Saturday, November 19, 2011

flying with silkair - cebu to singapore

this blog has yet again taken one of its many frequent pauses (both palms on my face now). anyway, i kinda have a valid excuse this time, because i just recently did the biggest decision in my life which i think i hinted in my previous posts. so after i was finished with my 2 month-notice period at work (and yeah, i quit!), i then made a roundabout course in my life and decided to move out not just into a different city but into a different country altogether which is singapore!

that's why, i'll be talking about the route from cebu to singapore through silkair. :)

silkair serves as the regional wing of singapore airlines with flights across the asia pacific including india and china. it has direct flights to both cebu and davao and it has daily flights in and out of cebu although on some days it still detours to davao.

Silkair Airbus A320
and yes, because this airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of singapore airlines, one would expect that this is not in any way a budget airline. there's no slight chance ever to hope for their international airfares to go as low as your fare to the neighboring town.

but looking at the different aspects of an airline, i pretty much valued its services and i could say that i definitely got what i deserved though i was only flying with economy class during my flights with them.

well, here are the highlights of my experience with silkair.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

papa kit's marina and fishing lagoon, liloan

much have already been said, raved, blogged, posted all over facebook etc. about papa kit’s. i was so behind everyone else till i persuaded my family to drop by here while on our way home. i didn’t know exactly where it was. all i knew was that it can be accessed from the road that forks from the national highway where a mini replica of the liloan’s lighthouse stands. but we were not coming from the national highway but instead, we made a detour through the cansaga bridge from mandaue city which is a better alternative to the conventional albeit narrow thoroughfare in consolacion – liloan route.

i was ready to let go of my hope of finding papa kit’s when we were already nearing to the end of the road that merges the national highway in liloan. however, just before we completely lost our lunch, we then saw the papa kit’s tarpaulin right after we crossed the last bridge prior to the national highway. it promised that papa kit’s is merely 200 meters away but we still slightly panicked for we thought that we needed to go back an ordeal of 200 meters! good thing though, my mother saw in time the arrow sign at the opposite side of the road that would finally lead us to our lunch. we liked to heed to our growling stomachs after all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

malaysia truly asia from singapore

malaysia and singapore are quite close to each other with the bigger country just north to the city-state. if my brother and i only wanted the malaysian stamp on our passports, we could have opted to visit some part in malaysia that's 1 hour away by bus but instead, we opted to pay a quick visit to the malaysian capital, kuala lumpur which is a gruelling 5-hour bus journey.

there are a lot of bus companies that ply the singapore to kuala lumpur route. you only have to pick the ultimate one that can give you the cheapest deal. we scheduled to go to kuala lumpur on a sunday and we promptly bought our tickets on the friday before that or else, we could be  rushing along with the local weekenders.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

itinerary: singapore and kuala lumpur

i've been MIA for a month! it's not the going out of the country for 4 days that took much of my time. really, it's the lack of enthusiasm to write for i don't know what to write to begin with. it must also be my work or the decisions that i recently did in my life. my parents are still digesting the absurdity of these decisions and they surely know that eventually, i will be afflicting chaotic drama upon myself. but maybe, all these are perfectly rolled into a giant ball that took me away to a drifting non-sense. 

i just hope i won't go on a hiatus for more than a month (fingers crossed!).

with that aside, here's my singapore - kuala lumpur itinerary for 4 days. 3 days in singapore and 1 day in kuala lumpur. i was actually slacking when i made this one because i was too afraid for the likelihood of a disappointment of not having my leaves approved. the worker slave that i am.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

my travel notes: camotes islands, cebu

i hail from the north of cebu but it's a shame that i've only been to camotes just last year. as i was growing up, the sea was considered a great threat to us. my siblings and i were never allowed to swim farther than 2 meters from the safe shoreline. for the nth time that we hit to the beach, i never got to learn to swim. :( i know, it's tragic.

i remember an ojii-san (old man) i met in japan who was utterly surprised when i told him that i can't swim. he knew that i'm from cebu and cebu for them connotes a perfect setting of a tropical get-away, the sun and the turquoise sea with the powdery white sands along the shore. how could i not possibly learn to swim?

he then shared to me one of life's lessons that i should teach to my children (gosh, it's a long shot from now!) the basic things when they're young for in this phase, they're able to learn quickly like riding a bike and of course, swimming! it's a wisdom that i keep with me until such time that i can actually and possibly do it.

even for my lack of talent in swimming, it doesn't stop me from taking a dip in knee-depth waters and i sometimes even braved to the great depths! after all, what's the use of life vests? :P

and here's my take in camotes.

