After visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan last February, this might be my favorite trip yet. I mean, I saw a polar bear. A POLAR BEAR. AGHHHH the cuteness!!
The Singapore Zoo is known as the world’s best rainforest zoo.
We went to the zoo for Nunki (whose favorite animal is the giraffe) and as I am a big animal lover, I was happy to visit the Singapore Zoo because of how well they treat the animals.
All throughout the 69-acre grounds were signs to enlighten tourists about animal cruelty and the illegal buying of exotic animals.
I realized I had been to this zoo before with my family, except we went at night time for the Night Safari tour. Seeing the animals in the day time and by foot made me feel like more of an explorer!
I actually did some research because I was skeptic about how they kept these huge, dangerous animals in cage-less confinements. “They probably have invisible electric fields that shock the animals!!! THAT’S SO MEAN!!!” Well, apparently that’s not the case.
Animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures separated from the visitors by either dry or wet moats. The moats are concealed with vegetation or dropped below the line of vision. Dangerous animals that can climb well are housed in landscaped glass-fronted enclosures. (via Wikipedia)
After a wonderful day at the zoo, we all went back to the hotel and showered before celebrating papa Gerry’s 59th birthday at Mario Batali’s restaurant, Osteria Mozza. Most of the staff are Filipino, by the way! Yay!
We got to Singapore a little past midnight on July 30. We were there to celebrate my father-in-law’s 59th birthday and to visit Jim’s sister who just recently moved there to work for the Disney Channel. It was a great trip and I’m glad I finally found the time to sit down and share it with you even if it’s been 2 weeks since.
We went to breakfast and Jim’s parents asked if we could let Nunki tag along with us for the day so they could catch up with their friend for lunch. Of course we agreed because Nunki’s the best!
She went with us to our room as we got ready for our afternoon of fun
As soon as we got outside, Jim was on paparazzi mode (“For your blog,” he said. What a sweetheart.) so we posed for the camera.
Walking along Orchard Road
All she wanted for lunch was Xiao Long Bao, her favorite. So I Googled and found a place nearby.
TOYS R US! We told Nunki she could choose one thing to buy. It was a no-brainer: MORE SHOPKINS!!
Siyempre she wasn’t the only one who enjoyed at the toy store
Best part of our afternoon: playing LEGO!
Then we headed back to the hotel but not before getting some ice cream. It was Nunks’ first time to try Haagen Dazs because she’s a Ben & Jerry’s kinda girl. We asked if she liked her Cookies & Cream.
After resting for a bit in our room, we headed out again for dinner. We went to Makansutra Gluttons Bay for some hawker goodness
After dinner we took an Uber to Holland Village to check out ate Mia’s new place!
Ate Mia’s apartment is right by some really cute art galleries and restaurants
Apparently, there are home owners in Singapore who turn their beautiful houses into apartments for tenants. So the exterior of the place looks like an actual house and you enter and it’s a gorgeous living area but upstairs, each room is equipped with their own bathrooms, kitchens, etc. I think ate Mia’s place has about 6 tenants. None of that sad apartment lobby feels. Just a wonderful gallery when you enter the house.
Her place has a really nice private deck where we had wine to cap off the night. Awkward moment: I said, “wow, I’d love to have a really big deck” …
Had a great first day and I’ll tell you all about the following days in another post. Glad to be back to my normal work schedule!:)
It took a while before our luggage showed up on the carousel when we landed on Changi Airport at midnight. Sabi ko nga kay Jim, “Nasa Singapore man tayo, Pinoy pa rin yung air line na ginamit natin…” Hehehe. Filipino time.
We’re staying at Orchard Hotel on Orchard Road. When Jim opened the door to our room, in true blogger fashion I said, “WAIT DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING I NEED TO TAKE PICTURES.” Hehehe
It is 2AM, an hour after Jim and I checked in to our room. I’m currently eating a Clubhouse Sandwich. We’re in Singapore for Jim’s dad’s 59th birthday, by the way. My sister-in-law ate Mia just recently moved here for work so we’re celebrating it here! YUN LANG! JUST UPDATING YOU GUYS. PARANG JOWA KO KAYO.
I was asked by Sony to join an amazing Instagram challenge, the 48-HR challenge with my #Xperia Z3! It was perfect timing because I had scheduled a trip to Tali, Batangas with my friends. I highlighted 2-day battery life, waterproofing, and camera in low light for a whole 2 days, non-stop. Here are some photos I posted! This fun challenge got me saying, look at what #ICan do! #EverydayExtraordinary
I captured awesome memories thanks to the challenge. I’ve been very lazy to take photos lately because I think it’s such a hassle to stop and take a photo when you’re having so much fun. But since I HAD to finish strong with the challenge, I realized that taking a few seconds in order to forever remember moments is really worth it. Thanks to Sony for the reminder that everyday can truly be extraordinary.
