Pictures from our Manila Trip 2017


I’m back! I spent a couple of blissful weeks in Manila with Matt. I’m jetlagged, dehydrated, exhausted from almost 30 hours of travelling, and already missing #vacationlife. But, I relished every minute with family and friends, ate everything I’ve been craving and more, and had the time of life. Plus, lechon.

Vegans and vegetarians can look away now, but no Filipino celebration is complete without a whole roasted pig, fragrant with lemongrass, renowned for the succulent meat and golden brown crrrispy skin. Anthony Bourdain said it, and he’s oh so right: it’s the best pig ever.

I typically go home to the Philippines during the holidays but lately I’ve tried to extend my vacation to also spend my January birthday there. This year, Matt and I (our birthdays are two days apart) were lucky enough to celebrate together, and my wonderful parents threw a big birthday/ engagement/ wedding party for us. With lechon, of course. Throughout our trip, we hopped from one dinner to the next, getting in a couple of spa days, eating rice almost every day for breakfast, and even jetting to Japan for a few days with my family. My belly was so happy, and my heart was so full.

Here are some highlights of our Manila vacation:



orchids religious sto nino

filipino breakfast

philippines mangoes

spending time at our beautiful house with my family | typical Filipino breakfast with longganisa (breakfast sausage), tomato, sinangag (garlic rice) and a fried egg | incredibly sweet mangoes

garcia family

garcia house

matt louie fe bianca

garcia sisters matt monic bianca

household help

priceless time with my family | our house turned into a dinner party venue | friends I’ve known for decades | my lovely sisters | our family’s helpers who have become extended family | my favorite green couch in the living room (it’s soooo soft, you really just want to sink in and nap forever)

downtown cafe pampanga


dad bianca matt

pampanga biko

filipino bangus

fresh baked dinner rolls

Pampanga is considered the culinary capital of the Philippines and my dad’s hometown, and we had some very good meals there!

Downtown Cafe in Angeles (photo by Matt) | sisig (chopped up and sizzling pig face with chili) | homemade biko (rice cake with a caramelized custardy top) | stuffed bangus (milkfish, a fish native to the Philippines) | fresh baked dinner rolls from my family’s bakeshop

the spa serendra

edsa shangrila hotel

fonacier house party

lora shrimp pasta

ippudo philippines

mom and dad

philippines dried mangoes

the villa at The Spa | pool view at the Edsa Shangri-la (Matt and I stayed there for my birthday, I stole this pic from his instagram) | more gatherings with friends | lemony shrimp pasta | more family dinners | the best parents in the world | more (dried) mangoes (also the best in the world)

I am quite lucky to be surrounded by so much love and joy, and I think our trip set the tone for our 2017. I wish the same for you, dear readers. I’ll be back soon to share our Japan pictures!


4 Responses to “Pictures from our Manila Trip 2017”

  1. #
    Molly Galler posted January 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I was hoping there would be a trip recap! So special that you got to show Matt Manila, celebrate your birthdays there and toast to your engagement with all of your family and friends. I can’t think of a more joyful way to start 2017!

  2. #
    Sues posted January 30, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Awww what an incredible trip with so many people you love!! Annnd now I’m seriously starving; all of that food looks awesome!

  3. #
    Kristen Fenton posted January 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    I always look forward to your amazing at home family and adventure recaps. these pictures are truly the best.

  4. #
    Michelle Lahey posted January 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    What a lovely time to be with the family! Looks like an amazing trip home.

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