Destination: Big Bear Lake, California

January 2-4, 2017

Seeing snow while spending the holidays in California was like the cherry on top, the Mendezonas planned a skiing/snowboarding trip to Big Bear but I was more excited that Cassie was going to have her first snow experience. I was already assuming that she would fall in love with snow so quickly given the fact that she has a current obsession with things cold (ice, A/C, freezer, ref…and the list goes on) also explaining one of her all-time favorite expressions “told told” (cold cold).

There were 14 Mendezonas and half of us haven’t encountered snow long enough or don’t live in snow. Period. It’s a good thing the L.A-Mendezonas had enough snow gear for the rest of the Mendezona boys while Mami made sure the ones who didn’t have snow gear had one especially the babies. We even visited the snow gear outlet store a few days before the road trip. Wow, I didn’t think staying warm and comfortable at the same time would be a lot of serious work . I guess its different when you take solo skiing trips, I remembered my first trip to Colorado a few years back and packing wasn’t this crazy but when you prepare for a family of 14—it is a PRODUCTION. Imagine all the snow boots, all the thick jackets, all the thermals, all the mittens, all the gloves, all the snow goggles not even counting the snowboards and the ski equipment, yes, it was definitely a production.

Day 1

Our drive there has got to be one of the least boring drives I’ve taken in my life, not because Cassie was screaming until almost half way through the drive but because the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. For some reason snow makes things look so magical.

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3 cars and 2 hours later the Mendezonas made it to their Air bnb cabin in Big Bear and the boys were in charge of most of the hard labor of carrying the luggages up the stairs. (photo below for reference, hahaha).

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The kitchen and dining area. Excuse our luggage.

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The living room by the fireplace

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Bedroom on the 1st floor

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Upstairs bathroom had one of Cassie’s favorite animals—Owl.

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The loft upstairs aka the boys area

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The second floor’s very own cozy nook

Once we kinda got settled in and we semi-explored the house, we headed out for late lunch at this local place that was called Mountain Munchies. It might have presented itself like a hole-in-the wall but service was excellent in the form of our server being really patient with us.

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What I got, chicken Fried Steak. It was meh.

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Our view from outside the diner.

After late lunch, we headed out to a play area where the kids could play with snow but Cassie was fast asleep so I decided not to wake her up so we decided to stay inside the car to keep warm. The remainder of the day was spent on cooking, running errands, settling down and family bonding time over random movies by the fire place. Oh,  and marshmallows by the fire place.

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This one is out cold and missed playing with snow.

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What dinner preparations looked like

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These two cousins bonding over giant marshmallows

Day 2

Of course we tried to follow our planned schedule to leave by 9am for our snow activities and of course we failed miserably. Did I mention there were 14 of us and 2 bathrooms? One thing I’ve learned from situations like these is the “Early bird gets to bathe in hot water”, I’m telling you icy baths are no fun especially when they’re least expected.

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Good Morning!

Our view outside the cabin.

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The girls and one little pikachu photo bomber, my godson Teo. Haha

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She just wanted me to put her down so she could play with snow

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“let go of my hand mommy”

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Chilling (literally) by the side snow with these cuties while waiting for everyone to head down

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Photo op before heading out to the slopes

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Two hours and thirty minutes after our planned time we made it there.

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We parked our snowboards. What a stash, haha.

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And even then we still took long in buying our lift tickets and renting out snowboard boots and what not

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This one wasted no time and started exploring

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Ordering lunch to this view

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Cassie wanted to see the view for herself

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The scenery from up the slopes

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Cassie: It’s about time daddy

Marco, finally came down after a few rounds of snowboarding and he decided to play with the kids in the snow

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Me and Pilica with the babies

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Mami and Mikel had to make a miniature snowman to stop Teo from crying, he loved it but wouldn’t take a picture with it. (Yes, that’s beans and mac and cheese. )

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Although someone gladly posed next to the itty bitty snowman. Haha, Hi Dieg.

A short recap of today’s events, most went snowboarding, some went skiing, one got sprained and mami and I stayed with the kids. The highlight of my day was seeing Cassie go crazy over snow, she loved it so much that she’d get mad at me for taking her back to our waiting area. In fact she loved it so much she was willing to go with anyone who could take her back to the play area even if it wasn’t mommy.

Day 3

Everyone else had the rest of the morning to do more snow activities but Marco, Javi, Mami, Pilica, Anya, Cassie and I had to go down first since Marco had to fly to Houston earlier a day before me and Cassie for an interview.

~Rhea

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Honeymooning: Baguio

July 30 – 31, 2014

Day 1

The day after Kuya Oli and Hilda’s wedding, the family decided to leave for Baguio in the wee hours of the morning. Land tripping was no biggie for my siblings, they’re so used to long drives in and out of Houston, within Texas or even out of state. They might have enjoyed this more, considering the fact that when we drive out of Texas, they’re used to seeing flat lands, fields and the occasional deserts—the drive to Baguio was definitely more interesting. To us honeymooners, this trip was just another chance to travel and enjoy each other’s company as a newly married couple…as I said, we’re milking this “honeymoon thing”! Haha.

