Archive for Travel

Another Year

I can’t believe I am on my mid 30s now.  If there is one thing that i really afraid off — it’s aging.  Life has been good to mea lot of my wishes came true.  I am blessed with a happy family and wonderful career.  I really thank God for being so kind to me.

The fist quarter of the year ended and I have travelled 3 times out of the country.  I love travelling so much, looking around and doing some shopping.  I have been twice to Singapore and both stay were fulfilling.  I also get to buy my first Louis Vuitton bag in Singapore.  I am really not a bagaholic but getting to own one brought out the lady in me.  It was some sort of an advance birthday present from my husband.

my first LV bag =) a neverfull mm in monogram

I also had my first out of the country trip with my closest college friends.  We went to Macau and crossed Hong Kong.  It was a very wonderful experience.  God knows how tired our feet were but we had a really good time in Macau and HK.

Except for my problematic weight… i have nothing to ask for more.   I only hope that each member of the family stays healthy.  I am also looking forward to a winter in Korea this year.  Thank you God for a wonderful start of 2010.

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Where is My Cheese?

Few days ago I was still in ‘high’ spirits reminiscing the good time that I had in Seoul of South Korea.  How time flies that the much awaited vacation has just concluded.  Admittedly this is one of the best things that happened to me this year, the other best is supposed to be near but its gone.

I just remember the book Who Moved My Cheese? It was about moving out of your comfort zone.   This post doesn’t have anything to do with that but I instantly made an analogy using it.

I heard the news of possibly going to the US on October for a conference  early this year.  This brought excitement for me this year and I was actually anticipating for it rather inspired by it.  I thought I was so lucky to be able to travel again to South Korea and 1st time in the US in the same year.   Few days before leaving for Seoul I had a feeling that the US travel is too good to be true. And my intuition served me right.

Yesterday I was informed that there is no slot for our team for the US tour.   The slots were all allocated to someone else’s team.   I thought geez those guys took my cheese…but later on I realized my cheese was not stolen.  In fact I don’t have a cheese to begin with.  When I was informed about it the cheese is out there in the open.  It will come and will definitely be given.   Now it came but unfortunately not for me to have but for someone else *sigh*

I was actually anticipating for a the good thing that the cheese may bring.  I am for once  almost sure I will have a portion of the cheese.   I have nothing to blame except my self for believing the cheese will actually be handed over to me.

Seoul Take 2

I once again fulfilled my wish to visit South Korea this year.  Just like in April 2008 when I first settled my feet in this wonderful country, I was equally excited in this 2nd trip to Seoul.   There is something in me that feels I belong there =P

This year I stayed in another hotel but still within Jongno area.  Its a business hotel named Doulos Hotel.   This hotel is value for money.  The area is near  Cheongye and Jongno 3-Ga subway station.  In any future travel to Seoul I will readily opt for this hotel than New Seoul Hotel.  The location is great the rooms are just as good as New Seoul plus it has free breakfast buffet.  On top of it all, the hotel is 25 USD cheaper than New Seoul.

Doulos Hotel in Jongno Seoul

Doulos Hotel in Jongno Seoul

September was a good time to visit Seoul, the weather is perfect. The sun is shining but it isn’t hot.   Late afternoon winds will make you wear a light jacket or shawl.  Seoul still sparkles at night just like Hong Kong, you see a lot of people still hanging out.

Back to Jongno from Itaewon - The Green Line

Back to Jongno from Itaewon - The Green Line

Seoul is still as interesting as it was last year, i thought nothing has drastically changed until I took the subway.   I initially thought I am just trying to re-orient my self with the Seoul subway station as I was confused on how to secure tickets.   I learned that 3 months ago, the government has put in place an automated vending for subway tickets.   Close to Hong Kong MTR, only, card deposit for single journey can be refunded at any station through machine.  There are of course reloadable cards which makes sense for the Seoul residents but for tourist like me, the single journey tickets works perfectly fine.

DMZ Museum

DMZ Museum

As I am very interested in the Korean Culture and History,  i took the opportunity to join DMZ tour.  I was interested in taking the Panmunjom tour which actually allows you to get the closest possible contact with North Korea however, this tour requires 10 days reservation notice.  Nevertheless taking the DMZ tour is a great experience.    The first stop is in the DMZ museum where you can watch a short documentary on the history of DMZ which is of course connected to South and North Korean history.  I could not help but shed tears in one shot where the little boy who appears to be naked was crying pointing to his lifeless mother.  The war really created scars on people’s heart.   Across the museum is the entrance to the 3rd infiltration tunnel.  There are 3 other tunnels but these are not open to public for viewing.