Santiago Bay Garden Resort, Camotes, Cebu

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

chosun galbi korean restaurant

in the recent years, i have witnessed the exodus of korean nationals to cebu, all with a common goal which is to learn the english language. i don't know if there are other things in their mind besides that, for hitting to the beach may just be a by-line thing. if i could be a student in another country, i would definitely be doing the same, exploring the country while i engross myself with my learning which i don't foresee happening in the near future, not even in a decade to come. :P

however, most of these korean nationals may not see themselves staying in this tropical island for good. they'll eventually be back in south korea, sun-kissed and of course, beaming with confidence in their own twang of the english language.

before they get too homesick that the lonesome ones may instantly fly back to their country in just a short while, business-minded cebuanos (even koreans included) rightfully decided to bring some korean taste to cebu. with this very lucrative idea, korean establishments then spring up like wildfire in cebu, from hair salons, spas and definitely, restaurants!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

my hometown series: getting there

my blog takes on a crawling speed which either means that i'm currently swamped with work or i'm just idling for the lack of things to write. the two somehow correlate at some point because the more i'm engulfed with work, the less chances i have to break free from my mundane routine. hence, no new things to talk or write rather, as i technically put it.

picking up where i left off with my hometown series, somehow i can still hit the ground running. a one month of interval for a series is one of the lousiest things that i can ever do for this blog. time flies so fast that when i looked at the date of my kick-off post, it's already a month old! boo!

before i lose into an endless and futile berating of thy self, let me tell you now on how to get to tabogon, cebu.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

my travel notes: hongkong and macau

finally, i'm on my very last post for my hk-macau stint that was like ages ago! this blog is i think about to throw up with over-indulgence of anything hk or macau, with 14 posts intervened in the past few months. sad. :( it's way past the second half of 2011 and i'm falling behind of getting out there, to feel both the sun and the rain!

anyway back to the main topic, here are the few notes i could remember from the last time i drafted my ideas on what exactly i need to enumerate. i'm pretty sure i'll be missing out a thing or two. thanks to my wonderful memory.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

cosmic guest house, hong kong

this will be my second to the last post for hong kong. my share of hong kong is getting too outdated already that it might give a wrong impression that i was there just yesterday. well, i could put a travel date if i choose to, but i choose to end this series soon before i completely lose my excitement altogether. i'll then wrap it up with my travel notes post that still suffers the confusion of its purpose but i'll have to deal that one later!

back to hk, our accommodation in this expensive city was this hostel located in a very old building called mirador mansion in tsim sha tsui area. its location is over the top that you only need to go down to feel outright what hong kong stands for and that's shopping!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

something fishy in cojordan

one fine saturday, i and the team that had newly found me went on a short trip to consolacion in order to bond, to catch up with everyone as most are working in night shift, and of course to break away from the office life by some fishing! agreed meeting time was at 6:30AM - 7:00AM and this was some kind of torture for me. this even required two cellphones set with the most annoying alarm tones!

getting to cojordan in consolacion is too much of a hassle when you don't have a car on your own. with this in mind, i knew that i had to be on time in our meet-up so i would save myself from the ordeal of navigating my way to the place.

however, working in an american company doesn't change the definition of a filipino time because like the usual meet-ups i had in my life, yes like my entire life, it was never right on the dot. but i could not complain for i had the most comfortable ride in getting to cojordan and the better part was that, it was for free!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

kamekichi ramen on a rainy day

how i see the weather nowadays is all over this blog. for the nth time, yes the weather is getting crazier! the extreme heat is beyond me even in the morning. i only got to experience a nice morning with faint glow of the rising sun once at 6am but i can't endure to drag myself out of bed this early everyday.

i'm not really a morning person. that's why, i'm inclined to wake up late even if i have to endure my everyday walk under the heat of the sun, with loads on both arms while i try to manage holding my umbrella to at least shield me from the scorching heat. on top of that, imagine me in heels! i know, it's one kind of torture.

with the heat throughout the day, the night sky then cools the dried up earth with not just light showers but torrential rains!

with the rain spattering on the roof, what better way to spend the night than having a hot and satisfying noodle soup?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

my hometown series kickoff - tabogon, cebu

the idea of writing something about my hometown has been in my mind for a long time now. if i got to write about distant places, then why not about a place that's close to my heart? <3

doing it in a single post will however, fare injustice and will impart a far less attention than it deserves. so i thought, might as well make this a series of posts! i just hope i can keep up for i sometimes tend to shy away from my resolve.

where is tabogon, cebu exactly?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

hongkong disneyland, another story

after venting my frustrations and disappointments for hongkong disneyland in this post, it's right about time to focus on what were the wonderful things the park had offered me. of course, in my heart of hearts, it was an experience worth remembering for life! not just because i had to make the best out of my volatile money's worth but simply because it's disneyland!

hongkong disneyland this year celebrates its 5th year in giving joy and wonderful experience not just to kids but to those kids at heart alike. see that number 5 above? well, who are more fitting to sport that banner other than the disney veterans, mickey on top of the float signifying his superiority, the usual cuteness of donald duck, the playfulness of goofy, and the extra nice minnie, all waving hello to the crowd!

