Royal Princess : My Mediterranean Cruise experience

I mentioned in my July Instabits that my parents took me on a Mediterranean Cruise this summer. This is my 3rd time cruising with Princess and I love them more every time. (Technically it’s my 3rd AND 4th cruise with them since we were on the ship for 2 weeks, so they counted it as two consecutive cruises.) This time I was blessed to be aboard  one of the largest ships in the Princess Cruise line – the Royal Princess.

Our adventure began in Rome. We were greeted  by the Princess Cruise staff as soon as we made it through immigration.

0 (1)

They were very organized when it came to ushering their passengers to the meet up point. Our flight landed at around 7:30am and our shuttle to the port was scheduled to leave at around 9am. Since check in time at the ship isn’t usually until around 11am, our bus gave us a panoramic tour of the city before taking us to the Civitavecchia port, where the Royal Princess was waiting for us. We weren’t allowed to go down the bus during our short tour, but at least we were able to see some of Rome’s famous landmarks in that short period.

0 (2)

0 (3)

0 (4)

0 (5)

It was a 1 and 1/2 hour drive from Rome to the Civitavecchia port. Once we got there, we were surprised to find how quickly we were able to check in and board the ship. Usually it takes us at least 40 minutes.

1 (1)

Later we discovered that there weren’t a lot of us checking in because this cruise consisted of several consecutive cruises. Some people leave after a week, some after two, three, etc. So unlike our previous cruises where there are 3000 passengers checking in at the same time, there were only a few of us who would be taking the place of some guests who left.


This is the first time we’re cruising without my sister, so our room was a little different. Normally we get two rooms with two beds, but this time we had a room with two beds and 2 extra beds. Being the “baby”, I was automatically assigned the top bunk.

1 (3)

The beds were folded on the wall and you have to flip them out

1 (4)

1 (5)

Ta-dah! I can’t tell you how many times I hit my head on the ceiling during our cruise. (Probably the same amount of time my dad hit his head on the underside of my bed.)

I kept my previous cruise cards as remembrance and now I have one more to add to my collection.

2 (6)

You get a Blue card on your first cruise, then you’ll be upgraded to Gold for your next two cruises, two more cruises as a Ruby member then you make it to Platinum. I’m pretty excited about becoming a Platinum member because it comes with 150 mins of free internet for each cruise. Internet on the ship is EXPENSIVE! 200 minutes costs $99, so those free minutes are definitely something to look forward to.


In the beginning we didn’t have internet access but fortunately a lot of the towns we went to were generous with their wifi and we were able to go online for a few minutes every day. My dad took this photo of my mom and me checking Facebook in Heraklion Square.

As I mentioned earlier, this counted as two cruises, so on our second week onboard, I got upgraded to a Ruby member😀


It’s actually an interesting story how I got upgraded. My card got demagnetized (it happens sometimes) on our 7th day on board, which supposedly marks the end of the first cruise. So the following day, I went to the Passenger Services desk to get a new card issued. I gave them my gold card and the lady went to the back to get me a new card. When she returned, I was surprised when she handed me a ruby card! That’s when we learned that our second week on the ship counted as a new cruise. Cool!

Continue reading

INSTABITS : July 2016

July was an exciting month for me. It was perhaps one of the most memorable four weeks of my life. I attended a wedding, a birthday, a graduation party, ate lots of food and most importantly – went on a Mediterranean cruise. This month was packed with so many adventures so I should warn you that this is a photo-heavy post.

My dear friend Moy had her church wedding this month. She and Ige flew in from Australia to share this special moment with friends and family. Congrats guys!

Aprille handled the flowers and church styling so after the ceremony the girls and I stayed behind to help her disassemble the displays.

Fun with flowers😄


Camille took this picture of me pretending to be a bride. *Someday my prince will come* If you see him feel free to send him my way😄

Brinky’s youngest brother graduated college this year and we were all invited to his graduation party. We spent the evening pigging out and drinking salty margaritas (c/o Camille)😄

Sir Taps, Dustin and I went to Nuvali one afternoon to unwind and do some shopping

We grabbed some shakes at Detoxify Bar and Sir Taps took this photo of Dustin and me.

For dinner we had some ramen/udon at a Japanese restaurant in Calamba

It’s been years since I last owned a pair of white sneakers so Dustin helped me pick one out while we were in Nuvali. I absolutely love them! I wore them for the majority of July :D

I finally tried this mask I ordered from Althea. It’s supposed to be a peeling mask so I was initially disappointed when I didn’t notice any peeling, but I woke up with glowing, moisturized skin the following morning and now I’m a huge fan.

Continue reading

Anime Expo 2015

Ezra informed me a few days ago that Anime Expo 2016 is this weekend, which reminded me that I haven’t gotten around to posting our pictures and vlog from Anime Expo 2015, eek.

When Kurt heard that we would be visiting last summer, he immediately bought us tickets to Anime Expo 2015. This was only my second cosplay event in the US. The first one was Fanime (read blog entry HERE) which was a lot of fun, but I probably wouldn’t do it again because it was too expensive and we spent SIX HOURS waiting in line just to register. Since Kurt bought our tickets for Anime Expo months ahead we got a big discount. He ordered the 4-day pass, but Ezra and I were only able to go on the 2nd and 4th day. Kurt was able to go for all four days but Ezra and I were in San Diego for the first day for a family event, and she wasn’t feeling well on the third day.

