places

Weekly Photo Challenge : ADVENTURE

Amazing Niagara!

We are sooooo blessed to experience this one of a kind adventure at least once in our lifetime. But we really don’t mind if we’ll have the chance to come back again. Really.

IMG_0560.JPG
(Marj and i, about to board the Hornblower at Niagara Falls. 2nd to tick in our bucket list in CANADA.)

Advertisements
Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

TRAVELS & ADVENTURES: EDGEWALK, CN TOWER, Toronto, CANADA

2 Days in Toronto means 2 activities ticked off in my bucketlist.

 

1.  EDGEWALK

CN Tower is not only known for the picturesque view of the city through its viewing deck, not only for the 360 degrees revolving restaurant, but most importantly so for experiencing one heaven of a heart-pumping activity called the edgewalk.

Edgewalk is a guided stroll around the tower.  It is a suspended 20-30 minute walk at the roof of the CN Tower restaurant 553 meters high above the ground.  The package for the price of 175 C$ plus taxes includes the walk, certificate of completion, a  video dvd copy and 2 printed copy of photos taken during the walk.  USB for other pictures is optional.  You can have it for an extra charge of 25 C$.

My best girlfriend, Marjori and I decided to try it for ourselves.

Skeptical at first, but excitement filled our system as soon as we hit the base camp, the starting point where they geared us up , jumpsuit, harness and all.  Test for alcohol in the system is a must, and nothing should be in your pockets like phones or wallet, and nothing in you even like jewelries or hair pins.  An orientation was held for safety reasons.

Then we were all set,  ready to go up, up and away.   Steven, our guidemaster, with Dave and Jenny triple checked our harnesses before they sent us out to the big, high, wide world.  Tell you frankly, I am much more excited than scared.  Really, I was almost always flying because of my work, but not like these, suspended just with the harness, nothing to hold on to, in a walkway not as wide as.  But still, this was a new experience for me.  The adrenaline was kicking hard.

The crew with us consisted of brothers Scott and Greg, lovers Cris and Nicole, father and son, Dave and Andrew, and yours truly, friends Arjaye and Marj.

Up there, we can see the different angles on a birds eye view of the city.  The roofs of the skyscrapers, the bodies of water and buildings and structures.  The air, the wind, the sun and the sky, we can feel them all.  In heights like that, you tend to panic sometimes and thoughts of falling or ropes breaking can consume you, that was why Steven always cracked some jokes to release the tension, plus the group’s encouragement helped us to enjoy the moment.  In the end, we all nailed it, successfully!

Overall, it is a must-try.  People like us, adventure-seekers, will truly appreciate EDGEWALK.

You should see how we conquered the fear of heights , once and for all, through this compilation.  One breath-taking, thrill of a lifetime , unforgettable experience.  I am glad I did this!  WE ARE REALLY PROUD OF US!

 

 

EDGEWALK IS LOVE!

Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Back to back hometown experience!

Yes, yes. I know I’ve been out of the blogging world for an almost two good weeks now, and I am really sorry for that.  Promise, i have  really good reasons.

REASON 1:

Wedding of the year.

Nope, not me yet, unfortunately, but it was for Apol and Mike, close friends of ours.  I braved and drove the out-of-the-city location, to witness as their bridesmaid, the exchange of their love and vows and commitment in front of God, their loved-ones, the world.  It was a wonderful experience.  Truly, the love was in the air that time that i really do hope that the next wedding that I will be attending will be my own wedding.  Talked about rubbing it all in, sisters, haha but i am keeping my fingers crossed, just in case!

apol and mike

REASON 2:

A break from work.

I took a few days off to be with my family as well.  As one of my yearly pacts, i brought them to Ocean Adventure, an out-of-the-city attraction, a mere 3 hours away  from Manila, to be indulged by the dolphins, sea lions and some acrobatic moves from professional African stuntsmen.  The kid at heart in me was truly leaping for joy!

ocean ad2

(Road trips are always fun, thus, i volunteer to be the designated driver every time.)

ocean ad

(Poppie, Arjaye, Mommie and Jaemie)

REASON 3:

The beach called me.

