Welcome to Schiphol

Let’s make this like a YES! magazine entry.
Schiphol (pronounced Skip-pol) is the name of the airport in Amsterdam (end of YES! mag reference).
We arrived here at 6 AM, Dutch time. Felt the cold air immediately upon stepping out to the boarding bridge.
The boys were thrilled.

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I really love these small trolleys that make lugging carry-ons easier. Wish we had these in NAIA.
That’s my stuff.

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Immigration was a breeze. No immigration forms, can you imagine? The boys all have Dutch passports, while Yaya Bhing and I queued together. I was scared of interrogation, but the good-looking officer simply said, “Good morning” and “What is your purpose of travel?” Two stamps later, and we’re off.

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Schiphol is really lovely. I prefer it to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Narita airports.
There’s an air of instant chic I don’t see in Asian airports.

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I really love Dutch design. Check out the Starbucks

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The dining hall

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Went nuts over a souvenir shop, but didn’t buy anything—yet.

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Cheese everywhere. The good kind.

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Hermés down below

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Because we were knocked out during the 12-hour flight, the boys wanted McDonald’s, which is a sight for rumbling tummies in any airport. NAIA needs this.

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Fries, chicken nuggets, and sosy water for the boys. Coffee for Yaya.

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Jeroen loves the special Dutch mayo with his fries

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and excited to have McKroket (a special Dutch treat—box says “world famous in Holland”)

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Oh, and I love these breaded prawns—only in Holland!! I love!!!

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Headless, tail-less prawns with ketchup!

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After a quick meal, a happy reunion with Opa and Aunt Helene.

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Love Opa

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Looking for the supermarket inside Schiphol (how convenient)

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Yes, Yaya, we are in Holland

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I want them Miffy chocolate

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Vincent van Gogh chocolate

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Wooden shoe chocolate!! I will hoard them all when we leave

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Schiphol also has some great displays of airplane parts, such as the engine

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Just like the Mind Museum

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The wheels (oh, and an H&M in the back)

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Heading to the parking lot

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with my love

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Art in the airport—we like!

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Yaya Bhing likes the giant lamp

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and loves the cold weather. The weather is really lovely by the way. Nothing like the weather reports have it.

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Loading our bags
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And we’re off.

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Off to Holland

There’s something great about taking a long haul at night because we sleep most of the way.
The day before, I got word that traffic to NAIA was bad due to the number of people trying to leave the country, so we left the house at 5 PM for an 8 PM flight to Hong Kong.
We arrived in NAIA at 6 PM and finished immigration by 7 PM, with enough time to chill in the lounge before boarding.
Good news, there’s been some effort to repair some of the restrooms. Check out the sign:

NAIA improvements

There seems to be a cleaning attendant as well

Restroom improvements

The ladies’ room was jampacked so I could not enter and observe. One thing airport officials should know is that airport restrooms are also supposed to be huge and plenty. Lining up should not be an occurrence since everyone is assumed to be pressed for time.
Check out the Hong Kong airport restroom. I dream of a time Manila can have something like this.

Hong Kong airport restroom

Further improvement is the loss of hideous streamers behind the check-in counters.
This was before:

NAIA

And after:

No more streamer

Oh, and airport tax was lowered to Php 550 from Php 750, so our group of five saved Php 1,000, thank you very much :)

Airport tax lowered

The flight to Hong Kong was great. I prayed a couple of rosaries and read my Yes! magazine with KC on the cover.
We landed. Ate a little bit at the Cathay Pacific lounge before boarding again for a 12:10 midnight flight to Amsterdam.
I gave everyone 25 mg. of Benadryl, which my mom used to give us kids during long-haul flights.
All three boys got knocked out before take off, while I lingered for four more hours before taking my dose. And then I got knocked out for pretty much the rest of the flight.

Cathay Pacific

The flight attendants were really sweet. I saw that they tucked in my sons in blankets when I was still buckled up. The flight started out bumpy and scary for me. A few rosaries later and it calmed down.
I love Cathay Pacific.

