Monday, May 10, 2010

PCOS I am a Filipino...

Originally posted @ http://cdsaint.blogspot.com

I am currently waiting in line in order to exercise my right to vote. I arrived at 0916H at the school where I am registered in at dahil engertz ako at may short term memory loss, I forgot what precinct number i'm assigned to (kahit na I checked it online two days ago). Good job, Candy! So I spent 30 minutes in line just so they can check what precinct number i'm in. 1148F. I am forever saving that in my memory bank. Meaning: I'll save it in my mobile phone for future reference. It's now 1030H and i'm #449 in line (thank God they have a numbering system here). The last number called was 180 and that was 10 minutes ago. Ano'ng oras kaya ako makakaboto? So while i'm waiting in line, i'm doing what I do best in these situations: BLOG.Ü

So what should be one's survival guide when voting in the Philippines? I have five so far:

1. Water & Food.
Cold water or drink to combat the heat & food to keep the tummy happy. I wasn't able to bring any of these coz I didn't expect to be waiting in line for so long but had they not implemented the number system in our precinct, i'd be dying of thirst & hunger by now.

2. Fan. Need I explain why expecially in a tropical country like ours? If you have one of those battery-operated fans, that would be better.

3. Something to while the time away. Good thing I brought my iPod and a pen so I was able to blog (and listen to music) while waiting in line. I'm actually also thankful for the sample ballots that were being given out since this blog is being written at the back of it.Ü But if you have some other thing that would keep you busy...a PSP perhaps, deck of cards (is this allowed? i'm not really sure...), sudoku, magazine, brick game, jackstones, tamagotchi, monopoly, cluedo, snakes & ladders, chinese garter, jump rope...whatever will make you happy while waiting in line then bring it. So that you're ready just in case you'll have to wait in line for a really long time.

4. Something to sit on.
You can just use the sample ballots being given out at the entrance of your voting place. Oh diba, naging double-purpose pa yung sample ballots! This is for those instances where you don't really have a choice and have to sit on the floor because the vacant classroom used as a "holding area" is already full.

5. Lots of patience. Patience is a virtue as my friends would say. And for this specific election where precincts are clustered, you got to have lots of this.

I can only think of five so far. If you guys have something that you want to add to the list, feel free to post it as a comment in this blog. And to answer my question above: Ano'ng oras kaya ako makakaboto? I got to vote at around 1515H. Imagine that. But I would have done everything in my powers just so I can exercise my right to vote. I hope you guys did too.Ü

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random Thoughts 7

Originally posted @ http://cdsaint.blogspot.com

It's the 27th and I haven't written anything in my blog. I refuse to break the promise I made to myself so here I am, trying to write anything that comes to mind and trying to make it all coherent.

Crispy Dinuguan at Jay-J's. I was craving for dinuguan for the longest time and one Sunday night, I finally got my wish! And it wasn't just any dinuguan for that matter, it was CRISPY! Oooh...yummy!!! I was actually apprehensive at first, asking the waiter if it has enough sauce (or should I say, dugo?) since I love putting lots of the sauce on my rice (I've always eaten dinuguan with rice...i've never tried it with puto. But then again, I'm a recent "dinuguan-convert", probably less than a year since I started liking dinuguan and it's because of my very lovable lunchmates at the office Ü Thanks guys for introducing dinuguan to me Ü). When the dish arrived, it did not disappoint! It was crispy indeed and with just enough sauce to satisfy one's cravings! I l♥ved it! SUPERB! KUDOS! I loved it so much that Tuesday lunch after that night I was back at Jay-J's eating crispy dinuguan (and the "classic" dinuguan too Ü) with my lunchmates. If only eating dinuguan wasn't that sinful, I would eat it everyday. Well, maybe not. But i'd eat it a lot! LOL!Ü

Goto & Lugaw at All About Goto in Tagaytay. On a recent trip to Tagaytay, the entire family (wow, akala mo marami! eh apat lang naman kami...LOL!) ate at Josephine's and we weren't that happy with what we ate. So on our way back, we decided to stop at this place named All About Goto that was just along the highway. Mom and Dad ordered lugaw while my brother and I shared a bowl of goto. I liked the goto that they served although i'm not sure if I liked it because it was actually good or dahil gutom lang ako. LOL! I'll try this place again next time then i'll let you know if they really are good (i'm guessing they are since the place is called All About Goto) or if it was just hunger that made the goto taste nice that night.

