Saturday, October 22, 2011

The joys of getting published again on PDI's Youngblood! =)

The number of Likes, Shares, Retweets, and Recommendations were very overwhelming! Thank you to all of the readers of Youngblood for sharing this very important piece of my life's journey. Thank you for the wonderful compliments as well! ♥


Monday, October 17, 2011

Houston finally lands on Boracay!

[Post from May 2011 trip]

I was fortunate enough to visit Boracay again with my very Big Family. And yes.. I had to put an emphasis on the words BIG Family since I was literally going on a vacation with 16 people, including myself!

And if you've read my About Budget Biyahera page, you will find that I typically help look out for 13 people when going on a vacation (locally that is). But since my family from Houston went to visit us this May 2011, there were 4 additional members excluding my sister Ina (who went to study in Texas 3 years ago). In my original count, Ina's still part of the 13. =P


Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 5: Farewell Jeonju! ♥

[TRIP from May 6-7, 2011Choy and I actually had an odd trip schedule. We were scheduled to leave Incheon by 08:00 (MNL time) of May 7. But we had to leave Jeonju by bus by 19:30 of May 6. Ok, so why so early? Well, the last trip from Jeonju going to Incheon airport is at 19:30. The next ride is around 02:00 or 03:00 the next day. Should we have taken the earliest trip, we would have probably missed our flight. And as I've mentioned in my first entry of Jeonju, the bus trip from Incheon to Jeonju took us about 4-5 hours, without traffic. 

When departing an international destination, it's always advisable to be at the airport for check-in 2-3 hours before the actual flight. So instead of risking to miss our flight, Choy and I sacrificed by leaving Jeonju early. We already told ourselves that we were in for a very long and tiring stay at the airport. Just imagine sleeping on those cold and metal chairs! But of course, that were better than nothing.

Anyhow, before our anticipated trip back to Incheon, we used the rest of the morning to do a little more souvenir shopping. I also dropped by Jeonju's one and only Starbucks store to buy mugs for me and my friends. We also ate at the Lotteria (can be comparable to McDonald's or Jollibee of the Philippines) before heading back to CORE Hotel. It was also Third World Happy's last screening, but we already skipped that so we could spend more time together. But before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by the SAVE ZONE Mall, which was literally situated beside the CORE hotel, to check-out suit coats that Kuya can wear to the awards later that night. Of course, we were bummed about missing the awards since we had to leave early.


Day 4: The grandeur in experiencing the Hanok Village

[TRIP from May 5, 2011We started our day with our usual buffet breakfast at CORE Hotel, plus our morning walk towards the KB JIFF Cinema Square. Lucky for us, there was a photobooth that was being promoted for free to JIFF guests. So we grabbed the opportunity to get a free snapshot. Here's a photo of our freebie (not hi-res though since I only captured the printed photo using my iPod).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 3: Third World Happy's Industry Screening Day! :)

[May 4, 2011]

This is basically what went down on our third day in Jeonju:

To start our day, we had our buffet breakfast again at Core Hotel's Skylounge Resto :) And of course, I got me some sausages and Yakult bottles again! *Yeah!*


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 2: The best things in life are free! Experiencing the beauty of Jeonju..

[TRIP last May 3, 2011As I've mentioned from my previous entry, the JIFF team definitely made our stay in Jeonju a relaxing one. Every morning, there will be print-outs of reminders and event invitations for Kuya that were slipped into our hotel door. They were always very organized and cheery. Apart from that, the JIFF team also ensured that we always had our very own JIFF Ziggy (representative) to show us around the festival.

Anyway, we started our first official morning in Jeonju by availing of our complimentary buffet breakfast at Core Hotel's Restaurant (I forgot the name though) -- while topped with a nice view of the city. It was a few floors up from our 7th floor room, so we were able to get there in time. The buffet typically ends around 8am, so we made sure to arrive before then.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 1 Jeonju Highlights: Dasarang Chicken & Pizza, Samgyeopsal, and Hite!

[May 2, 2011]

Choy and I left the Philippines around 1 in the morning, while Kuya had his scheduled around lunch time. We had a different flight itinerary with kuya but it was still on the same day (May 2). We also arrived in Incheon before 7 am (Korea time), and then left almost immediately for Jeonju.


