I would normally go to Singapore about three (3) times in a year, and during my latest trip last March 9, I learned three (3) travel hacks (Great tips to make your trip enjoyable):
1. Best Pasalubong from Singapore — Royce Nama Chocolates! I first learned of this chocolate secret from an article from inquirer written by Reggie Aspiras (Jan. 6, 2005) and she is right it is Sinfully delicious! I spent some time looking for it, but finally I was able to find the two retail outlet: one in basement 2 of Takashimaya where the Cold Storage is located; the other one is in Tower 3 in front of Carrefour. The first time I visited Taka, the Nama Chocolates were out of stock. I’m glad I was able to purchase the next day, I bought the Champagne and Mild Cacao flavor (S$12.80). Your not a certified chocolate connesiour, if you haven’t tasted this. If you can read japanese, visit Royce Website. NOTE: The nama chocolates is packed with dry ice that is good for 5 hours so you need to put it in the ref in your hotel and in the airplane, you could ask the stewardess to store it for you in a cold place.
2. Reserve the best seat in the plane 1 day before! Are you the type of person that have a favorite seat in the plane? If you are like me, who would like to reserve the aisle seat in the front exit row, then calling a day before to reserve your seat is a must! Remember this Singapore Air Check in number: 65-6243-2546. You can also visit the singapore air website to check-in.
3. Free cable Movies from Movielink! This hack is a little complicated, but if you are the type of traveller who want to watch movies in your cable and you don’t agree with the price of one movie (S$16 + gst), you can try this out. The ondemand or schedule movies is controlled by the movielink or cable box that connects the cable outlet and the TV. It is so easy, you just need to bypass this box and connect the TV directly to the cable outlet. I’ve tried this at the Grand Hyatt hotel which uses Movielink services. Enjoy!
Congratulations and Best Wishes to Ahiya Pierre and Atchie Irene! This is the first time for me to attend a chinese engagement party and it was unfortunate that we missed the first part of the ceremonies. Nevertheless, I started to appreciate the beauty of the Chinese traditions and proud to be part of the Lim-Uy family. I’ll let the pictures do the talking –> Pierre & Irene’s Engagement Party Photos @ Flickr
Our friends are planning a trip to Donsol, Sorsogon in Bicol this summer via a road trip. I was fortunate to have a business trip in Naga and Legaspi this past 3 days that I was able to learn the way and took some pictures as a sneak preview of our upcoming vacation. Thanks to the CBD manager, JayR assigned in the Bicol area, for showing us the way around. Here is a preview of the trip to Bicol and some tips to make the road trip enjoyable:
1. Photogenic but shy Mt. Mayon.
If it is your first time to visit the bicol region, the view of Mt. Mayon will be breathtaking and awesome. If your intentions are pure according to the local folklore, you should be able to see mayon clearly (picture on the left taken at around 7am in the morning enroute to Legaspi). Otherwise, you’ll only be seeing Mayon wrapped around white clouds (picture on the right taken @ the Cagsawa Ruins at around 2pm). Learning, have your cameras ready and take the first opportunity to shoot Mt. Mayon when the clouds are clear.
BTW, its best to visit the Cagsawa ruins during the weekday when there is no tourist. You can also buy cheap handicrafts in the tiangge and don’t forget to buy mazapan pili.
2. The beautiful Naga.
Naga is an ideal place for stop over on road to Donsol, Sorsogon (3 hours from Naga). It took us 8 hours to arrive in Naga but on the way back to Manila it took us about 10 hours. In both instances, we left at around 6 am in the morning and you’ll arrive at around 4pm. Naga is the one of the big cities in Camarines Sur, and one of the places where the per capita income is similar to Manila. (Note: Bicol region is one of the poorest region in the country with the lowest per capita income similar to mindanao). There are a few places to explore here which includes:
a. Basilica Minore, Naga. Home to the miraculous image of the Patroness of Bicolandia, Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this site during the September celebration of the Peñafrancia Fiesta just to visit and venerate the virgin.
b. Magsaysay Strip – This is where Malate meets Libis in Naga. One of my colleagues in college in DLSU, Junjee Abela, started the trendy restaurants that you can find in the now famous Magsaysay St. of Naga City. Five years ago, he started Chili Peppers with the vision of having a hip place for sales agents/ transients and the fallen eagles in Ateneo de Naga. After 3 years of successful operation, the other trendy restaurants opened including the asian food inspired, Coco Leaf, and the local coffee house, Bean Bag Coffee. BTW, when you eat in Chili Peppers, don’t forget to other their killer foods which includes: Baby Back Ribs, Bangus Tail, Squid, and the Sinigang Bicol styel with coconut.
Since Naga, is the center of religious observances, there are no hanky panky places in the city.