Chocolate Roll & Ube Loaf at Tagaytay Highlands. Can you spell Y-U-M-M-Y?!??!!! Of chocolate, I AM definitely a fan but UBE? I really wasn't (sorry, Maan! Hehe!) but this loaf changed my view on ube. It was yummy and the bread was soft. You can really taste all those ube goodness up to the very last bite! And the chocolate roll? Oh my goodness...it was choco bread heaven! I loved it so much I asked Dad to buy 3 rolls to take home! Now, there goes my diet...Hahaha!Ü

Bioman. Ako si Yellow 4. Kahit na namatay sya at napunta sa Bio-heaven. Napalitan naman din sya so keri lang. LOL! Anyway, it was Bioman madness for me several weeks back. It was fun reminiscing those days when i'd sit infront of the TV waiting for my favorite Bioman show to air. And thanks to my officemate Dean, I was able to get a copy of the first 17 episodes of the show. And it was not just any copy but one that was dubbed in english! As in the actual dubbed episodes that was shown on Philippine TV! How cool is that?! Hahaha! Wala lang...I hope to get a copy of all 51 episodes dubbed in english Ü

Thunderbird Resort Poro Point. This is a resort and NOT a night club somewhere in the metro (teka, White Bird ata yun. LOL!). The resort got featured on a show at QTV and what got my attention was the nice beach (well, it looked nice on TV) and the fact that it's just in La Union, meaning: No need to take a plane to go to this place. A simple road trip is all it takes to get there. So I immediately googled this place and found their website (see link) and it didn't disappoint. The fact that the place is inspired by Santorini in Greece made it more intriguing. However, you won't view any of their rates in their site. So I emailed them and in just a few minutes, I got a reply. Needless to say, their prices are not cheap. Not Amanpulo-high but definitely not cheap. The cheapest room for a weekend trip is P7,500.00 nett for single or double occupancy. Pwede na...kailangan lang pag-ipunan ng kaunti. I'll definitely visit this place in the future. If not overnight, maybe for a day trip (but overnight is definitely much much better). I can't wait!Ü

Of Goodbyes and Kababawan ng Luha. I've been emotional for the past week or two. I'd like to blame it on my period (that's what my friend said) but hello, it's been two weeks! And the last "emotional strike" was just yesterday, and my period was like ages ago! Hahaha! I'm sure it sounds funny but I shed tears yesterday when I realized that I might not be able to say goodbye to my old digital camera...the one who's shared 6 years and 5 months of digital memories with me. Good thing some of my plans changed and I was able to say my last farewell to my good ol' digicam. Goodbye IXUS 400...you will be missed...Ü

Hello Haya Sophia! Let's end this with a HELLO and not a Goodbye.Ü My good friend Aya just gave birth to a healthy baby girl last April 24 and her name is Haya Sophia! Welcome to Earth, Haya Sophia! (Yes, parang nagwewelcome lang ng alien...LOL!). Congratulations to her very proud parents, Aya and Jomike!Ü

OK. I think i'm not successful in making my blog for this month sound coherent (from food to a 5-man fighting team to a resort to hellos & goodbyes) but at least I was able to blog. I actually didn't know I had that much to say especially since I started with nothing at all. Not even an idea of what to write, that's why I had to resort to my default title for a blog: Random Thoughts. I actually want to write more of hmmm...what I'm feeling perhaps? The elections? How life must go on? But then again, I guess those should wait for another day. So guys, that would be all for this month. This is Candy, signing off for the month of April. TTFN!Ü

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Xerox" is NOT another word for "copy"


Originally posted @ http://cdsaint.blogspot.com

"Xerox" is NOT another word for "copy".

And "MTV" is NOT another word for "music video".

Just like "Colgate" is NOT another word for "toothpaste". Thank heavens we've surpassed that era (Have we, really?).

