The worst:

Hello, we are jetlagging!
It is 2:10 AM in Manila and my sons and I are wide awake.
At 12:44 AM earlier I placed an order at
Within seconds I received this reply on my BlackBerry:


While waiting for my phone to ring, I took the boys to the kitchen to turn on the lights and set the table.
One hour later I called 86236 to follow up on our order. The guy who answered the phone (Erwin) said he would ask someone to call me back on the matter. Nobody did. So I called again 86236 and spoke to the same guy.
I was already angry and telling him I placed the order an hour ago and we are starving. He then said they had just received my order now (as in, one hour later) and take note, I have to wait another hour for the order to come. That means our order would’ve come at 2:44 AM. Tama ba yon?
I went absolutely nuts, I can’t tell you.
Normally other companies like Shakey’s give your order for free if they’re one hour late, but McDonald’s Delivery said I would still have to pay for an order that would have been two hours late, thank you very much.
Thank God, Markus had the initiative to take a pack of rookwurst out of the chiller, which we microwaved and ate with some rice.

Rookwurst at Hema

I’ve used McDelivery many, many times, and while this isn’t the first time they screwed up, this is the first time I’m not getting any food. I wonder, are your call center agents sleeping on the job?



I love trains, much more than planes, definitely.
The Philippines would be so amazing if we had a modern railway system, for example, that can take us to Baguio within hours. Hopefully it would be a nice train like Hong Kong’s Airport Express, but that’s just asking for the moon.

Hong Kong Airport Express H204

Hong Kong Airport Express H204

I love train-themed movies like Silver Streak and Murder on the Orient Express.

silver_streak murder-on-the-orient-express-1974

I find trains romantic. I wish I could read books in them, but I get so dizzy.
Jeroen and I once took the train from Utrecht, the Netherlands to go to Lourdes, France. It has many stops and train changes, the last leg of which took about nine hours.
This time around, we took the Thalys train that went from Amsterdam to Paris and back.


What I love about riding trains is the beautiful view and the fact that we’re not flying and I’m not scared to die.
What I hate:
1) When the seat faces the opposite direction and some people get dizzy. Or when we have to sit next to a stranger.
2) It’s a hassle to lug your luggage to the train and keep an eye on them.
3) Pickpockets, although I have never experienced them.
4) Expensive, tasteless food. Thank God you can bring baon, but better not eat or drink because of:
5) The worst smelling toilets you can imagine.


If you think the Philippines has bad toilets, you need to experience toilets in European trains. The toilet in our Thalys train makes NAIA toilets look like Peninsula Tokyo.
While I try very hard not to use the toilet until we arrive at our destination, here’s what I have to do if I absolutely have to use the WC—tie a scarf around my face, not breathe, move quickly, and hope I don’t get locked in.

What I do when I enter the public toilet

I look like a terrorist.
In spite of that I don’t mind taking the train again, but Jeroen says there are tourist buses that can take us from Utrecht to Paris or London in a few hours. There are stopovers, which means you are not compelled to use the bus toilet. You can go down for a snack or toilet break, and you can take bigger pieces of luggage for shopping purposes.
Unless of course those toilets are also scary.

Tears For Fears back in Manila this 2012

Tears For Fears knows it’s more fun in the Philippines.
Remember this deafening reception at the Araneta Coliseum in May 2010?

I sure wouldn’t miss it.
Tears For Fears will embark on a late-summer tour of the Far East—hitting Japan, the Philippines and South Korea—but not before playing a small string of warm-up shows in Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Costa Mesa, California and possibly San Diego, Curt Smith revealed on a recent music-industry podcast.

Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith (L) with Roland Orzabal

Appearing on the Music Biz Weekly Podcast last week, Smith said he and Roland Orzabal are planning a three-and-a-half-week summer tour.
“I guess when we get back together we’ll probably talk about whether we’re going to record anymore, but for now, we’re just doing a few West Coast dates to warm up and then we’re off to the Phillipines and Japan and South Korea.”
None of the concerts have been announced yet, but Smith says they’re looking at an August 1 show at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California, plus a Las Vegas date that’s “about to be confirmed.”
He said the band will play the Bay Area, and are trying to secure a venue in San Francisco, but could end up playing in San Jose. He adds: “We may do San Diego, but I think it’s only going to be three or four shows before we head off.”

On the road

I was very much fascinated with the half-cars I saw all over Europe and took photos until I saw too many and got used to it. Aren’t these cute by the way? Can these survive Manila’s crazy drivers? Would it ease our traffic and pollution?

Half a car

Little car

Half car

Little car

Then I saw the fancy buses in Paris. I’ve always wanted to own a fancy van or Coaster so I can pack my family, helpers, and all our stuff to Baguio with the luxury of space. I wonder how much these buses cost.

A nice bus

A nice bus

So jealous

Another cool van

Finally got to ride one on the way back to Schiphol when Jeroen hired this maxicab from Theo Middelweerd

Theo Middelweerd maxicab

The coolest thing, it had this ramp that helped us load our luggage easily. The boys were fascinated.

Jan, Jap, Ben

I had a great nap on the way to Schiphol. It was love!
Jeroen loves the triple Dutch accordion public buses which are not as cute. Do you think these would fly in Manila? Or more traffic for us?

Triple Dutch bus

The hood

Utrecht is a place where you’ll find more interesting ways to sit

Utrecht benches

Utrecht benches

Eetwinkel Geniet


Chair store

Pantone chairs

Rietveld child's chair

Dick Bruna bear stools

There’s a hi-fi shop

Utrecht stereo shop

One of my favorite home stores, I don’t even know its name

One of my favorite stores in Utrecht

Cute store

Cute store

A wasteland called Tiger

with the fake moustaches


The neighborhood H&M is so cheap!! Bought lots of stuff for the boys

H&M Utrecht

Sport-Inn belongs to Jeroen’s cousin Bas

Sport-Inn, Utrecht

where we stopped by often

van Stratens at Sport-Inn

Jeroen, his cousin Bas and the kids

Jeroen, Estelle, Bas, Ben

Jeroen and Bas as kids

Jeroen and his cousin Bas

Jer says the best fries are at Mennekenpis

Mannekenpis fries

So much fries

All those fries

The Utrecht art museum looks awesome

Utrecht Art Museum

Utrecht Art Museum

Flowers everywhere

PInk roses

Check out the prices

Cheap flowers

Flower market

Jeroen’s friends own Eetwinkel Geniet, where we also stopped often

Eetwinkel Geniet

Eetwinkel Geniet

Melle runs the show here


Jeroen at Melle's

Just one of the boys

The boys at Melle's

I happen to love the HEMA in Utrecht


The Albert Heijn supermarkets

Utrecht Albert Heijn bike parking

The Wok To Go

Last look at Wok to GO

I miss you already.

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