Image

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!

Image

Different FUN challenges to inspire you

This is in response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge as per the below words. Please click each word per photo to go to the link, BUT first finish this read, like or comment that would be great! 😉 Sorry, some word challenges are a bit late but it’s better to be late than never right? This also highlights my past travel and those photos that I am wanting to visit again in person if possible.  If not at least I have them in the archives of my past experiences and will remember always in my heart.

Vibrant Colours 

 

BaguioPH, vinneve

Visited this place two years ago in Baguio, Philippines.  I was captivated at their simple way of living and the vibrant colour of their houses.

Upwards

View to the top

AklZOO.sky, vinneve

Nice warm weather with a cool breeze surrounded us with lots of tall trees in Auckland Zoo (will post about this next time).  My son wants to come back here once we can go back to normal life or half of it as some say life will never be the same again… (sigh!) very sad indeed.

Tea time in Abu Dhabi

teatimeAD, vinneve

Those were the happy go lucky days. A time to indulge your sweet tooth and meet your happy friends making your life happier!

WestAKLSky, vinneve

And finally a view of the sky outside my house.  It somehow tells me that Life is still beautiful and more to look forward to the next day.  Do not be gloomy as what’s happening in the world right now.  Have faith and there’s hope!  See below (better late than never!) 🙂

80080efe-9bf7-4718-9d3a-febbdbadd47a

CovideasterEggs, vinneve

I hope you like these photos.  You may also join the word or photo challenge as per those links to Cee’s blogsite.  The more the merrier!  Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

Image

Philippines virtual travels

“Travel does the heart good”  anonymous.

Since we all are on lockdown or some sort of isolation then I hope these photos can cheer you up and perhaps reminisce your past travel and bring good memories.  Remember you are not alone!  We all are contributing to make each other safe by staying home.  I am proud to say that there is a report that NZ is the 3rd safest country in the world right now amid this COVID-19 pandemic.  Here is the LINK if you’d like to read.

We suppose to travel today to the Philippines but unfortunately, it’s impossible and everybody knows why.  So I thought of bringing you with me in my daydreaming as I reminiscing the past travels that a few I forgot to post here and would like to come and visit again next time… whenever that may be!

Bonifacio Global City – famously known as BGC.  It is the newest modern city around Metro-Manila (condo resort style of living) and much preferred by balikbayans (like me) and foreigners as they can have a luxurious time here and very convenient but more affordable than other major cities in the world.  There is a Mind Museum that you and your family can enjoy plus hundreds of shops and restaurants to choose from within walking distance.   

Venice Grand Canal Mall – sorry not to be confused with a similar name in Italy.  Here is the INFO about this lifestyle mall developed by Megaworld and you may check my older post about this on this LINK.

20170908_132229

VGC@BGC2, vinneve

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan – It was a beautiful and painful history of the past living from the 1600’s -1800’s century under the Spanish rule.  See LINK.

20180507_180621

RIZAL SHRINE, Calamba Laguna – we just went here on impulse and we love it! Finally seeing with my own eyes the house of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal and some of its surrounding place that seems to stay that way since the 1800’s under Spanish rule.

 

Calambamudpot, vinneve

RizalhouseLaguna, vinneve

Calambachurch, vinneve

I would like to revisit them again next time once this problem all over the world is finished.  Surely, there are more places I need to see aside from these.  The world is full of wonders so don’t stop wandering!  For now, let us be safe and stay at home.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Image

Hotels: Medium to Budget in Manila

If you are a first time visitor to the Philippines and you are a bit complicated with things then I say you better book a hotel from 4star to 5star but I have seen so far lots of tourists coming from all walks of life and from all over the World that they are ok from budget to middle range which is 3-4star depends on what the Hotel says their standard and what is the real feeling you have experienced.  For many years since the birth of my son, Hotel is my home every time I come to visit “Pinas” which I fondly called as a short name.  I have my favorite old homey hotel that I love to come back to every time and have experienced new ones as well which I will tell you now.

