The Farm at San Benito

Let me start off this post by saying: I have the best sister in the world.

For my birthday last year, which I share with her, she and her boyfriend Robby gave me vouchers for an overnight stay at The Farm. She knows how much Jim and I have been wanting to go there and she got me the best gift ever when I wasn’t even expecting anything! Of course I had nothing for her because I’m such a crappy sister… Hahaha joke lang, I’m the best in other ways naman (I hope) but oh my goodness I felt terrible. That’s because birthdays have never really been a big deal for me – I really have to drag myself to celebrate it with friends and family. It wasn’t right of me to assume everybody else doesn’t care either. I swear I will step it up this year.

Maxx, take note: DON’T GET ME ANYTHING THIS YEAR PLEASE. Gift mo na sa akin na makabawi ako hehehe. So we booked our overnight stay this week to celebrate our wedding anniversary a few days earlier (our anniversary is tomorrow, January 24).

The Farm is a wellness resort and spa located at San Benito, Batangas. Maxx and Robby got us a Narra Pool Villa similar to the one they stayed in last year. The moment we stepped inside, I said to Jim, “we are not worthy.” Hahaha. Look at how beautiful the place was.

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2 separate toilets!

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Drinking water
Drinking water

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Still working while on Holiday hehe
Still working while on Holiday hehe

We did a lot of walking around The Farm but we didn’t come close to exploring all of its 50 hectares. The place has been around for 15 years and its been open to the public for 12. On our first night we got a skin kayud treatment at their healing sanctuary, about a 7-minute walk from our villa.

Then we had dinner at ALIVE! restaurant where they serve all vegan meals. My favorite is the mushroom broccoli pasta – make sure to try it if you find yourself at The Farm. I don’t think I could ever become vegan but it was nice to experience it for 2 days.

I wanted to take home this robe in our room. Isn't it chic??
I wanted to take home this robe in our room. Isn’t it chic?? I look like a samurai.

The next day we had a very yummy set breakfast. First we had a huge seasonal fruit platter, followed by granola cereal, and our choice of main course.

Jim got the quinoa pancakes
Jim got the quinoa pancakes
I had the malunggay empanada
I had the malunggay empanada

Both were VERY delicious, Jim even said the quinoa pancakes were the best pancakes he’d ever tasted. I had a bite and I can’t disagree.

We took a nap after breakfast. I woke up 2 hours later and I saw Jim working on his laptop. I said, “Uy, grabe, solid ng nap ko!”

“Oo nga eh grabe ka mag-snore.”

“What?? Oh my gosh, sorry!”

“It’s okay. Soothing naman ang sound ng whale eh.”

HAHAHA THAT BASTARD!!! I asked, “DID YOU JUST CALL ME A WHALE??” and he hugged me and answered, “No, I said you SOUND like a whale.” Hahaha. I love this guy.

We took a dip in the beautiful temperature-controlled pool.

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"Stop taking pictures and swim!!"
“Stop taking pictures and swim!!”

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Of course I said, “HELLO, YOU HAVE TO TAKE PICTURES OF ME!!”

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In fair, si Jim nag-direct sa akin to take this picture.
In fair, si Jim nag-direct sa akin to take this picture.

We went back to the healing sanctuary to get a their signature Filipino hilot massage

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I’m in love with their petal arrangements

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Had a late lunch before checking out

Vegan sausage
Vegan sausage

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We enjoyed our stay immensely especially with the helpful staff and crew. They were always smiling and they seemed to really love what they do. Who wouldn’t be happy to live in such a paradise? We’ll definitely make plans to go back. It was an amazing retreat and we want to try more of the treatments they have to offer.

Check out www.thefarmatsanbenito.com for more information.

Thanks again, Maxx and Robby. You guys are the best.

♥,
Saab

Cheats – Summer Music Video for Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

We don’t know about you guys but our collective favorite season is the one that gets us all sweaty and sunburnt. It’s far from summer time right now but that’s exactly the point of Cheats’ latest single called (you guessed it) Summer. Being around a certain person transports you to your favorite season! It’s a love song which is an unusual theme for Cheats. In other words: this is a big deal, people. Haha!

I’m sure you guys know somebody that reminds you of summer. They make your palms (and kilikili haha) sweat, you want to grab ice cream with them, nothing else matters when they’re around, you feel free, the similarities go on. But what do your crush and the hottest time of the year most have in common? There’s a big chance of getting burnt by them but the experience is almost always worth it. That’s why the chorus goes: so much more, what you waiting for? We’re literally reminding you guys to take a stab at it!! You two could be so much more!!! Yihee!

We shot our music video at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore under the direction of Weave. It was my third time there but visiting the resort always feels like the first time.

Here’s a photo of Jim and I with Evac back in 2012 (we were pretending to be Sam and Mikaela LOL)

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Here’s a photo of us just last October when we shot our video:

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This time we were with Optimus Prime AND Bumblebee

Anyway, before I keep babbling on, I’d like to present our music video for Summer:

It’s an understatement to say we had a blast shooting the video at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore. Can you imagine, we got to Universal Studios at 6AM – that’s 4 hours before the park opened! It was an unforgettable experience.

No lines!!
No lines!!
Feeling the vibe!
Feeling the vibe!

The video shows Jim and I trying to enjoy a romantic day at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore. Little do we know, our band mates are also there and they pull all sorts of pranks on us. This is art imitating life, actually. Hahaha! Jim and I keep trying to ditch our friends in the video but in the end we realize we could also enjoy the day just as much with our best friends around. Just like RWS can be enjoyed by a couple or a big group. If you ask me, I think I would even be able to enjoy it if I were by myself! I know you can skip a lot of lines if you’re by yourself, actually. Haha! Still, the more the merrier.

Good times!
Good times!

So what you waiting for? Hehe. Head on over to rwsentosa.com/ph for SO MUCH MORE!;)

♥,
Saab

It’s #TempuraTime!

Hope you guys are having an awesome new year so far! I’m in Singapore right now celebrating with the Bacarros. It’s Jim’s and my first year as a married couple and we geared up for the “Jim & Saab Rockin’ Family Tour” way ahead of time as you can read from my previous post. Haha! I love family trips!! It’s always a riot.