Flipflops, an eyeshades, and a bag of beach paraphernalias.  My travel buddies went for a 3 days-2 nights escape somewhere north of Manila.  Zambales to be exact, we island-hopped the place, then swam to its ocean and sank into its sands.  Actually, we did more than swim, we skinny dipped the pool, a dare that yours truly, LuvPaj, and Abby quite happily gave into.  Scratch that, we were not just happy, we were excited to tick that in our bucket list.  And we did, with flying colors!

caps2caps3

 

 

 

 

caps4                         caps3

 

 

These three reasons were enough for me to ignore the distance that i travelled to, to be able to get home, back and forth, back and forth.  Nothing can beat the satisfying feeling to be with family and friends, no matter how short the time is.  But when you just focus on the memories that you have created, the laughs that you have shared, the photos you’ve taken, and the love you have felt, it was all enough, IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

I am glad i experienced them, and i would not give a second thought to do them again, if an opportunity comes, say next two-three months after?! 🙂

Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

“Uniquely SINGAPORE”

Short and sweet.  Throw in some fun.  That’s how i spend my weekend in Singapore.

I met my friend, former co-beauty pageant finalist, Mimilanie Lisondra, for dinner and some girly overnight bonding. She is currently living and working there.  She brought me to Clarke Quay.

IMG_2587

Clarke Quay.  Known for its night life, it was quite busy for a Saturday night.

Most of the restaurants and bars were crowded with people, all walks of life, foreign and locals, alike.  It was decided that we dine in a restaurant called Shiraz, offering authentic Persian cuisine.  Aside from the great food,

IMG_2573 IMG_2572

 

and great company,

1948157_10152759550123677_871143706_n

some entertainment in the form of belly dancing is regularly played by the said restaurant.  I got a sneak peak for you.  I recorded it by myself, a sloppy first time ever attempt.  Forgive me, friends.

 

 

After dinner, we had our nightcap at a bar called Cuba Libre, a Latin/Mexican one.

IMG_2592IMG_2595

A quick fix of a spirited drink was a good starter.  Classic mojito served in a big glass jar was just as tempting as the dance floor, so we drank and danced  the night away.  Music like these are new to my ears, i kind of let it swept me away.  Met some of Mimi’s friends, too, Irish, and Magesh.  Actually, we were as united as colors of benetton can be.  🙂

IMG_2591

 I partied that night, but not as hard for there’s a whole day of fun the next morning.  I intended to tour around Singapore once more, with my camera and a whole lot of smiles.  I’ll let you know what happened after that, soon! 🙂

Categories: happenings, person of the month, places | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

ON A TWO-DAY LAYOVER

I spent the past two days in Bangalore, India.  Two days full of eating, less sleeping, people watching, book hunting, book reading, movie marathoning.  Life is a big playground!  Life is wonderful!

EATING:

As we always start our day at 9 in the morning, we usually had breakfast at the FEAST, our hotel, Sheraton’s main restaurant.  For two days, half of the crew which includes the Flight Attendant in Charge Fahad, the Purser Ammar, Steward Faisal and Stewardesses Menchie and Arjaye met at the restaurant to eat and laugh and chat.  Through omelettes, and croissants, watermelons and oranges, parathas, sausages and bacon and loaf, we talked and discussed flights; ours and others, people, current events, goals, and even some touches in our personal lives.    Most of the time, we joke around, laugh out load, tease each other, make fun of ourselves.   In short, we were able to get to know each other better through this small gathering every breakfast time till the buffet closes, till we ran out of coffee refills.

The breakfast plate..  first of the many! 😀

20130825_092205

Then comes after lunch hours strolling the mall.  Looking for bargains, and food to satisfy our mini hunger.  We ended up trying Chili’s, for wings and pasta.  Hey! hey!hey! blazingly hot were the foodies served.  I guess it  was our fault, we forgot to advise the waiter not to put any spicy thing in our order.   We’re in India , remember?!! The land of spices and herbs.  So, when the dinner came, we went for the usual tastes our tongue can tolerate, pizza.  hahaha!

