Posts Tagged ‘where are you now’

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35th | Middle Earth

September 4, 2019

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

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First of Summer | Boracay 2019

March 4, 2019

Photo set | Boracay Island

This world-renowned tourist destination was closed last April of 2018 for rehabilitation due to irresponsible tourism and reopened on October of 2018, 6 months after, accompanied with lots of drainage constructions, demolished establishments and investment restrictions.

Side trip from work and even if I was feeling sick, I decided to tag along, just really curious to how this beautiful island looks now.

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Such a busy route, trips to the island are 24/7.

Although there are a lot of construction still going on on the island, it’s generally clean. Haven’t swam in these waters for the longest time as it was infested with algae, it’s like green muck all over.

But now…

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Water is really clear! I certainly took a dip despite the scorching heat and my runny nose.

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White Beach

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I get off days too!

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Puka Beach

There are still lots of tourists coming in but I guess it’s more controlled, no longer congested like before where you walk shoulder to shoulder with everybody else. It’s also really dim and quiet at night now.

Lots of leg room here.

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And of course, the island still boasts of its pretty sunsets.

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No filters needed.

Lots of sneezes but no regrets. Going to the beach was a good idea.

 

xx

DMV

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Holiday | When trying to be a tail

January 5, 2017

Juancho’s day out (Photo set)

DSB | Canlaon

2016 year ender

Best friends are home so — road trip!

My future hiking buddy!

 

2017 starter | 1st road trip of the year

This massive tree is said to be more than 1,300 years old!

And the kids found a new playground.

Great way to end 2016 and start 2017.

 

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Kids’ day out

July 4, 2016

Instead of throwing a party, me, my sister and her husband decided to take the kids to theme parks in Manila for Lily’s 2nd birthday.

 

July 1 – MNL Bound

All set! So many firsts for these kids.

From the airport we went straight to Enchanted Kingdom.

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Nice that we still got to avail of the weekday rate plus government discount plus student discount.

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Happy birthday Lily!

Enchanted Kingdom rates here.

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We had Lily’s birthday dinner at Mandarin Sky complete with birthday cake and Tagalog birthday song (haha).

 

July 2

Mark took the boys to buy car parts up at Banawe and had them try Mamonluk.

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Then we met up with fam for Lily’s birthday lunch,

And went to Dreamplay at the City of Dreams in the afternoon.

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Tired chipmunk (haha).

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Dreamplay rates here.

Sneaked in a couple of slots at the Casino while the kids were playing (lol).

Dinner with fam at Dampa and went home at exactly midnight.

 

July 3 – HOME

Our flight was supposed to be at 5:30pm but was very very lucky to be chance passengers for the noon flight. Yay!

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Such a great weekend! Kids really enjoyed, weather was really good, flight was a bit bumpy but we all got home safe and in one piece. Thank you God, thank you universe and Happy Birthday Princess!

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xx

DMV

 

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Where are you now?

May 30, 2016

Moalboal, Cebu

They say that one of the things you need to do before settling down is travel with your best friends. Well, none of us are settling down (me is a totally different story), we just like doing stuff and going places together, that’s all there is to it. Seascape before summer ends and getting that much needed vacation.

Jobelle, Joyce and Reggie were coming from Manila and taking the last flight to Cebu so me, to avoid waiting for them for too long, took the bus since most of the flights from Bacolod going to Cebu are really early. WRONG MOVE.

Weather was crazy and I swear, I’m never taking the bus again! It took almost 9 hours to get to Cebu! My ass and back was literally hurting from all the sitting.

So anyways, I hanged with my friends who’re in the city while waiting, did some catching up and grabbed me a few beers. Manila flight arrived round 3am (last flight from Manila is 11pm so they were supposed to arrive a little past midnight), I met Jobelle, Joyce and Reg at the airport and we left to go straight to Moalboal. Passed out the moment I got in the car. I think I must’ve been awake for almost 24 hours, don’t ask me why.

Day 1

We stayed at Blue Orchid Resort. The place is really nice with really friendly and accommodating staff.

While me and Jobelle were passed out, Joyce and Reg did some sick drone action. The things you do when jet lagged (lol). All things pretty.

Some sun finally!

Rented a boat in the afternoon and went on to search for Dory. Brought with us some cold beer too. The boat life, the good life.

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We got back to the resort at just around sunset, chilled by the beach and just enjoyed the scene.

Day 2

Joyce and Reg went to see the Whale Sharks in Oslob and left really early while me and Jobelle just hanged by the beach.

When they got back, we went on to do something new: Intro Dive. The things Jobelle make me do.

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Steve, the dive instructor, actually gave us a booklet about diving the previous day which we were supposed to read and answer in advance. Lazy me only got to read it that morning and found it quite confusing. Having to go through all those underwater signs and stuff made me anxious, I wanted out. But when he taught us the basics, it was rather easy. I just did not like all the stuff hanging on my back though. I had to like carry 25 kilos to the shore.

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Down we go…

Then this.

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It was totally different from what you see when snorkeling, this — you get to see super up close. Quite an experience! Felt like singing the little mermaid song. Thanks Steve!

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After dive happy hour!

Kiss from a sea hare. Bill said it squirts beautiful purple ink as defense if it feels like it’s being attacked. Hmmm…how to make it squirt.

Then this amazing sunset. Makes you just want to ditch life and get lost.

Decided to have dinner outside the resort so we took a pedicab to Panagsama. It was rather far.

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It was a strip of food stores and bars. The most popular one being Chili’s. But it was really crowded so we ate at the resto right beside it. I forgot the name of the place but it was empty so we had it all to ourselves, the food was really good, super busog! And the music from Chili’s was loud enough that we could sing and dance to it.

Day 3

Wouldn’t mind waking up to this every day. But then all things must come to an end. Jobelle, Joyce and Reg will be going to Boracay and Palawan after here. If I extend, I might not have a job waiting for me when I get home (haha).

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Went back to Cebu round 1pm, stopped by Carcar to buy some chicharon and checked in at Allure Hotel; went to Ayala to buy some drone batteries and hung out at John’s vape shop. It’s just opened recently, bout 3 weeks ago. Rcos Vape Shop. It’s at I3, where Bean Leaf used to be.

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Grabbed us some dinner at Sugbo Mercado. Lechon, Scallops, Siomai and Tipsy Pops!

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Slow night, no alcohol, just vape and lotsa laughs in between.

And yeah, I took the plane home. I didn’t care that I had to wake up really early to catch the first flight as long as I am not taking the bus.

That’s the majestic Mount Kanlaon, still spewing smoke and ash. Can’t wait for it to calm down so I could climb up this baby.

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Belle, Joyce, Reg, thanks for having me guys! It was awesome!

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Oh, we didn’t buy Bill beer. We have to go back.

 

Photo credits:

Joyce Ubas, Reginald Addae, Jobelle Nepomuceno

 

xx

DMV

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