Follow parentsjourney on TwitterWould you believe that for almost 11 years of our family life, we only had a couple of out-of-town vacations as a family? This is excluding out-of-town day trips that weren't so many anyway. So that's one vacation every five years!

Those who know us personally will believe this statement. Living a frugal lifestyle always prevented us from spending on family vacations far away from where we reside. Thinking that the farther we go the more expensive it becomes, we often get stuck with day trips within or just a little beyond the city limits. My husband and I traveled from time to time but these trips were work related and thus we traveled alone or with co-employees. I have been dreaming of a family getaway for years now and this summer school break comes the realization of all these dreams.

Alas, my husband and I resolved to invest on experiences especially now that our kids are growing up so fast. Before we know it, they'll be away for college. This, we hope, is the start of the many travels we intend to embark as we endeavor to see more of this world together with our children.

We are currently residing in Davao in the island of Mindanao and we plan to visit and spend time with friends and relatives in the other two main island groups in the Philippines: Luzon and Visayas. Happily, this vacation coincided with important family events and milestones.

We bought our Davao to Manila plane tickets early to take advantage of promo seats offered by Cebu Pacific Air. It was a really good deal getting more than 50% discount especially when you consider that we need eight tickets (for me, my husband, our four kids, my father-in-law and a college student under the family scholarship). Our flight schedule is on the 24th of March 2010. The funny thing is that there is a good chance we won’t use these tickets. For better mobility and economy, we are considering driving our vehicle all the way to Luzon rather than flying in and renting another vehicle for those long road trips in Luzon. A third alternative is to send the car via Superferry to Manila and then fly in, so we can use the tickets and use the vehicle in Luzon and in going back to Davao.

Well, we have not decided on this part yet as more information are still being sought by the Head of the Party cum Driver (my hubby). Nonetheless, we are somehow fixed with our intentions (Luzon tour, at least) regardless of how we get there. To get a bird's eye view, I am listing here the main features and general plans (the sequence is with the assumption that we’ll go on the road trip) to ensure we’ll get the most out of this long awaited vacation...sounds like the maximizers are maximizing once again (bad? habits are really hard to break). LOL

  1. Explore Surigao.
  2. Drive through San Juanico Bridge and see friends in Samar
  3. Our 11th wedding anniversary (on the road).
  4. Mt Mayon, Pili Nuts and Bicol Express adventure in the Bicol region.
  5. Baptismal ceremonies and 1st birthday celebration for our youngest child, Nadine Ysabele. Reunion with college friends.
  6. Holy Week with relatives in Laguna. Relaxing afternoons in Freedom Park of the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus.
  7. Metro Manila tours (Ocean Park, Mall of Asia, Children’s Museum, etc.)
  8. Trip to Tarlac City to visit relatives. We are hoping to see my grandmother and the only living great grandparent of our children.
  9. Spend time with relatives in Baguio City. My children are looking forward to spending time and playing with a cousin whom they've been missing for so long.
  10. Document the grandiose beauty of the Banaue Rice Terraces on our way to Isabela Province to visit our mentors and friends.
  11. Let the children experience farm life in Isabela, while we also play catch up and discuss academic and life issues with our mentors.
  12. Back to the University of the Philipines Los Banos for the Graduation ceremonies of my youngest sister. My baby sister will be a degree holder soon.
  13. My son Joseph Leonele’s 8th birthday celebration.
  14. Chance to exercise our right to vote. We are still registered voters of Laguna.
  15. Enjoy the sun, water and white sand of the famous Boracay beach.
  16. Visit relatives in Bacolod City and enjoy dining in the seafood capital of the Philipines, Roxas City.
  17. And rounding up our travel back to Mindanao is another beach adventure in Dakak, Zamboanga del Norte. We'll also spend time with a college friend residing in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental...time to see the beauty of Pines, Philippines.
This expedition might take about 55 days from the day we hit the road till we return home, but rest assured I will be available online to provide updates and post photos. In the list above, there maybe items that we might skip or new activities to add as we go along. In any case, I promise to keep you ride along with us in our family adventure!

It's still 50 days to go but a lot of preparations are underway. I am so excited, so I expect the days to just breeze let the countdown begin!

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.