Mt. Tagapo Day Hike: Ferry Rides, Bamboo Caves, Windy Trails

mt. tagapo

After weeks of planning and rescheduling, our Mt. Tagapo day hike finally pushed through. Though it was just Ate Marco, Ate Ninay and I, I’m still glad and thankful for our short climb up the mountain located at the center of Laguna de Bay.

Mt. Tagapo, also called Mt. Susong Dalaga, is definitely one of my most memorable day hikes, partly because it was the smallest group that I joined! Years ago, I wouldn’t have went if I knew majority of my friends weren’t going. But my desire for the great outdoors and beautiful sights are now greater than my introversion. For that I am thankful. Besides, I really missed Ate Marco and Ate Ninay, so a day with them will always be well spent. Continue reading

Fall in Korea Day 6: Warm Autumn Sunshine at Gyeongbokgung Palace

gyeongbokgung seoul

Of all the palaces in South Korea, I wonder if there’s one that can be more magical, more golden than Gyeongbokgung Palace.

It was as lovely in spring as it was in autumn, and I couldn’t be happier to see it both times. Even though it’s probably one of the most congested tourist spots in Seoul, it’s definitely worth a visit. Because it’s so large, we saw numerous areas in the palace were still empty and quiet. No matter how huge it is, there’s a place for everyone to sit down and relax.

We decided to forego Changdokgung and Cheonggyecheon and focus only on Gyeongbokgung. We had limited time, and we realized that visiting all the palaces and temple in Korea would take more than a week. Thankfully, our chosen palace showed all the glory of the season, and we could only wish that the afternoon would last longer. We skipped lunch for this! Continue reading

Fall in Korea Day 6: Cheonggyecheon and Gwanghwamun Square

cheonggyecheon lanter festival

For our last full day in Seoul, we made sure to exhaust every minute and breathe in all the sights, sounds and scent of the city. The entire day was still filled excitement and glee, but there was the looming thought that next day, we’d be boarding a plane back to Manila. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I will never get tired of Seoul.

I’ve been to the Cheonggyecheon Stream before, but this time, larger-than-life lanterns were displayed along the length of the stream. It was for the Lantern Festival last year! We were supposed to go there the previous night, but we arrived back in Seoul from Nami Island quite late. After re-arranging our itinerary, we realized that we still had enough time to squeeze it on our morning schedule. In fact, it was our first stop for our last day. Continue reading

Lazy Saturday at the National Museum of the Philippines

national museum manila

In celebration of Museums and Galleries Month, admission to the National Museum of the Philippines is free for the whole October! Ayessa and I took this chance to visit the museum, even though we’re not exactly artsy-fartsy person.

We were surprised upon arriving as there was a long line at the entrance. I visited the museum back in college, and I remember it looking a bit rundown and barely having visitors. It’s great to see the place buzzing with visitors, young and old. Besides a group of students having their school excursion, there were a lot a of families with young kids, couples, and groups of friends.

It’s uplifting to know that more Filipinos are paying interest to the country’s culture and history. The museum looks pretty new, too. It’s great how they’re investing on preserving our country’s national treasures, and the National Museum is definitely well-maintained. Continue reading

Fall in Korea Day 5: Autumn Foliage in Nami Island

nami island korea 2

Much has been said and written about Nami Island. Yet, it’s unspoken beauty and charm seem underrated.

Made popular by the Korean drama Winter Sonata, it’s the typical tourist trap, visited by thousands and thousands of foreign and local visitors alike. Even on weekdays, the island welcomes hordes of tourists, who occupy every inch and corner of the lone republic. When you think of traveling to South Korea, Nami Island always seems to top the list of must places to visit.

From the moment we arrived at the subway station nearest the island to the line that welcomed us before boarding the ferry, we knew that we’d be faced with tourists no matter where we look that day. But do I regret it? Not even close. Pardon me for joining the bandwagon, but Nami Island was seriously beautiful in its golden and red hues during fall.

I have no idea how it looks in other seasons, but autumn in Nami Island almost made me want to live there forever. I hadn’t even left yet, but I already wanted to go back in spring, winter and summer. It looked so magical in autumn that I couldn’t help wonder how it would look during other seasons.

I firmly believe that Namiseom Island is one of the best places to visit when you want to see gorgeous autumn foliage. Continue reading

Weekend Stay at Microtel by Wyndham – UP Technohub

view from the rooftop

Microtel by Wyndham is a middle-range hotel that offers simplicity and comfort to their guests. The one in UP Technohub is quiet and unassuming with its minimalist exterior and interior, but it’s the perfect place for a quiet weekend of unwinding and relaxation.

After weeks of planning and looking for the perfect place to stay for a weekend with the family, we decided on Microtel UP Technohub along Commonwealth Ave., mostly because we chanced upon a discount and it’s near. It’s the perfect hotel for those looking for a weekend staycation in the metro without breaking the bank. I’d love to try the other Microtel locations, especially the one in Baguio!

Unfortunately, time isn’t always so kind. It’s rare for Ate to have a vacation, so we always try to go out with the whole family during those rare weekends. We wanted to go far away, but staying in the metro was the only choice we had. Still, it’s a weekend well-spent, and I’d appreciate more days like this.

My parents were coming from Laguna, so it was expected that we’d arrive late. What’s unexpected was the awful rain and the flood that blocked our way that Saturday. We ended up eating dinner at Buffalo Bro’s Ribs & Wings in Maginhawa St. before checking in at the hotel, because we were so hungry. In the end, we checked in at around 11PM, pretty late even for our own standards! Continue reading