Dec 4, 2016

HK: Land of Dimsum and Curry Fishballs Part 3

Hongkong is a place for first timers and, I should say, a very good place to be in for anyone. Aside from being one of the cities to go for for budgeted trips, it offers so much than what is expected (that's from a first timer's perspective hehe). 

On our first day trip we woke up at 4:00am and left at around 4:30am. The Avenue of Stars is just a walking distance from where we were staying, but our jaw dropped when found out it is close for renovation and will re-open on October 2018. To compensate, we just went to the Garden of Stars and had a nice view of Victoria Harbour from the viewing deck.

View from our room which is on the 12th floor.
That was how the street looked like at 4am in the morning, no much vehicles, which was a very good indicator that we can have a hassle-free photo shoot moments. hehehe 
Morning get up with Ate Mabel.
We traveled last week of February and the temperature is around 14 degrees celsius.
Passing by almost an empty street.
 I admire the urban planning of this city. You can't see so many people along sidewalks because there is a subway underneath plus everywhere you go, everything is neat and clean.
We went through this underpass to get to the other side of the road. It is quite long actually but not boring as you get to see these pictures everywhere. They have the famous faces of Hongkong actors, singers, Hollywood stars, a bit of a history of the City in creative art-work, and this kind of murals below..

Posing at one of the wall arts.

Stopping for a pose before reaching the Garden of Stars.
The stairs going up there.
No one was there when we visited the Garden of Stars except for the guard and an old woman who happen to pass by. So, basically no one cared when we goofed around the area, and took a couple of pictures. 

The famous Bruce Lee
Since the Avenue of Stars was closed for renovation, some of the statues and figures were temporarily placed in Garden of Stars. 

Ate Mabel posing with the hand prints of famous stars
I tried to take a panaroma view of the place we were in but it turned out a  mess hahaha

The view from the deck was the best
NGONG PING 360 (The Cable Car)
If you ask me to take a Tram or the Ngong Ping, I would suggest Ngong Ping. That is considering you only have a very limited time to go around the city. But if you do have plenty of time, try both.

After our failed Avenue of Stars trip, we headed on to Tsim Sha Tsui station. The trip to Ngong Ping takes almost an hour and the cable car opens as early as 9:00am. 

We got there an hour before the opening, so we ate first at McDonalds which had no rice on their menu. And started walking around the area. Shopping and food outlets are everywhere, and I was surprise to know how cheap Subway burgers and sandwiches are. 

Sweets and cakes are all cheap too! that's why they are flocked by most foreign and local tourists, so you will have to expect for long lines.

They have a maintenance for a place like this. Walk further and you'll get to see a park where you can relax and do some walling pictures. hahahaha They have this huge wall where we stayed for awhile before the cable car's opening hour. 

The entrance

Up, up and away...
It was the best feeling ever getting on a cable car and seeing those skycrapers that small. If ever they will have this one in the Philippines, I would probably be one of its first riders. hahaha

Other cable cars behind us.

Those are the feet of the Thai peeps we've been with, they were much more into camera than us haha! I also got clumsy when this photo was taken. My make up kit was all over the place, and the Thai guy who was with them picked it up for me which was quite embarrassing. I didn't feel embarrassed the time it happened, but now that I remember it, that WAS sooo embarrassing.


Stairs going to Big Buddha

I am almost the size of the Buddha hehehe

Me and Ate Mabel
A Father-and-Son travel photographers took the courtesy of taking a picture of us. 

Store with overpriced goodies.

Spotted this going to the Monastery. I would love to do this actually but I don't know how haha

Street foods!
 Curry fishballs, they were cheap, I think at around 5-10HKD. And the huge hotdog...

Well it was just a hotdog only that it was huge. It shrinks once it gets cold so it is nice to eat it while hot.Imagine me eating a very hot hotdog in a very cold weather! haha


In Lantau Island which is basically where the cable car has brought us, there were other stuff to see aside from the main attraction which is the Big Buddha. You'll pass through a series of stores before reaching the stairs going to the Big Buddha. And there you can buy expensive stuff like chop sticks! I was amazed by how expensive a pair of chopsticks can be. But that of course if you have plenty of pocket money. 
But we didn't buy anything as it was not practical because of how overpriced stuffs are, but we did buy something from this store that we spotted on our way back.
I actually don't drink coffee so my option was always tea. This place offers free taste of their selected for-sale teas.