My favorite family trip has to be when Jim proposed to me in front of my mom and siblings in Ueno Park, Tokyo. We’re going back to Tokyo in February with the Magalonas and the Bunagans (a.k.a. Michael V’s family – he and tita Carol are my parents’ BFFs. Can you say #squadgoals??) and I’m sure it’s gonna be epic. Epic? That term’s so 2012. What’s a hipper term for epic? It’s gonna be as-monumental-as-star-wars-the-force-awakens-opening-day. Okay, maybe not quite but close enough.

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You guys know what going to Japan equates to: I AM GONNA PIG OUT ON JAPANESE FOOD. As if I don’t do that enough locally hahaha but hey, iba pa rin sa Japan. I can’t wait. And for that exact reason, I am SUPER excited for #NationalTempuraDay!! Yep. It’s a thing!! Every January 7th, people from different parts of the world feast on this deep-fried seafood as they satisfy their cravings for prawn tempura.

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I know Thanksgiving has long passed but THANK YOU, Tokyo Tokyo, as they will be bringing #NationalTempuraDay to the Philippines!

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“We wanted to start the year right especially for our loyal fans. Our own take on the National Tempura Day is our way of extending our gratitude to them for loving our signature quality prawn tempura,” said Harvie Sering, Tokyo Tokyo Product Manager. “On this day, they can enjoy and fill their appetites with their favorite Prawn Tempura for only P25 per piece. That’s 50% off on our prawn tempura add-ons!”

The National Tempura Day 50% off promo applies on prawn tempura add-on and is valid for dine-in only. It’s #TempuraTime!!

For exclusive National Tempura Day contests and promos:
http://twitter.com/TokyoTokyoPHL
http://instagram.com/tokyotokyophilippines
http://facebook.com/tokyotokyophilippines

♥,
Saab

Cheats Invade Resorts World Sentosa Singapore

Early this month, Cheats flew to Singapore to record a music video. We had the best time going around Resorts World Sentosa Singapore! As I share some behind-the-scenes photos, I’ll give you a rundown of things you can do as you spend your holiday at Asia Pacific’s best integrated resort.

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Things To Do In Resorts World Sentosa Singapore

Meet the Minions and your other favorite characters at Universal Studios Singapore

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Race your best friend or crush (or both) down a huge water slide

Dueling Racer located in Adventure Cove Waterpark
Dueling Racer located in Adventure Cove Waterpark

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Pretend to be under the sea in more ways than one

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At the Open Ocean Gallery within S.E.A. Aquarium. This is Asia’s top 3 aquarium and it houses 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species
At the Open Ocean Gallery within S.E.A. Aquarium. This is Asia’s top 3 aquarium and it houses 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species

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Snorkeling with 20,000 fish over a colourful Rainbow Reef inside Adventure Cove Waterpark.
Snorkeling with 20,000 fish over a colourful Rainbow Reef inside Adventure Cove Waterpark.

Float down a river surrounded by marine life

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Adventure River , Adventure Cove Waterpark
Adventure River , Adventure Cove Waterpark

Make believe you’re royalty as you visit Lord Farquaad’s castle

Far Far Away, Universal Studios Singapore
Far Far Away, Universal Studios Singapore

Eat so much yummy food at the celebrity restaurants around the resort

Bara Chirashi Sushi Jyu at Japanese restaurant Syun
Bara Chirashi Sushi Jyu at Japanese restaurant Syun
Burger and hotdog from Mel’s Drive In, Universal Studios Singapore
Burger and hotdog from Mel’s Drive In, Universal Studios Singapore

Join the Autobots and be a freedom fighter

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Right before going on Transformers The Ride
Right before going on Transformers The Ride

Trip out on sea jellies and other sea creatures

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Best of all…

Annoy your friends by being all lovey-dovey with your partner

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Hahaha!! Resorts World Sentosa Singapore can be enjoyed with your significant other or with your family or with friends! I’m going back to Singapore to celebrate the New Year, so I suggest you plan your year-end trip as well!!

Can’t wait for you guys to see our music video!!! Will post it as soon as it’s done!:)

♥,
Saab

For more information about Resorts World Sentosa Singapore, visit www.rwsentosa.com

Venice Stopover

We took a 4-hour train from Rome to Venice. The Rome train station was pretty chaotic for newbies like us. Planning to take a train from Rome? Here’s a tip: If anybody approaches you without a proper ID or uniform, do not listen to them. Stick to the guides you’ll see on the screens all around the station. If you get really confused, like we did, ask the customer service desk for help. Apparently, we couldn’t find our platform number on the screen because we were there too early. It shows up just minutes before.

We arrived in Venice past noon.

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From the train station, we only had to walk a little over 5 minutes to get to our hotel where we were to meet the rest of Jim’s family who flew in from their trip to Prague.

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When we all reunited, we agreed to take a gondola ride to the most famous public square in Venice, Piazza San Marco.

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Can you believe those clouds
Can you believe those clouds
Chelo, papa Gerry, mommy Bing, ate Mia
Chelo, papa Gerry, mommy Bing, ate Mia
Kunwari candid, guys
Kunwari candid, guys
Okay, sakit na mag-elongate ng neck
Okay, sakit na mag-elongate ng neck
Kaya pa!!
Kaya pa!!
Ayan nanaman yung clouds 😍
Ayan nanaman yung clouds 😍

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Jim got all the prime shots because of where he was seated
Jim got all the prime shots because of where he was seated
Here I am in protest
Here I am in protest
Okay, fine, pwede na rin to
Okay, fine, pwede na rin to

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Jim initially just wanted to take one of his jumping photos near the pigeons but some guy grabbed his hand and put bird seeds in his palm

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Right after we had this fun (apparent in Jim’s face LOL), the guy came up to Jim and demanded for 20 Euros. 20 Euros?! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! For bird seeds we didn’t even ask for!! We said no, and he kept insisting, even calling his friend to scare us into paying. Of course we wanted to stand our ground but these guys looked like they could stab us. Not being a racist or anything but they were acting really aggressive!! We gave 10 Euros and quickly walked away. Beware of scammers.

