My Top 5 Favorite Beaches in the Philippines

I must be crazy for attempting to pick just 5 favorite beaches in the Philippines. I’m sure this is just going to be part 1, and there will be more parts to this post in the future. Even though it’s a fact that our country boasts of hundreds of beautiful beaches, I’ve only been to a few, so my selection is not as extensive as I’d like them to be. But still, even with just a few beaches to choose from, this is going to be a tough post to write. Let’s begin. Continue reading

My 2016 in Pictures

There’s just a couple more days before we officially say goodbye to 2016. This year has been crazy! I’ve had a lot of memories, good and bad. My year-end blues came early this year which resulted to hard decisions being made. It was such a depressing time but I am happy that I’m leaving some things behind in 2016. It’s impossible to tell you all of the great stories in one post, so I’m posting pictures instead. (This would’ve been easier had I been a diligent blogger!)

January

Started the year by meeting up with old friends.

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Spending Summer 2015 in Boracay

Boracay, Aklan
Boracay, Aklan

 

I was lucky enough to have been able to go to the beach twice last summer. Having different sets of friends who all love to travel, and being one who can’t say no to quick and cheap trips, I almost always end up saying yes whenever I get invited. This time, it was in Palawan and Boracay. (I’ll blog about my awesome Palawan trip next time)

Last year, I, together with my friends Kat and Reena, went to Boracay (I didn’t blog about it, but I posted our parasailing video). And after a year, Reena and I went back. It wasn’t a vacation really, because we didn’t take leaves from work. It was a 7-day trip of working from the island (can’t complain). We didn’t do any activities, except the Pub Crawl (which I’m gonna blog about separately).

Here are some of the pictures I took during the trip. There aren’t many as I didn’t bring a camera. All pictures were taken using my iPhone.

Boracay Airport
Boracay Airport

 

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Food! I loved the gizzard and this Crispy Bulalo at Smoke.

 

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1. A stray cat. 2. Wanted to buy calamansi muffins, but they ran out!

 

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Boracay Sunset

 

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Restaurant interior

 

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Trying out the panorama trick shot on Reena

 

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Selfie and a sunset picture

 

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And another sunset picture

 

xoxo,

raia-logo

PS
This post is mainly just a photo dump to document my trip. Will update with more meaningful posts soon.

Art In Island: Asia’s Largest Trick Art Museum

Art In Island in Cubao
Art In Island in Cubao

Whenever I’m in Manila, I make sure to meet up with two of my oldest friends, Tine and Rhoda. Over the years, if it wasn’t the movies, it would be coffee, food, or videoke, or all of the above. This year, I dragged them to Art in Island in Cubao.

I’d been seeing a few pictures on my Facebook feed and I thought they were pretty interesting, so we went. When we got there, there were a lot of people as it was the weekend. Some even were having their school field trip there. No shoes were allowed inside, we didn’t know that so we were barefoot the entire time. I’m saving you the trouble, so if you haven’t been there and you want to know what to do, here’s their FAQ page.

Bringing a camera and a friend is highly encouraged as the whole point of the museum is to take pictures of the 3D art with you in it. The whole museum will take possibly 2 hours to complete if you plan on taking pictures of every single artwork. There’s just too many!

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That time I entered a book, and was kicked by a giant foot

 

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Rhoda petting a giant cat

 

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1. Rhoda, looking for something? 2. Whoops.

 

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Great catch!

 

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When we were all part of a masterpiece

 

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Tine and Rhoda trying not to be eaten alive.

 

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Wildlife experience. XD

 

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1. Uhm, a little help here? 2. Tine the giant.

 

Additional Information

Admission Fee:
Adult: P500
Student: P400
Children below 3ft: FREE

Operating Hours:
Tuesday – Sunday
9:30am – 9:30pm
Selling of tickets until 8pm
Closed on Mondays except on Holidays.

 

xoxo,

raia-logo

Food Trip: Cafe+

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Whenever I am in Luzon, I crash at my friend’s place in Baliuag, Bulacan. And since we both work from home, sometimes we feel the need to just go out and work somewhere else for a change of environment. The most obvious choice are coffee shops because 1. they have comfy chairs, 2. they almost always have wi-fi (although we always bring a portable wi-fi, it doesn’t hurt to have a back up in case the signal is weak), 3. they are more lenient to customers who stay for more than an hour, and 4. they have coffee!

We’ve always wanted to try Cafe+ so, when we had the opportunity, we took it, grabbed our laptops, and went on a 10-minute or so drive to Plaridel. The place is cute, they don’t have comfy chairs though, and they could use a bigger parking space. But if you get there early enough or on a not-so-busy part of the day, you’ll be fine. And of course, there’s always public transportation. Since it is just by the road, it is also accessible to jeepneys and buses going to and from NLEX.

The place serves brunch, coffee, and desserts. This is their cute, hand-drawn menu (click for a larger view):

Cafe + Menu 3Cafe+ Menu 1 Cafe+ Menu 2

The first time we went there, we ordered beignets, which was delish but we couldn’t finish it as the sandwiches were already so filling! Their sandwich orders come with a choice of a salad or fries on the side. We ordered both, and by the end of the meal, we decided the salad was a much better option (especially if you’re looking to stay away from fried food). Besides, their Asian dressing was yummy!

Their store is open from 9am-10pm. Here’s their Facebook page just in case you want more information. Enjoy!