Li Nong Teahouse

This teahouse is just a few meters away from the cable car station. 

I think what lacks in this photo is me wearing a Kimono hihi

Placed in a burner, are pots of different kinds of teas. They are for unlimited tasting. Amount of tea powder per pot are measured and are heated up in mid-fire. That way teas taste better! and it did. We tried all the teas. :) 

She was the shop's saleslady that time who explained to us the history of the teas they patented. The most expensive teas they are selling are those flower teas. I don't remember exactly what it is called and have forgotten her story about it. But that kind of tea has won them awards and was even featured in television and magazines. 

She was kind enough to take this photo for us. :)

Nov 10, 2016

Viewing the best sunrise at Mt. Pulag

Climbing a mountain, feels like climbing my mountain of fear. It was my resort after all the mess I was into both at work and in my personal life. I gave myself an opportunity to breathe and enjoy the nature's beauty despite the very fact that the awful reality is pulling me down. 

Invitation from a friend
An invitation came to me in the moment when I wanted to fill my weekend with travels. Arrangement was already made and all I had to do was pay. I also had to acquire a medical certificate indicating I am fit to climb as it is one of the requirements. There I expected it's going to be a hard climb. 

Climbing the top

Struggles of climbing Mt. Pulag are the distance and cold weather. The terrain was easy, if only the walk isn't that long, I would've not been exhausted that much. And breathing the cold air was so much pain in my lungs, so I had to slowdown exhaling and inhaling.

Sun's fully up, exposing such clear sky.
Reaching the Top
We left at  1:00am and arrived at the peak at around 6:00am. I don't remember how many peaks we've passed through that in exhaustion I told my co-climbers to just settle for the third to the last peak instead. Obviously, they didn't agree with me as they argued the real peak was what they climbed out for. So we continued to walk until we got there...

Meeting the sun's rays. 
I don't have a picture of it but as we near the Mt. Pulag's apex on our left was the vast rainforest of the mountain, and it is very colorful. It is amazing even to see how trees create that colorful stripe-effect according to tree species. 

For my ending pose. 
Climbing Mt. Pulag is like a feeling of success. After that almost 8-hour climb, reaching the peak was the most refreshing feeling you'll have in your life. It's like seeing the beauty of the world at your fingertips. It was the perfect moment to wait for the sun to rise and to do a time-lapse of it (but my camera was full so I hadn't got the chance to do it :( ). And that fine line separating the blue sky and clouds - was a scene to behold! 

But I don't think I'll be back there anytime soon, my legs was sore for weeks and I don't think I can risk them again hehehe 

Well definitely, pro-climbers will never miss Pulag in their list of mountains to climb, because getting there is worth the risk. :)

Oct 23, 2016

Why I want an OPPO F1s?

While checking my yahoo mail (which I seldom do), I came across Nuffnang's blogger contest email. Surprisingly it is about an Oppo phone for giveaway which gave me a bit of hope that this blog post might get into the contest reviewer's eyes and consider it. I badly need a new phone (srsly) because as of writing this my 1 year old iPhone 4s has been acting up lately and is giving me a hard time accessing my apps. Troubleshooting it is the longest day of my life. (sigh*)
So what is the problem with my iPhone (if you'll ask me?)
A. My phone needs frequent back up on iClouds, and I can't do that as I don't have regular wifi access anymore since I transferred to another place for work, which don't have a reliable wifi.
B. My phone storage would easily get full so I need to delete files from time to time to accommodate new files and downloads.
C. It sends text messages so slow that the person who receives it almost never reads it.
D. It hangs up whenever I open multiple apps. And it also force closes apps whenever I open them.  So I never really get to use FB and Twitter apps if I do not open them on Safari. 

What frustrates me is I only use it for call, SMS, and social media. I haven't really used it fully for the reason I bought it, which is for its music, camera, ibook, built-in dictionary, and notes - because all of them are malfunctioning and the phone was used for just a year. 

