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It has been raining non stop before our Coron trip and the last thing we wanted was rain on our parade (literally!). There were no direct flights from Clark to Busuanga so we took a bus to Manila (NAIA) which was hassle free by the way. The moment we landed in Coron, it was indeed raining and my heart sank a little.

I booked our hotel prior to our trip including the van that picked us up from the airport. The hotel is right smack in the heart of the town so it was very convenient for us to buy stuff and walk around town plus it was cheap. Another big plus for me that made me book Islands View Inn was because it was just a few blocks away from Coron Galeri tours; which I booked for our island hopping tour in the next couple of days.

It was raining nonstop when we arrived at the hotel so we decided to buy some snacks, eat in our room, sleep and pray to wake up to a better weather. It was still drizzling when we woke up from our nap. We then headed to Maquinit Hot Springs which was perfect for the cold weather! It was our first time in a hot spring and the water can be a bit overwhelming on the first dip! Oh, we also dropped by at the famous Coron Harvest to buy some cashews to bring back home. We capped off the night with a dinner at Kawayanan Grill.

Our second day looked more promising! The sun was shining brightly! There were six of us on the boat during the island hopping and the tour also included lunch meal (which I forgot to take photos of). Snorkling in Kayangan Lake was really fun! I was wondering why the hell are there no corals or fishes until I realized that it’s a lake, dimwit!! My fear of heights combined with my non existing swimming skills made snorkling in Kayangan Lake fascinating. The water was so deep, I felt like I was looking down a  cliff, if I weren’t in the water my knees would’ve trembled! I also can’t imagine myself swimming in there without a life vest!

I don’t have decent photos of other places that we visited (Twin Peaks Reef, Hidden Lagoon, CYC Beach, Coral Garden) because it started to drizzle before lunch time and we didn’t have  waterproof camera. An underwater camera now made its way on our “to buy list” along with our own snorkling gears. We had lunch at Bulungan Beach at waited for the skies to clear up. Fortunately, the rain ceased and we continued our snokling adventure despite the bad weather!

The boat trip on the way back to town was horrendous! We had to endure the rain, the cold and the splashing of the waves but it was still a fun experience. I was actually a bit worried that my huband would catch a cold or fever after that boat ride but fortunately he didn’t 🙂 We then had dinner at the famous Bistro Coron. I liked their pizza and my husband liked their carbonara (way too creamy for me).

It was again raining nonstop the night before our Malcapuya Island tour and apparently there was a “low pressure area”  (not sure if I used that word correctly). The tourists right next to our hotel room were also scheduled to go to Malcapuya Island but they decided to go to the hot springs instead because of the bad weather. We on the other hand are stubborn and still decided to go on with the tour despite the bad weather and the one and a half hour boat ride going to the island! I thought it would be just my husband and I who will be on the tour because the weather can get really discouraging but we were wrong. There were four other fools like us who were ready to brave the “low presure area” just for a taste of white sands, clear waters and blue dark skies.

We were so glad that we pushed thru with the tour! The rain stopped when we reached the island and it was magnificent! It was empty! It was quiet! I’m sure it’s crowded during summer time but on that day we owned the island! There were just the six of us stubborn tourists plus a few local sellers (around 6 more people)! We took the opportunity to take photos while the weather was still cooperative and right before our sumptuous lunch of crabs and chicken, it started to rain again! We took refuge in a nipa hut, which on peak days is being rented for P1000.

It was the beach bumming day that I looked forward to, minus the bad weather. We slept like babies inside the nipa hut, it would’ve been better to sleep in the hammocks but but we made the most out of the situation. The rain again stopped and we walked by the sea shore and explored the island. The boat ride back to Coron Town wasn’t as bad as the previous day. We had dinner at Lolo Nonoy’s and if you’ll be in Coron, don’t even bother to go there as it’s not worth it.

The rain was the heaviest on our last day and fortunately our flight back to Manila wasn’t delayed. I am now dreaming of going back to Coron as I write this post. We will definitely be back one of these days and I should take note to book the tickets during the summer!

 

Since we were already in Hong Kong, we didn’t want to miss the chance to go to Macau, just for the heck of it, so we took a ferry boat going to Macau early in the morning on the third day. I didn’t have any itinerary planned for Macau so we thought we’d just go with the flow but upon arriving there, we were greeted by a tour guide. She gave us a free map which we badly needed. She then proceeded to explain] their tour, blah blah blah. After her intro, I asked how much and apparently it costs HKD1,000 per pax. Uhm, no thank you! We have better plans for our money.