The Jeonju province is about 4-5 hours by road from the ICN airport. Sometimes it takes longer when there's traffic along the way. Anyway, we rode the limousine bus right after leaving the airport. Now to be honest, I actually didn't expect the trip to take that long. But I was so thankful that my bus chair could be reclined into a comfortable sleeping position. So when you're bound for Jeonju, you'll also have to expect at least 2-4 stop-overs before reaching the province. If I may recall, there was a stop-over at the Gumbo airport. Then the last stop was at our hotel, CORE HOTEL.

Jeonju was actually tourist-friendly. The bus even had a prompter that translated the instructions in several different languages for every stop-over made (there was English and Japanese). And since I was travelling with Choy (who was a first-timer), I was made to be more alert and more attentive to instructions. But on our last stop, a JIFF Ziggy approached us upon exiting the bus. He took our luggages and escorted us into the hotel. Upon entering the hotel, a few more JIFF volunteers greeted us with a smile, and an 'ANNYEONGHASEYO' greeting resonated in the hall. =) I actually asked Justin back at the airport to teach me a few basic korean phrases, and he taught me how to say hello, thank you and goodbye.

Hello = Annyeonghaseyo
Thank You = Gamsahabnida
Goodbye = Jagbyeol Insa

After the Ziggys' handed our press kits, ID's, and room key, Choy and I immediately went up to our 7th floor room. We decided to fix our things and immediately left for the festival. But before leaving, I made a quick email to my niece Rachel, for a possible meet-up that night. She's actually an English teacher in Jeonju. So getting a chance to see her there after 16 or so years was also a nice coincidence. Good thing the WiFi on our floor had a strong signal as I was able to send my message right away.

We were also very hungry by then, so we made sure to ask the volunteers if there were any affordable food places at the festival. There were actually plenty, and they readily gave us maps to the cinema street vicinity. Good thing JIFF also offered free shuttle rides from the hotel to the festival, as I no longer had to ask how to get there by foot. Much to my surprise, a walk from CORE Hotel to the Jiff venue would only take more or less 10 minutes. The weather was super cold but was actually good for walking.

Choy and I also took a few photos before heading to the festival. And after checking some of the restaurants along the cinema street, we finally decided to try this Chicken and Pizza place. Everything was mostly written in korean, and we found a familiar comfort in this particular food place. The place was called Dasarang Chicken and Pizza.

Bound for Jeonju, South Korea – One of BB's many first’s for 2011!

My trip to Jeonju, South Korea wasn't that smooth sailing during it's pre-planning stages. It probably took the JIFF coordinator more or less a month before my brother and I could have the 'go' signal to apply for a visa. If I may recall, Choy and I only only got scheduled to go to the Korean Embassy at Mckinley Road, weeks prior to leaving the Philippines. We went there with all our paperwork on April 15 2011, and were asked to submit our Passport and supporting documents. I was also given a claiming stub/slip for our passports after a brief interview, should we get approved of a visa. We were then scheduled to pick-up ours two weeks later. 

Choy (my brother) and I submitted our company's SEC Business registration permit (For Brass Knuckles Inc.), Brass' Company ITR, Mayor's Permit, our Bank Certificates, and the Visa Application Form, along with our 2x2 photo/s. These requirements were actually required for Business entities. Anyway, other than being Filipino citizens, we also didn't pay for any application fees since we were only getting a single entry visa. The foreigners on the other hand, and those who will be applying for multiple entires will get charged for different amounts.

Ok, so why were we applying for Korean Visa's? Well, my Kuya's full-length film entitled THIRD WORLD HAPPY was invited by the Jeonju International Film Festival for an international premiere. His film was 1 of 7 entries that were entered for Cinema One's Original Films last November 2010. His main actors were Sam Milby and Jodi Sta. Maria. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finding Serenity at Hannah Hotel, Boracay

The best way to recommend something in particular is when you've already tried it. In my case, I've only tried staying in three different accommodations from three separate Boracay trips. The first place was at Ocean Breeze Inn by Station 3 (2008), which I happen to have an old entry for. The second would be at Hannah Hotel by Station 1 (March 2011), and then Boradise Beach House by Station 1 (May 2011).

