Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Burnham Park in Baguio City

Burnham Park, Baguio City

As I have gotten older and if I say so myself, much wiser, I eventually outgrew my excitement towards malls. Back in the day (those long gone student days), the common hang-out place that easily came to mind, was the mall -- the mall here, the mall over there, and the mall everywhere. The centralized air-conditioning may have attributed to the popularity of these enclosed and integrated complex in the country. Given that we practically have sunny days all year round or when it rains, one can while away inside the mall, yet again.

But having gone out of my comfort zone, I came to realize that there's more to life and the world, than what the malls can offer. An alternative that requires less the dough is much more welcome.

So, what about parks? Parks where the community can come together. Children can play real games aside from the console. It will be a refreshing patch of green in a city of concrete. Like the famous Burnham Park in Baguio City.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Thoughts on Yolanda

Tabogon, Cebu

I started to write this on November 9, Saturday, the day after Yolanda hit the Philippines. This explains my reference of the day in this post.

Today is a sunny day back home, with the usual scorching heat and an uncomfortably humid weather. As my sister puts it, it's like there's no super typhoon that wreaked havoc yesterday. To be verbatim on her update to me, the weather is so hot and she still has her laundry to do. While I'm glad that my family is fine and safe, my heart goes out to those gravely affected by the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda (international name, Haiyan). Yolanda did an "island hopping" across Visayas, made its 5 landfalls across the region and its 6th in Busuanga, Palawan. Immediate updates on the affected places can be totally heartbreaking but I know, Filipinos can pick up the pieces and start all over again, even with cheerful demeanor while at it. In spite of that positive thought, I know that today is not that day but for certain, that day will come when the sun will shine down on us again.

Meanwhile, the photo above is the cove that I have some sort of tugging feeling which I can't explain. This cove is in my hometown, Tabogon which is a town in Northern Cebu, one of the hardest hit places of the super typhoon. I haven't been really in this place because I would just normally pass by along this picturesque stretch. As of this writing, I haven't read confirmed updates about what happened to my hometown after Yolanda's crazed transit except a quick rundown of the situation at home, after a call to my parents. Thankfully, everyone back home is safe. Yes, there are a lot of things to be done, like cleaning up Yolanda's mess and fixing broken things. What remains a problem is their water and power supply but hopefully, everything will be close to normal in the coming days.

I can breathe a sigh of relief now, but I can't imagine the horror that everyone must have felt when Yolanda mercilessly battered the trees, the houses, and everything along its path. Yes, I have experienced typhoons many times in the past but clearly, this typhoon is extremely different. My mother even tells me that this is the worst typhoon that she has experienced in her life!

My recent typhoon experience was on the first day of this year and I know, it pales in comparison with the super typhoon yesterday. But I'm still recalling it, since it was definitely one for my horror books! It was a dawn trip, on a mini-bus with my sister. My parents were busy that day so, my sister and I had no choice but to commute to Cebu City. We are used to commuting so, we had no complains. There had been news of an incoming typhoon but one thing that's important for me that time was to get to the city since I would have my flight back to Singapore, later that night. I know I'm crazy.

Because I live in a place which is somewhat cut off from the rest of the world (rare network signals, yes!), we had no latest news about the typhoon. We even considered ourselves lucky that there was still a bus that we could catch. Lucky? So, we thought... It was already raining when my sister and I, bid goodbye to my parents. At that time, we had no inkling on what we're getting at.

I tried to get some snooze but failed. The dawn ride with a bad weather, was not something I could sleep off. Worse, I had no idea anymore which town we were passing as our window was kept closed because of the rain. Having picked up many passengers along the way, it was still packed with people, some already crowding the very narrow aisle and near the bus's only door.

In what it seemed to be halfway on our trip, rain and wind had started to pound our bus, like there's this giant of a madman who amused himself by shaking our bus. All I could do that time was pray and send messages to my dear ones, hoping they could read them. But the chances were slim as it was still dawn and they could still be sleeping. My mother's phone could also have no network signal at that time. All the more, I was almost scared out of my wits when the bus was still picking up passengers!

Adding to an already frightening ride, was when we were told that the road had been blocked by fallen trees and the bus couldn't get through! Around us was pitch black and the sign of any rescue was nil. In that almost hopeless situation though, a glimmer of hope was still on us as the bus conductors braved the rain and cut off the fallen trees blocking the way. They also urged the male passengers to lend a helping hand. After some time, we were finally back on our way but for the second time around, we faced the same situation.

