December 30, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

Ciao, my dear.

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History Musings in Ho Chi Minh

December 22, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

Heeyyy!!! Now, I have time to share my Indochina adventures to all of you. It was one awesome trip. A bit cheap too considering that I spent almost three weeks on three countries! But let's talk about the expenses later on, okay? :P

I booked an Indochina trip a year ago on one of Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare. It was supposed to be a solo trip, but decided to invite my friends to join me. Eyann, who works in Thailand, joined me on this trip. Meann decided to join us on the Vietnam leg too. I did quite a lot of research and made the itinerary for the whole trip. 

Meann and I met Eyann in the Ho Chi Minh airport, Eyann flew from Thailand. I arranged a hostel pick up which cost US $15 for the three of us. We arrived past midnight of October 16th. We stayed at Bich Duyen Hotel in the backpackers' area, which I found from my blog hopping. We had a pretty cheap but comfortable stay. I will try to write a hostel review, alright? :P 

We did the Cao Dai Temple + Cu Chi Tunnel on our first day. So I emailed the hostel prior to the trip, and told them to arrange the tour for us, pretty easy right? We paid US $10 per pax. 

We boarded the bus for our group tour, and the tour facilitator gave us a little background on the tour. 
Let's get started!
On our way to the temple, we visited the Handicapped Handicrafts, which was not part of the itinerary. Nonetheless, the works are impressive, especially seeing them creating a work of art from scratch. I was mostly impressed because they are using egg shells on the paintings. Despite the disability, they are producing wonderful works of art, hats off to them.
works of art
ingenious
We left the shop, and headed to the Cao Dai Temple, or the Holy See. According to our tour guide, we could observe the different religions in the temple by looking at the color of the robes that they wear. I had to Google to get the correct colors and association, but yellow for Buddhism, blue for Taoism, and red for Confucianism. We were allowed to watch the ceremonies and take photos. But outside of the temple, we are not allowed to cross certain areas, or the demarcation lines. 
Cao Dai Temple
Inside the temple, we watched the ongoing ceremony. They allow people to take photos and observe, but make sure to be always respectful. 
during the ceremony
We left the temple, but roam around the vicinity. It was a huge complex.
Few minutes more of roaming around, we left the place with the group. We headed at the Cu Chi Tunnel, which was my primary reason on being in Vietnam. We paid VND 90,000 or roughly around US $6. 

In the Cu Chi complex, the tour guide showed various booby traps. These were created during the war.
booby trap
more booby traps
I jumped on one of the trap doors, just for the heck of it. I was not sure if I could fit but considering that the other guys were able to fit, I'd probably would. But I was scared that I won't be able to get out of it. 
the trap door
I was one of the first and the few ones that tried this. I wasn't wrong, I had a hard time getting out due to my weak upper body. The good samaritans in the group helped me.
I fit!
now you see me
and then you don't!
The Cu Chi Tunnel is a network of underground tunnels used during the war. Looking at the tunnel, I could not imagine up until this point how the Vietnamese people survived. I salute them.

We were not sure on whether we are claustrophobic but we entered the tunnels. These were modified a bit to accommodate visitors; the Vietnamese have small frames. The tunnels are uncomfortably narrow and dark. But there are exits along the way, just in case you want to end the tunnel journey.
here we go!
push!
almost done!
We were counting the exits, and pushing ourselves to finish this until the end. It was getting narrower as we were nearing the end. I wasn't on my knees on the first part, but I did kneel to fit by the end. It was quite an experience.
We survived!
This was an adventure-filled day. We were able to learn a bit of the rich history of Vietnam. With the experience on the Cu Chi Tunnel, I could not help but admire their ingenuity and bravery during the war. Crawling inside the tunnel has been difficult, but imagine these Vietnamese people living in the underground tunnels during the war. Respect.

*Photo Credits: Tsina and Meann

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Test Passed

December 20, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

I am on top of the world. Hihi. I got the result of the certification exam yesterday, and I passed! Gosh, that's the power of vision board + multiple cups of coffee + Chopin. :P
I took the five-day training on April. But didn't get to take the exam until the 8th this month. I took the mock exam thrice but failed, and only got the required 80% correct answers on the 4th try. Failing the same mock exam over and over again was unnerving. When I finally passed the mock exam, failing to get decent scores on the practice exams was not very comforting either. I spent my time reviewing on coffee shops, and listening to Chopin. But I could not focus, I could only manage to review for two hours a day, and spent the rest of my time procrastinating. On the last week before the exam, I tried to answer as much practice exams as I could, and tried to devour as much information as possible. I could not fail.

