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Santorini Holiday & Wedding

July 19th, 2016 No comments
I was the best man..Yey

Not much words needed. The photos are a glimpse of how great the island is. 

This is not us, btw
 We did not take photos of the wedding as there was a photographer and we did what guest are supposed to do... celebrate and enjoy




 I did take photos of the island around the wedding day.

After afterparty


We did have a chance to relax later on



Official drinks sponsor












I love me my Calamari

I'm sure this is a Bouganvilla but e flowers seemed bigger and the thorns smaller

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The Lake District

May 22nd, 2016 No comments
While, not as big as the great lakes of the United States, the Lake District in Cumbria is as beautiful. It's oddly popular with Chinese and Japanese tourist and the odd Pinoys. It is wonderful. I know some Asians are stereotyped with liking bodies of water to bring luck but there IS something soothing about being close to a body of water. If I get the chance I would like to live near a lake; I'm moving to Manchester instead because it's more convenient for work. 
A distant relative lives in Lake Buhi and I've only been once but I did think it was a nice place to be. Tranquil and everything seemed to be at peace. 
Buhi. Just kidding; some rich person's villa



Snow capped mountains in the distance. It's wonderful. I am told a large part of the lakes are walk able hills.
Some British people I've talked to said they have created a sub type of leisurely walking to describe the experience in the lakes; fell-walking. It must be a very fulfilling experience; one man (Sir Wainwright) wrote a seven-volume book series on how to do it.
We didn't get chance to do much fell-walking though. We didn't plant this trip so we were wearing the wrong shoes, wrong clothes and just not prepared for any type of seven-volumed level of walking. 

The views by lake were enough though. This was taken in Bowness-in-Windemere. We brought a car and for ease of your visit bring one; there are tour buses and they do encourage walking but if you've got a kid and lazy kids-at-heart a car is a good idea.




We parked our cars in one of the free parking places around the park; you have to move it every two hours and there are paid all day parking if you don't want the hassle. We just didn't think we would stay that long. We were dead wrong.
On the way back, we stumbled to this part of the lakes. The park was run by the National Trust ,a charity run to conserve the national beauty of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I think it would have been a good idea if we have something similar back home. Retirement is at 65 and some people go downhill right after; I think partly because they feel they have lost purpose and are housebound. I think older people have a lot to offer and organizations like this could them a reason to get up still, be active and help give voice as well as manage our natural treasures. 



My friend said bring a pebble to make sure I come back. I was like, I'll take a photo but don't really want to bring a stone back home. It's gonna look a bit odd.
I shall be back though...
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Skylounge at the Hilton TowerBridge

February 11th, 2016 No comments
Last summer, I began my hankering for rooftop bars. I like how you can just chill, have a few drinks, share a nice view and if you're lucky enjoy the sunset.
I've yet to go to one in Manila. I imagine watching the sunset in Manila bay on a cheap-ish rooftop bar must be great (business idea)
As I'm in the UK for a temporary job, i've hunted for the best rooftop bars to bring my visiting friends and families.
 Cocktails are a just alright for London (12 quid) so about 800-ish in Philippine peso. One thing I learned early enough, if you don't stop converting to what it would cost back home. I'd die of hunger and thirst. :)
Drinks are okay. They don't skimp on alcohol but the view is what you're paying for really.
There's a lot of city workers. So most everyone is dressed up; well they came from work. So suits and ties.
I have been to cheaper bars before. There was this pop-up bar near Marble Arch that's only 6-8 quid a drink - really cool and hippie but it's closed for the winter. Bummer



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British Musuem

February 9th, 2016 No comments

On a sunny and cold day in London, I dragged myself to the British Museum. I should really have gone before. I've been to London a couple of times and I remember in our History class in  Ateneo de Naga is that a lot of cool stuff are in the British Museum; they weren't wrong. 




One of the most photographed features of the British Museum is the actual design of the building. It's airy, it allows the sun to shine and it's just really cool. 