My friend Cholo sent me a text last Monday asking to hang out Tuesday because his couch surfers were arriving and he was a little nervous. Cholo recently joined Couchsurfing.com, a website that lets you literally sleep on the couch of a stranger. You can see why we were concerned about our friend letting strangers stay in his place! Although as a wannabe traveler myself, I could see the appeal of going around the world and not having to pay thousands of dollars on hotels. It’s kind of like Airbnb.com but a lot cheaper and more intimate as you get to share your life with your host.
So Candy and I went to The Fort to meet up with Cholo and the couchsurfing couple from Germany. I was honestly ready to meet some weirdos. But when I saw them, they looked completely normal. In fact, they looked really cool. Haha.
They do not eat meat and it just so happened that Candy and I passed by a super cute vegan and gluten-free place called Susi in Burgos Circle.
We asked if it was dog-friendly and we were so surprised to hear that it was totally fine to bring my beautiful Joey inside!! We stayed in the enclosed room you can see from the photo above.
It was so nice getting to know Sebastian and Nancy. They have been together for 10 years, married for 2, and for the past 7 months they have just been traveling the world. Can you believe that they quit their jobs, sold everything they had and just started traveling? Home, furniture, everything. Nancy said it was her grandparents who gave them the idea of traveling now while they are still young. It’s always the goal to earn a lot of money and retire before traveling. That was her grandparents’ plan but her grandma got sick so they were not able to travel anymore. It was a very good point and it’s so inspiring to just live in the moment.
I’m so glad I met Nancy and Sebastian and I’ll be seeing them again tonight at our Cheats gig. I think they plan to go to Cebu and Palawan while they’re here. I suggested Siargao and Vigan even though I’ve never been to either. I really want to go to both!! If you have any suggestions, swing by Saguijo tonight.
For the younger crowd “Labor Day” is synonymous to a weekend partying it up in Boracay. On the contrary, Labor Day is a public holiday that celebrates workers and their rights. It remembers back in 1913 when 36 worker’s unions got together to protest their long unethical work hours (12 hours+ a day). Now, laborers usually only work a maximum of 8 hours daily but many still struggle for a better work environment. I’ve got nothing but props for the workers who stage demonstrations during Labor Day to call attention to their grievances. Still, it’s common practice for most of the working force to just take the day off and relax. Admittedly, I am part of that working force.
My friends and I went on a quick overnight trip to Tali, Batangas for Labor Day. Of course I had the brilliantly waley idea of calling it TALIBORDAY (Tali + Labor Day) as opposed to the usual LABORACAY (Labor Day + Boracay). It was a beautiful day of eating, swimming, and eating some more.
Tina, Maxx’s college best friend, was gracious enough to host us at her family’s beach house. She also brought her 4-year-old son Elian along and everybody fell in love.
As soon as we got there around 10AM, we set out to help Lauren with her planned boodle fight lunch!
It was my first boodle fight and it was DA BOMB!!! Megan suggested we keep all our phones before having lunch so we wouldn’t be distracted. Sa bagay, we were using our hands to eat the food so we wouldn’t have been able to check our phones anyway hehe. All meals should have a no-phone rule!
Elian was a ball of energy!! He kept throwing mangoes (grown from their backyard) into the pool and then fetching them.
Wayyyy later he passed out on his minion beach mat.
Elian was so cute in the pool and I had just purchased a back screen monitor for my GoPro Hero 3+ so I could keep replaying videos. I wanted to show Tina (who refuses to be caught on cam haha) how cute her baby boy was on cam. Obviously, while the unit is in its waterproof case, you can’t use the touch screen. The smart thing would have been to wait until I’m out the pool before checking the footage. But I couldn’t wait. I opened the case, pressed play and showed Tina the video. YOU GUESSED IT: My GoPro fell in the pool. For 1 second. It was the worst. Hahahaha. So we took it apart (monitor, unit, battery) and placed it in a bowl of uncooked rice because that’s what the Internet says you should do if you get a gadget wet. I tried to turn it on that night. The lights would blink, it was making the sound but the front LCD and week-old monitor wouldn’t respond. My heart almost broke but I didn’t make a big deal out of it because I just wanted to have fun with the girls.
