Neri: Summer destinations

·3 min read

The long, hot summer is here and summer plans, dream summer trips and past summer memories are the hot topics among friends. Let’s hear from Frances Siao and Perl Jacalan.

When asked about her favorite summer getaway, Frances zeroed in on Japan. Summer in Cebu is still spring over there and she and her family found the weather perfect with that refreshing chill in the air. An added plus were the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

“Going to Japan always feels like it’s the first time,” Frances shared. “The culture and food alone are enough to get me and my family excited. Our family loves Japanese food. And what better place to go to than Japan itself!” She also mentioned how safe she felt there even during late-night strolls and how she and her family couldn’t get enough of the night markets with its endless food booths offering free tasting.

Aside from the food and the beautiful scenery, Frances found Japan’s culture and history fascinating. They learned a lot after their visits to temples and shrines that dated back to the samurai era. They got to appreciate Japanese culture even more when they tried making their own authentic sushi which required some art and practice. It sure took a lot of work but the experience was definitely rewarding.

The Siaos all agreed. “Whether you go to Japan with friends, family, or even by yourself, you’ll always have an amazing time.”

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Perl Jacalan looked back to one of the most unforgettable summers in her life.

“To drive with the top-down along the mountains and coast of the Italian and French Riviera had been a long-time dream. That came into reality one summer when my husband Meyrick and I embarked on a three-week driving trip in the region. March to April, (summer in the Philippines, Spring in Europe) is a great time to visit. It’s ideal for mountain hikes, coastal walks and even a dip in the sea.”

The adventurous couple chose to travel by car to see more of the Riviera landscape. With Florence as home base, they explored the Tuscan region. They went up north to visit Maranello, the Ferrari town in Italy where Meyrick experienced driving around in an F430 Stradale and saw fancy cars at the Ferrari factory; and down south to Sienna for a taste of the “best gelato in the world” at Gelateria Dondoli, named the Gelato World Champion.

Perl narrated: “Our main destination in the Italian Riviera was its prized jewel, Cinque Terre (Five Lands), a Unesco World Heritage Site and among the most beautiful destinations in Italy.” They drove for six hours along Italy’s dramatic coastline, stopping here and there (the leaning tower of Pisa was a must-see) until they reached the five quaint and colorful hillsides and coastal villages of Cinque Terre. The sight was dreamy and breath-taking!

Meyrick and Perl decided to stay at the most ancient town called Manarola but they took time to explore the other four villages during their three-day stay, going up and down the hilly terrain of Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Monterosso al Mare. The towns are connected to each other by a local train.

“The last stop on our Italian Riviera road trip was at Genoa, an old-world historic center with narrow, cobblestoned-streets and numerous art museums. An hour away was the coastal village of Portofino, a great day trip for sightseeing with a harbour filled with yachts. Next day, we took a train to cross to France and embark on the next leg of our road trip, the French Riviera.”

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