We went outside and were again greeted by some tour guide, this time they were fellow Filipinos and according to them they will tour us around Macau for one day for only HKD100 per pax. I was kinda skeptical at first but it was so cheap and honestly I didn’t really want to bother figuring out where to go and getting lost in the way specially we only had one day to spare. So we went with them and turns out another couple will be touring with us and they were from Pampanga too. Small world! We also found out that our tour guides are domestic helpers and drivers and this is their part time job/sideline during their day off.

 We really enjoyed taking photos at Fisherman’s Warf. It didn’t feel like we were in Asia! This is one of the reasons why I prefer to walk around Macau rather than in Hong Kong.


Senado square is also one of the places in Macau that I liked! 
Nothing much to see here aside from the ruins, but it’s still worth a visit! There was a wifi zone inside haha. 
Excuse my face.

It was fascinating that we didn’t hail a single cab or ride a public bus all throughout the tour. We were freeloaders! We toured Macau by hitching on shuttle buses to different casinos!

I couldn’t agree more on the first signage! =)


Excuse my face again! Despite of my fear of heights, I once dreamed of trying bunjee jumping, but after our Macau Tower visit, I had a reality check on how terrifying it would be, so no thanks! My knees were literally shaking just standing on the clear glass floors!



Of course we wouldn’t miss the casinos! We now have membership cards to Oceania and Venetian casino. Til next time Macau, but not so soon!

Okay continuation of our “sorta kinda” honeymoon! Day 2 was Disneyland day! We woke up early because wanted to be there when the park opens. I told my husband we shouldn’t take too much photos so we could enjoy, shoot and go!

By the time we entered the gates of Disneyland, I realized my dslr’s running on low battery and I know it’s the worst kind of mistake one could ever make during trips. I didn’t even think I was susceptible to it, considering how OC I am during trips! I actually thought that my battery is full charged and I even asked my husband to leave the charger back home because we won’t be needing it anyway but I was wrong!! Good thing we were bringing my digicam as back up! My huband was dragged by one of the toy soldiers and he willingly went with him thinking that he’ll be first in line for a photo op but no, turns out he’ll undergo “training” with the soldiers! haha!
Disneyland was quite small (but SG Universal Studios is smaller) and there weren’t enough thrilling rides for adults. Most of the rides were for small kids. Nevertheless, we still had fun!

Again, the Ladies’ Market shopping was postponed to the next day because our feet were killing us.

So while our friends and family are busy “liking” and commenting on our wedding photos and videos on facebook, we headed to Hong Kong for a sorta kinda honeymoon!

Aside form planning our wedding, I also got our honeymoon all covered. I booked our tickets to Hong Kong and Coron waaaaaay before the wedding.  I even bought our disneyland tickets online! I actually didn’t really want to go to Hong Kong. Being in Singapore for three years, I think of Hong Kong as a bigger and better version of Singapore. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to miss out the opportunity to book super cheap tickets (thank you sale fare!) to Hongkong. They say Hong Kong is a shopping haven but I think it’s mostly branded stuff and I can’t afford those so I didn’t have anything to look forward to! We haven’t been to Hong Kong anyway and it would be a shame if we won’t visit it even once so I decided to go for it. Disneyland was a good motivation. I compensated this unexciting Hong Kong trip by booking a Coron, Palawan flight (another sale fare!) which I was more excited and eager to visit.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm in going to Hong Kong, being an OC during trips, I still prepared an itinerary complete with ETAs. Unlike with our previous trips, I didn’t really bother to figure out how to go from one point to another because I know Hong Kong has an efficient transport system just like here in Singapore.

Our stay is for four days and three nights and we stayed at the Silka West Kowloon Hotel. I booked this hotel because its location is within walking distance of three MTR stations (Olympic, Mongkok, Prince Edward) so it would be very convenient for us. Its also near the Ladies’ Market in Mongkok where I planned to shop for pasalubong. Another factor that sealed the deal with Silka is the price. We paid SGD 292.36 for three nights. There were actually cheaper hotels but I didn’t want to scrimp on our accommodation because it’s supposed to be a honeymoon and by right, I should have booked a more luxurious hotel (or maybe not). We really don’t splurge on accommodations, but we don’t want to be too stingy either, we are somewhere in the middle!

I already knew what to expect from the hotel and saw photos of the room at Trip Advisor so it didn’t really surprise me that the room was tiny. The lady at the front desk was hostile and the attitude didn’t change all throughout our stay there but not to the point of her deserving a complaint letter from me. I can be reklamadora sometimes. Like what happened to the front desk staff at Marriott Phuket.

Our humble accommodation for the next three nights.

The toilet was so tiny, I had a difficulty taking a photo.

 

There was a sink complete with standard toiletries. In fairness there was even a hair dryer.

