I Booked A Flight Ticket To Italy

Just a quick blog post… I just wanna share something.

Earlier, I booked a flight to Sicily, Italy on the last of week of August. My relatives in Italy have been inviting me to visit them since I’m already living and working here in Europe.

Booking a flight in Italy has been so liberating for a lot of reasons. I have a constant battle with myself on whether to go there or not. I haven’t really travelled much since I arrived here in London. The only country that I’ve ever been to since I arrived in 2016 was in Paris, France which I travelled last year on my birthday. There’s a lot of things that’s holding me back. I was scared of the expenses, travelling alone, seeing my relatives on my father side for the first time, meeting them, there’s just a lot of fears. It is summer season in Europe, and with that, the price of flights tickets are expected to be high. Another thing that’s holding me back was the expensive flight tickets. But then, I won’t be able to go anywhere if I will keep thinking about the expenses and burning my savings. That’s why I still booked the flight even if the price is higher that usual. I just let go. Sometimes, the only thing that is necessary to do is to let go of all the worries. And after booking the flight, I felt so liberated. It is fearful to travel alone but at the same time, I felt so free knowing that I have a lot of things to learn with this experience. I felt like I’ve let go of the baggage that I’ve been carrying. It is true, fears and worries are crippling. I won’t be able to go anywhere if I have a lot of fears.

Yesterday, I’ve been wanting to relax and thinking of having a massage or a hair treatment. I always have a hair cut, hair treatment, manicure or pedicure in the Philippines when I’m feeling stressed. So yesterday, I went to Kingston Town Centre to have a hair treatment. I first went to Rush salon but their staff isn’t so accommodating and there’s no available time for me to have the treatment yesterday. Afterwards, I went to Toni & Guy Salon, but when the receptionist asked what I want to do with my hair, he just gave the price of the services and I feel that that’s not the salon that I was looking for. I was already feeling hopeless at that time, then I kept on walking in the market, when I saw another salon, I went inside and inquired and asked the price of Glossing. Then a man assisted me, answered all my questions, tried to explain what my hair needs, asked me to sit on the chair in front of the mirror and looked for the advice of the stylist on what she thinks my hair needs. And because of the kindness and rapport of the receptionist (Victor), even though the price is a bit expensive, I said yes, I wanna have the treatment now. Regarding the price, what can I do, I live in London, the prices of services here are expected to be really high.  Actually, the main reason why I want to have the hair treatment is because I want a scalp massage. I just want to be relaxed. Part of the services of Headquarters Hair Salon is scalp massage and neck massage. It was so relaxing. The staff are very kind and professional. The money spent is worth it.

These are the moments I learned a lot about surrendering, letting go, being present and enjoying the moment and not being too serious about the future.

*** The map of Italy was from google.com images.

Zoomanity Parks Visited by Kpop Groups Asha and Fameus

Four weeks ago, I was invited to cover the event of Zoomanity Group of Companies where Kpop groups Fameus and Asha visited the two theme parks, Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite and Residence Inn Tagaytay. We arrived in Paradizoo at around 10:00am. A few minutes later, the two Kpop groups arrived. The girl group is called Asha while the boy group is named Fameus. To be honest, I am not a Kpop fan but I was looking forward for the two groups and see for myself if I too, will be captivated by their charm and talent. And indeed, I was. Of course, their presence were undeniable because of their white and fair skin, fashionable outfit and colorful hairstyles.

Paradizoo

Paradizoo

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Asha

Fameus

Fameus

Members of Fameus feeding the rabbits

Members of Fameus feeding the rabbits

With the five-legged cow

With the five-legged cow

While touring the Paradizoo with them, their child-like attitude became evident. Who wouldn’t be happy at seeing rabbits, donkeys, cows, ostrich, etc. right in front you? We were exhilarated and I had seen in their reactions the joy of interacting with the creatures that we do not see everyday. They were so cute! In Paradizoo, the boy group performed the famous Tagalog song “Na Sayo Na ang Lahat” originally sang by Daniel Padilla. That performance was not one-liner or sang in acapela but with music, second voice and they literally sang the whole song. And I must say, they really have beautiful voices.

After lunch, we headed to the Residence Inn Tagaytay which was only 15 minutes away from Paradizoo. Hundreds of fans were awaiting the two groups in the activity area. Just like in Paradizoo, Fameus performed “Na Sayo Na ang Lahat” and “Mahal na Mahal” originally sang by Sam Concepcion. And again, I was amazed seeing Koreans sing Tagalog songs beautifully. Afterwards, we watched a magical show performed by the theme park’s actors and actresses. Kids in the audience, the Kpop groups, and all the people in the venue enjoyed the simple magical show.

