Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas 2018 Wish List

It's my favorite time of the year again! There's just something about Christmas that makes me so happy and full of joy. Hearing Christmas songs at random times of the day makes me all giddy and excited. Lol.

Anyway, (almost) every year, I post a list of random things I like. One of the reasons I want to keep this tradition going is because it's interesting to see how my preferences change as I get older. I'm so surprised that most of the things on my list now are wellness-, or home-related. I never thought this would happen-- shopping for home stuff used to be my worst nightmare. Oh well, I guess I really am getting older! Lol.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Mt. Pinatubo Trekking Adventure

A couple of months ago, I had invited my family to go on a hiking trip with me, and early this year, the plan finally came through! I've climbed Mt Pulag with friends several years back but my family doesn't have any hiking experience at all. Mt. Pinatubo was our first choice-- it's close to Manila and it's highly recommended for first-timers. I started my research online and based on the reviews, the best strategy was to stay in Tarlac for the night and start the hike early in the morning. There were limited options on where to stay and among the accommodations, Allan Bognot's guesthouse has the best reviews. It doesn't have a lot of amenities but the cozy, relaxing vibe of the place pretty much made up for it.

For the trekking, we asked our host Allan to arrange it for us. If I remember correctly, we paid Php1200 per person for the trekking, including a sumptuous lunch! Seriously, I would never forget our meal of sinigang and chicken adobo.

The view of the lake crater was amazing! Too bad the lake isn't safe for swimming-- it would've been awesome to take a dip there after a long trek under the sun. After taking a few photos by the lake, we headed back, rode the 4x4, and made it back to the house at around 1pm. The trekking in general was quite easy, great for families!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Coron: Island Hopping Experience

This was my second time in Coron but Ryan's first so I arranged some island hopping but only chose the best ones. 

First stop was Siete Picados, the best place for snorkeling according to the guides. However, it was raining the past few days which resulted in the water being very murky. We didn't see anything and quickly just moved on to Kayangan Lake. Here, the water was much much clearer but I was surprised to see that it looked very different compared to the last time I was here. The wooden platform was totally submerged. Plus side was there weren't a lot of people. Since we hired a private boat, we took our time here. Eventually, everybody else left and it was just us in the entire lake. It was an amazing experience!

For our last stop, we headed to Twin Lagoons. I'm a horrible swimmer but an adventurous one so I suggested we swim all the way to the other end to see the hidden second lagoon (with a life jacket, of course!). It was quite scary because again, we were the only ones there! The boat was probably a hundred meters away and was no longer visible because it docked behind the limestone cliffs. It was loads of fun though! 

The next day, my friends went diving. I don't have any diving certification so I didn't get to dive with them. They had such good stories of what they saw underwater that I got inspired to finally get my certification!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Coron: Huma Island

My body was craving to go somewhere to relax and de-stress, and Huma Island was just the place! We were picked up from the airport, rode a small boat, and before we knew it, we had arrived at Huma Island. It was raining cats and dogs when we arrived so we didn't really get to appreciate the view. Thankfully, the rain trickled down and eventually stopped the next day.

We walked around and explored the island and later concluded that this place is amazing! There weren't a lot of people so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Highlight of our stay-- a jacuzzi outside our villa! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Singapore 2018

Just got back from my Singapore trip and I can't believe I'm already done writing this post! This is probably the first (and only) time I posted on time. Lol. 

Short but sweet-- this is how I would describe my Singapore trip. We only had three days (airport days excluded) to explore the busy streets of Singapore. Considering this was my fifth time in Singapore, I was completely okay with it and just focused on maximizing my stay there. 

On our first day, after having a light breakfast at Plain Vanilla Bakery in Tiong Bahru, we headed straight to Sentosa for Universal Studios Singapore (my third time there! lol). I got to ride Revenge of the Mummy twice, the Battlestar Galactica Human twice, the Battlestar Galactica Cylon once, and a lot of other rides as well. Seriously, I'll never get tired of visiting theme parks! No matter how old I get. Lol. 

Day two was quite busy because this was the day we went around the city. We had a quick visit at Henderson Waves (a super artsy pedestrian walkway), took a few photos, then took a cab to National Museum to have lunch at this fine dine restaurant called Flutes. We spent around an hour exploring the museum, then headed to Gardens by the Bay. I've been to Marina Bay Sands a couple of times, but this was my first time to visit Gardens by the Bay. We entered the Cloud Forest and I was amazed by what I saw-- a 35-meter man-made mountain and some waterfalls inside a climate-controlled dome. Really, it was magical! From the gardens, we walked to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and looked around a little. We later learned that my cousin who's based in Singapore was in Ikea, so we met up with her there. It was my first time in Ikea-- and it was heaven!! Everything was so pretty and the stuff were cheap. If only I had unlimited baggage allowance, I would've bought loads of stuff! We had dinner there as well and I finally got to try the famous Ikea meatballs (which was just a meatier version of Jollibee's burger steak lol)! Across the street was this huge supermarket which closes past midnight, so we did some grocery shopping and bonded over Haagen Dazs ice cream lol (cause it's no longer available in the Philippines).

