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DestinationNZ: Christchurch

Christchurch: Punting on the Avon river, vinneve

Yes we are very lucky here in New Zealand to finally survived the 2nd lockdown last month (Auckland only as the rest of the region are on level 1 and the South Island are covid free!) after some SILLY people who came home for their own safety sabotage our peace and safety here inside the country! I am so annoyed at them. Who wouldn’t? being on a lockdown is not that fun for the 2nd time around. We follow the rules here but those people acted the way as if they are in another country who they don’t care much about. Anyway, thanks for everyone who cooperated and the government for acting quickly (though there’s an inside story about this which is part of their fault) so now we are back to ALMOST back to normal. Aside from wearing face mask, social distancing and sanitizing like an OCD we are fine and can travel anywhere in the country now that we are in level 2. Soon this coming Thursday we will be back to level 1 which is great more freedom!! but yes do not be complacent and they suggested to still wear a face mask when on public transportation including airplanes!

Please watch this video below and if you could SUBSCRIBE to PinoySwiss abroad channel on Youtube that would be great for more videos!

Come & join us!

PINOYSWISS ABROAD

Thanks for reading and watching! Cheers!

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Back in Mission Bay, AKL

Mission Bay, AucklandNZ, vinneve

It has been 6-7 years I think since the last time we were here. So it’s time to visit this place while students are still having a school and the parents are still earning money to save for the coming holidays. Hurray!! It is best to visit when it’s off peak hours like early morning (9-11am) so you can have all the best seat in the restaurants and even on the parking grounds. FYI Auckland is still on the alert level 2.5 it means you must wear a face mask on all public transportations and establishments. But unfortunately some are lacking and freely walking to a store without wearing one. Anyway, we have the least cases compared to other countries and so we are having much more freedom. Other regions in NZ are on level 1 which is great! It means “almost back to normal”. No case of covid.

The Mission Bay Parade, vinneve

See the pink building there? It is the Fontein Belgian beer cafe restaurant. We have eaten brunch in there using a GrabOne coupon $20 to get $40 in return. It is a good deal and I only pay $5 just for the service charge. Since Auckland can be very expensive so it pays to buy a coupon. FYI.

Cheeky Black back Seagulls, vinneve

They’re double the size of the regular seagulls that you have seen somewhere but they are many living here being cheeky at times waiting for you to turn your back on your food so they can steal it and fly away! Mind you they can be very near you and doesn’t shy away. Their favorite meal to steal is the “fish and chips” and no they are not even cheap! Beware! haha!

SPRING BREAK TRAVELS SOON, PinoySwiss Abroad

Please check out this video from PinoySwiss Abroad as per this LINK. LIKE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE. Thank You!!

Foreign vloggers lockdown stories in the Philippines

Early Christmas pre-covid times in the Philippines

If you do not know yet, The Philippines usually starts to prepare and celebrate early Christmas when it’s BER months which is now… in September. This is NOT the topic though, sorry. I will cover it next time.

Since we cannot travel outside our own country or territories for most of the people around the world, may I show you what these foreign vloggers that are stranded in the Philippines (that I featured before as per this > LINK) are doing right now with the on and off lockdown GCQ, MCQ, ECQ (sigh!) Check them out again and you will be amazed how they coped being on a lockdown with so many varieties of quarantines. FYI, some parts of the country are covid-free! So don’t just trust the media. Search for truth!

Check out their adventures while living/stranded in the Philippines and some actually wants to stay for good.

The Island of PALAWAN – voted as the best island in the world 2020. Especially now that no other tourists around but mostly locals and some stranded foreigners, the nature is much more awesome!

@Jumping Places

SIARGAO – the surfing capital , island hopping etc.

@Martin Solhaugen + Eight Miles from Home

CEBU – the second capital of the country (sort of).

@Finn Snow

DAVAO – is in Mindanao. The President Duterte’s turf. You will change your mind about this region Mindanao. This vlogger bought a land here partnering with his best mate. It helps that they can speak the language there. Check them out.

@Becoming Filipino

MANILA – the capital of the Philippines. These are their updated vlog about INTRAMUROS (The walled city) and their life while living in Makati & BGC respectively. These 2 couples decided to live in the country.

@Making it Happen
@The Juicy vlog

There are some more vloggers but these are my favorite ones that I always watch on Youtube. Since our travel plans was shelved last April. We cannot go and visit the Philippines. It’s really disappointing because I have a very important mission to do there not just for leisure. But yes, it’s better to wait and be safe than sorry. So many restrictions on both countries NZ and PH anyway. So I am just watching these vloggers to feel like I am there.

Thanks for reading and watching these vlogs. You will not regret it and knowledge is POWER!

