If you’ll ask me the ONE thing I miss about Baguio, aside from the cool weather of course, this would be my answer – Vizco’s Strawberry Shortcake!
You couldn’t get your hands on these super duper yummy cake here in Manila. So when I heard my colleagues planning a trip to Baguio over the weekend, I couldn’t be happier!
My one and only request, to buy me a strawberry shortcake at Vizco’s in Session Road.
And today, my cravings was satisfied. Much thanks to them who brought this fragile cake all the way down from Baguio.
Like how a tech blogger unboxes a new Iphone or when a travel blogger sets foot on a luxurious resort, my feelings were kind of the same when I was pulling off the green and gold ribbons of this box. 😊
Giddy and excited to eat. But first, photos. 😁
It didn’t let me down, the taste was still very much the same since I last tasted it. Creamy and not too sweet icing, soft sponge cake, crunchy and sweet strawberries on top and as filling. Really one of the bests, if not the BEST Strawberry Shortcake ever! 🍓🍓🍓
At Php 580.00, the cake is so worth it. Make sure to drop by Vizco’s when in Baguio. I also love their Salad. Check out my other posts about the City of Pines down below. 🍓
After reading the terms and conditions, I clicked the Start Group Appointment.
It will take you to another window in which you have to input the number of applicants making an appointment.
Next window will ask you which DFA office or satellite branch you want to go for the renewal.
Choose DFA NCR WEST in SM City Manila if you are around the area since there were only a few applicants when we went there.
Next window takes you to the appointment calendar, choose your date and your time depending on availability on the page.
We chose a Saturday so our passports’ renewal applications are automatically rushed. I think it’s okay since you just have to add Php250.00 as expedite fee on top of the regular Passport Fee of Php950.00. Rush passport applications have a TAT of around 10 working days.
After choosing your appointment date and time, you will now fill up the necessary information.
You input another applicant’s information by clicking the Add Applicant Button.
After encoding 2nd Applicant’s information, you will be asked to encode the group contact information.
Once this is done, you will have to review all the information of all the applicants and the appointment date and time. After checking, you will have to click a confirmation button to emphasize your consent to the application.
An email instruction for payment will be sent.
Once payment has been made, another email will be sent to confirm your appointment. This will contain a checklist, electronic receipt, appointment confirmation and appointment form.
Print all pages needed and sign the appointment form that has your information / details on it.
Bring these on your chosen appointment date together with your passport and photocopy of the info page. For minor applicants, best to bring a copy of the marriage contract of the parents and a copy of the birth certificate of the minor, plus a photocopy of the parent’s valid ID.
After preparing all the above mentioned documents, all you have to do is wait for your appointment date.
Go to the selected site office at least 30 minutes before your actual appointment. As for us, we got in 30 minutes prior to our appointment time since there were no more applicants on that time slot.
Cellphones were asked to be turned off just as you enter the site office. No pictures are allowed.
Your appointment schedule is verified before being allowed to enter the main office.
Applicants are seated while you wait for your turn to have your documents checked and collated. If you will have your passport delivered via their courier, your passport will be perforated right there and then. But if you opt to pick it up, your passport will be perforated when you claim your new passport. I opted to pick up our passports instead of shelling out Php150.00 each passport. (Yes! Even if you are together and your passport will be delivered at the same address, fee is separate.)
After, you will now go into another room and wait for your turn to have your picture taken. Better to remove your earrings and your necklace while you’re in line. This will be a lot longer than the first step since the information on the actual passport needs to be checked one by one by the applicant. They will also get your fingerprints and have you sign once everything is in order.
The officer will then give you back your electronic receipt stamped with the availability date of passport and attach a piece of paper which states the guidelines on how to pick your passport up.
In just an hour, we are out of the DFA!
A day after the supposed pick up date of our passports, I tried calling the landline on the piece of paper. No one was answering so I decided to send a text message to the mobile number indicated, someone replied and asked for the details of the passport application. I replied and waited for their confirmation that the passports are in fact ready and available for pick up.
When I went to the DFA site office again, the ladyguard asked for my electronic receipt, stapled it and instructed me to leave it at Window # 1. There was a little rectangular tray to leave the receipts with and another officer gets it every few minutes to look for your passport. The officer at the window calls you by your name and asks you to review the details of your new passport. After reviewing, you are good to go with your brand new Philippine Passport with 10 year validity. For minor applicants though, it still is 5 year validity period.
