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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Looking in This Time


My 2016 was a year of movement and travels and since I was usually in motion, I'd like to make 2017 in stillness.

2016 was the year I search for outside to fill me from the inside.  I look for other people or other place to explore, befriend, and be accustomed to, loosing me in it.  The noise outside blocks from what I have in the inside.  I looked at life like a tv screen completely forgetting me as the viewer probably because I haven't created much or done much for me to see myself in the whole picture.  Maybe that's really the essence of creation, this invokes my participation in my life.  For me to see myself being it, I need to create something be it a moment, an object, a masterpiece, and see myself through my creation, and stand in my world as futile or as strong as my creation made me.

There's a sense of urgency that's blocking me to think, to hope and to be positive.  It's like a siren that rings endlessly, that forces me to move, fast now.  Move, go, fast, now, over and over like a broken record.  With stillness, it could allow me to embrace and appreciate whatever I have, thereby making me embrace and love wherever I am, in whatever situation I may be in.  To see that wherever I am now, is exactly where I should be at this moment, gives me a sense of rightness and a level of victory.  This gives space for clarity and for openness to catch whatever signs that life would direct me to.

I'm going to invite stillness in 2017, more inward reflection, and more writing, more meditation, more prayers, more yoga, more being in the moment and more appreciation, and let's see what life throws at me in that space.
Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Highlights of my 2016

This year has been one of the most memorable year to say the least.  There were victorious and tumultous times, however even with the deep dips in this year, I've considered this one as the one where I got the most lessons and growth from.  

Thus I am eternally grateful for 2016 and for the people who were part of it.

February - Sister's Wedding and Tea Party with friends

March - Air Balloon festival, Clark, Pampanga

April - law of attraction group, Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

pic not mine.Source

- Pahiyas festival, Lucban, Laguna

July - My first group art exhibit, Tagaytay, dgroup get together

October - dgroup outing

November - Batanes, Christmas party dgroup

December - Vietnam

Just a sudden enlightenment:  I asked the Lord for growth for this year.  I asked for mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial growth. but I think it was answered in His way for I received a huge lesson which has greatly changed me and and my perspectives in life.   

There's growth in every lesson learned.  

Thank God for the answered prayer.
Publisher: Shy - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

My 2016: Its Ups and Downs and All its Run Arounds

life lessons

I've set this year to be a year of growth.

Growth in all aspect: financially, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually.  Like other people I started strong, and like so many others, dwindled along the way.  When there's a lot of things to do, it's too easy to get lost in it; it's too easy to loose the determination, and it's too hard to sustain the fun.

So the first lesson of this year, never ever set yourself for defeat.  At first, we get lofty with our goals, and we get impatient to get them so we squeeze them in an unrealistic time frame.

So no more 10 new years resolution for me.  It will be cut down to 3 this time.  I must say that what I have improved on for this year was socially.  I hooked myself in a church and signed up for a discipleship group which I thank God for because the ladies there are just divine.  We may not be able to see each other regularly as hope but the sisterhood is something that could potentially last forever.

Financially was not at all pleasant.  I could not find the right job and I was not able to push myself to work hard on a job that I have grown very familiar with for the last 7 years.  It was clear to me that it was time to move on or lie low.  The thing that I am only waiting now is for that right opportunity to show up on my plate.

Physically had its highs and lows.  I was able to do a physical challenge for a month, one where I may have pushed myself more than I've wanted too, moreso that I easily convinced myself that it wasn't for me.   I've realized that it doesn't really make sense doing things that wasn't fun anymore.  Sure at some point, I need to challenge myself.  But then life will be throwing a lot of challenges on my way in the future, why not just have fun on things that I can have the option to have fun, and endure on things that life demands me to endure.  So enough with all these physical challenges already and on to what I truly love, dancing.

Emotionally was a standoff. Sure there was growth on that area, but I had to go through some hard things that were necessary for me to learn what I have already known -- self love.  I get lost in relationships, because it was one of my occupation whenever I don't feel well.   Of course I still get to do things I need to do for myself, but when nothing much is happening, I find myself falling back on my relationship as a sort of an emotional cushion.  And when it's not there to catch me or support me, I become a mess.  So then I learned that the only emotional cushion that I need to fall on is God and me because I cannot rely on other people, and sometimes I cannot rely on myself, at least I have God to rely on.  The pillar of my strength.

Socially was a bloom for me.  I find myself growing in that church.  I don't feel required to attend every Sunday, but when I do, I feel like I'm being welcomed with arms wide open, much like the story of the Prodigal child.  I squander, I lick the earth, but whenever I sense that I need to 'go back', I am embraced; my attendance feels being celebrated and I think this is how a church should be.  And so I would be coming back for more of it, and probably be active in a ministry.