First off, let me tell you something about our stay at Hannah Hotel. We were always welcomed with a warm smile or greeting upon entering the vicinity, and was always prepared a warm breakfast every morning. Our booking actually included a daily complimentary breakfast; and the remarkable thing about it was that the owners of the hotel were serving our meals themselves. It was a world-class experience, and it was very personal. Other than that, they always had something good to say about the world around us, especially the Mom. The hotel was definitely brimming with positivity.


One more thing that I've also appreciated was their consideration to lift our reservation when we couldn't get to Boracay on time. We got stuck at the Manila Domestic Airport, waiting for our turn to fly to Kalibo. They were willing to change our booking, and to be rescheduled for the following day, in case we couldn't make it that day. The weather was pretty bad in Kalibo, but when the rain simmered down, we flew right back again. Good enough, our second try at landing in Kalibo was successful. To top it all off, the rain stopped. As soon as we rode the van that was bound for the Caticlan Sea Port, I immediately texted Hannah and Paolo that we were finally on our way. 

If you must know, Hannah Hotel has become very close to my heart. Not only were they hospitable in every aspect, they treated me, their guest, just like a close friend. I will never forget the long talks I had with Hannah and Paolo's Mom. I must say, our conversation was very intellectual. 

Besides that, the hotel itself also shows off a vintage vibe to it. There are hanged paintings everywhere, and also some lamps and shells that add up to the beach ambiance. Hannah hotel also has its own balcony on the 2nd floor. Our room was arranged with bamboo-framed beds, with a sarong hanging by the ceiling, a private T&B, TV, electrical outlets. There was also a veranda upstairs that all the guests can use. They also had free WIFI , but you'll have to go downstairs by the lobby to get a full connection.


Hannah Hotel is not beachfront. FYI. But you will only need to cross the main road to get to the beach; and it will only take you less than five minutes to get there. Their landmark is by the basketball court and church. Other than that, the hotel, which happens to be by Station 1, also offers very affordable and budget-friendly rates. For a group of four, I only had to shell out about P2200 worth for a 4D/3N stay (including free breakfast). That's P550 per day! 


Anyway, should you be planning a beach getaway, and you happen to be Boracay bound, make sure to check-out Hannah Hotel. You can contact them through these numbers: 

Hannah - 09208502264 / 09222378960 / 09154373473 
Paulo - 09279110483

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

Rain or Shine in Boracay!

My boyfriend and I went with a group of couples just this month of March (March 14-17, 2011 to be exact). The highlights of our stay there were the ATV tour, the cold margarita-like shots at Pat’s Creek Bar, the fire-dancers at Beach Bum Bar, the surprising dance sessions at Epic Bar with the European hotties, the fruit shakes at Jonah’s, chilled drinks at Loco Frio, the amazing food at SMOKE Restaurant, dinner by the beach at Calypso with my love, and of course, our lovely stay at Hannah Hotel Station 1. 

Yes, there were so many that I had to highlight, and it was a great 4-day vacation. And despite of the consistent morning rain, we were still able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with our little beach escapades. Now, let some of our photos express the excitement for us.


We arrived really late in Boracay since Zestair had to delay our flight due to the bad weather in the Visayas region. Our supposedly 12pm flight only turned up 8 hours later. We were actually on the plane already, about to land on the Kalibo Airport, up until the plane maneuvered back to MNL. Crazy, right? Nonetheless, it was for everyone's safety.

We got to the island about 10pm. Good thing the owners of Hannah Hotel were really understanding of our situation. I was on the brink of rescheduling our booking for the next day. That's if we still missed getting on the last boat trip to Caticlan. But God was really good to us, as we immediately got a van that would take us straight to the port. The trip on the road took us about a good 1 1/2 hours. Our boat trip only took 10 minutes.

Since we got on the island really late, we were left with the options of getting some late dinner and drinks at the beach. And we ended up partying at Epic Bar right after dinner, whilst meeting the three nice caucasians who danced with our group the entire night.. We had so much fun that night, that we ended up getting back at our hotel past 3 am already.