Day 1 was dedicated to “exploring” the usual touristy spots!

I wasn’t really looking forward in going to Nan Lian Garden because I expected it will just be a more interesting version of Singapore Chinese Garden and of course, I was right. It’s still worth a visit though.

Chi Lin Nunnery is a “must visit” right after Nan Lian Garden because they’re just right next to each other.

There’s the lotus pond.

I know my shot is off balanced! Give me a break, it was so hot! I didn’t even set my camera correctly.

We had lunch at the nearby mall before we went to our next stop, Avenue of the Stars. We took the train from Diamond Hill to Tsim Sha Tsui.

It was actually humid that morning but as we reached Avenue of the Stars, dark clouds started forming. It didn’t help that it was near the ocean and the wind was blowing pretty hard.

The Lady on the right looks like she’s wearing a longer version of my skirt! Plus she’s also wearing a black top! LOL!

It’s not obvious in this photo, but it was drizzling.

The only celebrities we were familiar with were Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

We took the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central Terminal, it’s super cheap and there are nifty machines at the terminal where you can purchase the tokens.  Apparently this is also one of the “MUST DOs” while in Hong Kong.

An American guy took this photo of us and we had a small chat all throughout the journey to Central Terminal (as if it’s THAT long, the ride lasted for about 15 minutes).

We then took a bus to The Peak Tram terminal. The Peak Tram was a fun ride and I could feel my ears pop as we ascend to the mountain. It was quite steep!

Check out the fog/clouds at the peak.

Madame Tussauds is one of those tourist attractions that I’ve been very keen to experience and I didn’t want to miss out the chance to waste our time and do silly poses with wax figures. There were quite a lot of Chinese celebrities who we aren’t familiar with. Sorry for the blurry photos. I swear when we were taking them they looked OK in my camera but when I downloaded them to my lappy, I was so pissed, they were so blurry!

It’s such an honor…

This frame is so cool! lol

Obama was a hit, we had to wait for several groups to finish before we finally had our turn.

Please tell me, what do I need to do to not suck in math?

One of my favorite shots. Parang close sila!

Why so serious Johnny?

And an pic shot.

We didn’t go to Victoria Peak because it was useless to do so with all the fog and clouds there.

We had a quick and cheap dinner at Mc Donald’s. Honestly, we didn’t really want to explore the local cuisine and even if we wanted to, we didn’t have enough time. Most of the food that we saw were almost the same here in Singapore. Probably next time.

We again took the star ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui and to cap off the night, we watched the Symphony of Lights. And yes, we were able to follow our itinerary for the day and all my ETAs were almost accurate!

We planned to go to the Ladies’ Market before heading back to the hotel but we were just so darn tired. We postponed it and decided to go the next day after the trip to Disneyland.

To say everyone was super excited is an understatement! This was the first out of the country experience for our family and everyone was ecstatic! It was also the first time for my three younger siblings to ride a plane and we were a group of nine leaving the country for Singapore for the first time so I expected it would be a little chaotic going thru the check-in counters, travel tax payment and immigration. My dad even went on an unnecessary semi panic mode so we asked him to breathe in and breathe out and from there I took charge. I was their semi know it all tour guide LOL!

My family will only stay in Singapore for three days and three nights so we had to strategically plan their itinerary. We arrived at around four in the afternoon so after a few hours of rest, off we went to see the must visit for first time Singapore visitors – The merlion and Esplanade. Seafood dinner at Makansutra is also a must!

Just seeing this photo makes me really hungry.

hello merlion!

thank you trustry tripod!

The following day is my mother’s 50th birthday and we all decided to celebrate it at Universal Studios! This was the highlight of the trip! 🙂

     

Mami’s birthday dinner was at Marche. We knew we would go way beyond our budget (and would end up with a lot of food wastage) if we would let everyone choose their own food and swipe their own cards so we gathered everyone’s card and ordered for everyone instead.

happy 50th mother!!! more to come 🙂

I had to work the following day and I wasn’t able to join them at Jurong Bird Park, so no photos 🙂 Their flight on their last day is at 8pm so they had plenty of time to buy pasalubong at Mstafa, Bugis and China Town. I was able to join them for lunch (thanks to my boss for allowing me to take the half day off) and take them to the airport!

We are now planning (or dreaming) of our next out of the country family trip! But I don’t think it will be too soon since we have a lot of stuff to prioritize and pay (wedding, moving house, etc)!

We started our second day with our anticipated breakfast buffet. We love breakfast buffets specially if they are free!

After breakfast, we found ourselves trying to haggle with several cab drivers along Patong until we chance upon this driver. Surprisingly, he speaks good english and while we were on our way to church, he entertained us with his stories. We got to know him a bit, he has 2 (or three?) daughters who are in college and he brings them to school everyday because he didn’t want them to take public transportation because it is dangerous. This reminded me of ME when  was in college, although I would still take public transport from time to time. He has visited Malaysia but has never been to Singapore. He said he would love to visit Singapore if he has the “money”. I couldn’t help but ask him about the 2004 tsunami so I did! Guess I wasn’t the first tourist to ask him this since he was prepared and even showed us a photo. Apparently he was one of the casualties who got injured. He even had a name card to boot. Initially our destination was only to hear mass, go to Wat Chalong, Old Phuket Town and Big Buddha but we made several stops along the way. He asked our permission if he could drop us to several souvenir and factory shops because whenever he do so, these businesses will give him free petrol. I guess this was common practice among cab drivers since we also saw several tourists in those far flung souvenir shops.

We went to hear mass at the Our Lady of Assumption Church in old Phuket Town and where else would you find fellow Filipinos when you are in a foreign land but in a Catholic church.

It was extremely hot that day that we didn’t want to walk along Old Phuket Town anymore so I asked our cab driver to take us to Wat Chalong. But first, a few stops to some factories! I felt like I was in a school educational tour.

We reached Wat Chalong and it was scorching hot! It was a pain taking all these photos but well worth it.

We ended the day with a nice Thai massage with the number 1 massage spa in Phuket according to trip advisor (which is my bff whenever we go on trips).

When I joined a contest in a local magazine, bragging aside, I knew that my story has the “winning factor” so I wasn’t surprised at all when I suddenly received an email stating that I was the winner. When I checked what my prize was, it was a 3 days and  2 nights stay in Marriott Hotel at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. I though to myself, this is an unplanned holiday waiting to happen! I was lucky enough to scour cheap tickets to Phuket which  I booked almost 6 months early haha!

We left Singapore on a Friday evening which means we’ll stay in Phuket for 3 days and 3 nights. We didn’t want to shell out $200++ a night at Marriott so we checked in at Limburi Hometel which was onyly 1,450 THB per night and it already comes with breakfast.

Since we won’t be able to eat our breakfast the following day because we had a snuba trip scheduled at 7am, I requested them to serve the breakfast that night since we haven’t had our dinner yet and they willingly obliged. =) We were served toasted bread, eggs, bacon and orange juice and it wasn’t bad at all!

The following day we left the “hometel” early to check in at Marriott which was just a few blocks away (I strategically searched for a cheap hotel that is near Marriott!). Early check in was not allowed so we just left our things at the reception and waited for our snuba tour driver at the lobby. He was a few minutes late and we were paranoid and thought that he didn’t see us at the lobby and left us so we approached the reception to help us contact them. Let’s just say they were not too keen on helping us but they eventually did. Nevertheless, it still led me to writing a complaint letter to the manager days after our trip!

And finally our driver arrived and as for our snuba tour, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

We checked in at Marriott right after the snuba tour (which was amazing!!!). The room was nice but nothing special. It almost looked like the hotel room when we went to Bintan, Indonesia.


The thing I loved most about hotel rooms are their comfy bed sheets! I wonder how many thread counts??


I always look forward to the toiletries in hotels! I take them home! I just like their “miniatureness”! LOL


And I am now a Marriott Rewards member even if I haven’t even paid a single cent for their rooms! How cools is that?


The pool looks inviting! We took a dip the following day.


Souvenir key chains which they gave to us for free at Ban Raya Restaurant.

It was time for dinner and I thought of eating at Jungceylon mall. Problem was, I didn’t know exactly where it was but I know it was a few blocks away from our hotel. We walked along Patong beach and Bangla Road to search for Jungceylon Mall. I must say, Phuket (especially Patong Beach) reminded us of Fields Avenue back home, minus the beach! With all the clubs, vendors and foreigners, it really looked like a better version of fields so i liked it haha! I miss my hometown so you can’t blame me. Going back to Jungceylon, apparently it’s a shopping haven but we’re not in the mood for shopping. We were just, well, really hungry and we were keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll find a KFC that serves rice (they don’t serve rice in Singapore). We finally reached Jungceylon only to find out that there ain’t anything we liked there (and no KFC too!) so we just scoured the streets for a nice restaurant and ended up at Patong Seafood.

It’s ironic that we ate at Patong Seafood but still ended up ordering chicken! haha. No tips for them because their service was horrible. We also noticed that whenever we eat at restos and request for ice water, they always serve us bottled water for a fee. Yes, no free ice water in Patong (at least for us)!

That night we slept like babies and I anticipated that the following morning we’ll both have muscle aches from all the swimming, snorkling and snuba diving.