To cut the story short, we arrived at the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City, safe and sound, even if we had a harrowing experience to tell. And what a way to start the first day of the new year!

Commuting in the country can be way past the safety border and regulations of other countries but when we are faced with any adversity, I'm proud to say that we can certainly find a way to get through almost anything. Even jokes and light moments are being added in the midst of it. Although the tragedy brought by Yolanda is so enormous to fathom right now, we may find our very core as a Filipino and rise above this catastrophe and together as one, build our great nation again.

For now, I did a bit of something for the Filipino people and likewise, you can do the same. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Baguio City Hall

Baguio City Hall

Baguio City Hall is a pretty sight among tall trees and the ornate gardens that fill its surrounding slopes. It provides an overlooking view of Baguio City's center since it proudly stands on a hill.

With its building partly covered with the vegetation in its front, I firstly thought that this was the Baguio Cathedral. Come Sunday when my family and I would hear mass, I then realized that I was completely wrong about the Cathedral's address because my phone's GPS routed me to the opposite direction! Such shame. haha!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral in Baguio City

Baguio Cathedral

Before I proceed filling in words about this undoubtedly lady-like church, attributed mainly for its pink hues, which many of the normal girls have them as their favorite colors. Yes? Except me I think. The world is too varied that singling out one color makes the chances of delightful and otherwise less delightful discoveries slimmer to begin with. Do I even make sense? haha Well incidentally, this cathedral in Baguio City is named after the Lady of Atonement and I'm not quite sure if there's some bleary connection with it to the choice of the cathedral's color.

Anyway, let me sidetrack a bit. I'm not continuing to talk about the colors but the so-called fate of this blog.This blog has recently made a complete turnaround with no chances ever of going back. It all happened after I accidentally changed the template without even me realizing it. With how brilliant I am, my template backups were sucked into their own black holes that I'm left with no choice but to make the most of what the accidental new template has to offer.

Enjoying the new ride, I decided to change the way I write by diligently pressing the Shift-keys as needed. I have blatantly confessed in my About page that I have this blog for my goal in elevating my English capability with grammar and spelling, rightfully thrown into the pile. The previous 187 posts obviously do not stand a chance because everything was carelessly in small caps. To cut this increasingly long sidetrack, I'm pretending I'm having a clean slate with my blog. I hope you're sticking with me though. Pretty please? *puppy eyes*

Now back to the main topic (before the frustration of being puppy-like adorable gets me). My family visited the Baguio Cathedral during our quick visit to the highlands at the end of May this year, our last hurrah for summer which the unforgiving rains mercilessly meddled into. Oh, don't let the blue skies fool you!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the notre dame cathedral in ho chi minh city

Notre Dame Cathedral, HCMC, Vietnam

we first saw the grandeur of the notre dame cathedral in the middle of a languid walk around district 1 in ho chi minh city. the relaxing lethargy in the midst of the towering trees, came upon us after we knew that the reunification palace was closed for lunchtime. what to do then? well, breinn and i whiled away by sitting on one of the park benches, mimicking the other couples in the area. going local, eh?

as if we didn't only have a weekend in the old saigon, we forced our butts, stretched our muscles and continued to walk. nah, we didn't stay as locals for long.

emerging from the canopy of age-old trees in the park, we were astounded to gaze upon a magnificent beauty, the notre dame cathedral. it sits prim and proper in the middle of the busy streets where thousands of motorbikes, regularly whiz by. it gracefully remains in its posture, seemingly oblivious to the chaos around it.

oh notre dame cathedral. where shall i find more appropriate adjectives to describe you?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

itinerary: ho chi minh city on a weekend

Pho in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

what better picture than a bowl of pho for this post, huh? this delectable-looking soup was like the very essence of why breinn and i headed to saigon. although, the dirt cheap fare i had snatched, also had something a lot to do with it. who am i to deny such fact? the mere poor me.

breinn visited me here in singapore, his second time this year to celebrate his completion of another decade (i'm going easy on him. that's why, i'm keeping it vague. haha) but keeping up with my impulse, i left him with no choice but to fly with me to ho chi minh and stuff ourselves with good food and importantly, with less the dough.

