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Bohol Island—Awesome Sun, Sea, and Sand

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Bohol is a tropical island paradise in the Southern part of Philippines.  From Manila, you can reach Bohol in just an hour by plane. It wasn’t a well-planned vacation on my part, but since I never got to swim with the whale sharks in Bicol (thanks to the typhoon!), I was itching to go diving somewhere and I thought of Bohol.

Dive Thru Resort, Panglao Island, Bohol
After a few hours of searching for resorts in Agoda.com, I stumbled into this charming resort called Dive Thru. It is located in Panglao Island, Bohol. For $80/night with free breakfast, I thought it was a steal so we booked it for four nights. It is a refuge for beach bums like me—a private paradise with rustic appeal and a front yard with azure waters teeming with marine life.

You will never run out of things to do in Bohol; from snorkelling to island hopping, to scuba diving, to visiting chocolate hills, seeing the endangered Tarsiers etc.—you will wish you have stayed longer.  First thing I opted to do is island hopping! 

Boatman (he looks like a 14-yr old kid...and I have a feeling he is!)
For 3,000 pesos (US $73), you can hire a boat for yourself all day to take you to nearby islets for snorkeling/diving.  Actually 3,000 pesos is a bit too much since I have asked the Hotel to arrange a boat for me. I have found out that tourists can haggle and usually you can pay as low as 1,800 pesos (US $43) for a boat. Prepare 500 pesos (US $12) for entrance fee to Balicasag island's Marine Sanctuary where a guide will accompany you when you go free diving/snorkeling.

Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary, Bohol,  Philippines
Balicasag Island is really awesome! It's as if the Gods are still in charge here--otherworldly fantasy where it's just you and nature and the wind is your air-conditioning. It is one of the most pristine dive sites in the world and is waiting to be explored.
Is this Nemo? :)

The underwater camera we purchased didn't work so I was forced to buy a plastic case for my phone and I used it to take underwater pics. Too bad I couldn't take it with me deeper. 


yellow coral
Balicasag Marine Sanctuary has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world! I took a quick video using my phone so you will have an idea what I am talking about (but too bad coz the video didn't do it any justice).

video

Next stop is Virgin Island...it is about 15 mins away from Balicasag Island. 

Virgin Island, Bohol Philippines

Its pristine white sands, clear blue waters, and a relaxing island vibe sounds more like a cliche for beach bums who have had their fair share of awesome beaches, but this tiny island (more like a sandbar), took my breath away.

Tourists in Virgin Island
Even the scorching heat of the sun didn't prevent me from staying here longer than I am supposed to. The price I paid for staying longer is a massive sunburn all over me, but I think it is worth it. :)

I don't think these people minded getting burnt too! :)
Oh Panglao, I shall return!!!

Online Pet Food Delivery in the Metro

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Metromart.com

I was shopping for pet food at Pet Express when I saw a flyer for Metromart. Going to Pet Express here in Makati can be a pain in the ass for me since it's along Osmena Highway. It is just a few blocks away from me and I should be able to walk there but crossing Osmena Highway is kinda tricky and scary.

Thank God I found out about Metromart! Now I don't have to cross the highway or drive there just to buy cat litter and pet food! For just 40 pesos, I can have it all delivered to me. I have ordered at www.metromart.com twice already and it was very convenient. They even delivered it in less than 90 minutes. 

For those who are too lazy to go grocery shopping, Metromart also delivers products from Family Mart, Harvester's, DELI, and etc. They offer same-store prices and if your orders are above Php 1,000, delivery is free of charge. 

Makati Skyline at Night

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

  • View from my balcony. Photo by: Pinay Ramblings
One of the perks of living in a high rise condo is the impeccable view from above. I will never get tired of this view from my balcony.
I must admit, I appreciate Makati skyline more at night.


Macau--Not Just a Gambler's Haven

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bridge to Taipa

Casinos in Macau
Macau has indeed charmed me by its picturesque views and old-meets-new atmosphere. As a former Portuguese colony, it blends East and West culture into an enchanting and exciting diverse architecture and multi-cultural flavors.
L'arc Hotel in Macau

Senado Square at night
First-time visitors might get the perception that Macau is just a gambler’s haven, but history buffs like me also get to enjoy the place. Macau is simply magical. Some might wonder where is Macau exactly located--Macau is across from Hong Kong to the East. It is one of the two special administrative region of China since 1999.

