Día de Muertos 

Día de Muertos here is a big deal. Celebrated from October 31 to November 2, this is a multi day holiday to celebrate and remember family and friends who have passed away. The celebration is actually quite similar to All Soul’s Day in the Philippines in that cementeries are visited and one pretty much hangs out there with food and drinks to remember the dead. Both cultures have so much in common I sometimes feel I’m back in Manila except for the cool weather here and of course everyone speaks Spanish. I visited two places to experience Día de Muertos in México City. The first one was Museo Dolores Olmedo located south of the city in Xochimilco. It’s actually a hacienda converted into a museum that houses the art collection of Mexican businesswoman Dolores Olmedo Patiño. Artworks by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are permanently housed here as well as hundreds of archaeological pieces that showcase Mexico’s ancient cultures. This hacienda has that beautiful colonial design surrounded by lush gardens and is inhabited by the hairless Xoloizcuintle dogs. As you can see from the pictures below, this museum is a Mexican treasure.

Ofrenda, or offering, for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. An ofrenda is where objects are placed on an altar to remember the dead. One can put the favorite food and drinks of those who have passed away to commemorate them and to remind them that they are not forgotten. 

So colorful and well crafted 

Calaveras or skulls are everywhere during Día de Muertos

Xoloizcuintle or hairless dogs. We were told that they are warm to touch and prone to skin diseases since they are not protected by fur. Can you spot which one is the statue and which one is real?

This one was painted for the Day of the Dead celebration 

Beautiful colonial design 

Next we went to Coyoacán to visit what was once the private home of El Indio Fernandez, a famous movie director and actor during Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinematography. Called the Monumental Casa de Emilio El Indio Fernández, there were countless ofrendas inside and each one personally decorated to the tastes and interests of the departed. This house is actually still a private residence so certain areas were restricted to visitors.

Dining area – again lots of color

Traditional Mexican kitchen

Ofrendas everywhere 

The house was ornately decorated for this holiday 

I really wanted to experience what Día de Muertos was like in Mexico and I’m glad I joined this tour. Two days later we flew out to New York for the marathon – another epic experience to be told some other time 😊. 

Albergue Infantil 

It’s been a while since my last post. You can say things have been busy and not so busy. You’re too busy to write, and when you’re bored you don’t really have the energy to do anything but veg if that makes any sense. Anyway, it’s been an interesting few weeks. We got back from our September trip and I’ve been plugging away at school and helping manage a non profit organization here. The volunteer aspect of the International Women’s Club is simply great. Last Friday I had the chance to help out at a Albergue Infantil which translates to children’s shelter. It’s not exactly an orphanage in that the kids are cared for during the week but go home to their respective families during the weekends. It’s a place that helps children without the resources for education and whose families cannot afford basic necessities. 

Judy Kim heads the Charities division of the club and she does a wonderful job at it. The visit to Albergue Infantil Ines Maria Gasca A.C. was rewarding and plain fun. There were about 20 children, most of them girls with 2 boys ages 4 to 18. We played games, served them lunch and celebrated the birthdays of two girls Karla and Dulce. We had about 9 volunteers that day. 

To be honest I wasn’t sure if I could make it but I’m glad I made it work. It’s not my intention to sound high and mighty at all,  I never did much volunteer work before moving to Mexico City. It makes me appreciate the blessings I’ve had even more and that any help you can give is really appreciated. 

The children played games with a Sister watching close by 

Playing with balloons 
More games 

Lunch time 

Birthday cake and presents for Karla and Dulce 

The kids danced and sang for us as a thank you. 

It was a fun Friday. 

Viajes, comida y una boda (travels, food and a wedding)

It’s been a while since I last wrote. We have been traveling so much the past 2 weeks, I’m having withdrawals as I sit here in our Mexico City apartment with a (non-alcoholic) drink in one hand and my cellphone in the other. 

The last 11 days had us in Paris, Dijon and Dallas/Plano. Our dear friends were married in the French countryside and this was the catalyst for our trip. Honestly I am so exhausted and I am just stalling since I need to run on the treadmill this afternoon. I wanted to share some photos from our travels, I hope you enjoy them!

