Vacation Happiness in Pictures

Happy New Year, dear friends!

To start this year filled with gratitude, I’m sharing some pictures from my latest stay in the Philippines. There are indeed the things that I am thankful for, the things that make any 21-hour plane ride worth it, the things I hold dearest in my heart.

I kept my vacation simple this year. I didn’t make a lot of plans, didn’t go out to a lot of restaurants, didn’t visit different cities or islands. I mostly stayed put at home with my family, met up with old friends, drank hot chocolate every morning, and caught up with my magazines and Kindle reading. I left Manila refreshed and happy, and looking forward to the next time I come home again.

fresh coconut juice, sunset, my baking assistant (my sister Monica), and double chocolate cookies with boozy cherries (I soaked them in brandy!)

queso de bola cheesecake, my little cousin Dylan and my best friend Lora’s son Liam not being able to tear themselves away from watching Gangnam Style on my laptop, palm trees, my parents

champorado (chocolate rice pudding) drenched in condensed milk, high school friends, eggs with double yolks, dinner date with my youngest sister Patty, my favorite breakfast of kesong puti and tsokolate

my travel buddy Fe, some of my best friends from college, Tita Ine who cooked some of my favorite dishes, including calves liver with onions (mmmm liver).

our peaceful living room at home, my sisters with the hotel Santa (whom Monica kept asking when he is going back to the North Pole), and local single-source chocolate bars infused with traditional Filipino flavors like siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili) and green mangoes

It was two weeks filled with happiness.

I hope your 2013 is off to a wonderful start. I’ll be back next week with a recipe that might fit in with New Year’s resolutions (hint: it involves tofu)!



22 Responses to “Vacation Happiness in Pictures”

  1. #
    Heather posted January 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Happy New Year! Looks like it was a great vacation, great pictures :-).

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks, Heather! Wishing you a fabulous 2013 :)

  2. #
    Susan (Oliepants) posted January 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Happy new year, buddy! You have such a pretty family! And these pictures are fantastic – family and food.

  3. #
    Michelle Collins posted January 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    This looks like such a wonderful holiday vacation at home! Looking forward to that tofu recipe. ;)

  4. #
    Shannon posted January 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    looks like quite a refreshing trip! happy new year :)

  5. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted January 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    What a wonderful vacation! So glad you got to see your friends and family and relax!!!

  6. #
    Megan posted January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Happy new year! Your vacation looks wonderful. And boozy cherries? Yes, please!

  7. #
    Daisy posted January 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I LOVE your vacation pictures and your relaxed attitude about it this year! sounds perfect.

  8. #
    Sacha posted January 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    There’s a common theme to these photos: happiness. It’s great to see you had some nice time with family and friends! And I second Megan…those cookies sound amazing.

  9. #
    Liz posted January 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and happy new year!

    I love the packaging on those chocolate bars (and with chili and green mango?!). And how nice that you could catch up with so many friends from high school and college – the sign of a truly great visit home :)

  10. #
    Taryn posted January 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Looks like a wonderful trip! Happy New Year! Now I need to go make myself some chocolate rice pudding…

  11. #
    Ashley posted January 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    What a marvelous home and family! I hope you are able to visit again soon!!!

  12. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted January 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Your visit home looks glorious! The food, the company, the tropical backdrop – hope being back in Boston isn’t too rough :)

  13. #
    Molly Galler posted January 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    What great photos, Bianca! Welcome back. Looking forward to your tofu recipe!

  14. #
    Kristen | Pixelated Crumb posted January 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Looks like a fun and delicious vacation! And what an amazing living room! My husband is Filipino, but I’ve still never been. I’ve seen far too many beautiful pictures and heard too many great stories. Some day…

  15. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted January 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Looks like a wonderful vacation with family and friends. Always great to go away and not have the whole thing planned and just be able to enjoy!

  16. #
    Tracey posted January 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Happy New Year Bianca. What a wonderful trip. As usual the food looks glorious.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks, Tracey! Hope to see you around soon :)

  17. #
    Lin @ BeantownEats posted January 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Welcome back, and Happy New Year! So glad you had such an enjoyable and relaxing vacation! And I’m with Megan about the boozy cherries :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks, Lin! Since making those cookies, I’ve been having the urge to soak all kinds of things in brandy.

  18. #
    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings posted January 11, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Vacation happiness…love the way you used these words. The perfect definition!

  19. #
    Kerstin posted January 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    So glad you had such a fabulous vacation with your family!

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