Stopover in Seattle

This day marked the official end our of Alaskan cruise, but we had some time before our flight back to LA so we decided to spring for one last tour before heading to the airport.

We were really sad to have to leave the ship, which had been our home for the past week.  We made a lot of precious memories on the Golden Princess, ones that will stick with us forever.  This was truly a dream vacation, definitely one of the (if not “the”) most magical ones.  This ranks way up on my list of memorable trips, along with last year’s Hawaii trip.


After 8 days, it was time for us to say goodbye to the Golden Princess.  We disembarked via the gangway that we used to board the ship as well.



Goodbye Golden Princess


Thank you for all the wonderful memories

At the port, we found our guide who would be taking us on a short tour of Seattle.  Our first stop was the Space Needle.  On the way there, we passed by several boat houses.


Our guide pointed out this particular one because it’s quite popular among tourists.  He told us that it was the one that Tom Hanks lived in for Sleepless in Seattle.

Soon we arrived at the Space Needle:





 Our guide gave us our tickets and told us to return to the bus in an hour.  Before making our way up to the top, we decided to take a few pictures first:



I took this nice one of Ezra with the Space Needle.  I had a hard time because I didn’t have my wide angle lens with me. I had to kneel on the ground to capture the whole thing in the frame.  In return, Ezra volunteered to take my picture for me. This was the result:


 Can you see my huge smile?  No?  How about this one:


 (I’m so tiny that even my watermark is bigger than me).  Thanks a lot Ez!  (And she had the nerve to complain that she pulled a muscle while taking this shot.)  Fortunately my dad was able to take a decent shot of us


After this we made our way inside to get up to the top.  Ezra and I waited for my mom because she had to run to the bathroom, while my dad decided to go on ahead to save us a spot in line. During that short time, a group of tourists arrived and the line got extremely long



We spotted my dad way in the front of the line.  He was so far ahead that we felt bad about having to cut in front of all those people.  In the end we just decided to just go to the back of the line.  Unfortunately we didn’t realize how slow the line moved. It took us about 40 minutes to get to the front, which left us with just about 10 minutes to explore the view from the top.  To pass the time, I took a few pictures of my surroundings


IMG_3115At least the line had a nice view of the Chihuly Garden next door

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Hello Canada! – Golden Princess Cruise Day 7

We spent most of our 7th day on the ship since we weren’t scheduled to arrive in Canada until later that evening. To keep us occupied, we checked out the different on board activities that the crew had prepared.  We saw that there was an outlet sale at the Bernini Dining Hall so we went to check it out



I mostly looked around but didn’t end up buying anything. My parents bought a couple of souvenirs.

After this, we decided to head over to the Princess Theater where the Head Chef and Maitre D’ were holding a cooking demonstration to promote the ship’s cookbook.



They put on an entertaining show because the Maitre D’ kept teasing the Head Chef during the demonstration. The chef seemed seemed like a really serious person and the Maitre D’ made it his mission to get a rise out of him


After demonstrating a few of their recipes, they called the waiting staff up on stage to introduce them. Jerome, our waiter at the Canaletto Dining Hall, was there too of course.  When the show was over, we were invited to take a tour of the ship’s kitchen.




Very clean, as expected.  I was hoping to see a bunch of cooks preparing food but the kitchen was pretty empty during the tour.  We mostly just looked at the equipment they used.   However, they did have a few culinary art on display



 Check out the details on this watermelon rose



When the tour was over, we made our way back to our rooms to rest


At 6pm, all the passengers who were asked to obtain a Canadian Visa were asked to gather at Vista Lounge .  A Canadian Visa was one of the requirements for this tour since a stop in Victoria was part of the itinerary.  It didn’t matter if you planned on staying on the ship during the stopover, you still needed to have a Canadian Visa because they check everyone’s passports during Day 1.


The reason we were asked to gather at the lounge was to make it easier for the Canadian immigration officers.  The process was simple but it took a while.  We were there for about 3 hours before we were allowed to leave.  After making it through immigration, we gathered at the Princess Theater for our tour of the Butchart Gardens



We signed up for two tours that day, but they had to cancel the Butterfly Garden tour since we were a little behind schedule.  We were reimbursed of course, but it’s still a shame since we really wanted to see it.



 Hello Canada!

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Week 7/52 : Red packets of happiness

Happy Lunar New Year! Despite my self portrait this week, I didn’t get any red envelopes today. But we did have a mini celebration at home. We prayed, burned some incense and Chinese paper, and had a wonderful lunch. I spent most of the day sleeping and playing Summoners War, but I figured I might as well get my self portrait for this week out of the way as well.

Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!

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Week 6/52 : Happy hearts day

(Belated) Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope your day was filled with lots of love, whether it be romantic or not :) I spent my day with family and Ckloy so I know that I was surrounded by people who love and care for me. My aunt and uncle are visiting from California so we took them to Liliw to go tsinelas shopping. The trip was for their benefit but I think I enjoyed myself as much as they did. After all, what girl doesn’t enjoy a good shoe shopping adventure. I ended up buying 3 new pairs of shoes for a great deal. Then, later that evening we had a nice dinner at Palaisdaan, and when we got home, Ckloy and I spent the rest of the night playing Summoners War together. Shoes, good food and video games with the people I love – I can’t ask for anything better than that :D

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Week 5/52 : Lazy days

I love the angelic feel of this image. Thank you to my sister for the idea and for helping me take the shot :) I was trying to come up with an idea for this week’s SP and she suggested that I just lie down on her fluffy dress. It was freshly washed and was lying on the bed so I figured why not.

I’m posting this from work because the internet at our house is really screwed up. I don’t know what’s up with PLDT but for the past week we’ve been having trouble accessing certain sites. Facebook, Gmail and YouTube loads just fine, but I haven’t been able to log in to my Yahoo mail, Flickr and WordPress. We’ve reported it several times already andtwo of their technicians have already stopped by (on separate ocassions) but still no solution. I really hope they fix this soon.

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INSTABITS : January 2015

The first month of 2015 is officially over.  We’re now entering the month of love ❤

Just like the past two years, my first post for the year was a family picture taken on New Year’s Eve. (Which you may have already seen since I also included this in my December INSTABITS entry.)


Raffy wasn’t able to make it to our Christmas lunch because of the flooding in Pansol, but he came over after New Years to spend a week with us.  In this photo he’s concentrating extra hard to beat my score in 2 Cars (which he eventually did and now I can’t beat him).

This month I found a YouTuber who does amazing piano covers of popular songs and shares her sheet music on her website. You can check her out HERE if you’re interested. I’m currently trying to learn how to play her arrangement of All Of The Stars, Thinking Out Loud and Let It Go.

Amie, Dustin, Arvin and Symon came over one afternoon to hang out. We spent most of our afternoon playing Just Dance and Band Hero on the Wii.

Ezra, my mom and I went to San Pablo to pick up a dress and some sewing materials. This was right before the fiesta, so there were colorful banderitas everywhere.

I found this adorable iPod case at the San Pablo market while we were there :)

Ninang visited the Philippines this month, so we went to go see her in Marikina. We picked Ckloy up on the way there. Ezra didn’t like seeing us too cuddly so she kept her hand between us.

Lollipop land at SM Marikina

(Grabbed this photo from Ate Jo’s IG.)  Kurt also visited the Philippines this month. Ezra and I went with his family to pick him up at the airport, and he treated us all to a nice lunch at Saisaki afterwards.

After having lunch with Kurt’s family, we went our own ways for a while to do some shopping. Brinky lives nearby so I asked her to meet me at the mall.  Her whole body was in pain (from going Dragon Boating that morning), but she came anyway :D

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Week 4/52 : There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures

I went on a photoshoot two weeks ago and it inspired me to play around with lighting setups in my photos. I still prefer working with natural light, but I love the control you have when you use strobes. Normally I just use my external flash by bouncing it off the ceiling to add more light when I’m shooting indoors. I very rarely use my flash off camera since it takes quite a bit of effort to set everything up in the right position. I used do that a lot when I first started using an external flash, but after a while I got lazy. But if it will continue to give me results like this, then I should definitely experiment with lighting a bit more.

I did very minimal editing on this photo since I was already happy with how the original shot looked. The main thing that I did was remove the tripod that the flash was attached to. I used one strobe for this shot, which I aimed at the camera. Honestly, I didn’t know how the photo would turn out since I’ve never tried this setup before but I ended up loving the results.

I also really like the quote I chose this week (it’s by James Thurber). Not only does it apply to real life, but it’s perfect for the situation in this photo too. While shooting this, I learned that there’s a fine line between using the light to illuminate the photo and having it completely blow out everything. Even the slightest change in my position had a drastic effect on how the light looked in the shot. It can get frustrating, believe me, but I guess I just have to practice using different setups a bit more.

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