Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

My favorite time of the year for golf in the Philippines. When you are used to golfing in 30-35 Celsius you welcome the cooler weather in December. Every Christmas season the ladies of ladies of Forest Hills mount a year end December tournament that's tons of fun. Check this out...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Too many Christmas balls?

I had too many leftover Christmas balls after i set up our decors.  So I made a Christmas tree mobile to hand outside our door.  It's easy to do. Just make a circular frame and attach the Christmas balls with nylon thread.  Ho-Ho-Ho!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chateau Villemaurine

The Chateau Villemaurine is near the medieval town in St. Emillion. I went to visit their cellars and was surprised that aside from their lovely vineyards, they had quarries of limestone underground which you could explore with a lantern. These quarries existed way back in the 18th century. At the end of the quarry I saw light coming through and took a quick picture before leaving the tunnel. The Chateau Villemaurine also has a monolithic warehouse that houses some of the finest wines in St. Emilion.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Roses and Vineyards

Chateau Villemaurine, St. Emillion

At  the wineries of Bordeaux you will find roses at the end of the vineyard rows.  I always thought they were planted to make the vineyards look more beautiful.  Apparently not.  These roses are like guardian angels to the grape vines.  Making sure that the vines are taken care of.  Apparently both the roses and the grapes are sensitive to the same mildew that kills these plants.  So if anything happens to these roses, it would be indicative of something wrong in the vineyards and serve as an early warning to the wine growers.

The vineyards at Chateau Villamaurine, St. Emillion

Friday, November 7, 2014

Monte Carlo golf

Monte Carlo Golf Club

La Turbie is the the site for paragliding in Monaco.  The forecast for the day was strong winds.  That ruled out paragliding for sure.  So the next best thing to do?  No, not shopping.  Golfing!  I didn't bring any clubs with me and ended up renting a 20 year old golf set which was a mix of Callaway's Biggest Big Berta, some Taylor made irons and a Zebra putter in a Ping golf bag.  There were no caddies and no golf carts but what a gorgeous view!  It was pure bliss to be 900 meters above sea level in a heavenly golf setting between the French and Italian Riviera.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Paragliding in France

It was an adventure of a lifetime for us to paraglide in the French Alps this year.  From fly sites in Samoens and Annecy all the way to Le Puy.  We experienced some of the best paragliding in the world.  We trekked our way up Le Mont Criou and flew around its snow capped mountains.  In Annecy the Col de La Forclaz flights were jaw dropping gorgeous.  From take off to landing in Talloires, Doussard, Semnoz- everywhere we went was just incredible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coffee scrub

I love my morning cup of coffee. I use freshly ground beans every single time. Nothing goes to waste because I use the grounds to make my own coffee scrub.  Did you know that caffeine from used coffee grounds are great for exfoliation and improves circulation?  Some claim it temporarily reduces the appearance of cellulite because when caffeine comes in contact with your skin it supposedly helps redistribute fat cells and decrease the formation of more cellulite.  As for me, whenever i use this scrub it leaves me with a smooth, glowing skin and enhances my tan.  Not to mention it smells awesome!  My recipe is very simple.  I use one cup of ground coffee, 2 Tbsp of Olive oil, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Once you have tried this you won't go back to buying those expensive scrubs again.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday Golf

Southwoods Golf & Country Club
Easy like a Sunday morning.  Nothing like weekend golf.  Fore!

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's October

One grateful thought is a ray of sunshine. A hundred such thoughts paint a sunrise. A thousand will rival the glaring sky at noonday - for gratitude is light against darkness.

Richelle E. Goodrich

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bali on my mind

Flying over Timbis in Bali Indonesia

"I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings."
-Mary Oliver

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Paragliding in Bali

Yes it is that time of the year again when we do our annual trip to Timbis in Bali for paragliding.
Last year was a blast so it's started to become an annual journey for us...
Paragliding in Bali from monique ignacio on Vimeo.

There's always some kind of magic in the air in Bali.  She is usually gently and calm.  You can just sit back and literally fly for hours and enjoy the coastal view.  Lots of surfers and people sunbathing below you while you fly and hover around them.