The magnificent view in the Residence Inn Tagaytay

The magnificent view in the Residence Inn Tagaytay

Arabian camel

Arabian camel

My realization in that day was that as we grow older, our standard of happiness increases. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to be pleased or to be happy. That’s why I love being with kids because they have simple happiness, plus the Kpop group, they are so child-like. I will always remind myself to be child-like. These two theme parks will bring us the same feeling of how to be happy just like when we were a child. Let us never be afraid to show the “child” in us.

Experiencing the Land Down Under: Melbourne

It was last year when I had my very first trip outside the country, and also to a different continent, Australia. It was an educational trip in one of my classes in UST The Graduate School. I remembered a few days before the trip, I was very excited but at the same time nervous because our Australian Visa were not yet released. The trip was scheduled on Saturday but it was only 2 days before our departure, on Thursday, that our visa were released. I started blogging in 2011 but 2013 and 2014 were not a blogging year for me. I was not in the mood to write, so the wonderful experiences on those years were not posted here. That’s why I’m catching up right now. I want to look back on these experiences years from now, 5 years or 10 years down the road, if I already have my own family, realizing that life may have been far from perfect but I lived and enjoyed life while young and single.

From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, we had a 9-hour plane ride to Melbourne Airport. I was seated with an Australian man (I forgot his name), who was working in a Casino in Melbourne. He was going back to Melbourne from his travel in Thailand. For me, one of the best perks of traveling is meeting strangers, whom you can have great conversations with, learn a lot of things and exchange ideas from one another’s origin. As with the Australian man, he shared his experience from Thailand where he was able to attend a wedding of a local Thai who both were working in the Elephant conservation area. The elephants were the “guest of honor” in the wedding. He also showed me a video of baby elephants rolling and enjoying while taking a bath on a large basin. The elephants were so cute. He also gave tips and helpful information for our trip to Melbourne, as a Melbourne local himself.

Restaurants

We ate in a different types of restaurants in Melbourne. We tried Turkish restaurant where we ordered lamb meat, wrapped like a shawarma. We also experienced Chinese buffet restaurant, China Bar, in the Central Business District, where the family of my professor’s friend hosted our lunch.

Transportation

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The Tram

Melbourne has an excellent transportation. The kinds of public transportation are tram, cab and bus. I think the most famous is the tram. We bought a tram ticket in 7/11, it’s called Miki card, where you will tap the card in the censor upon entering the train. The tram was so comfortable, it was air conditioned, and not crowded. What I absolutely admired about the transportation was their road. The  busses, cabs, private vehicles, and tram share the same road, but they each have a right of way with the help of stop lights, so accidents are far to happen. We were also lucky to go inside the Metro Rail Network, where the engineer, showed us the office and how they ran the railway system in Victoria.

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Inside the Metro Rail Network

Metro Rail Network Office

Metro Rail Network Office

Places we’ve visited

Our primary reason for traveling to Melbourne was to meet the officials of the Deakin University, in Burwood. After the small conference, the officials toured us around the university. We went to the different colleges, the university library (a haven!) and the university art museum.

Sunday Catholic mass

Sunday Catholic mass

With the Deakin University officials

With the Deakin University officials

Deakin University Australia

Deakin University Australia

Library of Deakin University

Library of Deakin University

Christian Union of the University

Christian Union of the university

We also met the Philippine Consul in Melbourne, Ms. Gigi Kalong. She was such an inspiration for me, as how she’s being a steward for the welfare of all Filipinos in Melbourne.

With Ms. Gigi, the Philippine Consul in Melbourne

With Ms. Gigi, the Philippine Consul in Melbourne

Another activity we did was visiting Carlton Brewhouse. We were taught how a beer was produced, its ingredients and the long process of brewing and bottling. We were able to taste the different kinds of beer. I just noticed that in Australia, the employees are multi-tasker. Our tour guide was also the barterder and the waitress of the bar, amazing! I and my classmates enjoyed the beer tasting at the end of the tour. We ordered pizza and chicken, the food best paired with unlimited beer.

