Saturday, June 17, 2017

Singapore, journey 2.0

After a month in Bangkok and a month in Cebu, I decided to go back in Singapore.  After two weeks, I had a job offer and while waiting for my visa, I had to travel.  I only had with me a budget of 2 months' worth.  It was difficult to allocate money to all my needs.  It wont be even possible without the help of my friends who have been in Singapore for almost a decade.  Well, I spend most of days in Singapore of either jogging, going to church, watching movies series, but yeah mostly movie series.  I got so bored and my stay in Singapore will have expired soon so I had to go somewhere.

I've met Agne's friends through a badminton game in Pasir Ris.  I found out they're planning to go to Malacca or Melaka.  I thought to myself that would be fun. So I decided to go with them.

The next week, we decided to go to Malacca. Hmmm short trip of this historical place will be full of fun. We went there by bus.  It was not a long journey. I imagined it would have taken us the whole day.  We arrived in Melaka in the afternoon, at it was drizzling.  We were famished to be honest so the order of the day was to look for our hotel and then go on a pig out.  We found Swiss hotel - forgot the exact name but it was not the posh Swiss hotel just an average hotel in  the area.  After finally checking in, we went around the area and found a traditional restaurant.  The call their recipes peranakan / nyonya.  It is a fusion food of the Chinese-Malay and the Portuguese.  Quite interesting how these two very interesting cultures, coexisted and blossomed into a really new and interesting culture.  We enjoyed their spicy food, and filled our hearts with content.  After that sumptuous meal, we were actually tired of the small walk we had so we decided to go back to the hotel, take an hour or two of rest and then later we go out for another walk in this historical place.

After a relaxing nap, we were prepared for the adventure. Haven't I told you, we were avid Pokémon players.  Yes were what you call bugged by the mobile game Pokémon - a Japanese anime turned mobile adventure which is quite interesting. Since it is a new place, it was an opportunity for us to catch new characters an their evolved counter parts. I was so happy to have caught my first Pikachu.  While playing Pokémon in the streets of Melaka, we also had some stops from one place to the other to actually have a taste of their street food.  Since that was a weekend, the whole Melaka strip was so alive with lots of traders.  Some selling electronics, some fancy gifts, some street calligraphies, drinks of different flavors and ofcourse trying out their street food. One which caught my attention was the hello kitty rides. It was ornately decorated with and painted with bright colors and lights.  

The next day was actually spent again with catching Pokémon monsters.  I was not sure if I went to Melaka to be doing that but it was fun. The game is addictive in fact.  Anyway, we went to church and bought some mini gifts.  We went to their historical sites, remnants of Portuguese outposts in Melaka.  Karen and Joseph, had friends in Melaka so we met them in the mall where we had our lunch.  It was another afternoon of pigging out.  We need to be back to our hotel earlier and since we were going to be late if we commute, Karen and Joseph's friend drove us to the bus stop were our coach was waiting. 

Definitely, I'd recommend Melaka for a short vacation because the trip was short, fun and sweet.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A month in Bangkok

It has been a very long time, like eons I should say, to not have blogged. Hmmm.  Well, I think things are not really the way we want them to be but thankfully it will always be where we can grow and learn.  Last 2016, I left Cebu for Bangkok.  I accepted a job in the city.  I was kind of bored and frustrated in Cebu so yeah, I quit my high paying job.  My managers were asking why I had to resign.  I was doing great, I had good pay raises every year, I made friends and got along with my peers. But I just had to quit. Well one reason was I felt the place was really conducive, I felt boxed.

Last June 9, 2016, I landed in the beautiful city of Bangkok.  It was a strange feeling of excitement and bravado.  I'm gonna start work on a Monday. The company paid for my travel and booked me for a week in a condotel.  Since I have a friend who has been working in Bangkok, I thought that things are going to be fine.

Monday came and a week has ended.  I knew something terrible is brewing.  I felt not up for the life in Bangkok.  I find it inconvenient and I felt lonely in the city.  I like their food though but it was not enough for me to be happy.  I guess, we just need to be honest with ourselves to come into terms of the things which are acceptable or not.  In short, I do not see myself living in Bangkok.  I thought the excitement was what it was, but wasn't ?  I felt like I was having some anxiety and I began to miss home terribly.  Not that I did not do anything about it but I felt like I do not belong.  The people are nice but it was not the place for me.  Then another week came, and I heard through my brother that my dad was hospitalized (again).  That did not sit well with me.  I was a bit helpless and depressed.  So the next work week, I resigned. I booked my one way ticket and left Bangkok.  The company did not want me to go.  They wanted me to be on an unpaid leave and just work part time with them. And I thought it's pointless because I can't concentrate with all the things going on.  Don't get me wrong, even if I stayed in Bangkok for just a month, I actually went to see Bangkok around and also managed to visit Pattaya :)

When I arrived in Cebu, I gave myself few more days to think through about the job I left. The moment I left, that was it so I just made my declaration to my company that I am officially resigning. What a month!  Since I did not have a job and good thing I still have some savings, I decided to travel around.  I went to Surigao and Siargao. Visited a friend in Surigao, went to enchanted river and went to Siargao.  Beautiful places I should say.  Oh my dad was already okay, he was discharged from Chong Hua hospital two days after I arrived in Cebu.  I barred him from eating oily food, salty food - unhealthy food in general.  

