Couchsurfing in Manila

Couchsurfing in a jiffy:
1. Couchsurfing is a website/app for travelers who are either willing to host other travellers, are looking to stay in a host’s place, or are looking to meet fellow travelers in the area.
2. Although the norm is to stay without having to pay for anything, a surfer is expected to follow the house rules of the host, and to at least be polite enough not to ransack his/her home.
3. Treat your host as a good friend, and don’t just leave your stuff in your host’s place and go elsewhere without saying anything beforehand — hosts aren’t lockers/hostels.
4. Be active in the Couchsurfing community in your area — aside from the regular meetups, events and even the discussion page in the website are some of the ways to be connected with this awesome community.
5. Don’t forget to leave a reference on the profiles of those you’ve hosted/those who’ve hosted you…. and other people you met through CS.

one of the couchsurfing meet ups I attended... :)
one of the couchsurfing meet ups I attended… 🙂

I’ve had my profile for a little less than a year now, but I’ve only been active in the community for about a month. It was when I curiously went through the website that I met a now-good friend, Andi. Helping her out through a small transportation trouble led me to know more about the wonderful world of Couchsurfing. Since then, I’ve met lots of wonderful people through the regular meet-ups and I’m looking forward to sharing more time with them. I haven’t joined any of the tours that are organized through Couchsurfing but I’m looking forward to joining when I have time. I’m thinking of organizing some tours as well… 🙂

To know more about Couchsurfing, click here.

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My First Solo Trip: Bacolod (pt.3)

Day 2 (August 20)

Breakfast is until 10 A.M. and unfortunately, I woke up late :'(. Nonetheless, I still ordered Tapsilog. The food in Saltimboca was simple — just the basics to start the day right. It’s a good thing I ordered cold calamansi juice though, since the orange juice that came with the Tapsilog was made with powdered juice mix which I’m not a fan of.

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After breakfast, I waited for cousin-in-law and the kids. I have planned for museum visits and a visit to Ruins, but the weather just wasn’t cooperative on the second day so I decided to just spend the day with the kids and my cousin. We went for a swim at the pool for a while and it was so much fun! 🙂

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I was walking around the night before and saw Nena Rose just around the corner of the 14th street and got intrigued by it. With a little help from tripadvisor, I found out that they serve good inasal as well, so we decided to have lunch there with the kids.

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After lunch, we were torn between going around museums and just watching Inside Out – since it might take a while again before I can see the kids, I decided it’d be better to watch the movie and just go to the arcade afterwards, so we went to SM Bacolod.

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Panicking while packing for my trip caused me to pack an insufficient number of shirts… >__< It’s a good thing I brought a dress along for my 3rd day (going back to Manila). Nonetheless, I bought a spare shirt in SM Bacolod, just in case I’ll need it.

I originally intended this trip to go around, and just be on my own… but how could I resist the charm of a niece whom I last saw two years ago and a nephew whom I met for the first time? I usually avoid going to malls when travelling around, but staying in SM with the kids and my cousin-in-law isn’t so bad. After all, it’ll take a while to see them again.

I was a little bit hungry when I got back to Saltimboca so I walked along Lacson Street to see if there’s anywhere I can eat. It was already quite late at night so I settled with the restaurant around the corner, Amboy resto bar and grill, where I was able to get a serving of spareribs for only p85.

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Day 3 (August 21)

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pasalubong!!! 🙂

I bought pasalubong on the last day of my trip. Napoleones, Piaya, and Barquillos are on my list, and on top of that list is out childhood favorite — butong butong. It’s easier to get this sugary treat in Ilo-ilo than in Bacolod. Luckily, I was able to find them in a small store at the Central Market. My cousins and I then went to Merci’s for Napoleones and Bongbong’s for some Piaya and the rest of the pasalubong I needed to buy.

After some shopping, we headed back to Calea for some cakes and coffee.

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By this time, I was already fighting tears and doing my best to focus my thoughts on what I needed to do at the moment.

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An hour later and I was on my way to the airport where I would be stuck for another few hours due to delay. Nonetheless, the past couple of days have been awesome, and though I didn’t really plan out everything for this trip, I’m actually glad how everything just fell into place. 🙂 I’ll definitely be back to Bacolod. 🙂


SLTB

My First Solo Trip: Bacolod (pt.2)

Hi guys! Day 1 in Bacolod was a bit of a fail. First, I was TEN minutes late to the boarding, so I had to book the next flight. Huhuhu… 😥 That really threw me off. I was even second-guessing the whole trip. Why am I here? Should I still go? I can always go back and get a cab home… I kinda wanted to go back home and curl up in my bed and just pretend the whole thing didn’t happen. If it weren’t for BF, who urged me on to just get on the next flight, I wouldn’t know what to do.