Beer tasting with classmates and professor

Beer tasting with classmates and professor

Other spots

There are a lot of parks in Melbourne where you can relax, people watch, and spend your day. There’s also the famous Flinders street, the central station in Melbourne’s suburban rail network. We went inside the State Library of Victoria, where everyone can go in, use a computer and enjoy free wifi. The library holds over 2 million books. We also stayed for a few hours in QV Melbourne, it had several restaurants and offers unlimited Wi-Fi access. When we were there, me and my classmates lie on the grass and stare at the sky, realizing our last night in Melbourne.

Flinder''s Street

Flinders street station

State Library of Victory in the morning

State Library of Victory in the morning

Flinders Street

Flinders Street

Hotel

We stayed in the Grand Chancellor Hotel. What I loved about our accommodation were the friendly hotel staffs, and the thing I looked for every morning, the hotel’s continental breakfast. I loved sausages, scrambled eggs, fruits, pork and beans, ham, bread, etc.

In front of the hotel

In front of the hotel

People

Australians were friendly, and such a smiley, in a way that when you look at their faces, and they caught you looking at them, they will give you a warm smile in return.

I really fell in love with Melbourne. This trip ignited my childhood dream to travel more to other parts of the world. It is not always everyday that I can travel like this. Truly, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

Memories of KL, A Year After

It’s been more than a year when I went to Australia. It was March 2014. Before setting foot in Australia, me and my classmates in The Graduate School first landed in Malaysia. I just want to blog about this short experience of mine. I have a lot of ideas in mind to blog about and this is one of those.

My classmate Mel (left) and I, on board the plane

My classmate Mel (left) and I, on board the plane

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We did a city tour for about 5 to 6 hours. With that short span of time, I knew in my heart that I wanted to go back in this country and explore its other places. In the future, I will.

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The hop-on hop-off city tour bus

The weather is pretty much the same here in the Philippines. It is very evident from the landscape and structures that it is predominantly a Muslim country. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia.
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The China Town where we had our lunch

On the way to the Petronas Tower

On the way to The Petronas Tower

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The Petronas Tower

The Petronas Tower

These are just some of the pictures taken in KL. But no pictures can ever really describe the feeling of a person. What he/she feels at that certain point in time. The memory of my tour in Kuala Lumpur will always stay in me.

A year after… How am I? Well, I had overcome my quarter life crisis. (As far as I know, I already did.) Congratulations to me! I may have taken a different career path before, but that experience prepared me to become the person that I am now. No regrets. 🙂

Cebu trip: Day 2 and 3- Going South

On the second day of our Cebu trip, we went South. We’re supposed to do island hopping in Mactan Island on the second day but all of us thought that we’ll be able to explore Cebu more if we’ll go South. I was searching the web for other nice spots in Cebu, then I asked my friend if we could go and visit Kawasan Falls. And our Cebuano friend said that it was really nice in Kawasan, so at 7 am of June 4, we headed on South. We’re expecting more than 3 hours of travel from the city to Moalboal town. But it just took us two and a half hours. In everything that we do in life, it was really the journey that could strike us the most. And our 2 1/2 hours journey towards Moalboal was really a moment to cherish. I have come to love Cebu because of that. I’ve come to see the beauty of Cebu more. If the city is more of historical sites, buildings, hotels and churches, going South is more of nature. I do appreciate nature. And I enjoyed the sights of mountains, trees, grass, and most specially the white sand beaches with clear water. Cebu has everything a tourist could ask for. It has its city, historical spots, there are mountains, white sand beaches, beautiful falls. And the distance from one another is not that far. In just an hour or two, and maybe three, maximum of four, you’re already in a different place, in a different location, in a different horizon.


From left: Daffodil (Cebuano friend), Zai, CJ (Cebuano friend) and myself in front of the Kawasan falls

We spent overnight in a resort in Moalboal. Before sleeping, me and my friend had a long, nice talk. We placed a cloth in the sand, and lye there overlooking the stars and the ocean, if sitting. We talked about our lives, our work and our everyday experiences in the workplaces. It’s a kind of talk that we’re longing to have. I, myself, is wanting to express my thoughts about what’s going on in my life.

On our 3rd day, we woke up at 7 am to go back in the city to catch up for our flight back in Manila which is set to  be at 12.15pm. We arrived at NAIA at 1.30pm. Before separating ways, my friend and I dropped by in “Raku”, a Japanese restaurant on the 3rd floor of the airport, to eat, and we ordered their noodles. I love noodles kasi! Delicious! 🙂 The table in that restaurant has a funny but sensible statement. It says, “Share a table. Make a friend.”

