Posts Categorized: philippines


my illustrated vacation

Illustrated Vacation by Brittany Powell Parich

I love photos.  it’s so fun to flip back through old pictures and reminisce on good times.  so when Brittany contacted me about her latest project of painting custom watercolor snapshots of people’s vacations – I nearly lost it.  such an amazing idea right?!  and much more unique than hanging another photo on the wall.  plus, they’d make amazing gifts to commemorate a special trip.  I asked Brittany to paint this photo of Wolf and I from our most recent trip to the Philippines and just love how she interpreted it and can’t wait to hang it up on our wall.

Brittany is offering a special discount of $50 off the Small Illustrated Album if ordered by December 7.  just mention that you’re an Unruly Things reader!

Alyson Brown Philippines photo

thanks to everyone who supported the Philippines Typhoon Relief funds I posted about last week.  your support and kindness means the world!

{illustrated vacation photo by Brittany Powell Parich, original photo taken in Coron, Philippines by Levi}



Philippines typhoon relief : how to help

Philippines - photo by Alyson Brown

as many of you know, I have family in the Philippines.  they are safe.  and thank you so so much for the love, outreach and concern about them.  miraculously where they live was left unharmed.  but as I’m sure you’ve seen, there are many, many places that were not so lucky.  the damage is just heartbreaking.

for those in Tacloban and the surrounding coastal areas severely affected by the storm, my heart goes out to them.  and here’s how you can help:




our trip to the Philippines : part 3 of 3


our third and final adventure in the Philippines was a trip to Coron, Palawan to stay on a secluded island only accessible by boat called Dimakya Island.  the resort on the Island is called Club Paradise and it lives up to it’s name.  the island is stunning – complete with gorgeous white sandy beaches, a house reef, fantastic food and a friendly staff.


to get to Coron, we took an hour flight from Manila into Busuanga Airport, hopped into a van for another 30 min ride to a dock where a boat was waiting for us.  we then embarked on a scenic boat ride through mangroves and out into the turquoise waters of the Sulu Sea, passing tiny island after tiny island until we finally reached Dimakya Island.  we were greeted with a traditional song by the island staff and a fancy drink to sip on.  then we set out to find out cottage and explore the beaches.


white sand was just a few steps from our cottage so we spent the afternoon beach side.  then we headed to dinner, which was set up on the beach the first night.  three guitar players entertained us with traditional songs as well as well known covers.  Wolf loved dancing with them and running around in the sand.


one of the most fascninating things about Dimakya Island is the bat show at sunset.  everyday at sunset, thousands of bats fly away from the island to go hunt on nearby islands.  it’s an incredible event to watch – the sky is literally filled with bats as they fly out of the cave at the end of the island.  the top picture here shows the bats hanging in the trees and the bottom photo is of course the bats flying at sunset.


the next day we went on an island hopping tour.  we set out a boat and explored the near by islands.  our first stop was to snorkel at a near by reef.  we saw the most beautiful fish!!  a few angelfish, parrot fish, a cowfish and many many others.  again, we had an underwater camera, so hopefully those turn out!


next we headed to a little island with a long, white sandy beach.  I think this was Wolf’s favorite part of the trip.  the waves weren’t big so we let him run in the water as much as he wanted without worrying that he’d get swept away.  he LOVED it.  we played here for a little while before heading on to the next stop on our island hopping tour – Isla Walang Langaw or Island with No Trees.


Wolf was so tired from all that wave jumping that he crashed on the boat.  that happened quite often on our boat adventures.  all the swaying and bobbing was just right to lull him into sleep.  so we explored the island while my Dad watched him sleeping on the boat.  it turns out that there are a few trees on Isla Walang Langaw, but the most impressive thing on the island is the giant rock formations.  there’s a little cave that goes through one side and out onto the other which was a perfect picture spot and a great place for hidden shells.  then we headed back to the resort.


the flora on Dimakya Island was so pretty.  bouganvilla and hibiscus lined the walkways and plumeria hung in the trees.  palm trees were scattered on the beach.  and the wildlife on the island amazed me.  the sea turtles in the reef.  all the unusual birds.  yellow ones, blue ones and green ones.  and of course, the bats.  but then there was the bioluminescent plankton at night along the water where the waves were crashing, that glowed bright blue.


