38th | And my August Pt. 1

Here we are again, late in posting as usual. I have to get back to my habit of writing for sure.

This year’s August was memorable. Marks the first time I get away since being locked down by a global pandemic (that just had to happen in my lifetime!) almost 3 years ago.

But first, of course my friends had planned to hang (like how they’ve been doing for the past xx years) somewhere on my birthday and up to the mountains we went.

For those who are new here, I stopped celebrating my birthday when I turned 20 but my friends have since planned to, every year, with no miss 😂, so I started getting away and go on adventures instead [of hassling them]. That until the pandemic hit, and it’s back to how it was but I’m not complaining. I savor these moments with my closest people, the few precious ones.

A week after, we flew out.

Here we are: me, my sister Sarah and Christine checking in to fly to London to visit the Queen (may her soul rest in peace).

Unlimited drinks on board and the crew of Singapore Airlines were just awesome!

After 18 hours, we finally arrived! My 🍑 is squished.

Back story:

This plan to travel to London started last year when Christine randomly mentioned that Coldplay will be touring again and just announced their MOTS World Tour dates. And her being the true-blooded Coldplayer that she is, asked, no cross that out, announced, lets go watch the concert at Wembley! Next thing we know, we’re queuing to buy concert tickets 😂

The concert was not til August 21st as it was moved from the 19th due to train strikes around London, so we had like 5 days to kill.

Day 1

We stayed at Wembley so we are near the event venue and true enough, the hotel we were staying at was walking distance to Wembley Stadium, like literally right around the corner. It was early in the morning when we arrived and it wasn’t until 2pm that we could check in so we left our luggage with the concierge and just roamed around.

Wembley Stadium

Bicester Village for some outlet shopping.

Day 2 | Central London

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben and London Eye

London Bridge

Day 3 | Notting Hill

The place is one big flea market! So many things to buy! We also visited the famous sites from the Notthing Hill movie, it’s not so nice anymore though.

Day 4 | Sightseeing Tour

This package tour (Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath) took one day! The places were outside London City so it took quite some time to get to these destinations.

Windsor Castle

The oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. It was an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen (when she was still alive) and is still very much a working royal palace today, home to around 150 people.

It would have been so nice if we were allowed to take pictures inside the castle, it was like watching historical documentaries in live action, so detailed, the rooms filled with richly decorated interiors, it was just so so beautiful.

Stonehenge

Alien architecture at its finest. Glad to have seen this world heritage in person (hihi).

Bath

The City of Bath was such a mesmerizing view. Clad in Georgian and neo-classical architecture, it was indeed one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to.

Day 5 | Coldplay at Wembley

Finally the day we have all been waiting for, the main reason why we flew 18 hours to London 😂

Music of the Spheres World Tour 21 August 2022

Secured VIP tickets with early entry passes and dude, this was our view! Right beside the bridge of stage A and B.

One of the best productions I have been to so far, the concert was so well organized given attendance was 80K strong, that much people! But there was no pushing, no one cutting in line. Everyone was so nice and friendly and just excited to finally watch Coldplay live!

Awesome awesome experience!

with the most awesome people!

London, England, overall was such a nice experience! The weather was great, the people were lovely, will definitely be back!

Next stop, Paris 🗼 !

Click here ——-> for Pt. 2

Quarantine birthday series | Jyuan’s 16th

Another quarantine birthday. Out of town, out of reach.

(Sooooo sooooo late to post)

Spent the day at Manggapuri Villas to celebrate Jyuan’s 16th last September 2021.

Road trip!

Happy birthday Jyuan!

Birthday Boy

xx

DMV

35th | Middle Earth

Photo set | Northern Island, New Zealand

I stopped celebrating my birthdays when I turned 20 for silly reasons most people wouldn’t really understand. Not that interesting so don’t be curious.

Every year, on my birthday, I leave and go on an adventure and for the last leg of this quarter life crisis, I went to Middle Earth. 12 days full of missed flights, stairs, bottles of wine, herds of cow, flocks of sheep, steak, steep trails, fish and chips, broken luggage, sorting baggage, magnificent views and loads of fun!

Flew Qantas. Flight from Manila was delayed so I missed my connecting flight and was stranded in Sydney airport for a few hours. Booked the next available flight to Auckland. Fortunately, my Wellington flight got moved to a later schedule so I did not miss it. Good thing there was also free booze on board, good enough compensation to the exhausting sprint I had to make to my connection only to arrive to a closed gate.

