#TripMagSoloSaTaiwan : Northern Coast

Yay! This will be my 3rd and last day!

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This is my no breakfast yet look! 😀

For my last day, I booked a half day tour for Taiwan’s Northern Coast via Klook. The tour guide will pick me up at the hotel at 8AM. So, I decided to wake up around 6AM to prepare myself and my stuff because I will be checking out as well.

At 7AM, I went down and checked out then took my breakfast. Before, I can even finish my sandwich, the tour guide was already there looking for me. So, I just brought my foods and drinks and continued eating in the bus.

Unfortunately, they picked me up first. HAHAHA!

Then, we picked up the other guests. We were like 8 or 9 guests. There were 3 other Filipinos with me.

The more or less 1 hour bus ride to our first destination started at Taipei Main Station (where the last guest was picked up).

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Along the way, we did see buildings, bridges, establishments, even road construction and of course, nature. Taiwan is a clean place and I love traveling there because of the trees and mountains.

Our first stop was Chung Cheng Park where we can find the 25-meter Goddess of Mercy statue. The place also offered a great overlooking view of Keelung.

But before we reached the park, we passed the statue of Confucius.

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When we got off from the bus, the tour guide gave some information and instruction before we were told that we can roam around.

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Guests can get inside the statue, ring the bell, see the beautiful Keelung City, take pictures and buy souvenirs.

I just took a photo of the statue and decided not to climb up inside because it’s kinda tiring. HAHAHA!

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Then, there’s me! 😀

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Then, I went to the bell and again just took some photos.

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Afterwards, the tour guide was back in the meeting place to pick us up and proceed to our next and last stop.

Just a couple of minutes away, we arrived in our destination, the famous Yehliu Geopark. It is the home of the Queen’s Head rock formation.

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We were given an hour to roam around and take pictures. It was raining the whole time but it didn’t stop us to capture the beautiful place and that rare moment.

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This is Tony Ling, our tour guide, giving information and instruction.

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Let the tour begin… 😀

Why the place called Yehliu? It is because of these plants that grow in the area. These are called Yehliu. Its fruit looks like a small pineapple but pineapple tastes better.

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This is Lin Tian Zhen, a fisherman. His statue was built as a sign of gratitude of the people in his heroic deed of sacrificing his life to save the kids who were drown in this ocean.

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Remember always! Never cross or go beyond that red line. The rocks are slippery. You might end up falling on the ocean.

Since the park has been famous, expect that there will be many guest visiting here. Whether it’s raining or not.

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And the longest line will be in the Queen’s Head. It will eat up on your time if you will fall in line to take a photo with it.

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But we have a hack! 😀

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Thanks to this beautiful and friendly lady, Joyce from the USA for taking photos of me and being my companion for this tour. A new-found friend that I hope to meet again one day. 😉

When the time was up, we met him again at the entrance then we headed back to Taipei City.

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In going to and from Yehliu Geopark, you will pass the ocean, the mountain, the city. It is so amazing to witness the lives of the Taiwanese in this area.

When we were entering Taipei City, the guide asked me if I want to be dropped off in the hotel or if there is some other place that I want to go. I asked him if he can dropped me off at National Taiwan University or the Ying De Univesity in the famous Taiwanese series, Meteor Garden. Unfortunately, it’s out of the way so I decided to alight at Taipei Main Station so that I can buy some pasalubong in the mall.

I bid farewell to my new friend and continued my walking journey to the station. I decided not to go to National Taiwan University because my feet were aching already. So, I went back to the hotel to pick up my stuff then headed to the airport.

 

 

#TripMagSoloSaTaiwan: Taipei City Tour

I started my second day in Taiwan with an early trip from Hualien County to Taipei City via a train.

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After 2.5 hours trip, I arrived at the Taipei Main Station. I decided to head first to the hotel that I will be staying so that I can leave my things before starting my tour.

I will be staying in Uinn Travel Hostel. After a train ride from Taipei Main Station to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station, I walked for about 10-15 minutes to get to the hotel. Thanks to #GoogleMaps for the help. 🙂

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This is my cozy hotel. It looks attractive and homey outside.

 

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These two welcomed me. 🙂

When I arrived, it is still so early for their check in time. The staff informed that I can leave my things and proceed with my tour. I asked them if I could change and they were so kind enough to let me use their bathroom in the lower floor. And then, they gave me some information on what can I see within the area.

Then, I headed out and start my day 2.

Let the walking begin… (We really need to walk and walk and walk! Hahaha.)

My first destination is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. A memorial to the founder of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The National Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall was built in 1972 as a tribute to the founder of the Republic of China.(From: Guide to Taipei)

It can be found just a few meters away from the Sun Yat-sen Train Station. You will not be lost because there is a signage outside. No entrance fee.

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Other good thing about the place is that you can have a look of Taipei 101

 

I believe he is Sun Yat-sen. (I cannot read Chinese. :D)

 

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This is the Memorial Hall.

From here, you can have a full view of the Taipei 101.

When I was there, the guards had a performance. I am not sure though if it was the changing of guards or just purely a performance. Anyhow, everyone was entertained.

Next stop is the Confucius Temple and Dalongdong Baoan Temple. They are just located in the same area (like you can just walk from the first to the second).

This is the station where you need to get off and walk to Baoan Temple and Confucius Temple.

One of the things I love about Taiwan is that you can just leave your scooters and bicycles without worrying. Plus, you can rent a bicycle anywhere. You just have to tap your Easy Card. They have bike lanes too.

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And the people do follow traffic rules too.

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When I was walking to the temple, I saw this tall fence with some words written in Chinese. This is the time that I wish I know basic Chinese. Haha! I am not sure if it is the temple that I am looking for or not. But Google said that I should keep on walking until I crossed to that fence.

 

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When I was there, I saw this quote from Confucius. I continued walking until I saw the 6 Confucian Arts. I took a photo on each of them before heading to the temple across the street.