Ok, so on to the other details of our trip! Since we were 8 in a group, we opted to avail of the ATV package that consisted of the Aviary and Tanawin stop-overs. The ATV ride was a bit slow-moving for us, since there were other tourists that were also driving on our trail. Plus the Aviary stop-over wasn't really that interesting. There were just these different bird species confined in make-shift cages, and a sex-hungry monkey that felt so threatened from one of the guys we were with. But the 'Tanawin' though was a refreshing sight as we were able to see a big portion of the island.


Basically, our trip consisted of drinking and dancing sessions until the wee hours of the morning, binge-eating during lunch and merienda, and sun-basking during the afternoon. Our last day was more laid-back; and a lot of beach strolling and picture-taking were alotted during the morning. Nothing fancy really.


Rubel and I opted to have dinner, just the two of us on our last night in the island. We walked the shores of Boracay, and ended up eating at Calypso by Station 3. The food there was a bit pricey as they were offering international cuisines. The one I ordered was a German dish, I guess. It was bland so I really didn't enjoy what I ate. But what I enjoyed though was the cool breeze and the very sight of my boyfriend, munching on some seafood delight. *wink* =) Anyway, we ended the night at the Beach Bum Bar Station 1, where we watched the Fire-Dancers do their famous dance routine. 


Now, time to wrap up my first Boracay trip for this summer. Here’s to another TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET to help you off with your future trip/s to the island of Boracay. 


Explore & Be Free!
Mai

P.S. Stay at Hannah Hotel, as they're affordable and worth your every penny! You'll surely enjoy their homey-rooms, and most especially enjoy the very company of the owners. I'd like to thank Hannah, Paolo, and their parents for being so hospitable, kind, and generous to us during our stay in their beautiful hotel. I will definitely come back!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jeonju, Here We Come!

[A 2011 TRIP...]

Thank you Lord for the many blessings that you have bestowed Me, Choy, and Kuya.. Finally, everything's been updated, confirmed & secured.. WE'RE GOING TO JEONJU NEXT WEEK!!!

As I've mentioned in a previous blog piece, my Kuya - EJ SALCEDO - was invited for the  2011 Jeonju International Film Festival. His film, THIRD WORLD HAPPY (under Cinema One Originals 2010 films) will have its international premiere next week in South Korea.

So for those who might be in the Jeonju area, do check-out my Kuya's full-length film, along with other international feature films. For ticket schedules, you may browse through JIFF's ticket guide.




Explore & Be Free!
Mai

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cagayan De Oro: No goodbyes, just see you later!


[TRIP from November 2010]

Our last day in Cagayan De Oro was a little saddening. We really enjoyed our almost week-long stay in Mindanao. But we were starting to miss Manila. Nonetheless, we spent our last day in this beautiful province by getting some brunch at KFC.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cagayan De Oro's White Water Rafting and Bukidnon's Dual Zipline


[Travel post from November 2010]

Me being the organized planner, already had our river rafting tour booked even before leaving Camiguin. So when we got to Cagayan De Oro, everything was already scheduled.

THE PICK-UP!

When Sir Gerome, the coordinator of Great White Water Tours said that they were picking us up at 7 am, he actually meant on the dot. In short, we got into the GWWT’s Jeepney pick-up by 7:10 am. We boarded late due to unfortunate events. Sir Gerome got a little grumpy with the ‘tardiness’. But we’ve managed to put him aside since we already extended our apologies. Then again, we weren’t the only ones who boarded the jeep late.


Now, all of us decided to book the Expert Level, instead of the Beginner’s level. We were encouraged to take the former so that we may be able to enjoy what the whole rafting experience had to offer. We were also assured that taking the expert level was something that we could handle despite having no previous rafting experience. So we took on the challenge, and were shockingly challenged out of our wits!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A rainy welcome in the City of Golden Friendship!


[Trip from November 2010] 

After a bumpy 2-hour road trip from the Balingoan Port (no thanks to our FX driver Sir Buboy, who drove as if he had a furious rage on the road), we finally arrived in the city proper of Cagayan De Oro. The rain didn’t stop even after arriving in the city. But we still had high hopes about enjoying the rest of our first night back in CDO.

When we arrived in the city, we immediately asked the driver to drop us off at the Gateway Tower, which was at the Limketkai Center (near Jollibee and a local drugstore). We got our bags and headed off to our new accommodation – Travelers Pod


A rare jewel in the Philippines – Camiguin's White Island!