I came across a notice in the Manila Bulletin - March 3, 2010 issue with the heading "XEROX. It's not just another word for copy." Hear, hear! I cringe every time I hear someone say: "Papa-Xerox ko lang 'to." or something to that effect.

Now, don't get me started with "MTV." Goodness gracious! I hear this every time...especially on those noon time shows or when singers plug a new single and they say: "The MTV was shot by..." Oh my golly! When will they learn? I sure hope they learn soon...

So...let me reiterate:

Xerox is NOT another word for copy.
MTV is NOT another word for music video. [MTV is a brand, dear people.]
Colgate is NOT another word for toothpaste.

Now, I rest my case.

Monday, March 01, 2010

In The Orb of The Zorb


On a recent trip to Boracay, my friends and i decided to check out the latest craze to hit the island: The ZORB BALL. I first saw this on Sports Unlimited where Diane & Marc tried to Ride the Zorb in a trip to Boracay. And since it looks fun, I told myself i'd try this out on my next Bora trip. And that Bora trip came sooner than I expected.Ü

So what actually is a Zorb Ball? A Zorb Ball is an inflatable hollow ball with a wide enough opening for a person to be able to fit through. Where did this craze originate? From New Zealand, where the original Zorbers are (www.zorb.com). The Ride The Zorb place at Boracay is said to be a franchise from NZ (although i'm wondering why it's not listed in the Zorb site), and they offer two types of "rides": (1) The Hydro Ride and (2) The Harness Ride.

The Hydro Ride, as the name suggests, involves water since the riders are placed inside the Zorb Ball together with a depth of an inch or two of water. The purpose of the water is to let the riders glide inside the Zorb while the ball is rolled down a not-so-steep hill. Up to three riders are allowed to ride the Zorb at one time as long as the total weight of all riders do not exceed 180kg, hence the mandatory weigh-in before you are allowed to ride any Zorb (So all weight watchers out there, beware! Now is the time to know the truth & nothing but!). Oh, and standing inside the Zorb is a big NO-NO! And cameras are not allowed while inside the Zorb for the very reason that this might rupture the Zorb Ball and deflate it in no time (so we weren't able to use our waterproof camera). Hence, watches, rings, and any accessories with sharp edges will have to be removed before zorbing.

The Hydro Ride prices vay depending on the number of riders: a SOLO ride costs P580; a DOUBLE costs P380; while a TRIO costs P300 (all costs are on a per person basis). The Harness Ride, on the the other hand, is fixed at P380/person and it is mandatory to have two riders in it (otherwise you'll end up with a lopsided ball rolling down the hill).

More stringent rules are applied in the Harness Ride as compared to the Hydro Ride. First is that the rider must not exceed 80kg in weight. And since the riders are on opposite sides of the ball, their weight difference must not exceed 20kg. Since we didn't do this Harness Ride (we're reserving it for another Bora trip Ü), I didn't ask the reason behind this rule. I'm guessing it's to prevent that "lopsided ball rolling down the hill" kind of thing from happening. I'll ask next time.Ü And one last rule for the Harness Ride is that the riders must be at least 5 feet tall. So does this mean that our dear President GMA won't be allowed to ride the Harness Zorb? LOL!Ü Good thing there's the Hydro Zorb without any height limit!Ü

Since doing the Zorb Ball was my idea, and no one wanted to go first, my friend and I were the guinea pigs in our group so to speak. We headed up the incline without our slippers on (they asked us to remove it at the foot of the incline or what I want to call as "base camp") and when we got there, they were already putting water inside the ball (the balls were already inflated, thank God!Ü). When the water was already enough (how do you measure "enough"...i don't really know...), they asked us to go inside the ball, one by one, head first. When we were both inside the ball, I told my friend: "Ganito pala ang feeling ng nasa loob ka ng ball." So, what actually is the feeling of being inside a hollow ball? Hmmm...nothing special actually. When they covered up the hole where my friend and I got in and started inflating the small ball that they used to cover it up (imagine a munchkin fitting in the hole of a donut), I got a bit nervous coz I was afraid our oxygen supply inside the ball would run out. And then I told my friend: "Kaya pala sandali lang ito kasi baka wala na tayong hangin pagdating dun sa baba." So I guess you can't Zorb from the top of Mt. Everest coz your oxygen supply would run out. (But who would want to do that??!!!???!!!Ü)