Spiritually is pretty much connected with my social area.  I did however dabble on the spiritual energy and meditation side as to cover much ground on my belief of spirituality.  I got myself a group on law of attraction, some belief I was able to incorporate into my lifestyle, however some teachings become wooshoo-voodoo type that I feel I need to distance myself a bit.  I'm looking forward for more growth in this area.

So there you are, a bit vague, but that's how I like it.  My realizations would serve as a reminder, but I somehow understand that people have to go through things for them to really learn a lesson.  So my advise is to be open for life and be okay if it isn't moving the way you wanted it too.  Being still and waiting are spiritual.  Life isn't supposed to be a rat race all the time, life is also the stillness.

Embrace every aspect of it.

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Vietnam travel guide: A first timer point of View

Because Bahn Mi makes me happy!  Oh yes indeed!  All I know is that I just wanted to eat as much Vietnamese food as I can.  Forget MeKong, forget Danang.  That'was the end goal for me.  But since I was traveling with a friend, I had to compromise on things, like going to Ha long.  Yes I went to Hanoi just to visit Halong.   Anyways, we all travel with a purpose in mind, it's just that mine was shallow, yet indulging.

With a goal that's shallow as that, I missed out on a bunch of information about Vietnam.  So I was surprised to know a number of things about the country and its people.

1.  They're strong and aggressive people.  
Now it may be just in my experience only but on the second day of my stay in the homestay, there was a ruckus that happened outside.  A number of adults were shouting to and fro.  There were also a couple more of confrontations happened. Know that this may be not applicable to the majority but this is what I and my friend just observed.  Generally the locals were nice and were willing to help me the best way they could.  

2.  Only a few knows how to speak English.
I actually thought they would know the language since there were Americans that went to their country.  But it just makes sense since the Americans failed to conquer the place, English was never a thing there.  Going to Chinatown, I got lost and found it hard to communicate with the locals.  Good thing some hotel staff and a few shop owners could speak the language.

3.  Crossing the street isn't really that scary.
Opinion alert here.  Of course it differs. Crossing with traffic lights isn't really difficult, you just cross when the pedestrian sign turns green.  But in narrower roads, you just have to raise your arm in 45 degrees and confidently walk forward.  What you don't want to do is to panic and move backward and forward making your moves unpredictable for the motorists.

4.  Go for Mailinh and Vinasun taxi that are smaller.  
There 2 versions of the vehicles depending on the size.  If you hop in the smaller taxi, the flag down rate is around 6000 dong, the larger one charges 11000-12000 dong.  These figures would appear minus the zeros to prevent confusion.

5.  The tastiest Pho I found are the ones in the whole in the walls, not in airports or in hotels.

6.  If you've been to ko phi phi islands in bangkok, or El nido philippines, I would not recommend Halong Bay.
It takes 4hours going to the bay from Hanoi, and you would just spend 2-3 hours within the place. So transportation time is longer than actually enjoying the place itself.

7.  Not all streetfood is fantastic.  
Remember these are for local tastebuds so don't expect to be blown away immediately.  It's an acquired taste.  You might get blown away on a first taste, or you might not.  It's a hit and miss fiasco really.

8.  Avail of free walking tours.  
They're free and you would be going to places that you could not achieve on your own.  Also know that these are non profit so don't feel guilty to not give money.  My friend felt the guilt and was able to shell out 300k dong.  

9.  Take the bus, it's cheap.  
We never thought we would get so excited after hopping out off the #152 bus from Bien Than Market to the airport.  Had we not taken the bus, we would have spent $16 for a van transfer or around 40,000-50000 dong.  Bus price is only 5000 dong, if you're carrying a huge luggage, it'll cost you another 5000 dong. 

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Traveling to Batanes: What every traveler should know

There were a number of things I've read from blogs that were proven to be untrue when personally experiencing the place myself.  This post is not to focus on lambasting those bloggers but just to inform the masses what the real deal is.

Here are a list of things I would quick to tell any of interested visitors.

1.  About visiting Batanes on a rainy season as OKAY.   
If you think getting rained on every now and then is okay, then yes, it's okay.  But as a traveler I'd rather experience the place at its best.  My fault, I took my chances and ended up getting the brute of everything that could possibly go wrong in a trip.
- skipped South Batan trip because of the rainy season
- crossed the sea when the coast guard prohibited smaller boats to pass.  Our coordinator hooked us up with Al Joyner, a bigger boat believed to be the only boat that could survive the waves.  When they said that the waves are big, the waves are goddamn big.  Now we have expected this because we were warned, but we didn't really expected it to be really titanic big.  My senior citizen mother had a panic attack and was crying and all tensed throughout the trip.  If you have a heart problem and are afraid of waves and the seas, please for the sake of god and your godchildren, skip it!  The good thing here is that the Ibatan seafarers are accustomed to this and that they know exactly what they're doing.  The only problem is the tourists ability to endure the situation.
- cancelled flight due to strong winds and heavy rains.  My brother and mother had to cancel their flight going back to Manila and had to rebook for a hefty price.
- almost felt sick because of getting rained on most of the days.