Doorasan Observatory...sneak peak to North Korea.

Doorasan Observatory...sneak peak to North Korea.

Second stop of the DMZ tour is the Doorasan Observatory. According to our tourist guide this is the highest point within the DMZ area which makes the place highly coveted by both south and north.  It ended up to be part of South Korea’s area where they can readily check their brothers on the other side.

Awaiting for the unification...

Awaiting for the unification...

Third and the final stop is the Doorasan Train Station.  This station has been reconstructed after it got devastated  during the war in the 50’s.   This station is symbolic of the longing of the South Korean to re-unite with their brothers from the North.   Currently it carries raw materials to Kaesong province of North Korea, the place where  collaboration between North and South Korea happens in terms of productivity.

Authentic Bulgogi

Authentic Bulgogi

hefty side dishes present in all Korean Meal

hefty side dishes present in all Korean Meals

In this trip i had the most native Korean meals.  I tried all the popular dishes prepared authentically.  I had bulgogi (beef strips), bibimbap (mixed beef, rice, vegetables and pepperpaste),  samgyeopsal (pork grilled served with side dishes) and some street food.  It is also first time for me to eat in an authentic Korean restaurant where you eat seated on the floor.

Deoksung-gung - Palace opposite Seoul City Hall

Deoksung-gung - Palace opposite Seoul City Hall

Seoul is such a vast city to wander around.  The city center actually have 5 Palaces, two of which i was  able to visit 2008  and only 1 for this year.   This is the palace nearest to the City Hall called Deoksung-gung.   It never fails to captivate one’s attention as it is nestled in the busy streets of Seoul City Center.  It creates a perfect contrast to the modern city of Seoul.

I know there are still a lot of places to visit in Seoul and South Korea…so I am now starting to dream of my 3rd visit.

It Has Been Ages…

This is exactly how I felt writing this entry.  I almost forgot this blog =(  I was riding in a roller coaster for the past months embracing the changes in my daily routine as a result of putting up my small shop — my Vanilla Print.

August was pretty hectic for me.  I got to travel first time with my mom out of the country.  It was few of our bonding experiences.   I am sure my mom enjoyed every single day we spent in Hong Kong.  She was too energetic to walk like an energizer bunny and never complained.

I also started watching a comedy drama, Ms No Good.  It’s a Taiwanese drama starred by Rainie Yang. It’s like watching comics or manga.  I hope i will have time to write a review about it.  I kept on laughing on some scenes including the NGs.

I may be lucky to visit Seoul again this month.  I am so keeping my fingers crossed.   I just love traveling.   It’s September and the weather is good for traveling in most countries.   Another this is, September is when Christmas starts here in the Philippines… i hope it would still be the same despite the economic crises we just experienced.  For all you know Christmas will be just around the corner.  Busy streets and shopping malls — i hope people will have money to spend this Christmas.

How time flies few months from now it will be 2010.  I wish i could stop my age from incrementing…

Back to HK after 4 Years

I never thought it has been 4 years since I last stepped on Hong Kong.  After checking my passport for VISA i was surprised to see that it was October of 2004 when I last departed from Hong Kong.  It was the first MVNO project of the company and I had a big bump then. 

I was at first disoriented but the unique chinese scent of Causeway helped me bring back the good old memories of Hong Kong.  This is my first travel out of the country with 여보 and it was a great experience.  We did not stay on a hotel but experienced guesthouse accomodation.  It wasn’t bad in fact for a place to sleep it’s okay.  The room is small but its conducive for resting anyway. 

Busy street of Causeway...you'll never notice it's 12 midnight walking around.

Busy street of Causeway...you will never notice it's 12mn walking around

I just love how busy the Hong Kong streets are.  The city shines so bright at night specially in Causeway that you will be disillusioned that it is day time.  Everywhere you go there is a shop to look into.  Hong Kong is still a shopping haven in Asia.   Got the chance to see Symphony of Lights near the harbour just when our feet is so sored and tired walking all over Tsim Sha Tsui.  I never thought it could be so cold in Hong Kong so there is ‘winter’ indeed.  It was unusually cold (not as cold as Melbourne) but definitely layering of clothes won’t work — jacket is a must.