We stayed at Chateau de Barbirey where the wedding was held as well. Look at this view. 

Downtown Dijon. This is our first time in the Burgundy region. The wines were amazing and the people so friendly! 

The wedding of our friends is one for the books. We are so happy that we got to be a part of it. Here is a sneak peak – my photos don’t do justice to the venue or celebration at all! 

After staying in Barbirey-sur-Ouche for three days, we all hopped on the high speed train to Paris. Transportation there is so efficient! 


I’ll have to do a separate post of Paris. It’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to and I have TONS of photos to share. 

After four days in this glorious city, we connected to whereelse but Dallas. My husband had this crazy yet brilliant idea that we should just stay for the weekend. It is weird “visiting” our house but I’m glad we did. Most of the time spur of the moment ideas are the best! 

We spent our time catching up with dear friends and eating amazing food. The husband event got to ride with our local cycling group; I couldn’t since my road bike is here in Mexico City. I was a bit jealous needless to say. 

Okay now it’s time to get that run in. My marathon is in 8 weeks! Besos y abrazos! 

Ballet Folklórico de México 

Ballet steeped in Mexican history and culture?  I was intrigued. We were finally able to catch a performance of the Ballet Folklórico de México in the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes last Sunday. Founded in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez, the dancer and choreographer wanted to show the world the dancing traditions of her country. I have to admit, we were surprised at how different this performance was to traditional ballet. First of all, the dancers did not wear ballet shoes – they were either barefoot or wore what looked like tap shoes. Secondly, there was only one scene where they were wearing leotards. The majority of the show had the performers donning traditional Mexican garb. It is definitely a show I wouldn’t have seen anywhere else; and I’m looking forward to watching it again when family visits! 

The beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes. 
We felt like we were in Europe! 
The next set of pictures were taken during the performance

The whole experience was a mix of tap dancing, folk dancing, rope throwing along with some Mardi Gras. Only in México! 

Just say Yes

I can’t believe I’ve been in Mexico City for over 2 months now. As cliché as it may sound, time really does fly! It just seemed like yesterday that I was still working at e-Miles and we were packing our furniture and clothes to bring to Mexico.  

I am a person who loves to be busy and who craves schedules. I do love spontaneity but I am a big planner at heart. I plan out my day whether it be running on the treadmill or getting on the trainer in the morning, or laying out the small details of an upcoming trip (I’m a huge traveler). That being said, upon moving to Mexico City I lost that sense of structure. I was having these mini panic attacks: what am I going to do today? Who am I having lunch with? Where are my girlfriends?! One of the first things I did was reach out to our concierge at Carlo’s work and ask for advice on how to meet new people. Lo and behold, that’s how I joined the Newcomers Club of Mexico City. 

The Newcomers Club has been a true gem. I quickly made new friends; scouring new areas of the city with them (I hate venturing out alone; it’s more fun with like minded people!) and discovering the joys of volunteerism.  To volunteer one’s time and talents for charitable or educational activities, I recently discovered, is a huge blessing. This assignment overseas for our family is a wonderful opportunity and may just be once in a lifetime, what better way to show your gratitude than to give back? 

My first volunteer activity here was to stuff backpacks for the children of Escuela Costa Rica. It’s back to school for a lot of kids on Monday (same as in the US) and I was asked by Judy who heads all charitable activities of Newcomers Club if I wanted to help. First thing I said? Yes! 


Supplies donated by a lot of the club members. Our small group was efficient!

 
New school supplies for the kids
It’s a good feeling to help out! 
So exciting to give new backpacks filled with school supplies to the kids of Escuela Costa Rica. 
I’m currently involved in collecting toiletry kits for the elderly. We recently went back to Dallas for a quick visit and I was so touched by how many people wanted to help! I posted it on social media and the response has been heart warming. People really do want to help! 

