Hey, Hey, HK!

I guess you can say that HK is the go-to place when you want to not plan your out-of-country trip. And so, on my fourth time back, I come with my office mates/friends. Yep, it has come to that point in our relationship that we have become good friends in and outside of the office. So, this HK trip was peer pressure talaga, lol. We booked it on one of our eat outs after work, because wala lang. Just for a fun weekend trip. Talk about random, lol.

Hey hey HK!

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We only had two full days so we wanted to make the most out of it. Those two days felt like a week BTW, joke lang.

To perform beyond the usual #hongkong

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We got there at around 10 in the morning, left our bags at our airbnb, then headed off to the Big Buddha area.

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while waiting for our airbnb contact

Because train rides need to be documented, lol.

I’m actually always scared to take the cable car going to Ngong Ping Village, but it is the quickest way to get there compared to taking the bus. Although, this trip was probably the scariest out of all my trips because umuulan and medyo malakas so medyo may pag-uga yung cable car minsan!

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trying to NOT look scared

I guess people who have been to the Big Buddha area before knows that right before you climb (in case you want a closer look of the buddha) is a small food place that offers noodles and fried dimsum na may masungit na nagtitinda. Kasama daw kasi yun sa charm.

Saturday snacks 🍢

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Since this is our first time traveling together, outside of the country pa, siyempre we all had to adjust to one another, especially if hindi talaga mahilig maglakad mga kasama mo, or if they aren’t the type to explore each and every corner of a certain place. Kaya, after taking photos, balik na kami – to go to the mall.

Sunday wish ✨

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After everybody finished buying shoes, clothes, and make-up, dinner time naman. I actually don’t remember where exactly we had our dinner. San nga ba? Hahaha.

Anyway, everybody was dead tired on our first day so we just all decided to drink and stay at our apartment instead of heading out to the night markets.

Sunday night lights

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The next day was Ocean Park day, kaso we literally stayed there for I think an hour or two because not everyone liked amusement parks. Hahaha. Buti nalang, all of the places we went to, I have already been and I have literally explored almost every corner of those places, although, medyo sayang kasi we already paid for the tickets na for the entire day sana. But, we have to set our priorities straight, which is to look for Yeezys, Ultraboosts, or NMDs sana, so off we go to Mong Kok!

Drinks for sale #hongkong

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Successful naman the shopping time, we all got the shoes, clothes, and souvenirs we needed to buy, because tomorrow, we have to leave early since our flight is at about 10 am.

This is another one for the books, because of all the craziness I experienced with this crazy/beautiful bunch! Our next stop? the guys are planning to go to Japan! Good luck, hahahah.

Weekend wings 🦋

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Boracay and a Wedding

After 5 months, my first blog entry is about Boracay (a favorite place of mine and my friends), and my college friend’s wedding, because there are no rules as to what you should post after a long break, lol.

So, a couple of months back, Karen, our college barkada based in France told us that she plans on having a beach wedding, in either Batangas, Palawan, or Boracay. Fast forward to Boracay being the final choice and the college barkada finalizing the trip (booking flights, hotel and paying) via the uber reliable Viber, hahaha.

The wedding was scheduled on a Saturday, so we all decided to come in on a Friday, hit the beach, attend the wedding on Saturday, before taking the last flight out on Sunday.

Except that it rained that Friday afternoon so we just ended up taking full advantage of the happy hour offer until it was time for dinner at around 8 pm.

The next morning, we all woke up at around 9 to get a little tan since the wedding call time was 4 pm. Unfortunately, it was raining, really, really, hard!!! So, dahil ang hirap namang mag-beach habang umuulan, we ate, then went back to sleep, hahaha. Buti na lang, the rain literally stopped at around 1 pm. Sakto for the wedding! Yay!

I can honestly say that this is the wedding that I have cried the most. Super. As in. Exage na kung exage pero ang dami kong times talaga na umiyak, hahaha. And not just me, but almost the entire barkada too. From the moment Karen walked down the aisle, to their wedding vows, to the many speeches of the fabulous friends of the couple. It was really one of the best weddings I have attended. And I have attended medyo a lot na okay.

Look at the cute invitation/souvenir:

The set-up of the entire place was perfect ❤ I most especially like how the cocktails were set-up while the guests waited for their turn to have their photos taken with the couple.