{Trip from November 2010} Camiguin isn’t just any island. It's a rare jewel. Getting to this destination might take a lot from you (physically and mentally as you will have to endure a long travel by road and sea). But reaching it will all be worth it afterwards. And to top the whole trip off, staying at Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin made our visit in the island an even more enjoyable experience. 

Our third day in Camiguin was also our last. But Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin still made our last day one heck of a memorable one! Below was our last itinerary on the island:

Day 3 (White Island hopping)

06:00 Wake-up Call
06:30 Breakfast @ Ocean Side Bar & Grill (inclusive in the package)
07:00 Ready for the tou
07:15 Depart Bahay Bakasyunan and proceed to White Island
07:30 ETA/Agohay (entry point to White Island) take motorized pump boat
07:45 ETA/White Island (swimming snorkeling, sun-bathing, picture-taking)
11:00 Depart White Island and proceed to Resort
12:00 nn Lunch @ Ocean Side Bar & Grill (per pax account)
Pack-up ready for Check-out
Depart Resort and proceed to Benoni port


Monday, January 31, 2011

10 Tourist Spots in one day: A well-planned Day Tour in Camiguin!

[Trip from November 2010]

We literally experienced a jam-packed day, considering that we went to so many places just on our second day in Camiguin. And as posted on my previous article, here's our itinerary:

Island City Tour and Mantigue Island hopping 

06:00 Wake-up Call --- This was a complimentary service. The staff of BBC were always very pleasant when calling us up at this hour of the morning. 

06:30 Breakfast at Ocean Side Bar & Grill (inclusive in the package) --- one of the many perks to booking our stay in BBC was our complimentary breakfast. Not only did they exude good customer service, they also served the most well-cooked and well-flavored meals! Their breakfast was always a delight to eat! Not only is it typically served with their tasty 'ulam' (main course), garlic rice, fruit (banana only) and chocolate and/or fruit drinks, they also completed their service with a smile. =) It was truly a great way to start our day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

5 Star Service for Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin!

[Trip from November 2010]

The great thing about Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin was their remarkable customer service. Being months away from our actual stay in BBC, Sir Neil (who took care of all of our needs) was already hands-on in helping coordinate our entire trip. When I asked for an itinerary for our 3-day stay in Camiguin, he emailed it to me right away. And when we finally arrived in BBC, he had a print-out of our proposed itinerary sent to our room immediately. Talk about going the extra mile!



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Camiguin: My first Mindanao exploration on the Island Born of Fire

[TRIP from November 2010]

Rubel works for an airline company and filing a vacation leave for the month of December is an impossible thing to do (peak month for work). And since our anniversary lies on the 12th month of the year, we decided to book a domestic trip on November instead. We were set to celebrate my post-birthday and our pre-anniversary somewhere far --- thus our first Mindanao adventure.

Anyway, I booked our group a 5D/4N trip. I had the first 2 nights booked in Camiguin, and the last 2 nights in Cagayan De Oro. I also suggested that the first 2 nights be spent in Camiguin so that we wouldn't have to go back-and-forth with all the traveling. So as soon as we landed in Cagayan De Oro's Lumbia Airport, we went straight to Camiguin.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I left Cebu with a gracious heart

[July 2010]

Our last morning in Cebu was basically used up for shopping. Well, pasalubong (souvenir) shopping that is. We woke up real early so that we may be able to buy some Cebu delicacies, and rush back to Alba Uno to check-out. Anyway, if you happen to be going to Cebu anytime soon, make sure to pass by Tabo-an Market. You'll be able to find some dried pusit, danggit, dilis, chicharon, dried mangoes, and even small wood-guitars here. They've mostly got all the good and tasty stuff!

Anyway, our last day in Cebu was kind of just laid back. When we got back in Alba Uno, we called up Da Vinci Pizza to order the 16" masterpiece for the staff. And while waiting for the Pizza, we fixed our luggages (had it stuffed with our pasalubong) and then took turns taking a bath. When we were finally done with packing, we headed off to the lobby, and had our luggages stored for the day. Lucky for us, we no longer had to wait for the pizza to arrive since it came the moment we checked-in our luggages. The staff of Alba Uno was deeply surprised and grateful for our small token of appreciation.