3. Enjoying the road trip to Bicol.
a. DVDs! Bring a car with TV/DVD installed and bring alot of DVDs of movies that you have not watched before. What I found effective was, watching the mushy Filipino movies of Judy Ann, Regine, Aga, Piolo, etc. and for sure, you won’t fall asleep. If you want your passengers to sleep, put in the music of Nora Jones and Josh Groban and guaranteed this would rock your passengers to sleep.
b. Fresh Food Galore. This is the time to enjoy the food of the southern provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Bicol region. Here are some potential places to eat:
–> Palay-Isdaan in Pagbilao, Quezon. Enjoy eating lunch in a hut amidst ostriches, birds, snakes, crocodiles. There are videoke terminals in some of the huts so that you can sing while eating. The Tilapia is very good and you can taste its sweet freshness.
–> Bulwagang Salakot, Ave-sol Shell, Gumaca, Quezon. My mom and dad recommended this place, and they vouch for the freshness of the food, clean restrooms and the best coffee in that region. When we ate there, we don’t like the inihaw na tilapia, and squid. JayR actually did not recommend this place because the place is old and the food is not anymore that great.
–> Lita’s Carinderia, Atimonan, Quezon. I have not eaten here but this one is located facing the ocean and boasts of fresh fish and squid. There are alot of people stopping over in this restaurant.
–> La Cucina Salud, San Pablo, Laguna. A garden restaurant near Villa Escudero. There are alot of signs pointing to this place but I did not have the opportunity to stop over. I’m sure the ambiance would be great.
–> Biggs Diner in Bicol. Eating breakfast here is a must. Not that the food is great, but at least you can say that you have eaten in one of the successful diners concept in the Philippines. Bicol is the only region where Jollibee is not the number one fast food chain because of the strong equity built by Biggs in this region and a wider assortment of food.
This is just a preview of our upcoming Bicol Caravan. I can’t wait to go back to the Bicol region with Rache, Aidan and our friends!
Green House Bistro, Tagaytay Highlands. OK to try once. This garden restaurant lacks its own personality and it reflects in the quality of food and ambiance.
You won’t miss green house bistro in Highlands because it is located in the corner of the road going to the midlands and to the Batino Exit. Your meal starts with dalandan juice, toasted foccacia, and onion soup. Then followed by Salad with a choice of white and balsamic vinegar dressing. Main course is Pasta with a choice of white/red sauce and a wide variety of toppings. The meal ends with blue berry cake, tart and tea.
What I like about green house bistro? The healthy food options, garden ambiance and relaxed atmosphere. I like the toasted foccacia, variety of choices for your salad/pasta toppings.
What I don’t like about green house bistro? The powdered Dalandan juice, ordinary Salad dressings & Pasta selections, forgettable dessert, and trying-hard-to-be-like-Sonya’s feel.
Uploading 100+ pictures / month even with a 10MB bandwidth limit!
A free account in flickr is limited with a 10 MB monthly upload (bandwidth) limit which refers to the amount of bytes you upload to flickr and not the amount of disk space. So any pictures you upload in flickr is already included in your 10MB limit even if you delete the pictures in your flickr account. But after each month, you’ll get a 10MB again.
The way to beat this limit is to resize all your photos to 800pixels in size before uploading it to your flickr account. This should be OK since you would only want to show the pictures via the web and not really print it. Also, a free account assumes that you keep your original sized pictures in your hard disk. I use Picasa 2 to resize a batch of pictures to 800 pix in size. Download Picasa here , then once installed just select the all the pictures you want to resize, click on export and in the image size option: resize to 800 pixels. Here is a proof of concept of uploading 100 pictures with only 84% of the bandwidth used for the month –> Aidanacio.us.
Use the Power of Tags to classify your pictures instead of using sets.
A free account is only limited to 3 photosets, so if you want to survive and have more classification of photos — use Tags. Here is the tags I use to classify my pictures –> Aidanacio.us Tags. Remember that the more pictures that are tagged with a tagname, the bigger font it will be. Also, carefully used your sets that can be used with whatever photos you upload. I would recommend naming your set as follows: “my favorites, all about me, all photos.”
Create an “All Photos” set
Photostream views is limited to the 100 most recent images for a free account. But if you want to view all your pictures at one go, create an “All Photos” see all your pictures.
Don’t use flickr free account to store your original image online.
Storage of smaller (resized) images is the default for a free account. So it is useless to upload a 1-2 Meg picture files since you won’t be able to see it. Might as well resize it already. Of course, there’s an upgrade option for the serious ones (like me) who would want to store my original pictures online as backup and for printing later on. For only $42/year, I can store all my pictures online with unlimited disk space with 1gb of bandwidth/mo!
My friends had a fun time in zoobic and here are the exerpts of their adventure as narrated by Maong:
“As planned, Diwat and I manage to leave my place a little after 5am and was in Pampanga 45 minutes later. Though we missed the first part of the show, we managed to still catch the last few balloons lifting off. Entrance was P100 so a lot of people, including us, opted to watch from the parking lot. Though we did enter the grounds a few minutes after to join Joy and her family. A few hours later, after a BIG breakfast of salted eggs, tomatoes, spam, pampanga’s best, fried eggs, rice and tuna-i think (provided by Joy), we decided to leave the air field and explore north. After exhaustively searching Lonely Planet, we just decided to go zoobic.
