Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beijing Metro Subway

Beijing Metro Subway
Beijing Metro Subway with Chinese characters translation
To avoid hassle of buying single journey ticket, buy Yikatong (One-Card Pass) instead. Show this Chinese character Yikatong一卡通(One-card pass)  to the ticketing agent/officer when buying for your convenience.

Deposit is CYN 20 and load is CYN 20. The deposit is refundable at Line 13 or at Terminal 3 of the Airport Express. You can use the card for bus fares also.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Won!

when my travels won me a chic luggage, it was more than winning the grand prize of Lotto...
my little space in February-March 2012 Travel Mag

i never thought that my non-edited and non-photoshop raw photo entry submitted to Leisure+Adventure Travel December 2011-January 2012 Holiday Giveaway Promo will put my face and my name even for just a little space in the February-March 2012 edition of Travel mag. i felt more jubilant seeing my name on the colored spread of the magazine than seeing my name in the black and white newspaper of the CPA Board Exam results in 1999.

i bought the magazine because of the laksa picture and Penang on the cover in prep for my  vacation last March 2012. i wanted to know more about Penang and just bought the magazine. then i saw the promo to simply submit a picture and short description of my memorable holiday.

i immediately rummaged by external drive and selected without second thoughts my photo  at the Great Wall of China.
and on the 8th of February, i got a mail from Mega Publishing. I won!
it was a blissful moment. it was more than winning a lottery. it was surreal.

and with new luggage, i continue to travel, explore and experience the beauty of the world and the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the creations of God.

South Korea: Gastronomic Mis/Adventures

 when food is all about culture, history and tradition!

The language barrier made it difficult to us to choose the right food in Korea. But we still took all our might to try and feed ourselves.  My low tolerance to spicy and chili food did not allow me to appreciate authentic Korean food but it did not stop me from tasting
My First Try: Eat Like a Korea
when we arrived at Nami port, we immediately looked for some nice resto to eat. we did not that there are more choices in Nami. We looked at the restos nearby as a shining stars to save our grumbling stomach.
the lady cannot understand simple English so when she uttered "chicken", we nod our heads right away and point some pictures in the menu list which looked like a noodle. At the end, we ordered chicken and amazed how it was cooked and black cold noodles.
Eat Like a Korean
just the way I saw it in Korean Dramas
Beef Teriyaki Lunch at COEX
every food is served with kimchi and other side dishes

Korean-version of longganisa (or chorizo in Ilonggo)

Lea's dinner on our last night in Seoul

Seafood Delight
Joan's lunch at Lotte Mart, Incheon

My Comfort Food
Korean congee, my comfort to a feverishing night at Bukchon
My Feast in Seoul
Chicken And Beer in Myeongdong
After our palace adventures, we roamed Myeongdong to find more of good place to eat

Related links:

South Korea: The Streetfood Experience

our good samaritans in Seoul when we were looking for food at the wee hours of the morning
Korean food has always been part of any Korean dramas and watching how the actors glorified the taste, the aroma and the savory everytime i heard them say"Mas-issneun" (but overhead as "Ah-Bast-a!"(ENG subtitle: "Delicious"), it was in our A-MUST list to taste Korean food where else but ONLY IN KOREA!
Embracing the 10 degrees celcius temperature past midnight along the streets of Hongdae, we took our jackets and conquered the cold to survive our grumbling stomach!
searching for food past 1AM
We saw an array of food stalls from both side of the streets, much more in the Hongik University area but we were settled with the one nestled near the hostel.  The shy but charming smile of ajjumma and humbling ajjussi trying to converse in his little English made us halt in their stall and took our first bite of Seoul's streetfood.
the first people we called Ajjussi and Ajjumma
We shared the boiled eggs (sold @KRW3,000 for 3 pcs), Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), Gimbap (laver rice rolls), Eomuk Kkochi (fishcake skewers) and Twigim (korean fritters).  The free hot soup was soothing to our grumbling stomach at the midst of the chilly wind.
For only KRW 1,2oo (Php50) each, it was worth a welcome presents in Seoul.
boiled eggs to tasty not to try
Eomuk KKochi (Fishcake Skewers)
One of the popular street foods in Korea. Cooked in a clear broth made with dried anchovies, radish, onion and kelp.
Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)
Rice cake and fish cake are cooked in a sweet and spicy Korean chilli paste sauce
Wide selection of fritters (squid, sweet potato, mixed vegies, laver wrapped potato noodles and various other ingredients lightly coated in a flour batter then deep fried.
White rice seasoned with sesami oil evenly spread on a sheet of laver.  Thin strips of pickled radish, seasoned spinach, ham and various other vegetables are lined on the layer of rice then rolled like sushi. 

our food for the next days in Seoul
my first decent meal in South Korea
lunch at COEX

South Korea: Hongdae Guesthouse

Room 701 brought back the memories of my college days living in a dormitory

our home away from home

i read from the blog that hongdae guesthouse got the best location in Seoul with the nearest MTR station and nearby tourist spots. Indeed, i made the right choice! as early as two months before our flight, i already made a reservation to ensure our accommodation in seoul. 