Moving on... =) We left Alba Uno and took a cab going to Ayala Cebu. We had our lunch there after watching a movie (the last Airbender). So after eating lunch at TGIF, we got some mocha frap by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, before deciding to head back to Alba Uno (to pick up our stuff).

Finally, The Land of the Famous Chocolate Hills


{July 2010} Going to Bohol was actually just our Plan B. That was in case I didn't get called in for the job that I've applied for. But since I really didn't get any call back, I decided to book a day trip via Island Skip Trips (via Supercat). It was also a win-win situation for both me and Rubel since we've never been to Bohol. And me being the planner that I am, I already had my Bohol 'places-to-go' list. But I wasn't able to use it since the tour already had several destinations plotted out for the day. But much to my surprise, all the places that we wanted to visit were already part of the tour.

On the day of our tour, we've decided to wake up at 5:30 in the morning. We left Alba Uno around 6:45, and was able to reach the wharf at about 7:20. We immediately looked for the Island Skip Trips booth to pay for our package. As soon as we got our tickets, we got into the security area and waited to be boarded.

Our boat was set to leave at 8:30 AM. We actually left Cebu just in-time. We got to Bohol probably an hour and a half after, and was immediately greeted by our tour guide. Although I had to make a quick stop to the ladies room before boarding the shuttle (there were about 20 people inside the shuttle).

Basically, our Tour Itinerary went like this:


ITINERARY
ACTIVITIES
0830H
Depart Cebu via Supercat --> oh we were early!
1015H
Arrival Tagbilaran Wharf
Lei Reception by Travel Village --> they gave us these cute necklaces that had tarsiers for pendants!
Tour to Baclayon Church- Oldest Church --> was such an amazing place! But make sure to wear appropriate clothes or else they will ask you to wear these pieces of cloth that you'll have to wrap around your waist.
Loay Backyard industry- Local Color --> this we didn't get to experience anymore.. I don't know why the tour guide did not bring us here.
1200H
Loboc River Cruise w/ lunch on board --> this was so-so. The food was ordinary. But the very highlight of that boat-trip were the ladies in Pink. They serenaded us with their beautiful voices and showed us their lovely dance moves. =)
Butterfly Sanctuary --> Got to pass by this wonderful haven.. we also got to taste some very refreshing avocado and ube ice cream!
Tarsier Viewing in Captivity --> LOVED the Tarsiers! These tiny creatures are truly one of God's wonders! They are such rare primates especially when they start to stare at you with their big, googly eyes.. =P
Billar mahogany Man Made Forest --> ohhhh..this was an interesting place as well. We even got to experience this really big & black centipede that was crawling on a tree!
Chocolate Hills- Famous landmark of Bohol --> Being amidst a hundred chocolate-colored hills was remarkable! I could not help but be awe-stricken. Despite the heat that Rubel and I had to experience, the climb up the viewing deck was so worth the physical pain!
Blood Compact Monument- a historical site --> this was also an interesting site to be in.
Souvenier Shopping -->we actually bought some ube and pili delicacies before heading back to the Tagbilaran wharf
1730H
Back to Tagbilaran Wharf for Check in -->I actually got hungry on the way back to Cebu so Rubel ordered a sandwich for me. For the price of P100, Supercat's egg sandwich was actually delicious! =)
1830H
Depart Tagbilaran for Cebu
2015H
Estimated time of Arrival in Cebu

END OF TOUR


Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 3 in Cebu: Riding uncertainty... all in the name of adventure!

{Post from July 2010} Our third day in Cebu was more relaxed yet we still had our nerve-racking moments. Before leaving Alba Uno in the morning, I made a phone call to SuperCat's Cebu office to check if we could still avail of their Island Skip Trips Bohol Day Trip package. And much to our luck, we were still accommodated. So after that phone call, we headed off to the Kartzone.

THE KARTZONE EXPERIENCE

My boyfriend was able to persuade me into trying kart racing. I was firm about not riding the race kart at first, and leaving him to race on his own. But something in me just wanted to try it out. It was in fact, a different kind of driving compared to typical cars. So I did it anyway.



CEBU'S Sky Extreme Adventure gave me the jitters!!!

