Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

You know what I miss right now? It's waking up early in the morning, then enjoying freshly-baked pandesal dipped in hot coffee while having a little chit-chat with the family.... at the beach.

For almost a week, that's how our mornings go when we were in Romblon.

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My Trafalgar Law hoodie arrived a few days ago. It reminded of the first time I had laid my eyes on this badass tattooed doctor with a goatee *gasps*. It was law at first sight. 

I have also been binge-watching and catching up with One Piece lately and I remember the fun times I had with Jan at the Tokyo One Piece Tower three years ago. I feel so bad I wasn't able to blog about it, especially when the only One Piece theme park in the world already closed its doors for good last July 31, 2020 (eff you, corona). 

March 23, 2019.
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 If there is one positive influence I have on Jan, it has got to be this.

L-R: Border peak, crater, Kidapawan peak

This is his second time to summit the Philippines' highest mountain. His first climb without me (yep, partially bummed because I couldn't go) and probably his worst hiking experience by far—with plans almost scrapped, major major delays, torrential downpour, and becoming a guide for the first time in an unfamiliar trail real quick because he's the only experienced mountaineer in the group. 
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For the first time in 486 years, we were finally able to do something fun outside our house.

We took a breather at Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort—probably the most expensive and most magastos one-night getaway we ever had. But it's definitely worth it (and bitin).

We went there last Mother's day (which was also just a few days after our second wedding anniversary). So for two days and one night, we were able experience the lifestyle of the rich. Plus, we get to do a lot of things for the first time!

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The nCoV (now COVID-19) outbreak was beginning to happen when we started planning this trip. But we still pushed through and simply scrapped out places that are definitely crowded, ditched the guided tours, and decided to go all-out DIY in this trip.
Breathtaking.
One of the places that piqued our interest was the Pocheon Art Valley. Since it is not as popular as Petite France or Garden of the Morning Calm, there aren't so many blogs written about it. It took us quite some time to figure out how to get there since the guides that were written have different ways and some are already outdated.
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They say you have never been to South Korea if you have not visited Nami Island. But I have got to be honest here, Nami Island was a letdown. That's probably because we were there in the wrong season. I know Nami island in Spring is colorful and beautiful. It is undeniably breathtaking in autumn. And despite the freezing cold, no one can resist its charm in winter—if the island is covered in white.

We went there in winter (early February) and it was nothing like the dreamy winter wonderland. It was too crowded, the paths were mostly slushy and muddy, and most of the attractions were off limits or closed for maintenance.
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Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of going to South Korea for a honeymoon (it has always been Batanes). I mean, we did plan about it but that's only because we unexpectedly snagged round trip tickets for two for only Php 8,400+.

But that plan to spend honeymoon in Korea in autumn was cancelled because our visas were delayed. So we pushed through doing it this winter. The cheapest tickets were already at Php 24,000+ round trip for two. But we gave it a go because first, after almost two months of waiting (yes, it took that long), we only got a single entry visa; second, I am pregnant. We would rather travel now because we might not have the time, energy, and resources to do it in the next three years.

This is the most expensive ticket we booked for an international flight but I'm glad Korea did not disappoint. This trip was a string of our many firsts. First out-of-the-country trip as married couple. First below zero degree weather. First snow fall. First fresh cherries. First pomegranate. First time to take photos of us kissing (that's not our wedding). Woot!
Pocheon Art Valley
PDA. Haha!

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Jan and I, being complete newbies to true winter, spent our late honeymoon slash babymoon (never knew there is such thing) in South Korea, where the temperature dropped to -6°C. Although we were told that the current winter is warmer than usual, it is by far the coldest we have ever experienced.
Winter in South Korea


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I got a call from Club Ultima that I won a 3D/2N stay at Crown Regency in Cebu. Honestly, this isn't new to me. I experienced it sometime two years ago with a competitor company when we were in Boracay.

It is true when they say you can claim the gift certificate without financial obligation, but there's a catch. There will always be a catch. You have to sit in with them and listen to their presentations. And for us who had nothing better to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, my husband and I decided to accept the invitation. What do we have to lose anyway?

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It's weekend and I still have a lot of incomplete tasks needed to be done at work but I'm still having a hangover from the holidays and I can hardly function. So before I totally ditch blogging about our year-end trip (like what I did to the other trips), I'll throw in a few snaps of our Siargao getaway.

Our first Christmas as married couple was spent in Siargao with family. Five days and two nights in paradise is definitely not enough, especially when were not able to cover everything the island has to offer. We spent a day or two tuck in bed when Typhoon Ursula came raging in. Still, it is one of the best islands I've been to.

Naked Island.

Of course, photos!
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Korea is going to be our next destination. And honestly, I was not that interested. Especially after having been told quite a lot of times that Korea might be underwhelming for someone who has already visited Japan.

Despite that, I have found myself binge-watching Korea travel vlogs of unknown vloggers. And it has surprisingly gotten me excited to fly there for three reasons: alpacas, raccoons, and meerkats. Okay, that is not nearly close to the things that come to mind when we speak of Korea. But whatever's on that list certainly made me excited to see the Land of the Morning Calm and that could only mean one thing.

Having something to be excited about guarantees a full blown anxiety on our visa application. And it does not end there. The Korean Embassy extended their processing time from 4-7 days to to 25-30 working days. That's 30 freakin days of enduring the agony of waiting.

BUT WAIT! THAT IS NOT EVEN THE WORST PART YET.
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Oh Deer!

If there's one thing I love about Japan, it is the people. They are the kindest, most disciplined, and most respectful people I have ever met. And quite surprisingly, the deer in Nara are just as polite as the locals. As a matter of fact, these critters are far more polite than half the people you meet.

