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!

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

Travel Tales: Baler

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Aside from La Union, Baler is another place that is great for surfing. I have only been to Baler twice, but I loved both of the experiences that I had. The first time I was there, we took a bus from Cubao straight to Baler. The second was during Christmas season. I would suggest to take a private car instead of taking the bus, as it is more convenient especially when going back to Manila. We found out that the last trip from Baler back to Manila leaves at around 10 in the morning. So, if you want more time on your hands, best to take a car with you, or maybe take one of those package tours.

Of course, everybody needs to have a photo here:

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Another touristy spot is the Balete Tree:

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We also dropped by the museum, which is right next to the Baler sign:

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Going to Ditumabo Falls is its own experience. It was really easy during the first time I went there, maybe because it was summer and there was no tide at all.

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Unfortunately, because of a typhoon, the rock with the sign was nowhere to be found when we were there last Christmas. Also, the trek was so much scarier since the water was pretty high and there were no bridges for crossing because of the recent typhoon. The locals even said that the day after Christmas (which was the day we were there) was the first day the Falls were opened to the public after almost a week of nonstop rain.

Because of the scary trek, this is the best photo I have of the falls, hahahha:

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Kita naman yung falls diba? Okay na yan, may ebidensya.

Aside from actually surfing, my other favorite Baler spot is the hanging bridge. It’s really scary for me, like suuper scary, but the view is fantastic. And, it makes for great photos, lol.

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I’m not really sure why I don’t have any photos of me failing at surfing, hahaha. I guess that means that I enjoyed? 😀

Travel Tales: Hong Kong, Last Day

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We checked out early for our last day since we had to go back to Macau for our flight. Our flight leaves late at night so we at least will have an entire day to spend in Macau. We took the ferry again, then took once of the free shuttle buses from the casinos to go around the area.

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We went and walked around Senado Square which is the top tourist spot for Macau and wasted our time eating egg tarts and just really walking around the area.

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We also met up with my high school friend, Lim (that’s her last name but everyone calls her that), who is already based in Macau.

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The rest of the day, we just goofed around and laughed and spent the last few hours of our day laughing our hearts out with good company and great food. This was definitely a birthday to remember.

Travel Tales: Hong Kong 2014, Day 4

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For day 4, aka my birthday, we went to Ocean Park! Hehehe. We have been to Disneyland in 2012 (on my birthday too) but this was going to be my first time to Ocean Park, hehehe. I told my friends that it was non-negotiable: my birthday will be spent at a theme park, hahaha.

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breakfast
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so happy!

It was a weekday so there weren’t a lot of people so yey! No lines!

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The scariest part for us was not the rides, well, that was scary, a bit. But taking the cable car was the worst!!! Maybe because it was smaller than the ones in Ngong Ping, but also, it was open, and it like literally stopped in the middle of the mountain a loooot of times. Fun experience though, lol!

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Food is a bit expensive inside (like all theme parks I guess), so we opted for the food stalls instead of the restos inside the park. Although, from what I know, there is now a McD’s since last year.

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Christmas season means Doraemon in Santa costume!

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After a few more rides, we decided to go home. We didn’t want to join the crowd once the park closes. And to cap off my birthday, we had dinner at Tim Ho Wan! Uber legit since we had it at HK!

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Travel Tales: Hong Kong 2014, Day 3

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One more place we wanted to go to was the Lam Tsuen wishing tree. We tried hard to research on how to get there, since according to the mighty internet, it’s a bit far from the city center.

As always, before heading out for the day, we walked around our hotel to look for a place to eat. This was breakfast.

Somewhere in HK after breakfast and before taking our train ride.

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train ride to the middle of nowhere

HK train station signs is a favorite.

After a long train ride, we finally reached a mall, and we would have to take a bus to get to the wishing tree. But before any of that..

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pineapple buns

So, nakakalito pumunta sa wishing trees. Buti nalang there are a lot of Pinoys in HK that made it a little easier for us to find out how to get there. Tapos, sorry na, but it was a little disappointing. Kasi naman fake yung wishing tree for public viewing. The actual tree is sooo old that they no longer allow people to actually throw wishes. You can offer your wishes and prayers, but no throwing. And throwing isn’t free. So, we just took pictures, haha.

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Soooo, after that sad experience with the wishing tree (we didn’t get to make wishes, haha), we headed on to Central.

The great thing about Central is that since a lot of tourists visit the place, they have maps all around the area so it would be easier for people to figure out where to go, especially if they get lost, like us. 😀

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lost somewhere in Central

 

We went to a nearby KFC to eat, and take advantage of their free WiFi, hahaha.

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chicken and egg tart

The thing I love about HK’s KFC is that they offer egg tarts with your meal!!! I don’t know if there’s another country that does that, ang cool diba!!

We decided to take the cable car to go around Central, since it costs just 1HKD, and it really is a good way to see the city!

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second floor

It got a little crowded in during rush hour, but we were lucky to experience it during off-peak hours, or else, we wouldn’t have photos to show we got to ride it!

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We were thinking of going to Victoria Peak, but since we have all been there before, we three just decided to go around Lan Kwai Fong area.

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got a little obsessed with j.crew before so we dropped by

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Lan Kwai Fong comes alive at around 7-8 in the evening. That’s usually when all of the expats and locals are done with work and drop by the area to have a few drinks. We went to a bar and had a few drinks as well, before walking around again. Wala yata kami ginawa kundi umikot lang ng umikot hahahha.

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pizza before heading back

We took the ferry on our way back to our hotel, which cost about 2 HKD. And for that small amount, you get to see the beautiful harbor of HK and the buildings with its many colorful lights and Xmas decors.

Because it was December, there were sooo many places with great Xmas light decorations.

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And that’s a wrap for Day 3!

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