After 13 hours of flying…

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Arrived in Wellington, finally, to homemade burgers and local beer at my cousin’s house. Yes, my cousin and her husband make their own bread and patties!

Northern Island winter road trip

The places we went to on our 10-day road trip from Wellington to Auckland.

Wellington

My cousin and her husband cooking me up a feast at their new home and what a coincidence that a friend of mine from way back also lives in the same suburb as them! She saw my Instagram stories arriving in Wellington and messaged me. Chance meet up of course and she also brought me 3 bottles of wine haha!

Cape Palliser

Road to Cape Palliser, such picturesque views outside my window!

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We passed by some wild seals too! Stopped by the side of the road and took some pictures of these cuties. Careful enough not to get too close as some curious pups were growling at me haha.

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250 steep steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse despite the really strong winds and without exercise since February…

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…knee-breaking climb to this amazing view!

Mount Victoria lookout

360-degree scenic views of Wellington. Always chasing sunsets.

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Te Papa Museum

Did not finish exploring and will need to go back!

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Weta Cave

When you love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you just have to visit this place. Home of the talented people behind these amazing conceptual designs and visual effects.

Martinborough – Poppies

Passed through this town going to Castlepoint. The town features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the village square.

We stopped here for late lunch and some wine tasting. I am not a wine person but this place is definitely a must go to. Wine and food, superb.

Castlepoint

This small beach-side town on the Wairarapa coast is just beautiful.

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Instagram husband

Dessert Road

Road crossing to Ruapehu district. Landscape of the Northern Island is so diverse. Majority of the road trip, all I see is lush green forests and cattle and sheep ranches. Then we come to this. Both sides covered with low scrublands and snow capped Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe as backgrounds.

Mount Ruapehu

It was snowing when we arrived and first snow fall experience for these kids in the 7 years they’ve been living in New Zealand haha! Pretty winter wonderland.

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Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Parked our car by the hotel. We took a bus up to Mount Ruapehu as the road was very slippery and we did not bring chains.

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Happy, wind-burnt and freezing faces!

Taupo

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Huka Falls

The Huka falls—largest falls in the Waikato river. The flow rate from the water drop of the falls could fill up 8 olympic size pools in roughly a minute. Amazeballs.

Wairakei Terraces

Relaxed in the silica enriched thermal pools as we were dead tired from all the walking and hiking. There is also a walk where you get to experience a recreated Maori settlement, said to have settled some 1,000 years ago, drawn by the thermal activity and the abundance of food. They believed that the hot pools contained healing powers and therapeutic benefits. Amazingly, the houses are so small and considering that most Moari are largely built people.

Rotorua

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu (Māori for sacred waters) is an active geothermal area by the Taupo volcanic zone, some 27 kilometers south of Rotorua.

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Lady Knox Geyser

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Champagne pool

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Devil’s Bath

Whakarewarewa Forest – The Redwoods

Magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees in this beautiful forest.

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Lake Tikitapu is also known as “Blue Lake” because of its gorgeous sapphire waters.

Rotorua Museum

This magnificent structure used to be an elegant spa retreat called the Bath House in 1908 and was later on converted into a museum and art gallery. Sadly, this beauty closed in 2016 for seismic strengthening and remains closed til now.

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August 6th, BIRTHDAY!

Matamata – Hobbiton

Where else to celebrate the last leg of my quarter life crisis but at the lush pastures of the Shire in Middle Earth?

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

I swear we went. They just did not allow us to take photos. According to our Maori guide, the glowworms are sensitive to light and sound which is why they prohibited use of cellphones and cameras and also, said gadgets are expensive and they do not want to be spelunking the caves just to retrieve these.

Grabbed some pictures from Google Images (maybe back when it was still allowed to take photos, I dunno).

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This stunning view is the Cathedral Cavern known for it’s awesome acoustics. Our guide even asked one from the group to sing. It’s been witness to many concerts and weddings too. Photo: Google Images

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We descended the cave and rode a boat in total cold blackness to see the glowworms. This picture is the closest I could find that best resembles what we saw. It was so cool! Like a trillion stars lining the ceiling of the grotto. Photo: Google Images
The only photos we were able to take — exit of the cave and the entrance to the souvenir shop.