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It was a celebration of love and family and friendship and I’m really happy I got to be part of it. ❤

P.S. I have a short story about our mishap on our way back to Manila. Lol. So, about a few days before the trip, we received an email from Cebu Pacific bout our return flight having a schedule change, with the flight leaving 10 minutes earlier than the original time. So from 8:55 pm, it was moved to 8:45 pm. Okay, whatever. Let’s go to Boracay and enjoy the island. We did just that. On Sunday pa nga, we were a little bummed because we had to leave the hotel at 3 in the afternoon because our shuttle service will be picking us already, telling us that they always allot at least 4-5 hours of travel for domestic flights from Kalibo. Okay, fine, wala na magagawa. We arrived Kalibo airport at around 6 pm, bought some food, and headed on the CebPac’s check-in counter. Medyo nairita pa kami kasi when we got there, they looked shocked to see us, like hindi ba sila aware na we are there to check-in? Well, the answer is, hindi. Because the schedule change was actually a major one!! We were supposed to depart from Caticlan airport and not Kalibo!!! Kaloka. Good thing the CebPac folks told us to take the airport cab (they paid for it, thank you!), start traveling back to Caticlan while they work on our tickets. We literally arrived 10 minutes before the gates opened and started calling all passengers. Ka-stress! At the end of it all, we all just laughed and told ourselves that we have another one for the books, hahaha!

Baguio Birthday to Me

Originally, I was supposed to spend my birthday in Seoul. The round trip tickets I bought back  in March, my visa requirements ready for submission, hotel booked, itinerary done. Then stuff happened. Ganun talaga. So from Seoul, I ended up spending my birthday weekend in Baguio! I was thinking of going to the beach but December naman daw, and masayang pumunta ng Baguio in December kasi malamig, sabi ng GBFF ko (gay best friend forever). Okay, siya na nasunod kahit ako may birthday, lol.

This I would say is my most low key birthday celebration because it did not involve going to the airport, taking the plane and having an elaborate itinerary for the next couple of days. So, our goal for the weekend was to go to places in Baguio that we have never visited yet. Maiba naman, ganun.

We left Manila at around 3 in the morning and arrived Baguio City proper at roughly around 8am. We looked for a hotel, had breakfast and took some much needed nap since all three of us were dead tired from all the traveling – we all know how to drive so we all did our part driving from Manila to Baguio, hashtag teamwork, lol.

All of the places we went to this weekend were all thanks to Google, Google Maps and Waze. Thank you internet gods. We started with this:

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This is Benguet’s version of favela paintings in Brazil. It took us a bit of a while to look for this place, we were looking for a massive hillside full of painted houses, mainly because it looked so much promising in photos, lol.

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Don’t do drugs and no picking of flowers, got it?

Since it was already past lunchtime, our next stop was the Ili-likha Village. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but don’t be fooled.

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Yep, that’s the entrance

It’s like the food parks that we have in Manila, but it’s designed like a tree house, where you have to either go up or down the stairs to visit the many cute hole-in-walls.  I highly recommend visiting this place, and not just to eat, but to also take a look at the design of the place itself, and the many things you will see inside.

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Yep.

Before heading to our next stop, we dropped by the church, thankful for so many things, and because 2016 was epic!!

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Our last stop was Baguio Country Club’s Christmas Village. Obviously, this one is for kids, so don’t expect too much out of it, oki. Buti nalang we didn’t expect anything since we had no idea what’s inside, lol.

Since our place is right across Burnham Park, dinner was at one of the many food stalls around the area while going around the ukay-ukays.

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puto bumbong FTW!

We actually all slept a little early that night, because we are old people, hahaha.

The only place left on our agenda was going to the old Diplomat Hotel, because wala lang.

It was not scary at all, or maybe because it was 10 in the morning. There was nothing to see actually. Oh well.

Hindi ko din gets bakit may creepy standee at the entrance.

We had lunch at Ketchup Community, then for our final meal before heading back to Manila, we dropped by Batirol for some hot choco and bibingka!

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This year, I am still at a loss on where I would want to spend my birthday. But just like every year, things will happen the way it should happen, so I’m not too stressed about it. 😀

Travel Tales: Tacloban

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It was a short trip but I loved every minute of it especially the whole day in Kalanggaman because I missed the beach so much!

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Pictures are all dark and gloomy because it was raining the entire day

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Seeing the San Juanico bridge in real life is one of the highlights for me because I grew up reading about it in history books, and now I got to see it with my own two eyes!

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This is another highlight. When I was a kid, I always see this photo in my history books, and in postcards that we use for our school projects. I always thought that it would be the same height as regular people. Turns out that these statues are huuuge! Double my size! Amazing!

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After the bridge and the landing, we headed on to Santo Nino Shrine, the place Imelda Marcos built as the Romualdez ancestral home. It looks like any ordinary house outside, but in reality, it’s one of the grandest old houses I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know why it’s called a shrine, eh mansion sya, mansion!!

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The place is humongous. You can see the grandness of the place even though it’s almost as old as me (I think). Chandeliers made of pure nara, cabinets from China, walls of leather made in Italy, paintings, vases from all over the world. As in. Malungkot lang yung part na hindi naingatan yung buong place. Sayang kasi soobrang naluluma lang lahat and the caretakers are not doing a great job of actually taking care of the place.

