Europe 2016 : Santorini and Mykonos

This is another photo-heavy post from the next three days of our cruise last July. In my previous entry (read here) I talked about our visit to Crete, Mykonos and Athens. In this one we explore Santorini, Mykonos (again) and Corfu (again … sort of).

When my dad signed us up for this cruise, one of the places I looked forward to the most was Santorini. I’ve read a lot of blogs and watched several videos of people visiting Santorini on the internet and it always looks amazing, so to finally have the chance to see it for myself felt unreal.

When we arrived in Santorini we had to use the tender service to go ashore

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Hello Santorini

After about a 20-minute boat ride, we made it to solid ground

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We met our guide at the port and she showed us our bus which would take us to our first location. On the way there we spotted several buildings with blue domes which Santorini is famous for:

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As I mentioned in my previous Mykonos entry, we were told that these blue domes indicate that these churches. There are a lot of them not just in Santorini but many parts of Greece because it’s common for rich families to own private churches.

Our first activity for the day was wine tasting. It was the middle of the day and that was apparently the best time to get drunk :p

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We tried three kinds of wine : white, dry red and dessert. Personally I like the white wine the best. The dessert was pretty good too but *way* too sweet.

They served plenty of olives, cheese, and bread there to combat the sweetness:

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There was a view deck nearby so after getting our fill of alcohol we headed over to take some photos

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We could see our cruise ship from there 😀 Hello Princess!

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Our next stop was the town of Oia. When people say “Santorini” this is the place they probably have in mind – the one that appears in postcards and travel photos, the one that has the three famous blue domes. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find the exact spot that would give you the best angle of the three domes, but you can sort of see them in this shot:

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And here:

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(They’re kinda small in the background though)

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Europe 2016 : Crete, Mykonos and Athens

(This is entry has three days worth of photos from our Mediterranean cruise last July, so once again it’s going to be pretty long.)

This post picks up from where I left off where I talked about our adventures in Montenegro and Corfu (blog entry HERE). After Corfu we remained in Greece and explored the island of Crete.

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Based on the brochure they gave us we learned that Crete is the birthplace of Zeus and the Minotaur. Our tour that day consisted of the Knossos Palace ruins and the city of Heraklion (which translates to Hercules City)

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Just like our tour in Naples and Pompeii, our guide utilized these radios so we can hear her from afar. The Knossos Palace is very big and packed with tourists so these were once again very helpful.

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She also gave us a map of Heraklion since we would later have 2 and 1/2 hrs to explore the city on our own.

At the Knossos Palace we mostly saw ruins of the old buildings. It was very large and was estimated to have been built sometime around 1700 to 1400 BC. It was believed to be the center and heart of the Minoan culture during that period.

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Our guide told us that these pillars and fresco of a bull (or was it a minotaur?) is the most iconic symbol of the Knossos palace. I’m not entirely sure why.

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Europe 2016 : Champagne Waterfall, Kotor (Montenegro) and Corfu (Greece)

This entry contains three days worth of photos so it’s going to be pretty long. You have been warned :p

After walking around Naples and Pompeii we were able to take a break because the following day was a sea day. That meant we were able to sleep in, eat a late breakfast and lounge around the ship the whole day. Instead of staying in our room we decided to go out on the 7th floor deck and enjoy the sea breeze.

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My mom brought her tablet so she could watch kdramas while I read The False Prince (Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy)

We stayed there until it was time for lunch. After stuffing ourselves at the buffet we went to the Vista Lounge to attend a talk about Art History.

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Here we learned about the works of Peter Max. I’ve never heard of him before but his art can be found everywhere! You’ve probably seen one of his pieces at one point. His art is often very bright and psychedelic.

After the talk we headed back to our room to nap and woke up in time for the champagne waterfall event that was being held at the Atrium. We’ve participated in other champagne waterfall events on cruises before but so far this is the best photo we’ve gotten. Most of the time they make it really difficult for your companions to take photos of you, so you’re forced to rely on the official photographer and buy the photo from them (which costs about 20USD). But this time the Maitre D’ was extremely nice. He even asked me who was taking my photo and told me to look over there so that my dad could get a good shot of me.

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My parents also had their turn to go up there while I took photos of them

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Thank you so much Generoso!

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It was our first formal night on the ship, and in an attempt to be more glamorous I tried false lashes for the first time. I bought them from the airport on our way over to this cruise. I expected them to fall off halfway through dinner but surprisingly they stayed on the whole night.

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Europe 2016 : Aboard the Royal Princess + Naples and Pompeii

This is a almost a year overdue, but I’ve finally started editing the vlogs and photos from our Mediterranean cruise last July. I don’t know how many vlogs/blog entries I’m going to end up with, but our trip lasted 15 days. So far I’ve been able to finish 6 vlogs (haven’t uploaded some of them yet) from our first 6 days there, but I’m hoping I can fit several days worth of footage into one vlog towards the later part of our trip. This entry contains vlogs #1 and #2 (at the very end) and some photos taken from those days.

Our journey began with a 2-hr flight to Hong Kong, a 9-hr layover, a 13-hr flight to Rome and a 1-hr bus ride to the port of Civitavecchia, where we boarded the Royal Princess cruise ship.

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Here’s my dad and me at NAIA, waiting for our flight

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Hello Hong Kong!

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Once we landed, we had 9 hours to kill before our connecting flight to Rome. We read online that there was an IMAX cinema in the airport so we figured we’d look for it and catch a movie to pass the time.