At least the place was so beautiful, we forgot about the incident soon after.

Picturesque!
Picturesque!
HEYAA!
HEYAA!

We ate at Al Chianti and I must say, it’s the best restaurant of our entire Europe trip. It trumps Dar Poeta in Rome. I’ll leave you with photos. Sorry to make you hungry.

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Walked off all the carbs by going around the plaza some more

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Love this photo cos you can see Chelo taking an OOTD in the background 😂
Love this photo cos you can see Chelo taking an OOTD in the background 😂
Girls
Girls

Grabbed some dessert and coffee before heading to bed

Can't take the Pinoy Piece out of the Pinoys
Can’t take the Pinoy Piece out of the Pinoys
Gelato nightcap
Gelato nightcap

The next day we woke up early to catch a water taxi to the Venice port where we’d embark on our cruise!

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Daming emote, di ko na kaya hahaha
Daming emote, di ko na kaya hahaha

A quick gelato moment LELZ

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And then we arrived at the port. It was my first time aboard a ship and I couldn’t comprehend how HUGE it was!! Our ship was called the MSC Musica.

Thanks to @keepitmnl for The Keeper 😘
Thanks to @keepitmnl for The Keeper 😘

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Neighbors!
Neighbors!
Deck 13
Deck 13
Guys.....
Guys…..

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Because we had been in Europe for a whole week and because we really missed rice, we pigged out in the Japanese restaurant aboard the ship.

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It was a perfect first night on my first cruise :)

♥,
Saab

Best of Rome

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For our second day in Rome, I arranged for a Best of Rome tour. Our guide, Daniel, picked us up with a car at 8AM. We learned that a typical Italian breakfast would be a croissant and a coffee so we grabbed some before leaving.

Look at that huge doggy
Look at that huge doggy

Our first stop was the Pantheon, the best ancient monument that’s still in continuous use up to this day. It’s been around since 127 A.D.

The exterior was being renovated as were most famous structures in Rome because of the coming Jubilee Year next year
The exterior was being renovated just like other famous structures in Rome because of the coming Jubilee Year next year
Once we stepped inside, the oculus flooded the place with sunlight.
Once we stepped inside, the oculus flooded the place with sunlight.

The Oculus is the Pantheon’s only source of light and there is no glass whatsoever up there. I was puzzled and I asked what happens when it rains? Simple: the rain comes in and for that reason there is an ancient drain right beneath the oculus.

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This is where former queen of Italy is buried. Her name is Margherita and yes, the pizza flavor is named after her.
This is where a former queen of Italy is buried. Her name is Margherita and yes, the pizza flavor is named after her.

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As almost everything was under renovation and closed off for cleaning, we couldn’t go up the Spanish Steps. Daniel took us to what he claimed was the best view of the city up on Pincian Hill. We were not disappointed.

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The Spanish Steps from below. Hi, James Bond!

Renovations cost a lot so they have to accept sponsors
Renovations cost a lot so they have to accept sponsors

We went to The Colosseum, and Jim was beside himself with excitement.

The Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine

It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, and the latest existing triumphal arches in Rome, it was also the only one to extensively reuse major sculpture from earlier monuments. The Arch of Constantine is also the biggest triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. (via Wikipedia)

Actual gladiators walked upon these cobblestones
Actual gladiators walked upon these cobblestones

Sadly, I haven’t seen the movie Gladiator but Jim filled me in on what he picked up from the film and others similar to it. He said the emperors had gladiators fight so that his people would be entertained and forget that they were starving. They didn’t have noontime shows and teleseryes back then.

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You can see the underground tunnels where slaves/prisoners-turned-gladiators would walk before fighting to the death.
You can see the underground tunnels where slaves/prisoners-turned-gladiators would walk before fighting to the death.
They would go up through a trap door
They would go up through a trap door
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Sometimes the gladiators would fight each other or face off against a wild animal

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Even with its brutal past, this is where the Pope leads the Stations of the Cross every Good Friday.

In hindsight, being all lovey dovey in a place where a lot of people died may have been inappropriate 😐
In hindsight, being all lovey dovey in a place where a lot of people died may have been inappropriate 😐

Although, it’s nice to know that the Colosseum is now a symbol of the global campaign against capital punishment.

As a gesture against the death penalty, the local authorities of Rome change the color of the Colosseum’s night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released, or if a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. Most recently, the Colosseum was illuminated in gold in November 2012 following the abolishment of capital punishment in the American state of Connecticut in April 2012. (via Wikipedia)

All of the marble on the walls and gold on the statue were stolen during medieval times
All of the marble on the walls and gold on the statue were stolen during medieval times
House of Augustus, Palatine Hill
House of Augustus, Palatine Hill
Circus Maximus - used for chariot racing
Circus Maximus – used for chariot racing
Our tour guide taught us that these small faucets are for drinking. He said the water is VERY clean.
Daniel taught us that these small faucets are for drinking. He said the water is VERY clean.
So we had to try it ourselves. It was cold, refreshing water!
So we had to try it ourselves. It was cold, refreshing water!

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Then it was time for lunch. We went to La Soffita Renovatio and the food was DELICIOUS!!

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Margherita pizza
Margherita pizza
Gnocchi
Gnocchi

We went straight to The Vatican after eating and we couldn’t wait to walk off all the carbs.

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Fontana della Pigna (that huge pine cone sculpture)
Fontana della Pigna (that huge pine cone sculpture)
Cortile del Belvedere or Belvedere Courtyard
Cortile del Belvedere or Belvedere Courtyard

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These are just flat paintings on the ceiling that that look 3D. Amazing, right?
These are just flat paintings on the ceiling that look 3D. Amazing, right? The technique is called trompe l’oeil.

We visited the Sistine Chapel as well but as everybody knows, photography is not allowed. And if you talk louder than a whisper, you will be shushed by the guards.

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This is where the Pope says mass
This is where the Pope says mass

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We missed him by a day, actually. We were there on a Thursday and apparently there’s mass every Wednesday. You can click here to check his schedule in case you plan to go.