 

It is the Dalongdong Baoan Temple. There were few tourists and few locals praying. I roamed around and took some photos. I really wanted to try praying with the incense sticks but I do not know how to. 🙂

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After that, I went inside to the temple across it which I do not know what is the name.

Then went back to the temple I went first. Without knowing, that tall fence is where I can find The Confucius Temple. Unfortunately, it was closed during my visit. So I just took the photos of the gate and the quote outside. Then, I headed back to the train station for my next destination.

But before heading to my next stop, I got hungry. It was past lunch time already. I was looking around and I see many local restaurants or like a carinderia in the PH. But my problem is how can I communicate with them. Their menu is written in Chinese and I am not sure if they can understand me speaking in foreign language. Thus, I looked for another place to eat until I find Subway. Okay! This is so new (seems like there is none of it in PH. Haha!) but I have no choice. Even if I want to try eating the local dish that much, I chose not to because I cannot understand the menu. Hahaha! Plus I am very conscious with what to eat since I just came out from the hospital!

Then, finally heading to my 3rd stop, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

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The CKS Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China, and was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area. The name of the square is officially Liberty Square (自由廣場), as seen above the front gate, however the name change was politically motivated and most people in practice still refer to the entire complex as CKS Memorial Hall. (From: Guide to Taipei)

I just roamed around, took photos and enjoyed the view even if it was raining the whole time.

I also got inside the hall, checked on the display, bought souvenir and a postcard, wrote a note for my mother and dropped it in the post office. I want to make it a habit to send a post card to my mother every time I am out of country. Starting this trip. 🙂

She was able to receive it two weeks after and she hanged it in our Christmas Tree. Haha!

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When I got satisfied and tired in walking around, I decided to head to Taipei 101.

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When I arrived, it was still raining. I directly headed to the floor to claim my ticket. Actually, I already bought a ticket through Klook but I need to clam the physical ticket in Taipei 101. The staff asked me if what is my preferred time and she told me that they cannot guarantee that it will be 100% visible because of the rain. So, I chose the 4:30PM schedule.

Since I still have a few more minutes, I decided to go back to the food court and had a snack because I felt really hungry.

Taiwan is the land of milktea so I decided to try one even if I am not supposed to drink anything with milk and tea. 😀

Then headed back after that. And took some photos.

We will be transported to the 89th floor via an elevator. Of course, that is the only way I guess. Haha!

While we were travelling, there is some voice over giving us some information while the ceiling of the elevator’s display kept on changing (just like when we went to N Seoul Tower in Seoul). And it seems I had panic attacked and so, I kept myself busy in taking videos. 😀

Fortunately, even if it was raining, the view outside was still very clear. There was still day light since it was still 4:30PM. I can clearly see the tall buildings that already look like a miniature, the mountain, the fog, the bridge, and a lot more. I enjoyed looking outside, taking photos.

The difficult thing about traveling solo is taking yourself a decent whole body picture. Luckily, there was this woman (a Filipino) who offered to take photo of me and even let her daughter took some because as what she said, her daughter is good photographer. Indeed, they are. Thanks to them. 🙂

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When it was already getting dark, I decided to go down and proceed to my next destination. But before that, we needed to pass through this store in going to the elevator.

I would supposedly be going to Elephant Mountain to get a very nice view of Taipei 101. But since it was raining the whole day, I thought not to go because it might not be visible.

So, I decided to head to my next and last stop, Taipei Main Station Mall. Yeah, the station has a mall and a wide variety of things to buy from pasalubong to clothes to souvenirs to toys to Japanese collectibles (I have been looking for this because my mother requested) to a whole lot more. They also have restaurants where you can dine.

I walked and walked and walked and checked the stores until I was able to buy what my Mama wanted, souvenirs and a Doraemon miniature for myself. I wanted to buy Doraemon stuff in every country that I will be visiting for collection. 🙂

It was around 8PM that I decided to stop checking the stores but instead look for a restaurant where I can have my dinner. I found one and bought some Ramen and Fried Pork.

My feet was hurting so bad already that I can barely walk. But I still have to walk to the train station and to the hotel.

After the dinner, I headed to the station then took the line to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station. From there, I walked again for about 10 minutes to the hotel.

While I was walking, I just noticed that even if the road was quiet and there was some dark spots but it is still very safe to walk. Plus, I saw a lot of scooters park outside and some have even a helmet left on it.

After a few minutes, finally I arrived in the hotel. I claimed my stuff, the key was given to me and I headed to my room.

My roommates were already sleeping the moment I arrived. It was already past 10PM. I just arranged my things because I will check out early the next day. Then had a shower, changed and charged all my gadgets. 🙂

And I called that a day. That’s how my day 2 had been. Too much things that I visited and saw. Kinda tiring but very fun. ❤

 

 

Sidetrip at Labyrinth in Toledo City

One fine sunny day, I went to Toledo City.

After my appointment and fortunately, there are still enough time left, I had a sidetrip at Capilla Santa Ana and The Labyrinth.

So, I told the tricycle driver that I am going to Capilla Santa Ana and he said that he knew the place.

Guests will be welcomed by the guard who opened the gate. He informed me that I need to pay the entrance fee of Php 100 per person for the Labyrinth. There is an office inside the chapel where guests can pay. After acknowledging him, I headed to the chapel.

The chapel is so beautiful and it’s like you are in the ancient days. From the doors to the furnitures to the saints to the altar. Everything about is mesmerizing.

Here’s a few shots that I have. There were paintings in one of the rooms but I am not sure if we are allowed to post so wag na lang.

I roamed inside the chapel, checked the other rooms and even upstairs. Afterwards, I decided to go out and checked the famous Labyrinth.

Labyrinth by definition according to Wikipedia (Greek: λαβύρινθος labyrinthos) was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos.

We commonly call it maze as well. The labyrinth in Toledo City can be found just beside the Capilla Sta. Ana. But, compared to the usual mazes that we can see, the structure of the plants here are shorter. Thus, the people can see the pathways. However, it is still challenging and tiring to walk through the pathway to the center and go back to the route to go out.

