Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

hellooo! after 1 month of hibernation, i’m finally back. :) apart from my day job which keeps me busy most of the time, i am now busy attending to my husband doing wife duties. my life indeed changed after my husband arrived. gone are the boring days of eating alone and spending long hours in the computer. in short, i have a REAL life now! haha!

i don’t have any exciting stories to tell at the moment. so for now, i’ll just share my throwback thursday worthy photos for this week’s photo challenge. the photos were from a holiday trip with my singapore colleagues at bangkok 2 years ago, our first and last trip together before we disbanded. haha! so much has changed for me and my friends since this trip — two of us are now happily married, one is almost there and two of us relocated here in new zealand. looking at the photos brings a smile to my face and made me realize how much i miss singapore, southeast asia, my friends and my once carefree life. :)

here’s our own version of hangover bangkok edition along soi cowboy. yep, we included this in our itinerary! haha! despite walking along the busy red light district, we are all a bunch of wholesome individuals enjoying beer, pad thai and laughter (no ping pong shows for us). ;)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln 

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this photo was taken during a holiday trip at a beach in phuket, thailand. i saw this couple kissing and hugging each other while watching the sunset. it was indeed a very romantic moment for the lovebirds enjoying the beauty of the sunset while enjoying each other’s company.

more of this week’s photo challenge here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

“health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” -Buddha

it’s saturday again and another time for weekly photo challenge. i’m running short of topics to share so i’m mostly relying on the friday’s challenge. hopefully soon fingers crossed, i’ll be able to post something ‘exciting’ here (watch out for it!).

this week’s theme is all about BIG (literally or figuratively)…and these are my photo entries.

this picture was taken last year at wat pho or the temple of reclining buddha in bangkok, thailand. i was very keen to see this statue of the big buddha since i first learned about it from the movie ‘the beach’, which is one of my favorite movies. this is very huge standing 15m high and 43m long.

this picture was taken at odaiba shopping center in tokyo, japan. this larger than life gundam robot reminds me of my childhood days when i used to watch japanese cartoons and tv shows during weekends and afternoons after going home from school.

lastly, this photo was taken during a trip at ta phrom temple at angkor wat in siem reap, cambodia. the growing trees among the ruins makes this place one of the most visited spots at angkor wat. this place was also used as a location for the movie ‘tomb raider’ by angelina jolie.

 

Random: Best of 2011

Thank you Lord for a wonderful 2011 — for the many firsts, fulfilled dreams and new experiences. It’s not a perfect year, still it’s a happy year for me. Hoping and looking forward to a more positive, explosive, juicy and fabulous 2012. Hahaha!

(Oh, it’s not yet the end of the world!)

-=The Best of 2011=-

solo @ bali * gardenasia valentines * primo girls @ bangkok * dad’s 60th and family @ sg * birthday bungy @ macau * our 8th yr anniv @ cambodia * boudoir * marathons

(the fun moments with myself, my love, my work colleagues and my family)

Best of 2011 :)

i’m not gonna make any new year’s resolution for now since i wasn’t able to fulfill some of last year’s (especially on the dieting part). i’ll just do my best in everything and be more positive i guess. also, i’d like to go to hk, taiwan or china next this year as part of my travel goals — if money, time and circumstances permit. inshallah.

the best is yet to come.

Travel: Bangkok, Thailand

Big hooray to another mission accomplished! :) After my solo travel at Bali last January, this time I went to Bangkok, Thailand together with my colleagues. We planned this trip last year and thanks to our manager and leads for allowing us to take the vacation leaves all at the same time. Hehehe! Good thing also that it was a Good Friday holiday here in Singapore and Easter Holiday in London (which is one of the regions we’re supporting).

We got the voucher promo for this trip in one of the Group Deal sites for only SGD 188. It’s cheap isn’t it? We thought so too. But then the surcharges and other taxes were still not included so we still ended up paying for more. (Tip: Look out for super cheap deals. It’s not actually that cheap for sure. Either other charges not included or they gonna bombard you with super sales talk just like what happened to me and Darwin when I bought that 90% off Couple’s massage. !@#$%^)

Departure from SG and Arrival at Bangkok

We’re to leave SG on a Saturday afternoon via Myanmar Airways. Before that, we met at Changi Airport Terminal 1 at around 2PM. It’s our first time to ride Myanmar Airways. We availed this as part of the upgrade for the deal promo. The plane is an airbus type just like Cebu Pacific but the only difference is that they serve free food.

Airplane food via Myanmar Airways

We arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi (suwanapum) International Airport around 6PM their local time. Bangkok’s airport is one of the best airports I’ve ever seen. The train system is also good despite being a third world country like the Philippines. Their subway reminds me of SG’s MRT system, they also have the ticket vending machine. I wish we have the same thing back in the Philippines! (Yeah we have!!!But it’s not working.)

Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok MRT System

Sawadee Ka Bangkok

Bangkok is very similar to the Philippines in many ways (well except for the temples, airport and train system). Actually, all of us kept on saying “Parang Pinas lang!” Everywhere we go, there’s something that will remind us of the Philippines – stray dogs, slums, street food, traffic, homeless sleeping along the sidewalks, Baclaran, Pasay, EDSA, Tutuban, 168 Mall, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Recto, etc. The ambiance is very Philippines!

Thailand’s Ermita and Taft Avenue 

Thailand’s Edsa and Pasay

We stayed at Taipan Hotel at Sukhumvit (sukumwit) area. It is one of Bangkok’s cosmopolitan area and where most of expatriate community stays. A couple of blocks away from our hotel is Soi Cowboy street, where you can see lots of chick bars to choose from. The street is a red light zone and bars normally closes at 1AM which is mandated by the government. The reason behind this is to tone down the noise since the place is located near residential areas. We spent our first two nights of group bonding session here. We check out Tilac Bar, which is one of the bars there and saw girls doing pole dancing inside. Unfortunately, there weren’t any beautiful girls inside. Even the nanay looking ones were doing pole dancing – Oh God! We also made a stop in Patpong at Silom area. It’s funny because the doors of the bars are wide open and you can actually see from the outside the girls doing pole dancing wearing only super skimpy two piece clothing.

Soi Cowboy

Patpong

Guess what our favorite pastime in Bangkok is – Eating! Nothing beats the real thing. They’ve got the most delicious pad thai, tom yum and pineapple rice ever. The ones sold in the streets and market places are way better than those in the hotels, seriously.  We’re just eating mostly pad thai during our entire stay there. Hehe!

Authentic Pad Thai

Pad Thai …again!

Pineapple Rice, Tom Yum and Fried Rice

Street foods are the best too (except the exotic ones). :)

Wholesome Street Foods

Exotic Street Foods

We also ate at Cabbage and Condoms, one of the restaurants in downtown Bangkok. Unique and kinky – best words to describe the restaurant. I’ve never seen that many condoms in my life. Imagine, giving free condoms after meals instead of toothpick? Haha!

Cabbage and Condoms

C&C Foods

Bangkok is also one big shopping Mecca. We went to Chatuchak Weekend Market and the place was really huge and crowded by the time we went there. It’s like our local version of Divisoria but bigger. And you can buy almost ANYTHING there – apparel, shoes, textile, souvenirs, live animals, souvenirs, handicrafts, etc. We split in groups and agreed to meet afterwards. We all have our own big plastic bags after shopping. :)

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Bags, clothes, souvenirs and pets

We also made a short stop at Platinum Shopping Mall, which is a wholesale shopping place in Bangkok. The place is similar to Market Market boutiques in Taguig or Bugis Junction. We weren’t able to scout the entire mall because we’re already too tired after the Chatuchak shopping. It’s really hot and humid outside just like Manila.

Platinum Mall

Shopping ✔ Night Life ✔. Of course, Bangkok experience won’t be complete without exploring the temples. So we went to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho on our third day, both places located in Rattanakosin district. Grand Palace is a big complex of structures and temples. It’s a big tourist area and we were charged 350 baht each for the entrance fee.

Grand Palace

Make sure to do your research first before going there. I made the wrong move of wearing leggings that day which is not allowed (despite my colleagues reminders – Haha!). I have to spend my precious 30-45 minutes falling in queue just to borrow a skirt. Just like Philippines, it’s a very long waiting time and it sucks.

Dress Properly

After the long tiring walk at Grand Palace, we went to Wat Pho (wat means ‘temples’) where you’ll see the famous Reclining Buddha. It’s a dream come true for me seeing the Reclining Buddha in actual, thanks to my favorite movie The Beach (Hahaha! Sorry paulit ulit peyborit ko kase talaga itong lakwatsa moveeeee!).

Wat Pho

It’s just a short weekend vacation. Nevertheless, I enjoy it still since it’s the first time for the team to go out on a trip together. I’ll go back to Thailand maybe to see that Pingpong Show and go to Khao San Road and ride the tuktuk. Solo trip ✔ Barkada trip ✔. Hopefully, next travel adventure with Darwin will push through.

Note: More BKK pics here.

Travel: Dream 2011 Travel Destinations

I have multiple tabs open in my laptop, all of which are budget airline websites. For the past 1.5 hrs, I’m staring blankly at my computer, trying different flight combination and checking which among those is the cheapest. I’m thinking of having a solo get away trip (sequel to my quirky alone Phuket adventure) and attempting to pull a Julia Roberts stint ala Eat,Pray,Love.

