A Week in the beautiful Gran Canarias

We spent a total of 5 nights and 6 days in the Gran Canarias.

Day 1:

We arrived in the afternoon at around 2PM. Susan, Tim’s stepmom and Frank, Tim’s Dad picked us up from the airport and we headed to their home located in Mogan. When we arrived, we were welcomed by Frank’s cousins and Tim’s sister and her husband. It was a week of family get together to celebrate Frank’s 70th Birthday. Our first night, we all had dinner at a restaurant by the beach called Amadores. Tim and I shared a Paella Negra and just had a wonderful time chit chatting with everyone.

 

Day 2:

Susan booked an activity for everyone. Tim drove the buggy and we all adventured to the volcanic mountains of the Gran Canaria and tried a cactus fruit. The guide warned us all to be careful from the spikes on the fruit and not to get our hands dirty when eating the fruit,. Tim did a terrible job, he got spikes all over his mouth and his hands were pink and I the clumsy person managed to eat it perfectly. Later that night, Susan ordered 2 types of Paellas. She ordered a mixed paella and a seafood paella from a restaurant down the road to their home. It was extremely delicious.

 

Day 3: Easter Day

Tim and I went to the beach with Lucy and Steve. The water was quite cold so I avoided swimming the whole holiday. It was April and I consider it to be a cold weather LOL.

Later that day, Susan arranged a lovely lunch BBQ for everyone. Tim and I made lazy cake for dessert. At night, we all watched a movie in the entertainment room.

 

Day 4: Frank’s Birthday

Susan arranged a cruise to celebrate his birthday. It was located at Pasito Blanco Harbour. I, the half Middle Eastern girl who lived her whole life in the desert suffered a heatstroke for the first time EVER. I kept throwing up constantly and felt dizzy the whole cruise. I wasn’t sea sick because I got on a lot of cruises in UAE but the heat in Gran Canarias was a lot to bare and not just that I did not wear a hat. I felt horrible. Ever since I’ve learned my lesson to always wear a hat on a sunny day.

Susan, an amazing organiser, planned a tapas night. Everything you could imagine was served that night. We had shrimps, cheese and many other delicious food.

Day 5:

Frank’s cousin travelled in the afternoon, Lucy, Steve, Tim and I went to Puerto Rico Beach to buy some souvenirs. We later went for a walk and checked out a few stores in the town and headed back to Frank and Susan’s place.

 

Day 6:

Steve and Lucy travelled back to the UK. Susan and Frank dropped us to Mogan Beach for more shopping and to check out the beaches and local areas. Susan later picked us up and we went grocery shopping and purchased the cactus sauce and canary sauces. Later that night, we had dinner at a seafood restaurant overlooking the sea.

 

Day 7:

We left the house at 3AM to catch our flight to Tenerife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippines – Fun times with Familia in Manila

Philippines – Fun times with Familia in Manila

People think Manila is another typical city but Naaaahhh you don’t know my Manila. I love it there and so does Tim. Yes, it does depend on the area you visit but there are wonderful areas in Manila to see.

Visiting the capital means hang outs and fun times with my cousins. Gosh! It was such a family affair to see all my cousins and their kids. We are like the brady brunch but cousins LOL, if that made sense. Lets say a Full House but Fuller.

Tim and I visited Manila accompanied by my brother ‘Mohammad’ who visited the Philippines after 19 years to spend some time with the FAMILIA GRANDE.

Here are the places we spent time together with the pinsans (tagalog word for cousins)

East Wood:

It was the perfect place for dining and shopping for  any international brands. Tim bought t-shirts from a Japanese store and we grabbed coffee from Costa.

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Tiendasitas:

The place has a selection of Filipino restaurants with the traditional/ cultural ambience and live band and of course the PET VILLAGE. So many cute dogs to play with.

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Bonifacio Global City: 

Beautiful area of Manila and extremely posh. We visited my cousin’s condo and most of the cousins met and had a great time playing games and chit chatting.