The dinner after the movies…

20130825_194425

LESS SLEEPING:

This was so true, for me at least.  For three straight nights, i got less sleeping hours than the normal people get.  Facebook, Skype, Twitter, instagram, Torrents, Downloads, Uploads,  name it, but put the blame to the free internet connection, please.  I was just a victim! 😀

PEOPLE WATCHING:

I guess, everybody does this, anywhere, anytime.  Even I am guilty!

20130825_191354

 BOOK HUNTING AND BOOK READING:

I was able to finish an entire book called The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater during this 2 days stay in India.  Thanks to Ms. Laila, a friend from the Read Philippines, who made this as our January challenge.

Add thanks for the most accessible mall beside our hotel, the Orion mall, since it houses most of the top brands, grocery store, food court, especially the Landmark, a popular bookstore in India.  It got me bringing home 6 books, adding them to my ever growing piles of to-be-reads.

20140122_223819

MOVIE MARATHONING:

 Ohhh!  This was the best part, the highlights of our stay.  Yes, i admit living in Saudi Arabia made us cinema-deprived people.  So once we stepped out of the country, and there’s a good new movie in town, off we go to the nearest movie house.  Once again, Orion Mall got it all in one roof.  They have both english and hindi movies.  We opted to watch not just one but three movies.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Legend of Hercules and The Wolf of Wall Street.  The best part was we did at as a crew.  From Saudis, to Filipinas and an Indian, we enjoyed the flick with popcorns and unlimited laughs.  I love flying with cool crews like these peeps.  It bridges the gap between every nationalities.  I like to think that in every flight, you either find an enemy or a friend.  I prefer the latter.  Thus, im happy to find a friend in Sana Sheikh.  She’s a darling.  Sweet!

 IMG-20140122-WA0004

IMG-20140122-WA0002IMG-20140122-WA0002

About the movies:

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT.  Chris Pine is a sweetheart to watch.  I never saw any trailers of this movie, hence, i don’t know anything about it.  But i enjoyed the twists and turns of it, as predictable as it is.   Action-filled, I literally followed the scenes each and every minute.

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES.  We watched this in 3D.  Glasses and all, we followed this Greek demigod in his conquest of love and  freedom for the people in his kingdom.  How he accepted his true nature, thus resulting in his super duper extra strength that helped deliver his nation from the bad king and his coward but egoistic kind of a brother.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.  I love Leonardo diCaprio.  Period.  He truly deserved the best actor award from Golden Globes, and maybe, hopefully extends the same luck with the Oscar’s.  The movie is such a chaos so does Leo’s character but those kinds were the ones you cant stop watching and hating and loving.  In my own opinion, even though i am not that familiar with stocks and brokers and wall street, i enjoyed learning through this movie.  Leave the drugs and smokes and sexy parts aside, it was entertaining as well as educational, but in the negative sense.  Watch this crime-drama-comedy movie to understand what i mean.  For the love of Leo, I recommend this movie.  He really acts at his best, always!

Shukriya, Bangalore! Till the next time… 🙂

Categories: books, food, happenings, places | 2 Comments

5 DAYS ADVENTURE IN A LAND CALLED BICOL, PHILIPPINES (Part 2)

DARAGA CHURCH, MAYON VOLCANO, CAGSAWA RUINS, SOGOD BEACHES

 2ND DAY : December 10, 2013 (Tuesday)

As i’ve mentioned in my previous write-up, we had an early day for the whale shark watching.  It took half day to finish, and at the end of the activity, we received our certificates.  Certificates claiming that we conquered the open sea and encountered the butandings.  It was truly an amazing experience.  One that goes to your memory bank and stays there forever.  For even if we were not able to capture the actual moments we had with these gentle giants, the whole experience will stay in our minds and our hearts for as long as we live.  It really happened, one Tuesday morning.

