hugging shops, what’s not to love? Siam Central is soo refreshing and sets itself apart from the safe, tried-and-tested malls our there! Their original prices (a lot were on sale) are about ten times that of Platinum Mall’s, but then so is the quality and design exclusivity.

Global brands can be found on a different floor and restaurants are on the top floor.

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The Life and Times of Chatuchak

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With narrow pathways, nonexistent air-conditioning, overcrowded areas and some smelly spaces, you’d think this weekend market would be terrible a waste of time.  However, Chatuchak remains to be one of Bangkok’s main tourist attractions garnering close to 200,000 visitors a weekend! Rock-bottom prices and abundance and variety of items from exotic animals to local designer clothes continue to pull people in, myself included.  My tip is to get yourself a map to zero in on zones you want to spend time on.  Also bring a shopping bag and a bottle of water.  Arrive early as it tends to get busier in the afternoons.  I must warn you though, it’s not for everyone. My dad hates it but I, however, can tolerate it for a couple of hours 🙂

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Here you can get easily get something for less than USD5

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Busy bag maker oblivious to crowds and heat

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Refreshing coconut is always a good idea 🙂

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Three Things to Try in Key West

There are 3 things Key West is known for.

One is tasty, one is sweet, and one is spectacular.

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Served as an appetizer or finger food, these morsels are made of medium to large-sized sea snails known as “conch”.  These chunks of chewy meat held together by a batter mixed with peppers or spices are deep fried into crunchiness.

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The crown jewels of the Keys is this yellow citrus fruit, the main ingredient of the place’s most famous dessert.  Key lime is smaller and seedier, and has a greater acidity than most standard limes. Key limes also have a more tart and bitter flavor.

Made of key lime juice, egg yolks, and condensed milk, it was a lovely, tart-y, fluffy end to our meal.

Photo credit: Historictours.com

Photo credit: Historictours.com

Photo Credit: coolkeywest.com

Photo Credit: coolkeywest.com

Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Photo Credit: coolkeywest.comSunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Photo Credit: coolkeywest.com

There’s no escaping the famous Key West sunset.  You can catch it at Mallory Square gazing over local artists and vendors, outside your hotel balcony, or on the boat at the end of your Key West water adventure.  Some swear the sunset at Key West is the best they’ve even seen!

Photo credit: Expert Vagabond

Photo credit: Expert Vagabond

As warm as the sun is the camaraderie felt throughout the Keys whether it’s the waitress genially suggesting their Cuban food specialties, dancers inviting you to sway your hips to salsa, or artists sharing stories behind their masterpieces.  In Key West, living is easy, everybody is friendly, and the weather is fantastic.  Staying there for a couple of days felt similar to seeing an old friend after a long time.  Even though it’s a new environment you can’t help but feel at home.

Are you the Lucky Juan?

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Hello my lovelies!

You may have noticed my recent posts (and a few future ones) have been about my Keys disease—everyone having good vibes, exploring this charming little town called Key West, getting the most out of our beach vacation, and just having fun being with each other.

I simply couldn’t get enough of those pozzivibes so let’s have some more.  Here’s a big CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the 100 Lucky Juans contest.

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WEEK 1

Jive Gonzales—There’s no place like home

John Cabrillos—My Homecoming

Ernesto Payumo—Duyan ng Kamusmusan

Jeddalyn Aquino—I love Philippines

Joan Llanilo—Surprise to my Mom

WEEK 2

Michael Cerillo—Dream Homecoming

Ma. Cristina V. Cerillo—My Happy Homecoming

Griselle Reston—Sama samang saya sa simpleng paraan

Myra Abamonga—From Dubai to Philippines with love

Glenda Orale—My Kids

Joanna Lou Baluyut—Vacation galore with my son

Karen Cabangon—Family Bonding- A Priceless Happiness

WEEK 3

Gina Basilan—Surprise To My Responsible Bro & My Only Child Ineng

Andrea dela Cruz—There Is No Place Like Home

Jeff Bello—Unforgettable Moment

Charis Mae Moody—Sweet Homecoming

Maryann Francisco—Ang Muling Pagbabalik

Aque Bornalo—Pamilya ang Una sa Lahat ng Bagay

Rhonel Tugaoen—My Kids

WEEK 4

Suzette Jalandoni—TGIF Skype with My Family

Jem’s Corner—My First Flight to Dubai at NAIA 2007

Tristan Bangero—Gangnam Style LBC Dubai

Michael Gracel—Every Juans Fly With Us

Hyden Restificar—Miss Ko Na Ang Pasong Pinoy

Fritz Ferdinand—One Touch! One Smile 🙂

Ginalyn Caputol—Grant a Wish

imagesFeeling lucky? Join now! Contest runs until August 18, 2013.  Who knows you might be the next Juan to travel for free! Click this link and to started. 

