Destination: Nashville, Tennessee

March 27 – 28, 2019

I know a day in Nashville is VERY limited as there are so many things to do there but we were really just dropping by before our main destination— Atlanta, GA. So after we visited the National Corvette Museum from the previous blogpost we drove to Nashville and I was surprised that it was only going to be roughly an hour and 45 minutes going there plus factor in a short stop over if needed. Of course our first stop in Nashville was going to be a food place so we found ourselves driving to Arnold’s Country Kitchen.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Address: 605 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

So if you haven’t been to Arnold’s the process over there is you fall in line, get your food and then look for a place to sit down and that place based on the reviews and from the looks of it is always packed. Now I walked in pushing a stroller and holding Cassie in one hand while I had Marco fall in line. I read the rules and figured, ‘rules are rules’ whether I have 5 kids with me or not so I was a little hesitant but I was going to brave the line. A woman approached me and told me I could sit down and I told her I didn’t want to grab someone else’s seat especially since we didn’t have our food yet, I jokingly mentioned something about not being a rule breaker and she laughed and said I could break them because she made those rules—yup, apparently she was the owner. She told the other employees not to tell me off and that I could sit down with my kids. In my head I was like—OK, I LOVE NASHVILLE, TN. That was honestly one of the nicest things a stranger has done for me in a while. 

Of course the food was SOUTHERN and PERFECT and it satisfied our current craving at that time plus it was cheap. Good food and good prices AND good people, now that’s a 5-star rating from us.

What Lifts You Wings Mural

Address: 302 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

So those who know me know that I appreciate taking photos with mural walls ANYWHERE in the world, so here in Nashville they have the infamous ‘Wings Mural’ by Kelsey Montague. She actually has a bunch of similar interactive art all over the US if I’m not mistaken. We checked the maps and it was like a 10-minute walk from Arnold’s, it was a beautiful day so we decided to go for it. We could easily spot the mural because there was a line to take photos and I was genuinely surprised but this is what we came for so we decided to fall in line and I’m glad we did.

Across the street, diagonal to it there’s another mural where the kids and I had fun taking pictures because it was so colorful and right across that mural was Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey

Address: 214 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Milk and Honey Nashville is a popular local coffee shop (if I’m not mistaken) that had good ratings online so since it was right across from where we were, we decided to grab a gelato and coffee to go. I wish we had more time to try their food especially their baked goods but I can tell you the place has a nice ambiance, its beautifully set up inside and very instagrammable if you know what I mean.

The Parthenon

Address: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

After grabbing a little snack our last stop for the day was Centennial Park, we figured it was a beautiful day outside might as well spend the rest of the day outdoors. I on the other hand was just interested in seeing the Parthenon, a replica of the greek former temple. It would be nice to see the ruins of the real Parthenon one day.

People were literally playing outside and having picnics and I wish we had more time to kill in that park but we literally just walked through it, walked to the Parthenon and found out that we needed to bring the double stroller up the stairs so we compromised—we took pictures outside and I gave in to the kids wanting to play in the playground, Marco did offer to stay with them outside while I go in and explore the Parthenon but this was a family vacation so to the playground we went.

Sleep Inn

Address: 3437 Percy Priest Dr. Nashville, TN 37214

We were totally pooped and decided that we were done with our little adventure so we headed to our hotel to check in. The check-in process took awhile since there was only one guy in the front desk and although he was courteous and everything another customer was giving him a hard time and they were having an ongoing misunderstanding so his hands were tired.  We had to wait for a good 30 minutes until they could sort things out, its a good thing the kids were just playing in the lobby while waiting. The rooms was of a decent size and it was overall clean, breakfast was nothing out of the ordinary but the staff serving breakfast was very helpful and polite.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Address: 5209 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209

I understand this chain isn’t all over the US but if you find yourself close to one, I suggest you get in. The place was packed and there was a line but they had quick service and the food was WORTH it. My kids are usually picky eaters even with fried chicken (go figure) but both of them were digging in. Don’t forget to get their lemonade too, if you like ’em cold and fresh then this is where to get it even on a cold night.

The vibe inside had a modern industrial feel to it, I am not surprised a lot of millenials and hipsters hang out at this place. Good food, great vibe and again IG worthy, you’re getting a bang for your buck. No wonder this place averages 4.5 starts out of 5 online.

