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Growing Up with Ninang


When I was young my mom went to America to work as a nurse so I grew up with my Ninang. Ninang is my mother’s sister, but she is also my godmother. I call her Ninang because in Bisaya, ninang means godmother.

Ninang ended up taking care of me from age five until age ten when I moved to America. Ninang was a nursing student. Even though she was very busy, she took very good care of me. She made sure to help me get ready for school and prepare my meals and take care of all sorts of errands. My little cousin, Ivy also came to stay with us in Davao later on so my Ninang had to take care of two children.

When I was ten I went to live with my mom and my dad in America. I lost touch with my family from the Philippines until my Ninang went to the United Kingdom to work as a nurse in 2003. During the summer of 2003, I went to stay with Ninang for three weeks. I had lost contact with family from the Philippines for so long that having my Ninang around was the best.

She doesn’t know it, but I have to say she brought my feet down to the ground and since that trip, I decided to focus on my studies and make my family proud so now I have one undergrad degree, an associates degree, and two masters degrees. During my stay in the United Kingdom, Ninang and I went to Maidenhead to visit friends from Davao and ate lots of Kentucky Fried chicken. It was a blast.

During that trip, I bought the book the Life of Pi. That book was such a great read. It is about a boy who journeys to Canada with his family after his family sold their zoo, but during their boat ride from India to Canada, their freighter sinks. Pi is then stuck on a lifeboat with a few animals, one of them being a Bengal tiger. I absolutely loved the book.

The book, the Life of Pi and Ninang got me to thinking about perhaps visiting the Philippines for a little adventure for myself. In 2005, after having graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology, I decided to go to Davao City to visit my family. During that trip I rekindled my bond with my grandparents, reconnected with my cousins, and even met new family members. The trip was filled with fond memories I will always cherish. Unfortunately, Ninang was not in the Philippines during that trip.

In January of 2015, I went back to Davao again and luckily my Ninang visited Davao with her family. In February, Ninang and her family visited Davao for a week and I got to see her for two days. We had a party for Ninang and her family in San Miguel. It was loads of fun and I got to meet Ninang’s children for the very first time. Ninang’s children were in their college years already. My how time flies. The day after their party, my grandparents, cousins, and Ninang’s family went to Paradise Island. All of us a great time swimming and basking in the hot Philippines sun.

I would have to say Ninang has been in many ways a lifesaver for me. If she had not been around when I was growing up I don’t know how well I would have fared in Davao City. If Ninang and I had not reconnected during the summer of 2003, I probably would have never reconnected with my family in the Philippines again. Ninang has always been there for me through thick and thin and so I thank her for all that she has done for me.

Saturday Night With Diligent Traveler’s Deen and Going to Deen’s Dad’s Resto Bar Called Konbawa




This past Saturday, I went to Davao to meet up with my cousin, Deen.  We met up at Italianni’s in Abreeza.  I visited Italianni’s last week and enjoyed their Tuscano pizza so I thought I would bring Deen there.  We ordered Tuscano pizza again and also Quattro Carne.  Of course, the Tuscano pizza was good.  I also really like the Quattro Carne, but I preferred the Tuscano pizza more.  It is slightly spicy.  That’s odd for a pizza, but I like it.  Last week when I first went to Italianni’s, I ordered a margarita.  It was frozen, not on the rocks, but it was good.  This time around, I ordered a mango shake.  It was super delicious.  When I’m in the Philippines, I order lots and lots of mango shakes.


After dinner, Deen and I took a taxi Matina Town Square.  Our taxi driver was a maniac and driving really fast.  Anyhow, we arrived safely in Matina Town Square and we visited Aling Foping’s.  Deen said they were featured in Kris TV because of their delicious halo halo.  I ordered a durian halo halo.  I had never had that before and I thought I would give it a try.  I loved it!  It had durian ice cream and some sort of durian jam.durian

Once we finished our halo halo, we took a taxi to Konbawa Resto Bar, Deen’s Dad’s restaurant/bar that he manages.  It was a little far from Matina Town Square and our taxi driver almost passed the place.  Konbawa Resto Bar was lots of fun.  My uncle manages the place and he took care of us.  Konbawa has karaoke and we got to hear lots of people sing.  I enjoyed listening to the customers singing.  I tried to get Deen to sing and Deen tried to get me to sing, but neither one of us were successful and neither of us ended up singing.

After Konbawa, we headed home.  I had loads of fun and would like to go to Konbawa again and actually sing.  I know I can’t sing, but it’s worth a try.   If you are interested in Italianni’s, check out their site:  If you are interested in Konbawa Resto Bar, check out their fan page:

Davao City Trip from January 30th to February 1st


I got off the L3 at the Annex SM City.

On January 30th, I decided to go to Davao via an L3, an enclosed jeep.  I got off the L3 at the Annex SM City.  Once I arrived there, I found Krispy Kreme.  Yes!  Krispy Kreme!  It’s in Davao and guess what the donuts taste like Krispy Kreme donuts.  I was beyond delighted because up  until that day, I thought J. Co had the best donuts in Davao, but I was proven wrong by Krispy Kreme. 

I had to order my fave, ice cream filled donut and Klassic Brioche Ham.

