Past few weekends and the holiday season, aka life according to my phone, Pt. 2

aka it has been lazy these past few weekends hahahaha

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The holidays are upon us… and god knows it has been lazy – from getting up and going out. The cold winds are beckoning you to hole up with a cup of eggnog hot cocoa/coffee/tea (whatever floats your boat) and endless TV and movies at home. But the holidays for me are for seeing old friends again. I haven’t seen this bunch in a while! And Maginhawa looks soooooooo different already… We ate at Indonyaki, that Indonesian place across where TK used to be at. Then almost naturally, we holed up in Moonleaf… like good ol’ times.

 

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I am thanking this year for new friends! This year marked my first year in corporate and I haven’t thanked the Lord enough for the opportunities and the new people in my life. My team agreed to do Mystery Manila for team building and yeeeeeeah! Booyah bitches, we have conquered! Go drag the team, friends, or family here and have some fun guys!

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  1. Guess what our team name is. 
  2. I don’t like that we didn’t get first. 
  3. Naturally and irl, I’m uber competitive. 

 

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Weekends are usually spent with my roommate and bae, Nica! When Cath Kidston opened in Fort, I already knew that Nica will be dying to see it… so off we went! However, we brought our EQs with us so we bought nada. Til next time then! We had dinner at The Wholesome Table in BGC Central. Food was awesome… I wish I know how to tell if something is organic, but I guess I just believed what was written in their menus. The fried chicken parmigiana was GLORIOUS, yeezus I wanna make that at home. Chug down with tamarind tea – I wanna learn how they made this, too!

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IMG_6146.JPGIMG_6158Intermission: Postcrossing IS fun!!! I’ve been receiving postcards the whole month. This one’s from the USA!

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Of course, Christmas parties are looming around the city and I had fun with the people from Globe and the Club 917 at the NBA Cafe – in line with their promos with NBA! They gave away an LG G3, a Samsung S5, and lots of Tattoo products and gift certificates. Thanks, Globe and HVMO, for this year… it has been a great partnership and I only look for more years working with you 🙂 

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And some weekends are just chilling with the fambam… I don’t see them often – I wish I could, but sometimes life has its way of hurling its big self on to you. Nevertheless, whenever I can and whenever there is an opportunity, I go see them. We may argue a lot, but I believe we love each other. Looking forward to spend a glorious 5-day Christmas break with them… oh god, the Davids really like Christmas… lounging around the house is never the same without my family!

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This was earlier at Pino Restaurant at Malingap street in Teacher’s Village. Brought the fam bam here after Angel’s Oathtaking! Congrats for being licensed and shit, sister! Go forth and educate!

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Happy Holidays everyone and all!

#Bangcock Day 1: NAIA and Suvarnabhumi, Baiyoke, and shopping (also, money matters when traveling)

But first, let me take a selfie

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And -fies of random afams in the airport. Hello, Northern European-looking guy!

20141118_085223IMG_5832IMG_5833I want this pop art-inspired luggage cover!

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NAIA Terminal 2 was still a bit gloomy, yet buzzing with travelers, when we got to the airport. A lot were boarding for different flights so we easily found a spot to lounge. We arrived an hour early and we were enjoying the silence… when the President arrived for a flight… (What were we thinking, it’s the national carrier PAL’s terminal after all.) Lol, no pictures because I was so tired, coming from work and shit.

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The flight to Bangkok was usual – though I can bet a finger that PAL’s food could improve. And I hope there were no crying kids, because god knows I needed sleep that day. Seeing Suvarnabhumi airport again was refreshing though! The space-inspired international hub was in its usual hustle and it was energizing to be back!

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First order of business though when we landed was to get some baht. I used to lug around dollar notes when I’m traveling but due to recommendations from Val and the internet, I had to try withdrawing from the local ATM. I was curious if I can save a few hundred pesos… but turns out it’s just the same. The exchange rate in the Philippines for buying baht was at 1.6, and I think I saved only a couple of ten pesos, since essentially the Bank in Thailand will convert your pesos to dollars then to baht… plus fees from both banks. Basically, I approximately got an exchange rate of 1.45. If you have some tricks up your sleeve with these currency exchange, please hit me up huhuhu.

