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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Staycation at Cintai Corito’s Garden

These pictures were taken during my mom’s birthday back in 2015. I haven’t had much time to blog so I have entries that are over a year late T__T

For my mom’s birthday we decided to have a staycation at Cintai Corito’s Garden in Batangas. According to their website, “cintai” is the Indonesian word for “love”. The resort was originally a rest house that the owners liked to visit occasionally. The mother (Corito) had a terminal disease and her family often brought her to the garden because it relaxed her. After she died, her family decided to open the place up to the public and share its beauty with the world.

The whole place is Bali-inspired, so if you don’t have the time (or budget) to go to Bali, this is a pretty good alternative. The gardens are beautiful and oftentimes I found myself forgetting that I’m still in the Philippines because it truly felt like I was transported to Bali. Also, I don’t know if the place is just really big or because there was a storm that day, but we barely saw other guests in the resort. But we knew they were there because we would see them in the restaurant during meal time.

Anyway, here are some photos we took during our short stay there:

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The entrance

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The “lobby” where guests check in

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The Elephant Bar where they serve complimentary drinks

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The movie room. Guests can call the staff to schedule a film showing here during their stay.

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I forgot what this place was called, but if I remember correctly, it’s a function hall

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Massage cabanas

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Another huge hall – this one is open air

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INSTABITS : September 2016

October’s almost over so once again this entry is extremely late. This past month has been quite busy, but now I have a bit of free time to finally finish editing this.

This was taken late August when the girls and I checked in at the Crimson Hotel to celebrate Camille’s and my birthdays. You can watch our vlog HERE.

Camille invited Dustin and me to join LBDH’s fun run called #HugotTakbo. It was my first 5k run and I’m happy to report that I survived.

As a birthday gift, my parents signed us up for a short cruise around Japan and Taiwan (watch the vlog here). One of the places we went to was the Shuri Castle in Okinawa.

One of the things that made our trip much more fun was that Brinks was able to join us 😀

We signed up for tours but they were cancelled because there were only a few of us on the cruise who spoke English. The staff suggested that we join their Mandarin tour but we decided it would be better if we just explore the town ourselves. This turned out to be a blessing because we were able to spend as much time as we want shopping on Kokusai Street 🙂

Since this cruise was meant to celebrate my birthday, the Canaletto dining staff presented me with a cake for dinner. Brinks also got one too since she justified her expenses for this trip by convincing herself that it was a late birthday present for herself 😄

Our cruise also took us to Ishigaki where we once again shopped for local delicacies

On the last day of our cruise we joined the balloon drop party at the Piazza

Our cruise ended in Taiwan. Since our flight wasn’t until that evening we made arrangements with a tour company to show us around some famous locations. Here’s Brinky and me at Yehliu Geopark. It was beautiful but extremely hot!

We also dropped by the Chiang Kai Shek memorial hall

Brinks and I ended up wearing the same colors that day. (No, we didn’t plan this)

This, on the other hand, was planned. Sir Taps texted us one evening and asked us to wear blue with white sneakers.

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Vlog : Back on the Golden Princess (Japan/Taiwan Cruise 2016)

In my 32nd self portrait this year I mentioned that I recently went on a short cruise around Japan and Taiwan for my birthday. It was an extremely short vacation but I had a wonderful time, especially since Brinks was able to join us 😀

Unlike my previous cruises, I won’t be making a summary blog entry of my experience since it was just a few days. Also, our cruise was on the Golden Princess and I already wrote an entry about my experience on this ship two years ago. All I’m going to say is the staff is still awesome and everyone made sure we had a incredible time. It was also great to see some familiar faces, especially Nathan – the Filipino head waiter we became friends with on our Diamond Princess cruise last year.

I will be making individual entries about each day of our cruise, but that probably won’t be up until next year since I still have about 15 entries waiting to published on this site. In the meantime, here’s a quick vlog I made of our entire trip.

Once again, thank you Princess Cruises for an amazing experience 🙂

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 😀

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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!

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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 😄

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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 😀

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.

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