The First Starbucks Store Ever!

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!

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Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 3

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 1

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 2

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.

Goodbye Taipei! Until our next adventure!

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Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 2

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 1

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.

See you on our Day 3!

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 3

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Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 1

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.

In the middle of Ximending modeling our Hotstar Chicken!

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!

Check out our Day 2 and Day 3 in these links.

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 2

Taiwan 2019 Itinerary Day 3

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Thanks Traveloka!

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.

So back to my winning, since I booked my Taiwan hotel and airfare through Traveloka and they have this advertisement about a couple dealing with everyday life stress and a break, or a vacation rather, is all they need, I immediately thought of what me and hubby just went through. The Taiwan vacation we had is a breather for both of us.

I posted what I felt and that it also happened to us and my answer got picked by Traveloka and it was featured on their page.

This was my comment!

And then, I got picked!

This was the feature Traveloka made. Just like us, you may also want a breather too!

Traveloka gave me Php3000.00 Travel Voucher for my #TravelokaBestTripEver entry! Amazing right? Traveloka is the B.E.S.T!

See more of our staycation in the next few days! ❤

Merry Christmas! 🎄

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Enchanted Kingdom

The thought of going to Enchanted Kingdom brings back childhood memories. The first time was with my family. I remember getting soaked in the water ride then getting dried under the heat of the sun while riding a swan. Pictures with my now gone dad wearing his trademark neon sando with a bulging tummy. Yeah, that’s a very vivid memory.

The last time I went to EK was during college with my blockmates, and that was about 16, 17 years ago!

And even if I’m already 37 this year, who said I couldn’t enjoy EK once more. I love thrilling rides and this is also a way to bond with my work family.

Upon entering EK, Mr Wizard is there to welcome us!

Some other theme park mascots were also in the area for photo op.

My baby in the branch is super happy, it’s her first time!

Passed by Boulderville which is kids’ area. Didn’t get to explore this area anymore.

We went straight to an extreme ride which is the EKstreme! It gets you to the top then drops you abruptly! Sure can feel that my heart was left up in the sky.

To stabilize our heart rate, we rode a mini roller coaster, Roller Skater. 😁

Up next, the famous Anchors Away. The ship sways back and forth!

One of the my most favorite rides here in EK, the Jungle Log Jam!

It has 2 slides which the log you are riding will slide to. The first slide is lower then the other one is higher and steeper!

Before we head on to lunch, half of the group decided to ride the Ultimate Roller Coaster, the Space Shuttle.

This roller coaster goes forward then backward. It has a few 360 degree loops which will make you feel like you are floating!

Excited while in line!

Thought the Air Race ride was nothing, we were wrong! The planes which turns 360 degrees made all of is dizzy after. Imagine your seat turning 360 vertically while the whole machine was turning 360 horizontally!

After this ride, we decided to take a break and have lunch and take a nap to recharge and make the dizziness go away.

Once we have recovered, we went to the 4D Theatre. They are showing Ice Age.

Our glasses are on!

After watching amd having some snacks, the long wait was about to begin at Rio Grande Rapids.

Feel real water rafting adventure here. You are sure to get wet!

We came prepared with our ponchos!

And after the ride, we were fprtunate enough to see a rainbow. 🌈🌈🌈

Decided to have fun with these not so scary kuyas. 😁

The day turned into night. Lights already on for the rides.

Wanted to dry off ourselves after the Rapids, so we need the Flying Fiesta! This ride swings you around and it feels go good.

Didn’t ride the Wheel of Fate anymore. It would have given us an amazing view.

The Disk O Magic spins you left and right. Be sure to hold on tight!

The last on our EK trip is the Agila. This 3D ride will tour you around the beautiful places in the Philippines as if you’re riding and flying on an Agila.

Before heading home, we had a few photos inside EK to commemorate our trip.

Our final photo outside EK. So much happiness when you are with happy and fun people!

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Staycation @ Okada Manila

Omg! Had a chance to stay at one of Okada Manila’s luxurious rooms and boy was that a dream!

Pink hues everywhere! I love it!

The grand lobby starts off with decadent chandeliers in pink with colorful gems!

Hallways are as pink as well!

Once up in the hotel tower, the elegant chandeliers adorn the elevator lobby.

Same goes with the pathway to our hotel room!

Once you’re inside the room, you just don’t want to leave anymore! A room, more like a unit as big as this, costs so much. I checked the website and it’s about Php 18,000 plus plus for a night. So I am very thankful for my cousin and her friends for the chance to experience Okada Manila’s Junior Suite even for a night.

Are you ready?

A mini office greets you upon entering.

Then the receiving area.

There is actually a door going into the bedroom.

The luxurious bedroom with its own sofa by the foot of the bed.

The mini bar

The walk in closet

And of course, the spacious bath room with your very own jacuzzi bathtub and a wonderful view of The Fountain!

And although I am not the person who really likes IG worthy pictures of myself, I just couldn’t let the chance pass, so forgive me if I’ll indulge myself for a few pictures in the bathtub.

Thanks to my hubby for my pictures!

Another reason why I didn’t want to leave the room, everything is fully automated! There are 2 ipads you can use to turn on / off the lights, draw the curtains, change the channels of the television, choose from a list of movies or series, watch vloggers review Okada Manila, etc, etc… so much to do with the touch of a finger!

Of course, the kids wouldn’t let the bathtub gone unexplored as well!