When we were all set, the manong removed the rope stopping the ball from rolling down the incline and let us loose. Of course we started shouting (or at least I started shouting Ü) as we started rolling down the not-so-steep incline. I remember thinking: So this is how it feels like to be inside the washing machine. Cool!Ü And one other thing I remembered is my friend's legs being right in front of my face the whole time! It was so funny! And lots of fun! I actually didn't want it to end yet but 20 seconds was all it took to get from the top to base camp where everyone was waiting with their cameras. The manongs stopped the ball by guiding the ball up the small incline at the base (to stop the ball from accelerating...hello, laws of physics!) and then guiding it as it goes back down to a full stop (this is hard to explain...just watch the video Ü). And then they removed that munchkin of a ball (Hello air, I missed you!) and asked our friends to take our photos while we were still inside the Zorb. Of course we were all wet with all the rolling and sliding inside the ball but hey, it was 101% fun! When the photo ops were done, we were asked to slide out the Zorb, one by one, feet first. When I got out, I told the manongs: "Ganito pala ang pinapanganak!" LOL!Ü It was my re-birth! Right there in Bora! (So...can I now start celebrating my re-birthday every February 7th?Ü)

Since my friend and I were the guinea pigs, we didn't know that you can actually ask to get rolled over by the Zorb Ball. Apparently, one of our friends was lying face down on the grass, trying to be as flat as possible, while we were rolling down the incline inside the Zorb. When we learned about this, we decided to get rolled over too! Must make the most out of this Zorb experience! So we did! And all I can say is: Na-bale ata yung tenga ko! Hahaha! Since we were trying to be as flat as possible (the manong will teach you how to do this), our face was facing one side while on the grass. There's nothing more that can be done with the ear that's exposed so when the Zorb rolled over, that was the only body part that was not as flat as it can be. Hence, the only body part that hurt (not too much...just a bit) when the Zorb rolled over. Or maybe the weight of the riders is also a factor...I don't really know! But still a must-try! Just so you know how it feels to be rolled over by an inflatable ball.Ü

Will I do this again? Definitely! How I wish it was only P100/ride, we would've zorbed ourselves over and over again! Next time, i'll definitely try that Harness Ride...I wonder how that would feel?Ü

So guys, while in Bora, make the most out of your trip and try riding the Zorb! It's definitely one fun ride!Ü TTFN

A shout out of THANKS to the following for allowing me to post the photos they took during our Zorb experience: Dexter Lao, Jennifer Cruz, and My de Jesus.Ü Thanks guys!

video





===================

Post Script: After browsing & reading through the Zorb site, I now have reason to believe that the Ride the Zorb in Boracay is NOT a franchise of the one in New Zealand. The girl behind the counter told us otherwise (when I asked for a discount...LOL!). Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

E-Passport: Some Lessons Learned

We have finally applied for an E-Passport. Just yesterday actually. Took us an hour and a half but there were four of us and there were three pitstops all-in-all (application window, cashier, data capture) so it was not actually that bad. Especially for a government office (no offence meant Ü).

I am not about to tell you how the entire process took place since I wouldn't want to bore you guys to death (But the online appointment process was a different story. Hehehe!), so i'm just going to write about some lessons learned in our application for E-Passport:

The last page of the old passport should be photocopied as well. » The DFA website did not list this down as one of the requirements. It only said "photocopy of old passport data page" so that was the only page of the old passport that we all had on hand. Good thing that there was no line in the photocopy station which is conveniently located in the same room as where the applications are passed so the only downside here is that I had to pay P3.00 for each copy made, which I could have copied at less than P1.00 per page if outside the DFA.

Each applicant should have a copy of the confirmation letter. » Since we were applying as one family, I only printed out one copy of the letter. Turns out, each person should have a copy of the confirmaton letter. My bad.