Getting there, we just took Airport Bus 6002 to Seoul and get off at the third stop, Hongdae.
It was very convenient because the building is just across the drop-off point.
Direction guide to Hongdae Guesthouse (photo from the hostel's website)
We arrived 11:18PM but I already arranged with Mary,the owner, that we were arriving late.  She was kind enough to wait for us.
arrived at past 11PM 
Hongdae guesthouse is a dormitory-type hostel advisable for backpackers and group/budget travelers like us and located at the centre of Hongik University.  We paid KRW23,000 (Php900.00) per night with breakfast of toasted bread, jam and coffee.  We were not able to avail one because of our amazing race-like itinerary.

From the lower ground (at the back of Dunkin' Donut), we took the lift to the 3rd floor to check-in.  After settling our accommodation, we took the lift to the 7th floor.  

Our room 710 is very spacious and well-ventilated with three double deck beds mounted each with heating pad, a personal computer with free internet and wi-fi, private bathroom with stylish shower room and washing machine, a water dispenser and gas stove though we did not have a chance to cook.  
the colorful blinds

heating pad
 The window blinds were very colorful and we got our own safety cabinet.  The heating pad served as our saviour for the chilly 13 degrees temperature.  We had to close the window to block the cold wind from coming into our room.
safety cabinet
We had a good stay at Hongdae Guesthouse! Mary even gave us souvenirs when we left.
Looking forward to stay again!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Spent Five Days in Kota Kinabalu

My most laid-back trip with more time shopping of Vincci shoes than touring but still at the end of the trip, i brought home another memorable experience that will forever be part of my life book, another pages of my travel diaries were filled with memories, new scrapbook for my photos and souvenirs, more magnets and shot glass to my collections. Most of all, another discovery and experience that proved how beautiful and amazing are the creations of God.

Check the link for each day's itinerary for the complete blog. 

Day 1: First Glimpse of Kota Kinabalu

15:40     ETD Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA)
17:45     ETA - Kota Kinabalu International Airport
18:30     Check-In at City Lodge
19:30     Dinner at Sri Melaka Resto
21:00     Quick Shopping at Suriah Sabah

My first trip to Kota Kinabalu was also my first time to fly via Clark International Airport (also known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport).  Check my blog how to get there.

We arrived late afternoon in KK so we just spent our first night looking for a good place to have our first taste of Malaysian's culinary and found in accident, Suriah Sabah, haven of  Vincci's.

Check more how I enjoyed my first day in Kota Kinabalu.

Day 2: Kota Kinabalu Wind, Sea, Sun and Sand
05:30     Wake Up Call
06:30     Morning walkathon to Jesseltown Ferry Point
07:30     Arrived Jesseltown Ferry Point
08:15     Parasailing at Jesseltown Ferry Point area
10:00     Island Hopping 1st Stop - Sapi Island
13:00     Island Hopping 2nd Stop - Manukan Island
15:00     Island Hopping 3rd Stop - Mamutik Island
17:00     Back to City Lodge for quick rest
18:00     Warisan Square Shopping
20:30     Dinner @ Little Italy
22:30     Back to City Lodge

I labeled our second day in KK as the Wind, Sea, Sun and Sand adventure as we spent most of the day with nature and fueled more adventurous blood in our veins.  

First was our parasailing adventure where I found it so much fun that I wanted to do it again. Check my post here

Then, we spent the rest of the day island hopping at three of the five islands of KK Marine Park. Check my post here.

Day 3: Explore More of Sabah, Malaysia

05:30     Wake Up Call
07:00     Pick-up by Tourist Guide
08:00     Whole day tour
     1. View Deck - Mt. Kinabalu
     2. Falls View - Mt. Kinabalu
     3. Kinabalu Park
     4. Canopy Walk
     5. Hot Spring
     6. Suspension Bridge
     7. One Borne Mall
     8. Warisan Square Mall
20:00     Back to City Lodge

On our third day in Sabah, we hired a van with the driver/tour guide to explore outside of Kota Kinabalu and see more of Sabah, Malaysia.  I shared my post here how the country has a feel of Philippines as well.

Day 4:  More of Kota Kinabalu City Tour (Do-It-Yourself)

08:00     Wake Up Call
09:00     Breakfast at Vietnamese Mint Peppermint
10:00     Start of our DIY Tour
     1. Atkinson Clock Tower
     2. Sabah Tourism Board
     3. Sabah Museum
     4. Heritage Village
     5. State Mosque
     6. City Mosque
     7. Menara Tum Mustafah
     8. Sabah State Assembly
     9. Central Market
     10. KK Plaza
18:00     Back to City Lodge
19:00     Dinner at Sugarbun Coffee
20:00     Late Shopping Suriah Sabah

On our fourth day in KK, we explored the mosques, museums and some of the famous landmarks comprising Kota Kinabalu in our do-it-your-own itinerary.  Watch out for my post here.

