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Off North

It’s true that we are lucky to have lived in the South of France.  Marseille weather is habitually warm throughout the season and snow is very rare.  Just this fall break we wanted a little change….go North !  Since we haven’t been to North of France for a long time we decided to visit husband family. It was a 10 hour drive quite tiring though it’s all worth going there. We stayed at our friends house in Méru, a nice little village in Picardy. The town has  13,249 inhabitants and has privileged access to both Paris region and northern France which is not bad.

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Méru village overlooking from the forest

meru church

Méru church

My friend took us to the forest for a pleasant promenade.  It’s quite cold but we were lucky to have sun shone all the way to keep us warm and brightly shining.  We even had chestnut (châtaigne) picking.  We went home with basket full of chestnut.  Kids and parents have had so much fun. Imagine 6 kids and 4 adults in a house :d . It was all fun !

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the sun of the south brought to the north (according to my friend)

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the chestnut we harvested yummm !

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It was a short stay so we haven’t had enough time to go out and discover the whole village but we were happy to explore a little of Méru. We will surely go back to visit and know more about her new home.  Sorry the quality of the photos are not so good as I’ve used my mobile though I have my numeric camera. The classic me…. when I try to use it,  I had a low battery sign 😦 !

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Now here what I discovered in Corsica a white fine sand beach situated in St. Florent which is apparently rare in France. My husband was also surprised to discover this place because normally white sand is not  common in France. From our village it only took us 1 and 1/2 hr travel passing by the  The Desert of the Agriates a rocky mountain and rather green panoramic view. The desert stretches between Alliso and Ostriconi villages measuring 16 hectares seeing bizarre geographical evolution which makes them more mysterious. From the beginning of the century, the Corsican farmers worked between thousands of olive trees, cultivates the wheat, harvests almonds, lemons and figs. While on our way to St. Florent the drive is just untiring because of the magnificent landscape even if  it’s a winding road I almost forgot that I have a motion sickness problem. There are rocks with its strange formation. They called it the desert because there are no villages nor people living in that area.

This is the centre ville of  St. Florent and you’ll find the nearest beach right under your nose.  In the center, you will find a lot of restaurants that offer more choices from budget wise, good deal to classy bars, restaurants and pizzeria.  Anyway, most of the restaurants will display their menus and tariffs to inform the tourists which is pretty more assuring. There are also little stores such as Petit Casino, Spar etc that will cater for you. If you  are a type of person who likes picnicking  it would also be nice to sit and relax while picnicking near the seashore. In our case, we went there to see the famous white sand beaches called Lodo and Saleccia beach.  We bought our ticket from Popeye. Here is the tarif : and schedule back and forth in crossing St. Florent going to Lodo and Saleccia beach.

time table
Information : 06 62 16 23 76
> Where to buy tickets?
NAVETTE PLAGE DU LOTU
Departure from
St Florent
Departure from
the Lodo
8.30
9.15
9.55
10.50
11.40
12.30
13.20
14.05
14.50
15.35
16.20
17.15
11.10
12.00
13.00
13.45
14.30
15.15
16.00
16.50
17.40
18.30
19.20
20.00
TAXI BOAT PLAGE DE SALECCIA
Departure from
St Florent
Return from
the Lodo
8.30
9.15
9.55
10.50
11.40
12.30
13.30
14.30
15.30
16.30
12.00
13.00
14.00
15.00
16.00
17.00
18.00
19.00
20.00
The management reserves the right to make changes with the vagaries weather
les tarifs

NAVETTE PLAGE DU LOTU
15 minutes de traversée

Return ticket
april – may – june – september

Adults: €15
Children 4-10 years: €8 – under 3 freejuly – august
Adults: €17
Children 4-10 years: €10 – under 3 free
TAXI BOAT PLAGE DE SALECCIA
15 minutes de traverséeReturn ticket
april – may – june – september
Adults: €25
Children 4-10 years: €15 – under 3 freejuly – august
Adults: €30
Children 4-10 years: €15 – under 3 free

Lodo or Lotu (in Corsican dialect)  beach has an easy access than Saleccia beach.  It would take you about 30 minutes to cross the sea and  you will already embark right away to Lodo beach while getting to  Saleccia is quite  difficult. You need a long walk  about 12 km or 4X4 drive but seriously not advisable to drive there with a standard car. To protect the island they prevent overcrowding the beach that’s is why there are schedules to respect . During summer  July and August could get busy.  This is just fabulous because finding  white sand beaches  in France is  definitely rare.  One advise, please bring something to protect you from the sun like parasol, tent and sunblock.  The place is so wild so think of bringing liquid drinks and something to eat while you are there.  They really preserve the place so you cannot find stores and certainly no restauranst to answer  to your needs.  I believe it’s  good that it should stay that way. Here is a slideshow of our little escapade to such a beautiful paradise.

