Posted in Family, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special… (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed with another short yet definitely sweet and super fun trip this April. It’s a blessing because my favorite sister Kris, I only have one :), and favorite brother-in-law Carlo gifted me with a flight ticket to Bangkok. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, you’re the best sister and brother to me! πŸ˜€ Thanks much too to Nikky for booking it for our group and taking good care of us all throughout, you’re the best! πŸ™‚

This trip, my 12th country, Thailand, is very special in more ways than one. Aside from being our first time to travel together out of the country, it’s also my sister’s first out of the country trip and she’s 4 months pregnant with the very first grandchild of our growing little family. πŸ™‚ It’s also the first time that we would get to travel with Kris’ and Carlo’s friends/churchmates, Nikky and Tet. πŸ™‚

So many firsts! So many things to be thankful for! πŸ™‚

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very grateful for these 4, we had so much fun together πŸ™‚

This photo was taken in Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer Palace), our first stop on Day 1 – 18 April – Ayutthaya Day trip. The backdrop is called Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The divine seat of personal freedom). Of all the places that we explored, the Summer Palace is actually my top favorite, we took lots of beautiful photos on this very beautiful place.Β β™₯ IΒ loved that this place has pavilions and gazebos laid out in a garden setting, Western style-buildings, there’s Victorian feel to it, everything is just so lovely.Β β™₯

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Keng Boo-Pah Pra-Paht

After taking lots of photos and shortcutting our tour around the Summer Palace because it was getting too hot already, we were ready for my much awaited Thai milk-tea, and Thai lunch!! πŸ˜›

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All smiles – Thai milk tea isΒ β™₯

Here’s our Day 1 Thai lunch, all soooo yummmm!!

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first Thai lunch with our hospitable, generous kuya driver/tour guide πŸ™‚

After lunch, we were ready for another treat – Ayutthaya Historical Park-hopping all afternoon. πŸ™‚

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Thanks to my brother and sister for their GoPro, we’ve got lots of wide-angled photos and super funny videos. πŸ™‚

Next stop, one of the highlights, was our up-close encounter with a biggie but uber cutie elephant πŸ™‚

After our photo-op with cutie elphie, it’s time for my 2nd milk tea! πŸ˜›

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Too hot at 3pm!!!

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This was our last stop in Ayutthaya, we’re too exhausted to go inside, we took this photo from the fence πŸ˜›

That’s all for now for my first Thailand trip.

Posts on Day 2-4 will follow in the coming days, hopefully. πŸ™‚

Good night, folks!

Hugs from warm Manila πŸ™‚

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 4)

Rome, Italy: 6-10 June

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I’ve found my first Europe travel buddy because of Colosseum. Why Colosseum? Caye’s main reason for wanting to go to Europe is because she dreams of seeing the Colosseum in its glorious glory. πŸ™‚ So when I first shared to her my dream trip, we’ve got an instant travel buddy in each other. πŸ™‚ We saved the best for last, we put Rome at the end of our trip. Kim also wanted to attend the Pope’s celebration of mass at the Vatican so we had to schedule our trip which would fall on a Wednesday, the day the Pope himself celebrates mass to the public.

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the humongous Vatican City

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In Rome, I have used the panoramic shot the most because everything is wide and humongous!! Just like the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain amongst others.

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the stunningly beautiful Trevi Fountain πŸ™‚

We ate lots of pasta, pizza and consumed so much coffee too, which we all enjoyed!

Coffee all day, everyday! πŸ™‚

On the last day, I needed to have gelato! I wasn’t able to eat gelato everyday because I’m too full from all the pasta, pizza and all the yummy meals we had, my tummy had no more space for dessert! ;P

This was us, in front of our AirBnB, on our last day. We loved our accommodation in Rome so much. It was big, clean and beautiful. The location was great too! πŸ™‚

Rome being the last leg of the trip, I thought, it was okay not to expect too much, anyway we already had the loveliest (more than) 2 weeks of travel, and I was kinda tired already that time, also trying to condition myself that I would leave my dream place in a few days… But lo and behold! God really spoils His children! Rome was sooo lovely!! Just like the rest of the places we’ve been to. I wanted to stay a bit longer, if only I could… It was easy to explore, and everything is sooo beautiful, I love it’s warm colours, it’s cool and sunny weather, the coffee, the gelato, everything… I will surely go back, someday, Godwilling. πŸ™‚ I can’t thank and praise God enough for blessing us with the most wonderful vacation in our beautiful dream place. HE is truly an awesome God and Father, always giving the best gifts to His children. πŸ˜€