Practice smiling without showing any teeth. » Or don't smile at all. I wasn't able to practice this hence, mukha akong natatae sa passport picture ko. Goodness gracious! I'd have to endure 5 years of this picture. I guess it's OK to request for several shots of you to be taken (I only had two shots) but since my 2nd take looked a lot like my first one, I decided that this was going to be a lost cause so I just chose the picture depicting a less natatae version of me. Afterwhich I realized, I should've tried NOT smiling in my picture. But this realization came after everything has been said and done. Oh well. Lesson learned. Practice makes perfect.

Conceal those eyebags. » To make matters worse, aside from looking like i'm about to head to the nearest toilet, I also had major eyebags in my passport picture. I was just too shy to re-touch my make-up while already on the seat to have my picture taken so I just decided to let it be since I already looked stupid in my picture anyway. Oh, but don't put too much make-up. You still have to look like yourself in the picture.

Remove any unecessary objects in your face. » And I mean contact lenses and bangs (and I guess nose rings or eyebrow rings or any other what-have-yous that did not originally come with your face). The person behind the counter asked me if I was wearing contact lenses and I said "No." then wondered why he was asking me this since my eyes are black. Or brown. I don't really know. But It's not as if I was wearing colored contact lenses. Maybe it was just mandatory for him to ask. And then came the bangs. Both eyebrows should be seen in the picture so I had to put my bangs all the way to the side, which was such a feat because it kept falling back to my face. But all's well that end's well. Or in my case, all's not well but everything has to end.

Double-check all details. » A family friend wasn't able to properly double-check his passport details and was one letter off in one of his details so he had to start all over again (this was after he received the actual passport). The data capture people (those who took our pictures & fingerprints) will request for you to double check the details that they've manually inputted in the screen so it's your responsibility to double (or triple) check everything. Plus, they'll ask you to sign a waiver saying that should there be any wrong details in your passport, DFA won't be held liable and that you'll have to do everything all over again. And that includes having to pay for the P950 processing fee. Again. And waiting for another 14 days. Again.

Gate 3 is along Libertad St. » The confirmation letter told us to proceed to Gate 3, the entrance of which is actually located along Libertad St. So park along this street if a parking spot is available. I parked along the service road (P30/4 hours), near the front of the DFA building (infront of Maliziia Bar to be exact) thinking that that's where the entrance for applications are. Apparently not. But it's not a long walk anyway and a bit of exercise doesn't hurt.

I hope these lessons I've learned will be able to help out at least one other person applying for an E-Passport so that i'll be able to say: "Mission Accomplished!" This will be all for now. If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to do so by adding a comment below. And to all those applying for an E-Passport: I hope your picture turns out decent...unlike mine. HAHAHA!Ü Til then, guys!
TTFN

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nuvali

One Saturday morning: “Let’s go to Nuvali this afternoon!”

this afternoon” came one week after.Ü But at least, I’m glad to say, we finally got there.Ü

How to get there:


The Nuvali website gave several options on how to get there. Since I was torn between Mamplasan and Sta. Rosa, I asked my cousin what better exit to take and I was told to take the Sta. Rosa exit. So I did. And with just a text message as a guide (Sta. Rosa exit then take the way going to Tagaytay, a little bit after Paseo de Sta. Rosa is Nuvali on the left) I got to Nuvali without any hassles. You won’t get lost anyway since they have signs on the way going there and it would be hard not to notice the big NUVALI sign on the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay highway.

It took me around 40min. to get there coming from Sucat on a Saturday afternoon. I was a bit surprised that traffic was not heavy at the time I was driving at SLEX (except from Sucat to Alabang, but it was moving) and I was just too happy to traverse SLEX with its now wider road and still without any lubak

What to do:


There are several things that you can do at Nuvali: Eat, bike, feed the fishies (this is not a typo error, I really call them "fishies" coz it's cuter Ü), ride a boat, at gumulong-gulong sa grass.