Kidding? Perhaps not.
Posing with a deer at Nara Park
The deer poses better than I do.
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Davao City — Ever thought of trading the hustle and bustle city life for a day or two of unplugging without having to go too far? There’s no bad time for a relaxing escape to the Tengoku Japanese House. Situated not too far away from Eden Nature Park, this charming two-bedroom Japanese-inspired house calls for guests to unplug, reconnect with nature, and rediscover peace and quiet.
The main house.
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Robots. Sushi. Anime. Sakura. These are the first things that come to mind when I think of Japan.

When we booked our flight to Japan, it just happened that we took advantage of a seat sale, chanced upon a very cheap flight to Narita, and booked it right away. Plus, the timing couldn't be any more perfect for Jan’s birthday. It never occurred to us that it's going to be the most anticipated and most visited sakura season.

I got so excited when I learned about it and started reading about these famed cherry blossoms only to end up a little disappointed about the fact that these pink delicate flowers bloom for just a week. Early April is the best time to see the sakuras this year according to blooming predictions. And since we will be arriving two weeks earlier, the chances of seeing these in full bloom are slim.

On our first day, we have already seen a few budding sakuras on some streets. Even Hachiko's statue stood under the sakura trees. It wasn't that impressive, yet. But it's promising and we were hoping to see them bloom in a riot of pink hues.

So we visited two parks, Chidorigafuchi (ten-minute walk from our hotel) and Yoyogi Park, which are best known for hanami (flower viewing). Even though each park offers a charming scenery of spring, not one sakura tree has a single flower on sight yet.

We then proceeded to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, home of at least a thousand sakura trees.


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Tokyo is currently my favorite city (next to Davao, of course). I'm not really huge on highly-urbanized cities. Skyscrapers and cityscapes don't fascinate me. But Tokyo offers more than the high tech toilets, electronics, Anime, and manga. It's where you get the best of modern and historical worlds at the same time.

Tokyo spring weather can definitely make you fresh all the time!

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We went to Japan for Jan's birthday which is just in time for spring. And since it was only the first official day of spring when we landed, the weather was still chilly and temperatures dropped to as low as 4°C. I actually thought that I was prepared for that. I had 3 layers of clothes (base thermal, thick sweater, winter coat/jacket) and it still wasn't enough. Tagos sa buto ang lamig.

Nonetheless, we had a great time! To be honest, I can still recall almost everything that happened, but I don't think I will be able to narrate the details of our adventure. Although it's not a surprise that this trip is not well-documented, I'll let the pictures speak for it (yes, yes, lame excuse for being lazy).

(Note to self: next time, Sarah, please take a lot of photos so that you won't have a hard time looking for decent photos for the blog)

Our first agenda the night we got in Tokyo was, of course, to eat authentic ramen. After checking in at Sakura Hotel in Jimbocho, we went straight to Shibuya and took some photos of Hachiko and Shibuya crossing.

There were a lot of people around Hachiko's statue. But surprisingly, there were more locals than tourists who were just hanging around. Even though there was a flock, it wasn't really that hard to take a photo with Hachiko.

Hachiko
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When we went to Japan last March, it was transitioning from winter to spring. That means, we were able to experience both snow and sakura season at the same time.

You see, even though the season was leaning toward spring, a deep-rooted fascination for snow has definitely gotten my mind fixed to experience snow by any possible means. Well, you must understand that this utmost desire to see snow is coming from someone who has spent an entire life in a tropical country and has never seen one. This Japan trip—that happens once in a blue moon⁠—was my chance.
An obligatory snow shoefie.


Honestly, there would have been a lot of snow resorts outside Tokyo. However, 4 days is not enough to explore the city alone. So we planned to have our first snow experience somewhere in Kansai since we will be spending more time in Osaka. Also, it is a lot cheaper.
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My heart had been broken terribly when the owl carrying my Hogwarts acceptance letter lost its way (must have been held up in Customs 😂). I thought I would never know my magical powers. But here I am, saved from eternal despair. For those who are still waiting for that letter, here is your salvation.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP) will get you completely swept up in magic. I was and I cannot get enough of it! The moment we started walking into the woods with the familiar music playing in the background, nostalgia washed over me and I knew we were no longer in Universal Studios.
At Hogsmeade
I introduced my world to this muggle.


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Right after the wedding, Jan and I started working our arses off (pitiful, I know). We were not able to plan a honeymoon because the Japan trip happened. And as much as we would have loved to make Batanes our honeymoon destination, we are holding that off. You see, I won a round trip domestic flight ticket. And knowing that a one-way ticket to Batanes could cost as much as a round trip flight to a few Southeast Asian countries, I am hoping I could use that free flight for it.

Anyway, it has been a month since the wedding and we haven't really planned on anything. That, however, does not mean that a honeymoon is not bound to happen. It might come a little late but at least, it’s going to be in a beautiful country.
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When we went to Singapore the second time, we made sure we would avail of attractions that are fun, interesting, and most importantly, family-friendly. Attractions in Sentosa can be pretty pricey especially when you do multiple activities in a day. But you can book tickets online that offer cheaper packages. So we purchased a Sentosa Fun Pass (Play 3) where we can choose 3 activities from a list of 20 attractions, valid for one day. It is much cheaper than purchasing attractions separately.

We decided to go for these activities:
1. Trick-eye Museum (1 credit)
2. S.E.A. Aquarium &  Royal Albatross Tour (2 credits)

Honestly, if I had it my way, I would ditch the Royal Albatross Tour. It's only a 15-minute tour on a classic sailboat. There's nothing much to see in there. But since it is in combo with the S.E.A. Aquarium, we had no choice.

Anyway, let's get to the fun part.
Singapore Trick Eye Museum

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