2.  About walking around North Batan on foot.  
BS!  I am an advocate of walking it out, thus my blog name, but believe me when I say that some places are far.  There are parts of North Batan that you could walk on foot, but there are areas that are really far.  When we were touring that area, I really felt sad looking at a couple trekking up to Fundacion Pacita.  I'd rather ride on a tricycle or a van, and enjoy the place than drain all my energy just to visit one location.  This is not Holy Week that you need to walk kilometers people, this is vacation, and vacation demands for pleasure, and walking uphill for minutes isn't pleasurable.  I don't care if the scenery is great, I wouldn't see the beauty of it anyway when all I feel is pain... everywhere.

3.  About cycling around North Batan.  
Yes, it's possible, but I don't really recommend it as there are no railings on the majority of the pathway, I'm talking about the one going to Fundacion Pacita.  The railings are a bunched up twigs and shrubs that if you crossed it, you would go downwards to god knows what, possibly to your death.

4. About having to spend a lot when going on a tour.  
Let me tell you something that happened.  I contacted a popular tour agency in Batanes to inquire about their tours.  Finding out that it's too expensive, I stopped communicating with them and went on looking for a cheaper deal.  Thank God that our Nanay Cita of Nanay Cita Homestay offered me a price I cannot turn down.  She gave me a third of the price of what an individual would pay compared to the original well known tour that I first inquired on.  Talking about that travel agency, upon arriving at Batanes airport, I was surprised to see my name on a list of names that I assumed booked tours on the agency.  Of course I didn't approached them because I didn't have business with them.  To add more to my shock, a couple of their representatives barged into the homestay where I was staying and asked me, or more like interrogated me, if I was still interested on getting on the tour with them, and that I was missing on a great deal, all these in front of Nanay Cita.  Needless to say they were rude, shady and they're giving me all sorts of feels that I really don't need and deserve especially when I'm on a family vacation.  I just graciously declined their offer and they both went off, leaving me and nanay and my mom puzzled and shocked.  Let's just say that was the only time that I felt insulted for inquiring.

Now when I'm not for one who would destroy a reputation, I just feel that it's important for a blogger to tell the truth and not mislead people.  This is what I know as the truth and I hope people would have a better time and a memorable trip, memorable for all the right reasons.

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

DIY Davao City Tour: Walking in the Heart of the City

Davao's tourism has long been booming, but only when the new president  Rodrigo Duterte who is a strong political figure in the city, started promoting about the safety and beauty of the place, the number of tourists have skyrocketed in an all time high, leading to fully-booked hotel rooms and sold out flights. I highly suggest booking your hotel in advance through online booking sites like Traveloka, otherwise you may not find a place to stay when you arrive.

For starters, the best way to see Davao is to explore  the heart of the city on foot.   The center of the city is where many prominent landmarks are located close to each other, such as the City hall, the Rizal Park, Quezon Park, the Davao Museum or Museo Dabawenyo, San Pedro Cathedral, and a popular accommodation, Grand men Seng Hotel, which is gaining popularity because it has been featured to be one of the places where Rodrigo Duterte, during his mayorship, would hold lunch meetings with his constituents.

After going around these landmarks, you could start walking down the San Pedro street, where you could find an array of stores selling cheap items,  from clothes, fake DVD's, cellphones, toys and just about anything.  It's pretty much the  counterpart of divisoria in Manila.  Also if you're feeling a bit hungry, you could indulge on siopao ( Chinese meat bun), and lomi (noodle soup), at Kusina Davao, which is one of the oldest restaurants in the city.  Right across it is My Hotel where many tourists who are looking for a cheap and decent place to stay within the city.   Another budget-friendly option is Las Casitas Inn, located along J.P. Rizal Street.  The place has a pretty homey vibe and the room has all the basic amenities that any budget traveler would need.

Okay so maybe by then you're feeling a bit tired, and worn out from walking and you want to have a blast of aircondition to awaken your spirits, don't worry because just few minutes ahead is JS Gaisano.  The mall is one of the first malls in Davao city thus it's small and a bit beaten down, however davaoenos still visit it because it offers cheap and fair quality products which would run from clothes, toys, make up and the likes.   It's pretty much a haven for budget shoppers.

To continue the last leg of your tour, you may want to walk for about 5 to see People's park, one of the biggest and grandest park, which showcase the murals of our National artist kublai and the beautifully landscaped endemic plants.  Drop by here early in the morning for a free zumba class or just have a quick sprint around the park.   At night, you'll see a play of lights and water along the fountain area.