Upon checking out of Amor’s resort, we hit back the road, retracing the towns we passed by upon coming to Donsol.  We were heading for the Daraga Church, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate), one of the oldest churches in the province.It was easily located since signs were conveniently placed all over the roads.  Tucked along one of the busy streets in Daraga, the way to the church was uphill and narrow.  A few turns and the vastness of the whole place and the church itself loomed over us.

IMG_2092

IMG_2103

IMG_3530

We were overwhelmed looking on how big and old it was, when i chance upon the right side of the church, realizing that the mountain i was looking at already was the Mount Mayon herself.

IMG_2093

I clicked some shots, but the real pics have to wait since we were going to a much more nearer location after.  We went inside the church and paid our respects and prayed.

IMG_2105

IMG_3539 ( i wonder what am i praying for this time when Paj took this stolen shot of me?.. hmm..)

Few moments of peace, and we all went out to continue to our next tourist spot, the Cagsawa Ruins.  But just few steps outside, the rain fell.  Not quite strong yet, but small droplets making us run for Sitti’s safe roof.  But how can we leave, if there was still some good shots to take especially when the rainbow was just so clearly making an appearance at the sky above us?!  Well, we gladly let ourselves soaked for a little while, clicked the shots away, then off we went.

 IMG_2101

(there’s always a rainbow after the rain! :))

We then proceeded in finding the CAGSAWA RUINS.  We will be forever thankful for the signs along the street since it saved us some time in locating the ruins.  But still, the rain was pouring and we had to buy some time to wait for the sky to clear up, to be able to have good shots of the place, since this was very known for being one of the highlights in any itineraries here in Bicol. Indeed, it became one of the high points of our trip.

Brief history:

The Cagsawa Ruins (also spelled as Kagsawa or Cagsaua) are the remnants of an 18th-century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano. They are located in Barangay Busay, Cagsawa, in the municipality of Daraga, AlbayPhilippines. The ruins are roughly 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) away from the summit of the Mayon Volcano.

It was destroyed during the most destructive eruption of the nearby Mayon Volcano in February 1, 1814. The eruption killed an estimated 1,200 people in the surrounding areas and buried the town of Cagsawa (among others) under several hundred million cubic metres of ash. Hundreds of inhabitants of the town of Cagsawa purportedly sought refuge in the church, but were also killed by either pyroclastic flows or lahar.  Only the belfry and some parts of the convent survive today,though parts of the crumbling facade were still standing long after the 1814 eruption as attested by photographs. It is believed that the facade of the structure collapsed due to earthquakes in the 1950s.”

WIKIPEDIA-

IMG_3555IMG_3569

The sky suddenly cleared up, showing us the best spot to pose and pose and pose.  Backdropping us was the majestic Mayon, in all her glory.  One of the locals even commented that we were lucky to see Mount Mayon clearly.  There were days, according to her, that clouds covered the whole mountain, hiding her perfect cone shape.  We always have the blessings of the Lord, indeed.

IMG_3610

IMG_3615

IMG_3633

And more photos…

IMG_3601

IMG_3605

IMG_3606

IMG_3622

Meanwhile, after dinner, we decided to look for resorts in a place called Bacacay, known for its black sand beaches.  Actually, black sand beaches extends along the coast of Bacacay, Sto. Domingo and Tiwi in Albay.  We chose Bacacay because of its proximity, and preferences of other bloggers. Here’s a pic for a sneak preview:

IMG_3690

 (brief trivia:  Why black sands?  It was because of the volcanic ash that came from Mt. Mayon.  It was created from the millions of years of natural erosion of volcanic rock, which evolved from ground lava, then became into fine-textured sands. The black sand is usually a little grainy but surprisingly soft. Some people are saying the sand has therapeutic benefits.  Well, there’s no harm in believing. )

It took us time.. more and more time,  and lots and lots of laughters, before we found a place to sleep in.  One even drove us away but in the end, Kuya Kiko, the caretaker of the Tanchuling hotels, took us in.  Along with his dogs, dozen of them, we had a peaceful sleep that night, making the sound of raindrops as our background music.