After enjoying the tub, they moved to a bigger space and went down to the pool area.

Enjoyed the sunset while having some lemon water and chilling at the cabana.

Check out www.okadamanila.com for more details!

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What to do and see in Bohol?

One weekend last September, I have the chance to visit Bohol and I enjoyed every inch of our trip!

Took Philippine Airlines’ morning flight and before noontime we have landed at Tagbilaran Airport. I just wish they improve the airport as it was a little cramped for a plane full of passengers getting their luggages. Don’t expect an air conditioned airport.

We were picked up by the service bus of Henann Resort. It was about 30 minutes or so until we reached the beautiful Henann Resort at Alona Beach. While waiting to be checked in, decided to take some photos.

It’s a fine day and just seeing the beach from afar excites me.

Lunch was served at their restaurant and we waited so long before we were checked in. But I must say, it’s worth the wait. We got a villa but it doesn’t have the pool access.

Our colleagues got the villa with direct pool access, it’s basically the same room except the pool is just outside their balcony.

Supposedly, this is rest time. But instead of resting inside the room, I decided to explore the beach. I love how it’s not hot and humid anymore. It’s so breezy and lounging in front of the beach doing nothing is the best!

Nightime came, had dinner again and after resting, we managed to schedule a massage at Nuat Thai Panglao outside the resort. You could ask Nuat Thai to pick you up from your hotel. Then we walked back when we realized it’s just so near.

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The combo massage was oh so good! I had a good sleep and ready for a whole day of tour and activities!

First on our list – The Bohol Bee Farm. We learned a lot here! The bees give you no harm because they are European bees and they are not aggressive. Got to hold the frame that contained hundreds of bees. According to our speaker, whatever happens, don’t panic. The bees will just be aggressive if they think they will be harmed. Even if it stays on your skin, just let it be. These bees give us the high quality honey we enjoy whether for beauty use or for consumption.

They also promote organic farming here. They promote the different uses of these plants as it could really be helpful to our everyday life.

They also provide livelihood activities in the farm, the women weave bags, display scrolls and even hammocks. They use only the best quality.

I tried their Ice Cream and it’s so sweet – the flavor I chose is Peanut Kisses, the famous cookie pastry shaped like the chocolate hills. What I like the most is its Cassava cone. Totally different from the usual sugar cone.

After shopping, we went ahead and drove to our next destination.

Baclayon Church
La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church

The church was founded in the year 1596 by Jesuit priests. Became a parish 1717 and the coral stone structure was completed 1727. It is the oldest coral stone church in the region. It was destroyed when an earthquake struck last 2013. It was fully restored just this 2017. Thankful that we were able to visit the place and say a prayer, it just reopened last February 2018.

Next stop – Tarsier Sanctuary

The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary aims to protect the natural habitat and the extinctions of tarsiers. They do so by promoting awareness and establishing protected areas in the whole province of Bohol. Little research has been conducted and this should not be the case. This gentle creature should be protected at all cost.

And we must thank people like the ‘Tarsier Man’ who has dedicated his whole life in protecting them. He used to hunt for them when he was little as his father was a taxidermist. They sold each tarsier at Php250.00. At 12, when he realized that the numbers of tarsiers were dwindling down, he decided to care for one and learned about it. He started breeding and was successful. From then on, he has dedicated his life in raising awareness to protect these tiny primates. Good job and thank you Mr Lito Pizarras.

After our cute encounter with the tarsiers, we proceeded to the Loboc River to have lunch while cruising aboard a ferry.

Loboc River Cruise

Don’t expect too much with the buffet spread, but be awed with the beauty surrounding your floating restaurant. The Loboc River Cruise is certainly enjoyable because of its uniqueness. Imagine you are aboard a floating restaurant, with food, a very good singer serenading everyone, a beautiful scenery, and the famous Loboc Children’s Choir singing and dancing as the grand finale of the cruise. Guests could also join them in their “tinikling” (bamboo) dance.

I got teary eyed watching these families perform, they were so happy and grateful with whatever we could give them.

On our way to see the Chocolate Hills, we passed by the Loboc-Bilar Man Made Forest. Beautiful and tall mahogany trees line the road and stretch for about 2 kilometers. Once you enter the forest, you will feel that it’s cooler compared to the hot and humid non forested part. Tourists often stop and risk their lives trying to get a good shot in the middle of the road, because cars won’t stop and let you have your picture on your own sweet time.

And before we finally see the majestic hills, we went on to have an ATV adventure along the foot of the hills. This 30 minute or so drive was exhilarating! I got all muddy during the drive, it’s so hot that I got so sweaty and red, but it was worth it. When we finally reached the highlight of our route, it’s amazing.

It’s my first time riding ATV and it will definitely not be the last.

Finally, we come to the finale of our daytour, the Chocolate Hills.

This is the view when you don’t want to climb the Observation Deck. But I wanted to go up because I want to see the Topview.

One has to climb about 214 steps to get to the Viewdeck which is the highest of all the hills.

Thousands of these hills surround the town of Carmen.

The 214 steps uphill climb left me breathless but it was so worth it. The view was breathtaking.

Went back to the hotel, had dinner and rested before enjoying ourselves in the pool for Happy Hour.

The next day, woke up early so I could enjoy the beach.

That ends our Bohol Trip. So much more to explore. Till next time!

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