Eat:
Some of the few establishments at Nuvali are Yellow Cab, Crisostomo, Starbucks, Bona Coffee, Brothers Burger, David’s Tea House, Pig Out, and Conti’s. The latter two is where we had dinner & dessert. We were joking around while eating at Pig Out coz it took them forever to serve us our food when we only ordered crispy pata & fish and they weren’t exactly brimming full of customers at that time. But lo and behold! Come 7:30pm the waiters, who were wearing superhero costumes, started dancing to the tune of Insomniac & this other song that I don’t know the title. We were just laughing our hearts out coz it was the first time for all of us to see Batman, Robin, Supergirl, Batgirl Jasmine (teka, hindi naman superhero si Jasmine???), and that girl counterpart of Robin (who’s she? "Robina", according to my friend? LOL! And when we asked her, hindi rin nya alam kung ano’ng superhero name nya. Haha!) dancing! I actually took a video of them so that I’ll always remember the first time I saw superheroes dancing.Ü Oh, it also took them long to bring our bill.

Bike
: This is what we did at Nuvali. P60.00 to rent their bike for an hour. They only have mountain bikes for rent but you can choose the bike that fits you best in terms of height. Bawal umangkas. Only 1 person per bike. And no slippers allowed. Good thing my friends brought shoes along otherwise, one hour kaming magtititigan dun. Or maybe they can just run while some of us ride our bikes. LOL! Helmets are a must and must be worn at all times. Plus, you have to sign a waiver and surrender an ID before you can rent one of their bikes. What’s nice about their bikes is that it has a basket in front, very much practical especially for girls so that we have a place to put our bags or any what-have-yous. You can only bike on the designated paths which means you’ll have to share the lane with the people walking around the place, which wasn’t actually that crowded when we were there (but it was still a challenge for me coz I was like a drunk driver on a bike. Such a laughtrip for my friends. Such a nerve-wracking experience for me. Haha!). Our motto for the day: "Have bike, will go anywhere." So we got to the farthest part that our bikes can reach. I was just too happy to get there because we were able to bike on the road (no need to stay on the path) since cars were not yet allowed to pass and there were no other bikers around. Oh heaven! This is my ideal biking situation.Ü By that time, I ♥ biking already.Ü

Feed the Fishies
: For P15.00, you can feed the Kois in the big pond. But you can only feed them from 8am-5pm because the fishies are on an “After 5” diet. So get there early. I’m just wondering if you can bring your own feeds to give to the fishes. Wag lang sigurong bread, kasi masisira ang diet ng fishies. Bawal ang carbs. They’re on a diet, remember?Ü I was actually surprised to see all the fishies in the pond. They were just oh-so-many! Too many actually that my heart goes out to them coz they were like fighting for dear life just to get some of those feeds that the people were giving them. It was like the feast of the Black Nazarene, fish-style, minus the rope.

Ride a Boat
: P30.00 per head for a round trip ticket. They don’t offer one-way tickets. I don’t know why. Hehe! A special trip (I guess this means you get the boat all to yourself) costs P180.00 for a minimum of 6 pax (I didn’t ask what the maximum is). I’m not sure how long the boat ride is. I don't know where they'll bring you. I’m not sure what you’ll see or what you can do at the boat aside from sightseeing (mag-gupit ng kuko siguro pwede…but why would you do that?Ü). Next time I visit Nuvali, I’ll ask them these things so I have something to tell you guys. For some reason, riding a boat doesn’t appeal to me that much so I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to do this activity here.

Gumulong-gulong sa
Grass
: Need I explain more?Ü Kidding-aside, Nuvali is a place where you can just sit on the grass and enjoy the scenery…if biking, boating, or feeding the fishies is not your thing. Take lots of pictures. Go on a jump-shot-picture galore or do one of those nakapabilog-ang-mga-ulo-habang-nakahiga-sa-grass pictures. I’m sure you’ll have loads of fun doing these things. And the people around you will have loads of fun watching you do these things, so it’s a win-win situation.Ü

Will I go back to Nuvali?
Sure! Why not?Ü Will I go biking again? Of course I will! I won’t stop now that my biking skills are slowly coming back to me. Even though my body’s aching all over because of the experience.Ü Will I feed the fishies? No. Kasi naaawa ako sa kanila. Will I ride the boat? Please read above.Ü What I’ll definitely do the next time I’m at Nuvali is to take a lot of pictures (Hey, I might even do the suggestions I gave above…di na baleng mag-mukhang weird.Ü). For now, I’m just going to look forward to my next Nuvali side trip. TTFN!Ü

Oh, btw, here are the rates.Ü


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I ♥ HK

Last year, I just really wanted to get out of Manila for my birthday. So when our Australia trip, which became a Singapore trip, didn't push through, I was devastated (ask Jovy...she knows. Hehe!). Anyhow, I figured, maybe i'm just really meant to spend my birthday with my family. True enough, this was the trip that did push through...with just a little planning. Kaya next time, ayoko na mag-plano. Hahaha!