Meanwhile, it took us time.. more more time,  and lots and lots of laughters, before we found a place to sleep in.  One, even drove us away but in the end, Kuya Kiko, the caretaker of the Tanchuling hotels, took us in.  Along with his dogs, dozen of them, we had a peaceful sleep that night, making the sound of raindrops as our background music.

Ive realized one thing that night… God will not leave you nor forsake you.  Even in the darkest times, He will provide.  Day in day out,  He provided us the good weather, the right people, the right place, the strength and courage to pursue what we went here for.  To experience this  God-given nature with friends who became more special and dear to me.  Thanks Papa God for Pajluv, Benj and Bicol.

IMG_3650

Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

WHALE SHARK WATCHING @ DONSOL, SORSOGON

If we talk about whales and sharks, what comes to your minds?  Me, ohh the movie jaws comes first, with the background music playing.  Forgive me for being morbid and gruesome, but all can think of is blood, and bitten off hands and legs.  The shark attack!  And off we go for whale shark encounter, isn’t that ironic?

But as they say, life is full of surprises, so let us see what this  “butanding” watching can offer us.

butanding1

 (courtesy of google images)

Our scheduled time was 7 in the morning.  We had to be at the tourist center by that time since we have to watch a 5-minute video regarding the do’s and dont’s of the activity.  We also had to fill-up registration form and rent snorkeling equipments.  By 7:30, we were sailing towards the site where butandings usually roam around.

Our boat consisted of 11 people.  1 operating the motorized boat, 2 spotters, 2 guides, 3 girls and 3 guys.  Since the boat rental is pricey (3,500 pesos for three hours, $79 at the current exchange rate),if only for the three of us, we were more than willing to accommodate and share with 3 more, to make it more practical and affordable.  Luckily, 1 french guy and 2 chinese men were off to whale watch also, so we went together.  The more, the merrier, right?!

mmexport1388877134448

 We just arrived few minutes in the middle of the ocean when Kuya Jun, the lead guide, told us to don our gears.  I opted to wear the life vest since i cannot swim, in addition to the snorkel masks.  In his signal, amidst panic and excitement, we all jumped to the open ocean.  Kuya Jun with Benj went ahead of us, followed by Kuya Kakoy, the other guide, with Paj.  While, me and the other 2 Chinese guys were left behind, since we were all wearing life vests which slowed us down.  At the first appearance of the whale shark, only Benj and Paj who were guided rightfully ,were able to see it.  We, then went back to the boat.  Aldo, the French guy did not have difficulty seeing it since he is an open sea diver.  But for first timers like us, Benj and Paj were the lucky ones.  Back on the boat, they were marveling at the experience they had when they saw the whale shark under the water for the first time.  As for me, i was silently beating myself up, why don’t i know how to swim. Aarrghhh! But alas, there was still time and there was a lot of hope.

We scouted again for the spots where they where supposedly swimming around, but for an hour or so, we cant find anything.  I was beginning to panic, because i don’t want to go home not having the full experience.  But since negativity is not an option, we all hoped and prayed that these gentle giants make their appearance sooner.  And so they did! After waiting for quite a while, Kuya Jun signalled again to jump.  This time he brought me along, making sure i will see it.  While he was holding the other end of the lifeboy, i was holding on to the other end.  We swam, more so, he dragged me to the open ocean, and waited for a few seconds.  Then finally, he told me to look down. When he said NOW, i submerged my head, with the snorkel gears to sea clearly under the water, and oh my! oh my! my heart almost leaped for joy!  There it was, swimming under me.  I saw its spotted big, big body passing under me.  You know the feeling of being scared and excited at the same time.  That’s what i felt! And when we cant see it any more, we went back again to the boat.  As i was pulling myself from the ocean to the boat, I was screaming.  I cant contain my happiness.  I was really jumping for joy.  Imagine, i swam over the whale shark! Unfortunately, the other Chinese guy didn’t see it yet.  But we were a group full of good vibes and positive thoughts, so off we went to wait for the moment when it shows up again.