You know you’ve finally reached your destination when you see the famous Lion’s Head along Kennon Road. And here’s our obligatory photo with the lion.

Wood carvings they were selling at the side of the street during the “lion-head” stop over.

And we made it—Baguio Townhouse Condominium, nothing beats free accommodation.

The Ramas siblings (previous generation, haha)

Our home for the night.

After we settled in, we went to visit the little tiangges by Mines View Park for souvenirs and decided where to eat lunch.

Baguio souvenir shirts and a whole lot more…take your pick!

taking #ootd shots by the souvenir shops

My sister Pauline, going for the Kpop look. Haha, I’m kidding langga.

My sister Angelie and her “I’m-too-cool-to-care” look. Haha.

Foodstop #1: Zenz Bar and Restaurant

We googled this place up, they had nice reviews and they just happen to be close to the place we were staying at, so lunch at Zenz it was. Thank God the place was empty, it felt like it was entirely ours.

The kids love sisig so we went ahead and ordered one—very tasty, a must try!

One of their best sellers, Pork Sinigang with Strawberries (P190.00)

Chocolate Bibingcrisp — a must try especially the Strawberry one.

The patio outside Zenz, the view there is amazing!

Rhea and Marco with happy tummies. Scrumptious meal indeed, good choice sweetie!

The view from Mines View Park

Talked my siblings into taking the obligatory Igorot photo. It was no problem since all of them like to dress up in costumes just like their ate. Haha

Mmmm hmmm sweetie… True sentiments? Haha.

John and his B.I.L (Brother-in-law)…haha, he made that nickname for Marco at the entrance of Mines View Park. My dad and my aunts ended up going to the grocery, we brought the kiddies to Burnham Park for a bunch of recreational activities

Marco driving the girl who was “in pain”. I bet you just didn’t want to ride the bike.

Bicycle Maniacs stopped so I could take a photo of them

Sidecar-ing with my sweetie, it doesn’t get any sweeter than this 😀

These dorks were trying to race

Been ages since I last biked, I was going for “no-hands” but only managed to do “one-hand”

While they were busy biking around, I was busy taking pictures and trying out this Strawberry-flavored taho. In my 28 years of existence, this has to be my first.

Next stop…boating

Look at the faces of these happy campers, they really were willing to try anything. Well it’s not all the time they can come home to the Philippines so I’m guessing they’re making the best out of this trip

This reminds me of Swan Lake in Enchanted Kingdom, only difference is we had actual paddles instead of bicycle pedals

The Captain and his 1st mate 😀

And of course we were going in circles..haha! Marco was trying to teach the kids the concept of paddling and which way to move the oars to row to whichever direction

After a long day at the park we headed back to the condo and rested for awhile until the next meal

Foodstop #2: Sage

How quaint this little place in all its pastel glory….reminds me of candy. Yum!

Everything we tried for dinner was impressively good but of course I went gaga over the desserts posted above. Below is a copy of their sample menu. Good call again, Marco! 2 out of 2 so far.

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Here’s a copy of the current menu of Sage.

Day 2

The main agenda for today was to take the kids horseback riding. That has always been something my brother and I would look forward to every time we’d visit Baguio when we were younger. Our trip was never complete without this activity on our itinerary and my dad made sure of that, he’d tell us stories about his

Tres Marias—Me, Pauline and Marie

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Marco

Pop

Angelie

Nicole

The only photo taken of all of us on horses and it had to be through an iPhone. #grrrblurr

The kids petting the horses at Wright Park.

We were ganging up on the “Korean looking” one (no racism intended)

Someone is clearly not in the mood for photos. It’s soooo easy to guess who….

We ❤ Baguio

Foodstop 3: Happy Tummy

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This place is actually located inside what we call the Ketchup: The Food Community— a melting pot for all sorts of cuisine, perfect place to be if you’re a foodie.

The best place to eat since it’s located right across Wright Park where we went for our horseback riding, how convenient is that.

Wood furnishings filled up the rather small but cozy area of this restaurant. I’d say it was going for a Filipino rustic vibe

Clearly loving Baguio and the Thai food that we’re about to have. Bon Appetit!

Last stop—Philippine Military Academy

My dad wanted the kids to take a look at some tanks and artillery , mostly left overs from WWII

Korean War Memorial

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Marco helping B.I.L up the tank

Pauline

Ann Marie

My hubby with the Ramas sisters (2nd generation)

Goofing around with the husband

Souvenir hoarding before driving back to Quezon City

Had a photo with some military men who happened to pass by

Baguio #ootd

~Rhea