Having all these accumulated smartphone problems, what phone do I really need?
I personally think that I need a phone with a larger internal storage and a faster processor. Well, new iPhones offer such, only that it is SOOOOOO expensive, and considering me on a tight budget - iPhone is a luxury that I can't get a hold of. I was on tight budget too when I opted to buy iPhone 4s because it was the cheapest among the iPhones and had the features I want. But I guess I was wrong, and I now regret for buying one when I can buy a much better android phone with that money. 

Recently, android phones have been evolving, at the same improving their features. I have a friend at work before who bought her first new smartphone which is an Oppo phone. I tell you the camera is really good, I even remember teaching her how to use the macro feature of it and found it better than my phone camera, and I was envious as it was the same price when I bought my iPhone. :'(

This Oppo F1s smartphone is an ideal one for me. For a person like me who uses my phone everyday for work and leisure, I need something that can store more files and faster than my old phone. Its 32GB internal storage is a very generous space already added that you can maximize its storage capacity of up to 256GB through external microSDs. And the 3GB RAM does not upset. All these for a price not more than 15K! Now if I compare it to buying a 32GB iPhone, that amount of money is not enough. So why do I need to buy a new iPhone when I can get a similar feature with Oppo, plus the GooglePlay Store now offers array of android apps for download that can compensate for the exclusive apps found on iPhone.

What else? It is dual sim! It is an important feature for me too since I use both globe and smart. But now that I use my iPhone, which can only accommodate one sim- my globe sim, I have another phone for my smart sim. Keeping two (2) phones is a hassle sometimes, because as I frequently use my globe number, I sometimes fail to attend promptly to important text messages and calls that I get on my smart sim. It happened to me a number of times already and it is frustrating!

With all these blabbering, yeah, I am really thinking of buying a new phone. And if I have already saved up. this Oppo F1s smartphone is definitely on my list! But it will be the best to have it for free.

Sep 19, 2016

I was in Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

My impulsive summer getaway was in Hundred Islands, Pangasinan. With the aid of a co-volunteer, Hyleen, my trip was carried out smoothly without worrying about accommodation, food, and arranging a trip to Hundred Islands.

How I made that possible was probably because all the stars aligned for me to make that happen. 

1) First I got a free ride to San Carlos, Pangasinan because of a work-related activity that was scheduled Friday. Well, of course, I sought permission from a senior at work before I could take off.
2) A trainee that we were with during the activity lives in Alaminos City. Which means I can hitch with her in a public transport going to Alaminos. I told her about my plan of going to Alaminos a week before. And as usual, some not so open-minded people ask why I'm doing it solo when it is dangerous for a girl. I didn't mind them.
3) I have a good co-volunteer friend staying in Alaminos who has been inviting me over. 
4) Someone from work is from Alaminos whom I can ask for possible transpo back anytime.

The advantage of going on a trip with a kind but not so familiar people is they don't know me well except that I am a friend of Hyleen. So they really don't have a preconception of me. They will have to know me from scratch. I'm pretty good at making first impression to some which I hope worked to them.
Hyleen and I posing before we take the zipline at Governor's Island.
Though it was a group trip, there was a freedom of exploring on our own. Good thing Hyleen brought her dlsr and lended it to me the whole time. I was able to take good pictures of the Islands.

Floating bridge makes a good subject.

Island hopping.
The trip to Alaminos made me unwind. It was good to have a listener as I was able to express things that I couldn't in front of familiar people. We spend my last night walking around the City and going to a cafe where we spent hours of chit-chat.

Making faces.
Going back to Nueva Ecija, I took the bus from Alaminos to Dagupan. From Dagupan terminal I waited for a 10:00am bus going to Tuguegarao which will pass by San Jose, Nueva Ecija. 

I cried myself out during that trip back covering my face with a shawl. The trip was a good therapy actually as I was able to pick myself up before I got back to work.

Sep 2, 2016

Dream, love, and laugh

I manage to get some good photos because people where I work at are generous enough to click it as I take a pose.
I wonder why not all people can be that selfless.
If a chance will be given to me, I'll take all the pictures I want to take and do all the poses I want to do.
Actually, sometimes it is not ourselves that we are afraid of. It is the people around that scare us big time. Because we know that not all of them are kind enough to give a compliment. And we are scared of them more than those who are kind enough to appreciate.
Yet I learned that, what matters is your will, passion, and heart to do something. The moment you have those three: you can care less of the people around.
So dream, love, laugh all you want! You owe it to yourself more than anyone in the world.