In my three weeks stay in Cebu, I started to apply jobs for either Cebu  or in Manila.  The pay and offers were competitive but not what I expected.  So I was up to another adventure. I talked to friends so at least I'd be able to evaluate things better.  So I decided to fly to Singapore! And that's for another post.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting lost in CDO and Iligan

After a day tour in Camiguin, it proved difficult to look for dinner.  I went around the city center and found a small restaurant.  They said Parola is a nice place to dine but then I knew of the place only when there was a couple who went in the resto and that was too late coz I had my first chew of the food I ordered.... After my dinner of chicken curry which was salty, I just decided to call it a night and went to my hotel.  I slept early so I can go to the pier earlier.  I've got this feeling that I'd miss my trip if I'd go to bed late.  And oh, I bought some pastels with me from Camiguin.

The next day was quite fast.  I went to the city center again and asked around how to get to the pier.  There was a van and a jeep and I opted for the jeep.  It looks like a worn out yet sturdy vehicle.  The ride took me for an hour and a half.  It was crazy because the fare was just twenty five pesos.  I did not know which route to take in the pier and obviously did not know which shipping company.  Hahahaha as I have said. I was having this vacation planning to get lost maybe ?  I asked around and found the boat for the trip.  I waited for 30 minutes and off we went to the mainland of Mindanao. The trip was relatively safe.  The weather was awesomely sunny ;)  Quite lucky as the weather was really great.

Going to Cagayan de Oro or CDO was by bus.  I obviously did not know how to or where to go for the bus terminal so I just followed around some couple of teachers whom I've overheard from the jeepney that they are going to CDO for some seminar workshop.  I went along with them riding the three wheeled pedaled vehicle we called trisikad.  It would have been a bicycle if it has two wheels =))  Inside the terminal, there was one air-conditioned bus leaving in an hour and an open nature ventilated bus leaving any minute.  I was a bit scared riding the non-air-conditioned bus but I still had more days so I decided to take it just to be on the safe side and save some cash.  I did not have lunch yet.  I was hungry and I only have one otap with me.  I decided to buy three boiled eggs for 20pesos for lunch ;)  Three boiled eggs weren't enough.  I just had to sustain myself with the water I bought from earlier.  I just slept and went along the rugged ride to CDO.  I woke up once in a while because of some noise or commotion around. It was around 3PM when I got into CDO and found myself in Agora.  That's what they call their bus terminal with some fastfood joints around.  I saw jollibee and I did not hesitate for a single thought and rushed in.  I ordered two pieces spicy fried chicken with rice and coke and also a regular hamburger.  Yum yum yum. Late lunch was amazing ;)  The next thing to do was look for a hotel.  I did not know how to go around the city.  I knew they had a mall called Limketkai and I felt that I might find a hotel around.  I asked around how to get there and fortunately people were genuinely nice.  I took a jeepney going to Limketkai. I stroll around the mall to my heart's content before looking for a place to stay for the next few days.  I went out of Limketkai looking for a hotel and there was one which looked pricey.  I can not afford the place so I walked around and saw an add that there's this hotel called Dmorvies which was 250 pesos for a night.  They had internet, cable and the room was air-conditioned. I do not know how to go there somehow, so I flagged a taxi for 50 pesos.  I went inside the hotel, went straight to the receptionist and paid for a three night stay.  I went up to my room and found it to be really small.  I could not ask for more since I had to save a bit.  Then suddenly I realized I was exhausted.  After fixing my things, I took an hour nap.  The next activity would be to book for the wild water rafting so I asked around my friends to look for some contact numbers.  It was a Saturday the next day and I would want the wild water rafting on a Sunday. I was able to book one for myself at Bugsay.  I did not know where the dowtown area yet so I was in for some exploration.  I went outside and asked around how to go to Xavier University.  There were lots of taxi but I preferred the jeepney.  Luckily, I found Xavier.  Its where Bugsay will fetch me for the Sunday trip.  It was getting a bit dark, and I was hungry.  I walked around and found Gasiano mall.  I had a huge rice meal at Mang Inasal.  Across Gaisano was Centrio an Ayala mall so I went there as well and went on window shopping. My feet were obviously aching from the look walks I had earlier.  I went out of the mall and since I do not know how and which jeepney to ride, I took a cab and flagged for 50 pesos.  I was tired.  I mulled of not going to Iligan but it would mean I missed something a lot so I decided to just get it on.  I slept quite late because of the movie series fringe.  I had to sleep already so I willed myself to bed at around 1am.  Don't get me wrong be worried, there was no incantations needed... lols.