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It’s time to go for everyone to get back to St. Florent.  It was a very lovely day and we will surely  come back  on our next vacation to Corsica. This time we will explore Saleccia, welcome to 12 kilometers walk. Goodluck to us 😀 ! When you want to see white sand beach, you will only see them in Corsica. So sit back, relax and get ready to pamper yourself.

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Coron Busuanga

A month of hiatus I know it’s unforgivable. Anyway, I and the family have been very occupied with all these outdoor activities as it’s almost summer time. Weather is getting better in the South of France. I would say, I have found the time to update this blog.

I’ll be tackling about the travel we have had in the virgin island of Palawan. At first, we wanted to go to El Nido but it’s quite expensive for us so we opted for Coron Busuanga . Final decision and we did not regret to have discovered Coron. I thank my sister who was nice enough to book everything for us. She found a great resort and affordable accommodation. I would suggest if you want to go to a calm resort you should try Kokosnuss Resort. There are also hotels but they are mostly located in the center so the noise is not surprising.

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The resort

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the air-conditioned room

It was lunch time when we arrived so as usual we have ordered in the resort. The cooking was excellent! Nothing to say. While I and hubby was talking about going out to look for a diving shop a man overheard us and did not hesitate to talk to us. Asking my husband if he is a diver and husband said yes. The man was ecstatically happy to know that husband is a diver because they were looking for another diver to go with him and his wife otherwise they cannot dive. Apparently, diving shop needs a minimum of 3 person. They have discussed the plan as they have already found the best dive shop in the place. Husband was also glad to have found company that shares the same interest.

Later that day we rented a tricycle to see the spring water called “Makinit” and is 5 km from Coron. The “Makinit Hot Springs” is accessible either by boat or by tricycle in just 20 minutes with rough roads. The tricycle rent is P35.00/person which is nothing. There is caretaker asking for a small entrance fee of P30.00 which is not expensive at all. This is to maintain the cleanliness of the place. The “Makinit Hot Spring” is excellent to unwind at the end of a long travel or simply enjoy a “hot soak” and relaxing moments.

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Makinit Hot Spring

Back to resort and had dinner. At the end of the day the hot spring has helped us to get enough rest and sleep. The next day, it was husband’s turn to dive. Without further adieu I will just share some GREAT pictures with you courtesy of the couple we have met. I am not diving so I cannot exactly tell you the feeling and sensation down there 😀 !

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Husband did 2 dives with them and they were really impress how beautiful Palawan is. They also went to dive in Barracuda Lake is a crater of the volcano. The water is soft and at the same time salty.  The  water temperature quickly changes  from about 27°C  to 38°C. So you don’t need to dive with your thick diving suit, a t-shirt and swimming short will do.

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Barracuda Lake

Whilst me and the kids stayed at the resort to get some rest. They found a very nice playmate who is the owner’s daughter.

The next escapade we did was exploring Cayangan Lake which is said to be the cleanest lake in Palawan. This place is also know as Blue Lagoon.   Snorkeling is just perfect for us to enjoy the crystal clear blue water.

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Cayangan Lake

It was really amazing to see little creatures  just right under your  nose.  Kids enjoyed snorkeling a lot and I guess, it’s a sort of introducing them to their future diving lessons soon 😀 !  Will tell you more about the  travel for the moment enjoy reading !

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Cityscape

I had the chance to take this photos from the 20th floor of our friend’s flat. This is Marseilles during the day. I am not a professional photographer but I just would like to share what is like to be on top and see this beautiful cityscape. Well, I did not stay much as I have a vertigo 😦  !  If you can see farther,  Marseilles is surrounded by the sea and mountains. A lot o interesting f activities to do like  hiking, a simple ballade, surfing, canoe kayak, paragliding, roller skating, skate boarding, diving and many others.  I will share some more pictures of Marseilles soon. So when you want to visit Marseilles you won’t regret it as you have a lot of choices to have, surely you will enjoy 😉 !