On my last flight today I decided to gate crash on a party happening by the beach....  Sorry guys.  I just couldn't resist....

Bali Beach landing from monique ignacio on Vimeo.

Monday, September 1, 2014

An afternoon with the Philippine Pros

What a rare treat when you can spend an afternoon in Manila Southwoods with a couple of young and talented golfing professionals.  Tonton Asistio and John Kier Abdon.

Check out their swings below.


Golfing with the Philippine Pros from monique ignacio on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Philippine Paragliding Team

Paragliding Team Philippines
What joy it is to fly. But to fly and represent your country and compete with some of the best paragliding pilots is even more gratifying.  At the recently concluded  International Paragliding Accuracy Championship ( IPAC 2014)  15 of us Filipino paragliding pilots were able to do so.

Pilot Ian Veneracion proudly flying our Philippine flag at the openeing ceremonies of IPAC 2014
Held at the SAFI ranch flysite in Maasim Sarangani Province, IPAC brought in some 40 pilots from Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Germany and Spain.  The Philippine team was composed of pilots from Manila, Sagada, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Sarangani.  A majority of us had flown in Sarangani the previous year in a "Fun Accuracy" competition so we were familiar with the flysite. But for the majority of the foreign pilots in the competition, flying in Sarangani would be their first time.  That was why I thought it was pretty impressive that they were able to garner the top positions in the competition despite it being their first time to fly in the Philippines.

Accuracy landing entails that a pilot take off and land at a designated target on both feet.  If a pilot falls before the wing is on the ground, he or she is penalized for it.

Monique Ignacio landing 

To win in this competition your foot must touch the center of the target upon landing. An electronic target pad is used to measure how close you are to the bullseye. For a spectator, being able to land dead center may look easy, but I can assure you it is not.  Our take off point is some 1,000 feet above and controlling your wing can be tricky if strong winds and thermals happen. You may be approaching your target and then a sudden gust off wind right before landing can quickly push you back making you miss your target.  You can also easily overshoot your goal by miscalculating your approach.  Personally I think "timing and feel" is as import as your landing technique.  Much like in golf where if your timing and feel is wrong, you miss your sweet spot.

The gorgeous Sarangani Bay is a sight to behold as you fly
Paragliding is a sport dominated by men.  It was encouraging for us female pilots to see however, a growing interest from more women taking up this exciting air sport.  From 15 pilots representing the Philippines, Five of us were women including the youngest Filipino pilot Dids Veneracion who is only 13 years old. Amongst the top scorers in the leaderboard from the other countries were also female.  In fact Indonesian female pilot Liz Andriana came in for 3rd runner up.

Asians have become a force to rekon with in paragliding competitions lately.  So it didn't come as a big surprise that the top prizes in this accuracy landing competition went to Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia.

Lis Andriana (Indonesia 3rd runner up) is surrounded by the Ms. Earth beauties who graced the IPAC award ceremonies

67 year old Yoshiki Oka (Japan 2nd runner up ) showed everyone that paragliding has no age limit

Luis Liu  of Taiwan wins the top prize

It was a fantastic week of flying for all of us.  Blessed with good winds and new pilot friends to share the skies with.  Until the next International Paragliding championships!

Go Paragliding Team Philippines

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kiting with no hands

Ground handling or kiting is an important step to becoming a skillful pilot.  It's a prerequisite in order to acquire the proper aptitude and flying competence to be rated as a USHPA "P2" level pilot.  I had my ground handling exercises by Ocean Beach in California with my instructor Jeff Greenbaum of Airtime San  Francisco.  What fun that was.  Here he is showing me how to kite with no hands.

Kiting with no hands from monique ignacio on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Missing my caddie

Golfing in the Philippines spoils us.  Caddies are mandatory with every game.  Until you golf in North America and get a reality check.  Carry your own bag, figure out your own yardage, wipe your own clubs and read your own putts.

But golf we must, and golf we shall.

