SG with Family!

We have been blessed with an opportunity to travel together again as one family. This was after my niece was born and my dad was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. With the baby in tow and with dialysis sessions that dad should not miss, it seemed impossible to travel. But with go signals from dad’s doctors and all the needful for his health, plus, our baby girl is now three, big enough to walk, off we went to Singapore!

( if you are in the same condition or your family member has the same health issue but you wanted to travel, hit me up, I can tell you what are the things to prepare as advised by our doctors, by the airlines, etc)

This trip was even made special because it was dad’s birthday. This was my second trip to Singapore, yet, this place still amazed me.

Giving you glimpse of our trip.

Accommodation : Strand Hotel

Address: 25 Bencoolen St, Singapore 189619

Phone: +65 6338 1866

You could book via Booking.com / no pre-payment required.

 

What are the places near the hotel?

  • Right outside the hotel is MRT Bencoolen Station, on the other side of the road is Bras Basah MRT station. Very convenient.
  • Across the hotel is a Food Court called Food Republic that offers wide variety of food. ( this was where we had most of our meals specially breakfast)
  • Beside Food Republic are 7-11 store and Starbucks Coffee.
  • About 5 minute-walk from the hotel, we attended Sunday mass at Church of the Sacred Heart.
  • Walking distance from Bugis Junction – One of the well-visited shopping sites in Singapore.

Getting Around the City:

Since we were a big group and my dad was advised to refrain from walking, plus we needed a car seat for our toddler, we always took advantage of grab cars. It may seem expensive but it’s worth it if you are in a big group. We would always book 1 6-seater and 1 grab with kid ( 3adult +1 kid).

So much for my words, here are the outtakes of our Singapore trip.

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Marina Bay Sands at Night

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View From Merlion Park
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Merlion Park
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Jewel at Changi
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View From Singapore Flyer

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Have fun!

Leaving you with this:

Always find time to spend with your loved-ones. Need not be pricey, but memorable.

 

Thank you. Love, SimplymeSMC.

No Filter Needed : Coron Islands

I had an opportunity to explore the Calamian Group of Islands last week. A 45 minute-flight from Manila took us to paradise.

The Calamian Islands or Calamianes is a group of islands in the Philippine province of Palawan. Amongst its numerous Islands, we visited the following major ones:

  • Busuanga Island
    • This is where the airport is located. It’s 40-min drive to Coron Town
    • It is the largest Islands in Calamian and the second largest island in Palawan
    • It is known for recreational diving, this is where you will see WW11 Japanese Ship Wrecks
    • Beautiful Coral Reefs are also seen here
  • Coron Island
    • This is where you see Kayangan lake
    • Twin Lagoon
    • Beautiful rock formation
    • The pristine white sand of Banol beach
  • Calauit Island
    • It is a wildlife sanctuary and game preserve area
    • Known as Safari park

We also did the town tour which includes climbing the freaking 721 steps to Mt. Tapyas summit- the second tallest mountain in Palawan. This mountain has its own story to tell too.

Our trip was made convenient by Be Cool Travels and Tours. Our Agency was all accommodating and thoughtful of our needs. We traveled with kids and they made sure to book us in a hotel with swimming pool.

There was a little adjustment to be done because of overlapping schedule at the hotel due to cancelled flights because of heavy rain the day before we came, but everything was handled accordingly. So much of my talking, please enjoy snaps from my trip.

All these pics were taken through my mobile phone only. Natural lights and clear waters made the difference. As they say, #nofilterneeded!

Feeding these big guys at Calauit
Feeding these big guys at Calauit
Big Cross at Mount Tapyas with the best bru
Big Cross at Mount Tapyas with the best bru

 

Shameless Pose at pass Island - my favorite place
Shameless Pose at pass Island – my favorite place
Breathtaking Pass Island
Breathtaking Pass Island

Banol Beach is LOVE

View From Kayangan View Deck
View From Kayangan View Deck

 

Natural Wonders!

planning to get on the plane and travel to Coron yet? wait, there’s more:

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The Cleanest Lagoon in Asia

View From the Hotel - not a bad view to wake up to
View From the Hotel – not a bad view to wake up to

I hope you had fun!

As for me, I went home with a burnt skin, happy heart and a renewed spirit!

-Simplymesmc

Photo CTO

I Travel With My Childhood Friends

I know this is a chestnut, but still my favorite quote on traveling: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

About 5 years ago, during the start-up period of this blog, I wrote about one of my life’s blessings which are my friends. For those who have read my blog 3 years ago, you might have remembered (or not!) one of the travel adventures I did with my childhood friends too. So basically, you have an idea that I maintain a 25-year-friendship with my solid core.

Okay, for new subs, to give you a little backgrounder, I grew up being friends with a lot of people – Yes, generally I am friendly but I think everybody will agree that amongst all your friends, you have a core group. The group that you could go silly with or serious with or sneak out at night with. The ones who are with you through ups and downs. Yes, I have a solid foundation. I have been friends with my 4 girls who I fondly call “bru” ( short for Bruha – a Tagalog for witch) for 25 years now. Needless to say, I met these girls in grade school (First Grade to be exact).

