Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cebu Tour on a Shoestring Budget

Okay, I admit…I am a tourist in my own country. Don’t blame me because most people whom I asked would always say that it’s expensive to tour around the Philippines and it’ll be more or less equivalent to what you can pay when you travel internationally. So, this is the reason why I tend to prioritize international trips more than exploring the Philippines. I know…whatta shame!
But now, my views have changed. You can travel all over the Philippines on a shoestring budget! For my Cebu trip, it cost me less than 2,000 pesos ONLY and mind you, I was able to visit most of the tourist spots in the city in a day. So here are some tips and information on how much budget (more or less) you should allocate for your next trip to Cebu. (NOTE: total expense was shared/divided into 2 and includes food, lodging, transportation and entrance fees)
1. Domestic Airport- You’ll pay Php 200 Terminal fee & Airport multicab is only Php 7.5

2. Mactan Shrine- This is where the famous Lapu-Lapu monument is located. Nothing to see/do much here and it’ll take you around an hour from airport to get here. For directions: From airport ride multicab to Savemore. Walk highway and ride a Jeepney with Punta EƱgano sign. Ask the driver to drop you at Mactan Shrine. In Mactan shrine there's no entrance fee needed, just donation. The jeepney ride back and forth is about Php 34.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hot Air Balloon Festival 101

Ahh it's the time of the year where everything flies up up in the air <3
It's the much talked about and highly anticipated event...

The 17th Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark Pampanga.

but if you weren't able to come this year, that's okay! there's always next year ;) and I'll give you some tips on what to expect/bring/do etc.. for the hot air balloon festival.

1) Do leave manila by 2am! In some blogs and tips that I've read, they suggest you leave by 3am but I think because of the worsening traffic...you have to leave at 2 am or earlier if you can! We actually left Manila at 2:30 am and arrived around 5 am because of the traffic along Edsa (Trucks all over) then NLEX toll, and inside Clark (in search for a parking slot). We thought we were too early....but I guess we were a bit late already haha!
Total toll back and forth cost us Php 436.

2) Park your cars outside the entrance gate. There are parking slots enough for all but the only problem is you will have to walk a kilometer or so in a Sahara Dessert type of field! Yes. Sand. Sand. and some Wind! Your car will look like this after a few hours! hahahah TRUE STORY ;) BTW, Parking fee is Php 50.

3) Things to bring: camera (hardcore lenses or just your trusty digicam), Jacket because it'll be chilly in the morning, some umbrellas, sunblock, sunglasses, food & drinks, tents if you have or just sarong or mats because there are no chairs available there. Oh! bring wet wipes too and alcohol because dirt will be all over your face and body--just look at the previous car picture :) hmmm... clean eh?!

4) Find a nice place preferably near the fence so you can see the hot air balloons up close. Set your tents where you want to settle down. Look up or lie down...appreciate the stars, moon, and morning sunshine! :) It's a nice feeling to be there early in the morning with all the people waiting. It feels like you are all waiting for the coming of the UFOs ;) or....Zombie Apocalypse hahaha!

5) By around 5:30, you can now watch the spectacular hot air balloons go up up and away!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Death by Chocoloatier

"Life is like chocolate, it's the bitterness that makes you appreciate the sweetness"

"Chocolate, like water, is a "universal solvent" of one's worries and anxieties!"

It's our 56th monthsary and we decided to celebrate it at Maitre Chocolatier Botique Cafe, Makati using our voucher worth Php 600 that was hoarded in one of the online voucher buying site because we're kuripot like that! ;)

My boyfriend and I are not really choco fanatics but we decided to try on the cafe's sinful treats because we heard so many good reviews about it. True enough, we ate the 3 cakes in less than 20 minutes haha yep, because it was oh soooo good as if the cake was made in choco heaven :)

Chocolatier's interiors are warm, cozy, and classy. It doesn't look and feel like your ordinary desert place because you can chill in there from day to night literally. Chocolatier not only serve cakes but they also sell various premium chocolates, ice creams, NUTELLA, and some food from appetizers, pizzas, sandwhiches, down to main dishes served with what else? but CHOCOLATE ingredients to give oommpf to a seemingly ordinary dish. It's also a perfect spot for those late night cocktails with your girlfriends and special someone...and I must try the Chef's cocktail delights like the Death by Chocolate and Inferno Cocktails one of these days.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BKK's Temple Run

Finally after 1 week, I was able to reach my first million top score in Temple Run. I know, I know...I have no bragging rights yet because 1M palang siya and I am currently the 4th placer in our Family's Temple Run Battle... (My sister in law reached her 4M score just yesterday and I'm jealous and frustrated because I bought 40 angel power-ups but still failed to use it during the game haha). Anyway, myTemple Run addiction is very timely as I was inspired to write my over due Bangkok Adventures which happened last September 22-25, 2011.

Bangkok is Asia's shopping capital. It's like Greenhills turned into one big country haha. But aside from the retail trademark, BKK is also known for its rich culture and grandiose temples..not to mention the popular scene from Hangover 2--Patpong! The "patay-sinding-ilaw area" aka red light district :)) which we couldn't resist because we were too curious about it haha. I'll dedicate one post for my Patpong experience...but that'll be rated R-18! :))

First stop, the Chao Phraya River for our temple hopping day. We went to the pier early because we have no clue for the departure time but luckily, we were just right on time. We bought the 1 day unlimited boat pass for 150 BHT so that's about Php 200 and for more info, click here. The river is not what we expected...nothing grand about it because it's like Pasig river minus the smell. Personally, it was a good move that we didn't plan a night cruise with dinner because it's not sulit.Anyway, we planned to go to 3 popular temples in BKK--The Grand Palace, What Pho, and Wat Arum. However, Wat Arum is not passable because there's a burial ceremony of some public official at the other side of the river. So we just went to the first two.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reminiscing my Koreanobela trip of a lifetime

KOREA (noun) is an East Asian geographic region and which happens to be my BF's hometown; equivalent to "mecca or holy land" for most Kpop and Koreanobela addicts; for tin (me), it is equivalent to Peter Pan's NEVERLAND! :)
It is a nice place and culture to begin with. A 1st world country with very disciplined citizens…not to mention kutis artista talaga! Talo ang Silka, Likas, Eskinol or Maxipeel!! Wahaha just kidding. But really, they’re so beautiful—as if they’re the bida-kontrabida in a Korean drama series.
We went to different areas in Seoul…everyday was a long long day for us. Hard to move (and take a bath) though because it’s freezing like hell once you step out of your hotel—imagine peeing and you get a tingle after it diba? Parang ganun…nakakanginig literally from the inside! :)) But the cold was fun! It makes you appreciate Pinas’ hot weather haha and sometimes it’s fun to wear 4 layers of clothes with matching boots-wid-da-fur!
We went to some key destinations of Koreanobela spots within Seoul. Thanks to my newly found chingoos (friends) who are all Kpop addicts, we were able to really feel KORRREEAAA to the maximum level hahaha Oh and mind you! They can recall every line, spot, or episode number in a KDrama! Oha!
So here are some places we visited as part of our Koreanobela itinerary:
1) Gyeongbukgung Palace (Jewel in the Palace)

This is one of the most popular and must see palaces for tourists. If you plan to save on some time going around the tourist spots, I suggest you pick one palace because usually the interiors are the same and Gyeongbukgung is more than enough to satisfy your royalty cravings aka feeling like Jewel in the Palace. BTW, you can borrow some Hanbok (Korean costumes) for FREE! but only for around 5 mins. so take advantage of this and avoid paying additional fee for hanbok fitting which can be done too around Meyongdong area :) Furthermore, the Korean tourism said that Gyeongbukgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all five palaces. Therefore, you should not miss visiting this palace anyway entrance fee is just about 3,000 KWN (around Php 115) for adults and it is open every day 9am-6pm except Tuesdays.

Fly Yogi Fly!

I learned a new thing today! I learned how to fly on a hammock and it's a new (emerging) kind of yoga--Fly yoga!!! :) It's cool, looks easy but I tell you, it's VERY CHALLENGING...so challenging that I slept the whole afternoon right after the session hahaha :) I use to try the different yoga classes offered in Fitness First such as Gentle Flow, Hot Yoga, and Body Balance but all three are nothing compared to the intensity of Fly Yoga in FTX Gym Makati. Fly yoga allows your body to stretch more while maintaining proper posture because the hammock can serve as a "spotter" or supporter while doing your Cirque du Soleil stunts. It's open for beginners (like me!) and great for the advance class because of the many variations you can do for one pose. I highly recommend you try it too! All you have to do is to bring yourself and TRUST the hammock! haha ;)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to get a tourist visa to South Korea?

I often get asked by friends on how to get a Korean tourist visa and if it's easy or not. I have applied for Korean tourist visa twice already in a span of 2 years so I will share my experiences and knowledge about it.

My first Korean tourist visa in 2010

My 2nd Korean tourist visa for my up coming trip on March 2012

First things first. You can get denied even if you just applied for a tourist visa. Yeah, sad but that's the truth. I know some of my friends who already have all flight itineraries, hotel bookings...and winter clothes :O! but got denied for the tourist visa due to (I think) incomplete requirements and/or insufficient funds presented in the bank statement--THE HOOOROOR! :O Anyway, I think one of the major reasons for denial is the lack of preparation for the requirements and so, I will present to you the requirements and some tips to success wahaha :)).
BTW, the Korean Embassy will not inform you beforehand if they denied your visa or not. Everyone will undergo that heart racing moment of opening your passport and checking each pages whether you have the visa stamp or not! I tell you, it's really nakakakaba! Even if it's my 2nd time. They won't really tell you the reason for the denial but you can always re-apply again after a few months or so--that is if your friends are willing to re-book and pay the fees again JUST FOR YOU! haha

Korean Tourist Visa Single Entry (Tin's simplified checklist):

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Travel-spiration

"My life's adventure started at 20 something years old :) "

Okay, I probably sounded like I'm already around 40-50 years old with my opening sentence where in fact I am only 23 years old haha! Maybe it is too early to reflect because it just happened few years ago..but what the heck?! it is never too early to reflect on what inspired me to TRAVEL :)

20 something is the beginning of many changes in my life. I graduated from college, worked immediately, saved money, got a new car and studied again for graduate studies--all in chronological order but in terms of significance, I think it'll be the other way around haha.

June 2010, it was my 1st term and 1st subject in masters when I met one of my 1st friends in class, Cy Bautista. She is my groupmate for the whole term and little did she know that she is also the "tinggg!", "spark", "light bulb", "stone that hit my head"...whatever you call it..basta, I got from her the idea to commit myself to travel once a year...at least. She actually made me feel that travelling is not at all intimidating and it is always worth it :)

We did not talk about ALL her travel experiences, not even budget, tips or travel 101. I just asked her one day why she will be absent again in class...and she said, "magtratravel kasi ako with my boyfriend and some friends!"--just that, and I was all giddy and excited to plan my first ever trip too (with no parents! woohoo para feel na feel ang independence haha).

Come March of 2011, I found myself on a plane going to South Korea and the trip is another great love story ever told exagge hahaha <3 (to be blogged soon!).

Late night snack/dinner @ McDo Taft with my first "block" in Marketing :)
Hi all! I miss you :)

In other news...

I read a very beautiful blog entitled, 3 Reasons to Travel While You are Young by: Jeff Goins so far, this is one of the best versed blog entry to push young people to travel often and this has been my inspiration since then.

Jeff said:

"You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It's worth whatever investments or money or sacrifice of time required on your part....It's about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don't have to live in fear for the rest of your life."

"You won't always be young. And life won't always be just about you. So travel. Experience the world for all it's worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion."

My reply to him: "AMEN!"
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