Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Kyoto: Cherry Blossom Season

Hello! Konichiwa! I just came back from Kyoto and Osaka. It was beautiful while I was there, with cherry blossom flowers blooming everywhere!

Here's a short post just to share some oh-so-pretty cherry blossom pictures. :)

On a rainy day..

On a sunny day!

Cherry blossom viewing can also be done at night, under the sakura trees.
A good place to be merry in the evenings of the cherry blossom season is Maruyama Park. :)

As the sakura petals fall from the trees, I feel like I'm in wonderland.
Kinda reminds me of the first time I saw snow.

As cherry blossom only blooms once a year and for a very short time, they remind us that life is short but very beautiful. :)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Boracay fun

Mabuhay! This post is to give you an idea of what to do in Boracay should you ever visit!

We girls did not really plan before we went, we just had a basic itinerary in our heads - first day, relaxing stroll along the beach, second day, island hopping and snorkelling, third day, beach activities, fourth day, relax before heading to airport. Yeah and we thought we had it all going. haha. To our surprise, there were so many things to do in Boracay! So I'm going to list down what we did and tips (if I may) for each activity. :)

Stroll along D'Mall Plaza
Cost: 0 PHP. ahha. Unless you spend on shopping ok.

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There are many cool things at D'Mall area - rock-climbing, mini basketball court, beachwear and souvenir shops, restaurants, manicure places, spa, hair salons - you will never be bored!

This Cut & Style will make a cool souvenir.
Just purchase a tee and then choose which style you want them to cut for you. And they cut for free!
Too bad we forgot about it and by the time we remember, we had not much time left to do this.

Night fun
Cost: 0 PHP. Again, unless you spend on shopping or eating.

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The beach comes alive at night too, with fire dances, live bands, good food and all.
You can even dance with the dancing chefs! Heheh.

Tip: Night time is also a good time to get good bargain for next day activities. You will see tour guides along the beach asking you if you want to book a place for next day's tour or activities. This is also where we met our tour guide, Michael. He is always around Boracay Regency area so you may find him there.

Helmet diving
Cost per person: 500 PHP

Cost includes boat transfer to the helmet diving site and a CD of pictures and videos while you're underwater.

As you can see, only my head is dry (haha) and the helmet provides the oxygen for you to breathe normally. No skills required.
You will be provided with bread so that fishes will come near you.
In a way, I am quite disappointed that the corals at this site are quite damaged. :(

ATV to Ocean Tower
Cost per person: We negotiated and successfully got a package of island hopping, ATV and sailing boat for 750 PHP.

Waiting for our ATVs to arrive.
Tip: Start early with ATV as there are insufficient ATVs so if you're late, you may need to wait a long time before getting on an ATV yourself.

We're ready!

We finally reached the peak and the view is amazing!
You will see the entire Boracay island from here. :D
The ATV ride is actually quite safe because the road is a tar road and it is not bumpy whatsoever so you don't need to worry about falling off your ATV. Hehe. Just go slow and enjoy the breeze~

Island hopping
Cost per person: We negotiated and successfully got a package of island hopping, ATV and sailing boat for 750 PHP.
First we started with snorkeling at Crocodile Island.
Yes, the island looks like a crocodile.

Then, we stopped by at Puka Beach. Puka means shells, in Phillipines language.
This beach is so true to its name, we found many shells that we wanted to bring home.
But, at the airport, the customs didn't allow us to bring the sea shells home.
Tip: Do not be greedy with the sea shells. Haha. Just take one or two. If not, you'll lose all of it. :(
The sand is also very fine at this Puka Beach.
This is a less busy beach and just perfect for a relaxing afternoon picnic and swim.

Sunset sail on sailing boat
Cost per person: We negotiated and successfully got a package of island hopping, ATV and sailing boat for 750 PHP.

Isn't this a perfect way to end the day? Hehhe.

On our sailing boat. This the most relaxing boat ride I have ever been on! Haha.
You can expect calm waters, slow and steady boat ride and beautiful sunset.
Perfect way to unwind after a day full of activities. :)

Cliff diving at Ariel's Point
Cost per person: 1600 PHP, inclusive of boat ride to Ariel's Point, snacks, beer and drinks at Ariel's Point. And with 1600 PHP, you may also dive as many times as you want! hahaah.

We literally spent the whole day just warming and overcoming our fear. hahaha.
At the end we did it! But only 3 meters. hahahaha.
If we had more time, well, I think maybe we could go up to 5 meters. Just maybe.
The highest you can go is 15 meters. Jumping from such a high place really requires a lot of courage!
Go challenge cliff diving the next time you're in Boracay!

