San Juan – Rueda Year-end Letter 2011

by: xtian001

In: Family & Friends | Personal | Xianelle

23 Dec 2011

As the year comes to a close, we go back to looking at all the digital photos on the hard drive and recall the events that filled our year with laughter, sadness, excitement, and a whole spectrum of emotions. And as with the past 10 years that we’ve been doing our “Year-end letter”, it is that time of year again for us to reminisce and share these memories with you, our families and friends dotted all over the world.

The year started with Xianelle visiting an Ophthalmologist to have her vision checked. For the past months, we’ve noticed how she would squint when watching or reading. I’m sure you remember how classmates in grade school would go up front when copying from the teacher’s blackboard.  As it turned out, she was near-sighted and would require her to start wearing glasses. We’re glad that we were able to have her checked this early as it really helped her especially that she is one voracious reader. A day would not pass without us telling her to “put that book down” as she’d try to read and carry a book while asking her to do something or while eating. I am sure she has read more books than what Mavis and I have read our entire life! And that is not to say that we don’t love reading!

Xiane gets glasses!

Xianelle visits the Ophthalmologist!

This insatiability for reading is not without merit. I’m sure this has helped her win the first ever Spelling Bee in Grade 2 (Youtube Video) last April. Now in Grade 3, she consistently does really well academically and maintains her place at the TAP Program, Qatar Academy’s special program for the talented and gifted students.

Xianelle wins Spelling Bee

Besting the other 9 contestant to win the Spelling Bee!

At 8 years-old, she makes us really proud to see her grow up to be a good person and how she tries to be a sensible and responsible girl. We can only hope, pray and guide her to become the best that she can be and with God’s grace, we know that we are on the right path.

On May 5th 2011, we celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  Thanks and praise God for all the 10 wonderful years we’ve shared together.  We were so privileged to have attended the Marriage Renewal Mass at the Holy Rosary Parish here in Doha, where we got to renew our wedding vows.  We pray that God continues to guide us, as we face the challenges of married life.  Here’s to the next 10 years and more.

July, as it has been the past few years, marks the end of the school year for Xianelle and the start our yearly holiday in the Philippines. It might not be the most favorable month in the Philippines as it is also the start of the rainy season but there is no place like home; rain or shine. Aside from staying in Angeles and Baguio where our parents are based, our vacation this year took us to the Philippine Islands of Bohol and Palawan.

Even before touching down the Bohol Airport, one would be able to see the rows and rows of hills that cover a large part of Bohol from the plane. These “Chocolate Hills” were named for the way they look like (Hershey’s Kisses) especially in summer when the grasses that cover them turn to brown.  It was surreal especially because we grew up just seeing the hills on postcards.

The Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are now green!

Mingling with the Bees at Bohol Bee Farm

Mingling with the Bees at Bohol Bee Farm

We were able to enjoy lunch while on cruise at the Loboc River, visit the Bohol Bee Farm to eat Ginger Ice cream and experience holding a slab full of live bees and enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the deck overlooking the ocean.   Of course the ‘merfolks’ (since we love swimming so much) of the family, that being me, Xianelle and Ate Tin (my older sister) never passed up the chance to snorkel.  Mavis on the other hand, got a taste of pain from the stings of a sea urchin when we went to Dumaluan beach. But do note, she was still asking for us to take photos that she could post on Facebook in between the cries of pain!

Facebook PhotoOp after stepping on a Sea Urchin!

Facebook PhotoOp after stepping on a Sea Urchin!

But the most enjoyable part of our 5 day stay in Bohol was staying at the Panglao Regent Resort where we spent most of our time just having a dip in their beautiful swimming pool; day or night.  The rain just couldn’t dampen our spirits! Bohol is probably one of the quietest places we’ve ever visited but it turned out to be an enjoyable trip because we had family with us. 

Night Swimming!

Night Swimming!

Two days after coming back from Bohol, we had to fly to Puerto Princesa, Palawan with Mavis’ family. Having 15 people (including Mavis’ extended family) to plan for was a daunting task. Imagine the difficulty of having to book 15 passengers during a Cebu Pacific Sale and the months of planning and researching for accommodation and budgeting.  But as the old saying goes ‘kung ukol, bubukol’ (if it happens, it happens) and amazingly everything just fell into place. This trip was a gift to Mavis’ grandma who rode a plane for the very first time and has always dreamt of going to Palawan.  It was a happy feeling to make this come true.

Back in Palawan!

Back in Palawan!

Although this was already our second time to visit Puerto Princesa, it was fun to see our family enjoying the same sights, the same way we did when we first visited. The highlights of the trip include the paddle boat inside the Underground River which has recently been voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the Nature, close encounters with the Crocodiles at the Crocodile Farm, and the snorkeling at Honda Bay especially for Tian and Xianelle who were the only ones brave enough to swim beyond the depth of 30 feet!

Most of all, the bonding that we had, made this trip really a memorable one.  The chit-chats, the exchange of funny stories in the family had really made it very special, something that we will all remember for a very long time and something that we will always look forward to having once again in the future.

Our “staycation” (where one stays at home for vacation) was spent with eating out, barbeques at home, enjoying movies with the family, nightly mahjong, and teaching Xiane traditional children’s game like “Piko” (Hop scotch) and “Tumbang Preso”.  We got also got to visit Enchanted Kingdom, the biggest theme park in the Philippines, after so many years (the last visit was in 2006).  This time around, Xianelle braved the very daring ‘Anchors Away Ride’ and rode it several times.

Playing Philippines' traditional game of "Piko"

Playing Philippines' traditional game of "Piko"

Xianelle and Mamita giving "Angel" a bath

Xianelle and Mamita giving "Angel" a bath

Cooking rice with a traditional clay pot

Cooking rice with a traditional clay pot

All wet after riding RioGrande Rapids at Enchanted Kingdom

All wet after riding RioGrande Rapids at Enchanted Kingdom

As we’ve done for the past years, we try to share our blessings to some of the indigenous locals in our area. With the help of the family, we prepared more than 120 packs of rice and other food supplies as well as some medicines. We were able to gather Xiane’s “Happy Meal” toys to augment the toys being donated by the family and give them to those who may enjoy them better.

Lining up the rice and canned goods for donation

Lining up the rice and canned goods for donation

Indigenous kids waiting for their turn

Indigenous kids waiting for their turn

After our vacation in the Philippines, the days just passed by ever so quickly.  Our Fridays have become so busy since Xianelle started going to Catechism once again.  She is very excited and looks forward to her First Communion in February.

 

But before that, we are happy to be celebrating Christmas and very eager to welcome the New Year.  Yes, it does mean we’ll all be another year older, but hopefully another year wiser.  The prospect of getting old does seem scary but I guess our experiences in life and hopefully the wisdom that comes with them will make us better equipped to face all the challenges that each year will bring.  It is our hope that Year 2012 will be better if not as good as 2011, for all of us.  More than the material blessings, we are once again so grateful to God for having kept us and our families safe from all harm, for the good health, and for the love and support that we continue to share in our families.  It is our prayer that we’ll all be able to overcome whatever difficulties that will come our way this year.

 Here’s wishing you all, our families and friends all over the world…

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Bountiful, Blessed New Year! God bless us all!

Love always,

Mavis, Christian and Xianelle

http://www.lifeonthespot.com/

 

Christian
Xtian001@gmail.com | http://www.facebook.com/chrissanjuan | +974 550 30141

Mavis
mavisrueda@gmail.com | http://www.facebook.com/mavis | +974 779 52229

1 Response to San Juan – Rueda Year-end Letter 2011

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Santhosh Thomas

December 25th, 2011 at 6:51 am

I could feel that i was also with your vacation.

All the best.

Regards
Santhosh

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It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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