Part 4 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Osaka Castle and Food trip at Dotonbori

I slept for 8 hours inside the bus. We spent our 3rd night inside a sleeper bus en route to Osaka. If you plan to go to Osaka from Tokyo, you can take the bullet train or the bus. If you are on a budget trip (like me), the best option is to take the sleeper bus. You get to save a night of accommodation and your day itinerary will not be compromised.  Continue reading “Part 4 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Osaka Castle and Food trip at Dotonbori”

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5 Things Traveling Has Taught Me

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I am never the planner. I don’t plan my day, moreover my life. I love spontaneity and surprises. But when we talk about traveling, I become the exact opposite.

My first out of the country trip was with my family. We would avail tour packages and have an itinerary determined by the travel agency. It was fun but it felt limiting. Few years after, I started to travel with a friend and decided to book everything on our own. It was more fun to have control over your trip: where to go, what to eat, where to shop. Also, we don’t have to visit jewelry stores if we don’t want to. :p

Recently, when I traveled with my family and friends to Japan, I took care of the itinerary and the budgeting. It was really challenging — having to plan for a big group is one thing, and it is another thing to research the must-see places, book our accommodation and activities. I became the planner I never thought I can be. I was keen into details, made sure I settled the correct amount, booked the correct dates and paid with the correct card. Traveling is fun, but I can say planning a trip is something I look forward to now. Maybe the next thing I should plan is — my life. Lol!

Check out my Japan Pre-Planning post.

 

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You see it: in the malls, in the highway, in the TV ads — Nike has always encouraged us to do it. But nothing can better push us to “just do it” than traveling.

Traveling has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every time I am in a new place and I seem to be in a crossroad — whether to do an activity or not, or whether to try an exotic food or not — I always think of this tagline: JUST DO IT! Because when will I be able to go back to that place again — probably not anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want to go back home thinking of “I should have done that” or “I should have eaten that.” Same as what happened to us in Shenzhen. My mother managed all our money and expenses then. When we were offered to visit the Windows of the World, my mother declined because she thought it was a bit costly and it wasn’t worth it. We left Shenzhen with ‘what if’s’ and it wasn’t a good feeling. I gotta learn it the hard way and made sure that on my next trips, I should just do it.

I can say, traveling to a new place made me braver and bolder.

 

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You can be late to work or to a meeting with friends, but never, ever be late when traveling. Every second and minute of your time while traveling is important. You don’t want to miss anything spectacular, like the sunrise in Angkor Wat, when that’s the exact reason you flew to Cambodia.

That is exactly the story of my life. On our last day in Cambodia, we decided to do the Angkor Wat tour. Since we’re already in Cambodia, we don’t want to miss seeing it in its most picturesque form: sunrise. But guess what, we overslept! Instead, we started our tour at 8am and was greeted by sea of people. Nevertheless, we enjoyed visiting the temples. On the brighter side, without these misfortunes, we will not actually learn. So, I take it as a lesson. Next time I traveled, I make sure to set my alarm 5 times and SLEEP EARLY!

There was another instance, we were 5 minutes late for our Kalibo to Manila flight, we had to take a boat for 16 hours instead of a 45 minute plane ride. Talk about hassle 😦

 

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Thanks to geography, we know our continents and their location. We know that we have vast bodies of water and different land forms, but these are all textbook information. We learn this in grade school. The true knowledge is obtain when you get out there and experience it yourself.

When I fly via plane, it always amazes me to look down and see pea-sized houses, the illuminating lights and vast oceans. It makes me realize how small I am and how big the world really is. And for a moment my problems seem so small compared to all the problems accumulated in the whole world. As I continue traveling, it perplexes me to think how I came to exist not knowing all these people and not seeing these places. That’s why when I come home after a trip, I really feel enriched and contented because I feel like I learned a lot and see a lot of things that I never knew exist.

Ever since, I always look forward to traveling more, to see more faces and places and bring it with me back home.

 

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Oh, yes I can solve an Algebra equation and I can recite the Periodic Table of Elements —  thanks to my high school. But I have learned that there are far more things to learn when you step out of the classroom. Theories are taught in school but the real knowledge comes from our experiences. And I can say traveling is one of the best teachers I have encountered in this lifetime.

After college, I was thrown out into the real world: I got a job that pays me enough but I don’t really enjoy, I started to get bills, eventually I felt burnt out and questioned if this is everything there is after college. And then I got into traveling, I spent my weekends out of town and plot my vacation leaves to visit other countries. Suddenly, life seems to be happier. I get to meet different people from different walks of life. I talk to people with languages different from mine. I get to see other people’s livelihood: making delicacies, wood carving and clothing. Most importantly, I experienced things and not just read about them. I felt fully present. Have I not traveled, have I not stepped out from my comfort zone, have I not explored, I wouldn’t learned this much about people and places and especially I wouldn’t know more about myself — what I am capable of, what my limits are, what my hidden strengths are.

Traveling made me richer in experience. Traveling made me more knowledgeable than those who do not travel. Traveling totally changed my life. I cannot imagine not traveling at all.

