November 9, 2017

Taiwan: First Is Always The Best Part II

After trying to finish our food at Modern Toilet, we decided to go back to out hotel to take a rest to have an energy for our night market tour.

There's a night market near our hotel, accessible on foot which is the Ximending Night Market.There were a lot of foods to choose from but since we can't understand what's written on their food stall, it's just so difficult to buy. Gael and I both don't eat pork so it was more difficult to try without knowing what are the ingredients. But we still tried some.

onion pie

I don't know what's it called :D
It was fun chasing the man above because he and the other stall owners were running away from the cops and we just kept chasing him.


Highly addictive popcorn chicken

We were so full we couldn't finish everything. The serving sizes were big enough for us to finish everything.  Time to rest for the next day's adventure. 

First stop for the day was Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. It is in Xinyi District. We took the train going there which was very convenient and this time we didn't get lost. hahaha! It pays to look at the map on the station!

It is not as big as the Chiang Kai Shek but the outside view is awe-inspiring! Of course we didn't just stay outside, we tried to get in and we were lucky enough to witness the changing of the guards. Also, if you appreciate art, the objects inside the hall will make your heart jump for joy.

Even the lighting fascinated me! Who would forget to take their pictures in this amazing environment?

When you are beating the timer of your camera to be included in the frame, this is the result. hahaha! My photo below looks like I wanna pee!

I wouldn't get tired of taking her photo. You know why? She knows exactly how I want her to be on the photo. hahaha! I think she is my soulmate, really! Don't get me wrong, our brainwaves are just wired to fully understand each other. 

Isn't she gorgeous?

October 11, 2017

Taiwan: First Is Always The Best

Unplanned trips are actually the most memorable ones. Booking my plane ticket a month before the trip, made me really nervous as  I usually plan 6 months or more in advance. Little did I know that it would turn out to be the best. This is also my first time traveling with my friend and of which we've been planning to do for countless of times.  Prior to that, we worked on our e-visa which was approved a day after, booked for our accommodation and read a lot of blogs about Taiwan.

Gael's outward flight was different from mine since she booked hers earlier than me therefore she needs to wait for at Taoyuan Airport for more than an hour We also booked for our airport pick-up to our hotel since we arrived early in the morning. Going through everything made me nervous but it was a wonderful experience especially going through immigration. I noticed that most of the immigration personnel master the art of poker face. Lol!

Day 1:

I woke up late as usual. haha! I was startled when I saw the time on my phone which was almost 12 noon. Gael and I were not staying in the same room but we were just next to each other. We decided to have something to eat. The food on the plane made me full until I wake up I think. We went for a walk to find a place to eat. We ate at a noodle shop, not so far from our hotel.

There's nothing more delicious when the food you eat is really authentic! The noodle soup was just so good I finished mine in no time even it was too hot! I have tasted other soy milk before and I didn't like the texture. But Taiwan's soy milk was so good!

Of course, the day won't start without tasting an aromatic coffee! We can't function without it, I tell you! Therefore, we got on our feet and roam around the place to find a coffee shops. Thanks to our reliable gps for teaching us where to go! hahaha! While walking, I took the opportunity to take some photos. Practice makes perfect, they say! My ability to adjust my settings while doing other things was really tested!

The streets are just so clean! And walking here is perfect!

 I am so fascinated with the architecture design of most of the buildings in Taipei!

In addition to practicing, I have a wonderful model so who wouldn't take the opportunity to snap her photo?

September 26, 2017

Hotel Review: Leez Inn, A Gem In Malate, Manila

Traveling can be tedious at times especially when looking for an accommodation that suits your low budget. I am the kind of person who doesn't want to spend so much for my accommodation because I prefer spending more for my food. Since I am working from home, sometimes I just wanted to go somewhere to change my ambiance and re-energize and perhaps to change my perspective. Staying in a routine for a long time makes me bored to death. When I go to Manila, I usually stay in Malate, with that I have tried different low-budget hotels in that place. Most are just okay but there's always something missing. 

It was planned to attend the international book fair event in SMX convention center so I booked a place to stay. I usually use for my bookings but then that time I used to see if there are cheaper hotels I could find. And I did! 

I saw Leez Inn and upon checking the location seems to be ideal for me. The reviews say that it is a quiet place to stay. I booked the deluxe double room which was priced at $23. I was a bit skeptic of course since I am not so familiar with the place. I was wondering if Manila Bay is accessible on foot as I planned to take some photos. 

Getting to the place wasn't difficult at all. Well, I used Uber service so that could be an advantage. It was near the bus station where I got down. I arrived 2 hours earlier, unfortunately I wasn't allowed to check-in early because there were no rooms available as per the receptionist. So I just left my luggage with them and went to my other appointments. 