It was actually during Ondoy's wrath that I was booking our trip. All we needed was land arrangement anyway and we're good to go. At that time, www.horizontravel.ph was offerring this really cheap travel package at USD48/pax for a 3D2N at Panda Hotel in Hong Kong (at the end of this blog are some pictures of the hotel.) The only catch was that the deadline to book was on that day that Ondoy was wreaking havoc in the entire Metro Manila area. Seeing as it was really impossible for anyone to leave the house at that time, the person whom I talked to tried to work things out so that we can just pay on the next working day. Good thing everything went well and in just the few hours since I suggested that we all go to Hong Kong for a short vacay, our entire trip was all set.Ü

The package actually included, aside from the hotel: roundtrip airport-hotel-airport transfer, a half day Hong Kong city tour, and complimentary breakfast at the nearby McDonald's. If you're more than 3 pax in the group, you can also avail of the Shenzhen tour that they're offering at no additional cost.Ü However, the Hong Kong city tour & Shenzhen tour are not worthit. Although both are offered for free, you'll be better off just planning the entire tour on your own. All you have to do is get that Hong Kong Visitor flyer at the airport and it shows you all the Hong Kong tourist spots...where to shop, where to dine, what to do, including how to get there via the MTR. No need to join any packaged tour. And with an MTR station at almost every corner in Hong Kong, you won't get lost, I promise (given that you know how to interpret a map Ü). However, the Shenzhen tour is a different story 'cause you'll be needing visa to enter China, which the tour company already took care of. However, it's still not worthit since they just brought us to a place selling Jade, a place selling Silk, and a place selling Tea. Totally not worth our time...unless Jade, Silk, and Tea are your thing.Ü

Oh, btw, we didn't go to HK Disneyland anymore coz we've all been to Disneyland in LA & from what i've heard, ga-tuldok lang daw ang HK Disneyland and we wouldn't have enjoyed it seeing as we've already been to a bigger Disneyland before. Besides, the goal of this trip was for food tripping...Roast Duck toppings galore! And we didn't have to go to Disnyeland for that.Ü

So...what are the essentials needed by any Hong Kong tourist? Aside from the Hong Kong Visitor flyer that I mentioned above, you'll need a map of the MTR (get it free at any MTR station) and a map of Hong Kong (I got this at the hotel lobby). Of course you have to take note of where your hotel is and what MTR stations are the closest to your hotel so that you can find your way back home...unless you leave bread crumbs along the way like Hansel & Gretel.Ü Aside from those two things, you'll need moolah of course and a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Needless to say, we were armed with all these essentials as we trooped around Hong Kong for 3 days.

And what do I love about Hong Kong? Roast Duck Toppings. MTR. Wellcome. That big & clean airport. Sephora (Oh yes! They have Sephora there! No need to travel all the way to the US!Ü). Everyone walks the same pace as I am (I'm a fast walker. And even their escalators are faster! Or was that just my imagination?Ü). And the fact that it's just a few hours flight from Manila.Ü I'm sure I'll find more things to love about Hong Kong, but for now, that's all I can think of. BTW, of the many times i've been to Hong Kong...i've never been to Ocean Park. [Hahaha! I don't know why...]. TTFN!Ü



Sunday, January 10, 2010

2009 in Retrospect

It is, once again, the start of a new year. And same as in the past years, we (as a nation, and the whole world, I suppose) are welcoming the new year with new hopes, new desires, and a dream that the new year will be the start of a better life for all of us. But before I embrace the year that is forthcoming to all of us, let me first reminisce the year that was, which is 2009. So…what would the highlights of my year be? Let me see…

  • Rang in the first day of the new year with an impromptu Tagaytay day trip with mom’s side of the family [I just love reunions & impromptu trips! Note to self for 2010: Be more spontaneous!Ü]
  • I got to go to the following places this year: Calaruega, Pinatubo, Boracay, Subic, Bicol, Bataan, Hong Kong, US.