St. Paul ruins
Macau is rich in history itself. Having traced way back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) to becoming a Portuguese colony in the 16th century. Portuguese settled mainly in Macau to engage in trade. The Dutch repeatedly failed to conquer Macau in the 17th century. African slaves were the majority of the defenders since about 5,000 of them used to live in Macau. They triumphantly repulsed the attack that results to the Dutch soldier's retreat.

Tourists heading to St. Paul
Monte Forte (Fortaleza do Monte)
There are many places that non-gamblers can explore in Macau. If you are traveling from Hong Kong to Macau, it is better to leave early so you can explore the place longer. Enjoy Macau's delicious fusion of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisine. Head over to Senado Square to get a glimpse of old Macau. From there you can walk all the way to St. Paul ruins and Monte Forte.
Old catholic church in Senado Square
Staff holding a restaurant sign
The city's ancestral houses, colonial squares, and well-preserved ruins undeniably complements Macau's colorful past. Discover the stories behind those ruin walls and get enchanted with it. Macau is indeed not just a gambler's haven after all.


Macau Food and Sights

Monday, May 1, 2017


Macau is a culture bonanza open to all. Thanks to the Portuguese, Macau represents an exotic blend of Oriental and Western influences. Having been a Portuguese territory for almost 500 years, it developed a rather unique culture. 
You will never run out of hotel choices--from cheap to expensive accommodations, Macau has it all and most of them are renowned for exceptional services and luxurious comfort. We stayed at Hotel Lisboa in Macau. Their superior room is about $170/night during low season.
Hotel Lisboa
Their superior room has a rich and regal interior and offers free in-house movies, free local calls, free Wi-Fi, and complimentary use of mini bar. But be warned: you can only consume the items in the mini bar inside the room. If you decide to take the food outside while you stroll, they will charge you for it.

The bathroom features a massage shower and Jacuzzi bathtub. I love it!

The hotel is only a few minutes away from Senado Square and other attractions. In fact, you can walk all the way from your hotel to several Macau attractions. Ladies, wear light and comfortable walking shoes! It is a bit hard to get a cab at night from Senado Square, so if your hotel is nearby, prepare to just walk! I ended up with blisters on my feet one night coz I wore high heels and there were no cabs available (been waiting for about 30 mins or more) so we proceeded to walk back to the hotel. 

Senado Square at night
For foodies out there, you will never run out of restaurant choices in Macau. But prepare to spend more than you usually do if you want real good food. The high-end restaurants in hotels are less likely to be crowded. McDonald's and other western fast food restaurants in Macau are crowded all the time. We always have breakfast at Starbucks's in Senado Square since they have a second level which isn't too crowded. One time we tried this restaurant called Macau Recipes but never again!! I find the restaurant unsanitary and the food is not so appealing. And you need to pay for your own paper towel! Yeah you heard it right--you will have to pay for paper napkins! Never did I encounter a restaurant that doesn't offer free paper napkins until I went to Macau Recipes. But anyway it wasn't the main issue here--the staff were grumpy, the kitchen was dirty (wish I can tell you exact details of what I've seen in their kitchen!), and the food was not good (That's what I get for being a cheapskate!). Their meals are priced around USD $10 and above which is considered somewhat cheap there. We ended up leaving after having one bite. The utensils smell fishy too as if they were never washed properly.

Macau Recipes menu
The sweet and sour pork I ordered was 90% bones with bell pepper, onion and some lousy sauce served with rice.

Since other restaurants were full, we crossed the road adjacent to Senado Square and found Pizza Hut! Pizza Hut saved our night! Though it is not the usual Pizza Hut that I'm used to, it's at least decent and somewhat familiar and clean! I ordered their Lasagne which is a bit different but still yummy. It is smothered in a tangy minced meat sauce and comes with melted cheese and creamy mashed potato. Prepare about USD $20 for a full meal in Pizza Hut Macau.