Yeah, there is no other way out but to go back. It’s really tiring but so fun. 😁

Take a glimpse here:

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just wished that I brought a bottled of water with us while walking around. Because I was really thirsty especially it was sunny that day.

After that, I went out so that we can go back to the city.

However, you cannot go out from the place unless you can present a receipt to the guard of the payment. And they have CCTV in the area so they know who’s paying and not. No escape guys! 😜😂

TIPS! 1. Bring a bottled of water.

2. There is a trick where you can get a good shot with the whole maze. Find out when you are there.

3. Do not forget to pay the entrance fee.

4. Take time to sit or kneel and pray at their chapel.

5. And do not forget to take good pictures. It is very picturesque.

6. Discover how beautiful what’s inside it and it’s history.

7. If you want to go there, from Cebu City, you can ride a bus at Ceres South Bus Terminal or v-hire at the V-hire terminal near University of San Carlos Main Campus. Then, get off at Toledo City. From there, you can ask the tricycle driver to take you to Capilla Sta. Ana. They already know the place.

8. They are open from 10AM-12NN & 1PM-4PM during Mondays to Saturdays. Closed every Sunday.

TRAVEL COMPILATION 2017

Disclaimer: it’s a super lengthy post and super late. 🙂

Let’s start the journey back to the first trip for the year in my favorite place with the best people. Siquijor Island with the Family ❤

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From the island  to the mountain of Laguna, to try the Masungi Georeserve Trail, Tinipak River, Regina Rica Shrine, Pililla Windmill, etc.

Then a trip to the beach with VMBU Family.

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We went home in the island for the birthday celebration of my father, Papa Sonny and sister-in-law, Ate Porcia.

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Spent the last weekend of March in Lambug Beach for April’s homecoming. This was also the time that they wanna tell me how stupid I am but I didn’t listen. 😀

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I organized a trip (for the first time, for my own business) for my bestfriend (April) and her friends.

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It was indeed a good time for us to catch up as she has been out of country for a few years.

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Friday night out with these cool officemates at League Sports Bar. Some billiards & darts & gulp (you know what I mean Hahaha) 🙂

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And then one night, I asked for Tropang Laagan’s time over dinner and admitted that I am indeed stupid. Reality hits me! Tanga lang talaga bes! Hahaha

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The next day, I am home in the island for the holy week, talked to my parents and spent the days with the whole family in the beach.

And then organized another tour for my friends and my family in Negros Oriental. We visited Apo Island, Pulangbato Falls & Twin Lakes.

Summer it is! And so, I tried how summer feels like in one of the famous resorts in Cebu, Solea Mactan Resort. (Actually, I was here for work but cannot stop from taking photos. Thanks Sir Andy! :))

Then, my officemates wanted to visit Siquijor and finally, we were able to go there at the end of April.

I hope they had fun in the island. I enjoyed riding the jetski, though. 😀

Just the week after that, me, Neil & Toj had an impromptu trip to Cebu Westown Lagoon. We agreed within 5 minutes and met there after 30 minutes.

2 days after, I was sent for work to Boracay. Yeah, I grabbed the chance to roam around after.

On that weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day at the condo unit rented by Ante Abeth.

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Then, had a beach trip the next weekend with the Pabonita Family to Tabuelan and a side trip at Pinamungahan.

Then the following weekend, Tropang Laagan had a trip to Daanbantayan and stayed at Casa de Tohay.

Ended the month of May with a dinner with my UC Engg Family.

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And started June by meeting my kulit inaanak, Baby Kasandra.

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On that week, I reunited with some high school friends during Jayne’s son’s birthday.

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And the most nerve breaking trip happened on that weekend, our trip to South Korea.

Then had a side trip at Jeju Island.

During my mother’s birthweek, we went home in the island and celebrated it by touring around with the whole family and lunch at Dagsa Resto Bar. Also, to welcome home my cousin Argie, who has been outside the country for a few years.

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And followed by a series of trip to the island.

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July for a fiesta celebration

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August for vacation

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August with the Lenares clan

Then lunch dates with the sisters.

A sad news came when Ante Abeth passed away. We might not be able to see her on her last few days, but we made sure that we were there to see her for the last time.

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On the day of her funeral is the birthday of Ante Clara and the day after that is her birthday. Thus, we had a double celebration on the next day.

Then started September with a trip to Lambug Beach with the #dreamteam (FPI VMBU Technical Team).

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On the same month, the VMBU ladies plus Nino went on a day trip at Mt. View & Adventure Café.

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Then attended the 1st birthday of Baby Kulit  (Kasandra) in JSJS Mountain Resort.

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But we just ate and ran because we headed to Dalaguete for the fiesta celebration.

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So thankful to Toj for accompanying me.

But the most adventure trip I had was in CDO-Bukidnon. We never missed the Advanced Water Rafting.

And a sidetrip to Bukidnon. Thanks to Maizel & Howell for the accommodation, tour, transpo, and everything including us gatecrashing the baptism of Maize’s nephew. Hehe!

On the following weekend, me & Ms.Kate went to SM Seaside and was able to check this Cat Café. Not a cat lover though but I enjoyed playing with them and taking photos.

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And attended the baptism of Baby Calix.

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Baby Calix and Kuya Keifer

By the way, I have to thank my work for bringing me anywhere in the country.

Been to Boracay for 5 times this year… (May, August, September, October, November)

Davao twice… (November, December)

Bacolod once… (December)

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Solea Mactan for rehearsal and VMBU Christmas Party…

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Makati and take note they let us dance. Hahaha! It was FPI Christmas Party…

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Side trip at Gen San and met my friends…

Side trip at Capilla Sta. Ana and Labyrinth in Toledo City.

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In addition, one of the highlights for 2017 is my trip to the hospital.

Thanks to everyone who care, visited, checked, stayed, & prayed for me.

And of course, who will forget that surprise to everyone solo trip to Taiwan during my birthday. Two days after I checked out from the hospital.

And that unending food trips with everyone…

Be it with the family…

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Be it with Tropang Laagan…

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Be it with my Engg Family…

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Or my VMBU Family…

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Then, the best season of the year is here, Christmas!