The Elgin Marbles

The story - if I can remember well - is that the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin saw the state of Parthenon and it's designs. To save it from further deterioration he procured the marbles with the agreement of the authorities of the day (Greece was under the Ottoman Empire)
Some Greek nationalist have been asking to bring it back - purely on moral arguments as legally it was acquired will full consent.


The British Museum has been open to lending the display to Athens; the rest of the sculptures are in Athens, Germany, Denmark and France. The best bits are in the British Museum - Lord Elgin had first dibs. :)
However, Athens does not believe the British Museum has the right to them so cannot guarantee that they will come back. So, no.


 One of the most remarkable thing here is that you can view the marbles close up. Two thousand years ago, old Athenians would have to look up and just catch a glimpse of the marble unable to marvel at the beauty of its details.







The Nereid Monument







A lot of building have been influenced by the Ionic design showcased in the Nereid Monument.











 The Middle East and the Flood tablet

I remember memorizing what the name of the oldest epic - Gilgamesh. What they missed out, probably cause it's a catholic school, is how it mirrors the flood Story.




 I've refreshed my knowledge of Gilgamesh and it's surreal how it mirrors the Bible's flood story. Although, in this case it's polytheistic, the ark builder tricked his fellow villagers to help him and the reason for the flood was arbitrary. Everything else is spot on. There was a man who was warned by a god about a flood, he brought a pair of every animal, released birds to see if there was dry land and lived really long after the flood subsided. The main god in Gilgamesh also swore not to destroy humanity (again).


A very old grandfather of Google Map.
We've heard of the Great library of Alexandra but not of King Ashurbanipal's









The Egyptian Exhibit


The Egyptian exhibit is one of the more popular feature. It featured the Rosetta stone which a lot of people were taking pictures and selfies which was useless I thought. I didn't get a photo as it was encased in glass and the reflection is more visible than the Hieroglyphics. 


In a lot of ways the Egyptian kings mirror our local politician. They make grandiose projects to commemorate themselves. Also, like our politicians they put their names all  over their projects and is not above putting their names on top of old incumbents.  
A tomb of high priest.

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Maverick Sabre

November 28th, 2015 No comments
Ever since I saw Maverick Sabre performing for Glastonbury, I've made it a mission to see him live.
His voice is refreshing; you instantly know he's a true artist.
Beside the rare events outside the UK though - Turkey and some festival in continental Europe - He rarely performs outside of Great Britain so I was really lucky to be here to see him.
I heard that he has a new tour for his new album and it's going be fairly near where I live so  I persuaded some of my friends to come and see him.
Liam Bailey for the warm up set.
This was in Manchester Academy 2. The place is quite intimate but I though just the right size for the crowd. A few years back, I was told, Parokya ni Edgar was in Manchester Academy 1 which is bigger than this venue but it was only about a third full. They might have been better off here.
Closer than it seems, it was pretty intimate.

Oh Samsung S6 Camera, you were so promising.


You can get close if you really want to. It's a bit of a trade, get close to the stage or the bar which is opposite the stage. Tough choice.













 One of the crowd pleasers is Come Fly Away sung acoustically. Amazing. Here is a sample from one his gig. I didn't take a video, I just don't. Enjoy the moment I say.



'Who needs a work out, when you're sweating like f*&#'

Emotion (Ain't Nobody) I though before was just okay but when he sang it live it just took it to another level. So here's the closest to live as I can find...you just had to be there.
 Amazing voice. Really good artist.







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Singapore, Manila and Home

November 3rd, 2015 No comments
I've got friends in the Merlion City and I've always heard how nice Singapore is or how clean it is and how there is order. so I decided I'd go for a short trip. How short? 12 hours from a flight with no sleep
 The day was a bit hazy as apparently smoke from forest fires in Indonesia are blown to the city. The cab and the tour driver wasn't happy - at all.