Friday, June 24, 2011

stonehouse hotel, quezon city

the sound of the hotel's name may give someone a completely wrong impression, leading probably to a sleazy character or those types that offer a fraction of a 24-hour stay. but behold! this was far from anything like that.

when i choose an accommodation, i don't look for a grand stay because that would mean a superfluous spending which i'd rather do, not in the confines of my hotel room but in somewhere i most likely feel the sunshine or the rain, whichever the crazy weather would grant.

staying in metro manila can be a daunting experience. you need to consider a lot of things and make priorities, the quality of the accommodation, the hotel rates, convenience and most importantly, safety. well, i never expected i could get an almost share of the entire package without sacrificing a thing or two.

 Stonehouse Hotel

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a quick visit to intramuros, manila

this month is one of those times when philippine history is a buzz, in media and almost in everywhere. aside from independence day falling on the 12th day of june, Phl also commemorates the 150th birthday of our national hero, jose rizal on june 19.

but most likely, the significance of these events for me or to a lot of people? is if these would be declared as non-working holidays. p-noy had taken a different perspective from his predecessor and did not move the independence day to the nearest monday, considering that the holiday falls on a sunday this year, which would "supposedly" push for more local tourism as the glorious lady had campaigned. at least p-noy gave in for the special birthday of rizal and declared june 20 as a non-working holiday, in lieu of june 19 which is a sunday.

it's tragic on how you tend to mature with age and get engrossed with too much work and self-centered initiatives, that any nationalistic event would just likely be a fleeting information and its significance is only its most awaited declaration of a non-working holiday.

i hope that visiting one of the most important historical sites in the country will help me step back from that notion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

excess baggage in hong kong disneyland

for the lack of really good theme parks in our country, they would likely be part of one's itinerary in an international travel, especially if the country of destination offers one of these huge parks which never fail to awaken the kid in you! if you can't relate, maybe i'm referring to another set of people who are technically beyond childhood but still delight on those cartoon characters in their squeaky voices. hehe

when i was too naive for the corporate world, was too fresh from college and just even finished the ordeal of a project defense with deliberately intimidating panel of instructors, i had this first job interview for a manila-based IT company. it was more of a prelimimary interview by the recruiter and while we were on the height of the interview process, i spilled the beans on how i didn't mind a job which would require constant travel and as what she had said, there were chances of travelling to hong kong for that job opening. why exactly would i want that kind of job, she asked. "because i love to go to hong kong disneyland!!" hong kong disneyland was on its first few months of operation at that time so i was too excited to go there, walt disney and disneyland japan were dead impossible.

it sounded too silly but i don't regret it anyway. and no, i didn't get the job. :P it turned out their technical round called for geniuses.

but five years after, i ecstatically found myself in hong kong disneyland!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ngong ping village, hongkong

it's already almost 2 months since my short stint in hong kong but sadly, i haven't finished everything yet. i know, i should do this fast before oblivion gets me and it's running like wild! anyway, at least i'm on the 3rd and last day now.

ngong ping village is in lantau island, a 45-minute train ride from tsim sha tsui with one train change. we were up early again to visit briefly the ngong ping village by taking a cable car, which was i think the highlight of our trip. briefly because we would be in disneyland in the afternoon. tic toc, tic toc!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

sweet overload in maitre chocolatier

one hot sunday afternoon prior on my friend's sleep over errr bridal shower, i raided ayala center cebu for something i could give to the bride-to-be and of course, tagging breinn along. you could just imagine his blank face and obvious obliging answers when i enumerated to him what i had in mind and at some point, mindlessly asked him what that unique present would be. i just thought lingerie were too common. he even had to endure being stuck with me inside beauty bar while i tried to figure out what i would buy. hastily, he agreed that i settled with a raspberry shower gel which the fragrance he also liked and it was on sale! win-win situation for both of us, i could finally have my present and he could be out from beauty bar fast.

to make my introduction even longer, i had to commend beauty bar's cashier for carefully and patiently wrapping the shower gel before she put it in a nicey paper bag and finished it with a ribbon. first time i experienced this kind of wrapping service in Phl and it was for free!!

after my gift was all set, it was time to feed the one who put up with me in the very last place he'd rather be seen.

and whose exhaustion won't melt with chocolates?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

how to get from NAIA terminal 2 to terminal 3 and vice versa

NAIA has three terminals, located quite far from each other in a passenger's perspective. terminal 3 presently caters to cebu pacific and air philippines, terminal 2 otherwise known as centennial terminal is exclusive for philippine airlines and of course, the much talked about terminal 1 that is reminiscent of the old filipino movies (i'm imagining my elementary days), caters for other international carriers.

getting from one terminal to another isn't hassle-free as travellers would like it to be. although in our country, we filipinos can just let it pass for we are used to things like that. well, at least NAIA terminals are serviced with shuttle vans which are much less expensive than fixed-rate taxis.

i've written a post about how i intended to fly to manila early june and the time had finally come to make use of my award tickets courtesy of mabuhay miles. i had no choice but to fly amid my busy schedule for i needed to act as a chaperon to my sister and my cousin who for the first time, will go to the far-away manila because they're downright crazy over a korean pop girl group called 2ne1. kids these days.

their cebu-manila flight, through cebu pacific airlines will be arriving at terminal 3 while my philippine airlines flight will be at terminal 2. for i hadn't prepared much financially in this trip, i was more into a cheaper option so the shuttle van was a good alternative to get me to terminal 3.

here's how i tried using NAIA's shuttle service.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a preview of macau's take on our appetite

no matter how fast we were off from one place to another, we had somehow included a trivial experience of macau food. though, it might not be one of the things we could instantly recall when we think of macau but at least, we had these pictures to remind us that with all those adrenaline rush and heart-pumping mini jaunts around macau, we managed to stuff our stomachs with some food for energy.

Egg Tart Up Close

some say that you shouldn't leave macau unless you have tried their famous egg tarts. pastel de nata in portuguese, is a sweet pastry with outer pastry crust and an egg custard in its center, baked for that satisfying goodness. i regarded it as a hot equivalent of leche flan in the philippines which is also made up of a whole lot of eggs for that guilt-infused sweet craving.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

macau in one day: walking tour

squeezing macau into just a day proved to be too hectic than we came prepared for. to make it even more chaotic, we went to macau on a weekend! it was a sunday to be specific. well, you could just imagine the sea of people out in the streets, tourists and locals alike. to top it all off, the humidity had started to sink in, indicating the onset of summer in macau.

we started our walking tour quite late since we unintentionally spent too much time in venetian during our hotel hopping. after all, who wouldn't get lost in such a huge maze!

we were with other three people from work namely, joy, noie and tinay who arrived in the wee hours of the morning on that day and with barely a few hours to catch up with sleep, they went straight to macau with us.

macau in one day: hotel hopping

macau is one hour away from hongkong by a ferry. little did we know, it was also a bonamine away as the ferry ride across the south china sea's rim is likely to be a nauseating ride especially when the weather does not take your side.

we were on board with new world first ferry from china ferry terminal in tsim sha tsui as early as 8:30am and we just slept the entire ferry ride. besides, there was really nothing to see outside for it was raining and due to poor visibility, the captain announced that the ferry would take a slow course. it was then, like forever.

but forever just really translated to reality as past one hour...

and then, there was macau.

macau is considered to be the las vegas in asia. it stands true to that as the first thing we noticed when we were about to dock was the sands casino and more casinos everywhere thereafter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

hadsan cove, mactan island

hadsan cove may sound interesting to those people who haven't heard of this place but for those who are already too familiar will likely be indifferent, that a few of them may frown with the mere mention of its name, especially if in need of one perfect beach setting.

living in an island raises one's standards when it comes to the ultimate combination of the blue seas, white sands, and the sun but sometimes, when all you need is a quick breath of fresh air and the company of the people close to your heart, everything seems to be just right.

Monday, May 23, 2011

star ferry across victoria harbour, hong kong

to reach central pier from the peak, we hopped on a bus down the hill's zig zag road. while the peak tram seemed to be a roller-coaster ride that only offers the very steep ascent part, the bus ride on the other hand, offers the thrilling downhill saga. riding a bus in hong kong is something to watch out for since their drivers seem to acquire the extraordinary skills in driving, like without decelerating even around a sharp bend. our small bus from the peak proved to be no different. 