Good luck!

Travelling the Philippines

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With world-class landscapes, adventure opportunities, warm and hospitable people, wallet-friendly packages, and tropical sunshine (almost) all year round, the Philippines is just packed with attractions fit for every traveler’s fantasy! And with over seven thousand (7,000) majestic islands, choices are abundant!

Allow me to share photos of some of my favorite Philippine destinations:

Always a fave. Boracay Island

Always a fave. Boracay Island

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, Philippines

See mountain-sized Hershey's kisses at Chocolate Hills, Bohol

See mountain-sized Hershey’s kisses at Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Enjoy African wildlife at Calauit, Palawan.

Enjoy African wildlife at Calauit, Palawan.

Into historic artillery? Visit Corregidor

Into historic artillery? Visit Corregidor

Be blown away by the bountiful beautiful beaches in Camiguin

Be blown away by the bountiful beautiful beaches in Camiguin

Taste the sweetest pineapples at Cagayan de Oro–home of the largest pineapple plantation in the country

Taste the sweetest pineapples at Cagayan de Oro–home of the largest pineapple plantation in the country

One of my earliest travels was at Hundred Islands. You can have one all to yourself!

One of my earliest travels was at Hundred Islands. You can have one all to yourself!

Kayaking at the Big Lagoon in El Nido is one of my best travel experiences

Kayaking at the Big Lagoon in El Nido is one of my best travel experiences

Just looking at these photos and reliving all these adventures makes me wanna purchase another plane ticket.  Knowing that if booked at the right time, I could fly to any of these destinations for less than $10!?! I know it’s insane but it’s true! Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific offers year-round Lite Fares for all their destinations!  Check out their website at cebupacificair.com.

Happy traveling!

All Photos from Smile Magazine.

Preparing for your House Guest

Having people stay at your house is more than just giving them a place to sleep.  It is about sharing your home—hamburgers, hand towels, and heart.   Make your houseguest feel welcome with the following tips:

  1. Give them a “welcome” kit.
  2. Give them a space of their own. Whether it’s your guest room, the study or the couch, allot an area where you or your kids wont go in and out unexpectedly at various times of the day. If it’s the couch, vacate the premises during sleeping time and refrain from being in the same room/area after the lights have gone out.
  3. Make sure their room is clean with fresh sheets so they can nap as soon as they arrive.   Provide them with an empty drawer and some hangers. SONY DSC
  4. Keep their bathroom clean and add toiletries and fresh towels they can use.  If they are using a communal bathroom, keep personal unsightly belongings out of sight! (things like retainers, ugh!)
  5. Direct them to the nearest bus/train/taxi station and also the neighborhood grocery and pharmacy.
  6. Let them know what to expect.  Let them know when you can take them around, where you are taking them to dinner, etc.
  7. Teach them how to operate your tv/home theater/dishwasher/washing machine, etc.  I know this seems pretty basic but home appliances have different settings and features, so even if one knows how to turn it on, without the right settings, a white shirt could turn blue (due to heat).
  8. Show your guests where to find snacks, glasses, utensils and encourage them to help themselves.
  9. Give them a backgrounder of a tourist spot with your own personal insights. SONY DSC

10. Take photos of them 🙂 My cousin did that for us.  I didn’t really ask her or expect it of her, but because she’s a camera whiz, we now have wonderful memories of our vacation.  A few candid ones of Lil T remain to be my most favorite shots of all time.

I hope your guests enjoy a warm and memorable stay with you.  And extend the favor when it’s your turn too ;p 

The Favorite Blog Award

Happy Easter to one and all!

I would like to share my positive vibes and happily reveal that this blog has been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! Yay!! (Grinning from ear to ear) The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers with a small following.  Some sites say less than 3000 followers, others say less than 300.