Aug 12, 2016

HK: Land of Dimsum and Curry Fishballs (Part 2: Day 1)

The very beautiful view of Hongkong City Lights from Victoria Harbour.
It was 8pm when we arrived at Hongkong International Airport. I think night time is way better than the day as we got to see the City lights - and Hongkong is really captivating at night.

When we got off the plane, a series of security guards welcomed us. The first guard was holding a huge K9 dog sniffing every passengers who got off the plane. I was terrified at first as the guard kept saying "go on, go on, just walk" (in a Cantonese accent). The number of guards at the airport is a good impression of how strict airport security is. How I wish Philippine airport is the same (*sigh).

There was this one passenger with us who was stopped by one of the guards due to wearing suspicious clothes. The passenger was wearing  a hoodie jacket, a loose pants, and a backpack.  He was interrogated for a minute or so before he was able to move on.

As we were finding our way inside the airport.

After passing through a number of guards, we followed the crowd going to the immigration area. Signs translated in English were everywhere which is very useful for foreigners. A tourist will never get lost in their airport.
At the immigration, we lined up with a bunch of Japanese and Chinese in suits. They were so neat and flawless people it made me less of a person, nah kidding! But they don't really smile.. They were staring at us the whole time, maybe because we were not wearing winter clothes in such a very cold Hongkong weather.
Approving our passport was really fast we headed to their airport express train after.

Saree. Got no nice picture of the airport's inside. But the ramp is just ohh well...
The airport was less crowded and sooo white. Maybe they weren't just too many passengers or they know how to handle airport traffic so well. 

We lost some of our co-passengers so it was sariling sikap looking for the train. It was not really hard though as the signage were everywhere.
We stopped somewhere inside the airport to get an Octopus Card - a very essential card for commuting and buying stuff around Hongkong. It is like the Beep Card that we have in the Philippines only that it is solely for train fare. Octopus Card costs 150HKD, you'll get your 50HKD back when you surrender your card after your stay. But we kept ours as a remembrance. 

Heading to the Airport Express Train.
Yep the glass doors are for the trains. 

The train just stopped and ready to take on passengers.
The wait is not too long for an airport train. And you'll know when the train is coming as there is an automated voice that notifies passengers. And that voice is translated in many languages like Japanese, Cantonese, Korean, Chinese, and English. 
When a train stops, people don't really rush to go inside. I think it is all about discipline. Proper line is followed. They wait for people inside to get off before going in. 
Because airport trains should be comfyyy! XD
As I sooo love trains, we used the train all through out our stay. And yep, they have a train from the airport going to central Hongkong.

In our case we had to transfer twice going to Tsim Sha Tsui where Cosmic Guesthouse is located. So from the Airport Express Line, we got off Tsung Chung Station and ride the MTR Tsung Chung Line (Green), then transferred to MTR Tsuen Wan Line (red) in Lai King Station. 

Things to note when riding the Train (MTR):
1) Get the Octopus Card
2) Download the MTR app which is a good guide for their train stations. It also provides travel time from one station to another which is good for tourists with a hectic schedule.
3) Train opens at 5:00am and closes at 1:00am

We arrived in the place at 9:00pm. We booked it two weeks before through paying half of the cost. We settled our payment when we arrived and got the keys with a deposit of 150HKD which you can get back upon check out. 
If Disneyland and Ngongping 360 are included in your itinerary you can get a discounted ticket at the guesthouse. We asked the guesthouse for ticket reservation during our online booking.

Just right after we put our bags, we immediately started our night tour. I have read some articles of markets good for souvenir buying that was not far off Tsim Sha Tsui. Our first market was Temple Market. 
The market is open from 5:00pm to 12:00midnight.
We got back at the guesthouse around 11:30pm.

Direction:  From Tsim Sha Tsui Station get off Jordan Station, then walk three blocks.

You are on the right block when you see this...
Click here for my Hongkong Prep post.