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Time to go home. But what??? On a plane??? Really???

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Because I should be home for my parents Wedding Anniversary…

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And the Purok’s Christmas & New Year parties.

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And of course, it is best to celebrate Christmas at home with the family! 🙂

Then, here’s me! A happy me! Might be broken and sad and even mad in the second quarter of the year. But still so happy and blessed. More than enough. More than what I deserve. More than what I asked for.

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Thank you 2017! Let’s do this 2018! 😉

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There are many unexpected events and changes that will come in our life, both good and bad. But what is important is how we deal with it. Challenges come, people go, laughter fades, tears fall, and a roller coaster ride of life will occur. But let us not forget to continue living and facing it. Turn that challenge into an opportunity to become better & stronger. Let people go because those who love you will never leave you. However, open your hearts to accept the people that will arrive in your life. Let the laughter fades only once but promise yourself to bring it back again the soonest much louder, much happier and much longer. You all have the reasons to be happy & laugh more often. Cry until there is no more tears that will fall. And when all of them will be gone, show that sweetest smile of yours that you keep for a long time. You will look beautiful with that because it is your most perfect accessory. And lastly, take that roller coaster ride with all your heart. Have fun while doing it and shout if you need to. At the end of the ride, for sure, you have lots of story to tell. And you can surely tap your back for a job that you’ve done very well! 😉

ezaiplorer

 

 

 

 

#Goals2018: Watching a movie alone

First on my list of the goals this 2018 that I just achieved was watching a movie (romantic) on my own. No sister. No cousins. No friends. But just me!

I really wanted to watch Siargao the Movie that much. However, my sister does not want to. While my friends want to watch another film.

Why Siargao?

Of all the movies being shown for the MMFF, Siargao captured me. Maybe because I have been to the place and I love it there. Honestly, I am planning to go back on my own. Or maybe because I am curious of how the story goes and why it garnered many awards.

And so, out of nowhere, while sitting inside the office one afternoon, I just had this push to watch it. I tried booking online but my card was declined twice for the reason that I don’t know.

Thus, I decided that I will go out as soon as the bell rings (clock) so that I will be there before the movie schedule. Fortunately my boss is so kind enough to offer a ride and he will just pass through Ayala Cebu on his way home.

I arrived at around 6:15PM and I planned to watch at 6:40PM schedule. I still have enough time to buy a dinner & french fries and to do whatever I have to (it means going to the CR).

When it was our time to get inside, people lined up, handed their tickets to the in-charged, had their bags inspected by the guard, and looked for their assigned seats.

While waiting, few reminders and trailers were being shown. Until the film started to roll.

What I love about the movie?

1. The actors are very natural especially Erich & Jericho. They all live to their roles.

2. I know most of the actors including the VLOGgers Wil & Bret, real life couple Wil & Roxanne, Gaby Concepcion’s daughter Garrie, surfers Luke & Ikit, etc.

3. Jasmine fits in Siargao. She really looked like an island girl. And she acts so well.

4. The beauty of Siargao can really be seen in the whole film. Especially during the first few minutes. The drone shots were totally awesome and beautiful. It boosts Siargao more. And it urged me more to be back in the island.

5. How the actors can speak Siargao dialect like they were really locals.

6. How the story goes. When you expect this to happen but other thing happened. The twist.

7. You can feel their happiness, pain and loneliness. You can feel the fun.

8. They made surfing easy to look at. Hahaha! I haven’t tried it when we went there but I promised to myself that I will do it on my next visit.

9. The community. You can see from the movie that you can go to Siargao alone but you will go home with lots of friends. It is a place wherein you are free to gain more friends. And that the locals are definitely friendly (and I can attest to that, they really are).

10. What the people are fighting. Siargao for some is just another tourist destination. But for the many (both the locals and tourists), it is their home. And they want to show to the world that they want their home to last long. That its beauty will forever live. That no one should and could destroy it. That’s why at the end of the movie, the whole cast is spreading awareness on how to protect and save Siargao. And tourists like us, we can do our own part. When we visit Siargao, let us make sure to help them protect their island and make it clean.

No doubt why they garnered many awards. The movie is not just about the love story of the casts but also the love of the people to Siargao. ❤️

I cannot wait to be back in the island soon and hopefully meet everyone there. 😉

Aside from my thoughts on the movie, I want to share also the pros and cons of watching a movie alone.

PROS

1. You can definitely focus. You will not be talking to someone during the movie. Instead, you can give the whole time watching and understanding it.

2. You don’t have to share your foods. Hahaha! You buy and eat all the foods. No one to share to.

3. You learn to react with the other viewers.

CONS

1. No one to talk to when you want to share something. Like when the cast has been shown one by one and I was talking to myself mentioning their names. Hahaha!

2. You don’t have someone to whom you can leave your stuff when you go to the CR. It’s just like solo traveling, you need to bring your stuff when going to the CR because no one will guard it for you.

But solo, with your partner or your friends, the movie is worth to watch. 👌👏

#Goals2018

As we all welcome the new year, 2018, we usually do give or share our New Year’s Resolutions. Those things that we want to change, we want to correct, we want to do, we want to achieve and we want to reach.

Honestly, I did that before. But nothing happened. Hahaha!

Fulfilling your resolutions need determination and passion plus discipline. We cannot just set it and forget everything when January ends or February starts. We have to put it in our heart and mind. We have to convince ourself that we can do it. That we should do it.

Anyway, for me, I did somewhat similar and different this year. I set goals that I want to accomplish. Most of them were that things I should have done last 2017.

However, it’s just this year that I had the courage and the will power to do it.

So what are they? 🤔

I will be sharing it one by one though. 😉

Here’s the list that I will fill up once I accomplished it.