 

 

A Short Visit to La Union

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I have been to La Union twice, and on both instances, I never tried surfing. The first time, I was unprepared, and the second time, I was scared. But that is not to say I didn’t enjoy both trips, because I did. Oh boy, I certainly did.

I mentioned before on this post about Manila Ocean Park that I have water anxiety. And anybody who knows me real well or travels with me to beaches would know how much I get really scared when I go swimming in the beach. Somehow, in La Union, that is never the case for me.

Last summer, my friends and I decided to go on a road trip. Mara drove us all the way from Manila to La Union in her Ford Ranger. They were a great bunch, but I was, as always, a sleepy traveler and slept for most part of the drive. Teehee.

It took us about 6 hours to get to Hacienda Peter, where we stayed. We were blessed with cloudy weather, which made swimming so much more fun. I played in the water until my legs and knees hurt from trying to fight the waves.  Unfortunately though, it was a rather short trip. I was tired from all the swimming that I slept early that night. We went back to Manila the next day.

This place warrants another visit. Maybe before the year ends. Yes? Yes.

A Photo Walk in Zamboanga City

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I went to Paseo del Mar the other day to take some pictures. I’ve been holed up in my room ever since I got back and I needed to just get a whiff of fresh Zamboanga City air for once. I took my Fujifilm XF-1 with me and took a few pictures. It was a rather short walk because it was nearing night-time. I just went to Fort Pilar and took a couple of shots along the way. I went back to Paseo del Mar after a few minutes to have dinner with my parents.

I’m thinking of doing more photo walks in the future. I get to travel often but I barely take pictures. Yeah, I’m just lazy like that.

Road Trip to Zamboanga del Norte

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We’ve wanted to go to Zamboanga del Norte for the longest time but we always, always chicken out because of fear. We weren’t familiar with the roads, we had never been there, except for my dad who went there when he was younger, almost 40 years ago. We absolutely had no idea what it was going to be like, save from a few horror stories we read and heard from the news.

When my sister vacationed here a month ago and we were looking for a place to go swim and have fun, we all decided to finally just do it. So, on Eidl Fitr, we packed our bags and headed to Dipolog – no hotel reservations, no idea where to go and what to expect. All we had were ourselves, a bucket of Jollibee Chickenjoy, chichirya, the car, and the long road trip ahead of us.

While we still had our fears, no one really talked about it. We happily listened to one of the CDs I had burnt from months ago with all my favorite Frozen tracks and a bunch of other songs I liked. The CD was on loop the entire time. The whole trip took about 7 hours including a short stopover for a restroom break and to stretch our legs. We were surprised to see how the roads were a whole lot better than we initially thought. There were very few instances of isolation as the roads were always dotted with houses and farms which eased us a little bit and took our minds off our fears. After a few hours on the road, we began to feel comfortable and we started enjoying the ride and just took in the beautiful scenery of lush greens, the sea, and tall mountains. Zamboanga is such a beautiful place.

The initial plan was to share the driving task between dad and myself. But knowing my father, he would not let me drive on unfamiliar roads so he took on the responsibility and drove us all the way to Dipolog — he didn’t even eat, except for a couple of ginger sweets! The least I could do was turn on my phone’s GPS so we could follow Google Maps.

I searched for a hotel in Dipolog and found D’Hotel. We got there by following the GPS voice prompts (I love technology!). We checked-in, settled ourselves, ate, and then slept until the next day.

The next day was our trip to Dapitan City and our destination was Dakak Beach Resort. We ate breakfast at the hotel, checked out, and then went on the short drive to Dapitan City. If you guys don’t know yet, Dakak was like the Boracay in the late 80’s and early 90’s. No, it wasn’t the party scene that is Boracay today, but it was a popular destination of the rich and the famous, as it was the first 5-star resort in Mindanao. (You can read more about their history here – http://dakakresort.com/about-us/.

We went home the next day, and this time we made a much longer stopover to eat at Jollibee in Ipil. It was cloudy and the weather was great, not too warm.

All in all, I think I’ve enjoyed this trip even though it was a rather short one. At least now I can say I’ve been to Dakak, one Philippine beach scratched off my list. – RA

 

So, yeah. I got kinda distracted…

It has been three weeks since I arrived in Manila and a lot of things have happened. This blog post is an attempt to give you an update.

First. I didn’t complete VEDA! Argh. It was certainly a challenge especially since uploading was slow due to internet problems. And I very rarely had the time, nor the energy to actually film and upload one. But still, I think I did great for a first-timer. I will certainly do better in August.

Second. My boss went to Manila, we got together, and even celebrated his birthday in Tagaytay. We ate at a restaurant called Pamana, tried the ferris wheel at Sky Ranch, and had coffee in Bag of Beans.

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Teammates

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Doing an airport tour of some sorts…

Not really.

Tomorrow, I’m flying over to CDO to attend Rey and KC’s wedding. (I took their engagement pictures in Singapore last year.) I booked a direct flight from Zamboanga City but CebuPacific changed my flight from direct to connecting. So, my trip will be like ZAM – CEB – CDO, and then CDO – MNL – ZAM. I’m kinda scared and intimidated by the number of check-in counters I have to go through. Or is that even how it works? And how about my prepaid baggage allowance? Does it apply to all flights? TT_TT I’ve never had a local connecting flight, ever. Daig ko pa ang maga-abroad! Continue reading