Symphony of Lights -- simply amazing...

Symphony of Lights -- simply amazing...

Hong Kong being a fashion capital in Asia, I am no longer surprised how they sell in exaggeration winter clothes and accessories.  It’s as if the mercury will go negative, nevertheless it’s fun to dress up like that.  The only thing that I hate is… i will quickly develop my carabao English if I will be staying any longer.  It was even random that one side walk vendor declared her store closed when we asked her in English how much the cigarette is… funny!

Off to HK in a Few Hours

At exactly 11 hours from posting time, I will be off to Hong Kong for a 3 days 2 nights vacation with 여보.   This is our first time to go out of the country so we are both excited.  Finally the this plan will push thorugh after so many years of discussion and budget constraint.

Hong Kong here we come 🙂

Missing a No-Snow Winter

The hot and humid weather is making me miss the no-snow winter in Melbourne.  I miss the long walk wearing layered clothes and never have to sweat. 

Side by side a cute little creature called Koala

Side by side a cute little creature called Koala

I got to practice taking pictures in Melbourne.  When we visited the suburbs there are a lot of nice subject for shooting, one of which is the nice coastline along the Great Ocean Drive.  We had to stop over Lorne’s Pier to check it out. 

The signature pose with the 'Japan' hand sign =)

The signature pose with the "Japan" hand sign

Birds are almost everywhere.  Even on the city center of Melbourne, birds fly inside Mc Donalds.  They are such a perfect subject for pictures.

Birds make a good subject...

Birds make a good subject

 Birds…birds…birds…

Like a model in a candid pose...

Like a model in a candid pose...

I am sitting while writing this post and I feel like exercising with all the sweat…when will I ever experince winter again hmmm.

Back from Melbourne

Finally back to Manila last Sunday. For the first time my ear hurted so bad when we are about to land.  If there is one thing that I miss from Australia… specifically Melbourne — its the cool air.  Being in Melbourne was like being in London.  The British influence is so evident in Australia not just by the names of places and streets but the structures as well. 

This is where we stayed... The Windsor Hotel.  Does it reminds you of London?

This is where we stayed... The Windsor Hotel. Does it reminds you of London?

So what did I like from Melbourne Australia?

  • The thought of experiencing winter is really something new so I enjoyed it but not the occasional rains during winter.
  • Structures are so European very gothic… these are so pleasing to the eyes.
  • City tram is such a big help for newbies in Australia not to mention its free.
  • I simply like how they are preserving their natural resources and treasures may it be forest or animals.
  • NO TRAFFIC =)
My favorite city link red tram. Who cares if its old? Its FREE anyway.

My favorite city link red tram. Who cares if it's old? It's FREE anyway.

There are also lots of things that surprised me while staying  in Melbourne

  • Mall closes at 6pm except on a Friday when it extends up to 9pm.  I wonder how some shop-a-holic Pinoys could endure living in this place with this.  Even restaurants closes at 6pm.
  • Sign warning that there might be kangaroo or wombat crossing in the next few kilometers.
  • Unbelievably slow internet connection… Jinmyung was so right in ranting about how bad their internet connection is considering its ‘broadband’ quality.
  • Airport is not so comparable with that of Hongkong and Singapore…its not so first world.

Melbourne…Big Bang Comeback… and TKA – Marathon Post

So many things happened yesterday.  First of all after all, 2 days from now I am off to Melbourne Australia to attend the eTOM Business Process Framework Training.  I am a excited as usual as this is a travel and learning opportunity for me. Well after the hustle and bustle of picking between Le Meridien Westin, Holiday Inn and Gateway Apartments… We are checking in instead at the Windsor Hotel.  Hmmm so who doesn’t want to be temporarily cribbing (new term hehehe) to this 5-star hotel?

This is where we are staying in Melbourne...talking about 5-star!

This is where we are staying in Melbourne...talking about 5-star!

Tomorrow is a date that some people maybe looking forward to 08.08.08 (August 8, 2008), some believes its a lucky date because its 888. I think YG is inclined to believe in this as their bread and butter 빅뱅 (Big Bang) will be doing a comeback with their new album ‘Stand Up’. I am pretty excited with this… what does Big Bang have this time for their fans out there.  The teaser that they released seems to have shed the cute boys image from them.  Are they going sexy just like how Taeyang did in his solo act?  Hmmm must be a good idea but not for 승리 막내 (read: Seungri Maknae – younger Seungri).