of course, we visited the common tourists spots and while we're at it, also scampered under the rain and got cozy in ubiquitous vietnamese cafes. yeah, it wasn't so bad. really. i'd gladly welcome a replay, for sure.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

my travel notes: winter in south korea

before another winter will roll in, it's high time to end my series on south korea where i had a 5-day trip last winter. i had already come up with 12 posts and i have no idea anymore what clumsy words i wrote and what kind of unimpressive photo edits i posted. both then became what i pompously called as narrative.

on top of those previous 12 posts, i'm still coming up with a final post which i dearly hope that it won't be as long. but then again, i can't promise that.

so here it goes.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

my appetite experience in south korea

i am almost finally at the end of my south korea posts! hurrah for you! but before i'd normally end it with a concluding post, i'll zoom into what i had stuffed myself to get me energized for those tough days. tough in the sense that those were cold wintry days!

to battle out the cold, i ate quite enough or even more than enough to be more exact. because most of the time i ate alone, i had the huge servings all to myself and as i saw it, eating seemed to be a social activity in south korea. they usually came in troops into a restaurant or a coffee shop. but now that i think about it, this can also be a normal occurrence anywhere for all i know. i was just this lone human being over there, feeding on such humongous portions.

it might not be as big as you'd imagine but i have a girl's stomach after all! and sometimes, i'd like to think that it's knotted in half that consequently, it can only accommodate that much. you just have to see it for yourself. uhm not my stomach but my food, okay? :p

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

parting from seoul with an aimless walk


Dongdaemun, Seoul

after browsing the photos from my camera, i realized i had taken only a few during my aimless walk around dongdaemun, namdaemun, and then myeongdong. it has always been my conscious goal to take more photos but it ends up being less. sometimes when i get too amazed with the new sights around me, i just let my eyes stare momentarily at the awesomeness of everything. as there are many exciting and most of all foreign things, i can only gape in wonder. no words. just taking it all in. but unfortunately, without clicking that camera button.

however, i managed to snap a close-up photo of the steaming pots that looked so tempting for everyone who happened to pass by this restaurant. with the freezing weather, anyone can surely make use of a bowl of piping hot soup. i bet it would be spicy though.

and the soup would look like this.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

accidentally in cheonggyecheon stream, seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul

let me rewind five months and x number days ago when i was trying to keep the shivers at bay due to the persistent negative degree celsius weather in seoul. x is for the exact number of days and i prefer not to accurately count because i already did some effort to count the number of months with my fingers. i'm particularly lazy like that. :p

the past few days have been uncomfortably humid and dry that i believe i'm now forgetting how it was to feel the numbing cold. i doubt though, if my hands are keen with the idea of remembering. them hands that suffered the most because the stubborn me refused to wear gloves.

anyway, so where shall i stop in this trail of thoughts? oh yeah, the mesmerizing stream in the photo above.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

under the rain in mines view park

Mines View Park, Baguio

while we basked under the glowing sun in the philippine military academy, we drenched ourselves with rain showers in the mines view park. and these two happened only in one day. come noontime, baguio was all covered with foreboding dark rain clouds that i reckoned, were considerably nearer to the land than what i am used to. baguio's elevation is after all, 1,610 meters.

did the rain totally spoil our mood? uhm, not really...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

philippine military academy, baguio

Philippine Military Academy
PMA Cadets

with our vigor regained the next morning and sufficiently fueled by a chaotic breakfast buffet, my family was all set for our official first day in baguio. i had already made a confession in this post that there was never a planned itinerary for this trip. quite a risk i must say because my parents are already of age and the last thing that i want is for them to be uncomfortable, worse be dragged into some exhausting adventure. let's leave that to the juveniles.

but to my surprise, my parents were up to the challenge! i should have given them more credit than what i had initially thought of.

since for a change, i seemed to be the one leading our pack of five, i declared that we would be going to the philippine military academy on our first day. i never heard complains and they all willingly strutted behind me, while i figured out on how exactly we would go to the academy in the first place!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ewha womans university, seoul

Ewha Womans University

on my fourth day in seoul, my true love sent to me... a partridge in a pear tree. wait that doesn't sound right. i don't even know what a partridge is to begin with. i actually had to consult dear google and i was quite surprised that it's a bird! it's a plane! it's superman man of steel! oh the random things that go wheezing in my cloudy mind. my apologies.