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Destination: West Auckland

French Bay, Titirangi

I am glad that we finally went here last week before we get into lockdown again this week after having freedom for more than 100 days covid-free! Why? same issues like what other countries are facing eversince. Now we are back to lockdown level 3 for 2 weeks then we’ll see what’s next.

ARATAKI VISITOR CENTER (above) it is just 40 minutes drive away from our place. Narrow winding roads, bush walks everywhere.

Trust Stadium

This is where I go for exercise and do some repetition of walking before the gym. In this tough times we need to be mentally healthy and fresh air plus a dose of sun helps a lot to boost your endorphins!

Auckland Zoo

Our zoo is also naturally beautiful. It serves like a mini paradise for all the animals living inside. So many natural landscape that you cannot help but to take some photos.

Friend’s house, Party time!

The moment we’ve always been waiting for! After missing all my friends for 3 months of lockdown / quarantine level 4-2 we had our “thanksgiving party” that we are all safe and healthy! Only now we will miss them again.

Hobsonville Point Walkway

This is just 30 minutes away from home. This also serve as a ferry terminal and every week end there is a Farmers market nearby and lot’s of homemade products to buy and dine in to. It is for the whole family plus this walkway is long enough for you and your dog to walk on and enjoy the view.

Riverhead Tavern (lowtide)

Brunching before cruising is nice for a week end away with the family (above) NZ oldest riverside tavern.

There are a lot of places whether hiking, horse riding, hunting, camping or beaches we had it all in the West. Wild West indeed. The featured image above is in Titirangi Village. They are housing 2 art galeries here and some restaurants with a wonderful view of nature.

These are some famous places that I have been in the past (bold) and some would like to visit. Check them out here below:

  • Piha beach and the Lion rock
  • Bethells beach
  • Waitakere ranges – for bush walking
  • Kumue wine country
  • Muriwai beach – on top of the cliffs hundreds of gannet birds nesting here
  • Crystal Mountain
  • Skydiving in Parakai or if you’re a PRO then any cliffs will do
  • Paraki Springs
  • Extreme edge rock climbing in Glen Eden
  • Kiwi Valley Farm Park
  • Tree Adventures
  • Hollywood Cinema – the oldest in NZ since 1915
  • West Lynn Flower and Butterfly house
  • Riverhead Cruise
  • MOTAT
  • Western Springs
  • Helensville Railway Station
  • And many more like this vlog as below from PinoySwiss abroad (Youtube) please watch, like, share and subscribe! 🙂
@PinoySwiss abroad Youtube channel

So many things to do and see plus so many old and new restaurants, coffee shops and malls to choose from. West is developing alright as the population in Auckland soars! Until next time. Thanks for reading.

Expat life in Abu Dhabi pre-covid-19

So true it’s not always sweet and rosy on the other side of the fence but if you are lucky you will have often taste the sweet life than the lemon sour on your taste buds. Definitely the UAE particularly Abu Dhabi gave us a huge opportunity and a different kind of life that we didn’t experienced in our own backyard.

It is now finished and just reminiscing the good life we had while we are there pre-covid times. Unfortunately for those newcomers in times of pandemic they may find it very hard nowadays to even feel the life unless of course you want to risk getting sick if you do the way people do before the pandemic. There’s a lot of job losses and businesses closing here and there. On and off lockdown and non stop quarantining of people.

Let’s face the reality… I may not be able to see these places above. Travelling is banned overseas (well for us NZr’s & most countries) and it may take a year or so before we even get back to normal outside of our boundary. We definitely do not want to risk it.

No more lavish buffets, eat all you can and shop till you drop when there’s a big sale which is almost every public holiday or special events! End of those days we are so feeling carefree. FYI, foods (restaurants & hotels) and branded products are so much cheaper in the UAE or some part of Middle East and yes including Saudi Arabia… and may I add even GOLD. Even now they introduced 5% vat in the UAE for all goods and services, it’s still cheap as compared to prices in the West, South and most part of Europe. Correct me if I am wrong!

Seafoods galore & Hotpot nonstop

No more ladies night (50% are mom’s like me who sometimes enjoy the night out and the hubbies are the ones taking care of the children for once! Fact, most hotel bars are decent and caters to all women with free sushi and drinks to lure them). No more beautiful events to be held in the posh hotels and parks (Fact, you can even get 50% discount to these posh hotels by buying in groupon and other discount coupons!)

What I am saying is… I truly treasured the times we were in Abu Dhabi as an expat family. I will never forget the high and lows. These were good memories that will last a lifetime as we may never have this again.