I must say this process is impressive as it only took me a few minutes to be finished. Parking in SM City Manila was way more inconvenient as I went there during the 2nd to the last day of Business Permit Application and Real Property Tax Payments.
Overall though, I give the Department of Foreign Affairs two thumbs up for the fast and easy processing of Passport Renewal.
Time to plan our 2020 travels, as in NOW. ✈️✈️✈️
Thank you for taking your time to read. Be informed. Be smart. That’s the way to go!
Had the opportunity to visit the first Starbucks store ever! This is located in Pike Place in Seattle, USA!
Take a look at the marker!
I’m not that much of a Starbucks collector but I figured I was already there in Pike Place and there might not be another chance so off I go to line up! We had to fall in line for an hour or so just to get in!
This branch is small compared to the Starbucks branches opening up all over the world.
Once you are inside, it’s like any other regular Starbucks store, the barista will simply take your order of drink and your choice of exclusive merchandise. AND they have a LOT of merchandise!!!
The merchandise ranges from as low as $9.95 (Php 520.00) to as high as $99.95 (Php 5,200.00).
There were also some memorabilia inside the packed store!
It’s actually hard to get some good shots inside the store as the place is packed. Once you are done with your purchase and have stepped out the door, there’s no going back. Unless, you want to fall in line again!
Too much stocks of merchandise actually makes the store look cramped and unorganized. You could see boxes everywhere! But come to think of it, this is why the people actually go there! Aside from getting a drink, it’s buying the souvenir merchandise that is more important!
Oh! This ceramic Pike Place tumbler is what I got!
Almost the end of our Taiwan 2019 trip. But hey, there’s more. We managed to book a late flight (8:30pm) through Eva Air. So we still have the whole morning and afternoon to explore Taipei.
To manage our time, we fixed our luggages and checked out of the hotel. But the luggages are left with them so we could roam around frelly.
Still using our unli train rides pass, we went to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall to see its beauty.
Our red colored shirts for the day matched the memorial hall’s blue and white shade.
We explored the museum for a while.
Then on to our next stop, the Taipei 101 building and Din Tai Fung, home of the best xiao long baos!
Quick lunch at Din Tai Fung. We were just lucky that when we arrived, there’s not much people yet. We got a table in 5 minutes. So be sure to arrive before 11 am. After we ate, the waiting time is already an hour!
Pitstop at the Taipei 101 to freshen up. Then back to the race to go to Longshan Temple.
Still have a few moments to explore some more the Ximending area.
Get our Tiger Sugar fix.
Get our chicken fix.
By this time it’s already our call time to go to the airport. Stuck our last minute hauls into our luggages and waited for our ride to the airport.
Day 2 starts now!Got up early to have another daytour out of Taipei. This time I booked our tour from Harton Tours. They are a local tour operator from Taiwan. This booking is more of a car rental with a driver. There are no tour guides. They just drive you to your destination. I say this is still worth it at the price of Php 1,100.00 per person. Because it saved us a lot of time and energy to go to one place to another, plus we can rest and take a nap in the car while we go to the next destination.
We started off by going to the Flower Clock. This area is huge but we didn’t get the chance to roam anymore, it was so hot that day!
Up next is the Xiao You Keng Recreation Area. This is where active volcanoes show their might to people. The smell of sulfur will greet you upon entering the thermal valley and the whistling sound of steam from all over can be heard. There are also some boiling spots of water from the ground.
Another stop on this tour was the Calla Lily farm. The festival has just ended so there’s not much flowers anymore. And there’s a fee if you want to get up close.
Onto our next stop, we are starving so we made our way into this tiny but yummy restaurant just outside Beitou Hot Spring. It became our pitstop. We rested for about an hour here. The food was yummy and it’s not that expensive. Their drinks were superb too!
After our much needed rest, we walked towards the Beitou Thermal Valley. The steam and mist coming from the hot spring was really hot. We took some pictures and left. We forgot to drop by the Hot Spring Museum.
Next stop is Tamsui! This is where the so called Lover’s Bridge could be found. It opened on February 14 that’s why it’s called its name. It connects the fisherman’s wharf together. You can go biking here but it’s too hot to do that.
A few minutes car ride from this area will bring you to Tamsui Old Street. Shops and more shops line up the street.
