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The first thing I noticed about Palawan upon arriving in Puerto Princess City is the garbage free streets. No candy wrappers, no bubblegum on the floors or random plastics or any kind of garbage anywhere. It was CLEAN. The penalties for littering really encouraged people to throw their trash properly (1st and 2nd offences are fined while the 3rd, violators get fined plus mandatory jail time – 30 days to be exact.)

I love everything about Palawan – the lush rain forests, pristine waters, fresh air, friendly locals, the local cuisine (which is FANTASTIC) and the underground river, truly a wonder!

Snorkeling, swimming, sightseeing…

Eating, exploring, enjoying…

Best family vacation (so far)!

I will definitely go back to Palawan.

So many things to do, so many things to see, never stop exploring Palawan.

At Starfish Island

Before the Underground River tour

My friend, Grace and I went on a Macau – HK trip last April 11-15. The whole trip was fun and stress-free. Transportation was accessible and easy. Although there were minor mishaps such as getting on the wrong bus, my bag’s padlock combination accidentally changed or we couldn’t find our hotel (and there’s the language barrier) but these were easily solved and we were on a lucky streak the whole trip.

MACAU

What to see and do in Macau (other than gambling in casinos).

 Swim in Cheoc-Van Beach

Eat egg tarts at the first Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane (and at Lord Stow’s Garden Cafe)

Go to the Historical Center of Macau

Climb up the stairs of the Ruins of St. Paul

Climb up (again) to see Fortaleza do Monte and Museu de Macau

Smell the flowers at Flora de Jardin

Walk a-“round” Senado “Square” haha!

 Go inside Lou Kau’s Mansion

Experience East meets West at the Fisherman’s Wharf

Catch a glimpse of the mermaid in the Vquarium (Virtual Aquarium) at City of Dreams

Hop on a Gondola at The Venetian

Get some luck with the Wishing Crystals and Fortune Diamond at Galaxy

and when you’re done with all that…

Take a ferry to Hong Kong! (via Cotaijet or Turbojet)


As I’ve said, we had a difficult time locating our hotel because got so confused by the numerous bus routes  that we even reached the barrier gate to China!

Although the next day, we learned that our hotel was just one bus ride away from the airport. In fact, the first bus ride we took to Vila de Coloane was right!

Once we got a hang of the bus routes, travelling in Macau was a breeze. It’s easy to find a bus stop and there are loads of hotel shuttles you can hop on for free.

Our first 2 nights were spent in Hotel Pousada de Coloane at Praia de Cheoc-Van Beach, Coloane, Macau.

Cozy, comfortable and peaceful – words that best describe the hotel. It was away from all the noise and hustle. Plus, it was located right in front of the beach.

Swimming in Cheoc-Van Beach definitely gets your blood pumping since the water is FREEZING cold!

No Macau trip would be complete without visiting the first Lord Stow’s Bakery at Coloane Town Square and having some egg tarts. Lucky for us, it was only one bus stop away from our hotel (walking distance even). And then we had lunch at the Lord Stow’s Garden Cafe which was just a few steps away from the bakery.

    

After lunch we went around Macau, with only our map as guides as to where and which places should we see and do such as:

Walking around the Historical Center of Macau

 

 

Climbing up the stair of the Ruin’s of St. Paul

Ruin’s of St. Paul

   

Going up to see Fortaleza do Monte and Museu de Macau

     

then munching on some seafood and meatballs dipped in curry sauce after photo-ops

And at night we visited places that Macau is most famous for: Casinos (and hotels).

The Venetian, Macau

City of Dreams

etc… and etc…

For dinner, I tried this pork chop in noodle soup at Venetian’s food court. I’ve noticed pork chop seemed to be very famous in Macau because I’ve seen a lot of restaurants selling pork chop buns or pork chop this, pork chop that. Definitely the pork chop was good since it was soft but didn’t have any flavor which complimented the light but slightly spicy soup.

 The next day started out no different – breakfast and then hopping on a bus because… we were off to our hotel in Macau.

  

and then off we go to see more of Macau.

A quick stop at Prace de Amizade

 and then to Senado Square,
and then to Fisherman’s Wharf
 
 
and then we waited for the mermaid to come out the Vquarium in City of Dreams,
and then we hopped on a Gondola and ate great tasting burgers at The Venetian.
 
 
 The next morning, we went back to The Venetian to leave our luggage (baggage service at the Venetian is free) and bought tickets via Cotaijet since it was more convenient because of the free shuttle bus to the ferry.
(When I was walking outside our hotel, I spotted a group of (old) men playing chess or checker. I took there picture because I rarely see people playing chess outside anymore, let alone groups of men.)
 