Now back to our home country New Zealand, facing the reality now of having the pandemic all over the world and the market crashing down… I can also say we are lucky just in time to be HOME. NZ is still not open for other countries which I approve of to minimize the risk though on the other end our economy is suffering… but ALL countries are anyway so we just have to bear with it and try to be patient. Health is wealth!

Take care everyone!

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Frosty Wonderland

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

by John Burroughs

In response to the Word of the Day Challenge – Giddy. I am not sure if I will be giddy to know about how cold it is down there today! But I do agree it is breathtakingly beautiful. Will you agree with me?

See photos below. Please click to zoom it to size. Credit goes to One News TV. I cannot help not to post this. It is on State Highway 8, a southern scenic regions of the Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago in South Island, New Zealand. Major cities are: Lake Tekapo, Omarama, Fairlie, Twizel, Roxburgh, Lawrence, Alexandra & Cromwell. FYI, just in case you want to visit next year.

Switzerland has a white swan while here in New Zealand we have a black swan. The lake got frozen so the swan must walk instead. Cheers!

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Auckland Day Out

“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. FREEDOM is the consciousness of necessity.” by Karl Marx

It seems we are now in a hurry to make the most of our covid free days since the country open up the border to it’s residents and citizens who were based or/and stranded abroad. We can basically say we are covid-free since June as we do not have a community transmission but we can never know since the last mishaps of some irresponsible people coming back and physically jumping out of the barriers of their hotel isolation recently (they have been caught up and going to be charged with their follies!) which is by the way the taxpayers are paying for them though it’s those people wanting to come home and be safe… ironically they are the one bringing the fear and unsafety back to the country or community by disobeying the law and safety. I wonder if we should close up the border now or continue to accept these people with covid-19 back into the country? So now is the right time to go and about on our own backyard asap while we still can!

The City, the tower, the wharf and street. Some photos for you to see this month of July. Life is good while we can still have the freedom to enjoy it!

Auckland War Museum. We have so many museums in the City and this is just a few minutes drive away from the city centre. It is inside the Domain Park which is also a huge park and full of beautiful nature that you will love to stroll or do some exercise since it is near residential places.

Mt.Rangitoto, active volcano AKL, vinneve
AklWarMuseum, vinneve

The food & drinks at the bar & restaurants, coffee shops, foodcourts at the mall, food trucks, farmers market etc. Yes we’ve been deprived of these while on lockdown. All open now to our hearts (& mouth) content.

Alleyway@AKL, vinneve

Auckland Zoo. The nature and their animals are such a wonderful sights to see. Families and friends came back to visit this wholesome activity and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or drizzling people comes in hundreds and yes back to normal no social distancing and enjoying the life!

Arataki Visitor Centre. Located in West Auckland. Bush walkways. View of the Waitakere ranges. Sub-tropical rainforest. Flora and fauna. FREE entry.

@PinoySwiss abroad

I hope you enjoyed my post today and these are current photos here in NZ. We are now in the mood to travel. Our last week of school holiday. Thanks for your time!

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Birds of the same feather

CambridgeParkNZ, vinneve

In response to the Bird weekly – photo challenge.

If you have been here in New Zealand you will know that most birds of any feather are mostly tamed and people friendly. They can walk with you while strolling in the park or they can persistently ask you for some bread crumbs. Life is good for these birds as they are loved by many people who always bring foods for them and yes they can be cheeky at times.

Magpie birds @homeWestAKL, vinneve

King penguin.

Native of NZ.

Info link here.

geese, ducks, pukekos & seagulls @d park, vinneve

There are more to see and discover around New Zealand with all types of birds whether capable of flying or not. Some birds are natives here. If you are a bird lover/watcher NZ is your happy place! Cheers!

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Domestic travels in New Zealand while on level 1

Auckland City waterfront, vinneve

I am happy to announce that we are covid free now here in New Zealand!! This is also in response to WOTD: Victory We are now on level 1 and it may stay like this for awhile, restrictions still in place. Personally, I prefer it this way to protect our safety so I am not keen of opening the border, although there are some citizens and residents (repatriation) coming home from overseas and they may bring the virus with them so they are required for a 14 day quarantine. It took 5 million people, a big team effort to do this as when we were on lockdown we cooperated and only going out to buy essentials like food. Though of course anywhere in the world there may be some silly people (not a lot here) still goes out that time to do silly things but they are being apprehended by the police and given a penalty depends on their situation/alibis. FUN FACT. Normal police officers here in NZ doesn’t carry any firearms. They carry confidence, kindness and diplomacy.