On the second day of Anime Expo, my cousin dropped Ezra and I off at the Los Angeles Convention Center where the event was being held.


The movie Minions was being promoted at the time and I saw this wall on our way over there


We met Kurt at the entrance and he took us to the registration booth. It took us about 5 minutes to register. Did you hear that Fanime? FIVE MINUTES! And it wasn’t just because we went on the second day so there were less people – we went on the 2nd day of Fanime too and it still took us 6 hours. (The people who went on Day 1 told us it took them 7 hours)



Check out that crowd! The venue was huge, but there were a lot of people who went so it still got pretty crowded.





Anime Expo 2015 was sponsored by Com2Us, which made me pretty happy because I was obsessed with Summoner’s War at the time.

One of my favorite things about Anime Expo were the cosplay sets. The organizers had a bunch of sets in one room where we were free to take videos/photos



They had all sort sort of sets, including a Japanese garden, bleachers, cherry blossoms, space ship, rooftop and a classroom. We weren’t able to go on all of them because some had really long lines. The photo above was actually taken on Day 4 – we went really early so we could have a better chance getting a turn.

We saw lots of cosplayers and photographers making use of the different sets:



Continue reading

Japan Day 9 : Osaka Castle and Sumiyoshi Shrine

It’s been over a year since our Japanese cruise and I still haven’t finished blogging about it. But I’m finally down to my last entry.  Our final stop was Kobe, which was where we said goodbye to the Diamond Princess. Our flight back to the Philippines wasn’t until that evening so we signed up for one last tour that day, one that would take us around Osaka


Here we are at the Princess Theater getting briefed for our tour before getting off the ship

At the port, we looked for our tour bus which would take us to Osaka.


We had two stops that day – Osaka Castle and the Sumiyoshi Shrine

On our way to Osaka I took a few photos from my window seat:





Our guide pointed out the NHK building, which is a broadcasting corporation in Japan. (Sort of like our GMA and ABS-CBN)

Soon we arrived at our first location – Osaka Castle

IMG_5533a (1)

That’s not the castle, but it is pretty. This is the moat around the castle (I think).


We saw this little fella swimming in the water

IMG_5533a (3)

Ezra and me. Again, that’s not the castle behind us


One of the many gates we had to pass through

Continue reading

Vlog : Holidays 2015 + Canon Vixia Mini X

I just realized that I never shared this video here on my blog. Probably because things were a little crazy during the holidays. Anyway, these are just random clips I took over the Christmas break using my new Canon Vixia Mini X. I decided I needed a vlogging camera with a screen and better audio, so I asked Ezra and Kurt to buy this for me. Luckily Ninang was scheduled to visit the Philippines so she was able to bring it with her just in time for our family’s Thailand trip.

You’ll also see lots of footage with my bunny, Mochi in this video. I got him around November so he was still pretty new to the family in this video. (And back then we thought he was a girl, so I kept referring to him as “she”.)

Week 15/52 : As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters

I’ve fallen behind on this project again, as well as on blogging. April is almost over and I haven’t gotten around to editing my March Instabits entry yet. Things have just been crazy these past two months. I had two uncles die, one month apart. My Tito Rey lost his battle with cancer last March 6, and my Ninong Rey (yes, they had the same name) died on April 17 due to a massive heart attack. These past two months have made me realize how short life really is, and how we should treasure every single moment. Of course we’re all very sad to have lost two great men in our lives, but we are comforted by the thought that their sufferings are over.

It’s pretty common tradition for family members to release white balloons during a loved one’s funeral, as a symbol of letting go. I suppose the balloons represent the deceased’s soul rising up to heaven, which was the inspiration behind this image. This may not be my best photomanipulation, and it looks very similar to some previous manips I’ve done in the past, but I would still like to dedicate it to my two uncles who are now watching over us. Goodbye Tito Rey and Ninong Rey. We miss you, but we will see each other again.

White balloon stock :

Quote in the title is by Seneca

Hong Kong 2016

As I mentioned in my Hong Kong Disneyland blog entry, some colleagues and I went to Hong Kong a few weeks ago to attend a conference on Key Engineering Materials. The last time I was in Hong Kong was back in 1994, so I was pretty excited.


The conference was organized by the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT) and was held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai



Here’s a group photo of the participants that my dad took. He dropped by the conference to pay for the tour just as we were setting up for group photos, so he grabbed the chance to take a shot.  (The conference fee included a one-day tour. Family members of participants may join but they have to pay 50USD per person.)

We didn’t really take that many photos during the conference (I didn’t bring my DSLR, just my Vixia), but here are a couple which are mostly from my phone (and a few from Dustin’s camera)


Morning break tea/coffee with Dustin and Marco


I thought their mugs/glasses were pretty interesting


I wasn’t able to take a decent shot of my lunch but here’s what I had for dessert. I forgot what the jelly thing is called, but the other one is obviously a blueberry cheesecake. It was *so* good. It was really cold when they served it so I felt like I was eating ice cream.

That afternoon we had parallel sessions. Here are some shots I took of Amie, Dustin and Marco during their talks (they were in different sessions).




I love how Marco promoted the Philippines at the end of his presentation (under Sir Marvs’s orders of course)


Marco won an award for one of the best papers in the conference yay!😀

Continue reading