for the peak buses, we went through the peak galleria at the peak and there are signs inside the mall that show where you need to exit. the one that goes to star ferry terminal in central is a small bus and not the double-decker which hong kong is famous for. aside from london, of course.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

itinerary: manila in 3 days

because i'm letting summer go away, i'm settling with the idea of making an itinerary for my parents. i even had to spend 3 weeks for this itinerary, including hotel reservations and to the very specific on where they would eat! i was taking on a turtle's pace because i had to divide the little time i'm left for my personal life since my demanding work is eating the most part. tsk! anyway, so much on that for i may end up sounding ungrateful. :P

this was something new for me because i had to consider comfort more than anything because i don't think my parents can handle too much hassle and a lot of activities cramped in one day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

the peak in hongkong

after we put up with snoopy under the hongkong sun, we then head to the peak in hongkong island from sha-tin by train. we changed trains twice while squeezing with the hk people in a busy late afternoon on a saturday. well, that must be during their peak hours and we were heading to the peak during a peak hour! making our experience an overdose of "peakness". LOL i can't believe i'm trying to pull a joke here.

this is the sky terrace in the peak where you can get the best view of the famed skyscrapers in hongkong island and the kowloon peninsula across. but we only had this so-called best view for a split second because as what karina had put it, the peak turned on their fog machines full blast somewhere.

getting here was an integral part of the experience of the peak. let me retrace our steps before our excitement had died down due to this extreme fogginess.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

how to redeem awards from mabuhay miles

half of my earned mabuhay miles of philippine airlines are already expiring this coming june and the worth of these miles is already a one-way ticket to manila. of course, i still have to pay taxes and everything but i'm not too eager anymore with earning mabuhay miles because there's always cebu pacific who often offers crazy seat sales and so far, it works fine for me in terms of domestic flying. as if i really do international flying! lol

though i'm having mixed emotions in redeeming my miles, considering the not so good experiences i had read/heard all over but i really have no other cheaper option because i intend to fly to manila early june and airlines don't offer good deals when the dates are already near so, my round-trip worth miles are all i got.

here's what i had done in redeeming my ticket awards (that is, after getting heads up with what to expect and seriously, i expected the worst.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

sunbathed with snoopy in its world

before we ended up with snoopy again, we first tried our luck in mongkok for something interesting. we were supposedly to be in search for the 10HKD store that is in between bossini and crocs stores in sai yeung choi street, but after several turns around the block and with the sun's high noon torture looming in, we found out that the 10HKD store was closed. urgh!

so, we decided to head out for lunch instead. we were supposed to eat at a local restaurant but after some futile search, we just safely settled in kfc. :D

and after, there's snoopy world...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

nostalgia found in hongkong streets

i was once again in a place where everyone seems to be too engrossed with his own business, has the air of indifference and walks in a pace that is equivalent to running in our country. being in some of the busy streets in hongkong ushered the feeling of nostalgia and the realization on how i missed being in a place where everyone tends to not really care, like the weird clothes you're wearing, how unkempt your hair looks at the end of the day and how you intentionally put on too much make-up. hehe

Sunday, May 1, 2011

how to get to mactan island from cebu city

nowadays, i found myself in mactan island more often than ever before. i had tried all the public transportation that i know that can get me to this island -- the fast, the crawling slow, the heavy traffic and everything in between in a public transport. yes, it is connected with two bridges but these are way too far from cebu city. these bridges are located in mandaue city and getting there is inconvenient for me, more expensive and to top it all off, the traffic could get really nasty.

but before i ended up with my preferred way, which i will share at the end of this post, i had gone through the following. this is with reference from cebu city's central area, if there's such a term. of course, if you have a car on your own, it's downright easy but if you want a dash of fun in your life, local commute can be really exciting.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

charlie brown café in hongkong

we didn't have anything specific in mind but just a list of places stashed for our whims because an aimless walk may provide little surprises and more fun...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

getting the hongkong feel

a much needed quick sleep in our tiny room did us good for the four of us after arriving in hongkong at past 1am through a cheap cebu pacific flight from cebu. the fantastic four consisted of me and my 3 former colleagues who braved the busy and expensive hongkong for the first time. of course, planning had already been laid down months before, even a few weeks after january, the month when we booked our flight. nah, we're not excited, for that would be an understatement! :P

we were all smiles by the time we hit the streets in hongkong on our first day, shrugging off our hostel's tiny toilet, the tiniest that we've ever seen so far and i mean ever!! discounting the toilets in airplanes. well, it was like a toilet in an aircraft with a shower in place.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

itinerary: hong kong and macau in 3 days

i almost had to book for hong kong alone. i have this weird habit of clicking the "Show New Updates" link in my yahoo, integrated with my facebook and twitter feeds every time i got lost in my thoughts, which i shouldn't do often at work, unless of course i'm willing to lose my job. tsk

anyway, after a random update, i was seeing the cebu pacific's feed about its sale seats for hong kong! it was i think at Php999 one way which however, expectantly summed up to a larger amount after i finished my booking. but 3100++ with check-in luggage was such a good deal already! ;)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

now i know: danao city, cebu to isabel, leyte

i was on board with a ceres bus bound for home with my gaze out to nowhere. i was thinking, drifting, wallowing in my thoughts and contemplating on how my regular bus fare of Php60 leapt into almost a hundred, with only 3 pesos short in just barely a month! i wonder what are the things left for me to sacrifice in order to possibly go away when things get out of hand sometimes.