I love traveling a lot and some of you have seen that in my series of posts already. Indeed, traveling makes me discover the unknown, thus, changes my perspective as a human being. It makes me humble having to realize that my niche in this world is just a tiny spot in this vast universe.  I am glad that in the last 3 years, I get the privilege to explore the world with one of my best brus , Joan. We went to Bohol, to Singapore, Hong Kong , Macau and our supposed travel to Malaysia (please read my “Why Malaysia Made me Cry’ here.)  not to mention our local travels together. Amongst all the places we’ve been to, I love our recent travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Why? Well, not so much with the place, ( don’t get me wrong, the country is good but I have been to other better places.) still my favorite  because we went along with another bru, Anna Marie – plus, they brought their kids (and husband). Yes, some of my friends have kids already and I am glad that we are turning the pages of the unknown world together. What makes me a little emotional is this: We were the kids’ age when their moms and I met. (oh boi, times do fly so fast).

Beholding the world in the eyes of my little God-children and looking at how happy they were in every Disneyland rides while, us, adults have gone crazy, in every expenses, responsibilities and “adulting” stuff that we talked about, I realize how lucky I am to have explored life with my childhood friends whom I consider my family ( by choice).  I wish and pray that these kids, 6-year old Liam and 7-year old Eanna, find a solid friendship as strong as their parents’ (and God-parents’).

I wish the same for my future little ones.

Soon, when they grow up, we will tell them how nice it is to turn pages of life, explore the world and rediscover oneself together with your solid friends. Just like their moms.

You may read my HK and MO travel thru the links below:

Four Days in Hong Kong
Day Tour in Macau

 

 

Panagbanga 2016

This year was extra special ‘coz I was with the best people to be with. My siblings – less big sis who is still in a sensitive  condition and couldn’t bear the long drive.

Tidbits about Panagbanaga:

 

  • Mission of festival : The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) operates, organizes and manages the Panagbenga Festival to boost the tourism of Baguio and the rest of the Cordilleras through showcasing various events, exhibitions and activities that promote the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras which is sustained in an earth-friendly manner. Source: http://panagbengaflowerfestival.com/

A little backgrounder of our trip:

  • We booked through Airbnb – we chose a condominium near Burnham Park  – the center of Baguio city where the festivities are being held at  so we could just walk.
  • Taking a cab or jeepney during the festival is not that easy – better book Grab Taxi   ( Baguio booking fee is 25.00 pesos)
  • Water heater at the condo broke – we had to manually heat water and take a bath but it was part of the thrill
  • We booked bus ticket to Manila the moment we arrived in Baguio – this way, we were secured of our travel- we didn’t want to be stranded because bulk of tourists are going back Sunday afternoon
  • The only available time we got for bus was 9:20 am- the flower float parade starts at 8:30 – there’s no way we could catch that. Our brilliant minds worked – aheemm – since we only wanted to see flower floats, we went to the Panagbanga park near Baguio Convention Center . This was the assembly area of the flower floats, we were fortunate enough to take pictures while crowd got so impenetrable.
  • Before the parade starts, we were off to go back to Manila – good idea, this was before traffic clogged the zigzag road.

 

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My Role Model

I  was applying for a part-time job online and part of the online application was to write  and essay about  one person who has influenced me when it comes to training or teaching. Without any ado, I thought of writing about just one person. No one else comes close.

 

Here it goes…

I grew up to be hard working and responsible person especially in my studies and in my job because of a special person. She was my teacher in pre-school. I started at a very young age of three in school and she showed nothing but patience with me and my classmates.

I graduated from pre-school and moved on with my being a student. She also moved on to find a new job, as she has a growing family to support. She got a job from a government office. She remained my inspiration despite the so many changes that we each encountered.

When I was trying to decide on the course to take for college, she suggested AB – English because she knew I was good in that field. And she knew because she used to be the Best in English Awardee in high school too. As the say, it takes one to know one.

She has become instrumental in almost all of my milestones in life. When I got promoted to be a trainer at work, she was the first one to know. And she was genuinely happy. I told her, I did it all because she molded me ever since I first stepped my feet at school ground. She was my supporter in all my undertakings and my greatest critic too. She was so selfless and always willing to share with me everything that she thinks could help me in my journey in life. She set a very good example of professionalism as apparent in her almost 20 year – stay in a government office. And she doesn’t just love me, she loves my siblings too.

Her name is Ma. Belen. And I am one of her 4 children. Yes, she is my mother and she is my forever inspiration.

Our Road to Big Three – Zero ( Singapore)

With us turning 30 this year, also marks the 24th year of our friendship.

It has always been a part of our bucket list to travel abroad before we reach 30. Amongst the “brus”, as we call one another, only Annalyn has the chance to go out of the country for several times already with her family.

It was Joan’s and my first time to travel a foreign land and SG is our first destination.

