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Thirty in Dubai

I bid farewell to my twenties and said hello to another chapter of my life. Yes, I am old. But I don’t feel like I am. As the cliche goes : Age is just a number. True! Our age should not define us and limit us from what we want to do. There is no rule that says that people in their 30’s can’t do things the younger people do. My new journey has just begun. And I decided to jump start my journey in Dubai. The rest of the travel destination shall wait for me as I am ready to explore and experience the world. They say 30 is the new 20. I will not argue with that. 😀

In this post, I will be mainly sharing my pictures and show you how much I enjoyed my short stay in Dubai. It might help you plan your itinerary just in case you too would like to visit. Not much information here as I have forgotten the details of the trip ( the cost and how to get there info’s). So for now, enjoy Dubai through my pictures! 🙂

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Visiting the Dessert Safari is a must. You should experience the Sand Dunes, of course!

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My encounter with a Falcon! Falcons is one of the status symbol for people in Dubai or in the Middle East. The Falcon is the national bird of UAE and is a symbol of force and courage, recognizing the importance of falconry in Arab tradition and culture.

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Camel Ride across the dessert! The ride may have been short but it was just the experience I needed. I couldn’t dare ride longer as somehow I felt the camel was tired, or at least it looks like it was.

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So that’s how I celebrated life. Ain’t bad, right? 😀

 

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Spoonful : Nando’s

Food is one of the things I turn to when I am happy or sad. My physique may not show how much I love food but the truth is I eat like a man. *wink

Searching for good food is I believe a must when you’re in a new place. And good food doesn’t always mean expensive and luxurious. Thus, whenever we’re out we try to dine at places that are known for their delish offerings. Be it at fast-food chains, restaurants or bistros.

Nando’s caught our attention as we were passing by. The place was jam-packed with hungry souls. The dishes on their tables look appetizing for me. It’s impossible not to stop and stare. It was their chicken espatada that lured me to dine at Nando’s. Their peri-peri chicken made them different from other chicken houses I’ve dined in too. Letting you choose your chicken’s level of hotness is a big thumbs up for me. It’s like they’re making sure I don’t get to blame the chefs if the food is too hot for my liking. 😉

So here’s us enjoying our espatada and chicken peri-peri.

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Spoonful: Tamarind

My love for thai food has brought us here at Tamarind. I fell in love with thai cuisine after having one lunch out with friends at Siam. Though pronouncing the menu is still a struggle for me, except for pad thai of course, thai food is still on my favorite cuisine list. ( which is short,by the way). I just love the combination of flavors you experience every time you get a spoonful of their dish.

We passed by Tamarind as we were looking for the NBA Cafe. And it caught my attention instantly. So when the time came to fill our stomachs with food, I was already planning on how to convince my beau to dine at Tamarind. It’s a little hard to let him try new cuisines. He was probably hungry then that it was easier than usual to convince him.

We were ushered inside by one of their staff who waits outside for guests. Since it was already late for lunch and was way too early for dinner, the place was not full of diners. Just the way I like it. We were welcomed by the smell  of spices the moment we walk in. The interior was well decorated but not overly done.

The moment the menu was handed over, I felt that I’ll be a one happy diner. And indeed, I was!

Here’s us while waiting for our food and the dishes we enjoyed at Tamarind : Pad Thai – Chicken, Beef Green Curry, Chicken Wrapped in Pandan Leaves, Thai Deep Fried Pork Spareribs ( not in the pics), Pineapple Rice (not in the pic) and Fried Rice with Pork.

 

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Where5/F SM Aura Premier, Sky Park, McKinley ParkwayMcKinley Hill, Taguig

Verdict I will definitely go back here. I love the food, the place and the staff. During our visit, the staff were friendly, prompt and attentive to our needs.

Price Range: 200 – 500 Php

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

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Endurance is when you keep pushing yourself not because you have to but because you love and want to.

The scorching summer heat did not stop us from reaching the top of Taal Volcano. And the reward we got was priceless.

The view was breath taking.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

Photos from Kay Cordeta.