 Went to see the Malay part of the city. The distinction between the neighborhoods are so pronounced.
Just to piss my friend off, my first stop right of the plane was the Golden Arches. He's been saying because of the food choices in Singapore he has to be dragged kicking and screaming to eat at Mc Donald's.






The highlight of the food trip is Chili Crab though. It was so good. I'm just happy I had someone to help me finish the crab. I ordered the medium but it was so much for us. It was a messy goo of delicious. 

Crispy baby squid
Nothing beats the beat and the feel of home for me though. Arriving back in the country just puts my heart at ease - didn't help the jetlag though.   

Bicolandia in time for fiesta. 




It was a short holiday. I did manage to squeeze in an ATV tour of Mayon, yey!
Also, tried the posh tea experience in Avenue Square. I'm not really a big lover of tea but my friend was.
The service in Avenue is still impeccable I just wish they served scones. Warm scones and myself get along well.




A bit over the top service. Avenue is a pricey place but having someone hold your umbrella is overkill. Sprained hands, maybe?
Time to go back to reality.
One last hurrah in Singapore
I only had five hours to kill this time in Singapore. I exited customs to try more local food outside the transit lounge of the airport. They were still all good...
Singapore noodles in Singapore!



Perfection. No more peeling. Crabmeat in a bun.

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Mykonos & Santorini

July 23rd, 2015 No comments
My friends were saying how wonderful and captivating Santorini was. This was a few years ago but I've always considered that part of Greece so dear that it might be worth just going to others places where I can make my money stretch out a bit more.

As things go, one of my friend wanted a destination wedding and I'd (probably drunkenly) promise I'd help so I did. The wedding will be in Santorini next year so we went to scout for places and make a holiday out of it by seeing Mykonos as well.

Arrived at night but went for a walk the next morning and greeted by this



 There were a fair amount of cruise ships docking in Mykonos (and Santorini to be honest) mostly Americans, those we've talked to are friendly but unless you've made a drunken promise as well I wouldn't suggest going on one





 We went to the ruins of Delos. I've never really heard of the place until the night before we went so wasn't expecting anything. Return ticket is about 18 Euros and there was a 5 Euro entrance fee.








Ruins, indeed
  The image underneath is what you think it is. It's suppose to be for luck or something - Greeks aren't shy.
 Went home at 3-ish as the sun was becoming unbearable.
 We did what I consider as the best bit of my holidays. Chill, eat some nibbles, drink some lager and people watch.


 The next day, we decided to got the beaches. Enjoy the sunset. Top up the tan, I love the Filipino color. Just have that summery glow. Unfortunately, staying in England means the lack of sun made me look a bit pale.

 Agrari Beach
Sit down fee of 15 Euros meant I will chill out here as long as my soul and bum is settled

Agrari is a nude-friendly beach. Mooning isn't part of the deal..haha

 We wanted to see as many of the beaches as possible so left late in the afternoon to try and find a cool spot to watch the sunset.
 This one is fairly close to Mykonos town. No sit down fee but a lot, a lot of people.




 We went next to one of the local's beaches. Hey, they should know the cool spot to hang.

Our trust ATV's made sure we look cool getting lost.

 
Found this really posh hotel/bar that had a killer view. 


Our first chilled out sunset in Santorini




Refreshments were only a few yards back




The lovely engaged couple
Went back to Mykonos town for dinner. As always, it was picture perfect


 Tourist bits to check off on our third day.


Compulsory windmill pictures



Pensive about the state of the Greek economy?

 Apparently, one of the best places to watch the sunset and the windmills is in Little Venice harbour.