{July 2010} I went to Cebu to apply for my dream job. But much to my dismay, I didn't get that much awaited call back. So to help ease my disappointment, my friends and I went out for drinks after our 'interview'. And since Marriott Hotel was just beside Ayala Cebu, we walked all the way there with high heels and all.

My friend, Ruth and I decided to get something to drink at Seattle's Best while we waited for her friend Edz to arrive. And since Ruth and Edz had no prior engagements, we all decided to have lunch at Crown Regency Hotel & Towers. So when Rubel arrived at the mall, we immediately left and hopped on the 14A Jeep.

After a good 10-15 minutes on the road, we finally arrived at the famous guesthouse. Ok, so we weren't just having lunch at the hotel --- as the building also happened to be the venue for the famous Sky Experience Adventure (just like the one in Macau Tower). 

We ate lunch first, and then availed of the adventure package. Our other friend, Kai also joined us for lunch. But she no longer came with us for the latter (she was too scared to try it!). Well, I was super scared too. But it was an opportunity to experience something new. And I just didn't want to miss it!

Day 1 in Cebu: Visiting the Queen City of the South

[TRIP from July 2010]

I was in Cebu and Bohol last July 2010 for both business and pleasure. And since you won't ever catch me traveling alone, I asked my boyfriend to accompany me on this trip. We left MNL on the 17th of July, and arrived in Cebu at about 9:35 AM. 

AIRPORT ADVICE: Hail cabs outside the airport

If you haven't made any pick-up arrangements, is looking to find a cheaper way out of the airport, then you can avail of the regular-metered cab just outside of the Airport as well. You'll find a lot of them usually lined-up in front of the Waterfront Hotel. We were able to spend only P150 for less than an hour's worth of travel (including the driver's tip).

WHERE TO STAY IN METRO CEBU

We chose to stay in this pension house that was located within the I.T. Park. Good thing it was within this well-known area, as we were able to look for it without much hassle. The place that I had us booked in was Alba Uno Residencia. It was a new building, with great interiors, beautiful rooms, and of course, a nice set of staff members. They were very accommodating and very warm towards us. They greeted us whenever we were around, and they would always have a smile that you can sense every time we would order-in some food. And speaking of their food! WE LOVED THEIR MENU and THEIR COOKING AS WELL! Rubel and I's favorite meals would be their Tapsilog and Hungarian Sausage. Their meals which were typically priced under P100, already included some Java Rice and Free Iced Tea. It was definitely a superb deal!

  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Crazy Vacay at Ronco Beach Resort and Tagaytay Haven Hotel

{May 2010} My family's annual excursion would always fall on the month of May. So ours fell on May 6-8, 2010. Initially, these dates were the only scheduled days for our vacation, and we were already booked to spend it at Calatagan, Batangas. But since we were all hung-up on the 3D/2N vacation by the beach, we decided to spend one more day out of town. So after Batangas, we drove to Tagaytay. Here's how our trip went...


A SUMMER ESCAPADE DOWN SOUTH

Since my Kuya wanted to spend our summer vacation in Batangas again, I was able to look for a resort that would fit our budget for 19 people. Believe me, it wasn't that easy looking for resorts that would accommodate our numbers. Now, my Kuya didn't give me a specific budget. But he did ask me to find the most affordable one.

So come April 2010, I found Ronco (through a referral). I also looked it up in the internet to check on the previous guests' feedbacks. And when I finished reading all the posts, I pitched the idea to my Kuya. Their photos looked really lovely, especially the long floating raft, and the wooden trail/dock they had at the resort. So it was their unique selling point (to me, that is), as it really caught my attention. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fifth Leg -- Last day in lovely HKG!


{Trip last April 2010} On the fifth leg of our trip, we decided to visit Stanley Beach. The bus trip from Central to Stanley Bay was about an hour’s worth. And since we were scheduled to go back to MNL that night, the little time we had left in HKG was really scheduled. 


It was raining that morning so the breeze was extra chilly. Nonetheless, it was the perfect weather, and we were in a perfect place to have brunch, on our last day in HKG. Not only was Stanley Bay a beautiful place, it also exuded a relaxing mood. And despite the expensive bill that was tabbed for our Italian meals, we truly thought that the Pizza and Lasagna was worth our money. 

A Shenzhen theme park that's worth exploring: Window of the World


[Trip from April 2010]

We were strictly told that if we didn’t make it by 9 AM in the HKG-SZX border, our tour will leave us. And us three being the real deal early birds, we got there with an hour to spare. But much to our expectations, the tour guide was there but a few of the people who booked the same tour, were super duper late! And we thought they were going to leave those who weren’t there on time. So much for that.

Apart from our not-so-good experience at PEYA Travel Agency (they were all Filipino’s and yet they were not as hospitable to us, knowing that we were all of the same nationality), the local Chinese tour guide that they assigned to us was not much of a guide.

Anyway, so we left the border at around 10:30. We were also warned that since we were all sharing one group visa, it should be our responsibility to secure our passports, as it will be our pass back to HKG. Should someone misplace there’s or should it be stolen in SZX, all of us in the tour will be forced to stay in SZX. That was the scary part of sharing the visa with 10 or so other people.

Besides that, that morning became a real bummer for us three. Since the guide could only talk to us across the immigration cubicle (it was somewhat a border), we were left to man the whole thing inside HKG. We had no choice but to lead the group, wait for the 4 late people, do the final head count, and check names on the tour list. We paid for the tour yet we had to work that morning just so we can get things going. So much for that! And PEYA had no representative so we were left to do the work. 

Apart from that, the morning trip was also disappointing, as the guide didn’t follow any schedules. She only brought us to a few small, boring factories that sold us their products, non-stop! There weren’t even any history-sharing on those stop-over’s.  And if you show no interest with their products, they would start talking in their language, and make little annoying facial expressions when you start to walk away from them. So much for that. It was a bit sad on our part since we had to encounter that from them. Now if it weren’t for the WINDOW OF THE WORLD tour, our stay in SZX would’ve been a waste of our hard-earned money.

Anyway, here’s a sample of our itinerary that day..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Awesomeness: Ngong Ping Village & the Giant Buddha!

{Trip from April 2010} Before heading back to our hotel, we would always make it a point to pass by the 7-eleven store that was a few blocks away from Anne Black. And we would always make sure that we purchased these cups of spicy beef noodles that had real beef pieces in them. These were either made into our late-night snack or into our breakfast. But whatever the case was, these sumptuous instant noodles matched with some Yakult always made us happy. 

Anyway, our 3rd day was allotted to a HKG Day Tour. And since we had two more days left, we decided to spend our 4th day in Shenzhen. And for us to be able to get to Shenzhen without any hassle, we went to this travel agency called PEYA, by Central (we were referred to this agency by my friend Wai – a HKG resident) to get us booked for Shenzhen. PEYA was able to book us a day tour, plus a grant to a group visa. We also had the tour booked for the following day. But for the remainder of the day, we spent on going around the city (went to ride the Cable Car to visit Ngong Ping), and was also spent on shopping.

Our tour guide in Shenzhen

DAY 3 (in HK)

8 AM - Breakfast at Hotel or OUT
*Breakfast and budget @ 7-eleven HK$20 (noodles $10 + yakult $6 + Water $4)
11 AM - Shenzhen Tour Booking @ PEYA Travel Center
12 NN - Lunch at Central *Lunch & Budget @ KFC, Central HK$ 33
1 PM - Ride the MTR to Tung Chung Exit B, then take the NGONG PING 360 cable car
*Take Yau Ma Tei MTR – Mei Foo interchange – to Tung Chung Exit B (HK$ 20.5)
*Take Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Roundtrip + Walking w/Buddha Admission + Monkey’s Tale (HK$ 169)
2-5 PM - NGONG PING VILLAGE Sight-seeing (Giant Buddha) 
5-6 PM - *Dinner @ Mcdo -Big Mac Meal Promo - HK$ 20
6:30-8:30 - Shopping at Citygates Outlet Mall by Tung Chung
9 – 10 PM – Tung Chung to Mongkok - (HK$ 15.5)
10:30-12 AM – Ladies Market Shopping
1 AM - HOTEL ARRIVAL 

Cable Car ride to Ngong Ping Village


Ngong Ping Village 


Back in Hong Kong for some night market shopping


Our 3rd day in HKG was amazing! Being able to visit the Ngong Ping village, and seeing the Giant Buddha was breath-taking! It was truly a perfect day for us.


Explore & Be Free!
Mai

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