Father’s Day Letter

Dear Pa,

I look up as I type this and saw you watching the usual daily news. If I look closely, I will see wrinkles on your face and your hands. Visible signs of hard work from years of working and providing for our family. There are so many things I’d like to tell you but cannot say in person because for sure I will struggle to get the words out before I even reach the middle of this note. Despite being someone who likes to speak up, I cannot bring myself to tell all these things to you. So today, as the world celebrates fathers’ day, I would like to share this letter I’ve written to tell you and the world how much I love and appreciate you.

Looking at you, I know for sure the kind of man I would like to be with someday. Some people when they look at their fathers they will see the exact person they don’t want to marry or they don’t want to be like. But I look at you with utmost respect and love because you were nothing but an epitome of a great father. Even my friends can attest to that. And I feel blessed to have a father like you. A man who never deprived us of the things that we need and want.

I will always remember you as the strong man who can carry me with one arm. The man who can still dribble like Stephen Curry at 60. I will remember you as the thoughtful man who gave out Dunkin Donuts to the kids in our neighborhood on Christmas Day, which back then I kinda felt envious because you didn’t buy any donuts for me. But later on I realized that we were more privileged than other people so we should learn how to give and share our blessings to others. I will remember you as the hard-working man who had to wake up early in the morning before the day breaks to go to work for years until it’s time for you to retire. The man who provided food and education to us and tried his best to buy us the things that we don’t really need but incessantly asked for. We didn’t know how hard life was, we didn’t know what you had to go through just to give us a comfortable life. I remember you told us that one time you only had 100 pesos left to get home. We never felt that times were hard, because you and mama made it easy for us. And thank you for that Papa and Mama. I will always remember you as a selfless, responsible and loving father. And I wish people can have a dad like you.

And now that we are older, Ate just graduate from Medical School and I can see how proud you are of her. I know I haven’t accomplished much. I am already in my mid-20s and yet I still don’t know what I really want to do in life. And yet you were there to support me and encourage me and never pressure me into anything. I know you would like to have grandkids running around the house, and even that I cannot give you yet. But someday, I hope to make you proud too. Someday, I hope I can make you happy and contented, not that you are not happy and contented now. I want to give you and mama a more comfortable life. And someday, I will give you that. But for now, there’s one thing that I can do and will always do for you, please know that no matter what happens, I will take care of you, both mama and you. I will take care of you when you can’t do things you can normally do. I will take care of you when all your hair turns white. I may not be the perfect daughter, maybe not as successful as other people’s daughter, not as sweet and obedient like others, but I will always love and take care of you everyday.

Today, as the world celebrates fathers’ day, I celebrate not only this day but every day because I have this life and this family. I couldn’t even ask for anything better.

I love you.

Love,

Joy.

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Neil’s Kitchen: Date Night

For someone who’s always on the lookout for artsy restaurants, I didn’t let Neil’s Restaurant escape my radar. I found out about Neil’s Kitchen through Instagram. When I saw their beautiful interior in photos, I knew I have to visit this restaurant. I have made several attempts to go to Neil’s Kitchen, but being a Northern girl (Far-view, represent!), I have to consider the time and means to go to South.

Finally, I found the perfect occasion to see Neil’s Kitchen for myself, and it was no other than: Valentines Day! We celebrated Valentines 3 days after the 14th because we didn’t want to join the flock of couples celebrating on the date itself.

Continue reading “Neil’s Kitchen: Date Night”

5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei

Alright, I am one of the guilty users of #OOTD. Hahaha! I love seeing photos of my outfits and I enjoy posing for my OOTDs  (I even have my own trademark OOTD pose lol). So far, the place where I have the most number of OOTDs is in Taipei. And I would share below the best places to take your OOTDs when in Taipei. (Jeez, I just used the word OOTD five times.)

DISCLAIMER: You will see my face in almost all the photos. So unless you can take it, you can press the back button NOW. :p

Continue reading “5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei”

Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei

Travel date: July 29 – August 2 (midnight) 2016

Finally! I found the time to share my Taipei itinerary.

Few months back, Taiwan remained to be just another country for me. I didn’t know a lot of people who have visited Taiwan, compared to those who have gone to Japan or Korea. But what convinced us to book a trip to Taiwan? What did we do there? Where did we eat? What are my tips to those who will be visiting Taiwan soon? I will answer everything below. 🙂

Continue reading “Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei”

Taipei: Itinerary and Expense

taipei itinerary 1taipei-itinerary-2

Few notes:

  • The budget shown above doesn’t include the total amount we loaded in our Easy Card (MRT Pass). We bought the Easy Card in 7-11 and it can be used to purchase food and other stuff. Getting an Easy Card costs 100 NTD, then you can reload it for another 100. In total, I think I have spent 500 NTD for the card and the load.
  • The hours specified above includes the travel time and queuing time (if applicable).
  • Approximately, I have spent more of less 12k for the entire trip (minus the airfare), with the airfare, probably around 15k.