let me do it one more time. yes, on my fourth day in seoul, i headed over to ewha womans university and that's the correct spelling so, don't go grammar (spelling?) nazi on me. it was intentionally spelled that way because the university adheres to the idea where every woman deserves respect and collectively naming them as women would give lesser emphasis.

but why did i exactly visit the university and on a holiday at that? aside from me being weird, its campus is by far the most picturesque school grounds i have seen before my eyes. it got to be worth the visit!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

itinerary: baguio city, philippines

Pine Trees in PMA, Baguio

city of pines. the summer capital of the philippines. panagbenga festival (flower festival). and the other less spoken descriptions that one can dreamily think of, when baguio comes to mind. while the low lands experience the torturous heat during summer, this city nestled in the cordillera mountains, retain its cool.

so, before summer has bade adieu, my family trooped to the mountains last month, enduring an hour flight from cebu and sequentially, hopped on an excruciating 7-hour bus ride from manila to baguio. my mother's query which sounded like "are we there yet?" echoes up until now. of course, i endured the longest travel time, starting my journey at the wee hours of the morning from singapore and taking the lead with my pack of four until we settled finally at our hotel at 6 in the evening. the idea of bed was as alien as the other living things in another planets. go figure.

even if the "getting there" part is a lot to digest to the normal people, here are the activities that we were able to cramp within our 2 full days, equally shared by both sunshine and the mountain rain. i excluded the other 2 days because those consisted mainly of commuting.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

nami island with accidental friends

Nami Island

this lonely little man that had not gotten over christmas just yet, awaited for people to take a seat beside him and perhaps, join him in people watching (while reading a book?) on a cold day. in my earlier solo excursion, i just merely passed by him and paid respects by taking a photo but it seemed not enough for him -- given his poker face. wait, i'm completely out of my mind right now to think such a thing.

but little did i know that when i passed by him the second time, i was able to take a photo with him along with accidental friends. was that the little man's doing? i don't know. my disney-inspired mind can only wonder and shall i name him, pinocchio then?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

nami island, the solo part

Nami Island

i am not a k-pop nor a k-drama fan but i had seen a few korean drama series and within that transitory time, i was entertained and perhaps, sheepishly giggled a few times. i'm a girl, after all! but for all the k-fans out there, i hope this does not come as disdainful if i would say that the main reason i headed to nami was to frolic in a sea of snow and not because of the winter sonata drama series. i hadn't really seen the series and it didn't help that the channel that adapted/dubbed the drama in the philippines, was not favored at home so, i'm unfortunately clueless with the storyline.

even with my obvious lack of fervor on the series that propelled nami's fame to the foreign audience, i still braved another winter day to get to the island, including the long commute that i had to figure out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

my travel notes: coron, palawan

"closing time. every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." this post is another wrap-up of my not-so-recent escape to the beautiful island of coron and it was a much needed break from my daily routine.

hope is a sustaining mindset that as i end this blog-posting series about coron, the colossal universe may unfold a new beginning which will bring another story, another marvel, and another experience in this life that has been in constant move since time immemorial. a little hope doesn't hurt, does it? especially how painfully negative the world can be, most of the time.

even if coron was only a hit-and-run circumstance due to some unfortunate events, it was something that i can look back with a gratifying and delightful feeling, an indispensable dose of positivity in this crazy world.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

swinging by bukchon hanok village and insadong

Bukchon Village

in between our palace hopping, my guides and i did a quick visit to bukchon hanok village. this place is where you can find well-preserved traditional houses, called hanok during korea's joseon dynasty. most of the historical sites in seoul, date back to this dynasty which happens to be the last dynasty in korea. the five centuries long dynasty ended in 1897, just a year before the philippines got its freedom after a 300-year rule by spain. ahhh, the wonders of a big world where various things could actually be happening at the same time in its every corner!

bukchon hanok village was great for finding random things, bumping into dead ends, and occasionally trespassing to some establishments. uh oh...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

seoul's bygone palaces

Changdeokgung Palace

for a change, a photo of myself at the first part. well, not that anyone cares! haha i may assume too much when i see myself as a schoolgirl here especially with this beanie on my head. i've never owned a beanie in my life and i have no idea that it has this youthful effect on me. but on the other hand, i'm giving you every right to disagree.

and i'd totally understand if you think otherwise. i can be delusional at times, you see.