anyway, i will not continue to discuss that issue here for i know one way or another, someone will throw my grievances to my face and wake me to my senses on how lucky i am compared to many people.

well halfway in my 3-hour journey, my bus picked up three passengers in danao. i did not give my full attention to them because i was still deep in thought about the sign i noticed in danao's port. danao to camotes, which i know already and below camotes was ormoc! i'm not sure if this is something new but i was thinking how many people this side of cebu would want to go to ormoc. and i then imagined myself in ormoc one of these days. hmmm

Saturday, April 9, 2011

escape to alta cebu

the weather has been quite steady in cebu since the start of april and i mean sunny steady. yey! though the sun can be too unforgiving even at 9am. ;( well, it's a lot better getting greasy with too much sunblock rather than an umbrella in tow during your summer fun.

and yet again, here comes another post for summer!

Alta Cebu

Sunday, April 3, 2011

my travel notes: boracay

not that i recently basked under the sun in boracay. but because it's finally april and officially summer! time to pump up this sea green page with a summery post. though, one needs to cross both fingers and toes, offer sacrifices, pray the hardest in order to have that perfect weather come your summer get-away.

anyway enough of that lamentation. on with summer mode and i'm starting off with boracay, the ultimate and overrated summer destination. :P

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

wakamatsu yakiniku - eat till you drop

it was around 3 years ago when i came to know a yakiniku tabehoudai (eat all you can grilled meat) in cebu that has the same setup like in japan.

a bit of history...

working in a fast-paced life in an IT company brought so many things into my life. everyday late overtimes, few out of town team-buildings, several nights of intoxication and throat-clinching videoke sessions, and of course the last but not the least FOOD!

there was that time when i was in the same cubicle with 3 people who have the same penchant for food as i do. we even started our own friday sessions but that's another story. anyway, this one cubemate suggested wakamatsu, a yakiniku restaurant that has its real japanese feel.

from then on, i found myself in wakamatsu time and again...


my recent stint in wakamatsu was for my sister's birthday. she was too excited for this, even counting down the days ever since january. haha!

for the penny-pinching people like us, wakamatsu does not come very often. we have to wait out for that very very special occasion in our lives.

here are our pics in wakamatsu. it's like we teleported to japan! let us dream, okay? haha

Saturday, March 26, 2011

my travel notes: legazpi, albay and donsol, sorsogon

no two experiences are the same. both may involve the same destination but it would be a whole different thing the second time around.

not that i've been to legazpi and donsol before. it's just one of those too seldom prolonged breaks that i have, to get away with everything and to seek my so-called fleeting sanity. in layman's terms, a breath of fresh air! like what i always implore during those days when things get crazy. but things proved even far crazier than i thought. LOL

anyway, all's well that ends well. :D

Mayon Volcano as seen from Legazpi, Albay

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

legazpi airport hotel

legazpi airport hotel is considerably a new accommodation in legazpi, located just inside the airport's perimeter. this comes convenient if some inopportune time you miss your flight and have to wait a few days till you get another flight out. hehe

there's not that much info about this hotel across the web yet. other known accommodations usually come up in the top searches but maybe it has that nifty post somewhere in the 100, 000th hit. ^^ well, that's an exaggeration 'coz i initially came across this hotel in backpacking philippines, which i now occasionally dig in for other travel tips with costs fairly in mind.

Legazpi Airport Hotel

it's so new that it's still under construction. :P the mound of sand at my back was used for the hotel's restaurant that was under construction at that time and it's only in their restaurant that you can access their wi-fi at great speed, probably because we were the only ones using that time.

this hotel is literally a stone's throw away from the airport's runway. if your plane is still taxiing the runway, you just have to climb the fence and run like a mad man to catch your plane. :P this hotel comes so convenient in very extraordinary ways. :D

why it worked for us?

