Yogyakarta, Indonesia (July 26 – 28, 2013)

This is my first trip outside of Singapore with my bestfriend, Edward. Thanks to the invitation my college roomies who also live in Singapore.

First stop, we checked in at our hotel – Royal Ambarrukmo.

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Purawisata

Had dinner at Purawisata where they also showed Ramayana ballet in their open air theatre.

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Ramayana Ballet

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Prambanan

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Stopped for some fresh buko juice before heading out to our next destination.

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And got myself a hat from this lovely and friendly old lady

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Kesuma Restaurant

Thanks to the recommendation of one of our college friends, Kelvin, who visited Yogyakarta before, we tried this secret restaurant that serves delicious local cuisine.

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The French owner was very friendly and took the time to explain to us what’s on the menu. They apparently change the menu once a year and they have limited copies of it.

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Since we were the only guests at the restaurant, the Chef, who is also the wife of the owner, came out to chat with us. They even had pictures with us. Such great hosts!

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Borobudur

When we got to Borobudur, we tried to catch the sunset at the top of the temple. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy.

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We checked in at the Saraswati Hotel, an old but very pretty boutique hotel near the temple.

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We woke up at 4:00 AM the next day to catch the sunrise on top of Borobudur temple.

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There was probably over a hundred people eagerly waiting for the sunrise.

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From afar, we also caught a glimpse of Mt. Merapi which is one of the active volcanoes in Yogyakarta.

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We went back to Saraswati around 7:30 AM for a quick breakfast before going back to the city for some quick shopping before our flight back to Singapore.

Singapore

Back in Singapore, we had a quick seafood dinner in East Coast with my friends before I flew back to Manila.

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Great Falls Park (6/2/2013)

Met with a friend from college, Dino Obregon (from “Ako si Deodato” fame in college). He took me to the Great Falls Park which I did not know existed. Too bad it rained so we did not get to walk around the area that much.

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Huntington Library (Los Angeles, California)

This place was more than a library. I actually did not get to see the library and the museums because it was a Free Day (every 1st Thursday of every month) and tickets can only be reserved online or by phone. They don’t sell tickets on Free Day.

But there was so much to see even if you don’t enter the buildings. There were several themed gardens around the area.

Chinese Garden

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Japanese Garden

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Washington DC (May 29-31, 2013)

From Seattle, Washington, went to Washington, DC to visit some historic sites and learn more about the country I regularly visit.

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Arrived a few minutes before 6:00 AM and captured this beautiful sunrise as we landed at Washington Dulles airport.

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Had breakfast at a cool restaurant called Silver Diner. Each table has this thing that can play records and it can be heard in the entire restaurant. Didn’t attempt, though.

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Just drove around Virginia on my first day doing some errands (mail stuff, buy gift cards, buy comfy shoes for walking).

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And had steak for lunch with my friend, Chai, at Firebirds.

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We picked up a friend from the Philippines, Naree, who flew in from Toronto, Canada. We had dinner at P.F. Chang’s since Naree has not eaten there yet.

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SIGHTSEEING – 1st Day

The White House

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World War II Memorial

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Reflecting Pool

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Blue Diamond

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The Castle

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Holocaust Museum

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Georgetown

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Around DC on Hop On, Hop Off Bus

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Union Station

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The Capitol

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Wharf

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Dinner at Thai Place

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SIGHTSEEING – 2nd Day

Botanic Garden

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American Indian Museum

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The Capitol

Took another picture outside of Botanic Gardens

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Air and Space Museum

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National Art Gallery

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National Archives

Taking pictures was not allowed inside.

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Washington Visit 2013 – Seattle (5/25/2013)

Ride The Ducks

Started the day with a tour via Ride The Ducks of Seattle, situated near the Seattle Center. It gave us a view and history of Seattle in a hilarious and entertaining manner. Was definitely a treat!

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Seattle Center / Space Needle

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Chihuly Glass Museum

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Experience Music Project

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Pike Place

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Kurt Cobain’s House

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A Historical Tour in Corregidor

Decided to join our Canadian guest for a trip to the historical island of Corregidor. I have heard about some great feedback about the tour but never got the chance before. I am glad I did now.