so, what's up with this post? well, on my second day in seoul, the cold weather waned a little bit and just hovered around -6 degree celsius. yes, it's still freezing cold but the sun was out and the cold was something that i could endure an entire day of treading palaces. i must be a polar bear in my past life to declare such statement.

anyway, together with three young korean ladies, i visited 3 out of the 5 grand palaces during the joseon dynasty in korea. as a warning though, this will be sorta like a parade of excess photos because i plainly got carried away.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

a 3-day respite in tanjung pinang

Tanjung Pinang Ferry Terminal

i was supposed to go home during the holy week just like last year but i wasn't able to book ahead in advance. the plane fare already went sky high that the price could even reach me to timbuktu! wherever that is.

given such circumstance, i instead booked a return-trip ferry ticket for tanjung pinang in bintan, indonesia. no, i wasn't heading to one of the commercialized and plush bintan resorts on the northern part of the island but to an almost pastoral part which bears a stark contrast from my port of origin.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

up and away to mt. tapyas

Mt. Tapyas in Coron, Palawan

this isn't in seoul anymore because this blog has to pause for a moment of wintery posts to avoid virtual hypothermia. this post turns this blog into a hot and cold situation after posting up previously a similar overlooking view of seoul. and it only dawns on me now that i seem to be a sucker for vantage points just to get an incredible view of the place i'm visiting.

one of the things that i have hoped for in this blog, is to be like a good collection of where i've been and what i've been doing in my otherwise, ordinary and routine (argh!) life. in just a mere collapse of the tree of my blog entries, i then remembered that once upon a time, i had also scaled ligñon hill in legazpi where i got to see the laid back city, the ocean and the mayon volcano, all in one 360º view!

what then made mt. tapyas in coron, palawan special or shall i say, memorable?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

up and away to mt. namsan (n seoul tower)

Stairway to N Seoul Tower

i was in myeongdong for only half an hour and i just had a sneak peek of what it has to offer. i went around a few of its blocks before impulsively headed to what i perceived to be the main street and found several steps away, another entrance to my welcoming cocoon in seoul -- which came in the form of underground tunnels.

to feel again the much needed warmth, i descended down that underground tunnel and walked with confidence as if i was certain i knew my way. i noticed a sign for the metro (subway train) and without a second thought, i followed it. and what it seemed to be miles after, i surprisingly found myself back in city hall station! gahhh! i could have saved that previous train ride which had this route, city hall -> seoul -> myeongdong. this city literally has a parallel world, a few meters down!

Monday, April 8, 2013

surviving a frigid winter day

Hi Seoul Youth Hostel in Seoul, South Korea
Hi Seoul Youth Hostel

days prior to my scheduled trip, i was closely monitoring the weather in seoul, checking it every morning on my way to work. i didn't hope for an increasing temperature because i was afraid that would completely melt the snow on the ground. i even had my back up plan in case that would happen and that was to go to a ski resort.

heaven must have doubted my likelihood of being in a ski resort that i was allowed to mesmerize on the snow right on my first day. arriving quite early at my hostel, i decided to roam the streets before check-in. i just left my luggage at the reception and off i went to brace the frigid winter day. i had no idea what accuweather meant of such description until i went about my very first winter encounter.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

getting to seoul from incheon airport

Sunrise in Incheon Airport

as the plane was about to make its descent towards incheon airport, i was already gushing inside after seeing the vastness of a snowy terrain thousands of feet below. i turned a full face to the window so that i could hide my obvious excitement away from a nonchalant seatmate. i might not realize it but i could have been wearing a huge smile already! it was definitely a one-of-a-kind moment for me because finally in my life, i was about to experience winter! and when the plane landed, the early morning sun stirred me from my deep musing and i found myself waking up from a distant dream into an actual reality! i could cartwheel that instant!

and the sunrise photo above never fails to remind me of the outpouring emotions on that winter day.

sorry for the melodramatic introduction but circumstances kind of call for it.

back to the main topic. so, how did i get my dreamy self to seoul from incheon airport?