And wer'e off to Santorini.We booked the fast ferry but, my god, for some reason the engines were under repair so it wasn't really fast. Did we get compensation? No. Parang style Pinas lang

The ship stopped by one of the islands, Naxos. Almost half the people alighted on this island, leaving the seats very open. I got a whole row to myself. :)


And then Santorini. We stayed in Firostefani, which I would suggest over Oia (the touristy part)
The sunset is nicer, it's cheaper...just not as popular as Oia.
Views can be deceiving. Underwhelming in some parts..
then...
Boom













The Souvlaki sold the cheapest meal on this part of Santorini. About 3 Euros for this chicken Souvlaki. It was simple and tasty.




Went on a catamaran cruise which cost about 95 Euros , that would include dinner and the sunset view from the Caldera



Oia
This is the heavily tourist part of the island. We went in summer so there were loads of people and it was really, really sunny at noon.




We went back to Firostefani to see our last sunset. We got the champagne out and drank from the hotel balcony.
It was a bit cloudy and one of the locals said it would even be more spectacular when you see the sun reflecting on the sea. It was good enough for me...
Until next year for the actual wedding...
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Pennsylvania & Philadelphia

April 30th, 2015 No comments
 
 
Having, unfortunately, watched an episode or two of Breaking Amish I was superficially aware of how an Amish community is. It is a simple life. No internet, not much technology...just the basics. 




There's a visitor's center. They operate the tour bus from here for about $25. It must be weird being paraded like you are in an open zoo I imagine there is some resistance to visitors to their community but I guess where there is a market there will be people willing to sell.
I was told the older people are ambivalent if not tolerant of the guest but the younger people are resistant. I guess younger people are unsure about their identities - weren't we all - so I can imagine what's going on in their heads.











So with that, I kept the strictly tourist routes and shops. I did meet a young fella, I was told they don't like their pictures taken so respected that.
Surprise, surprise though. He was like any 20-ish year old, albeit a bit more polite.
He was cleaning his buggy and I asked him if his hand weren't freezing as the water was ice cold.
I didn't ask him about how life is living in a Amish community. I reckon if you're happy that's all that matters.






My uncle bought me this home made root beer. I wasn't really a fan of root beer, even the commercial ones. This one didn't change my mind but that packaging seemed fancy and drinking it from a glass bottle didn't hurt either.

After a short stay in Pennsylvania, we decided to drop by Philadelphia on the way back to New York.
Seeing as the Pacquiao - Mayweather fight is quite soon, we had to stop at the Rocky steps.

Risin' up, back on the street





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Forward my mail…

April 22nd, 2015 No comments
It was a tough call, seeing as I will be thirty not long now. I've agreed to work in the United Kingdom until the better part of September 2016. It's not that long anyway, I thought to myself and I'll come to the Penafrancia fiesta this year at least.
Picture from http://www.opengovpartnership.org/country/united-kingdom
Another option was to go to the United States but that would be indefinite, it would have been a dream come true - seven or eight years ago but at present I have serious doubts about it. I know this is a problem a lot of people wish they had - both are good options and I do feel privileged but crossroads, whether Magsaysay Ave or Concepcion, Naga or Manila, family or work are difficult decisions.
At least I thought to myself in the United Kingdom, I could finish my bucket list for Europe and that might be cheaper and more practical.
Almost everyone said I should just go to the United States, I've been twice; last time was actually last month. It's nice but it doesn't feel right just yet. Everyone is so consumed by the demands of work, bills and money. I thought to myself maybe I should try Europe first, this opportunity might not be available again.
So to the Bicolanos in the United Kingdom. I hope to bump into you this time (Obviously, I've been to the UK before as well)



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Iceland

February 16th, 2015 No comments

 

We wanted to go to somewhere that's a bit more road less traveled that's still within the Schegen area. February was the coldest month in Iceland (according to the Lonely Planet) but we thought less tourist might mean cheaper prices and places to see without the crowd.