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica
Michelangelo's Pietà
Michelangelo’s Pietà
The Holy Door
The Holy Door

The Holy Door is sealed with mortar and cement from inside. It is opened every 25 years and next year it will be opened for the Jubilee year of Mercy. Everyone who passes through the Holy Door will be “cleansed and forgiven.”

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St. Ignatius Loyola
St. Ignatius Loyola
The great Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the Baldacchino which stands above the altar. It's believed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world.
The great Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the Baldacchino which stands above the altar. It’s believed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world.
Bernini's "Cathedra Petri" (Throne of St. Peter) and "Gloria"
Bernini’s “Cathedra Petri” (Throne of St. Peter) and “Gloria”
Vatican guards
Vatican guards
Fontana dell'Acqua Paola on Janiculum Hill
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on Janiculum Hill

The tour was done so we headed back to our place to rest a bit before having dinner. We ate at Rossopommodoro recommended by friends.

Pinoy waiter! Yay!
Pinoy waiter! Yay!

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We halfed a Verace pizza. It's a Margherita pizza with extras: buffalo mozzarella and penisola sorrentina extra virgin olive oil
We halfed a Verace pizza. It’s a Margherita pizza with extras: buffalo mozzarella and penisola sorrentina extra virgin olive oil

Both ingredients had “DOP” beside their names on the menu. This means Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”). The ingredients are locally grown and packaged.

Fresh spaghetti
Fresh spaghetti

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Walked back home and passed by a complex in Torre Argentina, where Julius Caesar was famously stabbed to death.

See that black cat?
See that black cat?

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Stopped for some gelato of course
Stopped for some gelato of course

Reggae performer

Walking back to Trastevere, we spotted a Reggae performer singing his heart out. Only a few people were watching him when we got there. But in just a few minutes, the place was packed, and people were dancing. Some of them even joined him on the mic to sing a few Bob Marley classics.

It's definitely a highlight of our stay in Rome.
It’s definitely a highlight of our stay in Rome.

The following day, after exercising (Jim jogged and I couldn’t take the cold so I just did yoga indoors… Masabi lang na nag-exercise lelz), we walked back to the area of The Colosseum to visit the Roman Forum.

Along the way we passed by the place where Julius Caesar was assasinated once again. You can read more about the ides of March here.

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Walking around Rome was so lovely

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It's a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy.
Altare della Patria – a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy.
Spotted another bride!
Spotted another bride!

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Forum of Caesar
Forum of Caesar
Pinay and her Italian partner wearing a Philippine jacket
Pinay and her Italian partner wearing a Philippine jacket

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So we meet again
So we meet again
This guy was playing this UFO-looking instrument and he was amazing!!! It's called a HANG. Look it up, ang galing.
This guy was playing this UFO-looking instrument and he was amazing!!! It’s called a HANG. Look it up, ang galing.
Entering the Roman Forum
Entering the Roman Forum
Obligatory jump shot
Obligatory jump shot

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And another one

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Never a dull moment

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We were so hungry so we went to a nearby restaurant called Gustando Roma. Jim ordered 2 medium beers and they turned out to be bigger than we expected haha

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Lasagna
Lasagna
Carbonara
Carbonara

We stayed and talked for 2 hours before going around to get lost in Rome

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We ended up walking for 4 hours straight but we didn’t even notice because of the buzz from the beer and the perfect company.

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♥Ciao Bella,
Saab

Rome If You Want To

In light of the recent attacks that happened in Paris, I’d like to invite everyone who reads my blog to say a quick prayer for all the people who were affected by the senseless act of violence. Despite everything, I hope my succeeding blog posts will serve as a reminder of how lovely Europe is. Thank you.

Woke up early on a Wednesday to catch our flight from Paris to our next destination: Rome. Nothing much happened except the handle of my Rimowa broke when the Uber driver carried it. I heard that I can bring it to any branch and they will fix it. I really hope they do.

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We stayed at a very hip district in Rome called Trastevere in a nice 2-floor AirBnb.

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Well-stocked closets!

FIRST STOP: get some pizza. Found a restaurant nearby that had rave reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s called DAR POETA and that’s where I learned that people in Italy actually ordered 1 pizza each. My kind of people.

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Hungry boy

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We had the rest of the afternoon to just walk around and discover the city.

Gelato
Gelato
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He accidentally tucked his shirt into his jeans pocket. What a nerd 😍
My favorite drummer!
My favorite drummer!
Sup with that guy on the right?
Sup with that guy on the right?
Italian women are so FIIIINE! Check out that mom with the stroller. She's more fit than me D:
Italian women are so FIIIINE! Check out that mom with the stroller. She’s more fit than me 😩

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The beautiful Tiber river

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I wish buildings in Manila were shorter so we could see the sky more.
I wish buildings in Manila were shorter so we could see the sky more.

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Daming dramatic shots
Daming dramatic shots

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Gepetto
Gepetto

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CUTIE
CUTIE

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Saw this artist on the street
Saw this artist on the street
A crowd started forming around her. Her hands moved so quickly. Those 2 kids in front didn't mind the fumes.
A crowd started forming around her. Her hands moved so quickly. Those 2 kids in front didn’t mind the fumes.
I later learned that these designs were made by a lot of street artists around Italy. Regardless, I think they're very talented.
I later learned that these designs were made by a lot of street artists around Italy. Regardless, I think they’re very talented.
He he he get it?
He he he get it?
Cute art but the artist yelled at me to stop taking a photo so I didn't buy anything 😒
Cute art but the artist yelled at me to stop taking a photo so I didn’t buy anything 😒
Saw the famous Trevi fountain but it was under construction like a lot of other monuments around the city. They're all being cleaned for the Jubilee year next year.
Saw the famous Trevi fountain but it was under construction like a lot of other monuments around the city. They’re all being cleaned for the Jubilee year next year.

We were starving by dinner time and I asked Jim if he wanted me to check out TripAdvisor. I wanted to check out reviews of nearby restaurants. He said we should “take a risk” by entering a restaurant at random.

This isn’t going to be that helpful because I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we ducked into. It had started to drizzle so we just entered the nearest decent-looking place. I hate to tell Jim “I told you so” but that was the worst restaurant we went to for our entire European trip. Hahaha. The food was SO bland.

