This is my Christmas trip and my first time to travel alone outside the country. I took a round trip flight to Macau because of cheap tickets of Tiger Airways. When I arrived in Macau, I took the bus AP1 which is headed to Macau Ferry Terminal, I need to go to HK to meet my sister. There were lots of Filipinos on the bus. First thing that caught my attention was the Macau Tower, then of course the casino lights. When I arrived in the Macau Airport, I went straight to tourist center to get maps and other brochures about the place. Had my peso changed and waited for bus AP1 which goes to Macau Ferry Terminal. Daming pinoy sa bus kaya lang nahiya ako magtanong, ginamit ko na lang ang map. But when I get to the ferry, I can't find the ferry line that goes to Kowloon, hirap magtanong, halos lahat Chinese at di marunong mag english, kelangan sign language o kaya dapat may visual aids, para magkainintindihan kau. When I arrived in HK, I already have a walking map that leads me to my sister's hotel, it was just walking distance from the terminal. Of course, I was like a "promdi" walking along the Canton Road, it was so crowded, but at least not the type of crowd here in Manila. I was suppose to take the shortcut to Kowloon Park going to Prudential hotel but I chose to walk along Canton and Haiphong Road which seem to be busy streets. It was already 9PM when I arrived the ferry and yet it was still busy, shops were still open and again, crowds on the sidewalk.They were already sleeping when I arrived in their hotel, but i still wanted to go out.So I called my college friend of mine, Robert, who's a resident there, and accompanied me to roam around Kowloon eventhough its late, so we went to Mong Kok and southern part of Kowloon. Then after that we went to Hong Kong Island, took a star ferry, we went to Victoria Peak. Then next stop was Disneyland! It was a day full of walking,I was very very tired. We have to wake up early for a daytrip in Macau. Roaming around Macao is quite difficult, bus stops are quite confusing. bus stops are quite confusing. But all we wanted is to see the Senado Square and from there, it is just a walking distance going to St Paul Ruins Church. Before we went there, we made a stop to the fisherman's village, very nice place to take pictures. We took a deluxe seat in ferry going back to HK because all the ordinary class were taken. i just spent a night to my sister's hotel room ( because it's free! ) then I woke up early and headed back to Macau to catch my flight to Philippines.
Our thanksgiving getaway, another trip that I wouldn't forget this year. Its not because of the place, but because of what happened to us. Yas and Arnel were supposed to come but things changed because of Arnel's work. So, Lem bought their tickets to have his sibs use it. As usual, Lem was late again, so we missed the flight, we were suppose to meet my officemate, Brian, in Cebu who already got there the day before our flight. So Lem paid the rebooking fee,our morning flight was moved to an afternoon flight, meaning, we still have lots of time to wait...and so we waited, learned our lessons, but then again, by the time we got to the airport, it was then realized that our tickets was missing, Lem left it! We still have 1 hour to wait for the tickets, someone from Lem's house went to the airport to fetch our tickets, so she arrived 30 minutes prior to our flight. When we are about to check-in, as ive handed out the tickets, the lady said that we can't take the flight because we were LATE, she said that we must have checked in 45 minutes before the flight. We beg her but she still didnt allowed us, and so we moved to different window ( Lem gave up and wanted to go home ). I approached the man who's on that window but still they wouldnt let us, then I started to change the tone of my voice and said things they wouldnt like, then he started to radio some of his folks whose on the plane, the officer at the back spoke to him and when he approached us, he told us that there were only 3 seats available but there were 4 of us (daym!) One of us have to sacrifice, Lem's younger sister volunteered. We were all pressured, it happened so fast because we have to board the plane in 5 minutes, the officers there didnt even checked our IDs. We still tried to wait for Lem's sister to follow but because of Cebu Pacific's lousy system, she didn't made it. Because of all the delays that have happened, we have to adjust our itinerary, our top priority is to get to Malapascua to dive. So, we did the best way we can, called our dive instructor and asked if he have some friends in Malapascua who can meet us there. For those who still don't know where Malaspascua is, its on the northest point of Cebu.To get there, you need to go to Maya, then take a boat to Malapascua from there, Maya is 4 hours bus ride away from Cebu City. Its popular for thresher and white tip SHARKS! From Manila, we've reached Cebu at around 6AM, we still tried our best to wait for Lem's sister but there's no luck. To reach Maya, we took the 1AM bus going there. When we arrived in Maya at around 5AM, our dive boat was already waiting for us, we didn't had time to go to the island so we went straight to the dive