The lobby

September 2, 2017

Poem: Astray

by: Susan G.C 
composed: 22 August 2017

Creating images in my mind
filling the emptiness you left behind
You stayed quiet until now
friendship over I think somehow

Staring at nothing
tears slowly falling
Regret I feel revealing it
Better I should have just concealed

Your messages I read
paints a smile yet I bleed
"I will never leave", your creed
Yet your absence all I feel

Should I wait? Should I stay?
Will you remember, please convey?
Should I leave pages? Should I close?
Leaving your chapter, better or worse?

August 16, 2017

Who Is He?

The silence is deafening and waking up her fear. She scanned the place with her eyes not moving her body as if it got numb because of the darkness. Her mind is drifting to a world of malarkey yet a piece of it is pushing her to think of the world she is in. She made a step, a subtle one, not intending to awaken anyone inside.  She’s reaching for the staircase; an old, wide and beautifully carved staircase. While her feet are busy ascending, she heard footsteps coming from the door. Her heart started to throb thinking her captor was able to follow her.   She stood in silence in the middle of the staircase hoping she won’t be discovered. She wanted to hold her breath as long as she could but she doesn’t want to pass out again.

As the footsteps are getting closer to the staircase, her mind came rushing of an idea what to do. A part of her brain is telling her to run away from the footsteps but another part is telling her to keep still and pretend like a lifeless thing.  She noticed the illuminating ring, the same ring she saw from her captor.  She got ready as if starting a race but as soon as she made her first step, two masculine hands hugged her by the waist. She wanted to scream but nothing came out because of fear. She can hear the stranger’s breath but suddenly noticed his breathing is a gentle one. The warmth of his breath pulled her back from the void. She wanted to feel safe but the ring is making her horrified.

She can feel that the man behind her has a lean body figure, broad shoulders and stone-like muscles. She is envisaging this man can pick her up single-handed. She decided to speak but as soon as she opened her mouth, she heard him say, in a guttural voice.

Keep silent.

*This is a continuation of this story: Who Is He?

July 10, 2017

App Review: CNNCT

Photo credit: EVG company

Having a place or an app to use when you want to connect to people around the world, learn their culture or simply seeing their environment is just amazing. Personally I use this app to divert my attention from my full time job which is sometimes exhausting for me. There are times I am bored and I am just going online on CNNCT and voila! My boredom has vanished! 

The concept of the app is to travel around the world while you're at home. Users can learn about other culture and many more. 

I had the privilege to chat with Igor Monakhov, a highly successful Russian IT entrepreneur, who founded the new video chat app CNNCT.

Me: Tell me about the people behind CNNCT.

Igor: It's a project very dear to me. I gathered a team of young, ambitious and open-minded people who share my vison.

Me: What inspired you to create CNNCT?

Igor: Well, I faced an interesting problem at a former project of mine. In 2011, the team Fotostrana, a photo sharing and social network website, asked me to deal with the fact that a lot of people were leaving their website. I had a look and realized that a lot of people were leaving because some users made them uncomfortable. You see, users on some website had very different goals. When someone like a married man or woman, or even someone happy in their relationship, is constantly confronted by people using the website as a dating site, they are uncomfortable. They just want to find pen-pals around the world, to discuss anything they feel like.

I felt touched by the issue. That's when I realized I had a solution. I want to create an application where people feel safe to chat and discuss. 

Me: What's the vision and mission of CNNCT?

Igor: The vision I have is of an application where people from around the world chat and discuss, make new friends, share interests and have inspiring and interesting conversation in a safe and cozy environment.

Me: How do you see CNNCT on the long term?

Igor: I believe that everyone has something worthwhile to say and everyone is worth listening to. We all have different areas of expertise and we should all have the opportunity to share our thoughts, our visions, or opinions. On CNNCT, everyone will have that opportunity. 

May 8, 2017

Kapihan: When Coffee is Life

I consider coffee as one of my vices and something I can never let go of. When I was still living in the city where coffee shops were very accessible, it wasn't difficult for me to indulge in such vice. Having coffee in the middle of the night while my eyes are busy reading the pages of my favorite book was my favorite thing to do. Many people say it's a waste of money but I always rebut, the happiness I get from that can never be replaced by money. Unfortunately, when we moved to the countryside where coffee shops aren't that accessible, mother in-law became my personal barista. It's not as good as the ones we have on Starbucks or Coffee Bean and others but still I can taste the goodness of it. 

Just recently, a coffee shop emerged! Yey! It is located at GM Reyes Building, Rosario Batangas, across from Hypermarket. My husband kept telling me about it but I wasn't that interested at first. Then one day, we just decided to go try it. I was expecting for the usual menu from the famous coffee shops but no. I am a cappuccino and a cafe americano lover and they don't have them so I thought of giving a try with what they have. I ordered a single pour over and from then on my heart was captured. 

There's nothing much special about it but the aroma got into me so I order that every time I go there. And it's just 60 php! I have tried their french press when single pour over was not available and it just brings me back to my morning coffees at hotels when I travel. 