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Looks good but it tasted like plain pasta.
Porcini mushroom pasta looks good but it tasted like paper.
Margherita Pizza didn't have basil so we asked for some..
Margherita Pizza didn’t have basil so we asked for some..
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Even with the basil it was nothing great

We learned later on that some restaurants really don’t serve whole basil leaves on their Margherita Pizza. I really think they should, though, because that’s the Italian flag right there: red (tomatoes), white (cheese), and green (basil).

Caught a live band while we walked around a piazza. It was very romantic to say the least.
Caught a live band while we walked around a the Piazza della Rotonda near the Pantheon. It was very romantic to say the least.
Spotted a bride and groom xx
Spotted a bride and groom xx

More photos of our second day in Rome when we booked a full-day tour! That’s coming up!

♥,
Saab

Paris Part 4: Versailles + Point Éphémère

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For our last day in Paris, I booked us a private tour in Versailles via Localers.com once again! I was super excited but our tour didn’t start until 1pm so we had time to go around.

Coffee table in our AirBnb says EPAL haha
Coffee table in our AirBnb says EPAL haha
Arkin + Clara + Elmo <3
Arkin + Clara + Elmo <3
Passed by Cafe de Flore for breakfast!
Passed by Cafe de Flore for breakfast!
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Good coffee but skip the meal, too expensive for average food

And then we passed by Champs Élysées, famous for arguably being the most beautiful avenue in the world. It’s lined with luxury shops and restaurants.

*gasp*
*gasp*
That's faux!
That’s faux!
Siyempre kailangan ko
Siyempre kailangan ko

Parang kailangan ko ng ibang lipstick

*enters Sephora*
*enters Sephora* hehehe got some stuff from the new Dior line!

Then we met our tour guide Jonathan and we took a train to Versailles!! It was about 20 minutes away.

The Sun King
The Sun King
Look at that line!
Look at that line!
Glad we booked the tour with Jonathan because we got to skip the line!
Glad we booked the tour with Jonathan because we got to skip the line!
There were SO MANY people there that day
There were SO MANY people there that day
Pero magaling naman ako mangdaya ng photos hehe
Pero magaling naman ako mangdaya ng photos hehe

All the gold you see is ACTUAL gold that been hammered out and turned into what’s called “gold leaf”

The beautiful chapel that's closed off to the public
The beautiful chapel that’s closed off to the public
I learned that the designs on the doors are not just moldings that were pasted on the door. They were actually carved on the door. See the cracks?
I learned that the designs on the doors are not just moldings that were pasted on the door. They were actually carved on the door. See the cracks?
King Louis XIV was a bit narcissistic if you couldn't tell
King Louis XIV was a bit narcissistic if you couldn’t tell

He ruled as the king of France from 1643 until 72 years and 110 days later when he passed away. He was 5 years old when he reigned and died just days before his 77th birthday. He surpassed his sons, grandsons and was followed by his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis XV. Ang babata, noh? Nakaka King Tommen Baratheon.

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He’s the guy responsible behind the big wigs worn by men in France. He was 17 when his hair started thinning out and he wanted to hide it. Whatever the King did, people followed so it became the trend.

The cost of wigs increased, and perukes became a scheme for flaunting wealth. An everyday wig cost about 25 shillings—a week’s pay for a common Londoner. The bill for large, elaborate perukes ballooned to as high as 800 shillings. The word “bigwig” was coined to describe snobs who could afford big, poufy perukes. (via MentalFloss)

This chair is just for one girl with a big skirt
This chair is just for one girl with a big skirt
The Mercury Salon
The Mercury Salon

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Right before entering the Hall of Mirrors
Right before entering the Hall of Mirrors

The Hall of Mirrors was literally just a hallway for people to cross the palace. But it’s not just any hallway. Picture beautiful arched windows overlooking the majestic gardens and on the other side of the hall are similar arches full of mirrors to reflect the scenery.

Beautiful ceiling, OF COURSE.
Beautiful ceiling, OF COURSE.

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xx
xx

As soon as Jonathan told me, “many kings and queens have looked upon these mirrors,” I had to take a photo of myself

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So surreal
So surreal

Then we entered the King’s bedroom, built in 1701. This is where Louis XIV lived until he died in 1715. It’s where the Royal Rising and Retiring ceremonies took place.

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Every morning at 8AM, the king’s valet would wake him. The chief physician, the chief surgeon and Louis XIV’s childhood nurse (a.k.a. yaya) would enter together and his yaya would kiss him good morning. The night chamberpot, full of his piss and God knows what else, would be checked by the physician (“ah, brown poop! Good!”) before being removed from the room. At 8:30, the privileged people (mostly nobles) would enter the room and watch the ceremony. The grand chamberlain would present him with holy water, the servants would take off his nightshirt and present him with his day shirt. This is the moment the nobles could give the king their requests but in as few words as possible. The king would be given a liturgical book and a brief prayer would be said. This happens. Every. Morning. You can read more about the ceremonies online if you’re interested. Here’s a link to a day in the life of Louis XIV from the official Palace of Versailles website.

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You'd know if a table was from that era if it had 8 legs
You’d know if a table was from that era if it had 8 legs
This cutie was having the time of her life
This cutie was having the time of her life

Then we visited the Queen’s Chamber, and I totally got emotional.

I couldn't believe I was there
I couldn’t believe I was there

This is where Marie Antoinette and many other queens gave birth for the public to see.