Adventure Cove Waterpark was the highlight of our third day. But before entering the waterpark, we enjoyed three rounds of Luge in Sentosa. It was definitely so much fun but I recommend doing it on a cloudy day. All of us didn't wear sunscreen and I probably got a few shades darker because of the sun lol. For our last meal in Singapore, we made sure it was somewhere memorable. And I couldn't think of anywhere else to have it except for my favorite-- Lau Pa Sat! We ordered 80 pcs. Satay at Best Satay (7&8) and they were delicious! Just thinking of the satay makes me hungry. Lol.

We planned to be back in our rooms by 8pm to have enough sleep because we had to leave for the airport at 3 am. We ended up getting back at midnight! After checking out and just before taking a cab, we found out our flight was delayed... by five hours! Anyway, we stayed at Plaza Premium Lounge to get some zzzzzs and to have a quick snack before boarding the plane. Upon arriving in Manila, I had to rush to Terminal 3 to catch my flight to Legazpi. I had less than an hour! Luckily traffic wasn't bad and I was at the boarding gate twenty minutes before boarding.

I had to stop myself here before I go on and on and on. Lol. I still have so many stories to tell but this post has already gone too long! Til next time!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SSV Day 5: High Seas

Last full day aboard the cruise ship!! Obviously we wanted to maximize our stay in the ship by trying out as many activities as we can. However, the only thing we got to do was to join the zumba class in the morning. Lol. Turned out our schedule was pretty packed. We met up with a couple of people for lunch at Silk Road (which was so much better than the Japanese restaurant Samurai), played Cluedo with my brother at the Activity Center, then started preparing for the Gala Night.

Tired of the usual cocktail dress, I opted for something different. I wore a wool jumpsuit from Zara with a black and white scarf as accent. As early as 4pm we were already at the lobby, all set and ready for the cocktails which would begin at 5. On the dot, the captain took the stage and introduced the ship's top management. We then headed to Star Dining and were served a nice meal of salmon, squash soup, and seafood thermidor. The food were definitely grander than the usual since it was Gala Night.

We watched a show then headed back to our room. Since this was our last night in the ship, we hurriedly packed our luggage and left them outside the door of our cabin to be collected by ship personnel for easier disembarkation on the next day. 

I was quite sad that the trip was about to end but excited at the same time at the thought of coming home. It was definitely relaxing to travel on a cruise ship because doing nothing was perfectly acceptable. Lol. Majority of the time, I was just deciding where to eat and what to do. Would I travel again on a cruise ship? Definitely, eyeing the ones in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SSV Day 4: Keelung, Taiwan

Next stop was Keelung, Taiwan! After going through the documentary necessities at the port, we took a thirty minute bus ride to Taipei. We dropped by Taipei 101 to take photos, roamed around Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and shopped and had lunch at Ximending. While looking for a place to eat, we noticed a small area in the food court where a lot of locals were eating. Without any hesitation, we went inside and tried to order from their Chinese menu (it didn't have English translations!!) by just pointing at the photos of the dishes we wanted to order. Unfortunately, only around eight dishes had photos printed in the menu so we didn't have a lot of options. Lol. The dishes we ordered turned out to be fine. In fact, they were better than fine, they were great!! I especially loved the pork dumpling soup! Haven't tasted anything like it!

We had to be back at the ship by 3pm so after Ximending, we headed back to the port. It wasn't my first time in Taipei and I've been to those places before but it was nice to be back. I had plenty of time before dinner so I visited the ship's library and watched an episode of Scorpion (with earphones, of course!). We had dinner at Star Dining (again lol) and chose the Western menu. I particularly loved the Sea Bass!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

SSV Day 3: Ishigaki, Japan

Welcome to Ishigaki, Japan! Ishigaki is a part of Okinawa, and is a super laid back city, very different from Japan's more popular cities such as Tokyo or Osaka. We didn't avail of any tour packages and just did a DIY and went to Ishigaki's biggest supermarket Maxvalu! Lol. Everything was already there-- a restaurant, a clothes store, a bookstore, a cosmetics store, a clothes shop, a souvenir store, and a Daiso (where items are even cheaper than the ones in the Philippines)! We had a really nice lunch of katsu, udon, and mackerel, and prices were quite reasonable too!

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