Noite e Dia Café in Hotel Lisboa is awesome! They offer a wide selection of Japanese, Cantonese dim sum, Chinese barbecue, and Western dishes. They are open 24/7 and is located at the lobby level of Hotel Lisboa. A meal per person will cost about USD $30-40 or more. But I'm telling you, it is so worth it!
Noite e Dia Café
For those seeking adventure, head over to Macau Tower and try their bungy jumping at 233m (764ft). It is the second highest commercial skyjump in the world. Are you an adrenaline junkie? This can be the perfect Macau adventure for you!
Macau Tower
Here's a video I took (the quality isn't great since I just used my phone). Anyway it will give you an idea how it was like bungee jumping there.

People on a budget will also enjoy Macau, take a stroll at night and soak in the amazing view of the casinos and hotels. Walk around St. Paul Ruins and learn more about Macau's history.
Grand Lisboa at night
You can also ride a bus to Taipa and visit Venetian Macao Resort Hotel and ride a gondola for USD $16.

If you have more time, drop by A-ma temple to get a glimpse of Buddhist tradition in Macau.


Macau is truly an interesting place. You can even make the most out of your trip here in just one day. It is only about 250 hectares so don't you dare blink and miss something! :D

Is Philippines Safer Now Under Duterte?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Manila Yacht Club

I kept getting emails from my foreign readers about safety tips when traveling around the Philippines. Their questions revolve around our new President Duterte who is known for his war against drugs. They are afraid they would get in a crossfire while visiting our tourist spots in the Metro. Since this is a touchy subject, I don't really want to voice out my personal opinion about this whole thing. The local news has been too toxic and I don't even feel like discussing politics. 

Is it Safer Now for Tourists?

It all depends on what you do here or where you go. If I were you, I'd stay in hotels around Makati City or Taguig while staying in Metro Manila. These areas are considered safer than other cities in the Metro. Here are some tips:
  • Do not ever associate yourself or even be seen in public with shady characters (known drug users or someone who looks like a druggie). 
  • Do not go to the red light district if you can help it. Too many shady characters there who will try to scam tourists.
  • Stick to places like malls, museums, etc. Avoid the slum areas.
  • Do not walk out in the street alone at night, or if you have to, don't let your guard down.
  • Do not get in a fight with a local (they might hold a grudge and try to frame you up as a druggie)
Some people say that only druggies get killed. That is not true. There are also innocent people who got mistaken for someone else. Or people who got in the wrong place at the wrong time. So be extra careful.

We have lots of nice tourist spots to choose from outside the Metro. Touristy areas are generally safer since they have added security.

Check out Boracay beaches, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and etc.

Boracay 
Philippines is such a beautiful place. We have lots to offer to tourists when it comes to beaches and fun activities. Have fun and stay safe! 

Irregular Period at Iba pa

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I have been suffering from irregular periods for some time now. I was being so paranoid and was imagining all kinds of scenarios. What if I have cancer? My mom had cervical cancer so my paranoia wasn't so far fetched.
I decided to end this emotional torture so I went to the clinic near me.
Waiting area; The Medical City @ Makati

The Medical City is actually nice and very organized. Dra. Elsa Dionisio was only available from 1pm to 2 pm and it's on a first come first served basis. She only accepts a maximum of 6 patients that day so you better be there early.

I was there around 11:30am, got a number and waited till they called my name. I filled up some paperwork and was told to wait until the doctor comes in. Luckily Dra. Dionisio came in early and my waiting time was cut short.
I have prepared a list of my symptoms and she ordered a transvaginal ultrasound immediately. 

Photo from rawstory.com

Dra. Dionisio was very nice and friendly. She explained to me some possible causes of my irregular period and told me that an ultrasound is needed to determine the root cause.

It turns out I have a cyst on my right ovary but she assured me that it's nothing serious. With proper medication, it should be gone in a few weeks. I'm sooo glad I wasn't diagnosed with PCOS or worse ~ a malignant tumor! 

I should have gotten my checkup months before! Procastination has real consequences when it comes to going to the doctor. Do not prolong your suffering..just go to the doctor and get your much needed checkup!

In case you are wondering about the cost of transvaginal ultrasound, it is Php 2,025 and the consultation fee is Php 500. With my medication included, the total is around Php3,875. It's actually cheap! 😄

Are you having irregular periods? Don't wait any longer! Go to your nearest OB Gyne now!

