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LOOK: This Couple Creates Travel Memories Doing Puzzles

23 out of 30 famous landmark puzzles already visited, plus they put their picture on it!

Talk about envisioning! They say, “a vision board makes real the dream in your mind.” For Dubai-based couple Abeth and Cecile Dacara-Dianito, if they wanted to visit a city or a famous landmark, they would buy a puzzle first, complete it, and then visit it.

“When we want to visit a famous landmark or city, we buy the puzzles first. We are blessed to have visited these places, so we thought of capturing those moments, taking a printout, and including our pictures within the puzzle frames,” shares Cecile.

The interest in puzzles started during the couple’s wedding in April 2015. One of their prenup photos was turned into a puzzle which was meant for the visitors to write their name in each puzzle piece so they can have their own wedding souvenir.

“But nobody wanted to write on it! They say it’s too pretty, so we just framed it after the ceremony,” said Cecile.

First puzzle

Ravensburger St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo courtesy of subject)

The couple bought their first-ever puzzle, the Ravensburger St. Peter’s Basilica at the Dubai Mall. Cecile has been in Dubai for 12 years now working as an auditor for an oil and gas company. While her husband, Abeth, who moved to Dubai in 2011, works as a civil engineer.

“One of our dream destinations is to visit Vatican and the Pope. So, when we saw this puzzle, we couldn’t resist buying it, even if it’s 3,000 pieces. We have no idea how long and tedious this task would be. We just wanted to buy a puzzle that we are excited to complete, and of course, it helps that the main color theme is violet,” says Cecile.

It took them a month and their six-seater dining table to work on the puzzle, so during meals, they had to delicately cover up their table with a cloth so they can eat in peace, very careful enough not to stain any of the puzzle pieces.

“When we finished the puzzle on September 10, 2016, we had no idea how we can bring this puzzle to the Art Shop for framing. So, we thought of flipping it over and taping it at the back to keep them together. Since this is our first big puzzle, we have no idea how to turn it ove! I can still recall Abeth’s face and frustration when this happened! It took us three days to put this back together,” recalls Cecile.

50 puzzles completed

Photo courtesy of subject

All in all, the couple has already completed 50 puzzles, 30 of which are famous landmarks/places, while 20 are based on their interests in music, flowers, famous paintings, etc. Almost all their puzzles are from Ravensburger (Germany, Clementoni (Italy), Educa (Spain), and Trefl (Poland).

“Apart from famous landmarks/places, we also look at the quality. We usually buy European brands since these have unique, thick, and sturdy pieces, soft click fit, and high-quality images that are bright and vivid. Also, whenever we travel, we visit art shops or bookstores to look for new puzzles, particularly the famous landmark in that country. We have puzzles from the US, Italy, Australia, but most of our puzzles are from Dubai,” shares Cecile.

Bonding activity

The couple visited Puzzle Mansion in Tagaytay in October 2017. It inspired them to continue challenging themselves to work on more puzzles. (Photo courtesy of subject)

According to Cecile, working on the puzzles is one of their bonding activities as a couple. It is so addictive that they can stay up until past midnight just to finish it. It is also their way to de-stress after a hectic day at work.

“Whenever we finish a puzzle, Abeth can’t wait to frame it, hence all the framed pieces in every corner of our house, even the kitchen, and bathroom,” says Cecile.

Out of 30 completed puzzles, Cecile said that they’ve already visited 23 of them and still have seven more to go. While there are a few other cities that they still need to visit to complete: Venice, Milan, Germany, Maldives, Cinque Terre.

When asked if they would sell it one day: “I don’t think we would. These puzzles represent a lot of memories – from the struggle of looking for a perfect puzzle, spending hours or days to complete it, and visiting the actual places in person. We want to be reminded of those memories when we look at these puzzles,” concludes Cecile.

The couple’s prenup photos turned out to be their first-ever puzzle (Photo courtesy of subject)

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