To cap your tour, why not hit the Pasalubong center located just outside the park.  There you could find different kinds of trinkets, native wallets, Davao t-shirts, and even durian and durian candies,  which Davao is also famous for.   One standing brand is Lola Abon which has really chewy, creamy and soft durian candies, a far cry from the regular durian candies that we have known.
If you get lucky, you could also score a free viewing in Cinemathique, which features local movies made by promising film directors in our city.

So that's it, guys. This is an insider's guide of Davao city, one that I would suggest any tourists to do.  There are much to see and do, but this is my go-to guide for anyone who would want to explore the city on foot.  Some landmarks are quite far from each other that's why I suggest this because tourist areas are closer to each other, and thereby are more practical and worth going to.

Publisher: Shy - Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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How to get Traffic the Fastest and Easiest way

After almost 5 years of blogging casually, and a few months of doing it seriously I have found 1 simple way to increase my traffic dramatically and no, it doesn't involve SEO.

You'll be surprised how simple it is and obvious yet only a few number of people are tapping into it.  You might want to ask what is it by now.  Well friends, it's just our good old Facebook groups.

That's it.

What I did a few days ago was I joined all if not most facebook groups that are related to my niche.  And damn was I surprised as to how engaging and helpful these groups are.

What are the Benefits on joining Facebook Groups:

  • affiliate opportunities
  • increase traffic
  • blogger collaborations
  • link exchanges
  • get followers on different social media
  • guest posting opportunities
  • wider network of bloggers around the world
  • assistance/support from bloggers who have 'done it'

How to JOIN Facebook Groups:

1. Type "keyword" in search box. The keywords I use are 'travel blogging', but to view more facebook groups, try varying keywords that are under your targeted niche, examples for me are 'female bloggers', 'travel blogging female',  'philippines travel blogging'.

2. Click 'See all results for "keyword" appearing at the bottom of the drop down box to view all groups.

3. Join as many groups as you want to.

Here are some facebook groups that I recommend:

For Filipino bloggers:
Philippine Blogger Support Group
The Bloggers Association of the Philippines
Global Filipino Bloggers
Pinoy Bloggers
Proudly Pinoy Bloggers
Blogapalooza Bloggers
Ask Pinoy Bloggers
Filipino Writers and Bloggers Community

Filipino Travel bloggers:
Travel Bloggers Philippines
Travel Bloggers Southeast Asia

For Travel bloggers:
Travelmate Bloggers
Travel Bloggers Network
Travel Bloggers United
Travel Blogger Link Swap
Female Travel bloggers

For Bloggers:
Blogging Paradise
Bloggers Worldwide
Bloggers corner
Blog + Biz BFF
Bloggers Community
The Bloggers Exchange

As I am trying to understand social media marketing more and more, I have come to realize the power of community and groups.

Now you'll notice by now, I don't really write long posts because I believe that time is precious.  I'd rather you use your time implementing my suggestions, than read on my rant regarding my 'story'.  I know what you want, I'll try to give it to you and that I think is the most practical way to go about things.

Here's a final take away:

It is always great to stay active on fb groups that have really engaging users, because as you all know, not all fb groups are created equal.  You'll see more results from those pages than on any pages you've joined.

I also suggest to schedule posting on these groups on a regular basis so you'll get continuous flow of traffic to your blog.

Happy blogging y'all! :)

Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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4 Crucial Things to Consider when Planning Travel Itinteraries

Everyone has his or her own reasons why they travel.  Some people travel to experience another culture, some people travel to be alone for awhile, some people want to break free and experience the pleasure in life. No matter how grand or banal your reasons may be, sometimes we forget it when we start planning our trip.  Here are some pitfalls that people forget during their plans.

1.  Remember your reason for travel and align your plans around it. 
Some people stack their itineraries with activities when all they wanted is to find themselves.  Yes experiencing fun things are great but you miss out on the chance on some real deal introspection.  And just because you are trying to find yourself, you would lock yourself in your room.  It is a matter of balancing these activities and making sure you are able to find what you have wanted to find in the trip.

2. After finishing your plan, honestly ask yourself if you are willing to do what you have set out to do.
Sometimes you are not so serious about your plan that you didn't even plan out on how to succeed in it.  You just have a general idea on what you want to happen.  When you're not planning, don't expect to succeed much.  Commit, dedicate and accept what you have set yourself to do.

3.  Think if you are fit enough to do them.
Stop scheduling activities back to back or else you'll find yourself exhausted.  If you are determined to tick out on activities that you want to experience, you have to physically train your body for activities throughout the day.