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“Liebster” is German for “favorite”.  So you can say that diaryofadesertfox.wordpress.com has been nominated as a favorite blog 🙂 Thank you to my super awesome backpacker friend Earth2Eartha!!

Once you receive a nomination, you have to post 11 things about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.  Then you simply pass it along.  Choose 11 people to award and create 11 questions for them. No tag backs, by the way. It’s easy. Just spread the love.

11 Random Facts about the Desert Fox:

  1. I was born on the 11th day of the 11th month, at 11:00pm. My first address outside the hospital was #11 Gen Capinpin St.
  2. My first name is among the most popular names in the eighties.  There was at least one Cristina in class.
  3. I have had over a dozen strangers, male and female, young and old, from different countries tell me “You look familiar.”
  4. Cleopatra is my go-to costume.
  5. Chicken macaroni soup is my ultimate comfort food.
  6. I don’t believe in fortunetellers.  There was never one who was able to “read” me.
  7. I have never drunk dialed in my life.
  8. I have never actually been throwing-up-the-next-day drunk.  I stop at tipsy.
  9. I hold a garage sale at least once a year.
  10. I used to play the violin.  I was my husband’s violin teacher a couple of years ago.  That was how we met.
  11. I was especially close to my late paternal grandmother.  I named my son after her.  I used the male version of her name of course.

11 Questions from Earth2Eartha:

What’s your favorite travel memory?

Hands down my favorite travel memory is our destination wedding at El Nido, Palawan.  With our family and closest friends we celebrated at what is now known as the “next Maldives”.  It was just perfect. I loved every minute of it.

Where is your favorite destination so far?

Please see above 🙂

What is your favorite thing to photograph while abroad?

Food especially desserts and local desserts if they’re pretty or at least pretty interesting.

Who is your travel hero?

My travel hero is anyone who upgrades my room for free! Haha!

Are you more practical or luxurious?

I think practicality but like to splurge occasionally.  I want my holiday to be relaxing and stress-free.  When I can, I usually chose nice resorts, not necessarily expensive but with a great ambience, stellar service, and most importantly a proper bed and bath.

What is your best travel purchase?

A $10 pair of boots from Guangzhou, China.  It’s been with me for three years now and is still the most comfortable one I’ve got.  Wait, it was actually less than $10..about 7 I think.

When did you first get bitten by the travel bug?

When I was little, my (then single) uncles and aunties would always initiate outdoor trips and out-of-town excursions.  My parents and my sister and I would always join them.  Though they are less adventurous and busier these days having their own families, I believe those experiences paved the way for me to look at travelling as a usual rather than occasional thing.

Share your most favorite travel photo ever!

I have a lot of favorites! I love them for the memories they bring. If I had to narrow it down to one.. one album.. haha..it would be of photos of these:

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Have you ever met someone while traveling that you really connected with? Are you still friends?

I rarely travel alone.  My travelling companions are my sister, family, friends and now, my husband.  There is little opportunity to actually connect with strangers.

Would you rather fly, sail, drive or walk?

I would do all! But only in increments haha. I tend to be impatient in long drives, feel terrible in extensive flights, and get seasick after a couple of hours. BUT I once walked for 5 hours non-stop in New York!

My 11 Nominations:

  1. Lizze @ pretty-ugly.me
  2. Emma @ mylittle3andme.co.uk
  3. Alessandra @ lifeafterbreakfast.com
  4. Brandon @ thefunnyconversations.com
  5. Shelley and Karen @ Shelleydesigns.wordpress.com
  6. Carley @ triedtestedandtruemommy.wordpress.com
  7. Jerry @ bugipogi.wordpress.com
  8. Kristen @ thebikewife.com
  9. Madam Vie @ runwayfarer.com
  10.  Tamara @ tamaraessexspanishblog.wordpress.com
  11. Vanessa @ militarywifemayhem.com

My 11 Questions:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What advice would you give to a new writer?
  3. Why do you think I nominated you?
  4. What’s your favorite way to escape?
  5. If I were to spend 24 hours in your city/country, where would you advise I go?
  6. I know I haven’t heard it all. Tell me a funny/weird/unexpected question you’ve been asked while in a foreign country.
  7. What is your fondest memory?
  8. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
  9. What is the one thing you have always wanted to do but never have?
  10. What song defines your life?
  11. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

So that’s it. Time to pay it forward, you guys.

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