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We also went to an area called Ortigas for a Karaoke night.

There are so many things to do in Manila but for us its more of catching up with the cousins and hanging out.

I SIMPLY LOVE MY MANILA AND CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK

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Philippines – Trip to Laguna and Antipolo Windmills

My Tita* Marina and her husband Tito* Toni took us to Laguna and Antipolo Windmills with Tita Ester and  her husband Tito Ernie.

*Tita is the Filipino word for Aunt and Tito means Uncle. 

Hahhahaha I just realised how that sentence above is long, just so I can introduce you to my family.

Anyway we (referring to my Filipino familia) are originally from a place called Illocos Norte which is known for windmills so my Illocano family said since they can’t take us up north to see the windmills better visit antipolo instead which is closer to their houses.

Although it was a long drive to the windmills, the scenery was stunning. Surrounded by all the greenery and nature. We visited a small museum that displayed images on how a windmill works.

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Anyway we didn’t stay long so we continued our trip to a province nearby called Laguna. We wanted to go to Pagsanjan Fall* but the tour guide was ripping us off. So here’s the thing, we paid around PhP 1000 for Tagaytay for a whole boat but in Laguna they were charging us PhP 1000 for each person so HELL WITH THAT.

*Pagsanjan Fall: A famous waterfall located in Laguna and is a tourist destination. 

We were all starving so we went to a restaurant near the city gate that was built by the Spaniards. I sincerely apologise but I don’t remember the name of the place. It was really hot that day and I felt ill. The waiter at the restaurants gave me a bag of ice to place it on my head to be able to cool down.

Honestly, there are lots of places to visit in Laguna and so many adventurous things to do but I just wanted a nice quality time with my family and enjoy their company so unfortunately I cannot recommend anything about Laguna but all I know they are known for ‘Hot Springs’. Add Laguna to your Philippines list. You won’t regret it.

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Happy New Year : Our 2016 Highlights

Happy New Year : Our 2016 Highlights

By a blink of an eye here we are end of 2016 and ready to start our new adventure. 2016 was a year where we lost legends, especially my grandfather and Tim’s grandmother and it wasn’t a pleasant year for lots. 2016 was filled with negativity around the world however lets look at the positive side of things, sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.

Not much of travel happened for us in 2016 but Tim did some work travels. His been to Saudi Arabia, Texas, Bahrain, Oman, India and Kuwait. However on my side, things kinda got rough this year. With my dad’s preparation for retirement, reaching target at work and many things that I do not want to remember. Anyway I’d love to leave 2016 behind and start a new adventure and the thing that I’m looking forward to the most is the new season of Game of Thrones.

For 2017, Tim and I have planned quite few things so hopefully as we say InshAllah (Gods will) it will work out. So before starting our new journey. I’d like to blog and recap the great stuff that happened this year.

Below are the highlights of our year.

January: Tim and I spent a weekend in Al Aqah, Fujairah at one of the resorts called Rotana.

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February: We both pretended to be tourist in Downtown Dubai and wore matching outfits. We also attended ‘Eat the World’ which is a food truck event. It was expensive for what they were offering.

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March: Tim and I visited the Miracle Garden. Just so you know it’s only open from November till April. We also attended the Sikka Art Event where my friend Jessica Avedikian performed. Follow her on youtube 🙂

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April:  We travelled to the Philippines to visit the Familia Grande . Check out my Philippines blog

https://belliontravels.com/category/travel-blog/philippines/ 

May: Tim took my father and I to visit Musandam, Oman. We highly recommend it, it’s the best way to enjoy dry nature.

Oman – Swimming in Musandam

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June: Tim and I had a proper decent high tea at the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi on the 74th floor. That trip continued at the Emirates Palace Hotel. June was also the Holy Month of Ramadan and we visited lots of restaurants to enjoy Iftar which is the meal you have after breaking your fast. Also the highlight of this month is that I decided to start a blog on wordpress.

