Fall in Korea Day 5: Autumn Foliage in Nami Island

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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

Mt. Batulao Day Hike: Foggy Sights, Cold Drinks, Happy Heart

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These days, weekends are meant for resting and falling asleep in the most awkward places. But two Sundays ago, I braved to leave the comforts of my bed and went for a day hike up Mt. Batulao, the ever popular destination for newbie hikers. I haven’t traveled much this year, so I was itching to go back on the road again. It was the best decision I had in months, but I almost regretted it halfway up the trail.

While Mt. Batulao is often regarded as the mountain to climb for beginners, it was still physically exhausting and challenging for me. However, the view from the top, and even from the trail, was more than worth it. I realized that if you wanted to be rewarded with pretty sights, you need to work hard for it.

Good thing we pushed through with the climb, because the night before, it was raining heavily in Manila that we almost postponed the hike. Luckily my friends have better instinct than me, and they foresaw that it wouldn’t rain the next day. And it didn’t! Though it was cloudy and most of the mountain ridges were obscured with fog, we were blessed with a great weather condition all throughout the day.

After a two-hour bus ride from Manila to Nasugbu, we started climbing at around 9 in the morning. We decided to take the New Trail back and forth for prettier views and shorter route.

Though Stan and Elzer thought we’d arrive at the summit at 3PM because Tihn, Erika and I were taking too many photos (mostly Tihn) and taking too many rest (mostly me), we actually arrived before lunch!
Continue reading

Fall in Korea Day 4: Exploring Hongdae and Edae in Seoul

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Buzzing with youthful activity all day and all night, Hongdae and Edae are two university neighborhoods that serve as great destinations when you’re looking for something more laidback.

Despite staying in Hongdae during our visit to Seoul, we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the neighborhood. We had an hour or two everyday, but that’s not enough to see all the corners of the quirky neighborhood.

Hongdae is the collective term for the neighborhood surrounding Hongik University. Here, you’ll find all kinds of cafes, shops and restaurants. It’s actually a pretty good alternative to Myeongdong when you want to go shopping. However, it’s all the activities that make the place seem so alive. I thought it’s just every Saturday, but apparently it’s buzzing everyday with live bands and youth groups holding events.

On our fourth day, we went back to Hongdae after spending the morning at the Ihwa Mural Village. I was pretty excited because it was the first time I’d meet up with an online friend! Continue reading

Food and Games at Dyce N Dyne, Kapitolyo, Pasig

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You know you found worthwhile friends when you can spend six hours together just playing board games. Last Saturday, my officemates and I headed to Dyce ‘N Dyne, a steampunk-themed board game café in Kapitolyo, for a full day of food and games.

I thought I would collapse and fall asleep, because we went straight from the office. However, we were too busy having fun and fighting and arguing and being all competitive to be sleepy. I learned so many new games that day!

As a kid, the only board games I played religiously were Dama, Chess, Scrabble and Snake & Ladders. The only time I got to play Monopoly was during Intramurals in school. It seems a bit silly that I end up enjoying and learning more games just when I reached my 25th year. But there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Though it does sound extremely geeky to play board games all day on a Saturday, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Also, Continue reading

Life Lately: On Silly Faces, Skipped Classes, and Spilled Milk Tea

life lately Hello from me, whose eyebags are slowly swallowing her entire face. I haven’t been blogging much lately, and that’s mostly because all I do is sleep when I’m out of the office. Though I can stay awake during my shift, staying awake during the day proves to be more difficult. I am also now more adept to sleeping six to eight hours straight from noon to early evening, which I believe to be a talent. Since blogging is now way below on my priority list, I think doing this Life Lately posts should become part of my regular programming. So yes, you can expect more types of posts like this in the future/   Continue reading