Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Category: Holidays

Signs, signs 003: Camel advertising


Every time I descended to Mombasa for my weekend rendezvous with my co-volunteers and expat friends, it’s the beautiful beaches of Diani that beckons to me the most. Not only that, we also marveled at the sight of camels at the beach! I have never seen a camel on a beach before but in Diani, they are every where and they are for rent. While I was afraid of camels (still am, and they’re stinky too), a camel ride added fun to every tourist’s visit to the beach, especially the kids.

One weekend, my co-vols and I were lazing out in the sand, this camel sauntered lazily in front of us…

… just slow enough for us to be able the signboard that was attached to it. It was advertising for an “Abenteur-Safari in der Masai Mara”. A perfect mobile advertising, eh?

Shadow Shot Sunday 003: Swamp birds

SSS #2 button

This post is still connected to Amboseli National Park. It seems that my posts for this week were all taken during my trip to the national park and reserve (last year). So please excuse if you are already bored.

There are so many swamps inside Amboseli National Park where animals love to cool down and have a drink. It has been said that the swamps are fed by snow-melt run-off and rain coming from Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Signs, signs 002: Group photo


Last week I blabbered about how lonely my life was as a volunteer, but I tell you, it’s not that bad. Really. Once we had a long holiday in Kenya last year,  I and several expat-friends of mine made a trip to Amboseli National Park.

We were all to excited to be there… Never mind if it was a very long road trip inside a cramped van and the weather too cold. When we finally arrived, this big sign welcomed us. Before we went in, we just had to take a group photo at the entrance gate, with the huge sign, of course.  It’s for souvenir. LOL.

Wordful Wednesday 002: Making fire in the bush


This photo was taken last year on my first visit to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park along with other co-volunteers and expat-friends. I had a great experience sight-seeing and ooh-ing and aah-ing at every wildlife I encountered there!

The local people living in the Rift Valley Area are mostly Maasai and we were greeted by a group of Maasai men who were actually the guides. They were shy but friendly to us muzungus (foreigners). Before we went on safari, the guides demonstrated a lot of things depicting their way of life and I only managed to take a photo of this one.

  I love this photo – look at how these Maasai men work on that fire. Even when clad in their traditional colourful shuka (piece of cloth wrapped around their body), they didn’t hesitate kneeling on the ground to show us how they it is done in the bush – using two sticks rubbed against each other and sprinkled with a generous amount of goat manure.

Don’t you  just love the shape of their heads? I certainly would like this picture framed some time soon.

Shadow Shot Sunday 001: Gallivanting in Diani Beach

SSS #2 button


Hi everyone.

This is my first time here at Shadow Shot Sunday. I saw a beautiful shadow shot while blog-hopping and followed the link. It led me here. I thought it’s fun. I am fascinated by shadows and I love taking pictures… So this week, and I hope in the following weeks to come, I’ll be posting my own shadow shots photos.

I am not expert in photography, but I just love taking pictures of things that fascinate me. I also appreciate comments from visitors.

So here is my first entry:

When I was still in Kenya, my VSO co-volunteers and I spend our weekends in Mombasa. After spending the week in our placement areas, a weekend in the “city” was a much-awaited time to come.

Diani is one of the popular beaches in Mombasa. Diani is a beautiful white-sanded beach and turquoise waters lying along the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. And this is where we volunteers loved to go. We shared stories of our work in the different areas of Mombasa, partook of the delicious meal, and just relaxed and enjoyed the view.

The photo above was taken during our Christmas holiday in 2010. I was with my co-volunteers walking along the beach. I noticed how enlongated our limbs were we looked like aliens. It was very hot that day but it didn’t faze us, we walked for an hour, just talking and talking, hoping our homesickness would go away.

Street-dancing in Kalibo’s Ati-atihan

Hello from the green fields of Ivisan, my husband’s hometown and now the place I call my home. It’s been really difficult with the Internet connection here. I’m using Smartbro but it is proving to be a really, really bad choice.  My place is just some 15minutes away from the capital of Roxas City and yet the connection is very unstable. So please excuse my lack of posts and rare visits to the TBE.