I hope to go back in Cebu in the near future with the people I love. I want to tour them in the beautiful places that I was able see. Cebu is just a small province but I’ve come to love it. You will the see its beauty once you’ve been there. And one more thing, the people are nice. Cebuanos are nice. And the way they talk and speak Bisaya, they’re cute. I want to learn their language.  There are also other places to look forward to, such as the Bantayan Island in the  north and the Pagadian Island.

Hope to see more of you, Cebu, soon!!! 🙂

Cebu trip: Day 1- City tour

Weeks and days before the Cebu trip was really a struggle: struggle in asking permission to my mother and bosses at work that I’ll be going to Cebu for 3 days. (I would only be absent at work for a day because the two remaining days are Saturday and Sunday, no work.) I was waiting for the right time to ask permission to everyone. And yes, they allowed me to. I filed a one day leave from work. Me and one of my batchmate at work love to travel. We said before that we will travel and explore the places in the Philippines that we haven’t visited yet. And Cebu is one of those places. That’s why last March, we booked a flight to Cebu and the date we chose was June 3-5. Our airline was AirPhils. The cost of our 2 way ticket was Php3,142.00 inclusive of travel tax, terminal fee not yet included. The terminal fee is Php200 each for both NAIA and Mactan Airport. It was my first time to travel that far, I mean, to travel outside Luzon via airplane. That first airplane experience of mine is very memorable. I was nervous and anxious during the takeoff. Allow me to, it’s my first time ok! Our departure time in NAIA was 4:15am and we arrived in Mactan-Cebu International Airport at 5:10am.  Me and my friend was fetched in the airport by our Cebuano batchmate. That friend of ours volunteered to be our “tour guide”. From the airport, we first headed to Lapu Lapu Shrine. There was a huge monument of Lapu Lapu, the first Philippine hero.

Afterwards, we checked-in in our hotel “Fuente de Oro”. It was a newly built hotel, and the room rate is fairly reasonable. The cost of our hotel room is Php1,400, per night, bed for two, but with extra bed underneath. Since me and my friend were already in the airport as early as 12am of Friday, we had no sleep. We decided to sleep for 2 hours to make up for the lost sleep that night.

At 11am, we went to the IT Park. It’s like the little Ayala Ave., of Makati, in which there are buildings, call center offices, food parks and restaurants. We ate breakfast there. After eating, we went to Fort San Pedro. It’s the Cebu version of Intramuros in Manila. The place was full of historical memories dated on 1600s. Then we went to the historically famous Sto. Nino Church. We went inside and prayed. We were able to see the Sto. Nino from a distance. Afterwards, we proceeded to the part outside the church where you can light candles and ask for petitions. Magellan’s Cross was our next stop which was just a walking distance outside the church. There were many tourists taking pictures of the famous cross. This is what makes Cebu famous. When you hear Magellan’s Cross, people automatically say, Cebu!

At 1pm, we went to the Casa Verde restaurant for our lunch. We ordered their best seller, Brian’s ribs, it’s a steak, plus watermelon salad, calamares, and seafood carbonara. Delicious food but not that expensive.

After eating we went to Taboan, the place where you can buy baskets of Danggit, pusit and other dried fishes. I really like their pusit, it’s my favourite. After buying pasalubong, we went to Larsian barbeque house. We ate barbeque and “Puso”. Puso is the name of their rice, where rice is cooked inside the coconut leaf.

We were craving for a dessert and so we headed to La Marea. It’s a coffee shop. We ordered cappuccino, tea, and chose our dessert, I chose blueberry cake. It’s so delicious! Until now, I’m still craving for the blueberry cake in La Marea.

Then, we went to Marco Polo Hotel to fetch the areamate of my batchmate. We’re colleagues because we have the same work under one company. Marco Polo Hotel is really a nice hotel; we saw the lobby and waited in the pool area, it was very classy. It was lovely. Then we headed straight to the restaurant located on top of the mountain: Mr. A restaurant; the view is overlooking the whole Cebu City. It’s a beautiful restaurant. Like the restaurants we see in the Korean series overlooking the whole city with lots of light from the establishments. In there, we were able to see a nice view of Cebu, such as the famous hotels in the city: the Marco Polo Hotel, Imperial Place and Crown Regency Hotel. To all the adventure-seekers out there, there are exciting rides that you can try in Crown Regency Hotel. There is a Zipline, a Skywalk, and a Coaster Ride. We were supposed to try skywalk, but we ran out of time.

It was really a long day. We went back to our hotel tired but happy with what we’ve seen so far on our first day in Cebu. 🙂