Hope you enjoyed my photoblog! πŸ˜‰

Until my next adventure, more to come in 2018! πŸ™‚

Wishing you all the best of everything in the coming year! God’s best, always! πŸ˜‰

 

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Family, Friendship, God's victory, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 3)

London, U.K.: 2-5 June

This part of our trip is all about meeting with family and friends. And that makes it so special and dear to my grateful β™₯.Β πŸ™‚

My cousin, Jel, and her family lives in London, she’s been inviting me to visit them since 2008, so I am really grateful and happy to finally have the chance to visit them and spend some quality time with them. πŸ˜€ My aunt, Jel’s mom, was there at that time too, so it was a great time to be in London. πŸ™‚

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Aside from spending time with family and friends, I also had the opportunity to attend the EveryNation church service at Hammersmith. Thanks so much to my dear cousin, Jel, for accompanying me. It meant a lot to me to be able to spend time with the Lord amidst the hectic schedule while on vacation. I am very grateful that my cousin took me to Hammersmith and had a wonderful, comforting time at the church. That Sunday, 4 June, the church invited theΒ Award-winning author Dr. Frank Turek (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,Β Stealing from God),Β to speak. We were so blessed to listen to his wonderful teaching about the truth of God’s existence amidst all the suffering in the world.

Because this is the London part of the trip, I made an exception on the number of photos to share. I hope you understand. πŸ˜€

Last part of the trip, Rome, will follow. It’s the last, but definitely, not the least. πŸ˜‰

 

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 2)

Here’s the 2nd part of my Europe trip photoblog. πŸ™‚

Milan, Italy: 26-27 May

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Our AirBnB in Milan πŸ™‚
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I really loved our accommodation in Milan, aside from being so chic, it was accessible to the convenience stores, to the stations, and there’s a nearby park, too. I was able to jog one Saturday morning around the beautiful green park. How I love the fresh air, the cool breeze and the lovely view around the park. πŸ™‚ I felt so blessed and grateful for that wonderful experience. πŸ™‚
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When in Italy, drinking coffee is a must, peroid. πŸ™‚

Paris, France: 28-29 May

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Selfies while on Seine River Cruise πŸ™‚

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Don’t worry I didn’t buy ;P

Brussels & Gent, Belgium: 31 May – 1 June

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More Belgian waffle for lunch πŸ™‚

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That’s all for Part 2, hope you enjoyed my photoblog.

Part 3, the last part, will be shared tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Good night, everyone! πŸ˜‰

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Gratitude, Travel, Travel Highlights

Europe trip highlights (Part 1)

As we are about to say goodbye and thank you to 2017 in a few days, I would like wrap up my year by sharing some highlights from my Europe trip. I know this is rather so late, I got overwhelmed with lots of photos and stories to share back then, and then I got tied up with work and all the get-togethers. Now that I am officially on vacation, I wouldn’t want to miss the chance to post more about my dream trip. This year’s trip with Caye and Kim is one of the highlights of my best year so far, so it definitely deserves a space here on my personal site. πŸ˜€ I’ve chosen 17 photos/highlights for each city that we visited. Why 17? Because 2017. πŸ™‚

Let me warn you, this is a looooong post, 99% photos and 1% narrative. πŸ˜› But don’t worry, I will share the highlights in 4 parts. πŸ™‚

Florence, Italy: 22 May

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Tuscany Tour

(Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa):Β 23 May

Lugano, Switzerland

and

Bellagio,Β Lake Como, Italy: 25 May

That’s it for today. More photos to follow in the coming days. πŸ™‚

Posted in Bucketlist, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Inspiration, Lessons Learned, note to self, South Korea, Travel

Some more Notes to self…

Yes, I’m still not over it, probably never will I… πŸ™‚

I realized I have missed out blogging about a few more important bits which will be quite useful for me to remember for my future trips (take note, tripS πŸ™‚) to South Korea, yes, not only to Busan, but to other parts of South Korea and probably to Japan.

