Enthralled by El Nido

I found my paradise in the Philippines.

Spellbounding Siquijor

A brave girl's first ever solo trip was to this mystical island.

The Quiet Charm of Cagbalete Island

Outdoor serenity at its best.

The Rugged Beauty of Islas de Gigantes

The off-the-beaten rockin beauty of Northern Iloilo.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

KL Stopover: A Day in Kuala Lumpur


Hello Again, KL!

Lake Symphony in KLCC Park


Sleeping in Airport

There are no direct flights from Thailand to our next destination in Indonesia. Since we're flying with Air Asia, it's either we'll fly from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore to Makassar. We chose KL because Beau haven't been to Malaysia yet, so we planned a one day stopover.

LCCT at midnight

Our flight from BKK arrived at 12:00 AM. We selected this late flight because we kind of wanted to make sure that just in case we couldn't get an earlier bus from Chiang Mai, still we won't be late for our flight.

my supposedly in-flight meal

We no longer booked for a hotel that night and just slept at the airport. Even though we know that LCCT is not a very comfortable place to stay, why should I pay for a night if it's no longer worth it? It's like just paying for 12 hours.


Shopping

We left the airport at around 6:00 AM and headed to our hostel in Bukit Bintang. Good thing the beds were already available so we were allowed to check-in early. After the much need shower, sleeplessness defeated us. We just slept on our first 4 hours in downtown KL haha.

Pasar Seni

We woke up around lunch time and Beau wanted to visit the Central Market to do a little bit of souvenir shopping.


Of course, we don't go anywhere without sampling some local food. Their Putu Bambu is very similar to our Puto Bumbung. Ours is just colored purple. :)



Beau still wanted to eat something after the Putu so we went to the Food Court at the upper floor. He had his noodles while I had just my chai.

view from Pasar Seni Station

It was a rainy day so we weren't able to do some photo walk.


Sightseeing

Bukit Bintang is pretty much in the center of everything so we can just walk to some tourist spots or just take a short train ride. We took another stroll that evening.

The KL Menara Tower as seen from our hostel

The photo below is exactly taken at the front of our hostel. When you cross that street, you'll see lines of posh shopping malls and well-known brand boutiques.

Jalan Sultan Ismail and Bukit Bintang intersection
On it's right side is the Bukit Bintang Monorail Station and if you'll keep walking to that direction, there's the Sungei Wang Plaza for some cool fashion finds and if you'll walk further, there are still more malls that sells cheap stuff in that area.

Needless to say, we chose to walk towards the high-end shops.




Christmas was around the corner then so The Pavilion had these awesome yuletide decorations.



Even the locals were taking pictures so we joined the fun! :)



We heard that there's a walkway from there going to KLCC. Perfect! Beau wanted to see the beautiful Petronas Towers at night.

we found the path!

It was quite a walk I must say. 15 minutes on a fast pace, 30 on a more relaxed one.

KLCC Water Fountain Light Show


It was still raining when we got there and we don't have an umbrella! So we can only watch the fountain show from afar.

Petronas Towers - still lovely on a rainy night

I felt a little bad for Beau because it was his first time in KL and first time to see the Petronas but we couldn't even get a good photo because it was raining.

shot taken from Bukit Bintang mono station

We just took the train on our way back because the walkway closes at 11:00 PM. We lingered in the station for a bit because it was raining hard!


Street Food Eating

The other thing that made us busy in KL was eating! Oh yes, we are both a big foodie and we love trying out local food everywhere we go. We headed here as soon as we were able to leave the train station.

Welcome to the Food Street!

Another reason why Bukit Bintang is a good base when you're in KL is that it is very near to Jalon Alor. It is just two streets behind the Bintang Walk and can be reached by 5-10 minutes.


Jalan Alor is known to be KL's Food Street and it literally is! Tables and chairs are just set up in front of the restaurants right at the streets.



As soon as the sun goes down, this part of the city transforms into a food paradise!

Beau sampling some Roti Canai

From light snacks to fresh seafood, they have everything here. No wonder this place is always packed with people regardless of what day it is.

i know you want em too


choose anything you like

craving for dessert? try the turkish ice cream!
After going around trying out some local snacks, we decided to have a proper dinner in one of the restaurants. Here's what we got:


satays and pork belly
When I say proper dinner, in Filipino that means something with rice. We just can't live without rice.No, I'm not exaggerating.

and some noodle soup to keep us warm
We ended our day in KL with devouring delicious food! I would say this is one place in KL that I'll keep coming back to.