The next day was an Iligan day!  I went out of the hotel quite excited.  I did not know how to go there so I asked the hotel staff what jeepney, which terminal and all that.  I found myself alighting at the wrong place so had to take another jeepney going to the bus terminal.  There was a bus leaving at that moment for Iligan and took my chance. After a good two hours I guess I found myself in Iligan.  The order of the day was to visit definitely Ma. Christina falls.  I do not know how to get there so I bought a liter of water and asked the guy who sold me that bottled water.  He was really informative but it was confusing.  I just decided to take it one at a time.  I found myself in front of Gaisano.  I asked the security guard but he did not know how to go to Ma. Christina falls.  I asked lady and well, I pointed to me the jeepney to ride.  I was so lucky and arrived at the falls just in time.  The entrance fee was very affordable at 45 pesos for non Iliganons which I felt discriminatory but then it was really cheap so I stopped the complaining voice inside my head.  I saw the river run and I was puzzled where's the water falls.  I asked the security guard and he told me to just wait he will have to call the service because the actual falls was situated actually a few minutes away from the garden which was where the service initially brought us.  Oh got so excited to finally meed the water falls.  Indeed I was not wrong.  Upon nearing the falls you could hear the really strong gush of the falls.  You can imagine it as a hundred lions roaring or a herd of wilder beasts migrating.  Well the I saw the falls it was truly magnificent. The sight did not fail me.  It cured the sore feet and aching heels. After spending sometime and cam whoring, I decided to go on another falls  called Tinago, which was nearby.  I took a jeepney again and then a motorbike.  You cant complain really as the fares were inexpensive.  It was called Tinago because when its translated to English it's hidden and really it is.  Be warned that the stairs going down the falls which was hidden from the mountains down was tough.  At times my knees were shaking so I had to stop and rest a bit.  I got a boost when I saw this pregnant woman assisted by her dear husband and an old lady walking up.  Hey I was going down it should be easier as I convinced myself.  I got there finally and the sight is really nice.  The water was freezing cold.  there a lot of people mostly students maybe having their summer vacation.  I just dipped myself along the stony banks.  It was satisfying but then it was really really cold.  I enjoyed the sound of the kids playing around who at some point would climbed up on the sides of the falls and do some somersault.  After enjoying the scenery, it was time to leave for CDO.  I took another motorbike.  Since I saw some buses going to CDO, I did not bother going to the terminal.  I just waited in the street.  I waited and waited and then came this jam packed bus bound for CDO.  I decided to take that bus and squeezed myself in.  It was a bit terrible and really uncomfortable but I was fearful actually not to arrive in CDO at an early time.  I still have to prepare for the wild water rafting the next day.  To my surprise, the bus stopped at the bus terminal.  I transferred to another bus which was air conditioned.  Since I am technically an MBA student at Ateneo, I asked for fare discount ;)   I arrived in CDO just the time it would be night time.  I was hungry so I decided to go to Mang Inasal again to have unlimited rice meal.  It was satisfying :D I also had the gory pork blood stew (dugo-dugo in Cebuano hahaha).  I thought I need to bright my phone for tomorrow's wild water rafting so I had to buy a water proof sling bag.  I found one at ROX. After that, I decided to call it a great day!

The next day was the wild water rafting day.  I went to Xavier University and waited there for almost an hour.  Pick up time was supposedly 7:30.  I arrived there at 6:30 and they picked me up at around 8am. So there, they fetched me and brought us to their office for registration.  I tasked myself to try the hard or advanced rafting even though it was my first time.  Well the ride was fun, informative and really quite an adventure.  It can give you a dose of adrenaline rush especially when you volunteer yourself to sit in front while everyone is paddling for dear life.  There were at least 5 or more challenging rapids and some of my mates fell off the raft.  Everyone was safe so no worries there :)  I was dead tired after rafting for 4 hours.  The trip from Cagayan river to the city center was an hour more so it was exhaustion extra ordinaire.  But it's an adventure not to miss :P  I went to the mall to eat and after that went to my hotel and dosed off.

The next day was my flight back to Cebu.  I just took a van from Limketkai called Magnum going to the airport and suddently I missed a lot about the places I went to for this adventure.  Right now I am planning to go to Siargao or Coron or Batanes :)  Oh I need to win the lottery to go backpacking again to Europe ;)

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”  - Augustine of Hippo