On the day of the exam, I finished answering in two hours, and reviewed my answers for another hour. The exam was a bit confusing. After two weeks of waiting, I received the email. I successfully passed the exam. Great. This is my third testing certification in 6.5 years. I am happy. 

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December 08, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

You scare me. Just like all the stuff that my dreams are made of. The wand chooses the wizard, says Mr Ollivander. Make me a wand with the unicorn hair, and choose me. Choose me, but you smile like a child. I want you, but the wand must choose the wizard. Yes, the wand must choose the wizard.

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My 2014 Vision Board Report

November 29, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

It's a month before the year ends, let's check my vision board, shall we? I created this vision board last January, and I must say that I did a pretty good job this year. :P

I was able visit few places this year, and see lots of wonderful things. I went to Malaysia in January, and capture the grandiose of the Petronas Towers. I suggest you visit the SkyBar at the L33 of the Traders Hotel for the amazing view of the towers. Look at this!
I had my birthday trip in Hong Kong, and met the favorite couple in town. Plus Tinker Bell!! I had a pretty good time on my Indochina trip, visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Awesome time. Wait for my stories, alright? :P

My old and dependable laptop retired, and I bought an Air. I've been wanting an Air in ages. It's light, I could pack it on my favorite tote. Hihi. Of course, I bought the Air as a reward for my promotion and graduation. Sweet. 

I have not had time to get lessons on surfing, or driving, or swimming. But I cook now, just the easy ones though. I still box with my friends too. Yay! I still don't have a constant travel buddy, but I went on my trips this year with my friends. Not bad, right?

I sponsored another kid on World Vision, the first one graduated last April. They gave me another girl to sponsor, and then I signed up for another one last month. Just the best way I know I could help. You too can help, sign up on this link. Payment instructions to automatically debit it on your BPI account is on this link.

This looks like a pretty awesome year, and I still have a month to go! I still have to pass the Test Manager certification exam, which I am too lazy to review for. Pray for me, okay? But good stuff this year. #happykid

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November 23, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

It is a constant struggle. Unlearning a habit, that is. You force yourself on this; only to feel the reluctance building inside of you, waiting to explode. You pretend that it is alright, and this is the next best thing to do. After all, it's been two long years. Even the universe does not believe on chances; and you lose hope. Lying becomes a coping mechanism. 

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Road Trip

November 16, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

One Saturday, I went to a road trip with my Triage friends, Regina and Erlie. Erlie and I went to Laguna, and met up with Reg. When I was a kid, my family used to visit Tagaytay for weekend trips. But that was eons ago, and so we set to explore Tagaytay a bit. 
my road trip buddies
We went to the Pink Sisters for our first stop, and said our prayers. Pink Sisters has an area where you could write down your prayer request, and so I went ahead and wrote them down on a piece of paper. Prayers are powerful. 
Pink Sisters
We headed for some bulalo loving, Reg told us to eat at Bulalo Point for our lunch, not in Leslie, the more famous one. So, we ordered the killer lunch, and was serenaded at this place. I died a little. :P
the killer lunch at Bulalo Point
We decided to explore Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas, instead of going to Sonya's Garden and the Sky Ranch. I wanted to see the church. When we got there, we instantly saw the admin building. 
The place is gorgeous. We could not stop ourselves from taking photos. Can I have a garden like this one? :P
From the top, the view is amazing too. 
closer to nature
all green
We walked further ahead, and finally found the one eherm the church! I would like to get married on this church. In a distant future, okay? :P Hahahahahahaha!!! Seriously, this thought was running on my mind when we saw the church. I love it, the church, the ambiance, just about everything in this place. 
Caleruega
We explored the place a bit more, and stumbled on this man-made pond. Everything looks wonderful here.
with Regina
the man-made pond
I saw the very thing that sealed the deal. A hanging bridge. So my love affair with the hanging bridges continues, happy kid indeed. :P
the talikod-genic :P
It was a bit of a trek but we reached the tent chapel fine, panting but happy that we did. 
the tent chapel
wondering what she's praying for, hmmm
We said our prayers, and decided to go back to Regina, who was waiting by the bridge.
gorg!!
We rested a bit, and then decided to leave, and went to Bag of Beans in Tagaytay. We heard good reviews of the place, and went to try the pancakes and the coffee. But of course, we could not, and should not, leave Tagaytay without the photos of Taal. Reg brought us at Leslie's and we went on the view deck. Taal is absolutely breathtaking. I promise, I will trek you someday!!
Taal
We went to Nuvali, and checked the outlet stores too. But we only went for an hour or so, since it was a bit late and we would still go back in Manila. But we totally enjoyed this road trip, and planned to return and visit the other spots soon, and food trip of course!