IMG_5842Hello, photobomber!

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This time around, we opted to stay at Baiyoke Sky Hotel, only Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper at 89 floors. Thanks to Val who treated us the hotel room, being it her birthday treat! The hotel is kinda old though… you can literally smell it. The actual lobby is at the 18th floor and if you go down on lunch time be prepared to the swarm of tourist groups as the tower is also a tourist attraction. So. Many. PEOPLE. FML (for my life, that is.)

IMG_5849IMG_5850Well I have to give it to them for having a fruit stand — INSIDE THE HOTEL LOBBY!

IMG_5851IMG_5852The bar near the smoking area on the 18th floor also has a driving range. If you got golf skills, time to show off!

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The view of the Pratunam skyline from the room pays for what seems to be things that need attention. For one, I think Baiyoke needs to be more conscious about attendant’s behavior — especially those who are in the front desk… Everything’s bearable if their people are smiling.

/endrant

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There’s nothing much to do at the hotel, so off to the nearest mall/market we went! Right outside the hotel is the Pratunam Market and it’s a hella big market – food, clothes, accessories, and all sort of Asian Market fare can be found there. If you walk a little further, it’ll bring you to Platinum Fashion Mall – where you’d find one the best deals on clothes, all the more if you buy in bulk. I guess, businesses here in Manila who source in Bangkok get their stuff here! Plenty of good stuff… and I love their foodcourt – where you need to exchange your money for a card you swipe to buy food. Snazzy!

IMG_5863IMG_5864The first of many Tom Yum Goongs for this trip!

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It was just the first day, but coming from work I just felt very tired and I crashed the minute I saw my bed after walking in the humongous Platinum mall. We even rode the tuktuk, who totally scammed us with a 100 baht charge, but kebs we’re too tired to argue.

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The next day we’ve had the party of our lives so stay tuned for more stories!

*With photos from Con and Val

 

Typhoon Ruby Updates

It is beyond scary to know that Typhoon Ruby will be as strong as last year’s Typhoon Yolanda as forecasts say. Yolanda (or internationally known as, Haiyan) has devastated most of Central Visayas which citizens are now still recuperating from.

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Different organizations are now jumping off the bat for preventive measures. It’s good to see all these corporations exert an effort into helping prevent any ill-fated circumstances. Google Philippines published a crisis map wherein evacuation centers, among other stuff, are mapped out, along with a Public Alerts page. NOAH also posted these storm surge advisories for provinces in Visayas.

Tweetup Manila, the guys responsible for #RescuePH and #ReliefPH, released these advisories as well to keep people reminded.

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Globe Telecom advises its customers in Eastern Visayas to take necessary measures in preparation for Typhoon Hagupit, which entered the Philippine area of responsibility today. The typhoon is expected to hit some of the areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda about a year ago… Read more

#TuesdayMusic: basically my mood irl, not necessarily new

Back from obscurity… and #Bangcock!

Finally, getting back up from a stomach flu! I haven’t felt that bad in the gut since god knows when and… I admit I’m still not that well… but manageable at the least! Phew… is this growing old?

IMG_5880Pratunam at night looks so lovely

But anyway, last week two of my friends from the office and I went to a whimsical trip to Bangkok and it never felt any better than being back in a city that I love! I was just there last year and despite the then-starting protests, the city was electric and full of energy… and still is the same! Though unplanned and this trip left me practically using up money that I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t regret anything. It was a hell lot of fun!

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I got to do other things than temple tramping because I’ve done that last year! So it was about museums, the sex district, lots of drinking… and definitely it also involved lots of food. The city looks a hell lot like Manila but I guess there is really something being in a different city other than yours… makes you feel alive.

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Central Thailand has one of the best cuisines across all of Asia, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I even learned a thing or two from Baipai Thai Cooking School! Met a couple of people from our small class , had tons of fun playing around the kitchen (without burning anything, of course!) Will definitely whip some Thai realness in the kitchen from now on… where to find ingredients though; we will scout for, that is.