1. Watched a movie alone. ✔️ 1/3/18

Unexpected #TripMagSoloSaGenSan

I have a business trip in Davao for a new project. The timing is right because it was a holiday after that. Since I really wanted to go back to General Santos City and visit my former officemates, I asked our ticket booking in-charge to book my trip back to Cebu on the next day. Good thing she approved and my boss also allowed me to. Lucky me! And the perks of my work. 🙂

And so, it leads me to my next #TripMagSolo Adventure. This time, I am going to General Santos City via Davao City.

I departed at Ecoland Bus Terminal at around 2:30PM. I chose the non-stop Yellow Bus Liner. The fare is Php 300 per person and the trip will take about 3-4 hours. Good thing is that the bus has a comfort room inside. It is very useful to people like me.

After 4 hours, I finally arrived at General Santos City Old Bus Terminal. My friend, Elton, was already outside waiting for me.

From there, we headed to Balay Ocho. A restaurant in GenSan that is owned by our former officemate, Kuya Meiji and her chef wife, Ate Meliza. We had dinner with another friend, Ayeng and her family.

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with Ayeng 🙂

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with Kuya Meiji, our former officemate & owner of Balay Ocho 🙂

The foods were all delicious and sold on a very reasonable price. Plus the ambiance is good. It is just like eating in you own house.

Then, we picked up and dropped off the special someone of Elton before heading to his house.

When we arrived, his mother (Ante Maria) and his nieces were still awake and were waiting for us. We slept early that night because we need to wake up early the next day.

The next day, we woke up at around 5AM because supposedly, I will try paragliding. However, we need to be there the whole morning which is very impossible for me because I need to depart for Davao by lunch. So, we decided to head to Kalonbarak Skyline Ridge.

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It is an overlooking view in the middle of the mountain. An hour or more away from the city. The road is kinda rough and narrow. So better bring an experienced driver.

When we arrived, a staff will collect Php 20.00 entrance fee.

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The place is very relaxing, can be cold if you are there early in the morning, you can camp for the night, foods and drinks are being sold in their store and just a perfect place away from the busy city life.

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After there, we proceeded to Lemlunay Beach Resort in Sarangani. It is 30 minutes away from the city (making it 1.5 to 2 hours trip for us).

The entrance fee is free if you will dine in their restaurant. Otherwise, their day use fee is Php 100 per head.

They have a swimming pool, board games, swings, a beach perfect for snorkeling and diving, and a restaurant that served delicious foods.

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with Yassi, Elton’s special girl 🙂

At around 11:30AM, we finished our lunch and decided to head to the bus terminal. I want to catch the 12NN bus schedule because I want to make sure that I won’t be late for my flight.

The bus that I was able to ride departed at 12:30PM and arrived in Ecoland Bus Terminal at around 4PM. I still have enough time to be at the airport before my flight.

That’s how my short stay and visit in GenSan has been to. I will surely go back next year both to visit my friends and to try the paragliding. I cannot wait though. 😉

#TripMagSoloSaTaiwan: Hualien County

After that no sleep and no rest, finally it is time to claim my train tickets. A few minutes walk from the bus station is the Taipei Main Station. This one is for the Taiwan Railway Train.

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Once I got my tickets (two-way), I went to the platform number specified in the ticket. When I arrived there, the train was not yet there and there were few people already waiting.

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This is what the train looks like. It has vending machine and toilet.

In booking for the train, you will be asked to choose if chair or table. You need to be at least 4 persons to book the table.

We passed different scenery but everything is lovely. They really love nature a lot.

After 2 and half hours, finally I arrived in Hualien County. Since the station is just a few minutes away from where I will be staying, I decided to walk. Actually, I tried to hire a taxi first but the driver cannot understand what I am saying. Haha!

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I arrived at Cozy House Hostel and since it was too early yet to check in, they informed me that I can leave my luggage. They were so helpful also in terms on getting around the place. They gave me tips and instructions on how can I do the Taroko Tour.

After I changed my clothes, I bid farewell to the staff and informed them that I will check in once I get back. I headed to the bus station which is just adjacent to the train station. I bought the bus ticket for NTD 250. Then I waited for the the bus to arrive. I was able to ride the 11:10AM schedule.

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With my daily companion 🙂

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the bus for Taroko

My first stop was Taroko National Park Visitor Center where I had my lunch.

Next stop is Shakadang Trail.

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The odds of being a solo traveler. You need to find a way to take a full body picture with the view. 🙂

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am so thankful for that lady tour guide who offered to take a photo of me

Third stop is the Yanzihkou Tunnel. The Swallow Grotto Trail can be found in the area too. But I didn’t go because it was raining so hard and my feet was aching.

Then I decided to head back to the hotel because it was getting dark, my feet was aching and it was getting so cold. When I arrived, I was assisted to my room.

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The room can accommodate up to three pax. But when I got there, I was the only one checked in.

When I got settled in, I went out to buy foods for dinner. I saw a restaurant earlier which is walking distance from the hostel. It is called Mos.

This how the hostel looks like. It is very comfy, safe and clean. You can really feel at home. The staff is helpful, accommodating and friendly. The location is near to the station and the restaurants & convenience stores. They have free breakfast which I was not able to avail because I departed earlier the next day to catch my train.

Time to say see you soon and thank you to Hualien County. Until next visit. I will surely be back because he place is very relaxing, peaceful and perfect for nature lover. Everyone (kids or adults) will surely enjoy the place. And when I go back, I still want to stay at Cozy House Hostel.

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My train ride back to Taipei. Another 2.5 hours.

 

TIPS!

  1. Buy a ticket online ahead so that you can reserve seats. Check their website for the schedule.
  2. The train station is open at 5AM so be there before the time.
  3. The train is on time so be conscious. They leave as schedule.
  4. It is gonna be a long ride, you can bring foods if you want.
  5. Choose a hotel/hostel that is located near the station and restaurants.
  6. It is better to buy the Taroko Bus ticket since it is an unlimited ride. But the trips are per schedule so be mindful.
  7. You can tour the province by bike. Just check online for the booking and location of these bikes.
  8. Bring enough or more than enough cash. I am not sure if the establishments there accept credit card and definitely, it will be hard to exchange our PHP to NTD.
  9. Not everyone can speak or understand English. So prepare your sign language. If possible, ask Google ahead or your hotel staff.
  10. Have fun and cherish the moment. The place is totally breathtaking and worth it for the long trip.