I then went on to get my ticket for the next flight. I had my breakfast at one of the (kinda-overpriced) restaurants near the boarding gate, waited a little more while charging my phone, and finally got on my flight. The change in schedule threw my morning plan off the windows and I’m just so glad that the window view that morning more than made up for the whole thing. Aside from the jittery feeling I get whenever I’m in a plane, I’m off to a better day ahead.

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Isn’t this such a gorgeous sight? 🙂

I met my cousin-in-law and my niece at Sanders Coffee and Sausages along Lacson Street. It took a little while for us to get to each other since they thought I was at the other branch. Anyway, after 2 years, I finally got to see them again (yay!). Another cousin arrived and we hung out there for some coffee, juice for me, hot chocolate for the little girl, Spareribs for the cousin, and more chitchat. By this point, I couldn’t take any pictures of the quaint Coffee and Sausage place because my phone was already drained and I just asked if I could charge my phone by the counter.

I was looking for a hotel that not only would fit my budget, but would also have a pool so that we could all go for a swim. With this in mind, I decided on Saltimboca. And I got a great deal! 🙂 I got a single garden room with a published rate of P870 for an ongoing promo rate of only P670 per night including free breakfast. After checking in, we even let the little girl have a go at the swimming pool for a while.

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The sun was bright and shining, but as much as my cousins and I wanted to stay for more chitchat, we were hungry. So we were on our way to Manokan country for lunch. Chicken inasal in Bacolod, for some reason, is waaaaaay better than the ones found in Manila. Maybe because of the option to eat with the hands? Or the fact that you’re actually in Bacolod? I don’t know… But I know this meal is awesome!

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The lack of sleep caught up with me and I needed some Zs so we headed back to Saltimboca. I really wanted to spend more time with my cousin-in-law and niece but they insisted I get more rest so we called the day off. I couldn’t go back to sleep though, so I went out for a walk. Right around the corner was my favorite cake store which serves the loveliest desserts — Calea.

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I was still full from the lunch we had earlier so instead of the usual cheesecake, I tried out the Black Sambo and paired it with the hot chocolate. I loved them both, but I think the chocolate+chocolate thing is just a little too much so I would recommend having them separately. >_<


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My First Solo Trip: Bacolod (pt.1)

Hi guys! I’ll be in Bacolod till the 21st and I’m pretty excited about the whole thing! 😀 I will be flying solo for the first time ever, and thinking about it just makes the butterflies in my stomach flutter around. This is my second time to be in Bacolod, so I’d like to visit the places I went to before, with Manokan Country and Calea on top of my list, and I’ve made a list of other places I haven’t visited before.

With just a couple of hours before I have to leave for the airport, I must say I’m doing a terrible job with my stuff. And I’m blogging now… Gahhhhh what do I do? What do I do?!? Haha! I’ve semi-packed my luggage, and I can’t seem to think what else I could’ve missed. For 3 days, should I have this much clothes??? Aside from my clothes, toiletries, and some pasalubong, I’ve decided to bring my crochet WIP (work-in-progress) to work on at the airport and while on the plane. OMG I’m flying SOLO!!! Gaaaaah! I’m sort of excited and panicky and happy and scared and terrified yet super duper looking forward to this trip and I honestly don’t know what to feel first… haha! 🙂

Anyway, I’d better go now… See ya later!


SLTB

A Quick Trip to Tagaytay

Wanting to avoid the stress-filled city, my sister and I decided on a random trip to Tagaytay. Just an hour or so away from the city, Tagaytay is the usual go-to place for those who wants to go on a roadtrip, but doesn’t want to go too far, or for those who wants to escape the sweltering heat of Manila.

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We went to Tagaytay with no specific destination in mind so we just got off the bus at Magallanes square. It was there where we decided to go to the Puzzle Mansion. We had to ask for directions from the tricycle drivers there, got on a jeep that goes to Alfonso, got off at Asisan, and took a tricycle to Puzzle Mansion.

cool trike! :)
cool trike! 🙂

Initially, 1-way was p60 for the two of us. Since it seems difficult to get another tricycle going back, we asked the tricycle driver to just wait for us, and he charged us P150 for both trips. Entrance at the museum is P100 per person, and every minute spent in the museum was worth it.