I’m torn between “The Cheap Destination” vs “The Dream Destination”. There are many budget friendly places within Asia to consider. Yet, I’m confused because I also want to go to some dream destinations which I can cross out from my “Bucket List”.

So here are the places I’m targeting for next year (in makatotohanan order).

  • Angkor Wat (Cambodia) – I want to go to this place because it’s exotic, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and not the common place people would go to. Plus, Angelina Jolie set foot here during the Tomb Raider days. Cool!

Angkor Wat

  • Ayutthaya and Bangkok (Thailand) - I’m always fascinated with the sight of temples. So if there’s any other place within Asia which has lots of temples in it, I’m rooting for Thailand. I also want to go to Bangkok, particularly in Khao San Road to see what the fuss is all about (This is where Leonardo di Caprio stayed in the movie “The Beach”, my all time favorite travel movie) =)

Leo and the Reclining Buddha 

Ayutthaya

  • Bali (Indonesia) - I learned of Bali after watching the hit Korean series “Memories of Bali”. And now, after watching Julia Roberts in the movie “Eat Pray Love”, my eagerness to go to Bali increased by threefold. Waaaaahh! Another beach getaway next to Phuket. I don’t mind eating ABC Mee Goreng Pancit everyday as long as I can visit this place soon.

Island Of Thousands Temples, Bali

  • Taj Mahal (India) – Why? It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I saw it in the movies “The Bucket List” and “Slumdog Millionaire”. My heart and mind is set to go to this place if not only for the budget. Yeah, I need to have at least a thousand++ SGD to make this dream come true. Haaaayyysss makataya sana sa lotto para mapanalunan ko ang 450M pesosesoses!!!

Taj Mahal

These places are my top choices for next year’s getaway. Pangarap ko din mag Japan para makita ang cherry blossoms at ang South Korea para makita ang KPop stars. I need to save a little more, magpa alila sa night shift, kumain ng once a day and I’m ready to go. As a personal promise, kelangan ko muna maubos ang Asian countries bago mag level up sa ibang continents. hehehe! Syeeet wala pa nananalo sa 450M sa lotto, ako na lang ata inaantay tumaya. (“,)

Travel: Phuket, Thailand

…and as for traveling alone, fuck it.  If that’s the way it has to be, then that’s the way it is.- The Beach, 2000

And so I went to Phuket to have a taste of weekend holiday. I’ve got lots of task these past few days and I want to relieved myself by going somewhere else for a vacation. This trip wasn’t much planned as compared to my other trips before. I booked the ticket 2 months ago via Jetstar on a promo rate and that’s it – no itineraries, accommodation was booked only 2 days prior to the trip and no sufficient funds at hand. If not for Darwin’s convincing, I won’t get a place for myself and just explore from there.

All the time, I was thinking of having a taste of sun, sea and sand. Being away from the Philippines for a couple of months now, I miss traveling so much. This trip is a memorable one, as I have accomplished two of my personal goals – traveling solo in a foreign land (while being single) and see Maya Bay, where they shoot my favorite movie “The Beach”. If you ask me why I consider it as a favorite, well it is about “traveling and discovery”. :)

For the itinerary, I just sought help from Andrew, owner of the guesthouse where I stayed and also owns a travel and tours company. He recommended some trips for me, which I agreed and paid for and voila! I’m all set.

Day 1 Highlights

  • Check in at Loveli Guesthouse (highly recommended) – Accommodation is very clean, modest and cheap. Will pass up for hotel standards on a lower price.

  • Patong Beach – Similar to Philippines Boracay- with white sand sans the moss. And the place is very touristy as there were lots of Caucasians and Westerners soaking up in the sun to have some tan.

  • Sunset at Promthep Cape

  • Wat Chalong temple

  • Big Buddha at Nakerd Hill

  • Sri Bhurapa Orchid Cashew Nut factory

  • Wang Thalang Pearl and Gem Gallery

Day 2 Highlights

  • Phi Phi Le Islands

  • Maya Bay

  • Loh Sama Bay and Pileh Lagoon

  • Viking Cave

  • Monkey Island

  • Sunset and people watching at Patong Beach

  • Lola naka topless
  • Stroll and Explore Red light district

Thailand’s look and feel is almost the same as Philippines. Everywhere I go, people will talk to me in their local language and all I can do is just stare at them and then reply,”English please”.  Whether you’re going solo or with your significant other, Phuket is definitely the place for everyone.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip so much. I’ve never done this before and somehow, I was able to accomplished some of my personal goals, which gave me a sense of fulfillment and self worth. This also opened opportunities for me to discover and learn new things about life in general.

...and after the journey, I realized too how much I value and love myself. ♥

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