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Famous White Beach

After the holidays I got so busy from many things. One thing that kept me so busy after our Philippine Travel were gift buying, Christmas decorations and organizing a New Year party between friends. Anyway, at least everything went well. So I am here updating our travel blog of our Philippine get away.

I am sure you are familiar with the famous Boracay Beach in the Philippines. I haven’t been there when I was still living in the Philippines as I hate riding in an airplane. But when I got married to my husband I am oblige to travel. Husband loves traveling and so I do. I just have this transportation sickness. Now, that I am used to taking any sort of transportation I guess in time my mind and body was able to adjust to motion sickness. And thanks to this magic medicine I am able to travel without causing me any problem.

How to get there / Time and Distance

From Manila to Caticlan is a one hour flight. From Caticlan to Boracay port boat ride of 30 minutes. Add another 10 minutes when you start going to the Boracay beach itself . There are buses, jeepneys and aircon L300. The prices are around PHP 120 or if you are on a tight budget maybe you can negotiate 😀 !

If you are not the tourist type “Short Description” one or two days are enough. I suggest you stay 2 nights to live the nightly party ambiance. It’s pretty noisy around.

What to do in Boracay :
1. On the beach and on off-shore platforms you find banana-rides, jet-ski, paragliding.
2. Diving with normal bottles and Nitrox.
3. Snorkeling
4. Exploring the caves in Crystal cove
5. Island hopping
6. Before sunset there are lots of local sailboats for rent that takes you for a sunset trip.
7. You could find the most cheapest to most expensive restaurants around the area.
8. Shopping
9. Bar and disco hopping
10. Or just simply admiring the beauty of Boracay

There are 3 stations in Boracay. Stations 1,2, and 3. And here are their differences :
Station 1: high end resorts, wider stretch of the beach, not that crowded, expensive hotels

Station 2: party central, overly crowded, expensive and affordable hotels

Station 3: low end resorts, crowded, cheapest hotels

I have heard a lot of people telling me that Boracay is really a nice beach to stay. White fine sand, crystal blue water, good restaurants and diving spots. From Manila we had a late flight as usual there was a technical problem according to the airport receptionist. Well, it’s okay I am used to it. Arriving Boracay since we had a tour package everything were arranged from transportation to hotel transfer and morning breakfast. Arriving Boracay it was a nightmare, why? Because there was a power failure during the rest of our stay. It’s because there was reparations to be made with all these electricity cables of the city. Although, there are generators they won’t work all day. There are only limited hours because they needed to charge the generators. I guess it’s really not our luck. It was already 1PM when we arrived Boracay so our hungry stomach were complaining. We had lunch and we found a Filipino restaurant. The food is good, very affordable and clean. After lunch we went to our room and rest a little bit. Check out interesting diving shops and good thing we found one just right beside our hotel room. When we saw the white fine beach, we were mesmerized it was really beautiful. No doubt about it. The only negative thing is that we saw some plastics and plastic cups floating from the beach. There was even broken bottles of beer. The people explained to me it’s because of the previous typhoon. I understand. I will show you some pictures I took during our stay. We did the island hopping for the whole day with very affordable price. Sad to say it was windy and there were big waves so I got sick and we didn’t continue anymore as the waves were really violent. I will spare you the details, I didn’t have the energy to continue and I was disgusting !!!

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I don’t dive but my husband is and he’s really happy to discover a great diving shop. He did 2 dives. The normal bottle and the one using Nitrox. He went diving to Yapak with the dive master and according to him it was one of the most wonderful dives he ever made. I cannot tell you about what he saw underwater. The only thing I can remember him saying was there were strange variety fishes down there that he has never seen before. Blue, orange, yellow, round, thin, long name it you can witness them there. I guess, I need to learn how to dive to really understand the pleasure of diving and see those magnificent creatures. SO if you haven’t set foot you will miss the spectacular sunset!

P.S. Don’t forget to try the best milkshake at Jonah’s !

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My husband is a fan of Volcanos. He would absolutely wants his kids to see an active volcano since in France there isn’t. During our trip to the Philippines, the last days were spent with family as we were always on the go visiting the islands of Boracay and Palawan. I will tell you about the trip next time.