Hallgrimskirkja

We opted to try our luck with AirBnb again as we wanted to stay in a residential neighborhood rather than a hotel. Especially, when I saw the Tron-ish church Hallgrimskirkja I really, really wanted to stay near there. We could have opted to stay at Hótel Leifur Eiríksson as it's literally across the Hallgrimskirkja and it was featured in the Simpsons (The Sage of Carl; more reference to that episode, later) but the offer in Airbnb was irresistible.
Reykjavik is pretty small for a capital city. I'd have a harder time navigating Quezon City but it is slightly larger and more vibrant than Naga.
From our apartment everything seems to be walking distance; the city centre is about a 15 minute walk and the harbor is about 20-ish at a leisurely pace.
Moving houses...quite literally

You can see this mobile crane far away.

Harpa

The Harpa, according to a walking student guide was built when Iceland was in financial meltdown. Talk about Keynesian economics, eh. The inside is impressive but I wish they had a bar on top or something. It is a concert hall but I did hope there was more variety to the things they catered for.

The Lobster Hut, according to my friend, is popular in  TripAdvisor. It was just opposite the Grey Line tour bus (which we didn't get a chance to use) and across the opera house. 
I tried the Lobster sub and it was good (too good, I didn't have time to take a picture) as it was quite tasty and not that filling. My friend had the Lobster soup which was in a coconut-curry base of some kind.
Continuing our food trip, we reluctantly tried fermented shark. Some people don't like it because it's rotten (shark meat is poisonous when eaten without curing) and some just don't like it in principle.
It's an Icelandic tradition so we had to try it.
Fermented Shark
The shark tasted of ammonia so had to wash it with Brennivin.
Shark. Shark fin soup. Hotdogs and Whale steak


The night we came on was, coincidentally, the start of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival. It started with a lights show on Hallgrimskirkja - a cool eight minute walk from our apartments.
They also had a snowboarding show in the city centre. So that was cool.
Note to self: Learn to snowboard and get a better camera
They had a picture of Clinton on a small hotdog stand in the city centre. There's always a line but the dogs were cheap and delicious.


A quick tipple before going  home.
Bars and clubs open until 4:30 in the morning but we had to skip that as we had a tour booked in the morning.

The Golden Circle tour starts

The Strokkur geyser
Apparently, the word geyser came from this place. So even though it wasn't as popular as the one in Yellowstone National Park (I'm basing this from pictures) it is still  pretty awesome.
A lot of the people stayed on the far side it was just myself on the other end. I didn't know why, I swear I didn't stink. Haha.


This cute couple got caught in the steam.


Further on we went to this awesome falls. It's called Gullfoss and it looked brilliant with all the snow - very Game of Thrones beyond the Northern Wall vibe.
Gulfoss
You know nothing Jon Snow, but if you read this you might learn a thing or two





Mid-Atlantic Ridge


My friend tried the lamb's head and best place to have it is at the bus stop. It's priced alright and that's where bus drivers go - so, locally approved?


The Blue Lagoon was a good experience. My camera would have conked out with all the steam and humidity so didn't take a lot of photos. I would have wanted to try an in water massage but time wass against me that afternoon.
Word of warning, I opted to rent a robe and a towel. They both got lost so I had to ask for replacements (they were lost twice).
The towels and the robe all look the same so some knobhead must have just taken the closest one they could find. My slippers on the other had I couldn't replace anymore.
To be fair, I mistakenly took someone's bath towel in the shower by mistake. How did I know? My friend pointed I had a light brown towel whereas my rented one was darker brown with Blue Lagoon logo on it.  My bad to whoever I pinched that towel from - I swear I didn't mean to.

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Amalfi Coast & Pompeii

February 14th, 2015 No comments
Last November, we took a long-ish break to visit the Amalfi Coast.
It's always been known as the playground for the rich and popular, so it's gotta be done. :)
November is the start of the low-season for Amalfi so we weren't able to go to Capri as no boats were travelling but, honestly, we wouldn't have found the time to go the Capri anyway.
When we went, I think the time was just perfect as the sun was out and there weren't that many people. Win-win.
We flew to Naples airport and then took a taxi to the Amalfi Coast. Cab prices were clear, fixed and regulated so take note NAIA.
We were dropped to our apartment that we have rented through AirBnb (Yey sharing economy)
View from the Taxi ride, priceless. Actual taxi ride about 100 Euros for the one-way trip..




