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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 GrĂ cia 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. :)

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

Faux Moonbow in Makati, Philippines

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Okay according to wikipedia, Faux moonbow is; A colored circle around the moon is not a moonbow—it is usually a 22° halo produced by refraction through hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus cloud. Colored rings close to the moon are a corona, a diffraction phenomenon produced by very small water droplets or ice crystals in clouds.
 Last night was unforgettable as I saw this rare phenomenon with my naked eye! Too bad I only have my Nokia phone last night to take a quick shot (it still produced a decent pic, though it would have been better if a DSLR was used). I looked up photos of rainbows or moonbows in Google but none of them can compare to the amazing sight I saw last night.
Did anyone else captured this Faux moonbow last night? Send us your pictures and I will feature it here! :D

The Peak, Hongkong

Monday, September 17, 2012

View from Victoria Peak

Victoria 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.

Although it is accessible by private car or taxi via the circuitous Peak Road, most tourists prefer the peak tram. A trip to Hongkong is not complete without taking the peak tram. From the MTR central station, we walked a few blocks to the Peak Tram terminal. Get ready to fall in line and fight the crowd! It gets pretty crowded and if you happen to be there in the middle of the day, expect to sweat like crazy! You will have to stand in line for maybe 30-45 mins before u get to board the tram. It is possible not to get an available seat inside the Tram (the tourists go crazy and push around to get a seat), you'll have to stand the rest of the time till you reach Victoria Peak. 

Tourists waiting in line outside
A roundtrip Peak Tram ticket costs HK$40 (US$5.33) for adult, HK$18 (US$2.40) for child/senior citizen. If you want to enter their Sky Terrace, you should avail of their package Peak Tram (roundtrip) + Sky Terrace Pass that is worth HK$65 (US$8.65) for adult and HK$31 (US$4.10) for child/senior citizens.

Complete list of tram ticket rates
There may be times that you would just want to turn around and leave the terminal while waiting to board the tram since you couldn't take the heat and the maddening crowd anymore, have patience! The view from the Peak Tram ride is rewarding. I'm so thankful that I didn't insisted on leaving (although I've thought about it couple times). I would have totally regretted it. :)

Yayy the Tram is here!

Aboard the tram finally!

View from the Tram Window

Inside Victoria Peak Tower

There are lots of souvenir shops and restaurants inside the tower such as Bubba Gump, Vietnamese restaurant, coffee shops, and etc. You have tons of choices. However, most of the restaurants here are expensive---around HK$300+ (US$40) per meal/person. If you are on a tight budget, there is Burger King inside (it is more expensive than your regular Burger King but remember you are in Hongkong).

Heading up to Sky Terrace

Proceed to Sky Terrace for more amazing view of Hongkong. If you have fear of heights, try to conquer it coz the view is totally worth it! :)

View from Sky Terrace

Tourists taking pictures in Sky Terrace

I hope I can visit Hongkong again soon! Wait..no! I wish I can live in Hongkong! :)

Must Love Cats!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yesterday I got the cutest kitty ever! She's only 7 weeks old. A traditional Persian with a super cute face! She's my first pet cat. I never liked cats before. Not until Mark showed me his pet Angelina and told me about her personality. I started watching cat videos on Youtube and fell in love--instantly!

My cute Kitty

This bed is so comfy and....sooo pink! :)

Love my pillow! :)

I'm cute and I know it :)
I bought her from a local cat breeder for 6,500 pesos (US$150). She's the cutest in the bunch! So lucky I got her. I originally wanted a white persian cat but when I saw this Kitty, I fell in love! Persian cat breeders here in Philippines prefer the flat-faced persians than the traditional because they can sell for more but I prefer traditional since they have fewer health problems in the long run.

I still love dogs but I think cats are easier to manage especially if you live in the city with not much space for a dog (huge backyard etc.) to play at etc. 

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats." :)
- English proverb

Exploring Lantau Island, Hongkong

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It is so easy to navigate Hongkong even if you don't speak their local language. All you need is a map and you are ready to go. Their MTR (Mass Transit Railway) makes it easy to get around. You can literally explore most of Hongkong in just a day! I'm more of a culture and scenery junkie (sorry shopaholics! I don't have much stuff for you here lol). Lantau Island is the most interesting place for me in Hongkong!

View from the top of Big Buddha

This island is perfect for people who love mountains and cool scenery. It is more laidback than any other areas in Hongkong. HK Disneyland, Big Buddha, and Ngong Ping 360 (Cable car) are among the Hongkong attractions that are located here. If you are coming from Kowloon or Hongkong island, the easiest and cheapest way to get here is by MTR. Forget Disneyland, go to Big Buddha instead! To get to Big Buddha, you will have to get off on Tung Chung station and from there, you have the choice to either take the cable car(25 minutes from Tung Chung) or bus #23 (45 mins ride). We took the bus since the cable car isn't operating that day due to typhoon. It cost HK$18 (USD 2.40)/adult for bus fare to Ngong Ping.
Tung Chung Station
Ticket Line to Bus #23
Don't forget to enjoy the scenery while riding the bus! It was like riding a roller coaster but totally worth it!
Here's a video I took of the bus ride to Ngong Ping:

Before heading straight to where Big Buddha is, drop by Ngong Ping Village. It has a wide variety of shops and eateries.

Entrance to Ngong Ping Village

View of Big Buddha from a distance
You up for some hike?

Upon reaching the top, you are rewarded with awesome view of the mountain and bay area. You have the option to go inside the museum (inside the Buddha) for a fee or just explore the outer part of it. They will also offer you a lunch prepared by Buddhist monks for a reasonable price.

Almost there! :)


View of Po Lin Monastery
If you still have lots of strength left, head back down and go to Po Lin Monastery.

Entrance to Po Lin Monastery

If you decide that you had enough of Lantau sightseeing for the day, head back to the bus #23 station to take you back to Tung Chung Station. Be warned that the line gets too long and if it's day time, it can be miserable waiting for your turn to board the bus. It might take at least 30 mins before you get to board a bus. You should bring an umbrella to protect you from the strong sun. From my own experience, it was miserable coz I didn't apply any sunblock lotion and I don't have umbrella with me. Also make sure that you have exact money (HKD 18) to pay for the ticket as they want exact fare.
People waiting in line to board the bus

Day trip to Lantau island is totally worth it! Don't hesitate to go there if you can. :)

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Certified foodie. Crazy cat lady in training.