site. Monad Shoal, this is the dive site where you can see thresher sharks, we rushed to this site from Cebu City because you can only see these creatures during sunrise. And so we jumped, the site was like a desert, its just full of dead corals, our dive master keeps on waving his knife to attract attention. I thought that we're not going to see one, I was just so surprise when one of our guides held my arm to stay still and he's pointing towards the 10-ft ( or more ) thresher shark!!!. It was so huge, we were like 10 meters away from the creature and it was just circling around then it vanished out of the blue. It was so very early at that time so the visibility is not that good. Then we continued to roam around the site, then we saw another one! Then another one, a total of three sharks in one dive! They've said that we were lucky because other tourist divers were not that fortunate to see one on their first dive. After the first dive, we came to meet my officemate, Brian, who was already there a day before with his girlfriend. Then our next dive was in Gato island, this is where we encountered white tip sharks. Then after all the dives, we went back to Cebu City. The day after that was our Bohol daytrip. We hired a van for P3000 for a daytrip plan, we went to Baclayon Church, had lunch in Loboc River, then went to Chocolate Hills,then spent a night in Panglao Beach Resort.
This was planned because of the P99 Cebu Pacific promo, and because of the promo deadline, 3 of my Sykes friends have to set the right date for the trip, and because of that, it resulted to a conflict on our work schedule, because of that, we have to pay additional fee for the reschedule. Then it ended up to trip cancellation, two of my friends (Dex and Allen) backed out because Allen's mom didn't let her come because of the storm, not to mention the "cat story" ( its another factor). So it seems that there were only two of us who would go, ako at c Dencio. Good thing that Cindy informed us that they'll be in Boracay too! At, eto pa, c Lem pahabol din ( complete attendance to sa lahat ng trips ko ), nandon din cla on that date na punta kmi, at eto pa, c Yas n Arnel nagpunta rin, hahaha, saya! Kanya kanyang trip, Cindy was with her officemate na c Rhea, Lem's with his officemates and Thai business partner and Yas is with Arnel. One thing that I wouldn't forget here was my Camia II dive, this was my first wreck dive, and the deepest dive that I've had ( 98 ft ), my tank just lasted for just 30 mins. The feeling was so eerie, I was amazed from the moment that I saw it from afar, and even more excited when tried to pass through its holes and compartments.
Before, this place was just nothing to me. Because of diving, Ive learned to appreciate this place, kaya lang medyo magastos lang kc, if you want to dive, you have to stay sa resort then of course you'll have to pay for your room and food, not to mention ung bayad mo sa divemaster, sa equipment, so the best thing to do is, daytrip na lang at magdala ng baon, in short, buhay iskwater uli. This was our check out dive ni Lem at Mang Ito, parang "graduation" sa diving where magdive na sa actual environment instead sa pool.It was amazing, it was m y first time to seea school of barracudas and a blue eel ( cool!, hehe! ). I've also met divers from VT (virtual tourist),happened to be high school friend of Mam Cele ( small world! )
At last, we had the chance to see what's in this festival. Salamat sa host namen for this trip na c DJ, we stayed to their place a night before the festval.Nagkita kita kmi sa Wendy's buendia,convoy kmi ni DJ at hindi makatulog c Grace sa byahe kahit late na kc ako ung nagdadrive, haha ( walang tiwala ). Then ako pinakamaaga magising sa lahat kc wala kming electric fan don sa room na pinag stayan namen, hehe, c Yas n french girl sarap ng tulog. Wla na kming ginawa sa festival kundi magpapicture sa bahay bahay, at pumapasok pa sa loob para makakuha ng shot sa bintana ( kakapal ng mukha)
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Wala kaming maisip na place for our Holy Week getaway, last year we were in Coron, Palawan, this time, we thought of going to Capones Island (naging sikat because of Extra Challenge ). Punta kami sa San Antonio, Zambales. 2 sasakyan dala namen na dapat convoy according to plan, because of Lem's magulong decision, nauna cla with Diego and Grace, and because of my work sa Sykes, I can only go after my shift which is Saturday morning, I was with Arnel, Reggie, Sir Dele and Apol. Pagdating namen sa Zambales, naabutan namen cla Lem sa Pundaquit, nakabalik na cla from Capones Island, plano dapat ay magovernight don kaya lang nainitan cla at wala daw puno sa island. So plano nilang mag overnight na lang sa SBMA, since kakarating lang namen, wala kaming balak sumama sa kanila, at don na lang kmi sa Capones, sabi ng mga bangkero don na may malapit na island sa Capones na pde kami mag stay overnight. Ung island na napuntahan namen is a unique island because ngaun lang ako nakakita ng island full of pine trees instead of coconut trees. it was a nice place to pitch a tent but wala kaming dalang tent, ala ring burner, in short iskwater kmi don, as usual bivouac na naman sa beach front.