I love Kuala Lumpur. Next to Manila, this is the city where I felt at home to. Being here a lot of times for my transits made me feel very comfortable and at ease in this city. I'm sure I'll keep having a lot of layovers and transits here in the future. :)


This is a continuation of my Thailand-Indonesia-Singapore trip last November 2013.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Family Summer Getaway in Boracay


On Family Trips

It has always been our tradition to go on a summer trip every year. I know, it’s peak season and not only it’s more expensive to travel and hard to make reservations, but it’s also a challenge to find a vacation place not crowded with summer-loving Pinoys. As for my family, we go during this season because it is when we are complete. With my Dad and brother both working abroad, they schedule their time-offs on the month of May so we can all celebrate Dad’s birthday.

it never changed :)
This trip was planned months ahead. It is usually me and my brother (us being the eldest) that plan our trip. It’s not just that, we were also the ones who pay for it hehe. Ever since we got ourselves a job, we made it an effort to treat our family every year on a vacation. One, as gift for our father on his birthday and two, just to simply give back to our parents. What’s spending a portion of your salary for the people who brought you to this beautiful world? ;)

Why Boracay?

My parents and my two other siblings have never been there yet. For the past few years, we kept our vacations near Manila because of our pets! We can’t leave them unattended for a long time. And Dad would always say, “Next time sa Boracay naman tayo” which never came true because we can’t leave our dogs. Just imagine how happy I was when I heard about a reputable Dog Daycare Center that opened near our vicinity. Oh yeah, I booked them right away.

still the beautiful world-class beach I knew ;)
I was able to score cheap tickets for our direct Manila-Caticlan flight. But going back, we had to take the Kalibo-Manila route.

Day 1

We had the second earliest flight to Caticlan which is 6:30 AM. We decided to bring our family car and use the Park n Fly services for the first time. We were at the airport at around 4:35 AM but heck the queue was very long! I didn’t expect it to be that crowded. Or maybe it’s because I usually do not travel during the summer months.

airport early birds

There were no flight delays so we were already in our rented apartment by 9:00 AM. It was our lucky day, the guests occupying the room have checked out the day before so we were able to check in that early. Just what we needed after a night of barely sleeping due to the very early flight.


Hello White Beach

I am so glad Boracay is still a beauty. It’s been 3 years since I last visited. Hearing horrible things about it during the “La Boracay” fever only a few weeks ago before our trip, I was actually quite scared of what we will see when we arrive. I don’t want to disappoint my parents as I want them to see it as beautiful like the way they imagined it to be. I was so relieved it still is. ;)

obligatory family photo ;)

We really didn't have plans of doing anything other than swimming and enjoying the beach. My parents are not too young anymore to try those physical exhausting activities. I just want them to relax and have fun.




Of course, we had to pose with that "I Love Boracay" sand castle haha.


That was basically it for Day 1.


Day 2

On our second day, we decided to get up early and take a walk from Station 3 to Station 1. Yup, we chose to stay in Station 3 to avoid the crowds.


Boracay on an early morning


It surely was a long walk but who doesn't love a walk on a beach? Even Mom and Dad loves it. :)


mi padre y madre



That was a beautiful morning walk but quite tiring. We ended up having our breakfast at the Pancake House in D' Mall.

my lil sister happy and loving the beach

When we reached Station 1 and 2, I was relieved that we chose to stay in Station 3. Why? The sand there has to many algae (lumot). It really doesn't look appealing to lie on to or to swim there. Just looking at it already gives me an itch. Yaiiks.


with Willy's Rock and the mossy beach, eeek

After strolling by the beaches of Stations 1 and 2 and some picture taking, we headed back to our preferred beach area for a swim. Again, it was all about having fun in the sea and the sand with my family.


Come night time, we tried one of those restaurant buffets by the beach. I can't remember the name of the place. Maybe because the food was not remarkable at all. Just so-so.

family dinner by the beach


After we walked our parents home, my siblings and I went out for a drink. It was a little too late already that the cool places we wanted to hang out in were already closed. We ended up at the Calypso Resort Bar.

my drink for the night

The awesome nightlife takes place actually far from Station 3 so we just settled in a bar nearby. We all had different cocktails that night but not enough to make us drunk. It was just simply drinking for fun.


Day 3

The next morning, we have to leave already. Still the weather was brilliant. The blue skies and the clear waters were like asking us not to leave. But we have to. I'm happy that Boracay did not disappoint my family. It's still gorgeous like the way it was before.

see you again, Boracay!
Many people had said bad things about Boracay during that "LaBoracay" BS parties. But I'm glad it wasn't as bad as other people made it seem in the media. I know this country has a lot to work on about responsible tourism but we couldn't deny the fact that, the real beauty of our islands still shines through over these bad publicity.

I love Boracay with all its year-round crowds, crazy parties and sometimes annoying beach touts. Though it had been substantially expensive over the years, it will still be one of the places I would like to come back to.


"You can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it's a different story. By the very act of coming back, you wipe out what came before." ~Maureen Johnson, The Last Little Blue Envelope