3rd Mini Album from Big Bang -- Go Big Bang!

3rd Mini Album from Big Bang -- who is not loving Taeyang (center) these days? would you not mind looking at Top (farthest right) too? Seungri and GD sporting that pose hehe. What's with Daesung?

Am i staring too much at 태양 (Taeyang) ?  Yes I am he surely deserve the crown after his successful 1st mini album launch.  My eyes could not help but look at Top (탑) too… effortlessly projecting.  Funny how 승리 (Seungri) wants to look cool with such pose… I couldn’t help but think he is still in his teens 😀  Is 대성 (Daesung) trying to do something? Like showing off some bod like Taeyang Hyung…

Lastly, I just made my 3rd addition to my Drama-roll.  I have finished watching They Kiss Again few weeks ago and promised my self to do a post about this drama.  Finally I am posting about this infatuation I have for TKA and the Joe Cheng- Ariel Lin tandem.   I love this drama both season 1 and 2 — it has all the ingredients of a nice to watch tv drama..so hilarious and will make you feel good after. Didn’t I mention I love feel good movies and dramas?

They Kiss Again... sequel to It Started with a Kiss from the Japanese Manga 'Itazurana Kiss' by Kaoru Tada

They Kiss Again... sequel to It Started with a Kiss from the Japanese Manga 'Itazurana Kiss' by Kaoru Tada

Seems to be a marathon post for me lots of things happening and to look forward to this week.  Oh my August barely started but looks like time is flying fast, the next thing you’ll know is its 2009 already.

Counting Days to Melbourne

Seems like just yesterday when I was informed by the big boss to prepare for the training in Australia.  Now I’m just counting days and I’ll be off to Melbourne.  Time flies so fast…. so fast that i thought everything is alright and well taken cared off.  Surprsingly only our VISAs were done the tickets and the hotels are yet to be arranged. Geez…had I not followed up the hotel recommendations from TMForum I will not be able to forward such info to our travel coordinator and eventually knew that out tickets are not yet arranged.

Good thing it was not really too late. More good thing… I am travelling busines class YAHOOOOOOO! Wow i just love the thought of getting some air comfort while travelling not to mention the mileage credit.

The classy Le Meridiend's Hotel in Melbourne...talking about luxury

The classy Le Meridien's Westin Hotel in Melbourne...talking about luxury

TMForum recommended 3 hotels near the training site.  The nearest of them all is Le Meridien’s Westin Melbourne Hotel, it’s just across Regus where the training will be conducted.   It’s a 5-star hotel… well getting booked on this hotel is a splurge and something that i wouldn’t mind 😛

Fairly decent and comfortable Clarion Suites...not bad at all!

Fairly decent and comfortable Clarion Suites...not bad at all!

The second recommended accomodation is the Clarion Suites Gateway Apartments.  It’s a few meters away from the training site. I am more inclined to be booked here, it feels like home.  The one bedroom apartment is good enough.  It’s more practical compared to Westin.  I saw their room rates it’s not cheap but definitely far from hotel rates. 

The third and the farthest (but not really that far) is Holiday Inn at Flinders.  The hotel is reasonably proced compared to Westin.  I also wouldn’t mind getting booled in this hotel although the company may not save from the transportation cost as it doesn’t look like just walking distance from the training site.

The first and second accomodation options are the better ones to take.  It saves on time and transportation.  Although I feel that Westin is too expensive and I wouldn’t mind staying in a typical business or 3-star hotel. 

Well if taking is a cab is not that hard and expensive then Holiday Inn is also worth it.  I have not heard of any bad traffic moment in Australia so its probably non-sense to talk about timing and transportation  problems.   We might be spending time to travel anyway (but at least very short distance) when we meet with Telstra counterparts… side trip –isn’t bad maximizes the opportunity to benchmark with a world class telco operator in Australia.

Maybe I should start packing this weekend because the next week will surely become a busy one.  Since I will be leaving for a week I had to turn over some tasks to ensure continuity of my team’s operation. UAT of our CRM-Billing system has just started and this is going to keep me restless while out of country.  I guess physical comfort will not be maximed with mind floating back to the Philippines hoping everything turns out well.

Holiday Inn...looks nice too

Holiday Inn...looks nice too

Hmmm its just timing to do some packing list, i tend to be forgetful these days and the least thing that I  would like to do is finding convenience store at night to buy last minute essentials.

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