This post is almost two weeks late but, since I promised, here are the pictures of the merry-making and revelry in Kalibo. My husband, my son and I, along with the 22-members of the Roxas City chapter’s PhilBiker’s Association, drove to Kalibo. From Ivisan, our starting point, we drove by motorcycle to Sapian, Capiz… then entered Aklan via Altavas, and proceeded to Kalibo passing through the towns of Batan, Balete, and Banga before reaching Kalibo. All in all, the ride was smooth and took us a little over than two hours!

We could already feel the excitement and vibrance of the Ati-atihan festival as soon as we reached Kalibo. And why not? The sounds of drums are deafening, the cheers and laughters were everywhere, and the festive mood is enhanced by the colourful banderitas (flaglets) and banners everywhere.

Shempre, we wasted no time and joined in the merry-making and sadsad (street-dancing) right away. Unfortunately, my battery died an hour after I’ve started taking pictures. Drat. Note to self: dish the old battery and buy a new one.  The following are the ones I’ve managed to get:




I hope next year will be as fun. My sister is so jealous because she has never ever been to Kalibo’s Ati-atihan Festival. This is one good reason for you and R to come home next, don’t you think so? By the way, thanks to my Ate for editing the photos. Well done.

With the Akeanons….

… my husband, son and I are in Kalibo, Aklan, celebrating the Feast of Senor Santo Nino and the Ati-Atihan Festival! Viva, Senor Sto. Nino!

Thank you, dear Sto Nino, for all the blessings; may you continue to shower us all with more in 2011.

Welcome to the most popular, most fun, and the wildest celebrations in the whole of the Philippine islands. The air is electrifying, the sights are festive and awesome, and the loud sounds of percussion instruments pull you to the streets and do the sad-sad (street-dance) till you drop. This is the 2011 Ati-atihan Festival!

batang ati white copy dancing atis white copy

Hala bira!

Ipagwa na ang kapa, kag mag-sad-sad sa plaza.

Hala bira! Pwera pasma!

The pictures above were taken by me in the previous Ati-atihan festival. New pictures will follow soon.

Kwaheri, Kenya… Mabuhay, Pilipinas!

I have so many stories to tell yet due to me moving around to places where there are no electricity, let alone internet, I could not post them all.  As you can see on the right, my bags are all packed and several hours from now, I will be leaving Kenya for my beautiful homeland, the Philippines.  And so this, will be my last entry for My Nipa Hut… Still in Kenya blog and will resume blogging here, in the same blog but with a different blog title and a new header to boot.  Right, ‘te? *wink-wink*

What a memorable night it was - I will surely miss the Tusker beer! ngyahaha. Of course, I will miss my friends.

Okay, no more wasting time, here it is… After the beach clean up in Mombasa, I spent my last few days in Kisumu with my co-volunteers. While there I could not believe that I am already leaving the country soon. I said goodbye to people and friends I’ve made and I’ll surely miss the Kenyan wildlife that I’ve met up close and personal in the national parks I visited.

My days in Kisumu were filled with activities and fellowship with other co-volunteers.  On my last night there last Tuesday,  we all had dinner together. Nothing fancy, just the usual chapati and veggies and – believe it or not – the pancit that I myself cooked. Hahaha. It was a night of fun, truly memorable. Thank you, everybody, for taking me in your care. You know who you are. Di ko na lang i-mention ang name at baka may magtampo sa billing! hahaha.

All my bags are packed and ready to -- wait... where will I put my son's Transformers robots?

As I packed my luggage last night, I can’t help but feel mixed emotions. On one hand, I think I am already missing Kenya, the coast especially, and I feel reluctant to leave. It is so much like the coastal towns in the Philippines. The beach is just around the ‘co-ne’ (corner). Diani beach, you will always be in my mind. So many good memories and people I met there. On the other hand, I am excited to go home to my son and husband who I haven’t seen for more than a year! Gahhh! With 30kgs baggage allowance to Manila with Emirates, and, from Manila to my hometown, I was shocked to learn that there is only a 15kg-allowance with Cebu Pacific! Now I am in great dilemma because how could I bring my son’s sackful of Transformers robots with this measly baggage allowance? Oh dear. I might leave some stuffs to my younger sister so I would not go over the limit — I do not have enough money to pay for the extra baggage myself. Unlike other OFWs, VSO volunteers do not have incomes and rely only on basic monthly allowances. Most of the times, they come home with almost-empty pockets. With this,  I just hope I don’t get to meet “crocodile” airport staff and taxi drivers when I arrive in Manila on Sunday.