Dumaguete : Of hot springs and cold waterfalls

Our Dumaguete trip was a continuation of our Siquijor trip. Since going back to Cebu means passing through Dumaguete, we decided to not miss the chance to explore the place even just for a day.

On the night of our arrival, we scout for a place to stay, again for the second time, we did not book in advance. Which again is a wrong decision. The hotels and inns were fully booked, at least the ones that are within our budget. Our number one rule when we travel is not to spend too much for hotel accommodations. We checked several small hotels, circled the city and it took us around 15 minutes before we found a place that can accommodate us. ( 15 minutes in a public tricycle is long enough). We found ourselves at C & L Suites Inn which is located within a 5-minute walk from the boulevard.

Dumaguete is known for having one of the beautiful, if not the best, boulevard in the country. When the sun sets, vendors start to set up tents and tables for an outdoor dining by the bay. Bars and restaurants are also situated in this area. Nightlife and outdoor dining is very much alive in this part of the city. The boulevard, I believe, is one of the city’s highlights. And if the streets of Amsterdam is filled with bicycles, the number of motorcycles in Dumaguete is overwhelming.

Since we were time limited, having just a day to spend, there were only few tourist spots we were able to visit. We decided to focus on the known hot springs, though not really in Dumaguete but in a nearby province, Valencia. It was a cloudy day in Dumaguete with hint of cold air brushing our skin, such a perfect day for a hot spring.

Here are the places we managed to visit :

1. Dumaguete Boulevard – Also known as the Rizal Boulevard, named after the Philippine’s Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Stroll in this scenic place by day and eat some street foods by night. Restaurants are available as well if you have a weak stomach. Unfortunately, I lost my photos of this place and only have this. You can see how windy it was.

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2. Dumaguete Belfry – built in 1811 to warn the locals for threats or attacks. The tower provides so much history. Somehow I felt I was transported to the time when it still serves its purpose.

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3. Silliman University – said to be the first and the oldest American university in the Philippines.

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4. Pulangbato Hotspring – This hot spring is located in Valencia, Negros. From Dumaguete, we got on a jeepney that took us to a terminal where you can find motorcycles for rent that can take you to Valencia. If my memory serves me right, we paid 120 Php per motorcycle. As we were nearing the place, we can smell the sulfur fumes in the air.

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5. Red River Valley Waterfalls ( Malabo ) –  Still in Valencia. I did not dare take a dip as the water was freezing. We decided to climb and get closer to the falls instead. It’s picture worthy.

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These pictures below shows some spots that caught our attention and  worthy of a quick stop while en route to our destinations:

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 We passed by this rock mountain that emits sulfur fumes.

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And we saw a falls at the side of the road and a river across it. Cool!

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This cold spring is perfect on a hot sunny day. I bet it would be refreshing to take an afternoon swim here.

Bewitched by Isla del Fuego ( Siquijor Island )

I just felt the urge to blog about my previous travels. So I decided to write about our short but enchanting trip in Siquijor.

Never did it cross my mind to visit Siquijor. Probably because I know little about the place and it has a known reputation for witch craft and black magic.  This could also be the same reason why it’s not frequented by tourist before. ( my assumption only )

Then Siquijor started to attract tourist like magnets. It’s mystical charm, pristine beaches and natural wonders were just waiting to be explored. So to Siquijor we went! I did not realize how excited I was until the day of our trip. We were all ready to uncover the island’s beautiful mystery!

From the South Bus Terminal – Cebu, we took a  bus bound to Liloan, Santander. The ride lasted for 3-4 hours and the fare cost 160 – 200 Php. Though the travel time was a bit long, it was bearable. Good friends make long trips a little less boring. ( or may be a lot ).

Then from Liloan port, we got on a ferry boat to Sibulan. It cost us around 80 Php that covers terminal fee and boat fare. If you find yourself hungry after that long bus trip, Liloan port has a cafeteria that serves home-cooked meals. Travel time is more or less 30 minutes.

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From Sibulan port, we rode a tricycle to Robinson’s Dumaguete to shop for some food. They say it’s wiser to buy and cook your own food while in Siquijor. After our short stop at Robinson’s, we rode a jeepney to Dumaguete port. Fare is 11-15 Php.

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Our boat ride to Siquijor wasn’t a smooth one, the weather was a little moody. Drops of rain started to fall and the wind started to blow a little harder. Big waves started to hit our boat, it felt like we were on a paper boat that would tear up soon. Our head felt lighter and i wanted to puke! With no candies in our pockets to somehow relieve the feeling of throwing up what we ate for lunch, we decided to sleep for the rest of our trip. ( which was short by the way but felt like hours ).

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After that short battle with nature, we finally arrived safe and without a single bruise ( yehey! ).  Just steps away from the island’s port, you’ll have a peak of what to expect, unspoiled beauty of nature, pure bliss!  

WELCOME TO SIQUIJOR!

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The best way and the most common means of transportation in Siquijor is a tricycle. So we rented one for us to find a place to stay. Yes! You’re right. We did not booked ahead for our accommodation thinking that it’s off season. Unfortunately, we were all wrong, most of the resorts were fully booked, bummer! But we did not fret, we were confident enough that we will find a perfect place. And so it did happen! Casa De La Playa rescued us!

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After we settled in our lovely little hut by the beach, we started our tour in the mystic island!

Here are some of the top tourist spots in Isla Del Feugo:

1. Salagdoong Beach – This unspoiled public beach is frequented by locals and tourist for swimming and cliff diving. The water is so clear you can see the corals and school of fish. During our visit, the place was still being developed.

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2. Lazi Convent – Known as Asia’s largest and oldest convent. Across this convent is the Lazi Church. You’ll know that the place is full of history just by looking at it.

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3.  St. Isidore de Labrador Church or Lazi Church –  This old church still holds mass on a regular basis. A church-convent tour is also possible. If you have time and want to experience the tranquility of the place, ask someone who can assist you on how to take the tour.

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4. Cambuhagay Falls –  It’s hard to miss this falls because of the huge sign (which is a good thing). This place is one of my fave. The cold water is so inviting. For those who knows how to swim and like a little adrenaline rush, you can try the Tarzan jump.

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5.  Capilay Spring Park – When we stopped at this place, I asked ” What are we doing in a park?”. Then whoah! there’s a cold spring in the middle of the park, Literally! At that time, there was less visitors, probably because the weather is already cold for a day swim. With no fee, Calipay Spring park is a favorite among locals.

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6.  The Old Balete Tree – A balete tree is commonly known to be a dwelling place of supernatural – mystic creature. It was a little eerie being in the place but it’s worth a visit. Try dipping your feet in the little pool, small fishes will nibble your dead skin and will tickle you.

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This trip taught me that Siquijor is a beautiful place, peaceful and enchanting. Now, this island is one of my fave place. It’s definitely on my “To Return” list.  — misswolf01

 

“You get educated by travelling” – Solange Knowles

 

Around the Corner: A night at Eastwood Richmond Hotel

I’m not a fan of this new fad “Staycation”. Not because I don’t like the idea of staying in a hotel but its because I find it unpractical. ( or maybe I just can’t afford it.. hahaha..) Really, I would rather spend my money on an out of town trip than spend it in a posh (or not so posh) hotel.

I’m not saying that ‘staycation’ doesn’t appeal to me at all, it does. But there are only three reasons for me to stay in a hotel for an overnight stay :

1. If someone else will shoulder the expenses. ( haha.. Any sponsors please? )

2. If the expenses will be divided amongst me and my ‘co-staycationers’.

3. If I have a Gift Certificate for an overnight stay with breakfast. 😉 ( ooooh, those crispy bacon they serve at the breakfast buffet, yummy! )

Our short stay at Eastwood Richmond Hotel was made possible by a gift certificate I got from my mom. Its expiry was nearing thus we decided to use it ( sayang naman! ).

The hotel is not meant for total relaxation. Though there is a pool at the rooftop, it’s still not that inviting. The location of the hotel may have contributed to that uninviting feeling. However, this hotel may be a perfect place for the business man or to those who wants to be around the busy streets of Eastwood.

Weeks prior to our planned ‘staycation’, I’ve search the web for reviews to know what to expect. Sadly, the reviews weren’t that good. And I may be adding some not so good review about the place.

The check in process was efficient and smooth, there was no unnecessary fuzz. I should know since I used to work in a 5-star hotel. 🙂 However, there was less information provided. A short hotel orientation,perhaps?

 

I was happy with the room they gave. It was near the elevator, thus there was less walking. (lazy butt! lol).

 

 

 

We stayed in our room after we had our dinner at Zark’s Burger near the hotel, which serves good burgers by the way. ( If not for the Cheeze Whiz, I’ll give that place a rate of 10).

Then, here comes breakfast! I was so excited to fill my belly with those crispy-greasy-bacon. Unfortunately, theirs was the opposite. Lamest breakfast buffet ever! The bacon was not crunchy and was way too GREASY. Other food selection were not appetizing as well. Our plate depicts how poor their breakfast option was.

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After breakfast, we decided to see the rest  of the hotel before checking out. And whoah, the hotel have a pool and a gym and we didn’t even know! A night swim could have been relaxing. This is why a short hotel orientation is important.

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Adrenaline Rush : Wakeboarding at Camsur Watersports Complex

Wakeboarding has tickled my fancy since I first heard about it. Seeing videos and photos of people doing the sport makes me wanna try it in an instant. It looks so cool and EASY! The latter, however, was a big wrong impression. 😉

For all of you who thinks the same way as I did (that it’s easy), remember these things :

1. It’s not Easy. ( for me at least 😉 )

I feel like repeating it over again haha. My sense of balance is poor and it ‘s probably the reason why it took me several attempts before I was able to cross to the other side.

2. Make sure you do some warm ups.

Personally, exercise is not part of my ADL. My lifestyle is somewhat sedentary. So if we’re alike, make sure you do some warm ups to reduce the chance of hoarding boxes of salon pas and alaxan after.. haha

3. Be prepared to drink tons of dirty water.

For novice like me, you’ll surely have countless falls, and this means drinking that dirty water! ( you may want to have your self check for amibiasis after.. Lol )

4. Chances of getting hand blister is high.

No blisters here but my friends did get some.

5. Keep it low.

Don’t get too excited and stand on your first try at wakeboarding. Keep close to your wakeboard like you’re almost sitting on it. This will keep your balance.

6. ENJOY!!

Patience ladies! It may take some time before you can perfect the stance. Enjoy every moment you spend with your board!

” Don’t be the girl who fell. Be the girl who got back up.”
― Jenette Stanley

 

We decided to try wakeboarding at Camsur Watersports Complex. Fresh from our Caramoan Island trip, CWC is easily accessible. The facility is located in Pili’s Provincial Capitol Complex. The CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) is the first world class watersports park in Asia.

From the main road, we got on a tricycle for 10 Php each. At first look at the facility, you would think that you’ll end up with an empty pocket. To our surprised, CWC offers activities that’s easy on the pocket! ( whew! It was exactly what we needed, budget friendly activity).

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Initially, we wanted to just spend an hour but the lady at the reception suggested to take 2 hours instead, saying an hour would not suffice. An hour cost 165.00 Php that includes a vest and a helmet.  Also, do prepare a valid ID and 500.00 Php for deposit.

CWC’s list of activities and prices. 

 

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Good thing we took the advise of that lady from the reception!  We had sooooo much fun and actually wanted to spend more hours!

Look how much fun we had!! 

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Spoonful : Juana’s Budbod and Coffee

Juana’s Budbod and Coffee : where affordable price meets great tasting food!

From where i came from (cebu), budbod is a sticky rice wrapped in coconut leaf. Mostly eaten in the morning with our ‘sikwate’ ( hot choco). But in Juana’s, budbod is a special rice topped with our favorite Filipino viand – liempo, lechon, tinapa, beef tapa, adobo flakes and shawarma ( yes, i know the last one isn’t Filipino but its taste has been adjusted to the Filipino palate).

Juana’s Budbod is not just your usual “meat and rice meal”, along with your chosen topping are the freshest tomatoes, eggs and spring onions. So you have your carbs, protein and veggies in one spoonful!!

We were starving that day and thought that Juana’s is the perfect place to feed our hungry selves. Deciding on what topping to pick was hard as everything on their menu looks promising and appetizing!

So we agreed to get their Boodle Fight Meal. No doubt that it was the perfect choice. It had everything on it! The moment our order arrived, we started to dig in and everyone just went mute…hahaha. You can’t blame us, the food was delish!

Sadly, taking pictures of our food did not cross our mind (again, we were hungry like that). So I copied some pictures ( with permission of course ), from Juana’s facebook page to tickle your tastebuds. 😉

 

5                                                                Their Boodle Fight Meal!

 

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Juana’s does not only serve great tasting food but also has smoothies and juices to quench your thirst!

 

 

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Juana’s has been featured in Pop Talk and Unang Hirit. This proves that they serve good food and they are loved by the students of U-Belt.

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Juana’s Budbod and Coffee has been featured several times. From news paper, blogs and TV shows.

MUST KNOW: 

Where504 M.V. Delos Santos St cor Legarda St, Sampaloc, Manila

Landmark: University of Manila

Eats: Budbod Rice, Burgers ( adobonator ), smoothies/coffee

Price Range: 65 – 100 Php per meal

NICE TO KNOW: 

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ILOVEBUDBOD?fref=ts

Facts and Awards:

  • previously named Kubo ni Juan
  • June, 2010- Top 3 Yummy Budget Eateries around UBelt
    (Feature Story for The Beat, QTV 11)
  • June, 2011- Top 10 Student Friendly Eateries
    (Feature Story for Student and Campuses Section, Manila Bulletin)
  • June, 2012- Included in Manila’s Most Popular Student Hang- outs
    (Featured in Spot.ph)
  • June 2014 – Featured in Unang Hirit

Adrenaline Rush: ATV ride to Mayon Volcano

When in Legazpi City, one should not miss to get close with the world’s “most perfectly-formed volcano”.  I couldn’t think of any other perfect way to do this than through an ATV ride.

Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in thePhilippines. Renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its almost symmetricconical shape, the mountain was declared a national park and a protected landscape on July 20, 1938, the first in the country. It was reclassified a Natural Park and renamed Mayon Volcano Natural Park in the year 2000.[3]

Local Philippine folklore refers to the volcano as Bulkang Mayon (Bikol: “Mayon volcano”), after the legendary heroineDaragang Magayon (Bikol: “Beautiful Lady”).[4] 

Source: Wikipedia

My most trusted travel buddy contacted Your Brother Travel and Tours, which is the obvious pick for this adventure as they are the original and the creator of Mayon ATV tour  in Legazpi City. Plus, they provided service to Zac Efron and other local artist. The latter fact did all the convincing! 😉

Our trip in Legazpi wasn’t at all smooth because of a cancelled accommodation booking at RMJ Apartelle. Our reservation for a family room was cancelled without prior notice! Can you imagine how annoying that was? Especially if all you wanted to do is rest after a 3 hour bus ride from Naga City. And the guy at their reception, which is just a small wooden table, did not even show any concern!! Ppffftt!!

But as the cliche goes, everything happens for a reason. Cyrel Chan of Your Brother ATV saved us from our misfortune. An angel sent from above! 😉 He offered a room which is located at Your Brother site for an affordable rate and offered to pick us up too on his Ford Ranger!  He even accompanied us to have dinner and did a little touring at the town’s boulevard. Now that’s what you call “world-class customer service”. It made us feel like we were VIPs!! Because of him, we had a good night sleep and was so prepared for our ATV adventure the next morning! ( Yes, we were mentally and physically prepared, but our wallet wasn’t! ) LOL

The brochure from their website.

The brochure from their website.

 

Since we were already financially challenge but still don’t want to miss this once in a lifetime experience, we did the Mayon to Base camp trail for 1,800 Php. As you can see, it’s the cheapest ATV they have. 😉

Sharing some of our photos.

 

Mayon Volcano from afar!

Mayon Volcano from afar!

 

 

I'm so ready! :)

I’m so ready! 🙂

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The END! 🙂