Monday, March 21, 2011

albay park and wildlife

we still had a few hours left before our flight that afternoon but we weren't too lax either because if we missed our flight, we would be stuck in legazpi for another 2 days, till we can fly back to cebu. or we could go to manila and catch a plane from there but heck, it's too far out already! yes it was boring 'coz we made it on time. :P

back to a roadside wildlife, well with just a few steps away from the road to lingñon hill, we met time and again another set of derelict caged animals. ;(

Albay Park and Wildlife

entrance fees to the park are inexpensive.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

my gratitude to japan

i have been arguing myself in these 3 months that i am finally active in my blog, if i will recall my experiences in japan back in 2009. then, for a time i decided against it because i might be carried away and write a hundred plus posts! yes, japan holds many of my great memories, the memories that i will treasure forever.

i now cannot imagine japan, after it had its greatest tragedy ever recorded. it happened last friday, march 11, 2011 at 14:46 jst when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern part and even cascaded down south including the tokyo area. to make it worse, the strong earthquake triggered a 33-foot tsunami that swallowed most of the coastal part in sendai. more in wiki

i guess it is an appropriate time for me to write a post in summary of what japan had done for me in the short time of 6 months that i was there.

Meeting people in different races.

i was damn lucky that i was able to go to japan as a trainee in my previous company and i'm forever grateful for my leaders and everyone else for that. with how each of us has this preconceived notion regarding a certain race, i was able to break away from these biases and worked myself to understand instead.

Monday, March 14, 2011

lingñon hill and japanese tunnel

we were up again early on our last day so that we could hike up the lingñon hill in the morning when the sun's heat is less of a torture. but who would start his day late when on vacation, anyway? you can always catch up with sleep when you're back home! i'm sure i've used this one quite a number of times already. :D

Lingñon Hill

we were able to come here as early as 7 am since we were staying in legazpi airport hotel and this hill was just near. if only we could walk across the runway, we could have saved that tricycle fare. :D

Sunday, March 13, 2011

lost in kapuntukan hill

this is now my 7th post for legazpi. i had to finish this series soon, before everything fades from my memory. i would then be left with our pics which are saved in multiple hard drives and external drives in case another bad luck strikes time and again. :-/

Kapuntukan Hill

it's the same scene as my embarcadero post because those siamese hills behind embarcadero are singly called as kapuntukan hill, a great photo opportunity for those shutterbugs who want a view of legazpi's harbor and mayon volcano.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

donsol's gentle giants, the butanding!

during the days when we all get bored or way too stressed at work, we usually talk about the things we want to do, what comfort food we want to eat, and what places we all wish we could go! then one ordinary day, my officemate talked about on how she had experienced swimming with the whale sharks in donsol and all of us listening were like, say what?!

it's sad that when your work sucks the entire life out of you, you tend to forget how beautiful the world is and you soon realize the many wonderful things you're missing...

meeting with the whale sharks was then included in my imaginary list of to do's. so brave in thought even if i can't swim! LOL almost a year after i added that to my list, i was finally able to cross it out in this narrative.

How to get to Donsol from Legazpi?

Legazpi Central Terminal

Sunday, March 6, 2011

food and dine in legazpi city

i was looking forward to actually taste the authentic bicol food, like the spicy bicol express which is almost all over the philippines already. i would like to know if the bicol express i had tried came close to the original.

Bicol Express and Pinangat

bicol by the way is the region where albay belongs to, the region that is famed with their spicy food and most food are with coconut milk.

LCC Mall's Food Court

 Kusina ni Pay's Combo Meal with Pinangat and Batchoy

around legazpi city with madam

i like legazpi. it does not compel me to go anywhere by going through multitudes of people or do something in a rush. it’s just laid back.

given a day, one can already familiarize the main streets of albay’s capital city. transportation is the usual, jeepneys, more tricycles, and a few taxis which are almost toyota avanzas as what my brother and i had observed.

in what we had experienced, hailing a tricycle in legazpi  almost always went this way:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

nostalgic in embarcadero de legazpi

my brother and i finished up in cagsawa earlier than planned but we didn't want to confine ourselves in our hotel's room just yet. without any argument, we then proceeded to embarcadero which is near legazpi's harbor.

from cagsawa, we took a jeepney bound for legazpi and paid Php15 each.

Embarcadero de Legazpi

Legazpi's Harbor

this harbor is part of the albay gulf that faces the pacific ocean. it's the closest i had been to smell the breeze of the largest ocean in the world. not evident in the picture is legazpi's port which is in my left side. it was windy when we got there and it surely gave us the chill that i wished cebu had, so as to put out my city's distressing heat.

Way to Embarcadero

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

cagsawa ruins from history books to reality

the picture of the mighty mayon volcano with the cagsawa ruins on its side was etched in my mind since my elementary days. i remember it in the history books that i never liked, in post cards and in charts hanging on my classrooms' walls.

there may be a moment or two in my life that i told myself, i'm surely gonna see the actual grandeur of mayon and the wonders of cagsawa ruins.

fast forward to almost 2 decades, i finally set foot in cagsawa ruins and marvel on mayon volcano! to my history teachers, thank you!