Friday, March 29, 2013

itinerary: winter in seoul, south korea

with updates from random people over the social network scene, i came to know that it's still wintery in temperate places, when spring should already be evident at this time. the weather has indeed shown to every corner of the world, its unpredictable and frenzied behavior.

for me who has been living in a tropical country all my life, winter is always a novel and interesting idea. however, it will be nothing but being uncultured if i'd say that winter is perfect and close to being magical, with immaculate white snow that carpets over every possible patch of land, over the once barren trees, over the roofs and over everything that gazes towards the winter sky. how about accompanying that winter reverie with the winter wonderland song? but beyond all this, i do understand that winter requires hard work, layers and layers of clothing and to whatever is necessary which i have no idea anymore. i bet people in these places have long scorned winter to go away. it isn't however utterly hopeless since spring has started to heed its cue. say the cherry blossoms in japan? well, i'm sending my comforting virtual pat on the backs to these people and a virtual pocket full of sunshine. stay strong and hopeful, friends.

but before another season will completely take over, let me share with you my itinerary when i braved to join in the pertinent fad of wearing excessive clothes, boots, piles of socks, scarves, gloves and every piece of clothing which man invented to effectively insulate the body from the extreme cold.

and that was early february.

Namsan Tower in Seoul, South Korea
At Namsan. Taken by a random tourist from Thailand (hah!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

more travel notes: hanoi and halong, vietnam

were you part of the VHS era or even the betamax era? i can't believe how fast technology changes and these VHS and betamax tapes can be considered as ancient artifacts today. back in the day when the CRT screen was considered as a major entertainment (most especially in a more rustic area where i lived), we kept ourselves updated with the latest movies by renting VHS tapes.

VHS tapes rental was nothing conventional of sorts because we rented them from two men who went around the neighboring towns on their motorbike. the VHS tapes were reused many times by overwriting it with a newer movie. i can still remember as a child, i was always in awe when after the credits or even when the black and white noise graphics was already showing, suddenly a movie scene appeared! it was a wow moment when i realized i had seen the extra scene from a movie before and i then proudly told my childhood friends about such fact. haha

of course, this travel note is something like one of those extra scenes. i have already written a very long post for my travel notes and here i am again, coming up with another post. i promise, this is the very last. {insert adorable emoticon here}

to save you from distress, this will only be a photo dump minus my long-winded write-ups (except the one above).

Halong Bay, Vietnam
Panoramic view of the beach in Halong Bay

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

my travel notes: hanoi and halong, vietnam

i exactly don't know how to begin with this travel note. i may even have gone a little overboard that i prepared a good number of 30 photos for this travel note! beware, i show no mercy for bandwidth!

but first, let me organize my thoughts by having an outline. this outline consists of the basic things that i normally start to cross out when planning on going somewhere. sigh. i wish i could do it more often but it doesn't mean i'm not grateful. i can be a little nice and all that, you know.

Getting There (Singapore to Hanoi)

Vietnam Airlines

Thursday, March 14, 2013

walking around hanoi, vietnam part 2

before my memories will close down on me, just like the setting sun that we fervently chased that day in hanoi, i should better channel these memories into my fingertips soon enough. in other words, now. what better time than now? what better place than here? or was it the other way around according to rage against the machines?

anyway, drifting away from that (because it's totally unrelated), let me tell you another kind of drift and that's drifting in the midst of the insane traffic in hanoi! are you ready for this? oh in case you're wondering why this is part 2, of course a part 1 precedes this. ;)

Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam

Saturday, March 9, 2013

walking around hanoi, vietnam part 1

i made a 4-day trip to northern vietnam four months ago and within this span time, a lot of things had already happened. for one, i braved one remarkable feat as kick off for my 2013! the other things? i can't seem to think about them at this moment. haha i just like to believe that november, last year was so long ago!

i actually decided awhile back to put up a concluding post of northern vietnam and just summarize everything into a single post. that won't be really the case now, after i browsed through my photos recently and i figured that i won't do justice if i would just bury these photos in my external drive and have them rest in peace, unless i come up with a good account first. and i hope i will. i'm even coming up with two posts! c'mon, the title should rightfully be your clear-cut hint!

Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Sunday, March 3, 2013

island hopping in coron, palawan

i had gone through a turmoil several days before my trip to coron in december of last year, and it was a turmoil that is most feared by anyone -- flight reschedules. to put it bluntly, it disheveled my plans like a brat kid would do to neatly arranged things.

why did flight reschedules affect me like an upfront blow on my face? because in order not to feel the high expense of plane fares in a single time, i booked some of my plane tickets at the first quarter of the year. it turned out that early birds caught worms in poor quality. the airline had probably done some brainstorming to prepare for the infamous doomsday and had come up with entirely new flight schedules, even new flight codes at that!

end of rant.

so, breinn and i only had one full day in coron and we had to do the island hopping on that very day or else, i would throw bad fits and a ludicrous tantrum! heavens must have seen that coming and with how it would create a very inappropriate scene, a last minute island hopping booking and good weather were then in order for us. i couldn't be happier.