HONG KONG
We arrived in Hong Kong a bit tired from lugging around our stuff and walking around the train station to our “hotel” (hostel) and the fact that it was a tiny room in a commercial building full of people didn’t help relieve our exhaustion. But of course that didn’t stop us from going around HK.
We were only in HK for only 2 days, so we really didn’t have much time to go and visit a lot of places but it was a good thing Grace had already been to HK, she knew which places should we go.
Watch the Symphonies of Lights
Intense haggling at Tung Choi street
Take silly pictures at Avenue of the Stars 
Ride trains all day
Eat delicious Tom Yum Kung at Koon Thai Han Nam Chicken
I forgot what this bread was but it was absolutely DELICIOUS!
Saw turtles, puppies, crabs etc. the “Goldfish” Market
And lastly, Peak Tram
I don’t have much to share about my HK experience since it was quite short. I hope I can visit again soon!

I love jeepneys, buses or trains no matter how smelly, crowded, filthy or run down they may be.

What’s my favorite public utility vehicle? The jeepney of course!

Oh the Philippine Jeepney or the “Dyipni”, painted with colorful, personal or miscellaneous artwork and blasting out of its speakers is loud and obnoxious music noise as it carelessly race through the streets of Manila suddenly stopping at any moment, at any corner for passengers, it’s quite a sight.

Climbing in a jeep, squeezing your arse in the small space between complete strangers and trusting them with your fare as they pass it to the jeepney driver – it’s an experience that completely obliterates your personal space.

Then there is the danger of getting in a vehicular accident, getting robbed by someone cutting through your pants for your mobile phone (unsuccessful attempt) and high probability of getting gum on your pants and sitting next to someone sweaty, smelly and maybe insane.

Exhibit A.

My everyday jeepney to school is Cubao-Divisoria. I’ve ridden jeepneys hundreds of times and I’ve been riding on this route for a year now. After our last graduation practice, I hopped on a jeepney home. The man beside me used a really sharp blade to cut through my pocket (which also cut through my phone’s casing, yes it’s that sharp) without me even feeling a thing. He was quick and quiet. Luckily, I noticed and was able to get my phone and got home safely. Although I walked home with a big hole on my jeans. Hahaha.

So what’s there to love?

Well…

It’s easy to find a jeep to ride on in Manila. The fare is cheap and the ride is entertaining.

Well there is also the interesting stories from interesting people. The weird stories told by weird people. Basically, it’s the people you ride with that makes getting on the jeepney worth while. Hehehe

Maybe for most Filipinos, jeepney’s are more of a bane. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that there are times that going on a jeepney during a hot summer day or  rainy day makes me cringe and want to take a taxi even though I’m going somewhere near.

But despite it’s downsides, hop on a jeepney. More often than not, you’ll go down with a story to tell. 🙂

On our 2011 Singapore trip, Arnold, Grace and I also went to Malaysia for a day.

It was my second time going to Malaysia but I didn’t really get to go around much when my family and I first went there.

So we woke up early to catch the bus to Malaysia. Got dropped off at Kuala Lumpur with no ringgit, no map and no idea where to go first. We wanted to visit  the Petronas Towers but we didn’t exactly know how to get there.

We walked to a telecom museum to find a map. Hopefully there was a free map.

We took the bus and stopped by a mall to eat lunch. We ate at McDonald’s. For a change, I ordered the Grilled Chicken Burger. The chicken didn’t really taste like chicken and that day, they didn’t have any ketchup so we had to dip our fries in hot sauce. It’s definitely weird to dip your fries in hot sauce.

While we were sitting, a group of students suddenly chatted with us and asked if we were Filipino. After a while we learned that one of them was Filipino. Her name was Patricia and she was kind enough to call up her mother to ask for the directions we BADLY needed.

McDonald's Malaysia Grilled Chicken Burger

McDonald's Malaysia French Fries

McDonald's Malaysia GCB

So after eating and getting our SGD changed to Ringgit, we walked to the Menara Tower.

It was awesome, and we were able to try the F1 simulator.

We learned that Petronas was just a few blocks away so we decided to walk. So while we were walking, we passed by this Milkshake Factory.

Milkshake Factory

Milkshake Factory

Milkshake Factory Menu

Milkshake Factory Flavors

Milkshake Factory Flavors

And as the Kinder Bueno Lover that I am, say hello to Kinder Bueno Milkshake!