View from the apartment. Waking up to this was just bliss
The apartment that we got had the most amazing view of the sea. Waking up early (even on holiday) was worth it.


 
You'd have to pay thousands of pesos for a view like this on a hotel. We know cause we compared a room with a balcony with the hotel next door!
We went for a walk to the next small-ish town and the deserted coast is just ace. Only the local seagulls kept us company.

Amalfi is known as a playground for the rich. Julio, ihanda ang helicopter!




 There was a lot of walking involved...
 One of my friends wanted to go the the Fjord Furore, if you google it most of the time the beach is almost always full. As it was off-season and the tide was really strong, again, we were the only one there.
That was amazing!

Only good swimmers need to try

 We rented a car and drove to Positano as the even the bus service was restricted, I guess not a lot of locals took the public transport.
Positano is one of the jewels of the coast.

 We waited until the sun came down to see it in its full splendor. I can only imagine what it looks like in the summer -although I imagine it would be crammed with thousands of people.


View on the drive back to Amalfi

Amalfi, of course, is the popular destination for the not-so-rich rich. Positano hotels are almost always posher and more exclusive than Amalfi but I thought Amalfi had more charm.





Peroni. I know Stella Artois is available in Manila now but you wouldn't even touch that after you'd had Peroni.





Posh hotel!


If I was a rich boy da-da-da-da...


The very charming Amalfi Cathedral
 We were worried as they had rain and clouds forecasted a few days before we went to Amalfi but we had the sun the days we were there.
 On the way back, we went on an unplanned visit to Pompeii. We were just gonna head straight back to the Airport but decided to leave a tad early and drop by Pompeii.




Mt Vesuvius

Italian Askals!


Dog 1: Sono Filippini. Dog 2: Si

 The relics around Pompeii definitely deserves a whole day just to go around but as we were pressed for time we only saw a part of it.





The site is massive and well worth the entrance fee.
 Interesting side note, they serve beer in Italian Mcdonald's only Peroni obviously.
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Paris, I know your tourist site like the back of Google Map

November 9th, 2014 1 comment
 
Paris is like a yuppie, always fun, prepped and confident. My brother who hasn't traveled as much as myself wanted to see Europe so after prodding from my mum, I agreed to accompany him to Paris. We traveled with his partner so I was the official photographer..ho hum. 


Got the Lonely Planet Guidebook so that I can fulfill my tour guide duty.
 First stop was Notre-Dame which to my surprise had a Metro station beneath it. The last few times I went I alighted at St Michel and had a leisurely walk to the Church. The walk is worth it though, near enough the Latin Quarter.
Notre Dame is a working Catholic Church but as it was French and my French sucks so I decided to skip mass. Why oh why didn't we have a foreign language in High School, Ateneo, pourquoi oh pourquoi?



Went for a walk to the Shakespeare & Co bookstore nearby the queue was long so chilled in a square nearby




 
Paris has its share of people who god-knows-what they are doing. The fun is in doing ad libs ..


The better view, for myself, is behind the church. There are a lot less tourist but there is a busy road so just keep your eyes open.
Also, Paris being the 'City of Love' has an urban myth that if you place a lock in this bridge (I swear someone told me it was somewhere else) and throw the key in the river Seine your love is bound forever.
The city does remove the locks every now and again how many keys are in the river now is beyond me.
On the way to the next stop of my guided tour. The place to chill and people watch and probably spend kilig moments with partners.

Jardin des Tuileries




Always, takes my breath away especially when the sun is out.
On the end of this grand garden is the Louvre which we don't have time for today as it will take entire days to see all of the exhibit.