*Photo Credits: Tsina, Erlie and Regina

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November 10, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

She said, I miss you. But that sounded hollow amidst the noise of his nonchalance. It'd be two years of chance encounters; two long years. 

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Hong Kong-Macau Travel Expenses

November 02, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

Celebrating my birthday in Hong Kong has been so much fun. Being able to travel is a blessing. Please feel free to browse on my adventures. I totally enjoyed this trip.

The birthday trip started at the Peak, we had the chance to see the stunning view of the city.

The Avenue of Stars is very near our hostel. This is the Hong Kong version of the Hollywood's Walk of Fame. The same spot provides the panoramic view of the city.

We had a day tour in Macau, and did casino hopping. But the most interesting would be the historic centre of Macau, which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

My Potterhead side has been amazed on the Venetian Macao. Goosebumps, really. 

One of my favourite spots in Macau is the Fisherman's Wharf, if only for the Roman amphitheatre. 

The Macau tower is on the list; capture the stunning skyline of Macau.

The crystal cabin in Ngong Ping still gives me the chills. 

Celebrated my birthday at Ocean Park, and enjoyed watching dolphins and sea lions starred on their own shows.

Who wouldn't be happy in Disneyland? Shared some moments with the favourite couple in town, Pooh and the gang. The kid couldn't be happier seeing Tinker Bell too. :P

So now, let me share my travel expenses for this Hong Kong-Macau birthday trip. Without food, bus fares and shopping, I spent PhP 14,956.12. Not bad, ayt?
1 HKD = 5.8 PhP

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At the Happiest Place in Hong Kong

October 31, 2014 Tsina 0 Comments

One of the highlights on my birthday trip in June was the visit to Disneyland. It was my first time to visit the said theme park. We took the train from the MTR Tung Chung line to Sunny Bay station, and then to the Disneyland Resort Station. The Mickey Mouse-inspired shuttle is love. 
love
When we reached Disneyland, we spent the next few minutes taking photos. More like capturing memories, hahahahaha! :P
Heyy, let's go Disneyland!
We lined up for an hour for a photo opportunity with the favourite couple in town, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I find these photos funny, third party ang peg. :P
sorry, Minnie, he's mine for now :P
Minnie: Whut?!
We started exploring the theme park, and headed to the Adventure Land to watch Festival of the Lion King. I have not watched the movie yet, maybe I should catch up with Lion King?  Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata!
We went to explore the Tarzan's Treehouse after the show. The treehouse is interesting, we found Tarzan and Jane on one of the rooms, and some cooking utensils and scientific equipments too.
Tarzan's Treehouse
At the Grizzly Gulch, we saw the runaway mine cars, but did not board it. Just a quick photo, and then we left.
at the Grizzly Gulch
We found the Mystic Manor at the Mystic Point. Looks grandiose from the outside.
the Mystic Manor
Felt teensy weeny at the Toy Land. Andy's world. This should be one of my favourite areas, brings us back to our childhood.
at Andy's world
Hey, Rex!
At the Fantasy Land, we went for the It's a Small World ride. This one features dolls dressed as the children of the world.
It's a Small World
We watched Mickey's Philhar Magic, also in the Fantasy Land. We headed towards the Fantasy Garden for photo opportunity with the Disney characters. So much fun! We had photos with Pooh, Pluto and Goofy. They were very playful, and full of energy.
Pooh magic
Pluto
ang cute namin, hahahahaha
We waited the Fantasy Parade at the Tomorrow Land. It was fun to watch the Disney characters.

Isdachu, Piglet? :P
Disney princesses
the kids must be the happiest
Tinker Bell
We sought to find Tinker Bell after the parade. I like her, I watched Peter Pan growing up, and I love her a lot. 
face to face with Tink
We went our way to watch Golden Mickeys, totally enjoyable. It is a stage musical, in awards ceremony style. 
When the show ended, we stayed and waited for the fireworks. The amazing fireworks capped our day at the happiest place in Hong Kong. :P
happy kid
*Photo Credits: Tsina and Jelai

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