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Another interesting thing I saw at the shrine/mansion are these paper bills on display from BPI from 1912. Galeng!

We also dropped by the Yolanda Memorial site. Scary siya for me because behind the memorial you will see that people have decided to live there again.. Hmmm.

By 3pm, we decided it was time to wrap it up and head to Palompon, the town nearest to Kalanggaman Island. The travel time takes about 2-3 hours by van, and vans are not available 24 hours, so it would be best to know what the last trip for the day is.

One thing to take note of when traveling to a place that is not as touristy as Boracay, or Coron, is that restaurants are already closed at 8 in the evening. We have been walking for a good 10-15 minutes pero lahat ng kainan sarado na huhu. As in, we thought we will end up eating food from Mercury Drug (kasi yun na lang ang bukas, lol). Buti na lang, while walking, we saw this cute hipstery restaurant. Actually, sarado na sila. But I think naawa sila samin so even if they were already closed and just waiting for the people to finish eating, pinapasok nila kami with the condition that the only thing we can order are their pasta dishes. Keri!

The next day was Kalanggaman day. We headed to their tourist information and we were told that a boat, regardless of the number of passengers is 3000php. Lucky for us, there were 2 more couples who are going to the island that day. So we just decided to take one boat and share the boat ride. Since Kalanggaman is only starting to get buzz now, they do not have packages like the ones in Coron or El Nido where food is included. You need to bring your own food to the island. Importante yan so remember!!

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I love the beach and I will take every opportunity to go to one any time I can. Hope I get to see more beaches this year!

Music Mondays

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For this week’s session, Imma share with you my a few of my favorite songs from the not so long ago years, lol.

Mr. Brightside, The Killers. I’m not really a huge fan of all of their songs, but I’m sure everybody knows this. Not only is the tune extremely catchy, but the lyrics! LOL!

Bleeding Love, Leona Lewis. There was a time when this song was literally on loop for about a week! That’s how much I loved it!

How to Save a Life, The Fray. This brings so much Grey’s Anatomy memories, huhuhu! Which reminds me, I have a lot of catching up to do to catch up to the latest season.

Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield. This song I first discovered when it was used in a Pantene shampoo commercial. During those times, hair rebonding was so common that almost me and my college girlfriends had long, rebonded hair, and we used to call ourselves the Pantene Girls, haha. See, this song brings so much early “just got out of college, now we working” memories!

Payphone, Maroon 5. I know, it’s like just a few years ago, but this is seriously my favorite Maroon 5 song, more than Sunday Morning. 🙂

Cry Me a River, Justin Timberlake. Because it was still that time when MTV was MTV and when JT and Britney broke up and there’s a girl in the video that looks like Britney. JT-Britney forever!

Early throwback!

<3, Melai

Hello, 2017!

Here I go again! Stopped posting for an entire quarter and now I’m back to post my 2017 goals, lolol. I don’t really have a lot, I just want to put in a few and stick to it.

First up, I want to read more. Every year, I tell myself that I should read at least 1 book per month but I end up wasting so much time on FB and IG instead of actually reading books. I was browsing my old photos in 2014 and 2015 and I saw how much I read during those times compared to last year. I have soo many books that it feels like I am just collecting them instead of actually reading! So, for 2017, I will read more books.

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Read so much more in 2014

Last night, while talking to my GBF (gay best friend), we were talking about places we want to visit this year. Obviously, there are soooo many places I want to go this year. But, Joewa said the goal this year is to stop going to mainstream travel places (oo, may ganon). And, I totally agree. So, this year, ang mga travel goals ay Myanmar, Laos, Batanes, Nepal, Bhutan, mga ganyan. Realistically, Hanoi is on my list this year. Sana.

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2014. This was in Vietnam’s Mui Nhe Fishing Village, a place not everyone gets to visit when in HCMC

I also want to start being healthy again. 2013 and 2014 I guess was the time I felt the healthiest. I remember I started running almost on a daily basis, until I decided to go to the gym, almost daily also. Now, I do nothing!!! Ay, I do a lot of eating pala, and nothing to make myself healthy.

I read an article last week that says successful people spend at least 5 hours per day doing three things: reading, reflecting and experimenting. So, pasok na sa goals ko ang read more books. For reflecting, I have a journal that I *hope* I will be able to write into regularly, and for experimenting, hindi ko pa alam. Maybe go back  to learning a new language: French. I downloaded an app last year and I already know a few French words tapos tinamad ako. Realistic naman lahat ng goals ko, kailangan ko lang tigilan ang pagiging tamad.

And last, mag-blog. Sobrang tamad ko eh.

<3, Melai