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And what is #Bangcock when there is no sleaze involved. I know any city would kinda regret if they’re known for sex shows but I think it just adds charm to good ol’ Bangkok. You all know the story guys… HANGOVER! So Two Gays and A Girl booked the Hangover Tour for kicks and it was a looooooot of oohs and aahs quite literally. Bangkok at night changes from sobriety to sleaze in a snap!

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There is a lot to tell about our little getaway to Bangkok, including photos I prolly shouldn’t have taken but I’ll share anyway…

I can’t wait to tell all of ’em to you! Stay tuned!

Movie to watch out for: Song of the Sea

I am so excited for this animated film from Director Tomm Moore — amazing storyline, cutesy illustration, and a really fantastic soundtrack!

Hong Kong Hustle: Coffee Shop Hopping at Jervois Street

I didn’t get to have all the coffee that I want back in Hong Kong but I took note of the interesting cafes that I saw while strolling around the area. Hopefully, they’ll be of help for you as well! 

Most of these are found at Hong Kong Island – in Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay. Hopefully, this list will grow – because I’ll definitely go back soon! Maybe a lesson or two from the Coffee Academics… and an overcaffeinated vacation…

Ah! One can dream…


 

IMG_5513The Coffee Academics 
38 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay
+852 2156 0313
10am – 11pm

IMG_558818 Grams Specialty Coffee
77 Wing Lok St, Sheung Wan
8am – 7am (I’m not sure if this is serious tho lol)

IMG_5590VEYGO Coffee
Kai Fung Mansion, 2-24 Jervois St
Sheung Wan
+852 2205 1011
9am – 10pm

IMG_5591Catfe
85 Jervois St, Sheung Wan
+852 3590 2686

IMG_5592Fetch Coffee
109 Jervois St, Sheung Wan

IMG_5595Backerei Cafe
G/F Western Market, Sheung Wan

IMG_5602Agnes B. Cafe L.P.G.
17-19 Yun Ping Rd, Causeway Bay

IMG_5675Rabbithole Coffee and Roaster
3 Landale St, Wan Chai
+852 2528 0039
7:30am – 8pm

IMG_5692Barista Jam
126-128 Jervois St, Sheung Wan
+852 2854 2211

IMG_5694Cupping Room
LG/F 299 Queen’s Road Central
Sheung Wan
+852 2799 3398

IMG_5695Corner Kitchen Cafe
226 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan
+852 2547 8008

IMG_5697Caffe Habitu
Hung Hom, near HK Polytechnic Uni

 

Flying away… yet again.

DSC_0300From last year’s trip

By the time this reaches your screens, I’ll be in the airport, hovering towards the boarding gate because I’ve probably just arrived from work to catch a plane to the chaotic yet charming Venice-esque city of smiles. I’m with two friends who I’ll be traveling with for the first time and I have never been excited to be back in a city I’ve been before. The last time I was there, I was a bit tired from the Angkor Wat tours and I can admit that I haven’t done so much. Heck, I missed on having a bowl of authentic Tom Yum Goong served in the streets!! But I’m glad I did the temples then, because now I have time for other things like exploring the other districts like Pratunam and Ratchethewi and Khao San, and maybe take cooking classes, and Thai massage (perhaps with a happy ending… hehe) and so much moooooooore!

I was just on a trip last month, and even though this trip might really leave me broke and eating free food from the office pantry for the rest of the year, I wouldn’t care… (maybe not the wisest decision, but I’m so up for spontaneity right now)

Yes, I’ll be in this flight and will have a good time. 

I promise to save up after though because plans for 2015 is slowly upcoming. PRETTY. AWESOME. SURPRISES. But scared as well… 

Also, I’ll take this opportunity to congratulate my friend, Ella, who was with me last year in the same city. It was also my first time to go to more than one country and it was awesome and was a great year-ender for me. She’s now based in London and I got nothing but all the happiness in the world for her. Kudos to you, Ella, and keep calm and carry on! (I just had to.)