My firsts for 2017: A year ender post!

2017 is about to end in a few days. As the remaining days are approaching (rain or shine), it is also the time that most of us would look back on the things that had happened for the whole year. It is the time to reminisce, to thank, to analyze, to get inspired & motivated, to do better and to be better.

As much as I want to look back on those things, I want to share my many firsts that I had experienced this year. Some of which is I never did expect. Well, what’s fun with having no thrill.

FIRST BREAKUP

I am trying to think more on what is the first thing for the year but this what came up to my mind. Hahaha! This will be the only post (I supposed) that I will be sharing about it.

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Photo from Psychology Today

Anyway, I am into almost 9 years relationship until we parted ways (broke up). Don’t mind asking me for the reason because I won’t be sharing it. (LOL! Haha). It was my first relationship thus making it my first heartbreak. Literally, I had a broken heart (walling moment feeling. hahahaha). But, as what they say, you have to go through the worst, to have the best.

If you would ask me months before that or a year ago if what would I feel if I get brokenhearted, I would say that I don’t know and maybe I won’t experience it. You know why? Because I was thinking that it was the one. I felt right and thought it would be my kind of forever. But God has better if not the best plan. I really believe that He gave us the wrong person to know who is the right one for us which might also be the one.

It has been more than 8 months… So based on that months, what did I do and what someone should do if you would go through like this? (Disclaimer: I am not a love guru.)

First and the most important thing to do is to accept & embrace it. Everything happened for a reason thus accept that it has to occur. And make use of it to be better, stronger and to know more about yourself. Because the more you deny and reject about it, it will hurt yourself more and it is much harder to move on.

Then, when things will go according to God’s plan and you are in the process in moving on, next is to start forgiving. Forgive yourself first and forgive those who hurt you. Do not put the blame and burden to yourself because it ended. The more you keep on blaming, regretting and hating, you are depriving yourself from being happy and just giving more heartaches. You will have true happiness and peace if you start on letting things go including that person, the hate that you felt and all the what ifs in the world. Do it for yourself.

Third is stop minding them. The moment they leave you is the moment that you are no longer part of each others lives. Thus, do not keep on checking on them or thinking what they have been doing. Let them do what they want, it is their lives after all. That is none of your business and start focusing on your own. Grab that chance to do what you want, you wish for and you dream of.

What should matter to you now is that you are living a happy and peaceful life. No regrets. No what ifs. No whys. No conscience haunting you every now and then. But purely words of thankfulness. And a bunch of lessons that you learned. You can do it. If others did, then so are you.

P.S. Make it the time to spend with your family and friends. Besides, they will be there always for you.

FIRST HEART TO HEART TALK WITH THE PARENTS

I am the type of person that I rarely open up about myself or what I feel. I keep it to myself as much as I can except if I really need to. I am kinda secretive and selective in terms of whom to share. I have a friend that I shared about my love life, I have a friend that I shared about work, etc. And I do not share everything, just some of it. 😀

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But when I got my heart broken for the first time, I have no choice but to talk and tell my parents. First,  I do not want them to keep on guessing or wondering if what is going on. Second, they have the right to know. They were part of our relationship in the first place. They got the chance to spend some time with my ex-boyfriend. And they are concern about me and my life.

Typical me, I always look for a right timing if I want to say or do something. Then one night, when we went home in the island, I grabbed the chance to talk to them and tell them almost everything (there is something that I kept from them but basically they found out later on. Hahaha!). They were able to share their sentiments and opinions. Actually, only my mother has kept on talking. My father was quiet the whole time. He only talked when I asked him if he’s okay and he responded me by asking if I am okay. (I was touched! Haha).

I felt great after that. It seems a heavy load has been taken off from my chest. It is  really better to be open.

FIRST TIME TO CRY IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS

I tell you, I am secretive that even crying is I do it secretly. But yeah! When things were too much to handle, it is best to call some SOS or help. It really did happen. Time came that I burst out and cry in front of my friends (actually, just my 2 guy friends).

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What’s good about them is that they listen and definitely, give their piece of advice or opinion. No sugarcoating. But it will always be up to us if we will follow or not. Well if you chose not to yet they’re right, at the end, they will bully you and slap in your face the truth. Until you will realize how stupid you have been. Hahaha!

FIRST TRIP THAT I ORGANIZED FOR BUSINESS

I always love traveling. I think that is obvious with my posts. But, aside from that, I also love to share it with others. I want that they can experience it too. That’s why I organized trips with my family and friends.

But one day, I organized a trip for a group of friends that I don’t know (they were my bestfriend’s officemates). I did all the coordination from the hotel to the tour to the transportation and relayed it to them.

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Thanks to these amazing people 🙂

That was my first yet it was so memorable, fun and I gained new friends. Organizing was not easy but seeing their smiles and hearing their stories & thank yous make all the efforts and time spent worthy. I would be glad and honor to organize another trip like this. Just if I have more time. 🙂

FIRST VISA TO APPLY AND GET APPROVED

My sister, her friend and I were going to South Korea. Thus, we need to process the Visa in order to proceed. Though it costs nothing and there is a consulate office here in Cebu, but the process is not that easy. There are a long list of requirements to be accomplished. We were able to process less than a month before our trip schedule. Actually, just enough days before our flight.

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During the Visa processing, we were really tested. We were like riding a rollercoaster. We were nervous the whole time especially while waiting for the releasing of the passport. I posted our experience and the requirements here. It was totally nerve breaking and we really panicked. But thanks God, we were approved and we were able to visit to South Korea. (SK Trip.)

FIRST IN SO MANY YEARS THAT I WAS ABLE TO GO HOME MORE OFTEN BUT ALSO THE YEAR THAT I AM ALMOST OUT OF TOWN

It may sound complicated and contradicting that I was able to go home more but also almost out of town. Hmmm… How should I explain this? Hahaha!

