Snapshots: View from the Cable Car to Dragon Peak, Yong Pyong Ski Resort, South Korea







Happy holidays everyone! I have a little bit of a holiday break until the end of the year, so I hope to be able to catch up on my blogging in the coming days. I've been MIA of late because a lot's been happening - I went to Korea for a bit of a break in end November and started a new job almost immediately after I got back to Manila, so life's been a little crazy!

In any case, I feel incredibly guilty for not updating, especially as I have my super awesome trip to Korea to write about! I'll be posting about it soon, promise! For now though, a little bit of snow for the holidays! Here's a picture I took on the cable car ride up to Dragon Peak in YongPyong Ski Resort on my recent trip to Korea. It was my first time to see snow, which as my fellow "tropical" friends and I learned on our trip, is not overrated at all! I'll post more about it soon. Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and here's to an amazing new year!

Paris, je t'aime.






...was the subject line that greeted me when I checked my email this morning. As it turns out, Air Asia will be flying to Paris beginning Valentine's Day next year, and to celebrate, they're holding a promo from today until the 24th for flights from Kuala Lumpur to Paris at PhP 7,000.00!

Visit www.airasia.com for more details

The Type 7 - Enthusiast in me is dying to book a flight (promo fares are available for flights between February to November 2011), but as I'm starting a new job next year and don't have a lot of savings yet, I'll hold off until 2012. Good to know that flying from Asia to Paris on the cheap is finally a possibility now though, right?

Coincidentally, "Girlfriend" by Phoenix has been on repeat on my iPod these past few days, and I was in a club with friends Saturday night and the DJ played "1901", and to my surprise, everyone started singing along (well, at least to the "Hey, hey hey, hey" part). And since I've had Paris on my mind all day today, here's some French music to accompany some Paris dreaming.



Twenty-Freaking-Five and Alive! The Perfect Weekend, Boracay, Philippines








Like a lot of Filipinos my age I've been to Boracay a couple of times, but I've never been compelled to write about the place - what else was there to say? I figured though that everyone's got a Bora story to share, so I might as well post mine as well.


This Bora Story is called The Perfect Weekend, and it happened a week or two after my Macau-Hong Kong trip and my epic bungee jump experience. One thing I had learned from my previous backpacking and whirlwind travel adventures was that "travel" and "vacation" are not the same thing - they might even be the opposite of each other. Traveling is fulfilling and can be immensely meaningful for sure, but with the desire to explore and discover strange new places doesn't come a lot of time to just...chill.


Since graduating from college I've done my fair share of traveling, but I must say that legitimate vacations have been few and far between. And our perfect weekend in Bora was probably the mother of all vacations.


We didn't do much during The Perfect Weekend, really: we strolled along the beach, hung out by the pool, went parasailing, partied a bit, ate a lot, did a little bit of shopping. Which was exactly the point of the trip - to do nothing, and to just relax.


Because sometimes, travelers need to get away on vacation too. :)


Boracay in the off season


It threatened to rain a couple of times...


...but mostly it was sunny and perfect!


Accommodations at Sea Wind Resort



Our Bora home for the long weekend


Nothing says "relax" better than deck chairs by the pool


Taken with my handy Lumix LX3!


Boracay street (or shall I say seaside?) food!








I'll end this with a customary Bora sunset shot



Sea Wind Boracay

www.seawindresort.net

Snapshots: Sea Wind Resort, Boracay, Philippines







A preview to the post about The Perfect Weekend. :)

Twenty-Freaking-Five and Alive! The Epic Vietnam-Cambodia Trip








I've posted about this trip quite a few times already, and for good reason - it remains as, and probably will forever be, one of my life's greatest adventures.

Through this trip my love for travel was cemented. It was the first one that really took me out of the world I knew in such a massive, epic way, and I was pretty much in awe the entire time.

I have so many vivid memories from our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, and often they come back to me randomly - sitting on plastic chairs in a roadside eatery at 2am on our first night/day in Ho Chi Minh; seeing Angkor Wat for the very first time at dawn on our first day in Siem Reap; walking along the lovely narrow streets of Hoi An; finding a tiny, hole-in-the-wall patisserie in Hue; and making friends with strangers on a junk boat cruise in Ha Long Bay. My two weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia remain to be two of the best and most unforgettable weeks of my life so far.



Cambodia






Hoi An, Vietnam



Hue, Vietnam




Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam







Snapshots: Angkor Wat, Cambodia








I'm reminiscing about my epic Vietnam-Cambodia trip on my next post!

Twenty-Freaking-Five and Alive! Bungee Jumping from Macau Tower







I don't know how it happened. The year has gone by so quickly, and now it's September, the month I turn twenty-freaking-five! I'm more than a little freaked out about the idea, and the dreaded Quarter Life Crisis isn't exactly helping. I could really use a vacation right about now, but life is crazy,and some much needed R&R will have to wait.

In any case, for this month I thought I'd post about my five favorite, most epic, most memorable travel moments so far, starting with jumping off a height of 233 meters in Macau!