I live in Manila, we don’t have spring, autumn and winter here. So if I would like to experience other seasons, the nearest that I can go to is South Korea and Japan. My first experience of spring is in Seoul in April 2011, while my first autumn experience was in Osaka & Kyoto in late November/early December of 2015. I am blessed to be able to go back to South Korea, to Busan just recently, but didn’t get to witness “autumn” colours as yet, but definitely felt the lovely autumn weather.

Spring, Seoul, 2011

Autumn, Osaka/Kyoto, 2015

It is likely that I will be going back to these countries because I love them so much for various reasons. I love the weather, the food (this alone is good enough reason for me to keep on going back), the beautiful sceneries, the courteous and disciplined people, the good quality of their products, and a whole lot more!

In every travel that we experience, we learn a thing or two, and we become a better traveler and a better person each time. The things that I learned in Europe are different from what I learned in South Korea. I have shared here some of the lessons learnedΒ during my first travel to Europe.

Today, I will be sharing some notes to self which I should remember by the time I’ll take that next trip to either Japan or South Korea.

Early November is a good time to go…

Some friends and even celebrities which I follow in Instagram went to Seoul this week and I actually wanted to go back on a whim! Their videos and photos are so beautiful, the food looks so yummy, I know they are, the weather is sooo cold, the colours are just so pretty and lovely… So I am praying and hoping to be able to go back to South Korea next year, most probably in early November, Godwillling. (The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9). πŸ™‚

Bring a medium AND a small luggage

Well, I know I should always try to travel light but I’ll make an exception for these 2 countries because I honestly believe that’s it’s okay to hoard all the yummy food they have. πŸ™‚ I wasn’t able to do this recently because I only brought my small luggage. The medium luggage will be for my grocery shopping, not for my OOTDs. My clothes and all other knickknacks should fit inside my small luggage.

When I told my friend Ina that I would be going to Busan, she requested me to buy this pack of honey butter almond, she said it’s yummy. So I bought a few packs for my family and for Ina. I didn’t try it while in Busan, had I known how good it is, I should have bought moreΒ and tried to squeeze some more inside my luggage… (I love nuts. Thank you Ina, it’s because of you that I discovered this 😍). There are other variants, which are equally yummy. I tried the mixed nuts, it’s so good too!

IMG_2734I love French Vanilla and Caramel Macchiato, so when I saw these in one of the convenience stores, I bought 1 box each, which has 8 packs inside. I should have bought more if I had more space. Now you know why it is important for me to bring a medium luggage, or maybe just 2 small luggages? Well, it depends on how long will the vacation be and how much will be my budget for food shopping. πŸ˜‰ Let’s see…

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Try new drinks, both hot and cold…

As I have noted in my previous post, when in Starbucks, I should not only check out the available cards but also try their new hot and cold drinks from Day 1 of the trip so I get to try all by the end of the trip. πŸ™‚

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Find time to check out quaint cafes (they have the cutest cafes!), other food stalls, and eat all the berries and other unfamiliar fruits as much as possible… πŸ˜‰ I love berries and another thing I love about these countries is that they have the freshest fruits and veggies πŸ™‚

Always thank and praise God, allow Him to surprise you πŸ™‚

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you …” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have probably said this before, but I’ll say it again, I thought 2017’s highlight would be my Europe trip, THE trip of the year, but God has His way of surprising and pampering His children in ways we couldn’t have imagined. I thank and praise God for our Busan trip as much as I praise and thank him for the Europe trip, they are both very special trips to me, cherished by my grateful, joyful heart. I give all thanks and glory to God for just blessing me with all good things. He knows I love to travel, and He delights in blessing me with wonderful experiences each time.

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Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… – James 1:17 ESV

Posted in Busan, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Just Random, Lagom, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, South Korea, Starbucks, Travel

Short can be sweet…

so sweetΒ β™₯β™₯β™₯

Yes, a short vacation is always sweet when you are with your lovely family and/or friends. πŸ™‚

It’s the first day of November (hello, beautiful November!) as of this writing, it’s a holiday so I had time to write and hopefully wrap up my posts about our Busan trip. πŸ˜‰ Let me share with you a few more things which made this trip sweet’er’. πŸ˜‰

IMG_2344Starbucks

On the first two days of our trip as well as the third and last day, I had the chance to go to Starbucks (SB) with my friends. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll remember that I shared in my post here that I collect SB cards, so it is a must that I visit SB whenever and wherever possible. Thanks to my supportive friends I get to do it with so much joy! πŸ˜€

During this trip, I was able to get 4 new SB cards from different SB branches around Busan and I super love them all, very pretty designs and very meaningful as well. πŸ™‚

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This photo was taken on the last day, 16 October. I ordered something new, Gongju BoniBam Latte, yum! On day 2, I also tried Jeju organic green tea. So I’m really happy to try new SB drinks, such a sweet treat!

I also have a small collection of SB demitasses. So it was so tempting to buy this pretty set (photo below) but I restrained myself… Having set a working budget is really a good idea. It actually kept me from buying everything that I liked. Good job, Ryah! ;PIMG_2144

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I not only tried new hot drinks but also excitedly tried some of these SB healthy drinks. I should have discovered this early on, I would likely try all variants, if I remember it right, there were almost 10 different variants. I bought these 3 on the 3rd day and had to drink within a couple of hours because I couldn’t hand-carry it and also didn’t risk checking them in. I tried the kale & apple drink first while at SB, while the last 2, I finished them just before I placed my hand-carry bag on the conveyor at the airport! hahaha They’re all so yummy! I should have hoarded!! Next time, I should remember to not only look for SB cards, but to try new drinks from Day 1 of the trip.

Lagom

Remember the Swedish word and proverb I shared with you a couple of weeks back on this post?

Lagom which literally means not too little, not too much.

On day 1, I saw these products, it caught my attention because of the brand name (and the minimalist packaging, very true to its name)! πŸ˜‰ And I just couldn’t resist, I had to purchase a small cleanser tube and small toner bottle so I could try them, I got some freebies too. πŸ™‚

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I love these products, I’ll try to get a bigger size when I return next year, Godwilling. πŸ™‚ This is such a sweet discovery. πŸ˜‰

Me time

Gill’s fly out from Busan was earlier compared to my flight and Eia’s. So Gill left for the airport at around 12nn if I remembered it right. Eia and I had initially planned to watch one more movie in the afternoon of Day 3 but Eia had to work on some urgent matters, good thing we decided not to purchase another movie ticket the day we bought the first movie ticket. Eia and I went to Starbucks at around 1:30pm, it’s walking distance to the airport bus stop and also to Haeundae Beach. At 3pm, I left Eia alone at SB so she could focus on her work and I could explore the area a bit more. I really wanted to spend some time at the beach so I crossed and went to the beach area. Oh, how I love the beach, the cool breeze, the sound of the waves, I love everything about those little sweet moments to be one with nature.Β β™₯β™₯β™₯

Photos with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics’ mascot. πŸ™‚

Victorious or not-so?

Remember the travel challenge I took upon myself for this trip? Well, the challenges are to stay within the budget (a total of Php30,000 or around USD580)Β  and to travel light.

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This was taken a week before the trip when I haven’t packed my clothes because I didn’t want them to crumple or wrinkle too much. On the day of the trip, I decided to leave that small leather bag on the lower right corner, and opted to use just one day bag all throughout the trip, a roomier bag, my red Girbaud bag, which can accommodate my passport, wallet, cellphone, pen,Β  umbrella, parka, ecobag, a small bottle of water, tissue pack, comb, mirror, lippies, hand sanitizer and a few more knickknacks. ;p
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Here’s on the day of the trip, I only used my small luggage and just my red bag.

On the day of our return to Manila, I only had to use one additional foldable overnight bag, so in terms of travelling light – I am victorious, yey!!! πŸ˜€

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For the other challenge, the target was to only spend a total of Php30,000. After doing my accounting, I spent a total of Php35,198.90. I exceeded Php5k plus, but Php5,483.25 was spent on pasalubong (small treats for family and friends). The excess was a sweet one because it’s for my loved ones. πŸ˜‰ So I think, I am also victorious on this challenge, you agree, right? πŸ˜‰

Sweet memories

In this short trip, more sweet memories were created amongst the three of us. Gillian and Eia are my friends for more than a decade already, our friendship is becoming sweeter and sweeter as time goes by. I love these ladies so much, truly grateful for them. I hope and pray to create more happy memories with them, here and just anywhere around the globe. πŸ™‚

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Where to next, lovelies? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