Kinder Bueno Milkshake

To me it tasted like heaven. I wish someone would open a Milkshake Factory here in the Philippines.

It started raining, so we had to take a cab instead of walking a few more blocks to Petronas. However, when we got there, we learned that it’s closed for renovation. The day we go to Malaysia to see Petronas was the same day they closed it until December 2011. Sucks right?

So we just went around the mall to buy some stuff and went back to the bus terminal via the train.

We got to the terminal and to our surprise, all the buses back to Singapore are full for the night.

We ate at a Kenny Roger’s restaurant in the terminal. I order my regular rice, mashed potato and coleslaw combo with the regular chicken. To me it tasted weird but in a good way. The rice was cold, the potato tasted like it came from a box and the coleslaw was a bit bitter but I thought it was still tolerable.

Kenny Roger's Malaysia

After a tragic search for bus tickets, we were able to buy tickets for tomorrow morning. We slept at a really small room at a really cheap rate we haggled for.

We woke up early the next day got on our bus, ready to go back to Singapore.

Our bus stopped somewhere so we asked what was the stop for, the driver said “lunch” or so we thought, because when we came back after a 2 minute restroom break, our bus was gone.

We panicked a bit while we went around looking for the bus’ office. We told them our bus left us with our stuff. To our surprise, the manager was mad at us saying why did we go down. We were so confused and a bit agitated.

While talking to the manager, the guy next to us seemed like he got left by our bus too. So I talked to him. His name was Gareth. He was Malaysian and he also got left by the bus.

After a long debate with the manager and his assistant, we were told that we can wait for our bus so we can get our stuff. It was taking so long and we started to feel that we might not get our stuff back. We asked for the driver’s number but he wasn’t picking up. Worried and a bit angry we decided to rest for a while and had lunch with Gareth while waiting for our bus.

Thankfully, our bus came back with our stuff, we bought new tickets and we were all able to get to Singapore in one piece.

Perhaps the best thing about getting left by the bus was we were able to meet Gareth because before we left Singapore, we had lunch with him and his girlfriend Canny. 🙂

I’ve been to Singapore 3 times already. But the 3rd time was with my friends Grace and Arnold and it was when I really got to see Singapore.

For a week, it was like we were on red bull even though we weren’t. We woke up early, well they woke me up, we went out early and we went back to our hotel late at night.

We walked miles, no, kilometers around Singapore’s tourist spots.

Other than the wonderful places we’ve been to, I’ve got a chance to eat my favorite Singapore dishes.

On our Universal Studios Trip, we first visited Raj, Grace’s friend, at his hotel to have breakfast before we leave for Universal.

We all had Kaya Toast, a side of soft-boiled eggs and hot milk tea.

Then we went to Universal via Cable Car.

We were so pumped up to try all the rides! Well, at least Grace and I were very excited!

Our first ride was the Cylon roller coaster ride which was the best ride at the park!

After going on other rides such as the Mummy indoor roller coaster and the Jurassic Park ride, we decided to eat lunch.

I had Hainanese Chicken Rice at the Universal Studios Jurassic Park Cafe.

And a side of soy pudding and soy milk.

The chicken rice was moist. The vegetable sidings was slightly sour but tasted perfectly with the chicken. 11/10!!!

Hainanese Chicken Rice, Soy Pudding Cup and Soy Milk

After a tiring but super fun day at Universal Studios Singapore, we we’re starving and went straight to Vivo City’s food court to eat up.

I had my favorite  Prata cheese.

Prata Place at Vivo City

Prata and Milk Tea @ Vivo City

I also had a hot stone beef and vegetable bowl which was damn good. (Sorry for the language, but it really was)

Hot stone

We went home still psyched from all the great rides (my favorite is the CYLON roller coaster) and my tummy was full and happy.

On a different but no less than exciting day, we had dinner at Hawker’s Singapore with Grace’s colleagues from Citibank.

I had another Prata, which wasn’t as good a the one in Vivo City but was still good nonetheless.

Prata at Hawker's Singapore

For dessert, I had my favorite Ice Kachang.

Ice Kachang

During one of our strolls at the nearby mall from our hotel, I got a chance to grab a couple of Japanese Sponge Cakes. Cute and sweet!

Japanese Sponge Cake

Strawberry and Chocolate Sponge Cakes

Our 1 week Singapore-Malaysia Trip was definitely filled with crazy experiences like getting lost, being left by the bus and Arnold losing his passport. 🙂