Cagsawa Ruins

Cagsawa Ruins and the Cloud-covered Mayon Volcano

Sunday, February 27, 2011

itinerary: legazpi, albay and donsol, sorsogon

first out of cebu travel for me this year. this getaway was filled with drama as i had to cancel everything the night before but decided to continue anyway barely 4 hours before our flight. just imagine the panic and excitement chaos involved for i still had to prepare in a dash! together with me on this was my brother.

since i'm a cheap ass flier, we took cebu pacific's flight from cebu to legazpi with tickets bought during the carrier's promo fares. oh yeah!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

my travel notes: vigan and clark

i am used to long bus travels or so i thought, until i had experienced a much longer one from clark to vigan. i prefer to take short travels in order not to waste time and be able to get to my destination as fast as i can. that's why, i love to fly rather than take boats.

besides, time is of the essence for a working slave like me since vacation leaves don't come around very often. however, this perspective had been challenged during my travel to vigan.

and here are my notes about the entire trip. some lessons learned for my next. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

things to do in clark

after less than an hour of bus travel from capas, we finally reached angeles, pampanga. we had our breakfast in another fast food joint (jollibee) adjacent to dau bus terminal. we still hadn't figured out on how to get to clark where we planned to kill the time before our flight later that evening.

clark is simply the colloquial term from its longer and descriptive name, clark air base which had not been in operation since 1991, the year when the american soldiers bade goodbye to angeles. it was only after several years when the vast abandoned land became what it is now, the clark special economic zone and slowly gained life and economic flourish.

there are of course more enjoyable activities aside from what i will enumerate here. we only chose to do/experience these activities given the limited time and money we had.

1. Hang around in SM Clark

we couldn't afford to miss our flight since we must surely get our arses back to work to sustain our any future travel endeavour. so, sm clark it is. when i go to places, i usually stay away from malls or department stores but this time, i had no choice.

 SM City Clark

getting to clark premises can be i think, a tourist trap. the seemingly tourists that we were, carrying unusual loads and crossing the road twice clearly gave way the cluelessness on where we supposed to go. yes, a lot of men in what looked like to be a jeepney stop offered us a Php50/person ride to clark. of course, we didn't buy that. someone was nice enough to point us the direction where we could take a jeepney to sm city clark.

Friday, February 11, 2011

all day agony from vigan to clark

our second day in vigan. we were fortunate enough on our first day that we only had overcast skies as compared to the typhoon's foreboding menace on the second day. the overcast was already a gift. at least, we had our day tour as our consolation.

we never had an itinerary but merely a list of places in memory, where we might be going if time and the weather would permit. scaling further up north - laoag, bangui and pagudpud, was literally blown away by the preliminary fury of the typhoon. on my mind, it was "shiyou ga nai na~", a japanese expression for there's nothing we can do.

the only logical thing to do that time was to go down south and then back to clark. but before we began this long journey, we first had our free breakfast in grandpa's inn.

Vigan Longganiza

since vigan longganiza is a must-try in vigan, i chose this meal rather than the usual breakfast meal i could have in cebu. though longganiza is also a specialty in cebu, i just had to try this one. after devouring the 3 tiny pieces, this is what i had to say. the taste didn't come close to the longganiza that my tongue is familiar with. it wasn't sweet and it was on the border of being too dry. like the empanada, vinegar dip is also its recommended pair. maybe it was just new to my tongue or maybe i still have to find the best longganiza in vigan.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

vigan day tour

getting around vigan is easy. like most places in the philippines, tricycle also serves as the main means of transportation in vigan. i'm amused with how a tricycle comes in different forms across the country. this goes to show how filipinos can be ingenious!

well, aside from these tricycles, calesas or horse-drawn carriages are also aplenty completing vigan’s historical character. however, the calesa is mainly for tourists, exploring the small city while the locals usually get around by a tricycle.

in order to complete the historical feel of our tour, we opted to hire a calesa. we started our tour at 9 in the morning after we had our needed rest due to the weariness of the long travel.

Breakfast in Vigan

some say that one way to truly experience a different place is to taste its local food. what better place than the street-side eatery where most locals eat?

Gaizel's Carinderia
The only noteworthy food above
is the dinakdakan at the upper right.
It's the Ilocano version of sisig.

this came convenient for us since we were a stingy pack so to speak. our “mamang kutsero” (person who handles the calesa) recommended the eatery after we blatantly rejected his typical fast food suggestions. anyway, one thing i noticed in the eatery was that, most of the food were either pork or beef. i was kinda disappointed since i’m not really a sucker for meat.