The coffee shop named Kapihan offers not only coffee but varieties of snacks as well. 

cookie ice cream tower


And there's more! They have books if you like to read, not many choices though but still it can help you kill time and enhance your brain while having coffee. LOL!  They also have board games which you can enjoy with your friends and family. 

teens playing
us playing scrabble

my sisters in-law playing jengga

April 24, 2017

Puerto Princesa: Firefly Watching and Underground River Tour

Our city tour was really tiring but we didn't have a choice but to book our firefly watching tour that night because there's no more time. We have agreed to be picked up at the hotel at 7 pm because our schedule for the firefly watching was at 9 pm and the travel time is 45 minutes. Our city tour guide Kuya Bert was not feeling well that time so we were assigned to another driver, Kuya Nelson. The road to Iwahig Firefly watching was dark and there were many trees on the side of the road. I wanted to ask our driver to stop so I could take pictures of those big trees but I was little scared. LOL! 

Iwahig Firely watching was the highlight of our stay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. We were so close to nature and away from technology even for a short period of time. I brought my camera with me just hoping I could get a shot but I failed, so we just savored the moment. We had a fun time with Kuya Anton our boatman. He was quiet at first but when my husband started telling jokes, he started telling his as well. Not only we saw wonderful fireflies and how they responded to certain color of lights but we also had a short lecture on the solar system particularly constellations, but there's more! Kuya Anton told us that the river is full of plankton so my husband tried to soak his hand and there, the plankton showed up! Spectacular experience! 

We had dinner with our driver after our tour. Since the night was still young, we decided to have a drink before going back to the hotel. It's just heartwarming to have a full interaction with one of the locals of Puerto Princesa, there,we have heard authentic stories about the place. 

The next day was our schedule to Puerto Princesa Underground River. With the amount of beer I had that night, I was able to sleep tight and be fully energized for the next day's long trip. It's two hours away from the city by car. Our tour consisted of 11 tourists. Our tour guide Kuya Marlo was awesome! He made the long trip more exciting!

We had our stop over to have some snacks, use the rest room and also to stretch. The stop over was just picture perfect! 

We hit the road again after 30 minutes of stop. While on the road, Kuya Marlo gave us a lot of information about the mountains and caves that we passed by. We also had our stop at one of the tourist attractions on the road to underground river which is the Ugong cave. There, we climbed the cave which is a seventy-five-foot limestone formation. I have fear of heights but with Kuya Marlo's encouragement, I tried it! It was one of my heart-wrenching experience! 

 Kuya Marlo loves taking pictures with my camera so every time there's a chance, he would say, "Let's take a picture" LOL

It is called ugong gave because when you tap the cave's entrance, it will make a roar-like sound.

 With proper equipment, gloves and helmet, we were good to go up. As I have mentioned on my earlier post, we needed to use gloves to prevent contamination of the cave.

The above photos are just one examples of rock formation. Sorry I'm not good at taking those. Huhu!

Our tour guides never cease to ask us to pause for a photo! They are just so welcoming and they want us to experience the best of it!

After braving the cave, there we are at the top with that spectacular view! Those three ladies were part of our tour group. Pardon me but I forgot their names,I'm so bad at remembering names, however we had a very nice tour with them. After this we rolled again to underground river. It's near as we can already feel the sea breeze. 

April 10, 2017

Our Trip To Puerto Princesa

The day has finally came for us to travel to Puesto Princesa, Palawan. I booked our plane ticket in August last year so we had enough time to prepare for everything especially for our expenses. 

It was my first time traveling domestically without delays. Our flight was on schedule and we even arrived 10 minutes earlier in Puerto Princesa Airport. Our airport pick up seemed to have arrived early and we were dropped off at the hotel. After taking a rest for a few hours we went to Robinson's Mall to buy some foods and slippers for my husband; it's a grocery which is good for our entire stay! Lots of beer of course. haha! After we were headed back to the hotel to take a longer rest. 

At night, we went to baywalk to have our dinner. It's surprising to see how clean the place is and also how cheap the food was! 

my husband thinking which one to eat first :D
We wanted to find a bar to drink but we went out late so most have already closed. We just went back to the hotel to take a rest and be ready for our next day's tour.  While on our way back, we met a tricycle driver who offered us a city tour for the price of 800 which my husband and I both thought it was good. 

We were picked up at the hotel at around 10 am as I just finished working. It was late and the weather was hot but then I though if we won't do it today, we might not be able to find time the next days. Our driver first brought us to Plaza Cuartel, a place were the burning of American soldiers during the World War II happened. I felt the chill while going around this place. My mind just went, thank you Americans for dying for the Philippines. 

Near the Plaza Cuartel is the Puerto Princesa Cathedral.

Our next stop was at the Butterfly Garden. It was a very nice place to visit as it is so close to nature. Of course, there are so many butterflies around and some bugs and insects that can only be seen in Palawan. 

My husband had a good interaction with those insects! LOL! While the tour guide was explaining something about those insects we were called to join a group of tourist having a discussion about the Palaw-an tribe.