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My Thoughts

Rocky Mountain “Hi!”

As I was driving from Calgary to Lake Louise over the weekend, I had my Volvo blasting with Michael Buble’s Christmas Album. What could be better? The best Christmas album, sung by my favorite Canadian singer (Sorry Celine), as you drive across the most beautiful part of the Canadian Rockies. It was such a phenomenal experience.

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It’s supposed to be springtime in Alberta, but they’re still getting tons of snow, which is something my local friends are not pleased with,

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Zion National Park: A Tale That’s All About the Trails

I have always wanted to explore Southwest Utah and Arizona’s National Parks but never had the chance. Living in LA, it’s oddly difficult to convince friends to drive anywhere north of Las Vegas. Finally I was able to drag my friend John – a National Parks junkie to come along for the ride.

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Our first stopover was at Zion National Park. We started our trip from Los Angeles and left midday. From LA, it’s an eight-hour drive passing through the endless miles of desert scenery (which is always easier to bear with a good playlist). Halfway through, we stopped in Vegas for an early dinner and to refuel, then headed directly to Zion, which was another three hours away. Note to self: Every guide book will tell you that summer is the best time to visit the parks. I think it’s far too hot. Temps can reach up to a humidity-free heat of 110 degrees. It is arduous to hike in such conditions. Visiting in spring is ideal for me; the weather was bearable and the wildflowers abundant.

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It’s okay to abandon your family for the holidays.

I was in Europe for the Holidays – took a road trip that started in Munich to St Gallen to Zurich to Vienna and ending in Budapest. I love love love love my family (in the Philippines), but Christmas in Europe is quite amazing. It’s cold, shops are all decorated for the holidays, the Christmas Markets are amazing, all tourist spots are empty and best of all- it is cheap. Flights to Europe (and hotels) cost half of a trip to the Philippines. A ticket to Europe from LA is only $800, and it’s $1700 to fly to Manila. Think about it!

Instead, I visit my family during low season. My family understands. (Or do they? LOL)

 

Flying above Oakville, Ontario

You won’t read much about Oakville, Ontario in travel magazines. And locals prefer it that way.

It is located 30 minutes from downtown Toronto (if there’s no traffic) and an hour’s drive from Niagara Falls, Oakville offers a little bit of something for everyone. Immerse yourself in beautiful Oakville. The most ideal time to visit is the summer …

There are many beautiful trails along the coast and it’s perfect for bird watching. Swans glide gracefully along its coast alongside different species of birds.

Come fly with me and see the beauty Oakville has to offer.

 

 

California’s Most Romantic (and Picturesque) Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: The Standard of Luxury

It’s not often that I use the adjective incredible to describe a hotel, but that’s the word I used when I wrote about The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay 12 years ago during my first visit. It is a truly incredible hotel.

When it was built over a decade ago, it set a new standard for casual sophistication and service in a state renowned for its world-class resorts. The hotel is dramatically set upon a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the only golf course by the sea in the Bay Area. The architecture can best be described as an oversized beach house in the Hamptons. It’s very understated and casual but elegant.

If you get a chance … stay for a few nights. It would be a vacation of a lifetime!

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For more details: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/half-moon-bay

 

 

Bird’s Eye View of Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Escaped from the comforts of my hotel in Halfmoon Bay, California to drive north 18 miles to this lighthouse- Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The drive was spectacular. What I estimated as a 20 minute drive took two hours. I just had to stop at every cove to enjoy the view fly my drone (and answer questions from amused tourists about how the drone works).

When I got to the lighthouse, I was determined to get one of those shots that swoop in to the light house. Then I got nervous. But I did it anyway and both the lighthouse and the drone survived. (What a relief!)

Editing this video reminded me of how beautiful the world is. DO SOMETHING AMAZING THIS WEEKEND! I hope you take time to appreciate the beauty around us. HAPPY FRIDAY!

 

PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE

MESMERIZING MARIN HEADLANDS

If I don’t tell you where this place is, you’d probably think I’m in a remote beach in Ireland, New Zealand or Kauia. But it’s actually just a stone’s throw away from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco- The Marin Headlands.

Not many people know of this place … tourists cross the Golden Gate Bridge, park their car and stop there to take photos of the bridge. In a way, I am sure locals prefer it this way. I’ve visited San Francisco over 20 times before I discovered this place through my friend Francis Rualo

It’s a mesmerizing gem of a park that is equally stunning as the Golden Gate Bridge. Have a look … but don’t tell anyone of this secret place.

(Press the HD button and sound for better viewing)