The end of our tour but instead of dropping us back to the hotel, I requested to be dropped at the foot of the Elephant Mountain.
Hiking up the Elephant Mountain was a hard challenge. Little did I know that the climb up will be so exhausting. But hey, we made it and the view is just captivating! 4 of us even managed to climb up a rock for a more adventurous experience.
The way down is just as hard. Tip? Climb slow and don’t force ourself.
Before reaching the train station, another mesmerizing view of Taipei 101 surprised us!
All exhausted but good and funny memories definitely filled our memory banks that night.
Oh wait, this is not the end of our Day 2 yet!
We got our 1 day unli train rides card and went to our shopping stop at Shilin Night Market!
Shopping and eating street food made everyone busy so no more pictures. We made it back to Ximending before the train closed. Left our things at home and went down to shop until the stores closed!
As for me, I didn’t forget to have my Prince Cheese.
Sharing our amazing race-like itinerary during our recent trip to Taiwan.Took a flight aboard Air Asia at 7:30am. Landed on Taiwan at about 10:30am. Out of the immigration by 11:00am.
I booked us an airport transfer shuttle through Klook to avoid any inconveniences. We were welcomed by the Klook coordinators and told us to wait as they get our cars. This transfer cost about Php 2000.00 per car and will seat 4 to 5 people with a luggage each, comfortably. We also got this for our way back to the airport. Prices will differ when you have red eye flights.
Arrived at Ximending by 11:45am. Left our luggages in our Hotel. Bought our food in Hotstar Chicken and drinks at a famous milktea shop.
After getting our lunch, we waited near the bus stop and relaxed for a while. We were lucky because the weather was so fine that day. It’s cool and breezy.
We booked a Klook Tour to Jiufen and Shifen on our first day! It cost us about Php1,100.00. This tour starts at 1:30pm so we had enough time. Just pray that your flight wouldn’t be delayed or you could take an earlier flight!
First stop was the Shifen Waterfall. Amazing work of nature! It will be a long walk and you need to pass through a hanging (and swaying) bridge to get to the falls! There’s also a praying and wishing part where you could tie red ribbons on the trees surrounding the statue of the God. Another long way up to get to the peak nearest the falls where the mist was so strong I thought it was raining!
Back to the bus and off we went to our next stop, the Shifen Pingxi Sky Lantern Railroad Station. Here you could buy sky lanterns, design and write your wishes on the lanterns and fly it up in the air.
There are also a lot of shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. This is where I tasted the best Yakult Slushie!
What else can one do here? Take more pictures! The view at the end of the railroad is beautiful. There’s also another hanging bridge. Be careful for trains though! This railroad is still used up to this day!
A little bit of drizzle won’t stop us so we proceeded to our final stop, Jiufen.We ate at a beef noodle house right after you enter Jiufen Street.
This time, it’s really raining so much so we just walked all the way to the end and back. Dropped by to see the famous Amei Teahouse.
Jiufen has a lot to offer in terms of food, drinks, souvenirs and everything else.
Our Klook tour has ended and we got back to our hotel to check in and freshen up.
Diary of Taipei Hotel is a super duper good choice! The building where the hotel is located is just beside the Ximending entrance arc and the Ximen Station Exit. Aside from its location, the hotel is clean, has hot and cold water and even has free bread and coffee! One room is good for 3 people sleeping comfortably. The hotel room is about Php 4,000.00 per night for 3 people. That’s inexpensive considering the hotel’s location.
It has been a long day and we have to recharge for another long day tomorrow. So we eat.
We chose Mala Hotpot because it’s known for being one of the best shabu shabu in Taipei! For about Php 1,500.00, everything is unlimited.
A wide range of drinks, ice cream and of course, quality meat and seafood is there to satisfy your hunger and cravings!
Mala Hotpot is definitely one for the books. We managed to walk around Ximending area for a while before we proceeded to Carrefour, a 24 hour grocery, and Watsons, a 24 hour beauty and medical store.
This is how we finished our Day 1. And it’s already Day 2 when we arrived back at the hotel!
I am not sure if I have announced here that I won at one of Traveloka’s Facebook hashtag games a few months ago!
I am an avid fan of Traveloka as I almost always book our hotels and airline tickets through it! Not only is it convenient and hassle free, it’s also cheaper than most travel booking companies. They always have these promos which slashes the prices by a few hundreds.