Will post more about our Taipei trip.

Love, Andrea

My Klook Experience

My friends know how fond I am of creating itineraries and researching activities for my trips. Recently, we flew to Hong Kong, and I promised myself that I would do the things I did not do during my first visit. (Back story: My first trip to HK was in 2013, and we availed a packaged tour: HK Disneyland + Shenzhen + jewelry shop and other places I am not interested in).

This time, I wanted to go to The Peak and try the Ngong Ping cable car. Luckily, I found an app where I can book these activities at a discounted price: Klook. I learned about Klook while I was browsing posts in DIY Travel Pilipinas (posted by Mr. Richmond Difuntorum Cruz). I was curious, so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I was hesitant at first, because I never heard of it before. But then, it turns out to be a really good app and I can’t stop recommending it to people, who just like me, like to customize their itinerary.

Here’s what I booked:

klook-bookings

  1. This is the activity that you booked.
  2. Number of tickets you bought
  3. Total amount of the activity.
  4. Discounted amount because I have a referral code. You can use mine to get a discount for your 1st purchase: ZLI88
  5. The new amount of the activity
  6. This is where you can see the voucher. It will also be sent via email

The usual round trip ticket to the Peak is 88HKD (545Php). But you have to fall in line for about 2 hours. The one I purchased through Klook was a Fast Track, meaning we got to skip the 2 hour queue and went straight to the tram. And that is only for 508.50Php. HOW.AWESOME.IS.THAT?

Overall, I really love my experience with Klook. That’s why I am sharing it to you. I can’t wait for my next travel, just so I can book with them again.

Download the app and see it for your self (this is not a sponsored post, haha!) They currently have vouchers for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Phuket, Bali and even Boracay.

Don’t forget to use my referral code: ZLI88 for you to get a discounted price on your first purchase! 🙂

With love,

Andrea

#PassionProject

I have always wanted to become a food blogger. I thought about starting a food blog in 2013, but I realized describing food was not one of my strongest suits. So I kinda shrugged off the thought. But I and food were inseparable, so I decided to start an Instagram account that would showcase my love for photography and food.

I created eatsinthenorth as my platform for my food photos. As implied in its name,  eatsinthenorth are compilation of the foods I have tried from the north only. Currently, I am posting my own photos but I am looking forward to repost photos from people who used #eatsinthenorth in their food photos.

So friends, if you have visited restaurants in the North, please do tag us in your photos! I’d love to discover new restaurants thru your posts!

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Itinerary: Sagada

MAY 2015

Duration: 2 days , 2 nights

Day 0

11:00PM – Left Manila to Sagada

8:00AM – Side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces and breakfast at Point Valley Inn Restaurant

10:00AM – Arrival in Sagada; Tourist Registration

10:30: Settled in George Guest House

Afternoon: City Tour

•Echo Valley Hanging Coffins
•Sagada Underground River Entrance
•St. Mary’s Church
•Bokong falls
•Valley Rice Fields

7:00PM – dinner at the Yoghurt House

Day 2:

3:00AM – Wake Up

4:00AM – On the Way to Kiltepan

4:30AM – Waiting for the Kiltepan Sunrise

6:00AM – Toploading back to the house

7:00AM – Breakfast at Sagada Brew

9:00AM – 5 hours Spelunking (Caving from Lumiang cave to Sumaguing Cave)

3:00PM – Head back to house to rest

7:00PM – Dinner at  Lemon House

Day 3:

4:00AM – Check out at George Guest House

9:00AM – Breakfast at Good Taste, Baguio City

10:00AM – Left for Manila to celebrate Father’s day with the family.

3:00PM – Arrived in QC

Journal: One Saturday in QC

It was a long weekend due to the All Saints Day holiday. My office mates and I took advantage of it and went to Ateneo and UP Town Center to shoot our Big Night video presentation.

Just want to share some shots I took that day.

(Clockwise from top first column)

  • Found Biblio at the 2nd floor of UPTC extension. My heart jumped with joy when I saw shelves full of books! They have a log book where you can write your requested book and they will check if they can find it for you.
  • Long Live Bacon. I found this at Lazy Bastard’s store near the cinema of UPTC. Haven’t tried their food but I heard lots of good feedback.
  • Those cakes belong to The Chocolate Kiss located at UPTC extension. I love how this new wing of UPTC feels like an extension of UP and Maginhawa. I first tried Chocolate Kiss at Bahay ng Alumni inside UP Campus.
  •  The facade of Starr’s. They are famous for their milkshakes, haven’t tried it though. But I love how it looks from outside, it is so enticing that you want to come in and give their milkshake a try.
  • This photo was taken at one of the walkways in Ateneo.
  • We had lunch at Friuli Trattoria! It has been my go-to place for pizza and pasta since I first tried them at their Maginhawa branch. Friuli Trattoria will give you a mouthwatering experience without hurting your wallet.
  • After lunch came the dessert. I tried Carmen’s Best Hazelnut (P100, small). I was contemplating whether to buy a vegan ice cream or Carmen’s Best, the latter won, obv. Hazelnut was good, but my favorite still goes to He’s Not Worth It.
  • Oh, just me posing with some book quotations in the background. It was a test shot for the shoot.
  • Biblio‘s wall! I want something like this in my room!
  • Another thought to ponder on Lazy Bastard’s wall. Bacon is not Pork, it’s Bacon.