Many thanks to Fides, Mipette and Chris for your donation!! 
Vicky, the President of Newcomers, asked me if I wanted to help with the membership department and I immediately said, you guessed it, yes! I’m learning that if you devote your time to quality initiatives and goals, you can do a lot. Whether it be training for a triathlon, a marathon or in this case volunteering my time to worthy causes and activities – the process is priceless. 

Amistades 

Since moving here in early June, I’ve been fortunate enough to make new friends and have enjoyed exploring Mexico City with a great group of people. I love to go out and try new things, but I prefer to do so with amigos. I also recently joined a volunteer group called the Newcomers Club and I am looking forward to participating in more activities with them. Without friends, I don’t think my stay here in Mexico City though transient would be as enjoyable and just plain fun!  Here are a few of the people that I’ve met and the places we’ve been to. 

Celebrating 4th of July with people I met through Carlo’s work. We still meet up for dinner and drinks from time to time. 

The Newcomers Club of Mexico City. Great group of women to socialize with as well as do charity work with. I’m excited to share my time with this group. 

With Maria and Lynda. Maira is from Brazil, Lynda from Canada. 

I met Gretel through my sister, and through her we have met many more friends! Fun diverse group who love to travel, eat and who are also super sporty! 

Lynda, Judy, Maira and myself at the Annie Leibovitz Women: New Portraits Exhibit. 

We met Tita Deedee, Sandee, Andrew and Amanda through a mutual friend living in Vancouver. They are from Manila but recently visited the city and we gladly showed them around. Definitely enjoyed our time with them and I’m certain we will remain good friends. 
At Museo de Antropologia 
At Lalo! – really good food. You can’t miss their bread basket! 

Aperitif and snacks at a nearby Polanco restaurant. 

I’m looking forward to meeting more people here! Before you know it, Carlo’s assignment will be complete and I wouldn’t want to have any regrets while living in a new city. 

Comida and more comida 

We had our fair share of good food this past weekend. When traveling to a new city or country I spend countless hours researching where to eat and which places the locals recommend. I have a huge sweet tooth and I really love churros con chocolate. I discovered El Moro and the history of this churrería is quite fascinating. Founded in 1935 by Francisco Iriarte who was originally from Elizondo, Spain, the name is a reminder of an Arab called “El Moro” who would sell churros from town to town in a cart. I wanted to go to the location in the Centro Historico but the one in Palace de Hierro was much nearer to our apartment. With traffic being so bad here, convenience is everything! 

Finalmente! We are finally here! 
Nice clean design. That contraption in the background is where fresh churros are made. 

Yum

So many choices. We opted for the Español because the thicker and sweeter the chocolate the better! 

Fresh churros! Warm and crunchy.

Cutting them up to small pieces.

We are ready to eat! Carlo asked for his churros to be sprinkled with sugar. I opted for the plain version. 

Mexico City is blessed with spring like weather virtually all year round; even their food courts are open air with a retractable roof in case it rains. 

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed with the chocolate. It wasn’t chocolate-y enough. The churros were wonderful – very crunchy and fresh. I think the churros con chocolate in Dulcinea in the Philippines and San Gines in Madrid are much better. 

I spotted a nearby Quesería – who doesn’t love cheese?! 

We also have a few friends from Manila in town. It’s great that our apartment is walking distance to so many restaurants. For dinner we went to El Bajío which is known for Mexican home style cooking. Carmen “Titita” Ramirez Degollado opened her first restaurant in 1972 teaching women the dishes she grew up with while living in Veracruz. The kitchen remains all-female and the recipes original. This is a great place to bring out of town guests to. The flavors are great and the prices fair for what you get. 

Tacos here are so different from the US – simple and no frills. These were 👌. 

Por su puesto comimos el postres. Of course we had dessert. Clockwise from top left, dulce de camote y piña (sweet potato and pineapple), chocolate cake which was sooo good, and plum pie. 

Happy and full tummies. 
We have family and friends who are planning to visit and there is definitely no shortage of good food here! We can’t wait to discover more.