Anyways, I will worry about that later on.

Someone told me before that my blog posts are more like “touristy” and didn’t show more about my work in Mombasa. I apologise for not writing accurately about my volunteer experience but this is my  blog and I choose whatever I write about. For me, I’d like to write lightly and not deal with serious matters. I would like to thank those who spared some time reading my posts and leaving comments from time to time.  This blog has helped me cure homesickness and has been a great stress-reliever when times got tough at work.  At nighttime when everything is quiet, at the mercy of the network signal and laptop battery, I read and re-read my posts and laugh at my silly writings, and how I appreciate your comments! Thank you for being part of my journey in Kenya.

Now that I’m leaving Kenya, a new chapter in MamaGirl.com will com. So watch out for it.

Hey, I’m still here!

After a hectic February and March and a 4day volunteers conference in Nairobi, I am back in Mombasa to spend the remaining days of the Lenten and Easter. So please excuse the long blog silence, just you be patient and I’ll be updating as soon as my schedule allows me to.
The volunteers conference in Nairobi was an opportune time to meet all the other VSO volunteers all over Kenya. It was great seeing new faces and reconnecting with others. It was a huge mixed group of newcomers (in my case, I have been in my placement for about 6months and yet I am still getting used to my new surroundings), some half-way through their placements, while others are preparing to leave. It was nice to finally see the people face-to-face whose names I only read in email exchanges between volunteers.
Nairobi was way cooler than Lukore as the rainy season has already began. I can only wish the weather is the same in Lukore! The hot weather is still making me sick. It is extremely, extremely hot in Lukore even at night. I come from a tropical country myself but the heat is nothing like here. The community cooperative has no office of its own and so we meet just about anywhere there is space we could find. I do not mind it at all as I am used to this kind of stuffs – in fact, I love that we are outdoors – but due to the unbearable heat at this time of the year, I am experiencing severe headaches which is very unusual for me. It could be dehydration, I don’t know. While I am very enthusiastic about my work in the community, the heat and headaches are hampering me from doing my  job. I have asked my PM if I would be allowed to do 3days of field work and 2 days paperwork just only till the hot days are over and I’d go back to regular work activities. Up to now I have yet to hear from my PM. If not, then I will be forced to do the rain dance whether I like it or like it very much! *lol*
Anyways, the planned trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro by most of us volunteers was canceled because of the rains, much to our disappointment! So we all decided to go back to our respective areas. On my trip back to Mombasa, fellow Pinoy volunteers came with me and we were welcomed again at the Pinoy mansion where I decided to spend the Easter holiday. It’s actually a company-rented townhouse provided to the Filipino engineers I met a few weeks after I arrived in Mombasa. These lads have graciously opened their house to us – VSO volunteers like me, garment workers, and a lot more – and has become our  “holiday house” of sorts. Not only did our gracious hosts provide us with a nice place to sleep with running water and electricity, internet connection, and above all,  they feed us Filipino food that we sorely miss and the much-yearned for companionship.  I’m sure many of you will agree with me that being thousands of miles from home, in a sea of foreign faces and tongues, being with your kababayans helps ease the loneliness and homesickness. My first Christmas and New Year in Kenya would have been earth-shatteringly lonely if not for the engineers at the mansion, who I consider now as my older brothers, I was spared and enjoyed a wonderfully holiday celebrations Pinoy-style. Truly, wherevever you go, the famed Filipino hospitality still comes shining through. Madamo guid nga salamat sa inyo.

Now that holidays are over, I can’t wait to go back to my community and continue the work.

Wordless Wednesday 005: Gibbons

Another wildlife I met while in Lake Nakuru.

Wordless Wednesday 004: Baboon

One of the wildlifes I’ve seen on my first trip to Lake Nakuru – a beautiful baboon.

Wordless Wednesday 003: Twin towers


“Errmmm… Hello! You rang?”