#StopTheStigma

I am supporting the initiative of Philippine Psychiatric Association to raise awareness, promote mental health and protect the rights of people with mental disorders by signing the petition to make the country’s first Mental Health Act happen.

If you’re one with us, you can sign the petition here.

Do you know how hard it is to have a psychological disorder here in the Philippines?

  1. HMOs or health cards do not cover consultation to psychiatrists and psychologists.
  2. One consultation with a psychiatrist is worth P 1,500 – P 2,000.
  3. Medicines are costly.
  4. People can’t talk about it openly because not everyone understands.

You know how I know? I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Continue reading “#StopTheStigma”

In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia

When we booked our tickets for our Vietnam – Cambodia trip, we already decided that we were doing a cross-country trip. We booked a ticket from Manila to Ho Chih Minh then Siem Reap to Manila. We had no choice but to do our research on how to get from Ho Chih Minh to Siem Reap. You are probably reading this because you, too, are planning to do a cross-country trip from Vietnam to Cambodia.

It is very easy, actually.

Continue reading “In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia”

TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy

One crucial factor of creating my travel itinerary is choosing the accommodation. Last December, my family decided to spend the holidays in Baguio. This is something big for me because we never go out during Christmas. My dad always prefers to spend the holidays at home. So when I learned about our first Christmas vacation out of town, being the lakwatsera that I am, I took care of planning the itinerary and booking the accommodation.

Good thing, I stumbled upon TravelBook.ph when I was looking a good yet affordable hotel in Baguio City. After looking at a lot of options, we finally decided to book Albergo Hotel. We made the payment at SM Payment Center, after which we received the hotel voucher. It was a smooth transaction.

My life has changed since then. Whether it is for a staycation in the city or an out of town, I always use TravelBook.ph for booking my accommodation.

Get to know my go-to travel buddy!

Continue reading “TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy”

Travel Diary: Vietnam

I received a lot of questions via email and comments regarding my VietCam trip last year. The Rappler article really helped to spread my article! I think it is now time to write about our trip in detail.

Date: July 24 – July 31 | Group of 3: Me, Krissy and Bea | Budget: P25,000/pax

Continue reading “Travel Diary: Vietnam”

Quarter Life is just a Hype.

I don’t know what is the big fuss about turning a quarter year old and why people are making it as if it is some kind of mark or checkpoint in life. While it is true that being 25 means that you are halfway in your 20s –you’re not getting any younger and you should be responsible for your actions– 25 is just a number. Life doesn’t tell you that “hey, you are already 25,  you should accomplish these things in order for you to be accepted to the next level”. This isn’t some sort of a Super Mario game. Life goes on after 25, whether I have met the expectations of the society or not.

I was once so obsessed about my own mental checklist. I have all these must-have’s and should-have’s by age 25, and guess what I haven’t ticked off even half of it, and I am perfectly fine. I realized we all have our own pace and timeline; what works for other people, might not work for me. So what if I get married at 40 or if I don’t get married at all. What if I never obtained my Masters degree just like what I hoped for myself by age 25. Does that mean I am not successful in life? Of course not.

I think the reason why we have a “quarter-life crisis” is because we put too much pressure in ourselves (aggravated by society’s expectation and social media) that we must accomplish something at a certain age or else, we will not be considered successful. Which is, if you ask me, such an awful way to measure success.

So take your time and don’t be pressured about timelines and age. You will get there in your own pace, in the right time. Here, let me just share the 25 things I have learned and the mantras that help me get by at 25.
Continue reading “Quarter Life is just a Hype.”

Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos

And it’s legit, I am flying to Taiwaaaan!

We booked our flight to Taipei last December to fly in July. Since there is a visa for entering Taiwan, there was a risk when we booked our tickets. But I just did my research and prepared the requirements, then prayed that I hopefully pass the application.

I actually am late in processing my visa. My target was early June (You can start processing your visa 3 months prior to your trip). But it’s hard to complete my requirements especially I just transferred to my new work. So, with only 3 weeks before our flight, I went to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in RCBC Plaza and submitted my requirements. I am so happy because when they checked my documents, they did not ask me anything, so I take it as I submitted all the needed documents. And then after 3 days, I went back to RCBC and ta-da, I got back my passport with this!

Continue reading “Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos”