My mom-in-law was dead set at finding authentic handicrafts and “batik” to take home. We were at a loss on where to find native stuff, so we ended up walking around for an hour or two. Tucked away in an old shopping complex was a store selling authentic native handicrafts. We were so lucky to have stumbled upon it. As hubby put it, being there was like an anthropology lesson.

C360_2014-03-12-15-16-11-502 C360_2014-03-12-15-18-14-755We ended up buying a lot of stuff: about a dozen souvenir shirts, several batik cloths, some handmade jars, keychains, and even a CD of tribal music. Hubby and bro-in-law were fascinated by a Moslem Cris on display, but seeing as it is a weapon, we highly doubted whether we could have gotten customs clearance for it.

We walked around the complex some more and found shops selling native jewelry and even a traditional pharmacy. It was weird seeing dried fins, scales, plants, and what-not on the shelves. I also came face-to-face with a very well-preserved shark, which was a bit creepy. We ended the day happy with our purchases.

The next day was our going-home day. We had a blast. Miri is the type of place where you could have total relaxation. Time seemed to fly by so slowly, and people were going about their business seemingly without following a set schedule. There was simply no rush at all. It was refreshing after being in the hectic urban jungle that is HongKong.

C360_2014-03-13-12-48-06-693Above is our photo with our favorite driver, Mr. Ting Ming King. See those wide smiles? We definitely had a lot of fun. I’d like to be able to return to Miri someday, if only for the nice roast pork that I tasted. 🙂

On our third day at Miri, we decided to go on a hiking adventure, which is something that none of us have tried before. We got a taxi to take us to Lambir Hills National Park, which is about a hour’s drive from the city center. We got the nicest driver, who regaled us with tales of Miri and places to go. Our hour-long trip was never boring.

C360_2014-03-12-09-16-05-785We went to the admission office, and the guy we spoke with was very enthusiastic. He even knew a few Tagalog words. He said that they had quite a few Filipino visitors to the park. We decided to hike (translation: walk lumberingly) 4 kilometers to the first major waterfall. The guide reassured us that the trail would be easy to follow and was not steep at all. He said we can take our time and swim in the waterfall, but he warned us to be back by 5 pm because the park gates close by then.

SAM_2175

It was a good thing that the day was cloudy, with a nice breeze, so it wasn’t too tiring to walk. It was eerily quiet, with only the occasional chirping of birds (and our labored breathing) breaking the silence.

 SAM_2198 Family at the Bridge SAM_2200 Hanging BridgeThe waterfall was really nice. Hubby, along with dad and brother-in-law, decided to take a dip.

Latak Falls

We stayed for a couple of hours, chattering away and having some nice family bonding moments. We decided to head back at around 1:30 pm, but not without another photo op.

Family at Latak Falls

Our taxi driver was at the reception when we returned. He took us back to the city, and we again went to Ang Roasting for a late lunch. We did some more shopping for souvenirs to take back home, which I will talk about on my next post.

On Day 2, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel. Hubby was still hungry before we left, so he bought this nice breakfast set from KFC at less than MYR10.

C360_2014-03-11-09-34-40-114We then found a taxi to bring us to Taman Selara beach. The place was deserted when we got there. Construction was ongoing along the boardwalk, but most hole-in-the-wall shops were closed. We had no idea why, but we guessed that it might have been because we were there on a weekday. Nonetheless, the place was nice. Swimming was prohibited though, because of the strong currents.

Taman Selara Horizon Family at Taman Selara C360_2014-03-11-11-41-08-490 C360_2014-03-11-11-38-24-837 C360_2014-03-11-11-37-12-502

And here are yet more shots.

Tama Selara Park SAM_2162

By noon, we were starving, and seeing that there were no establishments for miles around, we were desperate to find a taxi to take us back to the city center. Good thing we saved the number of one of the drivers. We asked to be dropped off at a “shopping center” and ended up in Sin Liang, which is more of a grocery rather than a department store. We walked around and we thanked our lucky stars when we found Ang Roasting, which was serving roast pork, beef, and chicken. My brother-in-law was feeling more adventurous and tried out the spicy Laksa.

C360_2014-03-12-13-53-36-480The rest of the afternoon was spent on walking around the shopping complex and buying some local food to bring home. We also bought giant “macopa,” which my husband had fun with when we arrived at the hotel.

C360_2014-03-11-13-56-35-351Stay tuned for my next post regarding Day 3, our adventure at Lambir Hills.

Sweet

Hubby and I, along with my in-laws, have gotten the opportunity to travel to Miri via AirAsia. We were lucky enough to have won free round trip tickets through a poster making contest hosted by the airline company, along with Yugatech. This trip came at the heels of our HongKong adventure with my side of the family. Hubby and I only had two days of breathing room before jetsetting to this undiscovered gem of a location.

To the uninitiated, Miri is a new tourism-centered city located at Sarawak. The region is part of Malaysia but is detached from the main island and is located instead in the land mass of Borneo. We knew little about this place before flying there, but we came ready for an adventure. We were not disappointed. You’ll find a myriad of photos after the jump. (more…)

SAM_2110

Fireworks always fill me with a sense of awe. The first time I watched the fireworks at Tokyo Disneyland, I was teary eyed. I thought that it was because it was my first time to visit a Disneyland park, but I was wrong. The feeling remains the same regardless of how many times I watch the Disney fireworks. I wish I had a better camera to capture those wonderful moments. After the jump, you’ll find some of the better shots that I was able to capture with my trusty digicam.

(more…)

The fourth day of our Hong Kong vacation was again spent in Disneyland. More magical photos below.

C360_1

At the Disney Train

Camera 360

At the Disney Station Platform

(more…)

A side trip to Macau was a must-do for us during this vacation. Only Ate, Mina, hubby, and I went on this trip. We left Mom and the kids at the hotel for them to have a full day of rest before another day filled with fun (and lots of walking) at Disneyland. I have already posted several photos from our Macau trip in a previous entry (see it here), so for this post, I’ll be posting how we got to Macau from Hong Kong, along with some more photos that we took during our stay.

We left the hotel early at around 5:45 am as we still had to get some takeaway food for mom and the kids. That task being done, we made our way to Sheung Wan. From TST, we took the red line to Central and then transferred to the blue line toward Sheung Wan. We took exit D and turned right toward the Cotaijet terminal, which was on the third floor. We were just in time for the 7:20 am trip. For Cotaijet trip schedules, visit their website here. It took us about 75 minutes to reach the Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal.

Camera 360 (more…)

Disneyland is, and will always be, the happiest place on earth. During our last visit, hubby and I discussed how wonderful it must be to work in Disneyland, and it is truly remarkable to see the large number of Filipino cast members present in the Hong Kong park. Words wouldn’t suffice to describe how truly magical it is to visit a Disneyland park. When I visited my first Disneyland in Tokyo, I felt great. But recent visits with my family, especially my daughter, have been made more special by the opportunity to share the joy and the “return to childhood” moments with the people I love the most. Below are the memorable captured moments during the first day of our most recent visit to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Camera 360

Sunny Bay platform: Gateway to HK Disneyland

(more…)

What’s a visit to Hong Kong without shopping? Given our jam-packed itinerary, we tried to get in as much shopping as we can in between our scheduled destinations. Day 1 was our most flexible day, and after our visit to Noah’s Ark (you can read about it here), we decided to go to Citygate Outlets, which was only two stations away from Tsing Yi. Just take exit C at Tung Chung. More details and photos after the jump. (more…)

After leaving from Charlie Brown Cafe, these tourists still had itchy feet. Thus, we decided to walk along Nathan Road toward Victoria Harbor and the Avenue of the Stars. It was very cold at approximately 14 degrees, so layers and jackets were the order of the day.IMG_1973

More details and photos after the jump! (more…)

I initially thought that Charlie Brown Cafe can only be found in Malaysia. Lo and behold, there was one in Hong Kong (I believe there used to be two). With my sister being a Peanuts fan, this was one place we surely wouldn’t miss. Charlie Brown Cafe is actually just a short walk away from our guesthouse. It’s located along Cameron Road at Kok Pah Mansion. You can easily see it from afar because of the neon signage giving away its location.

SAM_1885

Click on more for details and photos. (more…)

We arrived at Hong Kong on March 3 quite early at 9:00 am, and thanks to the airport pickup service that our guesthouse offered, getting to Tsim Sha Tsui from the airport was a breeze. After checking in and leaving our luggage at Golden Crown, our first stop was Ma Wan Park and Noah’s Ark at Park Island near Lantau. This is a rarely visited destination in Hong Kong, as evidenced by the very few people that we saw during our visit. We actually planned on visiting this place last year, but the typhoon warning prevented us from pushing through as my limited research at that time pointed to a ferry as the easiest way to get to the park. Luckily, my research for this year yielded other options, and we got to the park after an MTR ride from TST to Tsing Yi and a short bus ride (for more detailed directions, check out my itinerary here).

The bus drop off point was a bit of a walk away from the park entrance.

SAM_1844

(more…)

As promised, below is the Hong Kong itinerary, with a side trip to Macau, that I’ve worked on prior to leaving for our trip on March 3 to 7. Our flights were booked with Cebu Pacific (Clark-Hong Kong-Clark), and we stayed at Golden Crown Guesthouse (1 quadruple and 1 renovated couple room). This itinerary allowed for some flexibility, and I am happy to report that the schedule was followed, except for the fact that Day 3 was switched with Day 4 to allow my mom to rest (she and the kids opted not to come with the rest of us to Macau). I did not include Day 5 as we had an early trip back home at 9:25 am. This itinerary contains bus numbers, MRT stations, and exits, which you may find useful in building your own HK itinerary. I have also included how our actual activities stacked up to the planned itinerary. Click on this: Itinerary

Also, I used the MTR map for reference for a lot of my planning activities. I am posting the map here to serve as a guide for you as well.

HK MTR

I will be posting more photos in the coming days, as well as individuals reviews of the places we’ve been to, so stay posted for that.

Camera 360

Our Macau Visas

More photos after the jump… (more…)

Dis13-3

A wondrous journey

IMG_2002

Ready for another Disney adventure

SAM_1916

With Mickey and Minnie

The past two weeks have been so very busy for James and I. March 3 to 7 saw us at Hong Kong with my side of the family. On March 8, we attended a general assembly for work. March 10 to 13 was spent in Miri, Malaysia with James’ side of the family. Martha’s graduation is set on March 22. So yes, I am still gathering my wits and bearings. I know that I promised to post our travel itineraries, and I have so many photos to share. But you’ll have to give me a couple more days to get to everything.

All I can say is that despite the hectic schedule, traveling really gave James and I a surge of excitement and a fresh new take in life. What can I say? I love traveling!

Traveling is a wonderful experience that not many people appreciate or understand. One thing is for sure though, traveling can bring fresh perspectives that enable us to see the world with new eyes.

daddyandsoul

Martha Cebu Pacific

My name is James. I am a gamer, a writer, an editor, a nurse, a husband, and a father. I was not a big fan of exploring new places. I preferred to stay at home, comfortably reading a book or watching a movie. I dreaded dust and sweat… and don’t get me started on travel horror stories. My greatest adrenaline rush came from hospital emergencies when I worked as a nurse. My most heart-pumping moment was when my wife was in labor.

That was before.

My perspective changed only when I married a lady who believes that she was either a backpacker or a savvy tourist during her past life, and until now, I really do think that she is. She’s been to Puerto Princesa, Davao, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Boracay, among many other places here and abroad. The farthest place I’ve been from my hometown, Bulacan…

View original post 814 more words

CAM00044

To take a breather from all the Hong Kong planning, let me give you a glimpse of my five-day stay in Bangkok way back in 2005. I stayed at Avana Hotel in the city. I remember that I got to visit the temples of the Golden Buddha, Reclining Buddha, and Emerald Buddha. I was able to shop at MBK and on the night market. I also got to visit a large jewelry manufacturer’s showroom, the name of which I forgot. Too bad I wasn’t blogging then, so that I would’ve been able to better chronicle my experiences. I’ve got some photos for everyone after the jump. (more…)

To make up for the time when we were unable to have pets, we brought home our second furbaby a month and a half after we had the first. Our second pup is a male Toy Poodle, and we called him Persimmon.

Per1

Persimmon on his favorite step

We got him from one of hubby’s breeder friends. He was born on October 5, 2013, and like Cinnamon, he was the smallest in his litter. He is very energetic, and he learned how to go up and down our steep stairs quickly. He’s very light on his feet, especially when asking for food. He also barks a lot, which sometimes annoys my mom =)). He has his favorite step on our stairs. He frequently stays up there and “surveys” the living room below. He loves the fact that Cinnamon’s short stubby legs prevent her from being able to climb the stairs to go after him, and he uses this to his great advantage. He seems more sensitive and “attached” to us than Cinnamon is. Cinnamon is more of the independent big sister to Persimmon’s needy little brother. We love them both to bits!

When I reblogged a post by dogtorbill a few minutes ago, I realized that I haven’t introduced my furbabies as of yet. My family has always been fond of dogs. But when I got married and had to move, we only had a small apartment, and were thus unable to keep a pet dog. We had to make do with our fishes. Our recent move enabled us to keep pets again. The first puppy we got was a Shih Tzu x Cocker Spaniel mix, and we called her Cinnamon.

Cin1

Cinnamon at the Vet

Hubby and I got her from our godmother when she was two months old. She was born on August 29, 2013 and was the smallest in her litter. She’s very energetic and playful. She got sick recently and was listless for some time, but now she’s back to being her old playful self.

We’re happy to have her back home, and we look forward to many, many years with her. She reminds me so much of Muffin, a Skye Terrier that I had when I was still in school.