Flanked by two friends (Mabz and Edz! You let me go up alone and sh**-scared to the top of Macau Tower so I could jump right off it, but you guys watched and waited patiently from the ground floor and I guess that was enough and all I could ask for! Thanks for keeping up with all my crazy! Because you guys are crazy too! Haha.) we visited Macau Tower bright and early on the official first day of our trip, having arrived in Macau the night prior. To be honest, I was hoping for bad weather - because I heard that you couldn't do the bungee jump in bad weather. Yes, some part of me really didn't want to do it. But the universe would have different plans as the sky was clear and pretty that day, which meant I was really going to do it. I was really going to freaking jump to my potential death.

After I had paid for the jump on the ground floor and rode the Elevator of Doom (seriously, longest elevator ride IN MY ENTIRE LIFE) to the top floor, I took my time at the viewing deck, delaying the inevitable, taking pictures to try to calm my nerves:



The staff overseeing the viewing deck must have noticed that I was about ready to burst into tears, so he talked to me a bit, showed me the side of the building where I was going to jump, and assured me that I was going to be okay, and that I was going to want to jump again after I did it. I didn't believe him then, but I can tell you now that it's true - it's been a year since the jump and I would really want to do it again (and I hope to do it again, maybe in New Zealand next!).

Thank you, Kuya, for being so nice to me! :D


After a while I kind of just thought, "F*** it, let's just get this over with" and proceeded to the top floor where the AJ Hackett headquarters was. They made me change my shirt and suited me up, and pretty soon it was time to jump.



I vividly recall standing on the edge of the tower, all geared up and ready, hands outstretched with my neck tilted up because NO THANK YOU I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO LOOK DOWN RIGHT NOW. I remember gasping for air because HOLY S**T I WAS SO HIGH UP AND PRETTY SOON I WAS GOING TO JUMP and I remember my fight or flight reflex kicking in for a millisecond, and for a millisecond I thought about stepping back to ask for more time, but I didn't want to be a wuss and I knew that if I backed out then that it would be that much harder to actually jump, so for the nth time that morning, I thought "F*** IT, LET'S REALLY JUST GET THIS OVER WITH!".

I remember leaning my body forward slowly, leaning forward just a little bit, and before I knew it, gravity was doing all the work, and I was falling and falling fast, with the most amazing, exhilarating feeling EVER. It wasn't like riding a roller coaster that made your stomach turn and churn with G forces, it was just... free falling, and this will probably sound cheesy and silly but I recall thinking "FREEDOM!" as I fell fast. Because I had jumped from so high up, there was actually time to revel in the moment, and it didn't go by as fast as I had expected. If you're going to bungee jump, it's best to jump from as high up as possible to make it totally worth your while.





After a while I had to deal with the recoil of the bungee cord, so I had to stretch up to reach my feet and pull on a chain that released the hold of the cord on my legs, so that I was only connected to the cord from the waist and was falling right side up instead of head-first (it's more comfortable since all the blood doesn't rush to your head). I wasn't even scared to release my legs - after you jump from a height of 233 meters you start to not get scared of a lot of things.

After the jump I realized that it was really the wait that killed you - the jump itself was not at all scary. You only had to get over the fear of actually doing it, of actually deciding to jump off that ledge, and the most amazing adrenaline rush awaited.

The fear before the jump though, is really part of the fun.

After you jump from Macau Tower they give you a Baller ID, a badge of honor of sorts, along with a t-shirt and a certificate, and - get this - a discount card for your next jump. With the discount card, you get your fourth jump from any AJ Hackett headquarters free! (A reminder that yes, bungee jumping is life changing, but it's also completely commercial as well, and a pretty lucrative business).

I wouldn't mind making AJ Hackett rich though. Because bungee jumping and free falling? Totally worth it.



Macau Tower, I conquered you!


last picture taken from here.

Snapshots: AJ Hackett Bungy Jump, Macau Tower






It’s been exactly a year since I grabbed life by the balls and freaking jumped off Macau Tower! Thank you AJ Hackett, your business is life-changing. I may work for a multinational medical and consumer company that helps improve and even saves lives, but your adrenaline-inducing services are just as necessary to life. I can’t wait to do business with you again (I really want to bungee jump in New Zealand! Somebody, anybody, please sponsor me! Haha).

I’ll write about my Macau Tower bungee experience this week, do watch out for it!

A Guide to San Juan, Laiya, Batangas, Part 3: Cafeño







My last few posts have been about some memorable cafes I've been to, so I thought I'd close out this series with an entry about a lovely cafe from my home province of Batangas.


Cafeño can be found at the heart of San Juan, Laiya's poblacion or town proper, right beside the gas station. It's a portion of a big ancestral house, and the cafe stays true to this with an old-world kind of feel, which I love:





That's my Mom and Dad! :)


My family always stops by here after a day at the beach, and our usual orders are the Adobo Flakes, Eggs Benedict Longganisa(done Filipino-style - on pandesal!) and the Kapeng Barako Ice Cream Sundae:





Apparently their specialty is Churros served with Spanish Cocoa, which sounds really delicious - I ought to try that the next time I visit.


On our beach trips, we usually leave San Juan at around sunset to head home, and on the particular trip when I took these pictures, the light was particularly warm and orange, and it was just perfect for pictures. So I'm throwing this in as the last photo, because I think it's rather pretty, and I'm calling it "Table for One" ('cause I'm cheesy like that :P):




Cafeño
No. 9 Cor General Luna and Rizal St.
San Juan, Batangas, Philippines
Phone (043) 575-5161
Open Monday-Sunday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Cafeño Facebook Page
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