Corong Island Hopping

Monday, February 18, 2013

itinerary: a quick getaway to coron, palawan

for a moment, i was tempted to have "coron in a blink" as this post's title. to give you an idea on how this seems to be the case, here is my itinerary when i did a very quick visit to coron last december. because i'm too honest, i confess that i never plotted any itinerary but i only did a draft list in my mind. i hope i don't disappoint you. but truth be told, sometimes the world perfectly works that way. :P

AirPhil Express plane from Manila to Coron
Does this view make you super excited like it did to me?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

completely lost in shinmatsudo

in a couple of months from now, it will be 5 years since that unforgettable experience of finding my hotel in a totally new place and where people spoke a different language. sadly, those strange linguistic tones had fallen incomprehensibly into my illiterate ears. quite the opposite of what i had hoped for, bringing a handful of words with me in japan was both a boon and adversely, confusion to many people whom i asked.

Matsudo Chiba Japan

Saturday, January 26, 2013

halong bay day tour

technically, the tour in halong bay itself only lasts about 4 hours or so. consider it then a day tour, if you include the travel time from hanoi to halong which takes half of your day. fair enough. so, don't you dare sleep on the entire trip because it's part of the deal! haha

i booked our halong bay day tour in advance through our hotel. we really didn't have much time if we still had to scout a good deal when we reached hanoi. luckily for us, our hotel booked a wonderful tour and it turned out to be a value for our money.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

on our way to halong bay from hanoi

i can't think of the most proper way to start blogging about halong bay. i admit it. halong bay was our main purpose of visiting northern vietnam but no offense really, to hanoi. we tried our best to squeeze our little time in order to explore as much as we could in the eclectic and equally, interesting capital. but there's no point on weeping over it now.

well, much of our time was spent on our travel from hanoi to halong bay and vice versa. travel time is about 4 hours; plus or minus depending on your mode of transport. going to halong bay was much faster since we were on board on the travel tour's coaster-- still faster even if we made an obligatory stop at a community center. meanwhile, going back to hanoi was more overwhelming and fun since we took the public transport!

then, what did i do during those long hours of journey? uhm, i have already mentioned a number of times in this blog that i don't and can't normally sleep during commute, let alone to an unfamiliar place!

how about taking offhanded and misaligned photos? yeah sure! i can do that. 'coz you know, a speeding vehicle and a gloomy weather were too much to handle for my little camera.

Rice fields in Vietnam
See? It was really raining!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

thang long water puppet theatre

i didn't have the flights that had great timings when i visited hanoi but i had no choice because vietnam airlines was cheaper than tiger airways -- a supposedly budget option. the flagship airline left singapore in the afternoon and arrived in noi bai international airport at around 4PM, vietnam time. the travel time from the airport into the heart of hanoi took an hour with an exhilarating traffic incident in between. nothing bad happened though. thankfully, vietnamese drivers also wear a good driver's instinct -- a crucial trait one should have when driving in vietnam.

it was november and hanoi was already experiencing a shorter daylight. i was with two other girls and chasing the daylight was very important, especially in a very new and unfamiliar place.

after fixing our room dilemma at our hotel, we were finally out scouring the narrow streets in the old quarter at 6PM. some of which were poorly lit although there were several street food stalls lining along the dark alley. for a girl, it would never be a good idea to walk alone in this scenario, not singling out vietnam but actually to any place.

Thang Long Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake
Thang Long Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 travel roundup

for the first time in this blog's almost 3 years of existence, i'm coming up with a summary of how it had been the previous year. i guess it's never too late to do anything for the first time and this is such a promising effort for 2013. fingers crossed!

in the year 2012 (as if it was so long ago and not just last week), i managed to write at least once a month which i barely did on december. that time, loose words were all jumbled and i was hoping it would turn out okay and comprehensible for me in the years to come.

anyway last year, i had been hopping buses and flying on planes in a frequency that i haven't done before and i am beyond grateful that i was able to do that.