And to cap the day at the largest and most photographed rotunda (round about) in France, the Champs Elysee
We were staying just outside the city near Montmarte - where all artsies and hippies gravitate to. It was walking distance to the Sacré-Cœur.
 


My brother and his partner bought unlimited train tickets, I got the Carnet. The carnet is a booklet, which has ten tickets valid in the Metro (train). Basically, I paid about 13 euros for getting around the city while they paid close to 27.

That means they get to ride the Furnicular (the whole 15 seconds) while I had to walk to get to the church as I don't think it was worth it and more importantly I think it's part of the experience.

Mag Flanax ang may rheumatism

European cities have character, aint' it?

Eiffel Tower, the ultimate French symbol...


...unless it's their mastery of cooking canards (duck).

I want to be a cool tourist with a scooter.

Pro tip: Buy your ticket online and jump the queue if you want to get to the top.

The view on the second floor.

I decided to walk around the building near the Eiffel tower. There is a museum nearby but as my luck would have it - it's closed.
Trocadero has the most picturesque view of the tower.
As the sun was setting, I decided to leave my brother and his partner alone and just told them I'll meet them at the apartment. I felt like they deserve a little time for themselves.
That feeling crept to the next day when I went on my own to soak up some culture while they went to the Paris Crypt. The Louvre was close that day so all the queues were long.
Fortunately enough, the line for Rodin musuem wasn't. I didn't know why. Maybe he wasn't that popular now. In any case I was happy.

Gates of Hell
'Let's meet at the Gates of Hell.' One of expressions you can say to a friend without sounding that weird in the Rodin Garden.



The Pensive



Musee D'Orsay
One of the perks of going to the Rodin exhibit is that you can skip the queue for Musee D'Orsay as they sell combined tickets.



This impressive museum used to be a train station so it was impressively massive, bright and airy.
The actual  Gates of Hell by Rodin

I met up with my brother as I showed him some other points of interest nearby. I was hinting they go to Les Invalides just to see Napoleon but I couldn't get him to go. So we just walked around.
On the last day, my brother wanted to do the River Seine Cruise I told them where to go but I've already done it and wasn't keen on doing it again. I do want to go to rooftop bars like the one I found in London. I looked at the bible (Lonely Planet) and the best panoramic views are on top of department stores.
Oh well.

Views from Galeries La Fayette

Sunog!



Views from Printemps



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Paris, my hometown.

October 30th, 2014 No comments
Forgive me for stealing Stein's famous line but France has grown on me.
In the short visits I've done, I could actually for a few fleeting moments see myself as a Parisian.
So in probably, my last visit (for the foreseeable future) I decided to check the least touristy bit of Paris. 
I got purposely lost in its streets and the end of the day I could see why so many artist and people fall in love with it so to rephrase Stein... the Philippines is my country but Paris is my hometown.

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Attend a Music Festival, Done!

July 19th, 2014 No comments
 Well, I promised myself I'd go before I reach 35 I'm glad to say I'm not even 30 and I've done it.
Mind you, It's not Glastonbury mainly because it's expensive and you have no choice but to camp the whole 3 nights  but it was still awesome.
It's called T in the Park. It is or was in Kinross, Scotland. They're moving to somewhere else.
It's not as big as Glastonbury or Coachella but I think it's just big enough so you won't feel suffocated.
We went on the first day of the festival so it wasn't as crowded yet although the camping site was already starting to look like tent city.
The grounds were still fairly spacious though


 The music started fairly early. Some bands I don't know, but all of them were quite good.

You had me at six.

 There were break times in between sets about half an hour for you to get re-hydrated and fed.
Haim was next but I just watched half of their show as although they were good but they weren't really my kind of music.

Pinoy din kaya sila? Shade din pag may time.

 Imagine dragons was the next band on the main stage. I thought I didn't know them but my friend said they're quite good so I went.



