3 July 2018

Enthusiasm.
Supposed to bridge the two ‘I’s
Apathy rusts it. 

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A Weekend in Bintan, Indonesia

7-8 July 2018

As mentioned in my earlier post. I am determined to make my parents’ holiday with me very happening despite I didn’t have much time during weekdays.

I decided to bring them somewhere I haven’t been to as well. I booked a not-so-cheap package to Bintan. At $440, it included Ferry, land transport, one-night hotel accommodation to the very nice Nirwana Resort Hotel, and breakfast for 3 people. I thought it wasn’t so bad and it was just once every blue moon that I’d spend such a huge amount for an over the weekend kind of holiday.

Everything went smoothly as per our boat and land rides. My mum and dad rarely stay in very nice hotels like this. I loved how happy their faces were when they entered this hotel with a huge lobby while we were greeted by a group of cultural dancers and welcome drinks. They were thrilled.

The resort was indeed very nice. There weren’t many people swimming on the beach. Maybe because of the abundance of “beware of jellyfishes” signages around the resort. Among the hotel’s facilities, I and my dad just loved the spa swimming pools. We could just sit there for hours and have our backs and legs massaged.

We decided to have dinner at Kelong Seafood Restaurant which was located within the premises of Nirwana Gardens. Four delicious dishes (Squid, shrimp, fried rice, and beancurd) for almost 100SGD.

We then went for a free movie night and went back to the room.

The next day, we went for the free breakfast. It was a huge spread. I just enjoyed watching my parents have a blast. We went for more swimming and headed back to the terminal and waited for our ferry back to Singapore.

Bintan was indeed a nice place but one must know that it is really pricier than what I imagined. I had a great time and so as my parents so it’s all worth it.=)

Bintan Beach

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A weekend in Malacca, Malaysia

30 Jun – 1 Jul 2018

My parents are in Singapore for the week but I couldn’t take any more leaves and so, I am making sure our weeknights and weekends are busy and fun. I decided to bring them to Malacca for our first weekend.


Malacca is only around 4hours away from Singapore. We took the afternoon 707 bus. Not a very ideal and practical option because we arrived there already late at night. However, it can also be considered the best because I was with my mum and dad. They had to rest fully the night before so they can comfortably walk around the next day.

And that was what they did. They were able to walk with me. I have been to Malacca a couple of times already but I never had a chance to really explore it because most of the visits were only day trips. This time around, I was able to see more.

New Discoveries:

1. How beautiful their river is especially at night.
2. Some alleys are so picture-worthy.
3. They have iguanas and monkeys walking along the river.
4. They have old and pretty small bridges along the river.
5. They have A LOT of small restaurants and cafes along the river. I’ve never imagined how vast the options are. A bit pricey though, but still, the ambiance is what you are paying for.No. we didn’t eat there.

Most of the amazing things I’ve newly discovered were from along the river. I’ve never had a chance to have a long stroll along it until this trip. We also went to a few museums which were well-maintained and the Melaka Strait Mosque which was also well-visited because of its picturesque sunsets.

Food was great but my mum had diarrhea from something we had eaten. I and my dad were ok though.

Unfortunately, we had to bid this city goodbye after 2nights and 1.5days in it.

Colourful Malacca

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A weekend in the PH

15-18 June 2018

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We dropped by Manila Bay

My housemate M was getting married, hence we decided to go back home for it. I invited T as a cultural experience for him and he wanted to go too. It has been ages since I last visited the uphill, Antipolo. I remember being there for a school trip or something like that during those times that cameras weren’t widely used, hence I didn’t have souvenirs about it.

I brought my family along with me most of the time except during the wedding ceremony and reception. I wanted them to experience Antipolo with me too. We all checked in together at a small resort called Callospa Resort. It looked good on the website but a little disappointing in person. This was the base for the couple and their entourage.

Call time for makeup was at 330am. Too early for someone who has not slept for a few days. Entourage photo shoot was at 7am, the wedding ceremony was at 10am, the reception was at 1pm. Their wedding went on peacefully and luckily, with no dramas. It was T’s first Filipino wedding so, we made him wear a traditional Filipino male top, Barong. He looked good in it. After the wedding, we met up with my family for dinner and karaoke.

The next day, we drove back to Manila. On our way, we passed by Hinulugang Taktak. I had the impression that this waterfall was badly maintained but to my surprise, it was actually maintained quite well, except for the questionable pool at the center of the stream blocking the waterfalls’ flow, it looked better than what I imagined it to be. We took a bit of photo and continued on with our journey to Manila.

Hinulugang Taktak

We reached MOA, had lunch there and sent my sis home. We then drove to Cavite, had a massage and we celebrated Father’s Day in a cafe with hot choco and cake. Next day, we flew off.