And so we headed to Tagaytay to show to the kids what is Taal Volcano. Along the way, it was a raining and foggy. Thus, husband kept on telling me that he made a mistake to go and visit Taal Volcano because of the bad weather. But we were hopeful that the weather will drastically changed since it is unpredictable everywhere. On the road, cousin’s boyfriend saw a mais vendor and asked how much is the price. The vendor told us is P50.00/mais. Everyone was complaining except for us. Obviously, we were overpriced because the vendor saw my husband. Sad to say, foreigner means money, this is how it goes everywhere. Normally, the price of good quality mais in Manila is P8.00/mais, we went away empty handed. We then continued and reached the Taal City Proper when we asked some tricycle drivers (with carton placard advertising “Boat for Rent”) where to find the Mushroom Burger (a good restaurant btw) to have our lunch before visiting Taal Volcano. Thanks to them they gave us the good direction but before we left they offer us P1,800 if we want to rent a boat. We thanked them and said maybe later and then left.

In the car, everyone was joking that next time before we asked someone husband should hide because we are always overpriced. It’s like husband has a magnet that attracts a certain substance. We found the restaurant and had lunch. At around 1PM we started to find our way going to the lake and hoping we will find a boat for rent. It was a bit scary because there were no cars passing by only us. Though there were people cleaning the environs telling that it’s the project of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still no cars, no tourists. Going to the lake is a zigzag and quite far. When suddenly a young man with his motorbike stopped us to offer a “boat for rent” with a price of P1,800 including the resort. We explained to him that we don’t need a resort we just need to have a banca to cross the lake and see the volcano that’s it. So the negotiation started. He lowered the price for P1,500. We were not still convinced. We started the car engine to look for another boat for rent. The guy tenaciously gripped the car to stop us and negotiated for P 1,300 and yet we found the price not fair enough. So to give you an idea why we wanted to negotiate because it will only take us about 15 to 20 minutes to cross the lake. And a 30 minute walk to reach the volcano, in short we’ll spend around maximum 3 hours in the island that includes taking pictures. After the hard negotiation we told the guy we will pay for P1,000 flat (200/head) if he’s not okay we will find someone. He didn’t have a choice as there were really no tourists passing by. It was the deal. I have already paid the rent before crossing the lake. The traverse was short. We have reached the place and saw around 50-75 people around us with their horses. The tour guy told us to pay the entrance which I did. There was a woman who’s apparently the Supervisor or whatever she is insisting us to get one horse for P800.00 because the hike will be difficult. I explained to them that we don’t need a horse and said thank you. When I told her that she started to be sound very persistent and demanding which I found very authoritative. She started to get into the nerve. When we walked away she threw us a devilish look with a long face. My sister angrily respond her for the disrespectful treatment to us because we didn’t take not single horse. I remember my sister’s words “This is how tourism works here. We are also Filipinos and this is how you treat us. If you think we are rich we’re not. That is why tourism is not moving because of people like you. Tourism are unlikely not improving unless you change your behavior towards tourist“.

My sister was also blaming the tour guide because he supposed to assist us during the trip and talk to the people to stop insisting. But instead the guide told us to pay the additional price of P500.00 if we cannot come back after an hour. Imagine, we have 3 kids to carry and because they were at first afraid to ride the horse. I understand the kids they are young and it would be their first time to do horse riding. The situation begun to get complicated. I calmly stopped my sister and get on with our hike. During the walk there were 5 people with their horses following us. It made us awkward seeing them like ants following the trail as a form of reinforce they say. Well, we ignored them but they were insisting for P500.00/horse just for a 30 minute walk. It’s a hold-up ! And because my husband just wants the kids to see an active volcano we needed to go through bad customer service. When my kids started to get tired and asking me if we they can ride a horse, it didn’t think twice. I initially negotiated for the price. I told them I will take 3 horses for the price of P300.00/horse. Fair is fair, I made a good deal.

