Life Lately + Can Leo Win an Oscars now?

These past few weeks have been crazy. This entire February has been crazy. I miss my bed. I miss sleeping in. I miss being a bum on weekends. I’ve just got back from our Baguio trip around 2 AM then I set off for work around 7 AM. Yep, I’m still alive. Oh yeah, hello February 29!!

I pretty much run myself ragged this month but I’m happy. Tired, but satisfied. The house didn’t burn down when Mom was in Singapore for a quick Valentine’s getaway. Valentine’s weekend with my dork excuse of brothers. My friends and I’s 4D3N Hong Kong trip went off with only few hitches – like delayed flights and getting really lost only once. The Baguio trip with my officemates were cool; I get to know them more as a person other than just the professional image I have of them.

I’m currently working on a lot of travel backlogs – Singapore, Tagaytay, Ilocos, Hong Kong, and now Baguio to name a few. I have thousands of photos to go through and lots of memories to reminisce about. It will take a while to finish it, but I’m in no rush. I might start with the Hong Kong ones first just because I feel like telling those tales of adventures and misadventures I had with my friends. Most of the misadventures are already stated in my Lost in Hong Kong: Culture Shock post.

To add, I’m burned out with all the recent travelling. Gasp. I know. Who would’ve thought I’ll be admitting that? I used to be a real homebody before the travel bug bit me. And by homebody, I mean, I don’t leave the house except for the occasional mall and cinema trips. I guess my body’s missing the comfort of home (and my bed). I actually passed on a Calaguas trip that’s supposed to happen next weekend. And my next confirmed travel is my Singapore trip on late April. I have time to settled back in at home and rest my feet for a while. I’m okay with that.

I’m also thinking of taking a leave from blogging. Because the perfectionist in me likes organization and my blog looks like a mess to me. I want to do a new look for my blog and make sure that my posts are in sync with each other. Sounds difficult but it’s just a thought for now. Or maybe I’ll just do it part by part on weekends so I can still make updates once in a while.

Music wise, The 1975 finally released their second album (!!!)I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet unaware of it.Seriously. That’s the name of the album. Favorite songs so far are A Change of Heart, The Sound, and Love Me. Favorite lyrics: “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine / Now you just look like anyone / I just had a change of heart.

Today’s the Oscar’s and I am still rooting for Leonardo di Caprio to win his first Oscar. Seriously. It’s been robbed from him a lot of times already. And frankly, the only reason why I still read updates from that awards show. Mad Max already won a lot of awards as I’m typing up this post (I’m on my lunch break) and I’m happy about that as well. It’s well-deserved.

Update: Five minutes after my post went up, it was announced that Leo won a freaking Oscar! Freaking finally!!! I can’t wait until my work shift is over so I can properly celebrate my baby’s win!!

I usually do my life lately posts in bullets but somehow this ended up in paragraphs. I’m not sure why. Maybe I just feel like being rambling today. I feel like making my future life lately posts in paragraph form, though. Feels more personal and I like that.

50 Things To Do in Singapore (Some are FREE)

From my last post regarding Singapore, it seems many people think that SG’s only attraction is Universal Studios Singapore. And that, my friends, is so not true. I’ve spent three summers in Singapore (and going back this April!) and there was always something new to do every time. I have to admit that I only visited the more known tourists and local destinations as my father’s not really keen on exploring much (sorry Pa, I love you). In this list, I’ll be combining the things I’ve done and things I’ll be doing on my visit next April.