I wish we’d had more time to explore Coron.  there’s a wildlife sanctuary with giraffe and zebras and plenty more islands to explore, but that’s for another trip.  we loved Dimakya Island with it’s white sandy beaches and would be delighted to go back.

I hope you enjoyed me sharing details and photos of our trip.  being that this was our third trip to the Philippines, we felt like we were seasoned travelers.  I’m beginning to be able to speak a little Tagalog – isa pa! which means, another as in another San Miguel Pale, please!  we’re already thinking about our next trip but we decided we’ll wait until Wolf is old enough to appreciate it.  he’s still really young, doesn’t understand discipline yet and hates the word no.  so being in a new, non-babyproofed place all the time meant we had our eyes and hands on him always.  but we’re happy that we have these photos and many many stories to share with him.

to recap, here’s part one and part two and you can see all of the trips, including trips from previous years, by clicking here.



our trip to the Philippines : part 2 of 3


the next spot on our trip was to Dauin, Dumaguete.  we stayed at Mike’s Beach Resort, which I’d highly recommend.  it’s owned by Mike, an enthusiastic dive guide originally from California and was just perfect.  great food {mmm, banana pancakes!}, friendly staff and an amazing ambiance.  it’s super kid friendly with a great kids menu and the best kiddie pool around.  plus if you’re a diver, it’s just a short boat ride to Apo Island, which is considered some of the best diving in the world.


the first day while Levi went for a dive trip at Apo Island, we stayed by the pool and drank mango shakes, picked plumeria from the trees and ate lots of french fries.  Wolf’s Lolo {my Dad, who he calls Yoyo} and his Lola brought him a great beach set with a bucket, pail and watering can which he thoroughly enjoyed poolside.

the next day, we all hopped on a boat and headed out for a morning trip of snorkeling with big hopes of seeing some whale sharks.


and boy did we see some.  swimming with whale sharks was UNREAL.  they are massive. Levi jumped into the water with my Dad while I was still putting my snorkel gear on and I was so nervous!!  I got into the water and quickly found our boat guide who swam with me to the area where the whale sharks were.  I told him I was nervous and he said “no need!  they are gentle giants.”  that eased my nerves for just a bit until I saw one.  I had my head above water adjusting my mask when one of the boat guys said, “below you – DON’T MOVE!”  so I quickly put my mask on and screamed when I saw the 30ft whale shark swim a mere few feet underneath me.  if I’d stretched my legs out all the way, I’d probably been able to touch it.  seriously the most insane experience ever.  we took a few photos with an underwater camera so if they turn out, I’ll share those with you.

Wolf drove the boat while we were snorkeling, naturally.


since Dauin isn’t known for white sandy beaches, we stopped at Sumilon Island after our whale shark encounter for some snorkeling and lunch on the beach.  the sand was glowing and the water was the most vivid colors of turquoise blue I’ve ever seen.  we stayed on Sumilon Island on our trip to the Philippines in 2009 but it was rainy during most of our trip so we didn’t get to appreciate the bright white sand and deep blue water due to overcast skies.  we were pleasantly surprised once we arrived.


Wolf loved running on the beach and throwing shells into the water.  and as before, he especially liked jumping in the surf.  I was in awe of the bright blue water and couldn’t stop taking photos or commenting about how it was so blue!


I think this was our favorite leg of the trip.  while there wasn’t a true sandy beach at the resort, the hospitality and amenities at Mike’s made it up for that.  plus, whale sharks!!  and another beach swing.

next up, part three!  and if you missed it, you can catch part one here.



our trip to the Philippines : part 1 of 3


as you know, our little family headed to the Philippines for a three week adventure, returning last week.  it was Levi and I’s third time traveling to the Philippines, but Wolf’s first.  to say he did well on the flights there is a stretch.  it was … miserable at times.  but we made it there, after 25 hours of travel, and my Dad and his wife had pizza waiting for us!  hooray!

our first scheduled trip was delayed due to a major rain storm with high winds so we headed up to Zambales for the first weekend.  my Dad’s wife’s family is from Zambales and they have a beautiful family compound and house there.  we stayed just a little bit north of that at Botolan Point Beach.


it took Wolf a little while to get used to walking on the sand.  he cried when we first put him down and wouldn’t move!  it was pretty funny and we giggled as we coaxed him to take a step forward.  once Levi showed him the tiny ghost crabs scattering all around him, he was stoked to hunt for them.  soon the sand didn’t bother him at all.

the next day we were greeted with moody skies and rainbows.  it didn’t rain but it felt like that beautiful calm after a storm passes.  the beach was magical that morning.