It was indeed a short holiday but it was certainly worth it especially because my sister’s rarely with us! I enjoyed it a lot!

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27 May 2018

One monument, plenty of stories.
One person, thousands of tendencies.
Existence is simply complicated.

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28 May 2018

Even the day’s king,
slowly reaching one cycle,
bows and surrenders.

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On to the Baltic States

25 May to 2 June 2018

I have chosen this side of the world for our holiday because I still have a valid Schengen Visa to enter these countries. It’ll be expiring soon, hence I thought I’d take the chance to do so before it happens.

I initially thought of making Lithuania our first stop, but I realized I only wanted to visit the Hill of Crosses there and the town where it is situated is quite close to Riga anyway hence, our first point was Riga, Latvia and planned to go on a day trip to the Hill of Crosses.

Day 1: Half a day in Helsinki then Riga (half day)

Day 2: Riga (Full Day)

Day 3: Siauliai (Day Trip) + extra Vilnius Old Town

Day 4: Viljandi

Day 5; Parnu

Day 6: Tallinn

Day 7: Tallinn

I was quite thrilled to be travel with T. It’s our first time to travel far together. I was sure I will learn a lot about him. (Even in writing this now, I have to keep on changing my pronouns from I to We. Haha)

Helsinki, Finland

We took Finnair, and we had 5 hours layover in Helsinki which we didn’t waste. We took the Finnair direct bus to the city. We had coffee and a bit of a walk around. I had been to Helsinki before hence, the area was a bit familiar to me. Just a bit.

Around Helsinki

 

Riga, Latvia

We arrived in the afternoon. Traveling from the airport was easy. Just buy the ticket from the information counter inside the airport and take Bus 22 and it goes directly near the Old Town. We booked an apartment near the Old Town at a very reasonable price. It’s called Hammam Old Riga Apartment.

We rested a bit and luckily for T, Riga was hosting its annual Beer festival during that period. T was excited and so was I. There were live bands playing, lots of food and of course, alcoholic beverages. We had our dinner there and we had a bit of beer and we headed home.

Latvia Beer Fest

Next day, we joined a free walking tour outside the Old Town at http://freetour.traveller.ee/?page_id=5&lang=ri. We learned a little bit about the history of Latvia. It was a bit heartbreaking to learn about how countries in this region are still, despite being independent, fighting for their own countries’ identities. My favorite part of the tour was their Central Market. They were hangars converted into a huge market and bazaars. They ‘ve separate buildings for livestock, seafood, vegetables (especially pickled ones) etc.

Riga Old Town

After the walking tour, T decided to cook for me for the first time. We went to the grocery store and I began to notice how cheap pork was there. I would be a happy girl if decide to live there. Also, since we’re on food, according to the walking tour guide, they like their fishes smoked and vegetables pickled so they could still have this food for winters. T’s dish was lovely.

We rested and headed for a nice sunset walk and view at Latvian Academy of Sciences as recommended by our guide during the walking tour. We then, headed home to conclude the night.

The next day, we planned to just walk aimlessly around the old town and around 12pm, we started our journey to Saulia, Lithuania by a rented car. Yes, I already have a personal driver. I won’t need to run after and tightly schedule my bus and train rides. One of the many Pros of having a partner who knows how to drive and is willing to do so.=)

I was supposed to be happy being in a private passenger seat, but I was wrong. T wasn’t used to driving on the left side. Roads inside the old town were small and we were struggling. Yes, I was having a heart attack while he was having a panic attack because of my yelling and nagging. After an hour or so of getting used to the road and the car, we were able to cruise safely, peacefully and quietly. We reached the Hill of Crosses in this tiny town of Siauliai, Lithuania at around 3pm.

Siauliai and Vilnius Lithuania

Buses of tourists were crowding this small hill. As I have read a bit about it, I was already expecting that the hill was small. Some photos from the internet might be a bit deceiving. Despite people being underwhelmed, I thought, as a Catholic, it was still interesting to visit. This is a base of hundreds of thousands of crosses, was destructed and rebuilt a couple of times and still, up to date, is still intact. This hill has been a symbol of the locals’ faith and hope despite adversities.

Hill of Crosses

Hill of Crosses 2

We planted our own cross which we purchased for 2Euros from the souvenir shop at the entrance. We prayed for a bit and walked back to the car.

Our initial plan was to get back to Riga after this but T decided he wanted to drive further. He decided to go to Vilnius Old town too for dinner. He drove for a few more hours as I entertained my self by eating junk food and performing in the car.

On the road, I could already see how much taller buildings Lithuania has. Its old town also looked a bit more happening than in Riga. As we walked unexpectedly in a small alley, slowly, hot air balloons appeared in the sky. It was like a show meant for us to see. We again walked around the town and sat in a small cafe near where we parked and had our meal. T drove for 4hours back to Riga. We reached Riga at around 3am.