They were awesome. They were such a performer and so filled with energy.
Ta-ra-ta. Ta-ra-ta. Oh, How I Met Your Mother, I so miss you.



Ellie Goulding was next on stage then my highlight of the night, Ed Sheeran.
Biffy Clyro was the absolute headliner for that day and they did pull out all the stops for him - fireworks and confetti - but I went to see the other stages.
Plus, we had to catch something to eat so we had to give our spot. Well,  catch you next time Biff.

Setting up the stage


We were fairly close to the stage.





Amazing voice. Very talented, the only thing was it was very cramped near the stage. I could barely move. Definitely worth it though.



 We went to another stage to cap the day off (there were a couple of stages, btw)
Here is the back of Steve Angello's set.  It was actually getting cold as the night drew on but there were still a lot of topless people. I'm guessing when you're near enough the stage it gets warmer.
They were definitely not on any kind of drug. Definitely not.

Swag

I got a lanyard thingy - which all the cool people were wearing - so I know the time of the sets for each stage. They cost about 10 quid, proper expensive and overpriced but it was useful.

Ironically, it's their last year in Kinross (Balado) and it was just my first time but hey at least I saw them in Kinross. 

 There were a lot of simultaneous acts as there were a lot of stages. Why can't be at three places at once.




 Most important information from the map: loo, booze area, food and oh, yeah ..stage.

Phrase of the event: Here we, here we, here we f/**&%g go!
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America: NY & Chicago

June 19th, 2014 No comments
It was my first time in the United States so I was intrigued to see what the hype was all about from all the American Pinoys coming back home.  They especially praise NY saying everything is there; kinda like Manila.
And oh boy,  New York didn't disappoint. It wasn't the tall buildings, cheap chocolates, corner to corner Starbucks that made it great but more so the vibe that New York exudes. The diversity of people, every food niche you can think of and number of things you can do, watch and listen.
Having said that, the touristy bits were pretty awesome as well.
Mandatory visit

 We drove to Liberty State Park in New Jersey to go to Liberty and Ellis Island. Apparently, you can choose to go either through New York and New Jersey for the tour but the one in Jersey is the better option.

Ellis Island. X-Men!?

 This bit was I think an part of an old hospital or dorm, but I didn't think tourist had access to these buildings.
Plenty of boats to go around

How America became a nation of immigrants

Where did my group go?


 If anything the view of NY from Ellis Island more than makes up for cost of the tour. The sun was out all day so burgers while enjoying the skyline went down very nicely. 







People watching

Money shot right here

 Sitting on the shade with a glass of Lemonade. That's the (simple) life

There were tours on the ground. They nicely pointed out that Lady liberty is on the move; right knee bent. I didn't really go with the guided tour but the guides voice was that loud, you didn't need to.
 It cost extra to go on top but we were running out of time so we had to skip that bit. Such a shame though I imagine the view would have been amazing.



Chicago

 Chicago is known as the Windy City. When we went there it was proper foggy. If only the wind was stronger to blow the fog away.

Wish, partially, granted.

The bean

 There is a park in Chicago right by Lake Michigan. As I said, it was summer and although it was foggy there were still people relaxing by the park.
I could imagine myself living in Chicago they say the winter is awful but at least rent is affordable and space is not that such of a premium.
Vegas-y



 Back to New York to finish the bucket list though that mainly includes cheap food stops around Chinatown and walking around Soho.

 Passing by Times Square, it reminds me of Piccadilly Circus in London just super sized.
I can imagine myself spending hours sitting by the steps watching people and time pass by. Getting home might be a problem though but to a city that never sleeps - it's just one of the challenges of city life. 

And back to Chicago again for the flight home
Two weeks went by so fast. Another good surprise is how not-bad American airports are. I was told it doesn't compare with Middle Eastern Airports but I'd choose Chicago O'Hare between Bahrain or Qatar's airport anytime. 




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