With Christian Ignacio at Crystal Springs Burlingame California


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Half moon Bay Golf

One of the prettiest courses in the San Francisco Bay area is at Half moon Bay. There's a breathaking view of the ocean as seen on the 18th hole in this picture.  When I played this course I couldn't concentrate on my game as I was itching to take pictures the whole time. Cypress trees and dogleg fairways make for  a landscape that is picture perfect on every hole.

Finish your round with a nice bubbly or roast marshmallows and make s'mores by the fire pit while waiting for the most fantastic view of the sunset.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Martin Kaymer

Finally a US Open win for you! Congratulations Martin Kaymer!  Last month Kaymer at the age of 29, won the Players Championship on Mother's Day.  Then he goes on to win the U.S. Open on Father's Day.  Lucky guy indeed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My hero

Meet Charlie.  My hero, my inspiration, my favorite golf buddy and the best dad ever.  Happy fathers day!!!!  Love you so.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Paragliding in La Tournette, Annecy

La vue etait belle! Such breathaking view from close to 7,000 feet over Lake Annecy in France.  This has got to be one of the best paragliding tandems I have ever been on with my dear friend and instructor Armand Dard.  We hit thermal after thermal, free flying for over an hour.  It was simply amazing. A ride I surely will not forget.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


From London it was a two hour drive to Stonehenge.  It's been called one of the man made wonders of the world. Erected some 4000 years ago, people still wonder why exactly this was built. Some say it was used as an astronomical observatory. But until today, nothing has been really clear as to why and how Stonehenge was built.

I still had to see it for myself and managed to persuade my longtime college girlfriend Meg to go with me through a local tour company operating out of London. We called the whole adventure the "Stonehenge Express" because when you get there everything is so hurried and you are given less than two hours to stay and explore the place (including the museum on premise) before heading back to London. The nice thing is you can actually get up close and take pictures. But you aren't allowed to get close enough to touch the stones.

Meg and I came prepared with a picnic complete with Champagne and Pate which we quickly consumed before heading back to London. I would love to visit again and stay longer. Perhaps shoot proper pictures when the sun either rises or sets. But to do this, you would have to drive instead of take a tour bus so you can stay longer. Maybe on my next visit. Hopefully soon.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Paragliding the French Alps

A dream come true for me.  Paragliding the French Alps in Samoens at 6,400 feet.  You see and feel all of God's creation.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I woke up to another birthday.  I am so thankful...

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite. Only a sense of existence.

- Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Children of Easter Morn!

He came to earth
with a life to give
so each of us
may continue to live.
Happy Easter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's almost Easter!

I am not sure how it is in other countries, but in the Philippines there is no golfing on Good Friday.
But as soon as the sun rises on a Saturday you can be sure the golf courses will be open. And so my usual Saturday golf group was up early today to be able to finish 18 holes before it got scorching hot!

As there were no golfers on Good Friday, the ducks on hole 8 (who are so used to players bringing them food) were really hungry.  Check them out...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

She does it again

Heidi Schettkat's eagle in Southwoods

The last time I played golf with Heidi Schettkat she made back to back birdies followed by an eagle.

Now she makes another eagle...


Then she says casually she's already had three holes in one and 3 eagles.

I seriously need to play with her more often.


Foolish Tour

1st Quarter Forest Hills Ladies tour 2014
It was the Blue versus the Green team for the 1st Forest Hills Quarterly tournament which fell on April 1, April fools day.

Hole 1 had us teeing off from a meter high tee.

For some it made no difference.  They hit it as far as they would with a normal tee.  Amazing.

But most would hit the tee and not the ball.

Our foolish holes:

Hole 4 - One golf club until holing out
Hole 8 - Use two clubs the entire hole
Hole 10 - Use your driver instead of a putter to hole out
Hole 14 - Everyone gets a mulligan
Hole 18 - The sand trap on the green is the hole

Of course the blue team wins....


Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's April

And just like that it's April...

We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness
-Author unknown

Monday, March 31, 2014

My wish for you....

My son Gabriel turned 18 and graduated from the Ateneo de Manila.  Another door opens, and a new chapter begins for him.  Congratulations my son.  I dedicate this song for you...

"My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you're out there gettin' where you're
gettin'  to I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish"

  - Rascal Flatts

"My wish for you" music video Rascal Flatts