How to Set an Appointment at DFA

Monday, July 18, 2016

Photo source: blog.citizenservices.com.ph/


Are you itching to travel outside the country? If you don't have a passport, don't plan your trip just yet! When I renewed my passport a few years ago, it was quite easy. I just paid a travel agency and I got an appointment in a week. Then I paid for the expedited service and I got my passport within 7 working days after my DFA appointment.

Out of curiosity, I checked out DFA appointment schedules and I was shocked to find out that all the DFA satellite offices near me are booked up till second week of September! So if you need to travel in the next month or so and you still haven't gotten an appointment, well..good luck!

Here's how to get an appointment at DFA:

1. Go to www.passport.gov.ph and click schedule an appointment


2. If you are booking an appointment for yourself, click start an individual appointment. If you are booking an appointment for you and others, click start a group appointment.

3. Specify the site where you want to set an appointment then click next. 

4. Select an available date. 
July and August is booked up on all Metro Manila satellite offices. I just checked the DFA Manila (Aseana) and the only available date in September is from Sept. 22 onwards.


5. Select a timeslot. Please be advised that your chosen time slot is reserved for 10 minutes. So don't screw it up! Get there at least 30 minutes early.

6. Type in all your information. Make sure everything is correct before you click next.

7. After that you will get an email from DFA and you will have to click on the link provided to confirm your appointment. 

8. Print the application form and don't forget to bring it with you on the date of your appointment.

NOTE: If you do not confirm within a few hours, your provisional appointment will be automatically cancelled to give way to other applications.

That's it! Good luck :)






How Should We Live Our Lives?

Sunday, July 3, 2016


A friend from highschool just died and it left me wondering, how should we live our lives?

If you do not have any lasting significance, then the life you've lived is meaningless. What makes life meaningful anyway? Is it the goals you achieved? The places you've been?

When my friend died, dozens of people came to bid her goodbye. They were not just people she knew, they were people who loved her and cared about her. It suddenly hit me..it's really the people you've touched that makes life meaningful. You know you did something right when people not related to you by blood sheds a tear on your funeral.

The thought of dying sends me into panic mode. Not because I'm afraid to die. It's the fear of "oblivion" that gives me shivers down my spine. I've been a hermit for so long. My only friends are my cat and dog.

My dog will surely cry but my cat will just move on to another household who can feed him tuna and kibbles.

Maybe it's not too late. Maybe I should start reaching out more to people, make new friends, help out a stranger, and do one good deed a day.

Maybe death won't be so bad when you know you've lived your life to the fullest and that you will be missed by people whose lives you've touched.


What's Keeping Pinoys From Chasing Their Dreams?

Sunday, June 19, 2016


No one is coming to save you. Only "you" can save you. Take full responsibility for your life. Plan on how you intend to achieve success. Some Filipinos "play victim" all the time. Most of the time blaming the government for their situation in life.

Having kids you can't afford

Guess what? The government is not responsible for your choices in life. Is it the government's fault that you got 5 or more kids to feed? If you were thinking clearly, you won't even consider having kids when you have no stable job or no job at all. If you can't feed yourself, how can you feed your kids?

It's hard to focus on your dreams when you have kids to feed. That's the reality. How about take time for yourself before having kids? Work hard and dream big.

Bahala Na Attitude

Bahala na or whatever will be will be. This phrase is commonly heard among Filipinos. It is more than just a phrase. It is a way of life for some and is deeply ingrained in their attitude. How about change that way of thinking and start planning ahead? 

Taking a Shortcut

Dreams cannot be achieved that easy. Many of you have probably been a victim of "pyramiding scam" because you were lured into the thought of "easy money". Well guess what? If it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't.

Afraid to Grow Up 

You can only become an "authentic" adult if you start taking responsibility for your own life. Get out of your comfort zone and start planning your future. So many pinoys operate as children emotionally and refuse to grow up. How many of you still lives with your parents even after graduating college? I understand it may be more convenient for you to stay home, but are you saving up for your future home? 

We can all achieve our dreams if we practice the right attitude. Find what motivates you and get rid of people around you that are constantly dragging you down. Surround yourself with successful people so that you can emulate their habits and way of life. 

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
 

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Certified foodie. Crazy cat lady in training.

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