We were at the CCP terminal of Sun Cruises as early as 6:30 AM.

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We boarded the ferry at around 7:15 AM and left at 8:00 AM. Arrived at Corregidor Island shortly before 10:00 AM.

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We boarded the tram assigned to our group. We had Mang Bobby as our tour guide. He was a funny, interesting guy. Not as intense as Carlos Celdran but he was interesting on his own right.

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Malinta Tunnel

Mang Bobby introduced us to the tour by saying that this island was heavily fortified by the Americans from 1902 to 1932. It had hundreds of tunnels, many battery of guns and 5 regimens of American and Filipino soldiers.

Our first stop was at one of the main tunnels of the island that links the main island and the tail end. We also watched the lights and sounds show.

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Corregidor Inn

Had an early buffet lunch at the only hotel on the island. It had a good view of the water and the island.

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Middleside Barracks

Stopped by the ruins of the Middleside Barracks where a regimen of American soldiers lived during World War II.

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Battery Way

First of the battery of guns that we visited.

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Near the battery was the largest gun on the island.

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Spanish Light House

This is the oldest light house in the country. It is the highest point of the island.

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War Memorial

Before visiting the memorial, Mang Bobby took us to the edge of that area of the island to see the tail end of the island.

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Here’s a view of the Eternal Flame (of freedom, I think) and the White Dome at the memorial.

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Lorcha Dock

This is where MacArthur left the Philippines to go to Australia. He was actually in Australia when he said ‘I shall return.’

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Japanese Memorial

Last stop of our tour. The Japanese government did not know about the Japanese cemetery until 1986.

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It was a worthwhile trip. Great to know more about our history and how a lot of people sacrificed their lives for the country to get to where we are now.

We left the island at 2:30 PM and was back in Manila at 4:00 PM.

To book tours to the island, go to http://www.corregidorphilippines.com.

A Beautiful Boracay Wedding (April 13, 2013)

Back in Boracay after 6 months!

Was blessed to be invited by my good friend, Bucky, at his wedding in Boracay this weekend. Bucky was my batchmate in college at the Ateneo de Manila University and we both stayed at the college dorm, Cervini Hall for the guys and Eliazo Hall for the girls. When he mentioned that the wedding will be in Boracay, didn’t think twice about it! I immediately booked my flight and hotel.

I arrived in Boracay last Friday night at 11:00 PM, two hours later than expected. The plane could not leave Manila because of some congestion in Kalibo. Apparently, flights to Caticlan were redirected to Kalibo because of some event. So, I did not get a chance to meet with dorm friends who were already in Boracay.

The wedding was not until 2:00 in the afternoon. So, I decided to have a relaxing morning by the beach. Got my simple breakfast at One Crescent Place before heading out to the beach. In my beach bag was a book, sunblock, my phones, phone charger and, of course, some money. I planned on having a massage at some point by the beach. Yes, massage by the beach. And it only costs PHP 400 at most (around US$ 10).

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When I got to the beach, this was the sight that welcomed me.

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While walking by the beach to look for a good spot to hang out, I accidentally saw Roldan, another dorm friend from Ateneo waiting for his breakfast at Jony’s. Then we were joined by Albert who was checked in at Jony’s along with his fiance, Cor. Albert is also from the dorm. We went to Jonah’s for some fruitshake. Their milkshake is a must-try. Albert got an avocado milkshake, I got a mango milkshake and I think Roldan got a banana-mango milkshake.

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At Jonah’s with Albert, Cor, and Roldan.

Since we still had time, we decided to get a massage by the beach. We went back to Jony’s and they helped get a masseuse for us.

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My view during the massage
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Roldan and Albert getting their massage. Look how close we were to the water.

By the time Roldan and Albert were done with their massage, the water has reached the table. It was high tide!

The Wedding

Got to the Holy Rosary Parish church a little bit before 2:00 PM. It was so cool to see these cool Cervini guys again. Back in college, there was a group of 15 guys in Cervini who called themselves the ‘Lonely Hearts Club’. Their goal was to make sure all of them find the one for them and get married someday. Bucky was the President. He is now officially resigned, the third to the last to get married 🙂

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Roldan, Me, Joseph, Bucky (the groom!), Wong, Albert, Cor

A few minutes later, we were all asked to take our seats. The doors were opened, and the radiant bride walked in.

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Kaye was so lovely and elegant in her bridal gown

Father Lito Mangulabnan, SJ, who was our Head Prefect for a period of time at the dorm, officiated the wedding. He knew Bucky well. During homily, he assured Kaye that she was marrying a really good man.

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You may now kiss the bride!
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All excited for the newly weds!
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Ride to the reception

Cocktails

The newly weds served cocktails at Sea Wind. Wong hosted the event along with one of Kaye’s lady friends. Wong was hilarious! I think he did a great job making the program fun for everyone.

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Veggies, oysters, lechon

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After cocktails, we were asked to join the newly weds for some pictures with the sunset in the background.

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Glorious sunset
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Sweet and beautiful…. hello, low tide

Dinner

A section by the beach was setup for dinner.

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Our table assignments

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Got this beautiful shot of the reception area and the bluish sky after the sun set and the little moon came out.

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We welcomed the newly weds to the party with sparklers!

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Kaye’s bestfriend opened the party with a heart-felt message to Kaye and Bucky. Then, he surprised them with a number from their friends – a dragon dance! According to Wong, the dragon dance was for prosperity and fertility! 😉

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I was just telling the guys at my table that I wanted to watch a fire dance by the beach. Then, these wonderful people came in! According to Wong, the fire dance was also for fertility! Lol

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During dinner, Kaye’s father asked if he could sit with us at our table. He was overwhelmed by the entire thing. But he was very happy for his daughter. He went on to share with us how they brought in the butchered cow that was roasted on the spot for the wedding. They hired a boat from Bacolod to Aklan. They brought all the stuff they needed to roast and the men who will do it.

Dancing ensued after the dinner and program. Fun times!

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With Albert and my best buddy in college, Joseph
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Nikki, Wong, Albert and Kaye’s friend
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Woohoo!
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Everyone on their feet dancing and drinking

It was so warm that night that the guys, led by Wong, took off their white shirts and danced the night away. Even the groom took off his shirt! Haha! By the way, Wong – as Bucky asked throughout the event, how did you get that physique? ;D

Unfortunately, I could not stay long at the party since my flight the next day was at 9:30 AM. I had to leave the hotel at around 6:00 AM. Boracay is about two hours away from Kalibo. I needed to take a 15-minute boat ride to Caticlan, then another an hour and a half land trip by van to Kalibo airport. There is also an airport in Caticlan but the flight I got was in Kalibo.

One Crescent Place

This boutique hotel was not on the beach front, but it was right behind the church and was only 3 minutes away from the beach on foot. Found it on Expedia. Why I picked it? The rates were reasonable, the reviews were good, and it was close to the church. I actually did not know where the church was except that it is in Station 1.

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Breakfast area outside

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It was a very neat place and the room was cozy. But, what I liked most was the service. When I told the guy during check-in that I will miss breakfast on Sunday, since it is normally served at 7:00 AM, he said they can serve my breakfast before 6:00 AM. And they did, and they made sure I was already awake to take my breakfast at 5:45 AM.

https://www.facebook.com/onecrescentplace/

http://www.onecrescentplace.com/

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Holy Week 2013

Spent the holy week with family and friends in my home province, La Union.

My sister’s friend, May, and her family joined us for the trip.

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Our jazzies were all ready for the trip.

Our first stop was San Juan Surf Resort.

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Good morning! Surfer students getting ready.
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Three little kids
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With my very patient instructor, Jeff, after my first try at surfing.
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Orange diet

Good Friday

Met with my good friend, Rhea, in Aringay to join the procession. A lot of people joined.

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Commemorating the crucifixion

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Baguio

While most people are heading to the beach, we went up the mountains! We went to Baguio for some cool breeze. Had picnic in Cam John Hay and played with the kids.

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Later, we went to Mines View Park. Stopped to get some grilled corn.

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