Day 5: Last Glimpse of KK (Departure)

05:30     Wake Up Call
07:00     Fisherman's Wharf
08:00     Coffee at Borneo's Coffee
09:00     Signal Hill
11:00     Check-out City Lodge
13:40     ETD- KKIA
15:40     ETA-Clark
18:00     Arrival - Manila

We wrapped up our Kota Kinabalu trip by hiking up the Signal hill at early morning and had my American breakfast at Borneo's Coffee.

Kota Kinabalu Tour Joiners
Travel Dates: August 2011
Anna (IT Planner), Joan (Treasurer/"Forex Converter"), Vivian (Key Keeper) and Claire (Navigator with Anna)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jumpshot: A Must Travel Photo

my signature travel shot - jumpshot!
along with my travel souvenirs, from magnets to shot glass to stickers to dolls, i should have my jumpshot.

i started my signature jump shot in year 2008 from my laoag trip although i started traveling in year 2006. it all started after reading Bianca Gonzales blog who always had her "tumbling shots" taken from her travels. she has the confidence and the guts to jump or what she called "tumbling shot" at the middle of the frozen lake, abandoned airport runway or even at the front of the parliamentary house and other places around the world. i can't do the cartwheel but then i'm happy with my own signature jump shot.
and it's getting better and better though. :-)

i have a good number of jump shots from my travels here in the Philippines and some countries in Asia and the fact that it took a lot of camera clicks, aching foot sole and palpitating heartbeat before i get the very good shot, it is worth a memory to remember..

inspired from Bianca's blog, i listed down my top 10 jump shots too:)

at the center of gyeongbokgung palace, south korea

worn our royal guards costume, lea, joan and i took our jump shot at the center of the palace where tourists were resting from the sole-aching-tour around the palace..many tourists and passers-by just looked at us wondering what we were doing!! but after some shots, i think somehow they had fun watching us jumping and laughing. soon after i saw some tourists had their jumpshots too!
sand dunes, laoag

i was supposed to join the 5-day-north luzon trip but my role in the project implementation from my previous job did not allow me to take the leave earlier than scheduled..coming from the 10-hour road trip, i met my travel buddies in laoag and headed to sand dunes. we felt like kids running down the sand dunes which is also popular for the classic movies like "Panday". this is my first jumpshot! =)

in front of UPLB arts center with mangie

this is my most painful and difficult jumpshot ever! never thought i can do this!
it was an unplanned weekend get-away from the stressful work from my previous company in pansol, laguna. straight from the office, we arrived past twelve midnight and spent the rest of the night swimming, drinking, talking (including backbiting! haha) and videok-ing, it was a bonding time for all of us.
in front of one of the historical ruins in corregidor island

together with joan, anna and my, i had my first tour in the historical island of corregidor
this is the first time i had fun doing the jumpshot and the start of my Dream High album in Facebook
by the tinago falls, iligan

my highest jump ever amidst the slippery stone floor at the edge of the falls.
the more than hundred steps going down the falls and climbing up the steepest stairs were worth seeing this beautiful hidden paradise in mindanao

backdrop mt. kinabalu, kota kinabalu

kota kinabalu is my most laid-back travel but sabah malaysia fascinated me with their deep respect to its culture, nationalism and tradition. mt kinabalu is another God's creation and it always remind me that wherever i go, its not only the place that amazed me but also the people that i met or just "watch or observe".
at the entrance of underground river, puerto princesa, palawan

tourists(local & foreign) never thought i'd jumped for a photo on the created platform for ms. earth pageant while waiting for our turn to enter the underground river, one of the new seven wonders of nature.
another God's wonderful creation -the beautiful formations inside the underground river are the unimaginable art designed by nature.

by the bird's nest, beijing, china

at the midst of chilly and cool palm sunday, i had my jump shot taken!
the strong, spring wind that achingly soothed through my skin did not stop me from jumping even after several attempts of getting a good jump shot.

at one of the steps in Great Wall of China

it was dangerous, it was difficult but i should have my signature jump shot in one of the wonders of the world, great wall of china. being there and saw the different spring flowers like cherry blossom was already a dream come true. being able to climb up to the highest tower that our breath and soles can take was also a dream come true. and being able to see how the walls almost touch the sky and being able to wave to the moon who can see the great wall from above, was indeed a dream come true!

by the luli island in puerto princesa, palawan

as much as i endlessly admired the beauty of puerto princesa from the greenest and cleanest city to the most exotic cuisine and delicacies, this is my beautiful jump ever! not my usual signature jump shot and the whole trip was the most organized, relaxed and rejuvenating! 
it's more fun jumping in the philippines!

..as i travel more, i will work harder to jump around the world.

UPDATED: February 2016: Off from my bucketlist:

in my wish list to have my jump shot:
1. eiffel tower in paris
2. big ben in london
3. marlboro country, batanes
4. taj mahal india
5. santorini, greece
6. jeju island, south korea (fulfilled March 2013)
7. mayon volcano, albay
8. rockefeller center, new york
9. hogwarts universal studio hollywood (LA) took instead in Universal Studios Japan (Nov 2014)
10. mt. apo, davao