When the palace was invaded by the rioters on 6 October 1789, Marie-Antoinette managed to escape from them through the little door on the left of the alcove, giving onto a corridor which gave access to the Queen’s internal apartments, a dozen small rooms reserved for her private life and her servants. (Via Chateau Versailles)

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The Antechamber of The Grand Couvert

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It was in the Queen’s antechamber that the public meals were held, whose sumptuous ritual attracted a large crowd. Only the royal family could take their places at the table and before them, seated, the duchesses, princesses or high-ranking persons who had the privilege to sit on a stool, then, standing, the other ladies and persons who, due to their rank or with the authorisation of the usher, had been allowed to enter. Louis XIV subjected himself to this performance almost every evening; Louis XV often preferred intimate suppers; as for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, a testimony from that time reports that: “The Queen sat on the King’s left. They had their backs turned to the fireplace […] The King ate with a good appetite, but the Queen did not remove her gloves and did not use her serviette, which was very wrong of her”. To counter this boredom, Marie-Antoinette asked for there always to be music in the Grand Couvert and for that purpose a platform was set up for the musicians in this room. (Via Chateau Versailles)

The tour of the palace was done. Good job, Jonathan 👏🏻
The tour of the palace was done. Good job, Jonathan 👏🏻
Even exiting the palace was an eye-gasm
Even exiting the palace was an eye-gasm

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Angelina's famous hot chocolate
Angelina’s famous hot chocolate

When we found out that there was a branch of Angelina’s in the palace, we were pretty surprised. Obviously it’s expensive to maintain the palace and even with the millions of tourists that visit the place yearly, it only covers about 40% of the costs. That’s why they have to allow commercial tenants. I think there are only two shops in there?

"Serve me like I'm a king" "CHE!!! ... Sige na nga"
“Serve me like I’m a king” “CHE!!! … Sige na nga”
Tourists at the Royal Courtyard
Tourists at the Royal Courtyard

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Now it was time for a tour of Les Jardins Musicaux (The Musical Gardens). My heart!!!

Parterre Nord (North Parterre)
Parterre Nord (North Parterre)
Bassin de la Pyramide (Pyramide Fountain)
Bassin de la Pyramide (Pyramide Fountain)

I changed from my booties to flats. I predicted my feet would get tired from all the walking so I brought a pair with me and a tote to carry my heels. Thank you, Jim, for carrying the tote ❤️

Jim took this candid happiness shot
Jim took this candid happiness shot
Then I caught him and said NO, HINDI BAGAY YUNG FLATS KO SA OUTFIT KO (lol)
Then I caught him and said NO, HINDI BAGAY YUNG FLATS KO SA OUTFIT KO (lol)

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There are a total of 15 groves in the garden and for some of them, classical music was being played to set the mood

Bosquet des Bains d'Apollon (Grove of Apollo's Bath)
Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon (Grove of Apollo’s Bath)

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I learned that temporary exhibitions of contemporary art have been held at Versailles for years already. I wasn’t aware that famous contemporary artist Jeff “King of Kitsch” Koons started it back in 2008 when his work was displayed inside Versailles. Our tour guide told us that he believes that the higher ups had connections with these up-and-coming artists and displaying their work at Versailles would make them a lot of money.

The exhibition we chanced upon was the controversial works by Anish Kapoor.

Sectional Body Preparing For Monadic Singularity
Sectional Body Preparing For Monadic Singularity | Anish Kapoor, 2015

But I’ll dive more into that later.

Bosquet de l'Encelade (Encelade Grove) - The fall of the titans being buried under the rocks of Mt. Olympus.
Bosquet de l’Encelade (Encelade Grove) – The fall of the titans being buried under the rocks of Mt. Olympus.

Up next: the best exhibit in the world.

Public Display of Affection. Magalona-Bacarro, 2015
Public Display of Affection | Magalona-Bacarro, 2015
"I'll be the one to pop my foot"
“I’ll be the one to pop my foot”
Di ko keri!! Hahahaha
Di ko keri!! Hahahaha
<3
<3

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It was such a beautiful day

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Descension | Anish Kapoor, 2015
Descension | Anish Kapoor, 2015

More by Anish Kapoor. Most of his works feature holes, interpreted by many as a yonic (as opposed to phallic) symbol. The most controversial one (which I failed to take a photo of), Dirty Corner, has been dubbed “The Queen’s Vagina” by the press.

I like Magalona-Bacarro's work better LELZ
I like Magalona-Bacarro’s work better LELZ

BTW, my flats were the worst choice for the garden. They’re not completely closed so the pebbles kept going inside. Just FYI if you plan on going — wear sneakers! It slowed us down a bit but we had loads of fun anyway.

 

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The Colonnade Grove

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The Mirror Fountain was magical!!! The fountains danced along to Jean-Baptise Lully and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. This happens every 10 minutes from 10am to 6:30pm.

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Bacchus (God of wine) Fountain
Bacchus (God of wine) Fountain
Bosquet de la Salle de Bal (Ballroom Grove)
Bosquet de la Salle de Bal (Ballroom Grove)
IDK why but this reminded me so much of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
IDK why but this reminded me so much of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Took more fun photos before ending the tour

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“Fun” photo while waiting for Jim to finish all his jumping. Thanks, Jonathan, for being our photographer.

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You can barely make out Kapoor’s Dirty Corner in that last photo but it’s there behind the fountain. We weren’t able to visit Marie Antoinette’s Estate because that would take another day’s tour and separate tickets according to Jonathan.

It was really a day to remember, I’m SO happy I booked the tour. We went back home to rest before heading out again to a famous cool live music spot in Paris, Point Éphémère.

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I researched it back in Manila — oh the wonders of the Internet. We got tickets to watch indie local band Great Mountain Fire. We had sandwiches and a couple of beers while waiting.

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Happy 👏🏻
Happy 👏🏻

And then the band started and we watched and danced the night away. Click here to listen to their music. Super fun!

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Good night 🙌

Click here for more information about our Private Tour of Versailles.

♥,
Saab

Paris Part 3: Best of Paris Tour

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Ooooh do you like that little pa-hip artwork I made?! That’s from the little Christmas lights by our AirBnb bed. So pretty. Paris in Flames is a reference to an old song by one of my favorite emo bands in high school, Thursday.

Our second day in Paris was dedicated to an 8-hour tour I booked thru Localers once again. We took a shower, dressed up, and set off to find our meeting point.

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But first... 😏
But first… 😏

I know that when most people hear “PARIS,” the Eiffel Tower comes to mind. I’m the same, yes, but when it pops in my head it’s always far away. Just in the background. I’ve never had a longing to touch it or climb it like I wanted so badly to enter the Louvre and Versailles. That’s why I’m glad I booked a tour with Localers because we only went to the spot where we could best appreciate it — far from all the other tourists that would have just kept pushing us aside.

