Europe 2016 : Montenegro and Sicily

Finally writing the last entry from our trip last year. I can’t believe it took me almost an entire year to finish everything!

After leaving Corfu, the Royal Princess took us back to Kotor (Montenegro). Since it’s our second visit, we decided not to sign up for a tour and just explore Old Town. We were able to see it last time, but we didn’t spend that much time looking around since we wanted to get back on the ship immediately to have lunch. As I mentioned in my last entry about Kotor’s Old Town, I really love how it makes me feel like I traveled back in time:

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I loved all the stone bricks and the cobblestone roads ❤

However, seeing all the cafes around the area will remind you that we’re in the 21st century

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We mostly walked around and checked out the many gift shops in the area.

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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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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 XD

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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 XD

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) XD

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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