Some trip highlights:
  • That heavy rain (with matching blackout & baha) while eating at Aling Lucing’s Sisig place on our way back home from Pinatubo
  • First time to try Parasailing at Boracay [So much fun!Ü]
  • Bumping into Jay-R at Boracay (with bonus picture c/o Mom…hehehe!)
  • Vacationing with typhoon Dante while in Bicol
  • Wakeboarding at CWC [This is us making the most of our Bicol trip with typhoon Dante Ü]
  • Bicol road trip on our way back to Manila [12 hours on a rented bus Ü]
  • Ninang Merl & Uncle Ken’s and Tatay Wenceslao & Nanay Conchit’s renewal of wedding vows (25th and 50th…in this day & age, this is such a milestone!Ü)
  • That Black Friday sale in the US [I finally have a laptop! After 14.5 hours of waiting outside of Best Buy…hahaha!]

  • Some close friends who got married: Aya & Jomike [and now with a BWP Junior on the way!Ü], Charm & Kim Ü
  • Got to attend the following PAL-sponsored trainings: Presentation Skills Workshop, Basic Family Assistance Training, BA Certification
  • Passing the BA Certification training and being a certified CqBA!Ü
  • My high school batch’s 10th year reunion [It was so nice seeing old familiar faces again.Ü]
  • That Pussycat Dolls concert [Thanks Shiela!], Club LAX [Thanks Jen!], Transformers & Harry Potter @ Director’s Club, MOA [Thanks again, Shiela for organizing Ü]
  • First time to try Pole Dancing and Lazerxtreme Ü
  • Single Ladies/La Perla Ladies night out [First time to ____ (fill in the blanks). You ladies know what happened that night. No need to elaborate. Hehehe!]
  • Got to see that partial solar eclipse on the 22nd of July [Candy: “Amazing!” O ha, partial solar eclipse pa lang yan! Pano pa kaya kung total (eclipse of the heart)? LOL!]
  • Celebrated Father’s Day at Circles in Shang [Thanks to the promo!]
  • First time to join two "run for a cause" events this year…and both got postponed because of typhoons [Sana hindi ako ang dahilan. LOL!]
  • Lunchmates photoshoot for Maan [I ♥ that white blanket. LOL!]
  • Did some catching up with best friend Silver, long-lost college batch mate Derek, and Vegas tripping with Tita P Ü
  • Tried to reinvent myself with an eyeliner & hair highlights towards the end of the year. Hehe!Ü

Some not-so-nice things that happened in 2009...
  • Manong Guard’s scrutiny of my outfit on a Saturday morning [Manong: “Ma’am, bawal po yung naka-shorts.” Take note: I was wearing knee-length shorts. HOWEVER, (even) short(er length) skirts worn during weekdays are allowed. Kung alam ko lang na sisitahin nya ko, I would’ve worn super short shorts para justified naman ang pag-sita nya sakin!]. However, I’d take this anytime compared to that BDO fiasco back in 2008.
  • Used up half of my allotted ELs for this year (which is actually not a good thing coz I only use my ELs if there’s flood due to heavy rains)
  • Typhoon Ondoy. Although I’m thankful that all we had to deal with was that 12-hour blackout at our area. It’s just heartbreaking to see those who were not as lucky as we were.
  • Failed attempt to reformat my PC from Vista to XP on Christmas Day. Hay, it was just so frustrating.
  • FB taking over the time that should've been spent writing my blogs [Currently contemplating on killing my FB account. Hindi ko pa ata kaya. Hehe.]
  • 756e72657175697465646c696b65

And quite a few personally unrelated matters that I just want to take note of...
  • Obama’s inauguration
  • Death of the following icons: Michael Jackson, Cory Aquino
  • AH1N1/Swine flu
  • Typhoon Pepeng

So...that was 2009 for me. For 2010, I only have one resolution and that is to: SMILE. Always.Ü Good luck to me on that! Hahaha! TTFN!Ü