The year started to kickoff in Kinabalu, Malaysia. So this time around we're not in Kuala Lumpur but on the other half of Malaysia which is Sabah, near to Borneo and Brunei. We all wanted to conquer Mt Kinabalu (13,435 ft), the highest mountain in southeast Asia and so we did. From Clark, we arrived in Sabah then took a cab to the Mt Kinabalu park to confirm our reservation, and there we've met Dan from Montana, Ann and Tom ( dutch couple), Thomas from Germany, we were in one group led by Marcilius, our Malaysian mountain guide. It was "raining" during our orientation, this was the day before our climb. Thank God for a very nice weather! By the time we woke up, it was very foggy, we thought that its gonna rain but it didnt, we took the Timpohon trail ( the easy trail ),we started to climb in the morning then arrived in Laban Rata in the afternoon. Laban Rata is a hut where we all stayed. Food, beverages, hot showers,and heated rooms are all in this hut, this is 2-4 hour trek away from the summit. We woke up at around 1AM then started to pack for the summit, we all left the hut at around 2AM, then we reached the summit at around 4-5AM, it was still dark and everyone was freezing, I couldn't even press the camera's shot button because my hands felt so numb. Everyone was busy taking pictures when the light came up and was amazed with the granite rock around us. Then the day we left the mountain, it rained! You see how lucky we are!!! Then we took white water rafting somewhere in sabah as a side trip, it was so extreme that even an 8 year old kid can come and paddle, hahaha! Here comes our Brunei trip, we only have few time to think on how can we go there for just a daytrip. Mam Cele and Bob didnt come because they think that it would be impossible to come back to Sabah on the same day, but Lem and I took that risk. From Sabah, there are lots of ways on how to go to Brunei, the easiest way is to take a flight straight from Sabah to Brunei, which is impossible because its too expensive...so we took the hard way..we have to come up with a plan on how can we budget our time for 2 ferry rides and 1 bus ride to go Brunei. Thats one ferry ride from Sabah to Labuan, then Labuan Island to Muara of Brunei, then bus from Muara Brunei to Bandar Seri, Brunei. As a result, we only have 45 minutes to roam around on Bandar Seri Brunei and have to come back to the Muara port to catch the last trip going back to Sabah, but we missed the bus going back to Muara port,so we took other bus going somewhere near to the port then take a cab from where its going to drop us. And from the drop point, there were no taxi!, we're going to be late, if we cant catch the last ferry boat going back to Malaysia, we're going to miss our flight back to the Philippines. Good thing that there's a good samaritan who was willing to give us a ride to the port. Then we took the ferry going back to Labuan, and from there, we had another problem, we can't find a money changer!! All we have are Brunei dollars...all the shops was already closed. Plus, we can't find any taxi thats gonna bring us to Labuan airport, we have to catch our flight from Labuan to Sabah, after searching for money changers, we met another good samaritan who gave us a free ride going to the airport (whew! what a relief!).Finally, we're on the airport, and it was just like a 15 minute ride from Labuan to Sabah. Then the day after, we went back to Pinas.