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Macau Food and Sights

Friday, December 7, 2012

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.

Superior room
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

Bohol Island—Awesome Sun, Sea, and Sand

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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, we 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 Nokia N8 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).


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!!! 

Barcelona Host Families—Home Away from Home

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We are all too familiar with one man in Barcelona that is celebrated worldwide for his incredible work of art—Antoni Gaudi. But Barcelona has more than Gaudi’s work to offer. Discover its medieval wonderland and explore Picasso Museum where you will see the five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera. Stroll through Passeig de Gràcia and see two of Gaudi's houses. 

Unleash your inner goth and head over to Gothic Drassanes. It is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. 
Gothic Drassanes
Barcelona has lots to offer but your trip will not be complete without eating Tapas and seeing Sagrada Familia!
Tapas in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia by Gaudi
Barcelona’s timeless charm will never fail to amaze you. Pinays and other travel junkies out there who are on a tight budget will definitely love Homestay family accommodation in Barcelona. Enjoy everything Barcelona has to offer with the help of Barcelona Host Families. Indulge in the comforts of their affordable accommodation and get to know Barcelona through your host. In such a charming and magical city, it is worth staying at a place where you will feel welcomed and is up to the task of completing this unique travel experience.
What is a host family? It is simply a family that accommodates travelers in their host country. It is becoming a norm now among travelers on a tight budget or for the adventurous one who wants to experience living in Barcelona like a true local. At Barcelona Host Families, you will truly feel like you are home away from home. :)

Macau--Not Just a Gambler's Haven

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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.

Liebster Blog Award

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yayyyy I got nominated for Liebster Blog Award! Thanks Aubzie:)

The Liebster Blog Award is for blogs with 200 or less followers, a fun way to help spread the word about smaller blogs and get them more readers and followers!

When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person(s) who nominated you. You pass the Award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions. You’re not allowed to nominate the blog(s) who nominated you 

Okay so here's the 11 facts about me:

1. I have a cat named Catherine (But I prefer calling her Pringles!) lol
2. My favourite food is Chicken Kebab
3. I secretly dream of becoming a Ninja! Lol
4. I buy lotto ticket every other day 
5. I climbed the summit of a 7,119 ft active volcano when I was 9 yrs old coz I thought I can ride the cotton ball-looking clouds (I missed the part where my science teacher said they are actually condensed water vapour lol)
6. My favourite movie is The Notebook
7. I play guitar
8. I’m in love with the cutest double bass player 
9. I’m a neat freak and a germaphobe
10. My favourite comfort food is ice cream 
11. I love exploring historical places especially war-torn sites

Answer to the 11 questions I was asked

1. What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
    - Chucky (Child’s Play)

2. If you were a character on a TV show, which one would you be?
   - Nikita

3. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it?
   - Dork Diaries? Adventures of a Pinay Rambler? Lol I have no idea

4. What would you do if you had a million dollars?
   - Spend 10% of it on family, travel/adventure, invest on interesting ventures and then keep the remaining 90% in an offshore account

5. Would you like to know the day you’re going to die ahead of time? Why or why not?
   - Yes of course. So that I can make sure that I get everything in order in my loved ones life and be certain that they will do well before I leave them

6. Would you rather have super strength or super intelligence? And why?
   - Super strength so that I can beat the sh*t out of bad guys

7. Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds? And why?
   - I’d rather have the power to be invisible so that I can sneak in and snoop around forbidden places without getting caught

8.   Name one thing are you most proud of?
   - My self-discipline

9. What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
   - Hmmm winning the lottery?? Haha

10. What is your ultimate dream vacation?
   - Spend 10 days exploring the Kingdom of Yangdon

11. What would you do if you were a man for a week?
   - March for gay rights and piss standing out in the street in broad daylight hahaha

My 11 Nominees (Please check out their awesome sites!) 

2.   Black Swamp Cornucopia
3.   Letne Dni 
4.   The Drunken Pig
5.   Jen Tea
6.   Andredxo
7.   Naivaze
8.   Life N Canvas
9.   Across The Pond
10. Fashionadictas
11. Positive Fountain 

11 Random Questions for the Blogs I nominated

1. What three adjectives best describe you?
2. If you were a police officer for one day what would you do with the authority?
3. What made you start a blog?
4. What do you like to blog about most of the time?
5. What do you know how to say in a foreign language?
6. What was the last book you read?
7. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?
8. When was a magical moment in your life?
9. What do you think of the movie Twilight?
10. What was the last thing that you lost and later found?
11. What treatment would you seek if you were addicted to therapy? J

Happy Blogging!!!

What To See in Hongkong

Thursday, October 11, 2012

1. Victoria Peak

Victoria peak or "The Peak" is one of the best places to visit in Hongkong. It is the most favourite by tourists among Hongkong attractions. Also known as Mt. Austin, it is located in Hongkong Island. It is not the highest mountain in Hongkong but it offers stunning views over Central, Victoria Harbour, and other islands.

2. Big Buddha (Tian Tian Buddha)

The famous large bronze statue of Buddha Amoghasiddhi in Lantau island is often flocked by tourists. It is located at Ngong Ping village in Lantau island. 

3. Po Lin Monastery

It is a Buddhist monastery founded by 3 monks visiting from Jiangsu in 1906. It is located in the scenic village of Ngong Ping. First thing I heard when I stepped foot in Ngong Ping was the voices of monks chanting prayers. It is a very serene place surrounded by majestic mountains of Lantau. 

View of Po Lin Monastery

4. Madame Tussauds

Get a chance to get up close and personal with your favorite celebrities (Err--at least with their waxy versions)! Madame Tussauds is located at The Peak.

Tourists taking a picture with Bruce Lee's wax figure

5. Cross the harbour via Star Ferry

Head over to Central Pier, Tsim Sha Tsui Pier, or Wanchai Pier and buy a token for Star Ferry. It only cost about HK $2.50(0.33 USD) during weekdays and HK $ 3.40 (0.45 USD) during weekends. Crossing Victoria Harbour via Star Ferry is a priceless experience. Step back to the days of old and commute like a true Hongkong local.

6. Avenue of Stars

It was built to pay tribute to Hongkong's film industry and to serve as a tourist attraction as well. It is located at Tsim Sha Tsui's promenade. Every night, it is transformed into a glittering galaxy as it's special lighting effect lit up.

7. Aqua Luna Cruise

Board the famous Aqua Luna (Hongkong Junk Boat) for a 45 minute Victoria harbour cruise. It costs HK$100 (USD 12). This is ideal for couples! :)

Aqua Luna cruising Victoria Harbour at night

8. Hongkong Museum of Art

Get to see Hongkong's antique Chinese treasures and learn more about its history! From Central Pier, you can walk to the museum in just 5 mins.

9. Tsuen Wan Park

If ever you are in Tsuen Wan, don't forget to take a stroll at Tsuen Wan Park.

10. Hongkong Night Market

Once you’re done sightseeing in Hongkong for the day, you can cap off the night with a fun but not so relaxing stroll at Temple Street’s night Market in Kowloon. It is a street located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. Yeah I know, for some of you ladies out there, trip won’t be complete without checking out Hongkong’s night market. I’m telling you, it’s so crowded out there! 

Band performing at the night market


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Certified foodie. Crazy cat lady in training.