  1. Roam around Changi airport. There’s even this little table where you can color SG attractions and have it as souvenirs!
  2. Enjoy dirty ice cream while walking down Orchard Road
  3. Volunteer to feed/swim with dolphins at Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon
  4. Dive with the sharks at Underwater World
  5. Watch a light show at Marina Bay Sands*
  6. Party it up with locals and foreigners at Clarke Quay*
  7. Feed elephants at Singapore Zoo
  8. Pose with the Penguins of Madagascar at Universal Studios Singapore*
  9. Cross the Suspension (hanging) beach to reach Palawan beach at Sentosa. (Perfect photo op!)*
  10. Have a picnic at Gardens by the Bay*
  11. Get an aerial view of Singapore by riding the Singapore Flyer
  12. Make a wish at the world’s largest fountain at Suntec City*
  13. Get a bird’s eye view of the infamous Orchard Road from the 55th level of ION Orchard*
  14. Stroll Down Changi Point Boardwalk*
  15. Do a nature walk at Bukit Batok Nature Park*
  16. Visit the ION art gallery – art in the middle of busy shopping malls!*
  17. Feed birds at Jurong Bird’s Park. Birds may land on your entire arm or shoulder or head if they liked you enough (or if you have plenty of food).
  18. Picnic at Esplanade Roof Garden*
  19. Find (and take a photo with) the 8 Merlions of Singapore*
  20. Visit Sri Mariamman Temple*
  21. Water show at Universal Studios Singapore
  22. Ride the wave pools at Wild Wild Wet
  23. Roam IKEA – and pretend the show rooms are your rooms*. Don’t forget to have some meatballs!
  24. Ride the double decker around town
  25. Take photo ops at the ten bridges of Singapore*
  26. Take the cable car going to and from Sentosa Island
  27. Photo walks around Sentosa Island – day or night
  28. Experience zero gravity at iFly Singapore
  29. Tour Little India*
  30. Photo walk around China Town*
  31. Roam Merlion Park*
  32. Window shop at VivoCity – and get a view at Sentosa*
  33. Take a walk at Emerald Hills*
  34. Take in the breathtaking views from the infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands. (I’m still saving up for this.)
  35. Shop at Haji Lane
  36. Visit Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum*
  37. Reverse Bungy at Clarke Quay
  38. Stargazing at the Science Center Observatory
  39. Go on a foodtrip
  40. Attend a sermon at St Andrew’s Cathedral*
  41. Cruise the Singapore River
  42. Shop ‘til you drop at the infamous Orchard Road
  43. Go on a food trip
  44. Do the MacRitchie Nature Trail – a rainforest within the city. Beware of wild monkeys though, lol.*
  45. Stroll the Waterfront Promenade*
  46. Catch a free outdoor concert at Esplanade*
  47. Enter Cloud Forest – a forest veiled in mist!
  48. Swing to your heart’s content at the Forest Adventure Course
  49. Spend a day at Singapore Botanic Garden – a UNESCO World Heritage Site*
  50. Travel out to the end stations of every MRT line

Hope this will give you an idea on endless things you can while in the Lion City. Free things to do are marked with an asterisk. My favorite things to do are in bold.

 

4 Days – 3 Night Hong Kong Itinerary

This is probably my last post regarding my Hong Kong trip last February – unless I find motivation to do a travel video, that is. I will be sharing my 4 Days 3 Nights Hong Kong itinerary and how we managed to do it on the budget of 20K. I will be also noting down some tips for a more budget-friendly trip. This will be a really detailed one so you guys can get a glimpse on exactly how long it’ll take to one place or another, how much things cost, etc.

Scoring Cheap Flights

Taken at Hong Kong International Airport.

Our plane tickets was bought four months in advanced. We waited for piso fares from budget airlines and when the opportunity to get it at a really low price came, we bought our tickets. Round-trip ticket was around PHP 2000 (USD 48/ HKD300) but we decided that one of us would get the 20KG baggage for souvenirs and such so we divided that and it left us with PHP 2200 (USD 52/ HKD328) each for the flight and baggage.

Finding Cheap Accommodations

Cosmic Guest House, Hong Kong.

Next thing we did was to score ourselves a cheap accommodation. February is a busy month in Hong Kong because of the Chinese New Year celebration. We search Agoda.com, Booking.com, and HostelWorld.com trying to find a good hostel with affordable price, great location, and positive reviews. Just do your research to get the best deal there is! That’s the only secret on finding cheap accommodations. We were supposed to stay at Cebu Hostel but after reading a review about how there are cockroaches (ew!) in the room, we cancelled our reservation and booked at Cosmic Guest House instead.