While we get on with our hike the only conversation we have heard between the people with horses were :

1. How much did you get from the Korean clients?
2. Did you have some tip ?
3. Me, I have a client but not tip at all (complaining and even cursing clients)

Imagine, in front of me…a Filipino, I was ashamed as if I am one of them. I don’t think at that moment I was proud to be a Filipino. When I see my fellowmen comporting like this I feel profoundly disappointed. Unfortunately, this is happening everywhere especially when we come to a place as a tourist. When we reached the top of Taal Volcano, the people were un-shyly asking us to pay their snacks which my cousin did. Well, I personally will not tolerate but then again it’s the name of the game. It was a kind gesture from my cousin just to stop them from bugging us. And what is irritating cousin paid for it but they were throwing wrappers on the soil even if the garbage is just right beside under their nose.

Husband was proud to show to our kids what is an active volcano. We took pictures and rest a little bit. Honestly, all in all we stayed 45 minutes at the top then go back to the lake to find the worst tourist guide I have ever encountered in my life. When we reached the lake the guide was there and he was really ignoring us. We headed on to find our banca and the tourist guide followed us with the obvious bitter taste reception marked on his face. He started the engine and went on to cross the lake back to the barrio. I was so sure that he intended to rapidly traversed the lake because we were all wet kitties at some point because of the water coming from our direction. I don’t know if I will come to visit this place again. It is so sad and surprising to see that there are no tourists coming in to see this beautiful place. But here are some pictures of this beautiful volcano.

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I went to Taal Volcano 7 years ago and it was not like this. Apparently, tourism has changed the way people live.

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Alpes of Queyras

Month ago we attended a wedding ceremony in the Alps. In fact it is the second time we went to this beautiful place but we didn’t have enough time to explore as we stayed only for one day. It was the 30th birthday anniversary of the groom. The party was remarkably glorious but I will not talk about his birthday neither his wedding, well this blog is intended for travel right? So come with me and discover this divine beauty of the Hautes-Alpes situated in the South of France which is a  2 ½ hours drive from Marseilles.

We left Thursday afternoon to arrive earlier and to have more time tripping out in the village before the Friday afternoon mass celebration. So we have spent our Friday morning visiting the town. This time we took the pleasure to stay in a three star hotel in the village of St.Véran. We have stayed in this luxurious Hotel L’Astragale which is quite expensive but it was worth staying.  St. Véran is the most prominent commune and the third highest in Europe and is near Italian border.

Sorry about the pinkish background in the photo as I have a battery problem but at least it worked out anyway. This is the green lushes background up there. It’s quite warmer in the mountain but with the sun it was okay.

The bridge you see is actually the way up to the Alpes wherein you could see a whole in between the rocks and not a tunnel as an access for the vehicules going up to the mountain. You could also see The Lac de Serre Ponçon (Serre Ponçon Lake) which is an artificial lake with a catchment area of 3,600 km², Maximum length of 20 km with Maximum width of 3 km. the lake was formed to rule water flow after devastating floods caused by harsh damage and loss of life in 1843 and 1856. First projected in 1895, structure started in 1955 and was finished by 1961. After that morning walk kids were tired and hungry so then we look for a restaurant and eaten before heading to the mass celebration. So the celebration has ended and the reception was done in their Chalet. Very well organized. We stayed until 1 o’clock AM only to get ready for another walk in the near villages. Now, I took some pictures of St. Véran because of their famous old houses.


The view behind our hotel room.

An old house.

Church entrance.

Wider view of St. Véran


The fountain

An old door.

So that is about Les Hautes Alpes, I still need to learn about gastronomy and the everyday life of the villagers but I think 3 days was not enough and besides we were there for the party 😀 ! And for the final when we left the Alpes we saw this beautiful castle while we are on our way going down the Alpes.


After spending a wonderful 3 days we really plan to visit the site again as we were really mesmerized by the enchanting beauty of the place. It’s not far, the place is perfect for either hiking during the summer and skiing during winter season. There are a lot of activities, from cheaper to expensive hotels so when you want to visit Alpes I think this is really worth exploring.

These are the nearby cities that you can find in the Alpes :

Arvieux en Queyras 13 km, Briançon 30 km, Ceillac en Queyras 9 km, Chateau Queyras 11 km, Château Ville Vieille 11 km, Embrun 15 km, Gap 50 km, Guillestre 2 km, La Grave 50 km, Mont Dauphin Fort 4 km, Risoul 10 km, Saint Véran 20 km, Savines le Lac 17 km, Vallouise 20 km, Vars 10 km

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