UnrulyThings-Philippines_3 UnrulyThings-Philippines_4

Wolf soon discovered his love of running from the waves crashing on the shore.  it was pure joy.  since the shoreline was steep and the waves were gigantic, Levi held onto Wolf as they got soaked in the surf.


one of the most interesting things while we were in the Philippines was the ridiculous amount of people that wanted their photo taken with Wolf.  it made sense when people gawked at the only blonde haired kid for miles but that they all wanted to take a picture with him or try to sneak photos with their camera was a little strange at first.  we kept joking that we should start charging and seriously we should have!!  each one of these girls took individual photos with Wolf so in all fairness, I asked if I could take their picture too.  pretty funny how they pose like a girl band or something.  as my Dad said, Wolf was like a rockstar.


next we flew into Legaspi and took an hour van ride into Donsol, which was the location of our originally postponed trip.  the main attraction in Donsol is butanding, or whale shark encounters.  we stayed at the Elysia Beach Resort, which was beautiful.  we didn’t get a chance to swim in the pool but ate wonderful food and relaxed on hammocks right by the water.


we went out twice in search of whale sharks and trolled for close to three hours each time and no sightings.  but we sipped fresh buko juice and enjoyed the sea breeze during our hunt.  plus, we did see 8-10 dolphin playing around in the water which was pretty exciting.  it was also Wolf’s first boat ride.  he fought falling asleep so much that it made him angry.  ha!  poor kid.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these so far!!  stay tuned for part two and three…




right this second…


we’re back!! but feeling:
wishful that Wolf will stop partying from 11-3am.

I’m disappointed to hear:
about the end of Google Reader.  I’m thinking about The Old Reader or Feedly, what about you?

I’m looking forward to:
mom’s night at next week at Worthy Brewing Company.

I’m excited about:
spring and longer days.

like I said, we’re back!  but I’m not 100% by any means.  Wolf’s little body still hasn’t adjusted to the time zone here.  for those of you wondering, it’s 15 hours ahead in the Philippines.  so we’re a little upside down right now.  the above photo is one of the many photos we took while on our trip.  we’ve got close to 500 to edit!  I can’t wait to share them with you, perhaps next week.  until then… have a wonderful weekend friends!!

{photo by either myself or Levi.  I can’t remember!}



bite + sip : island fruits


we’re in the Philippines right now and each time we’ve been here, I look forward to the food.  I took this photo the first time we were here of some of the different fruits we tasted.  I was amazed, as I still am, at all the different varieties of fruits that aren’t readily available in the US.  there’s even a fruit that smells so badly that it’s banned in many places in SE Asia.  my favorite is the Philippine mango – nothing beats it!!  coming up in a close second is the mangosteen.  have you tasted any of these fruits?  what do you think?

you can see the original photo here where I’ve labeled each different fruit.



off, to the philippines!

Picture 1

well friends, it’s that time again.  VACATION TIME!!!!  dlb and I are packing up our bags, again, and flying off to the Philippines tomorrow!  in the middle of this grey month of November, I couldn’t ask for a better 10 day vacation than a trip to see my Dad, complete with sunshine and warmth.  we’re looking forward to laying on the beach, snorkeling for me, scuba diving for dlb, and lots and lots of amazing fresh fish and mangos to eat.

I didn’t schedule anyone to guest blog since the week of Thanksgiving is typically pretty dead around blog world, so I’ll pop in if I get the chance to share some beachy photos with you.  I’ll be back here on December 1, have a wonderful Thanksgiving friends!

{photo from last year’s trip}