After we watched the sunset by the Tali cliff, I helped Lauren make sloppy joes for dinner while Adrianne made cheese hotdogs. We had dinner, played 30 Seconds (super fun trivia board game), had tea, took a shower, watched Maxx on Aquino and Abunda, played Cluedo with Lauren and Vic, went to sleep, woke up at 6AM, had breakfast, left at 7AM. I was afraid we were going to get drunk at night but wow we are such titas now. Hahaha. It felt good to go to sleep before midnight and wake up very early for breakfast. I was also excited to go home because it was my first night away from Jim (I think) since we got married and I was looking forward to seeing him again. Hehehe. Sepanx?
Anyway, when I got home, I checked my GoPro and it was working perfectly fine. Praise the Lord. God loves me. I am so happy. Hehehehe. I’m currently uploading a video I put together from our Tali trip so stay tuned for that tonight :) Hope you had a great long weekend as well!
Will update this post with the video in an hour or so when it finishes uploading!:)
[UPDATE May 6, 2015] Watch our video below. Sorry it took a while, it was originally set to Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You but Vimeo/YouTube does not take kindly to people who use songs without a license. So I had to choose from YouTube’s usable audio library. This one is called Pink Lemonade by Silent Partner. Imagine niyo nalang may boses ni Carly Rae… See Maxx’s Instavid for reference.
Why complain about the summer heat when you can bask in all its hot hot glory? Can’t wait to hit the beach this Friday with my best buddies and bandmates. Cheats is going to Crystal Beach, Zambales for Summer Siren Festival this April 17th.
The whole festival runs from April 17-19 with a wide variety of activities for everybody to try:
Flow Arts Workshop by FlowArts Philppines & Planet Zips
Summer Workouts by Crossfit Alpha Strike
Beach Volleyball Match
Beach Frisbee Game
Since Cheats is performing, the organizers have graciously provided rooms for us but Lifestyle Network’s GLAMPING (glamorous camping) package looks so fun and enticing, don’t you think? No need to pitch a tent, make a fire, etc. It’s nice for people who want to experience camping for the first time without getting overwhelmed by the nitty gritty.
It includes roundtrip transportation (Manila – Zambales – Manila), 2 nights accommodation in a glamping tent (tent comes with an airbed with linens and pillows, a lamp and a fan), Summer Siren festival passes, welcome BBQ dinner, daily hearty breakfast, butler service, Lifestyle Network glamping kit, Summer Siren festival kit, travel insurance, and a whole lot of freebies. They had me at ‘butler service’ hahaha. They’re also bringing in more activities but don’t worry if you didn’t get the glamping package, you can still enjoy them!
Hairbraiding by Dove
Make your own Dreamcatcher by DMCI
Will make sure to drop by the glamping site to take photos, stalk some folks and secretly wish I was in their place. Hahaha! Unless they don’t have a nice bathroom. You can drag me almost anywhere and I’ll be good as long as there’s a properly-working toilet. Are you going?! OMG will we become best friends??? Lelz! Try your luck if there are still packages available over at TravelFactor.org. I hear you can also just bring your own tent and stuff and just pay 1,000 to pitch it on the camping site. ADVENTURE TIME! See ya!
I totally forgot about my last batch of Japan photos!! Here’s a photo diary of our last day in Kyoto when we went there for our honeymoon! So here’s a photo diary I hope you enjoy it as much as much as the other Japan entries :) Some photos taken with my iPhone 6, other with my Sony NEX 5N.
Here’s a brief background of the shrine we visited from what I gathered: There are 2 major religions practiced in Japan – Shintoism and Buddhism. In Shinto, people believe in kami or the Japanese word for god or spirit. Inari is the kami of general prosperity and worldly success. A lot of people visit the shrine to pray for their businesses but first and foremost Inari is the god of rice.
Our fourth day in Japan was spent going around the famous Nishiki Market (Kyoto), a really long and narrow arcade that stretches for five blocks. It’s lined by over a hundred shops and restaurants. It’s known as The Kitchen of Kyoto because you can sample many of the city’s cultural delicacies all in one place. The history of the place is amazing:
Nishiki has a long history that originated about 400 years ago, but its true beginnings go back even further. When Japan’s capital was first transferred to Kyoto, the distribution network for goods was undeveloped and citizens couldn’t enjoy eating a wide variety of foods. In 1573, a lot of local merchants visited Kyoto’s Imperial Palace to dedicate local products, such as fresh fish and game for meat. Gradually, they got used to cooperating in order to keep these products fresh by utilizing the abundance of freezing underground water beneath Nishiki, which remains 15 degrees C even in summer. Even today, this water guarantees the freshness of fish sold in the market. (source)