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July: Tim learned Salsa at Sevilles, a Spanish restaurant in a place called Wafi. it was also the month my colleague and good friend Beth asked me to be her son’s godmother. The little cutie’s name is Bjorn and July was his christening at the St. Mary’s Church which of course we attended. I also passed the beginners ski class with my brother Mohammad in Ski Dubai. Although Tim was with us, he’s already an intermediate so he joined another group.

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August: We attended an indoor food truck which was located in a warehouse and it was for a temporary set up. The funny part, we knew about it through a friends brother who lives in Palestine. We attended my colleague and friend’s wedding and it was a mix of Iraqi Palestinian Lebanese traditions. Another highlight we also stayed at the Rove Hotel with my father and brother ‘Omar’. AND we also stayed at Tilal Liwa for our anniversary.

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September: We travelled to New York & UK. We watched Impossible at the Dubai Opera and  Tim got back into Scuba.

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October: We went Kayaking early morning in Sharjah. Also participated in a Treasure Hunt in an area called Bastakiya. We also attended SICFF event which my brother Mohammad works for. We also won best couple costume at a Halloween Party.

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November: We went to IMG World and attended Les Miserable at Dubai Opera.

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December: We attended the rugby Dubai 7’s on UAE’s national day and Tim took me to the Dolphin Bay at Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah. Celebrated Christmas with family in Fujairah.

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Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book.
Write a good one.

Happy New Year, 2017.

May your year be filled with blessings

 

UAE – Christmas Eve by the Desert and Beach

UAE: Christmas Eve by the Desert and Beach

Ever since we were children, Tim would celebrate Christmas with his family back in England while I celebrated it with my mum’s family in UAE. This year was a special kind of Christmas for both of us. Tim’s mum ‘Shirley’ is visiting us for the holidays and my uncle and cousin are staying in UAE to enjoy the festive season.

What more can you ask for than celebrating with the ones you love. We love everyone back home in England and Philippines but it was nice to have some of our families celebrating together. 2 months before Christmas, I made reservation at a hotel located by the Indian Ocean in another Emirate called Fujairah. We booked 4 rooms in Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort at a place call Al Aqqah which has a strip of amazing resorts.

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We took two separate cars, my brothers and uncle ‘Alpe’ accompanied my cousin ‘Mark’ and of course Shirley and I rode with Tim. We had an unfortunate moment when one of Mark’s tires broke down and found it difficult to find a tire shop open on a Friday morning. FYI, UAE’s weekends are on Fridays and Saturdays because Friday is a Holy day not HOLIDAY but HOLY DAY and the majority of the country attend the Friday prayers. Luckily they managed to find a shop that was about to close so they quickly got their tires fixed and we all continued our road trip to Fujairah.

It took us 2 hours to reach our destination however since check in was at 2PM, we decided to stop at a historical site. We visited Al Badiyah aka Al Bidyah Mosque and my brothers performed their Friday prayers in that ancient 15th century mosque. It’s the oldest mosque in UAE and was built with stone and mud. The view of the farms from the towers and area was spectacular and although you are surrounded by dry nature such as the rock mountains, the place is a must to visit. It’s located near the mountains and farms overlooking the sea.

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Anyway we continued our journey to check in at the hotel. Tim and I went kayaking around snoopy island * while the others went to nap because they needed the energy for the mini party we were going to have late night. At around 7PM, I borrowed Mark’s car and drove 20 minutes to another area called Khor Fakkan with my uncle and mother in law. We bought KFC and Pizza Hut family meals for dinner and also picked up a third cousin who lived there to join us for the Christmas party. The night lasted till 1:30AM after playing cards against humanity. My uncle won the game and YES he is dirty minded LOL. (google the game its hilarious)

The next day, we got up really early to have breakfast and also went for a morning swim and afterwards said our goodbyes and checked out from our rooms.

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*Note: it’s called snoopy island because it looks like snoopy laying down.

Below are the location maps of the hotel, the mosque and Khor Fakkan for your reference.

Hotel:

 

Mosque:

 

Khor Fakkan: