Life Currently: Last of May

It has been a while since I did a ‘life currently‘ type of post and I kinda missed it. There are so many happenings this month and I figured it’s the perfect time to just do it.

Bae-ler trip!

I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this pun sooner, but me and K spent the first week of May in Baler. I organised everything so he didn’t know where we’re going (who said women can’t surprise their boyfriends?) We went surfing, biking around town, and walking off our full bellies. (PSA: Baler has the best pizza I have ever tasted — the Tuyo + Bawang + Kamatis pizza from Angela’s Cafe.) More on our Baler adventure on another post.

Continue reading “Life Currently: Last of May”

24 Hours in Melaka, Malaysia

Originally posted in R/Life After Five.

  • Where to stay: Layang Layang Guesthouse ($25-$35 per night via Agoda)
  • Where to eat: Backlane Coffee
  • What to do: Rent a bike, visit the museums and churches, go shopping at night in Jonker Street

melaka

Melaka (or Malacca) is a lovely state South East from Kuala Lumpur. For anyone looking for a quick getaway from the modern city vibe of KL and you only have a couple of days to spare, Melaka is your best bet.

Getting there

There are many different ways to go to Melaka. The cheap and practical way is by bus. A two-way ticket via a Transnasional bus line cost us around 20 RM/$6 per person. The trip will take around four hours, so maybe do some butt crunches before settling down.

Directions for getting there by car, plane, etc. can be found here.

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Two Weeks – Singapore photodiary

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Half of February was spent in this little red dot called Singapore. It has been a month since I visited and I find myself missing it! The erratic downpours, the busy streets, the quiet HDBs. Despite of my trips here in the past couple of years, I still learn something new about it every time.

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..except for this food joint near Furama Riverfront Hotel. I did not waste time and immediately stuffed myself with maling rice on my first night.

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La Vida La Union

It’s crazy how long overdue this post is (exactly a month late!). But I don’t imagine anybody cares so let us just get to it.
My birthday this year falls on a Friday. I thought if I can’t go to anywhere I want to on my birthday weekend then I don’t see the point of having a job at all. So I coerced (seriously) my friends to go to La Union with me. But before that, here is an accurate representation of an average human being’s level of elation and excitement for travelling:
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As you can see, most of the happiness one gets from travelling comes from the sheer anticipation of it. It happens when you buy a ticket, when you book a hotel room, or when you finalize plans with your friends. From that point on you have something to look forward to. This something increases your tolerance for the daily trivialities of life. Traffic made you late? That’s okay, at least next month you’d be lounging by the beach. Got a huge backlog of emails that it’s not even remotely humane? That’s all good, at least in two weeks you’d be discovering a new country. In short, this is how I felt from the minute we made plans to the day of my actual birthday.

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Three Out of A Hundred Islands

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(All the photos are taken using my phone, thus, the low quality.)

To our defense, we only went to four out of a hundred islands because most of the islands are too small for humans to roam around in. And some are shaped in a way that makes it impossible for anyone to climb it on foot. Hooookay. I think this is my first legit vacation since I started working. I filed for an unpaid leave (NO RAGRETS) and said hello to a six-day weekend. This trip is a series of firsts for me, so it’s absolutely worth it (!!!). The travel time from Cavite to Pangasinan is supposedly 6 hours but we anticipated that it’s bound to be longer because of stopovers. We left the house at around 4 AM.

DAY 1 – beach & resort

on the way   When I’m not drifting in and out of sleep (and neck ache), I’m too busy being awestruck at the Windows-XP-wallpaper-like scenery outside the car. Yep, ‘Windows-XP-wallpaper-like‘ is the best thing I can come up with to accurately describe the scenery. I apologize to my English professors. Anyway, we were too early to check in the hotel (which is, by the way, called El Puerto Marina), so we did a little shopping on the stalls near this lighthouse: Sana Dati Lighthouse!   It’s my first time to see a lighthouse up close! And it’s not even much of a house. Come to think of it, I don’t even know if the light works in this one. But, whatever, I’ll take it. After having lunch we went back to the hotel. El Puerto Marina is an amazing beach resort for families. It’s fairly new, just opening to the public this March, I think. The rates are still cheap since the place isn’t totally finished yet. We managed to get two rooms that can accommodate 8-10 people (for each room) for only PHP 4,500/room. this way to the beachel puerto marina beach After taking a 2-hr nap we headed to the beach. I love this beach because it’s so private. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s so nice to look at, yeah? This is totally embarrassing but that was my first time to swim in the sea. Conquering my fear, what up. A few hours later we tried their resort. 10/10 I recommend the resort. It has a wave pool, they opened the slides for us, the water is warm, and there is zero possibility of sharks in there. (Yeah.. I still have a fear of the sea.) That night we had dinner at Gibb’s  also 10/10 love their barbecue. el puerto marina The next day we had our breakfast at El Puerto Marina. The offer the usual stuff (either continental, american, or filipino breakfast) but the servings are very disappointing. It’s complimentary, though, so I shouldn’t complain (haha). el puerto marinaThe place also has karaoke for rent and bonfires by the beach. We didn’t get to try any of that, unfortunately.

DAY 2 – island hopping

boats hundred islands boat panorama   I’m obsessed with panoramic shots, apparently. But how can one resist the photogenic, instagrammable beauty of this place?
island 2014-08-23_07_16_58Our first stop is Quezon Island.This island is the perfect place to have lunch in. There were cottages, tables, comfort rooms, and a canteen!
quezon island pangasinan island explorersIn this island we spent most of the time snorkeling. It was my first time to snorkel and it was amazing. And scary. And divine. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that we didn’t have any underwater camera because I spent more time trying to take everything in: the coral reefs and the sea creatures. I took notice of every detail so I won’t forget.
marcos island pangasinan Our second stop is Marcos Island. It would royally suck if this island is named after Ferdinand Marcos. We went cliff diving in one of the caves here, and yes, it was my first time to go cliff diving too. It was simply the best, my most favorite part of the trip.
2014-08-22_05_56_45 island Our last stop is Governor’s Island. By the time we got there the lightning and the thunder were already starting which is a blessing if you ask me. The peak of this island has the best view of all the other islands, and consequently, the best view of the lightning strikes.top governor's island 2014-08-22_04_08_23 And then it was time to go home.2014-08-22_06_31_40

Singapore: Off the Beaten Path, Sort of

Singapore trip with friends

Last month my friends and I traveled to Singapore as part of our their graduation gift. I figured there’s a little conflict because it’ll be their first time in the country so I had to bring them to the usual spots (Merlion, Universal Studios, etc) but it’s going to be my fourth time already so I want to go to other places. In order to solve this I made an itinerary that strategically satisfies all our interests (lol):

Expected Itinerary:

Day 1: Haji Lane, Bugis, Nanyang University, LASALLE University, Centre for Contemporary Art, Night out

Day 2: Universal Studios, Songs of the Sea

Day 3: Go Biking at Pulau Ubin, Clark Quay River Cruise

Day 4: Haw Par Villa, Merlion, Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Sentosa beach

Day 5: Explore Changi Airport

 

Actual Itinerary:

Day 1: Haji Lane, Bugis, Nanyang University, LASALLE University, Centre for Contemporary Art, Night out

Day 2: Universal Studios, Songs of the Sea

Day 3: Go Biking at Pulau Ubin, Swim at the hotel, Explore Tiong Bahru, Go Biking at the East Coast, Clark Quay River Cruise

Day 4: Haw Par Villa, Bugis, Merlion, Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Sentosa beach, Sentosa Cable Car, Pig out at Newton Food Centre, Last minute shopping at Mustafa Shopping Centre

Day 5: Explore Changi Airport

I have no ragrets! Okay, kidding. If I could go back in time, I would tell old me to make the most out of our first day, and three other words: Adventure. Cove. Waterpark.

Anyway. You might be wondering (or maybe not? I’m still going to tell either way) why/how we managed to mess up our perfectly organized, and perfectly realistic itinerary:

Day 1: Haji Lane, LASALLE University, aaaand that’s it

1 - Albert Court, a quaint little place we passed by on our way to.. 2 - LASALLE University aka our dream school
1 – Albert Court, a quaint little place we passed by on our way to.. 2 & 3 – LASALLE University aka our dream school

You might be wondering (or, again, not at all) why we included a freakin’ university in our itinerary. I will emphasize that we are graphic designers and filmmakers so this university is a place of interest for us. I have been to the LASALLE University before and, aside from its breathtaking architecture, I was amazed at the exhibits and the places (and by this I mean the library) that are open to outsiders! When we got there we were not disappointed!

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Bali, Day 2 & 3

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Day 1 here.

Our last two days in the island are so uneventful that I barely have any pictures to show. I spent the whole afternoon swimming and reading in this paradise:

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paradise ❤

My previous travels made me realize that I’m not really the active, sporty, outdoors-y kind of tourist. My dream vacation is just me lying around all day, preferably while eating and reading, or both. I realize I can do all these in the comforts of my home, but whatever. At the latter part of the afternoon we went to Tanah Lot. I actually didn’t like visiting this place because it’s congested with tourists. Actually, I think I saw more tourists than locals during my entire stay here. It’s sad.

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On our third day we went to Seminyak Beach. All I did was sleep and eat pizza and sleep some more. Ha! We went to a spa afterwards. See, uneventful, yeah?

Bali, Day 1

Bali gnome of some sort

Last year I were a CebuPac Piso sale virgin, so when I finally got to catch one of the most popular (and most elusive) of all airline promos, I went batshit crazy. It was around 2 AM, I think, when I saw the promo at Twitter. I did not stop bugging my mom to book something. Anything. I originally wanted to go to Thailand but, I can’t remember how, we ended up booking a trip to Bali. Fast forward to six months later and here we were, dazed and confused (thanks to the whole day at Enchanted Kingdom before our 4 AM flight), in the Land of the Gods.

Prior to the trip I made numerous versions of our itinerary. It’s possible that this got me more acquainted with the geography of Bali than I am in any province of the Philippines (and I really, really suck at geography). I learned the hard way that creating a jam-packed schedule is just setting oneself up for disappointment. Here is my too-good-to-be-true itinerary: Continue reading “Bali, Day 1”

Surviving Sagada Day 2 and 3

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Our second day in Sagada is a Sunday. We woke up at 6 AM and we can hear the SMV church ringing its bells. Our first destination is the Bokong Falls, also known as the Small Falls.

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The guides advised us to remove our sweaters. They said we wouldn’t need it. But being the hard-headed girl that I am, I ignored them. Ha. To get to Small Falls you are going to do a LOT of walking, so make sure you have eaten breakfast before going.

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Masferre Inn’s Fried Bangus = heaven

Continue reading “Surviving Sagada Day 2 and 3”

Surviving Sagada Day 1

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Day 1

Back in March I heard about a contest that gives away a free trip to Sagada for the first place winner. I just got back from Baguio for a documentary shoot a month before that so I was really itching to go back. Except the Sagada experience is nothing like the Baguio one. For starters, the trip to Baguio only takes 6 hours. The journey to Sagada takes 12. Grueling. Hours. So it’s safe to say that I didn’t fully grasp what I was getting myself into. Although now two things are clear: (1) it isn’t called ‘surviving’ Sagada for nothing, and (2) the experience is actually absolutely fulfilling in the end.

I’m so lucky that my dad (who has expressed his hesitation to come because his back and leg aches), my aunt and my brother (who are both very, very excited for the trip) came with me. So the day after the last day of school, we left for Sagada.

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We decided to follow the itinerary given to us by the organizers and leave Manila at around 11 PM. That’s me waiting for our bus. I just dyed my hair pink on the same day. So cleaning the house + bringing clothes to the laundry + packing + dyeing my hair, you could tell I didn’t waste my first day of vacation. Ha!

We arrived in Baguio at around 6 in the morning. We had a quick breakfast in 711. After which we took a cab to the GL terminal. A one-way ticket from Baguio to Sagada costs Php 220.

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The slogan for Bontoc should be ‘Meet me in Bontoc’ ya’ll. That’s my million-dollar idea. Ha!
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Left: toploaders, Right: mountains

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That’s Php 220 for this kind of view. ❤ My brother observed that in Baguio we were scrambling to take pictures of the mountains. Little did we know we’d be surrounded by it in Sagada. My dad jokingly said, “Kaya pala Sagada e. Sagad sa layo, a.” We were really sick of sitting down at this point. Good thing there are stopovers every 2 hours. We passed a lot of towns on our way and every time we did we were thinking: This is it! We are here! The Sagada town proper is comparably larger than the towns before it, though. It’s also more ‘touristy’.

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