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I get the chance to go home almost every month because I have more weekends that I am just in the city and have no out of town trips.

On the contrary, there were months that I am almost out of town. This is both for work and personal. My friends had been inviting me to hang out or go out (or the other way around). I met some of my friends also for dinner.

I got less sleep and rest but I was able to totally rest when I was confined for gastritis. Not my first confinement though (first was last October 2009). And so happy to see lots of people visiting and showing some care.

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I did really feel loved with all these people (both my family & friends).

FIRST SOLO TRIP OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY (FOR VACATION)

I booked a plane ticket to/fro Taipei without anyone’s knowledge. I told my family a few weeks before my trip.

I did it because I want to try how it feels traveling solo. I was able to fly solo but for work and training. But, vacation is different for sure.

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It was a fun experience. I met a lot of people, discovered different places, experienced many things during the whole trip. But day 1 made me want to cry and go home. Homesick striked! Hahaha!

I was chatting my sister and friends because it felt sad being alone. But I just enjoyed the whole adventure and I did really have fun.

I will surely do it again soon. But, first I need to buy a cheap plane ticket! Hahaha!

FIRST IN SO MANY YEARS THAT I CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT TO ANY GUY (hahaha)

Just to make it clear, I don’t think about this until my officemate told me before we had out vacation break. She was like, “Ms. Jezza, first Christmas mo pala ngayon?” And I was confused at first and laughed when I realized. Hahaha!

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Yeah! Basically, after a long time, this is my first Christmas without being attached to some guy.

What’s the difference? First, no boyfriend who will greet you. Second, no gift from him. Third… Third? Hmmm.. I think that’s all!

It seems it does not have an effect or changes. It just that you are not getting it from him. But, there are still many people who will greet and give you gifts.

What we should do is appreciate and be grateful of what we have. Stop looking for something or someone that we don’t have. The key to happiness is contentment.

FIRST PLANE RIDE TO THE ISLAND

Holiday seasons again! Christmas then New Year celebration. It means one thing, there will be many people who are going home to their provinces. But, the PUVs somehow cannot accommodate them. That’s why, it took hours to be able to go home.

And so, what I did, I booked a ticket with Air Juan since they already have flights directly from Cebu to the island of Siquijor. It costed me Php 2,188 for a 40-minute ride.

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I have been on a couple of plane rides this year (thanks to my work) but this trip is different in a better way.

There were only 6 passengers (can accomomdate 9 pax) plus 2 pilots. There is no flight attendant nor comfort room. The window is wider than the usual planes. It seems I am riding a private plane. It flew lower than the usual that’s why I can clearly see what’s below. The whole trip was so smooth and I was amazed (ihas much! hahaha).

I will ride again especially if it is passengers season. The amount I paid is more than enough comparing it if I waited for a long time and the long trip.

GOD & FAMILY FIRST

Sometimes, you learned the hard and painful way. You will realize things. You will arrive to the point wherein you can weigh in what’s right and wrong. Then it will hit you hard.

That’s my biggest realization this year, to prioritize and put my family and God first. I had been taking them for granted and putting them below than others. But when I have been broken, have nothing and the world turned upside down, they were the there first hand.

God enlightened, guided and loved me. He opened not just my heart but also my eyes and mind. He never leave me since day 0. He listened to my prayers but gave the best answers more than what I expect and want. He showed me that His plans are the best. He was there. He never turned back from me even if I forgot about Him a couple of times. He felt my pain even if I hurt Him. He raised me up even if I caused His heart to be broken.

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My family was there always for me. I barely saw or appreciated it. I took them for granted and chose to be with other people rather than them. They gave me time when I cannot even say hello and how are you. They listened when I kept myself busy listening others. They loved me even if I rarely showed it to them. They were the people who picked me up when I stumbled. They gave me reason to smile when I wanna cry and get mad at the same time. They supported me all throughout even if I am too much to handle and understand.

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All this time, I kept asking God. Not on why it happened because I learned a lot and I became a better person. Not on why the world is complicated because people made it complicated, not the world or the life.

But I asked Him why I deserve all His blessings. What did I do that He loves me that much. Have I been a good person and so He showered me all of these.

I am blessed. I don’t know why. But I know I am. This year might not be all fun and happy. But that makes the whole journey a wonderful adventure.

There are things that will happen unexpectedly. We get hurt, sad, cry, stumble, and even mad. But, it is always up to us how are we going to face it and to see the positive side.

Get hurt but make it a lesson for you to learn. Be sad but promise yourself that you will smile again. Cry your heart out but the moment you wipe your tears is the moment you will laugh until your stomach is in pain. Stumble and fall but do your best to stand up and be stronger. Lose your temper and be mad but limit to what it can make you do.

It does not matter what happened to us. What is important is how we react, what we will do and how are we going to see it. Think on the brighter side. Look for the positive out of all the negativity. And remember always, we have God, our family and friends. We are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Nor the days to come.

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And as 2017 will close its chapter, I would like to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to each and everyone of you for making my year a journey to remember, an experience that make me better and an adventure that molded me to be better. I had fun, memorable and wonderful life. It’s all because of you. I hope to see and be with you still on the year/s to come.

Happy New Year!

Spreading some love, happiness and positive vibes from the Island of Siquijor!

#TripMagSoloSaTaiwan: A birthday treat to myself

Let us start with…..

Way back May 14, I was able to book a plane ticket for Taipei for only Php 899 then booked the ticket back to Cebu last June 29 for TWD 751 (approximately Php 1400). Imagine, you can already go to Taiwan for around Php 2000.

When I booked these tickets, I have no intention yet to tell anyone about it. But I was able to share to one of my friends. I then started researching, reading blogs and making itineraries. I was so excited back then.

On the 3rd week of October, I informed my mother and siblings about this trip through Facebook. I sent them an itinerary of my trip. They were like why are you traveling alone, why are you not bringing your sister, and so on.

This will be my first trip outside the country alone. My first trip was in Singapore last November 2014 with my sister & my ex boyfriend. It was followed by a trip to Hong Kong & Macau last July 2015 with my ex boyfriend and his friends. Then, a trip to Bangkok last June 2016 with my officemates. Lastly, a trip to Hong Kong last June for a training (technically just me but I have fellow Filipino attendees).

So technically, this trip will just be me, myself and I. Going abroad for training is different if you go there for vacation. When I had my training, my whole day is spent in the training room with an instructor discussing about whatever in the course outline. But when it is for vacation, you have the whole day spent by yourself (and companion, if any) touring and roaming around.

This made me so excited. I am not sure though what’s gonna happen and if I can survive.

But before my travel date arrived, I was confined in the hospital for erosive gastritis. The timing was really bad. It made my parents hesitant to allow me to travel. Especially that I am alone. They were worried for my safety and health. Well, I have a caring parents & family, though. Cannot blame them. Yet they cannot do anything because they have a hardheaded daughter.

And when the day came, I was in the airport early because I do not want to be in a hurry and panicking.

When I arrived, I fell in line then check in then pay the Php 1620 Travel Tax then claimed my boarding pass then pay for the Terminal Fee which costs Php 750.

After the last X-ray inspection, the last step is the immigration. This is usually the nightmare of most of the people. Of course, who wants to be offloaded. No one, right? Especially if you are already prepared and excited about it. But, that’s their work though. Basically, they just want to make sure that you are honest with your purpose of travelling.

I approached a guy immigration officer then handed to him my passport. Then our conversation goes like this:

Immigration Officer: Where are you working? (I told him where. Then he asked about my position.)

Immigration Officer: Are you traveling alone or with someone?

Me: I am traveling alone.

Immigration Officer: What is with traveling solo?

Me: I am going to soul search. (Then I laugh.)

Immigration Officer: Will it be fun?

Me: Yes. Plus, I have the chance to meet new friends.

Immigration Officer: Right. Have a safe trip. (then handed to me my passport)

So short and not so nerve breaking. Maybe because I have been to few countries already and I showed him my company ID. Haha!


Since, I am 3 hours early for my flight, I decided to take my dinner.

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Chicken and Pork Adobo

Waiting game #1

It was exactly 9:25PM that we departed from Cebu.

Bye for now, Cebu!

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Some immigration docs that we need to fill up and submit.

We arrived in Taoyuan International Airport at around 12:30AM.

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This is it! I can now see Taiwan’s flag. Helloooooo, Taiwan! Lezzz do this.

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It is so quiet. Going to the immigration.

Taiwan is just 2.5 hours away from Cebu. And there is no time difference between Taiwan and Philippines. If you check the map, it can be found across Batanes.

I was able to meet Filipinos when I arrived. I went together with them to Taipei Main Station. To get there, you can take the train or bus. But since the train station is not yet open at that time, we took the bus. It is Bus 1819 and the last stop is in Taipei Main Station.

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You can find this monitor with schedules of the bus at the basement of the arrival.

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This is the bus stand for Taipei Main Station. Bus 1819

My struggle started when we arrived in Taipei Main Station. When I alighted, I am not sure where is the station for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Station. Why I am taking this? It is because I am going to a province in Taiwan. It was still 2AM and the TRA station will open at 5AM.

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This is the bus drop off.

I walked to the taxi stand and asked the driver to take me to Taipei Main Station. And he was pointing the building near where the bus dropped us off. He cannot understand and speak English that well but he knew where I wanna go. Maybe he was thinking that I am crazy riding a taxi when I am already in my destination. Hahaha!

Then, I got off from his taxi after paying 100NTD. Walked to the nearest MRT Station entrance then walked for a few minutes here and there. Until I decided to go to the bus station since it is opened.

I approached a guy working there and asked him where is the TRA. He informed me that it will be opened at 5AM and pointed where it is. He was kind enough to let me stay inside the station while waiting for the time.

I sat there watching whatever movie in Youtube (thanks to my fast internet service provider). I was so sleepy but I do not want to sleep because I am not sure if I am safe there or my stuff and I do not want to sleep too much to miss my train.

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My buddy while waiting. A mini cake which shaped like Doraemon. It is so delicious.

When it’s already 5AM, I went out from the bus station and walked towards the TRA station.

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This is the Taipei Main Station and counter for the TRA.

Getting more excited on what this whole trip is in store for me. Fingers crossed! 🙂

Day 1 – Hualien County

Day 2 – Taipei City

Day 3 – Taiwan’s Northern Coast

 

TIPS!

  1. Always arrive early in the airport.
  2. Since Taiwan  allowed Filipino Travelers/Tourists to enter their country without Visa from November 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, make sure that you bring the documents that they need.
    • A passport with remaining validity of at least six (6) months.
    • A return ticket or a ticket of traveler’s next destination and a visa for that destination if required.
    • A proof of accommodation (hotel) booking or host/sponsor’s contact information, or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting etc.
    • An arrival card that you can obtain in the airline.
  3. Exchange your money in the airport. It would be hard to find a money exchange in the city. Most of the banks only accept USD to be exchanged to NTD. I found it hard to exchange my PHP in their banks. I ended up exchanging it in the airport.
  4. Buy an Easy Card in any convenience store for your train and bus rides.
  5. Know ahead where to go and how to get there.
  6. Pocket WiFi is not that required since there are free WiFi’s in Taiwan, but this could help you a lot especially if you wanna Google.
  7. From the airport, you can take a bus, MRT, or High Speed Railway Train to Taipei City. But check on the schedule. Most likely, the bus operates 24 hours.
  8. Taipe Main Station is like the center of Taipei. You can ride from there an MRT, bus or Train Railway to any provinces in Taiwan.
  9. Many Taiwanese can speak and understand English. But do not be shocked if you need to sign language. Haha! Because some does not understand.
  10. Taiwan is so safe. When I was walking late at night, I was very anxious if I am safe. But, yes you are. You can walk texting without worrying being snatched or pick-pocketed. In fact, you can leave your bags in the table and no one will get it from there.