4. Ask yourself on how to make it extra special.
You don't want to have the same experience like what other people in the blogosphere had.  There are ways and means to up the ante on making moments extra special.  One is by combining 2 things or 3 things that you are planning to do.  For example, if going around in Vietnam and experiencing it at the same time are the main activities you want to have, then why not join a food trip tour that goes around in bikes.  Or if you wish to see aurora borealis in Iceland and also to experience dipping in their white spa, why do them at the same time.

Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

#FreeTheJoy with Limited Edition Cadbury Dairy Milk Christmas Flavors

Oh my gosh! I am feeling the Christmas spirit you guys! 

Can I just say how excited and over-the-moon I am that the 3 SUPER OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD limited edition variants of Cadbury Dairy Milk are already back in the market?

I CAN NO LONGER WAIT to get my hands on these goodness!

If you have not tried them, please do, because these will totally change the way you see chocolate.  These sexy, yummy, rich and delicious chocolate variants are NOTHING like any other chocolates out there!

I'll stake my honor, my life, my reputation, and my presidency, I mean, my womanhood on it. [taga-davao din ako kaya stake din ako nang stake!]

They are SO GOOD that you could give them as gifts this coming Christmas season or even in any special occasions.  As a matter of fact, I am already thinking of whom I'll be giving these to, just in case they haven't tasted them.  I wish they haven't so I could personally introduce them to this higher level of deliciousness and maybe they'll be so grateful to me that they'll give me a fantastic gift in return (wink wink Ninja moves ya'll).

I'm sure they're going to love it!!!

First let me introduce you to Cadbury Dairy Milk Black Forest.

If you guys haven't tasted this, then you should because you are missing out a LOT.  The first time I tried this, my eyes popped out, and my mind exploded and that was it.  I was in love.  This has everything I wanted and more.  The citrus flavor of the chewy cherry jellies inside and the cherry popping candies (for the lack of better term) are just mind blowingly good.  The cherry flavor cuts through the rich and milky velvety taste of the Cadbury Dairy Milk that we know.  It totally balances out the flavor.  The yin and yang.   It's so good it's going to take you to nirvana.  So please for the sake of the god of chocolate and all things good in this world, do try this and you'll know why I'm going loony here.

This Blackforest variant is perfect for my sister.   She's a yin and yang of all sorts.  She's hot and cold, she's yes and she's no, she's in and she's out, she's up and she's down.  But I'm sure once she gets to try this, she'll not have 2 sides on this one. She'll be all in too like I am.

Next, is the Cadbury Dairy Milk French Vanilla.

This is something I haven't tasted before but I am setting my evil chocolate-lusting eyes on this one.  I will be waiting on the supermarket's shelves like a thief in the night, like a hungry vulture, like a chocolate-lover which is what I am and, darn it, I am not ashamed to admit it!  

Why the anticipation you ask?  


I tell you why.  

Deep inside this chocolate case is an oozy gooey wonderful layer of French Vanilla 
I know right.

I haven't tried this yet, but just the thought of it, just the mere thought of it drives me to the edge of my mind.  Okay, I need to take a pause to keep myself together because that thought of it, ugh, shatters me

It breaks my heart why I don't have it now. huhuhu

This is for my partner because I am addicted to him as I am addicted to the thought of this variant.  I'll be dreaming on this in my sleep for now.

And last but definitely not the least, the Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Mousse.  

I am going to cry.  Literally.  I am a chocolate afficionado, and Cadbury Dairy Milk just did the best thing for humanity by combining the 2 things that make this world smile: chocolate mousse and Cadbury Dairy Milk bar.  Let me describe to you this miracle.  When you see this, it looks like your regular Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar.  But wait, there's more.  When you bite it, guys, there's some friggin chocolate mousse inside it!!!

WAHHHHH  [and doing my happy dance]

So soft, so decadent, so want it, so much.  Huhuhu

This suits my friend, Ivy.  She's good inside and out.  She's tough on the outside but really soft in the inside, but both are perfect. Just like this heaven sent right here.


So I guess I have probably creeped you out already.  I just cannot contain my happiness.  Cadbury Dairy Milk is killing it y'all.  It's slaying other chocolate brands out there by releasing these masterpieces of variants.

These are definitely Cadbury Dairy Milk's gift to the world.  These 3 amazing variants send a fleeting message in my heart saying - I LOVE YOU!

Well Cadbury Dairy Milk, I LOVE YOU MORE!

Cadbury Dairy Milk Black Forest, Cadbury Dairy Milk French Vanilla, and Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Mousse are available in 180g packs for a suggested retail price of P180.00. Hurry and get all flavors – available until supplies last! #FreeTheJoy this Christmas with Cadbury Dairy Milk! 

Publisher: Shy - Friday, October 21, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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3 Smart Ways to Pack for Travel

I always pack light and I pack what's needed.  

On the other hand, my friend doesn't.  One time, she brought 3 big bags full of clothes with her for our trip to Bangkok.  I was surprised she didn't bring her closet. Good thing I've taught her a thing or 2 on packing.  This post is what I told her and more.  These are my smart tips on how I I pack for my travels.

First is the obvious and that is I take notice on the culture and the climate of the place.  If you'll be visiting during winter season, throw in some gloves, jackets, cover ups and what not.  But if during summer, use cotton tops, or any clothes that's made of light materials.  I don't really bring jeans with me when I travel. It's just too bulky to pack.  That's just my preference though.

1. I plan per day base on the itinerary 

So if the first day would involve touring around an open field or just visiting museums, I would bring a tank top and shorts (if it's allowed), or any cotton top and leggings or a full dress.  If it involves going to the beach, of course bring in the extra towels, the mats, etc.  Aside from clothes, I plan the toiletries, documents, food, snacks, tools, essentials that's needed for the day.  Once day 1 is done, I move on to the next day.  This is what I do so that I don't get to miss out on anything.

- when planning I make sure I don't wear the same style of clothes on consecutive days.  Let's say I packed a top and shorts for the 2nd day, the next day I'll wear a floral dress.  Also I plan it depending on where I'll go.  When I went to visit historical museums and heritage houses with my family, I wore a vintage style dress to be ''one" with the place.  I'm dramatic like that.

- I also bring an extra smaller sling bag with me that I could use everyday to carry my passport, cp, make up, and wallet.

-Here's my rule of thumb.  I use sleepwear twice.  So if I have to spend 4 nights.  I'll bring 2 sleepwears.  I prefer to bring slip ons or dress so it's just 1 piece.  Also I bring 2 extra tops especially if I'll be doing an activity that I may sweat.  The sleepwear1 would be placed under set of clothes1, sleepwear 2, would be under set of clothes2.  I don't like wearing the same sleepwears on 2 consecutive nights.  Again this is just my preference.

- when wearing a closed shoes, don't forget to bring 3 pairs of socks.

2. When I'm set to pack, Í strategically group together pieces so its easier to get.

I fold a clothes for the day with underwear in it already.  I put things in compartments and organizers.

 3.  Strategically place the clothes in order of usage.

I place the set of clothes that I'll be wearing for the last day, at the bottom of the bag, and the last, which would be on top will be for the clothes on the second/first day.  If you're using a luggage, you could arrange it from right to left, or left to right.  The towels, extra clothes, and sash right beside the set of clothes for the itinerary. The slippers,  toiletries are placed on the sides, with its own compartments or bag. Chargers and documents I placed in compartments with zippers outside the bag for easy access. Snacks, cp charger, make up bag, glasses, wallet, candy, moisturizer, alcohol, tissue, sash I'll bring with me in carry on bag.

Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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19 Extremely Helpful Things to Know before going to Hongkong

1.  Don't bring a lot of clothes  
Buy it there instead.  There are plenty of great deals out that you might not be able to resist.  Go to Mongkok and you'll understand why.

2.  Know what you want to experience and focus on those instead of ticking all items and squeezing everything in the itinerary  
What will happen is you'll the end up not following it.  You'll miss out on the better stuff and got the ones you never really truly enjoyed.

3. When in the escalator, stay on the right side when you are not in a hurry, the left side is for those who are. 
This is not the thing in the Philippines so when I was there I was scolded by a local because I was blocking her way as she was wanting to pass through.  There's a sign on there, but I never get to notice it much before the incident.  As a fast learner, I was able to comply thereafter.

4. Boots are great, but it's better to have a shoe wear that are comfortable.  
Looking good is important but you'll realize in the end that it'll not going to be fun after awhile of walking on it.  Do try to choose slippers or shoes which have cushion at the bottom.  Comfort reigns supreme.  And when wearing some type of shoes, don't forget to wear socks.

5. You'll not be figuring out the train system at first, and maybe even on the 2nd day.  
You'll get by soon enough, don't worry.  What makes it confusing is that there are too many people passing in different directions and there are too many signage to follow that it's easy to get confused.

6. There are things you could enjoy for free, but make sure you've got yourself covered on the miscellaneous expenses. 
In my other posts I have enumerated things that you could do for free.  I didn't even bother putting everything on there as I may just overwhelm you (as if 19 things is not enough).  A smart traveler always bring extra money, just in case.

7. In fastfood chains, throw your trash at the garbage and place it neatly on top of the stacked trays.
It was just on my second trip to McDonalds that I was able to catch up on this.  I was with a fellow filipina on my first one.  Since I was too preoccupied chatting with her, I wasn't able to dispose my leftovers and left it behind on the table.  On my second trip though, I was alone so I became observant and noticed locals, some expats and tourists cleaning up their trays and stacking it up with the rest.

8.  Know your eating etiquette.  
You might be traveling alone, eating with locals or just eating with a friend, it doesn't matter, you have to do what the Romans do.  You have to adjust accordingly so as not to offend anybody around you. Here are some tips here.

9. Just because Hongkong is a safe place it doesn't mean that you throw all the cautions out of the window.  
I've read that there are still some crimes happening. So precautionary ways should still be followed like not going to seedy places at night especially when alone.

10. Hongkong is small, but it doesn't mean you can already go around everywhere in one day. 
It's too diverse to be only enjoyed for 1 day.  There are the beaches and the hills, the fishermen village and the skyscrapers, the buzz during daytime and the craziness and awesomeness at night time.  It has plenty of experiences to offer.  Surely you can't fit it in a day.

11. It's easy to find your way around the streets as they are labeled properly.  
But if for some reason you get lost, you can always ask someone, preferably hotel staff, store staff etc.

12.Be aware of the scams happening.  
There are currency exchange staff and taxi drivers who could rip you off.  Just be wary.

13. Gentle hand shakes when meeting someone new.  
Remember gentle.  In business, a firm handshake is advised as it means confidence, but we should set that aside for other days, that and patting, hugging, pointing with fingers or mouth.  When pointing, point with your hand instead.  Check here for more info.

14. Don't forget to bring the essentials.  
During the colder season, don't forget to bring chapstick or else your lips would be cracking from the cold, if it's summer season, bring sunscreen.

15. Purchase your octopus card.  
It's pretty much essential to have one.  So don't be surprised that another travel blogger is preaching about this again.

16.  Hongkong is slowly becoming the Dubai of Asia. 
It has the tallest hotel (Ritz Carlton) and the biggest floating restaurant (Jumbo Kingdom) in the WORLD.  It also has the world's largest permanent Light and Sound show , the world's biggest clock and watch fair, and is now building the World's biggest Gold vault and trading hub.

17. There are free walking tours that you can choose from.
This was something I wasn't able to take advantage of.  Here are the options available: hk free walk , freetour and the hongkong free tours.

18. You might be approached by people randomly and may try to be friends with you. 
Be careful, they may be up to no good.  I was approached too many times by Indian nationals in many places I've went to.  Best to be friends with people in your guesthouse instead.

19.  Public toilets are open 24 hours.
These are cleaned every two days.

Publisher: Shy - Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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15 Awesome Things You Could Enjoy in Hongkong for FREE

If you are planning to visit Hongkong, and you want to enjoy it the best way you for free, then you have come to the right place.

First things first

Go to Visitor's station.  It's a kiosk in the airport where there are a lot of tourist maps for the taking.  Get one for free and there will be tourism staff who could recommend you of some places for you to check out.  There you'll see all the things you could do during your stay.  Please don't miss out on this as it became very helpful for me. I believe that there are some Visitor's stations in major landmarks in Hongkong since I spotted one in Sky Peak although I got my copy at the airport.  You could book tours with them.  Some are free and some aren't.  You could find them at the airport in the address below:

Address:Buffer Halls A and B, Arrivals Level, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau Island
Opening hours: 8am-9pm daily

You need to book your tour in advance at Visitor's Station.  As far as I know, there are no tours given English (only Chinese), but if you don't mind that then good.
Chinese Museum

2.  Flag Raising Ceremony at the Golden Bauhinia Square

This happens from 7:50 to 8:05 am.  If you're curious to see anything of this sort.  You might want to check it.

3. Symphony of lights

You could find this in Kowloon along Harbour bay.  Scheduled to start at 8pm, try to look for a nice location since a flock of tourists will be there as well to enjoy it.

Symphony of Lights

4. Tai Chi class at Sculpture court in front of the Hong Kong Museum

Go there around 8am so you could experience everything from the start.  It's available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and it's said to last for 4 hours.

There are street performances in Mongkok area.  If you get lucky you could get to witness them for yourself.  Street performances could range from Kung fu and jazz performances.

street performers

6. Old and New HK walk tour

Before you do this you have to have a background on each landmark for you to appreciate it more.  I suggest you walk closest to the buildings than the street as people don't like you blocking their way.  They like to walk fast here, I don't know why.  What I did is copy the itinerary for walk tours and just did it myself.

7.  Sai Kung Beach 

I've heard a lot of housemates recommending me to go there.  As a solo female traveler, it seems an odd location to visit.  I don't know, it makes me feel sad thinking about me sitting in the sand and just staring at the sea.  It's such a melodramatic sight.  But if it's your thing then go right ahead.