To sum it all up, we were able to see the whale shark around 9 times.  We got used to the jumping and seizing the moment part, so all of us were able to watch it more than a few times.  As for me, i hoarded Kuya Kakoy, one of the guides, all for myself.  Since Benj was with the other one, and Paj knew how to swim even without the guide, i let Kuya Kakoy guide me when its time to jump and be with the butanding in the ocean.

It was really a close encounter with the whale sharks. The distance with it was so near that there was one time that it felt like if i stretch out my hands, i will be able to touch it, but since it was not allowed, and i was scared at the same time, i was really avoiding it.

butanding

(this is how we suppose to look like while we watch the butanding.  photo courtesy of google images)

The three and a half hours of swimming and jumping and running around just to see a glimpse of it was all worth it.  The experience itself was so overwhelming.

mmexport1388877117760

We weren’t able to capture the exact moments since our underwater camera was behaving badly, and every jump in the ocean  had to be quick if we want to see the butanding, so there was no time to prepare.  But we still had to try, right?1 So im leaving you a picture of the butanding we had seen, taken from camera we borrowed.  See the spots? … at least that was what I am trying to show you! But believe me, this is real! :p

Camera 14MP-9PC

For further inquiries, please do contact:

  • Ate Myra of the tourist center (09198686426)
  • Jun Principe ( boat guide, one of the best!) (09281921817)
Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

FIREFLY WATCHING @ DONSOL, SORSOGON

Once we arrived at Donsol, we headed for the tourist center.  We signed up for the night’s firefly watching.  I really do not have an idea what will happen since i haven’t heard about this kind of activity before.  That made it more interesting and exciting.

Ate Myra, our tourist guide, picked us up around 7 p.m., then we headed to Ogod river.  Actually, there were 2 rivers that you can go, the Donsol river and the Ogod river.  She chose Ogod, though farther, but a lot more fireflies to watch.

It was a really dark way to the site itself.  We had to leave Sitti at the end of the road, and had to walk all the way to the river side, where our motorized boat was waiting, manned by three people.  If we found more people to watch with, it will be more affordable since one rental of the boat costed us P1,200 ($27).

Off we went, sailing our way through the river.  The only light we had was the moon, so imagine how dark it was, especially when the moon was covered with clouds.  It took us more or less five minutes before we saw our first mangrove full of fireflies.  It was easily detected because of the darkness.  And man, we were amazed.  The first thing that came to our mind was the movie avatar.  Maybe because of the glowing effect of the fireflies.

After marveling at our first site, we proceeded to the deeper part of the river.  We spotted quickly the area where there were more than 2 or 3 mangroves flocked by fireflies.  It was a nice sight to see.  Truly, because of the lights coming from the abdomen of these small insects, together, they lighted the area making it more glow-in-the dark.

It was useless using normal cameras, since it was dark, so we didn’t get the chance to record this experience.  But, the feelings and wonder we felt, it will be forever in our minds and hearts.   We even think that this will be a perfect spot and a nice gesture for a man to propose to the girl he is wishing to ask for marriage.  hmmm, the sentimental in us.  🙂

Categories: happenings, places | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

The Bookshelf Intruder

Musings of a bibliophile. I live a hundred, different lives through books.

Ana Linden

Writing Life

Happyface313

Beautiful things and a happy outlook on life

Mabel Kwong

Asian Australian. Multiculturalism

Books and Burlap

A country librarian and her musings.

Sucheta the Scribbler

Random. Purely Random. And then some more...

Flyhigh Manila Blog

The Premier Producer of Cabin Crew Lifestyle Events

A Daily Rhythm

Dream Big, Live Free

I AM BLAQ

Welcome to Maureen O. Blaq's Blog

Something Like a Storybook

from Morgan Bradham

Wallflower Whimsy

Words from the introverse.

Me, my thoughts and I

Reviews and thought journals through my eyes

amandeepmittal.wordpress.com/

Reviews | Interviews | Giveaways | Recommendations | "I'm Mad About Books"

J. Giambrone

Blog of J.Giambrone

Obdurate

Big thoughts in a small country

Pages of Pearl

Book Reviews, Book Recommendations, and Whatnots

%d bloggers like this: