Outfit Details:
Vintage 1960s floral maxi dress: borrowed from the shop ;-)
Kork-Ease sandals: thrifted

First and foremost, happy 80th birthday to my grandma! Doesn't she look great? I'm demanding to see her birth certificate because she doesn't look or act like any 80 year old I know.  She walks a few miles each day, lifts weights, eats right, is a die hard Lakers fan, loves action movies, and knows her way around a sewing machine. I'm so lucky to have her in my life. I need to start picking up some of her habits ASAP.

And now, a few musings on Filipino culture:

1. The land of no traffic or driving regulations
I suppose that's a bit of an overstatement...but not by much. While there are painted lane dividers on the road nobody abides by them. It's common to have like 4+ cars driving side by side on what should really be a 2 lane road. Passing a car by driving into the opposite lane of traffic and then cutting them off is totally fine and normal here. Nobody raises and eyebrow. In fact, all of the drivers are incredibly patient.Grant and I couldn't believe it. We kept thinking, man if someone tried to pull these moves in Southern California people would be having melt downs. They would melt down and then probably follow that person home. Also, and maybe this is different in the city versus in the Provinces (aka the country where my family is from), but as long as you don't get caught driving without a license anyone can pretty much get behind a wheel.  Grant swears that he saw a 10 year old driving a car the other day.

Don't get me started on Manila traffic.

2. Sweet Food
I think that Filipinos have a general predilection towards sweet food, and I'm not just talking about for desserts and whatnot. It's been a bit of a challenge for Grant and I to reconcile our Western palates towards the Filipino one. For example, spaghetti is a very popular meal and side dish here but it has a definite sweetness to it. Not like sugary dessert sweet but sweet enough to where we notice that it's sweet. Breakfast meats are another sugary thing that are very popular. Sausage like longanisa or tocino (which is like ham) are just so sugary! So much so that the meats look like they are glazed in sugar. We recently went to a museum the other day that had a small section on native cooking and I found out the reasoning for the abundance of sugar has to do with the region being rich in sugar cane and that the sugar helped preserve the meat.

Anyway, just a few cultural observations


  1. i love these pictures! and your dress is so cute!

  2. Love this!! You look adorable so does your grandma!!

  3. Happy Birthday, Grandma! She looks so sparkly and adorable. I hope I'm as active when I'm her age! Also, love the pic of Grant low-fivin the kids. :)

  4. happy 80th to your grandma! i love your bright dress, perfect for a vacation in the summer


  5. Your grandmother is beautiful! I love the picture of Grant playing basketball, it's awesome.

  6. Awesome photos! Keep them coming! These might convince me to go visit sometime soon.

    I was hoping that you would add your commentary on Grant playing a basketball game with dudes wearing tsinelas (flip flops).

  7. The dress is beautiful! Also, I totally agree how is your grandma 80!?! I don't believe it for a second, she looks incredible.


  8. wait didn't you say you were vietnamese before?? for some reason I thought you were

  9. cool interesting stuff! thanks!

  10. Scrolling through all your pictures of the Philippines reminds me a lot of my hometown (calcutta, india). They too have no rules on the road and the pedestrian never has the right of way! Haha. Your grandma is beautiful. Id love to look like her when i turn 80 :-)

  11. Ashley, Lola's look is perfect! You did a great job on her makeup :) Also, your skin looks so pretty in these latest pics!

    I like what you said about sweet things in the Philippines and I can't help but think of that cake surrounded by hot dogs in your family photo album. Could it be that the main part of the dish was the hot dogs and the serving suggestion was a whole cake?

    I love you and I'm glad you're having fun and are safe!! Tell mom, Lola and Grant I say hi!

  12. Happy happy and HAPPY birthday to your grandma! She is gorgeous and so full of life!!

    And I want to sit and study each of these pictures, everything is so beautiful and intriguing!!

    And tell Grant I said, "Hey Jo!" looks like he can b-ball with the best of them :)

    Try to get some salt in your life STAT!

  13. So many gorgeous pictures! Your Grandma looks great - she's such a stylish lady))
    You look gorgeous! The outfit is so summery, I feel like it's it's summer outside too (though there's still snow on the streets)))


  14. so awesome!!! you seem to be having an unforgettable trip!!! love these posts!


  15. your grandma is a babe! just like you! so cute.
    i love seeing the 'lifestyle' photos that have been happening all over your blog lately.

  16. Happy birthday to your lola! She looks great! Also, I loooove love love ube ice cream, ube anything, ube pastries. Yum! Hope you guys are enjoying it out there :)


  17. Oh my, what fun photographs! It looks like the birthday was such a wonderful time. Also, the maxi dress you're wearing is so gorgeous. You look so stunning...and tall!

  18. LOL. I got stuck in traffic for two hours from Greenhills to Manila Bay. But if you drove in the wee hours of morning, you could travel the same distance in about 15 minutes. :)) My cousin refuses to drive a car in the Philippines. Hope you're having fun in the RP!

    A from A + B in the Sea

  19. I just want to say first that you lola does not look like she's 80 at all. She looks really good and she's got it going on. How adorable! I enjoyed looking at your photos and I miss my hometown. Anyway, with the spaghetti sauce the reason being that it's sweet because the tomatoes that are used for the sauce are sweet not like the tomato sauce here in the US. I had a hard time adjusting to that when I first got here like 6 years ago. Sometimes when we make spaghetti sauce we use banana ketchup which is sweet due to the banana. We sure do love our sweets! I remember when I was a kid I was munching on some sugar cane and I lost my front tooth. hahaha... It's so sweet, I could not resist it. :) Lovely photos and you look lovely in that dress.

  20. aah loved this too, how fun seeing your family & town life. your gran look SO AMAZING! she seriously lifts weights? amazing!! the drivers sound like in latin america but DEF much more patient & again that food pallete cant help but remind me of Venezuela (although not quite as much, but my hubs did ocassionally chew on sugar cane growing up).


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*Had to turn word verification on (even though I personally hate it). I've been getting too many weird spambot comments lately :(