Sai Kung Beach, Hongkong

8. Fishermen village

Going here costs a bit but when you're already there, you would get to see the other side of HK.  It's a totally different and low key environment.  
Tai O Fishermen Village at Lantau Island

9.  Witness the party area of HK at Lan Kwai Fong

See bottles everywhere, and people getting drunk.  It's exhilarating and interesting.  Best to enjoy it with new friends and party the night away.  As for my company, we just passed by there, took a selfie and drank some place where it's peaceful.

Party at Lan Kai Fong

10.  Flower, fish, ladies and bird market  

You can access all these in one walkin
g tour.  Start at King Edward MTR station, go through these markets and work your way out of Kowloon's shopping center.  You may check your guide here.

11. See the Jumbo Kingdom, the world's largest floating restaurant lit at night Aberdeen Harbour

It's the biggest in the world, so why don't you pay a visit, even when you don't plan to get inside.  Just outside would be fine.  Best to enjoy it at night when it's all lit up, smiling at you like a humongous firefly.

Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant
12.Visit Museums  
Here is a list of museums which are free every Wednesday. the Museum of Art, Museum of History, Heritage Museum, Science Museum, Space Museum, Museum of Coastal Defence and the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum. The Flagstaff Museum of Tea Ware, Hong Kong Railway Museum, Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum, and a handful of folk museums are free of charge on every day, as are the exhibitions at the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Hong Kong Arts Centre.  For more information do check here.

13. Go to art galleries  

Hongkong has a vast array of art galleries that you could check for free.  Do see the list here.  Each has different open hours so please be mindful of these if you wish to visit any of the galleries.

art gallery in Hongkong

14.Go up the Ritz Carlton and check the magnificent few of HK at night.  

You don't really have to spend a dime to enjoy the view.  But if you want to stay a bit more, then you might have to shell out some money for drinks and what not.  Go up to the 118th floor where the bar is.  Take note, it is the highest in the world. so feast your eyes on some world class scenery. 

Ozone Bar at Ritz Carlton

Hongkong has plenty of these spiritual places.  You could get inside, get a feel of the atmosphere and ambiance, or pray if you wish.  But please limit or refrain from taking selfies and photos of the place inside especially when people are praying.  

Man Mo temple

Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

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5 Helpful Tips for a Stress-free Photoshoot in Intramuros

Photoshoot Intramuros

So you are already set for a photoshoot in Intramuros.    It's not enough to bring yourself and your camera with you.  There are some things on the side that you have to do so everything would go smoothly as planned.  Like we all know, preparation is the key to success.  So let's make this photo trip a successful one by not forgetting these 5 essential things.

1. A checklist.  

Sometimes it doesn't hurt to be OCD once in a while if it means having a great shoot.  List down all the essentials, from the extra lenses, permit, down to the blush on and lipstick.  And please bring tissues, and oil blotters because the oil and sweat glands would start kicking in as the day gets hotter.

2. Assign a time checker.  

Yes, time flies by so fast that you wouldn't notice that an hour has already passed and you haven't gotten your perfect shot yet.  Someone in the group should be assigned to budget the time accordingly to each 3 places, included in the allotment is the time it takes to move from point A to B, as some places are located far from each other.  He or she is also in charge of reminding the couple and the photographer that it's already 30 minutes, 15 minutes before the time that they have to go and move to the next location.

3.  Know your direction.  

There will be a map of Intramuros provided along with the permit.  Some people are great with directions, but some are not.  Don't waste time getting lost, but instead figure out which way to go or ask for direction.  Time is not our friend here.  In our case, we almost walked past the Casa Manila Patio.  You wouldn't really see it as it is located inside a building.  Good thing we read the sign board outside, pointing us to a pathway towards the patio.

4.  Snacks, umbrella and water.  

Like I said in my other post, food and water are a bit expensive so better bring some with you.  Avoid buying from small stores or sari sari stores because the price is just too high, go to 7 eleven instead.  Don't forget to bring flip flops for the couples, unless they're wearing shoes that are extra comfy to walk on for longer period of time.  If you have a car, then no need for this.  The main idea here is to make it as comfortable as possible for the couples because if they'll feel hungry, thirsty or just in pain, then stress levels would easily go up, which means that it'll take time for them to ease in the shoot. 

5.  Have fun.  

Okay I know it's obvious, but when many odds are against you, then it's easy to make the whole experience a stressful one.  Have a playful and positive mindset.  Have a great music playing in the background if you have to.The more fun it is for everybody, the better the whole experience would be, thus better shots.  

Do you have anything to add on here?  Do share in the comment box. :)

You might also want to read:

6 Places to Have a Photoshoot in Intramuros, Manila
How to Apply Permit for a Photoshoot in Intramuros

Publisher: Shy - Sunday, October 02, 2016
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