Ben
My Ben

Sergio Mendes and Brasil 2012 live in Manila!

Heard this on the radio this afternoon and couldn’t believe my ears. They’re still alive!
The sound of my youth, Sergio Mendes and Brasil 2012 comes to Manila on April 24, 2012 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum—and Jeroen, I’m dragging you. Kthanksbye!

Ticketnet prices:

VIP (103&101 ROWS A-J) (Reserved Seating) Php 4,755
PATRON (Reserved Seating) Php 4,225
LOWER BOX (Reserved Seating) Php 3,700
UPPER BOX A (Reserved Seating) Php 2,640
UPPER BOX B – Php 1,585
GENERAL ADMISSION Php 740

Click HERE

98% packed

During lunch at my parents’ house, I developed a terrific stomach ache due to anxiety and stuffing myself with chili crabs. Much as I wanted to go home and lie down, I still had some odds and ends to buy for the trip.
After lunch, the kids wanted to get hot chocolate at Seattle’s Best, so I had some time to lie down in the back of the van. Then the little one wanted to buy donuts at Krispy Kreme, Bonifacio High Street. I took it as a sign to get dropped off at Muji and check out what they have.

Muji

Luckily they still have some winter stuff—some of it on sale. I called Jeroen and asked him to go home with the kids and send the driver back because I needed to try on stuff.
Armed with two baskets full, I entered the fitting room and chose a black puffy jacket, long sleeve tees and cable knit cardigans, and the most genius pair of layered pants I’m going to wear on the plane tomorrow. I wanted to buy three pairs, but they only had one left in my size.
The pants were a bit long, so I took it to Alterations at Rustan’s supermarket in Shang, where they shortened the hem for me in one hour (more fun in the Philippines).
Went home and finished packing and even had time to watch Back To The Future with the boys. The questions they ask are so funny, I tell you. They think 1985 is so backward. I have to explain why the phones and the women’s hairstyles are so big.

back-to-the-future-lloyd-michael-j-fox

Now that I’m in bed I can finally relax and show you a couple of packing videos you should see.
The first one demonstrates an expandable Tumi luggage you will love.

The next is my favorite packing video because the guy is so OC, you almost want to kick him in the ass.
But the Yoshida three-in-one split-type bag is just genius. You have you check this out. Source

Packing

I started having anxiety attacks a few nights ago because of our Europe. We’re leaving on Monday for Amsterdam with two kids, a yaya, Jeroen and myself. Our youngest has no passport yet and will be taken care of by friends and relatives.
A lot of things are making me nervous, a huge part of it has to be the weather forecast.

Weather forecast

25-26 degrees is what I’m used to at home. In order to fall asleep, I need 22-23 degrees, while my kids need 16 degrees and are looking forward to the cold weather.
My friend Ginggay left for Europe last week and sent me this message:

Twitter

I am really scared of Winter weather, especially in Spring. I hate bundling up because I can’t move. I literally get frozen. I look so haggarda. I can’t deal. I don’t know what to pack.
Last Thursday night I took the boys shopping at Zara, Gap and Debenhams for long-sleeve tees and warm jackets.
Yesterday I went looking for a jacket for Yaya Bhing. Rajo Laurel correctly advised me to check out the Greenhills tiangge, where I scored a North Face overrun for Php 1,100 and a scarf for Php 150—both in black of course. (North Face jackets cost Php 10,000-12,000 each at Shangri-La Plaza.)
I bought a cute little Dowell rice cooker at Abenson’s for Php 650 (so cheap!), plus tons of microwaveable Japanese rice at the Konbini store.
Dowell rice cooker, 3 cups

I bought a travel iron, collapsible hamper and lots of electric adapters at True Value.
I’ve chosen my reading material, filled out the immigration forms and all that.

books

Tomorrow I shall pack my clothes and shoes and on Monday all the rest of odds and ends I’m going to need on a two-week trip.
I already miss Manila. Times likes these I really know where my heart belongs and it is in a warm place called home.

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