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In 1889 there was a World Fair to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille which played a huge role in the French Revolution. The Eiffel Tower, named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was built to serve as the fair’s entrance. It took 2 years to finish it and just like the Louvre pyramids, its construction was protested by many at first. Today it’s the most visited paid monument in the world. It was originally supposed to be torn down after 20 years but it proved helpful to scientific experiments and communications during war that the government didn’t continue its plans of demolishing it.

Trying to take a photo with the Eiffel Tower. FLOPEY
Trying to take a photo with the Eiffel Tower. FLOPEY
AYAN BONGGELS
AYAN BONGGELS
When you see it... I swear I didn't write that!!
When you see it… I swear I didn’t write that!!

Then we went to the Arc de Triomphe which was built to honor the people who died for France during the wars.

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Something very interesting that I had no idea about is the Axe Historique (which the Arc de Triomphe is a part of) — I learned about this when we were at The Louvre standing by the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. If you stand at a certain spot, you will see all the amazing monuments exactly lined up. You can click here to see a photo of it. How amazing is that?

Tomb of the unknown soldier
Tomb of the unknown soldier

The tomb of the unknown soldier sits under the Arc. It has a flame that is re-lit every morning by a war veteran. The tomb is for all the soldiers who died and were left unidentified.

The slab on top bears the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918. Translation: “Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918″ (via Wikipedia)

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Then we visited the Tuileries Garden where we took lots and lots of photos because DUH

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The famous Luxor Obelisk is 3,000 and was a gift from Egyptian officials. It's also part of the Axe Historique.
The famous Luxor Obelisk is 3,000 and was a gift from Egyptian officials. It’s also part of the Axe Historique.

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So many chicks, brah!
So many chicks, brah!

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😍
😍

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A Crow Left of The Murder
A Crow Left of The Murder
Outside The Louvre! Happy tourist
Outside The Louvre! Happy tourist

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Next stop was another controversial art installation: Les Deux Plateaux, created in 1985.

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Coins from people making wishes
Coins from people making wishes
This guy was trying to fish out coins with a magnet
This guy was trying to fish out coins with a magnet

People play this game of trying to get their coins to the center of the column for their wish to come true.

I did it on the first try ❤️
I did it on the first try ❤️😁

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Love that Jim's core strength is not up to par with those two little girls HAHA
Love that Jim’s core strength is not up to par with those two little girls HAHA
He made it!!xx
He made it!!xx
I'm a statueee
I’m a statueee

We just kept walking around while getting to know each other. We were a group of 8 tourists, 2 Hawaiians, 4 Americans, 2 Filipinos.

Love locks
Love locks

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The amazing Velib bike system where people are encouraged to bike wherever they're going
The amazing Velib bike system where people are encouraged to bike wherever they’re going

Our bubbly tour guide Marie (who’s gorgeous just like our guide from the previous day) told us that their Mayor has been trying out different fun stuff for the city like just last September she banned the use of cars for one whole Sunday and it greatly lowered pollution. I know she also mentioned that the museums and malls had to stay open all night for one night, I don’t know if it already happened or if it’s just about to happen. I can’t seem to find anything on it online so maybe I heard wrong haha. But I’m pretty sure I saw posters for it too – just can’t seem to remember the name of the event.

We stopped for lunch at this tiny, cozy restaurant where we had the best onion soup of our lives.

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Camembert with a little bit of honey on top. UGH SOBRANG NAGUGUTOM AKO WHILE TYPING THIS
Camembert with a little bit of honey on top. UGH SOBRANG NAGUGUTOM AKO WHILE TYPING THIS
A very blurry shot of the amazing onion soup. Sorry, gusto na namin kumain nun. Haha!
A very blurry shot of the amazing onion soup. Sorry, gusto na namin kumain nun. Haha!
Duck confit was on point!!
Duck confit was on point!!

We walked off the busog hehe

Contrast
Contrast
#kickspotting lelz
#kickspotting lelz

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Part of our group was this older couple Sheila and Jeffrey from Michigan - they were so sweet
Part of our group was this older couple Sheila and Jeffrey from Michigan – they were so sweet
Police department
Police Department
Those are bullet holes from the war. They don't repair it on purpose
Those are bullet holes from the war. They don’t repair it on purpose

Next stop: NOTRE DAME!!!

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There's no fee to enter the church
There’s no fee to enter the church

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Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Jesus Christ's actual Crown of Thorns (supposedly)
Jesus Christ’s actual Crown of Thorns (supposedly)

I had no idea that Christ’s Crown of Thorns is believed to be kept in Notre Dame. I only found out through our tour guide and she explained that it’s brought out every first Friday of the month for people to touch. The rest of the time it’s kept in this container and displayed in a corner of the church.

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Angels and Demons
Angels and Demons

There’s an angel and demon in the middle and you will have to pass between them on judgment day. Look at the detail of the dark side. That’s haunting AF.

BEAUTIFUL
BEAUTIFUL

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Hehehe
Hehehe
Stop and smell the flowers
Stop and smell the flowers

We had a snack at Odette, a quaint pastry shop along Saint-Michel.

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These are called choux (plural)
These are called choux (plural)

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A chou is usually a small round cake with filling
A chou is usually a small round cake with filling. Basically cream puffs.
Parisians call their lovers "mon chou" or "my sweetie"
Parisians call their lovers “mon chou” or “my sweetie”
Or "mon chou chou" which means "my darling"
Or “mon chou chou” which means “my darling”
Love at first bite
Love at first bite
SOBRANG SARAP GUYS
SOBRANG SARAP GUYS

Right across Odette is a famous pub called La Guillotine. Underground the pub is a small jazz cave called Le Caveau des Oubliettes (the cave of the forgotten).

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I was so happy to see a couple of Invader creations!

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Cheese and Wine
Cheese and Wine
Notre Dame from afar
Notre Dame from afar
Kiss nanaman!!
Kiss nanaman!!

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So many artists
So many artists

Our last stop was Marie’s friend’s wine shop where we did a bit of wine tasting. Good ending after an 8-hour tour!

More wine!
More wine!

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The owner's name is Herve
The owner’s name is Herve
He had so much cool stuff and I said this one inspired by The Beatles' Yellow Submarine was my favorite.
He had so much cool stuff and I said this one inspired by The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine was my favorite.
He then showed me a photo of him meeting Sir Paul!
He then showed me a photo of him meeting Sir Paul!