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Sissy and I were famished by the time we finished our museum tour, so we decided to get back to Magallanes square. Along the way, however, we passed by Bag of Beans, so we asked the driver to turn around and drop us off at the restaurant. I love Bag of Beans and any reason to go to Bag of Beans is a valid reason, even if it means just passing by it. 🙂

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After dinner, we were able to hail a bus right across the street that goes back to Coastal Mall terminal for P85 each (so convenient! 😀 ). Oh, and I just have to mention, the Cavite-Batangas Bus is awesome! The bus we took was new, and it has two cctvs at the front part of the bus inside.

Aaaaaand that, my friends, was how we had our quick trip to Tagaytay. 🙂


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Breakdown of fees:
Manila – Tagaytay Bus: P60 x 2 = P120
Magallanes Square – Asisan Jeep: P12 x 2 = P24
Tricycle (Asisan – Puzzle Mansion – Bag of Beans): P150
Puzzle Mansion Museum: P100 x 2 = P200
Dinner at Bag of Beans: approx P750 (for two)
Tagaytay – Manila Bus: P85 x 2 = P170

A Fambam Weekend at Pia Heart Resort

Aug. 1-2, 2015
Pansol in Laguna is the usual go-to for people in Manila who are looking for a quick getaway from the city. Less than two hours on the road and you’re there. I’ve been to several resorts in the area and I’m not really impressed with the quality of those I’ve been to, so I wasn’t really excited about the whole thing. But then again, it’s family… so I had to go. To my pleasant surprise, I liked the place — it’s very simple, yet very clean and spacious, which is nice because among the numerous resorts in the area, it is common to find resorts that aren’t very well maintained so I’m giving Pia Heart Resort a thumbs up on this.

This is where the rooms are (pardon the towels, hehe)
This is where the rooms are (pardon the towels, hehe)

The rooms are simple, has air condition, and has lots of futon style beds that can be used for a big group. The bathrooms are clean and well maintained as well. Aside from the huge pool, a kiddie pool, and a whirlpool, we had a blast at the karaoke machine and had a great fun at the billiards table.

The guys playing billiards.
The guys playing billiards.
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Whirlpool fun 🙂
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A view of the pool.

Overall, I’d recommend this resort for those who are looking for a venue for family reunions or team buildings. So far, I’d say this is one of the nicest ones in Pansol. 🙂

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A not-so-complete family picture 🙂


SLTB

Facebook (I found two, so I’m not sure which is the official one):
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pias-Resort-Pansol-Laguna/653307851410416
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pia-Heart-Private-Resort-Pansol-Calamba-Laguna/280544182144540

George Javier and the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

“Pangarap lang dati, pwede pala magkatotoo.” – George Javier

One of the greatest riches of the Philippines is its world-class athletes. Training hard everyday, they give their best and compete with athletes from all over the world. What’s puzzling is despite the honor that they give to our country, majority of them are unseen or unheard of. Filipinos don’t know who they are, even though the whole world is already amazed of their victories.

George Javier is one of these athletes. His passion for running started with a 3k run that ‘took his breath away’ (“hapong hapo”), to fun runs, before leveling up to road marathons, and finally finding his way to trail running. It took him 5 years of hours and hours of rigorous training, and next month, he will be competing in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

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George Javier (c) adrian aquino

At very high altitudes and in difficult weather conditions, it takes a lot of determination, hard work, training, and luck to run in this prestigious annual event. This year, more than 15700 runners qualified for the race, but only more or less 2300 participants are chosen through lottery. 5 out of 8 Filipino qualifiers were chosen.

Other than the countless steps, however, is one more big hurdle to overcome — the finances. Through Indiegogo, he is trying to raise USD 2700 for the basic expenses that he will be needing for the race (click here to see update #1 for the breakdown of expenses). As of now, USD 475 are raised, and any amount that can be joyfully given is another step closer to giving him the chance to run in the trails of the Alps. Sponsorships are enormously appreciated. I don’t know this guy personally, but I believe that simple athletes like him, just like every other simple Filipino, is a pride of our country. Let’s help this guy show the world what we’ve got in the field of trail running. 🙂


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To show your support to George Javier, please do click on the link below (any amount, as little as 1USD will go a long long way!):
https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/help-pinoy-runner-george-conquer-the-alps-at-utmb–3
Should you wish to contact him directly, you can reach him through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/george.javier.5) or email (georgegjavier@yahoo.com). 🙂

Like, share, comment, and show your love for our athletes! 🙂

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