Hot Air Balloons in Vilnius Old Town

Viljandi, Estonia

We checked out and headed for our next adventure to a smaller town called Viljandi. I have read that they have a beautiful lake and a castle ruin hence, I added this place to our itinerary. It was a relatively peaceful cruise for us.

We reached Viljandi around 3pm. We checked in in a small hotel called Lossikambri külaliskorterLossi for 41Euros. It has one queen and 2 single beds, kitchen and dining area. It was basic but very reasonable. We rested for a while and headed out to walk around the town. Unlike Riga and Vilnius, this old town looked empty. I liked it because of its serenity. We walked to the lake viewpoint and the castle ruin. We then had dinner in a restaurant which was also good because the prices of food and beer were cheap, unlike the more touristy places. After dinner, we headed out to the grocery to buy more stuff and headed back home.

Lake Viljandi

The next day, we spent more time finding interesting places within the town. We went to the museum, water tower with an amazing view of the city and we went down to the lake. Surprisingly, it was more happening by the lake than around town. Fit people sunbathing, playing volleyball and big swings. I also liked their outdoor gym and playground. T had an enjoyable time watching fit human beings around the lake. Too bad, we had to drive to our next destination, Parnu.

View from the Old Water Tower

Parnu, Estonia

We reached our hostel called Hostel Louna. Same spacious space at a similarly affordable price of 30 Euros. Near the hostel was another interesting playground. I was already liking Estonia and it’s outdoor playgrounds and gyms. Even adults would have a good time using their playgrounds.

We walked towards the beach and found a female nude beach. T’s smile was from ear to ear. We walked towards there and quickly cruised away. Haha, Beach has a decent crowd when we visited. We walked till we reached the breakwater and walked back the hostel to rest. So, at around 10pm, we decided to go out for tea, but almost all decent food places were closed. We drove around only to be saved by our savior Bro Mcs.

Parnu Beach

The next day, we walked around the old town then the breakwater. It was a tradition that lovers should walk the full 2km of the breakwater for good luck, hence, despite T’s aching body, we walked the breakwater! Haha

Parnu Breakwater

Today we drove to Tallinn!

Tallin, Estonia

We reached the old town and I’d already noticed how crowded the place was. We had a complex time finding our accommodation, Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru, because there were so many people crowding the narrow cobblestoned streets. T liked the crowd, I didn’t.

We rested a bit and headed out for tea. Our holiday was almost ending hence, our spending right was starting to get laxer. We knew we would survive for the remaining 2 days with non-cheapo food from now. T chose the restaurant. After tea, we walked around a bit more.

The next day, we joined another walking tour from http://freetour.traveller.ee/?page_id=5&lang=en. Tallinn was way too crowded for my liking this time around. Worse than last night. Too hot, over-crowded and all, but of course, I still did enjoy the stories and learning more about Estonian culture.

After the tour, we walked back because we had to return the car to the airport. We didn’t need it anymore. We took their very convenient Tram 4 back to the old town. We again walked a bit more and had tea. We went to the old town’s upper town to view the sunset. We almost missed it because I was enjoying the performances in the lower town. But luckily, T forced me to start our ascent, we didn’t miss it.

Performance at the Old Town

We still have half a day of walking around the next day. We just explored the old town more. We witnessed this sport I’ve never heard of before, Medieval Fighting. Tallinn was hosting the Old Tallinn Cup 2018. It was rough. I didn’t understand the sport much but I saw people from different countries participating.

Happenings at the Old Town

Medieval Fighting

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We had light lunch and headed to the airport using their convenient Tram 4. We again had a 4hours lay-over in Helsinki, but we decided just to chill at the airport.

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Perky Perth, Australia

28 Apr – 1 May 2018

Why Perth?

As mentioned in my earlier post, I would be visiting Australia more often now since T is from there. We didn’t know where to go for the month, hence, my decision to surprise-visit his mum who, 2 months ago, was based in Perth. You read it right. Two months ago… So, instead of us, surprising her, we ended up getting surprised by her announcement that she wanted to move to Townsville and that pretty much happened very quickly. So, there we were, with promo airfares, we couldn’t refund and rebook our flights. We just had to make the best out of it.

We decided to rent a car for enhanced mobility. I sort of didn’t like this idea initially because I didn’t want to lose my confidence in taking public transport.Since I am no longer traveling alone, I had to consider his opinion too. When with him, I would suppose, we might drive more than take public transport. I just have to hope I won’t lose this ability eventually.

Here’s our relaxed itinerary in Perth:

T picked me up from the airport and we drove to Fremantle for dinner. He brought me to Little Creature. We then walked around the quaint town for a bit and headed back to our home accommodation, Criterion Hotel.