What an awesome day! Ate truffle burgers and truffle fries for dinner, lazed at our Airbnb by the lake and downed 2 bottles of wine. Happy birthday to me!

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35th

Coromandel

Cathedral Cove

These familiar scene out of Narnia. Shorter way by boat, Longer way by hike. We took the latter. Even found a few blooms of Sakura. View was worth it.

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Hot Water Beach

An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at this beach, thus it’s name. Visitors can dig large holes and soak in the thermal water.

Hamilton

Disney on Ice

Because we are never too old.

Auckland

Last stop for this trip. Met up with friends who are based here and was so happy they celebrated my birthday with Korean food and ramen!

SEA Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

Killed time and went to the aquarium while waiting for our Korean dinner.

8 Colors of Korean Bbq Buffet Restaurant

Thank you for indulging my Korean obsession!

Sky Tower

It was really nice that the guy by the escalator going up the tower told us to check the skies first before deciding to pay more than $20 and just be disappointed. It was raining nonstop and was really cloudy. We did not go up. We went shopping instead lol.

Last day (huhuhu)

Breakfast at Kreem

Went shopping at Dress Smart and had dinner at Ramen Takara because it’s my last night and everybody knows how much I love ramen hahaha.

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Homebound

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Early morning flight to Sydney, had to leave some things as I was over-baggage (my quinoa and honey), arrived on time in Sydney but they closed one runway and had to stay inside the plane for an hour because no available tube to park. Sprinted (again) to transit and to my gate only to find that my flight was delayed. Seriously Qantas you need to sort your schedules and stop with the tight connections. My feet hurt from running around the airport.

Arrived around 10pm in Manila, stayed at my best friend’s place, was so exhausted fell asleep the moment I went to bed and was snoring. Went to church the next day (thank you LORD for my awesome vacation), had lunch at Soru (always) and flew home to Bacolod in the afternoon.

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And I feel like I’m still hungover.

Thank you to Krissy and Alvin for my room (haha) and for going on this trip with me, Micmic for seeing me in Wellington and bringing vino, Aubrey for meeting me in Auckland, Ching and Patrick for letting us stay at your ginormous place and Ilaine and Bambi for coming out for ramen and dessert. 12 days is tooooo short! I wish I was on vacation 24/7.

Photos from:

Krissy & Alvin of Knotting Wong Photography

My DJI Osmo Action camera (yes I switched from GoPro)

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Bye friend!

xx

DMV

34th | Keeping up with the SObelles

If you weren’t there, you won’t get it.

Spent my 34th with these crazies in breathtaking Siargao.

Photo set

Day 1 | Cebu

And off we go!

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We had to wait for April to arrive from Manila so we killed time at the Casino just across the Mactan Airport.

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Winning! 😎

Literally pigged out at a Yakiniku for lunch

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and chilled at Politics Cafe for the night.

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Day 2 | Siargao

Almost 1 hour plane ride from Cebu to Sayak Airport and we went straight to our first stop for the trip (which is just like 5 minutes away). We booked all our tours with Galatea.

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Kawhagan Island

Pit stop for lunch since eating/cooking and drinking is no longer allowed at the Sugba Lagoon.

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Sugba Lagoon

Very picturesque turquoise waters. Definitely a must see. Nice that when we went, it was not that crowded.

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We left around 4pm to go to General Luna which is like 45 minutes away from the airport and checked in at the Bravo Hotel.

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We had dinner at Harana and at 9PM they cleared the dance floor. Apparently, every night there is a different party at a particular venue. Saturdays are for Harana.

Day 3 | Siargao

Woke up around lunch time and headed off to Kermit. Food is really good, did not disappoint.

And we started our salubong sesh by the beach. Sundays are for Bravo. Super fun night, thank you friends!

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Day 4 | Siargao

Party boat by Galatea. Happy birthday to me!

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Daku Island

Clear blue waters, fine white sand, beer in hand, soaked up the sun. Lovely.

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Birthday lunch 😋

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Corregidor Island

Island is not as crowded compared to the others. You could snorkel and hike here too.

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Naked Island

Toilet break.

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Cloud 9

Regularly rated as one of the top 10 surf sites in the world. Bonus for beautiful sunsets.

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WILD. But we’ll keep that to ourselves.

Thank you universe for yet another year of awesome.

And thank you too to this crazy bunch. Hugs!

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xx

DMV

 

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