Oh wait, I need to tell you, the water is sooo niceeee! It's nice and a little warm.
Just perfect to swim after you have made that jump! Hehhe.
Here, I was swimming with a new friend, Ah Wah, from Hong Kong. :)
Both of us were enjoying ourselves swimming while waiting for all the girls, including Michelle, his gf, to jump.

Para-sailing into the sunset
Cost per person: 800 PHP

On both days, our evenings were pretty memorable. One evening, we were on a sail boat, sailing into the sunset. On another evening, we were high up on a para-sail, sky-sailing into the sunset. hihi.

On a speedboat! One friend asked if the background was real. Duhh, it is of course real! Haha.

Is it a bird? Is it a place? No, it's Superman!

Cool eh? :)))))
This parasail takes you high high high up into the sky and my goodness, the view is just amazing.
From above, the reflection of the sunset on the sea surface was just sooo beautiful.

Tip: If you want to do sunset sailing on sailing boat or sunset parasailing, you need to time your activities properly so that you finish your plans for the day before sunset, and then head to sailing boat and parasailing just before sunset. :)

Bachelorette party

Boracay is a place for party if you're planning for one! Hhhee. We had our bachelorette party for Xqi. She is getting married in June. :( One single girl less in the world. haha.

Some people were so friendly. They congratulated her, offered to take pics of us, and offered to "help" the bachelorette of the night. Haha.

See how colour-coordinated we were! Hehe.
We dressed Xqi up as little deevil and gave her special missions to complete.
Found out that guys from Asian countries like Korea, Japan were not so friendly.
They even declined simple requests like taking pictures together. How sad. Haha.

Willy's Rock

Willy's Rock is near Station 1. We didn't do much at Willy's Rock because it was the last day and we were already getting ready to go to airport. So we just visited and saw Willy's Rock from the beach.

Can you see? Some people went up this cute little island. Heheh.

Watch kite-surfing on Bulabog Beach
Cost: 0 PHP

I have not seen kite-surfing in real life before so it was really cool and fun to watch these kite-surfers do their stunts. When we were there, we would get up real early, walk out to Bulabog Beach and just watch the kite-surfers and take lotsa pictures. haha. I saw in some travel sites, Boracay kite-surfing is rated number one kite-surfing ground in Asia. I'm so glad I got to see this!

Maybe at this time of the year, the wind is just perfect for kite-surfing.
There are kite-surfing classes too, available along Bulabog Beach.
You can join if you dare! Hehehe.
I guess you really have to have real strength to control the kite cos it's hugeee!
I, for one, think that I will just fly and not surf. haha.
Maybe next time. Hehe.

Alright, in the next post, I will post what we ate and where we stayed. This post is getting too longg! hehe.

Till then, peace!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Baaji's, home to delicious chocolates and pastries

Being a sweet tooth, I recently discovered a new chocolate boutique - Baaji's. And the sweeter thing is, the boss of this retail chain is my friend. Hehehe.

One day last year, I was on my way to an appointment at Bangsar Shopping Complex. While walking from Jason's Food Hall towards Dome, I saw a familiar face. I wasn't sure at first but then she turned to me and smiled too. That's when I knew she was a hometown friend. So I stopped by at Baaji's kiosk after my appointment and she introduced her Almond Dragees to me. I instantly fell in love with these dragees!

Then, last month, I visited Baaji's at their 1 Mont Kiara outlet.


Sylvie was so generous to let me sample these delicious pastries.
The ingredients are specially imported from Middle East, Swiss, Belgium, and the pastries are designed by their own chef. You won't find pastries like theirs anywhere else!
My favourites were Bird Nest Delight and Dark Chocolate Truffle.

Just in case you're thinking to buy these chocolates as gifts, yes they do have pre-packaged gift sets.
Or you may also customize the packaging yourself.

These almond dragees come in cute glass containers and cute colours too!

So I got some and brought them to our bachelorrete party in Boracay as our snack. Hehe.
Since Xqi's wedding theme colours are fuschia and tangerine, I chose pink and orange Almond dragees to match the occasion!

Now, my friends will enjoy discount when purchasing from Baaji's, so are you my friend now? haha.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Philippines: Boracay in pictures

I just came home from Boracay last week and here are the pictures! We had 3 and a half days in Boracay and there's just so much to see and do. Will write more about it so for now, hope you enjoy the pics! The first two pictures were taken in Clark during our transit and the rest were taken in the pretty island of Boracay. :)


I miss Boracay!