I’ll see you guys, soon! And with more stories to share 🙂

Hong Kong Hustle: Day 4; The Peak, The Amazing Airport Express, and Overall HK Efficiency

Being tired for the three days we were in Hong Kong is all right. Leaving is not :(

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It was our last day in Hong Kong and it was a kinda sad day to leave. Hong Kong is such a magical place! But then again, life in Manila waits. So the first thing we did that morning to maximize our time was to head over to the In-town Check-in over at Kowloon station. This is so convenient! Imagine dropping your bags early on so you’d just have to be at the airport just in time for immigration and boarding. Saves a lot of hassle imho. ALL AIRPORTS NEED THIS!!! The process goes like this —

  • Check if you airline allows for this here. Furthermore, check how many hours prior boarding your airline allows to check in through here. Our flight then was 10pm and we checked in at around 10am. NEAT.
  • Enter the check-in area near the Airport Express at Kowloon or Hong Kong station by badging in your Octopus card or buy a single journey ticket (around HK$90)
  • Drop your baggages and get your boarding pass. Quite literally, you’re now checked in and all you need is to show up for immigration, additional baggage drop (if any), and boarding.
  • The fare deducted from your Octopus will be used when you board the Airport Express. Make sure you’re not on negative by then though.

VERY EFFICIENT, HONG KONG. VERY. EFFICIENT.

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Then we headed back to Sheung Wan for breakfast! There were a lot of interesting coffee shops around and it’ll be a shame not try even one. We holed up in Barista Jam and had my usual flat white. I love, too, that they also retail coffee brewers of every kind. It’s a small space but the crowd is lively and energetic for a drowsy Tuesday morning.

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Then, for the last day, we caught Bus 15 in the Exchange terminus to go to The Peak to while time. We wanted to try the funicular but we found it expensive, touristy, and well… if we can go there without any queueing that’d be great, right? I love the Peak so much! It gives you a good vantage of the Hong Kong skyline and it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours. But other than that, there’s the usual shops, restaurants, oh… there’s this watch shop which offers a lot of discounts! I got a Casio watch for HK$ 100 (just US$ 13!!!!!)

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For one last hurrah at dim sum, without even trying to look for it, we just saw the world’s cheapest most affordable Michelin star restaurant on our way to the Airport Express via the IFC Mall. At first, we didn’t notice it because it has no English signs but the logo really seemed so familiar. Nica said we should eat there because there are a lot of foreigners eating there, and I was just like, I’m just really hungry. So we went in and as soon as we sat down we realized it is Tim Ho Wan! We ordered our usual dim sum, but we really had to try the pork buns, well… because it caused a ruckus in Manila. Verdict: the pork buns tasted way better in Hong Kong. As expected.

IMG_5721IMG_5722Reflex

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The Airport Express takes just about 24 minutes to take you to the airport… which is in an outlying island away from the city side. There are just two terminals (PAL is in the second one) but we were directed towards Terminal 1 because we already checked in at the MTR (yes it is redundant but I can’t get over how efficient it is.) There are a lot of shopping opportunities here but let’s skip that. Let’s focus on the fact that there’s Popeye’s Fried Chicken there!!! Without thinking, we queued in and got biscuits and chicken because why not. Who cares about waistline (oh but wait, I doooo. Nooooo. HAHA!) And it was just easy to while time here because everything is so organized… I only wish the same for Manila.

IMG_5663It’s been real, Hong Kong

I need to be back soon!

 

A year after Haiyan…

Typhoon Yolanda, known as Haiyan internationally, the strongest typhoon to hit the planet, had made land fall in the Philippines a year ago on this month. It has destroyed millions worth of properties and has taken a lot of lives. Those who survived has barely managed… if it weren’t for people, here in the Philippines and elsewhere in world, jumped in to help them. It helps restore faith in humanity as the whole world lent a helping hand to the survivors, something as a Filipino I am grateful for.

Read more

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