Sharing with you our Singapore Adventure- The first destination on our road to big Three Zero!

Singapore Flyer: The world's tallest Ferris Wheel
Singapore Flyer: The world’s tallest Ferris Wheel
Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus
Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus
Bugis Junction Area
Bugis Village Area
Trying out local food with my Bru
Trying out local food with my Bru
A pose with Merlion, ofcourse
A pose with Merlion, ofcourse
Marina Bay Sands at night
Marina Bay Sands at night
Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo
Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo
Goofing around like true-blue foreigners :-)
Goofing around like true-blue foreigners 🙂
In a land of Far far away
In a land of Far far away
Giant grove at gardens by The bay
Giant grove at gardens by The bay
We were like Kids again
We were like Kids again
We saw panda bear
We saw panda bear
Taken by my beautiful travel buddy
Taken by my beautiful travel buddy
Singapore Botanical Garden
Singapore Botanical Garden

Phase In Life

reading this again made me smile. Indeed, what does not kill us makes us stronger 🙂

SimplymeSMC

 I  have written this piece a year ago when I was lost and shattered. I am finally posting this, hoping that somehow it’ll inspire everybody who’s been and who are currently battling against odds of Life, that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. Hope, believe, strive and survive! At the end of all life’s struggle, it is always the one who strives get to win, it is always the fittest who makes it to the finish line.  I hope you get something out of it:

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You are in your mid-twenties; you got yourself a very fulfilling job; people look up to you; some wants to be just like you; you exude oozing confidence; you enjoy attending parties; you’ve got a very good circle of friends; you have planned your life ahead; you precisely know which path to take 5 years from now; you are about to finish your Grad…

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Life’s Best: Travel and Girlfriends

Traveling is one of my hobbies. It gives me a bizarre experience, a feeling of independence and a chance to appreciate world and its beauty.

When I’m not travelling, I love spending time with my friends. Being with them makes me feel happy, at peace and our time together could take us down memory lane. – remembering everything that we went through as kids, as teeners, asstudents, being adults, and for Joan, Motherhood.
I recently got the chance to hit two birds In one stone – an out of town vacation with two of my treasured girlfriends, Annalyn and Joan.

I practically grew up with these ladies, along with other childhood friends. 10 years of being classmates, a lifetime of being friends, and now, travel buddies. What else could I ask for ?
In an ordinary blog, I would probably be sharing with you my travel itinerary, budget breakdown and practical tips on exploring Bohol island, but now, I will give you a snap shot of my treasured moments with my girlfriends of 24 years at the beautiful island of Bohol.
This is just a start of our travels together.

The next time I reminish with them, this travel is surely a part of of wonderful memories that we will always go back to.

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River
Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River
what's a trip to bohol without a visit to  our little friends?
what’s a trip to bohol without a visit to our little friends?
Butterfly sanctuary
Butterfly sanctuary
Driving an ATV
Driving an ATV
chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there
chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

Camera 360 Camera 360

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy
Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy
With Annalyn : this is has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.
With Annalyn : this girl has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.
Man-made forest at the background
Man-made forest at the background
Shell Museum
Shell Museum
I love these girls
I love these girls
just like the old times
just like the old times
being in a beautiful place with eautiful people
being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

My SuperMom

 20 years ago, when I was just about 7, I regarded you as the antagonist in my own story:

  • A woman who woke me up early everyday
  • A woman who nagged at me when I went home late from school
  • A woman who required me to pay respect to ALL people even when I don’t feel like doing it ; even if they are mean
  • A woman who would scold me when I get home with bruises and cuts from my irresponsible- childish games
  • A woman who violated the anti- child labor law by forcing me to make my bed; to clean the room; to wash dishes and worst of all, by forcing me to learn how to do the laundry.
  • A woman who forced me to stay at home when I feel sick
  • A woman who turned off the TV during exam days even if our favorite show is airing
  • A woman who made me wear clothes I don’t like wearing at all
  • A woman who made an inventory of how I spent my allowance  for the day by making me recite everything that I bought

My list was never- ending. I could go on and on pointing out  all that I hated in you when I was growing up.

But you know what? I miss all of those things now.

Now that I have grown into a fine woman, living my own life, all I can say is, thank you to the WOMAN who made me into who I am today.

 Thank you for teaching me to develop a pattern of waking up on time every day, it taught me how to value not just my own time but of others too.

 Thank You for training me how to make the bed and for  forcing me into doing the laundry. I am now living on my own and surviving because I can do all these chores.

 I am on my way to reaching my dreams because you didn’t give up on me and my siblings. We are living life to the fullest now because you raised us well.

 Just when I thought you were just simply being difficult to us when we were growing up, you were patiently giving us your tough love. You only wanted the best for us.  And I have long realized that.

Thank You for playing a very important role in my life, Nanay.

You are the best woman in the whole –wide –world. And I’m taking  my word back 20 years ago.

 I meant to say, you were, you are and will always be a Superstar in my life story!