Since we are now on level 1 the government is pushing domestic travels to help our economy and communities. Buy NZ Made. Buy local products which mostly people are doing right now including me. Both Jetstar and Air New Zealand are having their sale these past couple of weeks and it has been sold out faster! I use our voucher/coupon to redeem and bought tickets to Christchurch finally! Looking forward to it. So for now we are talking about domestic travels and here’s the following information thru personal experiences from other bloggers who went here in NZ before the pandemic. Please click their link, and they have some amazing photos to show you while traveling around New Zealand.

Before you travel to any country or even if you were stranded here in New Zealand it is a MUST for your own sake to have your own travel insurance. Though our healthcare system helped this young tourist as per this link >> “How NZ generous healthcare system saved my ass”

Birds eyeview Queenstown in gondola, vinneve

No pain no gain. So yes there was a time that New Zealand looks more like this. Here is the link for “When Paradise in New Zealand becomes a ghost town”.

Auckland Sky Tower, vinneve

Here above is the response for the June Photo of the Day: REFLECTIONS.

For sure people are now thinking of reuniting / partying with their friends and families more than a group of ten since it is now permitted. It may not be the same as before but this new normal surely will stay for quite awhile. So we better adapt to it and accept all the challenges in life. Stay safe peeps!

UPDATE: We suddenly not a covid free country anymore (just of today’s news June 16th) because of 2 female citizens/residents coming from the UK and testing positive for covid but for some reason was given a COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS to drive to Wellington (from Auckland) to attend a funeral of their parents. Shall we understand this or not?!! For goodness sake! we suffered in lockdowns and up to level 3 to becoming covid free for 3 weeks and the communities all over the country cooperated and because of this hindsight WE ARE AGAIN IN TROUBLE. Why? simple. Driving from Auckland to Wellington is 8 long hours Non Stop! I do not believe they didn’t even stop to pee, eat or put on gas that is simply lying. Those people who doesn’t know that they served these women are now at risk even their loved ones! So is this harmless? NO. I cannot understand why there is compassionate grounds at all since those people who died because of covid-19 didn’t even had the chance to see their loved ones. I am so annoyed with this news. It is unbelievable and I put the blame on the health department who didn’t think twice about this compassionate grounds. That is plain stupidity if I may say so! Sorry for the outburst but we will know within this week or so if there are people at risk now because of this. Our sacrifices (life, jobs, businesses, etc) and cooperations are now put in the drain.

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Foreign vloggers stranded in the Philippines amidst COVID-19

While on lockdown in New Zealand I must admit that I was hooked up into watching vloggers (up to now actually) traveling the world especially traveling to my birth country THE PHILIPPINES.  We supposed to travel there last April but of course, it has been canceled.  It amazed me that these foreign vloggers begin to love the country and what it can offer even in these tough times.  While traveling they learned about cultures, values, and learned to appreciate the Filipino people who helped them and make them feel at home.  Check their vlogs and you will see some beautiful places and their roller-coaster experiences while on lockdown and up to a current situation which is the General Quarantine (GCQ).  You may find some useful information about the country and their real image as shown by the vloggers as per their real experiences. Please click their name as I linked their sites and their travel experiences before the pandemic.

Prepare to be amazed.

  1.  MAKE IT HAPPEN VLOG  an Austrian couple who always keeps coming back to the Philippines and finally decided to call Manila home and now stranded in SIARGAO (while on holiday) as per this link & another vlog as per this LINK. An extra info from Meljean Solon20 things to do in Siargao” as per this LINK.

2.  THE JUICY VLOG  a couple from the UK traveling around the Philippines who got stranded in their own home base in Manila.  “11 Ways the Philippines is better than the UK” on this LINK.

3.  MARTIN SOLHAUGEN  a Norwegian travel vlogger who is now engaged to another travel vlogger named AVELOVINIT and traveling the Philippines when they got stranded in Siargao as well.  You will see his latest vlog about “Top 10 places you must visit in the Philippines.”

4.  EIGHT MILES FROM HOME  a couple from the UK with a child named Story and her nan also stranded in Siargao.  They have traveled around Asia and lived in Portugal and now thinking of living in the Philippines even after the lockdown.

5.  JUMPING PLACES  a couple both from different countries decided to do full-time vlogging and currently stranded in the beautiful island of EL NIDO PALAWAN.  Here is their current quarantine experience “A Day in El Nido Quarantined” check their other travel to another side of the island >> CORON.

There are some more foreign vloggers and tourists stranded all over the Philippines.  You can easily check them out on Youtube. These are just 5 of my favorite foreign vloggers telling their own experiences and love of travel.  Since we all cannot travel to any country aside from our own so it’s best to show you what I know and why I keep coming back to my birth country the Philippines.  Family. Friends. Values. Nature.  I hope once you have checked them out you will agree with me.

Please also check this site out:  Mom & Son expats (NZ after lockdown) 

Enjoy watching!  Cheers!