HOTEL H2OThis is connected to Manila Ocean Park.  I say this is a 3-4star hotel depends on your experience but for me that time… I was fortunate that I have experienced the best service so I say this is a 4 star. Sometimes you cannot please everybody and I always try to keep an open mind and not to expect too much.  So it depends on how much you paid for.  I have upgraded our room to an Aqua Room as it is much quieter than the Park View room which is facing the Ocean Park that has a stage shows for Sea Lion, Symphony Evening show, etc. so yes expect that though you will get free shows it may not be that fun if you want to sleep in as they open the sounds early morning.

Once you are out of the vicinity of the Hotel premises, Ocean Park is just a few steps away on the ground floor.  It is convenient for families and couples and other types of tourist except business unless they mix business and pleasure.  It is crowded on a weekend. Restaurants are plenty so no worries for that and even fast foods.

BAYVIEW HOTEL – This is a 3 star hotel which becomes my home away from home as I have been using them almost every year that I visit and though they are old now I can still feel comfortable and the view is great facing the Manila Bay which is famous for its sunset but I don’t have a photo of it as we are always away in the morning and coming back late at night.  Also the U.S. Embassy is just in front.  Most of the time they incorporate buffet breakfast into their room rate and they have mostly Asian or Filipino foods as well as Continentals but limited.  Here are some of the photos.

CROWN REGENCY HOTEL – Location! location! location!  It is a 3 star hotel and just opposite 3 major malls connected to each other.  Located in the business district of Makati City.  There is also a Musuem nearby (will post activities separately) and Greenbelt Park to have time to relax and unwind especially for business people or office workers. Lots of taxis and places to go around to or if you prefer to walk the better as you can see more by walking but have your comfy shoes as it will be a long walk indeed. 

RED PLANET HOTELFormerly known as Tune Hotel which is a hotel chain from Malaysia but the receptionist told me that it is now under a new ownership and so they have renamed it.  It is a good budget hotel and I am happy with this hotel chain, hence booked 2 of them in 2 different locations in Shaw Boulevard and Aseana City near Roxas Boulevard.  Both locations has an influx of foreign tourists as well as the locals.  Also they had a tie up with Grabataxi which is a good solution for people who really want some options not to flag any available taxi or haggle with the driver as some are trying to do so when they see a foreign tourists.  Grabataxi has 2 prices – fixed rate by a private car similar to Uber taxi or taxi rate + service charge.  I opted for the former and was satisfied about the service.  Worry free as they booked you in “real time” when you checked out.

Red Planet Aseana photo credit as per their website

This is the type of room we had.. Twin bed

Manila Bay photo credit from Red Planet Hotel

So to sum it all up… these 4 hotels are all good and I do recommend them but if you are on a budget then try to book as early as you can so you save more as it is cheaper to do just that OR book the Red Planet Hotel you can’t go wrong.  Just pay attention to Tripadvisor reviews and other customer’s review from the hotel website if any then you be the judge if it’s worth it.

Thanks for your time reading this.  Happy Trip!

 

 

 

Destination: Philippines, old sweet home

This is true.

But I do love coming back to my old home, my birth country to see all my loved ones, relatives and friends who stay true to me all these years!

Christmas time and New Year makes it more special, more fun and more exciting in the Philippines.  Reliving the culture that I was grown up to, respect, love and happiness.  I love seeing the familiar faces so happy to see me not because of my gifts (that I am sure of) asking us about our old life, new life and new culture here in the UAE.  Over feeding us with so many dishes you can see on their long table until your stomach hurts. I miss those foods as it is uncomparable to where we are now.  I miss the laughter I hear from my friends and family.  The “Family” that can extend up to the 2nd degree of consanguinity!  I miss being a child as I visit every house of my aunt and uncles so many of them I cannot count on my fingers, playing with my cousins and for my child now playing with his 2nd cousins really bring some sparks in his eyes and sadness too when it is time to say goodbye until we meet again.  

Festival of Lights @MOA

Oh, how can I forget the love and sadness of their faces until we meet again?  I do love coming back to my old home.  Going back there reliving good memories of the past, I am blessed to have a good childhood and I thanked my parents for that.  Now I want to do the same for my son.  Though we don’t have family in NZ and now UAE, if we can help it we go overseas to see them and being in the moment and storing it in his memory bank that will last a lifetime.  Being an expat this is the only thing we can do to include families in this special events and into our life and creating good memories growing up.

vinneve photo

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree”                 by Roy L. Smith