 

Itinerary

The hardest thing about every travel plan ever is doing the itinerary. It took me days to finish an itinerary and then modifications when I shared it to my travel buddies. Then there’s the problem of how to get to one place to another and where to eat and such. I googled a lot of blogs to see a detailed HK Itinerary but there’s very few so I’m trying to be as detailed as I could in my itinerary below.

A word of caution to anyone planning to use our itinerary: don’t do it if you’re going with little kids or elderly. At least remove one destination per day because you will get tired if you follow this. Your feet will almost literally curse you out. I know mine did. We were basically up at 6 AM every day and home by 11PM-ish each day.

 

Exchange rate I used for the itinerary: HKD 1 = PHP 6.70 = USD 0.16. For reference, USD 1 = PHP 42.00. We did however managed to exchange some pesos at the rate of HKD1 = PHP6.55. Still, better I use the higher amount than the lower so you guys can have an allowance if you plan to use my itinerary as a guide! 🙂

Octopus Card

Octopus Card is basically all you need to survive Hong Kong’s efficient transportation system. You can use it on MTRs and buses. Not quite sure if it works in taxis. You can also use it on some stores like 7-Eleven.

You can rent an Octopus Card at the airport for HKD150 / PHP 1,005 / US 24. HKD100 is consumable while HKD 50 is refundable when you return the card. Octopus Cards can be conveniently reloaded at all 7-Eleven stores. Note that the minimum reload amount is HKD50. If you have excess consumable amount in your card when you refund it, you can get the back as well. You can refund it at any MTR station or at the airport.

CHN Sim Card

 

Sim card can be bought at the airport.

This can be bought at the airport for HKD 80 / PHP 536 / USD 12.76. We already planned on buying one so we are can contact our loved ones in the Philippines 24/7 and it’s way cheaper than using our own PH sims. We asked the lady selling the sim to subscribe us to a cellular promo. For around HKD35 of the balance, you get 1.5G of cellular for 5 days which is more than enough. The extra balance you can use for calls and texts. This is also cheaper than buying one of those pocket wi-fis. Just be sure to bring power banks since the phone that will hold the sim will be your personal hotspot and the phone will be lobatt fast. Jsyk, my phone’s the one who ended up being our personal hotspot for the entire trip and we had like HKD30 balance left in the sim which I still have.

Tips

  • You can bring packed lunch and water at Hong Kong Ocean Park. Food there is really pricy. Snacks are at HKD 40 already! Cheapest option is McDonald’s – which we took. McDonald’s doesn’t even offer free water.
  • Ditch the cabs and ride the train. It’s very, very efficient and will get you from point A to B directly and cheaply.
  • Feel free to haggle at night markets. They expect it and when you make a move to leave their stalls, they will offer you lower prices.
  • Better stuck up on water. Personally, I bought a liter and a small bottled water. I just refill the small bottle every time we go out so I can still get liquid in my body in a small price.
  • Know your directions. A lot of Hong Kongers doesn’t know how to speak English. Better yet, write down the place in Chinese and show it to them.
  • It’s a good idea to visit Lantau Island on your last day as you can leave your baggage in the Citygate Outlet lockets for HKD20 per hour. It’s also only ten minutes away from the airport! You save on transportation.
  • Lines for The Peak Tram is very long on weekends. Try going on weekdays if your schedule allows it. We waited for at least an hour before getting on the tram.

Our over-all trip (excluding the shopping) is around PHP 18,975 /HKD 2,832 / US$ 450. You can even keep this cheaper by making sure your meal cost doesn’t exceed HKD40 per meal and to just take the standard cabin rather than the crystal one when going to Lantau Island. And if you decide to only do one out of Disneyland and Ocean Park, I’m sure you can fit it in PHP 15,000 / HKD 2,238.80 / USD 357.14.

 

So, that’s it! This concludes my Lost in Hong Kong series! If you’d like me to send you an editable Word doc of our itinerary, just send me a comment below and I’ll send you the file in your email. Or if you need any help making your own itinerary, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or send me a quick tweet. I’d love to help! In case you missed it, there’s a link up there for the PDF version of our itinerary. Whew! This was a hard post to make!