How To Have a Gagdet Free Vacation

While I personally do not recommend gadgets for young children, I know that it is a reality for many parents that use the iPad or iPhone games to distract their children so they can do whatever it is they need to do.

This post is to encourage these parents to TRY some of these tips / tricks / activities that I personally do and see if it works keeping your kids entertained and happy in your next vacation.

at Ernie Lim’s Jungle Gym in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

1. Story telling: Children LOVE hearing about stories of when you were young.  Another story technique I do with my son almost every night is called “Dungeons and Dragons”, I know it isn’t an original title but I have evolved it into a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-ish story telling sessions between us. We always start the story from a far away land in a castle with a dragon, warrior or wizard. Then let your imagination run wild! Try it, it’s really fun and creative!

2. Art: I always, always bring paper and crayons or pens with me wherever I go so that it keeps my little one’s hands busy during long haul flights and road trips. However, if your child is prone to motion sickness, he or she might be better watching the road.

Santi with Benny and Kai at our old farm property in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

  

Santi runs amidst pine trees in Baguio Country Club

3. Make sure that you’re vacation destination includes child-friendly itineraries too! When you arrive, let your children out and MOVE! Walk, run, jump, dance, etc. Children learn and grow through their limbs. Some meltdowns may not have escalated is they were properly fed on time or allowed to move.

Maya tinkering with ‘Sungka’, a traditional Filipino game in Flower Island Resort, Palawan

4. Remember the old games we used to play like chess, card games and board games?  Bring a travel sized version with you. It’s also a chance for learning numbers, strategy, patience.. the list can go on and on!

Santi walking the shores of Laiya, Batangas

5. Let nature be the guide. If you’re going to a place that is rich with natural resources, then there isn’t much to do. Just allow your kids to discover on the I own sometimes to watch the sunset, play in the sand, look for shells, take a walk in the woods, observe the birds in the trees, make a snowman!

Santi gone fishing with a Mariana in Sarangani
Santi and Kai pretrending to know Martial Arts in La Union

The world is an amazing place and there is just so much beauty in the great outdoors. Make sure your next destination is one that your whole family will appreciate and remember for a lifetime. Set your children from from the superficial digital world and open their eyes to the brilliance of real life and play.

Join me in my instagram advocacy and use the hashtag #ProjectNoIpad while tagging me @dharmadreamsbig . Let me see how you creatively parent without gagdets in your vacations (or even at home). We can do this!

8 Natural Ways To Avoid and Remedy Motion Sickness in Travel

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Because my little one vommited on TWICE during our last trip; once during the long and dizzy 4-hour van ride and another time during the 1-hour “exhilirating” aka very choppy speedboat ride, one must definitely prepare before such inconvenience.

Here are my personal tips on how to avoid the dreaded puke sessions from you or your children on long journeys, whether it is by land, sea, plane or a combination of all three which was my case just recently —

1. RESEARCH on your realistic travel schedule and previous traveller’s experience! I did not check on these facts for this trip. If I had known that the van ride would be long and zig-zaggy, the boat ride choppy, I would’ve brought dizzy spells arsenal! If we had stayed any minute longer in those circumstances, I would’ve puked all over myself as well. Thank heavens I was able to stop myself.

2. KEEP LOOKING FORWARD. When I am not behind the wheel, I have the tendency to get dizzy real fast. A solution is to watch the road. I have to make sure that my body faces forward towards the direction of the vehicle or else all hell breaks loose. Same with kids. Make them sit face forward, please.

3. FORGET ABOUT TEXTING OR READING. Yep, for sensitive people like me, I can’t have the luxury of reading while in transit. Not unless I am on the plane where it is more stable. In cars, forget it! If your children are prone to motion sickness, please do not use gagdets to keep them busy during travel. It isn’t good for their eyes and brains, anyway!

4. EAT MODERATELY AND WISELY. They say not to eat greasy or spicy food before traveling. Also, no stuffing yourself silly either! My 1.5 year old vommitted soon after nursing so, I got smarter on the way back and withheld feeding until way after the winding roads.

5. GINGER. En route home, I brought freshly sliced ginger which I’d bite and when it got too strong I’d move onto my gums. No, this is too potent for young ones so another option is ginger candy if you can find some in your local health shops. I know Healthy Options carry them in branches around Manila.

6. PEPPERMINT PURE ESSENTIAL OIL is handy to have! Take a sniff of it when feeling nauseated. I usually bring therapeutic grade oils but didn’t get to on this trip. In Manila, you may purchase Young Living Peppermint Oil through Dolf Cheng or doTerra Oils from Essential Oil Natural Healing.


7. PEPPERMINT CURE DROPS is another weapon I had at home which I forgot to bring! This remedy from France is a keeper! You can use it for digestion, relief of stomach pains, fatigue, prevent colds, soothes headaches, cools skin. Relief of dizziness,nausea, blocked nose and tummy troubles. It’s great to have in your emergency kit!  I bought this at the airport in Hong Kong but I have seen it being sold online at SeekTheUniq.com.

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8. ACUPRESSURE was my salvation. I massaged a few points on my wrist when I was feeling queasy and the gag reflex miraculously went away!

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Do you have other remedies for motion sickness? Do share, I might just use it for my next trip!