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We spotted this cutie in our search for the theater

We eventually found it but the only thing showing was Star Trek and we weren’t huge fans so we decided to look around the entertainment center, which was located in the same place

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Finding Dory 2 was released a few weeks before our trip

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Suicide Squad hasn’t been released but they had a lot of promotional materials there

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Chibi Iron Man

(We looked at their aviation exhibit, which was pretty interesting, but I didn’t take photos. However, I did take a lot of short videos which I included in my vlog.)

We ended up just hanging out at the airport, making use of the free wifi until our flight to Rome. Finally, after 9 long hours it was time for us to board again.

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Our departure time was 40 minutes past midnight, and by the time we were at the gate I couldn’t wait to get on the plane so I could sleep. The flight was 13 hours long and I pretty much slept through the entire thing. My mom woke me up for dinner and again for breakfast, but aside from that I was out cold the whole time.

Finally, after more than 24 hours of travel, we made it to Rome 🙂

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Yay!!! My first steps on European soil (err… pavement? … tiles?)

Once we made it through immigration and customs we looked for the Princess Cruises employees.

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We dropped off our bags with them and took a shuttle to the port of Civitavecchia where our ship would be waiting. Since it was still pretty early and check-in isn’t usually until around 11am, our guide took us on a panoramic bus tour of Rome. He didn’t let us get off the bus but he made sure to pass by some of the famous landmarks around the city

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Like the colosseum

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Vlog : Diamond Princess (Singapore – Malaysia – Thailand cruise)

Last February my family and I went on a short cruise. Ezra was in the Philippines for a visit and it’s been a while since we went on vacation together. Fortunately my parents found a cruise that would coincide with her stay.

Here are some clips from our trip. Of course I would make full-length vlogs of each day, but that won’t be up until next year probably T__T

(The music I used is AmaLee’s cover of Historymaker from the Yuri On Ice OST – which Ezra made me watch during this trip :D)

INSTABITS : February 2017

The month of hearts ❤ It was indeed full of love because Ezra and Kurt visited us and finally had their Philippine wedding this month 😀

Ezra arrived first on February 1 and immediately showered me with kisses. She went with me to the office so she wouldn’t succumb to jetlag and end up sleeping the whole day.

She brought all these games for me, yaaaay~ I’ve already finished Until Dawn (which she had to force me to play because I was too scared), Life is Strange and Project Diva X. I’m thinking of starting Akiba’s Trip sometime soon.

Ezra’s first request when she arrived was for me to take her to Seoul Kitchen because she missed their cheese rappoki so much

It’s been over a year since we went on a family vacation with Ezra so my parents booked a short Asian cruise while she was here (watch the vlog HERE). We arrived in Singapore a day earlier (where we would be boarding the ship) so we could explore the Gardens by the Bay 🙂

There were so many colorful plants there!

We had tickets to enter one of the two domes in the park. We had a hard time deciding which one to go to but in the end we chose the cloud forest which was breathtaking.

In Malaysia we saw that McDonalds had lychee ice cream, so of course we had to try it.  Two thumbs up!

Family portrait during formal night of our cruise. The Filipino staff on the ship kept coming up to talk to us because seeing my dad’s barong made them homesick.

Garcia sisters in black and white. (Del Rosario na nga pala si Ez …) The dress that Ezra’s wearing is actually the same one she wore when she got married last year. She was happy to have a chance to finally wear it again.

One of our ports was Penang. We joined a tour which took us to the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Our guide also took us to Lim Wah Thai to go souvenir shopping. Here I am chillaxing with the Lim Wah Thai bears

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Thailand 2015 : floating market and elephant rides

You read the title correctly – “2015”. If you’re updated on my social media posts you probably know that I was in Thailand last December, but this entry is about our *last last* visit, which means it’s over a year late, yikes. I finally got around to editing the pictures and vlogs so here goes.

We left for Bangkok on Christmas day and as usual we stayed at the Indra Regent Hotel:

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I was looking forward to seeing this Christmas tree again last December but Indra Regent renovated and moved their lobby to the 4th floor

Since it was our first time staying at this hotel with only the three of us, we were wondering what room they would give us. During the past two years we stayed here Mr. Bob gave us huge suites, but we figured since there was one less person this year we would probably just get a regular room. So imagine our surprise when the room he gave us looked pretty much like the suite we used to get the previous years:

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We got a two bedroom suite with two bathrooms and a small living room. This is the master’s bedroom

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And the other room with the small living room space

I figured I would be staying in the second room since my parents would want the master’s bedroom (it had a bigger bathroom), but they decided I should get that because it would be silly for me to have two beds.

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Yaaaay!

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Another reason why my mom preferred the other room was because the four-poster bed in the master’s bedroom is pretty high, which made it a little difficult for them to climb in and out of bed.

That evening we ate dinner which we bought from the airport food court. Afterwards we went out to explore the night market – my favorite part when staying in Thailand

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I didn’t really buy anything because the following day was a Saturday and I knew that prices dropped during the weekend. Mostly I just looked around and tried to find the same items during the weekend market :p

During our stay we also signed up for a tour of the floating market and bought tickets for elephant and crocodile shows. The company picked us up at our hotel and took us to a gas station where our tour guide would be meeting us.

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Our first stop was the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. My mom was very excited because she’s been wanting to see this for years now:

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We had to take a boat to get there of course:

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Once we were on the floating market, there was a long line to get on the boats that would take us to the shops, so our guide suggested we walk around first

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We bought some coconut candy

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And some Thai snacks

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