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He's got a lot of artist friends who hold exhibits in his wine shop
He’s got a lot of artist friends who hold exhibits in his wine shop
Cheers!
Cheers!
I loved Marie, our tour guide!!!
I loved Marie, our tour guide!!!
The whole group!
The whole group!

I highly recommend this tour especially for your earlier days in Paris. Well worth it. You can click here to check it out on Localers.com.

♥,
Saab

Paris Part Two: A Private Tour of Musée du Louvre

After the very fun Paris Photography Walking Tour, we had to run to The Louvre for another tour I proudly booked.

I found this site called Localers where they claim to help you explore Paris like a local. I highly enjoy museums and I know that The Louvre is one of the most famous ones in the world that’s why I had to dedicate ample time for it on our trip. I booked a 2 and a half hours private tour with Localers for our Sunday afternoon in Paris. It was very easy to book it even if there wasn’t an available schedule for Sunday at 3:30pm. I simply sent them a message via their website and they quickly accommodated my request since it was a private tour after all.

Like I said in my earlier post, I exhausted my camera’s battery from our walking tour. UGH. I tried my best to only take necessary photos but I took a few with our phones as well (they’re mostly square in case you want to tell which is which). I learned a lot from our beautiful tour guide Marie Claire.

Isn't she so pretty?
Isn’t she so pretty?

Don’t underestimate her, though, she’s been an art historian for years! I learned over the next few days that most of the tour guides from Localers have had years of experience under their very-tiny-because-they’re-all-so-slender-and-fit belts.

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The Louvre was originally a fortress in the 12th century. In the 14th century, Francis I started collecting a sizable amount of artworks and slowly turned the palace into the museum that it is today. From the pictures you see, the original fortress was just a fifth of its size. It’s where the royal family used to reside until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in the 15th century.

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The now-iconic pyramids weren’t loved by everyone when they were first created. It was a very controversial time because most people couldn’t understand why the president (François Mitterrand, 1984) would allow something so modern-looking to be at the center of such classic architecture.

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Hi
Hi

Aesthetics aside, it was mainly built to create another entrance to help ease in the hordes of visitors.

Our first stop: Napoleon’s Apartments

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This was where they played live music. Notice the harp designs on the backs of the chairs
This was where they played live music. Notice the harp designs on the backs of the chairs
This is how ladies conversed while sitting down with their huge skirts
This is how ladies conversed while sitting down with their huge skirts

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We went to the other parts of the museum, like the basement where we were able to see the actual stones of the original fortress. I wish my camera had battery 💔

I got to take shots of some of the incredibly beautiful sculptures, of course.

The fascination with the famous Venus de Milo, aside from the fact that she is utterly gorgeous, is the mystery behind what her arms were doing before they were broken.

Venus de Milo, 130-100BCE
Venus de Milo, 130-100BCE

The Venus de Milo is an accidental surrealist masterpiece. Her lack of arms makes her strange and dreamlike. She is perfect but imperfect, beautiful but broken – the body as a ruin. That sense of enigmatic incompleteness has transformed an ancient work of art into a modern one. (via The Guardian)

Another famous broken beauty is the Winged Victory of Samothrace a.k.a. Nike (greek for Victory) of Samothrace. Our tour guide said that it was the inspiration of the brand Nike. See how the wing looks like the swoosh sign?

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Nike of Samothrace

Prior to the tour, I was clueless about Cupid’s love interest Psyche. I had no idea such a character existed. Yeah, I know, I skipped Greek mythology in high school – apparently when I moved schools in 2nd year, they’d already covered it in 1st year or something. Same reason I’m bad at Geography. LELZ. I’ve read up a little bit on her since and she’s actually very interesting.

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My favorite: Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Antonio Canova, 1787.

There’s a painting of them by François-Édouard Picot that I found really beautiful, you can click here to see it.

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This one of a woman literally opening her chest is really haunting. I can’t remember its name :(

I learned a fun fact about this painting (The Coronation of Napoleon). It was originally placed in the Palace of Versailles but moved to The Louvre.

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The Coronation of Napoleon. Jacques-Louis David, 1807

Napoleon’s official painter, Jacques-Louis David created this huge painting. Click here to see the whole thing. You’ll see on the left, the 5 sisters of Napoleon all in white. A year after the painting was finished, he was commissioned to make an exact replica of it (taray diba?! I mean it’s ONLY 33ft x 20ft…). He finished it 14 years later and I saw it in Versailles days after seeing the original. I noticed not all the sisters were in white anymore. The second from the left was wearing pink, totally standing out. Research shows that it’s because she was Napoleon’s favorite sister. But Napoleon wasn’t the one who commissioned the second painting, that’s why I believe what our Versailles tour guide told us: the painter changed her dress color to pink because he fell in love with her. AWWWW.

We were VERY lucky there were only a few people when we visited The Louvre.

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We had no problem going close to the Mona Lisa.

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Apparently, Mona Lisa shot to fame after she was stolen in 1911. You can read more about the famous heist here.

Groufie LELZ
Groufie LELZ

It was an afternoon to remember — thank you so much to Marie Claire of Localers for being such a lovely tour guide.

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You can click here for more information about our Private Tour of The Louvre. More Euro-blogs to come!

EDIT: Took some photos outside The Louvre. Forgot to post them here!

Believe it or not this was a candid shot. I was busy soaking in all the beauty around me and had this grin on my face the whole day hehe
Believe it or not this was a candid shot. I was busy soaking in all the beauty around me and had this grin on my face the whole day hehe
This is a shot from restaurant adjacent to our building
This is a shot from restaurant adjacent to our building

That’s how close we stayed from the museum. Awesome location, right? We had some wine and charcuterie and we watched people walk, bike, or drive by.

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Jim started playing with GarageBand on his phone and we covered La Vie En Rose over and over to the dismay of the other diners sitting outside in the cold with us. Hehehe. I would post the videos but they’re too embarrassing, we were tipsy and off-key (at least I was). It was a very very lovely first night in the city of love.

♥,
Saab