I had to order my fave, ice cream filled donut and Klassic Brioche Ham.

I ordered Klassic Brioche Ham because I had never seen something that looked like that in Krispy Kreme.  I thought it was some sort of crazy donut at first, but it was a breakfast choice with ham and melted cheese on top.  And of course, I had to order my fave, ice cream filled donut.  It was as delicious in Davao as it was in America.

SM Lanang where I went to see Mortdecai.

SM Lanang where I went to see Mortdecai.

After I finished breakfast at Krispy Kreme, I decided I wanted to go to a movie at SM Lanang.  Instead of taking a taxi, I decided to brave it out and take a jeepney.  I was so proud of myself!  I took a jeepney from Annex SM to Claveria and then another jeepney from Claveria to SM Lanang which had a sign for Sasa.  Once I arrived in SM Lanang, I decided I wanted to see Mortdecai.  It was a fun movie with Johnny Depp, one of my fave actors and Gweneth Palthrow, one of my fave actresses.  Overall the movie was good, but it did seem to drag on and on.

Delicious food from Jaloopz Cafe.

Delicious food from Jaloopz Cafe.

Once I finished watching a movie, I decided I wanted to have lunch at Jaloopz Cafe.  I ordered sweet and sour lapu lapu fish and my cousin ordered a chicken sandwich.  My meal was delicious, but her meal did seem a bit boring according to her.  After lunch I decided to head off to Abreeza.  I found a cool painting of Audrey Hepburn!  Yes!  I found fine art in a mall in Davao!  I was super excited I had to take a picture of it.  After exploring Abreeza some more, we decided to go to TGIF.  I decided to order chicken quesadillas and my cousin ordered  Grilled BBQ Chicken.  The quesadillas were delicious as usual, but I fell madly in love with the grilled BBQ CHICKEN!!!  As in MANOK nga MANOK!

The beautiful Pinnacle Hotel and Suites interior.

The beautiful Pinnacle Hotel and Suites interior.

Once I left TGIF, JunJun and I decided to stay at Pinnacle Hotel and Suites just to see how cool it was cause it looked really cool on their website!  Guess what!  It was awesome!  I loved the ceiling when you walked in.  The bed was comfy and their shower had a shower curtain.  Yeah, apparently shower curtains are not a must in hotels in the Philippines.  For example, Tune Hotel did not have a shower curtain.  The 5th floor of the Pinnacle had a pool and a small garden.  I took a stroll in the garden at night and enjoyed the view of the city from the garden.  I did not have a bathing suit with me so I was not able to try the pool, but I’m sure it would have been fun. 

My delicious giant halo halo from Ice Giants Desserts and Snacks.

My delicious giant halo halo from Ice Giants Desserts and Snacks.

Very close to the hotel was Ice Giants Desserts and Snacks.  I got to have my first halo halo during this trip in Davao.  I know there will be more halo halos to come, but I don’t know if the other halo halos can beat my ginormous halo halo.  It was yummy!  As in LAMI GYUD!  Check out was 12 pm at the Pinnacle, but I woke up much earlier and was able to enjoy their awesome breakfast.  I had a fresh fruit shake for a drink, mango of course and I ordered a pork tocino meal with scrambled eggs and garlic rice.  And that concluded the Davao fun for this time.  I hope to blog about more coming soon.  What an adventure I had!

Davao City Trip January 27th-January 28th Abreeza Mall and Tune Hotel


The indoor decor of TGIF.

Yesterday, I went on a Davao City adventure on my own.  I often travel to Davao on my own from Calinan to Davao City.  I got to go to my favorite restaurant in Davao City yesterday, TGIF.  TGIF stands for Thank God It’s Friday.  I know that there’s a TGIF in America and it seems odd that TGIF would be my favorite here, but I really like their atmosphere, their decor, and their quesadillas.  TGIF in Davao City is located in the Abreeza Mall.


The view of Mt. Apo from Tune Hotel.

After dinner, I checked into my hotel in Davao City called Tune.  It was 1,400 pesos for one night which is a great deal.  The hotel was comfortable, had a great view, and had TV.  I got to watch the CNN news and watch some special tributes they had for the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Jews from Auschwitz.  They also had wi-fi which allowed me to chat on Facebook all night long.  That was my favorite part.  In the morning, I woke up to a great view and in the distance I could see Mt. Apo.


Artsy pic of the Tune Hotel window.


My super cute outfit!


The restaurant next to Tune Hotel.


My delicious breakfast.

In the morning, I woke up starving.  I went to the lobby to find out if they had a restaurant.  They said they did and it’s in the ground floor right next to the hotel.  I went to the restaurant and found a nice, clean, and friendly place.  I ordered a longganisa meal with rice and egg and for my drink I had a mango shake.  The mango shake was my favorite part of the meal.

After the first breakfast, I decided I wanted some donuts so I went to J and Co.  Their donuts are delicious.


J. Co has the best donuts in Davao City.


Yummy donuts.


More yummy donuts.


Donuts! Yes! Both for me! Who wants to only eat one J. Co donut?

After eating some donuts, I explored Abreeza Mall.  It is a very large mall with lots of brand name stores.


Posing in Abreeza Mall.