 

The next day, we drove to Cottesloe Beach. The sun was out and so as the people. Waves were not as strong whilst, water was, in my opinion, too cold…. The coastline was so beautiful. We then drove to Hillarys for lunch and chilled there for a while.

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Cottesloe Beach

 

We then drove to Reabold Hill, the highest point of Perth to wait for the sunset. I wanted to explore more of the place but apparently, the park closes between 6-7pm. We wouldn’t be able to reach back on time if we take either the short or the longer trail. Maybe next time.

 

Sunset was, as usual, breath-taking. I like the feeling of just watching it set while the wind softly touched my face. It felt even more special because T was around. I already have him to share this beautiful view with.

After indulging in the city view, we drove to the nearest cinema to watch Infinity War. We drove home after that.

Next day, we drove to Busselton Jetty, at 1.8Km, the world’s longest wooden jetty. It was surprisingly far from Perth. We passed by Mandurah and walked around the quiet town. I liked these small towns we stopped into. The quieter it is, the better for me.

 

Mandurah

 

Busselton Jetty

We reached Busselton late in the afternoon. It was almost sunset. Sun didn’t show but the rain did. It rained when we were half-way coming back. We ran back but we still got caught in the rain. It was fun still. We had KFC before we drove back home. We entertained ourselves by listening to comedies of T’s choice the whole time. Simple pleasures of life.=)

Despite we resist, our last day together had arrived. We both were flying the same night. Hence, we just decided to go to King’s Park. It has a view over-looking the river and the city. It was beautiful. The botanical garden inside was also very rich in varieties of plants and trees. Their grasslands also looked trimmed and well-maintained. It would have been nice if we could have a picnic there. We had cake and coffee after the walk in a cafe within the premises of the park.

 

King’s Park View

We drove back to Hillarys for lunch and spent the whole afternoon there, eating chips and churros. It was sad because it was our last day together again. Time really flies fast when having fun.

We drove to the airport, returned the car and headed to the International Airport. Bye bye T!=(

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The B Clan’s Holy Week 2018

Same as last year, our Holy Week was still spent with my dad’s clan. When it comes to the Bs, we are always hungry. My family likes food. I know it’s probably a little unacceptable to binge eat during this period but, food is our family’s culture.

Some of the highlights of this year’s trip to Camarines Norte were:

The processions, as always. As our ‘Poon’ is a huge part of this yearly reunion.

Good Friday Procession

Self-Flagellation in Vinzons

I ran with dad, my uncle, and cousins in Bagasbas Beach. I haven’t run with dad in a very long time and I am definitely thankful that he was still able to move like that.

We went to a resort called Paradiso. We rented a cottage and Karaoke. That was fun.

Our parting brunch hosted by my uncle Dan at Bagasbas Light House Beach Resort.

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Food….lots.

 

Related links: Holy Week 2017 Story

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Australia: March 2018 Ed.

24 – 27 March 2018

As mentioned earlier, I would visit Australia more than before because of T. We decided we would try to see each other every month. This is the price we have to pay for our long-distance relationship. We just have to make things work. Finances, time, and efforts have to be efficiently planned for us to accomplish this.I only have limited days off and I have to equally divide these days for myself, my family and T, hence, this very short trip to see him.

I arrived on the 24th, T picked me up from the airport and we decided to aimlessly roam around Melbourne CBD. We went to QV market, Crowns for a movie (Red Sparrow)and food. To cap the day, we watched my first AFL match.

I have already realized that Footy, as they call it, is a huge part of the Australian culture and I have to swim in it. I have to learn and care about the sport if I want to get to know T better. I am willing to do that though I still am not certain about what team support. T wanted me to cheer for the Hawks, his beloved for the past 30+ years. Maybe, just maybe, I might want competitions and arguments, I might just do otherwise. We will see if he’ll be able to convince me. 😉 By the way, Hawks won that night.

We both wanted to take a break and just chill together. The next day, we went out on a journey late. We got lost finding the Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 Steps ). We eventually found it anyway. We walked the whole trail up and down which took us around 1 hr. We then headed home and got ourselves fish and chips for dinner. We watched more footy on TV after that.

The next day, we drove to Mornington for some vitamin ‘sea’. This is a small town by the water. It was pretty quiet (and cold) when we went there. We just walked around trying to endure the cold (we are both pathetic with the cold) then, we suddenly saw one elderly woman jumped into the cold ocean comfortably. We felt ashamed of ourselves.

Mornington, Vic, Australia

We then drove back to the center for dinner and to watch another movie, Tomb Raider. I rarely watch movies before I met T. I am really trying to compromise and do stuff like this because he is also trying his best to move, walk, swim, workout with me.

On my last day, I just had to fly to Sydney very early in the morning to catch my flight back to Manila to be with my family.

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