Zoobic, is an experience by itself. For those of you who has visited the tiger safari in calatagan a few years before, you’ll be reacquainted with some of their resident tigers and then some. For P295 you will first ride an enclosed jeep inside an enclosed field where you will meet some of the adult tigers. To make them come near the vehicle, one of the guys will lure them with a live chicken. By this time, Diwat and I were screaming at the guy who was baiting the tiger–he was, in our opinion, very sadistic as he was torturing the chicken before the tiger ripped the poor bird in half. After that we went to the serpentatrium then the petting zoo. In the zoo, there was this very interesting bird called cassowary. What makes this bird interesting is that after the female bird lays the egg, she sets off to find another mate leaving the papa bird to take care of the egg.–hmm…..we might not be the most intelligent species after all!
The petting zoo was like avilon but better since some of the animals are free-roaming. After that, we were able to take a picture with an 8-month old tiger cub. And then, we set off to see the tigers that were caged. Apparently, there are 2 groups of tiger in the zoo, they are kept separate because they will kill each other. So after a month the caged tigers are set free at the enclosed field and those who were free are caged.
After the cages, we went to savannah where they keep the ostriches, pot bellied pigs, goats and sheeps. Basically, it is also an enclosed field where all the animals are free-roaming. After a day at the zoo, we were brain-dead. We got a bite to eat, recharged a little and started our way back home. hope you guys can join us the next time around.
>i posted some pictures from our trip at http://www.flickr.com/photos/anneong/.”
One of my resolutions in life is to count my blessings and reflect on life’s lessons. Awesome planet have given me an avenue to reflect on these things and at the same thing hopefully my readers will be able to learn a thing or do.
Talking Stick. I learned a valuable lesson on Friday on emphatizing and seeking first to understand then be understood. Very simple concept that we have learned from 7 habits but very difficult to apply specially in conflict situations. It is very dangerous that we act before we understand a person and this could make a situation blown out of proportion. Last friday, I finally had a chance to talk with my co-worker who I had a word war I. We used a talking stick approach to settle our big misunderstanding and it helped alot. I learned so much about her and how I totally misjudge and misread her. I learned the extreme value of communication and the lack of it. Listening to her exhaustively until she gives me the talking stick was very powerful because I was force to learn and absorb whatever she is saying. When it is my turn to talk, I would have the right to talk my heart out without the fear of being rebutted in the middle of what I was saying as long as I have the talking stick. I came out of the dialogue, an enlightened man and I thank God for giving me this blessing.
The Joy of Fatherhood. My life changes as soon as Aidan was born into our lives. You’ve probably heard of the cliche more than once but its different when you experience it. The joy of becoming a father is when you see your son smiling, hugging you, looking at you, or stops crying everytime you carry him. He becomes a priority and going out with friends becomes less but you don’t miss it that much. The best part of my day is when I get to spend some time with my son and during the time that he would sleeps on my chest. I’m soo excited to see him grow up and so that we do fun things together. I can’t wait.
RED Valentines. This year’s valentines is not only RED with roses but also RED with blood as three bombs detonated in a bus traveling edsa under the LRT station in Ayala, one in Davao and another one in Gen Santos. Just when the Philippines is starting to enjoy a 19th month low of 54.56 exchange rate to a dollar, this situation could affect again all our efforts to rebuild a good image for our country. Thank God, we celebrated V-day at home this year with my wife, son, lolo popc and lola momc.
Geocaching is the widely popular, high-tech game of treasure hunting. This is really interesting and I’m really curious what can you find in the Geocache in the Philippines. Of course, you need to have a high tech gps gadget to solve the treasure clues –> GPS Map/Receiver . I’ve checked the cost and it’s like owning a brand new cellphone which costs about $500. In the US, this is a very mature sport where you can use Geocache, Google Maps, Terraserver to help you in your treasure hunting.
I do hope I can find people who are also interested in this type of sport. This is also a good idea for team building, hmmn…
Let’s make our life exciting and fun with the help of each other! As the cliche goes, life is short and we have so much things to do and so little time. Maybe, just maybe with the help of each other, we will be able to accomplish our goals in life. The challenge goes like this, post 43 Things that you want to accomplish this year at 43Things.com and by the end of the year, who ever was able to accomplish the most tasks wins a surprise gift! Here are three (3) simple principles for this challenge:
1. The things to be accomplished should be meaningful and worthwhile.
2. We should collaboratively help each other to accomplish each other goals by positive reinforcement and encouragement.
3. We respect each individual’s integrity, sincerity, and honesty.
So that we can keep track of people who wants to join in the challenge, please post your interest to join the challenge in the comments, leave your email address so that we can include you in the [email protected].