Review: Flower Island Resort, Palawan


The first thoughts that came through my head as I approached the island resort, “Wow all of the photos I’ve seen don’t do this place any justice!”  You cannot capture the essence of Flower Island by mere pictures alone. Powder fine light brown sand, all hues of blue on the clear skies and in the clean ocean, and an island sanctuary all to your group… the experience is so dreamy it is almost ethereal.

Flower Island Resort proves to be a very special and secluded place that’s real hard to get but worth the almost 7-hour travel time. (Plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa-1hour, Van from Puerto Princesa to Taytay-4 hours and speedboat from Taytay to Flower Island- 1.5hours) The long travel is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But we’re willing adventurers so we are rewarded with this piece of paradise for 3 whole days!

  

We stayed in room 9 which is the second closest fan hut to the reception and dining area.

This trip was actually work for me, A Yin & Yang Yoga retreat by FLOW.  I roomed with another yoga teacher, a photographer and of course my little one who goes wherever I go! I was glad to see the spacious hut good enough for a family of 5!

I didn’t take a very good photo of our bathroom. It was very dark so I chose to open all windows to bring the light in.

My roomie taking a nap with that view. The breeze lulls you to sleep, really!

Family friendly activities include: Two hiking trails, kayaking and snorkelling. Maya, my 1.5 year old daughter is too young for both kayaking and snorkelling so we pursued the hiking trails instead. I’m a bit sad to have missed out on the snorkelling which was fantastic says Paul, one of our guests during the retreat. He saw a manta ray!!! And HUNDREDS of different fish. My husband would have enjoyed this so maybe I should schedule a return? 🙂

This is us in the beginner friendly hike trail around the island which took 45-minutes.

And this is the prize for hiking to The Peak, a 360 view from the top of the island.

They also have an island monkey to Maya’s delight!


The resort staff were very friendly, maybe it’s because we were the only guests there! Nevertheless, we enjoyed their service. And I applaud their chef’s baking skills. All of our desserts were made from scratch in the kitchen.

We had really good chocolate cake, pineapple pie, macaroons and the best sesame cookies I’ve had in my entire life. I’ll be craving for them I know it!

I hear that soon they will have the option for sea planes to cut the travel time short. Hmm..so very tempting!


FLOWER ISLAND RESORT

Website: www.flowerisland-resort.com

Mobile No. Viber/Whatsapp +639175045567

Email: reservations@flowerisland-resort.com / flowerisland.palawan@gmail.com

Instagram: @flowerislandresort_ph

Hot News: Ethiopian Airlines Now Flying From Manila

Now Filipinos can choose to go to Africa for their next chosen destination because Ethiopian Airlines offers direct flights to Addis Ababa from Manila three times a week!

Apparently, Ethiopia is known as  The Land of The Firsts and The Land of The Awakenings. What beautiful names! One of the cradle’s of civilations, it is the intersection between North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Did you know that it is the birthplace of coffee?

I found this sweet little Ethiopian girl playing with flowers. All of a sudden I missed my little globetrotter who I left for a few hours to be in this event.

I must admit that before attending this launch, my thoughts of Africa weren’t too bucketlist-worthy. When someone mentions the place, images of extreme poverty fills my head. Yes, I knew that Africa is probably the best place for an amazing safari. But beyond that concept,  all I knew about Africa was very little and fed to me by media: television, newsprint and movies! Then I discovered about the movement #ThisIsTheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou on Instagram.

This is Mozambique


One of the ancient churches in Ethiopia..


Rwanda!


And this is Sierra Leone 🙂


Seeing these photos and knowing better about the REAL Africa makes me want to book a flight to Ethiopia with my little tots! Who’s with me?

An Homage to Palawan, Philippines

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Boat Tour in El Nido

Once upon a time, long before Maya was conceived, the Manzanos attempted living in Philippine’s last frontier.. Palawan. You may read all about that here and why it didn’t work out here.

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Honda Bay
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leading a Yin Yoga class in Nagtabon Beach
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photo by Katherine Jack
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Montible River
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Taytay
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El Nido Town

Nevertheless, I keep wanting to come back as homage to what I consider my second home. Last February, with 11 month old Maya in tow, I organized two back to back retreats in Bahay Kalipay, Puerto Princesa for Flow and a Sacred Pregnancy Conscious Birth Retreats.

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photo by Tabitha Fernan

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In less than a week, we will be wading the waters of another tropical island paradise, Flower Island Resort in Taytay, Palawan for FLOW’s first ever Yin and Yang Yoga retreat I am co-leading. If you’re from Manila, it’s officially announced as a long weekend so, grab your chance to join us! Let’s see how creative I can be with managing 1.4 years old Maya without a nanny this coming weekend.

 

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Saigon in September!

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photo from theydrawandtravel.com

For my birthday month, I chose an Asian destination we haven’t been to yet. Vietnam is just a short flight away so I booked tickets before my husband  could even change his mind 😂 
Who has been and what are your tips for travel with kids? I have not booked any hotels yet and I’ll be making my itinerary soon based on prior travels by fellow wanderlusts. 

Stay tuned for more details on this birthday trip!

THE WORLD IS OUR CLASSROOM