Part 3 of 7 of our Japan trip: Tsukiji Fish Market, Senso-ji Temple and En Route to Osaka

LAST DAY IN TOKYO. Three days were not enough to visit Tokyo. There were still a lot of places on our list that we want to visit but we had to limit ourselves due to time and budget constraints (ako lang pala ang may budget constraints lol). For our last day in Tokyo, we went to Tsukiji Fish Market. It is known for its fresh array of seafood and its tuna auction. We skipped the Tuna Auction because (tbh) we won’t wake up early just to see it.  Continue reading “Part 3 of 7 of our Japan trip: Tsukiji Fish Market, Senso-ji Temple and En Route to Osaka”

Part 2 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Gotemba Premium Outlet, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Tower

YEY! SECOND DAY IN JAPAN! We started the day feeling fresh after a good night sleep. I bet everyone slept well considering how tired we were from all the walking we did on our first day. At least second day in Japan was more comfortable because we didn’t have to worry about our luggages anymore because they were tucked safe at home.  Continue reading “Part 2 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Gotemba Premium Outlet, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Tower”

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:

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  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

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”

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”

How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum

I didn’t know that we have a Museum Month here in the Philippines. But in time for that celebration, I would like to share some photos from my favorite museum: Pinto Art Museum.

I have always enjoyed going to museums. I’ve been to Negros Museum, Metropolitan Museum, National Museum and War Remnants Museum in Vietnam to name some. But Pinto Art Museum is my favorite so far. I first saw it from Tracy Ayson’s blog early this year then it has been all over my feeds since then. So last April, I went to see it for myself. And I was not disappointed.

Here, let me share some of my photos…

Continue reading “How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum”

Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam

There are times when you just want to get away from the city and take a break from the hustle and bustle of Manila, but you don’t have time to book tickets or plan your itinerary. Good thing, we have nearby provinces that you can go to by bus and just be spontaneous: no itineraries, no plans. That is what we did exactly on that weekend in La Union.

Me and my friend, Krissy, like artsy stuff. So when we saw Flotsam and Jetsam in our Instagram feeds, we both knew we have to go there. So let me take you to that one weekend getaway to La Union’s Flotsam and Jetsam.

Continue reading “Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam”

Oslob: Whale Shark Watching

 

It was about 2 years ago when I saw someone posted on social media a very clear photo of a butanding (whale shark) in the background. And I thought, this can not be in Donsol. I’ve been to Donsol back in 2011 and watched and swam with the butanding but it was not very visible, the water was dark and unclear. But the photo I’ve seen 2 years ago was different. And that’s when I get to know the place called Oslob.

 I’ve got no plans to go to Oslob until we booked a flight to Cebu for Sinulog and I ended up booking a flight back to Manila 6 days after to save airfare cost (Airfare for Ceb – Mnl after Sinulog is pretty expensive). So after the Sinulog weekend, we still have 3 days to spare in Cebu so I thought of what else to do in the Queen City of the South. We have a lot of options actually. There is Bantayan, Moalboal, Malapascua. But I decided to go to Oslob.

 Since it was my first time in Cebu, moreover in Oslob, I did a thorough research about the place.

 Here are some tips and guide on how to go around Oslob.

Continue reading “Oslob: Whale Shark Watching”

Bacolod City: Your next food trip destination!

Disclaimer: Long post

It was in 2013 when my sister booked us a ticket to Bacolod City for a week-long vacation. I don’t have any idea what is in Bacolod City, except for Calea. So I was ecstatic upon knowing that finally I will get to taste the cakes from Calea! I didn’t know that I was in for a bigger surprise.

October 2013, when we landed at Silay Airport, I was shocked when we were greeted by loud music from people wearing masks, drumming their heart out in a festive tune in the airport. Man, it turned out it was Masskara Festival! And my sister didn’t even bother to tell me. I thought I was just going to eat for the whole week (which is not a problem with me)!

Masskara was my first festival, and it has been my favorite festival since then. After that week-long vacation, I have fallen in love with Bacolod. I love the festival, the people and especially the food! And to prove that point, I’ve been there 3 times already since 2013.

There are a lot of reasons to love Bacolod, but on the top of my list will always be their food. During that vacation, I learned that Bacolod is the Sugar Capital of the Philippines! No wonder restaurants and cake shops are everywhere! My favorite street is Lacson Street, where the Masskara Parade was also held. If you’re ready to gain a little weight, then come and visit Bacolod!

Here are the some of the restaurants we’ve tried in Bacolod

Continue reading “Bacolod City: Your next food trip destination!”

VietCam 2015: Itinerary and Expenses

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I just came back from a weeklong trip to Vietnam and Cambodia and I am very eager to blog about our trip due to a lot of messages I received asking our itinerary and expenses on this trip.

People often has a misconception that travelling is expensive. I thought so too. But after travelling for quite sometime, both local and international, researching and making itineraries, I learned how you can save and still make the most out of your trip.

With that, let me share how we came up with a trip that cost us 20,000 – 25,000 PHP to 2 Asian cities in 6 days.

On this post, I will give you an overview of our expenses and activities in Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap. And some tips on how you can save on your trip.

Continue reading “VietCam 2015: Itinerary and Expenses”