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.


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).



The kitchen and dining area. Excuse our luggage.




The living room by the fireplace


Bedroom on the 1st floor


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


The loft upstairs aka the boys area


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.


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


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.


This one is out cold and missed playing with snow.


What dinner preparations looked like



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.


Good Morning!

Our view outside the cabin.


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


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


“let go of my hand mommy”


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


Photo op before heading out to the slopes



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


We parked our snowboards. What a stash, haha.


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


This one wasted no time and started exploring


Ordering lunch to this view


Cassie wanted to see the view for herself


The scenery from up the slopes


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






Me and Pilica with the babies


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. )


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.


Anvaya Cove

July 27 – 28, 2015

When in Manila and you want to plan a last minute out-of-town getaway people usually settle for the usual Tagaytay, Subic and Bataan to name a few, depends on what activities you’re interested in doing. Tito Tommy, Rachel, Sophia and Eva being here on vacation from Florida was a perfect excuse to go out of town with the (Ruiz de Luzuriaga) family and mami being the super mom that she is secured us a few rooms at Anvaya Cove in Morong, Bataan (see, what did I tell you…Bataan, haha). For a last minute trip with top of the line accommodations, of course we were beyond ecstatic. The Luzuriagas only had a few more days before flying back to the US and as much as I wanted Marco to come with us so we could spend time with his family, he also just had a few more days before his USMLE Step 1 exam so he stayed behind.

Usually the travel time from Manila, or specifically Alabang (since that’s where we were coming from) to Bataan takes around 3-4 hours but we totally forgot about the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial celebration that was happening that day so traffic caught us by surprise and it was not in anyway funny. Buses, cars, jeepneys, trucks…all sorts of vehicles were parked along NLEX leaving the 4-lane express way into a one-lane traffic jam. NLEX in an instant just became their own private parking space, How is that legal?!? Anyway that totally messed up the plans for the day and we had to improvise, our 3-hour drive became a crazy 6-hour one.

Anyway here are a few photos of our short trip:


To make up for that crappy traffic jam was an enjoyable lunch at Meat Plus, when in Subic it is a must to stop by and enjoy their reasonably priced Baby back ribs, steak and whatever else they’re known for.




We finally made it to Anvaya and this baby was the happiest, haha. Awww, Eva you’re too cute!!!





Here are photos of our room accommodation including the bath area




The pools were inviting but we wasted no time and headed straight for the beach.



Rach and Eva. I love this mommy and baby photo.









Negotiating with Abu if she could get a chocolate milk shake.


And Sophia’s wish came true.. Haha. 😀

Day 2


Sophia feeding the fishies after our breakfast 😀


It’s a beautiful day for a sun tan.





With my partner in crime, Pilica. Thanks for assisting the “pregnant lady”, lic!






Pretty much a summary of what we had for lunch- comfort food, need I say more?



Bye, Anvaya. It was good while it lasted.

Btw, I’m ending this blog post with a fun fact…I did one of the first TVCs for Anvaya Cove ages ago when Ayala was still trying to market the resort. I played a teenage daughter for one of the families, haha.