Grand Ole Opry

Address: 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Before parking for the Grand Ole Opry, its nice to point out that right across it is Opry Mills, an outlet mall. If you are into shopping when you’re on vacation then you’ve come to the right place, plus right next to it the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Every legendary country star has probably performed a concert right here in the Grand Ole Opry, the architecture is already interesting and I wouldn’t have minded doing the tour to learn about its history but we were on a tight schedule and Marco wasn’t really into country music so we had to skip it. We explored the outsides and there are a lot of photo-worthy spots like those two gigantic guitars at the entrance, its hard to miss. But if you are a BIG country music lover then you can’t miss this place.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

Address: 2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Even if you’re not staying in this hotel, a lot of people still make a trip to the Gaylord Opryland Resort because of its picturesque hotel set-up where one atrium leads to another. I swear if you walk around, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise with all its greenery. If you’re into botanicals then you would appreciate this resort as it has labels to all its flowers and plants that are strategically arranged surrounding waterfalls and acclaimed restaurants (that are a bit pricey if I might add). Also from my understanding this is the largest hotel in the US that does not have a Casino. Did I mention that they have a boat ride inside? Again, we didn’t have time to do this but I’m saving this  along with the newly designed waterpark for the next trip here.

Do take note that if you want to park inside the resort they will charge you $25 even if you’re just there for 5-10 minutes. Now if you do eat at one of their restaurants then they do validate but other than that I would suggest parking outside the mall close to the cinemas and just walk to the resort. That’s what we did.

And that is it for our one-day trip to Nashville, now on to our final destination—Atlanta, GA.

~Rhea

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Destination: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

April 18 – 19, 2015

Since the entire family (The Mendezonas) was present, Mami thought it would be best to go on a last-minute family outing but the question was where. It was a weekend during the summer season so we knew it was going to be fully booked everywhere. We just wanted to go some place near Manila but Papi requested to go to the beach so clearly Tagaytay or Baguio was out of the question. Subic was meh, we already went there the last time so we ended up checking out places in Cavite and Laguna, there really was nothing available and if there were it was either they didn’t have enough rooms to accommodate all 15 of us or the rates were really jacked up.

For some reason Puerto Galera came to my mind, I think the last time my cousins and I were there was during my early college years—maybe 2004? At one point Puerto Galera used to be the “In” beach to be before Boracay became popular, that’s what I was told anyway. I had good memories of Puerto Galera so I suggested the place, mom actually thought it was okay and when we searched for accommodations there were a bunch of hotels that had room availability for a party of 15 so with mom’s booking powers she found a wonderful place for the weekend, Out of the Blue Resort.

The road trip from Alabang to Batangas Port took more or less 2 hours. We had to take a 45 minute boat ride, usually the public bangka takes you to Sabang beach but we arranged for a private bangka to take us directly to the shore of Out of the Blue. The typical cost for a private bangka is P3, 500.

Out of the Blue, we see youuuuu

The view while going up the stairs to our villas

Mom got 2 villas to accommodate all of us and they were beyond spacious, couldn’t take a photo since we were all too tired and we started settling in

Poor Teo was happy to be out of that bangka

Good Morning, Puerto Galera!

The boys room

Our room. I’m sharing with Marco and Pilica

Our neighbor’s place didn’t look too bad either

The view from our villa

After having breakfast in Out of the Blue and and settling in, Mom arranged for a boat to take us to White Beach since the shores in our area weren’t really swim-friendly

Our boat mates for that trip: Camille and Javi

Papi and Marco

Mommy, Diego and Mikel chilling all the way in the back

When we got to White Beach some of us decided to jump right in

And others found it too hot…

Yep the sand texture was perfect but at that moment it was way too hot

Eating by the beach after swimming—the best thing ever!

Look at that smile, Teo’s happy he’s not swimming in the beach

Hanging out with his Ninong Javi

Wondered where Papi was after lunch and this is where he was, just right next to our eating place

… the rest of the boys followed suit. Haha.

While the boys were out getting a massage, Camille, Jessica and I explored the local tiangges

I find myself getting attracted to the local market—same in the Bahamas, same in Cambodia, same anywhere else. You never know what interesting things you might come across in markets like these, although this one really didn’t have anything extraordinary. I did end up getting braided anklets.

The view while the girls and I stopped to grab some shakes

Classic Mindoro Sling—still the most traydor drink ever

People started coming in during the late afternoon and it was getting crowded. It’s a good thing we had our fill of sand and sea so we left for Out of the Blue and ended up swimming in the pool there.

We started Day 2 by taking a couple photo right by our balcony

Ready to leave for the beach

Paparazzi-d these two love birds. Awww..

Mateo putting sun block on Ninong Javi’s tummy

Off to the bangka we go

Sunnies pic…Jessica, Me and Pilica

Because yay Diday wouldn’t pose for the camera

The beach our boat guy took us to

Swimming was a family affair

Photo credits to Camille. Me and my baby bump.

The kids building their supposed sand castle

The girls and Diego apparently. hahaha

Pauline with teo who refused to swim.

We always have fun with jumping pics, don’t you agree?

Wacky, every single one of us. Photo grabbed from Camille 🙂

After swimming, we packed up, dressed up and had lunch somewhere close by

Ending this family trip with us almost tipping the boat. Haha. Typical.

~Rhea